Delirium with Ellie Goulding and Years & Years

British  and international pop star Ellie Goulding kicked off her “Delirium World Tour” in Europe in January to promote the “Delirium” album that came out last November.  It was one of my favorite albums of 2015.

Ellie CD

The North American leg of the tour is now underway and Friday night, I’ll be seeing Ellie, along with the British trio, Years & Years, in Rosemont, Illinois, just outside of Chicago.

Years & Years

Last fall, I came close to seeing Olly Alexander and the guys when I visited San Francisco, but the show was sold out.  This time around with Ellie, I wasn’t going to miss out!

Now that the show is so close, I want to share my eight favorite Ellie Goulding songs and my eight favorite Years & Years songs.  Why eight?  I hear it’s a lucky number.  So, if you’re lucky enough to get to meet Ellie or Olly and the guys, tell them Anthony says “hello”.

Since Ellie is the headliner, I’ll start with her, although “Communion” by Years & Years was my #2 album of 2015.  (In retrospective, if I had it to do all over again, it’d be #1. Sorry Giorgio Moroder!)

MY EIGHT FAVORITE ELLIE GOULDING SONGS

#8 CD

“AFTERTASTE”

7

“DEVOTION”

6

“OUTSIDE” (WITH CALVIN HARRIS)

#5 MOVIE

“YOUR SONG”

4

“I NEED YOUR LOVE” (WITH CALVIN HARRIS)

3

“LOVE ME LIKE YOU DO”

2

“SOMETHING IN THE WAY YOUR MOVE”

1

“LIGHTS”

More Years & Years

MY EIGHT FAVORITE YEARS & YEARS SONGS

#8 MOVIE

“WORSHIP”

#7 CD

“WITHOUT”

#6 CD

“GOLD”

5

“TAKE SHELTER”

#4 CD

“DESIRE” (FEATURING TOVE LO)

#3 CD

“REAL”

#2 CD

“KING”

#1

“SHINE”

Now, I just have to get through work and then drive to Chicago for Friday night’s show.

Here’s to a fun night with Ellie, Olly, Mikey, and Emre.

Anthony

 

Kent State Shootings — 46 Years Later

 

[The text of this blog was written four years ago in 2012.]

Kent State University is located in northeastern Ohio and if not for what happened there 46 years ago today, many of you would have no clue where it is located.

Kent State Univ Shootings-4May70

Four students were shot to death by the Ohio National Guard and 9 others were injured at an anti-Vietnam War protest.

Four of the wounded students are asking for a new investigation.  They asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to look at digitally enhanced audio evidence they claim shows that an officer ordered the Guard to fire on the unarmed students.

When I worked in Mansfield, Ohio, I got to attend the 30th anniversary of the shootings.  Being on Campus that in 2000, it felt so real like it was still 1970.

Here is the story that I posted for WMFD.  Please forgive the less than HD quality since I recorded it off my digital camera from a VHS tape!  VHS, really?:)

Anthony

My Changing Feelings Toward Bernie Sanders

There are still five major candidates running for president of the United States (if you think John Kasich has a chance).

Trump

Donald Trump has a huge delegate lead, but Ted Cruz is not giving up.  While more Republican voters have picked Trump over Cruz, it’s clear that the GOP doesn’t want Trump (or Cruz, for that matter) to be their candidate in the 2016 election.

On the Democratic side,  I’ve said all along that if Senator Bernie Sanders ended up being the nominee, I’d support him.

When he visited our station late last May, I thought he was a nice enough man.

Earlier this year, as the primary and caucus season got underway, I still thought he was okay as he told “Meet The Press”, “I am not going to attack Hillary Clinton. The American people will have to make that judgment.”

I even found him sincere and humorous when he stated to Hillary Clinton in an early debate, “the American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

Lately though, I’ve been biting my tongue not to say anything bad about Senator Sanders and his supporters.

In a perfect world, I’d love for all Democrats to like Hillary.  But, that’s not a reality.  Hell, I’d love for all people to like me, too.  Again, that’s not a reality.

While this goes for any candidate running for president, I know there are good Sanders supporters and there are bad ones.  And, they give the good ones a bad name.

I’m a little shocked at the vile coming out of their mouths and from their fingertips through social media.  If this was coming from Donald Trump or Ted Cruz supporters or from the highly-touted “conservatives”, it wouldn’t make me think twice.

