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!

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Zoology (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

     Zombies seem like a natural blog theme since there is so much popularity in this genre, but Zoology might be an even better topic.  The photo opportunities are endless and nearly everyone enjoys seeing animals and learning about their behavior.

     Since there are zoos throughout the world, just focusing on different zoos offers a wealth of material that can keep a blog going for a long time.  Even concentrating on one large zoo you will never run out of information and news about that one location.  The famous San Diego Zoo has several blogs affiliated with it (see link below), but there's no reason why anyone else couldn't step in with their own blog on this zoo or some other well known zoo.

      The final letter of the alphabet might be limiting as far as number of themes you can use, but zoology is virtually unlimited in its range.  For that matter, a blogger can certainly go a long way using zombies as a theme.

Some Zoology Blogs:

Animal Bliss

San Diego Zoo Blogs

Bizarre Zoology

Still on the Track

Wild Woman's Wolfpack

 Now that We've Reached Z End?

      What's next?

A to Z Reflections Post

       The A to Z Reflections Post is a tradition that began after the first 2010 Challenge.  This is the time when you tell about your experiences with the Challenge, share blogs that you found particularly interesting, and register your complaints or compliments about A to Z.   You can tell us all about the good as well as the bad.  The Reflections Post Linky List will go up on Monday May 4th.   You can put up your reflections post anytime after the Challenge is over up until Friday May 8th and then after the List has gone live you add the link leading directly to your Reflections post.   That's important so I hope you're paying attention.   The Reflection Post Linky List links need to lead directly to your Reflections post and not to your general blog URL.

One More Thing!

       Also, if you've survived the 2015 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge why not order a t-shirt to let everyone know about your accomplishment!   T-shirt worthy warm weather is upon us and you can start some conversation about your blogging at your summer outings or while just out and about.  Become a walking A to Z Challenge billboard and provide an opening to talk about your own blog.   You might get some new readers while you're at it!

        To order your A to Z Survivor Tee visit A to Z Challenge Survivor.  


A to Z!!   What a challenge it has been!


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

You (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

        Blogging about yourself can be a risky endeavor if you are looking for a far-reaching long-lasting audience.  All-about-me blogging can be a bore to many readers if not handled in an interesting manner and sometimes self-revelation is not the best thing for you to be doing in relation to your professional life and personal privacy.

         What I'm talking about is not memoir blogging or professional profile blogging, but more of a public peek into your private diary or your state of mind.  Some of the blogs of this nature that I've read can be intriguing if not a bit discomfiting.  There can be a titillating soap opera nature of such a blog, but after a while such a blog can seem to be going nowhere slowly.

          Still, blogging about yourself can have potential if done correctly.  My advice would be to devise some sort of purpose to what you are trying to achieve with your personal blog.  Also I think in order to keep others interested you must find a way to connect with readers to make your own experience relatable to theirs.   If the reader doesn't get what you are saying then you are likely to lose them fairly quickly.

         A blog about you can work, but my suggestion is to proceed with caution, keep track of your audience, and be ready to change if you see the blog isn't working.

         How much about yourself are you willing to disclose on your blog?   Do you feel uncomfortable or intrigued when a blogger starts discussing very personal issues?    Do you think egocentric blogs are overly indulgent?

Blogging about self:

Laughing at Life, 2 (about self during A to Z)

Kay Gets Crafty (also an A to Z me theme)

Klahanie Blog

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

X-Files (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

         Certain popular television shows as well as movies and other pop movements with cult followings can make for interesting blogging that can reap a number of followers.  Much like the membership base of fan clubs, a popular culture blog can tap into a ready made audience of those interested in whatever topic is being followed.

        The X-Files certainly fits into this category with television shows, movies, books, and other merchandising available to fans around the world.   With the announcement by Fox Entertainment of new X-File episodes returning to the air there is a revived interest in the series.   This X-Files revival provides an opening for new blog opportunities for anyone with a strong interest in the series or inside knowledge about the behind the scenes production scoops.

          Fan blogs like the ones centered on The X-Files can likewise be found about topics as diverse as Star Trek, Game of Thrones, soap operas, reality shows, and many other popular shows, movies, and published entertainment franchises.

          Are you an X-Files fan?   Do you keep up with any fan blogs?   If you were considering your own fan blog what topic might you consider?  

