Happy Friday to you. It’s March now and I’m ready for spring’s longer, warmer days and “March Madness”.
I hope you have a great weekend. I plan on getting a few outdoor walks in and to watch several movies. Here are my random thoughts for this week.
WAS ELLEN TRANS-PHOBIC?
Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres is getting rave reviews for hosting this year’s Oscars last Sunday night. Her selfie with A-list stars crashed Twitter and became the most retweeted tweet in history and she made it a profitable night for a pizza delivery man.
However, a joke she made to Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony award winner Liza Minnelli is not setting well with some in the transgender community.
In her monologue looking at Liza, Ellen said, “the best Liza Minnelli impersonator I’ve ever seen. Good job, sir!”
This is Liza’s reaction. Her sister, Lorna Luft, definitely thought it was funny!
As a gay man knowing how many drag queens imitate and look at Liza as a gay icon, I thought it was hilarious and I don’t think Ellen meant it mean-spirited.
After the show, Liza told tmz.com, “I think she thought it would be funny, but she never stopped after she said it and said, ‘My friend Liza Minnelli’. So I think it went a little astray on her.”
But, without hesitation, Liza added, “I don’t think she meant any harm at all. She’s a wonderful lady and I think she did great.”
However, some are not as forgiving.
Most of America are still not all that familiar with the transgender community. I admit that, as a gay man, I’m still learning, too. However, there is a difference between transphobia, negative feelings and attitudes and feelings towards transsexuals and transgender people, and making a joke about a drag queen or a transvestite.
Ellen needs to contact Liza, if she hasn’t done so already, and say, “I apologize that my joke was not funny to you. You looked fantastic Sunday night.” And, we all need to step back and breathe and maybe learn a little more about our transgendered brothers and sisters.
I think host Ellen did a fantastic job hosting the Oscars telecast that was watched by 43 million people, up 6% in viewers from last year.
As for my Oscar picks, if I had played it safely, I would have correctly chosen 21-of-24.
However, I took a chance to stand out from the crowd and went against “Gravity” in the “Sound Mixing” and “Score” category. Thus, I missed those two and got 19-of-24 right. That’s much better than last year.
I correctly picked the top eight big categories.
That is my favorite picture from the Oscars — “Sherlock” actor Benedict Cumberbatch photobombing Oscar-nominated rock band, U2.
And, the presenter that’s gotten the most post-Oscars buzz, unintentionally, was John Travolta.
While introducing Broadway (“Wicked”), movie “(“Frozen”), and television (“Glee”) star Idina Menzel to perform the Oscar-nominated (SPOILER ALERT) and winning song, “Let It Go”, Travolta massacred Idina’s name.
In his enthusiastic introduction, Travolta says, “please welcome the wickedly talented, one and only Adele Dazeem”!
On Tuesday, Travolta released this statement, “I’ve been beating myself up all day. Then I thought … what would Idina Menzel say, She’d say, Let it go, let it go! Idina is incredibly talented and I am so happy Frozen took home two Oscars Sunday night!”
Needless to say, parody Twitter and Wikipedia pages popped up for the new star, Adele Dazeem!
Okay, John I’m letting it go!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
IS WINTER OVER?
March is definitely off to a cold start, but it’s starting to warm up. After just the first three days of the month, Quad City temperatures were running more than 25.5° below average.
With two snows in the past week, we’re now up to 62.2″ of snow this winter in the Quad Cities, making this the third snowiest winter on record.
And, another inch of snow is expected tonight and early Saturday!
TOO EARLY FOR GARDENING, BUT…
While the ground is frozen and covered with inches of snow, I’m going to be optimistic and start gardening inside.
Late last summer, I bought three packages of seeds on ebay from Arkansas and I’m ready to start them with my “Seed Starter” kit Santa brought me for Christmas.
Ironically, I hope the seeds I bought are what they say they are and nothing illegal!
I ordered Jerusalem Cherry, Pink Pampas Grass, and Ice White Cherry Tomato.
SPEAKING OF TOMATOES
“Better Homes and Gardens” is thinking of spring, too. In the new March issue, it states that 86% of American gardeners raise tomatoes.
The magazine’s experts predict that “a hybrid like Black Pearl or Tye Dye” will be the “season’s hot tomatoes”.
While I love tomatoes, I always had them in the garden for Miss ABBA.
Now that she’s no longer with us, I still grow them and in the past two summers, I’ve perfected a fresh homemade salsa!
Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin are household names in the United States.
J. Lo has charted 17 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with ten of them reaching the Top Ten and four topping of the chart. Meanwhile, Ricky has had five hits on the Hot 100 with “Livin La Vida Loca” topping that chart in 1999.
