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...


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Love Is The Drug (#BOTB)

The purest truest love is the cure for all of our ills.  Personally, I think I'm addicted to love...

The Great Gatsby Poster

       In my Remakes Blogfest post previous to this post I mentioned that my favorite film version of The Great Gatsby is the 2013 release directed by Baz Luhrmann.  The film soundtrack can be rather jarring at first--it was for me--but I began to not only get used to it, but I enjoyed it.  The incongruity of the crazy songs rather set the mood for the setting of the Roaring Twenties when the film takes place.  For my Battle of the Bands this round I pit a song from the Gatsby soundtrack (a remake of an earlier hit rock song) against another rock version of the same song...

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.

Love Is the Drug

          This song first done by Roxy Music in 1975 was the group's biggest hit.  You surely know it, but if not you can hear the original version here.   Please don't vote on the orignal!  The following are your choices:

Bryan Ferry  "Love Is the Drug"  (2012)

         This version by Ferry is essentially a  twice-over remake since he also sang the original with Roxy Music.  Here he gives the song a hot jazz band sound which made it well suited for the Gatsby soundtrack.

Divinyls  "Love Is the Drug"  (1993)

        This Australian group rocks this song   Their version appeared on the soundtrack of Super Mario Brothers

Time to Vote!

I think this is a very very tough choice.  Guess I'll have to come up with the version that is my personal favorite after several more listenings.   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 Monday November 20th

         With Thanksgiving next week I'm going to cut back the voting time which I think will be fine since you've got the weekend to cast your vote.  

         Busy times ahead for me--how about you?   Have you experienced what you've felt to be true pure unshakable love?   Does the use of more contemporary songs in films set in past periods bother you?  


Monday, November 13, 2017

The Great Gatsby (Remakes Blogfest)

   It's been said that you can't repeat the past...though of course you can when you remake a movie.  Then you can repeat the past as many times as you remake the movie...

Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.----
blog about your favorite remake: movie (or television show into movie and vice versa), song, or book – or all three! Post a YouTube video and links where we can find these treasures. Tell us why THIS remake doesn’t suck!   You can find the list of other participants at either of the hosting sites.

The Great Gatsby

        Surprisingly, for one who had been an English major with a focus on literature when I was in college the first time around, I had never read F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby until 2013 when the most recent remake was released.   I had no particular intention on seeing the film--the novel didn't strike me as interesting nor did the movie.   Later, after the film's release, my wife and I were visiting our daughter in Houston and as I was looking for something to read during my stay there I spied a copy of Gatsby in their bookshelves.  It was a relatively short book so I decided to read the thing that I had thus far avoided for my entire life.  

        Well, I was blown away--one of the best novels I have read.  Upon finishing it was clear to me why The Great Gatsby is considered by many to be one of "The Great American Novels."   In a sense it is the truest American story, a rags to riches parable for the modern age.  The novel captures the spirit of an era and the essence of the romantic longings for the unobtainable that so many of us may have experienced in our own lives at some time or other.  The tragedy is beautifully told by Fitzgerald and begs for cinematic treatment.  After reading the book, I was convinced that I needed to see this celebrated new film version.
        In some future post I'll go into what made me so apprehensive about seeing the 2013 version of Gatsby, but I'll add in passing here that it was directed by Baz Luhrmann who also directed the 2001 film Moulin Rouge--yeah, I hated that film, but more on that in a few weeks in a future post.  Despite my feelings about Moulin Rouge, I was set on viewing his interpretation of The Great Gatsby.   At the time I was not aware that it had been interpreted by earlier directors.

The Great Gatsby 1926.jpg
The Great Gatsby (1926)


         Luhrmann's version blew me away thus luring me to explore whether other versions had been filmed.  I discovered there had been four movie versions over the decades (not counting a made-for-TV version that I have yet to see).   The first was a silent film of which no copies are known to exist any longer so other than viewing the trailer I have not seen that one.   Another version was released in 1949 with Alan Ladd in the role as Gatsby.  In 1974 Robert Redford played the lead in a much bigger production than its predecessors.  Then came the Luhrmann spectacle.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (1949)

         If the 1949 version were the only one to have been made it would have been a highly credible interpretation and worth a viewing by Gatsby fans.  The acting is fine though the story has been pared down to ninety minutes which does not allow for enough exposition and character development.  This film is more like a summary of the story with a feel that much is missing--and it is.  Nevertheless, Ladd plays the Gatsby role well.   This film is satisfactory, but probably wouldn't be fulfilling enough for modern audiences.  For one thing, it's in black and white and comes across as more of a film noirish experience than the story that it is meant to be.  This version is pretty good, but a bit flat.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (1974)

          My wife prefers the sweeping epic version from 1974.  The acting is outstanding and everything about the production is top rate.  Robert Redford does a fine job with his portrayal of the title character.  I've only seen this version once so far, but I would say that it is well worth watching.