But, I expect(ed) more from Sanders and his supporters.

I’m glad that Bernie joined the race for the White House.  I’m happy that he and Hillary have had some great heated discussions to make Democrats think.

However, it appalls me to hear Sanders’ senior adviser Tad Devine say that Hillary is a “weak front-runner”.

president-hillary

Maybe the numbers lie?  Maybe I don’t understand?  Well, the answers to those questions are no and no!

As of now, Hillary leads Bernie in pledged delegates based on primaries and caucuses 1,243 to 975.  That’s a lead of 268.

Hillary leads in “superdelegates” 469 to 29!  When you add those numbers together, Hillary leads Bernie 1,712 to 1,004.  That’s a 708 delegate advantage!

Also, that 1,712 is 72% of the delegates needed to secure the Democratic nomination.

Again, let’s talk about the “weak front-runner” comment.  So far, there have been twelve caucuses and Bernie has won ten of them.  Impressive, but consider the number of delegates gained in the less caucused states.

On the other hand, there have been twenty primaries and Hillary won 16 of them and many of those wins were in delegate-rich states.

So, let’s put this into perspective.  Bernie does very well in caucuses, but there are only four of them left with 120 delegates at stake.

Meanwhile, there are seventeen primaries left and Hillary has been doing very well in those contests.  Now, let’s talk delegates.  In those seventeen primaries, there are 1,943 delegates up for grabs!!!!

Hillary AP

Yes, I’m a Hillary supporter, but I also don’t live in a fantasy world (okay, most of the time).

Of the five big states coming up (California, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland), there are over 1,300 delegates.  That’s about 63% of the remaining delegates and Hillary is doing very well in the polling in those states and is expected to win most, if not, all of them.

Hopefully, by the end of April, Bernie Sanders and his supporters will realize that it was a great run and he got people interested in the election process again.

It’s time to unite behind Hillary Clinton to defeat the Republicans this November.

 

DEM 2016 Debate

In this race, so far, Hillary has been pretty civil to Senator Sanders without bringing out the claws and most of the ire from the Republicans has been directed to the former Secretary of State and First Lady.

This wouldn’t be the case for Bernie heading into the summer once Republican attention is focused on the Democratic candidate.

Hillary Clinton has been fighting for people for 30-plus years and she’s been fighting accusations and misguided truths about her, her actions, and her honesty for just as long.

She can handle whatever comes her way and it’s time for us to unite behind her.  If you still “Feel The Bern”, that fire needs to be focused on Republicans and not Hillary Clinton.

Anthony

Ready To Really Like Carly Rae Jepsen in NYC

The weekend is almost here and I hope it’s a fun one for you.  It’s also Easter weekend.  Happy Easter!

ABBAEaster2001

Easter gives me a chance to share this cute picture of Miss ABBA, who’s probably enjoying Easter egg hunts across the rainbow bridge.

Depending on the time of day you read this (and United Airlines), we’re likely on the way to Chicago or already in New York City for a few days. This is Gretel’s Christmas present.

We’ll do the touristy things, eat great food, and see a Broadway show, “Disaster!”.

However, the weekend kicks off tonight with my choice for a fun New York City time — Carly Rae Jepsen in concert! Cardiknox and Fairground Saints will be joining her.

carly-rae-jepsen

So, in honor of the headliner, here are my 15 favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs and I’ll hear many of them since the “Gimme Love Tour” is promoting the “Emotion” album.

It was one of my favorites CDs of 2015.  Get it now if you don’t already have it!

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

15

“TURN ME UP” (CD:  “KISS”)

#14 Movie

“BOY PROBLEMS” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

13

“BLACK HEART” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

12

“THIS KISS” (CD:  “KISS”)

#11 Movie

“HURT SO GOOD” (CD:  “KISS”)

10

“CURIOSITY” (CD:  “KISS”)

#9 MOVIE

“GOOD TIME” (WITH OWL CITY) (CD:  “KISS”)

8

“YOUR TYPE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#7 CD

“WARM BLOOD” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#6 CD

“RUN AWAY WITH YOU” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

5

“CALL ME MAYBE” (CD:  “KISS”)

4

“GIMME LOVE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#3 CD

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#2 MOVIE

“I DIDN’T JUST COME HERE TO DANCE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#1

“TONIGHT I’M GETTING OVER YOU” (CD:  “KISS”)

 

CARDIKNOX

The Los Angeles-based duo Cardiknox (Thomas Dutton and Lonnie Angle) just released their major label debut, “Portrait”.

