Archive for October, 2013

Our Day in Nuremberg, Germany

While we’re already back home and back to reality, I didn’t get around to sharing our last day of the cruise in Nuremberg, Germany.

Saturday and Sunday were a little busy because of the Captain’s Farewell Dinner and packing Saturday night and then flying ten hours back home across the Atlantic and traveling five hours on the roadways (two in Germany and three from Chicago to the Quad Cities) for over 5,000 miles Sunday!

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When we started our Nuremberg tour Saturday afternoon, we stopped by Zeppelin Field, which had been a central part in rallies for Adolf Hitler.  Since the fall of Nazi Germany, the area has lost its flashy look from the 1940s and is rather bleak, just like the times it symbolized under Hitler.

On a happier note, we visited another castle that overlooked the city and the site where the Nuremberg Trials took place in 1945-1946 to prosecute prominent members of the military and political leadership of Nazi Germany.

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And, before we headed back to the boat for the Captain’s Farewell Dinner, we had a drink in a small cafe.

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I’ve always been intrigued by what a Campari and soda would taste like so I ordered one and it was HORRIBLE.  (Campari is a bitter infusion of fruit and herbs in alcohol and water.)  Yuck!  It was too bitter for me.

Ray is such a gentleman.  He gave me his Jever beer and it was much better and he said he didn’t mind the Campari and soda, but he might have just said that. 🙂

That was the last tour of our trip before the two-hour bus ride to the airport in Munich, Germany, and our trip back to reality.

I hope you enjoyed the little updates and I’ll be posting all of the pictures this week on Facebook.

Anthony

Our Day In Regensberg

We arrived in Germany Thursday and explored Passau, a community that was heavily damaged by this past summer’s floods,

Friday, we woke up to another foggy morning that promised sunshine.

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However, as we toured Regensberg, the 56th largest city in Germany, the sun deceived us and it remained overcast and very cool.

But, shopping was vibrant on our walk through town.

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We also loved the bridge of locks where lovers have their names inscribed on locks and they put them on the bridge and throw the key into the River.  Should they break up, the locks are then cut off.

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Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 25. 2013

Greetings this Friday morning from Germany!

In the past week, we’ve been to Zurich (Switzerland), the airport in Budapest (Hungary), Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria), and Durnstein and Melk in Germany.

Yesterday, we toured Passau, Germany, a city that was ravaged by flood waters this summer as the Danube River inundated many cities along its path.

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This is what it looked like Thursday and you can still see the marks of how high the flood waters were back in the summer.

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We have two more days left on our amazing Danube River cruise on the “Sound of Music”.  On Sunday, we’ll begin our international journey back to the Quad Cities just in time for me to be at work bright and early Monday morning at 2 a.m. with jet lag.

Have a great weekend and here are my random thoughts this Friday.

REPUBLICANS, FIND ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR 2016

The name that tops most people’s list of leading Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential bid is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

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Please find another candidate to run against Hillary Clinton (or whoever it is if she doesn’t run)!  I cannot imagine waking up each day with him as President in a worse case scenario!

And, yes, it’s personal.  It’s over marriage equality and marriage equality alone!

After the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey Assembly approved marriage equality in early 2012, Christie vetoed it.  And, now that a high-ranking judge says that same-sex marriages will start in the Garden State this week, he’s still opposed.

Luckily, earlier this week, he gave up his fight to marriage equality in New Jersey.  It’s about time since the the numbers were against Christie.

A few weeks ago, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed that 61% of those polled in New Jersey opposed Christie’s decision to stand in the way of marriage equality, while only 31% agreed with him.

I’m glad that Christie wised up!

OH, IT GETS BETTER!

Last Tuesday, Christie said that if one of his four children told him that they were gay, he would “grab them and hug them and tell them I love them.” and then say “that Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Chris Christie Family
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Haunted HouseClown Margaritas Laugh it Up

HALLOWEEN IS JUST DAYS AWAY

Gretel is ready to go trick-or-treating one more time before she gets too old.  Yes, I encouraged her to go this year for the candy! 🙂

Have you gotten your fill of watching horror movies yet?  I’m hoping next week that I get a chance to see “Hellbent” again.  It’s become a staple for me since I first saw it in 2006.