The Great Gatsby Poster
The Great Gatsby (2013)

          My favorite is the 2013 version.   All of the acting works well for me.  The sets, the effects, and even the soundtrack are all big, brash, and a lot of fun.  Toby Maguire delivers the most effective portrayal of Nick Carraway (the narrator) of all of the films in my opinion and for me he really made the film.  However, I'd put Leonardo DiCaprio's performance up against any of the Gatsby's who came before him.  Where this version really captures the essence of the book is in its depiction of the decadence of the Jazz Age and the craziness of the world surrounding Gatsby and his elite neighbors.  For repeated viewings Luhrmann's version is the one for me.   It's good stuff that sticks pretty close to the story and spirit of Fitzgerald's novel.   I think Zelda Fitzgerald might have preferred this version as well.

          Now for any Moulin Rouge fans who might take offense at my negative stance on that film,  stay tuned to this blog for my post regarding that Luhrmann nightmare.  I will have some opinionated thoughts to share about it.  That post will come on November 29th directly preceding a related Battle of the Bands of December 1st.   My next Battle of the Bands post will be this Wednesday when I'll be pairing a song from Luhrmann's Gatsby soundtrack with an earlier version of the song.  Hope you'll join me for that.

         And by the way, regarding the versions of The Great Gatsby that I've discussed in this post, they are all relatively widely available so finding them would likely be little problem.   I bought the 1949 and 1974 versions through Amazon while I found the 2013 version with lots of bonus features at my local Walmart for something like seven bucks--a real steal.

         Would you consider The Great Gatsby to be one of America's greatest novels?     If you've seen any of the Gatsby films which was your favorite (if you liked any of them)?   What are some of your favorite film remakes?  


Friday, November 10, 2017

Coming and Going

A Happy Arrival!

       Another grandchild!   She is my sixth grandkid (I can hardly believe it) and my fifth granddaughter.  This is the second child of my youngest daughter, Angelina, and her partner Ray.  Logan Maria Lego was born in the afternoon on Monday November 6th.  Though it will after New Years before I can see her in person, I am excited to meet her.

     According to my daughter, the inspiration for Logan's name comes from the character Wolverine.  I guess Ray and Angie must be fans. 

    Everyone is saying that Logan looks like either my daughter, Angie, or her big sister, Marley.   Either way that would certainly make sense to me, but I've never been able to tell much who a baby looks like.  I'd say she looks like herself--beautiful!

On a Sad Note...

       In the early hours of the Wednesday morning November 8th, my youngest brother, Jeff, passed away from a heart attack.  He had been living in Nashville, Tennessee for many years.  I had been looking forward to visiting him on my way to New Jersey during the Christmas break, but now it looks like I'll be picking up his ashes from the mortuary where he will be cremated.    Then I'll take his remains to be interred next to our parents in Maryville, Tennessee.  He'd been wanting to go back to Maryville.  Now he will be home at last.

       Born in San Diego on Halloween of 1962, Jeff had just turned 55.  As a small child he was one of the youngest jugglers in the world having learned the skill at age three.  By age five he could juggle five objects, which is no easy feat.  In later years he developed a passion for music.  He had an amazing talent in all sports.

       In high school Jeff began displaying signs of mental illness.  He was diagnosed with schizophrenia and moved through a number of of care facilities throughout his life.   This was a burdensome heartbreak for my parents and especially for my mother after my father died in 1991.  My mother faithfully visited Jeff on a regular basis when he was living nearby and as often as she could when he was housed farther away until her death in 2014.  At that point I became Jeff's conservator.

        It was not easy for me to visit very often, but Jeff and I spoke via phone on a regular basis.   I will miss those conversations.  He would usually talk about CD's that he wanted me to buy for him or about his favorite musical artists.  However, there were those times when we had interesting conversations about life, death, and family.  Jeff would at times have unique outlooks concerning what was in his head or at other times absolutely crack me up with his odd sense of humor.  He too enjoyed a good laugh when I would connect with him with my own humor.  Yes, I will miss his calls.

