Category Archives: The Life

I never heard it but I knew the unknown

You ever come across something totally foreign to you and yet you distinguish it? You know of things even if you have never physically interacted with them? I’m not talking about watching commercials for amusement parks or other famous locales and then going to them.  I mean something more personal and yet something more physically removed than having seen or heard whispers about an item and then having it thrust on you by chance. Continue reading

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Filed under Medical, Music / Lyrics, The Life

Sounding protest of under-exposure of a high-level protest song

If you haven’t heard, Bruce Springsteen has partnered with an old chum and his group to protest President Donald J. Trump by way of a song. If you haven’t noticed, protests are becoming a mainstay and for the entertainment industry to show issue with Trump was to be expected.

There’s a failure here though. Not in the second day it’s public, at least.And no, this isn’t a partisan position, it’s simply something you have to do with music to really accomplish anything.

A message might be conveyed in “That’s What Makes Us Great” (the name of the song in question), but hearing that message in any way, shape or form only seems to be available via purchasing the song. Not from Google Play, the Apple Store, Amazon or another avenue, but from Joe Grushecky  (Springsteen’s partner in this). No preview of the song is available to listen to either.

In essence, this has caused buzz, it’s aused interest, it’s caused talking, you can find a ton of that through a simple Google search. What it’s also caused is musical silence unless you pay the piper first. It’s a 99 cent song, but a way to truly compel people to want to buy the thing is to let them hear some of it first.

It’s like that Top 100 list I published the other day: Plenty of music, plenty of music underexposed to the masses. The big difference here is tha a music titan is who is a key performer in the song. That alone will drive some sales while wait-to-see/hear stops others.

I’d guess it’s only a matter of time before this goes further in where it’s sold, or if one streaming site or another gets to air it. Until then, it’s just chatter for the masses.

EDIT April 25, 2017: posted late last week but lost in a mire of video/news coverage of the song — the song itself:

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Politics

An earworm from 80’s children’s television

Earworms are common in life. They happen – a song pops up at random or a snippet of something musical that you’ve heard, be it a professional song, a TV theme, a commercial, or something else. It happens.

I’ve been haunted in the past by a piano riff to a song I didn’t know the name to that I had heard off the radio as a child. A friend helped me find out what pop song it was. I now listen to the tune on a semi-regular basis.

I’ve got another song in my head and there are issues that likely make it impossible for me to ever hear it again; another volley from childhood in the 1980s. This time, though, I saw the song performed on television and I know the refrain from it… It’s just most every other factor is forgotten and web searches turn up nothing.

It was on Nickelodeon, I’m pretty certain of that. It wasn’t Pinwheel, or Out of Control (to even suggest that one is comical, which goes well with Out of Control’s comedic motifs), and it sure as shit wasn’t something from You Can’t Do That on Television. I just don’t remember the show besides being acting and musical – and I don’t mean skit musical but performing on-stage for children in an audience.

And while memory is dim on any other details, the acoustic song’s refrain isn’t forgotten:

Swimming in the pool and lying in the sun,
Swimming in the pool and lying in the sun

In fact, it comes off like a coda to end the song from my memory. It didn’t go on for 4 or 5 minutes but it was repeated over and over again until the last line: Swimming in the pool… And lying in the sun!

I can’t remember other verses, but the song was about summer time. I can remember the tempo. Everything else is a wash – who was performing it (guys), what show, all the lyrics. I’ve tried looking the song up quoting the refrain but results were minimal on Google and seeing some were linked to adult related content, I don’t think the wording is right on my part or the song is actually listed lyrically online.

It’s not like songs off Nick escape me entirely. I can’t forget Hocus Pocus from Today’s Special. The theme to Pinwheel is still in my head. Heck, maybe I have the wrong station where I heard this thing? It could have been CBS but the only live-action, children’s TV show that I remember watching was the Patchwork Family (I don’t know if that was a New York only broadcast, by the way; it was a Saturday morning show).

Back to the song in question, it’s catchy to the point you’d expect someone to cover it. Then again, it’s a kid’s song. It’s not going to get covered as so much remembered. In this case, it is indeed remembered – just without solid facts of who, what, where and when.

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Filed under Entertainment Industry Thingies, Music / Lyrics, The Life

Exposing songs from Music Tampa Bay’s Top 100 list of 2016

Indie music is…well, independent to the point it adds additional responsibilities to the artist to expose their tunes to the masses. Sometimes that comes with ease. Sometimes that’s an afterthought.

Music Tampa Bay, who I cited the other day when talking about Gypsy Star, keeps a competitive Top-40 list (which listeners and web visitors vote on). At the end of the year, the songs that rank highest in votes on the Top 40 are piled into a Top 100 song list. The site has a page devoted to the listings from several years – though the lists are graphics and somewhat illegible. It doesn’t really get the songs out there or make it easy for you to actually find them online.