It’s a great album full of synth and electronic vibes that take you back to the 1980s with a current day rock feel.

Right now, my favorite song on the album is still “On My Own” because it was the song that introduced me to the group and I’ve watched the incredibly choreographed video so many times.

I also like “Wild Child”, an energetic anthem that makes no apologies for being young and being yourself.

However, the more I listen to “Portrait”, I think my favorite jams will be “Bloodlust” and “Supermodel”.

Both take me back to the “new wave” and punk days of the late-1970s and early-1980s when bands like  Berlin, Missing Persons, X, Blondie and the Go-Gos were making inroads to success in popular music.

Can’t wait to see Lonnie and Thomas open for Carly Rae.

FAIRGROUND SAINTS

Carly Rae definitely picked two of Los Angeles’ finest to open for her on the tour with Cardiknox and the trio, Fairground Saints (Mason Van Valin, Megan McAllister, and Elijah Edwards).

While I like many genres of music (dance, electronic, pop, country, and soul), Fairground Saints doesn’t box themselves into one category.  On their self-titled album, which came out last August, you get a strong feel of folk, country, and gospel.

I’ll probably embarrass my soon-to-be 15-year-old daughter, Gretel, by singing along and dancing to Carly Rae, but I know she’s going to love the smooth, alternative sound of Fairground Saints.

Here’s to a fun Friday night at Terminal 5 in New York City with Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardiknox, and Fairground Saints.

Anthony

More Snow…. Really?

It may officially be spring, but Old Man Winter isn’t done with us yet.

It’s going to be an interesting day across the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys.

After starting out with quick moving thunderstorms with pea-sized hail around midnight in the Quad Cities, we’ll see more rain through noon.

Colder air comes in and as temperatures fall through the 30s this afternoon, the rain will briefly change to sleet and then snow.

Although temperatures are above freezing and the ground is warm, the snow will come down heavy enough for a few hours this afternoon to overcome the warmth and accumulate on elevated and grassy surfaces.

Afternoon Snow

Roadways should be in decent shape with the snow until tonight when temperatures drop below freezing and then we could see some slick spots.

We are rather lucky.  This same storm brought about 5-8″ of snow to parts of northern and northwestern Iowa.

The snow melts away tomorrow with sunshine and a high around 50.

More rain is on the way for the weekend.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 18, 2016

It’s almost the weekend and, as always, I’m ready for it.

Got any big plans?  Whatever you do, or don’t do, enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

SPRING STORMS THIS WEEK

Our first round of severe storms in 2016 brought five tornadoes to northern Illinois and eastern Iowa Tuesday evening.  This required me to go back into work for several hours.  It saddens me to see the widespread devastation, but I’m happy to report there were no casualties!

Of course, the two-plus hours of continuous coverage ticked some people off because watching their regular programs was more important than keeping people safe.

Oh well, people get over it.  We’ll do the same thing the next time there are tornadoes in the area!

PATTI DAVIS & HER FATHER’S AIDS FAILURE

Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan & First Lady Nancy Reagan is promoting her new book, “The Earth Breaks In Colors” and she’s not holding back on her father’s failure in handling the AIDS crisis.

Nancy+Reagan+Patti+Davis

She says, “I’m not gonna make excuses for, um, the failure of his administration to address the AIDS crisis when it was going on.”   She adds, “I mean, it was a failure. It hurts my heart that that happened, on so many levels.”

RonaldReagan

Davis:  “Presidents get briefings every morning, um, they’re busy, so their time watching CNN is limited, so they do rely on people to bring them information on what was going on. There were people around him who did not want him dealing with the AIDS crisis, and I’m not making excuses for him, I’m saying that’s a flaw of his, and in this case it turned out to be a really tragic flaw because he didn’t really know the extent of what was going on until Rock Hudson died.”

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

AIDS wasn’t the only topic Davis talked on when reflecting on her father.

Trump

She also implied that President Reagan would not be behind Donald Trump’s bid for the White House because he supported immigration.

