Friday, August 30, 2013

BATTLE OF THE BANDS III



It’s the 30th of August and not the 1st of September, but it’s time to post another BATTLE OF THE BANDS. Stephen T. McCarthy and I decided to post this one a little early because of the holiday weekend and the fact that lucky dog, gets to take a little trip.

Anyway…as usual I’m caught with my pants down (not literally) and am a day late and a dollar short (literally) again. (Two clich├ęs in one sentence, well slap my hand.)

So, let’s get on with it.

Today I’ve chosen a ‘show tune’. This one from a Broadway play titled ‘A Little Night Music’. The production wasn’t particularly memorable but the song was, at least I guess it was because it sure got a lot of covers. I wasn’t sure exactly who to pit against each other but I decided to let ‘the ladies’ wrestle it out.

Let’s ‘Send in the Clowns’

First up. Judy



Next Barbra (even thought this woman can’t spell her name correctly, she achieved fame at a certain, shall we say, infamy)



OK, now you know what to do and where to do it. Start here and then go on over to Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends the home of the handsome Stephen T. McCarthy and Tossing It Out the home of the ever popular Arlee Bird and vote there also. Check the comment boxes of each official participant and see who else is posting a ‘BATTLE’ this week (it seems a lot of people are jumping on this war wagon).

Just so you know here are the rules that will govern the prizes included in this contest.

Find The True Purpose For Voting On ‘Battle Of The Bands’ Installments: Win Compact Discs!-Compact Discs!-Compact Discs! Spectacular, Super-Colossal Blogosphere ‘Battle of The Bands’ Voting Contest!

Here’s The Deal: By voting on the ‘Battle Of The Bands’ blog bits here and at the ‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’ blog, you can win the compact disc of your choice. Every 4 months, Stephen and I will add up how many times you voted on our blogs, and the person who has participated most often (i.e., submitted the most eligible votes) will get to select one compact disc that contains any one of the songs that were included in either of our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ installments (“Super-Colossal” expensive boxed-sets, imports, and ‘out-of-print’ compact discs not included). In the event of a tie, the names will be put in a Stetson and the name drawn from the cowboy hat will win the CD.

Rules For Voting: Stephen and I post new ‘Battle Of The Bands’ blog bits on the 1st and 15th of each month. We also post our own personal votes for the respective blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month (i.e., six days later). For your vote to be counted, it must be submitted in our comment sections BEFORE we post our own votes (BEFORE we make our own votes known on the 7th and the 21st).

Every 4 months there will be a new compact disc winner. In other words, ‘Battle Of The Bands’ #1 was posted on August 1, 2013, so at the end of November, one of you lucky voters is going to win a CD that includes one of the songs we’ve featured in our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ installments (you get to choose, and it doesn’t matter if the song won or lost its battle – if you like it, it’s YOURS!)

Alright, now... VOTE ON and ROCK ON! (while we ‘Count On...’)



Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHOLE LOT 'O SHAKIN' GOIN' ON

Speaking of pestilence and other disasters…..

My last post was a whine about the current state of our air quality in the Lake Tahoe area. Smoke from the ‘Rim Fire’ in California has taken up residence here over Tahoe. NOW, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a Nevada earthquake. YES, a Nevada earthquake.

Monday, early evening 5:51 PM to be exact, it felt like a giant, giant gave my house a shove. Just one big shove, but it actually moved the chair in was lounging on a few inches across the floor. I had some friends visiting and one of them says “What was that?’. Her husband calmly replied, ‘an earthquake’. I’m like; “WHAT DID YOU SAY’.  A few minutes later we switched on the tube and sure enough, it was an earthquake centered about 50 miles away. YIKES!

I just keep reminding myself that in de islands they are now at the height of hurricane season.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Smoke Gets in my Eyes

As the ‘Rim Fire’ in California burns into Yosemite National Park, I understand that precautions are being taken to protect two grove of giant Sequoia. What a shame it would be to lose these giant sentinels to time and endurance.



Here on the shores of Lake Tahoe we are caught in the fall out of this fire. SMOKE.  For the past five days now the entire area has been shrouded in the eerie haze blowing up from the south west. It’s covering our landscape in a thick blanket than has visibility down to a minimum and completely obliterated the normal clean pine scent.



I woke up at about 2 AM with its thick stink clinging in my nostrils and that acid taste coating my tongue. My throat hurts and my eyes sting. I’m beginning to get a headache and I can’t seem to fall back to sleep. Earlier in the week I spent some time down in the valley (Reno and Carson City) and it was worse down there as the cloud had settled in like an unwelcome blanket.

