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!

Monday, November 24, 2014

In Memory of my Mother, Lois K. Jackson

        Here is the obituary for the passing of my mother.  I will continue to be sporadically on line for next few weeks.

Lois Jackson, 85, died Friday morning November 21, 2014 after an extended illness.
She was preceded in death by her husband Robert Lee Jackson who passed in 1990 and her companion of 15 years George Lechelt who passed in 2012.
Lois leaves five children:  Robert Lee and his wife Betty with their children Dan, Ada (spouse Tom Zdanowicz), Diana (Jeff Bowen), Emilee, and Angelina; Joy and husband Jim Melchionda; Joni (whose late husand was Jack Katon) and daughter Jamie (Barry Habel) ; Jay and his wife Hallie with their daughter Cynthia (Sean Baxter);  and Jeff.   Six great-grandchildren include Marley, Hallie Jane, Lillee, Grace, Celeste, and Madisynn.
Born and raised in Morgantown, WV, Lois was the daughter of Paul and Lessie Trevillian.   She attended West Virginia University where she met Bob Jackson, her husband of 40 years.  They moved to Maryville in 1966.
Lois was a dancer whose specialty was acrobatic and tap.  After having met Bob who was a popular basketball player at WVU and a juggler, the two married and  put together an acclaimed juggling act that eventually included their five children.  They performed throughout the United States for four decades.
Ever the congenial hostess, Lois welcomed visitors into her home and was much beloved by her many friends as well as friends of her children.
Funeral arrangements are with McCammon-Ammons-Click.   Friends are welcome to join the family at a graveside service at Grandview Cemetery on Tuesday November 25, 2014 at 3 PM.

Friday, November 21, 2014

BOTB Results: Watertown

      I'll be keeping today's post brief as I am still dealing with my mother's illness.   As indicated on my previous post, I'll be blogging sporadically until further notice.

  Battle of the Bands results:

       In my latest round of Battle of the Bands I offered Frank Sinatra's version of "What's Now Is Now" against the version of the same song as done by the group Cake.   The song comes from Sinatra's little known album Watertown.

       As I had indicated in my posts in regard to the BOTB, I have a longstanding appreciation of Sinatra as an artist and Watertown is among my all time favorite albums.  I think Sinatra does a tremendous job with my song choice.  For these reasons you might expect my preferred version to be the one by Sinatra.  However upon hearing Cake's version I was impacted by how much they demonstrated the rock nature of this song.   They pull it off with a convincing sincerity.   I especially like the guitar work in their presentation.   Simple, steady, and altogether pleasing to my ears.

        I was surprised to find that I was not alone in my preference for the Cake version.  Sinatra still squeaked by with a win.,

Final tally:

Cake      14

Sinatra   15

Thanks to all for your votes.  Next Battle of the Bands post will appear December 1st.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blogging Break Due to Family Emergency

        I will be away from my blogs  for an indefinite period of time due to a family emergency.  More details to come later.  Your prayers and positive thoughts would be appreciated especially for my mother and all of our family.

        My Battle of the Bands results post will hopefully appear this Friday November 21st as planned.

         If you've not yet done so I hope you will consider visiting the Battle of the Bands post and vote on the song version you like best.   I'd love to get at least another 10 or preferably more votes added into what is there already--it would certainly pick me up in a down time.

        Posting on Tossing It Out as well as my other blogs might temporarily stop, although there is always that possibility that if I find time I could post sporadically.   I will have my Battle of the Bands posts scheduled for December however and any other already scheduled posts will appear.    

        There's a good chance that I will have some idle time during which I hope to continue to visit your blogs and leave comments.  However, if I'm a bit scarce I hope you will understand.

