This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

The Challenge of 2019 was the 10th! Since this was kind of a milestone year for A to Z my theme was a retrospective of sorts, looking at my 10 years as a blogger as well as ruminations about my life as it is and as I hope it yet can be. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me for this part of my journey...

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

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Monday, December 23, 2019

Last Post of 2019 ( #BOTB Results )


       For a post that sounds like it could--and perhaps should--be significant in some way, this one won't be that although a holiday greeting does seem timely...

Image result for merry christmas


               Blog visiting seems to have dropped off this month, but that's not too unusual in the month of December.   Sorry if I haven't been to your blog of late, but I've been thinking about you.  I've been thinking about a lot of things of late, but I guess I always am....

Battle of the Bands Results

        My recent Battle featured the Beatles song "Lady Madonna" as presented by two artists from southern Louisiana--Fats Domino and Potliquor. I wasn't sure how this one would turn out and my vote could have gone either way.  I decided on Potliquor since it was the version to which I was endeared nearly fifty years ago.  Seems absurd to speak in those terms now--50 years--and now we are coming to the end of yet another year.  See how we run!

       
Final Vote Tally

Fats Domino      9 votes

Potliquor            6 votes



Next Battle on Wednesday January 1st

          I wish all of you the best of Christmas and New Year.   Let us hope that everybody we'll be nicer to each other next year.  By the appearance of things in the United States and the world you might think things are terrible, but really they're not.  I've seen worse...

         What do you most look forward to in 2020?   Will you be spending Christmas with others this year or mainly be alone?   What kind of year was 2019 to you? 











Sunday, December 15, 2019

Battle in the Bayou: Lady Madonna ( #BOTB )


 Okay, now my internet seems to be running and I don't much seem to care.  Besides, it's Christmas season!  Not that I'm busy with all that, but it makes a nice excuse to be lazy...
                  
           Image result for merry christmas images


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.

Lady Madonna

       Okay, it's not a Christmas song, but in a way the title sounds like one. So this is my contribution to the Christmas season at Battle of the Bands.  I'm sure everyone is familiar with this Beatles song so I don't think I need any reference link to the original. In fact, the first version at bat is pretty close to the original.  And in addition to that, Paul McCartney was inspired by the style of Fats Domino when he started writing the song.  So it seems appropriate to start this Battle off with the Fat Man's own rendition...

Fats Domino   "Lady Madonna"  (1968)

         After he found his thrill on "Blueberry Hill", Fats Domino eventually found The Beatles song "Lady Madonna" and had a minor hit with a pretty killer version of the song.  Fats died in 2017 after a long career.in music.  Hailing from New Orleans, he was a true Louisiana gentleman...







Potliquor "Lady Madonna"  (1972)

        This hard rocking band came from the next town over from New Orleans, Baton Rouge. They were among the earliest bands classified under the Southern Rock genre.  Here they are ready to testify with their version of "Lady Madonna"...







Time to Vote!
         Which version of this song do you like best.?  Don't be a Grinch who doesn't vote!   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 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday 23

        Oh!  That's almost Christmas.  Maybe I'll get back in the internet groove in the next few days.  I'd better or I'm going to be hopelessly stuck in the swamp with emails.  Bye, you all!










Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Which One Was The One? ( #BOTB Results )

   You probably remember "Where's Waldo"--well that's what you might have been wondering about Arlee of late.  Damn internet!  My area was caught up in some outage that lasted 3 or 4 days.  What?  Who'd ever thought someone in Los Angeles would lose their internet?  You'd think such things couldn't happen in our modern era...



        "I Know a Place" in "Downtown" Toronto that is a wonderful old theater dating back to 1907.  It's in an old district where "Round Every Corner" there are discoveries to be made.  At present there is the return of a Canadian penned musical that is currently also running on Broadway.  I suppose it's "A Sign of the Times" that this musical is running now, but back in 1985 I had a "Happy Heart" when I found out that my teenage crush Petula Clark was going to be performing...




I Remember That Old Song!

         A few years ago on one of my cross country trips while I was passing somewhere through west Texas in the middle of a bright summer day an old familiar song came through the satellite radio.  The song sounded familiar, but not quite like I had remembered it.  The announcer identified the artist as an old favorite of mine--Petula Clark.

           Clark had captured my teenage heart when I first saw her on the Ed Sullivan TV variety show.  Already familiar with her hit "Downtown" I wanted to see what she looked like.  I thought she was lovely even though she was 20 years older than me. Besides, I always kind of liked women older than me. 
 
