Archive for October, 2013

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.

Zurich (49)

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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

Zurich (43)

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.

569

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

Advertisements

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”.

hobby-lobby-jewish-hanukkah-goods

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.”

las-vegas-shows-elton-john

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.

Bates-Motel-Title

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.

Max Thieriotbates-motel-trust-me-vera-farmiga

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

They Said What??? Josh Hutcherson, Liz Cheney, & Wolf Blitzer

“THE HUNGER GAMES” JOSH HUTCHERSON

“Maybe I could say right now I’m 100% straight. But who knows? In a fucking year, I could meet a guy and be like, Whoa, I’m attracted to this person. I’ve met guys all the time that I’m like, Damn, that’s a good-looking guy, you know? I’ve never been, like, Oh, I want to kiss that guy. I really love women. But I think defining yourself as 100% anything is kind of near-sighted and close-minded.”

DEAD OR ALIVE SINGER PETE BURNS

(in a tweet):  “Someone called CHER is on X factor later. Let s see just how much she s copied me this decade :)”

CNN ANCHOR WOLF BLITZER

“If they had three years to get this ready, if they weren’t fully ready, they should accept the advice Republicans are giving them, delay it for a year, get it to work there are health insurance sites that work great.  If they didn’t get it ready in time, make sure to get it right.”

REVEREND GARY HALL

(Dean of the U.S. National Cathedral):  “We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin.  Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin.  Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are.”

MORE HALL

“It’s more than tragic—in fact it’s shameful–that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation, and violence.”

WYOMING REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE LIZ CHENEY

(daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney):  “I am strongly pro-life and I am not pro-gay marriage.  I believe the issue of marriage must be decided by the states, and by the people in the states, not by judges and not even by legislators, but by the people themselves.”

MARY CHENEY

(younger sister of the candidate, who married her partner, Heather Poe in Washington DC last year):  “For the record, I love my sister, but she is dead wrong on the issue of marriage.”

Anthony

You Will Never Be Forgotten

It’s hard to believe it was 15 years ago this week that most of the country and the world first heard the name, Matthew Shepard.

Today marks the 15th anniversary of his death in a Fort Collins, Colorado, hospital after being savagely and brutally beaten five nights earlier in Laramie, Wyoming.

I’m now reading “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed” (2009) written by Matt’s mother, Judy Shepard.

meaning_of_matthew_l

In the past, I’ve written in my blog about Matthew and that horrible night that ended his life prematurely.  Today, I want to share a few things from Judy’s book that I’m reading that touched me.  (All rights reserved by Hudson Street Press)

Judy Shepard

“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.” (Author’s Note by Judy Shepard)

Candlelight Vigil

As candlelight vigils popped up across the country, the Shepard family spent their time focusing on their son, Matt, who was lying in a coma and would never regain consciousness.  Once the ventilator tubes were removed, Matt died in the early morning hours of Monday, October 12, 1998.

Rulon Stacey

About three hours after Matt died, Rulon Stacey, the CEO at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, informed the world that was praying for Matt that he was gone.

“At 12:53 a.m. Matthew Shepard died, his family was at his bedside… He came into the world premature and he left the world premature.  Matthew’s mother said, ‘Go home, give your kids a hug, and don’t let a day go by without telling them you love them.’  Matthew’s family is so grateful that his last words to them were, ‘I love you.'” 

Sadly, there are Matt Shepards out there right now being attacked verbally and physically every day for being gay.  Like Matt, some will die.  But, many will survive and live every day of their lives wondering how some in the world can be so cruel.

As I remember Matt and think of Judy, her husband, Dennis, and their other son, Logan, I want to share what  Judy and Dennis said about Matt in their first press conference through Stacey on October 10, 1998.

“His [Matt] one intolerance is when people don’t accept others as they are.  He has always strongly felt that all people are the same — regardless of their sexual preference, race, or religion.  We know he believes that all of us are part of the same family called humanity, and each and every one of us should treat all people with respect and dignity, and each of us has the right to live a full and rewarding life.  This is one lesson which we are very certain he would share with you, if he could.”

Matthew Shepard

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 11, 2013

The weekend is almost here and if you consider birthdays a big deal, then this weekend is a big deal.

October 13 1965

48 birthday cakes later( symbolically), this Sunday, I’ll enter the last year of my 40s!

While we’ve been trying to eat healthy and exercise in anticipation for our European trip next Friday to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday, I’m not counting calories this weekend.

I plan on stuffing myself with pizza (mostly dessert pizza) and boneless chicken wings at Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport, Iowa, my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities.  And, Sunday, I think I want crab legs and fried chicken at the casino.  However, I won’t be playing slots!

Have yourself a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

REMEMBERING MATTHEW

Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who died five days after being beaten and left for dead tied to wooden fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

Matthew Shepard

Matthew had been robbed, pistol-whipped, tied to the fence for 18 hours, and left to die in 30° Wyoming weather.

When he was found, he had fractures to the back of his head and to the front of his right ear.  Matthew had brain stem damage so severe that doctors could not operate.  He had a dozen or so cuts on his head, face, and neck.  These horrific injuries were inflicted on him because he was gay!

This week and every week, please remember Matt and every person, regardless of their sexuality, gender, race, etc., that are beaten and killed just for who they are.

“NATIONAL COMING OUT” DAY

Today is somewhat a holiday.   While the post offices and the banks won’t be closed, it’s “National Coming Out Day”.

