Archive for June, 2013

Random Friday Thoughts — June 28, 2013

I don’t think that I’ve looked so forward to the weekend as I am to this weekend.  With the deadly tornadoes and severe thunderstorms Monday that caused tens of thousands of Quad Citians to lose power (ours was out 44 hours Monday through Wednesday), I’m ready to just chill some.

We’re going out to dinner with four of our friends Friday night in Port Byron, Illinois, and then Saturday, there’s a work picnic.  On Sunday, we’re planning on a movie double feature.  And, I still didn’t get my pancakes last weekend, so that may be this weekend!

“UNDER THE DOME” WINS MONDAY NIGHT, BUT…

Under The Dome

While “Under The Dome” was the most watched show Monday night (13.1 million viewers), I didn’t get a chance to watch it with the power outage.  However, you can find the full episode on cbs.com or on television.  CBS will re-air Monday night’s premiere episode this Sunday night (June 30) at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. Central.   I wish that I was watching the season eight premiere of “Dexter” Sunday night, but we don’t have Showtime.  So, I’ll avoid the spoilers and wait for the DVD. 😦

Now, here are my random thoughts this Friday.

GOOD RIDDANCE DOMA

The Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark ruling Wednesday calling DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, unconstitutional.  For those of you that may not be very familiar with it, DOMA is a 1996 federal law that would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

That may sound simple to some, but it also denied federal benefits, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns for married same-sex couples.  So, while a gay couple could be married in one of twelve states or the District of Columbia, it would not be recognized by the federal government.

Thank you Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan for your votes to strike down DOMA, 5-4.

DOMA Justices

And, Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence “Anita Hill” Thomas, and Samuel Alito, I hope you evolve.  President Obama did it and America is doing it.  I think it’s time that you do, too!

In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote, “Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.  DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”

SIMPLY PUT, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RELIGION?

Nothing!  You can still pray to God each night and attend church when it’s open.  While you may get married in a church, the official document is issued by the government, not the church.  It’s that document from the government that makes marriages legal and it’s also that government that’s based on the notion that “all men are created equal”.  After Wednesday, I feel more equal and less like a second-rate citizen.

Love Knows No Limits

What does this mean to your marriage if you’re in an opposite-sex “traditional” marriage?  Nothing at all — because you should be spending your time making each other happy and worrying less if  two men or two women can now share the same government benefits as you and love each other in a committed marriage bond, too.

Let God judge.  Amen!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ding Dong Dead DOMA   Live Your Life WBCFood Is A DrugLaughing Inside

PAULA, STOP TALKING AND BE WITH YOUR FAMILY!

Food Network star Paula Deen is all over the television these days.  She’s the talk of radio, her face is all over the magazines, and blogger are feasting on a buffet talking about her.  There are many things being said about her — some say give her a break because she hasn’t said anything you probably haven’t said and some say she’s a racist.

Paula Deen Happy

Paula’s whirlwind downfall started recently after she was called to testify last month in a 2012 $1.2 million sexual and racial workplace discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers by former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, who is white, claims that Deen said this when asked about a theme for a wedding, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.  Jackson says that Deen laughed and said, “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

In that deposition last month, Deen admitted to using the “n-word” in the past.  However, she maintains that she hasn’t used it in years and when she did, it was because a black man held a gun to her head at her former place of employment.   Earlier this week on “Today”, Matt Lauer asked Deen , “Are you a racist?” and the 66-year-old grandmother responded, “No, I am not.” and “The day I used that word it was a world ago.  It was 30 years ago.”

This week, Deen was fired from the Food Network and she lost sponsorships with Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, and Target.  QVC is still deciding on Deen’s fate.

Domestic Diva Martha Stewart says, “”I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She’s a public figure and I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure.”  And, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton adds, “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago” and “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”

So, with that being said, I want to know what you think.  Here’s what I think.

IF (and notice that’s a big IF) Paula made that joke about the wedding idea in any era, then or now, it’s not funny.  It’s stupid.  If Paula responded with the n-word after a man held a gun to her head as she stated, while not still acceptable, it’s more likely a case of forgiveness given the circumstances.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s South and that awful word was a commonly used word.  Sadly, my late father, was one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist, and the list goes on, man I think I’ve ever met.  And, even my late grandmother, who was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, uttered that word in my childhood, but she wasn’t using it to be ugly.  As I grew from a child to a teenager, I educated her that although people use that word, it’s not right.

And, as Paula stated in the interview with Lauer, that word is used too freely in today’s society in movies and music.  I agree and that has to stop, too.  I don’t care if you are an African-American or you identify as a black man or woman, that word has to stop in all circles.  While I’m a gay man, I don’t refer to myself as the derogatory “f-word” and I’d be truly offended if someone else did.

In this country, you’re supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”.  How do we know that Lisa Jackson is telling the truth?  I’d really be saddened to know that Paula Deen was not a racist and these allegations ruined her life and career.

Paula Deen Crying

My only advice to Paula is stay off television, avoid interviews, and stop posting internet apologies.  I know you’re hurt and scared, but the tears and the pleas make you seem too apologetic.  As you’ve stated, people who know you know the truth — whatever that truth is.

The bottom line is that if Paula Deen is a racist and she freely used the n-word as Jackson claims, more people would be coming out of the woodwork to make other allegations.  They haven’t!

And, I have to say that I commend Paula for the heartfelt and seemingly genuine comments in the interview, “I believe every creature on this Earth … was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with [and] no matter what church you go to pray.”  And, “There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like that I am prejudiced against, Matt, and that’s thieves and liars.”

Lisa Jackson, if you’re a liar, I hope you get yours.

