Thursday, July 31, 2014

Music Review: Chet Atkins: Relaxin’ With Chet

Chet Atkins: Relaxin’ With Chet, Delta Entertainment, 1999.
This C.D. is very relaxing, and at times too much so.  It is all instrumental, featuring Chet Atkins on the guitar.  Some of the tunes are catchy, while others are repetitive and boring.  The first song, “Blues for Dr. Joe” starts off with a very pleasing bass guitar and then adds lead guitar.  However, the middle of the song degenerates into organ note progression which is very boring.  With luck, the song ends where it started, with another catching blues melody on the guitar.  Another song that has a catchy fell is “Say Si, Si.” 
Chet does an excellent job on the guitar, however most of these songs are just too much, and I seem to get ored quickly, even when the guitar playing is excellent.  Relaxing music is true; however there was no indication on the C.D. case that this was all instrumental.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Music Review: The Americus Brass Band: Music of the Civil War

The Americus Brass Band: Music of the Civil War: Original Instruments, Summit Records, 1991.
This is a brass band using original instruments and playing Civil War era music.  It is very moving.  There are 18 melodies in all.  The “”Fireman’s Polka” included some vocals.  “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground” had such a haunting and melancholy fell is was very nice.  Of course “Dixie’s Land Medley and “Battle Cry of Freedom” are favorites although they are a bit different arrangements, they sound more period.  There are many lively tunes, and then “Amazing Graze” is slow and soft.  It is extremely effective.  I think it starts with a lone trumpet; at least some instrument and then builds.  “Glory Hallelujah” is also very well done and is very lively.  “Kazzodie Ko Whirl” is very long, but it includes a medley of popular songs including “Wait for the wagon” and “Pop, goes the weasel.”  Others of my favorites are “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”  I love this song and they do a good job.  I also like the “Civil War Folk Song Medley.”  There is lots to enjoy here including “Old Susannah.” 
This CD has a good sound overall.  It is instrumental, but manages not to put me to sleep.  It also has some very pleasant tunes, and gives an idea of what a military band of the Civil War era may have played.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

TV Review: Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown (2003)

Lucy Must Be Traded, Charlie Brown (2003) This is another Charlie Brown look at baseball created by Charles Schultz.  It has some very cute vignettes, which leads to a good presentation.  Tony and I like Charlie Brown.  For opening day the have Woodstock instead of 100 pigeons.  Lucy is Charlie Brown’s worse fear.  There she is in right field, and she cannot catch.  Lucy doesn’t have a clue some times.    He wants to trade Lucy, but Peppermint Patty only wants Snoopy.  The trade is made for four good players, Charlie Browns trades his own dog.  He then has buyer’s remorse, and luckily none of the four will change teams, so Peppermint Patty calls the deal off.  However the trade right fielders, Lucy for Violet—but neither of them our happy so they trade back.  Everyone is where they belong.  Charlie Brown’s team loses every game, as it should be.

Music Review: Tim McGraw: Two Lanes of Freedom

I must admit, I am not a big Tim McGraw fan; his songs for the most part remind me of going out with drinking buddies, and since I am not a drinker, many of his songs miss their mark with me.  However, he does get sentimental on occasion, and these songs I enjoy. 
“Friend of a Friend” has a very sentimental feel.  It is a look at a past love, and whether or not getting back together would be possible. 
“Nashville With Out You” is another sentimental song.  It turns out the you is music.  It took me a while to figure that out.  What would Nashville be without music?  A pretty dull town indeed.
“Book of John” is my favorite song of these.  In this case it is a look back and someone’s life after they have passed away. 
"Book Of John"
We were sittin' round the supper table and the buzz of the frigidaire
Was the only sound 'til momma laid down, a book she found upstairs
It was covered in dust in the back of the closet,
Goodwill box we almost tossed it out
We could have lost all those memories

There was a picture of mama in the pouring rain
Ticket stubs to a Braves game
Silver star and a baggage claim from Hanoi, Vietnam
There was a picture of him callin' on grandpa
Leather skin from a baseball
We laughed and cried, told stories all night long
From the book of John

Now the pot of coffee's almost gone, as we turn another page
We're climbing on him like a Jungle Jim, watching his hair turn gray
All the Polaroids are just reminders,
You can't hold life in a three ring binder
We flipped on through 'em anyway

