Archive for April, 2013

They Said What??? Rick Santorum, Blake Shelton, & Luke Bryan

FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RICK SANTORUM

(on Republicans embracing marriage equality):  “I’m sure you could go back and read stories, oh, you know, ‘The Republican party’s going to change. This is the future.’ Obviously that didn’t happen.  I think you’re going to see the same stories written now and it’s not going to happen. The Republican Party’s not going to change on this issue. In my opinion it would be suicidal if it did.”

MORE SANTORUM

(on how the Supreme Court may rule on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8):  “I think you’ll see, hopefully, a chastened Supreme Court is not going to make the same mistake in the (current) cases as they did in Roe v. Wade.  I’m hopeful the Supreme Court learned its lesson about trying to predict where the American public is going on issues and trying to find rights in the Constitution that sit with the fancy of the day.”

ACTOR JEREMY IRONS

(clarifying his comment, “Could a father not marry his son?” when recently asked about allowing same-sex marriage):  “Perhaps rather too flippantly I flew the kite of an example of the legal quagmire that might occur if same sex marriage entered the statute books, by raising the possibility of future marriage between same sex family members for tax reasons.”

COUNTY SINGER BLAKE SHELTON

(about his co-host of the “Academy of Country Music Awards, Luke Bryan’s sprayed-on tight jeans):  “How about a shout out to the Sherwin-Williams company for spray painting Luke’s jeans on for us tonight.  You know what Motel 6 and Luke’s jeans have in common?  There’s no ballroom.”

COUNTRY SINGER LUKE BRYAN

(response about Blake Shelton’s jeans):  “Blake’s jeans are like buying something on credit…nothing up front. What size is that? Extra empty?

FREE AGENT NFL SAFETY KERRY RHODES

(responding to a photo of him on vacation with his arm another man):  I am not gay.  The shots were taken during a past vacation in a casual environment with my entire business team.”

MORE RHODES

(about professional athletes coming out):  “I know a lot of people are recently talking about atheletes struggling to come out to their fans right now, and I support them, as well as with those individuals comfort.”

70s, Storms, Flooding, & Flurries — Oh My!

In just the past five days, the Quad Cities hit 78° Tuesday, picked up 1-4″ of rain Monday through Thursday, and a few snow flakes fell Saturday morning.  Like the old saying goes in the Midwest, “if you don’t like the weather, wait fifteen (or five) minutes and it’ll change”.  That is so true and that’ll be the case over the next week, too.

Today will be blustery and cool with a sun and cloud mix.  Showers and isolated thunderstorms arrive late tonight as a warm front passes.  This will bring windy and warmer conditions Sunday as highs top 70°!

As a strong cold front barrels through the area Sunday evening, there is the potential for large hail and damaging winds of over 50 miles-per-hour for a few hours late afternoon and early evening.  This is the map for Sunday night, 10 p.m.

SUNDAY 10PM

That dark blue represent the thunderstorms and the potential for heavy rain.  Once that front moves through Sunday night, it’ll stall just south of the Quad Cities keeping shower and thunderstorm chances in the forecast all the way into Thursday.

Rivers are already on the rise from the rains last week.  Here is the rainfall total at my house, in Moline, from last week.  I just love my new self-emptying, electronic rain gauge that I got for Christmas!

Rain Last Week

Look at the rainfall projections from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center.

Rain Projection Saturday AM through Thursday AM

I definitely think we could pick up another 1-4″ of rain this week!

Here’s a stark comparison:  So far, in 2013, we’ve picked up 10.34″ of rain and melted snow.  By this time last year, we were just at 4.30″ and we ended up having a major drought in 2012.  By the way, average is 7.3″.  So, this year, we’re three inches above average and last year we were three inches below average!

And, I’m already being asked if there will be any snow in the colder air Thursday night.  For us, in the Quad Cities, we could see some flurries or light snow.  But, the winter storm will likely stay well to our northwest!!!

