Another weekend is here and I’m taking advantage of this one to relax.
While it will feel like summer Friday with highs in the 80s, storms Friday night and Saturday will cool us off. By Sunday, highs only in the 50s and morning lows in the 30s to around 40° are likely. This will be the coolest day in the Quad Cities since Memorial Day weekend.
So, I’m thinking a big pot of chili for comfort food, popcorn, watching the first season of “Bates Motel”, and enjoying a nice fire in the fireplace with champagne!
Here are my random thoughts this week. Whether you agree or disagree, let me know!
POSTAGE STAMP INCREASE… AGAIN?
To my friends that work for the United States Postal Service (USPS), I hope things work out for you. With that being said, I’m on the verge of cutting my last ties with the mail service!
The USPS is proposing ANOTHER first-class stamp increase from 46 to 49 cents in January 2014 to try to offset its loss of $6 billion dollars this year.
I only use stamps once a year at Christmas when I mail out about 150 holiday cards. I love sending Christmas cards and wishes each year and I wouldn’t mind paying the extra three cents for a stamp if I felt the USPS was serious about trying to save its floundering business.
Why do we still have Saturday mail delivery? Think of how much money could be saved without that service (The Postmaster General has even asked that Saturday mail delivery be cut for most customers, which would save an estimated $2 billion per year)!
If people really needed to mail something on Saturday, there are substations in many grocery stores and other businesses.
So, if you’re on my Christmas mailing list, this may be the last card you get from me! And, if you haven’t seen them yet, here are two of the new Christmas stamps for 2013.
ERASURE CHRISTMAS ALBUM UPDATE
Three weeks ago, I blogged about Erasure’s first Christmas album, “Snow Globe”, coming out in the U.S. on November 12th.
Here’s a first listen to Andy and Vince on “Silent Night”.
ANOTHER EMMY AWARDS THOUGHT
If you, like me, were not one of the 17.6 million people watching the Primetime Emmy Awards two Sundays ago, you missed Michael Douglas winning the Best Actor award for playing Liberace in “Behind The Candelabra” (if you want to read more about the movie from my blog last week, type in “Liberace” in the blog search engine in the top right).
In his acceptance speech, Douglas looked down to his co-star, Matt Damon, who was also nominated, and said, “You really deserve half of this. So, you want the bottom or the top? Top? I figured that!” Too funny!
If you’ve seen the movie, you know what he’s talking about since it’s part of pivotal scene. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it wouldn’t take much to figure it out. 🙂
COULD THERE BE EMMY CONFUSION NEXT YEAR?
The hit Netflix series, “Orange Is The New Black” is a critical and fan favorite.
The series focuses on Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a Connecticut woman living in New York City, who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her former lover ten years ago.
The series also stars Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset. Sophia is a transgender woman who’s in prison for credit-card fraud and she’s the hairdresser for many of the inmates. Outside of the prison walls, she has a son with her wife, Crystal.
Cox, the actress that plays Sophia is also transgender in real life.
If Cox gets the attention of Emmy votes, would they be progressive (and educated) enough to nominate her in the right category of Outstanding Supporting Actress?
ACRONYMS & LABELS CAN BE CONFUSING
Back in the day, there was the “gay community”, which covered both gays and lesbians. But, then as society began to educate itself on sexual orientation and sexual identity, a couple more terms, bisexual and transgender were added to that community.
So, when you see “LGBT”, it refers to people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (those who deviate from their assigned gender at birth, including transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, and others).
In the coming months and years, there will be more and more court cases and publicity around transgender men and women. Advocates are working harder to ensure that someone born with a penis, but has always identified as being female, is not discriminated against and called a “man”. This blurs lines and it’s not cut and dry or one or the other.
I’m bringing this up because I was reading an article last week and it was about a person that was identified as “genderqueer trans masculine person”. While it would take some thought to figure that one out, I have a simple solution. Just refer to this human as a “person” and love them just the same.
While it’s easy to label someone, the shoe doesn’t always fit.
As for me, you can call me “gay”. However, I don’t like the term “homosexual”. To me, that sounds like a medical term from before 1973 when being gay was still considered a “mental disorder.”
MOST POWERFUL 5 MINUTES TO SIMPLIFY MY LAST COMMENTS
While those terms I just described can label a person, it does so with class. As we all know, there are other hurtful terms that people use to identity people in the LGBT community.
Check out this incredible, heart-wrenching video, “Define Me”, from New York City singer and songwriter, Ryan Amador, along with Jo Lampert.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
EUROPE IS ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY NOW!
With that last “Food For Thought” in mind, Ray and I have to work very hard over the next two weeks to get to a chosen, acceptable weight as we embark on our first European cruise to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday this past August.
When Betty was here recently, I had five buffets in four nights and then last week we celebrated my sister’s birthday by eating out and having cake!!!
Our goal is to lose five to ten pounds before October 18th, which is also the date of my annual physical. I guess this means other than a pizza buffet for my upcoming birthday, all buffets will be put off until November. 🙂
“WORK BITCH” OR “WORK WORK”?
Britney Spears is racing up the chart with the first release from her new studio album that comes out on December 3rd. The video debuted earlier this week.
Two versions of the song were serviced to pop stations across the country. One changes the title, which is said many times in the song, from “Work Bitch” to “Work Work”. Here in the Quad Cities, one station is playing the “Bitch” version (my preference) and one is playing the sanitized “Work Work” version.
