Saturday, April 30, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Zephyrhills

It is strange where blog topics come from especially in a challenge like the A to Z challenge. My topic today comes from a bottle of Spring Water.

ProductsI mentioned before I gave up sodas. However, in my day job I talk a lot. I don't know if it is just me but I have to drink a lot so my mouth doesn't dry up and voice crack or disappear. Water is my remedy.

Zephyrhills Spring water comes from a town called Zephyrhills which means pure water. The water comes from five Springs. The town is considered a suburb of Tampa. One of these Springs, Crystal Springs the company has turned into a 525 acre nature preserve. I can support that. Two of there Springs are within three hours from me.

Here is a picture from a small stream near a Spring in the Panhandle of Florida..

As you can see the water is very clear. Well that wraps up my A to Z Challenge for 2016. I will be back tomorrow with a Battle of the Bands post and I will have some more posts coming up in May!

Friday, April 29, 2016

A to Z Challenge: YouTube

I know some musicians like Prince were not fans of YouTube. I can understand why. On the other hand it does help some artists. As a entertainment writer I have found a video often helps an article. I think my blog would be much worse if it wasn't for YouTube.

After all "Video Killed The Radio Star"...

How would your blog be different without YouTube? I like to use it to discover new to me artists or if I am craving an artist and want to listen to their songs. I still buy CDs. Most of the CDs I buy, I buy directly from the artist. Do you still buy CDs, cassettes or albums? I miss record stores. I am rambling off topic into Yesteryear another Y topic though.

Other pros of YouTube is you can watch news footage, sports highlights, shows and videos of interest. What is the strangest thing you have watched on YouTube? Probably footage of Bob Marley's funeral is probably the strangest.

Well That's All Folks...

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

2016 A to Z Challenge: X for X-Ray

It is fitting to use X-Ray for X in my A to Z Challenge post as X-Ray stands for X in the phonetic alphabet. Let's have a little fun with some Mr. Bean...

The discovery of the X-Ray earned Wilhelm Rontgen the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. Here is a quick video showing how X-Rays work...

If you visit Doctors, dentists, or airports you are familiar with X-Rays. Keeping it short and sweet, if not a little geeky today. Thanks for visiting and I will be back soon with a new post!

A to Z Challenge 2016: Wetlands

Wetlands are important me. I fish and check out the scenery in my local wetlands. In Louisiana the wetlands and the land is disappearing. Over the last two years I have supported some grassroots efforts by attending the Voice of the Wetlands Festival. As you know from reading my blog I love music. Combine music with a worthy cause which I support and you have a winning combination. Add in the fact my daughter has a blast each time I is a winning combination.

My local wetlands..

My daughter in the Louisiana Wetlands...

Alabama wetlands..

Here is Bill Nye the science guy talking about Wetlands..

Here s musician Tab Benoit talking about them..

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Vitalogy

Since I had my mid-month journey to see Pearl Jam it is only natural I blog about their third studio album Vitalogy released in 1994. The album sold over 5 million copies so it was pretty successful.

Highlights include Corduroy...

Spin the Black Circle...

Not for You

Better Man was probably the biggest hit...

What's your favorite song off this album? What' your favorite Pearl Jam song? Feel free to share. See you soon with a new post!

Monday, April 25, 2016

2016 A to Z Challenge: Underachieving and the A to Z Challenge

 It is the final week of the A to Z Challenge. Congratulations to all the participants who have made it this far! The final week will be challenging as these letters are little harder to find topics.

Today's topic for me is Underachieving and how it relates to the A to Z Challenge. First off I have been underachieving at the A to Z Challenge. You might say Mike you have had a post for each letter you aren't underachieving! However, I am.

I am underachieving at my visits to other blogs. I set a goal to make 300 visits, through yesterday I have 177 visits. I will reach my goal this week. Yes, I know you can visit after April ends. I will do that but those are in addition to my 300 goal.

I have underachieved at visiting bloggers that I don't already follow. I've done this challenge since 2011 so a lot of people I follow do the challenge which is great. It also means they are the blogs I usually visit first. I have stumbled out to a few new to me blogs but not enough for me.

How are you doing with the challenge? Are you underachieving at the challenge? How are your page views doing during the challenge? Please feel free to leave a comment.

Do you know anybody whose blog isn't get the results they hoped from the challenge? Do you have any recommendations for blogs I might enjoy visiting?

