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!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Zero Hour (#atozchallenge)

          Perspective determines everything.  Sometimes we see a glass half full or we might see it half empty.  The outcomes we hope to see usually depend on whose side we are on or whether something will be of benefit to us.

Zero Hour

        The irony of zero hour being the final post in my It's About Time series is that this is a term that is often used to denote a beginning.  On the other hand we might think of zero hour being the end of a count down.  However that too signifies a beginning.  With the end of the 2017 A to Z Challenge we come to the beginning of the month of May.

          With May we start seeing other beginnings as the spring season hits us almost at times with a wallop of a suggestion of summer.  From what I've seen from weather reports, summer is here and ready to start its work.   Some of us might be in the final countdown toward graduations or working time before vacation time comes.

        In a way zero hour is more like a pivot point rather than a beginning or an end.  The metaphorical "circle of life" is more like a big hoop rolling down a hill.  Beginnings and ends continuously happening with fast middles whirling past us ever more difficult to keep pace with.

         Zero hour doesn't mean much in the bigger scheme of life as it is that repetitious part of the cycle that keeps turning up and then turns back around.  Each morning is the start of a new day and as long as the mornings keep coming then we're good in that respect.

        This post you are reading marks the end of this current A to Z series. Another new post will arrive on the day after this one has had its few hours at the top of the blog page queue.  Essentially all will be back to some semblance of normal for a while.

         Be sure to be here on Monday May 1st for my next Battle of the Bands post which will be a song in honor of those who completed the 2017 A to Z Challenge--a song of relief in a sense.  In that same post I'll be incorporating my contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group where I'll be discussing strange research.  Also I'll be showing off my A to Z Survivor badge along with my reminder about the upcoming May 8th A to Z Reflections post.

         This next post will be a busy one so please don't miss it!

         In your thinking, is "zero hour" a beginning or an end?   Do you prefer the beginnings or the ends?   Do you think I should go back to one post a week or would you prefer to see more?

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Yearly Events (#atozchallenge)

         We are about to wrap up the eighth annual Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  It's pretty cool to realize that the A to Z Challenge can now be considered a "yearly event"!

Yearly Events

         Many families as well as communities have their own special celebrations to commemorate milestones that are especially significant to them.  Throughout the United States one can find events and gatherings in honor of something that people want to remember.  Countless festivals and fairs occur throughout the year in towns, neighborhoods, or even city or statewide.  These are aside from the holiday events that are celebrated nationwide.

           For years in my former hometown of Maryville, Tennessee there was a yearly celebration known as Hillbilly Homecoming that was popular with locals and out-of-towners alike.  This event apparently lost favor as something that negatively stigmatized the community even though thousands enjoyed those few days celebrated every year.

           Other cities have latched on to events that generate revenue that benefits many businesses and individuals as well while showing a good time to many.  There are street fairs, arts festivals, and so many other celebrations that have retained a popularity that keeps people coming back year after year.

             This weekend brings to an end another yearly event--The Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   From the way bloggers keep coming back to participate and to read it looks like this event might keep going for years to come.

              Another yearly tradition that is part of the A to Z Challenge is the A to Z Reflections Posts where many participants return with a post telling about their April experience.  This year the Reflections Post day will officially be on Monday May 8th.   There will be more information about this at the A to Z Blog on Monday May 1st.  

            Does your family celebrate any yearly traditions?   What are some of the yearly events in the community where you live?   Do you see any value in having yearly events?  

Friday, April 28, 2017

Xerothermic Period (#atozchallenge)

          For the dreaded "X" day I figured I'd have to go with some arbitrary throwaway concept like "Hour X" or "X O'Clock" until I actually found a time term not only beginning with the letter X, but also relevant to a controversial topic of our time--Climate Change.  

Xerothermic Period

        A number of people have asked about my views on climate change suggesting that I write a post on the topic.  This X post will not be that requested post, but it will be somewhat related. Maybe this post will give you a hint where I stand on this highly controversial and even divisive topic.

         If I am interpreting the data I've found correctly then the Xerothermic Period might also be the same as or related in some way to the post-glacial warming era called the Holocene climatic optimum. This was an era of warmer, drier climate that occurred 4,000 to 12,000 years ago according to scientists. 

        The warming primarily was in the northern polar regions as well as climate changes throughout the northern hemisphere and other parts of the Earth.  Since industrialization or other human caused factors were unlikely to have been any influence on this climate change the speculation is that this warming trend was a natural and perhaps cyclical event that could have been due to fluctuations in the Earth's orbit or some other natural cause.

         During this era of climatic change the polar ice caps melted to a great extent as well as the massive glaciers that had moved southward.  There are indications that certain lakes were larger than they are now and it is likely that the oceans came farther inland.  

          As a caveat I will say that I didn't do any extensive research on this topic and by no means offer this post to be of any solid scientific authority, however this seems to be generally representational of certain scientific schools of thinking regarding historical climate change cycles.

           So make of this what you will.  My thoughts are that those who are crying "Wolf!" concerning any influence of human activity regarding climate change might be overlooking historical scientific findings on climate fluctuations of the past.   Maybe some of you have more information about my pondering in this post.  The comment section will welcome any further facts or opinions regarding this.