There's a picture at his sister taken in July
On the steps of the church pulling out his tie
Hair's still wet from gettin' baptized, the brand new blue suit on
An old set of keys to his Chevrolet
A crumpled up receipt for a wedding ring
We watched ourselves grow up there in his arms
In the book of John

That sun came up, we were wide awake
Head to toe in black and gray
Long black Lincoln waiting down the drive
He was father, son, husband and friend
I still flip through it every now and then
When I need just a few words of advice
It's almost like he's not really gone
And I know one day I'll be passin' on
The book of John

Monday, July 28, 2014

Movie Review: ***^ Inception (2010)

Inception, This is a con artist movie, except con artists of a different nature.  These con artists steals ideas and information via dreams.  However, in this case, the con is of a different nature.  The con is to place an idea in another person’s brain, but to have the idea be the other person’s. 
Sounds complicated, and to be honest this movie is very confusing.  You have two dreamers, one creating the world, and the other doing the con inside that environment.  The con is Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the one who creates the worlds is Ariadne (Ellen Page).  The con is made more difficult because of history, Cobb lost his wife (Marion Cotillard) deep inside a dream, and she still haunts his dreams.  Other members of the con team are Arthur (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Eames (Tom Hardy), Saito (Ken Watanabe) who has hired Cobb to pull off the con, Yusuf (Dileep Rao) and Browning (Tom Berenger).  The mark is Robert Fischer (Cillian Murphy). 
Talking about dreams can leave anyone confused, and in this case you are talking about dreams inside of dreams, inside of dreams and so on.  It can be come confusing.  In each level, things go faster.  As a result, in each deeper level there is more time to react to what is happening in the lower levels.  This is important, because “kicks” need to be timed to take place in all the worlds at the same time so you can wake up. 
This work is harder, because people programs defenses into their subconscious—which come out in the form of people defending and shooting.  Of course if you kill them, they don’t really die, but it is all confusing in the end with lots of action.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

TV Review: Granite Flats Season 2

This is the second year the BYUtv has sponsored this series.  It just keeps getting better and better, with more and more spies involved.  This year we have CIA vs FBI vs KGB vs out trio of young people, and perhaps even more intrigue.  Arthur Milligan (Jonathan Morgan Heit) goes off on his own with his investigation of the local spy ring, because Madeline (Malia Tyler) and Tim Sanders (Charlie Plummer) develop a romance, and seem less interested.  They become more interested in a different mystery, the real story of Madeline's adoption.  Mrs. Milligan (Annie Tedesco) is working with a behavior experiment on people using drugs and hypnosis.  She works with Madeline's parents.  Tim's father (Richard Gunn) is the chief of police, and active in the hunt for the spies.
There are two new characters this year, teacher Professor Hargraves (Christopher Lloyd) and CIA spy Ashmeade (Cary Elwes)
This is a good time with this series.  It keeps you entertained and has enough suspense.  It seems every episode there is a new problem to solve; and sometimes old issues are resolved.  I also like it because it reminds me of my youth.  Great fun.  You can still see seasons 1 and 2 through BYUtv.  Season 3 has been announced.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Movie Review: Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories (2006)

Ambrose Bierce: Civil War Stories (2006)  This is a made for TV movie.  Bierce (Campbell Scott) has gone AWOL from his newspaper job with the Examiner, and is tracked down by the owner, William Randolph Hearst (Nathan Darrow) and friend, fellow author, Gertrude Atherton (Vivian Schilling).  He is compelled to read a few stories from his recent novel, and in this way there are three  of his Civil War stories presented.  First is “One Kind of Officer.”  The captain is belittled by his general, and made to acknowledge that he will follow his general’s orders specifically.  The lieutenant is part of this.  “Repel anyone who attacks your position.”  The attack takes place in the fog, and when it turns out to be another division coming to reinforce rather than attack, it doesn’t matter to the Captain.  The lieutenant asks him to stop; but he will not disobey an order.  They repel the attack with a savage artillery assault. 
The next thing, as things unwind from the battle, everyone realized they were defending against their own troops.  The commanding general confronts the captain, who says the general will vogue for his orders; but the general is dead, and the lieutenant turns on the captain because of the needless slaughter. 
“The Story of Conscience” is a story about people who happen to run into each other again.  The first is a spy, and the other is now a captain, having worked his way up from private.  As a private, he had been assigned to guard the spy, and fell asleep.  Instead of running away, the spy woke him up; very likely saving his life.  Now, as a result of their meeting again, he must do his duty, but not without paying back that original debt.   
The final story, one that I reviewed before from an older version, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”  This version adds a twist, indicating the gentleman was tricked into sabotage by a member of the Union forces.  The camera work is very good in this, in the lights being drawn out and giving a surreal feel to our escaping civilian, who has fallen into the water when he was hung.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Music Review: 2014 Mormon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert

