Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Keeping It Simple (#BOTB Results)


    I can be pretty darn fast when my world ain't so slow...

Battle of the Bands Results


        A slow computer compounded with lots of vacation things to do means I'm not getting too much done in the realm of blogging.   Sorry for not making rounds to other blogs like I usually am able to do when I'm at home with my faster computer and not as many distractions.  Most would probably agree that my time with my daughters, my family, and four beautiful grandkids here in New Jersey take precedent to blogging for now.

       One consequence of not being able to make more blogging rounds is fewer reciprocated visits to my own blog.  Of course, as many of you have noted, summertime is a time when blogging activity is down so like everyone else the voting on this Battle dropped considerably in comparison with my usual turn out.  Oh well--it is summer after all and we probably shouldn't be spending all our time indoors on the computer.

       That being said, I'll keep it short and just stick to my Battle results.

        My long familiarity with the group Clear Light and many years of enjoying their great album leaves me with a big bias for the pairing of Cliff De Young, lead singer of my favored group, and Rob Zabrecky, lead singer of Possum Dixon.   And I prefer the musical style of Clear Light though I thoroughly have enjoyed the music of the newer group.  Therefore my vote goes to Clear Light and Cliff De Young.

          It was a close one with my guy coming in second.

Final Vote Tally:

Cliff De Young                 8

Rob Zabrecky                   9

Next Battle Tuesday August 15th

         I won't have many posts until that time.   I'll try to put up one post for Insecure Writer's Support Group on August 2nd, but other than that this blog will be pretty quiet.  Ah, peace and quiet on lazy summer days.  Or maybe not so lazy.  Either way I hope you are all having wonderful summer days.





     

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Career Changes (#BOTB)


Changing Careers

         More than what might typically considered career changes, my work experience has mostly been a matter of job changes or temporary spans of working to pay bills.  Few of those latter jobs were occupations that I would ever have strongly considered as a career choice though I'd have likely been willing to have continued working at some of those jobs had the money and circumstances been right.

          We often work at jobs that come our way while others of us might pursue the passion which we burn for the most.  A dear friend of mine started working during his high school years at a factory where his parents worked.  That friend recently retired after nearly fifty years working at that same factory--rather unusual in our time.   I don't think he ever seriously considered a career change during his working years.  Now that he is retired, he seems content to sit on his deck drinking coffee on summer mornings and watch the sunset while nursing a tall beer.  He piddles about the house during the day or just relaxes listening to the radio.  For him life is just fine and after fifty years working at the same place I guess he deserves to do whatever provides his happiness.

        Having a restless spirit, I sometimes think about moving from retirement into a new career.  Fortunately those thoughts don't last too long or become overly obsessive for me.   There is an option to retirement, but the money and circumstances would have to be right as has always been the case for me.  Money and circumstances likely plays the biggest role in a good many career changes.  I'm probably not going to rush out of retirement any time soon.  A career change could be heading my way, but I'm not making a serious effort at job hunting either.  If something did happen then it would likely fall into my life like so many things have.

         If any, what big career adjustments have you made in your life?   Would you ever want to completely retire into a quiet sedentary life staying mostly at home?   What drives you most when it comes to taking a job:  money or circumstances?





Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens each month on the 15th and on some there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle excepting over these summer months.   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.

Artists Who Changed Careers

            Recently I watched an episode of Penn and Teller's Fool Us TV show and my attention was particularly drawn to one rather eccentric magician who had previously had a career as a singer in a moderately successful rock band.  Though this factoid was mentioned in the show, Penn Jillette failed to explain who the artist had been in his previous life when he sang vocals on a minor hit that eventually charted at 58 on the Billboard Pop chart.

            With my music interests such as they are I had to Google the magician to discover his previous career incarnation--a band and song completely new to me.   However, reading about this artist made me think of another artist that I enjoyed in his short career as a rock star before he went on to a different career.  This in turn inspired my current round of Battle of the Bands.