        Thanks for understanding.  I hope to be back on regular schedule within a couple of weeks.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Battle of the Bands: What's Now Is Now

          What's now is Battle of the Bands, the blogging event helmed by our friends at Far Away Series and  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th and since the 15th comes on a Saturday this November I am posting special on this day.   The premise is simple:  Listen to the songs presented below and then in the comments vote for your favorite and tell us why you liked it.  Then visit the links listed near the bottom of this post for more Battle action  So now is the time to start:

Frank Sinatra "What's Now Is Now" (1970)

         With a singing/acting/entertainment career that lasted for 60 years, Frank Sinatra is not an artist who can be discredited for his accomplishments.  Whether you like him or not, the fact remains that a lot of people did like him and he stayed on or near the top of the heap throughout his lengthy career.  Those who do like Sinatra undoubtedly have their favorite phases of his career and can cite albums that stand out among the others.

         I'm particularly fond of the work he did during the 50's with Nelson Riddle, Gordon Jenkins, and Billy May.   Those were the albums from my parents' collection that I listened to back in junior high thus honing my appreciation for Sinatra's song stylizing.

          My all time favorite Sinatra album is one of his least known.  Watertown (1970) is a concept album with songs composed by the team of Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons and Jake Holmes, who was also the writer of the Led Zeppelin classic "Dazed and Confused".   The song cycle tells the story of a small town husband and father whose wife leaves the family.  The songs describe the heartbreak, sense of loss, memories, and hopefulness the man goes through as he deals with the loss of his wife.  For me these are some of Sinatra's best performances and taken as a whole the album is a powerful piece of work.   The album was critically acclaimed but essentially tanked with the public.

           On my memoir blog Wrote By Rote I have more to say about this album and the memories that I connect with it.  I hope you'll click on that link to read my story about Watertown, but first here's one of my favorite songs from the album:

Cake "What's Now Is Now"  (2011)

        My first encounter with the band Cake was in the latter 1990's when I overheard my daughter playing her copy of their second album Fashion Nugget (1996).   I began listening closely to the album and eventually borrowed it to listen more.  The band has a unique sound that uses a trumpet to great advantage.  The band displays an eclecticism that appeals to my musical tastes, performing catchy tunes with intelligent delivery.

        I was previously unaware of the album Showroom of Compassion on which their cover of the Sinatra tune appears.   In fact, I was surprised to see that any of the tunes from Watertown had been covered by any other artists since the album seemed to be in the dustbin of musical history.  Now that I know that more than one of the cuts from Watertown have been covered, I will undoubtedly be using some of them in later Battles.  After all, it's one of my favorite albums and I want those who don't know about it to be persuaded to listen to more of it.   You can find Sinatra's complete version of Watertown on YouTube.

       But I digress--first let's listen to Cake's version of "What's Now Is Now":

  Now What?  Let's Vote!

         These are two great versions of one great song--at least I think so and I hope you've enjoyed hearing them both.   But surely you prefer one over the other.   I'll tell you my preference on my post of Friday November 21st.  I'll also be announcing the winning version on that day.   Please vote for your favorite in the comment section and let us know why you prefer that one.   After you vote here, make sure to visit the links listed below for other possible Battles.


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands




           Are you familiar with Sinatra's Watertown album?    Do you like Cake (I mean the group not the food)?   What about cake (the food)?    Can you think of a relatively obscure song that you like that you were surprised to hear covered by another artist?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Does the Market Readily Accept Genre Change?

1st edition
1st edition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         Recently there have been some author bloggers who have wondered how their image and book sales might be impacted if they changed genres.  For example I recall one author who had been writing romance who was considering writing something in a fantasy genre.  Some of those who responded to her post indicated that they had done so with no appreciable impact while others said they had toyed with the idea of a genre switch but were concerned about how well it would be accepted by their usual audience.   How devastating can change be from an economic perspective?

         J.K. Rowling jumped from the most successful kid lit series of all time to risk a foray into adult literature and she didn't do too badly with that change.  It remains to be seen if she will hold her adult audience.  The creator of the James Bond adult series didn't do too badly when he switched to children's literature when he published Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.   Many authors have made the leap from one genre to something completely different with no adverse effect on their careers.   Good writing is not dependent on the genre being written.

