#atozchallenge: 2023 Reflections

Theme: Words containing J


One of the first challenges I took part in as a blogger in 2012 was the A to Z Challenge. I had a great time then, and I’ve had a great time doing it every year since. One year, I had so much fun that I did two whole challenges that year. I hadn’t intended on it, it’s just that April 1 was a Monday, and I decided I would use songs that start with the letter A for Monday’s Music Moves Me, and everyone thought that was my theme (my actual theme was Portmanteaus). So I did both…

Most of my themes are word-based: I choose words that share an attribute, such as this year, where I chose words that had the letter J in them. This was similar to a couple of years ago, where, in honor of the tenth anniversary of the Challenge, I chose words that had the letter X in them. I think next year I might go without a theme, just to be different.

I enjoyed working with the "team," namely J, Tarkabarka, JR, and "Mr. A to Z," Arlee. God willing, we’ll all be back again next year. And thanks to our unnamed graphics person, who did an outstanding job putting the graphics together.

I’d like to officially congratulate all who signed up for the challenge and finished, and give a hearty pat on the back to those who started out with the best of intentions and had life intervene. I almost found out what that’s like this year. Also, I’d like to unofficially congratulate Fandango, Jim, Barbara, Paula and all the others who decided to do this year’s challenge "unofficially," i.e. without signing up via the official signup sheet.

And… that’s all for now. I’m the unofficial "tour guide" for the A to Z Road Trip! Details on May 15 on the main blog!

#atozchallenge: “Zaj”

Today is the last day of the 2023 A to Z Challenge, and for my Z entry, I’d like to share a Hungarian pop song by Szabó Balázs Bandája called "Zaj."

According to the Hungarian Wikipedia, Balázs Szabó (I think Szabó is his family name) "is a Hungarian singer, songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist, puppeteer and storyteller. He is the founder of the bands Suhancos, active between 2005 and 2009, and the Bandája Balázs Szabó, founded in 2009." I’ve learned from this page that the song is from their 2011 album Keressük! The lyrics are on that page as well. You can the the lyrics translated into English here.

And that’s it for the A to Z Challenge for 2023! Thanks for joining us!

#atozchallenge: Yellowjacket

Source:Flr0002/Flagtaffotos, CC BY-NC, via Wikipedia

The yellowjacket is a predatory social wasp of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. The eastern yellowjacket and the aerial yellowacket are the most common of these.

Here in Atlanta, they’re mostly seen around Bobby Dodd Stadium on the campus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, home of the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets…

Sing along with Buzz (the mascot)!

I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech, and a hell of an engineer—
A helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer.
Like all the jolly good fellows, I drink my whiskey clear.
I’m a Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer.

Oh! If I had a daughter, sir, I’d dress her in White and Gold,
And put her on the campus to cheer the brave and bold.
But if I had a son, sir, I’ll tell you what he’d do—
He would yell, ‘To hell with Georgia!’ like his daddy used to do.

Oh, I wish I had a barrel of rum and sugar three thousand pounds,
A college bell to put it in and a clapper to stir it round.
I’d drink to all the good fellows who come from far and near.
I’m a ramblin’, gamblin’, hell of an engineer!

The Yellowjackets is a band started in 1977 by guitarist Robben Ford, who brought together keyboardist Russell Ferrante, bassist Jimmy Haslip, and drummer Ricky Lawson. Ford left halfway through the recording of the second album, 1983’s Mirage A Trois and was replaced by saxophonist Mark Russo. There have been other changes over the years, but the band has recorded 27 studio albums and won two Grammy Awards, the 1987 award for Best R&B Instrumental Performance for "And You Know That," from their 1986 album Shades, and for Jazz Fusion Performance for their 1989 album Politics. Here is "And You Know That."

From their most recent album, Parallel Motion (2022), the title track.

One day remains! What will I come up with for that? I’ll give you a hint: more music! See you tomorrow!

#atozchallenge: XJH

Photo by Essow on Pexels.com

X is always a tricky letter to get around. A lot of people use a word that starts with ex-, some use the X as the Roman numeral 10, some actually find a word that starts with X that matches their theme. When I saw it, my mind went right to the stock tables, and I found a ticker symbol, XJH, that fit my theme.

XJH is the ticker symbol for the iShares ESG Screened S&P Mid-Cap ETF. It’s managed by BlackRock Investing, in case you were wondering. It is an ETF, or exchange-traded fund, similar to a mutual fund except, instead of purchasing shares directly from the fund, you buy it like a stock. In this case, the stock is traded through Fidelity.

Many mutual funds track specific indices calculated by stock exchanges like the NYSE index, the NASDAQ index, the FTSE, Nikkei, Hang Seng etc. Other organizations, like Dow Jones or Standard & Poors, calculate popular indices as well. In this case, the fund uses stocks in the S&P Midcap stock index EXCEPT stocks for weapon manufacturers, tobacco stocks, and fossil fuel stocks. So, if you’re looking to invest in a mutual fuind or ETF that invested in midcap stocks but didn’t want to be involved with guns, fossil fuels, or tobacco, this might be the stock for you.

Please, don’t take my word for it: I am not a broker or trying to sell any securities. Everything I know about this fund cn be found on its page. God forbid you take any of my advice. Contact a broker with any questions.

Two letters to go! Back with Y tomorrow!

#atozchallenge: Wojciehowicz

Max Gail as Det. Stan Wojciehowicz on the ABC sitcom Barney Miller (1975-1982). Source: sitcomsonline.com

One of my favorite TV sitcoms has to be Barney Miller, which ran on the ABC (US) Television Network from 1975 to 1982.

Barney Miller was set in the detective squad of the fictional 12th Precinct of the New York Police Department in Manhattan. The squad was led by Captain Miller, played by Hal Linden. He and his command dealt with the often strange problems that a police precinct can sometimes face. It showed the changing face of police work through the ’70’s, where the police spent as much time dealing with the victims of crime as the criminals themselves, and sometimes were the focus of the stories themselves.

One member of the cast that was constant through the years was Detective Stan Wojciehowicz, "Wojo" for short, played by Max Gail. Wojo isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer, but no one else shows the dedication to the job that he does.

Wojo joined the NYPD after a tour of duty in Vietnam with the US Marines. Over the course of the show, he takes (and fails) the sergeant’s exam four times. On one of those occasions, he is ordered to rejoin the uniform squad temporarily. Seeing it as a punishment for failing the exam, he quits, but after a "dark night of the soul" he appears, in uniform, at the end of the episode, when Barney reminds him that it’s only temporary. One especially good episode has him threatening an executive of Monsanto, manufacturers of Agent Orange, a defoliant used in Vietnam that proved to have caused harm to service members. He worries that he might have been affected by the chemical.

Were you a fan of Barney Miller? Do you still watch it in reruns?

That’s W — X tomorrow!