The Momon Tabernacle Choir Pioneer Day Concert this year was not your typical year of singing pioneer songs, except for the first couple numbers, but was a year of Broadway show tunes.  This included the choir singing "Heigh Ho" and "Whistle While You Work" from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" and "When You Wish Upon a Star" from "Pinochio."  It also included man Broadway tunes such as the choir singing "Tonight" and "Some Where" and guest singer Santino Fantana singing "Something's Coming" from "West Side Story."  Fantana then sang "Ten Minutes Ago" from Cinderalla for which he was nominated for a Tony.  Fantana then gives advise to the men with singing "How to Handle a Woman" from "Camelot."  Another relationship song, "She Likes Basketball" from "Promises, Promises," followed.  After an orchestral organ piece, Fantina than pleased the crowd with "Never Land" from "Peter Pan."  The concluding number was actually a medley of songs about "Happy."  This was an arrangement by Sam Cardon and Ben Stillman.  This lead to a reprise which brought down the house and closed the show. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Music Review: Bread - The Best of Bread (1973)

This album is the album you would give someone who asked you to define "easy listening."  easy listening must be my style, because in this songs I see hit after hit. This version has the additional tracks from the 2001 version.  Side one is all hits with such songs as "If" "Everything I Own" "Everything I Own"  "Diary" "Baby I'm a Want You" and "It' Don't Matter to Me."  That set I could listen to over and over.  If is one of my favorite songs ever.  I had the sheet music growing up and would try to play on the piano and sing.  I actually presented this once in seminary devotional:

If a picture paints a thousand words
Then why can't I paint you?
The words will never show
The you I've come to know

If a face could launch a thousand ships
Then where am I to go?
There's no one home but you
You're all that's left me too
And when my love for life is running dry
You come and pour yourself on me

If a man could be two places at one time
I'd be with you
Tomorrow and today
Beside you all the way

If the world should stop revolving
Spinning slowly down to die
I'd spend the end with you
And when the world was through
Then one by one the stars would all go out
Then you and I would simply fly away
Side two is a bit harder, but includes "Mother Freedom" and "Down on my Knees.  With the extra music we have "Guitar Man" and "Aubrey."

Friday, July 18, 2014

Musical Movie Review: ****Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

This is a classic Dick Van Dyke musical.   Van Dyke portrays Caractacus Potts, a down-on-his luck inventor; father of two children, Jermina and Jeremy (Heather Ripley and Adrian Hall)  who have their hearts set on an older motor car which is going to be sold from the junk yard, and Potts doesn't have money to purchase it.  He first tries to sell his tooting candy invention to Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson Justice), an old gentleman, but rather stodgy, and the father of Truly (Sally Ann Howes), a woman he offended the day before.  When this fails, Potts sings to his children:

"A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows o'er lullaby bay.
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting--
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain
And your boat waits down by the quay.
The winds of night so softly are sighing--
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea.
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain.
Wave good-bye to cares of the day.
And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from lullaby bay."
Potts then tries an automatic hair cutting machine at the carnival, but he destroys his customer's hair.  Fleeing his customer, he becomes part of a bamboo dance, "Me'ol Bamboo."  This is cool, the way they dance with the bamboo sticks.   The company gives him the most of the money that is tossed at them, as he brought them success; and there is enough for the old car.
He then goes into a work period where he restores the car, and adds a few extra gadgets and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is born.
Potts gets the car working, and the go to picnic with Truly Scrumptious.  "Truly Scrumptious" is another favorite song.  Then it's time for a story, and off to the land of Baron and Baroness Bomburst (Gert Frobe and Anna Quayle.)  They sing a clever duet, "Chu-chu Face."  In this story, the Baron and Baroness hate children, and have banished them to the sewers.  Only the efforts toy make (Benny Hill) and Truly and Potts dancing "Doll on a Music Box and Truly Scrumptious."  The children are rescued, and the end of the story sees the group flying away in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
This is a classic, with beautiful songs, great dancing and a plot that is a bit contrived, having to add this story and such things.  However, it works.