THE SAD LIFE OF A PIG (AND OTHER FARM ANIMALS)

Oh, how I wish that every pig was like Hollywood’s “Babe”.

This past Tuesday, I took part in the “Celebrity Showmanship” contest at the Rock Island County Fair.  In less than an hour, I had to learn as much as I could about pigs and about showing one from my 4-H member, Grace.  I aced my quiz from the judges and answered all of my questions correctly.

However, when it came time to show my pig, I learned that “my” pig has been competing all day in the summer heat and it was exhausted.  The judge told me “if he lays down, just let him”.  Well, the poor creature did and I think it cost me a ranking in the Top Seven!  I did get a special “honorable mention” for my knowledge of pig farming, so I’m telling myself that I came in 8th place out of 15 people.  I also won $50 for my charity, the Quad City Animal Welfare Center in Milan, Illinois.

As you look at this picture, you’ll see that the pig was exhausted.  But, once he was sprayed with water and cooled off, after the competition, he walked away happily to his barn to sleep.

Pig Showing Contest

(Photo courtesy:  Thomas Geyer of the Quad City Times.)

The whole learning process made me think even more about the lives of pigs and cows.  While I don’t condemn people for eating steak or hamburger, I haven’t eaten either in a very long time and I will not.  As for pork, I’ve been on the fence the past few months.  After Tuesday and learning that the pigs “go to market” in about five to six months, I decided that pork is another meat that I’ll have to decline eating in the future.  What a short little life for the creatures!

Again, I don’t condemn others for eating beef or pork, but I’ll have to stick to chicken, turkey, and seafood for now.  I don’t have the same guilt toward them –yet.

BIG SCREEN SPECTACLE

I love “The Walking Dead” and I love George Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead” and all of its sequels and remakes.

When Brad Pitt announced that he would be starring in “World War Z”, a zombie epic, I got excited.  Then when I saw the trailer for the first time, it looks intriguing, but I got a little concerned about the trailer not showing much of the zombies.  And, then the stories about the problematic shoot started surfacing:  it was going way over budget and the entire third act went through a reshoot.

WWZ

The movie opened last weekend to $66.4 million in U.S. ticket sales alone, which is the biggest open for a Brad Pitt movie.

“World War Z” wasted no time getting right into the action.  Pitt plays Gerry Lane, who used to work for the United Nations.  He gave it up to be a stay at home dad to two girls.  As the family is heading out-of-town (Philadelphia), they encounter an unprecedented traffic jam that turns into chaos with planes flying overhead and then it happens — the undead come alive and start attacking the living.  City after city across the world fall to the zombies.

After spending the night holed up hiding out with a family, they make it out just in time to be taken to a fleet of ships out in the ocean off New York City safely away from living hell on land.  There’s only one catch.  They want Lane to go back to work for the U.N. to try to find what started this epidemic that has killed millions and if he agrees, his wife and two children can stay on the vessel.

Lane agrees and heads off to South Korea where he’s told by a hot-shot young doctor from Harvard that “Mother Nature is a serial killer” and that she leaves little clues to get caught.  While there, Lane and most of his crew barely escape, but he learns that the zombies are attracted by noise.

From there, he’s off to Jerusalem, where he finds out how the Israelis learned about the zombies and how they’ve managed to keep the zombies and the plague from wiping them out.

WWZ Israel

The scene turns deadly as the zombies attack and Lane once again barely escapes to Wales on the most exciting and slightly unrealistic airplane ride ever!

WWZ Airplane Scene

As the massive real-world destruction continues, Lane figures out a couple of more things that might stop the deadly zombie apocalypse.  Let me just say that I’m glad that the trailer did not feature the zombies prominently.  They were amazing, but not your typical zombies.

If you want a thrilling psychological drama, a “Contagion” with action, this is the movie.  It accomplishes the excitement and fear without the blood and gore of “The Walking Dead”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the gory AMC series, but it was fun to see this thriller dominated by the shock of fear and not guts!

GRADE:  A+ (And, I rarely give a movie an A+!)

WEEKEND DOUBLE FEATURE

In last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, I mentioned that we might go see a double feature at the movie.  We only got in “World War Z”.  So, this weekend, it’s going to be “This Is The End” (you can see the trailer in last week’s blog), and the new Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx action thriller, “White House Down”.

For all you women and men (openly gay, closeted, or just secretly jealous), I think we need to get crazy like Precious and Miley Cyrus and check out and sing along to the humorous “(I Wanna) Channing All Over Your Tatum”.  Thanks, Jimmy Kimmel.

TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY?

While my birthday is still more than three months away, I don’t think it’s too early to think about it.  I mean, last year, we bought tickets to see Madonna in Las Vegas in February for my birthday, October 13th, which was still eight months away.

This year, I think I’ll hint to Ray that I want to see the Pet Shop Boys in Chicago in late September.  While the 1980s new wave duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe may be absent from American radio, they’ve been recording new music for the past thirty years and their new album, “Electric” comes out in mid-July and the single, “Axis” is fantastic!!!!!  Check it out

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

It’s very interesting how the music scene works on each side of the Atlantic.  Since exploding on to the music scene in the mid-1980 with their #1 international hit, “West End Girls”, the Pet Shop Boys have only scored five more hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Four of the other five hits made the top ten:  “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) (#10, 1986), “It’s A Sin” (#9, 1987), “What Have I Done To Deserve This” with Dusty Springfield (#2, 1987), and “Always on My Mind” (#4, 1987).  They also reached #18 with “Domino Dancing”.  Since then, the duo has scored many Billboard Dance hit.

However, in England, the Pet Shop Boys have scored 42 Top 40 hits with 22 of those reaching the Top Ten and 4 reached #1.

