This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Bad Humor Man

Vintage Good  Humor Truck
Vintage Good Humor Truck (Photo credit: Adam Kuban)

           When I was a kid a tidy looking ice cream truck would troll the neighborhoods during summer with a chipper looking fellow in a clean neat white uniform behind the wheel.  When he'd come to a grouping of kids waiting by the curbside anxious for his frozen treats, he'd pull over and dispense the goodies to the children for a few coins.  He was the Good Humor Man.

             The Good Humor Man is now a page from nostalgia.   In my neighborhood we now have bigger more rickety looking trucks with tawdry decals on the side advertising their array of goodies.  Or there is an army of Mexican pushcart vendors who disperse on foot each morning throughout the neighborhoods surrounding a central ice cream dispensary.

           I miss the neatness and dependable schedule of the Good Humor Man.  He has gone the way of the milkman, the bread delivery truck, the dry-cleaning delivery service, and the Fuller Brush Man.

          But never fear, the bad humor man is here.  I occasionally come up with short humorous tweets when I get in a weird mood.   Today here's a joke that wouldn't fit in a tweet.  I think I made it up.

         A guy goes to his doctor because of an infected leg.  After the examination the doctor says, "Well, I've got some good news and I've got some bad news."
         Fearful, the man asks, "What's the bad news?"
         The doctor replies somberly, "I'm afraid there's nothing we can do to save your leg.  We're going to have to amputate it."
         "So what's the good news?" the guy asks.
         The doctor beams, "We're having a two for one sale on amputations this week."
           Hey, I'm wearing my summer shorts today.  You should be happy you're just seeing the joke in print!

           Did you have delivery services like ice cream trucks, milkmen, and dry cleaners in your neighborhood when you were growing up?   Are there any of these types of businesses that come through your neighborhood now?   Do you like slightly warped humor?

Friday, June 20, 2014

Battle of the Bands Result (Must Have Been Written in the Starfields)

No Vacation for Battle of the Bands!

        Even though I'm on vacation for the next several weeks the Battle of the Bands posts will continue.  And I've got some good ones coming up.  In fact July will be epic.  There will be a two parter that is proof of the lasting power of American pop music.  One song spanning over 150 years sounding just as up to date in modern incarnations as anything else available.   Stick with me for the upcoming BOTB episodes!

Winner of Last Battle

       Had another close race for my previous battle.   Click the link if you missed it and want to check out the rivalling artists.   The song was Bruce Cockburn's "Lord of the Starfields" as performed by Ali Matthews and the duo of Nico and Ari Neufeld.

       And I mean this was a close one which is a good thing from the way I see it.   It was a tough choice for me and I could have gone either way.   I was trying to find a version by Pam Mark Hall but to no avail.  I was glad to find the Matthews version since it was very close to the one by Hall as I recall hearing it on the radio some 25 years ago or so.   Then I found the version by the duo and that changed the game for me.

       My vote went to the more uptempo version by Nico and Ari.   That brought their vote count to nine with Ali Matthews receiving the winning count of 10.   Not a bad contest by any means.

Final count:
Nico and Ari Neufeld   9 votes
Ali Matthews               10 votes

        I'll be back next Wednesday with a short and stupid post.   You won't want to miss it!  ---Though after you read it, you may wish you had missed it.

          Were you surprised to see such a close vote between the two versions of "Lord of the Starfields"?     Are you ready for the summer?   What kind of music gives you a summertime feeling?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

My Point of Decision: Summer Blogging Plans

Lead the way, Happy (Seven Dwarves Topiary, Ep...
Lead the way, Happy (Seven Dwarves Topiary, Epcot Flower and Garden Festival 2012) (Photo credit: ohhector)

            Remember when I said I was going to be doing shorter blog posts for the summer?    Over the past few weeks some of you might have been wondering what happened to those shorter blog posts that I was promising.   I've been laying some long complicated posts on you readers and a certain lack of comment participation has reflected this.   To be sure, I've been getting some of my best comments ever in the past several posts, but they've been coming from fewer commenters.   If you weren't involved in any of those discussions I think you missed out on some very interesting content.  Of course you're always welcome to go back to those posts and read some of the great comments that I received on what I think were posts on interesting topics.

