Time--2017 A to Z Theme

My theme for the 2017 Blogging from A to Z April Challenge was "Time". The posts are of a more philosophical, contemplative, and even autobiographical bent. No time management tips in this theme, but stuff intended to make you think.

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


Friday, December 8, 2017

Watching the World Go By (#BOTB Results)

The dreamer in me makes me see this world as a wonderful place.  Then this old world slaps me around and knocks me down leaving me battered and bruised.   Still, I intend to make the Dreamer win--even if it kills me...

Arlee Bird with daughter Ada @ 1984

       Life seems much like a parade to me.  Sometimes I might be just watching it go by while at other times I'm marching in step to the flow of it all.  All might be crazy wonderful in one moment, then comes just the moving forward, ever forward.   No matter what,  we're all a part of that parade whether it be marching, watching, or just knowing that it keeps on going.

        Sometime around Thanksgiving of 1964, my family's juggling act participated in the Chicago Christmas Parade.  We were living in northeastern Indiana at the time--about 40 miles from The Loop as downtown Chicago is called.  The parade was there. 

         We had to leave the house at some wee hour of the morning.  We got dressed in our show apparel before leaving and put heavy coats over that because it was very cold.  Chicagoland tends to get extremely bitter harsh cold in late November.  Now here we were driving in the middle of the night dressed in silly costumes.  My father said we had to do it.  And my sister and I would each get $25 which was not bad for a thirteen year old like I was at the time.

         My father drove to a designated area where we could park and assemble with the parade which was organizing in a staging area.  We shucked our coats into the car.  Now my father and I were only wearing tuxedos with those thin pants that didn't offer much protection from the cold, but I guess it was better than my mother and sister who were wearing short costumes with black fishnets.

        I can't say how long that parade was but it was a long way to walk in the freezing cold while juggling.  Exerting the activity of both of those actions did warm us all up considerably.  At first the wooden handles of the clubs we were juggling slapping against our cold hands stung as though we'd been slapped in our open hands with a cane.   It hurt.  The cold hurt.  I was numb from being cold, tired, and generally overwhelmed by everything all around me.  And walking and juggling and walking and juggling.

        At the end of the parade route, we simply stopped juggling and got in a taxicab that took us back to the car.  I'm sure my father had that heat blasting in no time.  I had survived and now I would have twenty-five bucks.  My legs burned like they were on fire.  The numbness was gradually going away, but at the time it seemed like it lasted forever.

         I only marched in one other parade juggling along with my family.  We got paid for that one too.  It was a 4th of July parade in Johnson City, Tennessee.  Damn!  It was hot!  I'm not sure what's worse:  Juggling in a Christmas parade in Chicago or a July parade in Tennessee.   Neither I'd say.  They're both just fine because here I am still marching along.   Those parades were just parts of a much bigger parade.  I hope it still has a way to go, but when it does end I hope there's a warm taxi waiting for me.

Battle of the Bands Results

Where Is Your Heart?

        In my recent Battle between versions of "The Song from Moulin Rouge" known later as "Where Is Your Heart?", vocalist Joni James dominated the voting.  My vote goes to her version as well.  While the jazzed up Jonah Jones version is slick and catchy (it's been playing in my head a lot over the past couple of weeks), Joni's version is a lush melancholy arrangement such as the ones I've been used to hearing since childhood.  As many of you noted, the slower version is more fitting to the song's lyrics and intent.

       Without the lyrics and played at a faster tempo, Jonah Jones presents a fun performance that as both Stephen T. McCarthy and I noted as being similar to the style of the Ray Coniff Singers who were popular during the 1960s.  Or as Michael Todd pointed out in his humorous observation, "while I was listening to the Jonah Jones Quartet rendition, I was expecting to hear "Manamana" as sung by the Muppets".    Yeah, I can hear it.

      The Jonah Jones rendition has a lot of entertainment value and it's good music as well.  I liked it a lot.  But the version sung by Joni James has a lot of heart (that's appropriate) and evokes the emotion that the song intends.  Both versions are winners, but in this contest Joni James takes the trophy.

