A significant leap of faith

So, I’ve been running this blog since January 2012. For the last year or so I’ve been promoting it on Twitter, and on Google Plus for a few months (not that anyone would notice – that’s a joke). I’ve hesitated to promote the blog on Facebook, and I think the reason was that I didn’t want those closest to me to know that I was blogging. Call it a lack of confidence.

Well, I’ve decided that’s ridiculous.

So, to all my friends and family on Facebook, welcome to The Sound of One Hand Typing.

Copyright: cbenjasuwan / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: cbenjasuwan / 123RF Stock Photo

This blog started when I fancied myself a fiction writer. As time went on, I realized I’m not even much of a fiction reader, and one kind of goes with the other. So, while I try and figure out what to do next, I blog every day, and maybe something will bite me in the butt come to me.

My regular followers (and I love you guys, and thank you for reading) could tell you what goes on around here, but let me give you a quick guide:

  • A lot of what I do is respond to blogging challenges, such as A Round Of Words In 80 Days, in which I set goals for myself at the beginning of a quarter and report in every week about how well or poorly I’m doing; the Blogging from A to Z Challenge in April, where I choose an overall theme for the month (say White Sox players) and write a post every day (except Sunday) starting with each successive letter (April 1 would be Sandy Alomar, April 2 is Angel Bravo, etc. through April 30, which would be Richie Zisk); Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted by Linda Hill at her blog, where she assigns a word each Friday, we riff on it and post the results on Saturday; and Battle of the Bands on the 1st and 15th of the month, where I pick a song, find examples of a couple of performers who have done it, and let you, the readers, choose which one is better.
  • I have a couple of regular features here: Two for Tuesday, where I select an artist, find a couple of videos by that artist (I love YouTube), and post them on Tuesday along with a little something about the artist (lately it’s been jazz guitar players); and The Thursday Ten, where I pick a topic and come up with a list of ten things about that topic. A new feature is Blue Monday, where I feature a couple of blues videos, in the spirit of the Blue Monday jams that take place in the bars on Chicago’s South Side. I haven’t decided whether to do that every Monday or just once a month.
  • The rest of the time? Just about anything: music, classic TV, “link-o-ramas,” memoirs, commentary on stories I read on the Internet, reblogs, things that make me laugh, everything but politics.

That category of “things that make me laugh” reminds me of this…

Theres-a-place-for

So, welcome, and, as they used to say on The Beverly Hillbillies, “Set a spell. Take yer shoes off. Y’all come back now, hear?”

Ten Suggestions for NaNoWriMo

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I won’t be doing National Novel Writing Month (a/k/a NaNoWriMo) this year. The last couple of times have not gone well, and last year I declared “NaNoNoMo!” I blog every day; I figure that’s good enough. But I do want to wish everyone who’s doing the challenge the best of luck. If this is your first time doing the challenge, I have a gift for you: ten suggestions for getting through the month with a 50,000-word novel and your health more or less intact. Even if you’re an old vet at this, you might see something you can use.

  1. Don’t edit. This is not National Novel Editing Month. That’s next month. Editing on the fly will kill your chances of finishing the novel. Write first, edit later. Don’t let your internal editor see what you’re writing. Lock it in a round room and tell it there’s a ten-dollar bill in the corner.

  2. The first draft is going to suck, anyway. Have fun with it. Oscar Wilde said “the first draft of anything is shit.” You’re not going to spend December looking for an agent to try and sell it to one of the major publishers. Write in November, fix in December (and January, and February…).

  3. Write on your schedule. You know when is a good time for you to write. If you usually write in the morning, write in the morning. If you normally fit your writing schedule around the other things in your life (kids, job, spouse, college football), then stick to that.

  4. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t finish. If you do, great. If you don’t, it’s all right. You didn’t waste your time. You have words and a good idea where to take them. That’s just as good.

  5. Just because they say you have to write 1,667 words a day doesn’t mean you HAVE to. 1667 is an average. 50000 words / 30 days = 1,667 words a day. If you decide to take weekends off, you have 20 days to write your 50K, meaning you need to average 2500 words a day. Add Saturdays back in, you have 25 days, so you need to average 2000 words a day. But again, those are just averages. You will have a few days when you write like crazy and end up with 4000 words or more. Other days, you’ll have to take a kid to the emergency room. It all works out in the end.

  6. Write every day, even if you’re ahead. The discipline is good, and there will be days that you don’t want to write (e.g. Thanksgiving if you live in the US) or days when you can’t (kid gets sick, you have to work overtime, raccoon gets loose in the house), so staying ahead of the game is a good idea.