Here’s the song that kicked it all off around the world, “West End Girls”.

CELEBRITY REACTION TO THE DEATH OF “DOMA”

DOMA Lady Gaga

Dan Savage DOMA DOMA Ben Affleck DOMA Piers Morgan  DOMA Neil Patrick HarrisDOMA Jack

BY THE WAY, WHO IS JACK MACKENROTH?

His tweet about DOMA was funny, so who is he?  Well, he’s a 44-year-old American swimmer (winning medals in the Gay Games), model, and was a contestant on the fourth season of the reality show, “Project Runway”.

Jack Mackenroth

Mackenroth is also a HIV/AIDS activist.  He was diagnosed as HIV-positive in August 1990 and has lived openly about his status to combat the stigma of  having HIV.

He says, “I am most proud of the fact that I was open about my positive HIV status on the show and exemplified that a person can manage HIV and live a successful life.  Every time a person with HIV is open about his or her status it helps everyone who is living with the disease…. I am a living testament to what you can accomplish by letting go of shame and being your own advocate.”

AND, WE OWE IT ALL TO EDIE

And, as I conclude my blog this week, I dedicate it to Edie and to the memory of Thea.

Thea and Edie

Thea Clara Spyer and Edith “Edie” Windsor were together for 40 years when they got married in Canada in 2007.  It was two years later that New York state began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states..  And, it was also the year that Thea Spyer died.

After Thea’s death, Edie, now 84, was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance of her wife’s estate.   However, if Thea had been a man and the two were married, or if DOMA was not a federal law, Windsor would have qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction, and paid no federal estate taxes.

Edie got the ball rolling toward the Supreme Court in the summer of 2012 and now the rest is history.

Edie Celebrating Decision

After the ruling, Edie replied, “One of the things I felt did not have to do with the money but had to do with…with my country is not giving dignity to this beautiful person I lived with.  And today, my country gave dignity and appreciated who she was.”

Edie, I’m so proud of you and the fight you fought for your wife and your rights.  Thank you for all you’ve done for every one us that will now benefit from your determination.

Now, we have 38 more states to win over for every American to have the same rights.  The fight is far from over.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about any or all of it and have a great weekend!

Anthony

They Said What??? Paula Deen, Kayne West, & Cher

LISA JACKSON, CELEBRITY CHEF PAULA DEEN’S FORMER RESTAURANT MANAGER

(she is suing Deen and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers for sexual and racial workplace discrimination in a $1.2 million lawsuit.  This is what Jackson says Deen said about the theme for a wedding):  “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.” Paula Deen laughed and said “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

CELEBRITY CHEF PAULA DEEN

(responding in court to those allegations):  “I remember telling them about a restaurant that my husband and I had recently visited. And I’m wanting to think it was in Tennessee or North Carolina or somewhere, and it was so impressive. The whole entire wait staff was middle-aged black men, and they had on beautiful white jackets with a black bow tie. I mean, it was really impressive. And I remember saying I would love to have servers like that, I said, but I would be afraid somebody would misinterpret.”

MISS UTAH MARISSA POWELL

(the third runner-up at the Miss USA pageant was asked this question, “A recent report shows that in 40 percent of American families with children, women are the primary earners, yet they continue to earn less than men. What does it say about society?”):  “I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive … to… figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem right now.  I think, especially the men are … um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to … create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

NEW DAD/SINGER KAYNE WEST

(talking about his upcoming album, “Yeezus” midway through a concert performance in New York City):  “With this album, we ain’t drop no single to radio.  When I listen to radio, that ain’t where I wanna be no more.”

MORE WEST

“But, honestly, at this point, I could give a f**k about selling a million records as long as I put out an album for the summer that y’all can rock to all motherf**king summer… At this point, I don’t really give a f**k about outside opinions.”

MADONNA

(about 2012’s #1, $305 million “MDNA Tour”):  “There’s no such thing as not in the mood because the show must go on, right?  I’m a human being like everybody else, so I would have my nights, my bad nights and I would cry and I would say, `I don’t want to do this.’  I sold the tickets and I can’t let my audience down.”

POP ICON CHER

(after her recent performance on “The Voice”):  “Going on shows like this, this is an amazing thing. … When I first started, we played bowling alleys and roller rinks,” she recalled. “We didn’t get to go on anything. We got to go on stuff when we were famous, but this is amazing, when you have actual people who have been in the business, been successful and want to help you. You can bypass a lot of trashy stuff.”

FORMER OASIS SINGER LIAM GALLAGHER

(ranting about his  former friend and former Take That band member Robbie Williams):  “And we should be playing the Etihad three nights, not some f*cking fat f*cking idiot.”

MORE GALLAGHER

(then he goes off on music fans):  “Everyone thinks we’re going to announce big f*cking stadiums. The Ritz – that’s the level we’re at and we’ll stay at that until you pull your f*ckng finger out and buy the f*cking records.  It could be any f*cking clown. I think it’s a shame that he’s doing three nights and a band like us are doing one night in the Ritz.  Poor, mate. It’s not about him, it’s people in general. But it’s about f*cking him, just in case you think I’m scared or something.”

SINGER CARLY RAE JEPSEN

(defending Justin Bieber, the singer who “discovered” her):  “People are constantly, like, ‘Is Justin OK?’ I’ve not really noticed any of that. I feel like Justin’s a guy who’s working hard every day, and I think the media can sometimes be a little brutal with stuff and over-exaggerate things. But I stand by him. I support him. I think he’s a good guy, and he’s doing the best he can.”