Well happy blogging! The end is near.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Battle of the Bands Results: Naked Eyes Win

 Naked Eyes won my Battle of the Bands for April 15. Voter turn out was low. There are lots of reasons for that. The artists weren't as famous as Animal. Where my Battle on the first benefited from the A to Z Challenge, I think this one was hindered since some of the usual suspects were busy with that challenge. Also, I posted it late in the day since I got a little twisted up with dates, letters and artists. Oh, well the Battle will go back to normal on May 1st.

We celebrate the victors on my blog so here is some ore music from The Naked Eyes!

"Promises, Promises"....

"Burning Bridges"....

"No Flowers Please"..

Thanks for visiting! I will kick off the final week of the A to Z Challenge with a new post in few.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

A to Z Challenge: T is for Turtles

I am  working today so I ran into some turtles at work so they will be the topic of my blog.

When I was a young kid I caught a large snapping turtle while fishing behind my parents house. I ran all the way home to get my older brother to help me get the hook out of the turtles mouth. Even as I kid I knew it was much better to have my brother's hands close to the turtles mouth than my hands.

I have since caught a few turtles by accidents. I try not to catch them but in freshwater they do eat the same things as fish.

There is your turtle tale of the day and I will leave you with a movie tease...

Friday, April 22, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Sunsets

I love the sunsets into the Gulf of Mexico. First one has some scenery. The second one just beach.

Below is one from one of my favorite spots..

I will leave you with this one..

Thursday, April 21, 2016

R.I.P Prince

Prince logo.svgPrince was a pop star, a guitar god (when he wanted to be), he could be nasty, and he crafted songs that will be listened to for years to come. He was an artist who was always changing and he will be missed.

"Purple Rain" came out when I was 13 and I probably were that cassette out a few times! Here he is circa 1985 performing "Let's Go Crazy"....

Here is another one "When Dove's Cry"...

Even before then he was a star..."1999"


Prince a talent lost,

A to Z Challenge 2016: The Revenant

Last month my wife and I were driving around and decided to watch a movie. She goes The Revenant is playing isn't that a movie you want to see? True enough I had mentioned wanting to see the movie before. I didn't know much about the movie besides what I saw on the trailer. I knew it had won some awards and had a bear in it.

The Revenant 2015 film poster.jpg

Trailer for the movie..

The award winning movie was just released on DVD on April 19th so that makes this post more timely. I did enjoy the movie though it was a bit gruesome for my wife so it was not the ideal date movie. That being said my wife did continue to watch it.

I thought the cinematography was incredible. The story line was strong. I am curious to read the novel by  Michael Punke that the movie was based on. The movie had the outdoor surviving adventure which appeals to me. The story line appealed to me. To me the movie was good and I would recommend it. That being said it is rated R for reason.

Did you see the movie? What are your thoughts on the movie? Did you read the book? If you read the book would you recommend it?

Thanks for visiting I will be back with a new post soon.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Quick Sand

The A to Z Challenge keeps rolling along and at this point in our adventure I was thinking we need Quick Sand. It adds to any adventure. Check out this scene from The Princess Bride...

Here is an interesting experiment with Quick Sand...

Bear Grylls shows us how to survive Quick Sand...

Quick Sand appears to be sticky situation!

A to Z Challenge 2016: Pearl Jam

Last week I made a crazy trip to Jacksonville mainly centered around seeing Pearl Jam. Pearl Jam had never performed in Jacksonville (a link to an article about that) and the last time I caught the band in concert was at The Tibetan Freedom Festival 18 years ago.

Here is the opener from that show, a long time ago at RFK....

  The show I went to on Wednesday received rave review in the local press and by Jambase. The show was much different. It was in a much smaller venue, the band like me is older, Pearl Jam played a lot longer.

Pearl Jam on stage...

Below is the setlist...

  • Elderly Woman Behind the Counter in a Small Town
  • Mind Your Manners
  • Hail Hail
  • Last Exit
  • Lightning Bolt
  • Nothingman
  • Army Reserve
  • Given to Fly
  • Rival  
  • Setting Forth  
  • Corduroy
  • Even Flow
  • Of the Earth
  • Glorified G
  • Unthought Known
  • Let the Records Play
  • Spin the Black Circle
  • Porch
  • I Won't Back Down  
  • I Am a Patriot  
  • Just Breathe
  • Jeremy
  • Ghost  
  • Do the Evolution
  • Better Man  
  • Smile
  • Once
  • Black  
  • State of Love and Trust
  • Alive
  • Rockin' in the Free World  
  • Yellow Ledbetter
  • The Star-Spangled Banner  
Setlist from SetlistFM via Jambase.