          As years went by I would sometimes hear Petula Clark's songs, but not often.  And I was listening to so much other music.  Still I was pleasantly surprised when in April of 1985, our touring show on Easter break in Toronto Canada, I discovered that Petula Clark was headlining a vaudeville style revue at the Royal Alexandra Theater.  Since my wife and I took every opportunity to see concerts when we were off, I was excited not only to see my "old flame" (she would have been in her fifties then and I in my thirties), but also an array of variety acts including a juggler. 

           It was a fine show as I recall, but I don't really recall much.  Mostly I remember the theater and the precipitous balcony seats we were seated in.  It was a grand place and a fine time was had by all.  So much for my memory of that.  But at least I can say that I did get to see and hear Petula Clark in person.  I guess the juggler was pretty good too...


Battle of the Bands Results




        In my recent Battle using the Petula Clark penned song "You're the One" I purposely wanted to use comparable videos taken from pop music shows partly because they both had go-go dancers and they captured a flavor of that era.  This decision may have been detrimental to Ms. Clark.  If you listen to the version that was released on record (found here)  you might see what I'm getting at.  One factor in the videos I used is that Petula Clark's version is an actual live version whereas The Vogues are lip syncing to their hit recording which most of us were more likely familiar with in the first place.

      Until I heard Petula's version on the radio in recent years I didn't even realize she had co-written the song let alone recorded the original version.  I've got to admit that the Vogues vocals and harmonies are mighty enticing--it's a good version and deserves the hit status that it retains in pop music history.  That makes for a tough choice for me.  My vote doesn't affect much of anything in this rather mismatched contest, but I'm going to go with Pet.  After all, she's an old heartthrob of mine. Besides, I think her dancers had more grace and class.  Not to say I didn't like the other dancers.  They were just fine...



Final Vote Tally

Petula Clark          3

The Vogues         13


Next Battle of the Bands on Sunday December 15
       
          God willing and my internet continue running.



           


  





Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Every Success Starts with a Dream ( #IWSG )

     ONCE upon a time I dreamed that something would happen in my future.  And it did happen, though maybe not quite like I dreamed it, but still it happened to some extent and that was a good thing.  The even better thing is that this happened more than once in my life...




The 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 co-hosts for the December 4 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Fundy Blue, and Tyrean Martinson!


December 4 question - Let's play a game. Imagine. Role-play. How would you describe your future writer self, your life and what it looks and feels like if you were living the dream? Or if you are already there, what does it look and feel like? Tell the rest of us. What would you change or improve?



Never Too Old to Dream

           No expectations.  That's what I've learned in my life.  Sure, I still go into experiences with certain expectations, but as I get older I've tried more to go with the flow of my life and not build up expectations that are shattered once I've realized that things often don't turn out like I thought or even hoped they would.  An expectation can be a set-up for disappointment and sadness.

            Dreams are fine when fueling internal conversations and forays into imaginations, but dreams are never attained by just dreaming them.  Dreams can conceivably come true in some cases with no action, but something like writing requires doing something about it.  And just writing alone doesn't mean success until that writing gets into the hands of someone who can do something with it or one takes the personal initiative to self-publish or take whatever action works.  But as is usually the case, we have to figure out what works best for us and what our definition of success is.

         Life is filled with surprises good and bad.  What we do with the unexpected in our lives has everything to do with how happy and fulfilled we are.  Persistence may not always lead to winning, but to keep on pushing forward will get us further than we can ever get by just sitting at home filled with hopes and dreams.

         As far as writing dreams for me are concerned, I'm much further along now than I ever got some fifty or so years ago when I was in passionate pursuit of writing.  Through the years those pursuits ebbed and waned while never particularly flowing.  Blogging has helped since it's given me an easy creative outlet for my word expression, but I'd still like to see something more come of my writing in the future.  Not that I'm making many efforts to that pursuit.  If something comes as a result of my actions then fine.   I'm likely not visualizing to a great enough extent to chase down that writing dream and definitely not writing like I should be.  Still, I'm okay with that.  When the feeling overpowers me to write, then I'll write and if I don't write then I'll do something else.  Just so I'm doing something that calms my restless spirit.

         When the right dreams come then I guess I'll know.  Or at least I'll be on an adventure and adventures can last a lifetime.  I'm not sure how much longer that life will be, but in a way it doesn't matter.  The present is what matters most because now is all we really know and even that knowledge can be tenuous and filled with questions.

