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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Friday, May 21, 2021

Trini versus Jane: Who won? ( #BOTB Results )

 

Just in case anyone wants to know, here is the final outcome of my most recent Battle of the Bands...




Battle of the Bands Results



          My most recent Battle of the Bands was a showdown between song stylists Trini Lopez and Jane Olivor with their renditions of the song "Lalena" by Donovan.  I think this is such a beautiful song, but not all agreed.  However there was a predominate consensus that Trini had the better version.

           After hearing Trini's version, which was new to me until putting this Battle together, I was blown away by his performance.  He certainly puts a pop touch to the song that makes it very listenable.  At first I thought I might be voting for his version, but after many more listens during the past few days I gravitated back to Jane Olivor's haunting version.  I hadn't listened to Olivor in many years and it was nice to hear the sound of her beautiful voice.  It's almost operatic--or classical--in sound and ultimately I prefer that.

          My vote goes to Jane Olivor which puts me in the minority of some good company of voters.  And I thank all those who voted for participating in this Battle.  You are all good company.

Final Vote Tally

Trini Lopez               9 votes

Jane Olivor               4 votes

Next Battle on Tuesday June 1st

            I think I'll do one more Battle before a summer break and at the same time I'll include my monthly contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group.  








Saturday, May 15, 2021

Laléna ( #BOTB )

       
          Right now I'm at a loss for anything to say.  So I guess I'll just get down to the business of this post--music.  Because it's time for another....  


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.




Lalena

       The song is about a prostitute, but it's a tragic sad song about a woman who is essentially a victim of circumstance.  It's an achingly beautiful song which has been recorded numerous times over the years since it was first released by its composer Donovan Leitch.  I didn't want to pit the original version against any other since it is so good.  Likewise is the case for my favorite cover version of the song by Deep Purple.

       Instead I've opted to use two other versions that I also like a great deal by artists who I also like.  It's probably more about the excellence of the song itself. Any competent artist would probably make this song sound good.  See what you think about the following artists...


Trini Lopez    "Lalena" (1969)

        I was introduced to the music of Trini Lopez when I was still in elementary school by my fourth grade teacher Ms. Kingston who was responsible for introducing me to so much wonderful music.  Later, after Trini's release of his hit "Lemon Tree", we used to sing the song in our middle school choir.  Sadly Trini Lopez died last year at age 83 after complications of COVID.   Here is his version of Donavan's song...





Jane Olivor  "Lalena"  (1977)

            In the mid-eighties when I was touring extensively, I was visiting my cousin's friends on Bainbridge Island in Washington state, and while perusing their collection of cassette tapes noted a few by Jane Olivor, an artist of whom I had never heard.  Later I saw the same looking cassettes in a music store cut out bin. They were inexpensive and the song selections were nice.  I went ahead and bought each different album.   The albums are very relaxing, but that's her style. Like this...






Time to Vote!
        
          Hey! I'm running out of blogging steam.  Give me a recharge.  Please join in and play along in this 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 Friday May 21 

         I guess a lot of folks look in on my results post and just don't comment.  I feel like it's just something I have to do.  And who knows...maybe I'll think of something I want to say.
















Friday, May 7, 2021

And It's Over Again ( #BOTB Results )

 

    It ain't over until it's over some would say while others might say something to the effect of saying it ain't over until Brünnhilde sings and if you don't know what I'm talking about with that then look it up.  I just don't want to be raising any hackles for saying "lady" or describing how big she is.  People get their hackles raised too easily these days and I don't want to be known as a "hackle raiser"...


Battle of the Bands Results


       As Stephen T McCarthy pointed out in the comments of my recent Battle of the Bands post, the bands I used, Badfinger and Electric Light Orchestra, both have a Beatle-esque sound.  That's one reason why I liked both these bands.  Back in my early days of interest in pop music the Beatles were one of my top favorite groups and this held true for many in that era.  There is little doubt that the Beatles influenced so much popular music after they arrived on the scene and their music continues to have influence to the current time.