  7. Watch the caffeine! I love coffee, but I’ve been relegated to drinking decaf because caffeine sends my blood pressure into the stratosphere, and I don’t need another stroke. And the energy drinks are a lot more dangerous than they let on. When they say “Red Bull gives you wiiiiiings,” they might be talking about the wings you get when you die and go to heaven. Really. Too much caffeine is why this blog is called “The Sound of One Hand Typing,” and why I drink decaf now.

  8. You can write out of order. Some of you are plotters and know what scenes you’re going to write and in what order they will appear. If you’re using Scrivener, yWriter, the Hiveword website, or some other writing software that allows you to enter the scenes you planned and write them individually, there’s no law that says you have to write them in the order you plan on them showing up in the finished product. Even if you don’t use writing software, you don’t have to write in order. “But John, I’m using Word, and everything is in one big ol’ document!” No problem: separate your scenes within the document (like with a string of asterisks or hash marks) and keep track of the order the scenes appear in the document. When you rewrite (and you will, trust me), you can cut-and-paste them out of your draft into a new one in the order you want to see them. Better yet, keep each scene in a separate document and merge them at the end. This article from the KnowledgeBase explains how. But, you might want to take advantage of the deal that Literature and Latte gives you on Scrivener for NaNoWriMo. It’s an easy program to learn, and it’ll make your writing life a whole lot simpler.

  9. Don’t expect the finished product to always make sense. I had an aunt that had something called “The Pig Book.” The trick was to draw a pig while blindfolded. I liked paging through the book and looking at all the attempts people had made over the years. (My favorites were the attempts my parents made before they were married.) You got all kinds of strange drawings, some where the snout was sticking out the pig’s midsection, the tail was separated from the rest of the pig by an inch or more, etc. It’s likely that, as you’re writing, characters will change names, things that happen don’t logically fit with your plan, you have sections that start in the middle of the other sections, there are going to be beaucoup typos and misspellings, it will look like your train of thought hopped the tracks, etc. Let the novel stew for a week or two before picking it up and reading it. And have a good laugh when you do. Then fix it.

  10. Above all, have fun. You’ll be working hard, typing like crazy, all the while thinking “how am I going to tie all this together?” Don’t worry about that. Just enjoy the feeling of your fingers pounding the keys or of your pen skating across the page like Peggy Fleming. If you’re typing a scene and decide to change it on-the-fly, go ahead and do that. Enjoy yourself. Throw the odd joke in every once in a while. This is for you. Next month, you can worry about everyone else.

Again, best of luck, and have a great time. As always, straight ahead!

Blue Monday on Wednesday: Buddy Guy

I was going to try and do a Blue Monday jam on Monday, but the death of bassist extraordinaire Jack Bruce precluded that. Anyway, I found this video and, wouldn’t you know it, playing bass behind Buddy Guy is none other than Mr. Bruce. From 1969, from Supershow UK, here’s Buddy Guy’s version of “Stormy Monday Blues,” with Rahsaan Roland Kirk on saxophones, Jimmy Hope on organ, Ron Burton on drums, and of course Buddy Guy on guitar and vocals and Jack Bruce on bass.

Two for Tuesday: Laurindo Almeida

Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida made a name for himself as both a classical guitarist and as one of the creators of the fusion of Latin music and jazz known as “Jazz Samba.” He first entered the jazz scene in the late 1940’s with Stan Kenton’s band where he met saxophonist/flautist Bud Shank. Together they recorded the albums known as Braziliance 1 and 2 in 1953 (originally credited as “The Laurindo Almeida Quartet featuring Bud Shank”). This was the first attempt at combining jazz and Brazilian music, preceding bossa nova by several years. He recorded with the Modern Jazz Quartet in the mid-1960’s, when he also recorded many of his classical guitar albums and performed on many movie and TV soundtracks, including The High Chaparal, The Godfather, and Funny Girl. He and Shank would come together again in the mid-1970’s with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Shelly Manne to form the L. A. Four, which further explored Jazz Samba. In the early 1980’s he recorded a number of albums with fellow guitarist Charlie Byrd, and also recorded with Baden Powell, Stan Getz, and Herbie Mann. He died in 1995, leaving behind a legacy of the guitar in both classical and jazz.