Davis says, “He would certainly not be saying that Muslims should register and let’s build a huge wall and let Mexico pay for it and send them all back.”

A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS

Even politicians can put their differences aside!

George W Hillary

This picture was taken at Nancy Reagan’s funeral last week.

“SPOKEN FROM THE HEART” — LAURA BUSH

I just finished reading Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, “Spoken From The Heart” and it solidified my fondness of the former First Lady.  As I stated last week, she’s one of my five favorite First Ladies.

Laura Spoken.jpg

When deciding to read the book, I was afraid.  What if she wasn’t as charming as I perceived her to be?  What if she didn’t like Hillary Clinton?  (That’s important to me when both are one my list of five favorite First Ladies!)

My concerns and fears were unfounded and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Laura Welch better.  I would so honored to meet her one day.

In the book, she described Hillary as “gracious and forthcoming” when the outgoing First Lady was giving the future First Lady a tour of the White House.

I loved the touching story of Hillary and her daughter, Chelsea, showing Ms. Bush tomato plants that they had growing on the parapet off the third floor because “you just can’t get good tomatoes.”

President and Ms. Bush would go on to grow pots of tomatoes there, too.

ABBAtomatoes

I love this story so much because I used to grow tomatoes and peppers in pots for Miss ABBA, the golden retriever, before I lived in a house where I could have a garden!

In the book, Ms. Bush says very few bad things about people.  Even when she took people to task for their words or actions, she was cordial about it.

President Obama

Laura Bush on Barack Obama and the 2008 Presidential race:  “And I wondered if Barack Obama, who spent far more time attacking George than he did his opponent, John McCain, would want to amend his words once he discovered the reality of the White House and was himself confronted by the challenges and crises that hit a president every day, all day.”

DONALD TRUMP, THIS COULD BE YOU!

While Laura Bush had just talked about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Nevada Senator and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and their constant name calling of her husband, President George W. Bush, she stated that the president was always polite and didn’t resort to name calling.

She said, “The president doesn’t have the luxury of behaving like a smart-aleck kid on a school playground; he has to work not just with Congress but with leaders around the world.”

Hey, Donald Trump, listen up.  This could apply to you, too!

FOR THE LOVE OF GEORGE W. BUSH

One thing very clear and so sweet in Ms. Bush’s book is the love between her and her husband.

Bush_mission_accomplished

I know that she’s his wife and I expect her to say nice and flattering things about him. However, after reading about their love and their life together, I’ll still disagree with him on certain policies, but I’d break bread with him and maybe even find him pleasant!

DISAGREED WITH LAURA JUST ONCE

As I’ve always told people, you can disagree with me as long as you do it diplomatically.  As much I admire Ms. Bush, I disagree with her view on the last presidential debate in 2004 between President Bush and his Democratic rival, John Kerry.

Debate moderate Bob Schieffer asked the men if homosexuality was a choice.

Kerry replied, “We’re all God’s children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was. She’s being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it’s not a choice.”

Mary Cheney, Heather Poe

I agree with Senator (and now Secretary of State) Kerry.  It’s not a choice.

Was it inappropriate to mention Mary Cheney?  Absolutely not.  Ms. Bush and both Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, blasted Kerry for the comments.

Mary Cheney was an “out” lesbian in a long-term relationship with a woman (they married in the summer of 2012).  LGBT issues were a big talking point in the 2000 election when President Bush was elected and still an an issue in 2004.

Even if we disagree on that, I value Ms. Bush’s opinion and I still think she’d make a great friend!

I’M NOT FEELING “THE BERN”

Five states went to the polls this past Tuesday night and with close wins in Illinois and Missouri and easier wins in the other three states, Hillary Clinton went five-for-five.

On the rival side, a win in Ohio kept John Kasich in the race.  However, a big loss in Florida prompted Marco Rubio to drop out of the race for president.

Marco Rubio

Good riddance!

As I’ve said before, I will not personally attack Bernie Sanders the way I’ve seen him and his “Feel The Bern” followers attack Clinton.

With that being said, I’m rather dismayed by Senator Sanders’ nasty tone toward the Democratic front-runner in recent week.  I know it has a lot to do with the fact that with each primary and caucus, she’s moving closer and closer to the delegate count needed to secure the party’s nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

But, really?  Be tough and if you’re going to lose, know you fought a good fight with dignity.  Don’t resort to Trump tactics!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

I’ve never had a desire to visit any of the biggest studio attractions.