This is the forecast map for Thursday evening.  That dark blue line through the Quad cities is the cold air (below freezing) aloft and the green represents the remaining moisture as the storm moves off.  So, yes, there could be some flurries or light snow briefly Thursday night or Friday, but I’m not getting excited about it happening five days out and neither should you.

THURSDAY 7PM

Have a good rest of the weekend.  And, find those waders!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 12, 2013

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one.

Ray and I are going out tonight for dinner since he’s leaving tomorrow for a trip to Washington D.C.  I hope the cherry blossoms are in full bloom for him to send me a cool picture since the timing didn’t work out for me to go along for the trip.

Tomorrow, I’ve been asked to throw out the first pitch at the Quad Cities River Bandits game at Modern Woodman Park!  Maybe I should practice Saturday morning to make sure I can get the ball to home plate.  How far is it from the pitcher’s mound?  It looks close on television. 🙂  Afterwards, my sister, Tammy, and I are going out to dinner and maybe a little gambling (I still have some money to win back from the casinos since I’m still at a deficit).

CRAZY MIDWEST WEATHER

The drought is temporarily over for the Quad Cities.

While it’ll take much more rain to satisfactorily replenish the ground water after that terrible drought last year, we got a healthy soaking this week.  At my house, in Moline, Illinois, more than 2″ of rain fell Monday through Wednesday.  I mentioned the rainfall total at my house because we finally put out my self-emptying electronic rain gauge that I got for Christmas.  Ray worked diligently for two days to calibrate it properly.  (The manual stated that one cup of water should register 1.68″.)  And, it works!  This picture is from Wednesday night when we hit the one-inch mark for the day!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It seems like that rain and the recent warmth turned our yard a brighter green overnight.  Speaking of the warmth, we went from 78° Tuesday to only 44° Wednesday and in the 40s Thursday and today.  We even had some light snow and flurries last night!  Crazy!

UNDER AGE BINGE DRINKING

I often post pictures of tasty cocktails that I make or I comment about enjoying some Moscato or a nice cordial.  And, we probably have enough liquor downstairs in the bar to require a liquor license because I have a weakness for buying fun flavored vodkas.

However, on a serious note, I just read about a 2005 study by the Centers for Disease Control that “about 90 percent of alcohol consumption by those under the age of 21 in the United States is in the form of binge drinking.” (“Boston” magazine, January 2011)

The article talked about how alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko, the most popular, were banned. (The product was re-invented without the caffeine and is still being sold).

Cream

Yet, now you can buy whipped cream infused with 30-proof alcohol called “Cream” in six flavors (cherry, orange, raspberry, chocolate, vanilla or caramel).  It doesn’t require refrigeration and each canister contains 26 shots!  It can be consumed straight from the can or you can put it on drinks.

So, where’s the logic of banning one thing that’s easily accessible, potent, and appealing to underage drinkers, while making another one so convenient?  And, no, I haven’t tried either and I have no desire.  I’m a responsible drinker!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

The Gay Study Vokda What is It

MANY THANKS TO LOUISVILLE & MICHIGAN

As you probably know if you’re interested in college basketball, the NCAA men’s championship is over and Louisville was not the only winner in the game over Michigan, 82-76.

ul-beat-mich-in-ncaa-game

Viewership for the final game of “March Madness” was up 18% over last year.  Not only that, but the game’s ratings peaked at around 11:30-11:45 p.m. Eastern time, with about one in three American televisions turned on, at that time, tuned in to the game!

And, it should come as no surprise that of all the television sets turned on in Louisville, Kentucky that night, 70% of them were watching WLKY, the CBS affiliate.  That means 7-out-of-every-10 televisions in Louisville had the game on!

And, it appears that I not only won the brackets’ pool at work, but for a local newspaper, too.

Brackets Winner

While I still haven’t gotten the confirmation email to tell me how to collect my 50″ LED TV, it’ll really come in handy.

Ray has been working diligently on our basement which is in desperate need for a makeover.  He started by sanding, priming, and painting the bar area (blue) and the walls (yellow).

