BEFORE THE DAWN [3-CD Box Set] By Kate Bush

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Just in time for the Holidays, this 3-CD collection of Kate Bush’s 2014 live concerts are a joy to listen to. If you’re a Kate Bush fan, this new release is a must-buy. Kate’s voice is strong and she has a great band backing her up. Many of her most well-known songs are here in extended versions. My personal favorite, “Hounds of Love,” scintillates. The sound is extraordinary. I highly recommended this set! GRADE: A
TRACK LIST:
Disc 1
Lily
Hounds Of Love
Joanni
Top Of The City
Never Be Mine
Running Up That Hill
King Of The Mountain
Disc 2
Astronomer’s Call
And Dream Of Sheep
Under Ice
Waking The Witch
Watching Them Without Her
Watching You Without Me
Little Light
Jig Of Life
Hello Earth
The Morning Fog
Disc 3
Prelude
Prologue
An Architect’s Dream
The Painter’s Link
Sunset
Aerial Tal
Somewhere In Between
Tawny Moon
Nocturn
Aerial
Among Angels
Cloudbusting

TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL

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Diane and I like to support local theater companies so we went to see Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical. Neither of us knew the life story of Rosemary Clooney (she was a little before our time) so this production that starts with a Rosemary Clooney meltdown during a performance and leads to Clooney going into Rehab surprised us. Using the device of Clooney talking to her psychiatrist, this production uses flashbacks and songs to present the highs and lows of her life. In the production we saw, Debbie Pappas performed convincingly as Clooney. But we were most impressed with Louis Colaiacovo who plays a dozen roles:
psychiatrist, sister, mother, Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and many others. What a versatile actor! The band was wonderful, too. If Tenderly shows up in your neck of the woods, check it out! Are you a fan of any of Rosemary Clooney’s songs? GRADE: B+
MUSICAL NUMBERS:
ACT I:
“Someone To Watch Over Me”
“Come On-A My House”
“Hawaiian War Chant”
“It’s Only a Paper Moon”
“Sisters”
“Count Your Blessings”
“Straighten Up and Fly Right”
“Tenderly”
“Botch-A-Me”
“Are You In Love Again”
“I Get Along Without You Very Well”
“Come On-A My House” (Act I Finale)
ACT II:
“I Remember You”
“How About You”
“Sway”
“Hey There”
“Have I Stayed Too Long At the Fair?”
“Mambo Italiano”
“What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?”
“This Ole House”

THE SAINT

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Val Kilmer’s version of The Saint (1997) bears little resemblance to the Leslie Charteris character created in 1928. Where Charteris’s Saint was an adventurer, Kilmer’s Saint is a high-tech contract thief. The movie opens with Kilmer stealing a valuable micro-chip from a heavily guarded building in Moscow. His next assignment is to steal the formula for Cold Fusion (remember that?) from a beautiful physicist played by Elizabeth Shue. But, of course, Kilmer falls in love with Shue so that complicates the caper with the Russian Mafia. I particularly liked the chase scenes in the Moscow slums and sewers. Kilmer and Shue are far superior to the clunky plot and dialogue they’re forced to endure. If you’re in the mood for a silly espionage thriller featuring Val Kilmer in a chameleon role, The Saint might amuse you. But after watching The Saint I wanted to drop everything and watch Roger Moore as the Saint! GRADE: B-
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THANK YOU FOR BEING LATE: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations By Thomas L. Friedman

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Thomas Friedman believes in the power of technology. In Thank You For Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations Friedman shows how accelerating technology, climate change, and demographics change the world. Along the way, Friedman tells stories like how Airbnb came about. Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.” (p. 97) I found plenty of interesting facts in Freidman’s latest book. However, I am not so optimistic. Airliners are great, but not when terrorists use them to crash into buildings. Computers are wonderful, but not when someone hacks mine and steals my identity. Smartphones are supercomputers in your pocket but can be used to bully teenagers. Friedman and optimists like him need to deal with the Dark Side of Technology, too. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
PART I: REFECTING
1. Thank You for Being Late 3

PART II: ACCELERATING
2. What the Hell Happened in 2007? 19
3. Moore’s Law 36
4. The Supernormal 55
5. The Market 115
6. Mother Nature 157

PART III: INNOVATING
7. Just Too Damned Fast 187
8. Turning AI into IA 203
9. Control vs. Kaos 244
10. Mother Nature as Political Mentor 298
11. Is God in Cyberspace? 337
12. Always Looking for Minnesota 358
13. You Can Go Home Again (and You Should!) 410

PART IV: ANCHORING
14. From Minnesota to the World and Back 447
Acknowledgements 455
Index 463

BUFFALO BILLS VS. OAKLAND RAIDERS

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The 6-5 Buffalo Bills take on the 9-2 Oakland Raiders. Vegas has made the Raiders a 3-point favorite which confounds most Bills fans who see this game as a blow-out. If the Bills are going to stay in this game, they need big games from their star running back LeSean McCoy and their frequently injured wide receiver, Sammy Watkins. A loss to the Raiders would pretty much end the Bills’s slim Playoff chances. How will your favorite NFL team do today?