Music Review: Three Dog Night: The Best of Three Dog Night (1982)

I can't say every song on this album is a classic, but there are enough to get me interested.  Most of their songs were written by others, and often were covers of songs others had done.  However they made much of the music popular, and had three number one hits, and many top 40 hits.  Their trademark is the clear vocals from the three men who formed the group, Danny Hutton, Chuck Negron and Cory Wells.  They recruited a band to back them up, and then history was made.  Each of three vocalist take turns singing lead (their three number one hits had different members singing lead) but the beauty is the harmonies that the make.  This set begins with "Joy to the World" their second number one.  Of course not the Christmas song, but this song I enjoyed as a lad, and it still moves me; although the lyrics hold something to be desired, the song has very good energy.  Their first number on was "Mama Told Me (Not to Come) but I enjoyed there other songs more than this.  "Old Fashioned Love Song" is in that classic status for me as well.  This time the lyrics match the music for a very pleasurable experience.  Shambala is another of my favorites.  I love the vocals in this song, however I'm not sure what Shambala is.  "Never Been to Spain" is another of my favorites.  It has a very good feel.  Three Dog Night confronted racism with "Black and White."  This song carries a lot of energy and charted at number one.  "Liar" wakes you up with the forte on liar.  "The Show Must Go On" has pretty circus music, but then the vocals are a bit too hard for my taste.  However this song has appeal; it charted at number four.  There first hit song is "One."  This song has always been one of my favorite.  "One is the loneliest number that you'll ever do.  Two is as bad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one."  They finally arrive to "Celebrate" for their conclusion.  This song takes a while to get there, but when they sing over and over, "Celebrate, celebrate!  Dance to the music!" it is over the top.  I know this song brings the crowd to its feet.
This group has brought to me, much of the music that has had a positive influence in my life, either by keeping me entertained, and giving me thinks to think about.

Music Review: Hits of the 60s: Then He Kissed Me
This CD is an anthology of 20 hits from the 60s.  This is an interesting time in music.  Music was changing from a pop feel to a harder rock.  It was also a time when we were moving pass the segregation in music, but still there were songs recorded by both African-American singers and white singers.  Some of these songs are very catchy.  I particularly like "My Boyfriend's Back" by The Angels.  This is storytelling at its best.  "You better watch out because by boyfriend's back."  "Hats Off to Larry" by Del Shannon is a song about your girlfriend who left you for Larry, not getting hers when Larry leaves her.  "It's your tune to cry, cry, cry."  "Ferry Cross the Mercy" is a precursor to the British invasion.  This is Gerry and the Pacemakers making a statement for leaving the confines of your broken heart.  Marmalade hit a very nice melody in "Ob-la-di ob-la-da" but I can't say much for their lyrics except they do proclaim "life goes on."  "He's So Fine" by the Chiffons was written by their manager.  This song hits the mark with a doo-lang, doo-lang, doo-lang in the background.  This album has "If I Were a Carpenter" by Bobby Darin.  I prefer The Johnny Cash version.  "(Dance With) the Guitar Man" has some great guitar playing.  This song was recorded by Duane Eddy.  The Troggs hit "Love is All Around" is made by the guitar as well.  The base starts out with a very catchy low melody.  Marvin Gaye intones the classic "I Heard it Through the Grapevine."  This is a very energetic song and moves the blood. 
"Leader of the Pack" is performed by The Shangri-Las.  This is also very good story telling, with father saying you can't be with him.  Her breaking up, and then he crashing in the rain and killing himself.  This is classic story telling.
As an overall package, this album has plenty of dancing music and story telling music and classics.  I enjoyed it. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Music Review: Vanessa Williams: The Real Thing