Painted Bar

It’s amazing how a couple of coats of paint have made the basement come alive and much more inviting.  He’s going to do the same to the yucky wood paneling and paint that, too.  He took the downstairs bed down leaving only the sofa, loveseat, and a small dining room table for a “living area”.

NOT FEELING THE LOVE FOR “ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY”

I’m a long-time subscriber to the movie, music, literary, and all things pop culture “bible”, “Entertainment Weekly”.  However, after last week’s issue, I’m really not feeling the love for the weekly magazine right now.

I’m very careful when I post something about television shows or movies not to give away major plot lines or spoilers for people that may not have seen them yet.  I wouldn’t tell you what the “gotcha” is in the 1992 movie, “The Crying Game”, I won’t tell you who the “Trinity Killer” treated to a blood bath in the season four finale of “Dexter” (although I found out by doing a Google search about Michael C. Hall’s bout with cancer in 2010), and I won’t tell you if Madonna dies in “Evita” or “Body of Evidence”. 🙂

spoiler-alert

I’m all for magazines and websites giving a “Spoiler Alert” for people wanting to read them.  That gives me a chance to look away and move on if I don’t want to know.  The seventh season of “Dexter” ended last December and it arrives on DVD in 32 days.  I don’t know anything about it and that’s just the way I like it since I’ll be buying it.  The same with “American Horror Story: Asylum”.  I’ll be getting it when it arrives on DVD.

However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly” and its poor excuse of a “Spoiler Alert”, I now know which major character dies in the season three finale of “The Walking Dead”.  While I had already seen something that insinuated that this character died, I didn’t look to confirm it.  I didn’t want to know.

Lousy EW Spoiler Alert

This is what the magazine featured on the article about the finale and the future of the show.  I took the liberty of adding the shocked smiley face to block out the character just in case you don’t want to know who it is!  But, seriously, “Entertainment Weekly”, you’re such a “buzz kill”!

DONUTS OR DOUGHNUTS

I just read a very interesting article in the September 2010 issue of “Boston” magazine about Dunkin’ Donuts.

Dunkin Brands IPO

The article talked about the founding of the company more than 60 years ago, how the Munchins (donut holes) in 1972 saved the company from going under, it introduced “Fred the Baker” and his legendary catch phrase, “Time to make the doughnuts”, and how the company went from a doughnut and coffee shop with the donuts being front and center to focus its future on the coffee with the new logo introduced in 2002 with coffee cup taking center stage.

ONE_TASTE_outlined

However, I was intrigued by the Top Five Dunkin Donuts best sellers.

#5… Jelly, #4… Chocolate-Frosted, #3… Boston Kreme… #2… Chocolate Glazed, and the #1 selling donut…

Glazed Donut

Yep, the glazed donut!

NEXT THEATER MOVIE I WANT TO SEE

I can say that I was never a fan of the television series, “Star Trek” or that I had seen any of the movies.  My first was J.J. Abrams’ 2009 re-boot, “Star Trek”.  I didn’t see it at the theaters, but when it was released on DVD.  I really enjoyed it.  And, I have no intention of seeing the sequel, “Star Trek Into Darkness”, in the theaters until I saw the trailer and I was blown away.  Now, I want to see it on the big screen and it’ll be my next large popcorn, large Coke Zero, and free refills adventure.

It opens in theaters on May 17, 2013.

“PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK”

DM Chicago

Two days ago, I blogged about my love for Depeche Mode and that I would be seeing them in concert in August in Chicago (Tinley Park).

In 1987, the band released “Strangelove”, the first single from the “Music For The Masses” album.  It would become their 17th hit in U.K. in just six years and peak at #16.  It reached #2 in West Germany and South Africa and cracked the Top Ten in Sweden, Switzerland, and other countries.