Our selections today come from albums in my own collection. The first song is “Speak Low,” a jazz standard composed by Ogden Nash and Kurt Weill, from the 1966 album Sammy Davis, Jr. Sings and Laurindo Almeida Plays. The whole album is a masterpiece, featuring only Davis’ voice and Almeida’s guitar. The second is “Watch What Happens,” a song composed by Michel Legrand and Jacques Demy, the title track from the L. A. Four’s album of the same name. All of the players get a solo on this one.

There’s much more of Almeida’s music on YouTube, including his work with Getz and the MJQ. I hope you spend some time with his music.

Laurindo Almeida, your Two for Tuesday, October 28, 2014.

RIP Jack Bruce

I have to confess that I wasn’t much of a Cream fan, but I heard Jack Bruce’s bass playing with West, Bruce, and Laing and John McLaughlin. He was an excellent player and a very intelligent musician who could also play upright bass, cello, guitar, harmonica, and piano. I remember an interview with him that was published in Bass Player magazine years ago, where he said, if you want to learn about bass lines, listen to Johann Sebastian Bach. To my knowledge, that was the first and maybe only time Bach’s name was used in an interview in Bass Player.

Jack passed away this past Saturday. From the number of tributes and memorials paid to him, you can tell he was a strong influence on the music of the 1960’s and on rock musicians since the first Cream album.

You know there has to be music, right? Here’s Jack with Rory Gallagher doing the Cream song “Politician.”

Here’s a reunion of Cream from about ten years ago, doing several songs, “White Room,” “Crossroads,” and “Badge.”

I truly wonder if he and Bach have gotten together…

Rest in peace, Jack Bruce.

#ROW80: Last checkin during Daylight Saving Time

Click to visit the challenge!
Click to visit the challenge!

The update:

  • Do 750 Words every day: Did this four days out of seven. Not great, especially after I managed to finish every day the week before, but that’s life. The key is doing it first, before anything else. I got into the habit of getting other things done first. See, on Sundays Mary and I spend the afternoon at Starbucks. I get my writing and blogging done, and Mary meets with some of her knitting friends. Occasionally, the friends will drag their husbands along, figuring I would be happy to babysit while they knit. (Arrarrarrarr…) I was barely finishing the 750 when they’d start showing up, and I’d have to stop writing and be charming, meaning I wouldn’t get anything else done.

  • Read 30 minutes a day: Done simply by going through Feedly and reading the articles there. I have a bunch of books that I want to re-read; I’ll start that this week.

  • Practice writing left-handed 15 minutes a day: Did this twice this week. Not all that impressive. I bought some of the retractable Sharpies to practice with, and they’re not exactly pens you can write with. It’s like writing with a Magic Marker and the ink bleeds through the paper. I’m going back to pens and pencils.

  • Other: I’m getting better at not doing editing while I’m writing, and I think things are flowing better than they had been. I’m missing a few typos when I edit later, though. The next objective will be to read my posts aloud so I don’t miss as many of them.
    Oh, and I finished my sponsor post. Check it out on the ROW80 blog on December 15.

I saw an interesting idea on Lifehacker. Study Hacks Blog interviewed Maria Popova, the woman who writes the Brain Pickings blog. If you don’t read it, I recommend that you do. She’s a spectacular writer who turns out three fairly long blog posts a day, five days a week. She talked about keeping an idea index on all the books she reads (she reads about three books a day). As she’s reading, when she comes across an interesting idea, she writes the idea, and the page it shows up on, in the front of the book. If she runs across a page where an existing idea is referenced, she adds the page number to the corresponding line in her index. That way, when she picks up a book she hasn’t read in a while, she can look at her index and refresh her memory on what’s in it. I think I’ll try this, though for now I’ll have to keep the notes in Evernote. Do any of the rest of you do this? How does it work for you?

It looks like I’ll be contributing to a blog hosted on Blogger in the not-too-distant future (more to come on that). It looks like it’s changed some since I used it close to four years ago. It might be a good idea to set up a private blog (if that’s even possible) over there and see what differences there are between the two types. Anyone have any tips for me?

Until next time, straight ahead.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Degree-o-rama!

Another entry for Stream of Consciousness Saturday!

Click the picture to play along!
Click the picture to play along!

Degrees… wow, so many degrees in this world….

