Happy Fourth of July weekend!
I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday.
Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront. But, is it really “United” or just “States”?
It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states. While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.
I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.
I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.
I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right. It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION
One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.
Let it go, people.
I pray every night to God.
I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.
I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that. Let God judge me. When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.
Worry about your own relationship with God!
MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”
It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.
Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.
I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING
Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.
There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.
People, live your lives and let others live their lives. It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.
MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE
We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.
Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state? Not at all!
Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.
AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”
After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.
This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.
Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.
However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.
Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina? That’s up for debate.
But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.
OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..
Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.
You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. Who understands those rap guys? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”
That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.
However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.
An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.
While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!
This video is NOT to be missed! :)
Bless her heart! I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…
“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN
On to a much lighter topic…
When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.
I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.
I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. :)
Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.
Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”
Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed. Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”
He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”
It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.
“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.
I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.
“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard. It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).
“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).
The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.
“BITCH I’M MADONNA”
Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.
But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart. This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.
Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist. Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.
Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.
Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?
Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.
1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)
And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.
At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies. However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.
The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.
2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs
1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)
Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.
“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK\
In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.
The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.
There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.
However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows. Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.
Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.
Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.
Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.
Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!
Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?
I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.
I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.
The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television. “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.
He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.
However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.
One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”. “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.
The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.
Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.
The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.
In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014″ blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”
And, that seems to holding true.
Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.
In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.
“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD
Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend. I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.
I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.
However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.
While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK! NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.
She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development. He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”
Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!
SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT
“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year. It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.
Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.
The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today. And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.
THAT’S IT FOR NOW
It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you. As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.
Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.