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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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Christmas Is Ready, But I'm Not ( #BOTB Results )

 

Merry Christmas and a ho-ho-ho!


     Are you excited about Christmas this year?   Count me out I guess.  Of course I'm thankful for the "Reason for the Season"--our Lord Jesus Christ--but as far as the earthly human festivities I am afflicted with disinterest.  No shopping for me.  My wife and I are probably going to visit some of her family, but that's about it.  We didn't even put up a Christmas tree this year.  The accoutrements of the holiday for us have been replaced by the inconvenience of home renovations. 

         What we all need is a massive renovation in thought and in the actions of our government.  We need to dispense with all of the absurdities of life in pandemic times.  People have become so fearful that they willingly accept absurdities.

          The other night I started watching a Christmas themed music special on PBS because it sounded like something that I would enjoy--various solo artists performing sacred songs backed by a string orchestra in a beautifully decorated old church.  The opening looked nice with all of the stained glass and seasonal greenery.  The conductor was a pleasant looking fellow.  Then they showed the orchestra fully masked.  Come on!  Really?  Is this Christmas or Halloween?

          I'm done with all of the feelings and fear-based nonsense.  We're all gonna die and that's a fact.  And at my age I'm probably closer to death than many.  Please--I'd gladly forfeit years in exchange for a quality life for the rest of my days on this Earth.  Life like it used to be before masks and other COVID silliness.  I want to live and not merely exist in a surrounding of fearfulness.  Personally, I don't see that much to be afraid of in this world.  But that's me and what do I know.

          Well, I do know that results for my recent Battle of the Bands are in and here they are...


Battle of the Bands Results


Your Love Broke Through

        My most recent Battle was a showdown between Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill  with their versions of the Contemporary Christian song "Your Love Broke Through".    The outcome was a bit of a surprise to me since I figured more voters would be more familiar with Keaggy and thus have a preference for his version.  Not the case.   Randy Stonehill was the big winner this time and that's where my vote went as well.


Final Vote Tally

Phil Keaggy               2 votes

Randy Stonehill        8 votes


Next Battle on Saturday January 1st, 2022

         Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and New Years Eve as well.  Let's hope for a better year ahead--or at least as passable as 2021 was, which wasn't much.






Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Your Love Broke Through (BOTB)

        I put this off until the last minute so I'm whipping this together at the last hour.  We've been having some remodeling done in our house so things have been upended for us.  But still, Battle of the Bands calls again.  And it's Christmas.  Might as well celebrate in song...

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.

(Until) Your Love Broke Through

       In keeping with the true spirit of Christmas I'm again offering up two versions of a song about the honoree of this time of year--Jesus Christ.  "Your Love Broke Through" is a 1977 song from the late Keith Green, a prolific composer of Christian songs.  He died in a plane crash in 1982 while at the height of his career.   He left a legacy of music loved by many and oft recorded by other artists.

         This current Battle is between two popular Christian male artists who are also favorites of mine--Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill.   Hope you take the time to listen and enjoy...


Phil Keaggy   "Your Love Broke Through"  (1977)




Randy Stonehill    "Your Love Broke Through"  (1985)





Time to Vote!
        
         Which artist do you enjoy the most?   Of the two versions, which do you like better?  I hope you'll at least give the versions a listen to discern your favorite.   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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday December 22

             Few folks ever seem to comment on those Results post but I do them anyway.  It will be a few days before Christmas so maybe I'll post something additional.  Or maybe I'll just do results.  Or maybe--maybe.  Well, I hope to be back then with something.






Wednesday, December 8, 2021

It Was 1987 ( #BOTB Results )

       The Christmas countdown has begun!  I'm not counting the days though.  The days are just coming and passing by.  I'm California cold and not going anywhere much at all.  It's California after all.  Nowhere I care to go and wear a mask to do it...



Battle of the Bands Results


         In my most recent Battle I had Christian artist Matthew Ward up against Leslie Phillips with two very different sounding songs that were praising God.  This was in honor of the Christmas season as well as to remember songs that I'd enjoyed many years ago while working on the road.

        Since several hours a day were usually spent riding in our van as we travelled from town to town, we tended to listen to a lot of music on cassette recordings.  Consequently, in order to keep a flow of new music playing, we bought many many cassette tapes during those years.  I tried to keep a wide range of different types of music on hand in our library.  One genre that began to dominate in the collection was contemporary Christian music.  I scoured record stores across the country trying to acquire interesting finds new and old.