If you haven’t seen it, check it out.  It’s from the co-creator of “Halloween” and the executive producer of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

BODE, KEEP TALKING!

Russia and the International Olympic Committee, listen up.

Bode Miller

35-year-old American Olympic Gold Medalist Bode Miller recently spoke out about the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and Russia’s anti-gay laws that were implemented this past summer.

Miller says, “I think it’s absolutely embarrassing that there’s countries and there’s people who are that intolerant and that ignorant.  But it’s not the first time.  We’ve been dealing with human-rights issues probably since there were humans.”

While some think that politics, sports, and the Olympics should not be seen as one, Miller disagrees.

He says, “I think it’s unfortunate when they get stuffed together because there are politics in sports and athletics.  They always are intertwined, even though people try to keep them separate or try to act like they’re separate. Asking an athlete to go somewhere and compete and be a representative of a philosophy and … then tell them they can’t express their views or they can’t say what they believe, I think is pretty hypocritical or unfair.”

Here’s to Bode making the team and winning more Gold for America and a big thank you for his stance on equality!

TOO MUCH SKIN?

When you think of Britney Spears’ music, you think of a pounding dance beat and when you think of the accompanying video, you probably expect to see plenty of skin.

Her latest hit, “Work Bitch”, the first single from her upcoming December album, “Britney Jean”, doesn’t disappoint on both of those requirements.

Britney Las Vegas

Britney says, “Oh my god, we showed way more skin and did way more stuff for the video than what is actually there.  Like, I cut out half the video because I am a mother and because, you know, I have children, and it’s just hard to play sexy mom while you’re being a pop star as well. I just have to be true to myself and feel it out when I do stuff.”

About her sexy videos, she adds, “A lot of sex goes into what I do.  But sometimes I would like to bring it back to the old days when there was, like, one outfit through the whole video, and you’re dancing the whole video, and there’s like not that much sex stuff going on.”

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This led some to believe that Britney was coerced into being more revealing than she wanted to be, but the “Work Bitch” director Ben Mor disputes that.

He says, “I don’t know if it’s being misinterpreted or not, but Britney’s in control of every aspect of the video, from the concepts to the setups to everything.  There’s nothing that we shot that she didn’t approve of. As far as the edit, you can always make it a little more racy, because we had scantily clad people on set. It’s just an editorial choice, and I always tend to go sexy anyway, so that was my choice. I think she just wanted it to be more dance-centric.”

Britney Whip

Mor adds, “My cut was a lot racier for sure, but it didn’t necessarily involve Britney.  It was really just cutaways. An artist knows how they perceive themselves. I promise you 100 percent:  All of these artists are in charge of their content. No one is forcing anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do, and they’re very well aware of that. They might change their mind after the fact, but Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Britney Spears are all very much in control of their image. Things don’t just happen. Everything is scrutinized.”

BLOOMBERG EATS WHAT?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the 13th wealthiest person in the world and is worth $31 billion.

Michael Bloomberg

He gives billions to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, and millions to the arts,  for education and the environment, and for politicians that believe as he does.

He owns homes in the Upper East Side of New York City; upstate New York; Vail, Colorado; London; and Bermuda.

And, his favorite meal is … “White-bread toast, Skippy peanut butter and bacon”!

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RADIO MISFIRE — THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BIGGER HIT

While you’re putting the final touches on your Halloween costume, Kelly Clarkson will be celebrating Christmas Vegas-style.

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She’ll be taping her December holiday special, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale on NBC” at the Venetian singing songs from “Wrapped in Red”, her first Christmas album that comes out October 29th and features Reba and Trisha Yearwood on “Silent Night”.

Instead of tormenting you with another Christmas song this week since it’s six days before Halloween, here’s one of my favorite new songs from Kelly’s “Greatest Hits — Volume One” album that came out last November.

“People Like Us” only reached #28 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts, but it topped the Billboard Dance Club chart.

I love the lyrics, “People like us we’ve gotta stick together/Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever/Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten/It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom” and “We are all misfits living in a world on fire”.

“TIME”, THEN NO MORE “TIME”

I just renewed my subscription to “Time” magazine after not getting it for a couple of years.  However, after two issues, I cancelled it.  It just didn’t do anything me other than the articles by my favorite “Time” writers Joel Stein (because of his warped sense of humor) and Joe Klein (because of his political leanings).