Blogs that may or may not be about the X-Files:

The Waiting Is the Hardest Part (X-Files is her A to Z Theme)

My Truth...An X-Files Blog

The X-Files Lexicon Blog

Monday, April 27, 2015

Walmart (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

Walmart on Blogs

       Of all of the businesses that people blog about, Walmart might generate the most online chatter.  Beloved by many and demonized by others, the mega monster chain has blogs in it's favor and blogs of detractors as well as company blogs that promote Walmart from the inside.  When you start searching you can find many blogs focused on Walmart.

       Originally I had not intended on using Walmart as my "W" topic until a very suspicious thing happened with my local Walmart that is an anchor store in the shopping center across the street from where I live.   To me going to Walmart is somewhat of a hassle so I usually only shop there once or twice a month.  However they offer much cheaper prices on certain items so I tend to shop for these at Walmart instead of the higher priced grocery store where I do the majority of my food shopping.

Suspicious Walmart Incident

      Probably few of you heard of the situation to which I am referring, but I'll tell you the story and then let you come up with your own conclusions.   On Thursday April 16 I heard mention on the radio that the employees of the Pico Rivera Walmart were protesting at a nearby hotel where a labor meeting was underway discussing the status of our closed store.  Closed?   I had not heard that they had closed.

        Apparently on Tuesday April 14th with 5 hours notice to the employees, the store management announced that the store would be closing for an undetermined period of time in order to fix ongoing plumbing problems.   The estimate was that they could be closed for up to 6 months.  Some employees could have the option of moving to other store locations, but many would be out of work.  This all with only 5 hours notice.   They just happened to make the decision to start repairing the plumbing that quickly?

         Now curious, I began researching online for any information about this closure and what I discovered next amazed me and left me very suspicious.  Besides our Pico Rivera Walmart, the corporation simultaneously closed four other stores in the same manner--four stores across the U.S. in Oklahoma City, two stores in Texas, and one in Florida.  Looking at a map these stores are somewhat evenly distributed across the southern United States.   Some strategic connection could be construed by looking at where these stores are in relation to each other.   The plumbing alibi at five different stores across the United States doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me.

        Conspiracy theories abound on this story and anyone who has been reading Tossing It Out for a few years probably knows that anything conspiratorial catches my attention, especially when corporate America or the United States government is implicated.  When you add religious prophecy then you've really got my attention.  All of these things start coming into play with the Walmart story.

What Is Walmart Up To?

        The most immediate reaction to why these stores had closed was that it was a sort of punishment to labor and a warning to the unions to back off.   As I had reported here on November 23rd of 2012 in a post called Does Walmart Deserve a Whipping?, our local store was one of the targets of the labor movement against the Walmart corporation.

      The jabs at Walmart by labor have continued ever since at the Pico Rivera store and reportedly at the other stores recently closed for plumbing problems.  Using the store closures as a retaliatory action against labor seems like a feasible corporate strategy, but on the other hand a questionable one that could backfire in a number of ways.  The labor angle sounded possible, but I wasn't buying that explanation so I went further down the crazy rabbit hole of the internet.

A More Sinister Walmart Conspiracy?

       My next investigations into Walmart connected the current events to suspicious reports dating back over the past few years.  Google and YouTube are rife with stories about underground tunnels crisscrossing the United States for the purposes of troop movements and underground cities being built in case of some above ground catastrophic event.

       This tunnel theory starts sounding a bit fantastical, but there is somewhat convincing evidence that it can be done more easily than most of us might think and that it has actually been achieved to some degree and this work is currently underway throughout the United States.  When we consider the research now being done with  ETT (evacuated tube transport) that is developing super trains that could potentially run at speeds up to 1800 MPH, we can see how a vast tunnel system would be necessary for this type of technology to be practical.

         Some wild theories now abound that the closure of the Walmart stores have nothing to do with plumbing, but the Walmart Corporation is in league with the U.S. government to use the locations in conjunction with work currently being done on the tunnel systems.  This is all far-fetched sounding and even impractical from the standpoint of why they would need tunnels that intersected Walmart locations.  Then again Walmart is known for their highly efficient supply chain management strategy (Vendor Managed Inventory) that requires an intricate web of transportation and warehousing.  The Walmart model of operating has certainly not gone unnoticed by the U.S. government.  Besides how much do you trust the U.S. government or any corporations these days?