But, let me tell you after seeing this new permanent “The Walking Dead” attraction coming this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood, I might change my mind!

Boo!  Walkers and survival, I’m game!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

As the sixth season winds down (the finale is Sunday, April 3rd), the second and longer season of “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts one week later.

The six episodes of the first season were enjoyable, but it started out really slow.  But, then again, in the early days of the virus apocalypse, I’m sure the process of walkers taking over and turning was slower.:)

However, the trailer for the new season looks incredible and out of this world!

“RECOUNT”

I finally got around to watching the award-winning, HBO movie, “Recount”, about the 2000 presidential election where Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but the presidency went to George W. Bush because of Florida’s 25 electoral vote.

If you lived through it, but got bored with it by early December, the battles that both sides went through to get the win for their candidate in the court system were entertaining and frustrating in movie form.

Many in the cast were nominated for Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards including Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Denis Leary, Bob Balaban, and Laura Dern.

Dern was the only winner for acting.  She snagged the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

She was insanely entertaining (crazy !) as Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

GRADE:  B

One day, I hope to run across “Game Change” with Emmy winner Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential election.

“DAMIEN”

The new television series on A&E following “Bates Motel” is a sequel to “The Omen”.  Damien is now grown and just beginning to piece together his violent childhood as the “antichrist”.

The premiere was decent, but it definitely has room for improvement. (I haven’t watched the second episode yet.)

I liked actor Bradley James, who plays Damien, but I want to see more of Barbara Hershey and learn more about her evil connection to Damien.

“BATES MOTEL”

Despite my hopes for “Damien”, ratings may be the killer for the show.  It’s debut only attracted 75o-thousand viewers and by the second episode, the ratings dropped even more to just a little over one-half million people.

It lost about one-half of the viewers that tuned in to see the season 4 opener of “Bates Motel”, which itself was at a series low in ratings!

Norman and Norma were amazing and I can’t wait to see more of their zaniness this season.

You can catch “Bates Motel” and “Damien on A&E Monday nights.

PICK HIT

I’ve blogged many times about my love for the incredible English trio Years & Years.  Their debut album last summer, “Communion” was perfect and ended up being my second favorite album of the year.

I wanted to see them in concert last fall when I was in San Francisco, California, but the show was sold out.  Luckily, I’ll be seeing them in early May in Rosemont, Illinois, when they open for Ellie Goulding on the “Delirium World Tour”.

They just re-released one of their earlier English hits, “Desire”.  It now features Tove Lo, who scored big hits with the #1 airplay smash, “Habits (Stay High)”, and the Top 5 airplay sonh, “Talking Body”.

Here’s the new “Desire” video and trust me, the second half gets rather risque and will shock many people in the U.S.  Maybe that’s why I love it so!

THAT’S IT

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016

What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities.  I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically.  (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah.  The dead horse is still dead!)

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.

Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.

I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.

While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.

Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.

Hillary AP

There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.

LAURA BUSH

Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She seems so genuine and down to earth.

I’ll  share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.

Laura Bush

Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.

Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit.  Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.

She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”

In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”

Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.

rebecca-bradley

Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

My thoughts:  I know people are young (and stupid).  I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.

However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know.  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.

And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!

I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years.  Well, he and I are at odds again.

terry-branstad

Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.

Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”

I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times.  In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.

Brittany Maynard

I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”).  If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/random-friday-thoughts-november-7-2014/

But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.

That’s the good news if you share my views.  The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.  Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.

Sadly, viewers are moving on.  The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers.  However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.

Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!

If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation.  However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.

The Purge Masks

While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).

The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder.  The goal is to stay alive.

This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!

“The Purge:  Election Year” opens July 1st.

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside.  Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Caitlyn.jpg

However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.

Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified.  With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless,  privileged views with her.

I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.

It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.

I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.

I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.

If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.

It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable.  Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.

Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying.  I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.

When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it.  It looked so moronic and not funny.

Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance.  For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.

I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie.  But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding.  I think Franco should be in every movie!

There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.

With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie.  But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess.  How bad was it?  I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony

 

 

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