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 21

I’m very happy that the weekend is here and that I have no commitments!  Last weekend, we had some friends and co-workers over for appetizers and drinks and had a good time.  Next weekend, I have a couple of things going on, so nothing to do this weekend sounds incredible.  I may try to convince Ray to go to a few yard sales Saturday morning.  My sister talked about going to the casino for crab legs and a little gaming, so I might do that and leave the bank card at home!  And, since I’ve been craving pancakes, maybe that would be good Sunday morning.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have fun and drink plenty of water.  Summer is officially here and so is the summer heat and humidity!  Yuck!  The good news is that the days are getting shorter, but the bad news is that fall is still months away!  Now, sit tight and check out my random thoughts on this Friday.

I HOPE I DON’T GO TO JAIL!

In the past, I’ve purchased concert tickets, movies, books, and CDs from eBay.  My latest purchase is a first and I hope it doesn’t land me in jail!

I’ve always wanted a Jerusalem Cherry plant, but I was never able to have one because the fruit is poisonous and it resembles tomatoes.  And, we all know how Miss ABBA loved tomatoes.  She was a tomato thief that would walk by plants and snag the changing colored fruit.  She wouldn’t have known the difference between the edible ones and the toxic ones.

Jerusalem Cherry

Well, I haven’t had any luck finding one that’s already started, so I bought seeds online!  In addition to the Jerusalem Cherry seeds, I bought “Ice White Cherry Tomato” and “Pink Pampas Grass”.

I’m going to start the Jerusalem Cherry seeds soon and the Ice White Cherry Tomato and Pink Pampas Grass seeds in the winter, so they’ll be ready to transplant outdoors in the spring.  I think the Pampas Grass along the fence would be very fun and colorful.

Seeds

Now, what does that have to do with jail?  Wouldn’t it be crazy if the seeds were that of an illegal, medicinal plant? 🙂  Maybe I should Google and play FBI or DEA and see what those seeds look like!

“CHURCH” CULT DIRECTS HATE TOWARD KIDS, TOO

Sadly, for the open-minded of the Baptist faith, the cult bearing their religious name, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) in Topeka, Kansas, is well-known for hating just about everyone in the name of God.

Their latest target is 5-year-old Jayden Sink.

Jayden Sink Lemonade

Last weekend, Jayden and her dad, Jon, set up a “Pink Lemonade For Peace” stand to raise money for Planting Peace outside the Equality House.  Jon is the also the founder of FRESHCASSETTE – Creative Compassion, a “project to showcase music, art, and video…while bridging these creative outlets with humanitarian and philanthropic efforts”.

Equality House

The Equality House — a rainbow-colored home, is owned by Planting Peace, a nonprofit that campaigns for anti-bullying efforts, human rights, and gay rights.   It just so happens that it opened up three months ago right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound.

The lemonade sale was a huge success raising around $400, with many active soldiers from the nearby Fort Riley Military Base stopping by on their motorcycles to support peace and have the refreshing lemonade.  Along with the drink sales, more than $11,000 was raised through the online site, Crowdrise!

Clearly, this did not set well with the WBC and they posted this nasty message on their marquee two days later.

WBC Lemonade

And, that was just the most recent nastiness displayed by the religious fanatics.  Following the deadly tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, that killed 24 people, including 10 children, the WBC tweeted this heartless boast.

WBC Oklahoma Protest

Thank God, the Patriot Guard Riders and other bikers surrounded little Nicolas McCabe’s funeral and the Westboro Baptist Church was a no-show!

Bikers Stop WBC

Serious, WBC, stay in your compound and have a party “drinking the Kool-Aid”!  I know that isn’t a very Christian thing to say, but …

MOVIES…

There are a couple of movies that I want to see that I’ve already decided that I’ll be waiting to see them on DVD instead of the movie theaters.  The first is “Man of Steel” with the incredibly dreamy Brit Henry Cavill playing Superman.

Henry Cavill

And, the other is “Now You See Me” with the always incredible Morgan Freeman, the quirky, sexy Jesse Eisenberg, and the other hot Franco, Dave.

Now You See Me

I say, the other hot Franco, because James is the first.  When I first read about his latest movie, “This Is The End”, I thought it sounded dumb.  But, then the trailer blew me away.  I really want to see a really funny comedy because the last one I saw disappointed me.  I’m talking about you, “Ted”!  “Silver Linings Playbook” was funny, but it was more of a dramedy.

WARNING:  This is “red band” trailer FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY for “This Is The End” — contains adult language, images, and situations!

Here is the edited “green band” version of the trailer.

So, I’m thinking a double feature of “This Is The End” and the new Brad Pitt zombie apocalypse thriller, “World War Z”, sounds like a good way to beat the heat this weekend. “World War Z” has been on my must see list since its release date was announced.  “Entertainment Weekly” gave it an “A-” and “This is the End” an “A”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Relax If You're Single Vokda

WHY SETTLE FOR “VODKA FLAVOR”?

I think someone in my house (the one that writes the blog) may have something of a OCD problem.  I just organized the vodkas and we have 46 bottles in 40 different flavors!

Vodkas

THANK YOU TO THREE BRAVE REPUBLICANS

I wish there were more politicians on both sides of the aisle like Lisa Murkowski.

AK Senator Lisa Murkowski

Earlier this week, the Republican U.S. Senator from Alaska announced her support for marriage equality.  After years of opposing the issue, she said that her views were “evolving” this past March.

Murkowski now says, “I am a life-long Republican because I believe in promoting freedom and limiting the reach of government.  I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of peoples’ lives – while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”

Murkowski becomes the third Republican U.S. Senator to throw their support behind marriage equality.

OH Senator Rob Portman

In March, Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman became the first sitting Republican U.S. Senator to support marriage equality.  His son, Will, came out as gay to the Senator and his wife in 2011.