        Something that he frequently told me was that he was saved by Jesus Christ and someday he would be in heaven.  I guess it sounds cliched, but I do believe he is in a far better place where he has peace and clarity.  Just as he never failed to end our conversations with "Love you Lee," I will leave him with that same thought:   "Jeff, my brother, I love you."

Jeff Jackson at about age 9

Monday, November 6, 2017

Here? Again? Déjà vu (#BOTB Results)

Sometimes I feel like I'm posting about something I already have written about before.  That's probably because I have done another post about the topic.  Or maybe I've posted repeatedly about the topic.  It's kind of like life.  There is a lot of repetitiveness to life, which for me is a good thing.  It helps me to remember better...

That Strange Feeling
Déjà vu--we've all likely experienced that feeling of having been somewhere before, meeting someone whom we feel we've already known, or being in a situation that seems mighty familiar. The subject has been written about for centuries. But I wonder if the feeling is a more common occurrence in our time?

         I would argue that the sense of  déjà vu probably is more common now primarily because of media and other sensory experiences that bombard us in many ways.  We see previews, trailers, and teasers to the point that they all become part of the background noise that is ongoing data feed into our subconscious.  

         However the true déjà vu experience can be a startling and baffling mystery that can haunt us after the event has occurred.  A few years ago when my mother was in her final hours of life, at one point in the hospital room I felt an otherworldly experience of having been there before.  It was almost as though I were looking on at the scene, remembering it as something that had happened in my past.  Afterward all I could think of was déjà vu. 

         Most of the time, incidents that evoke such feelings within me I could probably reasonably explain even though I might not totally believe my own explanation.  I think we all enjoy little mind tricks that happen to us.  It's what happens when we escape into reading or watching something enacted before us. We are willingly deceived and complicit parties to that action.  Perhaps déjà vu is a bout of self-deception.  Or maybe it is real...

        What do you think? 

Battle of the Bands Results

Where or When

          My song choice for this previous Battle was the Rodgers and Hart classic "Where or When"  The song is about a lover's experience of déjà vu.  This song is one that I remember so well from early childhood because I used to hear it often.  The melody always entranced me and still does.  And all the more after I paid attention to the lyrics.

           The vocal combatants were contemporaries on the music scene from the mid to late 20th century Lena Horne and Etta Jones.  This was an outstanding Battle with both artists staying close though Etta held the lead throughout. 

            Stephen T McCarthy described my choice of Lena Horne with his description: 

"I prefer the "sweeter", gentler vocals of LENA HORNE. Her rendition retains the original melody and the very romantic, almost mystical mood indicated by the lyrics." 

I think that's a pretty good way of putting it.

           Still, Etta won the Battle, but not by much.

Final Vote Tally

Lena Horne       9 votes

Etta Jones         10 votes

  Next Battle on Wednesday November 15th

          I'm sure I'll post something before then so please visit and comment on all of my posts if you can.   On Monday November 13th I'll be participating in Remake Blogfest which will also be the theme of my next BOTB song a few days after that.   Be there!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Where or When (#BOTB)

I've never seen a pig fly, but I've seen plenty of flies on pigs.  But that doesn't make bacon any less savory.   And what this has to do with anything I don't know...

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 November 1 posting of the IWSG are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass.

November 1 Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

       When I started blogging in September of 2009, I began avidly seeking out all things blogging as well as anything to do with writing.  After all, although my blog started out as a Halloween blog, within a short period I came to the realization that what I'd rather do is write and I began to put an emphasis on writing.  Not so much technique or advice regarding writing, but I just wrote whatever inspired me at the time.  I was also posting daily in that first year, so Tossing It Out became focused on writing--my writing about things that I found interesting.

       It was not long after I began blogging that I heard about NaNo.  Having always been interested in writing for as far back as I can remember, writing a novel in thirty days sounded like an interesting challenge and challenge it was--daily posts, leaving comments, and finishing my 50,000 words in a month.  I became immersed in the writing because I was hellbent on finishing what I started.

        In my first year I came up with 50,000 words in a story that I felt proud of, but that was it.  I didn't go back to finish out the details of the story or edit what was done or anything else.  I saved my work with every intention of coming back to finish it eventually.  I never did.

