This Is Me--2019 A to Z Theme

This blog is part of my life journey. I've got places to be and people to see along the way. Hope you'll join me and maybe join in the discussion...

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

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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Who Had the Better Parachute? ( #BOTB Results )

 Darkness has been coming earlier and a coolness has drenched the Los Angeles atmosphere.  I hope it stays this way for a while.  It's looks like it could rain.  Maybe it will.  Whatever happens is good.  Find good in everything.  That's what I try to believe most of the time...



Battle of the Bands Results


Parachute Showdown

      My most recent Battle was two Los Angeles area groups doing different songs with the same name of "Parachute".   

      I liked both performances a great deal so either was a winner for me.  But going with style, I prefer that dreamy kind of psychedelic style of Covet so I'll give my vote to their song.  And thusly I avoid a tie.  But, yeah, for me it's Covet.

Final Vote Tally

Thee Lakesiders                6 votes

Covet                                 8 votes


Next Battle on Sunday November 1

        Will I be the only one with a Battle on that day?  Will any of us still be here at the end of that week?   Is 2020 almost over?




Thursday, October 15, 2020

Parachute ( #BOTB )

       The year 2020 so far has been free-falling for months.  At some point we're going to crash.  Somebody hand me a parachute so I can soften the landing...

        Just the other day I was watching a local show about music in the area.  The featured act particularly caught my attention. Curious to hear more I looked them up on YouTube where I found among their several songs a song called "Parachute".  And so comes another Battle of the Bands...


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.


Parachute

        I don't know how many songs have the title "Parachute".  It's kind of a good metaphor so I'd think there could be a number of them.  Being lazy I decided to stop after I'd found two, both bands with ties to Los Angeles.   They're different enough in style that I'm thinking votes might be well distributed.  But you've got to vote.  Take a listen...


Thee Lakesiders   "Parachute"  (2018)

      This young Chicano duo from Los Angeles has a retro sound that evokes fifties music yet they are firmly rooted in the lowrider culture from whence they came. 








Covet   "Parachute"  (2020)

         This "Math Rock" trio from California features the multi-talented guitar virtuoso Yvette Young.  The band began as an instrumental group, but as this video displays, Yvette is a good singer as well.







Time to Vote!
        
           As you float back to the here and now on planet Earth maybe you can cast a vote.  Now let your opinion be heard!  Which version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  '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 Thursday October 22nd









Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Out of the Box and In Again ( #IWSG & #BOTB Results )

 From a personal perspective, the COVID absurdity came along at the best time in my life--I'm not in school, not working a job, not having to socialize with anyone for any reason.  Being retired, the lockdowns and restrictions haven't mattered to me since I'm mostly doing the same thing now that I've been doing over the past few years.  And so I'll keep telling myself...




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 October 7 posting of the IWSG are Jemima Pett, Beth Camp, Beverly Stowe McClure, and Gwen Gardner!



October 7 question - When you think of the term working writer, what does that look like to you? What do you think it is supposed to look like? Do you see yourself as a working writer or aspiring or hobbyist, and if latter two, what does that look like?

        If I were a working writer then I'd be working at writing and making money at it.  Since I'm doing neither then the term working writer doesn't apply to me.  The most writing work I've been doing of late is writing these blog posts so I don't consider that to be much in the way of work and I'm certainly not making any money writing.  

         So I guess my writing these days would be more as a hobbyist and I'm doing a pretty lousy job at that as well.  One should have some degree of passion in pursuing a hobby.  My passion just ain't there either.  These days when I write I'm more in a mood of just getting it out of the way rather than immersing myself in the joy of the experience of writing.

        Recently I dug my old stamp collection from childhood out of the closet.  Perusing some of the old albums and other items from those days of pursuing my hobby of philately, old memories came back to me of the excitement of the quest to fill blank spaces in my albums and the hours of pleasure derived in organizing and studying my stamp collection.  I was passionate about that hobby in those younger days.  But then, I eventually put my stamps away into a box labeled "Stamp Collection" and it has remained stowed away with my other life stuff until it found its way into the closet where it now resides--next to another box labeled "Writing".  

        That probably pretty well sums up my writing life these days.  Stuff stored away in boxes or recesses of memory.  Hopefully this is a temporary state of affairs.  Just like the COVID restrictions.  I'd like to think that this too shall pass.

