1. Books…Outlander…Claire Beacham/Randall Travels To 1745 Scotland!
Diana Gabaldon Creates A Reading Must With Classic Characters!
Outlander was written in 1991 by Diana Gabaldon under the original title Cross Stitch. Claire Randall and her husband, Jack Randall, are on their second honeymoon following Claire’s time as a nurse on the bloody battlefields of World War II. Her husband still serves in Britain’s intelligence service and is a history expert. While visiting the Scottish ruins at Inverness, Claire touches an ancient Scottish stone similar to the mystical stones left by the Druids. She is magically thrust back 200 years to 1745 Scotland.
The Scots and the Brits are about to fight a war over Scotland and the British throne. Claire appears in the middle of this volatile historical period. Landing with a thump in Scotland, she meets the despicable British soldier, Black Jack Randall, an ancestor of her husband. She is, also, discovered by the MacKenzie’s, a Scottish clan and owners of the land where she now is a visitor. Claire is taken to the Mackenzie’s famous castle at Leoch. There, she is branded a Sassenach (Outlander) and thought to be a British spy. Though British and longing to return to her 1940’s life, the brutality of the British against the Scots slowly turns her loyalties. Even more so, when she marries a Scottish clan member to protect herself from the British. The British think she is a Scottish spy and sympathizer. She marries James Frasier Mackenzie, a Scottish criminal, and their marriage takes an already interesting story in a number of challenging directions.
The eight book series (2013’s Written In My Own Heart’s Blood is the last story, so far) is sold out everywhere do to the new Outlander television series on Starz. The program features everyone in book one. Book one is a very large easy to read tome. You will find that many of the characters and their stories have been greatly expanded for television. The critically acclaimed Starz series is in production for a second year. The original story won the 1991 Best Romance Award from the Romance Writers of America. The romance between Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan, Claire and James, starts slowly but heats up quickly. This romance award is well served as Claire and James bring their passionate relationship to center stage in the television series.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander’s author) has a cameo in chapter four as a Gathering (multiple clan festival) participant. A unique feature Starz provides each week is ten minutes of interviews and insights after each episode. The director, author, and leading characters review their roles and various directions the show is taking while following the books intent and taking television liberties with the story.
2. Music…Daryl Hall’s House…A Music Mecca!
The Old Stars And New Performers Create Listening Pleasure!
If you are looking for musical Nirvana (not Kurt Cobain this time ), Daryl’s House at (livefromdarylshouse.com) should be your first stop. Daryl Hall of the now separated Hall And Oates duo has been conducting a free monthly Internet program Live From Daryl’s House since 2007. VH1 and a number of small television channels are, also, airing his show. All fifty-eight completed sessions can be accessed and freely viewed from Hall’s website’s pull down box in the right hand corner of his webpage.
The musical guests are an interesting array of performers representing jazz, country, rock, island, R and B, and much more. The new stars, that he features, are just as interesting and talented as names that are etched in music history that join him. They all perform in a room in his house accompanied by Daryl’s band. The sounds and the collaboration ‘back and forths’ they create in this small venue are one of a kind and memorable.
The work on the show of new performers KT Turnstall (Out of Touch), Diane Birch (Black Horse and Cherry Tree, Nothing But A Miracle), Grace Potter (Low Road), and Travis McCoy (Wake Up Everybody) rivals Train (Say It Ain’t So) and Smokey Robinson (Tears Of A Clown). Each show is a half an hour in length and features five songs with Hall and the featured performer. The songs performed are Hall’s, the performer’s, and other works taken from a world-wide songbook of classics. Twenty nine hours of great listening isn’t that bad for a musical recommendation. You will enjoy visiting Daryl’s House!
3. Music II…Jim Brickman And His Piano! Records Broken Everywhere!
It is embarrassing to work for a university that lives and breathes music and art and not know of Jim Brickman. He is the only musician in music recording history to have three albums ranked 1, 2, and 3 on the Billboard charts at the same time. His thirty years of great music is an ideal business card for anyone. Brickman has performed with everyone from Olivia Newton John to Lady Antebellum to Wayne Brady to Martina McBride. The songs he has written have been performed by a smorgasbord of the best artists across the world. Everyone wants to sing Brickman’s songbook and their own songbook accompanied by Brickman’s piano.
Never Alone and Valentine are great starters for meeting Brickman. His sound will enhance anyone’s audio system. Brickman wrote Valentine which sold over a million copies when it first came out. It is a Valentine’s Day staple recognized by everyone. Never Alone was written by Victoria Shaw. It is based on an Irish blessing that starts the first verse of the song.
May the angels protect you,
Trouble neglect you,
And heaven accept you,
When its time to go home.
The song has a special message for everyone and hearing Brickman’s story centering on its creation (You Tube) and why he gave it to Lady Antebellum is eye opening. After listening to Never Alone try these Brickman best bets:
Change Of Heart…Olivia Newton John
The Gift…Jim Brickman
What’s Become Of A Broken Hearted…Patrick Stump
Picture This…Jim Brickman
By Heart…Jim Brickman
4. Movies…The Wedding Ringer…Kevin Hart And Friendship’s Meaning!
The Kevin Hart Wedding Agency Will Make You Laugh! More Than Once!
Should someone be measured by the number or the quality of their friends. Maybe friends are not necessary if you are hard working and making a difference in this world. Josh Gad is getting married to a girl that he thinks is far beyond his dreams. His business is super successful and suddenly, he meets super model Kaley-Cuoco-Sweeting. They connect to Josh Gad’s amazement.
Time passes quickly for the new couple and now it is wedding time featuring family, friends, and bridegrooms. Josh has no family or friends. Step in Kevin Hart! Hart saves weddings of all denominations with best man service and groom party additions. He works from a weird basement office with an even stranger secretary. Hart thinks Gad’s wedding is an impossible save. The movie shows five other great hilarious saves! Seven bridesmen with great background stories and made up connections to Gad is way beyond possible in Hart’s business. The challenge calls, however! Joe Namath must go down, too.
Cloris Leachman, Ken Howard, Nicky Howard, and Mimi Rogers have great supporting roles as the wife’s family and new friends of Gad’s. It is hard to find a movie that will make you laugh this week at your local theater. This one will make you laugh with its stupid situations and poignant take on Friendship. See it with a friend!
5. Social Commentary…Humor In Philadelphia!…You Decide!
We apologize for the second week in a row and hope we do not offend any religious or ethnic group with what is to follow. Please do not forward this joke in your email or share it in a telephone conversation. We are deeply sorry this joke is this week’s column filler.
Question: What did the bald man say when he received a comb as a birthday present.
Answer: I will never part with this!
Please raise your hand if you would like more next week!
6. Column Research Topics…Unique Ideas We Didn’t Cover This Week!
Here are some additional interesting topics. We didn’t have enough information to cover them, but one or two may be of interest to readers that are looking for different themes to pursue beyond the ones we presented this week.
A. The Super Bowl…Billions In Offshore And Casino Betting!
B. Jennifer Aniston As A Troubled Soul In Cake!
C. Orange Is The New Black…Prison Women Win Out!
D. This Year’s Surge In Book Purchases!
E. Kevin Costner Invests In Black And White!
F. Jodi Picoult’s Salem Falls!
G. Crossing Lines Season II…An Insight To Paris’s Terrorists!
H. Super Bowl Food Consumption!