          In any case, I said "short posts for the summer", but it hasn't been summer yet.   Now it's here.  The days are longer, but my posts will get shorter.  And perhaps stupider at times.  But that's okay.  After all it's summer and who needs to be serious in the summer?

         There will also be fewer posts.  I will continue to participate in the Battle of the Bands on the 1st and 15th of the month.  I will also post on the first Wednesday in order to be a part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group.    And I will post once a week on Wednesdays except on those weeks when there is a Battle of the Bands post on the day before.

          All I can say is that I'm going to go with the flow.  It's possible that I might add a post for something special or to announce the Battle of the Bands results.   Things will go back to normal in September.  Unless this new schedule becomes the new normal.

          That's what summer looks like for me--how about you?   Where will you be going during the summer and what will you be doing?   Do you have any blogging schedule changes in store?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Battle of the Bands: Lord of the Starfields


Time for Another BOTB!

        It's the 15th of the month and that means another Battle of the Bands is here.  This is the twice monthly event that is brought to you by the fine bloggers at A Far Away Series and Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends.  Be sure to visit both of their sites and vote on their battles.   Other possible participants are listed at the bottom of this post.  If you'd like to do a Battle of your own let us know in the comments so we can come to vote on yours.

Composer Bruce Cockburn

         Since it's Sunday I thought I'd go with a song with a spiritual theme.  Lord of the Starfields is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singer/songwriters Bruce Cockburn.  For those unaware of Cockburn (pronounced koh-bərn), he's a Canadian artist who released his first album in 1970 and has recorded numerous albums since then.  His songs often deal with topics of a spiritual or political nature with his music influenced mostly by folk, rock, and jazz.  He is an excellent guitar player.  Though popular in Canada and having won numerous awards in his home country, he has been sadly neglected by American audiences, yet retains a loyal following in the U.S.  His music is worth pursuing for those who enjoy folk/rock with an intellectual flair.

        The song Lord of the Starfields comes from 1976 during the period when he was recording more songs reflective of  his Christian faith.  If you are interested in hearing Cockburn's own version of the song then you can click here.   This video has some pretty cool images of distant galaxies and below the video you can find the song lyrics.   To me this is among the most beautiful praise songs ever written.

          I'm not including Cockburn's version in the contest, but I hope you might listen to it and be interested in listening to more of his fine work.

Ali Matthews "Lord of the Starfields"  (2004)

          This young Canadian contemporary Christian artist has released six albums since 2000.  Her version of Lord of the Starfields remains fairly true to Cockburn's original version.

Nico & Ari Neufeld "Lord of the Starfields"  (2010)

        Here's a couple more Canadian artists who team up for a live performance of Cockburn's song kicking up the tempo a bit.   Nico Boesten who plays drums and provides vocals in this video currently resides in British Columbia.  Ari Neufeld, also from British Columbia, is a diversely talented individual who not only performs music, but also is a painter and creator of other visual arts.

Who Will Win?

         Who wins depends on your vote.  In the comments please vote on the version of Lord of the Starfields that you liked best and tell why you prefer the version you chose.

 Here are some other bloggers who may or may not be participating in the Battle of the Bands.  Please visit their sites to vote on their battles:

         Faraway Series
         Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends
         Your Daily Dose

          Were you previously familiar with Bruce Cockburn?   Are there any particular Contemporary Christian music artists that you enjoy listening to?     Do you think there is a bias by the U.S. audiences or the entertainment industry toward a good many Canadian music artists?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Then and Now: Film Retrospective

Then and Now: 

Movie Blogfest

The greatest films stand the test of time, speaking to us in different ways at various life stages.  Is there a movie that was a part of your life when you were younger that you see differently now?  Like fine wine, has it improved with age or did it die in the bottle?  Has maturity brought you new insights you missed in your youth?  We want to know all about it!