       One record store that stands out in my memory was in the mall at the Christian theme resort run by Jim and Tammy Faye Baker--Heritage USA.  Since our company was based in nearby Charlotte NC we made a number of visits to the park.  During one of those visits I spent some time perusing the cassettes at the Heritage record store.  It was spring of 1987.

        Among the tapes I purchased were Michael W Smith's The Big Picture and the then newly released Second Chapter of Acts Faraway Places, which was being heavily promoted at that time. I had heard of Second Chapter of Acts for quite some time, but had never purchased any of their albums.  They struck me as some kind of weird Jesus Freak group that sung songs that wouldn't interest me that much.  However I knew they had quite a reputation and I guess I succumbed to the store advertising and my own curiosity.

          Their music was pleasant enough--better than what I was expecting--but one song by the brother member of the group, Matthew Ward, somewhat perplexed me.  I never paid the song much mind until in about September of that year.  We had stayed in Sedalia MO on a Saturday night so we could be in town for a Sunday matinee show.  In no hurry to make a jump to another town, I was taking my time in the motel room getting ready.  I happened to have the Faraway Places cassette playing in the room.

          When the song "You Are All in All" came on I became transfixed by it.   I began to play it repeatedly as I focused ever more closely upon it.  The original perplexed feeling came over me. What was it about this song?  It somehow made me imagine that the music had been read upside down or backwards or something that I couldn't quite figure out.

           I now think "You Are All in All" is an incredibly beautiful and unique song.  The group Second Chapter of Acts was an amazing group.  I probably have most of their albums in my collection.  I can't say where my original perception of them came from, but not for the first time I was wrong about something.  Again.

          In this contest you probably would guess correctly that my vote went to Matthew Ward and his sisters in the group Second Chapter of Acts.  And really the outcome wasn't all that shabby...

Final Vote Tally

Matthew Ward         8 votes

Leslie Phillips           10 votes           


Next Battle of the Bands...

      Might be on December 15th but ultimately whenever I please.   If you don't see me on that day then it's probably because of something that kept me from doing it.  But you probably know that.







Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Reason for the Season ( #BOTB & #IWSG )

       The Season is here again!   Time for fun, family, and maybe some holiday stress?   Fear not--no stress here.  I hope not at least.   Instead let us indulge in a couple of delights.  How about starting with...

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 1 posting of the IWSG are PJ Colando, Diane Burton, Louise – Fundy Blue, Natalie Aguirre, and Jacqui Murray!


December 1 question - In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

      Generally I tend to be a fairly low-stressed person.  In regard to writing there is not much that might stress me.  It's not like when I was still in school and contending with deadlines.  A deadline can stress me if I'm not well prepared or under some sort of time constraint.  If I'm under pressure to complete a writing task by a specific time then the stress might hit me.  

        These days the pressure is typically not there--not to any serious extent.   Ask me about stress if I get some sort of writing job or a contract to produce written work.  For now that is not any consideration for me.

          What delights me about writing is the act of getting things out there for others to read. And when they read my work then that can result in great satisfaction for me.  If they don't like it then I might be disappointed or sometimes even annoyed.   Whatever the case might be, writing can be a great release for me and I'm delighted if my work receives recognition.

          Hope you enjoy my next bit of writing exercise...

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.

The Reason for the Season

         Since it's December I'm going to go with a Christmas theme for the Battle of the Bands.   The songs I have chosen are not exactly Christmas songs, but they are songs of praise to the entity whom we celebrate during this season--Jesus Christ.  

         It's very likely that you may have not heard these songs before or perhaps even the artists.  Both artists were significant figures in contemporary Christian music in the eighties. They are both artists that I have appreciated enough over the years to have bought a number of their albums.  Now I'll share them with you for this Christmas season...


Matthew Ward    "You Are All in All"  (1987)    

       Officially this song is by Second Chapter of Acts which consisted of Matthew Ward and his sisters, but Matthew cowrote it and is the singer.  The song comes from the album Faraway Places released in 1987.  Matthew Ward also recorded numerous solo albums over the years.  He is a phenomenal singer which is displayed in this recording.  It's a somewhat challenging song in structure and sound, but it's also very beautiful.  Hope you enjoy this "song for the Season"...






Leslie Phillips  "No One But You"  (1987)

        From the same year as the previous song comes a more mainstream sounding pop style tune from a young female artist who was sometimes referred to as "the Cyndi Lauper of Contemporary Christian Music" because of the similarity of the vocal styles.  Leslie's final Christian album was the critically acclaimed The Turning which was produced by the well-known musical artist/producer T-Bone Burnett whom she later married.  After that album she also changed her professional name to Sam Phillips and recorded a number of secular albums as well as appearing in acting roles in films. Take a listen to this song and see how you would compare it to the first of this Battle...