          Do you think there have been non-humanly influenced periods of climate change in the Earth's past history?   Are you familiar with the theories that vast areas of what is now dry land were once covered by ocean?   Would you rather live in a colder glacial climatic period or a warmer period?  


Thursday, April 27, 2017

When (#atozchallenge)

       Though it's often good to know when something is going to occur, sometimes there is no clear answer.  Occasionally there is no answer at all.


       I'm not particularly fond of uncertainty.  If something is supposed to happen then I like to know the time and place so I can be ready for it.  In most cases, knowing when is essential if you are coordinating with others.  Not knowing when can lead to being too early, too late, or not even considering being anywhere at all.

      Then there are those ambiguous whens.  There is the unspecified anticipation that something will happen someday but we just don't know when.  We might have some vague idea or perhaps no idea whatsoever.   When might be dependent on our meeting some other prerequisite.  On the other hand, that time we are waiting for might be in the hands of someone else.  When might even be a function of natural or spiritual forces coming together at the right time--or the wrong time.

       If you know when something will happen then you can try to be ready for it.  Not that you will be ready, but at least you have that option to try.  We now know when A to Z will happen because it's called the April Challenge.  Christmas, Halloween, or U.S. Independence Day have their dates predetermined so that we can make plans before those days arrive.

       Fortunately, time is organized for us so that we can prepare for when.  That is if we know precisely when is.  Otherwise we can ready ourselves for those ambiguities such as when the big one hits, when the power goes out, or when we are facing nuclear attack.  Those with foresight might even put a plan B or plan C or even more contingencies into place.  Not many of us probably even have a first option set up.  Of course we all know how any plan can go astray.

        Hopefully, whatever happens, the government will take care of us. At least we like to think that the government has a plan for just about anything when it happens.  When it does.  When...

        Do you have any contingency plans set up for emergencies or disasters?    Do you like to improvise actions for unprepared occurrences?   If you had a fifteen minute warning of an impending nuclear strike, what would you do?


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Valuable Time (#atozchallenge)

         Minutes and hours are not something you can save for later.  Time is like hundred dollar bills that will burst into flames if you don't spend them immediately.  Your time can be used to invest in enriching experiences, but that time itself cannot be invested in such a way that it can be used when it's more convenient.

Valuable Time

       At some time in our life most of us have probably been told that we were wasting valuable time.  When we were young there was so much time on our hands that it scarcely seemed valuable.   Then later as hair turns to silver the hours turn to gold.   The time we have is limited--a non-renewable resource.

        If we could put minutes and hours into an account to be withdrawn for later use, undoubtedly we would all do that.  Sometimes the time we have in the present might seem better served to use tomorrow or on some future day.  But we're out of luck in regard to that.  If you're not feeling up to par, if you're not quite ready for your performance in the present, or if you're just not in the right frame of mind to do what you need to do now, then that's too bad.  There are no do-overs for today. You might get second chances to do something, but today's time is gone forever once it has passed by.

        In our society we might gauge the worth of time by our pay or our accomplishments, but time is far more valuable than any arbitrary measure we can come up with.  You can't buy back the time that you've left behind you.

         Yet even those idle moments sitting on a park bench in the sun or lying on the couch lost in thought are valuable.  How can one compare the worth of such times to times spent accomplishing big things?    I don't think we can.  Each time is dependent on the other.  A seemingly idle moment can be the prelude to the most major achievement in our lives.  Or restful minutes of blissful peace can be the remuneration for a job well done.

          All time is valuable, but that value cannot truly be measured by us or anyone for that matter.  Whether by paycheck or inner peace, the worth of time is relative to how that time has fulfilled us.  And even that is something we might not even truly realize.

           How do you measure the value of your time?  Do you feel that some of your time has been worth more than other times?    If given a choice, would you take one hour of amazing experience or an entire day of just being home alone?  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Under the Wire (#atozchallenge)

          Procrastination is only a big deal if you don't make your deadline in time.   The emotional and physical duress that comes with procrastination all becomes a memory once you've achieved your mission successfully.

Under the Wire

        What I was saying in my previous post is that now I've caught up to myself in the A to Z and I'm churning out my posts under the wire.  I've been waiting until that last minute to wrap up each post.  Not really sure what I'm waiting for or why I'm doing it.  Maybe it's partly because the last week of letters have some of the toughest ones.  From what I've read in the past, I'm not the only one who finds the biggest challenge of the A to Z postings is coming up with something creative for U,V, X, Y, and Z.   W isn't too bad usually, but those others can get tricky.

      Once again we come to a time idiom.   "Under the wire" is a great time idiom to use in the the context of the thought in my previous paragraph.  A Google search reveals that "under the wire" originally comes from horse racing in the days when a wire was stretched across the finish line to more easily determine which horse came in first.

         If my personal A to Z Challenge were a horse race I'd still be finishing, but just barely.  It's almost a metaphor for my life.  I've typically been one to cut things close especially when things start coming to the end of my run.  Maybe it's my subconscious way of not wanting things to end.  If I'm enjoying myself or comfortable with what I'm doing, I don't want it all to end.