Joe Klein  Time

In the issue I just read, Klein didn’t hold back on his thoughts of the Tea Party.   He calls them “the radical nihilist minority of the Republican Party and the GOP’s craven leadership.” 

Tea Party Illionis

Klein continues, “These radicals — it is wildly inaccurate to call them conservatives — are a pestilence feeding on ignorance and cynicism, preying on fear as a period of unprecedented prosperity wanes.  They are not the apocalypse but represent the desperate last gasp of the white majority and of an era.  My generation’s era.”

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

“You’ve got to have a J-O-B if you want to be with me/No romance without finance” sounds materialistic and if you’re saying it to a man, some might find that controversial.

Gwen Guthrie

That’s exactly what people thought back in 1986 when R & B singer Gwen Guthrie sang those lyrics in her #1 R&B and Billboard Dance Club hit, “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent”.  It also hit #1 in New Zealand and #5 in the U.K.  Sadly, it only hit #42 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While Guthrie, who was born in Oklahoma and raised in New Jersey, never scored a Top 40 hit on the Hot 100, she did have four Top 40 hits on the R&B charts.  But, “Rent” would become her trademark song.

Before venturing out on her own, she sang back-up for Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and Madonna.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK BONUS!

As a ’80s bonus, here’s Gwen singing backup on “Lucky Star”, Madonna’s first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.  It peaked at #4 on that chart and reached #1 on the Dance Chart.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW!

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back in States Sunday night!

Anthony

Our Day In Passau, Germany

We traveled from Aschach, Austria, to Passau, Germany today.

While I’ve seen some beautiful sights in my travels in the United States, like Lake Tahoe, California, the boat cruise today out of Austria to Germany has to be one of the most breath-taking views I’ve had the pleasure to witness.

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The afternoon, we docked in Passau, “the city on three rivers” in Germany.

We walked along the Danube, the Inn, and the Ilz rivers, visited the shopping district, and St. Steven’s Cathedral, which houses the world’s largest cathedral organ.

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While very interesting, Passau has been my least favorite city we’ve visited so far.  We still have two more nights in Germany after tonight.

Anthony

Our Day in Durnstein and Melk, Austria

Since the cruise began Monday night, we’ve traveled at night.  Today, we were lucky to make our way up the Danube River in Durnstein through the Wachau Valley, to Melk, Austria.

It was another foggy morning as we walked through the very small village of Durnstein, which is known for its wines and apricot brandy.
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After sampling free shots and chocolates, we sailed along the Wuchau Valley and it was spectacular.  I’m amazed at how many large cruise ships there are on the Danube River.

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We then arrived in Melk, Austria, to tour a monastery that is almost 1,000 years old and it was incredible.  It was the most beautiful church in the world.  Okay, I haven’t spent a lot of time in churches!  But, it was spectacular.

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Anthony

 

Our Day in Vienna, Austria

The “MS Sound of Music” finally set sail late Monday night and we awoke to a foggy morning on the Danube River docked in Vienna, Austria.

Vienna is well-known for classical composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Johann Strauss.

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It was here also that psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud made his name.

There is currently an exhibit on display in Vienna honoring his artist grandson, Lucian Freud, who died two years ago.

His works are known for their “psychological penetration and for their often discomforting examination of the relationship between artist and model.”  Needless to say, unflattering photos of naked men and women grace the city.  Sexuality isn’t taboo here like in the United States.

Along with this advertisement for the show highlighting Lucian Freud, boobs and penis art and mannequins grace the windows in many stores,

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Just to let you know that I do have a filter, the blue star is not on the billboards in the city!  And, for those inquiring minds, the star is proportional! 🙂

Now, let’s get our minds out of the gutter and check out the beautiful architecture that dates back hundreds of years!

And, one clarification that you’ll find on mugs, t-shirt, and other souvenirs, there are no kangaroos in Austria.  However, I found a cute little Joey-mama!

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Here’s something very cool.  We noticed the Austrian Military and the Police outside the Chancellor’s office.  The U.S. Ambassador to Austria, Alexa Wesner from Texas was in Vienna today presenting her credentials to the country’s Federal President Heinz Fischer.

They even played “The Star-Spangled Banner”!