Join us for "Then and Now," a bloghop hosted by The Armchair Squid, SuzeNicki Elson and Nancy Mock.  Tell us about a movie you loved when you were younger but have come to see differently over time - for better or for worse.    Please visit the Squid's blog for the participant list.

Worse Than I Thought

English: Film poster Plan 9 from Outer Space
 Film poster Plan 9 from Outer Space (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
        My favorite film genre in my earliest years was science fiction.  I especially loved the creatures mutated by atomic energy and other toxins.  When I first saw Plan 9 From Outer Space I was blown away.   This was such a cool story with great characters.  In my memory this became a sci-fi gold standard for me.  After seeing this film in about 1960 it was decades before I was able to find it on video and relive the cinematic experience of this memorable film.

         By this time I had read many accounts of how this film was "the worst film ever made".   How could this film that had impacted me so greatly be held in such contempt?   I had to find out for myself.  I rented the video and made the sad discovery.  The film was really really bad.

         Fortunately some good came of this low point in film history.  It inspired the great Tim Burton film Ed Wood.  If you have not seen this film yet by all means you should--it is excellent.   I don't advise Plan 9 From Outer Space unless you are really out for some punishment.

A Film That Has Held Up Well

           When I was growing up in the 1950's and early 60's, the threat of nuclear annihilation continually hung over us.   I had a perverse fascination with this concept so I naturally enjoyed seeing the films that came out about this subject.  There were quite a few of them.   My favorite and the one that stuck with me the most was Stanley Kramer's 1959 film On the Beach.

          I first saw this film at the drive-in theater with my parents when I was about nine years old.  It was scary in a really-could-happen sort of way that monster movies never delivered.  When it eventually was available on video I was able to see this film again and it didn't disappoint.  I've now seen it a few times since and have the DVD in my collection.  The other night I carefully watched the film again.  To me this is such a great film.  

           On the Beach is a post-apocalyptic film which depicts the last survivors of a global nuclear conflagration hanging on in Australia.  Everyone knows the end will soon reach them in the form of the creeping radiation in the atmosphere.  The remaining population hangs on as they endure shortages of gasoline and food.   After an American nuclear submarine arrives on the scene, a decision is made to send the crew to search for other areas that are theorized to be still habitable and to investigate mysterious signals that are being broadcast from somewhere on the Southern California coast.

          These days I'm not sure this film would hold the interest of many kids like it did me so many years ago.  For that matter I don't think a lot of adults would tolerate it.  For one thing the film is in appropriately somber black and white.  The pacing is slow with a lot of dialog.  There are minimal special effects.  No gore even though we know there must be plenty of bodies somewhere in the California cities the sub crew checks out.  There's no bad language--nothing lost by that.   And no sex even though the intimations are made that sex is on some of their minds.   It's a film that would probably get a PG rating due to the mature theme.

         It's too bad that more films of this quality aren't still made.  The message of the film impacted me as a kid and the film held my interest.   Now when I see it, I'm still impacted and enthralled by this film.  On the Beach is in my estimation a truly great film.

          Have you seen the original 1959 version of On the Beach?   What do you think of the slow paced black and white films of the 1940's and 50's?    What films can you think of that are worse than Plan 9 from Outer Space?


        Join me this coming Sunday June 15 for another Battle of the Bands.  No classical music this week.  Just two good versions of one great song.   

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

What Is The Ultimate Melody?

Personal preference
Personal preference (Photo credit: kevin dooley)

        In my previous Battle of the Bands post I presented a song based on a movement of a string quartet by classical composer Alexander Borodin.   I purposely resorted to using a classical piece with two more poppish versions of the same melody.  I was pleasantly surprised to see some preference for the original version, but as expected many voters were not overly excited about classical music.