Cliff De Young  With All In Mind  (1966)

          Clear Light was an album I used to listen to frequently after it came out in 1966.   I still have my vinyl copy of this album.  Lead singer Cliff De Young later went on to an acting career, not a far cry from singing.   For the Battle I offer up this song from Clear Light's only album.





Rob Zabrecky  "Watch the Girl Destroy Me" (1993)

       Possum Dixon is a new band to me.  Lead singer Rob Zabrecky has multifaceted interests including his current career as a magician.







Time to Vote!

    
   D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version 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

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  

Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday July 21st

       I might be struggling to make it through Battles this week, but hoping I make it through and making it to my next winner announcement next Friday.   Still truckin'. 







Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Valuable Lesson (#IWSG)


      I'd learn a lot more if I didn't forget so much.......

Insecure Writer's Support Group


Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog

Co-Hosts for July are:   Tamara NarayanPat HattPatricia LynneJuneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan



Question for July:

What is one valuable lesson you've learned since you started writing?

         Through the years I've taken writing related classes, read many writings about writing, and involved myself in other educational and recreational realms about the art of writing.  Somehow writing seemed to be in my blood from my earliest memories.  I've enjoyed reading since I was a young child and was motivated to write by reading.  And if movies count, then I've watched plenty to get some kind of an influence from those.  Life itself is an education for many subjects and in some sense we are always in school though the classrooms might be a bit different than what we normally think of in respect to classrooms.

        A brain is like a sponge.  We absorb everything around us and within the realm of our own thoughts and reasoning.  In life we learn a lot of stuff, but it's mostly an amassing of subtleties that are in turn processed according to our life experiences and interests.  

        One valuable lesson learned?   Where does one start?  So many lessons have been vital to me in my writing endeavors that it would be difficult to single out what is most important to me.  In fact I'd dare say that the most important lessons are those integral aspects of writing that I now take for granted and can't particularly name.

       However, let me go to one thing that has been weighing upon me over the recent months (or is it years?).   We live in an age of extreme sensitivity to differing opinions.   There is so much divisiveness in our society that being genuine and expressing oneself openly can work to ones detriment both from a social standpoint as well as being commercially viable.  I'm seeing this in my blog writing.  I enjoy expressing my opinions and generating discussion.  Sadly, disagreement is rarely met with tactful intelligent response to the point where a sensible discussion can ensue and dissenting parties can be open to learning and understanding each other.  Being on the "other side" can get ugly in many cases.

       Some of my blog readers have asked me my opinion on certain issues, but I believe that they, knowing my stance on other issues, are essentially baiting me into an uncomfortable situation where they can attempt to discredit my opinion because they think they are the ones with the right answers.   I happen to think that in a good many instances both sides bear truth and those things perceived as falsehoods are merely different ways of looking at something.  

         Most of my writing does reflect my beliefs (political, spiritual, or what have you) and I don't think I am much different than a good many of those who write.   Though I try not to be preachy or overbearing in my writing,  there is almost always a message that I'm trying to convey.  I like stories, but I like enlightenment as well.  My favorite books, stories, and movies have all had that quality to them.  Escape is fun, but enrichment can carry far greater rewards in the long run.  

         More than ever before, we seem to be in a time when an opinion can label a writer as a pop star or a pariah.  Writers fall into niches, as perhaps they always have to a certain extent, but never as noticeable as it is now.  Categories and subcategories run rampant and if you toss in a writer with an opinion that others don't like, that writer can face consequences.

           It's not something I'm going to worry about much.  I'll write what I want to write and believe what I want to believe.   Look for it here at Tossing It Out.  I might offend more visitors to my site in months to come, but I must write what is in my heart and on my mind.  That's life--especially in this crazy social media age where little absurd things can rile people as much as big deep ideas.  It doesn't matter really.  That is until the question of marketability enters the picture.  Then I guess we have to accept that we are all jerks to some people while others will cheer us on.  

           Is this a lesson learned?   I think so.  And it's one that I'm still learning about and trying to contend with.