There are 360 degrees in a circle, and you can measure arcs in degrees or radians. A circle has 360 degrees or 2π radians, since the circumference of a circle with a radius of 1 is 2π. An arc defined by a 45-degree angle is an eighth of a circle, or 2π/8 (π/4) radians. You learn all this stuff in trigonometry, and use it from that point on. Being a math major teaches you stuff like that. And in statistics there are degrees of freedom…

I’m glad I never got my degree in math. I was planning on getting my doctorate at one time, but never got the BS. I have a Bachelor of Business Administration in Production and Operations Management. I got it when there were still factory jobs, but I spent most of my career in IT. I thought ofgf getting and MBA, but I’d have ended up taking most of the same classes as with the BBA. If I worked somewhere that would pay for me to get one, I might have.

And there was the movie Six Degrees of Separation with Will Smith, Donald Sutherland, and Stockard Channing. Stockard Channing was in the movie Grease with Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta. I thought she had also done a movie with Kevin Bacon; if she had, her number of degrees of Kevin Bacon would be 1. I guess he’s acted in so many movies, other actors have either worked with him, worked with actors who worked with him, worked with actors who worked with actors who worked with him, etc. So they talk about degrees of Kevin Bacon, and there’s even a website where you can put someone’s name in and get the number of degrees of separation. Christian Bale is two degrees from Kevin, Chuck Norris is also two degrees away, John Wayne is a 2, and so is Charlie Chaplin. Clara Bow is a 3. That’s the sign of a real trouper, that there are so many people who’ve worked with him.

Anyone whose body temperature is above 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit (37.5 degrees Celsius; it was centigrade when I was a kid) has a fever. Miss Peggy Lee sang the song “Fever”…

The blues guitarist Buddy Guy covered it; I heard him do it live at Ratso’s in Chicago when I was in college. I went to the bathroom at the end of the set and who was standing beside me at the urinals but Buddy himself. Nice guy. My friends and I paid a fortune to get out of that club, because we had many drinkies. But we heard Buddy Guy with Junior Wells, an amazing harmonica player.

Speaking of incredible harmonica (or as they say in blues circles, harp) players, Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs had a song like “Fever” called “Temperature.” Walter joined up with Muddy Waters in the early 1950’s. Together they, along with many others, defined the Chicago-style blues, similar to Delta blues but with electric instruments and drums. Walter held a microphone while he played the harp, giving him that sound. He played both the standard diatonic harmonica (so named because each hole gives you two notes, one when you blow and one when you draw) and the chromatic harmonica (it has a button on the side that shifts all the notes up a half-step so you can play sharps and flats). I guess he got in a fight in 1968 and they found him dead, stuffed in a garbage dumpster.

Monday in the blues clubs in Chicago is known as “Blue Monday” and it’s a day when musicians get together and jam. Maybe I should make Monday “Blue Monday” here on the blog…

The Three Degrees was a singing group from Philadelphia. Their first hit was “When Will I See You Again? (Precious Moments)” in 1974. The lineup at the time was Fayette Pinkney, Valerie Holiday, and Sheila Ferguson, though I can’t tell you which is which in this video. Whatever, it’s a lovely song sung by three attractive women with fanatstic voices.

The Knights of Columbus have four degrees, or levels, of membership. My great-grandfather was a Fourth Degree Knight, the highest level; I have his sash, and one of my brothers has his sword. Father (now Venerable) Michael McGivney started the Knights of Columbus in 1882 as an alternative to the Freemasons, which Catholic men were (and I think still are) forbidden to join.

Finally, Degree is a brand of anti-perspirant in the US and Canada. It’s called Sure in the UK and Ireland, Rexena in Japan and South Korea, Shield in South Africa, and Rexona everywhere else. It was developed by Helene Curtis, which was founded in Chicago; they’ve since been bought out by Unilever. Here’s an ad from 1993.

I’d continue, but it’s 10:45 PM and I’m beat. I’ve been writing all day. Wunderground.com tells me it’s 52.6° Fahrenheit, which is 11.44° centigrade. Old habits die hard…

Getting people to vote

Got some interesting reactions to yesterday’s post about reasons people give for not voting.

Sandi from Sappy as a Tree said the post reminded her to get absentee ballots for her kids, who are attending college out-of-state. Glad I was able to help, Sandi.

Susan Gourley, who writes for her eponymous blog, commented that “Too many elections there seems to be only a choice between two evils.” This is the “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” position. The lesser of two evils is still evil, and there doesn’t seem to be a way around it. Meanwhile, Sue Archer over at Doorway Between Worlds, was surprised to learn that there were so many elections in the United States are uncontested, and remarked “How discouraging for the process!” It is, and I’ll have a suggestion for how to fix both of those situations in a minute.

Rachel, from Rachel Also Writes, said that, in Australia, voting is mandatory, and you can be fined for not voting. She also said “they always have sausage sizzles and Australians love sausage sizzles.”

