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Welcome back, my friends, to the "Battle" that never ends.
We're so glad you could attend. Come inside! Come inside!
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This is 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' ('BOTB') where you listen to different recordings of the same song and vote for the one you like best. A new Battle gets posted on the 1st and 15th of each month and six days later, on the 7th and 21st, I place my own vote, tally 'em all up and announce the winner.
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Friend? Foe? Stranger? No matter, ALL are welcome. So pull up a chair, pour yourself 24 oz. of DOG BITE High Gravity Lager (or the poison of your choice) and turn it up to Eleven!
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[NOTE: Links to the first year of 'BOTB' (#1 - #24) can be found at the very bottom of this page.]

Sunday, July 15, 2018

2018, JULY 15: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, DANNY GATTON VS. BRIAN SETZER)

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Harlem Vs. Hollywood, Male Vs. Female, War Vs. Peace, Light Vs. Dark, Good Vs. Evil, Man Vs. Machine, Love Vs. Hate, Dog Vs. Cat, Sun Vs. Moon, Brain Vs. Brawn, Oscar Vs. Grammy, Angel Vs. Demon, Laurel Vs. Hardy, Beer Vs. Wine, TV Vs. Radio, Pitcher Vs. Batter, Paper Vs. Plastic, Reality Vs. Fantasy, Yeshua Vs. Beelzebub, Conservative Vs. Liberal, You Vs. Me, House Vs. Senate, Offense Vs. Defense, Kramer Vs. Kramer, Spy Vs. Spy, Fischer Vs. Spassky, W.C. Fields Vs. Sobriety, Harold Gimpy, Jr. Vs. Sheldon J. Pismire, Rock Vs. Paper Vs. Scissors, Islam Vs. Everything, Singer Vs. Singer, Band Vs. Band...
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BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB)
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Five and a half months ago (February 1st), right HERE, I wrote this:
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Peoples, I need your help! I have a BOTB contest planned for later on, and one of the two songs I want to use in it is Danny Gatton playing 'Harlem Nocturne'Problem: Gatton recorded two different versions of it, and I can't decide which one to use. And that's where you come in. I need YOU, with your votes, to decide which of these two recordings I will use in my future Battle against a different "Nocturne".
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It was decided in that Battle that Danny Gatton's 1993 recording of 'Harlem Nocturne' would move on to Battle again -- having beaten his 1975 recording of the song 9 votes to 6.
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And today is the day that preliminary Battle in February was constructed for! What we have today is Gatton's 'Harlem Nocturne' '93, going up against The Brian Setzer Orchestra's 'Hollywood Nocturne'.
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Brian Setzer, I'm sure most of you know, was the guitarist and lead vocalist of the Rockabilly trio The Stray Cats, who scored Top Ten hits with 'Rock This Town' and 'Stray Cat Strut' in 1982 and '83. In 1998, Setzer reemerged with the album 'The Dirty Boogie' (one of my all-time favorite album covers!) and fronting a Big Band playing a kind of Benny Goodman / Louis Prima-cum-Rockabilly style.
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The twelfth track on that album was a hauntingly eerie romance tune titled 'Hollywood Nocturne'
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What else ya need to know? This is the Battle Of The Nocturnes -- Harlem versus Hollywood
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...
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HARLEM NOCTURNE -- Danny Gatton (1993)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_jmeU505GI
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What's your preference, THAT or THIS?...
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HOLLYWOOD NOCTURNE -- Brian Setzer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5Eun--5U-M
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The Battle Within The Battle
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VERSUS
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Question: "Will Brian Setzer lose to Danny Gatton?"
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The Magic 8-Ball (5-2) sez:  "My Reply Is No"
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The Amazing Sixwell (5-2) sez:  "Signs Point To Yes"
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other.
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
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Voice Your Vote...
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Saturday, July 7, 2018

BOTB RESULTS: 2018, JULY 1 (Or, TINY TIM VERSUS GARTH BROOKS)

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Thanks to my friend Lelly for the poster image.