         But the nice thing is that once one finish line has been crossed a new race begins.  It's a new beginning whether I take some time to rest back at the stable or just jump into another race--metaphorically speaking.  Come to think of it, I speak in metaphors often at this blog.  The way I see it as a writer, metaphors add a bit of interest to writing. And speaking as a person, or at least personally speaking, I see life in metaphors much of the time.  Life is like a novel where I'm the main character, but the darn thing is still being written.  I hope it's a really big book and I'm only half way through.

          Do you think you still have a long way to go in your life?   Do you wish your life had a good editor to correct some of your errors?   Have you ever imagined a life episode and made it come true?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Time Travel (#atozchallenge)

      I'd like to travel back in time to see if I really did some of the stupid things I seem to remember doing.

Time Travel

      Some of you regular readers of my blog perhaps are aware of my interest in the topic of time travel.  I've written more than a few blog posts about time travel.  It's one of my favorite genres of film and literature.  If I hear about a television show having to do with time travel then I will likely watch it until they take it off the air.

        As for actual time travel, if it were real and safe, you can darn well bet that I'd be willing to go back in time.  As long as I were able to return in an intact state of good health, I'd be a willing subject to journey back into the past.  I'd have to give the future a second thought since I wouldn't have anything specific I'd want to see, but the past is another story---There are so many places, people, and events I'd like to experience first hand

        If I could travel back only a month or two from today, I'd finish the rest of my A to Z posts since now I've come to the point where I'm whipping out posts at the last minute.  I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one doing this.  And it won't be the first time for me.  In some ways working under pressure suits me.  It's not my preference, but even as far back as my days in school, the procrastinated last minute paper due to be turned in tomorrow seems to be a common state of affairs.

         Just saying.   In fact, this post you are reading now could very well be the lead-in for my next post.   After all, my A to Z posts are all about time,  Time is my theme.  My posts for the Challenge are travelling through time.  Yeah.  That's my story and  I'm sticking to it.  It's a series and it travels through time.

         If you could travel through time, where would you go?   Thinking of a potential scientific theory, how do you think a person could travel through time if it could absolutely happen?   Do you have any remaining posts left to compose for the Challenge?

        Watch for an announcement at the A to Z Blog about the upcoming A to Z Reflections post day which will be on Monday May 8th.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Same Time Next Year (#atozchallenge)

     When you no longer have to say "Let's do this again next year" and everybody concerned just expects something is going to happen at the same time, then a tradition has been established.  Keeping a tradition works unless everyone gets pissed off at each other and they stop doing it.  Well, that is with the exception of elections when everyone traditionally becomes pissed off at each other and they keep doing it anyway.

Same Time Next Year

       All societies seem to develop certain traditions whether they be based on times of religious significance, historical remembrance, or whatever it might be that a culture deems worth recognition and celebration.   Most of us welcome holidays as times for getting away from work or school and having an excuse to go someplace, to party, or to just stay home and relax.  And as though the societally accepted days of recognition were not enough, we and our families come up with our own additional special days.

         We tend to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other noteworthy dates with parties, cards, gifts, dinners, or some kind of recognition.  There are annual communal gatherings to watch recurring events like the Super Bowl or the Oscar Awards.  If something's worth celebrating then it's more fun to do it with people whose company you enjoy.

        Now many of us can add the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge to the "same time next year" event schedule.  When I started that first Challenge in 2010 I didn't think about it becoming an annual event.  Then when I saw the level of interest and how many people wanted to do it again, same time next year was a natural response.  Now here we are seven years later doing the eighth annual Challenge.  I guess we can consider this Challenge as an annual blogging tradition!

        Are there any traditions that you have established with family or friends?  Do you enjoy attending family gatherings or other similar social events?    Are you already planning to come back same time next year for another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge?

Friday, April 21, 2017

Racing the Clock (#AtoZChallenge) (#BOTB winner)

Racing the clock can be exhilarating while you're at it, but I'd much rather take my time and enjoy the scenery as I stroll through life.

Racing the Clock

       The pace of life can go so fast that we often lose track of what is around us as we go forward.  We spend our lives stuck between yesterday and today, never completely sure of what lies ahead and often oblivious of the things we missed along the way.  The racer will focus on the prize that awaits at the finish line while often missing out on those gems that are passed by along the way to that final destination.  Clocks might stop, but time races on as we are swept forward.   In the race of life, the winner is not the one who reaches the end first with the fastest speed.

Battle of the Bands Results

        Speaking of races, my last Battle featuring the song "In Between Days" originally done by the Cure was a horse race from the starting gate.  Then in the final stretch, the Ben Folds version took the lead to leave Cementerio Club in the dust.

          My vote could go for either of these fine performances, but I'll cast mine along with the winning team.  The frantic pace of the Ben Folds version seems more appropriate for the racing theme I've presented in this post though a good case can be made that the version Cementario Club captures the spirit of the lyrics in a more appropriate way.  So it's Ben Folds for me in this Battle.

Final Vote Tally

Ben Folds                10 votes

Cementerio Club        6 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on Monday May 1st!