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I’m not certain what sausage sizzles are, but I know if they were promising free food, I’d be encouraged to vote. I’d try to vote three or four times, in fact. I did say I was from Chicago, didn’t I? By the way, Oprah Winfrey started her career in Chicago…

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I don’t know if Americans could be bought off with food, unfortunately, but I think we might be on to something there. As it is, most states give away a sticker that you can put on and walk around all day, announcing “I’m better than you are! I voted!” Kind of dorky-looking. At least the ones we have in Georgia are.

georgia-peach

Now, what I think we ought to have is a lottery. Vote, and you’re entered in a lottery with ten prizes of $100,000. The probability of winning would be kind of low, but someone has to win.

Now, back to the situations where both candidates are lousy or there’s only one in the running: Give people the option of voting “no.”

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

The idea of doing this has been bandied about for years now, and I think it’s time it was given more thought.

Right now, most elections are between a Democrat and a Republican. There might be a candidate from the Libertarian Party or the Green Party, or someone running as an independent, and there’s always the option of writing someone in, but by and large, the choice is between the Democrat and the Republican. Well, if you don’t like either of them, your choices are not to cast a vote, write someone in, “Eeny meeny miney mo,” or vote for one of the third-party or independent candidates.

Add “None of the above,” or NOTA, to the ballot, and you’ll always have a choice. Now, if you like neither the Democrat nor the Republican, you can deny them both your vote and make it count. If NOTA wins, both parties choose someone new and the election is held again. If someone is running uncontested, they now have competition.

In the case of the Presidential election, the Constitution already stipulates that the House of Representatives chooses the President and the Senate chooses the Vice President. If NOTA won originally, they would be required to choose someone other than the two original candidates.

Think of it this way: the percentage of eligible voters in the United States has been between 49% (1996) and either 57.5% or 58.2% (last election) since 1968. Those elections were decided not by the people voting, but the people not voting. No vote is as good as a vote for the candidate who wins. Therefore, Barack Obama, who received 50.1% of the vote from those who bothered to show up and cast a ballot, was chosen by 29% of the eligible voters in this country. Mitt Romney received 47.2% of the actual votes, but was chosen by 27% of the eligible voters. If enough of the 44% of people who either voted for a third-party candidate (generally a protest vote) or who didn’t even show up were enticed by the NOTA option, it’s likely we’d have a President and a Vice President other than either Obama and Joe Biden or Romney and Paul Ryan.

Which is precisely why we’ll never see it happen.

Oh, well. Maybe we could go with sausage sizzles…

Oh, they're hot dogs! Now I'm in for sure! (source: BecomingAussie.wordpress.com)
Oh, they’re hot dogs! Now I’m in for sure! (source: BecomingAussie.wordpress.com)

Ten reasons people don’t vote

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My apologies in advance to people who live outside the United States, but you might recognize some of these anyway.

Election Day is November 2, and for some of us it can’t come soon enough. I’m tired of the constant stream of campaign ads during Jeopardy! and all of the cards being mailed to the house that just go in the garbage, and thank heaven we got rid of our landline, or we’d have to erase the campaign messages off the voice mail.

Here in Georgia, anyone who wants to vote early can do so, if they happen to be free between 7 AM and 7 PM on Monday through Friday and can find the polling place, and the requirements for absentee ballots have been relaxed in order to try and encourage more people to cast a ballot. (I qualify for an absentee ballot, anyway, since I’m an Official Disabled Person.) Still, our turnout here is about 65 percent. That might come as a shock to those of you who live in countries where you can be cited and fined for not voting on Election Day and not having a good reason why, but it’s pretty much par for the course here.

Anyway, I sat down and thought of ten reasons that people give for not voting. Here they are.