       I won't go into too much detail in this post since I want to keep what is turning into a long article from becoming even longer.  If you're interested you can do your own searches about the tunnel theories.  But there is another sinister report that has come out that I think is worth a mention.

FEMA Detention Camps!!!

       Either there are some people with wild imaginations out there who are trying to scare us or there is some element of truth to the story.   Some of you have heard the rumors of government sponsored FEMA camps being organized around the country to be ready for some future event that will require rounding up large sectors of the population and placing them in camps or detention centers.  It's happened in other places throughout history.  Could it happen now in the United States of America?

       There have been plenty of scenarios related to epidemics, natural disasters, civil unrest, foreign invasion, or the collapse of the power grid that could be motivations for the government to move populations into controlled areas to establish control and order.  Any of these threats could potentially cause a chaotic state among the populace to the point where government would feel compelled to avoid the chaos that would likely ensue from any of these disasters.

        The temporary closings of the Walmart stores have caused some to speculate that these sites might be getting retrofitted to act as detention centers that might be needed in the near future.  In the event of the collapse of the infrastructure in the area where I live, I believe that this as well as all urban areas would be especially frightening as people struggle to survive.  A detention center manned by government control officials might be seen as necessary to stabilize the societal deterioration.   Has Walmart become complicit in helping to organize authoritarian rule of the people?

         When you think about it, the Walmart machine is highly efficient at logistical movement of supplies, management of labor, crowd control. and organizational structure.  A nation governed by a corporation or network of corporations is not unforeseeable and probably is in place already to some extent.   Are you looking forward to being moved into a control center managed by the U.S. Government/Walmart?


       No this is not some profane utterance, but a principle of Judaism that I will not go into detail about here.  You can look it up.  And why am I bringing this up in relation to the Walmart Conspiracy?

        A few days prior to the Walmart closing and my investigations into all the crazy sounding conspiracies, I happened to flip the television on to some show about Bible prophecy where they were talking about things like "the Blood Moon", Shmita, the Rapture, and the Tribulation. (Again I offer these terms with no explanations but Google can explain to the uninitiated.)

       The guy on TV was telling about how the next seven year cycle culminating in Shmita would be coming this September of 2015. He said at the end of every seven year cycle there is an economic downturn, the most recent being 2001 and 2008 which some of you probably recall as being somewhat bad economic years.  The TV prophet added that this year the Shmita would correspond with a blood moon, which some of you might recognize as something with prophetic implications.

        The upshot of all the prophecies was that in September we will be seeing the biggest economic collapse ever and perhaps the collapse of the U.S. as we know it.  There will be chaos and martial law will be declared with government troops fanning out across the nation to take control of every community.

        Okay, I know that now some of you are thinking I'm heading into Crazy Town, but I'm just telling you things I heard and observations I have made.   One thing that did come to mind when the Walmart story emerged was that if the stores open in six months as projected, that would be in September just in time for the Blood Moon, Shmita, and martial law being administrated due to a chaotic state resulting from everything falling apart.  They would need dentition camps and strategic networks for movement of troops and supplies.

          Yes, wild sounding I know, but could it happen?   If anything I think there is some great material here for some dystopian fiction.   I hope it's fiction.

          Have you heard about the Walmart closures, the tunnel network, or Shmita?   Why do you think the Walmart stores have been closed for an approximately six month period?   Do you read any of the Walmart related blogs?

Blogs about Walmart (can you believe it?):

Walmart Is Pure Evil

Walmart Watch

Walmart Blog  (official company site)

Walmart Sucks

I Heart the Mart  (coupons and deals)

The People of Walmart  (hilarious and at times unbelievable though true)

...And the list goes on...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Victories and Vacations (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

      We enjoy an uplifting story that gives us hope in our own lives.  History is filled with countless stories of the victories of nations, communities, and individuals.  The stories of winning and achieving over tremendous odds tend to thrill us.  A blog that depicted such stories on a regular basis could likely have readers returning often for an empowering dose of the positive.  A blog dedicated to victories could have an endless number of subtopics.