         We're in the final stretch of the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge so just a few more posts until I wrap up my series on the It's About Time theme.  I hope you stay with me until the end.   Then I definitely hope you'll join me for my next Battle of the Bands post when I'll have a song chosen especially in honor of the occasion of the end of another Challenge.

          Is your life more of a rat race or a pleasant stroll though the park?   How do you slow down to enjoy life better?   Do you enjoy it when you are faced with deadlines and a pressure to get things done?


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quality Time (#AtoZChallenge)

         I spent some quality time with my television last night.  I don't think my television appreciated that time that I put in.  My wife didn't mind because she was devoting some of her own quality time to sleep.  She probably made the more constructive choice.

Quality Time

         For years I've heard the term "quality time."   It's one of those pop phrases that people throw out there to describe something they'd like to do and often think they do, but it's questionable as to what the term actually means.  My assessment is that it means different things for different people in relation to different things.  Sounds like a bit of a cop out I guess, but I'm sticking to it.

          Usually we think of quality time as having to do with our kids, family, or friends.  But in reality we should probably try to inject quality into all of the time we are given.  My goal should be to provide quality time to myself just as I would to a loved one.

           Our jobs, our passions, or whatever we pursue should consist of time that has as much quality as we can put into it.  After all, time that has no quality is essentially wasted time or useless time.  Or better still we might call it perfunctory time.

          I've never been particularly fond of the concept of killing time or just passing time for no reason or purpose.  And keep in mind that time spent reflecting or daydreaming is not time ill spent.  Those minutes or hours can be some of the best and most rewarding passages of time of all.  Quality time devoted to ourselves.

          We should look at our time with our loved ones as high quality time since those times are fleeting.  Our memories of those times should be filled with happiness.  But time itself is our most enduring friend--or in some cases enemy.  If I can befriend my enemy then my time can be filled with quality.

         What do you consider to be quality time?   Do you feel you often miss the quality and shoulder a burden of time?   Do you receive all of the quality time from others that you would like?



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Punctuality (#AtoZChallenge)

       If I say I'm going to be somewhere at some specific time, I try my best to do exactly that.  It's what I expect from others as well.  I hate to wait so please don't be late!

Train, Dunmurry station – The 11.27 Bangor – P...
Train, Dunmurry station – The 11.27 Bangor – Portadown calling at Dunmurry station. Since the introduction of this new stock there has been a noticeable improvement in punctuality and fewer “we regret to announce” over the long-line public address. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


       I hate being late.  I don't like to wait for other people either,  If anything I prefer to be early if I'm going somewhere.  My wife seems to have that same inclination so we are usually of a single mindset when we go somewhere.  If we're running late then I tend to get nervous and start feeling anxiety.  I want to be on time because I don't want anyone waiting on me.

        That's the way I've always been.  My father too.  I guess I got that quality of punctuality instilled within me from my father's influence.  Yes, I call punctuality a quality because I consider it to be a courtesy to others and a sign of respect.  If I don't like to wait on somebody else that I'd expect that they don't want to be waiting on me.  If we're all on time then we're all happy, or at least that's the way I see it.

         But there's another thing.  Maybe this is my main reason and in a sense it might be somewhat self-serving or even a desire to be the one in control.  My father was like this too.  What I have found to be the case is that if I am the first one in a place then it's like I've marked that territory as mine.  If I'm early then I can scout things out to get a "lay of the land" so to speak, thus giving me a certain advantage in a sense.  Being the first one there means I can arrange things to my advantage.  I can usually watch as the other person arrives.  They are coming to me.

          As an example, when I went back to college at age 54, I always tried to be the first one in class.  For one thing I'd get my preferred seat in class.  But often, and this was probably also due to the fact that I was usually the oldest student, those coming into the class would often assume that I was the professor.  Even after they found out that I wasn't, as the class went on I was always seen in a sort of leadership role.

            Most of my working life I've usually either been in a management role or looked at as a candidate for management.   I tend to prefer a work situation in that way.  If I'm confident about a job then I'd prefer to be the person in charge.  I'd much rather be the guy giving orders then having to take them from somewhere else. One of reasons that I've been placed in higher positions is the sense of being capable of taking on responsibility.  Being punctual is a responsibility.  And a quality.

           My father would have liked that part of me.  Being punctual and responsible.  It was an example that he set for me and I kept up with it in my life.  It's the way I am and I wouldn't want it any other way.

            Are you usually a punctual person?    Why do you think that some people are habitually late?  Do you see punctuality as a quality in a person?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Often (#AtoZChallenge)

     Time spent without focus and reason can be time squandered, but even seemingly wasted time can provide opportunities if we keep our minds and eyes open.


Chinese Food in Minutes
Chinese Food in Minutes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
      Often I have missed openings and opportunities that have come my way.  Fear, doubt, or suspicion have sometimes been the culprits that have hindered me while at other times it's been a matter of my own stubbornness.   Or matters like inconvenience, lack of time, or a myriad of other things I could do instead.

      Years ago I would frequently pass by a small carry-out Chinese food establishment.  Something about it tempted my curiosity.  The restaurant was in a boxy building that had likely been built in the late fifties.  Often when I passed the place I'd find an excuse not to stop and put off going until later.  Over and over for over twenty years I passed that building to never once stop and order some carry-out.  It was always later.