Pearl Jam played close to three hours so they certainly put in the work!

Here is how they ended the show...

My favorite song by Pearl Jam is "Alive"

It was a great time to catch up with family, a friend and a show. I just needed more time for the trip!

Monday, April 18, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: O is for Osprey

Today I am going to post about one of my fishing buddies. Usually I fish with the Blue Herons which I have blogged about before.

Ospreys like to choose their spots wisely...

In a lot of areas they migrate, where I live they stay year round. Here is a video of ospreys in action..

They are fun to watch. Sometimes they make me a bit jealous when they fly by with their catch in their talons and I haven't even had a bite.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: N is for Navy

On my blog from time to time I do celebrate the military. I  had planned to do a Battle of the Bands post for today's letter but it is the 16th not the 15th so I needed to come up with another topic. My Dad served in the Navy before my time and he worked many years in the contracting business supporting the Navy so it always has had a bit of importance to my family.

My Dad's old ship the USS Bigelow..

USS Bigelow (DD-942) at sea in January 1967

The young men and woman who serve in the Navy do make a lot of sacrifices and I respect them for that. The Navy makes up a lot of the community in which I live so I respect them as neighbors too. I get to see them do things that aww me as well!

Where I live know Navy planes daughter standing behind an F-18 belonging to the US Navy Blue Angels..

To those who are serving in the Navy I thank you for your service. To those who have served thank you for your sacrifices. To those in the Navy who made the ultimate sacrifice I humbly and simply say Thank You.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Battle of the Bands: Always Something to Remind Me

Somehow I forgot about Battle of the Bands so I am scrambling to put it together. Somehow there is "Always Something to Remind Me."

The song was written n the 1960's by the legendary songwriting team of Burt Bacharach and Hal David. Dionne Warrick recorded it first. I am going to pit two well known versions of the song against each other.

Contestant One: Sandie Shaw

Contestant Two: Naked Eyes

Here are the rules: You pick the one you like best by casting your vote in the comments. I tally them up and I will announce the winner on Sunday April 24. Yes I am deviating on the result page due to the A to Z Challenge. .

Please check out the other battles I defer to the master list found on this site STMcC Presents 'Battle of the Bands'. It is also the place to sign up!

I will be back soon with the regularly yet to be written A to Z post.

A to Z Challenge 2016: Music and My Blog

I am back from my manic trip. My last two posts were short and sweet so I did keep up with the challenge. The letter of the day is M and I chose music. Music isn't my life but it is part of my life. Since it is part of my life it is a subject I tend to blog about quite a bit. At one point I was reviewing concerts so I would blog about shows I reviewed or a musician I interviewed.

Now days I will blog about shows I go to, a musician's birthday, milestone or death. I also participate in the Battle of the Bands which means I have music posts at a minimum four times a month. I enjoy that one because I get to  visit the other participants and I get to listen to a lot of cool songs.

It's al part of my Rock and Roll Fantasy..

A struggle I have is my blog tends to become music heavy. I've wrestled with trying to keep some type of balance on my blog. One month I just embraced it and had all but one post about music. I've thought about creating two blogs one for music and one for other stuff.

But in the end...

Well maybe, but no in the end my blog is just what it is. Do you struggle with balance on your blog? What are some things you struggle with on your blog?

Thursday, April 14, 2016

A to Z Challenge: Lizards that chill

Lizards chillin' that is the way they roll...

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

A to Z Challenge: kids now and then

A quick post today since I am traveling. It is strange to talk about your kid when you are in the house you were raised in when you were her age. Have you had any strange moments like that or anything that ?

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Jacksonville Bound

Tonight I will be heading out on  a six hour trip to Jacksonville, Florida. I should go there more often but I rarely get two days off in a row, so 12 hours in a car is a little tough. My parents and a good friend both live outside Jacksonville so that is the appeal of visiting. Yes they both hit me up to visit.

Well my friend hit me up to visit because he had an extra ticket to the Pearl Jam concert. Apparently a buddy had backed out on him. He and my parents had asked me if I was going to Saint Augustine to see Robert Plant last month which opted t see Robert Plant closer to home.

I wouldn't be a very good friend if I always said no. Plus it will give me some time for a little visit with my parents. So my schedule will consist of work and a six hour drive literally in the middle of the night. Wednesday I will visit wit my parents see the show. The Pearl Jam concert should be neat since they have never played that city before. Thursday morning I will head out way too early on a six hour journey to go back to work. Pretty insane if I may say so myself.

