This Is Me--2024 A to Z Theme

My A to Z Themes in the past have covered a range of topics and for 2024 the theme is a personal retrospective that I call "I Coulda Been" which is in reference to my job and career arc over my lifetime. I'll be looking at all sorts of occupations that I have done or could have done. Maybe you've done some of these too!

Friday, July 8, 2022

The Summer Song Battle Outcome ( #BOTB Results )

     We are free of Independence Day and now there's the rest of the summer.  I wish we in Southern California could have some of the rain some of you in other places are getting.  We always can use rain.  And my grass is drying up since we're only allowed to water twice a week  I think we might end up with fake grass eventually.  Works for me.  We have a very small yard....


    It was a real bang up Fourth of July at my house.  We had about 20 or so family members feasting on carne asada and all the fixings.  Mmmm!  Good stuff.  Had enough food for two rounds of eating during a day of talking, picture taking, and playing games.  I think everyone had a pretty good time.  It was all over by 6 PM when everyone went home to leave my wife and I to watch a movie on television as the sound of fireworks surrounded us and the air filled with smoke.

        What I want to know is where do all these people in my area and throughout the Los Angeles area get the money for all of these fireworks.  I mean, these are not your typical fireworks. These are the professional quality explode-massively-in-the-sky fireworks.  Sirens were heard throughout the evening as small fires erupted.   One guy nearby nearly blew his face off while a few miles away another guy died.  But it's like this every year.  I never saw as many fireworks when I lived in Tennessee.  California is crazy.  But you probably already know that.

         So on with the next item on the agenda...


Battle of the Bands Results

       My most recent Battle was a three-way showdown of similar sounding summer songs by Steve Miller Band, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Kid Rock.  The two classics of these--"Take the Money and Run" and "Sweet Home Alabama"--are both songs that I like a great deal.  They've been part of my summers for over forty years.  The Kid Rock song "All Summer Long" is relatively new to me, but I can appreciate the way his song includes the others in some way into a mash-up that has all the trademarks of becoming an iconic summertime party song.

        I like all three, but I'm going to give my vote to Kid Rock (which also averts having a tie for first place).  It would have been interesting to see what the outcome might have been with more votes.

Final Results

Steve Miller Band     3 votes

Lynyrd Skynyrd       3 votes

Kid Rock                   5 votes

Next Battle on Monday August 1st

          This is my plan.  I think I'll skip my midmonth Battle, but if I feel motivated I might put up a midmonth post of some sort.  Don't bet on it, but I might do it.  It's a lazy summer time so I might just be lazy and not do anything.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

A Nice Place to Visit, But... ( #IWSG )


     "There's no place like home"  was the advice given to Dorothy in the movie The Wizard of Oz.  Pretty good advice I'd say.   The nice thing about traveling to a fictional book world is that it's easy to get back home and one doesn't even need ruby slippers to get there...

  My current special summer edition of Battle of the Bands can be found here.  Please vote!

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 July 6 posting of the IWSG are J Lenni Dorner, Janet Alcorn, PJ Colando, Jenni Enzor, and Diane Burton!

July 6 question - If you could live in any book world, which one would you choose?

      I enjoy reading in order to escape the reality in which I exist.  The nice thing about this is that I can enjoy the escape without enduing hardship or inconvenience of that reality offers and easily close the pages to return to the reality from which I came.  In thinking this question through I came to the conclusion that there are no book worlds that I'd particularly like to live in.

       Many of the fiction books I tend to read have settings that are apocalyptic or rather dark and gritty so those are not places where I'd want to live.  I also don't especially want to live in a sci-fi type future world because often those stories don't end up all that well.  Give me the here and now that I know or something similar.

        So with that in mind I'm going with a couple of books that take place in the same time era of early World War Two, but are set in New York City.  It's a time before my birth, but with indoor plumbing still a common thing and many of the conveniences I can recognize.

        E.L. Doctorow's Worlds Fair is a beautiful nostalgic depiction of the magic of 1939 New York City that culminates in a visit to the New York Worlds Fair.  Despite the turmoil going on in the rest of the world, 1939 New York seems like a nice place to be.

        Likewise,  Philip Roth's Nemesis depicts life around Newark New Jersey in 1944.  Close enough to the New York of the Worlds Fair world for me to hang out in New York if I were living in Roth's world.