       This Beatles influence hit me as soon as I began listening to Badfinger in 1970.  After all they were four musicians recording on the Beatles' Apple record label and they sure sounded kind of like the Beatles.  In fact for quite some time I actually thought they were the Beatles recording under the guise of a fabricated imaginary group.  Later after I discovered another similar sounding Brit group called Grapefruit I thought that they might be the same group as Badfinger/Beatles for the same reasons I thought Badfinger was really the Beatles.  And at the time the Beatles had been playing around with all sorts of weirdness that one might not be ridiculed for believing what I did.  

       Eventually I did come to a realization that the Beatles split up and Badfinger and Grapefruit were their own groups and not some incarnation of each other or anyone else.  Sadly both groups faded away and now have been mostly forgotten by later generations.

       Electric Light Orchestra managed to maintain a longer active history than those other groups and this can be mostly attributed to the driving creative force of Jeff Lynne.  He has appeared with many other artists and produced a number of albums. Lynne's style often reflects the Beatles influence.  Perhaps even a greater influence of Beatles producer George Martin can be heard in the sound of Electric Light Orchestra.  The band has managed a long successful history without much attention grabbing drama.

        I'm a fan of both groups.  The "orchestral" sound of ELO is especially pleasing to my musical tastes.  However the over all quality of songwriting on the Badfinger albums is better in my opinion.  Badfinger had some fantastic songs on their albums and I have listened to far more Badfinger over the years than I have listened to ELO.

       In the match of two songs named "It's Over" by Badfinger and ELO the preference was in the bag for me.  As much as I like ELO's song and wonderful recording production, Badfinger's song is the one that resonates with me the most.  Love that song!  Badfinger got my vote, but they didn't get the win.


Final Vote Tally

Badfinger                   5 votes

ELO                           7 votes


Next Battle of the Bands on Saturday May 15th

        As I've been doing over the past years I'll be slacking off blogging during the summer.  I'm not saying it's over for my blogging, but I might take a break.  But in the meantime don't miss my next Battle of the Bands!







Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Just Sayin' ( #IWSG & #AtoZChallenge Reflections )

 


     In this post I'll be addressing the May 2021 edition of The Insecure Writer's Support Group and tie that in with my Reflections on the 2021 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Yeah, everything is connected--or at least I can find a way to connect one thing to another.  It's the story of 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 May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine.



May 5 question - Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn't expect? If so, did it surprise you?


Unexpected Reactions

        When I was taking fiction writing classes in college I poured so much into the stories I created that I regularly thought that I had created a masterpiece that my professor would rave about.  Well, he might have raved sometimes, but not in the positive ways that I had expected.  That's what writing professors are supposed to do I guess.  And more likely I was too invested in my own sense of genius and a bit blinded to the fact that my writing needed more work.  Why should have I expected otherwise?  My professor was supposed to instruct and guide me and not be an adulating fanboy.  

          Other than teachers, my writing didn't fall into the hands of many readers other than close friends and few of them read much of my writing.  It was not so much any fear of mine that they might say something bad about my writing, but it was a simple matter of getting them to read anything I had written.  Besides, I wasn't especially pushing my writing on others.

           After I discovered that blogging would be a way of putting my writing out in a public way where I might find an occasional reader of my work, my blog became my forum for presenting what I had created to others in hopes of getting some kind of reaction.  Mostly I received positive comments and encouragement that made me want to keep writing.  No longer did I have to submit writing to publications that would end up sending rejection letters.  I could just write what I pleased and my work would be out there for public consumption and I might get some nice comments now and then.  

         For the most part it's been all well and fine and blogging continues to provide us all with a platform to present our words as we want to say them. Unfortunately there is such a strong divide within society about this or that and some people get so disturbed about reading anything other than opinions they share.  This has presented a problem for a blog like mine which by the nature of the title Tossing It Out  suggests that I will be presenting my opinions and views about just about anything.  And that's the course I set out upon from the beginning.

        I've lost readers because of certain opinions that I've shared and at times those readers have departed with nastily deprecating comments as they faded off into their own corners.  We live in odd times of "I'm not gonna be your friend anymore" not just because of differences of opinions, but more due to a belligerent attitude of not even going to listen to the other side if it doesn't agree with one's own opinions.  

       Writing is all about opinions and an author expressing those opinions.  Whether it be fantasy, romance, mystery, or whatever the genre an author injects themselves somehow into the story which means an author's opinions and views about life and the world are mixed up in all that conveyance of the thoughts and imagination of a story being told.  Sure, that's my opinion, but I don't see how it could be otherwise.