Official Portrait

And, in April, Republican Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk announced his support for marriage equality.

You can read Murkowski’s very personal op-ed here:  http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=OpEds&ContentRecord_id=8295b7c7-e504-4b32-bc25-354b3aef41dc

Lisa, Mark, and Rob, thank you!

MY SUMMER REPLACEMENT FOR “HANNIBAL”

Last night, “Hannibal” completed its first season and it was so delicious as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) exclaims, “Controversial dish, veal”, while discussing the death of young Abigail Hobbs after the ultimate showdown between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).

Hannibal Finale

The second season returns in 2014.

And, while I await the final season of “Dexter” (later this month on Showtime, but I’ll see it on DVD), the second season of “The Walking Dead” on DVD in late September, and the second season of “American Horror Story:  Asylum” (no DVD release date set), I’ve found what might be my new summer guilty pleasure.

Beginning Monday night, June 24th, the television adaptation of Stephen King’s 2009 science fiction novel, “Under The Dome” premieres on CBS, the most watched network for the ninth time in the past ten years!

Wikipedia:  “Set in the near future, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the small town of Chester’s Mill, who suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious, impenetrable barrier that surrounds the town. As the town begins to tear itself apart through panic, a small group of people attempt to maintain peace and order while also trying to uncover the truth behind the barrier and how to escape from it.”

And, here’s something totally freaky!  If you go to the website and type in your address and city, you will find your home placed “Under The Dome”.  It is an awesome feature, but it creeped me out!

Website:  http://underthedome.com/

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Greatest hits and compilation albums excluded, the last mediocre hit album by Tina Turner was 1999’s “Twenty Four Seven”, which only reached #21 in the United States, but it hit the Top Ten in Austria, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  It also hit #1 in Switzerland.  The album’s lead off single, “When The Heartache Is Over”, was one of Tina’s best songs since her hit making hey day in the 1980s.  Sadly, it didn’t even crack the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States!

Once Tina Turner left that abusing ex-husband, Ike, and scored her first solo hit in 1983, she had a total of 19 Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Of those, six reached the Top Ten with 1984’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” becoming her only solo #1 hit.

For my “Peeps’ ’80s Friday Flashback”, I wanted to feature her #2 hit from 1986, “Typical Male”, but there’s some copyright thing with the video on YouTube, so here’s another one of my favorite, sexy Tina videos.  “What You Get Is What You See” reached #13 in 1987.

SAME VIDEO CONCEPT, COUNTRY STYLE

Okay, Tina started something there with me in the 1980s and Reba continued it in the 2000s.  If you like your men hot in a desert backdrop with more of a country flavor, try this under appreciated country gem.  “I’m Gonna Take This Mountain” was the first single from Reba’s 2003 album, “Room To Breathe”.  The song only peaked at #14.  Boo to you, country radio!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

It’s Pride weekend in Chicago and since I won’t be there, here are some of my favorite Facebook pictures from this week three years ago when I last attended Pride.  That first picture is one of my favorites that I’ve even taken!

06282010 Gretel ABBA Returning Home

Looking at the second picture, do those guys work or just work out?  In the third picture, I love that the young man is showing support for his gay mother.

The fourth picture is of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who was running for President Obama’s vacant senate seat in Illinois.  He lost the 2010 general election to Mark Kirk by less than 2%.  He now works at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., where he works as Terry Diamond’s senior adviser.

And, the final picture is of Miss ABBA and Gretel all comfortable for the three-hour drive back to the Quad Cities after a long, Pride weekend.

THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ONE WEEK

I love doing this feature so much that I had to go back and edit out some thoughts and hold them for next week because it was getting too long.  I really do have a lot of random thoughts!  After you check mine out, let me know what you’re thinking.

By the way, after stating in last week’s random blog (June 14) that we’d probably not put up the backyard pool this year.  Well, we did and I know it’ll come in handy this weekend.  Stay cool and have a great one.

Anthony

They Said What??? Mike Huckabee, Ke$ha, & Liza Minnelli

FAILED REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABE MIKE HUCKABEE

“The very thing that many people and I know CWA was a part of this, saying, this is why the legalization of same-sex marriage is going to be a much bigger issue than just saying we let people love whoever they want to love, that’s not the issue.”

MORE HUCKABEE

“Will it force businesses, of course everyone will say, ‘Oh no people still have their rights,’ but they don’t. And every fear that people had has in fact come true, that this is being forced in textbooks on how marriage is depicted, we’re now even seeing television commercials portraying same-sex couples, that’s something I guess I didn’t expect to see anytime soon.”

PRODUCER AND FORMER CHIC MEMBER NILE RODGERS

(on why he didn’t get “physical” with Madonna in the 1980s when he produced “Like A Virgin”):  “One time I slept with a really beautiful artist I was working with and it was a really wrong thing to do. So, I didn’t work like that.  I grew as close to Madonna as I’ve ever been to a woman without being romantically involved.”

POP STAR KE$HA

“People do expect me to be drunk most hours of every day.  Everybody just always thinks I’m drunk! ‘Cause I just act kind of drunk in general.”

EMMY, GRAMMY, OSCAR, & TONY WINNER LIZA MINNELLI

(when asked what music makes her want to dance now):  “Anthony by Lady Gaga and My Chemical Romance!  I went see [Gaga] in concert and she asked me to come backstage.  She was so nice and normal and complimentary and genuine.”