Here in the U.S.,  it would become Depeche Mode’s first of ten chart toppers on the Billboard Dance chart.  But, it stalled out at #76 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The following year, “Strangelove ’88” was remixed by Bomb the Bass and re-released.  This time it reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

Three years ago this week, we were in New Orleans.  Ray was at a conference and I went along as a tourist.  While there, we ate some really good food, had “hurricanes” with my college friend, Crystal and her husband, Ants, and I went on a “Swamp Tour” searching for alligators.  And, one night, while walking back to the hotel after checking out Bourbon Street, we came across a crime scene where seven people were shot in a drive-by shooting!

04010201 French Quarter Festival Hurricanes04122010 Anthony Swamp Tour  Alligators 201004102010 Canal Street Shooting

Also, in my Facebook Flashback Pictures, three years ago this week, Miss ABBA wasn’t so sure of the new birdhouse in the backyard.

04172010 ABBA Barking At Birdhouse

And, this week last year, the peppermint was taking over the herb garden and we planted a Golden Honey Locust in memory of Miss ABBA.  Get it, a “Golden” tree for the golden retriever. 🙂

Peppermint 0415201204152012 Golden Honey Locust

As you can tell, I love taking pictures and I love my Friday feature of random thoughts.  I could go on and on, but I’ll stop right here.

I appreciate you checking out my blog even though I don’t post daily like I used to. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Finding My Own “Personal Jesus” In Chicago This Summer

The Beatles.  The Rolling Stones.  David Bowie.  Queen.  Led Zeppelin.  The Police.   Depeche Mode.  Erasure.  Dead or Alive.  Culture Club.  Duran Duran.  The Human League.  Spice Girls.  Coldplay.  One Direction.

Those acts are all part of a “British Invasion” and depending on your age, you’re likely a fan of, at least, one of the groups.

I was fortunate enough to see The Human League at Market Days in Chicago about ten years ago and they were awesome.  I had tickets to see Culture Club the last time they were going to tour the U.S., but Boy George’s visa was denied because of the criminal charges surrounding his holding a male escort “hostage” in his home!  Luckily, he cleaned up his act and I hope they tour in the next year or so.

And, back in 2002, when I was a news writer for Fox News Chicago, Andy Bell and Vince Clarke of Erasure passed through the newsroom for an interview to promote their new album and concert and I got to meet them and they signed a VHS copy of their “Wild! Live” concert for me.

April 2013 001 April 2013 002

It’s too bad that I didn’t get to go to that concert that night because they are phenomenal live (on video, at least).

As you know, from a previous blog, I got to see one of my childhood idols, Helen Reddy, last month in St. Charles, Illinois, and next month, I’ll be seeing one of my 1980s crushes, Rick Springfield, right here in the Quad Cities.

And, later this summer, I’ll get to mark another one of those English super groups off my list!

DM Chicago

I’ve been a huge fan of Depeche Mode since their first American hit, “People Are People”, reached #13 in 1984, and I can’t wait to see them in concert for the first time.  It has only taken me thirty years, but they still sound as good today as they did back when I was a teenager!

The band, made up of lead singer Dave Gahan, and keyboardists/guitarists/vocalists Martin Gore (who’s also the primary song writer) and Andy Fletcher, are ready to kick off their “Delta Machine Tour” to promote their 13th studio album of the same name.  That album just debuted in the Top Ten in both the U.S. and U.K.  As a matter of fact, every one of the band’s studio albums have debuted in the Top Ten in their native England and they’ve also had three other complication and greatest hits albums to hit the Top Ten there, too.

As a young gay man in western Kentucky, that first Depeche Mode song touched me.

It wasn’t just the new, amazing electronic sound and the vocals, but the lyrics, “It’s obvious you hate me/ Though I’ve done nothing wrong/ I never even met you/ So what could I have done” and “Now you’re punching and you’re kicking/ And you’re shouting at me/ I’m relying on your common decency/ So far it hasn’t surfaced/ But I’m sure it exists/ It just takes a while to travel/ From your head to your fist/ I can’t understand/ What makes a man/ Hate another man” were incredible and touching.

