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Frank Sinatra: the man and his music

Ultimate Sinatra (Credit: Capitol Records) Old Blue Eyes is back, but was he ever really gone? This week, a four-CD, 101-song Ultimate Sinatra mega-set was released. This is enough to provide you with entertainment on the way "to the moon and back." There are, of course, the songs he indelibly introduced — "Come Fly with Me," "All the Way," "Love and Marriage" — and then there are the others. Those are the songs that he did "my way," borrowing from other artists.  

In commemoration of the fact the he would have turned 100 this year, this collection presents Sinatra at his best — in the studio. It has been noted that in concert, Frank liked to improvise lyrics, adding a "coo-coo" or supplemental syllable. While it added to the song, it was not always a positive addition, like a tattoo on the body. It was an odd quirk for a man so respectful of songwriters that he often identified them after singing one of their works.

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Being White: Finding Our Place in a Multiethnic World

Being White: Finding Our Place in a Multiethnic World by Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp (Credit: InterVarsity Press)Equal parts controversial and needed, Paula Harris and Doug Schaupp pen Being White: Finding Our Place in a Multiethnic World. Writing from the white vantage point, Harris and Schaupp call on the white evangelical to move forward into the future making a difference in multiethnic contexts through justice and reconciliation.

This emphasis on justice is echoed in the work of Michael Eric Dyson. "Charity is no substitute for justice. If we never challenge a social order that allows some to accumulate wealth—even if they decide to help the less fortunate--while others are short-changed, then even acts of kindness end up supporting unjust arrangements. We must never ignore the injustices that make charity necessary, or the inequalities that make it possible."

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A.D.: The Bible Continues

Vincent Regan (left center) as Pontius Pilate in a scene from the new movie from Robert Burnett and Roma Downey, A.D. The Bible Continues, the continuation of the their original epic The Bible miniseries (Credit: NBC)In 2013, Roma Downey and Mark Burnett's show, The Bible, aired on The History Channel; more than 13 million people watched.  Hoping for similar success, Downey and Burnett's new series, A.D., picks up the biblical narrative at the trial and death of Jesus and will continue into the book of Acts.

A.D. premieres this Sunday at 8pm (Central) on NBC and will continue for 12 weeks. We got to watch the first episode in advance and it does not take prophetic insight to foretell that this show will do well.  High production value is a great place to start, but as we've seen in the theaters lately with Russell Crowe as Noah and Christian Bale as Moses, it is no guarantee of a satisfied audience.  Thankfully, Downey and Burnett's retelling fills in the necessary gaps to turn the pages of history into a TV show with tasteful and historically considerate drama rather than rock-monster-fallen-angels.

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Insurgent: a movie review

Shailene Woodley as Beatrice 'Tris' Prior breaks through a glass box, in a scene with Kate Winslet, who plays Jeanine Matthews, in the new Summit Entertainment production, The Divergent Series: Insurgent (Credit: Summit Entertainment)Insurgent is the second movie in the Divergent trilogy based on the books of the same name by Veronica Roth. The film takes place in a post-apocalyptic society that has been founded on the principle that, to avoid conflict, its citizens will live and work in one of five factions. A person's faction is decided by the aspect of their nature that is most prominent. Abnegation is for the selfless, Dauntless for the brave, Erudite for the intelligent, Amity for the peaceful, and Candor for the honest.

While most clearly fit into one group, there are some that are capable in a number of areas. These uniquely gifted individuals are called divergents and they are often feared and shunned by the other classes because they don't fit into the system. The film's protagonist, Tris Prior, is one such person. The series centers on her struggles in understanding her place in society.

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Four Blood Moons: something is about to change

Four Blood Moons The Movie - Trailer (Credit: John Hagee Ministries)"The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes." (Joel 3:4)

In the late 15th century, Catholic Spain made its best effort to violently expel all Jews from its land during the inquisition.  Many fled to the new world known as America in the wake of Christopher Columbus (1492-93).  In 1948, Israel officially became a nation once again, and President Harry Truman led the United States to be Israel's first supporter.  The Six-Day War in 1967 marked a significant victory for the nation of Israel, giving them control of Jerusalem.

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