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Fate's Blogs

A Street Cat Named Bob

My wife and I have 3 cats, each with distinct personalities who provide endless companionship as well as comedic entertainment; so it was the cover of this video that caught my attention and forced me to take it home to watch.
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Shatter Me by Lindsey Stirling

“Shatter Me” is the second CD by this artist – following her self-titled “Lindsey Stirling” – and is a perfect example of her amazing talent. Lindsey is a violinist/fiddler who began her lessons at a very early age, and was classically trained. She also wanted to be a dancer, but her parents could only afford one or the other, and she chose the violin – dancing came later. She is also a composer and much of her music is of her creation. Listening to “Shatter Me” is unlike hearing anything you have heard from the violin before: It is enchanting, uplifting, catchy, and addicting. If you would like to take the Lindsey Stirling experience to another level, start up your computer and go to YouTube and enter her name: “Shatter Me” is there and showcases her abilities with the violin and her dancing both. And yes, she does play the instrument during her dancing. She worked long and hard to develop this talent, and it is so phenomenal that you are certain to watch her other videos for more fun and enjoyment. Look for this excellent 12 song CD at call number 787.2 S861. Overall Rating: A+
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Alone in the Universe by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO)

"Timeless". All genres of music have artists who fit this description. In the 70's, 80's and 90's in rock music, there were many. One of which was ELO, the Electric Light Orchestra. Now, after a 15-year break, they have a new album, "Alone In the Universe". Jeff Lynne, lead singer, has such an appealing voice, and the 15-year gap between albums does not seem to have affected this appeal. The band's sound, which I categorized in the 70's as sort of having an orchestral-rock sound, is just as interesting and enjoyable. Whether you are a long time ELO/Jeff Lynne fan, or someone looking for something listenable, the 10 tracks on this album will probably fit the bill. Overall Rating: A
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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Season One

Ok, well some people really liked this show as it took almost 2 weeks before I could get a copy to do a review. Kimmy Schmidt is now 27, and has spent the last 15 years of her life imprisoned in an underground bunker in Indiana by a fanatic preacher. She has been rescued and brought to New York City to be interviewed and afterwards decides not to go back to Indiana. She is naive to the modern world and immediately meets some odd and bizarre characters who become part of her life there. There are moments the show is cute and funny, but the pace is frantic. There are good people in the cast with Tina Fey in the starring role. I only watched 3 of the 13 first season episodes and did not get hooked. Perhaps with a little more patience and time I would have found how it was Emmy nominated. It's worth a try. Overall Rating: B-
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Anomalisa

Anomalisa is the subject of this review. I prefer to talk about something I have enjoyed - a music CD, a book. This time it will be a movie. Well, it is a movie, but the only interesting part of this one was right after the opening credits. The screen fades to black and you hear men's voices - conversing, laughing - which along with the black screen goes on for several moments. Then, unfortunately, the movie starts. The Ratings Box states "R for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language". This movie gives a new meaning to "graphic" nudity. And yes, there is a considerable amount of profanity. There was a popular TV comedy series that based its premise on "nothing". Essentially, I could not find a better description for the premise of this movie. The characters were 'robotic', even the voices of the males and females sounded pretty much the same. This review is probably about as charming as the movie. Overall Rating: D-
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Drones by Muse

By accident, I came across some music by Muse a few years ago and quickly became a fan. As purchaser of music for the library at the time, I added albums that seemed appropriate. I had not heard anything new from this British rock band for quite some time, so I was pleased when "Drones" came out recently. It is their 7th album, and our copy includes a DVD video with the CD. "Drones" won the 2016 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album, and it has been #1 or in the top 5 of music charts worldwide. So is it that good? Well, if you like solid rock & roll, an appealing voice from the lead singer (Matt Bellamy), and a variety of selections from intense to smooth, yes, this is a very good, listenable album. Overall Rating: A
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Hologram for the King

While checking in DVD's recently, I saw this title. It intrigued me but I let it pass by. A few days later, I saw the title again and decided to read the synopsis, but before I got that far I saw that Tom Hanks was in the starring role. Tom Hanks, right? That was all I needed to check it out and give it a look. Tom Hanks, yeah! He portrayed a businessman who would be the key salesman to promote a new high technology product to the King in Saudi Arabia. His superiors had their doubts about him, but he convinced them he had the product knowledge and the ability to make the sale. He was under extreme pressure to meet the King and make the sale as soon as possible. Upon arrival in Arabia, he soon found that things do not move on the same timetable as in the U.S. His Saudi contact was supposed to be available but constantly was unavailable. The King, who was supposed to be coming very soon, was likewise, continuously somewhere else with no idea as to when he would arrive. Hanks meets and becomes friends, and more, with some of the residents. To keep from doing a "spoiler alert", that is about all I will submit as to the story. Those looking for a lot of 'action' will not find it. Those who are looking for an interesting story that keeps one's attention, will find that. Overall Rating: B+
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Carry Fire by Robert Plant

