#ROW80: End-of-Round Post-Mortem


So, here we are, at the end of another round. Of course, for me, it ended a while ago, when I started getting busy with my duties as a co-host for the A to Z Challenge. It wasn’t that I gave up on the goals I set, I just… stopped caring about them, I guess.

I did get where I wanted to be with the posts for the Challenge that starts a week from yesterday; by next Tuesday I plan on being finished with the posts for it, and can dedicate my time to following up with the other participants that have fallen under my purview, and fighting fires… one of those things I seem to do best.

As for the reading… Well, I read 2.5 of the 3 books I had hoped to read, and if you count the ones that I started reading and decided continuing was a waste of time, I’d be well over 3. Guess getting books from all the “Free Kindle Books!” sites is not the way to go. In more than a few cases, I realized that I had overpaid for some of them, even if they were “free.” I saw a quote recently that the price of something is the value of the time you spent on it, in which case, those were some expensive books…

I’ve participated in ROW80 now for three years, and I realized about a week ago that I’m burnt out on it. That, combined with things that will demand my attention over the next couple of months, is why I’ll be taking Round 2 off. I won’t be gone too far; I’ll continue to look in on those of you I’m following on Feedly, and probably leave the occasional pithy comment when I do. I just want to say that I am in awe of the amount of work you folks do. Sometimes I read your updates and I say to myself, “what in the world am I doing trying to keep up with these people?” You’re an amazing bunch; I read some of your updates where you’re saying that you didn’t get anything done, and then I look at the goals you’ve set and what you actually did do… man, you put me to shame.

Good luck next round, and as always, straight ahead…

Just a Quick Note…

As most of you reading this know, or are about to find out, today was my birthday. And I was overwhelmed by the number of people wishing me a “happy birthday” on Facebook, and about so many touching things said, not only about me, but about this blog and what I’m doing here. And I just want to thank you all, and tell you that I love you, and I plan on staying around for a while. Whether you’re someone who went to grammar school, high school, or college with me, or worked with me at MSA/DBS/Geac or Servigistics, or one of Mary’s friends, or we met along the road or on the Internet, or you’re another blogger/writer I’ve met through one of the many challenges and projects here, you are all precious to me, and I cherish your friendship.

Again, thank you, God bless you, and I love you all.

Next year, the big six-oh!


Two for Tuesday: Peter & Gordon

Peter Asher and Gordon Waller were together as Peter & Gordon for a short time (they had their first record in 1964, and split up in 1968) but they made some memorable music during that time. Peter had started out as a child actor, appearing with his sister Jane in a 1955 episode of The Adventures of Robin Hood. Peter met Paul McCartney through his sister, who dated Paul from 1963 through 1968. He wrote several songs for the duo, including “World Without Love,” “Nobody I Know,” “I Don’t Want To See You Again,” and “Woman,” which he wrote under the pseudonym “Bernard Webb” to see if he could get a hit record without his name attached.

Their first record was “World Without Love.” It was written by McCartney, though credited to Lennon and McCartney. It reached #1 in both the US and the UK in 1964. (Peter is the one in glasses, by the way.)

They recorded songs by other artists as well, including Del Shannon, who wrote “I Go To Pieces” for them after they had toured together. It didn’t chart in the UK but reached #9 in the US.

After they split up in 1968, Peter Asher became head of A&R for Apple Records, then moved to California, where he managed acts including Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor and produced tracks for Cher, 10,000 Maniacs, and Diana Ross. They reunited in 2005 and continued making appearances until Gordon’s death by a heart attack in 2009.

Their official website, maintained by Asher and Waller’s estate, sells autographed CD’s and pictures and has a full discography and other interesting things. YouTube has all their hits and a few performances from the 2000’s. Definitely check that out.

Peter & Gordon, your Two for Tuesday, March 24, 2015.

My A to Z Challenge Theme!


You might remember that, the day signups began for the 2015 Blogging from A to Z Challenge, I was so excited that I just couldn’t wait until I could tell people what my theme would be, and I posted it that day. When I did so, I received a comment that told me nicely, “Well, we were all going to wait…”

Was my face ever red…

Anyway, as I mentioned in that post, I had originally wanted to turn the A to Z Challenge on its head and post words that ended with the letter of the day. I wasn’t sure I could get away with it, but I started coming up with my word list, and discovered that there were words that started and ended with the letter. At that point, my theme for the challenge became “words that start and end with the same letter.