         There are undoubtedly many examples that you can come up with of writers who went off of their normal path to publish something that was rejected by the general public.  One that I ran across was McKenzie Devlin who jumped from romance to zombies with an outcome of what she calls "experimental failure".  As Devlin states on her blog, "...the moral of the story isn’t to stop experimenting, just be ultra careful with switching genres if you have established readers that love you."        
          Genre hopping has been fairly common in the music industry.   Some of you might recall when Bob Dylan switched from his acoustic folk style to having an electrified rock band backing him up.   Many fans were outraged, but in the end as we know Dylan's career became even bigger.  Likewise I can think of a number of artists who pulled the old switcheroo on the public with great success.   For example the Bee Gees went from vocal harmony pop to disco, Fleetwood Mac turned their backs on their blues roots to record mainstream pop rock, and Kenny Rogers moved on from the psychedelic rock that brought him to the public eye to record country music.   In all of these cases the genre change made these acts more successful than they had previously been.

         Changing horses sometimes hasn't gone over so well with an artist's fans.   In my upcoming Battle of the Bands post (coming tomorrow Saturday November 15th), one of the featured artists, a singer with a long respected career, recorded an album in 1969 that was somewhat different than all of his previously recordings.  Everything from the album packaging to the way the tracks were recorded was a change for this artist.

         Though in actuality the artist's sound was not really all that different than his usual work, it was apparently enough to turn off the usual buyers of his product.  Or was it merely the perception of change?  It could even have been a matter of the timing of the release since this artist was probably losing his fan base due to age or even the events of that year.   Most likely there was a combination of factors that caused the album to either get lost in all of the other releases at the time or to be avoided by a public who weren't ready for a new approach from this artist.

          Please visit my post tomorrow for the Battle of the Bands post that will look at a good song by a good artist from an album most people don't even know exists.   You can listen and give us your opinions.

           Do you avoid an author's newer works if they are a drastic change from previous ones?    Can you think of an author or other artist who changed genres with negative consequences?    Any guesses about the song I'll be using in the Battle of the Bands post or the artist and album?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Are You Ready to Change Your Plans?

English: Bower Hill Plantation, West Bretton. ...
Bower Hill Plantation, West Bretton. These gates were to the Bretton Estate. There are plans to change the designation of this footpath to a road. Bellavista Plantation to the left (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us."
-- Joseph Campbell,
American writer and mythologist

       One of the biggest problems with planning ahead is that there are always forces lying in wait to screw things up for us.  It might be the weather, a health crisis, or some other unforeseen thing that broadsides us unexpectedly.  Back-up plans are always advised, but sometimes there is nothing else we can do other than accept what has come our way and adapt in order to continue on with our lives.

        The alteration of little plans is inconsequential to us.  It's those big expectations that we formulate in our minds--plans for schooling, career, marriage, and family.    Dreams can be dashed or they may fade away, but when those dreams have  become plans and expectations we stride forward toward the goals we envision.  When a roadblock is put in our path, we have to make decisions.   We might even have to change our precious plans.

         Using marriage as an example, most who sincerely go into this union are unlikely to do so with the expectations that it will be dissolved in some matter of time.  The typical couple will probably declare a love for one another and, if traditional vows are recited, will declare that love to the world as well as the intention to continue that love until death separates the two.

          Over time people change and attitudes change accordingly.  There are times when the relationships are unable to weather those changes and the plans that were made or mentally assumed are disrupted.  Or even death can intervene to wreck the life that we were planning for the future.  A true permanency of human relationships is not something we can always count on.   No matter how strong our own sense of commitment might be, we might not be able to do anything at all to make things right as we see what we think should be right.