Ask Arlee:

        A frequent commenter at Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends and sometimes commenter at Tossing It Out, one who goes by the name "Sheboyganboy Six", posed this question to me:
 What do you think, Arlee? Is there a musical style that you can think of that makes you feel noble?

        This is an interesting way to think of how music might affect me. If I think of "noble" in the sense of an upright feeling evoked by  that which is of lofty nature with higher ideals and greater intellectual value, then generally speaking classical would be that music.  Most other forms of music--rock, jazz, country, etc--appeal firstly to our more physical nature and might be more apt to relate to the rootsy aspects of humanness. That is not to say any of these styles cannot touch us on a higher intellectual, emotional, and spiritual plane.  There are rock songs, country songs, works of jazz, and other music that I've heard that elevates me in some special way, but as a rule the more popular music styles would not elicit any feeling within me that I would call "noble".   Keep in mind that I am generalizing not only popular musical forms, but also classical music--I don't consider all "classical" music especially "good" or at least not all of it appeals to me.

"The Ultimate Melody" by Arthur C. Clarke

        In the same comment where Sheboyganboy Six posed the above question, he introduced me to a science fiction short story by Arthur C. Clarke.  You can find this story at The Ultimate Melody if you might like to read it--the story is very short (scroll down to about page 24).  The story is about a scientist who is considering what it is that makes a song become popular and speculates what might happen if the one perfect song were ever to be discovered.

          So much music now seems almost manufactured as though it had been composed by a computer program  I suppose there is some music that actually has been computer generated.  Is this music good?   Has music become better with computer enhancement?   Where might we be headed with music in the future?

How Does Musical Preference Come About?

          The question of why people like the music they like is huge--much bigger than can be fit into one blog post.  Instead of trying to answer this question with my inadequate research, I will offer some basic premises based on what some of you have said and what I have surmised based on my own observations.  For some of you I am probably stating the obvious, but this list is a place to begin:

  • Cultural--We will be typically inclined to prefer music of our cultural heritage and ethnicity, or at least have a sentimental attachment to it.
  • Regional or Geographical--A good many Americans from the South might prefer country while people from urban areas might prefer urban, club, or jazz.  Or certain areas of South America will have specific musical styles.   This is generally true in many parts of the world.
  • Musical upbringing--If music played an important role in our household as we were growing up we might be apt to appreciate the styles of music we grew up with.
  • Peer influence--People are likely to gain an affinity for the music their friends are listening to as well as whatever is trending with those of their generation.
  • Media and influence of popular culture--This would be related to peer influence.  Whatever begins to trend in certain groups may be pushed further by media, public events, and the entertainment culture.
  • Educational influence--Music appreciation classes and music academics introduce styles of music that are embraced by members in those strata of society.
  • Conditioning by repetition--We may hear music played repeatedly until it becomes familiar to us and we associate it with various feelings and memories.
  • Positive sensory effects produced by music-- When music causes a pleasant sensation then we are apt to like it.  This can be evident in rhythms, tonal progressions, or harmonies.  Is it easy to dance to or sing along with?   If we respond positively to a piece of music then we probably like it.
  • The Unknown Factor--This can be a result of a combination of two or more of the previously mentioned concepts or something not mentioned in this list.

What About Music We Say We Don't Like?