           Do you avoid reading about "issues"?    Would you rather be challenged to think about what you are reading or do you just prefer to escape?    Are you somewhat afraid to express your opinions about major issues for fear that you will make others angry with you?






         

          

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Come Back after I Go (#BOTB Results)


       
Et Tu, Arlee?

      I'm soon going to do that which I never thought I'd do regarding this blog.  I'm going to take a break.  Seems like a lot of bloggers have done this or will be taking breaks for the summer.  And now me.

        No big deal really because I guess it's not really that much of a break.  After all I'll still post for #IWSG on July 5th and August 2nd.   And in July and August on the 15th I'll still take part in Battle of the Bands with results posts for each posting a week after each Battle.  So it's not like I'll be disappearing and actually I'll be posting pretty much as I have in the past month or so.  However I will presumably be back in some expanded form by September and hopefully that will be my blog and not my waistline.

         So I guess I'm not really going to be all that inactive on this blog. But I will be offline a lot more than I have been.  After all, it's summer.

         What kinds of things are you doing this summer?   What is the longest complete blog break that you've ever taken?    When it's raining where you are, does it feel like it's raining all over the world?

Battle of the Bands Results



       Last week's Battle was Aretha Franklin versus Barbra Streisand singing their renditions of "Lover, Come Back to Me".   I've grown to dislike Streisand in recent decades, but not because of her singing.  Listening to her version of this old standard I recalled how much I used to like her singing.  On the other hand, I've never been a big fan of Aretha Franklin.  I had no idea that she sang more in a jazzy style before she started singing soul.

       Like some voters also expressed, Aretha's delivery of "Lover" was a pleasant surprise.  Although I liked both versions a great deal, I thought Aretha edged out Barbra for my vote.  The total vote outcome came out much the same way with Aretha taking a few more votes than Barbra.

Final Vote Tally

Aretha Franklin            13

Barbra Streisand          10




I'll Be Back

         My next appearance here will likely be Wednesday July 5th with a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  That's my plan at least.




Thursday, June 15, 2017

Lover Come Back to Me (2017) (#BOTB)


Lover Come Back (I Kind of Miss You)

         I'm missing an old lover of sorts.  It's not a person, but partly a state of mind.  Of being.

          In a sense I'm missing the internet while it's also blogging the way that it used to seem.  Is it just me who's lost the magic?   Or is it because the community and the participation is shrinking that some of the excitement and novelty has worn off?    Several bloggers who were very active a few years ago are not so much now.  Some just don't blog any more.
           Best if I let summer pass before I start back into blogging full steam.  And that's assuming that I can get stoked for full steam.  Besides, the internet has become a stranger, meaner place that it seemed like it was when I first discovered the magic of being online.  Maybe I've just found out for myself a darker part of social media that was always there and I just hadn't fallen into the mire.

         Don't get me wrong, but I'm hooked.  I'll be checking in on email and other social media things at least up until mid-August, but I just might not be on as much.  And I'm not going to disappear over summer, but I'll be doing other things.  And when mid-August arrives then we'll see what will happen next.

          Does the "magic" of the internet seem different to you in recent years?   How did you first stumble into the cyberworld?   Do you still have hope for blogging? 


Battle of the Bands


   Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by 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.




 Lover Come Back to Me

     Holy déjà vu, Batman!  (R.I.P. Adam West)

     A year ago on this same date I used this same song in a Battle of versions done by Gaucho and Brenda Lee.  It's such a great song with so many outstanding recordings done by numerous artists that I thought it was worth revisiting.  In fact, considering the multitude of great versions of the song, I could make this particular Battle a yearly event for years to come.   So bear with me as I revisit this lovely song in a couple of jazzed up versions by two very well known female vocalists.  If you want to refer back to my first Battle using this song in order to learn the background of the song then please click here.



Aretha Franklin   "Lover Come Back to Me"  (1962)








Barbra Streisand   "Lover Come Back to Me"  (1964)





Time To Vote!

       D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?  Do you prefer "The Queen of Soul" or the other singer?     You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version 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

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  



Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday June 21st.