KHHM program director Pattie Moreno says, “Britney, can you please put out a record out without the word ‘bitch’ in it? Please, can you help a girl out?” (If you recall, her last hit, “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am, featured Brit Brit saying her classic line, “It’s Britney, Bitch”.)
However, WNOW New York PD Gillette is playing the original version and adds, “‘Bitch’ is not a dirty word. “No complaints so far. Plus, it’s a great dance track.”
I have one to say, “you’d better work”. Oh wait, that’s another song!
The bottom line is “It’s Britney, Bitch”!
“PRISONERS”, “DON JON”, & “LOOSE CANNONS”
Two new big movies hit theaters this weekend. There’s “Gravity”, which already has Oscar buzz for star Sandra Bullock. The sci-fi thriller also stars George Clooney. Also, “Runner Runner”, a thriller with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, makes its wide release debut.
If those movies don’t appeal to you, I have a couple of suggestions. We saw a double feature last weekend of “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.
If you want a psychological thriller that will make you cringe and eat your popcorn nervously, check out “Prisoners” with Academy Award nominees Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard, along with Oscar winner Melissa Leo.
The movie focuses on the disappearance of two little girls on Thanksgiving Day and what lengths one desperate parent (Jackman) would go to get a confession out of the suspect, Alex (Paul Dano).
In a weaker Oscar race year, I think that Jackman would have a chance for a nomination. But, with many buzzed about performances coming up before Christmas, I’m thinking he’ll just have to relish his nomination last year for “Les Miserables”.
However, I think Melissa Leo could get nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Alex’s religious aunt.
This directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay, is a solid effort. While porno movies and masturbation play an integral part in the comedy, it’s really a love story!
In no way am I a prude, however, the first part of movie made me think that I was watching some “adults only” site online and it started out as a strong “R-rated” movie that bordered on “NC-17”.
In the movie, Gordon-Levitt plays Jon Martello, a New Jersey bartender that loves God, his family, his apartment, his car, his boys, his girls. and his porn. He’s totally satisfied with one-night stands and fulfilling his sex life “alone” until he meets the perfect woman, Barbara, played with perfection by Scarlett Johansson.
He loves his movies (porn) and she loves her movies (romantic comedies). Once they start spending the night together, she discovers that he likes to, um, be alone in the other room after they have intimate time together. She gives him an ultimatum — her or the porn.
Again, it sound very adult in nature and it is. But, the bottom line, it’s a comedy that has heart and it’s a love story.
While entertaining, you could definitely wait and see it on DVD.
“Loose Cannons” (Mine Vaganti ) is a critically acclaimed 2010 Italian comedy that is just now coming out on DVD in the United States.
It focuses on the Cantones, a pasta making family in conservative southern Italy. At a family dinner one night, the youngest son, Tommaso, is going to “come out” to his family. Before he does, his older brother, Antonio, who runs the factory announces to his family that he’s gay!
Their father has a heart attack at the table and he kicks Antonio out of the house and the business.
While there’s plenty of secrets and drama, this is a comedy.
It’s also an award-winning movie. It was nominated for 13 David di Donatello Awards (the Italian equivalent to the American Oscar), including Best Film. The film picked up two awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
PICK HIT OF THE WEEK
Okay, this week, today’s selection is more of a featured song than a pick hit. It’s from the movie, “Loose Cannons”.
I fell in love with the song, “Una Notte a Napoli” by the Portland, Oregon, band, Pink Martini, featuring vocalist China Forbes, who is the cousin of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
The song was featured on their second album, “Hang On Little Tomato” from 2004, which is sung in seven different languages!
I’M FINALLY READING A BOOK!
For years, my magazines have been stacking up.
I finally organized all of the “Rolling Stone”, “Time”, “Men’s Health”, “Details”, and “Boston Magazine” issues and read the stories that appealed to me. Since those subscriptions expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “The Advocate”, “Instinct”, and “Out”. (I just ordered “Time” again!)
Since I’m totally caught up on magazines until the new “EW” arrives later today, I grabbed the book, “Golden Days: Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt to read.
I bought the 1999 book shortly after its release when Miss ABBA, my late golden, was just a puppy. I think it’s finally time to read it!
Since I haven’t read a book in five years, I don’t think the 143-page story of Amy, a New England golden retriever and the bonds she formed with her people, will overwhelm me!
Actress Betty White says of the book, “Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a golden retriever, one’s life and one’s outlook are never quite the same again. A warm afterglow remains that lasts a lifetime. The author is fluent in that language.”
PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK
The Beatles’ John Lennon would have turned 73 next week on October 9th.
Outside of the Beatles, Lennon, as a solo artist, scored 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.
Of those hits, two reached the top of the charts: 1974’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” and “(Just Like) Starting Over”, which was released in October 1980, but it reached #1 three weeks after Lennon was murdered outside his apartment in New York City on December 8, 1980, at the age of 40.
“Nobody Told Me” reached #5 on the Hot 100 in 1984 more than three years after he died, marking his last Top 40 chart appearance.
Happy Birthday, John! Your wisdom and your humanity are greatly missed in today’s world.
Have yourself a great weekend and make the most of it. We’re spending it with Norman and Norma Bates.