Ranting on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
...The GOOD: What is truly good and ever awe-inspiring to me is that no matter how down I may occasionally feel about anything going on in my life – after reviewing entries for the weekly Open-Mic, it NEVER, EVER, FAILS - that I become instantly cleansed and renewed with a brand new sense of rebirth and positivity that is otherwise unattainable anywhere else! That my friends, is simply priceless by every measure imaginable! That is a serious claim folks, however, I know that I’m not alone in that assertion, which makes such a claim that much more over-the-top real. Do you feel me?
To have the privilege (as all of us readily do) to witness, partake in, engage with, and experience the immense artistic individuality, passion, and determination that each of the entrants bring forth each week, along with having fun in the process, and putting one’s best foot forward - is such a refreshing and rejuvenating exercise in the pursuit of unbound pleasure. It is truly a priceless experience beyond compare. As a long-standing general life-skeptic on numerous fronts, I am totally convinced of this irrefutable first-hand truth! I never thought anything or anyone was capable of breaking thru such entrenched barriers that have been built up over a lifetime. KUDOS, Open-Mic and all of the artists who play here!
For this, I thank each and every Open-Mic entrant both past, present, and future, for providing the very best that humanity has to offer in this rather unique and magical realm of positive engagement. Your individual artistic efforts are truly priceless on every scale of human measure! For that, I shall always love all of you - forever and ever! There will always be a special place for each of you in the history of humanity’s finer moments. For that, and that alone, each of you should be forever proud!
The Bad: Well, if anyone is paying attention at all, there is somewhat of a revolutionary uprising of sorts taking place on the platform with regard to voting-bots, self-voting, reward pool dynamics, and everything else in between for that matter. There are numerous economic and philosophical arguments in favor of, against, and agnostic toward such dynamics; however, what cannot be denied is the deep sense of inherent dissatisfaction amongst a large contingent of participants who are weighing in rather freely on such matters. Thus far, from what I’ve seen, this is a healthy dialog in my view, and an opportunity for learning about oneself and the world around us.
The Ugly: What, might I ask, is more ugly than the inherently human nature of excessive greed, abusive dominance, and looking out only for oneself at the express and specific expense of others? Mind you, I fully respect and endorse all manner of free-market libertarian concepts i.e. first taking care of oneself in one’s own self-interest; however, I suspect an ethical and lawful line needs to be drawn clearly somewhere, as to when such self-interest expresses itself in a manner that harms others directly or harms the sustainability of the eco-systems where such maligned interests hive and thrive.
As many sage minds here have occasionally alluded, the machinations and dynamics currently taking place across the Steemit Blockchain of imposed moral judgments (or lack thereof), and the economic dominance clearly exposed, are but mere facsimiles of that which has occurred thus far in our real world experience and throughout all of history. From a macro standpoint, I find it rather difficult to disagree with such an assessment. Kudos to those who have drawn such relevant parallels! In my view, unwelcome as they may be, such parallels are indeed self-evident.
That said, just like in real life, we have no other choice but to actively shun and move away from that which displeases us and right or wrong, to express such vociferously if we are so inclined. No one is ever 100% right and as such, we should all remain humble to some extent in knowing that it is more likely than not, that each of our deeply held worldviews and belief systems are indeed spotted with flaws regardless of how convinced of their righteousness or emotionally attached to them we may be.
In addition to such noble thoughts and actions, I suggest that each of us embrace, and support that which reinforces our inherent belief systems (subjective as they are) wherever such deeply held beliefs may manifest – so long as such beliefs emerge from a well-thought-thru place of purity, sustainability, integrity, and ideally, some form of objective and universal truth. Please think about that deeply before thumping your chest or aligning oneself with any specific tribe or to a myopic one-dimensional mindset. In doing so, one risks entrapping themselves in an unintentional spiral of herded ignorance.
So yes, as many of us rightly criticize, call out, and condemn our respective overbearing and largely corrupt statist governments, shouting “shame on them” for their hypocrisy and willful deceit against the masses of otherwise honest and well-meaning citizenry, we should do the same in kind for any such perceived infractions of abusive manifest power occurring here on Steemit or in any other realm for that matter.
As an avid supporter of the “Peace, Love, and Justice-for-All” doctrine, should one wish to express them, I believe it is ones inherent right to share their opinions and concerns freely. At some point, however, I believe it becomes an individual’s responsibility to voice such opinions, and act upon them to whatever extent appropriate!
Bear in mind however, that upon discovery of new plausible information and the open-minded consideration of well-argued alternate viewpoints, we must always remain flexible to modifying our opinions and perceptions relative to that which is most meaningful to us and that which is as closely aligned to the most objective forms of universal truths we can effectively identify.
Okay, I’m done ranting – let’s move on!
Please, VOTE for These WITNESSES...
In addition to @pfunk, I am also adding @curie to my short list of “must-vote-for” witnesses. @curie provides a great deal of wholesome and honest support directly to many of our most outstanding musicians, and we should all support @curie in kind. You can vote for both of these witnesses right now by going directly to this link: https://steemit.com/~witnesses
With all of that said, following some further insights as to how I judge entries, let’s get on with it, shall we?
As one of the esteemed Open Mic judges, it is my job to come up with (or “curate” as it were) a short-list of my top 5 entrants each week. With all of the great talent here, that is by no means an easy task. Sure, tossing in another 5 honorable mentions helps, but not when my weekly list starts out with 100 or more of my favorite entries... You guy's rock - I'm tellin ya!