MOANA [3D]

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The Big Attraction of Disney’s latest animated feature, Moana, is the music of Lin-Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame. All the songs on the soundtrack are either written or co-written by Miranda. This story of a young girl named Moana (voiced by Auli’i Cravalho) who goes on a quest to save her people and their island is vintage Disney plotting. Moana finds demi-god, Maui (voiced by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and he reluctantly agrees to help her. If you’re a fan of Disney animated features, you’ll enjoy Moana. GRADE: B+
Soundtrack Listing:
Tulou Tagaloa
An Innocent Warrior
Where You Are
How Far I’ll Go
We Know The Way
How Far I’ll Go (Reprise)
You’re Welcome
Shiny
Logo Te Pate
I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)
Know Who You Are
We Know The Way (Finale)
How Far I’ll Go
You’re Welcome
Prologue
He Was You
Village Crazy Lady
Cavern
The Ocean Chose You
The Hook
Tala’s Deathbed
Battle of Wills
Kakamora
Wayfinding
Climbing
Tamatoa’s Lair
Great Escape
If I Were the Ocean
Te Ka Attacks
Maui Leaves
Heartache
Tala Returns
Sails to Te Fiti
Shiny Heart
Te Fiti Restored
Hand of a God
Voyager Tagaloa
Toe Feiloa’i
Navigating Home
The Return to Voyaging

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #400: THE COMPLETE BATTLES OF HASTINGS, Volumes 1 & 2 By Agatha Christie

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For my 400th Friday Forgotten Books post I thought I would recommend a couple of books with some of the best Agatha Christie novels included in them. HarperCollins published two omnibus volumes of the mysteries where Hercule Poirot’s trusty side-kick, Captain Arthur Hastings, is a key character in the solving of the crimes.
Volume 1 presents:
The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)
The Murder on the Links (1923)
The Big Four (1927)
Peril at End House (1928)
Volume 2 presents:
Lord Edgware Dies (1933)
The ABC Murders (1936)
Dumb Witness (1937)
Curtain (1975)
I enjoy Hastings’s First Person narration. Although Christie wrote 33 mystery novels featuring Hercule Poirot, only eight of them include Captain Hastings. What is your favorite Agatha Christie novel?

THE TWILIGHT ZONE: THE COMPLETE SERIES

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For the Twilight Zone fan on your Holiday Gift list, this box set of all 156 episodes is perfect. This package lists for $49.99 but you can find it much reduced online. I watched The Twilight Zone as a kid until my sister, Eileen, watched the Pig People episode (while hiding behind the couch) and freaked out. Eileen couldn’t sleep for weeks! My angry parents banned The Twilight Zone from that point. Fortunately, I caught up on the episodes I missed on Late Night TV. What is your favorite episode of The Twilight Zone?

DREAMS FROM THE WITCH HOUSE Edited by Lynne Jamneck

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Dreams From the Witch House: Female Voices of Lovecratean Horror with wonderful color Illustrations by Daniele Serra is a attractive package. I enjoyed most of the stories, but my favorite was “The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward” by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette. This story is another of their SF and Lovecraft mashups. “The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward” is the third story Bear & Monette have written with Lovecraft elements. I’m hoping they collect them all in one volume. If you’re in the mood for a variety of Lovecraftean stories, I recommend this fine collection. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Introduction by Lynne Jamneck
“Shadows of the Evening” by Joyce Carol Oates
“The Genesis Mausoleum” by Colleen Douglas
“The Woman in the Hill” by Tamsyn Muir
“The Face of Jarry” by Cat Hellisen
“Our Lady of Arsia Mons” by Caitlín R. Kiernan
“The Body Electric” by Lucy Brady
“The Child and the Night Gaunts” by Marly Youmans
“All Our Salt-Bottled Hearts” by Sonya Taaffe
“Every Hole in the Earth We Will Claim As Our Own” by Gemma Files
“But Only Because I Love You” by Molly Tanzer
“Cthulhu’s Mother” by Kelda Crich
“All Gods Great and Small” by Karen Heuler
“Dearest Daddy” by Lois H. Gresh
“Eye of the Beholder” by Nancy Kilpatrick
“Down at the Bottom of Everything” by E. R. Knightsbridge
“Spore” by Amanda Downum
“Pippa’s Crayons” by Christine Morgan
“The Wreck of the Charles Dexter Ward” by Elizabeth Bear & Sarah Monette
“From the Cold Dark Sea” by Storm Constantine
“Mnemeros” by R. A. Kaelin

BATMAN: THE DARK NIGHT RETURNS Part 1 & Part 2

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I’m fond of these DC animated movies of Batman’s exploits. This 2-DVD set features The Joker and Harvey “Two-Face” Dent. Peter Weller, Ariel Winter, and David Selby are outstanding. Special Features include trailers to the next Batman animated film and Superman: Unbound. If you enjoy Batman’s adventures as much as I do, you’ll really enjoy this double feature! GRADE: B+ (for both)