So, I’ve been working on my posts for this year, and I do have to admit, not all of my “words” are actually words. One or two are abbreviations, I have at least one word that’s a stock ticker symbol, several are company or product names, and there are a couple that start and end with the same letter because they are the only letter. Anyway, be with us a week from Wednesday, April 1, as this year’s Challenge commences. All of these blogs will be participating in the Challenge, so there should be lots of fun stuff to read.

And, if your blog isn’t on the list, why not? Come join us! It’s oodles of fun!

BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Wonderful World” Results

To refresh your memory, last week’s battle was between Herman’s Hermits and Art Garfunkel with James Taylor and Paul Simon over whose version of Sam Cooke’s “Wonderful World” was better. I had a feeling this was going to be close, but never imagined it would be this close…

Herman’s Hermit’s: 5
Art Garfunkel with J. Taylor and P. Simon: 5

Although I could cast the deciding vote, I won’t. So, this battle ends in a draw. Congratulations to both groups.

Our next battle coincides with the first day of the A to Z Challenge, but I still plan on offering one. Be sure to join me then.


It’s another Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Hosted by Linda Hill at her blog, where you can find the rules, which of course I immediately bend, sort of…



I heard the weekly prompt, and immediately my mind turned to the songs that are about eyes, or have eyes in the title. My consciousness got the best of me, and soon I have a list…

  1. “Blue Eyes,” Elton John
  2. “Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue,” Crystal Gayle
  3. “Hungry Eyes,” Eric Carmen
  4. “Bette Davis Eyes,” Kim Carnes
  5. “These Eyes,” The Guess Who
  6. “Eye of the Tiger,” Survivor
  7. “Spanish Eyes,” Al Martino
  8. “Barney Google, with the Goo-Goo-Googly Eyes,” ?
  9. “Gypsy Eyes,” Jimi Hendrix
  10. “Angry Eyes,” Loggins & Messina
  11. “Blue Eyes Crying In The Rain,” Willie Nelson
  12. “Ma! He’s Making Eyes At Me,” Eddie Cantor
  13. “Jeepers Creepers,” The Four Modernaires
  14. “Behind Blue Eyes,” The Who
  15. “Doctor My Eyes,” Jackson Browne
  16. “Dark Eyed Woman,” Spirit
  17. “Green Eyed Lady,” Sugarloaf
  18. “Dark Eyes,” Bob Dylan
  19. “Dark Eyed Cajun Woman,” Doobie Brothers

[Songs in RED added 3/22]

For your enjoyment, I’ve built a YouTube playlist. Over fifty minutes an hour of music, just waiting for you to press that button. Enjoy!

Follow-Up: Career Advice


Got some good replies to yesterday’s post, and I want to thank everyone who stopped by and read it, or left comments either here or on Facebook. Like I said, the only way I knew all these things was because I screwed them all up, one way or another. Let’s see if I can summarize some of the conversation.

  • My brother Pat said that he got the above piece of advice from someone, and I thought it was good enough to make an image quote out of it and to give him credit for it. It’s great to be the guy behind the scenes and to make everyone else look good, but you shouldn’t be shy about letting people know that it was you who did the work. You have a responsibility to yourself to claim credit where credit is due. It’s not only all right to blow your own horn, in this day and age it’s practically a requirement. He also said to treat everyone well and with respect, because you never know who might be your boss someday. In my second job, my manager told me, “I’d better not say anything negative, because I might be calling you looking for a job someday.” He didn’t, but if he had, I’d have helped him.

  • My high school buddy Mark left a comment both here and on Facebook that it’s not just what you’re doing, but also who you’re doing it with. Also a good piece of advice, and so true. You might be working on great projects that challenge you and really make you happy, but if you’re working for a boss or with a co-worker who’s a real jerk, it can ruin the experience and really make your life miserable. As another person put it, life’s too short to work with *ssholes, and working for them is a disaster waiting to happen.