         Nor did I finish my second NaNo attempt in 2010.  I met my 50,000 word goal and felt good with the product I had created then, but I've yet to go back and do anything more.  In 2011 I dived into another promising idea for about three days, then something came up that put me on a different track.  Since that attempt I've half noticed each November as it passes.  For all intents and purposes I've put writing on hold.   Oh, I'm still blogging, but there are no more NaNo projects for now.  Maybe someday, but I don't know where or when...

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 or When

        This is one of those songs I've heard for as long as I can remember.  It has one of those haunting melodies that seem to evoke memories and dreams.  I suppose that would be appropriate for a song about deja vu.   Recently I watched the 1939 musical film Babes in Arms with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland and was pleasantly surprised to hear this song in the soundtrack.   Two years earlier in 1937 the Rodgers and Hart musical had been a Broadway hit.

         Since this song has been in my "someday" queue for a long time, I figured this would be a good time to feature this Battle.  And I thought it fit very well into this month's theme for #IWSG.

          There are so many great versions of this song to be found on the internet and done in so many different stylings.  I decided on two musical contemporaries who both are renown in the world of jazz, who have two distinct sounds.  They're both winners as far as I'm concerned, but I guess we all can pick one version as our favorite.

           Take a listen:

Lena Horne   "Where or When"  (1941)

         Lena Horne was a multi-faceted entertainer as well as a civil rights activist.  Besides her numerous recordings, Horne appeared in movies and television performances during her long career which spanned the years from 1933 to 2000.  Lena starts the Battle with her dreamy rendition of "Where or When".

Etta Jones   "Where or When"  (1960)

       Not to be confused with Etta James, the similarity in names might have had some impact on Jones' relative obscurity.  No doubt that Jones is an outstanding artist as displayed in this recording.  Jones came on the musical scene about ten years after Lena Horne though both were essentially contemporaries in their performing careers.  Etta definitely jazzes the tune up at a snappier pace with the help of a smokin' back-up band...

Time to Vote!

I think this is a tough choice, but I have my favorite.   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 Monday November 6th

       You can have a few days and most of the weekend to vote, but please don't tarry--you might forget!   In the meantime, be nice on Saturday and every day for that matter.

Monday, October 30, 2017

People You Don't Really Know

       In July of 1991 I moved my family to Downey, California in order to take a management job at the West Coast office of a large wholesale costume company.  The manager who I replaced was retiring due to issues with failing health.  Our warehouse was relatively small in size requiring only a permanent staff of a lady who did the office work and a husband and wife duo who ran the warehouse itself.  The business was primarily seasonal--a few months leading up to Halloween--so we would hire extra help for those couple of months, but most of the year it was me, Eva, and Tani and Luci.

      Estanislao Prado Gonzalez was a few years younger than I. He was a studious contemplative guy from Mexico.  I related well to him--or at least his interests--as he enjoyed listening to a wide range of music and reading a variety of books in English.  Though he spoke with a distinct accent, his English was excellent.  I relied on him to help me communicate with our Spanish speaking customers.  Since he seemed to be a passive quiet guy, Tani (as we called him) was easy to get along with.  The only times I ever saw him speaking in an aggressive angry tone was with his wife, Luz.

     Unlike her husband, Luz was a very hard worker.   Also from Mexico, Luz spoke no English, but that did not prevent her from doing her work without ever being told what to do.  And she was always doing something while much of the time Tani would sit at his shipping desk reading, listening to the radio or cassettes, or just idly daydreaming.  However they were an efficient team and together they got each day's chores done as they needed to be done.  

       The outgoing manager, a sickly heavy-set woman of about sixty, had told me that she suspected that sometimes Tani abused his spouse; that Luz would sometimes come to work with eyes blackened and looking roughed up.  I never saw any evidence that would have suggested any physical violence, but Tani did seem to exert a sort of control over her even though Luz came across as a pretty tough lady.

       Luz was an attractive woman who looked toughened by whatever her past had given her.  Probably about the same age as Tani, she had living with them two teenage daughters from a previous relationship.  Tani and Luz had a set of twins that had been born shortly before I arrived to my new job managing the costume company.

       The couple was a tremendous asset to me as I started a job that was quite different than the touring theater job I had previously held with the same company as I was now still working for.  Still, the pressure of learning a new job was soon complicated by my wife leaving me to raise our three young girls ages ranging from ten to three.  I lived very close to work and as manager I had a great deal of freedom to address the needs of my children and deal with a bad marital situation that was obviously headed toward divorce.  These were very stressful years for me.