Yes, I am a Libra – so I have an inherent drive deep within me to be fair and balanced – good qualities for a “judge” if you ask me. That being said, I’m still human – filled with emotion and subjective feelings – just like you. So, in order to mitigate my subjective tendencies to the best extent possible, I’ve come up with a method by which to narrow down my selections in a more objective vs. arbitrary manner.
Here’s how I go about my personal judging process: I first start out with a list of 100 or more of my most favorite entries for the week, and score them (yes, subjectively) in six distinct categories via a spreadsheet. The categories I’ve selected for scoring are in general harmony with those explained by @luzcypher in his post titled How We Pick The Top 3 Entries, referencing such.
To get a more in-depth perspective as to how I personally go about selecting my artists, please refer to What I go through as an Open-Mic Judge.
Even though it’s still a “subjective” process – diligently going through each scoring category to come up with a “total” score for each entrant helps to minimize any overzealous subjectivity that I may harbor with respect to any specific entrants.
Quite often, this exercise doesn’t give me the exact results I would personally prefer to see – but that only means that my system of judging is working as intended and designed. With all of that said, here are...
My Top-5 Picks in Order
Though he valiantly brushes it off as simply another life lesson learned, I can’t help but imagine just how painful writing and performing this song must truly be for Darren. I mean, I fell apart just listening to it and reading his post. He writes, “To the world, you are one person, and to one person you are the world.” The person to whom he refers is his mother. Yes, time heals all wounds; however, scars tend to last forever. This is a deeply emotional song about the magical bond or in Darren’s case, the lack thereof, that each of us holds most dear throughout our lifetimes. This is a beautifully crafted song about how the slow and painful march of time eventually helps in healing us. Brilliant guitar work and performance, Darren… bless you, mate!
Dang, I’m telling you guys, Shook keeps shaking things up here, man! This time out he lays an original Jazz-sprinkled number on us aptly titled, “Shook.” At one point in the song Shook asks, “Are we many, or are we one?” Well, Shook may be one, but he certainly has many musical talents! The upright bass, the trombone that he’s only played for a week, not to mention his lyrical, composition, guitar, and vocal skills. This guy’s got it all! Loved this, Shook! – Awesome.
Leave it to none other than @pechichemena to select an incredibly difficult song to cover – make it his own, and then nail it like nobody’s business. The passion resonating throughout his soulful vocal expressions is just as impressive as his always brilliant guitar work. Awesome, Pechiche!
I would never in a million years have thought it possible that I could fall in love with a Venezuelan Waltz! To my ear, this song and performance are like a magic elixir. I was instantly intoxicated by the most soothing and sultry vocals of @belenlopr in accompaniment with an equally enchanting blend of classical guitar and mood altering keys. One must listen all the way through to fully appreciate the bounty of impassioned emotional builds and dynamism resident in this most lovely performance.
So many elements captured my attention while experiencing this most exquisite instrumental performance. One of the things that impressed me was that this is an original composition by two relatively young and quite talented gentlemen. What truly captivated me, however, was the intensity and passion each of them clearly displayed while performing. Not only is the music beautiful, but to see just how much they are in love with and connected to it and each other made it that much more beautiful to me. Bravo, gentlemen!
My Top-5 Honorable Mentions in Order:
First: @andreabortone – We’re Worth It - (Original)
Second: @granaddiction – Perfect - (Cover)
Third: @@@claratymusic – Untitled - (Original)
Fourth: @joseacabrerav – Mi Historia entre tus dedos - (Cover)
Fifth: @arrozymangophoto – Original Sound - (Original)
Thank you for reviewing my selections for this week’s Open-Mic contest. If you find this content I’ve curated entertaining and of value to you, then please consider up-voting and/or re-steeming it.
Peace, Love, and Justice for All
A Very Special Shout Out To:
The following 20 artists who were very much on my radar, each within a splitting hair of making it into my overall top-10, and whose performances I loved, cherish, and respect most assuredly. This special list is very much an extension of my most honorable mentions.
They are - in no particular order:
@dustinseth, @paintingangels, @dannyhamilton, @moccamonica, @tribedownsouth, @santyrouge, @kjablonski, @chaifm, @dinoromanelli, @raqquel, @elliotjgardner, @juliolunar, @tombalistrer, @vladoramirez, @manuelmusic, @yrmaleza, @lecocoramos, @honeymoon-1611, @lucybanks, and @melavie!
Another Special Shout Out To:
The following artists whose performances I very much enjoyed this week. They are - in no particular order:
@carlosvidal, @mateang, @oswaldotorres, @abelfernandez, @enazirma, @carljohn, @k0wsk1, @roman.musica, @mariajruizb, @mcmusic, @jonmagnusson, @gibber, @acousticsteveo, @silentscreamer, @peterkrackpotkin, @steevc, @lifetipsbysn, @aidarojaswriter, @kkarenmp, @dominiopropio, @klynic, @cellomusic91, @marting, @ferchemusico, @melodyrussell, @leomolina, @lostgalaxy, @davidfar, @that.bass.guy, @edwardstobia, @miguelarl, @salvadorhr18, @pedrogranado23, @elisonr13, @tcpolymath, @jembee, @lorenzopistolesi, @nior, @theflorescents, @lozanocarmen, @rjcha, @jons0318, @duocover, @pauliecruz, @wilins, @lauriane, @yessellyloscomps, @wethepatsies, @joandelgado, @jgvinstl, and @johannesburghart!
Much love and thanks to each and every one of you who have touched a part of my heart and soul - not only this week but forever!