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I’ll leave you with a couple of interesting notes about Austria.

Vienna is the capital and the largest city in Austria.  Of the five million that live in the country, 1.8 million live in Vienna.  (The second largest city in the country is populated by only 265,000 people.)

 

And, of those almost two million, 82% live in apartments that they rent, 11% live in townhouses/condos, and only 7% of people in Vienna own homes.  Of course, those number change outside of the city.

I close by honoring another of Vienna’s stars, the late Falco, with one of his hits, “Der Kommissar”, even though he’s better known for “Rock Me Amadeus”.

Anthony

Our Day in Bratislava, Slovakia

Greetings from the Danube River.  It’s going on midnight Monday and we finally just set sail from Bratislava, Slovakia.  By morning, we’ll be arriving in Vienna, Austria.

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The weather today in Bratislava was absolutely gorgeous with a high of 72 degrees and I hear that snow is still in the forecast back home in the Quad Cities.  Here is what snow on the Alps looked like Sunday on our flight from Zurich, Switzerland, to Budapest, Hungary.

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Because of a maintenance problem at a lock, our cruise did not set sail Sunday night from Budapest and we didn’t get to explore the city prior to departure.

Instead, we were bussed from the airport to a hotel in Budapest where we got on another bus and traveled two hours in the countryside to Bratislava, where we were supposed to sail on the first night.

Here’s a picture of that minutes long visit in Budapest.

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Here are a few from Bratislava today.

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We finally left Bratislava around 11 p.m. local time here and just crossed over into Austria now that we’re finally sailing.

Bon Voyage!

Anthony

P.S.   Here are all of the pictures from Bratislava.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10151757828459849.1073741840.500579848&type=3

Our Day in Zurich, Switzerland

The first stop on our European vacation, roughly 24 hours in Zurich, the capital of Switzerland, is about over.

Once we got out of the airport and made our way by train to our hotel in the “Old Town” part of the city, we had to walk around and explore until our room was ready three hours later.

It gave us a chance to take some scenic photos and feed the swans some American pumpkin bread.

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Once we showered and got settled into our room, we walked for hours (and about 12 miles total) to Lake Zurich for a better view of the architecture, the people, the Lake, and the Swiss Alps.

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As we headed back to our hotel, we stopped at the most awesome grocery store, Coop, and I really wish that I owned it.   The place was packed with Zurich residents and tourists getting stocked up for a Saturday night.  The wine department was very popular.

We bought two bottles of wine, a cheese platter, two loaves of bread (an olive bread and a Pane loaf), and two different desserts (one was a caramel torte and the other was basically creme filled donuts, but it was called something else).

It’s a good thing we stocked up for a Saturday evening Swiss snack.  We chose to have an authentic Swiss dinner, but after looking closer at the menu, the Cordon Bleu that I wanted was not chicken, but deer!

And, the more we scanned the menu, the more Ray was getting queasy!  There was deer stew, deer this, and deer that.  If deer wasn’t your thing, there was something with boar!

If we stayed, I was going to order the vegetable plate.  But, Ray wanted to leave and I didn’t have any reason to talk him out of it.

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Our Swiss buffet of wine, bread, cheeses, and desserts was perfect for a Zurich Saturday night.  And, after being up for basically 39 hours from work Friday morning, to driving to Chicago, traveling across the Atlantic Ocean Friday night, and touring Zurich Saturday, sleep was nice.

And, we were treated to a nice complimentary breakfast Sunday morning at our hotel, the EMA House.

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It was glorious waking up Sunday to the sight of the Alps in the background and the chiming of church bells all morning.

My observations about Zurich:  If we’d learn German, Ray and I decided we would live here if the opportunity presented itself; the city is beautiful and the backdrop of the Lake and the Alps are incredible; I didn’t run into Zurich resident and international pop star Tina Turner; and finally, Zurich men are very thin.

I don’t know if it’s because they walk a lot or ride bikes (very popular here) or eat deer and moose, instead of beef, but we couldn’t believe how thin a majority of them are.  Sorry America!

And, a final note, there were so many DDG (drop dead gorgeous) European men walking around strutting their stuff in their jeans of many colors.