      As the first few years passed I became comfortable with the new job while facing the personal challenges that had been thrown my way.  Fortunately people came into my life that helped things to flow more smoothly.   Soon after becoming the primary parent in charge I began having Luz's daughters babysit for me on occasions when I needed to be out.  The young girls were both teenagers and accustomed to childcare since they usually babysat the twins while Luz worked.  Both girls were competent and trustworthy.  

        They girls were beautiful, well-mannered, and seemed to be pretty intelligent.  I preferred the oldest, Edith, to babysit because she would always do some housecleaning while I was out without me ever asking her to do so.  Her sister, Gabriela, did her babysitting job with no cleaning.  Either way I was more than happy to have two babysitters I could rely on. 

         In 1994 things began to change at work.  Early in the year Eva died.  Eva was overweight, sickly, and she smoked to an excess which gave her a persistent cough.  Though it put a lot more responsibility on my shoulders, I was able to take over Eva's work even during the busy Halloween season since I could rely on Tani and Luz to manage what needed to be done in the warehouse and a couple months of temporary helpers made their work load bearable.  We got through that season with a lot of weekends and late hours, but we succeeded nevertheless.

       After Halloween the temp workers were let off and the quiet season of getting the warehouse back into order began so we could prepare for the end of the year inventory.   There was an election that I didn't pay much attention to other than noting the controversy surrounding Proposition 187 which was a law regarding illegal immigrants.  I didn't consider this to be of any great concern to me.   My interests at the time were more directed at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  

        I don't remember that particular Thanksgiving, but I do remember coming back to work on that next Monday to find myself the only one there--no Tani or Luci.   Surprised that they had not let me know anything beforehand, I went about my usual duties and waited to hear from them.  Finally a call came and Tani was on the line.

        Tani told me that they were afraid about the passing of Proposition 187 and had decided to move back to Mexico.  I was shocked since I had no idea they were working illegally.  I had figured everything had been taken care of by the lady who had hired them and I saw no problems with them being there.  Not wanting to lose such excellent employees I assured Tani that if they would come back to work, the company would get them an immigration attorney to iron things out.  He told me it was too late as Luz and the girls were already in Mexico.   Tani said he was in San Diego and wanted to come back to pick up their last paychecks which would be arriving in the office that coming Friday.  I told him that I would have to find out and that he should call me back.

        Later, the mother of Edith's boyfriend called me with great concern about the family's whereabouts.  I told her what Tani had told me, but she wasn't buying that story. She expressed a fear that something was not right and she was going to call the police.  Some time later a detective from the Downey police department contacted me.  He explained there was no absolute proof that they found, but there was enough to suspect that something dreadful might have happened.   There was what appeared to be blood on the carpets even though someone had very efficiently cleaned the now empty apartment with bleach and other strong cleaning fluids.   The other odd point was that the family had moved into the apartment just a few days prior to their leaving.  Tani had told someone at the apartments that they were going back to Mexico and that his wife and kids were already gone.

     The police had instructed me to make arrangements for Tani to pick up the checks and they would be waiting for him.  Sad and a bit nervous about Tani coming back, I waited at the center of a police stake-out.  I wasn't sure what would happen--if there would be some kind of violence or I would see Tani being hauled off glaring at me with a hurt sense of betrayal.  

       But Tani never showed up and nothing happened.  The police told me what I should do if I happened to hear from him again.   I never heard from him or saw him again.  Eventually the police tucked the issue away in the cold case file.  They didn't have the technology yet to help them tell the complete story behind the evidence the police had taken from the apartment.  Later, in 1996, some kids in Las Vegas found the remains of a body beside a street outside of town.  Upon further investigation the police found two more bodies nearby.   Police presumed the remains were prostitutes, but they could not identify those remains. 

      Finally in 1999 a Downey detective became curious about the case and started doing some investigation.   He tracked Tani to Las Vegas where he was working and living in squalid conditions with the twins.  Still it took a while to build a case without any convicting evidence.  Diligent detective work brought results and with the help of the Las Vegas police they were able to bring Tani in for questioning.   Tani eventually confessed to brutally murdering Luz Mucino and her daughters Edith, age 18, and Gabriela, age 17, and dumping their bodies.  It's likely that he had help, but though there is at least one suspect, no one else was charged with the crime.  Estanislao Gonzalez was sentenced to three life terms in 2004.