This album is presented as rhythm and blues.  I feel it is jazz.  SO I am left with a wonderment as to what is the difference between the two genres. 
At any rate, Vanessa Williams has a very elegant picture on the cover, and the music is just that, very elegant.  However, most of the songs are long and drawn out.  There were a couple songs I liked more than others, mostly because they had more character and energy.   “Loving You” uses a swear word and faster tempo to give it some emotion, and it works.  “Come on Strong” uses a bass riff at the fist which sets the mood for the entire song, and this is my favorite.  “Close to You” has a very nice lyric.  This song also has a section in Spanish talking about how many tear, which I like.  “October Sky” is a duet with Javier Colon which is also very nice.  However most of the songs are forgettable tunes with a strong jazz flavor.  If you love Vanessa Williams, or enjoy this type of music then this is a good CD.  However for me, it gets old fast.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Music Review: William Gutierrez: Calling the Eagle

This is a CD of native American Flute Music.  Native American flute sounds cool, and it has that haunting quality of the floating flute music with the stops that only an accomplished musician can do.
However in the case of this music, a little is better.  You hear it sometimes at the beginning of a movie, but only a minute or so.  With songs five or six minutes long, you spend most of the song hoping for it to be over.  And the music is almost always slow, which tends to be good going to sleep music, but not staying awake music.  “Children’s Song” is the only one that gets out of that mode and creates a more up tempo beat. 
All the songs are solo melodies, with the exception of Sandia Canyon which somehow has an echo, perhaps created by a second flute.  The love songs are much too slow, and become boring quickly to me.

Music Review: Kristy Starling: Kristy Starling (2003)

Christian music can be so relaxing, and the words can mean so much.  Kristy has a very nice singing voice, and brings lots of emotion.  I especially found the choruses appealing.  Singing of the Lord she says,
I don’t know what I’d do
I couldn’t go one day without You
You are like water to me. 
It must have been angels who carried me
When I was too weak to lift my feet
When I was too blind to clearly see
Heavenly lights shined down for me
It must have been angels.
I need You like water
like breath, like rain
I need you like mercy
From heaven’s gate
There’s a freedom in Your arms
That carries me through
I need you
The song I enjoyed the most was “Broken”  In this song Kristy puts her heart on display, and sings with incredible emotion.  “Cause I’m, I’m broken And I’m ready for You to pick up the pieces.”  Aren’t we all broken, and come short of the mark.  It is the Lord picking up the pieces, and carrying us home that feels us with joy, and gives of the hope of eternal life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Music Review: Kristy Frank: Freedom (2006)

I can’t say I am a Kristy Frank Fan.  Most of these songs are forgettable.  I must say the singer stays on tune and has a pleasant voice, but she really doesn’t say much.  My favorite song was the first, “Lift Off” in which she proclaims her determination to make something of herself.  “Quicksand” also had a pleasant feel, but she compares falling in love to falling into quicksand.  “This is the way my world ends.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

Movie Review: ***^ Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)

***^  Mr. Popper’s Penguins
This is a good forum for Jim Carrey to interact with some penguins in his suite in New York.  Carrey portrays Mr. Popper, a businessman who is hoping to be made partner.  He has one more assignment to earn the promotion.  Purchase the property of Mrs. Van Gundy (Angela Lansbury), the last available property in Central Park.  The company wants to knock it down and then make a large sky scraper of some kind to make lots of money.  Popper approaches the project with this goal in mind.  However Mrs. Van Gundy is not selling, she does not want to let down her staff.
In the mean time, Popper receives a last present from his father who has deceased—penguins. 
At first the penguins are a nuisance and troublesome, but eventually they grow on Popper.  It is when his son comes for a birthday, and thinks they are his cool present, that Popper decides to keep them instead of giving them to the zoo.  However, the penguin master at the zoo is intent on getting them.
The penguins destroy a meeting with Mrs. Van Gundy, but Popper persists.  When they have eggs, he becomes obsessed with the penguins; but then one egg doesn’t hatch.  He becomes discouraged, and sends the penguins to the zoo.  He is just the same old Popper who is only worried about his career, not his kids or ex-wife.  However the kids are so disappointed, he decides to get them back, and his wife goes with him as a date.  The zoo keeper says they can’t have them, he has traded them with other zoos for other specimens.  However they haven’t been sent yet and we have a big zoo escape scene.
This movie was pretty fun.  Sheri had read the book.  It is another family oriented theme movie—what is more important, your career or your relationships?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Movie Review: ***^Earth to Echo (2014)