         The examples in marriage can be applied to any other plans.  Your job.  Your educational pursuits.  The aspirations of fulfilling your dreams.  We cannot write our lives in words that hold any guarantees.  Our lives are written with words of hope and not promises.   Change can come at any time in our lives and the inevitability is that life will change--everyday, sometimes in imperceptible ways and at others with feelings of catastrophic doom.  

          We can't change where we've already been, but we can make route adjustments if the road is blocked or our destination is changed.    If we don't keep moving forward then we aren't going anywhere.

          I'll be frank about my promotional intentions.  This post is a clue hinting toward my song choice for my Battle of the Bands post this coming Saturday November 15.   I'll admit that the song I'm using will be no piece of cake to guess, but the perceptive reader might be able to guess, especially anyone who knows this song I'll be using.   Here's another big hint:   The album the song originally comes from is named after a city.

            Do you agree with Joseph Campbell's quote?    Are you a person who easily lets go or do you tend to fight to the finish even if the battle seems hopeless?      Can you guess the song I'll be using in my next BOTB post?    The artist?

Tomorrow November 13th!  Big announcement at the A to Z Blog!    
Be sure to visit tomorrow and everyday!


Monday, November 10, 2014

Give Me Liberty or I'll Just Take It!

Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Isl...
Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island, Manhattan, in New York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
― Emma Lazarus

       Do you recognize these lines?   They come from the poem "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus.  The sonnet was engraved on a plaque that was placed on a wall inside the pedestal upon which rests the Statue of Liberty.  Those of us who live in the United States have undoubtedly heard the lines recited sometime in our lives or might have even seen the plaque itself.

      I was reminded of this quote recently while watching Alfred Hitchcock's World War II era suspense film Saboteur.   This fine film is filled with patriotic monologues and concepts regarding loyalty and justice.  After a trek across America, the action culminates in a thrilling sequence in the upper reaches of the Statue of Liberty.   If you've never seen this, it's a film I would highly recommend.  Besides, it's Hitchcock and that's enough for me.

        Do the lines quoted above seem as sensible in our age as they did in the late 19th century when they were written?   How accepting should we be of sojourners to the U.S. who do not follow our laws and have a desire to change our culture to adapt to theirs?    Are there a good many peoples from other lands who want to take advantage of America's idealistic generosity and at the same time bring us down?      How would you define "immigration reform"? 

      I've got some posts lined up on this topic, but I'm not sure when I'll get to them.   They're in my queue waiting.  The immigration reform issue has never left the news, but it's coming to the forefront now that elections are behind us.

Friday, November 7, 2014

"I'm the Zombie? How'd That Happen?"

...with Battle of the Bands results!

English: Mr Zombie
 Mr Zombie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

        Back in May, Robin at Your Daily Dose got me to thinking about issues she brought up in a post that you can find here.  In my comment responding to her post I contemplated some of  the metaphorical implications regarding the popularity of the zombie genres found so often in modern culture.  Thinking that perhaps my ponderings might make for an interesting blog post, I tucked away my thoughts in my idea file to be pulled out later.  My recent blog series about death and zombies seemed to be a good place to finally bring these ideas out as a conclusion to that series.

        Over the past few posts on Tossing It Out, as well as a post at my memoir blog Wrote By Rote, I've been discussing the topics of death and zombies partly in relation to the Halloween season, but primarily to call attention to my Battle of the Bands installment that featured the song "When I'm Dead and Gone".  I'll be getting to the winner of the BOTB contest shortly, but first I want to present my theory about our increasing societal obsession with zombies.

        This topic has been addressed by many others.   Andrew Leon directed me to one of his own posts, "Zombies: A Cultural Metaphor" from a few years ago at his blog Strange Pegs.  In short, Andrew offers the concept that our fascination and fear of zombies is related to issues regarding the influence of technology, corporations, and government on our society.  You might want to go back and read his post to get the full story behind his theory.  