          Everything does eventually...



Battle of the Bands Results




    Lithium

      My most recent Battle featured two versions of the Nirvana song "Lithium" and it did not go over too well with my visitors.  Firstly, I was surprised how many of the commenters didn't seem to know the song.   I've heard that song so often even though I was never a big Nirvana fan.  I guess it wasn't as memorable a tune as I thought it was.

      And once again, my eclectic tastes and predilection for the weird was apparently a bit off putting to those who did vote.  Not many cared for the song nor either version that I presented in my Battle.  Maybe I should stick to more known entities, but I like to go off into the woods sometimes--well, maybe a lot of the time.

       I liked both versions a great deal (that's why I used these versions).  Since I was a kid I've liked Middle Eastern music.  My favorite Led Zep song?  "Kashmir" of course.  I've long enjoyed exotic sounds from around the world and when you add the modern touch of rock and pop, for me it can be very engaging.  

        When it comes to jazz music I am especially fond of jazz trios--primarily with instrumentation in the mode of The Bad Plus.  Crazy improvisation with sharp percussion grooves cool with me.  Then with the somewhat psycho sounding vocals added on top of it all I was understanding the crave for lithium.  That version was out of sight and over the moon to use vernacular of another age.

        It was a tough choice for me because I could have gone in either direction (Middle East or Far West?).  In the final analysis I had to go with The Bad Plus.  I have to admit I didn't expect so much dislike or ambivalence to these versions, but in the end whatever preference there was turned out pretty equal.  

       I'll call this Battle a good outcome with an asterisk*


Final Vote Tally

Shefita                       6 votes

The Bad Plus             5 votes


Next Battle of the Bands on Thursday October 15th

           I plan to be here then.  Will you join me?










Thursday, October 1, 2020

Lithium (#BOTB)

The United States has become so divided, so mixed up, so outlandishly crazy at times, so seemingly self-destructive, that one might wonder if we need extra lithium added to our water supply...





How About a Hearty Dose of Lithium to Cure the Ills of the World?

       Lithium is an element that can be found just about everywhere including the food we eat and the water we drink.  Since the mid-nineteenth century lithium has been used to treat various mental disorders and lithium compounds are still used regularly to help patients afflicted with conditions such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and others.  

       The lithium salts induce a calming effect and can reduce suicidal tendencies.  My late youngest brother, who was diagnosed as schizophrenic, was on lithium for many years--at least since the eighties.  When he passed away in 2017 he was very likely still on lithium.  I can recall at least one occasion when he stopped taking his lithium he descended into a highly agitated state until he resumed taking his prescribed doses.  From all indications that I observed, lithium was very helpful in keeping him in a fairly docile and reasonable state.  And believe me, he was a pretty big guy and one you didn't want to see agitated.

        Not to make light of mental illness--like I say my late brother suffered from it and this was a burden upon our parents as well as a sadness for all of my siblings--I do believe there is a great deal of crazy in our world today.  Just look at the so-called "peaceful protests" so many U.S. cities have endured this past year.  There is something not quite right about what has been going on and I don't think it has much really to do with racial or any other kind of injustice or whatever grievances these people claim.

         So what IS going on anyway?  Maybe we'll have a clearer perception after the election or maybe things will just get crazier.  Leftist lunacy has been around for a while now and I can't say that thinking has made the world a better place.  Perhaps these people need more God in their lives?  Or maybe less college indoctrination?   

         Or it might just be that a liberal dose of lithium in the water supply will do the trick.  Actually this is a serious suggestion made by some scientists.  Google it and you can find a number of references to this concept, the suggestion being that the additive might reduce suicide, crime, and depression.  I'm not sure how good of an idea this would be--maybe a notch better than adding LSD to the water supply, but, hey, I'm no scientist so what do I know? 


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.




Lithium

      The song was originally recorded by angst-ridden Nirvana (you can hear their version if you click this link, but please don't vote on this one).  In this episode of Battle of the Bands I'm offering up a couple of pretty crazy sounding versions of the song.  But it's a pretty crazy song anyway so I guess just about any version would sound crazy.   So just take a listen and see which version you like best...