This post is an attempt at changing that. I’ve taken the 2016 Top 100 listing from Music Tampa Bay and converted the image to an actual list. To build on that, to actually expose the artists who ranked so well to make this list, I’ve hyperlinked to as many of the songs as I could find.

While these are supposed to be Tampa Bay based artists, some have national attention (Four Star Riot among others). Also, while this list was for 2016 – some of the songs were published before then and I don’t mean just a year earlier.

The ranking of the songs itself is based off of votes cast in the Top 40 listing. I can’t say this was pure song rankings, or as if there was no “fix” regarding the top 10; don’t take the order as an opinionated or fine performance ranking. It’s just voting.

As of this writing, 80 out of the 100 songs are linked to so you can take them in yourself. I’ve linked to YouTube most of the time, but other places such as Reverb Nation and Soundcloud also get linking. Spotify contains many of the songs, including non-linked songs (I decided against using Spotify due to the forced registration to use the service). Some of those unlinked songs also are readily available on commercial sites such as Amazon or iTunes – this isn’t a sales-pitch though, so I didn’t link to any of that either.

Some of these songs, despite being listed as Top 100 and having age and radio play on Music Tampa Bay (at least) had never been viewed on YouTube by the time I crossed them while compiling this piece. Some came off as deeply hidden.  It sort of furthers the point of limited exposure.

This article remains an ongoing project as I’d like to get music genre listed next to each song… I mean, c’mon! You’ve likely never heard of most (if not all) of these artists and you’re not exactly encouraged to blindly click to a song. At least knowing it’s supposed to be pop, rock, country, folk, etc. will encourage where you go.

Also, as this remains an ongoing project, if you can provide a link for a non-linked song that would be great. Just use comments below or contact me via email with a link. Continue reading

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Filed under Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Right-versus-wrong and the ongoing gaffe of the Presidency of Donald Trump

I was not a fan of the last Republican president, George Walker Bush. There are plenty of posts in the history of this web site that show it. Partisanship and ideology were the key areas that divided me from the president known as Dubya. Partisanship seems to be the basis for defense of the current Commander in Chief of these United States, Donald J. Trump.

Partisanship, the political divide between Republicans and Democrats, has nothing to do with much of what is setting off alarm bells and upsetting citizens. Continue reading

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Filed under Politics

Indulged by the glimmer from Gypsy Star

I was on the Music Tampa Bay website yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, it’s an indie rock/music station in the Tampa Bay metro area (96.7 FM). I’ve interacted with the site before as I helped get the Pretty Voices on air on the station.

One key element on the Music Tampa Bay website is a Top-10 list of songs from local artists. It’s also directly tied to voting on the Top-40 of the station. I was looking at the list specifically to see if the Pretty Voices had any tracks listed at the time (nope). None of the listed artists or bands were familiar to me and that’s regularly the case with me and indie music.

What’s also regularly the case with me is checking out an indie artist because… why the hell not?

So, listed at #1 at the time on the Top-40 list was Gypsy Star, “I Feel Love”.  I jumped to Google and typed that in and instead of pointing to a version of “I Feel Love” on YouTube, it pointed to the song Paramour:

All too often what I hear and what I see is bland rock. It’s not the lyrcs that make it bland, it’s just the non-riff of guitar and everything layered on top of each other to make the tunes forgettable. This was not that. I was taken aback by a violinist and accordion being part of the arrangement. Gypsy Star describes themselves as being “dynamic folk / rock” and this sure as shit felt like it. It transfixed me through Monday night.

Yet, listening to the opening of the song again, familiarity crept in. I’ve heard another variation of this before, haven’t I? Listen to the song alone for a minute, without the show distraction.  Think about it for a minute.

It reminded me squarely of a song that “you can check out any time you like, but you can never” leave:

Don’t take that as a criticism, folks. I highly recommend checking out more of their tunes; they just released the album Under the Moonlit Night  in January. Listening to “Paramour” and checking out some of their other songs (like the previously mentioned “I Feel Love”, you can find “I Feel Love” here, it is on YouTube… Not in concert version) I’ve been left curious and surprised. Gypsy Star is only a Tampa Bay local group? They sure as hell look an sound like a group that should be seeing a broader playing area in Florida, in the US and perhaps around the globe.

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Filed under interweb, Music / Lyrics, Tampa Bay

Isolation and the Tampa Bay Rays quest for a new stadium

Insecure, narcissist and self indulgent. These words are commonly thrown toward current United States President Donald J. Trump (as they should be). Yet what’s inspiring these words at the moment is reflecting on a city; one town in a grander regional area that wants to be on top. It’s a town that wants prominence in the region through a national spotlight, even if that spotlight is dimmed by way of the city itself.