         Other theories I've found have suggested that the zombie metaphor extends to viruses, contagion, human isolation, paranoia, and the general fears that confront us.  The Ebola Virus crisis has probably made others beside myself think about a future epidemic unlike any we've seen previously that could include reanimated corpses.   Farfetched?  Probably, but it makes for a good scary story.

         Here is what came to my mind as I was commenting on Robin's previously mentioned blog post:

Regarding hope vs purpose. Personally I think internally hope is the force that drives any of us. Without hope we merely act on autopilot to get the days work done with nothing more to look forward to. Goals are the result of hope and the hope provides more meaning to the purpose.
From the outside though, as far as other people are concerned, the purpose is mainly what matters. Our hope may spread to others around us and inspire them, but on the whole the people we deal with are mainly interested in the purpose we serve.
The burger flipper may hope toward vacation time or a college degree and the purpose of the job is to get them to their goal, but the job is not their ultimate purpose. The guy waiting for his burger hopes that his burger is fixed right and the flipper has no purpose to him other to get his burger done.
Maybe a lot of the zombie stories metaphorically represent a world that increasingly consists of people who are losing hope and the burning internal desire to find ultimate purpose only to become hopeless empty shells merely left with the purpose to survive.

          To take this thinking a step further I sense that many people today have a spiritual disconnect and rely on outside forces such as governmental or societal support.   They are burdened with the desire to have more and do more which in turn leads to enslavement of debt, jobs they don't like, and a general lack of direction about where they are going in this life.  Consequently they plod lifelessly from one day to the next from job to the shopping mall to do whatever else everyone else is doing.   We all wait, stand in lines, and face frequent let-downs in our lives.  What we do with these experiences and how we react to everything we encounter determines the amount of actual life we have burning within us.   Some people don't take it so well and spend time complaining and just following the rest of the crowds who have little or no idea what's coming next.

        There is certainly more that can be added to all this but I must move on to BOTB results.

Battle of the Bands:  The Outcome

        What I thought was going to be an essentially uneventful BOTB contest turned out to be a heated  horse race.   There were surprises like those voters who I thought would surely know the original version of "When I'm Dead and Gone" by McGuinness Flint who did not know the song.  Maybe they just didn't remember it since it's a song that is not often played anywhere these days.   A few of you knew the song but most did not.

         As I somewhat expected in the case of those who did not know the song or the original artist several cast their votes based on the greater familiarity of Def Leppard.   I was surprised that some voters did not like the song as I find it to be catchy and quite entertaining, an opinion shared by at least a third of the voters. But like I say it was a horse race all the way.   As I read the comments and tallied the votes I could almost hear the sports announcer detailing the back and forth nature of the contest.  This was one of my craziest BOTB posts ever as far as close voting goes.

        My preferred version is the original by McGuinness Flint for the same reasons cited by some of you.  The instrumentation, especially the mandolin and the solid drum backing, as well as the vocals give the song a better sound to my ears than the version by Def Leppard.   Those hard rockin' Def boys did a fine job with the cover and it's grown on me through subsequent listenings, but I don't think they could ever surpass McGuinness Flint for my taste.   I love this song--it's a catchy foot-tapping memorable romp and I can't understand why anyone wouldn't like it.   But some of you didn't as indicated in your voting.

        So how did my vote affect the outcome of the Battle?  It almost puts McGuinness Flint in a tie with Def Leppard.

The Final Tally

 McGuinness Flint     13

Def Leppard             14

         The next Battle of the Bands posts will come on Saturday November 15th and I've got what will be one of my favorite matches so far.   It's a pop song from a 1969 concept album by a hugely popular artist whose career spanned over half of the 20th century.   The seemingly unlikely competitor is a very eclectic band that came together in the early 90's and is still active today.   Be sure to join me for this one and I don't want to hear anyone say they don't like this coming song pick.   How could you not like this song?  Anyway, be here and find out for yourself.

         Does my zombie theory hold credence in your estimation?   What is your own opinion as to why zombies are so fascinating to so many?    Do you know what my blog post title is derived from?    