      By no means is the previous list definitive.  There are undoubtedly many other reasons we like what we like.  When we hear something and immediately know that we like the music we are hearing, it is most likely rooted in some aspect of the list that I've offered.  But what about those things we don't like?   Here's another similar list that might explain the other side of preference:
  • Unfamiliarity--Music that is unfamiliar or unnatural sounding to us because of cultural, regionality, or style that we are not accustomed to hearing might initially be rejected by our ears and mind.
  • Musical antagonism--This could be rooted in a sort of prejudice or a discomfort with particular ethnicities or cultures.
  • Peer or familial rejection of a style--We may not like something because our friends or family don't like it.
  • Not part of musical mainstream--If a particular style of music is not popular in the media or with the public in general we might be apt to reject it as well.
  • Lack of understanding or education about a musical style--This is particularly true of classical and jazz.  If we haven't taken time to learn something about the music and haven't tried to understand it then we might decide that we do not like it.  Some music is more difficult than other kinds and requires a certain amount of musical education which in turn requires patience and a willingness to learn.
  • Preconceived notions--Sometimes we might reject certain music because we have an unfounded or unreasonable opinion already devised within our minds.
  • Stubborn refusal to like a style of music--Many people will just say they don't like such and such style of music because that's what they've always believed and said and they are unwilling to make an honest attempt to learn to enjoy a certain musical style.

What's the Conclusion?
          Sure, I've generalized greatly on both the like and dislike aspects of music, but this is only a place to start.  There have undoubtedly been a number of studies done and books written on this topic.  In my future Battle of the Bands posts I'm sure to get more negative comments about the songs I choose, but I hope that more often those negatives will be accompanied by some sound reasoning.  

        When you start wondering why you like what you like and don't like what you don't like, you might just start to realize that you are dealing with some illogical reasoning if there is any reasoning to be had at all.   I find it difficult to accept "just because" as an answer.   It may have worked for me when I was a kid, but when you dig down deep you realize that there is never a "just because". 

Coming This Sunday June 15th!

          The next Battle of the Bands entries will be presented this coming Sunday June 15th.   My song selection and versions chosen will be unlikely to create as much controversy as my previous Battle.  Instead I will be sticking with an appropriate Sunday song that is more rooted to the Earth in musical style, but looking into the furthest reaches of the universe and the infinite span of time.  The song is by one of my favorite singer/songwriters.   He is an artist classified as folk/rock who has been recording for about 40 years and continues to maintain an almost cult-like following.   It is not Bruce Springsteen.

          With the clues I've provided does anyone care to guess the artist and song?   I think Larry Cavanaugh might have a good idea who it is since he is so knowledgeable about modern music and has a sense about my musical taste.  Anyone else?

          Do you have any other like/don't like reasons to add to my lists above?   What song do you think comes closest to being an "Ultimate Melody"?   Other than to appease the questions of a child, do you think that "Just Because" is ever a reasonable answer or is it just an easy way of not having to think more deeply about a question?

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Monday, June 9, 2014

Was the Popularity of Harry Potter Just a Passing Fad?

          Okay, so I had to come up with some attention getting title.  So why not use the Harry Potter phenomena?    I've never read any of J.K. Rowling's books and I'm in no big hurry read them, so I guess I can't make any sound judgment as to how good they are.  Perhaps you've read some or all of the Potter series and are an avid fan.  Or maybe you hated them.

          Let's go back a ways and think about William Shakespeare.  Is his work great from more of a scholarly or historical perspective?   Is he a sentimental favorite just because?   Or do you often read his plays and poetry?   Did he even write all or any of them?

         I rather enjoyed some of the more recent filmed versions of Shakespeare such as Romeo + Juliet, Coriolanus, and Titus.   I've read one of those plays but not two of the others.    But I have read a  number of Shakespeare's plays and while I can say there was much I appreciated about the writing and the stories are good, I can't say that I derive great pleasure out of reading those plays.

         Same goes for Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.   I understand there is the significance in regard to literary history, but it is seriously doubtful that something written today in that style would get more than a handful of readers and I doubt whether any of those would say that they liked what they read if they actually read it.

           The complexity of style and lack of lucidity in the writing is undoubtedly a deterrent in the ability for many to enjoy deeper works.  However, no intellectual investment on behalf of the reader may make much escapist literature highly forgetful.   If a book or story is merely enjoyable entertainment that does not make us dwell on any significant message, is the work of any value besides a temporary escape?