UFC FIGHTER JOSH THOMSON

(his thoughts on marriage equality on his Facebook page):  “My next question is, should siblings be allowed to marry siblings? My point is, where do you draw the line? I personally don’t care who you marry but I also am smart enough to know that it opens a gateway to men/women trying to marry young kids, siblings marrying each other and people having multiple husbands an wives. You have to think all of these things are okay otherwise your stopping them from being happy as well which is hypocrisy. Equality doesn’t stop with gay marriage, it just starts with it.”

THOMSON PRESS RELEASE APOLOGY

“With organizations fighting for legalized polygamy and the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) fighting for rights of their own, the line between equality and controversy becomes very thin. Mr. Thomson was merely giving extreme examples of very real movements in our country but he in no way meant to isolate the gay community in a negative manner.”

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 14

The weekend is almost here and it’s not just any weekend, it’s Father’s Day weekend.  Whether you’re a dad, a granddad, or a great granddad, have a great one.  Ladies, while you had your day of celebration last month, I hope you have a great day, too.  I know first hand that there are some women out there that are better fathers than the biological father could ever be!

While the weather isn’t shaping up to be all that great this weekend with showers and thunderstorms, especially Saturday and Saturday night, I hope you make the best of whatever we get!

FATHER’S DAY

We have Gretel this weekend and she hasn’t mentioned doing anything for us.

Last year, she made us the cutest card.

Card Front Card Inside

It had only been four months since Miss ABBA went to “puppy heaven”, but she still made an appearance on the card in her urn. 🙂

With assistance, Gretel made Father’s Day dinner for us in our old kitchen as it was being renovated.  When you check out this video, listen to the age reference and why she’s doing it!

As Alf exclaimed in the 1980s, “Ha, I kill me!”

ALF HA

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY CELEBRITY STYLE

I just want to say a special Happy Father’s Day to Ricky Martin and his partner, Carlos Gonzalez Abella, from their twin sons, Matteo and Valentino, who turn five this August.

Exclusive - Ricky Martin Spends Time With His Partner And Children

Also, to Neil Patrick Harris and his partner, David Burtka, from their twins — son, Gideon Scott, and daughter, Harper Grace.  They turn three in October.

neil-patrick-harris-david-burtka-saint-tropez-with-the-kids

And, to Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, from sons Zachary, who turns three on Christmas Day, and Elijah, who was born five months ago.

Elton John and family

Happy Father’s Day!

THE DOWN SIDE TO BEING VISIBLE

While the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community continues to gain visibility, support, and equality across the United States and other countries at incredible rates, it’s coming with a price.

Gay bashing has always been a problem.

Beatings and harassment at the hands of police prompted the historic “Stonewall Riots” in June 1969 (I blogged about this last Gay Pride and I’ll provide the link below for those of you unfamiliar with it).

I remember standing outside the gay bar and sitting by the Riverfront in Paducah, Kentucky, with my friends back in the mid-1980s and rednecks would drive by making crude comments and hurling the derogatory f-word at us and on a few occasions, they’d even threaten us with baseball bats.

But, that was about 30 years ago and you’d think people would be more educated and more accepting today.  Many are, but there’s still a long road to travel.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs reports that violence toward gays in New York City was up 4% last year over 2011.  And, the number of gay bashing reports have doubled this year.  In May alone, there were 10 reported anti-gay attacks in the Big Apple, including the shooting death of 32-year-old Mark Carson on May 17th in the West Village.

Mark Carson Killed In May

And, it’s not confined the country’s largest city.  In Ohio, “Outlook Columbus” reports that three gay men were beaten in separate attacks in the college town in the past week, including Christopher Ashcraft, who was visiting from Kentucky.

columbus beating

He told police that several men approached him asking for a jump-start.  When he got his keys to help the men, he was attacked.

Ashcraft told a Cincinnati television station, “Once I was on the ground, they just kicked me in the face a couple times until I was unconscious. It was my guess an hour to an hour-and-a-half later before I woke up and, from what I’m told, crawled back to the bar where I was found laying behind the bar.”

While one reason for the increase in the number of attacks may be that people, like in rape cases, are not as afraid today to come forward to report the crime, the bottom line is that ONE attack is ONE attack too many!  I hope the bastards that get a cheap thrill out of beating people for being different (or beating, in general) get what they deserve and much more.

The violence has to stop!

“Push Comes To Shove 43 Years Ago — The Stonewall Riots:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/

FALLING IN LOVE … AGAIN!

On a much lighter note, last Christmas I asked for a turntable.  My album and dance single collection from the 1980s and the 1990s disappeared about 20 years ago, but I wanted to start buying some albums to get that vinyl feeling when listening to music.

Albums

Except for a few skips here and there, the second-hand albums that I’ve buying at used record stores and yard sales are so much fun.  And, we all know how radio only plays the singles.  It’s been interesting listening to the albums that I never would have bought back in the day and to hear many of the ten or so tracks that I would have missed.

YARD SALE BARGAINS

Last weekend, Ray, Tammy, and I went to several yard sales and it was so much fun checking out people’s treasures (and junk) that they were trying to get rid of it.

In addition to the previously mentioned albums, I bought some VHS movies (yes, we still have a player since I’m not converting my VHS collection to DVD), some books, and Christmas ornaments.  I think I’ll have to check out more sales this summer.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

VodkaNot SpeakingAdam Levine

FUNNY “HANNIBAL” JOKE

First, a programming note:  Only one more episode left!  The season finale is Thursday, June 20th.

My friend, Stephanie Bowen, shared this “Hannibal” joke with me regarding characters Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter.

Will Graham and Hannibal

Hannibal: “Will, your lack of appetite worries me. How much do you weigh?”
Will: “One graham.”
(Hannibal stares dumbfoundly — Will smiles sheepishly)
Hannibal: “Don’t make me have to kilogram.”