Time to Vote!
        
         A bit of a challenging song and another that sounds like a pop radio hit.  Which style do you prefer?  Which artist do you enjoy the most?   Of the two, which do you like better?  I hope you'll at least give the versions a listen to discern your favorite.   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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Winner of this Battle Announced on Wednesday December 8th

          In my follow-up post I'll not only announce which song recording won the most votes, but I'll also give some personal background regarding the songs and artists in this Battle.  Please vote and then come back for more in my next post.

         Do you get easily stressed?  What do you do to help relieve stress when it enshrouds you?   Are you getting ready for Christmas and the holiday season?  









Monday, November 8, 2021

Microdisney AND Dave Clark Five BECAUSE ( #BOTB Results)

    So as I was saying, I'm here and doing this thing.  You know the thing.  It's the post to tell how the votes came in for my Battle of the Bands.  I call this post...

Battle of the Bands Results

         My most recent Battle of the Bands was between the groups Microdisney and Dave Clark Five with different songs having one word titles that are conjunctions.  Coming as no surprise to me is that Dave Clark Five won this Battle.  However, I did not expect the overwhelming sweep that comprised this win.  I really thought there might be a few more votes for Microdisney.  Thanks to Cathy (the Curious) for saving this Battle from being a shut-out.

        My vote would have prevented the shut-out as I chose the Microdisney song as my favorite.  Keep in mind that it was a very close choice for me as Dave Clark Five was among my favorites of the British Invasion groups of the sixties.  And "Because" is one of my favorite songs in their catalog. It's a charming song with a lovely melody, but it is a bit trite as romantic pop songs often tend to be.

       When I first obtained the Microdisney album The Clock Comes Down the Stairs on cassette in the mid-eighties, I was initially a bit off put by the strangeness of the album, but I was also so intrigued that I kept it in regular rotation on my cassette player until it became a favorite of sorts.  Then I set the album aside for thirty years or so until this Battle.  I like it more now than I did back then.  

        The song "And" not only has a unique sound, but I like the production of the male and female vocals relating a narrative that comes across in a conversational manner.  The loping dreamy pace of the song is almost trance inducing.  Maybe that's why I always liked listening to this song and the rest of the album late at night.  There is a haunting nature to the group's sound.

        That being said, Microdisney lost this round and Dave Clark Five was the big winner.  


Final Vote Tally

Microdisney  "And"                       2 votes

Dave Clark Five "Because"          13 votes



Next Battle????

       Probably on December 1st unless I get inspired to do a midmonth Battle.  The Battles on the 15th haven't been doing so well so right now I'm not too enthused to do one this month.   But, whatever.  And. Because.  







 

   

                 












        

               

Monday, November 1, 2021

Simple Titles ( #BOTB & #IWSG )

      No trick.  It's a treat.  Two posts in one:  Battle of the Bands and Insecure Writer's Support Group wrapped up into one themed package.  What better way to get more views for each post?   Please indulge yourselves as you indulge my homogeneous blogging mash-up.  It's all connected...


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 November 3 posting of the IWSG are Kim Lajevardi, Victoria Marie Lees, Joylene Nowell Butler, Erika Beebe, and Lee Lowery!


November 3 question - What's harder to do, coming up with your book title or writing the blurb?

What's in a Name?

       They say you can't judge a book by its cover, but I'll take this a step further in saying you can't judge a work by its title.  Still, I'm drawn to titles.  How about you?  Have you ever wanted to read a book or hear a song because the title lured you?  

       Titles are often enticing enough to do more than merely catch my interest.   I like titles so much that sometimes I'll just think up titles that I like enough to want to expand them into something bigger.  Several book ideas in my notebooks are little more than titles.  Likewise I've come up with a number of song ideas that started with what I thought was a catchy title.  No problem with me coming up with titles.

       On the other hand, I might prefer writing some droll essay to writing a blurb for a book I'd written.  Of course, if I had actually written a book I might be more interested in writing a blurb.  However, if I just wrote a blurb for some sketchy idea I had come up with then maybe I'd be more fired up to actually write the book.  Sounds like a chicken and egg conundrum perhaps, but results are the consequences of focused actions.

       For now I'll keep thinking up titles.  My list keeps getting longer. 

