Sunday, November 19, 2017

Music Review: Uintah Basin Orchestra and Chorus: 2015 Christmas Concert

Uintah Basin Orchestra and Chorus: 2015 Christmas Concert

This orchestra and choral concert just keeps getting bigger and bigger.  This year there are more singers, more orchestra members, children singers, more dancers.  It is just more.  I keep looking for Dennis Hatch whose name is on the program, and I did Star of Justice with Dennis Hatch.  I felt the highlight of this entire concert is in the 41st minute, the children's chorus sings the Wexford Carol.  

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Movie Review: ****^Thor Ragnarok (2017)

Lots of interesting action in this movie, and lots of heroes.  Hela (Cate Blanchett) is back.  She is the oldest daughter of Odin (Anthony Hopkins), and served at his side during Odin's warring period.  However as Odin became more peaceful, and Hela wished to continue warring, she was confined.  Now she is back, and the first thing she does is destroy Thor's hammer and then banish Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to a throw away world.  There Loki takes up politics, and Thor becomes a gladiator and set to face The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).  The Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) of the games likes his champion and makes sure Hulk wins.  But the Hulk takes Thor to his room, where Thor plans his escape with Hulk and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) his captor, who is also from Asgard.  They refuse, but he leaves anyway, towards Hulk's space ship to get off the planet.  Hulk follows him.  Hulk has been the Hulk steady for over two years, but in the spacecraft he hears the voice of Natasha Romanoff, and converts to Bruce Banner.  Then Loki and Valkyrie also show up, but they need a better vessel to get through a worm hole, and Loki helps them steal a vessel, but he has turning over Thor on his mind.  This is thwarted, and he is left with the escaping slaves of the planet.  Thor makes it back to Asgard, just in time, as Hela has control, and is about to wrest the sword controlling the bridge from Heimdall (Idris Elba).  This paves the way to a great struggle.  Hela is just too powerful, except for maybe against, Surtur, who according to prophesy will destroy Asgard.
This movie takes a plot change at the end, and desperate measure are needed to rescue the people of Asgard.
Tony and I saw this, and we had a good time.  Loved the action, and the characters, and also the banter between Thor and Hulk.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Picture Book Review: Fanny

Fanny A Serendipity Book, written by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James, Price Stern Sloan, Los Angeles, 1987.
This is a story of a three-legged cat.  The cat just wants to have friends, but the other animals, especially the adults, influencing their kids, make sure the little cat is not bothered.  "Don't talk to her, you would just embarrass her, besides she has nothing to say."  It takes a little puppy to break through the prejudice.  Puppies are just happy go lucky and don't listen to what others say.  Of course Ruby and Fanny became friends.  You see Ruby was a licking dog, and Fanny licked right back.  Soon the other animals started warming up, and discovered Fanny had a lot to say, and she wasn't embarrassed.  "Being handicapped is only a state of mine."

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Music Review: Disney Timeless Classics

This C.D. (2013) has something for everyone, and lots for the Disney fan.  Some of these songs go back a long ways, and bring back fond memories.  It represents a wide variety of Disney movies and t.v.  For example there is "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" from an early cartoon.  However these are mostly movie songs, "Whistle While you Work," (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) "When You Wish Upon a Star,"(Pinocchio) "When I see an Elephant Fly" (Dumbo) and "Little April Shower" (Bambi) are some early Disney classics.  "The Three Caballeros" reminds me of "Ay Jalisco".  There is "Zip-A-Dee-Doo Dah" sung by James Baskett and Burl Ives sings "Lavender Blue" (So Dear to my Heart).  Other later classics include: "A Dream is a Wish You Heart Makes" (Cinderella) and "What a Dog" (Lady and the Tramp) "Once Upon a Dream" (Sleeping Beauty) and "Cruella De Vil" (101 Dalmatians). 
My favorite of all the songs is Julie Andrews, "A Spoonful of Sugar" (Mary Poppins).  Burl Ives sings another, "The Ugly Bug Ball" (Summer Magic).  Pearl Bailey offers up "Best of Friends" (Fox and Hound), which is the concluding number to the C.D. and a beautiful place to stop. 
This C.D. is for Disney lovers.  Reminds me of the sing-a-long videos we use to have.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Picture Book Review: The Keeping Quilt

This is a fascinating picture book.  It tells the story of a family, using a quilt.  When Anna's family moves to America from Russia, they left many things behind in the old country.  Mother makes this quilt out of items that were getting old, and gives them new life in providing an object to help them tell each new generation about their history.  And so the keeping quilt is handed down.  It is used for wrapping babies, for picnic lunches, and to provide the canopy for weddings.  This story runs through Anna's death, and the telling of the history to children, grand children and great grand children. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Movie Review: ***Evan Almighty (2007)

In the Almighty movies we have modern day interactions with God.  In this case God is played by Morgan Freeman and a Noah like character, Evan Baxter, is played by Steve Carell.  Baxter is a young congressman.  He is taken in as a co sponsor on a bill to loosen environmental regulations and make it easier to develop land.  The bills sponsor is Congressman Long (John Goodman).  God comes to Baxter, and tells him to build an ark.  Baxter lives in a new subdivision close to Washington, D.C.  The purchase extra lots for the boat, and supplies begin to arrive.  Baxter's wife (Lauren Graham) is terribly confused.  She is even more confused when Baxter starts to look like Noah.  However, Baxter is finally able to convince his family, wife and three boys) to join him in the project.  They reconnect as a result of working on the ark together.
In the meantime things are not going well in congress.  Baxter withdraws his support of the bill.  Long is looking for revenge.  He does this by trying to force baxter out of congress.  He also takes aim at the ark.  He gets an order to have it destroyed.  baxter is convinces a storm is to arrive any moment.  Along with this animals have come and entered the ark.  However the storm doesn't come, except for a downpour which doesn't last very long.  However a dam breaks, and a wall of water washes them away.  All Baxter's neighbors, after chastising him in unbelief quickly enter the ark.  The are saved, and the ark is carried to congress buy the current.
This movie lets us know that miracles are not dead.  There is one last meeting between God and Baxter, which puts a final touch on the movie.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Picture Book Review: Ming Ling

Ming Ling by Stephen Cosgrove, illustrated by Robin James, A Serendipity Book, Price Stern Sloan, Los Angeles, 1978.

MingLing is a panda.  He is a panda that likes quiet so he can sleep.  As such he becomes grouchy with all the birds, until he drives them away.  But then things are too quiet.  He then meets a parrot who teaches Ming Ling and important lesson.  Could Ming Ling ever get things to where he could enjoy life in the bamboo forest.  I like the conclusion, "If you live in a forest and don't know how to share it, remember a panda named Ming Ling and a very sill parrot.