       That announcement post could be my next post unless I get a hankering to do another one before then.  Gosh, I guess summer's really here!   Whatever I do I hope you'll try to stay with me.  And I guess you'll probably want to see who comes out the winner of this grand battle of two iconic divas of our time.  







Wednesday, June 7, 2017

"I Quit!" #IWSG (#BOTB results)


        For most of us, finishing a marathon is more important than winning the race.  For me this is only a metaphor of sorts.  In real life I probably couldn't even run a hundred feet, but I guess it would be possible for me to finish a marathon just by walking.  It might take a couple days, but I think I could finish a walking marathon.  Maybe.



Insecure Writer's Support Group

Join us on the first Wednesday of each month in Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group--a forum of writers who gather to talk about writing and the writer's life. For a complete list of participants visit Alex's Blog
   
The question for June is:

 Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?


            I never quite think in terms of quitting, but I might take a break.  At various times in my life I've just stopped doing something for a while.  Like writing for example. I've never completely stopped writing, but sometimes mostly reserved writing for mundane record keeping or notes to self.  

         For me, blogging has been a bit of writing salvation.  I've got so much other stuff that I intend to write, but find myself distracted by life.  But then, that's the way it's always been for me.   The nice thing is that I always have plenty to look forward to and every day is another adventure.  And now I can blog.  That's something at least.

Battle of the Bands Results


        Originally in my previous Battle I was thinking of using a version of "Begin the Beguine" by Artie Shaw, Tony Martin, or Ray Coniff.  My mother used to have a Ray Coniff album with that song on it so I heard it plenty.  She loved Ray Coniff and I enjoyed hearing his music too.  I haven't been able to find many of those recordings of Ray Coniff's older stuff from the fifties or sixties on YouTube, but then I haven't looked for them in a while.

        Then in my search for versions of the song I ran across Pete Townshend's rather surprising recording.  I knew that I had found my first competitor for Battle.  As I looked for a worthy competitor I came to Sheryl Crow's fine rendition.  That left me with my own voting dilemma.  Both versions are so different and so good that I could have voted either way.

       In my analysis Sheryl Crow's performance has everything I usually look for in a recording--slick arrangement, polished delivery, and intelligent instrumentation to back up well sung vocals.  This is my kind of music.

      On the other hand, Pete Townshend's recording was like sitting late in the evening with a small audience in an intimate setting with the famed Who guitarist serenading us with a private concert.  It's all a bit roughshod, but it's genuine.  And he stays with the original melody.  This is why my vote goes to Townshend.  It's real, honest, and I like hearing it.

      In the end though, Sheryl Crow delivers the most votes for a healthy win.  Her version left Townshend's in the dust right out of the starting gate.  I guess I shouldn't have been too surprised. But that's okay.  Sheryl's take is excellent.
     
Final Results

Pete Townshend     5

Sheryl Crow          18

Next Battle on Thursday June 15th

             There might be another post before the fifteenth of the month.  I'm taking summer as it comes and going wherever it takes me.

          Have you ever run a marathon?  What do you do when you lose interest in a project or a passion?   At what point do you realize that you can't go home again?








Thursday, June 1, 2017

Begin the Beguine (#BOTB)




Begin the Summer

           For many of us, Memorial Day is the unofficial beginning to summer even though the first day of summer is still a few weeks away.  Schools that have not already began their summer breaks will start doing so in the next couple weeks.  Some of you might have already started making summer vacation plans.  Or some might be starting summer jobs.
English: Really early wake up on summer vacati...
 Really early wake up on summer vacation in the Vysoké Tatry mountain (Slovakia). Havran (highest peak of the East Tatra - Belianske Tatry) on the shot. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

         As has become a summer tradition for my wife and I, we'll be traveling back east to see family.  My wife's vacation will be shorter this year therefore our travels will not be as extensive as the past couple years.  Nevertheless we'll still have about a month making our rounds.

          We won't actually be leaving until after July 4th, but my summer blogging schedule will begin now.  Ironically my summer blogging schedule is essentially the same as what my blogging schedule always is which doesn't amount to much of a predictable schedule for the most part.