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#ISWG: When I'm Dead and Gone

        Welcome to another monthly meeting of the  Insecure Writer's Support Group.   More than likely you know why you're here, but in the event you are unaware of what I'm referring to you can visit the blog of Alex J. Cavanaugh for more information and the list of bloggers who are members of the group.   All are invited just so you contribute your own #IWSG post on each first Wednesday of the month.   And now for my thoughts of this month:    

When I'm Dead and Gone

          My title might infer that this post will be about the legacy we leave behind as authors or whatever it is that we would like to be known for, but this is not the case.   For those who haven't been following my most recent posts, the "When I'm Dead and Gone" title refers to a series I've been doing about the topics of death and zombies.  It's a seasonal theme related to Halloween and Day of the Dead (November 1st) that revolves around my current Battle of the Bands post that uses the song of the same title.   I'm tabulating votes until tomorrow (Thursday November 6th) and announcing the winner on my Friday post.  If you haven't voted yet I hope you will by clicking on this link.

       Over the past year I've seen a number of posts suggesting that blogging is dead or dying with various reasons mentioned.  Likewise, there have been the doomsayers portending the eventual demise of Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media. 

        Historically though haven't we heard much the same dire predictions made for other things?   Vaudeville would be killed by motion pictures, movies by television, books by electronic data delivery, and on and on.  Some things did die for the reasons cited or for other reasons.  Trends run in cycles and often lose adherents.  Things come and go as new generations become interested and then eventually move on to the next new big thing.

         Same goes for literature genres.  Westerns, science fiction, detective stories, and other genres have seen peaks and lows of popularity over the years.  None have gone away entirely and a reading audience will probably remain ensconced for years to come as long as the writing is worthwhile and sometimes even if it isn't.   Boy wizards and romantic vampires may be with us for a very long time though perhaps their popularity will wane as the next novelty enters the limelight.

          If blogging dies then those of us who blog will have to find something else to do.   If the genre in which we write no longer sells books then we need to find another topic to write about.   It's not a good idea to just roll over and stop creating.  The fact is that if we believe that something that we do, something for which we had a passion, has died then perhaps we helped to kill it.   

           Nothing completely dies, it merely changes.  You might have learned something akin to that in physics or some other science course.  The Law of Conservation of Mass is what it's called.   My body may cease to function in the way that we know it, but I continue to exist in some form.   There are memories.  There is whatever I left behind of what I accrued in my life.  There is what I created.   

          Come to think of it a lot of this does have to do with legacy, but that's not really the main aspect I'm thinking about for the moment.   My thoughts of dying are more in the metaphorical sense.  Sometimes we can die but still be living and breathing, functioning in some sense of what is considered normal.  Almost zombie-like, but not in the gory flesh-eating sense.   Zombie brained and blinded by disappointment, disillusionment, and other dis and dats.

          That's dying in living.  That's watching whatever it is that you once enjoyed and wanted to share with others fade from your grasp.  Just because something is no longer popular doesn't mean we have to stop doing it and consider it dead.

           There was a time when skinny neckties were in fashion.  Then guys started wearing wide ties and skinny ties looked out of place.   Once when I was traveling I came upon an old department store in a small town that was going out of business.   They had a lot of old out-dated merchandise at extremely cheap prices.   Skinny ties were ten cents each so a coworker and I bought several along with white dress shirts that were at a clearance price of fifty cents each.   We started wearing these as a sort of uniform while we loaded and unloaded our equipment truck as we traveled from town to town.   It made for a cheap uniform that didn't look half bad and it didn't matter if we messed the clothes up.   Then I noticed that a lot of the punk bands that were gaining popularity were dressed similarly in the promo shots of them I'd see in the magazines.  My friend and I were almost fashionable with our makeshift cheap uniforms.