Today, we fly to Budapest, Hungary, only to arrive at the airport and get bussed two hours to Bratislava, Slovakia.  (We’re getting cheated out of our few hours to explore Budapest.  I’ll explain at a later time.  Thanks Gate 1 Travel.

I’ve posted the rest of the pictures of Zurich on my Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10151755484099849.1073741839.500579848&type=3

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 18, 2013

It’s been a hectic week since I celebrated my birthday last weekend and this weekend is going to be another crazy one.

After work this morning, we’re off to Chicago for my annual physical and then this evening, we take off for Zurich, Switzerland.

We’ll be there for about 24 hours and then fly to Budapest, Hungary.  Originally, that’s where we were going to board our “Sound of Music” Danube River cruise of Europe to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday.  But, there is a mechanical problem at a dam and the cruise ship cannot get to Budapest.  We now have to take a two-hour bus ride and embark on the cruise in Bratislava, Slovakia!

Sound of Music Cruise

If you missed the details of the trip, here’s the blog I wrote about it back in August:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/plans-for-a-milestone-birthday/

Here are my random thoughts for the week!  Enjoy your weekend!

HOBBY LOBBY ISN’T VERY HOLLY JOLLY!

It’s not even Halloween yet, so many of you might not be thinking of decorating for Christmas.  But, if you are, you can find anything you want for the holidays at Hobby Lobby!

Hobby Lobby

That is, unless you celebrate Hanukkah!

The chain of more than 550 stores nationwide is owned by conservative billionaire Steve Green and it seems that Hobby Lobby refused to carry Hanukkah items like paper dreidels, menorah-making kits, or greeting cards because of Green’s “Christian values”.

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New Jersey blogger Ken Berwitz made this public in late September.  He even quoted a Hobby Lobby employee telling a woman asking about bar mitzvah cards, “We don’t cater to you people”.

The company then responded to Religion News Service, “Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is currently working with our buyers over our merchandise selection. Our customers have brought this to our attention and we are currently evaluating our Holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”

Steve Green

After the uproar, it now appears that things will change at some Hobby Lobby stores.  Green issued this statement, “We do not have any problems selling items that celebrate Jewish holidays.  We have in the past and have decided we would try it again in some of the markets where we have Jewish population.”

A group that fights anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League, accepts Green’s apology.  The group says, “We are satisfied with the apology of Hobby Lobby and appreciate the company’s efforts to investigate the incident and to ensure that it does not happen again.”

TORN ABOUT ELTON JOHN’S DECISION

Weeks ago, Cher declined an invitation to play at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, because of the country’s anti-gay laws it implemented this past summer.

Boycott Sochi 2014

However, Elton John refused to cancel his early December shows in Kazan and Moscow stating, “I’m aware of the situation and I will be diplomatic. I’m not going to go into Russia and tell [Vladimir Putin] to go to hell and things like that. That’s not the way things are done. You chip away at something, and you hope there will be dialogue and that the situation can get better. You don’t just go in there with guns blazing and say, ‘Well, to hell with you.’ Because they’re going to say, ‘To hell with you, and get out of the country.’ That’s not going to solve anything.”

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I understand that Elton playing those two shows will raise awareness of the deplorable laws that are in place to target Russia’s LGBT community.  But, it’s an uphill battle since those laws and documented cases of violence toward gays are supported not only by Russian officials, but a large portion of the Russian population.

This Pew Research survey came out two months ago.

Anti-Gay Russia

When Madonna and Lady Gaga played shows in Russia, they spoke out against the country’s barbaric attitudes to Russia’s LGBT community and faced fines and jail time.

There’s a part of me that wants Elton to go there and speak up and say “screw you”!  However, I’ll be appalled if he performs and takes the money without making a stand for equality and progress.

…BUT SOME AREN’T TORN ABOUT ELTON PLAYING THERE

Seidzhagfar Lutfullin, a conservative imam from Russia’s predominantly Muslim Tartarstan region, wants the concerts cancelled.

He thinks by allowing Elton to play that God could rain destruction on Russia as act of revenge because “sodomy…is what the world famous homosexual Elton John, (sic) who recently wed a man in public, is promoting.”

Other conservative groups want Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the concerts.

Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill

And, a coordinator for the Christian group Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods says, “The statement by this gay guy – Elton John – about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert in Moscow is an insult to all Russian citizens.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Right

Confusing Wine SelectionHappy Hour

SERIOUSLY, LIGHTEN UP!