How far have you travelled for a concert? What is the craziest trip you have gone on? Feel free to share in the comments.

Monday, April 11, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: It takes a Village and other Its

There is an African proverb stating "it takes a village to raise a child." There is a lot of truth to that proverb. There is also a lot of truth in that there are children who are being raised by single parents. In this day and age regardless if a child has one or two parents it is hard to find the village!

I'm blessed with a healthy, intelligent child who doesn't have any major problems. I know that is despite what the child may think. She has two parents who love her very much. That being said it still isn't easy to be a parent and it still takes a village to raise her!

It is my daughter's birthday and she is on my mind. It is true my inspiration came for this post came from dropping off cupcakes for her entire class. The poor teacher is going to have a class full of sugared high students all because of me. Parents are going to hate me because I provided their kids with junk food. Yes I'm bad like Jesse James! But this post isn't about my daughter or being bad. It is about what I witnessed.

In the adult world it is so easy to complain. The teacher isn't doing her job! The administration isn't helping my child. Does any of that sound familiar? It might. Don't worry you don't have to answer that. That is not what this post is about. It is about teachers doing their job! It is about other students.

When I brought the cupcakes to my child's class as a visitor. The school day had just started. Most of the students were in class. I ran into one student who was late who looked like he was having a rough morning but that isn't what my post is about. I noticed a couple of teachers escorting some children to class. This is what my post is about.

The students I observed had special needs. The ones I watched appeared to have some physical issues. I don't know if they had any mental problems. It really wasn't my business what needs they had. The first one I passed went out of his way to wave at me and he had a big smile. I waved back and said "Hi!" or "Good Morning!" and returned the wave. I smiled back too but I wasn't the only one with a smile. The teacher escorting the young scholar was also smiling. The next student I watched being escort I waved at! I guess waving is contagious. The child and teacher were already smiling.

I don't know how these teachers teach these students that have their special needs. All the natural smiles indicated to me that they are taught with a lot of love. It was apparent these children were being treated special just like my daughter! The dedication, the passion, the love these teachers working with children who have special needs was apparent to me as I watched the smiles and waves.
The children with even more needs than normal children really do need a village and I am glad I found the village.

It impressed me this morning. It was the children and the teachers!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Battle of the Bands Results: Animal is a Monster

I am back announcing the winner of my April 1st Battle of the Bands. Due tot the A to Z Challenge I did push back the results day to  April 10, 2016.

Animal (Muppet).jpg Dave Grohl and Animal both claimed the other drummer won when they had their drum off. However, with my Battle of the Bands post Animal clearly won receiving 16 votes, while Dave only managed 4. Only one voter felt they tied.

Perhaps the name Animal belongs beside s the greats like John Bonham, Keith Moon, Charlie Watts, and Neil Peart to name a few.

Below Animal answers questions from Twitter on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon...

Animal is a Rock Star! Here he performs with The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon...

Animal performing with OK Go...on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno...

Stay tuned I will have another Battle of the Bands post on the 15th. Tomorrow the A to Z Challenge continues. I hope you enjoyed more from the winner Animal!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

2016 A to Z Challenge: H is for Haggard

I tend to pay tribute to entertainers who pass away on my blog. On his 79th birthday, April 6, 2016, Country legend Merle Haggard passed away. Haggard is credited along with Buck Owens for creating the Bakersfield sound. He is also known for his Outlaw Country.

His inductions into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame would be enough to call Merle a legend. A Kennedy Center Honors, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and BMI Icon Award was just icing on his cake. To me the numerous artists he influence and his 38 chart topping hits makes him a legend.

His first number one hit "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive"...

One of my favorites "Mama Tried"...

His last number one "Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star"

I could share song after song and they all would be gems. What is your favorite Merle Haggard song? Do you have a great Merle Haggard memory? Feel free to share in the comments. He will be missed by musicians, fans and family may he rest in peace.

Stay tuned for my Battle of the Bands results post on Sunday and on Monday the A to Z Challenge continues.

Friday, April 8, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Guy Harvey

A wonderful benefit about the A to Z Challenge is that it allows you to blog about things you thought that you already blogged about but didn't. I could have sworn I blogged about my visit to the local art museum to see the Guy Harvey exhibit. I didn't swear and apparently I didn't blog about it.

Who is Guy Harvey? He is an artist, known for his wildlife art mostly featuring marine wildlife. If you have gone to a store at a beach or fish chances are pretty good you have seen his work on t-shirts and hats. He is more than an artist he is also a conservationist and a scientist. He has created the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Guy Harvey Research Institute.