       Like travel blogs, blogging about vacations holds many possibilities for interesting stories and visually entertaining photos.  A vacation blogger can blog about their own vacation adventures as well as general information about vacation trips that we all might dream about at one time or another.
Vacation blogging can include information about popular hot spots as well as lesser known destinations.   This type of blog provides an opportunity to offer readers coupons, deals, and travel services.

       The letter "V" might seem like a limiting one for blog topics but I'll bet you can think of many.  How about veterinary topics, vaccines, or the Vatican?   You can travel the world from Virginia to Venezuela to Viet Nam.

          What are some blog themes that you can think of that start with the letter "V"?   Do you ever blog about your own vacations?    What has been your favorite vacation memory?


Friday, April 24, 2015

Update! (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

Slacker Bloggers

        One thing about blogs that really annoys me is when they aren't kept updated.  This is especially true when the URLs are posted on social media profiles such as Twitter for example.  If an interesting sounding Twitter account recommendation comes my way and I see a blog URL listed, I often don't bother following them if I go to the blog address and find that they haven't posted for six months, a year, or even more.

        This is true for any place where a person advertises their blog URL whether it be FaceBook, a business card, or even an author's recently published book.   If you aren't going to keep your blog updated then don't advertise your blog link as a place for me to go visit!

         Exceptions to this might be those blog owners who are essentially using their blog page as an informational web site to provide contact details, biographies, or any other strictly business facts that might enlighten visitors who just want additional information.   If this is what is being done then the page should not be referred to as a "blog".   Using this terminology for a static site is misleading.

The Blogging Commitment

        Anyone who decides to become a blogger should accept the responsibility to keep their site updated.  When I go to a blog that doesn't have any posts for a month or more it leads me to question the professionalism of the blog owner and wonder why that person blogs.  Especially if the most recent, now months old post is open-ended leaving the readers to expect a new post to come soon.  That's when I have to ask, "Where is that post?"

         Life can get in the way and a blogger is entitled to change his or her mind about their blogging agenda, but that's when some sort of finalized post should be put up.  At least tell us "Closed Until Further Notice" or something of that nature.  And then be sure that you don't have any promotional material or on line links that are directing people to your dead or sleeping site.

Blogging Consistency

          You don't have to post every day or even every week, but you should make it clear when visitors can expect to see posts.   If you only post every first Monday of the month then make that clear.  If you are one who doesn't like being confined to a schedule or merely blogs when the whim strikes then you should make that clear to visitors as well.

         Personally, I am not at all impressed when I visit a blog where there has only been sporadic activity and when it does happen the writing is banal and of little interest to readers.   The worst are the bloggers who admit that they have been slack in posting and then mention something about their uninspired state of mind--"goodbye that's all I can think of today, see you when I feel like posting again."  If that comes from an author especially, do you think I want to read that person's books?

The A to Z Test

        During the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge we see some of this blogger reliability exemplified.   So many blogs are stricken from the list during the month of April because they aren't able to keep up.   With the exceptions of sickness or other unforeseen life circumstances, most of the bloggers who get booted because of inconsistency of blog posting are just blogging like they normally do.  You can look back over their older posts and see the evidence of inconsistency everywhere in their blog history.

        Part of the A to Z goal is to instill good blogging habits like consistently posting content of reasonable quality.  Those who fall behind due to old bad habits need to coerce themselves into building blogging muscle and creative mind stretching.

       If you keep up the daily A to Z pace then you are either blogging in your usual professional manner or you are working towards that goal.  If you fall behind but are catching up, then you know you have what it takes to be a real blogger with a professional attitude about the craft of writing and now you just have to start pushing yourself a bit more.

      For those who dropped out or never responded to the communications of the co-hosts, maybe you need to reassess why you have a blog and whether or not you should continue to have one.  While you're at it you might want to take a good look at everything you do in life and how well you are doing at those things.   Blogging is a responsibility that to a great extent mirrors your character.

        Finally, if you are one of those people who has a blog that is rarely updated, please don't share that link with us.   I might go to read your out-dated post one time, but if it's still there when I return later you've lost a great deal of credibility with me.