And, it didn’t hurt that the band was so cutting edge and that Dave Gahan was so dreamy!

DM 2

I’m counting down the days four months from now to see them rock Chicago (okay, Tinley Park) with classics and songs from the very moody and amazing new album, “Delta Machine”.  While I won’t get to meet Dave, Martin, and Andy, I have awesome seats!  I may be closing in on 50-years-old in the next year or so, but I’ll be channeling my former 19-year-old self that night!!

This may be where I lose some of you, but I want to introduce you to the band and let you know about their accomplishments and why they are still relevant and popular three decades after their first album and first songs.  Depeche Mode has sold more than 100 million singles and albums and are the “most successful electronic band in history”.

Depeche Mode, if you happen to read this and you’re still putting together your set list, please consider playing your first Top Ten hit (#8, 1981) in the U.K., “Just Can’t Get Enough”.  I know you don’t do it very often any more, but I absolutely love this one.  American radio missed the boat on this first release when it hit our shores in 1982, but it did reach #26 on the Billboard Dance chart.

In the U.K., the band have had 43 Top 40 songs.  Of that number, 14 have hit the Top Ten.  Sadly, they also hold the distinction of having the most Top 40 hits in the U.K. without reaching #1.  They have reached #4 three times.  “Soothe My Soul” is already being played on some American rock stations, so maybe that’ll be the one to top the charts in the U.K.!  They recently performed that song for David Letterman and it’ll give you a good idea of how great the new album is.

In America, the dance clubs love the band.  They’ve charted with 27 hits on the Billboard dance charts.  Of those, 16 have hit the Top Ten, and 10 of them have topped the chart.  Their first was “Strangelove” back in 1987, and just this week (yes, this week!), they topped the chart again with “Heaven”, the first single from the new album.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Depeche Mode has charted with six Top 40 hits:  “People Are People” (#13, 1984), “Personal Jesus” (#28, 1989), “Enjoy The Silence” (#8, 1990), “Policy of Truth” (#15, 1990), “I Feel You” (#37, 1993), and “It’s No Good” (#38, 1997).

In the U.S., Depeche Mode has had 11 album to be certified gold (shipment or sales of 500,000) or platinum (shipment or sales of 1 million-plus).  Their biggest selling American album was 1990’s “Violator”, which went triple platinum (three million-plus) and also featured three of their radio hits, “Personal Jesus”, “Enjoy The Silence” (their only Top Ten Hot 100 hit in America) and “Policy of Truth”.

Dave, Martin, and Andy, I can’t wait to see you later this summer.  You guys rock!

DM1

By the way, Quad Cities, believe it or not, the band performed at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, back on March 23, 1985!!!!  So, here’s a live performance from that era and they probably did this song live here.

Depeche-Mode-Delta-Machine-Album-Art-mala-1024x997

If you haven’t picked up “Delta Machine”, what are you waiting for?  It’s incredible!

Anthony

They Said What??? Patti Davis, Michael Reagan, & Chris Brown

GAMBIA (WEST AFRICA) PRESIDENT YAHYA JAMMEH

“Homosexuality is anti-humanity. I have never seen homosexual chicken, or turkey.  if you are convicted of homosexuality in this country, there will be no mercy for offenders.”

SADLY, MORE FROM JAMMEH

“Homosexuality is anti-god, anti-human, and anti-civilization. Homosexuals are not welcome in the Gambia. If we catch you, you will regret why you are born. I have buffalos from South Africa and Brazil and they never date each other. We are ready to eat grass but we will not compromise on this. Allowing homosexuality means allowing satanic rights. We will not allow gays here.”

MINNESOTA VIKINGS PUNTER CHRIS KLUWE

“It’s not right that professional sports, and especially the professional sports media, have created an environment where gay players are willing to hide essential components of themselves as human beings in order to pursue their dreams, in order to not be a distraction. It’s not right that our insatiable lust for sports coverage creates an atmosphere where someone would willingly subordinate his life to a backward and bigoted worldview in order to stay employed.”