Guy Harvey at work or play (from his site)...


Hanging out with me on a rainy day can be a cultural experience such as a trip to the art museum where we checked out some of Mr. Harvey's work up close..

Here are fish I try to target..

He is best known for his Marlin work..

But my date likes dolphins..

Of course I told her if she didn't have fun I would lock her up..

The museum used to be an old jail. I didn't really lock her up or did I?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: F is for Fishing

Fishing isn't always about the size of the fish you catch but the size of the smile on your face.

Heck sometimes even sharks are small...

Sometimes fishing can make you crabby..

sometimes it leaves you deflated..

Sometimes it makes you want to blow up...

Everyone is a sucker for a bigger fish...

They make bigger smiles...

This one had a lot of fight..

but this one made me smile..

and this one was a little stingy...

Well I got to go I have something on the other line...

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

A to Z Challenge: E is for Exploring

Today's post is E for exploring. The best thing about a bloghop is that it gives you a chance to explore blogs. This year discovering new blogs is going slower. I finally was able to explore some new ones last night. My excuse is I have a lot of friends who are doing this challenge too! Which means I have been visiting them. Some of them may have been a little over due.

I've set a goal to visit 300 blog posts. I hope to average 10 a day. I would like to exceed it and I would like to do more exploring. The A to Z Challenge could have well over 44,000 posts to explore.
Well I am glad you have explored and discovered my blog! I look forward to exploring your blog soon.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: D is for Dexter

This year I have been blogging about books I have read. I have been reading books every month so it has become a monthly thing. Some years I don't read many books or don't read regularly.  Dexter the popular television show is based off  the "Dexter" series of books by Jeff Lindsay. I read the first book in the series about three years ago and blogged about it here.

My daughter thinks of Dexter as "icky" and books I shouldn't read. Dexter might agree. Last month I read two more books in the series "Dearly Devoted  Dexter" and "Dexter in the Dark."  I've enjoyed the series so far. The first one was close to the first season(with a major left turn)  and the next two are so different. It is weird I am reading them with the pictures of the cast running through my head but different storylines.

Have you ever read a series that was also a show with different story lines but familiar characters?
Have you read The Dexter Books? Do you have a favorite? Did you watch the series? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, I will be back tomorrow with E!

Monday, April 4, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016:C is for Challenges

Well I made it through the first week of the 2016 A to Z: Challenge. To be fair it was a short week for the challenge with only two days. This week the challenge has 6 days ad is the first full week of the challenge. I'm ready!

Today's letter is C and I wanted to write about challenges. Not necessarily the A to Z: Challenge since I think I have blogged enough about that, but there are so many challenges we face on a daily basis.

The challenge to get up out of bed on day your not feeling 100%, the challenge to make it through a tough day at work, the challenge to meet a deadline. We all face so many challenges everyday. Then we decide to add on optional, fun challenges like the A to Z: Challenge. Isn't our plate full enough? Should we tell out therapist? If we don't have a therapist should we get one?

I like challenges to motivate me and push me more. Currently I am on a couple of reading challenges on Goodreads. It was a goal of mine to read more this yes because I barely red anything in 2016 so I set a challenge to read 26 books this year. I am well on my way to smashing that! My other challenge on Goodreads is on a group about classics. One of my goals is to become more "well read" so being on that challenge will encourage me to read more of the classics.

I miss the challenge of a competitive sports. I like the fact that it encouraged me to somewhat get in shape for that activity before that sport. unfortunately I am getting older and not currently competing in any other sport.

I like lent nd the voluntary challenge of giving up something for the lent period. I usually pick something that does have a health benefit for me.

What other voluntary challenges are you participating in? Feel free to share and thanks so much for visiting my blog.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

A to Z Challenge 2016: Busted Bracket Basketball

It is down to the Final Four in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Most fan's who filled out a bracket have it pretty busted by now. I didn't do to bad, I picked two of the Final Four Teams and I do have one team alive that I picked to win it all. How is your bracket?

Villanova takes on Oklahoma in one game. Here is how the Wildcats got there...

Here is look at Oklahoma's journey...

I picked the Wildcats to get to the Final Four. The other game features the North Carolina Tar Heels, my pick to in it all. Here is a recap of UNC's tournament...

The Syracuse Orange is kind of a Cinderella Team being a 10th seed. Certainly they damaged a few brackets mine included.

Who do you have winning? Who will be playing on Monday?