The Holiday Head Cold from Hades

If my Facebook memories are to be believed, I get a horrible cold at this time every year. It usually wrecks my long-standing plans by felling me like a tree outside a lumber camp. This year has been no exception.

It was a tight squeeze, but I managed to set up my section of the signing table.

I had my book signing at Barnes & Noble on Dec. 8 … and I suspect that’s where I caught the cold. When you are interacting with dozens of people over the course of a few hours, it’s almost a sure bet that someone will be incubating a cold! Living with an autoimmune disease makes me more likely to catch that cold than the average Jane, so of course …


The great frustration is that I had planned to spend yesterday at a French-themed holiday market not far from where I live. Instead, I spent it on the couch. dosed to the gills on cold medication that made me sleepy. I was not exactly the picture of authorial glamour. I felt too lousy to put up my weekly Sample Saturday post; moving from the couch was more work than I could manage!

However, it seems that I actually turned a corner last night, because the coughing and congestion is not as bad today, I no longer feel febrile, which is also good. We have pre-paid tickets to the Fathom Events screening of Emmett Otter’s Jug Band Christmas, and I feel okay to go.

Here’s a little bit of Emmett Otter for you to enjoy as well.


Blogging from A to Z: Reflections on the 2018 Challenge

A-to-Z Reflection [2018]Technically, this reflection post is not supposed to happen until tomorrow.  However, I have the time and inclination to do it today … and I don’t think anyone will condemn me.

This was my second year participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge.  Last year, I did it on a whim — and with no real plan.  I wound up doing some general posts and a healthy dose of Facts from My Fiction.  This year, I had a plan:  The Music of David Bowie.  I presented 26 Bowie songs (okay, 25 … and one by Angie Bowie because there was no X song), trivia, and album information.  I not only shared the hits, but also some deep cuts with which many readers were unfamiliar but still enjoyed.

funny-pictures-exhausted-cat-alphabetized-cdsEngagement was down 30 percent this year during the challenge.  Frankly, I don’t know quite why that is.  People were perhaps less interested in my theme, or maybe (as was the case for me) found having to register their post on one list and go to one or more other lists to find posts to visit time-consuming and a little bothersome.  Personally, I preferred putting the post link in a comments list where I could readily find other blogs and see what the subject was rather than trying to guess it on the daily letter list or match it up with the master theme reveal list to see whether it was interesting to me.  So, I also commented on fewer blogs than I did in the past.  Still, I did find some interesting new blogs to follow.

Astute observers of this year’s challenge will notice that I didn’t include any of the songs from Bowie’s brilliant final album, Blackstar.  Honestly, I’m still not ready.  I’ve been a fan since I was 12 years old, and that was a long time ago.  Losing David Bowie was, for me, like losing a family member … and Blackstar (particularly “Lazarus”) is an album that shows us Bowie knew his time was short and that he wanted to give us one last gift of music.

From the beginning of this year’s challenge, I knew what song and performance I would use to bring the whole thing full circle at the end.  David Bowie’s first major hit was “Space Oddity,” in 1969.  The song influenced later hits “Ashes to Ashes” (from Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps)) and “Hallo Spaceboy” (from 1. Outside).  It was this song that Toronto’s Choir! Choir! Choir! sang after Bowie’s passing, in the rotunda of Art Gallery of Ontario where I saw the David Bowie Is … exhibit in 2013.  There could be no more fitting send-off.

If you missed any of this year’s A to Z Challenge posts, you will find them at this link.  Thank you, as always, for reading.




Blogging from A to Z: Z is for “Ziggy Stardust”

zHere we are, on the last day of the 2018 Blogging from A to Z Challenge.  I’ll have some thoughts about this year’s project in a wrap-up post on May 7.  In the mean time, let’s get down to business.

While there were other David Bowie songs that begin with Z, I knew which one I wanted immediately.

Song: Ziggy Stardust

Album: The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, acoustic guitar), Mick Ronson (electric guitar), Trevor Bolder (bass guitar), Mick Woodmansey (drums)

ziggy_stardustWhat I love about this track:  Several times throughout this series, I’ve mentioned my fondness for Bowie as a balladeer.  His ability to tell a story in song is unparalleled in modern times.  “Ziggy Stardust” is a splendid example of the art.

Trivia:  “Ziggy Stardust” is one of four Bowie songs included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll.

Why I chose this video:  I am not going to lie, I looked at easily a dozen videos before narrowing it down.  This one, from the Reality tour, really got me.  After all of the numerous faux retirements, this one was really the last.  It seemed an appropriate way to say goodbye to the challenge for 2018.


Blogging from A to Z: Y is for “Yassassin”

ySong: Yassassin

Album: Lodger (1979)

Personnel: David Bowie (vocals, background vocals, synthesizer), Dennis Davis (drums, background vocals), George Murray (bass, background vocals), Carlos Alomar (rhythm guitar, background vocals), Tony Visconti (lead guitar, background vocals), Simon House (violin, background vocals)

Bowie-lodgerWhat I love about this track:  The juxtaposition of Middle Eastern harmonics and modalities with reggae is oddly charming.

Trivia: The song’s title is derived from a Turkish verb, yaşasın, which translates as “may s/he live a long life.”

Why I chose this video: Frankly, I thought it might be fun to provide you all with the lyrics for a change.

Blogging from A to Z: X is for (E)x-wife

xYes, I know.  It’s a bit of a cheat, to say the least.  The only letter for which David Bowie has no song is, not too shockingly, X.  However, his ex-wife, Angie, does have a song.

Song: Crying In The Dark

Album: Moon Goddess (1985)

newmoongoddessPersonnel:  Angie Bowie, Chico Rey.  I can find absolutely nothing else about this record.

Trivia: Angie produced the video and won an award for it in Germany.