        Then one Saturday I was driving down Lakewood Boulevard and noticed that Jack's Chinese Food was closed.   Shut down for good.  Now I would never be able to see what Jack's food was like. Now whenever I pass by that boxy building that housed Jack's for some fifty years, I pay a silent homage to a restaurant that I would never know.

        As I think further I remember other places like that.  Interesting stores that I'd often drive by while making a mental note to come back one day until eventually the store was gone out of business.  Local attractions that I never made time to visit until I moved from the area lamenting not seeing places I'd meant to see one day.  One day is here and then gone forever.

        Finally I sadly realize that there are some people that I know like that.  Old friends and acquaintances whom I never or rarely visit.  I often think of them.  I wonder if any of them think of me?

        For each door that opens to us there is a new opportunity offered.   Sometimes that opportunity is a door knock or a telephone call away. When you receive your call, will you answer?

         What place did you miss the opportunity to visit and now you cannot visit?   Do you keep in contact with many old friends?    What is something you used to do often, but now no longer or rarely do?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Never (#AtoZChallenge)

Never is a harsh word.
Never is much harsher than never again.  Adding the "again" sounds possibly hopeful.
Never is definitive, unyielding, uncompromising, and perhaps limiting and shortsighted.


        "Never" sounds non-negotiable.   And yet it is often used in a frivolous way in the same way we hear "always" and "everybody" being used.    When someone says "never" and they absolutely mean it it can mean an ending as well as a beginning.  

          If someone close says they are never going to see you again and it actually happens, the loss can be devastating.  A total separation from someone you care deeply about also means you have new options that must be considered and eventually addressed in order to move on.  Never doesn't have to be an end of hope or happiness.  Quite the contrary, the permanent separation from another might be a release to a freedom that had been previously unrecognized.  No matter what the case though, we must always make the best of the negative never.

         But, although never is classified as a negative word, it can have very positive implications.  When a smoker declares that they will never use tobacco again or an alcoholic promises that they will never drink again then that's usually a good thing.  Maybe bad for the suppliers of those products, but usually I think we can say that with all bad there can be some good just as with all good there can be some bad.

           Never can cover a lot of time.  As much time as forever.  The old adage "Never say never" makes a lot of sense in many ways.  If we're going to say "Never" then let it be a promise or at least intend it that way until the time comes to change our mind--if that time ever comes.

          When do you usually use the word 'never'?   Do you prefer to use 'never' as a promise or a threat?  When is a time when the declaration of 'never' proved true in your life?


Saturday, April 15, 2017

Mid month: In Between Days (#BOTB)(#atozchallenge)

        Here we are in the midst of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, halfway to the end, in between the days of the fourth month of 2017.  So far so good for me and a good many of you who are participating in this eighth Challenge.  A few I've seen fallen by the wayside which has been something we see typically happen every year.  But this Challenge is about stamina, commitment, and the sheer stubbornness of not giving up.  I've always been stubborn since I was a kid.  Sometimes that stubbornness has paid off for me.

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.

"In Between Days"

        Originally released in 1985 by The Cure (click link to hear that version, but please don't vote for it), "In Between Days" caught on quickly with fans worldwide.  Over the following decades the song has been performed by numerous other artists.  I first picked up on the music of The Cure in the mid-eighties and became a fan.  I'm sure there a some of you who don't care much for the group, but I hope you'll indulge me a bit for this Battle.  After all, this song just seemed kind of appropriate for my It's About Time theme that I've chosen for April A to Z.  See which of the following contenders you think does the better version of this song.

Ben Folds   "In Between Days"  (2003)

        Keeping close pace with the original release by The Cure, Folds adds a driving piano to the song arrangement.  The drumming emphasizes a sense of urgency suggested by the vocals.  This one should get you at least moving in your chair a bit.

Cementerio Club  "In Between Days"  (2004)

       Originally I had planned using the Spanish version of this song as performed by the Argentine group Man Ray, but then I figured that maybe it would be better if both versions were in English.  When I found this slowed down version of the song as performed en Inglés by Peruvian punk rock group Cementerio Club, I felt it was time to stop looking for other song versions.  Here is contender number two...

Time To Vote!

Between these choices do you have a preference?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  Which version do you like the best?   Do you prefer the frantic pace of Ben Folds or the slowed down tempo of Cementerio Club?  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



'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced Friday April 21st

       The A to Z Challenge will be wrapping up in a couple of weeks, but God willing and the creek don't rise I'm in it to win it.  Yeah, stubborn old me finishing A to Z and cranking out these Battle of the Bands posts.   Might as well have what fun one can find in life don't you think?  And I'm having fun.  Hope you are too.  Please come back for the winner announcement on Friday April 21st and if you have the time, stop in to read and comment on my daily posts till then.

          Are you a stubborn person?  Do you tend to quit early if the going is tough or persist even to the annoyance of others?   How quickly has your month been going?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Lifetime (#AtoZChallenge)

     A wife asks her husband, "What's a five letter word about time that begins with an "L"?