Before this week, Ricky racked up 37 hits on the Billboard Latin chart. Of those, 21 made the Top Ten and, incredibly, 11 of them reached #1.
Ricky and J. Lo are on their way to getting their latest #1 Latin hit with the help with Wisin, one half of the Puerto Rican raggaeton duo, Wisin & Yandel.
“Adrenalina” debuted this week all the way up at #12 on the Billboard Latin chart and the video is incredibly hot!!!!!!!!!
It’s the first single from Wisin’s second solo album, “El Regreso del Sobreviviente” that comes out March 18, 2014, the same day as Kylie Minogue’s “Kiss Me Once” album.
There is no correlation between Wisin and Kylie’s albums. It’s just a shameless plug for Kylie. I can do that, you know.
“SIX FEET UNDER”
While the HBO series ended its five-year run in 2005, we just got around to watching and finishing it.
What an incredible show! While I wasn’t exactly prepared for its slow pace and it did get frustrating at times, the acting and the over-the-top story lines were amazing. And, the last few minutes of the series finale were too cool.
By regularly reading my blog, you know I love Michael C. Hall.
He played David Fisher, one of the owners of the funeral home on the show.
It was exciting to see him as a young, uptight gay man who would go on to become our favorite serial killer on Showtime’s ”Dexter” for eight seasons.
Watching “Six Feet Under”, I realize that I lead a rather docile life compared to the crazy Fisher and Chenowith clans!
“THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL”
I just finished the ninth and final book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series. If you haven’t been following my blog over the past few weeks when I talked about each book that I read, take notice.
The books follow the lives of a group living at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco in 1976 through current day. The apartment complex is headed up by self-proclaimed matriarch Anna Madrigal and the final book is dedicated to Anna, who’s now 92-years-old.
Needless to say when I started the book, I was bracing myself for the worse thinking this might be Mrs. Madrigal’s swan song.
I loved the flash backs in the book about Anna’s childhood at the Blue Moon Lodge, the Nevada whorehouse where she was raised by her mother, the madam, “Mother Mucca”.
While the book moves forward from Mrs. Madrigal’s childhood to the teenaged years and escaping Nevada, it was a pleasant ride. It was also amazing to see her get to take one more trip back home to Winnamucca, even though most of what she remembered was already gone.
The book also updates us the lives of Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”), Mary Ann, and Brian, from the original “Tales” book.
Although Maupin has been writing these stories for forty years, I just discovered them twenty years ago this spring when PBS aired the first “Tales of The City” miniseries.
It’s very strange to see Michael in his 60s and Anna in her 90s. But, then again, I’m no longer watching the last months of my 20s escape me! Before I know it, 50 will be here.
But, if my 50s and my golden years are half as much fun and exciting as the lives of the “Tales” gang and Armistead Maupin’s life, it’ll be “fantabulous”.
Armistead, thank you for giving this small-town Kentucky boy the motivation and the courage to move to Chicago just four months shy of my 30th birthday, just as you allowed Mary Ann Singleton to leave Cleveland, Ohio, for San Francisco.
And, just like Mary Ann, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a television newscaster and meteorologist!
Thank you for the memories of 28 Barbary Lane and beyond.
“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”
Grammy Award winning country singer Lynn Anderson was raised in California, but she was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Born to country music songwriter parents, Lynn earned early notoriety in horse show arenas winning 700 trophies, including the title of “California Horse Show Queen” in 1966.
That same year she was signed to a recording music contract. Her first hit reached #36 and was followed by “If I Kiss You (Would You Go Away)”, her first Top Ten hit in 1967, peaking at #5.
From that first hit in 1966 to her last hit in 1988, Lynn Anderson scored 47 Top 40 Billboard Country Hits. Of those, 18 reached the Top Ten, and five topped the chart, including her fall 1970 release, “Rose Garden”.
That song topped the Country charts for five weeks, reached #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was a chart topper in Australia, Canada, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, and Switzerland.
She was also named Billboard Magazine’s “Female Artist of the Decade” in the 1970s.
Her last studio recording was 2010′s “Cowgirl II”.
Lynn is still touring and entertaining her fans and she recently attended a party in Nashville for radio personality Bob Kingsley with some of country music’s other legends, including my idol, Reba.
“I BEG YOUR PARDON”, HERE’S MORE “ROSE GARDEN”
While Lynn Anderson scored almost 50 country hits in the U.S., “Rose Garden” was her only crossover to the Billboard Hot 100, where the song reached #3 in 1971.
However, in 1988, the Canadian synthpop/techno band, Kon Kan, sampled the song and “I Beg Your Pardon”, featuring Lynn’s “Rose Garden” made it up to #15 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also made it to the top five in the Netherlands and the U.K.
THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK
I appreciate you taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts. Have a great weekend and we’ll do it again next Friday.