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STMcC’s Vote On '2018, July 1st: Battle Of The Bands And The Final Tally:
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My latest BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB) installment pit Tiny Tim against Garth Brooks and featured the song 'Great Balls Of Fire'. You can find that contest HERE. (Those of you who wrote "Tiny Time" in the comment section should not feel bad about it, as I too do that all the tim. Somehow that "e" just magically appears at the end.)
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If someone asked me to name the one word I most associate with BOTB, I believe the word I'd select would be surprising. BOTB is always full of surprises, and I suspect that's one of the primary reasons it's still around after 5 years.
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My most recent Battle was no exception, as several persons remarked how surprised they were to find themselves voting for Tiny Tim over Garth Brooks.
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I have never really been able to wrap my mind around Garth Brooks' astounding record sales. I don't dislike his stuffs, but I feel his popularity far exceeds his actual talent. I'll put it this way: I own five Tiny Tim CDs and zero Garth Brooks CDs. And it's no secret that I am genuinely a Tiny Tim fan. So, of course, before this Battle even got posted, I knew I'd be voting for Tiny. And I knew that you all knew it, too. Therefore, it would have been silly for me to pretend my vote was in question. After all, my brother, Al Bondigas and I are the founders of the [link> 'Make A Wish For Tiny Tim' Foundation.
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I love Tiny's energy & enthusiasm in 'Great Balls Of Fire', along with all his changes in vocal pitch. Honestly, I think Tiny could have done just about anything with his voice, including opening a can of Beanie Weenees and a bottle of beer. He'd have been a great "voice actor" for cartoon characters, TV & radio ads and such. Although he was born and raised in New York City, Tiny puts on a Southern accent when singing the words "you're fine, so kind". I suspect that was his way of honoring Jerry Lee Lewis whose recording of 'Great Balls Of Fire' is considered the classic.  
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FUN FACT: Circa 1969, a Canadian A&R man played Tiny's version of 'Great Balls Of Fire' for "The Killer", Jerry Lee Lewis, who responded by saying: "I don't know who that cat is, but he sure can do it!" 
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But a surprising thing happened on the way to the final tally! I kept listening to both versions of the song, and each time, I grew fonder and fonder of Garth Brooks' recording. As many of you noted, the piano playing is really appealing. I love that rhythmic pattern the pianist starts playing with one hand starting at about the 1:12 mark. Beer Boy Bryan wrote: "And from 1:43 to 1:47, it sounds like [Garth's] having an aneurysm." He's right. But it plays right into the theme of the song's lyrics and it really tickles me!
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At first I thought: I'm voting for Tiny. Slam dunk! But after a few days, I realized that this was a super-close Battle for me. I'm going to call it a 52% to 48% decision. Many of you said words to the effect of "I can't believe I'm voting for Tiny Tim". But me, I'm saying, "I can't believe I'm voting for Garth Brooks!" Remember this if at any time in the future you find yourself questioning the objectivity of my BOTB votes. (It's funny that Al Bondigas and I BOTH voted for Garth, despite being big Tiny fans.) Would I still have voted for Garth if my vote would have cost Tiny Tim the victory here? I like to think I would have, but I'm not sure my objectivity and honesty would have been equal to that test, and I'm glad I don't have to find out.
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Tiny Tim = 11 votes
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Garth Brooks = 7 votes
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This was a pretty nice turnout, and I thank every single one of you who made the Battle what it was! The comment section was a lot of fun, too!
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Tiny Tim is now 4-1 in BOTB. (Hat tip to Mary at 'Jingle Jangle Jungle' for keeping such terrific BOTB records!) Only Jim Morrison and The Doors have ever beaten Tiny in Battle Of The Bands... and on, of all things, the song 'People Are Strange', which Jim Morrison initially offered to Tiny Tim to perform when he was The Doors' opening act.
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Below is our winner, Tiny Tim, performing a few songs on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1968, including 'Great Balls Of Fire'. Following are some comments included on the video at YouTube:

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He scares me so much
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Hey thank you for this video.. He is sweet.. and he dance so good...
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He's just a little ray of sunshine. It makes my little black heart smile.
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Before Tommy Wiseau, there was Tiny Tim!
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Can you imagine what it would be like being on hallucinogenics while listening to Tiny's last song here, a duet with himself on I'm Glad I'm A Boy / I'm Glad I'm A Girl? What a trip that would be, eh?
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BjrfAjq-Hl0

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As for The Battle Within The Battle: The Amazing Sixwell predicted the outcome correctly, while The Magic 8-Ball didn't foresee the underdog winning in this Tiny David and Goliath Garth contest. This means they are currently tied at 5-2.
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On July 1st, I mentioned that I'd recently read 'Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Time', [*See? I did it again!*] calling it the funniest biography I've ever read. And I promised to share with you a humorous story from the book. Well, here are a few:
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IT NEEDS MORE COWBELL MEGAPHONE!
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Long before The Go-Gos existed, Tiny was performing with an all-girl group called The Enchanted Forest, and someone said, "Tiny had more makeup than the band".
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At one time, there existed mock campaign buttons promoting "Tiny Tim for President and First Lady".
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I was never a fan of Saturday Night Live; I always thought that emperor was naked. But I'll admit that I find the famous Christopher Walken skit, "It Needs More Cowbell", to be kind of amusing. Some folks think it was SNL's best skit ever.
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uShCUp2QYGs