    Staring at the television the husband doesn't answer, so the wife asks, "Can you tell me?"

    Without looking up the husband says, "Later."

    The wife retorts, "Why can't you tell me now?"


        When I was about five I figured that my great grandmother--Maw Maw we called her--was about a hundred years old.   Looking at a genealogical book about my mother's family I see that at that time Maw Maw would have been more like in her mid eighties.  To a five year old she looked really old.  But so did my grandparents who would have been in their fifties which is younger than I am now.

        They--and I--have lived a decent span of a lifetime.  A person can do a lot in fifty years and more.  Then I think about friends and people I've known through the years who died in their twenties, thirties, or forties.  Those were usually bigger surprises unlike any of my old friends who might pass away now.  At some point in a lifetime the reality of the end coming ever more near is always on the horizon.  I'd like to think that my lifetime will be a long time.  It's been decently long so far, but it would be nice to stay alive and healthy for many many more years to come.

         In Psalms 90 it is said that a normal life span is seventy to eighty years.  Seems like there hasn't been much change a few thousand years later despite all the medical advances.  And is the quality of life any better now?  A person might live to their eighties and never seem to do that much in all that time.  Not if you put that life up against someone who died relatively young like Mozart, Beethoven, or Schubert who all put out voluminous outputs of great music.

       Some of us might imagine that we will merely fade away into the memories of the few we leave behind and then eventually become dusty stats in some courthouse record department.  Sounds glum until you think of the broader implications on the way your life may have touched others.  Every smile we give to another person, every encouraging word, helps to shape the world into a better place.  It would be nice to leave behind a great book or work of art after our lifetimes are over, but in a sense we have left even greater things.  Each of us has an influence that reaches out far beyond our own lives and even beyond our lifetimes.


As we grow older we tend to sense an urgency to get things done and time itself seems to speed faster. A lifetime is limited, but unfortunately we don't know exactly what those limitations are as we go forward.   Each day that comes is like a bonus after a while as we start wondering how many more remain.   Can we do everything we've wanted to in the lifetime we've been given?   Have you planned out the life you hope to live?   Or do you let life take you by surprise?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Knowing the Time (#AtoZChallenge)

         Intuition is by no means concrete knowledge, but it is an insight that many of us rely on to make life decisions.  A strong feeling about something can sure seem like the right thing and for many of us those feelings guide us through life with a good amount of success.

Knowing the Time

           There are some things we can say we know, while others we might think we know.   Time fits into the category of a guess if we don't have the tools of measurement like a clock or a watch.  Then there is the time that has no actual measurement such as time to leave or time to do whatever it is that needs to be done, but even then we might think we know and in the end be wrong about it.  In most cases though, after a lifetime of experience, we can usually develop a reasonable sense about those feelings we get about our surroundings and how they relate to time.

            Experience is the best teacher for those who pay close attention.  Politicians, business people, or investors all develop an understanding of how their worlds work and what to do when the time is right.  They know the time to act or when to show restraint.   They know the right time to buy, sell, or patiently wait for a better time to do what they see as an inevitability.  Now or later might be dependent on intuitions as much as data analysis.

           For each of us we've learned to recognize when the time becomes evident to us as being the right time.  If you're visiting someone or at a party you can pick up those signals that tell you it's time to leave--yawning, distraction, or something in the body language that is sending a message.  A tactic that I'll sometimes use with guests is that I'll start cleaning up the mess.  Usually that conveys a signal to any remaining guests that it's either time for them to leave or to pitch in and help me clean.  No rudeness is intended, but I just know the time is up for socializing.

            In a relationship we often know it's time to sever ties or at least start looking at whether there is mutual benefit in continuing.  When we pursue some venture in life whether a business, a hobby, or anything else that involves a personal investment and we are no longer finding a reward or benefit in our pursuit we might realize that it's time to move on to do something else.

            When knowing the time is not a question that is easily answered by looking at the clock or a calendar, then maybe that's the time to look closely at where we are, who we are with, and what we are doing.   Maybe our decision will be supported by facts or maybe only by feelings, but whatever we decide when we know the time is likely the right thing to do because we just "know".

             Is your intuition about knowing the time usually accurate?    What kind of signals do you send to others in order to give a hint that "it is time"?    When do you usually know it's time?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Journal of Days (#AtoZChallenge)

         Have you ever thought about the possibility of losing your memory?   If you had kept a journal of the days of your life, now and then you could read it to remember things you had done in the past. I can recall things that have happened that at the time I believed I would remember the rest of my life and then later never think about it again.   There are people whom I figured would always be around and then they're gone and I forget so much of the good times I had with them.  Memory can be a great friend, but it can also be our biggest deceiver...

English: Private journal, Diary of Henriette D...
 Private journal, Diary of Henriette Dessaulles,
 1874, Ink on paper, 21 x 14 cm
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Journal of Days

       Time passes along with births, deaths, marriages, graduations, or this event or that event.  The world happens as histories are inscribed for future generations to learn and study-- or misremembered for the sake of societal deception until they are corrected by historians untainted by bias, if indeed those histories are ever made right.  Kingdoms may rise and fall, but time remains the constant--a stoic witness to all that passes in a never ending procession of minutes, hours, years, and centuries. Humankind may have discerned the devices for measuring the passage of time, but time itself outlives us all.