This is about a group of kids, friends, Alex, Tuck and Munch (Teo Halm, Astro and Reese Hartwig) who live in a neighborhood which has been condemned and everyone is being evicted, with some leaving tomorrow.  They have one last night together.
However they are going to make it meaningful.  Their cell phones have gone weird, and they discover it is a map to a location 20 miles away.  They decide to take their bikes and see what's up, and maybe save their community.
When they get there, they find a hunk of metal.  Munch is a hoarder and decides to keep it.  As they leave, their phones adjust and now a new location is shown.  When they get there a piece of metal attaches to the hunk of metal, and they discover the metal is coming alive.  They have really discovered a damaged alien robot.  The third map shows the home of a girl, Emma (Ella Wahlestedt) who has a crush on Alex.  She discovers them, as the next piece of metal is in her room and she sees the alien robot.  She wants to come with them, but they refuse.
However, there are men looking for them, or the alien, and when they confront the boys about being out, Emma, who has followed them, rescues them by telling a big lie.  Things are not all as the appear.  The robot has powers to manipulate matter, but will this power be enough to get him to his ship and get him home?  The strange men are relentless.
Tony really liked this move.  It has some very funny parts.  The kids sneak up on Munch and scare him, almost to a hart attack.  The presentation is different than most movies.  It is based on a theme that this is Tuck's home movie.  They have a spy camera, as well as a camera that always runs.  Munch is pretty good with technology.  Alex is a foster child.
The theme is that of friendship.  At one point Alex is left behind and caught by a security guard.  The boys run, but later realize their mistake.  In the end it is friendship, covering each others back, that gets them through.
Tony had a dilemma.  The boys sneak out.  Tony asked me after what would happen if he did that.  I said he would get in big trouble unless he had a good reason, like saving somebody like the boy.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Music Review: Bob Dylan Nashville Skyline, 1969

This album presents the country side of Bob Dylan.  It was one of Dylan’s most successful albums, helped by an appearance on the Johnny Cash Show.  It starts with a duet with Johnny Cash, “Girl From the North Country.”  Some of the lyrics are similar to “Scarburough Fair” but this works with two men not afraid to use their bass voices.  The most popular song from this album is probably “Lay Lady Lay.”  This has a very catchy melody.  “To Be Alone with You” is a very nice song, and with nice lyrics.  It tells about a man who can put up with his day because he will be with his love tonight.  A couple verses:

Music Review: Miley Cyrus: Breakout

I love the young Miley Cyrus.  The Hannah Montana thing was good and wholesome.  Miranda ans I went to the 3-D concert; it was fun.  Miley is no longer fun.  She has lost herself, trying to find herself.  The best song on this album is a cover, " Girls Just Want to Have Fun".  I don't care for the song "Breakout" but enjoy "These Four Walls" and "Bottom of the Ocean" which have the old feel.  Cyrus has a nice voice which is pleasing to listen to; she doesn't need any gimmicks.  She concludes with "Goodbye" which has very good energy and emotion.  The title for the album is telling.  Breakout not breaking out.  She is using a command to herself.  I find that telling.

Music Review: Jordin Sparks: Battlefield (2009)

When last I sinced with Sheri's computer, I received this album.  A bit louder than my usual flavor, some songs are worth note.  I enjoyed "Emergency (911)".  It had a very nice rhythm.  "Paper Cut" was also very enjoyable. Paper cuts can hurt, even if you can't see them.  Yes, you survive, but still.  Very insightful.  So, chalk one up to American Idol.
Jordin Sparks is a singer as attested by her American Idol experience.  This album marked her as a musician.  She is able to use her voice to entertain but also to relay emotion.  I particularly enjoyed "Don't Let it Go to your Head" "It Takes More" and "Emergency (9-11)."  This music is worth a listen. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Music Review: Kenny Rogers, Back to the Well

Kenny Rogers, Back to the Well, Dreamcatcher Label, 2003.
This C.D. presents the beautiful voice of Kenny Rogers, singing, for the most part, some pretty forgettable songs.  One song that caught me was about a father’s love for his toddler, “Handprints on the Wall.”
The wait turned into hours,
Before you came my way.
The smile that filled a daddy's heart,
On that special day.
The moment left me speechless,
I didn't know what to say.
Then you took your first breath,
An' that took mine away.