Final Vote Tally

Jonah Jones         7 votes

Joni James          12 votes

Next Battle on Friday December 15th

         There might be a post or two between now and then.  I live by whim these days.  That is unless I absolutely have to do something.  My next Battle will be one inspired by Stephen T McCarthy's recent Los Angeles showdown.    What you can expect to see on Tossing It Out next time are two different songs that are not exactly about Los Angeles, but both are filmed in Los Angeles from very different perspectives.  It's gonna be weird.

          Do you enjoy weird?   Do you like parades?   What are some parades you have been in (don't forget your school days!)?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

No Regrets, But... (#IWSG)

Would Have, Could Have, and Should Have are three old friends who I try to avoid these days.  They just waste my time talking about things I can't do anything about...

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 6th posting of the IWSG are Julie Flanders,Shannon Lawrence, Fundy Blue, and Heather Gardner 

December 6 question - As you look back on 2017, with all its successes/failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

         "No regrets" is one of my life rules.   But sometimes we can speculate and it's not like it's not obvious to me.  My answer is simple:  The thing I would have done differently is I would have written more.   

        Really though I can think many things that I should have done more of--a lot of them being the things I should have done more of every year.  I don't want to complain though as I have a great life and for now my future looks fine.  Things could always be better, but they could get a whole lot worse so I give thanks to God for what I have.

        So rather than think about what I did or didn't do last year, I'll start mapping out what's ahead.  Downsizing my life is definitely a big priority for me and I've been working on that one.  I need to start reading again--at least a half hour a day at barest minimum.  There are several other things I have in mind but no point in rambling about them here.

          The big thing that concerns this current post is that I need to start writing more.  Writing with intent.  Writing with a goal in mind.

           Keep telling myself.

           Do you ever really do enough of anything that you enjoy doing?    Do you spend more time writing or reading?   What is your favorite part of a journey taken?

To vote on my current Battle of the Bands please click HERE.  

Friday, December 1, 2017

Where Is Your Heart? (#BOTB)

The pursuit of love can make one a fearless fool while to deny love can make one foolishly afraid and eventually filled with sadness and regret.

English: a love heart in water
 a love heart in water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         Loving another person involves risk.  Betrayal and rejection can harden the heart, but not necessarily the spirit.   For many an artistic person, the hurt that follows the abandonment becomes like a junkie's drug in reverse.  Some poets thrive on pain.  Some of our greatest creative geniuses have left us at such a young age knowing little recognition until after they had passed from this world.  The heart is an elusive thing.

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 blogs there is also a Battle on the 1st of the month.  My blog is one of those with a second Battle on the 1st of the month.   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.

Where Is Your Heart?

          Often known as simply "The Song from the Moulin Rouge" the song performed in that movie which is lip-synced by Zsa Zsa Gabor while sung by obscure vocalist Muriel Smith should be more appropriately called "It's April Again".   Some of of the more well known recordings are instrumental versions by orchestras such as that of Percy Faith.  The song was originally a French song called "La Long de la Seine" making this a song that can be found under a few different names with many recordings of diverse stylistic forms and performing artists.  The version known as "Where Is Your Heart" was very popular in the fifties and into the sixties. 

Jonah Jones  "Where Is Your Heart"  (1961)

         Jazz trumpeter Jonah Jones began his career in the 1920s playing on Mississippi riverboats.  He  had numerous recordings released with his ensembles from the 1950s up to his death at age 90 in ther year 2000. 

Joni James  "Where Is Your Heart" (1958)

      My father liked the singing of Joni James so much that my parents named one of my sisters after her.  I never knew this until my mother told me a few years before she died.  I don't remember ever seeing any of James' albums around our house and I only vaguely recall her name back when I was a kid.

Time to Vote!

These are two very different versions with something to be said for either one.   Do you have a preference between these two choices?   Which version do you like the best?   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

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Cherdo on the Flipside 

Winner of this Battle Announced on Friday December 8th

        Between now and results announcement day I'll be making my contribution to the Insecure Writer's Support Group on Wednesday December 6th.  In the meantime, between now and next Friday, please don't forget to vote on this Battle.   Come on, have a heart!

           Did you ever love someone who couldn't seem to return your love?   Have you ever learned about another's love for you that you never realized was there?  What is your idea of the ultimate romantic location real or imagined?