        Some readers might be thinking that this would be a good story for the television show Cold Case Files and it was--you can watch the episode here or on YouTube.   They actually brought a film crew to the warehouse I managed and followed me around that spooky place as they interviewed me.  They also filmed some of the scary props we had on display.   None of this made it into the episode.  Though no mention was made to me from the upper echelon of the company, I suspect that they too were contacted by the film company about the episode and it was all nixed for legalities and protection of our company image.  But I never asked and no one ever told me anything.  I didn't even get a DVD copy of the show like the producer had promised me.  That's show biz I guess.

       There are several  news accounts of this story if you search it out, but if you want to read a couple that appeared in papers in my area you can read the articles in the Los Angeles Times or the Long Beach Press Telegram

        What incidents in your life give you the creeps when you think about them?    Why do you think Tani would have murdered his wife and step-daughters so brutally?    Have you ever been interviewed for a television segment that was never aired?        


Friday, October 27, 2017

It's Just a Matter of Time--and I don't mean the song

            Few of us enjoy waiting for things, but the real irony is that we spend our whole lives waiting even though it might not seem at times that we are waiting at all...

English: Toufoula Dream room , waiting room
Toufoula Dream room , waiting room
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

             To be cynical one might say that we are born in order to spend a lifetime waiting to die.  But that is also a realistic point of view.   We all die eventually.   Most of us would likely prefer to stay in life's waiting room for as long as we can.

             A lot of kids might be asking their parents something like, "When is Halloween going to get here?"   When you're a kid a few days can seem like an interminably long time to wait.   A week might as well be an eternity.  A parent's vision of hell might be spending forever with kids wheedling to know when such and such is going to happen. Fortunately I don't recall having that experience with my kids nor in my own childhood.

            I've mostly been patient in my life.  At least on the outside.  There have certainly been those times when my insides were in turmoil from the waiting.  No one could ever tell unless I made a point of letting them know that I was experiencing a problem, but this has been rare in context of my sixty plus years of living. 

           There are times when anticipation for something to come is about the same as being on the edge of a cliff with someone bigger behind me waiting to push me off.  We wait.  I wait for a fall while that bigger entity waits to shove me off into the depths.  No thanks bud because in my life whenever I have been pushed something lifts me back up to start me off anew.  I just have to wait for it all to happen.  It will be okay.

         In my previous post I suggested that knowing where I am is often my most important question to have answered.  However knowing where I am in the span of time might be equally vital information to have and in some cases the main point of interest.

         Knowing when is crucial when making a date or an appointment otherwise people would have a tough time making connections and lord knows that making connections can be difficult as it is.  The "when" is what holidays and milestones are all about.  Without the when there is no history, there is no time. 

        When pigs fly, when all is said and done, or when we reach the end or our rope are all things that might pop up to surprise us or we might see them coming.  "Just you wait and see," comes the empty threat.  "See what?"  I ask.  "You'll know when it happens," from a voice filled with emotion and some tinge of helplessness.

         I wait...

         I wait for the Battle of the Bands which will be coming on Wednesday November 1st right here on Tossing It Out.  And on that same post I will neatly tie in my contribution to the November Insecure Writer's Support Group when the question posed is:  

Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

        Hope you'll be here for that as well as for my Monday special Halloween post--a true story that was part of my life.  It's something that gives me a chill each time I ponder it.  But you'll have to wait for that...

         Today's post and my previous post both hold clues as to my next BOTB song, an old classic from a Broadway show--any ideas?    How old were you when you began to grasp a workable knowledge of times and dates?   If you were a random time traveler which would be most important for you to know initially--the time or the place?

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Which Is the Most Important Knowledge to Have?

Which is the most important knowledge to have:  Who you are?  Where you are?  or Why do you exist?

           This was a random question from my previous post and thank you to those of you who gave your answers.  I had mentioned in that post that I often tend to think in terms of geography--the "Where am I" kind of knowledge.  Ironically I just now watched a film that ponders these same sorts of questions with the overall conclusion that knowing where you are matters most.

           The 1962 Japanese film Woman in the Dunes is surrealistic existentialism quite similar to the films of Ingmar Bergman or Federico Fellini.  My guess is that David Lynch probably was influenced by this film.  The film is primarily a drama a la the works of Samuel Beckett.  Most of the film focuses on two characters in a confined bleak setting.  The run time is nearly 2 1/2 hours though the slow pacing makes it seem longer.  Before going into the film I decided to give it 30 minutes or so before giving it up.  The film was so riveting and thought-provoking that I stayed with it until the end and now here I am writing this review or whatever this is I'm writing.