       Everything we do or think about has some relation to time.  Our lives are centered around time as time revolves all around us in the activities of the world outside of ourselves.   I used to keep a schedule book in which I recorded upcoming events.  Sometimes in the same book or a different record book I'd keep track of meals, gas, motels, and information about the working facilities where we performed the touring show that I managed in the eighties.

    Working on the road with a performance schedule, one takes careful note of time.  Typically, cast members would leave the motel by check-out, drive a few hours to the next town, have lunch, and then from about 4 until about 9:30 PM we'd set up and then perform our show before tearing it down and moving on.  My main tools were my watch, my road atlas, and my trip record book and my journal of days.

      Rarely did I get into detail then or in any other attempts to keep journals in my lifetime.  There were a few times when I would burst into an ambitious attempt to keep an actual daily journal.  The best journal--one that I kept while on a several week hitchhiking trip during the summer of 1971--that journal got stolen in 1981 when our van was broken into in the Holiday Inn parking lot across from the police station in Greeley, Colorado.  Lost some good stuff and that kind of dampered my applying much future effort into journaling.

         Now most of my days are the same.  Not much point in keeping a journal of my days as they pass by.   The closest I come to keeping that journal is my blogging.  Other kinds of writing would probably be good but I haven't been doing any of that.   Just blogging and I do enjoy that activity.

         Which brings me to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  This will be my journal of days in a sense over the month of April.   Each post will take me time to write as well as take the time of whoever might read it.  That writing will be part of my daily activity.  Hours will pass as will days.
If I were keeping a journal I could reread my life whenever I wanted to--maybe even some day if I needed to.  

          Do you keep a daily journal?    Have you ever found a journal of a relative or someone else?  Are you concerned that one day you might lose your memory and sense of who you are?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Idioms of Time (#AtoZChallenge)

          If we removed all references to time from our language, we'd have a lot less to say.   Books would certainly be shorter--and I probably couldn't use a term like "shorter" when referring to books.

Idioms of Time

        Till the cows come home, in a coon's age, or as old as the hills are idioms that are as old as Methuselah (oh, that's another one).  Humans have used colorful expressions to express long periods of time probably since the earliest development of language--probably before any precise measurements of time were developed. We can say "just a sec" or more descriptively use idioms such as blink of an eye or quick as a wink.

      Time idioms were particularly put in the spotlight of my thoughts recently when Fox news commentary host Bill O'Reilly lamented Sean Spicer's frequent use of the idiom "at the end of the day" in his White House press briefings. I usually don't pay much attention to such details, but by golly, the next day I watched the briefing and he said it, not once, but a couple of times.  Now my radar was on.  Since the mention by O'Reilly I can't count the times I've heard Spicer and so many others using "at the end of the day" to lead into a point they were making.

       Another such phrase is "Kick the can down the road."   This was pointed out to me when I heard a couple of guys jokingly using the term in regard to something they were discussing.  This was an idiom that I'd never noticed before until that overheard conversation, but ever since hearing those guys use the phrase, I've heard this said often in the media.

         What these and so many other idioms have in common is that they refer to time in one way or another.  If you're like me you likely just overlook the fact that these idioms are used because they are such an integral part of language.  Add to that the words relating to time such as adverbs:  Words like often, suddenly, quickly, slowly, or interminably.  Like them or not, adverbs quite often relate to time.

          Our world of speech, written word, and thought so often reflects some aspect of time whether in its passing, its having passed, or what is yet to come.   The terminology of technology and the physical world is measured with respect to time.  When we talk about motion, we consider speed in relation to what?  To time--miles per hour, feet per second, or light years.

          Even our current Blogging from A to Z April Challenge evokes concepts of time.  An event in the month of April that consists of 26 days of blogging as well as hours put into the planning and composing of our own posts and the reading of innumerable other posts by other bloggers.  Time consumed, time spent.  Time passes and we find ways to talk about it.

          When you think about how much of what we say, hear, and read has to do with time in one way or another, it can become somewhat overwhelming.  If you think about it too long--like all day and all night long or even twenty four seven it can be mind boggling.  Focusing on such things can become an obsession that you begin to notice forever and a day or until the end of time.  Or at least until the cows come home.

         Have you ever become fixated on certain language idiosyncrasies?   What time idioms do you feel are grossly overused?   Do you have a favorite idiom of time?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Hourly Wage (#AtoZChallenge)

        Working for an hourly wage can sometimes feel like slavery.  The question then becomes are you a slave to your work or a slave to the money?  

Hourly Wage

In case you don't get enough of the live assem...
In case you don't get enough of the live assembly line, they also show the same process on large tv screens on the walls. I'm not sure why; it seems a little redundant. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
          In my first hourly wage job, a summer only job in 1969, I was making $2.50 an hour.  That was almost a dollar more than minimum so I felt pretty good about that.  After a couple months of work I had enough money in the bank to cover three quarters at the University of Tennessee and still had a nice sum of cash for my extraneous expenditures.  A lot of that work was tough--hot dirty work around a large construction yard.  But I was a young guy in good health and even though I wasn't always thrilled about working there, the job didn't kill me and it gave me cash I otherwise wouldn't have had.  And the pay was better than what most--maybe all--of my friends were making.