ALF HA

GONNA MAKE ME SWEAT!

Now that I’ve officially set the date for my annual physical in October, I have to get serious about eating healthy and working out again.  I think I’ve figured out how to jump-start my weight loss this summer:  No air conditioning and walking on the treadmill until I sweat!  Tuesday and Wednesday were perfect for that, although we broke down Wednesday and turned on the AC!

KE$HA & PITBULL CONCERT

We all had a great time at last Sunday’s Ke$ha and Pitbull concert in Tinley Park.  Gretel was excited to wear make-up and fake eyelashes and to color her hair.

Gretel for Ke$ha

Ke$ha was fun and her back-up dancers were a hoot dressed as warriors, drag queens, and animal mascots.  While Ke$ha may have relied heavily on singing along to her own pre-recorded lyrics, it was still enjoyable.  During one number she was going to put on a jacket to” add some color” to her outfit, but there was a wardrobe malfunction putting it on and she went on without it with a “Oh, f*ck it”!

Ke$ha

Pitbull had an incredible light show and the man sure has some energy.  He sang many, if not all, of his hits in his 75-minute set with many of the big stars (Enrique Iglesias, Jennifer Lopez, Christina Aguilera, Chris Brown, and Ne-Yo) he’s performed with appearing on the stage monitor behind him.  But, after a while, some of his songs blended together and sounded the same.

Pitbull

What a great night with very enjoyable shows from Ke$ha and Pitbull.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

We have been debating on whether to put up Gretel’s outdoor pool this year.  I think we’re leaning toward “no”.

It came in handy in the summer of 2010.  Miss ABBA, who loved swimming, sure enjoyed it.  This picture is from this week three years ago.

61910 ABBA Gretel

Earlier in my blog, I talked about Gretel making dinner for us last Father’s Day.  Here is the final product — linguine with lemon pepper and garlic chicken and veggies.

Gretel 06182012

NEW SONG I’M LOVING

Last week, I featured the video for Hailey Rowe’s “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.  I love that song and video.  Another song that I’m really loving right now, in just two months, is already the most popular song in the country and one of the most played on Top 40 radio.

Robin Thicke scored his first Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Lost Without U”, in 2007.  While the song hit #14 on that chart, it topped the R&B chart.  He’s gone on to score two more #1 songs on the R&B chart with “Sex Therapy” in 2009 and his new song, “Blurred Lines” featuring T.I. and Pharrell Williams.  “Blurred Lines” is also the new #1 song on the Hot 100.

It’s the first release from his new album of the same name that is being released at the end of July.

By the way, there is an “unrated” version of the video that was banned by YouTube.  *Warning:  Contains Boobies*  *NSFW*  *Not suitable when children are in the room*.  Oh, who am I kidding, you’ve already clicked on the link!

parental_advisory_explicit_content

http://www.vevo.com/watch/robin-thicke/blurred-lines-unrated-version/USUV71300526

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since I just featured Robin Thicke with one of my favorites songs out there today, let’s keep it in the family with one of my favorite female vocalists of all time.  Robin is the son of actor Alan Thicke (“Growing Pains”) and actress/singer Gloria Loring (“Liz Chandler Courtney DiMera Craig Curtis” on “Days of Our Lives” from 1980-1986).

As a singer, Gloria Loring is best known on television as a singer on “Days of Our Lives” and for co-writing the themes to “Diff’rent Strokes” and “The Facts of Life” with her ex-husband Alan Thicke.  Gloria also sang the theme song to “The Facts of Life” from the second season to the end of the series.

Gloria has released twelve albums dating back to her first in 1968.  Although she is one of my favorite singers, her only Top 40 appearance on the Billboard Hot 100 came in 1986 when “Friends & Lovers”, a duet with Carl Anderson, reached #2.  It hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.

RAY, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

This song, “The Best Thing About Me Is You” (“Lo Mejor de Mi Vida Eres Tu”) by Ricky Martin hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard Latin charts in 2011.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  I hope you took a moment to enjoy the videos.  Have a great weekend!

Anthony

They Said What??? Michael Douglas, Woody Harrelson, & Glenn Beck

FORMER FOX NEWS COMMENTATOR GLENN BECK

“For any role that I have played in dividing, I wish I can take them back.  I don’t wish I could take back the truth that was spoken but perhaps – not perhaps – many times I could have said it differently.”

ACTOR/PLAYWRIGHT HARVEY FIERSTEIN

“Can you imagine if I was on a school board and I came in and I said, ‘you know, I don’t want any Jews or Christians teaching my kids, because they believe in people living inside whales, and they believe in slavery, and stoning women who have had an affair, so I just don’t want any of those Christians or Jews.’  Can you imagine?  But they feel just absolutely free to say that about gay people.”

ACTOR WOODY HARRELSON

“People compare Obama to Lyndon Johnson, but I think a better comparison is between Obama and Nixon. Because Nixon came into office saying he was going to pull out of Vietnam, and then he escalated the war.  A lot of us were led to believe that Obama was the peace president, but there are still, I think, 70,000 troops in Afghanistan.”

ACTOR MICHAEL DOUGLAS

(opening up that human papillomavirus was the cause of his cancer):  “Without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV, which actually comes about from cunnilingus.”

DR. CONRAD MURRAY

(to Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris, after her recent suicide attempt.  Murray is serving jail time for his role in the iconic singer’s death in 2009):  “I don’t know if there is anything I can do to salve your pain or help you with your problem, but I wanted you to know that I am here for you.  I always will be available to listen to you, answer your questions or to share with you the plethora of beautiful and savored untold stories of your father as well as his venerable points of view that he shared with me.”

