The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

The Manhattan Project

My 2016 theme of The Manhattan Project is not about the development of the atomic bomb but is in reference to the name "Manhattan" and what it might make us think of when we hear it. I will be using ideas that readers suggested in my post What Does "Manhattan" Say to You? as well as some of my own observations.
During April I'll be presenting posts related to travel, people, history, food, and more. Then of course there will be two Battle of the Bands posts with songs related to Manhattan. I hope you'll be with me throughout the month of April for The Manhattan Project.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Love and Ego (#IWSG)

      Voting is still open on my Battle of the Bands post.  If you have not visited yet to vote for your favorite recording please visit this post and let your preference be known.  The song that I've used ties in with today's post as well as my Reflections Post yet to come.

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

Now What?

       Leon Russell's song "Manhattan Island Serenade" provides a good analogy to how I feel  after an A to Z Challenge has ended.  The narrator of the song talks about being broke down stuck along the roadside and thinking of recent loss.  He reflects on where he's been and where he's going next. It's kind of the same way I feel and what I've read some of the other A to Z participants say they feel about the end of the Challenge.  But it's a temporary feeling like we get any time we've had a rush of fullness in life and then it's gone leaving us with only memories.

         But enough reflecting for now.  My official A to Z Reflections Post will appear on Tossing It Out coming on Monday May 9th.  For more information about the Reflections Post be sure to visit the A to Z Challenge Blog.   Today I want to consider some things ahead on my blog.

Love and Ego

        Most of you probably recall the story of Narcissus who gazed at his own reflection in the pool of water and fell in love with the image, which unobtainable to him eventually led to his demise.  Narcissism is an exhaustive topic that cannot be addressed in a single blog post, however I raise the topic as an introduction to things to come on Tossing It Out.  

         During the month of April I began to ponder the concepts of love and ego and all things connected with these concepts.  I meandered through many aspects of these things prompted by whatever I was absorbing in the media, on the internet, and all around me in general.  It was one of those weird moods perhaps, but it led me to a number of questions.

          Why do we write?  Why do we blog?  Why do we do the things we do or find ourselves attracted to certain people?   And in the end what does it all mean?   Just asking, you know--just asking like most of us probably ask the universe at times.  

           And specifically in regard to our writing and blogging, why do we choose the stories we tell and topics we explore and how do we make these things relevant to others?   Sounds whimsical perhaps, and it is.  But why not?   Why not ask what, how, and why?  Besides summer is coming and that's a time that I've always associated with daydreaming and thinking down the rabbit hole.  Lazy days and crazy days.   Vacations and recreations.  Much of my recreation consists of thinking so that's what I plan to do even though thinking seems to be what I do much of the time anyway.

          After all summer is coming and with summer while I physically wander the country, my mind will be wondering about many things.   This is always the case it seems.  If we aren't questioning, then we must be lacking in awareness.   Not thinking is not being alive.

         Maybe it's silly to ask the age old question "What is the meaning of life?"   But then, why not ask the question?   In asking we might find an answer.  Or more likely we might give rise to more questions.  Sometimes the questions never stop just as much of the time the answers never come.

          In any case, my theme in every post on Tossing It Out including my Battle of the Bands posts from now until I decide to stop will be "Love and Ego".   Call me obsessed if you like.  But then maybe Love and Ego is ultimately the only theme any of us ever writes about when it comes right down to the crux of all things.  

          Do you ever ponder the mysteries of love and ego?   Do you consider your actions to be mostly driven by ego, love, both, or something else entirely?    Does the word "ego" have a negative connotation to you?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Oude Maasweg (#BOTB)

Rear-view mirror showing cars parked behind th...
Rear-view mirror showing cars parked behind the
vehicle containing the mirror
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
         Another Blogging from A to Z April Challenge is now in the rear view mirror as we head back into blogging normalcy--whatever that may be. There will still be one more thing regarding A to Z and that is the A to Z Reflections post coming up on Monday May 9th and running up until May 13th.  You're free to put up your Reflections Post anytime between now and then, but the Linky List won't open until May 9th at which time you can add your link that leads directly to your A to Z Reflections post.  For more information please watch the A to Z Challenge Blog.

       However, today is May 1st and that means it's time for another Battle of the Bands!!!!

Battle of the Bands

          Battle of the Bands is the blogging event hosted by Far Away Series and  StMcC Presents Battle of the Bands.   This event happens twice each month on the 1st and 15th.   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.

The Amazing Stroopwafels  "Oude Maasweg" (1981)

       Popular in their homeland, Dutch band The Amazing Stroopwafels recorded "Oude Maasweg" almost as an afterthought when they needed to fill their second album with more time.  Since this song had been part of bandleader Wim Kerkhof's repertoire for many years, the band decided to include it on the album.  To the band's surprise the song was one of two on the album that got picked up as a single though only receiving minimal attention at the time.  Peaking at #50 for one week the song faded back into Dutch music history.

       However in 2008 the song reappeared on the Dutch Radio's Top 200 year end show and has retained a position on that prestigious list ever since.  Initially underrated, this song has become a classic of Dutch pop music.  You might even recognize it when you start listening to it.

Leon Russell  "Manhattan Island Serenade"  (1972)

        Many of you recognized "Oude Maasweg" as the Leon Russell song "Manhattan Island Serenade" from the 1972 album Carney.   Sorry, but I wanted to make one more stop with my April Manhattan theme.  This is such a great song that I had to squeeze it in before I left Manhattan.  This song is probably already a favorite of some of you.  If the song is new to you, please listen and enjoy...

Time to Vote!