R&B SINGER CHRIS BROWN

(commenting on Justin Bieber’s recent problems and that people think Lil Twist, Bieb’s best friend was hosted the marijuana party at Justin’s home):  “I just feel like [the mainstream media] are gonna target the little black boys around him and say, ‘Hey, so this is why he’s doing it.’ … So I pray for [Justin], I pray for myself. I think we both go through it because we’re great artists. He’s a big artist to his fans and everybody, you know? He’s like Baby Elvis out here.”

MICHAEL REAGAN, ELDEST SON OF FORMER PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN

“It’s ultimately about changing the culture of the entire country; it inevitably will lead to teaching our public school kids that gay marriage is a perfectly fine alternative and no different than traditional marriage. There is also a very slippery slope leading to other alternative relationships and the unconstitutionality of any law based on morality. Think about polygamy, bestiality, and perhaps even murder.”

PATTI DAVIS, DAUGHTER OF PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN

“I don’t think he would’ve stand in the way of [gay marriage] at all…I don’t think he think he would stand in the way of two people wanting to make a commitment to one another.”

MORE PATTI DAVIS

“[Reagan] did not believe that gayness was a choice, [but] as a straight man and an old-fashioned man, it’s not like he understood it.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 5, 2013

My friends, another Friday is upon us and I’m very pleased to announce that I have nothing planned this weekend and I’m so thrilled about it.

Between work and upcoming events, both public appearances and personal commitments, I have a lot going on for the rest of April and May and I’m already overwhelmed!  But, this is one thing that I really look forward to each week, sharing my random thoughts with you.  What do you think of this blog feature???

FINALLY, IT’S WARMER!!!

Although we’ll have to deal with some scattered showers Saturday, it’s going to be very warm with highs in the Quad Cities around 70°!   This will be the warmest weekend since December 1-2, 2012, four months ago, when we reached 61° and 59°.

With that being said, I think we’re going to grill out Saturday night.  Maybe we’ll be lucky and get to sit outside on the patio.

As many of you know, I love Moscato and flavored vodkas, but here’s something that I think I’m going to have to check out and it would be perfect for the BBQ.  If you’ve already tried it, let me know how it is.

This is what I’ve read about it:  “This is our take on the traditional margarita. Beer drinkers were already mixing Bud Light Lime into margaritas to create ‘beer ritas’; Lime-a-Rita just adds a new level of convenience by providing a beverage with the perfect balance of flavors.”

strawberrita

PERFECT WEATHER COMING UP — FOR DUCKS AND FISH

After a dry day Sunday, a very wet period is expected from Sunday night through next Thursday with rain chances each day.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more than 2″ of rain in that time period.  I know our fish pond could use the water since we just went through a 12-day period with no measurable rain or snow.

WG10

SPEAKING OF FLAVORED VODKAS!

Wanda Sykes

STRESSED OVER “MARCH MADNESS”

Every spring, I wager $5 and fill out my brackets for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, better known as “March Madness”.  In the past, I’ve never been a contender down the stretch!  However, this year, “March Madness” is insane for me.

Final Four Picks

If you’re a basketball fan, you can see that I have Louisville and Michigan in the final with Louisville winning.

If my calculations are correct and both of those teams make it to the finals, then I’ll likely win the “pool” at work and if those two teams make it to the final and Louisville wins, I think I may have won a 50″ LED television from a local newspaper’s bracket contest!   So, what started out as fun and a $5 investment could turn out rather profitable for me.  You know what I’ll be doing Saturday night when the two games are being played!  The finals are Monday night, April 8th, on CBS4, in the Quad Cities.

Go Louisville and Michigan!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Give Peeps a Chance

Hellfire   Palm Tree LightsYoko Ono Tweet

HIS HEROES MAY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS, BUT…

It’s no surprise to my friends that I idolize Reba McEntire, Madonna, Lady Gaga, former President Jimmy Carter, and former U.S. Secretary of State, First Lady, and Senator (and future President?) Hillary Clinton, but I’m now feeling the love for an unlikely ally.