The last few days I’ve been praying for it to rain and the wind to change, so that the air quality might improve. Early this morning in my Internet search for news about the fire, I learned that it is so large its creating a weather system of its own. The news agency claimed that there are over two thousand firefighters and a dozen aircraft currently battling the blaze and yet it remains only about 5% contained. The citizens of San Francisco fear for their water supply and power grid and the inferno creeps steadily toward their largest source of drinking water and hydro plants.

Previously, when I enjoyed the beaches of the Caribbean or lived among the Intermountain West of the Rockies, I took it as a fact of life that portions of California quite literally went up in smoke every summer. This year living out a different dream, on the blue waters of Tahoe amid the wonder of the Sierras, those fires are an unfortunate reality that is taking a toll on both my lungs and patience. And yet, complain as I might, along with a lot of sneezing, coughing, and sputtering neither I nor my possessions are at threat of anything but smelling like a campfire for the next several weeks.


So, I guess the choice is to ride it out and hope for the best or pack up and take an extended trip toward clearer air. Since a trip is out of the question, I guess I’ll continue to cough, sneeze and complain, but I may begin to do it behind a surgical mask.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Breckenridge, Believing and Battle of the Bands II results


You all know that I really try to make the rounds and visit everybody who stops by my place, don’t ya? Well, I do, but last week after my ‘Battle of the Bands II’ post I got whacked with the flu, and that has set me back (you really wouldn’t want me bringing those germs on over to your house).

Anyway…yesterday in my game of catch-up I stopped in a Robin’s place YOUR DAILY DOSE and she was talking about an upcoming vacation. It got me to thinking that although I haven’t had a proper vacation in awhile, I have spent most of my life on a permanent vacation. Let me explain.

Over the years, I’ve been crazy fortunate enough to live in some of the best resorts areas on the globe. Now living somewhere and making a living there isn’t exactly the same as ‘taking a vacation’, but I do believe that you have to maximize every opportunity and never take your circumstances or surroundings for granted. Often, I get asked– where’s home? Or where was your favorite place? That would have to be Breckenridge, Colorado.

I lived in Breckenridge before it was a world renown ski area; before skiing was a ‘rich man’s’ sport and before all of the streets were paved. In those days it was a town filled with old hippies (I say old, not to designate age, but because their time was a little long past). In those days most of us still believed we could make a difference, a big difference in the world. In those days most of the town and surrounding area was owned my one man. He was kinda Breckenridge’s Old Mr. Potter like in Bedford Falls (‘It’s a Wonderful Life’). This guy owned the local radio station and even managed to obtain the call letters that corresponded with his wife’s initials. That was KLGT 102.1 on your FM dial.

Breckenridge was pretty laid back in those days and so was its radio channel. The DJ’s were people you knew from the local bars, and the chit chat when folks called in was always interesting, Apparently the FCC wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention. One year on Christmas Eve they did a promo where you could call in and they would make a call for you to anywhere in the nation, and you could wish you friends or family a Merry Christmas on their dime (YES, boys and girls this was before everybody had a little ole cell phone and nationwide service), of course, your call was broadcast for everyone in the local listening area to hear. BUT what I remember most about that time and KLGT was that when they signed off at night (YEP, you read that right, the station actually shut down somewhere in the wee hours of the morning for a few hours – none of this 24 hours stuff in those days) the late night DJ always did his sign-off with one particular song.

I hope you guessed what that particular song was. It was Don Henley reminiscing and reminding himself what a lonely life it was bein’ a ‘Desperado’. Yessiree, that’s what inspired ‘Battle of the Bands II’ for me. I bet you already guessed my choice. Karen Carpenter does in fact have a beautiful voice and IMO far out distanced Linda’s version of this song, it always felt to me like she was signing about someone else; perhaps a long lost love who was too much of a Desperado to stay at her side. When Don sings it, it’s like each and every one of us is singing it to ourselves as a warning, epitaph, or creed. Perhaps that’s what made it so popular; it’s a song that sings to everybody, if only just a little bit.

So for me it Don and The Eagles, and by the votes you guys agreed with me by a little more than two to one. 


‘Catch ya on the flip side’, for ‘Battle of the Bands III’. That ‘BATTLE’ will be posted a little early (August 30th instead of September 1) due to the holiday weekend.