          So what's the point of that story.  Heck if I know.   You can make of it what you will.   I guess I meant it to be an example of what I was trying to say in this post.   And if someday my blog grows out of fashion I can think of it as a skinny tie.   Maybe that interpretation works.

           Do you keep up with trends and fashions?   Are you doing NANO this year?   Have the comments and visits to your blog dropped since NANO began this past Saturday? 


Monday, November 3, 2014

Zombie Acropolis

English: The Acropolis in Athens
The Acropolis in Athens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

          It's not necessarily Greek to me why the zombie genre is so popular in modern culture.  Humans have long been interested in reanimation and resurrection as well as the supernatural aspects of the living dead.  We're scared and yet morbidly fascinated with the concept of zombies.   I'll give you my theory about the popularity of zombies this coming Friday November 7th.

          This post today is not a real post, or at least not in the sense you might expect.  If anything this post is more related to what Alex J. Cavanaugh was talking about in his post that asked the question "Have authors killed blogging?"    In short Alex was wondering if blogging has been hurt by too much promotion by authors.

          I'm not trying to sell anything, but my post today is all about promotion.   The "Zombie Acropolis" title is merely a come-on somewhat related to my most recent topics.  As you might know, blogging experts recommend a catchy title to lure visitors to your posts.  If for no other reason, I figured that my chosen title might lure a few folks to chide me for misspelling "apocalypse".   And since zombies are an attraction of themselves I thought some zombie fans might stop by as well.

         I don't mean to disappoint anyone, but count this as another blog experiment--like maybe Dr. Frankenstein might come up if he had been a blogger.  Besides I've had this title sitting in my to-go queue since spring when I was developing my short blog posts for the summer vacation season.

         By the way, on the subject of attention getting blog titles, there has only been one stand-out post traffic wise on Tossing It Out of late.   For the most part traffic here is adequate, but not overwhelmingly amazing.  Not viral.  The posts where I've taken part in some fest or interactive event usually get the most visits.   However the biggest surge on this blog in the past several months was the post with the title "That Wasn't Very Nice".   I'm guessing that a lot of visitors were expecting some real dirt about something bad that happened.   Instead they found a post about ballet and Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring.  I thought that the topic was very interesting, but judging from the relatively small number of comments compared to the high number of visits on that day I'm guessing that most visitors were not particularly interested in the topic I was presenting.   I suppose that some might have thought I was not very nice in insinuating that they were going to get to read about something not very nice and they found a story on The Rite of Spring instead.

          Still, I'm going to promote a few things right now.  First don't forget the Wednesday  Insecure Writer's Support Group monthly meeting to be held at hundreds of blogs including my own.  My post will be staying kind of on topic with death, zombies, and whatever comes to my mind between now and then.   Coming on Friday, as I mentioned earlier, I'll be divulging my zombie theory and announcing the winner of my most recent Battle of the Bands vote.

          And speaking of voting, U.S. citizens don't forget to vote tomorrow Tuesday November 4th.  Let's vote the old bums out and bring the new bums in.   It's a pain in the bum, I know, but someone's got to stir the political pot now and then and that someone is us.

         But whether you're voting in the political elections or not, don't forget the really important vote!  If you haven't voted on your favorite song version in my Battle of the Bands please do so as soon as you've finished reading this outlandish post I've put up today.   Please!

         Aren't you glad I don't have a book to promote!   Can you imagine?

          Are you a fan of the zombie genre?   What type of blog promotion annoys you the most?    Is there anything that's keeping you from voting in the Battle of the Bands (and don't say you don't know anything about the music--you don't have to know anything, just listen)?

         Now go vote at When I'm Dead and Gone.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Battle of the Bands: When I'm Dead and Gone

November 1st is Day of the Dead

        ...But it's also the day of the Battle of the Bands!

          Some of you might also think of November 1st as All Saints or All Souls Day.   In many other parts of the world this official day of remembrance of the Roman Catholic Church calendar celebrates those who have passed from this life.  It's a huge celebratory day in Mexico known as Day of the Dead that has now been tied in with the celebration of Halloween.  Though primarily a religious holiday, the day has become one of parties and public gatherings.