        Choosing the winner of this sly Battle is in your hands.  Let us know what you think about these two versions. Is there one that you prefer over the other?   I already know my favorite, but what's your opinion?   If you're visiting a Battle of the Bands post for the first time then let me briefly explain.  Please give each song version a fair listen to decide which one you enjoy the most.  If you don't like either then at least tell us which recording was least innocuous to you. This comes down to your preference and it's as easy as that.

     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

DC Relief Battle of the Bands

The Doglady's Den 

Angel's Bark  

Cherdo on the Flipside  

Jingle, Jangle, Jungle 

Janie Junebug Righting & Editing.
J. A. Scott  

Quiet Laughter

Holli's Hoots and Hollers

Be ReInVintaged

Results on Monday May 9th

     On Monday May 9th I'll have my A to Z Reflections post on this site, but I'll be keeping it short this year so as not to overwhelm readers.  In this same post I will be announcing the winners for this current Battle of the Bands match.  Be sure to be here for both!


Question of the Month

The Question of the Month is hosted by Michael G D'Agostino from A Life Examined. The first Monday of each month I'll be answering a question posed by Michael prior to event day. Click on the link to his blog for more participants. 

This month’s question is:

“If a friend came to you looking for advice on starting a blog, what three pieces of advice would you give them?”

        I could elaborate greatly on this subject and indeed have in many past posts, but let me just give a simple answer this time:   Start a blog with a purpose in mind, but be prepared and flexible enough to change direction if what you are doing is not working or is boring you.  Focus on content that you find interesting, but that will be interesting to others as well.  And be intrepid in your blogging.  That's it for now.

        What is your advice to a person starting a blog?   Has your blog changed much since you first started it?    How do you handle a blogging slump or for that matter anything which loses its luster for you?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Manhattan Zoo (#atozchallenge)

A peacock escaped from the Central Park Zoo and wandered around the city. Either that or I just saw a pigeon on his way to a gay pride parade.

Central Park Zoo, New York City, USA
Polar Bear catching z's at the Central Park Zoo,
 Manhattan, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manhattan Zoo

        The Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas is not bad for a smaller sized town.  The 26 acre park has over 300 animals representing over 100 different species as well as themed gardens and a number of events scheduled throughout the year.  Over 100,000 visitors come to the zoo each year.   The zoological park has been a popular attraction in Manhattan since the 1930's.  A low admission price encourages visitors to frequent the park.

         But the real zoological attraction for this post is the much more well known menagerie that can be found in Central Park in middle-upper Manhattan.  The Central Park Zoo which is contained in an area of a mere 6.5 acres is far smaller than the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.  Yet though less than a quarter the size of the Midwestern zoo, the East Coast Manhattan zoo receives ten times the yearly visitors.   The zoo in Central Park also costs over three times as much to gain entrance.  Though the collection of animals is diverse, many of the larger animals found in zoos with more space won't be found at this zoo. Still you can expect to find some bears, wildcats, monkeys, and an array of smaller mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects.

         Manhattan's Central Park zoo was the first official zoo in New York City having been founded in the early 1860's.   After the Philadelphia zoo, it was the second publicly owned zoo in the United States.   Now the Central Park Zoo is part of a system of four New York City area zoos.

           Personally, I have never been to any of the New York City Zoos, but I have been to a number of zoos throughout the United States.  To read more about the zoos I have visited please visit my "Z" post at Wrote By Rote.

           And so we come to the end of my A to Z Manhattan Project series.  I hope you've enjoyed reading these posts.  Don't forget to come back to this blog tomorrow, May 1st, for a special surprise version of Battle of the Bands.  Remember--Manhattan covers a lot of ground though not necessarily in land area.

          My A to Z Reflections Post will be on Monday May 9th.

           Have you been to the Central Park Zoo or any of the New York City Zoos?   Have you been to the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas?    What are some of your thoughts on zoos?

Friday, April 29, 2016

You Are Here (#atozchallenge)

Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.    
 -- Henry David Thoreau

Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan
Trinity Church in Lower Manhattan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You Are Here

        If I'm in a big mall you will usually at some point find me in front of one of those maps with the "You Are Here" marker.  Thank goodness that they tell me where I am when I am reading one of those things as the reason why I'm there at the map in the first place is that I don't know where I am. That's the case with most big places where I find myself attempting to navigate unfamiliar territory.

         When in Manhattan if you are unfamiliar with the city you might want to run across some "You Are Here" markers now and then.  A smartphone or some other device with GPS tracking can be of help.  Just having a map might not be helpful to anyone challenged by map reading, but a map is certainly a good thing to have if you don't know where you are or where you are going.

          This post could have been done for "X" as well--as in "X marks the spot"-- but then again there are rarely any X's to be found on the city streets just as there aren't often the display maps on the street with the "You Are Here" designation.   I guess this is where the guides as described in my "W" post might come in handy.

          And while we are on the subject of "You Are Here" we might consider where we are in this 7th Annual Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.   This is the letter "Y" post which means there is only one more post left in my series about Manhattan.  I hope you enjoyed following this series as much as I enjoyed compiling it.  And I hope you had a great time if you too blogged through the alphabet with the many others who did the same.

           Yes, you are here near the end of the Challenge, but there are still the A to Z events ahead like the Reflections post and the A to Z Road Trip.  You can read about all of  it by continuing to follow the A to Z Challenge Blog where all the details will be provided.

           Tomorrow I will conclude my series with my post for Z.   Wanna guess what it will be?  Something famous in Manhattan perhaps?   And then on Sunday May 1st I will have another post for the Battle of the Bands.  This one will be a bit of a surprise with a bit of a twist.  I'll include my entry for Question of the Month in this post as well.  Hope you'll join me for both upcoming posts!

           Do you ever refer to "You Are Here" maps?   How are you about finding your way when you get lost?   What is the first thing you do when you feel lost?