        Do you think I'm taking blogging overly serious or would you tend to agree with what I've said here?    Do you blog according to a certain schedule?   Do you take any action if you know you won't be posting for a designated period of time?  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Travel (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

     Travel is another one of those blog themes with endless possibilities.  Most people enjoy reading about travel and many of us like the helpful travel trips that the more seasoned and in-the-know travelers can offer us.   A travel blog is an especially good site on which to share photos of faraway places or even more local sites that are interesting to visit.

        Here on Tossing It Out I have sometimes posted about my own travel adventures and I seen stories about travel on many other blogs as well.   The nature of travel blog posts is limitless with topics ranging from sights to see, places to eat, and travel bargains to be found.   A travel blog is one that opens itself well to monetizing since there are so many businesses that would be willing to advertise on an informative site with high traffic.   And even without pro-blogger status, a travel blog can be a fun way to share ones love of traveling with others who have a like interest.

       How about a blog dedicated to promotional trailers such as book, TV show, and movie trailers?  Other "T" topics one might consider are transportation, toys, teenagers, and Trekkies.   There are tons of "T" themes one can pursue when starting a blog.

        Do you ever share travel stories on your own blog?   Are there any pro travel blogs that you regularly visit?   What "T" themes can you think of that I haven't mentioned here?

Some blogs about travel or that are posting about travel for A to Z:

The Travel Type

born to be a Tourist

Yes, Virginia, There Is Life After Retirement

Patrick Tillet  (Have you seen his great travel photos?)

Tui Snider's Offbeat and Overlooked Travel


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Solutions (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

      The internet has changed the ways most of us do things.  Now, you're probably much like me when you need help with something or need a question answered.  When I'm seeking solutions for just about anything, I turn to Google, YouTube, or some other internet source.  Often I'll find great solutions for things that might have been vexing me by reading blogs.  Bloggers sometimes offer wonderful solutions that I haven't thought about before.

       There are some blogs that specialize in solutions.  You can find blogs helping to answer questions about writing, crafting, travel, personal issues, or what have you.  Answers to what you want to know are all over blog land.   Don't worry about any saturation point if you're considering starting a blog that offers solutions since there is always a need for new perspective and knowledge. Solution blogs are valuable and if you're interested in finding a topic that is easily monetized then this might be a blogging specialty that you might want to look into.

    This can tie in with the topic for "R", "research", since oftentimes solutions are found as the result of research.   A blog post can act as a research source for finding solutions to specific problems or questions.    Solutions relating to money management --saving or spending can also be developed into fine blogging themes which again lends itself well to monetizing (hmm--maybe I'm dabbling in some word play here--sorry).

       Do you ever offer solutions on your blog?   What kinds of things do you think people might be trying to find solutions for?    When you need help doing something or answering a question where do you usually go first?

Battle of the Band Results!

          My recent Battle of the Bands contest was another close one.  I wasn't sure which way this contest between Michael McDonald and the Strokes would go   McDonald's version of "Mercy Mercy Me" was closer to the sound of the original recording by Marvin Gaye while the Strokes put a harder rock edge to the tune.  

          For my own tastes I did enjoy the laid back jazzy sound and smooth vocal by Michael McDonald.  Nothing too wrong with this version other that the fact that it didn't really add much to the original version.  This was a good copy of the song.  

         I thought The Strokes added a nice modern touch to the song giving it more energy.   I especially liked the guitar solo toward the end that cleverly mimicked the sax in the Gaye version.  It was mostly that guitar solo and the upbeat sound that earns my vote for the Strokes.

         And my vote makes this face-off a tie.  It was a tight race throughout with fans on both sides

Final Tally

Michael McDonald       16 votes

The Strokes                    16 votes

        With the end of April comes the end of Blogging from A to Z for another year.  In May I revert back to my regular Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule.  Next Battle of the Bands post will be on Friday May 1st.   The song in my next Battle will be a nod to an A to Z theme used by a few bloggers this year as well in past Challenges and also to one of the other Battle of the Bands participants who likewise shows an interest in this topic.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Research (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

         Some bloggers really put in a lot of research to compile their blog posts while others are not writing about anything that requires much research.   If you're spewing out facts and figures and want to be recognized for your accuracy then it's a good idea to do thorough research so you don't end up getting disputed and being made look like a less than credible blogger.

