Saturday Night Serenade–Cat 4? Why Not?

Happy Labor Day! There’s nothing like a three-day weekend. Unless you’re under threat of a catastrophic natural disaster.

For a while there, things were looking exceedingly dicey here in south Florida what with Hurricane Dorian lurking out there in the Atlantic. Friday morning, Al Roker showed a projected path that had the storm hitting West Palm Beach as a Cat 4 sometime on Monday.

Which, if you know our current situation, was just Donkey Kong chucking another barrel at us. We’re supposed to be closing on our house on Friday. If the storm hit late Monday into Tuesday and we continued to have tropical storm weather through Wednesday, there’s not a chance in the world we’d be able to close on time.

And we can’t secure a place to move until we have the proceeds from the closing. But now that things seem to be settling down a bit, and my apologies to the Carolinas, we may just have a path to the next adventure for us.

We have a line on a short-term rental that will allow us to bring Jack, our 85-lb. rescue German shepherd, and that will work until the end of October, when seasonal rates kick in and we’ll have to find something else.

Fingers crossed, by that time, Mr. R will have secured a full-time position back in television news and we’ll be on our way. So if you know of any stations that need a kick-ass news photog or video editor, just saying…

Thanks for taking this journey with us–your positive thoughts mean the world to us.

I hope you enjoy my cheeky virtual middle finger to effing Cat 4 Dorian. If you’re in the storm’s path, be safe. And be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Dreamers

If it’s summer, it’s time for my lazy-days guilty pleasure, America’s Got Talent. I know. We shouldn’t love this show. The title isn’t even grammatically correct.

And do we really need to watch dudes getting shot out of cannons, dudes using their nipples to pull tractor-trailers, creepy contortionists, and mediocre magicians. I would say yes, because among all the rabble you find diamonds in the rough, dreamers, many of whom have put their dreams on hold while they got ‘real’ jobs and watched time go by.

One such contestant was Chris Klafford who appeared last week. His unique take on Imagine held the audience and judges spellbound. See what you think.

I think part of the show’s popularity is that most of us root for the underdog who gets a second chance. Because if a large Swede with skinny jeans and the voice of an angel gets his shot at his dreams, maybe there’s hope for the rest of us, too.

I hope you’re enjoying these ‘dog days’ of summer. Be sure to hug those you love. And maybe dare to dream a little.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–I Love a Good Story

I love a good story. But I’m a writer, so I don’t think that comes as a big surprise.

I tend to write long stories. For me, the characters are everything. Their strengths, their vulnerabilities, their past experiences, their flaws and self-doubts blend together to make them relatable. I always want readers to feel like they know the characters, like they’re friends. And that takes time to build.

As a reader, the best books are the ones where I intentionally slow down about halfway through because I know I’m going to miss the characters when I finish the story. Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood was like that for me.

That being said, I’m always impressed with writers who can communicate all that emotion in fewer words. Like in a song, for example.

Tequila by Dan + Shay tells a great story. This video enhances that story. Be sure to stay until the end. 😉

And because I have a perverse sense of humor, I’m taking a left turn at Albuquerque. (You have to be a certain age to get that reference.) On my summer television guilty pleasure America’s Got Talent, a guy performed a karaoke version of a different Tequila. Enjoy.

This weekend, we’re well into summer, and in the States, we’re celebrating Independence Day this week. I wish you a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Don’t hold fireworks in your hand, y’all, because DUH!

Be sure to hug those you love. Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–

Tonight’s serenade is a classic, and it doesn’t get much more classic than the Beatles. This clip of Yesterday is from a live 1965 television performance. It’s funny because the audience is so frantic about seeing the Fab Four, they don’t really appreciate the beauty of the song. I think true classics are like that–it’s only later that we recognize their value.

I’m beyond stoked about the new movie coming out at the end of the week. Yesterday, from the director of Slumdog Millionaire and the writer of Love Actually, is a fantasy musical romantic comedy about a struggling young singer who wakes up one day to discover that he’s the only one in the world who remembers the genius of the Beatles. When he begins to play their songs, everyone assumes they’re his original work, and his career soars.

The premise intrigued me months ago, the first time I saw a few short clips. It looks like a charming story about likeable characters, all punctuated by the music of the Beatles. In one hilarious clip, Ed Sheeran, as himself, advises our hero Jack to change one particular lyric to “Hey, dude.”

I can’t wait to see this movie, and as we have been hoarding a Fandango gift card since Christmas, awaiting a worthy film, I predict a date night in our very near future.

I hope this first official weekend of summer finds you well. Be sure to hug the ones you love. Maybe I’ll see you at the movies!

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Little Sunshine

Do you have a list of songs you consider musical ‘comfort food’?

I do, and this one is near the top of the list. Boogie Shoes is my favorite K.C. and the Sunshine Band song, and it’s from their 1975 self-titled album. The official genre is disco/funk. I love the brass in this song. And it’s fun to sing, too.

Which is probably why it’s been added to the background of a current television ad for a prescription medication. You know how the advertisers sell us drugs–pleasant images of happy people doing happy things, with a soundtrack of happy music.