         Tomorrow will have its way as we pass from day to day...

         Are you a careful planner or do you enjoy rafting along the river of life?   Has the fulfillment of a dream ever taken you by surprise?   Where would you like to be in ten years?



        If you haven't voted in my Battle of the Bands yet then please drop by to vote on your favorite song version.

       







Sunday, December 1, 2019

You're the One (#BOTB)


The First of December--day number one of the final month of another year.  Time to reflect as well as to project into thoughts of the future.  What's ahead for 2020?  Plenty, but I hope this year takes its time to pass...

   
Image result for reason for the season


Reason for the Season

        Whenever a Battle of the Bands opens on a Sunday I like to use a song with some spiritual connection--usually a hymn or a contemporary Christian tune.  When Christmas season arrives I might like to use a song specific to the holiday.  Though this BOTB falls on a Sunday which is the first day of the Christmas month, I am going to use neither type of song.  Instead, I'm using a song that was a popular hit in the sixties.  The title can have s few connotations in regard to this particular Battle.  You can probably come up with a few suggestions or you can just listen to the versions I'm presenting here and vote on your favorite.  The winning song is up to you--yeah, you're the one...



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.



You're the One

        The song was written and first recorded by Petula Clark, but The Vogues bested her version with their own chart topping hit.   And here are both versions as performed in popular music television shows of that era...


Petula Clark   "You're the One"  (1965)

        Pet Clark's career began in England during World War II, but it skyrocketed in the 1960's with the British music invasion of the sixties when she scored several hit records.  Her release of her own song "You're the One" was not one of her biggest hits, but it's a nice song...





The Vogues  "You're the One"   (1965)

        Anyone familiar with this song might be more apt to remember this version by The Vogues.  After all, they had a bigger hit with the song than the one who wrote it and initially recorded it.  Is this version the one you prefer?...





Time to Vote!
    
    Which version of this song do you like best.?  Don't be the one who doesn't vote!  
 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 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday December 9th

         There will be a post for the Insecure Writer's Support Group on the 4th so be here for that. And by no means miss the winner's announcement post next Monday.  Stay warm!

         Who is your "one"?   Are you feeling the Christmas spirit yet?   Would you prefer to hibernate until next spring?










Friday, November 22, 2019

Ups and Downs ( #BOTB Results )

Look up, look down--see the clown?  This silly rhyme from my childhood suddenly came to mind as I sat down to write this post...



Blahs Not So Blue or Blah

        Life has those ups and those downs.  I've been riding that roller coaster over the past week, but it's all a continuation of that ride I've been on my whole life.  I'm not planning to get off any time soon either.  But what comes is what is supposed to come so it's best to have a good of a time as you can.

        Yesterday my wife and I took a day trip out to the desert town of Indio California out east of Palm Springs.  It was an ideal day with temps in the sixties and partly cloudy skies.  Somewhere it was raining, but it never touched us all day.

          We spent several hours in the Agua Caliente Casino meandering to watch the players and just absorb the atmosphere.  It's a top quality establishment with a lot of machines and other places to lose money.  I lost $27 that I really don't like to lose plus an additional $10 of free cash the casino gave me for signing up to their players club. 

         Also for signing up we got a coupon for a free appetizer with one ordered entree in one of the casino restaurants.  The restaurant was a pleasant surprise.  Since I haven't been eating all that much lately I let my wife order an entree (she got bacon-wrapped meatloaf that was simply amazing with a savory fall vegetable medley and garlic mashed potatoes--all for a very fair price of $15).  For my appetizer I got skewers of filet medallions marinated Korean style on a bed of kimchi which was about as perfect of a meal as I've had in a long time.  I ate every single bite of mine.

          On the way home we stopped at Cabazon to visit the touristy Hadley's Market and Deli where my wife and I got an assortment of date delicacies and two date shakes for a dinner in the car to help us better endure sitting in the traffic heading back to L.A.  The myriad of car lights  were a bit tedious though dazzling to look at, but still it was a nice drive home.

            Life is looking up.  That's fine with me.  One nice thing about being down is that you don't have much other place to look other than up.   And really I don't mind being down as long as I'm peaceful.  A valley is as good as a mountaintop.  It's just a matter of perspective...

Battle of the Bands Results





          This was another tough one.  I kept going back and forth listening to them until I realized that I kept deciding that my favorite was whichever one I was listening to at the moment.  Both artists are winners and the voting reflected that.