         If you want to add links to support your claims or to provide further exploration on a topic it will take some time in order to assemble them all to add to your post.  Most bloggers do their research on the internet, but as in any writing that is backed by research it's wise to carefully check your source material against other sources.   Beware the internet sources however as many of them are merely duplicated from site to site.   The internet can be a treasure trove of useful information at times, but at others the internet spreads lies and faulty information that unfortunately starts getting accepted as truth.

          Where do you usually go to fact check suspect information that you find online?     What is the craziest non-truth that you've found on the internet that was being touted as fact?   How much research do you usually do for your average blog post?  

Release Day!!!

       "R" also stands for "Release Day"  we see many of these on blogs.  Today I want to mention Nicki Elson's new release of Vibrizzio. Sounds like a steamy one so I'll let you visit Nicki's site for more info or you can check it out on Amazon!


Monday, April 20, 2015

Querying (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

       With so many blogs of authors and aspiring authors out there, a blog about querying is kind of a natural topic of interest.   Since many of us end up having so submit queries for our work, we want to know how to do it right.  It's helpful to get feedback on our proposed queries and to see what others have done with their queries.    How-to blogs can be a great help to us all and sometimes much easier to digest than a book on the subject.

        If you want to give your proposed query a test run then we can get useful tips from those who have already queried successfully or who have a keen eye for editing blunders and succinct ways of saying things.   On the other hand if you are one of those with the experience and who do well helping others better state what they want to say, then starting a query blog might be a good way to establish your credibility with the author bloggers.

       Querying can be a daunting process, but fortunately there are bloggers out there who can provide the help writers need to dive into the action and start querying while hopefully bypassing the common mistakes of the novice as well as get assistance with querying and words of encouragement to embolden them to press forward.

         What are some blog topics or important blog elements that start with "Q"?   Have you ever been helped by a query blog?     How is your sense for good editing?

Some query blogs:

the Quintessentially Questionable Query Experiment

Query Tracker 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Pets (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

       According to a 2013 article in U.S. News and World Report, Americans spend $61 billion on their pets each year and that figure has undoubtedly gone up since that article appeared.  We've all seen how popular pets are with many bloggers who love to show off their own pets with photos and stories about their lovable little critters.  So why not have a blog all about pets?

        Posts about pets can be informational, educational, or just plain fun.  The posts can feature pictures or stories about pets.  Pet care articles can assist pet owners who want to make certain that their pets stay healthy.   Pet owners can also use tips about how to better manage their homes with pets living in them or traveling with their pets.   There are tons of ideas that can be used for putting together a blog devoted to pets or just posting about pets on your present blog.

        Other blog ideas that start with the letter "P" are publishing, physical fitness, and psychology.

        What blog themes can you think of that begin with the letter "P"?  Do you own a pet?  Do you ever post pictures of your pet or other pets on your present blog?

Some pet blogs (though not always about pets):

The Doglady's Den

Angels Bark

Paw Print Pet Blog

Friday, April 17, 2015

Organizing (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

       Organization is a topic we often see bloggers discussing.  A blog can easily be devoted to getting organized.  There are many aspects to organization that can be explored in an endless variety of ways.  Organizing home and business in general can keep a blog continuously filled with posts.   Focusing in on organizing closets, drawers, shelves, garages, or the general space around us is information that many people are looking for because they need the ideas to help them better organize their personal world

      There are also less tangible topics regarding organizing.   A blog might find ways to organize one's mind, thoughts, schedule, or family life.   Many of us find time in such short supply that we welcome tips on slotting things into the calendar and the daily schedule so we can be sure to get everything done that we need to do or want to do.   Time saving tips can be a huge help to any of us.

       Those involved in the writing game might look for better ways to organize their writing.  Tightening up writing to prepare it for the editing stage can save time and money.   If you're good with teaching writing skills, a blog aimed toward getting writers organized to ply their craft more efficiently can be a big help to them.

        Some other blog topics in the "O" category are old age, ornithology (the study of birds), optical illusions,  or open forum (varied discussion topics).