If you’re paying attention to the name of the drug, which I usually don’t, you kind of wonder how long it will be before you see class-action lawsuits because these drugs are causing ‘suicidal thoughts or actions, tuberculosis, lymphoma, and perineal tearing’ (all actual side effects I’ve heard over the background happy music). Maybe we’d have been better off with the original ailment.

At any rate, I’d like to relax this summer Saturday with a little blast from the past. Did you notice that this clip is from American Bandstand? If you don’t know what that is, sit down and let the grown-ups talk.

Sending warm Happy Father’s Day wishes your way. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–A Song and a Movie

To say Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is a great song is to be simply redundant. Taken as a whole, their body of work is sublime, with stand-out nuggets like Fat-Bottomed Girls, Under Pressure, and cult-classic Bohemian Rhapsody.

But I really like this one. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s currently featured in several television commercials. And with the success and acclaim of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, all these songs are getting new life. Take that, Millennials, who believe if something didn’t happen in their lifetime, it didn’t happen at all.

As promised, though, this week’s serenade comes with a movie recommendation. While there are countless versions of Don’t Stop Me Now, this is one of my favorites. It comes from a fantastic little horror-comedy from 2004 called Shaun of the Dead. It’s a smart, funny, and yes, okay, gory at times, take on Dawn of the Dead. Just the title cracks me up.

The story follows hapless Shaun and his slacker-pothead wingman Ed (played the the hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) into what appears to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Only we’re not using the zed-word.

Complicating matters is the fact that Shaun’s girlfriend Liz has just broken up with him, and he’s perpetually at odds with his stepfather (the brilliant, if low-key in this role, Bill Nighy).

Once he realizes that the end of the world is here (and it takes him an hysterical amount of time to figure it out–watch him pop out to the shop for a Diet Coke), Shaun cooks up a scheme to save Liz from the undead, and thus win her back. Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

At one point, Shaun’s intrepid band of survivors finds itself holed up in his favorite pub. The fight scene set to this Queen classic is a marvel of choreography and comedic editing.

I’ve checked–you can stream Shaun of the Dead for about $4 from nearly any streaming service. So what are you doing tonight? Saturday Night Live is in reruns until Fall.

By the way, happy Memorial Day! I hope you enjoy your long weekend. Be sure to hug those you love and tell them that you love them.

If you’re remembering someone who paid the ultimate price in service to their country, please accept my deep respect and gratitude. Freedom isn’t free. It never was.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Winter Is Coming

According to reports, around a billion people are expected to tune into Sunday night’s premiere of the final season of HBO’s blockbuster series, Game of Thrones.  Mr. R and I will be two of those people.  If you’re a fan of the show, you know what I mean.

If you’re one of those who hasn’t seen a single second of the show, I get it.  Normally, I am that person.  The one who bucks the trend and avoids that which everyone else seems to obsess over.  I was that way about Breaking Bad, but I eventually saw the error of my ways.

I was also late to The Sopranos party.  I don’t think I saw a single episode until after the entire series was over.
Fun Fact: Mr. R and I are currently binge-watching The Sopranos for at least the second time, LOL.

When Game of Thrones was first coming out in the spring of 2011, I read a lot about it from a lot of different sources.  It really didn’t sound like my cup of tea.  An epic fantasy filled with kings, queens, knights, wars, dragons, etc?  On the other hand, did I want to miss getting in on the ground floor of the ‘next big thing’?  So I decided to watch the first episode.  Worst-case scenario, I waste an hour of my life.

But then I watched the opening sequence.  In seven minutes and twenty-two seconds, I was totally in.  I had no idea what was happening, but I was hooked.  Eventually after that first season, I went back and read the books.

Game of Thrones is based on A Song of Ice and Fire, an epic fantasy series of books by George R.R. Martin.  And he has worked closely with the creators of the show.  As a writer, I’m fascinated at Martin’s ability to create a whole world–no really, the books include maps, and the locations in the show are based on those maps.  He’s created characters that are rich and diverse and strong and flawed.  Dragons aside, for me it’s the human drama that makes the show the achievement that it is.

Westeros and beyond is populated with strong women, ruthless warriors, noble folk, and monsters of the human variety as well as the supernatural ones.  I was impressed by the fact that dwarf Tyrion Lannister (expertly played by the excellent Peter Dinklage) has a hugely prominent role.

Granted, the show is not for the squeamish–scenes of violence abound.  And there is quite a bit of sex as well.  These are not well-behaved characters, for the most part.  But I wonder if you might see a few things that ring familiar, as well.

Music plays a huge part in Game of Thrones.  In fact, it’s almost a character within itself, setting the mood, identifying the various families and banners.  The opening theme, A Song of Ice and Fire, is iconic, and for tonight’s serenade, I’ve included two versions.  The first one is an acoustic quartet, and the second is an entire orchestra featuring 2Cellos.

And…
If you’re still on the fence about Game of Thrones and haven’t seen a second of it…
Please grant me seven minutes and twenty-two seconds and watch the first sequence of Season 1 Episode 1.
Oh, and rule of thumb for watching GoT–don’t get too attached to anybody.  Just saying…  And be careful online–The internet is dark, and full of spoilers.

I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!