St. Petersburg, Florida’s population is almost 250,000, 16,000 more than Reno, Nevada (“America’s Biggest Little City”). It’s part of the grander Tampa Bay metroplex. Its quest to one-up Tampa (the larger city in the Bay area) was part of why the town constructed the venue known now as Tropicana Field. Never mind the fact there was no slated pro sports team to play within the building when construction was approved in the mid-1980s; St. Petersburg had to force the location if and when (if ever) Major League Baseball expanded or relocated to Tampa Bay.

Being a Tampa Bay resident for so long, having seen and experienced life with the Dome and St. Pete in general, I cringe and shake my head now. Topping another city to lock in control of a potential jewel only shows a lack of self awareness. St. Pete has one, basic fault that keeps it understated in a the wider region; a very simple fault that’s on display at Tampa Bay Rays games and which is why a new stadium is a hot point with the club and why relocation outside of the region is a possibility….

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Filed under baseball, Tampa Bay

And down the stretch they come….! Thoughts on the Tampa Bay Lightning as the NHL season wanes

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Filed under hockey, Raw Charge

On Tampa Bay sports disappointment and media coverage

A disappointing season in sports – both professional and amateur — is just that, a disappointment, a downer. Things don’t go as planned and the results are lesser than you (as a fan) wish. It’s something that you can’t hold against a high school or college team while the pro sports competitive disappointments can be outright atrocities of a competitive kind, run asunder by a multitude of choices by management as well of incidents of both a competitive variety and by bad luck.

The 2016-17 Tampa Bay Lightning season is a disappointment of a competitive nature where bad luck (injuries) and a horrible schedule played part in the Bolts not roaring into a competitive, playoff-bound position that has become a constant the last three seasons. There was a noted attitude problem in the Lightning locker room, and once that was brought into check the team turned up its competitive vibe and is where it is now: Just outside the playoff bubble with a scant chance of making it and a growing chance of missing the playoffs.

It’s a disappointment, yeah. Yet the strength of the team hasn’t collapsed, things haven’t been put asunder with bad coaching or low quality management moves. For the casual fan that’s locked in on disappointment in the trades of Ben Bishop, Brian Boyle and Valtteri Filppula: They weren’t going to stick around long term by way o the salary cap and costs to do so. Bishop and Boyle will be unrestricted free agents come July 1st, Filppula was due to become one in the summer of 2018. With the club already working with a very tight salary cap, retaining them over retaining forthcoming restricted free agents Ondrej Palat, Jonathan Drouin and / or Center Tyler Johnson just couldn’t be done.

Disappointing to lose fan favorite players, especially Bishop who was such a steady hand in the crease. But when looking at the broad picture, at the “Yzerplan” that accentuates player development, it’s understandable as something that had to be done.

To cut that short: shit happens. Ho hum. Next season is going to be something worth checking out, just as this season was, and the season before…

In comparison to professional sports in the history of the greater Tampa Bay Metropolitan area which has existed 40+ years, this season of Lightning hockey ranks a hell of a lot higher on the disappointment list than oh-so-many others coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Rays and Lightning. All that history, all the back-story of each club doesn’t gain web-clicks or sell newspapers at the immediate moment though.

See, Tampa Bay Times (and former Tampa Tribune) sports columnist Martin Fennelly made a bold decree that this Tampa Bay Lightning’s season is the biggest disappointment in the history of Tampa Bay sports. He does quick-quick takes of other top-tier disappointing seasons for local clubs, but highlights the current state of the Lightning as “desperation hockey” and the reason why this season is the top disappointment – ever.

That’s where I’ve been revitalized as a sports blogger, because something so limited in view, perspective and opinion got the green light from the only newspaper in the region. Something so inane, random and weak didn’t just get published – it’s going to get someone his paycheck because he put words down and it fit a column length requirement. Continue reading

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by | March 22, 2017 · 8:17 AM

An old story about an old man, may I introduce “Ignorant Bliss”

I’ve got a couple of short stories that were originally intended as submissions to print media in attempts of becoming a published author. Yet finding that print media and not playing the waiting game / not suffering repeated rejections kept me from actually doing it. Instead of anything happening to these stories, they sat in a folder on my computer. And while I’ve been exposed to the folder every time I’ve saved writing files over the years, I haven’t looked at or touched the stories in more than a decade.

Four days ago, while eating dinner, a very random line from a very random scene of one of those stories jumped into my mind. You bitch, those were your mother’s! I didn’t remember the stry by name, but I remembered the story. I spent the evening trying to locate the file and lo and behold, I did.

It’s a 5,000 word piece that is named Ignorant Bliss and you can find it in the Writing section on the site. As a guy known for blogging and somewhat for poetry/lyrical verse, putting a short fiction piece out there that’s emotional and eccentric may be surprising to some. It remains to be seen if it’s a good read or not.

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Filed under The Life, Writing