I almost forgot -- Get yerself on over to STEPHEN'S PLACE to check out the winner there, but whatever you do, do not ask him about beer or we might never know who won his BOTB II (I'm looking at you Bryan!).

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Battle of the Bands II


Holy Carp! It’s the Fifteenth of the month already, and time for another Battle of the Bands. I don’t know about all of you, but I had a good time reading your comments on the last Battle, and I know Mr. McCarthy did too.

So…for Battle of the Bands II everything remains the same. Listen to the two versions of the same tune, that I have posted here, and then ‘boot scoot’ your way on over to Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends the home of Stephen T. McCarthy and see what Mr. McCarthy has in store for you there.

Did I say everything remains the same, well, that’s not exactly true because Mr. McCarthy and I have decided to make a little change, just to make this more interesting, but I digress (I’m good at that). So don’t get too distracted. Listen to the two videos and the information about this little change will follow.

This week I’ve chosen an oldie but a goodie. This little ditty was written by Glen Frey and Don Henley (that’s right, two of The Eagles). It first appeared on The Eagles album of the same name in 1973. On its 2004 list of ‘The 500 Greatest songs of all Time’, Rolling Stone ranked it at 494. I think at one time or another, almost everyone liked to think of it as their personal theme song. A simple slow ballad that has been covered by a whole lot of folks, including but not limited to; Kenny Rogers, Clint Black, The Carpenters, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Andy Williams and Neil Diamond. (Andy Williams, are you kidding me? Yep, it’s ANDY WILLIAMS all right. YIKES!)

For a minute I thought about pitting ‘the ladies’ against each other, but then I thought NAW! So, here’s Battle II. First up, the original sung by none other than Don Henley backed up by The Eagles.




Second, let’s see what you think of the female version. Number two sung by Karen Carpenter.



OK, you know the drill, vote in the comment section and tell me little bit about why you like this particular version. Then get 'yerself on over to Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends and vote for the selections there.

NOW, read on for the exciting changes we’ve (Mr. McCarthy and I) made to this little contest. Somebody besides these recording artists is gonna win big.

Find The True Meaning of Christmas: Win Money!- Money!- Money! Spectacular, Super-Colossal Neighborhood Christmas Lights and Display contest.

Find The True Purpose For Voting On ‘Battle Of The Bands’ Installments: Win Compact Discs!-Compact Discs!-Compact Discs! Spectacular, Super-Colossal Blogosphere ‘Battle of The Bands’ Voting Contest!

Here’s The Deal: By voting on the ‘Battle Of The Bands’ blog bits here and at the ‘FERRET-FACED FASCIST FREINDS’ blog, you can win the compact disc of your choice. Every 4 months, Stephen and I will add up how many times you voted on our blogs, and the person who has participated most often (i.e., submitted the most eligible votes) will get to select one compact disc that contains any one of the songs that were included in either of our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ installments (“Super-Colossal” expensive boxed-sets, imports, and ‘out-of-print’ compact discs not included). In the event of a tie, the names will be put in a Stetson and the name drawn from the cowboy hat will win the CD.

Rules For Voting: Stephen and I post new ‘Battle Of The Bands’ blog bits on the 1st and 15th of each month. We also post our own personal votes for the respective blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month (i.e., six days later). For your vote to be counted, it must be submitted in our comment sections BEFORE we post our own votes (BEFORE we make our own votes known on the 7th and the 21st).


Every 4 months there will be a new compact disc winner. In other words, ‘Battle Of The Bands’ #1 was posted on August 1, 2013, so at the end of November, one of you lucky voters is going to win a CD that includes one of the songs we’ve featured in our ‘Battle Of The Bands’ installments (you get to choose, and it doesn’t matter if the song won or lost its battle – if you like it, it’s YOURS!)

Alright, now... VOTE ON and ROCK ON! (while we ‘Count On...’)

Don't forget to come back on the 21st to see the results and read about our choices.

PLEASE, tell all of your friends to come by and let's make this a real contest.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

FAE's THEORY OF RELATIVITY(IWSG) and BATTLE OF THE BANDS RESULTS


This month I don’t feel particularly insecure (a good thing) but I do feel a tremendous sadness (not a good thing). August is a hard month for me. It’s a time when I’ve lost several people near and dear to me, and I can’t help feel bad. But, nobody really wants to hear about that.

I have a theory, my own personal theory of relativity. It’s based on this; “I felt bad because I had no shoes, and then I saw a man with no feet.”

