Tuesday, October 24, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Amy Sweezey "Let's Talk Weather"

BOOK REVIEW
Amy Sweezey
LET'S TALK WEATHER:
TV Forecasting
Behind the Scenes
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With the launch of her second
release, Florida children's author
Amy Sweezey delivers a crisp,
concise book for elementary
school-age readers  one that's
entertaining and educational.
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Since 2002, families throughout Central Florida have kick-started their weekday mornings by tuning in to Orlando's NBC affiliate WESH 2 for accurate, up-to-the-minute weather updates and forecasts from Amy Sweezey. Simply put, as an award-winning meteorologist, Sweezey KNOWS weather. And her longstanding commitment to young people has led Sweezey to share the fascinating world of weather and TV forecasting with countless students in various area schools over the years. Hence, her weather-related children's books have become quite a hit.

The latest from Amy Sweezey is
highly entertaining and 
educational.
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FROM THE BACK COVER
Have you ever wondered how forecasters
on TV can tell what the weather will be?
In Let’s Talk Weather, you’ll find answers
to these questions and more, from the
science behind the weather, to the tools
and instruments used to measure it.
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An illustrated storybook, Sweezey's 2015 debut, It Never, Ever Snows in Florida spoke to a primarily K-2 audience. However, packed with eye-catching relevant photos and brimming with insightful scientific info, her newly-released sophomore effort, LET'S TALK WEATHER: TV Forecasting Behind the Scenes likely will appeal to slightly older inquiring minds.

As a fellow author who also possesses a personal passion for young people and education, I enjoyed Sweezey's latest thoroughly, and I recommend it highly  to "kids" of ALL ages.

-Christopher Long
(October 2017)
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The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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Currently in development...

Sunday, October 8, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: Battle of the Sexes

MOVIE REVIEW
Battle of the Sexes
Decibel Films / Cloud Eight Films
(Running time 1:21 minutes)
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Arriving officially at theaters
(in limited release) on 9/22,
the highly-anticipated, all-
star tour de force made its
way finally to my town this
weekend. Jubilant, for sure!
"One 'senior' matinee ticket to
Battle of the Sexes, please!"
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Playing out for the first hour as a seemingly, tennis-tinged LBGTQ recruitment film, Battle of the Sexes rebounds nicely in the second half — ultimately recounting the compelling, Rocky-caliber story I actually had paid to see.

Directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris succeed in recreating (with amazing accuracy), the story of the iconic 1973 tennis match-up between reigning women's champ, Billie Jean King and former men's champ, Bobby Riggs — an event that changed forever how professional sporting events would be packaged, produced and promoted — while simultaneously blowing the lid off the era's social / sexual revolution. You've come a long way, babyindeed.

An authentic, tension-filled
scene from Battle of the Sexes
(The Houston Astrodome / 9.20.73)
Simply put, moviegoers can absolutely believe the hype, as Battle of the Sexes is truly one of the year's very best films. Emma Stone and Steve Carell each serve Oscar-worthy performances in their respective lead roles portraying King and Riggs, while kudos are also owed to Sarah Silverman as the savvy businesswoman, Gladys Heldman and Jessica McNamee as the vilified conservative women's tennis champ, Margaret Court.

Although a few creative liberties are taken in retelling the legendary tale, Battle of the Sexes scores high marks over all for authenticity — from the era-specific clothing, coiffs and cars to the actual old school video footage of such prominent newscasters as Howard K. Smith and sportscasters, including Howard Cosell. Featuring classic cuts from the likes of Elton John, George Harrison and Aerosmith, even the film's music soundtrack is a spot-on, gloriously shag-covered treat.

-Christopher Long
(October 2017)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
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Sunday, October 1, 2017

JOHN DENVER: A Personal "Rocky Mountain" Tribute

JOHN DENVER
A Personal "Rocky
Mountain" Tribute
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One my life's biggest
bummers is that I never
had an opportunity to
hug John Denver and
say, "Thanks, dude."
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Monday, October 13, 1997 — 20 years this month — gone in a flash. But I still can recall with vivid clarity the day the music really died. Like most folks, I was moved personally by the tragic deaths of Keith MoonJohn Bonham and John Lennon. The more recent losses of such music icons as Frank ZappaFreddie Mercury and Eric Carr also had rocked my world. However, it was the shocking news reports of John Denver's untimely death in a plane crash on the previous day that literally knocked the breath from my lungs and brought me to my knees.

Honest and pure, John Denver's work was one of my earliest and most profound musical influences — gloriously appealing vocals pinned to (seemingly) simple acoustic guitar parts, woven into delightfully irresistible melodies and poured over compelling personal stories of life, love and nature. "FAR OUT," to be sure! Yet, despite his super-sized, superstar heyday status, Denver's brilliant artistry tended to get glossed over by his "goody-two-shoes" persona — the boy-next-door bowl cut, the studious-looking wire-rimmed specs and his authentic made-for-primetime charisma.

My personal passport to peace.
A well-documented "troubled soul" in his personal life, Denver's music (ironically) was happy and uplifting. In fact, nearly every warm-feeling, sweet-smelling childhood memory I have of growing up in Springfield, Missouri and Orlando, Florida during the mid '70's is attached somehow to John Denver's music. No other artist has created music capable of transporting me to such beautiful places — even beautifully painful places.

When Denver introduced fans to his uncle in the lyrics of the 1974 album track, "Matthew," you couldn't help but be moved by the poignant family story of love and loss. His slew of signature love songs, including "Annie's Song," "My Sweet Lady" and "Leaving on a Jet Plane" remain truly timeless classics, while such staples as "Rocky Mountain High," "Take Me Home, Country Roads," "Sunshine on My Shoulders" and my personal favorite, "Poems, Prayers and Promises," feel as fresh today as when they first were recorded.

Still fresh. Still sweet.
Denver's TV specials were ratings winners. His 1977 feature film, Oh, God! — a bona fide blockbuster. Along with Francis Scott Key, he also has the distinction of being one of only two songwriters to have penned two different state songs — impressive, indeed! And in his 1985 testimony before the U.S. Senate, Denver "jammed it" right down Tipper Gore's throat during the PMRC hearings — truly epic performance!

John Denver was a humanitarian with whom I agreed some of the time. And he was a political activist with whom I agreed (almost) none of the time. But at the end of the day, WHO CARES? It's supposed to be "all about the music," right?

Truth be told, as a Christian, even I can get (extremely) "overwhelmed" once in a while. And at those particularly dark times — those moments when the voices are getting to me most, I often still seek solace in the songs of John Denver — even after 45 years. "Thanks, dude." (JohnDenver.com)

-Christopher Long
(October 2017)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...