"Carry Fire" by Robert Plant, his 11th studio album, was released October 13, 2017; I promise, my review will not be as long as the entry on Wikipedia (whew!).
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Time Change Series by Alex Myers (Amazon Kindle eBook)

Ok you Fire Tablet borrowers, users, or anyone wanting to try an e-book from Amazon Kindle. "Time Change Series" by Alex Myers is a 3 book series that ties the story line together from book 1 to book 2 to book 3. Jack was riding in a car with his girl friend when a severe thunderstorm suddenly strikes, causing the car to skid and crash. When Jack awakens, he is not a hospital, as he expected. He somehow had been taken back in time to a period just years before the Civil War. As he finds his way around in his new world, he discovers his knowledge of products and technology from the 21st century have a significant impact on his experiences. It is to the extent that he believes he can be a factor in preventing the occurrence of the Civil War. His efforts, along with the acquaintances he gathers, are leading to that possibility, however, there are negative forces that do not want this to happen. Very interesting and entertaining story. Overall Rating: A
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The Prelude Implicit by Kansas

Kansas was one of a number of rock bands I enjoyed some years ago. "The Prelude Implicit" is their first album release in 16 years. Time can certainly change things over a period that long, and there have been personnel changes for Kansas. I've read reviews which were very critical of some of these changes and others that were favorable. My listen of this album is favorable. The 'essence' of Kansas in its heyday is still there. The music is strong but not overpowering as with many bands these days. The lead singer has a good voice and the harmonies are good as well. It may not be the same Kansas, but in grading the album on its listen-ability, I give it an A. Overall Rating: A
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The Catastrophist by Tortoise

I've always had a liking for the underdog, the artist who produces something noteworthy but doesn't get much exposure or recognition. I was looking through new music items and came across this CD by Tortoise. Many years ago, there was a relatively unknown group, Rhinoceros, that I liked, so I decided to give another animal a listen. I liked it. It was primarily instrumental, smooth, and easy, but definitely not run-of-the-mill. Take a stroll off the main path and give The Catastrophist by Tortoise a try. Don't let the album cover scare you off. Overall Rating: B+
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Spirit by Depeche Mode

I'm a music man.  I generally do not pay much attention to lyrics.  But when I began a listen to "Going Backwards," the first cut on Spirit, some of the lyrics hooked my attention. I viewed the lyrics as the music progressed song to song.  Another interesting cut for me was "Poorman." All in all, the album was good. I enjoyed the music and the singer had a decent voice and he did not scream the lyrics.  If you have headphones and some time, this album should be an enjoyable experience. Overall Rating: B+
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Simple Forms by T/N/A/F

I saw T/N/A/F on the cover of a music CD and was puzzled. T/N/A/F. No further information was available inside the case, as no booklet was included, and the rear cover only listed the songs on the disc. It’s this kind of a mystery that leads me to do a media review. Turns out the letters mean The Naked And Famous. While it might have been interesting to learn how this group became Naked And Famous, I'm told that this is not the purpose of a media review. I am supposed to review what I thought of the music on the CD. Well, OK. These two words actually apply both to my acceptance of the duty I have to fulfill in doing a media review, and to my thoughts about this particular CD. It's better than just OK. On the first play I was not all that interested in the first song or two, but by the end of the album I liked it and feel it will be enjoyed more with a few more playings. In other words, it will grow on you. Not like a fungus, but the music was good, and the vocals were, as well. I could ramble on and talk about each song and how it may or may not affect global warming or the economy, but such evaluations should rest with the people who listen to the album. It is worth the effort. Overal rating: B+
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The Head and the Heart: Signs of Light

When I feel like seeing what is available in new music, I check the library's website as a resource. Another, since I have Amazon Echo, is to ask Alexa to play some music; and, for example, she will respond with, "Here is some music by ‘The Head and the Heart.’" That is how I learned about this group, and I have enjoyed their music. They are in the rock category, but their music is controlled, not with loud guitars or heavy drums. The vocals are controlled as well, without the yelling or screaming of lyrics that seems to be prevalent in much of today's music. Lead vocals are good, as are the harmonies. It is an enjoyable, very listenable album, well worth the try. Overall rating: A
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The Queen of Hearts

"The Queen of Hearts" a music CD by Offa Rex, a group that is a collaboration between The Decemberists, an American Indie Folk Rock Band from Portland, Oregon, and British folk music singer Olivia Chaney who grew up in Oxford England.
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Noir: A Novel

I have been a long time fan of Christopher Moore's writings, enjoying his sense of humor and style of writing. 
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Give More Love

I'm ashamed to admit that I have not listened to many of Ringo's albums.
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Whorls

About 15 years ago, my wife and I regularly attended Celtic Festivals.
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Egypt Station

McCartney is like fine wine.
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Traces

I had totally lost track of Steve Perry over the years and it recently became clear as to why. 
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