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Well, it seems that in "real life", it wasn't about a lack of cowbell, but a lack of megaphone. This story comes from page 211 and pertains to a time when Tiny Tim was performing in downtown Las Vegas:
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What's more, the management at the Fremont Hotel complained that Tiny was so 'sluggish' from all the sweets that 'he was barely able to sing'. They were further annoyed when Tiny was heard instructing his audience not to 'foolishly gamble away their money at Las Vegas casinos'.
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The figurative icing on the cake came as a demand for a new megaphone. Tiny's was malfunctioning, and he demanded a new one. Wald reminded Tiny that $150 for a new megaphone was not an option, as the malfunctioning one could be fixed for less. After one show, Tiny, believing that the show had suffered from a lack of megaphone, flew into a rage ... and refused to come out [of his room] unless he received a new megaphone.
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... DeBlasio recalls... "he was always breaking megaphones because he never knew the mechanics of it or would misplace it some place, it was an ongoing situation."
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Although I have a hunch Tiny Tim may be making another BOTB appearance here during the 2018 Christmas season, I feel you're safe until then.
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Thanks again, Y'All, for your participation, and I hope to see you back here again for my July 15th BOTB installment.

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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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Sunday, July 1, 2018

2018, JULY 1: BATTLE OF THE BANDS (Or, TINY TIM VERSUS GARTH BROOKS)

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Yes, it's time once again for...
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 BATTLE OF THE BANDS (BOTB)
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Alright, let's get on it. Let's get ON this thing!...

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Whenever I hear the song 'GREAT BALLS OF FIRE', it always makes me think of 4th Of July fireworks. (In truth, that's not true. But I thought it would make for a good opening line.)
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Of course, anyone with a lick of sense knows that on the 4th Of July we celebrate the day that George Washington cut down a Dogwood tree and then lied about it to his mother.
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Watch the short video below and see what these dopey Californians think the 4th Of July is all about:
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2-Be9f7Ovgg

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Anyone want to guess how each of those interviewees voted in the last Presidential Election? (Assuming they all voted.) And, by the way, who is YOUR favorite Founding Father? Mine is the Anti-Federalist George Mason -- the man most responsible for our Bill Of Rights. (You know what THAT is, right?)
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CARET - noun
1. a mark (^) made in written or printed matter to show the place where something is to be inserted.

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Do you know how many carets there are in The Declaration Of Independence? I'll bet Bugs Bunny knows! 
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OK, enough of this. On to the show!...
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I recently read the exhaustive 'Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim'. Definitely the funniest biography I've ever encountered. And a photograph in the book led me to the conclusion that, totally unbeknownst to me, I have been in possession of Tiny Tim's autograph for close to a decade! It also inspired me to invite Tiny back to BOTB.
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I already had a song picked out, but who should I pit against Tiny Tim? THAT was the question!
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And then my friend Mary at Jingle Jangle Jungle posted a blog bit about Girth Garth Brooks and his alter ego, [link> Chris Gaines.
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In her post, Mary quoted from critic Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic who wrote: "When Brooks' new persona and his album were revealed to the public, they were unforgiving - they didn't think he was playing a role, they simply thought he'd lost his mind." That's when a light bulb above my head lit up and I thought: Eureka! I have found it!

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So, in this All-American July 4th installment of BOTB I present to you Tiny Tim versus Garth Brooks (or, Weirdo versus Weirdo).
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And regardless of who wins this Battle, if you will return here on July 7th for my BOTB Results post, I will share with you one of the funny Tiny Tim stories I learned of from the book 'Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life Of Tiny Tim'.

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The  League  Of  Soul  Crusaders  wish  you  a  Happy  4th  Of  July!
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First, here's Tiny from his second album (with his parents pictured on the LP's cover)...
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Great Balls Of Fire -- Tiny Tim
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiMCArGXusY

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And now, Chris Gaines in his role as Garth Brooks...
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Great Balls Of Fire -- Garth Brooks

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3H5_XFWWEs

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The Battle Within The Battle
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VERSUS
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Question: "Will Tiny Tim Lose To Garth Brooks?"
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The Magic 8-Ball (5-1) sez:  "Most Likely"
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The Amazing Sixwell (4-2) sez:  "Very Doubtful"
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Alright now, “you know the gig”... I welcome you (whether I know "you" or notto vote for your favorite of these songs in the comment section below. And feel free to tell us WHY you chose one song over the other.
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After voting here, I suggest - actually I insist - you pop over to the blogs of the other 'BATTLE OF THE BANDS' participants to see which songs they have chosen and vote there also. (If their ‘BOTB’ blog bits aren’t posted yet, pour yourself two shots of ‘Grand Marnier’ over ice – do it twice – and then return to their blogs to vice your voice ...vote your vice ...voice your vote.)
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Voice Your Vote...
@ ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
@ 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
@ 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE SOUND OF ONE HAND TYPING' by clicking HERE
@ 'JINGLE JANGLE JUNGLE' by clicking HERE.
@ 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
@ 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
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As I've done in the past, I will continue to return to my 'BOTB' blog bits on the 7th and 21st of each month to post my own votes and announce the winners in the comment sections.
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy
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