Willie Nelson

When you hear the name Willie Nelson, you probably think country singer, outlaw, hippie, marijuana smoker, troubles with the IRS, and other things.  But, what about LGBT and marriage equality supporter?  Yes and yes!

Willie says, “For same-sex couples, taxes are different, benefits are different, survivor benefits are different.  It’s crazy … I never had a problem with any of it. I’ve known straight and gay people all my life. I can’t tell the difference. People are people where I came from.”

And, the “Red Headed Stranger” goes on to say with his wicked sense of humor, “I never thought of marriage as something only for men and women. But I’d never marry a guy I didn’t like!”   And, with a mix of humor and seriousness, “[gay people] should be just as miserable as the rest of us,” before stating that he finds the public uproar over same-sex marriage “ridiculous…in this day and age.”

Willie Nelson Marriage Equality

Willie recently posted this picture when the Supreme Court of the United States was debating California’s ban on same-sex marriage, “Proposition 8”, and the “Defense of Marriage Act”, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

And, here’s something else you may not know about Willie.  He’s a strong advocate for better treatment of horses and he supported the passage of the “American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act”.  He told “Men’s Journal” magazine in July 2011, “I’m an outside person.  I like to camp out and ride the horses.  I have 71 of them there [on his Luck, Texas ranch] — beautiful paint horses — that I rescued from places that were selling them to be slaughtered.”

Willie Nelson Horses

Willie Nelson turns 80-years-old later this month.  To the man who has had a total of 82 country hits (60 of which were solo hits) with 44 of them reaching the country Top Ten and 23 topping the charts (14 #1 solo hits), I salute you and I appreciate you being a strong ally in supporting equality for all.

Happy Birthday, Willie and thank you!

“If You’ve Got The Money Honey I’ve Got The Time”

“Always on My Mind”

TELEVISION SOUND BITES

In television news, a “sound bite” is a short comment, from a longer interview, that stresses a point that the speaker is trying to make in a news story.  So, here are some of my sound bites about things that I watch:

TWD S3 Finale

* A record 12.4 million people watched the season three finale of “The Walking Dead”.

* The one-hour (two back-to-back 30-minute episodes) season finale of “The New Normal” was funny, cute, and sentimental.  However, the ratings are less than stellar and I don’t think it’ll be renewed  for a second season unless creator Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story” and “Glee) has a lot of pull in Hollywood and at NBC.

* The viewership of the first two weeks of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was up 31% this year over last year — the highest ratings in 19 years!

following_nevermore

* I’m ready for this season of “The Following” to end.  I know the season finale April 29th will be incredible, but the show is really starting to drag and it’s starting to irritate and bore me.  My correspondence with my good friend, Kelly, in Baltimore, Maryland, sums it up.

Kelly:  “Bates Motel is what I wanted The Following to be. (Following and I have broken up.)”

Me:  “‘The Following” and I sticking together for the kids until the season finale and then I’m done. I can’t believe how ridiculous it has become. I mean, give the FBI a break. I know you have to draw it out to 15 episodes, but really. Last week was nothing but filler.”

* While we dropped cable because we never watched television, I want to see “Bates Motel” on A&E, which Kelly highly recommends.  Last night, I watched “Hannibal” on NBC and it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.  If you missed it, NBC usually has most of its show online for viewing.

Here’s the “Viewer Discretion Advised” trailer:

My Wednesday’s blog link about the new “Hannibal” series:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/come-into-my-house-but-not-for-dinner/

* And, finally, “Dexter” season 7 arrives on DVD May 14th.  The countdown is on:  39 days!

SO LONG, ROGER!  TWO THUMBS UP!

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, the legendary movie critic and television co-host, who popularized a movie rating of “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” died Thursday in Chicago.

Since 2002, the 70-year-old Ebert struggled with cancer of the thyroid, salivary glands, and the chin, which affected his ability to speak, eat, and drink, he never gave up and was a fighter.