Shefita   "Lithium"   (2018)

     Though a Jew from Israel, Shefita's stage persona is an Arabic diva who specializes in unique covers of popular rock songs,   




The Bad Plus   "Lithium"  (2008)
       Making their second appearance on my Battle of the Bands, The Bad Plus is a jazz trio that often has performed and recorded covers of rock songs.   Avant-garde is one way to describe this groups music or maybe to some of you it might just be crazy sounding jazz...




Time to Vote!
        
           Hope the music didn't agitate you in any way and you were able to listen with an open mind.  Now let your opinion be heard!  Which version do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  '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 Wednesday October 7th

         The results of this Battle will be incorporated in my Insecure Writer's Support Group post for October.  This is my first post using Blogger's new format which has been forced on us Blogger users.  I hope everything shows up okay when it publishes because it sure doesn't look right from my vantage point on the composition page.  The preview looks fine though so hopefully that's the way it will really publish.  Sometimes these media sites drive me crazy.  Pass the lithium please...


           Have you ever taken lithium salts?   Do you think the crazy will end soon or will it get worse?   Who else hates the new Blogger format with a passion? 











Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Nix the Mouth Mask, Give Me a Sleep Mask ( #BOTB Results )

 Wouldn't it be nice if we woke up one morning to find that 2020 had been the longest, most tortuous dream/nightmare we'd ever had in our lives?    I'd gladly take a do over without all of the nonsensical pandemic stuff and the utterly absurd Black Lives Matter/Antifa garbage.  This has been one insane year if I have my say about it...


Wear Your Sleep Mask!

       I've gotten into more arguments/discussions about the topic of face masks than any other subject that I've ever brought up.   This is particularly true of FaceBook, the go to place for fake friends and bloggers who never comment on my blog posts but will compose incessantly long tirades defending the Holy Mask.  

       In many ways social media has a way of being the biggest time waste I can think of.  Why oh why do I waste my time bringing up controversies on Facebook?  I guess it does reveal something about some of the bloggers who have become my "friends" on Facebook.  My mistake for not screening people more carefully.  And also for continuing to put up such triggering posts.  I'm baffled that people can see where I'm coming from and yet will deliver long diatribes complete with research and links.  Maybe I'm not the only one getting these missives from those bloggers.  If I am then I suppose I should consider myself honored to some degree.  That is, if one can consider it an honor to be repeatedly told the same things.  No, you haven't convinced me of your side.

       Why don't we all just remove the silly mouth masks and don sleep masks instead.  Perhaps if we hibernate for a while all of the nonsense will be gone.  Or, better yet, maybe we can wake up on January 1, 2020 and start all over again.  How about a do over?


 Battle of the Bands Results




       I thought this recent three-way Battle featuring the song "This Masquerade" was a very difficult choice.  Over the course of the week I was all over the place with my preference.  In the end I settled on the original version by Leon Russell.  But I could have gone with any of these wonderful song versions.  The win was a pretty decisive one and that works for me.


Final Vote Tally

Leon Russell            4 votes

Carpenters              11 votes

George Benson         4 votes


Next Battle on Thursday October 1st

          If I'm not asleep then I'll be back.  


      Does anyone else on Blogger dislike the new format as much as I do?






Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Masquerade ( #BOTB )




       I usually don't say things just to piss people off, but I say them to express my opinion.  A lot of times that opinion just pisses people off...


        Recently I saw the following meme on Facebook.  Not only did the sentiments resonate with me, but it also cried out, "Battle of the Bands"!!  September 15th is what I'm saying...



         When I saw this meme I immediately shared it on my own page.  Generally speaking, my posts on Facebook or Twitter tend to go seemingly unnoticed, but there are a few topics that seem raise the hackles of those who are passionate about certain topics.  This post was one of those, though still not any huge response.  One such respondent was a guy that I haven't seen or spoken to in about forty years.  And I've had similar online encounters.

        There was the long time friend who "unfriended" me on Facebook because of a difference in political beliefs.  Before doing so he privately messaged me to tell me of his disappointment in how much I had changed over the years. All his message revealed was that he never knew me very well if he thought I had changed as what I believe now is pretty much what I believed 40+ years ago when we used to hang around sometimes.  What I didn't bother to remind him of is that over the many years we only spoke every 2 or 3 years by telephone or when I stopped in to visit him when I was in Tennessee.  He never once called me like some of my real friends do--it was always me calling him.