SCOTT THORSON, LIBERACE’S CHAUFFER AND EX-BOYFRIEND

“Liberace introduced me and Michael in the late 1970s. It was right around the time ‘Thriller’ was coming out and Michael and I became lovers.  Our relationship went on for six or seven years. Michael was very generous too. He treated me well.”

MORE THORSON

“Liberace and I had both undergone plastic surgery around the same time Michael underwent a nose job because he didn’t think he was handsome.  We all healed together at the Liberace compound in Palm Springs.”

MINNESOTA VIKINGS RUNNING BACK ADRIAN PETERSON

(about having an openly gay teammate):  “Simple things, as far as showers and things like that, you know, of course, anyone would be uncomfortable.  But you know, I’m a grown man. There’s things that I can deal with. I’m comfortable in my skin. I’ll still high-five them. Pat them on the butt when he’s doing good, and go on about my business.”

ACTRESS/SINGER CHARICE PEMPENGCO

(who played Sunshine Corazon on “Glee” announcing that she is a lesbian):  “To those who can accept me, thank you very much. We are all equal, whether you are gay or straight… I am proud of who I am. I love myself, that is why I am doing this. To my fans who I know are disappointed – I know some of you will turn your back on me too – sorry. You know I am sincere. From the bottom of my heart, sorry.”

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER PLAYER ROBBIE ROGERS

(the sport’s first openly gay athlete on coming out and returning to the sport after retirement):  “My secret is gone, I am a free man, I can move on and live my life as my creator intended.”

Anthony

Letting The Freak Flag Fly Tonight

“Wake up in the morning feeling like P Diddy/(Hey, what up girl?)/Grab my glasses, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city/(Lets go)/Before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack/’Cause when I leave for the night, I ain’t coming back”

Okay, that’s not exactly true.  This afternoon, Ray, Gretel, and I are heading off to Chicago to celebrate Gretel’s birthday a month early.  While we’re going to try to dodge showers and thunderstorms, we’re spending the evening with Pitbull and Ke$ha at First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Tinley Park.

pitbull-kesha

After the show, we’re driving the 2.5 hours back to the Quad Cities and I’ll shower and head straight into work.  So, I’m getting my Ke$ha on by staying up more than 24 hours!  I know it’ll be worth it.  For the night, I’m going to be one of those “Crazy Kids”!

Say what you will about Ke$ha and I’m sure I’ve heard it all before.  I might have even said some of the same things.  Let’s see, “she can’t sing” (wrong, she has a great voice), “her songs are so auto-tuned” (true), “she’s a freak” (you’re damn right she is!  Let that freak flag sister!), and “Blah Blah Blah”!  Oh, by the way, for the Ke$ha uninformed, that’s the title of one of her Top Ten songs with 3OH3!

This past December, I bought her new album, “Warrior”, and when I blogged about it, I gave it an “A”.  It’s amazing and for the first few months this year, it was the only CD in my player!  Rock on, Ke$ha.

Ever since she released her first solo single, “Tik Tok”, in the summer of 2009, I loved the fun vibe of her songs and the many more Top Ten hits that followed:  “Blah Blah Blah”, “Your Love Is My Drug”, “Take It Off”, “We R Who We R”, “Blow”, and “Die Young”.

I know that Gretel, who turns 12 next month, will hear a few choice words tonight since there is a “parental advisory” label on her album “Warrior” for “explicit content”.  Yes, she says the “f-word” several times, but this isn’t the 1950s and I’m not Ward or Jean Cleaver!

Kesha 2

Although Ke$ha’s show will feature dancers dressed as life-sized stuffed animal mascots and drag queens, the show is full of fun and energy and songs that carry a strong message.

Her #1 hit, “We R Who We R” became a symbol for the LGBT community and especially when there was a rash of gay teen suicides in 2010 and 2011.

Ke$ha says, “I wanted to inspire people … to be themselves. It’s a celebration of any sort of quirks or eccentricities.  I was really affected by the suicides that have been happening, having been subject to very public hatred [myself]. I have absolutely no idea how these kids felt. What I’m going through is nothing compared to what they had to go through. Just know things do get better and you need to celebrate who you are. Every weird thing about you is beautiful and makes life interesting. Hopefully the song really captures that emotion of celebrating who you are … I just felt like people hate because they don’t understand or they’re jealous, It’s all coming from a very negative place and I really feel like people don’t need to pay attention to that.”

Ke$ha, thank you for taking the heat for not conforming!  Be yourself.  If people think you’re a freak, that means that they’re thinking of you!

Kesha

And, then Pitbull will be bringing a taste of Latin flavor and high energy to the stage for more than an hour after Ke$ha.

Pitbull

He’s dominated Top 40 radio for years now as both a solo artist and by making guest appearances with other big name singers.  He’s scored hits with Enrique Iglesias (“I Like It”), Jennifer Lopez (“On The Floor”, “Live It Up”, and “Dance Again”), and Chris Brown (“International Love”).

His most recent hit, the #1 dance and Top Ten Hot 100 smash, “Feel This Moment” featured Christina Aguilera.

We’re looking forward to a fun-filled night with Pitbull and Ke$ha!

This place is about to “Blow”!  (This video is so funny and awesome if you’ve seen it.  Take that James Van Der Beek, aka Dawson Leery!)

So, will I embarrass Gretel when I sing “C’mon” along with Ke$ha?

“Feeling like I’m a high schooler/
Sipping on a warm wine cooler/
Hot ’cause the party don’t stop/
I’m in a crop top/
Like I’m working at hooters/
We been keeping it PG/
But I wanna get a little frisky/
Come gimme some of that yum like a lollipop/
Let me set you free”

Anthony