  1. It’s inconvenient. You can take advantage of early voting or absentee voting, but it’s still a hassle. If you have trouble showing up between 7 AM and 7 PM on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, chances are you’ll have trouble finding a day when you can take advantage of early voting. You can get an absentee ballot, but it requires getting the form (assuming you know where to find it), filling it out, finding an envelope, a stamp, and a mailbox. Enough of an inconvenience to make people say “forget this.”
  2. Stuff happens. It’s not at all unusual to have to leave for work before the polls open and not get back to your neighborhood until after they close. You might think you have enough time to get home and vote, then get stuck behind an accident for an hour. Or, just as you’re ready to leave, all hell breaks loose at work and you need to stay there until it’s fixed. Or somebody (child, elderly relative, spouse, you) might be ill.
  3. Incumbency. Incumbents have a distinct advantage over challengers in elections. They’ve been in the job for a while, they have experience, and people figure, as long as I’m doing all right, the incumbent might as well keep his job. The incumbent also has a distinct advantage in collecting campaign contributions, so they’re on TV, in the mailbox, and on the phone all the time. Those not interested in voting for the incumbent get the impression that it’s done and dusted, and stay home.
  4. Negative campaigns. One of the two races in Georgia is between two individuals who have decided that the best way to win is to smear the other candidate. So Candidate A presents Candidate B as a jerk, while Candidate B presents Candidate A as an idiot. By the time they’re finished the electorate in Georgia is likely to decide both candidates are idiots and jerks, and decide it’s not worth it.
  5. Better things to do. Political battles are like battles between warring Mafia families. The only people interested are the parties involved, and hopefully no one else gets hurt. The electorate really has no stake in who gets elected; elections have become scrimmages between the blue team and the red team. You can’t blame someone for saying “I have to wash my hair.”
  6. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Voters see the candidates, don’t like either of them, know that it’s a choice between those two, and decide to stay home rather than vote for either one.
  7. No real choice. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, a significant percentage of whom run against no one or at most token opposition. Florida has 23 US Representatives, 18 of whom are running unopposed; in Massachusetts, five of the nine are unopposed. It’s even worse with many of the local races. Texas has a Senate and a House, and more than half of the current members of both are running unopposed.
  8. Too many things on the ballot. My brother lives in California and says there are more questions on the ballot than on the SAT (the primary college entrance exam, for those who don’t know what it is). Every state has judicial races, most of which are “Shall X be retained?” Unless you deal with judges all the time, how are you supposed to know who to vote for? (Most of us work out a system for that: Mary votes for the women, I vote for the Irish and the Jews.)
  9. The process is rigged. There are districts in the United States where they get 110% turnout on Election Day. I lived in Chicago, where stories of the dead and imaginary people voting are legendary. There is really no way to validate that every vote in an election was cast by an eligible voter, and the politicians seem fine with that. In that case, why even bother?
  10. It only encourages them. Casting a ballot to elect someone who ran a sleazy, negative campaign to be elected only emboldens them to do it again, and it sends the messwage that it’s all right to do the same thing in other elections. If a candidate feels that he can get away with bad behavior, he’ll keep doing it.

Again, these are nothing more than reasons people have given for not voting in elections. I’m not saying I agree with them. I’m also not saying that you should stay home on Election Day. By all means, show up and cast your ballot, or take advantage of absentee balloting or early voting, and make your voice heard. At the same time, these are legitimate concerns that no one is taking seriously, let alone working to resolve, and this frustrates the people who elected the people who can change the system. I’m afraid it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Anyway, there’s your Thursday Ten for October 23, 2014.

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Cry Me A River” results

BATTLE OF THE BANDS! (BOTB Top Photo)

So, last week I chose the song “Cry Me A River,” a torch song popularized by Julie London in the 1950’s and recorded many times since, including the contestants from last week, Joe Cocker and Michael Bublé. Cocker’s version was done during the “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” tour in 1969-70 and was a blues-rock version arranged by Leon Russell, the guy in the green top hat in the video. Bublé’s was a Big Band version, sung with the appropriate Vegas-style bombast. I purposely didn’t give you any obvious choices, including Julie London’s original (which would have been my choice, as it is a classic, both for Ms. London’s vocal and Barney Kessel’s remarkable guitar playing) and Ella Fitzgerald’s version from the early 1960’s (she would have sung the song in Pete Kelly’s Blues, had they decided to keep it). I could have put Julie up against Ella with this, but chose not to; both women are remarkble singers, but their versions are not that different from each other.

This appeared, from many of the comments I received, to have become a contest between “NOT Joe Cocker” and “NOT Michael Bublé”. In the end, Not-Cocker beat Not-Bublé by almost a 2-1 margin. The tallies:

Cocker 5
Bublé 8

My own choice wouldn’t have made a difference, but I would have chosen Joe Cocker’s version. It was the first version I heard, he was backed by some of the best sidemen of the late 1960’s-early 1970’s (Leon Russell, Chris Stainton, Bobby Keys, Jim Keltner, Carl Radle) and a number of fine singers (including Rita Coolidge and Claudia Lennear), and it was an interesting take on the song. But I don’t give myself a vote.

Okay! So, we’ll see you back here on the first of next month. Rock on!

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