         Can you think of some blog topics that start with the letter "O"?    Do you tend to read articles about getting organized?   Are you a fan of birds (the feathered kind, but I hope you're a fan of mine as well)?   

organization blogs:

Organization and Inspiration for Fellow Writers

iHeart Organizing

I'm an Organizing Junkie

A Mom's Point of View

Thursday, April 16, 2015

News (Elements of Blogging) #AtoZChallenge

       Many of the earliest blogs to gain public attention were news blogs.  These types of blogs break news stories, do investigative reporting, and present news analysis.   There are many news agencies with the resources to collect news from around the world so news reporting blogs are not typically undertaken by the average home blogger.  Those who do this type of blogging are mostly regurgitating what can be found on mainstream news sites.

       Some bloggers might present their analysis of news stories or offer their editorial opinions.   If you keep up with the news and have a keen knowledge of world affairs then opinion and analysis blogging might be an avenue to pursue.

        Beside current events some bloggers report on celebrity news or news in some specialized industry such as the entertainment industry.   This type of blogger will report on upcoming movie releases or stories about musical artists.  As in current event reporting if the blogger doesn't have a direct pipeline of news wire reportage they are mostly repeating second hand information from other blogs and information sites.

         A blogger who stays on top of things and is willing to take the time to gather the information can create a highly informative site that will draw readers who are interested in a site that brings news together in a one stop digest format.

         Other "news" reporting blogs might offer information about book releases, author events, or other items of interest such as links to publications accepting submissions and upcoming conferences.  This can be highly useful information that can keep a steady stream of traffic returning to the blog.

           Do you regularly read news blogs?    What kinds of news do you look for on blogs?   Do you see blogs as any real threat to publications such as newspapers or magazines?

Some blogs that report information:

Alex J Cavanaugh

The Warrior Muse

Spunk on a Stick's Tips

Hollywood Spy

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Marketing (Elements of Blogging) ( #AtoZChallenge ) and Mercy Mercy Me ( #BOTB )

      Some blogs are about the topic of marketing while other blogs might be engaged in actual marketing.   In one sense of the concept of marketing, all blogs are marketing ideas, products, or people.  When we consider that marketing is making something palatable to make others want it then we all do some form of marketing all the time.

        Taking marketing to a business perspective in regards to blogging, a blog can be used to sell a blogger's products (books, craft works, real estate, or whatever they are trying to sell) or services (photography, editing, travel planning or another type of service).

        Another blog topic starting with "M" is Music.  Tossing It Out frequently discusses the topic of music especially in the bi-monthly Battle of the Bands feature.

      Today being the 15th it's time for another Battle of the Bands, the blogging event first introduced 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.   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.

Marketing the Ecology

        Scam, hype, or passionate cause--whatever you might want to say it is--the green movement has been on the minds of many for at least a couple of centuries.  In our own age a big marketing push for conservation was stirred after the publication of Rachel Carson's book Silent Spring in 1962.  The conservation movement has grown ever since.  Now marketers take advantage of "green" and "natural" labeling of products.  Advertising campaigns have been centered around the eco-friendliness of products.   Government has taken rein of many issues related to protecting the environment.

         The movement has not been lost on the entertainment community with many celebrities endorsing their favorite causes and speaking out to save whatever they are interested in saving.  Marvin Gaye was on the forefront of the socially conscious music movement in 1971 as he released one of the greatest albums of all time What's Going On.  This album addresses injustice, hatred, and the ills of modern society including the movement to preserve the Earth.  One of the hits from this great album is "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)".   To hear the original you can click the link in the preceding sentence.   I offer two renditions of this great song in today's Battle of the Bands.

Michael McDonald "Mercy Mercy Me" (2004)

The Strokes  "Mercy Mercy Me"  (2006)

Time to Vote!

     Which do you prefer?    It's up to you to determine the winner.   Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice 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.

Here are some other places where you might find BOTB posts:


 StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands



DC Relief Battle of the Bands

Results on April 22nd

       I'm posting every day except Sundays on Tossing It Out during April since it's Blogging from A to Z month.  You can vote on this current Battle any time between now and Tuesday April 21 when the votes will be tallied.  Keep dropping by for my daily A to Z posts, but don't forget to come back to see which version of "Mercy Mercy Me" won this Battle. 

      Does overt sales marketing on blogs bother you?   Do you ever consider that you are marketing yourself on a daily basis?   Do you think that with the ecology and green movements we are sometimes being sold a bill of goods or even being sold down the river?

    Be sure to check out the A to Z Blog to read about our Marketing Experiment!