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!

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

The Snowball that Swallowed my World ( #IWSG & #BOTB Results )

       I was just hanging out waiting for the holidays when a massive snowball rolled up behind me.  I tried to get away, but then it just swallowed me up and kept on rolling.   And here I am now, rolling to who knows what... 

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 7 posting of the IWSG are Joylene Nowell Butler, Chemist Ken, Natalie Aguirre, Nancy Gideon, and Cathrina Constantine!

December 7 question - It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

         When November started I had little idea of what was to come.   Then, things started happening and the month started flying like no other November I can remember.  Unexpected things that were good for the most part, but very busy for my life.

         First, there was a surprise trip to East Tennessee courtesy of the son of my best friend who was to celebrate his 50th anniversary with his wife.  I had not planned on going for the anniversary luncheon, but my friend from my high school days really wanted me to come so his kids surprised him by bringing me there.  It was a delightful four day whirlwind that also allowed me to spend some very good time with my brother and two sisters.

        Then, a couple days after my return home, my oldest daughter and her family came for a week and a half visit for the Thanksgiving holiday.  They treated my wife and I to a mini-vacation in Scottsdale Arizona at a magnificent resort that was all decked out for Christmas.  It was spectacular!

         After that four day excursion, we had an enjoyable few days leading up to Thanksgiving.  I prepared a feast that included turkey, ham, and all sorts of sides upon which we all gorged ourselves.  I'll pat myself on the back for that achievement, which is something I hadn't done for the past few years.  Two of our daughters came with their families and we had a great time.

         Then after everyone had left, my wife came down with a mild bout of COVID (of course!).   As she was recovering I came down with a bit of an irritating cold that set me back a bit.  Fortunately I tested negative for COVID, but still I didn't feel like doing too much for several days.

        As we recovered, my wife's father went to the hospital and was diagnosed with COVID as was her sister who lives with their father.  My father-in-law has been in declining health for the past many months and going to the hospital didn't help.  He's still there as I write this post and my guess is that he will likely pass away today or soon after.  After all, he is 98 years old and was having a difficult time doing anything for himself.   He's had a long run in his life so I think we can be thankful that he made it this far.

      That's just November, and any writer goals I might have had didn't get very far for this busy month.  So, to answer the IWSG question for December, I think it's probably safe to say I'm going to be falling way behind on the writing plans that I had been considering and likely I won't gather much momentum in the weeks ahead.

       But who knows?  I don't need much more in my schedule, but I'm ready for anything.  I'm pretty sure there will soon be a funeral and family gatherings.  And next week my wife and I will be having our 25th anniversary.  What a combination of events and occurrences!  That's the way it goes sometimes.   I'm not even sure about Christmas and New Year.  I'm going to take it all as it comes.  I can do writing later I guess.

Battle of the Bands Results


         My most recent Battle was an example that goes against the grain of conventional BOTB thinking of not pitting a more unknown song version against a more known version that was a "hit".  My song choice was "Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You All the Best Years of my Life" using the relatively obscure version by Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw up against the more known Mac Davis version that made it to  #15 on the Billboard charts back in 1974.  

        The Davis version hasn't aged too well and like a few noted it's kind of a lifeless schlocky tribute to rock music while sounding insipidly poppish.  Mac Davis tanked in this Battle with most of the votes going to Doug Kershaw's up tempo version.  Add my vote to this latter group.

Final Vote Tally

Mac Davis                2 votes

Doug Kershaw          11 votes

Next Battle of the Bands on ?????

          As I noted earlier, I've been busy and things might not let up too much for a while.  I'll decide about my next Battle in the weeks ahead, but I'm thinking it might be January 15.  I'll see what everyone else is doing as well.

        Have a wonderful Christmas and an excellent year to come!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life) ( #BOTB )

        This has been an extremely busy November for me with trips to East Tennessee and Phoenix AZ as well as visiting family members for Thanksgiving.  So much fun!  I'm tired and it's still a few weeks until Christmas.  Life is good!

       But I'm back on the blog and 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.

Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You All the Best Years of My Life

        Lately I've been doing a lot of reflecting on my life.  Housecleaning (and organizing) does that to me sometimes.  Looking at all of the stuff I own makes me wonder what I should continue to keep and what I need to get rid of.   The biggest part of my accumulation of stuff is my collection of music on vinyl, tape, and CD.  I've spent a fortune on those things over the years and now when I look at my music library I often think how I'd like to have back all the money I spent on this collection.

         However, all that music sure provided me with countless hours of listening pleasure.  There is a wide variety of musical styles in my audio library, but the preponderance of this collection is in the genre of rock and roll.  Rock music has provided me with so much listening pleasure since the sixties up until the present time.  The money spent would be nice to have now, but there could be no replacing those musical memories.

          The song for this Battle installment popped into my head the other day for some reason I can't recall.  I'd say most of you might not be familiar with "Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)" but it's likely that many of you might identify with some of the sentiments of the song which was written by Australian singer/songwriter Kevin Johnson.  The song is rarely played on radio or elsewhere even though it's been recorded by several artists over the years.

          Here are two versions for you to compare and decide which you like best...

Mac Davis     Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)  (1974)

         Mac Davis was a big star in the seventies and into the eighties.  He had several hit songs (including the ones he wrote for Elvis Presley).  For a while he often appeared in TV shows, movies, and onstage and continued working in show business until his death at 78 in 2020. 

           Mac's version of this song was the highest charting version in the United States reaching #15 on the Billboard charts in 1974.   Listen and then move on to the next version....

 Doug Kershaw      Rock 'n Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)  (1973)

          Doug Kershaw has had a long respectable career as a singer and fiddle player.  He never has reached superstar status, but he has secured a solid place in country music history.  His version of "Best Years of My Life" is the only one I ever knew until recently.  When I first heard it back in 1973 I went right out and bought the album which I discussed in my 'K' entry for this year's A to Z Challenge.  

          Kershaw's version picks up the tempo a bit from most other versions I've listened to.  Now you take a listen and tell us what you think about it...

Time to Vote!

           You don't have to give the best years of your life to play in this game.  It only takes a few minutes!  Just listen and appreciate.  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 

Battle Results Wednesday December 7th

       You will find the results of this Battle on Wednesday December 7th.   I'm going to continue taking a bit of a blog break through the holidays.  I'll make a couple of Insecure Writer's Support Group posts, but other than that I'm going to do whatever it is I'll be doing.  I hope it's mostly fun and productive.  Be sure to stop back by for the results!