Everything is relative. When we are hungry we say, “I’m starving”, then we might see one of those television ads of children in foreign countries who are really starving. When we don’t have the dollars to do the things we want, we say, I’m flat broke, then we might see someone sleeping in a doorway or begging for food. We say, I’m freezing when we are a little cold, then we see people (sadly too often children) in little or very thin clothing on a very cold day who are shivering. It’s all relative.

I fall into the trap of feeling sorry for myself and then I realize how fortunate I am. I live in what is maybe, the most beautiful place in this here United States. I enjoy relatively good health. I have a small but loving family. I have a few close friends. I know those people whom I’m missing so badly this time of year, are waiting to welcome me home one day. I might need a new pair of shoes, but my feet are in pretty good shape.

What about you? Are you insecure/sad/lonely? Tell me about it. Then go on over to Alex J Cavanaugh's Blog and visit some of the other participants in the IWSG.

NOW something a little more fun.

The voting results for the First Battle of the Bands:

I had 18 people stop by and vote and one vote over at the blog of Stephen T McCarthy (apparently, I had something messed up on my blog that didn’t allow this person to vote). So, that’s a total of 19 people. One person stated that they couldn’t hear the tunes on their iPad, so they didn’t vote.

A Thousand Kisses Deep

Chris Botti – Instrumental                     Leonard Cohen – Lyrics
       12 votes                                           6 votes

Three of those people stated that it was a very close race for them, but in the end Botti won out.

Well, Chris Botti was the big winner by 2 to 1.



Now, my choice and a little information.

First, that’s trumpet Chris Botti is playing. I never thought of a trumpet as a particularly sexy instrument before, but he sure has a way with that thing.

This song is from a poem written by Leonard Cohen and if you would like to read the entire poem click on the Leonard Cohen Files. This guy is an incredible wordsmith. I do have another Cohen tune up for a ‘Battle’ in a few weeks, so if you like Leonard or are at least intrigued by his lyrics and style, be sure to come back.

MY CHOICE

I have to agree with those three who called it ‘very close’. I like Leonard. As a matter of fact I like all those raspy voiced rascals, like Cohen, Dylan, Waits, LaMontagne, and any others you can think of. These guys have to carry the song on their lyrics and emotion because they don’t necessarily have the most pleasant voice, but I like ‘em. Anyway… I’ve been a fan of Cohen and ‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’, long before I ever heard of Chris Botti, but I do have to say for overall appeal and listening pleasure my vote goes to Chris Botti – some pretty sexy stuff.

NEXT, get yourself on over to Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends the home of Stephen t. McCarthy and see how the voting turned out at that site. I’m sure the talented Mr. McCarthy will have some special insights for you there (besides he claims HIS is the better blog).

Be sure to come back on the 15th for BATTLE OF THE BANDS II. Hopefully, at that time we will announce what we’re gonna do for prizes. Ya’al like prizes don’t ya?


Catch ya on the flip side. (August 15 for BOTB II)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

BATTLE OF THE BANDS I

Here we are at the start of ‘Something Big’ (I hope) it’s the very first of the
BATTLE OF THE BANDS. I tried to warn inform you yesterday that this is going to be a bi-monthly program here at the Far Away Series. I gave this concept a test drive a few weeks ago. You can view that BotB Preview HERE. But starting today and on the first and fifteenth of every month, until further notice, I will be posting a BotB for you listening pleasure and asking for your vote and comments on my selections.

To add to this fun, this will be a joint effort with Mr. Stephen T. McCarthy of FERRET-FACED FASCIST FRIENDS , so when you finish voting here, pop on over to his space and see what melodious selections he has posted and vote there also.

One week from today both Stephen and I will tally up the votes and let you know who won this premiere BotB, on each site, and then we will also give you our choice and comments.

So, let’s get started. 

For my first selection I have chosen a tune written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson. I found some interesting information regarding this piece, but I’ll save that for next week.

First up is an instrumental version by Chris Botti. This is probably the most sensual piece of music I have ever heard. If you live alone, you might not want to listen in right before bedtime. If you don’t live alone, your significant other can thank me in the comments box.





The second contender is by none other than Leonard Cohen himself. This version includes the lyrics. I will admit the lyrics are a little dark and might take away from the general aura of sexiness about this song, but that haunting melody is still present.



OK, those are the choices. Give me your vote and tell me why. Then go on over to FERRET-FACED FASCIST FREINDS and see what Mr. McCarthy has chosen for us.