          The story begins with a school teacher from Tokyo who goes to a seaside area of vast sand dunes in order to study insects.   After he overstays and misses his bus back to the city, the villagers from the strange little town nearby invite him to spend the night with one of them.  They take him to a vast sand pit where there is a house accessible by rope ladder.  Taking on the adventure, the teacher finds that the house where he will be staying is occupied by a homely widow who treats the man kindly and lavishes him with attention.  The following morning the teacher finds that the rope ladder is gone and he is now trapped with the widow.

         There is a strange eroticism to the story though it also presents a metaphor for the alienation of the human condition while clinging to an interdependence on others.  An eerie pall is cast over this story as we see these humans struggling against the eternally flowing sands that permeate everything in their lives.  The imagery of the drifting shifting sands depict emotion as well as the obvious comparison to the sands of an hourglass.  

          When the teacher falls into the pit he already knows who he is but this identity no longer seems to matter the longer he is in the pit.   The woman explains what their purpose is to be in this pit, but it makes no sense.  Ultimately, when he attempts an escape, he realizes that his failure to get away was because he did not know where he was.

               It's not too often that a movie grabs me to the extent that I'll write about it.  Maybe I should do it more often.   But then I'm not totally sure anymore why I am here.  On this blog I mean.  I didn't intend to write this post because I had another in mind.  But that's okay.   Sometimes I feel like I've fallen into a sandpit where no matter how much I try to claw my way out, more sand keeps on pouring down and I can never quite get a handhold that will give me a grip to pull myself upward just a bit more.  The sand keeps coming and there's not much we can do about it.

              Do you tend to just accept things without complaint?   Are you good at making a bad situation into something better?   Have you seen Woman in the Dunes?

Friday, October 20, 2017

Randomness and #BOTB Results

My days can be pretty random sometimes, but mostly they seem the same.  

A "Ron Lee" Clown from my parents' collection
(Photo by Arlee Bird)
A Few Random Thoughts

Sometimes I'll just stay quiet about things rather than risk offending anybody.   Other times I'll just prattle about this or that--nothing with intended controversy.  Some people will manage to find an argument in anything.

Which is the most important knowledge to have:  Who you are?  Where you are?  or Why do you exist?

Much of the time I tend to think of things geographically.  I think we all probably slant our perceptions in regard to occupations, loved ones, our own feelings, or whatever the case might be.

I'm fixing a small batch of chili for supper tonight.  It's gotten cooler outside of late, but another heat wave is supposed to be coming next week.  Somehow chili seems like a good thing to have today.

Good chili in restaurants has been somewhat difficult for me to find over the years.  I've often been disappointed.   Ironically, Chili's Restaurant doesn't have chili that I'd recommend and I had high hopes for their chili. What a disappointment.   Personally, I like the chili at Wendy's.  But when you come down to it, no one makes chili or spaghetti better than what I make.   That's my objective opinion.

 Just heard a bunch of fireworks and people outside yelling.  I was trying to remember if it was some special Mexican holiday or something of that nature.  Then I turned to the local news and heard that the Dodgers had won their game and would be going to the World Series for the first time since 1988.   Maybe I can get a little more thrilled about this as the Series starts.  I'm not much of a sports fan these days...

Battle of the Bands Results

      My latest Battle pitched Fernando Ortega against Van Morrison both singing their renditions of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision".    Morrison definitely had the edge of familiarity working in his favor and came out of the chute in the lead and stayed there until the end.  Van the Man won this match while Fernando proved a worthy opponent.

      Morrison is a favorite of mine and his Hymns to the Silence album is still an album that I play on occasion.  However, I could listen to Ortega all day any time of day.  His voice and orchestrations are so peaceful and calming.  My vote went to Fernando Ortega.

Final Vote Tally

Fernando Ortega       8 votes

Van Morrison            13 votes

Next Battle on Wednesday November 1st
       That will also be the day of the monthly Insecure Writer's Support Group posting, but I will try to meld the two posts seamlessly.  Or something like that.   You might even see a post or two before that one.

          Are you ready for November 4th?  What will you be doing that day?   How about a big ol' batch of biscuits and country sausage gravy?