          Still, having to pick one as my own favorite I decided to go with the majority of voters.  I really dug on the cool smooth vocals and lush orchestration of Lauren White so that's where my vote goes...

Final Vote Tally 

Lauren White               11 votes

Pat Dinizio                     7 votes



Next Battle on Sunday December 1st

         Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week whatever you decide to do.  I think we're just going to be going out to dinner just my wife and I.  Probably not as good as the dinner I'd fix, but a whole lot easier.

        Do you ever go to casinos just to wander and watch?   Where is your favorite place to get in from the cold or elements and just watch other people or enjoy the indoor environment?   What are you going to do this Thanksgiving? 






 

Friday, November 15, 2019

I'd Rather Have the Blues (#BOTB)


Ho, ho, ho and all that nonsensical holiday stuff.   Hard to believe that Thanksgiving 2019 is upon us and soon Christmas 2019 will be just another memory.  Time to be happy everyone!



Blue (or is it "Blah") Christmas

      I'm in no mood for holiday seasons or joyful times of gathering together to celebrate.   It's not that I'm particularly unhappy or sad in any way.  I'm just not in the spirit of things.  Not planning to go anywhere this year and not even interested in doing any festive decorating.  Just have to put it all away again when the new year comes.

      No, I don't have the blues.  I guess it's more like the blahs.  Maybe the blues would be better?  At least it would mean feeling something.

       But feelings be damned!   Give me logic any day.  Feelings just get us in trouble, lead us to do dumb things.   Maybe if we all relied less on feelings and more on logic then maybe the world would make more sense.   Everything seems so crazy and lacking sense these days.

         But blahs don't inspire much.  Maybe I'd rather have the blues...



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.


I"d Rather Have the Blues

        One of my favorite films is the 1955 noir classic Kiss Me Deadly.   This ominous classic has provided inspiration to many films that came after it including Tarantino's Pulp FictionKiss Me Deadly is a film that I didn't see for the first time until sometime in the 90's (after reading about it in a review of Pulp Fiction).  It's now among the films that I added to my DVD collection and find myself watching periodically.  I would rank this high in my list of favorite movies.

           As the film opens, tough guy L.A. detective Mike Hammer is driving a lonely stretch of road at night when he encounters a barely dressed woman running in the middle of the highway.  He picks her up and the mysteries begin.  As the opening credits roll across dark highway scenes, we hear on the car radio a melancholy song by Nat King Cole which I offer for your listening enjoyment, but please don't vote on this version.  Other artists usually don't do too well when put up against Cole, but you might want to hear this original version before moving on to the Battle...





....and now that we have gotten that out of the way, let's move on to the contestants in this episode of Battle of the Bands...

Please vote for one of the following:

Lauren White   "I'd Rather Have the Blues"   (2016)

      Lauren is a jazz singer and actress who currently lives in Los Angeles.   I wonder if she's got the blahs like I've got of late in my L.A. life?  Nah--I doubt it...






Pat Dinizio   "I'd Rather Have the Blues"   (1997)

        Singer Pat Dinizio was a founding member of The Smithereens.  I used to listen to them back in the nineties I guess.  Dinizio died in 2017.   Maybe right now he'd rather have the blues...










Time to Vote!

    
    Are you as torn between these two versions as I am?  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 


Cherdo on the Flipside 

A I Love Music


Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday November 22nd

         Take some time to savor these luscious recordings and come to a decision on your favorite.  Inquiring minds want to know.  And so do I...

            How's the spirit of the holiday season creeping up on you this year?   Are you ready for some big times?   Would you prefer to be snowed in with complete provisions for comfortable living in a nice cabin in the mountains?















Friday, November 8, 2019

End of the Road Battle ( #BOTB Results )




Not much to say today so I won't say much except who won the Battle of the Bands....





Battle of the Bands Results



         My most recent Battle was between two versions of a song called "Road to Cairo" which was written by David Ackles who was also the first contender.  The second version was by Julie Driscoll backed by Brian Auger and the Trinity. 

         As some of you also said, it was a close choice.  I would have been fine with either as a winner and at first it was a real horse race.  My vote for David Ackles didn't affect the win much as he clearly was the front runner with no help from me...

Final Vote Tally

David Ackles                 13 votes

Brian Auger & Co.           8 votes




Next Battle on Friday November 15th

       I'm not writing any novel, but I've got plenty to keep me busy!  How about you?