         But getting back to face masks, in our time this has become one of the most divisive issues not only in the United States, but the world.  I've tried reasoning with some using logic, but usually the Maskers are passionate and unwavering about their beliefs.  They cite "science" just as the Climate Change Hysterics do.  As I pointed out in my A to Z post "Science Is Speaking",  this is a poorly framed argument since science is a field comprised of many studies, many scientists, and many points of view.  "Science" is saying nothing, but people without strong arguments like to hide behind the veil of the concept of science thinking it somehow lends credibility to a rather flimsy argument.

        So if science doesn't convince anybody then maybe some cliched slogan will do the trick.  "Wearing Is Caring" or some such drivel might make a nice play on the emotions of some, but, sorry, it just doesn't tug on my heartstrings.  My sense of logic tells me something different.

         Please don't get all upset with me and click away from my Battle of the Bands segment.  Ignore my opinion if you don't like it. Or express your own in the comment section--I've most likely heard your argument, but I'll listen one more time and if you are truly convincing then I might perk my ears a bit to listen more.  But don't get mad or unfollow me or whatever people in social media times do.  I'm just expressing myself and offering you the option to do the same.

           Besides, I'm tired of the bickering, the lecturing, and the effusion of emotions that people keep gushing out.  If you've got something that beats the logic then let us hear it.  Not sure what that would be, but I enjoy discussion.  I think I'm pretty civil about discussions, but these days disagreement sometimes seems to be an uncivil offense.


Coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading faster outside China than inside -  Business Insider
This masquerade?  (photo source)
     
Hopefully if you were able to get this far then you'll continue on to what I think is a pretty decent...

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.



Leon Russell   "This Masquerade"  (1972)

         When Russell's Carny album came out I was not initially won over.  For me it was mainly the vocal style that turned me off.  However, once I'd become accustomed to the vocals, having already been won over by the top-notch song-crafting and musical production, the album became a favorite of mine.  In succeeding years "This Masquerade" became an oft performed and recorded musical standard with a high point coming in George Benson's outstanding version.

        Typically I'd be offering an original as merely an introduction to the song for those not familiar with it.  The traditional wisdom of these Battles is not to use an original version and ask that blog visitors not vote for it and only listen.  In this case, I think some listeners might react as I did decades ago and not care for what they hear.  Therefore, I'm not going to discourage voting for this version since I don't know that it would sweep the other contestants out of the running.  This version is here for you to consider.  You can just ignore it or you can listen and consider it in the voting.  Your choice...





Carpenters   "This Masquerade"  (1973)

       I'm sure I've heard this version, but I did not recall it as I was compiling this Battle.  But it's the Carpenters and who doesn't like the Carpenters.  Many of Russell's songs seem to be a good fit for Karen's beautiful voice.  She does a wonderful job with this song...







George Benson   "This Masquerade"  (1976)

         The version by Benson grabbed my attention when it came out and, soon after, I bought the album the song appeared on.  In fact, during the eighties I became a fairly avid George Benson fan.  The guy could not only play a decent guitar, his singing wasn't bad either...

         








Time to Vote!
        
           Don't hide behind a mask!  Let your opinion be heard!  Which song do you prefer?   Hopefully you have an opinion of some kind.  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

 ‘Storms and Stardust’ 

  '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 Tuesday September 22nd
   
        One way or another I should be here on that date to announce the voting results of this Battle.  In the meantime I'll probably just lay low in my house most of the time so I don't feel obligated to wear what I consider a mostly useless mask.  That's my opinion based on well-reasoned logic.  Besides, I don't guess I need to be going anywhere anyway.  Except the grocery store now and then and then I'll wear my mask.  











Monday, September 7, 2020

Words, Words, Words ( #BOTB Results )


Did words evade me when it came to writing this post?  Was I just kind of lazy?  Or were the words too many with every expectation that the words would end up lost in the pages of this blog?   I wonder sometimes, but my wondering doesn't consume me.  The words are everywhere, but nowhere all at once...


Words in the Wind

          A lot of words have gone into the blog posts of Tossing It Out over the past decade plus.  I have played with words and dallied with ideas.  At times I have attempted to inspire, inform, and incite.  Perhaps there have been some successes while at other times I've considered just putting all the words aside and forgetting about this particular writing platform.  And yet I remain.