Two years ago, he published his book, “Life Itself:  A Memoir”.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

With the record warmth in March 2012, things looked a lot different last year compared to now.  The grass was green, lilacs were in bloom, my friend, Lynn, had a flowering bush budding with Easter eggs, and my garden was already tilled!

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MY FUTURE HIT PICK

Chris Wallace, a musician from Chicago and the former lead singer for the band White Tie Affair, released his first solo song, “Remember When (Push Rewind)” last summer and it was a pick hit of mine and one of the absolute best songs of 2012!  It did get moderate airplay, but was pretty much ignored at pop radio in the big scheme of things.  While it reached #25 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart, it never cracked the Billboard Hot 100.

The follow-up coming out later this month is “Keep Me Crazy”.

PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been making music together since 1985 as Erasure.  Although they only scored three top 20 pop hits in America, #12 “Chains of Love” (1988), #14 “A Little Respect” (1988), and #20  “Always” (1994), it was “Oh L’Amour” that blew me away when I start going out clubbing and dee-jaying.  It hit #3 on the dance chart in 1986.

I guess I’ll wrap this up now because I could go on and on.  I do have many random thoughts!  Just ask Ray! 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Come Into My House, But Not For Dinner!

“A census taker once tried to test me. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti”.

“I do wish we could chat longer, but… I’m having an old friend for dinner.  Bye.”

“Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you, Agent Starling?”

“”Well, Clarice – have the lambs stopped screaming?”

Those are just some of my favorite quotes from the Oscar-winning 1991 movie, “The Silence of The Lambs” with the infamous serial killer/cannibal Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopkins) and FBI agent Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster).

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It’s been six years since we last heard from a young Hannibal Lecter in “Hannibal Rising”.  “Hannibal the Cannibal” is making his return Thursday night, but this time it’ll be in the luxury of your own home on the lowest rated network, NBC.

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Hannibal Lecter has appeared in four Thomas Harris novels and has been the focus of five movies.  Before “Silence” and its sequels, “Hannibal” (2001), “Red Dragon” (2002), and “Hannibal Rising” (2007), there was the 1986 movie, “Manhunter”, based on the first Harris novel, “Red Dragon”, which ended up being the third movie of the popular series.  Are you still with me?

While Anthony Hopkins will always be Hannibal to me, I’m ready to give the new television Hannibal, played by 47-year-old Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen, a chance.

TV Hannibal

On the 13-episode ‘Hannibal” television series, the story will focus on the relationship between Dr. Lecter and FBI special agent/criminal profiler Will Graham, played here by English stud and husband of actress Claire Daines, Hugh Dancy.

Hugh Dancy

As you recall from the “Red Dragon” movie (Spoiler Alert!), Lecter and Graham would have a working relationship to catch another serial killer after Graham got too close to Lecter and almost paid the price with his life.  In the movie, Graham was played by Edward Norton.

From the trailers, I feel that NBC is definitely pushing the envelope with the network’s standards and practices department with the gore and violence.  But, then again, this is a story about serial killers and a cannibal.  This isn’t Disney!

Scary, gory version:

Psychological version:

From what I’ve seen, I’m very excited to see this new adaptation of “Hannibal”.  I believe that this show can run the distance, unlike “The Following” on Fox.  I was very excited about “The Following”, but that love affair is fading like a flower as we head toward the season finale April 29th with a lot of filler just to extend it to 15 episodes.

And, if the story of Hannibal Lecter wasn’t enough to arouse my curiosity for the series, here’s another reason!

Gillian Anderson

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files”) will have a recurring role as Bedelia Du Maurier, Lecter’s psychotherapist!

“Hannibal” premieres on NBC Thursday night at 10/9 central.  And, if like reviews and grades, “Entertainment Weekly” gave the premiere an A-.

Anthony

P.S.  Note to self — Chianti is okay, just don’t make fava beans and liver for dinner Thursday night!