         There was nepotism involved in that construction job.  My father was an upper echelon guy in the company and he arranged for me to work there.  If not for that I'd probably never gotten that job.  I worked there for a few summers until I decided that I wanted to find a job on my own.  My search was short.  The first employment ad that I answered was at a carnival supply warehouse.  When the manager saw that I was a college student he hired me on the spot and designated me "Assistant Manager" since I was obviously smart.  After all I was in college which to him made me intelligent.   He offered me the position at $1.75 an hour.  I snatched the offer partly because I didn't want to look anyplace else and I figured that was probably going to be the typical rate for someone with my limited resume experience.

         Since the company was dealing with carnivals, summertime offered ample opportunity for overtime work which meant my pay past forty hours increased to about $2.60 an hour.  It was not unusual for me to work an additional forty hours each week which meant that I'd accrue what were to me at the time some sizable paychecks.  Somehow there still seemed to be free time everyday so the extra work hours didn't matter to me that much.   That was the job that had the most influence on me to work as much as I could

        In the ensuing years after I left that job, other than a few incidental temporary jobs, I stopped working for an hourly wage and took salaried management positions instead.   Something I discovered about managerial positions--or at least the positions that I had--is that when you're in charge you can often put in far more hours than the people getting paid an hourly wage.  Depending on how busy I might be at any given time of the year, I might end up making less per hour than the hourly employees.  Not that I would have traded places with any of them since I like being the guy in charge and in slow times my work was much easier with the same pay as I always got.

        I guess what I'm pondering here is how much is an hour of our life worth?  An hour working for someone else for only the pure benefit of getting a paycheck.  I've been fortunate in that in even many of the hourly wage jobs that I've had I liked what I did.  In the managerial jobs I usually loved what I did.

       What it comes down to in the end is how much we like our jobs versus how much we're being paid.  I'd much rather work minimum wage for a job that I absolutely loved than work for some exorbitant hourly wage at a job that made me miserable and might eventually kill me if I stayed with it.  For the most part it's a matter of attitude whether or not a job makes us miserable.   So far I've never had that kind of job, but then maybe that's just me.

         Whether it be an hourly wage, a salary, a commission, or nothing at all, how we cope with giving up our time for a job is the most determining factor on whether it's all worth the effort expended.  I've known people with jobs I would love to have who seem absolutely miserable with their lot in life.  Maybe they would hate anything though--it's probably their attitude.  Then there are people who have jobs that I wouldn't want even for the best hourly wage and they seem fine with what they do.

          My pay preference is a salary over an hourly wage.  I'd rather just work for that week's pay than count down the hours and measure those hours with dollars.  More importantly is give me a job that I enjoy doing.  Or even better, pay me to do what I want to do with my own time.  But wait, that sounds like being self-employed.  That's not bad as long as everything is going good, but self-employment does not always have guarantees.  If I want guarantees then I guess it's back to an hourly wage and even then there are no guarantees.

          What's the best job you ever had?    Was the best job the one that paid the most?   Would you rather work for a salary or an hourly wage?

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Growing (#AtoZChallenge)

          Before you curse growing older, remember those senior discounts.  Now, as I'm growing older, those growing pains are starting to make sense.  I can't recall adolescence or childhood being physically painful in any way though adults used to talk about "growing pains".   All I know now is that as I grow older, I am growing more pained.  Not like constant pain or anything like that.  Not yet. But I mean a presence of lurking pains that can pop up unexpectedly.  It's not cool when that happens, but those senior discounts when you weren't even thinking about it--now that's pretty cool.

English: A 20-year-old cat that looks tired be...
 A 20-year-old cat that looks tired because of its advanced age.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      Guess I'm still growing.   Maybe not growing up as much as being at a stable place in life until I start diminishing with old age.   There's no doubt that I've been growing older--that seems like it's been going on for years and yet I don't feel much older in my mind.  So much time seems to have passed since I was a kid, but there are still some kid thoughts in my head.  There are times when, if my aging body didn't give me away and I didn't have a mirror in which to see myself, I could swear I was about ten years old.  Those thoughts never last long as reality comes crashing in.

      Yes, I am growing older, but am I growing wise?  Sometimes I don't feel like I've learned much of anything in my life.  Sure, I know stuff, but is it stuff worth knowing.  Is it something akin to wisdom?  I guess I can say I'm somewhat wise.  With all the time that has passed in my life so far I think I can lay a claim to being some kind of wise.

       The days keep on coming at me like I'm in some kind of speed race hoping to win a silver cup and a kiss from a reigning beauty queen.  No such luck.  Instead I'm like the fabled tortoise forging onward at a steady pace.  The rapidity of time is only illusion, but as real to me as the hot concrete beneath my tired feet.  That's the big concern--growing tired.  Old is a state of mind and body.  Tired is a state of body and mind.

         Are you keeping up with the time?   Do you feel like time has taken a toll on you?    What does being wise mean to you?