         In my third post back in September of 2009 ( a post upon which no one commented so I'm not sure it was ever actually read by anyone), I presented this mission statement for Tossing It Out:
The "Tossing It Out" blog is here to entertain, stimulate, and inform whenever possible. The author will make every attempt to be accurate and fair at all times and will be open to the input of any readership the blog may develop. There is no set course, no absolute purpose, and the content, though at times random, will strive for cohesion and clarity.
      While I do believe that I have mostly lived up to this statement in my acts of writing, my goal of  "tossing out" ideas, controversies, and other contemplations has fallen by the wayside to a great extent.  Though I have managed to keep a fairly consistent participatory readership returning to my music posts and my monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group posts, there is rarely the level of engagement in the comment section like I had once envisioned.  Now, to be sure, there are still some wonderful comments that continue to come my way, but something still seems to be lacking.

       What it comes down to is that there is so much more that I'd like to say at times and yet I hesitate to let the words flow.  Maybe it's a concern of losing readers because of controversial ideas that turn some of them off.  It has happened on my blog as well as others I've followed over the years--maybe even some of your blogs.  People get offended--they get mad.  They go away.

         "It's only words and words are all I have to take your heart away" says the Bee Gees song.  And when I've tried and failed and instead of taking hearts away, I've sometimes driven them away.  But that's life I guess when you have opinions. 

          So now I perfunctorily write words in regular monthly posts about music and writing.  Just to keep the blog alive in one respect, but also on a precipice of wanting to say something and yet stepping back when I'm too close to the edge of the cliffs of controversy. 

          Does anybody really want my words?  Do they need them?  Do they want or need your words?  We go on writing.  Or posting pictures maybe.  Or perhaps sharing videos.  We write words, speak words, read words, listen to words.  Does it matter? 

         Missing Persons said it pretty well in their song "Words":
Do you hear me
Do you care
My lips are moving and the sound's coming out
The words are audible but i have my doubts
That you realize what has been said
You look at me as if you're in a daze
It's like the feeling at the end of the page
When you realize you don't know what you just read
What are words for when no one listens anymore

     Those are my words on this Labor Day.  What are yours?  Maybe you can leave some thoughts in the comment section.


Battle of the Bands Results




         The Battle at hand was a three-way match between Bee Gees, Neil Young, and Missing Persons all performing different songs with the same title of "Words".   I know all three songs well and I like all three almost equally well.  However, in the interest of the Battle I must choose one as my own favorite.

         I began listening to Bee Gees early on in their career and their song "Words" was a standout favorite for me in their early years.  This is a classic hit that I still enjoy hearing.  I couldn't recall the Missing Persons song by title alone, but when I heard it I realized I'd heard it many many times and always liked it. It was an MTV and radio mainstay in the eighties and hearing their "Words" again reminded me how much fun eighties music was for many of us.  Most of my music buying was in the eighties, though never did I buy an album by Missing Persons.  But I think their song is excellent especially after focusing on the lyrics which have maybe more to say in our time than four decades ago.  "Words" by Missing Persons in my view is a great song and I almost gave my vote to that one.

       Which brings me to the song that really inspired this Battle.  Back when Neil Young's Harvest album came out, the song that most caught my attention was "Words" even though there were other songs that got more critical attention and airplay.  "Words" had that spacey dreamy sound that attracted me to Young's music so much.  At the time I commented to friends on a number of occasions that even though being the longest song on the album clocking in at over six minutes, I wished it were even longer. I wanted it to last the entire album side.  From the comments some readers left on my Battle, their is some disagreement about my thought to the point that some even think it's one of Young's worst songs.  It is one of my favorites. 

        After the Harvest album had been out for a while, my dream of the long version of "Words" came true when Young released the double album Journey Through the Past with a version of the song that lasts sixteen and a half minutes.  A nightmare for some of you I guess, but for me I was in "Words" heaven.

         And of course what this all means now is that my vote goes to Neil Young's "Words" even though I almost equally enjoy hearing any of these three songs.


Final Vote Tally

Bee Gees                  11 votes

Neil Young                 5 votes

Missing Persons         5 votes



      Next Battle of the Bands on Tuesday September 15th

       I've got plenty of words about plenty of subjects, but for now I'll keep them to myself.  When I vent these days it's usually on Facebook or Twitter.  Now those are places where words fly freely and I've only been placed in "Twitter jail" twice so far.  I'm trying to be careful.