          I'll keep doing my Battle of the Bands posts on the 1st and 15th of the month although that might cut back to just one a month.   There will also be results posts for whatever Battles I put up. The Insecure Writer's Support Group posts will likely appear according to that schedule.  After those posts it will be a matter of me posting according to whim.

          This all goes against what is considered "good" blogging.   My recommendation to bloggers who want to retain and build readership is to post regularly according to a predictable schedule.  Whim should not enter into that equation.   But it's summer.  Let us begin the summer fun!

Battle of the Bands


          Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by 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.

Begin the Beguine

       This Cole Porter song was written in 1935 and used in the stage musical Jubilee.  "Begin the Beguine" has been recorded many times as well as having made numerous film appearances.   A beguine is a sultry ballroom dance style with French and Latin influences.  The song is a standard classic most often associated with big bands and pop song stylists.  For my Battle I have chosen versions by two rock artists that one might not have expected to sing this song.


Pete Townshend   "Begin the Beguine"     (1987)





Sheryl Crow  "Begin the Beguine" (2004)





Begin The Vote!

   
   D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?   You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version 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

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  



Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday June 7th

      Next Wednesday will also be #IWSG day so I'll have a short combined post.

        Has your summer started yet?   What has been your favorite summer job?   Do you have a special blogging schedule during the summer?







Monday, May 29, 2017

Gregg Allman: Part of the Soundtrack of My Life




         Just thinking back a moment about Gregg Allman and realizing how much his music was part of my life soundtrack.  Allman Brothers albums seemed to be playing a lot over my years in East Tennessee back in the early seventies.  I can't say I kept up much with Gregg's music in the past few decades, but it was always nice to put on one of those old albums or to hear an Allman song on the radio.  Those were some good times with fun distant memories.

        Somehow this seems like a good time to listen to one of Gregg's best.
















Friday, May 26, 2017

The Big Magic Show of Life



         Maybe this blog post will be committing a grave breach of trust to the magic profession, but I never took any official magician's code swearing to keep secrecy.  Besides what I'm going to reveal is something that was obvious to whatever audience member was looking at it--that is if anyone actually saw it.  However this is not so much a story about a great magician's performance of a specific trick as it is an allegory. 

Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, al...
Tarot card from the Rider-Waite tarot deck, also known as the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Masters of Deception and Misdirection

        Years ago I went to see a stage production of a famous magician who was on tour with his wife and a sizable cast of performers and stage crew.  Prior to seeing the show a magician friend of mine told me to watch one particular aspect of an illusion which would blatantly expose how the trick was done right in plain sight of the audience.  The trick featured the vanishing of a large cage with a large duck in it.   When the time came for the vanishing duck routine, I carefully watched as I had been instructed.

         A farm setting appeared on stage complete with bales of hay and farm implements.  The magician and his wife introduced the duck and put it in an ornate cage.  All around were dancers dressed in straw hats and overalls circling and leaping about in a frenzied choreographed routine as lively hoedown music was played by a live orchestra.  As the dancers pranced and whirled about, the magician placed the duck cage into another box.  Suddenly one of the dancers stage left took a spectacular fall throwing the other dancers into a confused panic.  The magician and his wife displayed alarm as they moved to see if the dancer was okay.  Fortunately, the dancer leaped back up dusting himself off and signaled in a comic way that all was okay.  The audience breathed a collective sigh of relief.  Without too much of a break in the action, the magician quickly collapsed the box surrounding the cage, but the cage with the duck had vanished!

      Though it was difficult for me not to be distracted by the dancer's spill and the confusion that ensued, I instead kept my eyes on the box covering the duck cage.  Simultaneous with the dancer's fall, I saw the duck cage yanked off  stage right by a rope that had been attached to it.  The cage slid quickly across the stage into the wings. Right there for all to see.  But so much was happening on the stage that it would be unlikely that anyone would notice unless they were specifically looking like I was doing.