I admit that I’m a very strong supporter for equality and I’ll be the first to stand up to someone being anti-gay or derogatory.

However, I think that people can be a little oversensitive and try to find things to be upset about.

I love Britney Spears!  I did fifteen years ago when “…Baby One More Time” came out and topped the charts.  I was concerned when she had her breakdown and I thought her career was over, but she sure showed me and the rest of the world with “Femme Fatale” and that tour solidified “It’s Britney, Bitch”.

Britney July 2011

Some people think that her use of the word “bitch” is part of her catering to the “gay” audience.  Seriously?  People can’t just enjoy the music and not think that it’s “too gay”.  Do you think that Madonna, Lady Gaga, or Cher sits around and wonders if they cater to a certain demographic?  They know who still lines their pockets with gold!

Recently, Britney told a DJ, “A lot of my hair stylists and my beauty team that I work with are gay so I hang out with gays a lot and I just think they’re adorable and hilarious.”  And, then some gay bloggers took issue with her choice of words.

Let me say that if anyone ever want to call me “adorable and hilarious”, I’m okay with it!

Get a life, Mary!  Wait, maybe I shouldn’t refer to a man as “Mary”!  Well, here’s a little Britney with a “rock & roll” edge.  It doesn’t sound that “gay”, does it? 🙂

“THE MEANING OF MATTHEW”

It was 15 years ago last week that 21-year-old Matt Shepard died from injuries after being relentlessly beaten and tied to a wooden fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

After starting the Matthew Shepard Foundation with her husband, Dennis, and their son, Logan, Judy Shepard released her book, “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed”, in 2009.  I just got around to reading it and it’s fantastic.

The Meaning of Matthew

While we’ve read the tragic headlines and seen the pictures of Matthew and his killers splashed across the news, this book lets us know who Matt was from the people who knew him.

Judy said it best in the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book, “You know him as Matthew.  To us he was Matt.  I have tried to reconcile the two within these pages.  It would be unfair to Matt if only Matthew’s story was told.  Matt was so much more than “Matthew Shepard, the gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming college student.”  He had a family and countless friends.  He had a life before the night he was tied to that fence.”

I only have one small complaint about the book —  no pictures of the Matt that the Shepard family remembers.  Judy talks about Matt dressing as Dolly Parton twice as a child and I would have loved to see that photo.

But, that’s minor!  Check out this book because it’s phenomenal.

“BATES MOTEL”

While we await the arrival of the final season of “Dexter” on DVD (November 12th), Ray and I checked out the first season of A&E’s “Bates Motel”.

The 10-episode thriller focuses on the lives of a young Normal Bates (“Psycho”) and his very alive mother as they start a new life in a small Oregon town and manage their new business, the infamous Bates Motel.

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Freddie Highmore (“Toast”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and “Five Children and It”) is creepy and enchanting as 17-year-old Norman Bates.

Max Thieriot and Mike Vogel (“Under The Dome” and “Cloverfield”) smolder on the screen as Norma Bates’ son, Dylan, and her lover, Deputy Shelby, respectively.

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But, let’s talk about the real star of “Bates Motel”, Vera Farmiga, who was nominated for an Emmy for her performance of Norma Bates.  (She was also nominated for an Oscar for 2009’s “Up In The Air”.)

Farmiga is electrifying from the first moment we see her and she is totally captivating in every scene.  Regardless of the scene she’s in, whether it’s violent, sad, or happy, you can’t take your eyes away from her!

)Norma Norman

I want a one-way ticket to this crazy-town.

And, a final note.  The first episode of the series features W. Earl Brown, as Keith Summers, the former owner of the Bates Motel, known then as the Seafairer Motel.

W Earl Brown Keith Summers

Earl is from western Kentucky and we were in the Radio-Television department together at Murray State University and I was one of two actors in a one-act play he directed back in the early-1980s!

He’s also starred in “There’s Something About Mary”, “Scream”, and HBO’s “Deadwood”.

Way to go, Earl!

NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Except this….

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The world first became aware of Ke$ha when she sang back-up on Flo Rida’s #1 hit “Right Round” in 2009.  Later that year, she scored her first solo #1 on her first try with “Tik Tok”.