Days go by so quickly;
Summer turns to fall.
Seems like only yesterday,
That you began to crawl.
So don't be afraid to take that step,
I'll catch you when you fall.
I don't mind if you leave behind,
A few handprints on the wall.

I can't describe this feeling,
Way down deep inside
"The Itsy-Bitsy Spider",
Was the first thing that we tried.
An' "Patty Cake, The Baker's Man,"
With your hands, so very small.
You could always stay this young,
And I wouldn't mind at all.
There are a couple of songs on the risqué side of the spectrum.  But one of these is enjoyable presenting Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers singing a duet, “Undercover”.  Dolly Parton wrote this song.  The CD concludes with a heartfelt song, “Love Like This” where Rogers sings of getting the passion back into a relationship.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

**Movie Review: ***^Ephraim's Rescue

Ephraim’s Rescue
This movie tells the story of a very fascinating man, Ephraim Hanks.  It also tells of Thomas Dobson, as he was one of the recipients of Ephraim’s miracles, and responded by dancing a jig.  Ephraim had a sense of listening to the Lord, and knowing what he should be about.  This sense comes to his benefit on several occasions.  He also was prepared to take part in the rescue, by his life and circumstances.  He also had the gift of healing healing, and this gift he was able to use in healing the Saints in his community, the handcart pioneers, and on one occasion an Indian boy. 
I find anything about the handcart pioneers emotional, and this was no different.

**Civil War Movies: Movie Summary

*****Gettysburg (1993) (Jeff Daniels, Martin Sheen,
****^ Lincoln
****  The Outlaw Josey Wells  (1976) (Clint Eastwood and Chief Dan George)  This movie is a bit too violent, but I have enjoyed ever since seeing it in the theater as a youth.  Clint Eastwood is really good.  The ending is a bit strange.
**** The Littlest Rebel  (Shirley Temple) (1935)
***^ Column South (1953) (Audie Murphy)
***^ The Littlest Colonel (Shirley Temple) (1935)
***^ Gods and Generals (2003) Author Michael Shaara.  This is a prequel to Gettysburg, but just doesn't quite hit the mark in the same way.
***^ An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge (Ambrose Bierce)
*** Ambrose: Civil War Stories(2006) Three short stories: One Kind of Officer; A STory of Conscience; An Occurence at Owl Creek Bridge;
** Yellowneck (1955)

Book Review: Freefall

Freefall by: Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams, Scholastic Books, New York, 2010.  This is the third in the series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams about Will’s ventures to the center of the earth.  This time they actually fall to the very center, and discover a new world and sun inside the earth—on earth on the surface, and another in the center of the earth.  He and his father and Elliott have come this far to make sure the evil twins Rebecca 1 and Rebecca 2 are out of action, as well as the phial of deadly toxin contained.  This is a real war against the Styx, a sinister race of thin, super muscular beings.
The Styx win a battle in that they get Will’s mother, and extract everything from her brain using the black light torture device.  They are looking for whatever she knows about the resistance group lead by Drake.  She resists, so they are forced to use higher settings, and get what they want, even though it means she will likely die.  At the end of this book she is on the brink of death.  There are a couple of Styx who are half revolting.  One saved Drake, as he is the father of a young woman Drake saved.  The other is a guard, who takes Will's mother home, to nurse her.
This book is less claustrophobic than the first book, unless you dwell on the part of the story of their being in the center of the world.  They have air, and vegetation, and a sun (too hot) and space.  They can’t even see the ceiling, so it appears to be a regular world.  There just are no people, except they do catch up with those evil twins.  It also appears there is no way out.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Movie Review: **^Outlaw Trail: The Treasure of Butch Cassidy

This is a movie which appears to be Feature Films, but I couldn't find it on their list.  It seems to take its motivation from a couple other movies, "Goonies" and "Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail."  From the "Goonies" it takes the idea of kids seeking treasure to save their town.  In this the group is seeking treasure for the gold, and one to save his reputation and that of Butch Cassidy.  I know, a bit thin.  From the Indiana Jones it takes the first part, where the boy scouts are seeking archeological artifacts.  The bad guys are trying to take them away.  Whether this film has Mormon ties or not I am not certain.  The production company Go Films also made Saints and Soldiers.  This movie was filmed in Utah, Heber Creeper, Bridal Veil Falls, Circleville and Bryce Canyon.
This story has some characters from history, but then makes its own fictional story from them.