However Let Us Remember

          For many bloggers the 1st and 15th of each month is now celebrated as Battle of the Bands Day.  Twenty-four times per year  a group of bloggers join in with BOTB founders Stephen T McCarthy and Faraway Eyes to present different versions of one song for you the readers to vote upon your favorite.  Each participating blogger picks their own songs to use for the event.   After several days we all will announce which of our contestants has received the most votes to be named as the favorite in their contest.   After you've voted on my choices, I hope you will visit the participants listed at the bottom of this page and vote on their Battles.

In Honor of Day of the Dead

         In my Battles I usually try to do some kind of thematic tie-in that will present something to offer for the readers who don't care about BOTB.  I always hope that everyone will be willing to jump in with us to listen and vote, but in the event that anyone doesn't want to or even can't  listen to the song offerings I like to have an issue or idea for us to think about.   In the case of this current song I will be doing a tie-in with my Insecure Writer's Support Group post coming up on Wednesday November 5th.

        Also of late I've had a secondary theme in a sense of pitting female artists against males.   In this Battle the boys are back in town for a guys only Battle.   That doesn't mean only the guys can vote.  I'm counting on you ladies since you're the majority of voters in each contest.   Even if you don't know the song or like it or whatever, please try to find something that stands out for you to make one or the other version the one that you prefer.  I think it will be interesting to see how those of you for whom this song is a new one will run with this contest.

        In this round of Battle the contest is one of subtleties.   In the past some other participants including me have posted versions that were very similar.   This Battle is one of those, but there are also some very distinct differences that make each stand out from the other.   The song presentations are virtually the same so please rather than dismissing them as such, listen a bit more closely to determine which version you prefer and tell why you think so.  I have a definite preference based on something very specific, but I'll tell you what that is when I announce the winner next Friday November 7th.

McGuinness Flint  "When I'm Dead and Gone" (1970)
      After my good friend Marvin started raving about this song in early 1971 I started to take note.  He and I had similar tastes in music, but often the music I was keeping up with was different that the songs that caught his ear.  He was mostly picking up with what was being played on the top 40 radio where I wasn't listening to that much radio--at least not the mainstream rock stations.  Soon after the song caught on with me I bought a copy of the very fine album by McGuinness Flint, the only album I would own by them and their only album of note.  The group didn't last long, but the members went on to play roles in other groups.

        The song was inspired by the life of bluesman Robert Johnson.  In the U.S. this song peaked at number 47 on the charts, but it made it to number 2 in their homeland of the United Kingdom.  "When I'm Dead and Gone" has been covered by a number of artists over the years.  Co-writer Graham Lyle's most well known song is the Tina Turner hit "What's Love Got to Do With It".   

Def Leppard  "When I'm Dead and Gone" (2006)

        The cover version I decided to use is by rockers Def Leppard.  They're the band with the drummer who  lost his arm.  Ironically, though drummer Rick Allen appears in the video photo montage, there is no drumming in their version of the song.   "When I'm Dead and Gone" appears on the 2006 album Yeah which being a collection of covers might be ripe picking for future Battles.   Others can feel free to use the other songs as I've got songs lined up for a long time and may not get to this album for a while.

Time to Vote!

           Which version do you like best?   Show some life don't play dead, perk up and cast a vote for your favorite.   Leave your vote in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the one you chose.  Then after you've finished here, please visit the other blogs listed below who may or may not be participating this time around.   And if you've put up your own BOTB contest let us know that as well so we can vote on yours.


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands




           The results of my Battle will be announced on Friday November 7th.  I'll also be talking about zombies in that post.

          Are you familiar with the song "When I'm Dead and Gone"?    What differences did you hear between the two versions?   Do you want people to come to mourn at your grave when you're dead and gone?