         Performance magic is about confusion and distraction. It can also be about subtle misdirection. There are magicians all around us in our everyday lives.  They are on television or they are people we encounter in the course of the day.  Sometimes there is so much going on that we miss little details in life.  Those details usually can explain everything, but they can be so mundane.  It's so much more entertaining to watch the spectacle of all that is going on and to believe that the magic is real.  Or if not magic, then conspiracies or some other fanciful explanation to all that goes on.

         What mystifies you most about the world?    How do you feel when you've been fooled and don't know how the trick was done?   Is magic more apt to evoke a smile from you or a pouty scowl?





     

Monday, May 22, 2017

The Cigar of Vengeance (#BOTB Results)


        It always seems a bit weird to try to hurt someone else by hurting ourselves.   But sometimes what hurts us seems to hurt so good.



Have a Cigar
Have a Cigar (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Cigar of Vengeance

        In my previous post I told the story about how my mother got revenge on my father by smoking a cigar.  The irony to the story is that my father wouldn't have known that she was smoking the cigar at the time and likely never knew it happened.  My mother was angry at my father and did something that she knew he wouldn't have liked even though he had no idea that she was doing it.  Unless she told him later, it's likely that my father never knew that my mother had smoked that cigar.

         Years later I asked my mother about the incident.  She told me that my father had gone to Las Vegas with a friend of his who she didn't like because she thought he was a bad influence.  Besides, my mother didn't like the idea of being left at home with two young children when he was out having a fun trip.  They were both fairly young at the time having been only married about five years.  Bottom line though is that she was jealous.

          When my parents were still dating my mother was a cigarette smoker.  My father abhorred that practice and made it clear that he would not marry my mother as long as she was a cigarette smoker.  She quit and they got married.  When the Las Vegas incident came about, my mother found a cigar that had been given to my father in celebration of a baby's birth.   To her, smoking that cigar would have pissed my father off though it was not an act that she wanted to blatantly flaunt in front of him.  So I guess she smoked it in some sort of clandestine retribution for his leaving.

           In some ways this does seem a bit odd, but many years later it was something to which I could somewhat relate.  Perhaps taking after my father, I entered adulthood with an abhorrence of tobacco smoke.  Many of my friends smoked and though I tolerated it, I hated it and often let my feelings be known.  Then I met my first wife who was--at least in my view--a rather heavy smoker.  I begrudgingly accepted her habit because, well, because I loved her.  But her smoking was often a source of contention between us.

          Eventually there were so many differences between us that we parted ways--an idea that was more hers than mine.  Strangely, and perhaps not so coincidentally, one of her best friends had split with her husband shortly before our split.  They also had the problem of her being a smoker and her husband being an anti-smoker like myself.  After my wife and I split, I moved in with this guy and to my shock I discovered that he had taken up the habit of smoking.  Soon I too was smoking right along with him, acquiring a two pack a day habit in the process.  I guess our vengeance on our exes was taking up the vice that we disliked most about them.

          Sometimes smoking that big old fat smelly cigar of vengeance is just what it takes to prove a point.   What that point is I don't really know.   I'm not sure about my old roommate, but I took my cigarette habit into my next marriage to another woman who smoked and we both remained heavy smokers for a couple years into our marriage until she became pregnant and we both quit. Both of us quit cold turkey and that was it.  At least until another bout of vengeance reared it's ugly butt.  But that's another story for another day.  So have a cigar, cigarette, or whatever it is you're smoking.


Battle of the Bands Results


       My vote in this Battle between two versions of "Have a Cigar" by Pink Floyd goes to the disco psychedelic take by Little Virgin Experience.  Even though I'm a big fan of acoustic versions of big rock songs, the drive of the pulsating rhythm of Little Virgin captured my heart and I'm almost always a sucker for psychedelic music.   Acoustic jams take me back to the days when my friends would gather with their instruments and play a song into oblivion.  Fun, but no cigar after about fifteen minutes of riffing on the same song.