          Why do we like to read what we read and why do we think certain written works are "good"?

           Part of this undoubtedly begins in childhood.   If we grow up in a storytelling culture, have an environment that includes the written word, and are encouraged to read, then I think there is a likelihood that we will enjoy reading and pursue reading as we grow older.  What we read is to a great extent determined by what we have been exposed to in the home and in our educational setting.   The influence of our peers can have a great deal to do with the reading that we choose.

         This is an oversimplification of course and I am probably stating the obvious, but I think that this mostly holds true.  If we read regularly then we become better readers.  If we challenge ourselves with deeper reading materials with more complex writing, more diverse vocabulary, and more profound ideas then our reading will probably inclinate in search of more materials of a similar nature--that is if we enjoy reading those books.

         Many of us probably avoid reading what we don't enjoy unless we're doing it for school or some lofty personal reason.   I've found that many books that I've found to be difficult to struggle through were rewarding in the end and after having studied about the book to where I understood more about the writer and the times in which the book was written I often appreciated the book all the more.  Other books were so tedious to me that I never made it through them.

           Another important aspect of reading preference relates to whether a book is relevant to one's thinking, worldview, and ideologies.   Flannery O'Connor is one of my favorite writers not only because she writes with eloquent simplicity, but because she delves into the subject matter of spirituality, grace, redemption, and the corruption of the human soul.  She writes what I want to read about in a style that entertains me.

             On the other hand I think about Herman Melville's Billy Budd, written in a more complex nineteenth century style and yet telling such a compelling story that it has stuck with me even though I read it only once and that was forty years ago.

           Then there is one of my favorite short stories Descending by science fiction author Thomas Disch.   I read this when I was in high school and it immediately became a favorite then and remains so now.  The story of a guy trapped on a department store escalator that is eternally descending is a story too philosophically delicious for me to ever give up on.   This is my kind of story.

           Coming to any absolute conclusion in one blog post is not something that I am going to achieve.  Not in this blog post at least.   There is still so much for me to ponder on the subject.  Can I say I like to read books that are relatively easy to read?   I do, but then again I've read some books that are considered difficult that I liked very much.   I avoid romance books so I haven't read many, but I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice a great deal.

            But I still probably will never read any Harry Potter books because it just doesn't sound like a concept that would interest me.  Sure, you might call me stubborn, but that might be another aspect of why we have preferences--sometimes we're just so hardheaded about something that we resist liking it and we never give it a chance.

            What are the main reasons for your not liking certain kinds of literature?    Do you challenge yourself to read literature that you have perceived to be difficult?   Do you like the Harry Potter books?   Have you read any of  the Harry Potter books?   Do you think the Harry Potter series will have lasting literary value?

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Friday, June 6, 2014

The Results Are In...Kind of

Thomas Edison, half-length portrait, facing le...
Thomas Edison, half-length portrait, facing left and looking down into glass, experimenting in his laboratory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          If you've been following the last few posts on this blog then you might be aware that I've been doing some informal research.   Nothing too scientific mind you and my findings are a bit sketchy.  In fact I wouldn't say I came to any clear results regarding my three posts.

        To recap, I was attempting to get an idea about why people like what they like.  I focused on three categories:  literature, music, and movies.   If you missed any of these posts and are curious you can follow the links in the previous sentence.  Check out the comments if you visit any of these posts or missed the comments on your original visit--there is some excellent insight provided, especially on the posts about literature and music.

          The main finding of my recent research is that it's difficult to do much accurate research in a blog post.  Asking for thoughtful contemplation to questions requires more effort than most people are willing to engage in.   On the music post there was the added effort of listening to at least a part of three song clips.  The literature post invited visitors to actually read a story over twenty pages in length in order to answer my questions to the fullest extent.  Not many were willing to indulge me in any of this.