  • Gale Molinari paid me the great compliment of reblogging yesterday’s post, and added the comment that you should find something you love. I wholeheartedly agree. If you hate getting up in the morning because you hate not just your job but your career, your life will be a thousand times better if you ditch that career and find something you really enjoy. That was really the point behind #6, “Know what else you can do.” A lot of us ended up in the careers we did because we needed a job, and that career was hiring. That doesn’t mean we have to stick with it. This Wall Street Journal article reports that a person might go through seven different careers – not just job changes – in his or her lifetime. Granted, many of these likely happen early in one’s working life, which doesn’t surprise me.
    But how often have you heard someone in their late thirties say, “I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up”? Perhaps their career was chosen by someone other than them. Maybe they chose their career because it was hot at the time. I used to meet lots of nurses who studied nursing because there was a “great shortage” of nurses, and after a few years they wanted nothing more to do with it. Ditto engineers, computer programmers, lawyers, and teachers. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “This sucks, I want to do something else.” Then, of course, you need to follow up on it.

  • Finally, Lauralynn said she had worked in the same job for 34 years, and hoped it would be the last job she had, because she wanted to work for herself when she left. This gets back to my statement that we’re rapidly approaching the “Free Agent Nation,” where employers become clients and employees became independent contractors. Obviously it won’t work for every job, but the jobs for which it won’t work are becoming rarer. And it’s not unusual at all for a person to have a 9-to-5 job, then go home and do side jobs, such as freelance writing, editing, computer programming, or web design. That additional experience comes in very handy if the day job suddenly goes away.

Thank you all for your comments. This was a good discussion, wasn’t it?

A Thursday Ten Encore: Career Advice from someone who screwed his up

Last July, I wrote this blog post listing ten pieces of advice I’d give someone based on my years of experience ignoring it. I’ve decided to re-run it because this morning I saw an article on Lifehacker, “The Company You Work For Is Not Your Friend.” That article is superb, and lists a few things I didn’t include in my post.


About ten years ago, the wheels came off my career. I had jobs after that, and while I did all right, it was never as good as it was before I left the job I held for almost twenty years (missed it by one month). What follows is a list of ten things that I would tell someone looking for a job. I wish I knew these things back when I first started working. Too soon old, too late smart. Continue reading A Thursday Ten Encore: Career Advice from someone who screwed his up

#ROW80: Next-to-last checkin

Click on the logo to visit the challenge!

We have one more week to go in this round after this one, and I feel like the wheels have come off… If you read Kait’s post on the ROW80 blog, you know she’s just about over the time change, but I’m not, and neither is Mary. Do you realize we now spend eight months out of the year on Daylight Saving Time, and only four months on “standard” time? Hey, Congress, make this most recent change to the clocks the last change to the clocks, and give us a break, willya? You did it once before (1973), then undid it…

Anyway, the summary:

  • Read three books: I’m still at two and a half. I might get book #3 read by the end of the round.
  • Finish A to Z blog posts: Work continues apace on them. I’m about halfway done.

Next month, I’ll probably be busier than a one-armed paper hanger, so I probably won’t start Round 2 until later, if at all. Just fair warning for all my fans…

Straight ahead!

Two for Tuesday: Them (featuring Van Morrison)

Begad and begorrah, Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In honor of the day, I found an Irish band that was part of the British Invasion (and yes, they celebrate St. Paddy’s Day in Northern Ireland).

Them was a band from Belfast, Northern Ireland that formed in 1964. They’re probably best known for launching the career of Van Morrison, who left the group in 1966 and has had a very successful solo career, and for the song “Gloria,” which, if you’re a guitar player, you have to know. (Really, it’s Federal Law.)

Like many bands of the British Invasion, they were inspired by American blues and R&B. Their first album included Bo Diddley’s “You Can’t Judge a Book By Its Cover,” Bobby Blue Bland’s “Turn On Your Love Light,” and Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” their second single and first in the US. It reached #10 in the UK but only rose as high as #102 in the US. That’s today’s first number.

The B-side of the single was the aforementioned “Gloria.” Decca, their record company, decided to re-issue the previous single with “Gloria” as the A-side, and the record did better the second time around in the US, although it only reached #71. The song was considered controversial because it featured the line, “she comes to my room, then she made me feel alright.” Because of that line, WLS radio in Chicago refused to play Them’s version of the song; instead, The Big 89 played a cover by Mt. Prospect, Illinois’ The Shadows of Knight. Their version changed the line to “she called out my name, that made me feel alright.” Their version hit #1 on the WLS Silver Dollar Survey on April 1, 1966. Here’s the original.

Them broke up while on tour in the US in late 1966, and Van Morrison went on to have a lengthy career as a solo artist. The rest of the band, meanwhile, continued on until 1972, when the band dissolved.

Them, your Two for Tuesday, March 17, 2015.

John Holton's blog


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