       The voters had a different opinion as they bestowed an early lead on Atlantis Becoming keeping them in an ever rapidly growing lead to which Little Virgin could never catch up with.  The outcome was very decisive giving the acoustic jam boys a victory in this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Atlantis Becoming              20 votes

Little Virgin Experience      8 votes


Next Battle of the Bands on Thursday June 1st

       I'll likely have one or two posts prior to the June 1st Battle, but that Thursday Battle is a cinch to happen.  This upcoming Battle will begin my summer posting schedule and the song I'll be choosing will be a older popular standard that is about a beginning.   And though the song might be old, I'll be using versions by more contemporary artists that all of you should know.  These performances might even surprise some of you.  Stay tuned!

        Have you ever tried to get revenge on someone by doing something that was harmful to yourself?   Have you ever been a smoker?    What was it that caused you to first start a bad habit?        






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Monday, May 15, 2017

Have A Cigar (#BOTB)


          There's nothing like a big fat cigar to bring folks together.  Cigar smoke is guaranteed to put everyone in a celebratory mood.  Or some kind of a mood.

1890s caricature of athletic bloomers
1890s caricature of athletic bloomers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Have A Cigar, Mom!

         The A to Z Reflections have been delivered on many sites and I'm offering a hearty congratulations and a big fat cigar to all of you who finished the 2017 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.   And while I'm at it let me wish all you mothers a belated Happy Mother's Day and hand you a big ol' cigar as well.

         A cigar for mothers you might ask?   Some of you might think of cigars as kind of nasty and nothing that any mother should be smoking.   I've never been a cigar smoker although on a few occasions I've tried smoking a stogie when one has been given to me.  I don't think I've ever finished one, but I probably wasn't smoking them like they're meant to be smoked.  They are kind of nasty in my opinion, but maybe they are an acquired taste.

         When I think of cigars I'll think back on the time when my mother was smoking a cigar.  This would been around 1955 or so when I was about four or five years old.  My younger sister and I were both quite concerned when we found my mother very upset and crying because my father had left on a trip to Las Vegas with a friend of his.  We kids began crying along with my mother because we were worried about her and afraid that my father was gone for good.

          My mother's tears turned to anger and later we found my mother doing something that baffled us and at the same time amused us greatly--she was smoking a cigar.  Our fears vanished in a cloud of smoke so to speak.  My sister and I giggled with glee at the spectacle of our mother smoking a cigar.  Soon my mother was laughing too.  Her anger hadn't completely gone away, but she softened at our giggles and began blowing smoke rings.  Her skill at blowing the rings amazed us and she played her cigar smoking role with all she had to give.  It was one of those funny life moments that has stuck with me ever since.

       
Battle of the Bands


          Battle of the Bands is the blogging event started by Far Away Series and now hosted by 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.

Have A Cigar

         From Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here, "Have A Cigar" has many cover versions.  You can listen to the original here if interested, but please don't vote on this version since I won't count it in my final tally.  No voting for Ron Paul either.

          Instead I'm offering the following two contrasting versions:


Atlantis Becoming  "Have A Cigar"    (2012)

         First we have an acoustic version by a Cincinnati, Ohio rock band.




Little Virgin Experience  "Have A Cigar"  (2014)

        Next a band from Crete performing their psychedelic disco take in the style of the 1979 cover as originally released by the band Rosebud.






Time To Vote!

     
  D
o you have a preference between these two choices?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind. Which version do you like the best?  Do you prefer the acoustic sound of Atlantis Becoming?  Or would you rather rock out to the beat of Little Virgin Experience?     You don't have to know about music to have an opinion since it all comes down to your own personal taste.

        Please vote on your favorite by letting us know your choice in the comment section and tell us why you prefer the version 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

 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ 

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 
  



Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday May 22nd

         The BOTB results post will be my next post so that gives us all week to vote on this Battle, but please don't tarry and vote now if you can.  I'll be tallying the votes in the upcoming weekend.  

           Have you ever smoked a cigar?  Did you ever know anyone to smoke a cigar as an expression of anger?   Anyone know how the tradition of handing out cigars at the birth of a baby got started?