         Of course I am not surprised as I'm aware that most bloggers are hurriedly skimming through posts that they hope will be short and easy in order to cover as much ground and leave as many comments as they can in the quest for good social networking.   Looking at my stats I can see that most of those who dropped in on my posts rushed away probably because the posts were too complicated.   This has become a standard on many of my blog posts and I'm fine with that.  I'm also pleased that a few will at least provide me the courtesy of saying something even if it is not completely what I was looking for.  I value every comment--simple or complex.

         To give some perspective let's first consider the post on literature. There were 47 comments with 28 actual visitors weighing in with comments of varying degrees.  Of the other 19 comments 10 were by me while the remaining nine were additional comments from those who had previously commented.  Some of those comments were quite lengthy.  Or as fortyandfantastique humorously said: 
I feel like I have just completed an essay test! Not that there's anything wrong with that, professor Arlee. Keep "tossing it out"... I like this essay test blog format, sir :-)

         On the post about music there were 45 comments from 18 visitors.    Nearly 20 lengthy comments were left by me. I usually cluster my replies, however on this post there were so many long complex comments that I was left to respond in kind.    Stephen T. McCarthy  alone left eight very long and involved comments.   What this amounts to is discussion where my questions were answered and the commenters added their own thoughts.  I'll gladly take 15 long thoughtful comments over 100 short one liners any day.  But don't stop leaving the short comments if that's all you have time for or all you want to say.  All comments are welcomed and wanted.  I'm just saying that if you're ready to engage in discussion, this blog is a site where it is welcomed.  

           So, my conclusion regarding my research project is that though I received some fantastic feedback from a relatively small sample of population, there is certainly not enough to come to any scientifically accurate conclusion.  For that I would be better served by a somewhat lengthy multiple choice survey questionnaire from a few hundred respondents along with some additional long answer respondents.   Not having that research available, in my next few posts I will suggest what I think the data that I did receive shows and provide my own theories about why people like what they like.  This will culminate with my post of next Friday June 13th for the "Then and Now Blogfest" when I will give some of my thoughts on movies.  If you're not signed up for this movie themed blogfest then click on the link to find out more.

Battle of the Bands Results!  

         While there may not be any clear results from my recent research, the one thing that is clear is the voting on my most recent Battle of the Bands post (click the link to find out more about that Battle).

          This was a very difficult Battle in many ways.   As I somewhat expected the musical selections were not the favorites of many out there, but this was a necessary aspect of my "research".    Let's face it--a lot of people are not interested in classical music. I'm striving to change that, but it is a common attitude among many people.  Personally I thought the match ups I offered in this Battle were some of my best yet, but I've gotten used to the fact that what I think is "best" is often the least popular generally speaking.

         There were some harsh responses to the music, with a surprising number of Julie Andrews haters. I didn't expect that!   A good percentage of voters did not care for the classical rendition of the melody as written by Alexander Borodin.  And yet there was a near perfect balance in the votes that makes this about as close of a three way contest as anyone has offered in these BOTB posts.

          My vote would have caused a tie no matter which of my favorites I would have picked.   It was close for me since I thoroughly enjoy all three versions of this tune.  Gloria Lynne's jazz take on "And This Is My Beloved" is outstanding to be sure, but it's my least favorite of the three.   As some of the voters indicated, the Julie Andrews version was very moving and I was in awe of this version from the first time I heard it.   But in the end, the original version for string quartet as written by Alexander Borodin is the clear winner for me.  This is a hauntingly beautiful piece that I have listened to over and over again and will continue to listen to repeatedly

Final Tally:

Julie Andrews    5 votes

Gloria Lynne      6 votes

Original Borodin Quartet     6 votes

        Does the outcome of this contest surprise you?   Do you enjoy receiving lengthy comments on your blog and engaging in discussion?     Would you rather have a lot of short comments or a lesser amount of longer comments that display some interest in a topic you've written about?

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