          Even though the threat of war was ever present, it was a time that seems exciting to me.  The cars, the night clubs, the shows on Broadway, and a rapidly changing America as it careens toward a post World War era.  I think I could stand that time.  It was pretty much like things were when I was born and those seemed like good years in many ways.

         Oh sure, lots of bad things were happening in the United States at that time, but there was a lot that I would liked to have experienced first hand.  Sure beats trudging through some apocalyptic landscape battling monsters and mutants.  That stuff is fun to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there.

    Are you happy having lived in the times in which you have lived?   If you romanticize times prior to the 20th century, do you take into consideration modern things like indoor plumbing?    What major historical event would you have most liked to have witnessed?


Friday, July 1, 2022

Sounds Like Summer? ( #BOTB )

If the following seems like something I've posted before then you would be discerning correctly.  This post is not exactly the same as some others I've posted, but it is similar.  And after all it is that recurring musical thing some of us do.  We call it....

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.

Similar Summer Sounds

        Darned if I remember how this Battle episode came into being.  Maybe it's just my ongoing (weird perhaps?) quest to find songs that remind me of other songs.  This BOTB post is like a part two of my previous Battle which was based on songs I find to have similarities in melodic lines.

        Most likely this Battle came about after watching a show about the music of Kid Rock, an artist for whom I had previously had no interest in and might have a hard time coming up with many of his songs. On the other hand, maybe the show just reaffirmed something that I had previously noted about a few songs that have long been a part of my musical memory.

        No matter how the Battle premise came about, the following collection of songs has been lingering in the BOTB hopper waiting to be unleashed upon you who follow this blog.  These are songs that not only remind me of each other, but other hearers of the song apparently think the same way which is evidenced by the final Battle entry of the three contenders.

        Though not in a chronological sense of release date, this musical journey begins with the Warren Zevon song "Werewolves of London" (1978).  I never cared much for this song until more recent years when I came to have a greater appreciation for Zevon's music, but it's still not among my favorite tunes so I don't care to use it in this Battle (especially considering this is going to be a three song Battle and I don't want to burden you with any more songs that the three that I prefer).

       In any case, some time ago when I was listening to this song, it came to my aural mind that the song reminded me of Steve Miller's more well-known hit "Take the Money and Run".  Now, anyone who was of a cognizable age in the summer of 1976 will likely recall that this song was all over the place at the time and has remained a staple of classic rock.  As evidence that I'm not the only one who hears this similarity between the songs you might check out this amateur bar band mash-up of the two songs.

       Two summers prior to Miller's song release there was that ultimate rock anthem by Lynyrd Skynyrd (didn't I just do this one last time?) "Sweet Home Alabama".  That song rocked the airwaves in the summer of 1974 and has been popular ever since.  Maybe not as close sounding as the similarity between the Miller and Zevon songs, still I'm hearing a reminiscent melodic and rhythmic riff in the Skynyrd song as well.  

       So call me crazy if you want, but then you're going to have to call Kid Rock crazy too.  In his  2008 hit "All Summer Long" (which according to Wikipedia was inspired by Bob Seger's "Night Moves") Kid Rock very liberally samples "Werewolves of London" as well as "Sweet Home Alabama" and not in any plagiaristic sense.  In fact the song credits not only include the Kid Rock team, but also Zevon and the entire entourage who originally wrote the "Alabama" song.  Talk about giving credit where credit is due!   A whole bunch of people made money off "All Summer Long" and in the end they may have come up with what could be considered the ultimate summer song.

      That brings us to the arena of Battle. Three summertime song hits.  Some--or all--might bring back some fond memories of summers past.  This is a good collection of rock songs in my view, but you might think differently about them.  Which brings back the best summer memories for you?  Which song do you prefer most?  Take a listen to see if you hear the similarities and then tell us which is your favorite...

Steve Miller Band  "Take the Money and Run"  (1976)

Lynyrd Skynyrd   "Sweet Home Alabama"  (1974)

Kid Rock  "All Summer Long"   (2008)

Time to Vote!

         Nothing like a Battle of the Bands for a hot summer day.  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


'Curious as a Cathy'

Sound of One Hand Typing

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday July 8th

      What do you think is the ultimate summer song?   Can you think of any songs that would fit well into a mash-up of the songs featured in this post?   What music are you listening to this summer?