       Anyone want to buy a title?

       Or how about a Battle of the Bands between two songs with simple titles that might not seem particularly inspired?    Let's go Battle...

       

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.


Name That Tune!

        Do you ever buy a recording not having heard any of the music, but with a title that intrigued you?  I have.  In my days of buying music I would peruse the recordings in a store studying carefully the info on the outside package. More than once I've been intrigued enough by a song title to buy the recording. Sometimes I was disappointed while other times I made some wonderful discoveries.

        At times I'd be drawn to a topic--dreams for instance.  I don't know how many recordings I bought because there was a song listed with "dream" or some related term in the title.  Same with "magic" or "mystery."   Bland words usually won't be enough to catch my attention even though many great songs have rather plain simple titles.

        For this round of Battle I've chosen two songs with one word titles that are common conjunctions.  Not words that would seem to inspire much interest at first look, but delve deeper and a couple of words like "because" and "and" can be the inspiration for some interesting songs.   Listen and see what you think...


Microdisney   "And"  (1985)

           I don't quite recall how I came across the group Microdisney, but I picked up their album The Clock Comes Down the Stairs shortly after it was released in 1985.  The songs fascinated me in their oddity and the album was in regular rotation with me for quite some time.  The song "And" I find rather strange, but evocative of memory and the essence of the passing of time in our lives.  Such a simple title for a haunting song...





Dave Clark Five  "Because"  (1964)

       This sweet song scored slots on the hit charts in 1964.  The Beatles later had another song with the same title, but because it was the Beatles I thought it best to avoid it for this Battle.  And besides, this song doesn't get much airplay these days.  At least I haven't heard it in a long time until I chose it for this Battle.  And that's why I used this song--just because...






Time to Vote!
        
         It's simple to play along with Battle of the Bands.  I hope you'll at least give the versions a listen to discern your favorite.   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

  'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS'

'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 




Winner of this Battle Announced on Monday November 8th

           I don't seem to get much response on my "results" posts, but I do it anyway.  Just because.  And.  Well, whatever.

          What kind of title captivates your attention drawing you to read a book or story (or listen to a song)?  Do you think it would be easier for you to write the blurb for your own book or someone else's?   Do you like long complex titles?  








Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Weekly Song Challenge Week 43

         Are you ready for Halloween?  I'm not sure that I'll participate this year, but I haven't been doing Halloween at my house for several years now.   It will probably be another sour puss darkened house blocked doorway Halloween for me.   But in the community I'm not sure what folks will be doing about trick-or-treat.  Lots of decorations to be seen.  But on a Sunday night?   I'm sure someone will be looking for candy.

        And now for the last "Weekly Song Challenge" of 2021...




This ongoing Challenge comes from Mary at Jingle Jangle Jungle.   She provides the categories of the week.  Here's what we've got for this week:

October 27 - Week 43

A Song with a Boy’s Name in the Title

A Song with an Animal in the Title

A Song that mentions your Favorite Color




The Buoys "Timothy" (1971)


Here's a tune you might not have heard in a long time if ever. It's about cannibalism--or is it?









Murray McLauchlan "Horses On The Highway"   (1983)

      From Canada, McLauchlan is a favorite artist I discovered in the eighties--while I was working in Canada.





Bruce Cockburn   "Incandescent Blue"    (1979)

         Also from Canada and an artist I also found out about when I was working in Canada during the eighties, Bruce Cockburn is one of my top favorite singer/songwriters.  I like the color green a lot, but traditionally blue has been my favorite color since I was a kid.





     Do you know any of the songs I chose?   Which songs would you pick?










 

Friday, October 22, 2021

Over the Moon ( #BOTB Results )

 

Time for my obligatory results post.  Always get some visits, but usually not many comments.  So by all means comment if you feel compelled to do so.  But no matter what it's time for...


Battle of the Bands Results


       My recent Battle was a three way with versions of "The Killing Moon" by Echo and the Bunnymen as performed by Grant Lee Phillips, The Quakes, and George Gaudy.  Too bad there weren't several more votes as it looks like this Battle might have been a close race.

     As for me I go with Grant Lee Phillips who captured the mood of the song best.  I thought both of the other versions had a lot of merit and were very enjoyable to hear, but they seemed to be more like novelty versions in the end.   I personally liked this Battle a lot.



Final Vote Tally

Grant-Lee Phillps       5 votes

The Quakes                 2 votes

George Gaudy             1 votes



Next Battle on Monday November 1st

          What can I say other than that?  How about have a great Halloween!