        Expectations are figments of our own minds.  They are often shattered as we are directed toward a greater reality--whatever reality is.   When I'm pouring myself into my writing I sometimes get a sense of the exhilaration that I am going to change the world--or some small portion of it--with the genius of my words.  I am my own biggest fan until my words hit a different fan.   Reality sets in.  The clarity of my writing becomes muddled in the confusion of differences of opinion that result in a negativity towards me or my ideas or my writing.

        In the end, it's all okay.  Writers have always had their critics as well as their fervent admirers.  That is how it should be and likely always will be--at least I hope.  In today's world many are quick to cancel, censor, or criticize depending on a writer's opinions.  At least give a fair hearing of what a writer has to say.   The beginning of a story is not the whole story just as the end of the story makes little sense if you don't know what came before.



Blogging from A to Z April Challenge 2021 Reflections

Reflections 2021 #atozchallenge


         As Frank Sinatra once sang:  "It was a very good year".

         Not that 2021 has been all that great, but it sure beats last year.  I think that would my summation of A to Z as well.  I barely remember A to Z 2020, but that year is a big blur for the most part anyway.  The baloney pandemic hit my life at an okay time since I am retired and mostly stay home anyway, but still it was all absurd.  But that was then and this is now, which is kind of like then but with some kind of hope ahead.  I guess.
 
         You'd think that me being retired would mean that blogging would be all that I have to do.  Apparently not though since these days I'm a rather half-hearted blogger.  Like the last few Challenges, I fell way short of making rounds to other blogs or even devoting much time to my own posts.

         Nevertheless I'm happy with my 2021 posts on Rivers of America.  I actually learned a lot in my research and my readers seemed to enjoy the series.  The idea for this theme kind of seemed to come out of nowhere.  When I suggested my theme in my March Reveal post I wasn't even sure where I was going with it.  So a few days before the start of the Challenge I started coming up with river thoughts in an A to Z fashion.  Through the month of April I basically wrote my posts anywhere from a few days ahead of time to the night before the post was to go up.  As they say, I winged it.  Or floated it or whatever.

         And so I'm done.  Great job me and everyone else that I was keeping up with.

         And very special thanks to the ever dedicated A to Z Team of J Lenni Dorner (captain) @ Blog of Author J Lenni Dorner,  Zalka Csenge Virág @ The Multicolored DiaryJohn Holton @ The Sound of One Hand Typing,  Jayden R Vincente @ J R Vincente Erotica Writer, and Jeremy Hawkins (graphics) @ Hollywood Nuts.

          Don't forget to check the Blogging from A to Z Blog for the survey which will help us in the future and for other fun things coming up. If you haven't gotten your T-shirt to display your A to Z bragging rights you can find info on how to obtain one.

        Thanks to everyone who played along and hope you'll be back for the 2022 Challenge!













Saturday, May 1, 2021

It's Over ( #BOTB )

       And just like that another Blogging from A to Z comes to an end.  It's over, but then not entirely so.  Still, to celebrate an end to another Challenge, let's play a thematically apt 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.


It's Over

      There are several songs with the title "It's Over" and if any song seems appropriate for this Battle, a song with this title seems like a good one to use.  I've decided to use songs from two of my favorite groups from the past.  As we all know, it ain't over until it's over, but as far as this Battle is concerned "It's Over" sounds like a nice sentiment after another April Challenge.


Badfinger   "It's Over"   (1971)

       This song comes from the album Straight Up which is my favorite album by Badfinger.  This song along with several others on the album was produced by Todd Rundgren.  

        





Electric Light Orchestra   "It's Over"  (1977)

        ELO had a wonderful big sound with overtones of the Beatles.  As a fan of strings and orchestras I was drawn to ELO as soon as I discovered them.   Their song "It's Over" has their signature sound that gave them so many hits on the charts--big production and lots of drama.  





Time to Vote!
        
          A to Z may be over, but voting for this Battle of the Bands has just begun.  Please join in and play along in this 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 Friday May 7th.

           I'll be here on Wednesday May 5th with a post for #IWSG but the results of the Battle will show up a couple days after that.  And somewhere in those posts I'll include some Challenge Reflections.  It's all slowing down, but it ain't over until it's over...