The Source – James A. Michener

Posted by Frankly Francis on January 23, 2010 under Books/Authors | Be the First to Comment

I really enjoy reading Michener.  And fortunately for me, he wrote a lot of books.  I have historically travelled through time to Alaska, Spain, Poland, Texas, Hawaii, Africa, The Caribbean, Chesapeake Bay, Colorado, Mexico, and so forth.

Not too long ago I stumbled upon “Caravans” – a book centered in Afghanistan, written in the early 1960’s.  Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Michener could have published it today with minimal updating if he were still alive.  And the foregoing is more than a subtle hint to remember the lessons of history.  But I digress…

Anyways, that led me into the abyss of my library to look for other Michener gems yet to be read.  Low and behold, “The Source” was still waiting for me.  Published in 1965, the story alternates between the histories of the initial inhabitants of the land that is now Israel to the modern dynamics of building a state in a hostile place.

Jewish history is primarily delved into, but the Arabs, Romans, Greeks and Europeans get their share of attention.  Along with Baal, the Greek and Roman Gods are profiled, but the main focus in this regard is upon the Creator that the Jews do not refer to by name.

Let me say that I am pleased that I was not placed in direct lineage of God’s Chosen People.  I do not think I am worthy.  And even if I am, I much prefer not to have that target placed upon me by the other dwellers of planet Earth. I’ve got enough problems.

For the record, I do feel a very deep affinity with and respect for the Jewish People.

As usual when reading Michener, I found it interesting and enjoyably educational.  He does have a tendency to write at length, but when you have a big topic, what choice do you have?  There are other authors on my “must read” list, but I am looking forward to perhaps finding other books by Michener that I have not had the pleasure of reading yet.

Oh, I should mention that it was Michener who sparked my determined interest in running the bulls – something that I look forward to doing before this is all over, whatever this is.



The Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Posted by Frankly Francis on January 11, 2010 under Music/Musicians | 4 Comments to Read

How can the Holidays be complete without experiencing The Trans-Siberian Orchestra?

For reasons of obvious bias and lack of neutrality, I must state that I have known Trans-Siberian Orchestra Co-Founder and Musical Director, Bob Kinkel, since childhood.  We have never been close to BFF and in many ways are very different, but we have enjoyed performing together back in the days .  Yet, our mutual interests make knowing Bob that much more special to me.  As I am, needless to say, rather proud of him, I look forward to profiling Bob in a future post.

TSO in concert is Spectacular Spectacular!  The combination of so many musicians, the musical arrangements, lighting & pyrotechnic effects, and choreography make for an intense experience.

Each season, the performance (in two sets) is based on the traditional program consisting of the story and songs of “Christmas Eve and Other Stories”  followed by a set of selected TSO songs, this year featuring songs from their new release “Night Castle.”

This was the second time that I have seen TSO perform.  I enjoyed it more than the first.

They certainly have a great outlook.  Here’s what Co-Founder Paul O’Neill recently said in an article in the Detroit Free Press – “”We spend more on pyro in two months than most of the rock world does in an entire year,” O’Neill said with a laugh.  “Our first duty is to the fans, to give them the best show for their dollar. We realize that entertainment is not a necessity of life, but human beings need moments of joy, or at least moments that are stress free. When you’re not worrying about what’s outside the arena, the body gets to recharge its batteries. The underlying story is about hope.”

And they are obviously doing something right as Billboard recently ranked TSO as the highest grossing winter tour.

Frankly Francis, Bob Kinkel & Debbie Backstage 2008

Next Holiday Season, do yourself a favor and spend a night with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.  I am already looking forward to it.