Kesha

Since then she’s tallied up a total of 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Ten of those reached the Top Ten, including another #1 hit, “We R Who We R”.

Pitbull

Pitbull has charted with 18 Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Of those, nine have reached the Top Ten.  He topped the chart with “Give Me Everything” with Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer in 2011.

pitbull-kesha

This summer, we drove to Tinley Park, just outside of Chicago, to see Ke$ha and Pitbull in concert.  While they didn’t perform a number together, they must have been working on something behind the scene!

“Timber”, which features Ke$ha, is the first single from Pitbull’s upcoming album.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Earlier I featured Britney Spears’ version of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

While Britney’s version hit the Top Ten in Germany and Ireland, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts spent seven weeks at the top of the chart with the song in 1982 here in the U.S.

Jett scored eight other hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40, but only two of them reached the Top Ten — “Crimson and Clover” (#7, 1982) and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (#8, 1988).

That’s it for today.  Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Least Thought-Provoking Entry Yet!

Most of the time, my blogs are thought-provoking.  Today’s blog is far from that!

I love donuts and I love roses.

I love glazed, chocolate, and maple-covered.  Don’t forget creme and jelly filled, too.

My favorite roses are orange and yellow, but I love red roses, as well.

Colorful Donuts Roses

So, what do donuts and roses have in common?  I’m sure something, but for today’s blog, it’s nothing more than they both traditionally come in dozens!   But, here I’m featuring more than a “Baker’s Dozen”.

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer and winter’s chill and snow settles in, here are almost two dozen of my favorites that could warm your thoughts this winter.  (I’m kidding!)

March Snow

Now that I think about it, this is skewed toward women and a select number of men.  However, it’s for fun, to prove a point, and to achieve a memorable goal.  (If achieved, I’ll reveal that goal!)

ADAM LEVINE, lead singer of Maroon 5

adam-levine-tattoos

ALEX PETTYFER, actor (“Magic Mike” and “I Am Number Four”)

Alex Pettyfer

ANDREW LINCOLN, actor (“The Walking Dead”)

Andrew Lincoln

BORIS KODJOE, actor (“Undercovers”)

boris-kodjoe-2

CHANNING TATUM, actor (“Magic Mike” and “White House Down”)

ChanningTatum

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS, singer

enrique_iglesias

HUGH JACKMAN, actor (“Les Miserables”, “Real Steel”, and “Swordfish”)

Hugh Jackman

JAMES MARSDEN, actor (“27 Dresses”, “Hop”, and “The 24th Day”)

james-marsden

JONNY LEE MILLER, actor (“Elementary” and “Eli Stone”)

jonny_lee_miller

JOSH WALD, model and skateboarder

Josh Wald

MATT BOMER, actor (“White Collar” and “Magic Mike”)

Matt Bomer

MICHAEL FASSBENDER, actor (“12 Years A Slave”, “Shame”, and “Inglorious Basterds”)

FassbenderObsession

MICHAEL C. HALL, actor (“Dexter”, “Six Feet Under”, and “Kill Your Darlings”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Michael C Hall

MIKE VOGEL, actor (“Under The Dome”, “Bates Motel”, and “Cloverfield”)

600full-mike-vogel

PAUL WALKER, actor (the “Fast & Furious” series  and “Joy Ride”)

Paul Walker

RICKY MARTIN, singer

Ricky-Martin

RYAN GOSLING, actor (“Notebook”, “Drive”, and “The Ides of March”)

Ryan Gosling

SHAWN ASHMORE, actor (“The Following” and “Frozen”)

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

AND TWO ALL-TIME FAVORITES

COREY HART, singer (“Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender”)

Corey+Hart

DAVID DUCHOVNY, actor (“The X-Files”)

David Duchovny

AND, BEHIND EVERY GOOD MAN…

GILLIAN ANDERSON, actress (“The X-Files”)

Gillian Anderson

Gillian David The X-Files

ZOE SOLDANA, actress (“Avatar” and “Star Trek Into Darkness”)

Zoe_Saldana

This is a perfect blog for one of my favorite songs from my club days!

Nicole’s 1986 international smash and Billboard Dance Chart hit, “Don’t You Want My Love”.

“You, you make me hot!  You make my body feel delirious.”

Anthony