National Coming Out Day

This is a civil awareness day observed all over the world for LGBT people.  It was first held on October 11, 1988, on the one year anniversary of  the “Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights”, a political rally that brought an estimated 200,000 people to the nation’s capital.

Come out, come out wherever you are.  While we have a long way to go (hello Russia and Uganda), the world is a more accepting place these days!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Human Rights Respect Hillary 2016Mood Swings

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIE OSMOND

Prior to this year, I always mentioned that I shared my birthday with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Sadly, the “Iron Lady” passed away this past April at the age of 87.

Margaret Thatcher

Now, I’m proud to say that I share my birthday with singer and entertainer Marie Osmond.  She turns 54 this year.

While I’ve always been aware of her singing career and her musical family, I was really proud of Marie earlier this year when she was chosen as ABC World News’ “Person of the Week”.

She said about her lesbian daughter, Jessica, “I believe in her civil rights, as a mother.  I think that my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life.  She’s a good girl.  She’s a wonderful child.”

Marie & Jessica

These words are coming from an open-minded devout Mormon.  As you probably already know, that religion and its church hasn’t been a leader in diversity, understanding, and compassion toward the LGBT community.  However, they are slowly coming around.

Marie also added, “The God that I believe in is a God of love, not fear” and “I don’t think God made one color flower, I think He made many.”

Happy Birthday Marie!  I hope it’s everything you could imagine.  Thank you for loving God and your daughter.  And, thank you for your support of marriage equality.

National Television Awards - Inside Arrivals

As a singer, Marie has scored ten Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with four of them reaching #1.  She’s has also had three solo Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  With her brother, Donny, she had another six hits on the Hot 100.

Her first release, “Paper Roses”, in 1973, hit #1 on the country chart and it was a crossover hit on the pop chart where it peaked at #5.

And, did you know that Marie turned down the role of Sandy in the “Grease” movie that went to Olivia Newton-John?

MORE BIRTHDAY WISHES

In addition to Marie Osmond, I also share my birthday with “Borat” actor Sasha Baron Cohen (42), David Duchovny’s character Fox Mulder (52) on “The X-Files”, and “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter (56).

Country singer Rhett Akins, who I met back in Lubbock, Texas in 1997, was also born on my birthday.  He turns 44.

September 2013 001

From 1994-1996, Akins scored six Top 40 hits on the country chart including the #1 song, “Don’t Get Me Started”, in 1996 and “That Ain’t My Truck” that reached #3 in 1995.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Former “Grey’s Anatomy” star T.J. Knight, now playing Mercutio in an off-Broadway production of “Romeo & Juliet”, married his longtime boyfriend, Patrick, last week “in an intimate ceremony in front of family and friends” in New York City.

T.J. Knight

Knight’s best friend and former “Grey’s” co-star Katherine Heigl flew in for the wedding.  It’s unknown if she bought a new dress for the wedding or if she wore one of her “27 Dresses” that she is well-known for. 🙂

MORE CONGRATULATIONS…

On the same day that T.J. and Patrick were getting married on the East Coast, a “Glee” start got engaged on the West Coast.

Three-time Emmy nominee Dot-Marie Jones proposed to her girlfriend of three years, Bridgett Casteen, at Gay Days Anaheim near Disneyland Resort’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

DotMarie

The 49-year-old actress who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on “Glee” says, “It’s the happiest day of my life. I never thought I’d find somebody that is so loving and kind.”

Casteen is the mother of two children from a previous marriage.

Congratulations T.J., Patrick, Dot-Marie, and Bridgett!

“I DO”

While we’re talking about marriage and engagements, last weekend I saw an incredible movie from writer and out, sexy actor David W. Ross called “I Do”.

Jack Edwards (Ross) is an English photographer that has been living in New York City since he was teenager.  His brother, Peter, and Peter’s fiancée also live there.

When Jack’s work visa is denied, the only option he feels he has to stay with his family is to enter into a “green card marriage” with his best friend, Ali, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler of “The Sopranos”.

I Do

When the marriage is questioned in a routine investigation from Immigrations and Jack meets Mano, a Spaniard living in New York City, their friendship is tested.

The movie highlights the inequalities that binational gay couples living in the United States face that a married man and woman don’t have to deal with because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States struck down parts of DOMA, things will get better for binational gay couples sooner rather than later.

LGBT families (supposedly) will now be treated the same under immigration law as different-sex immigrant families.

For more on Immigration Equality, check out this website:  http://immigrationequality.org/issues/couples-and-families/faqs-for-binational-couples/#sthash.rEMOy3rc.dpuf

“THE WALKING DEAD”

Sunday is not just my birthday because there’s something bigger going on.  The fourth season of one of the most incredible shows on television kicks off!

The Walking Dead Season 4

Yes, it’s “The Walking Dead”.  While ratings are at an all-time high for the apocalyptic thriller, AMC is working on a spinoff for the 2015 television season.

Robert Kirkman, the writer of “The Walking Dead” comic book and the co-creator of the television show says, “After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of ‘The Walking Dead’ universe.  The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.”

First-Look-Walkers-Makeup-760

Here’s to more blood, gore, walkers, and biters!

PICK HIT

My pick hit today is one of my favorite songs from one of the best albums of 2013.  It’s the fourth single from “Electric” from the Pet Shop Boys.

Pet Shop Boys

Here’s what I wrote about the song when I reviewed the album back in July, ““Thursday” features English rapper Example.  This song would have the best chance of mainstream success in America because it has an updated feel of 1980s club beats, very distinguishable Pet Shop vocals and music, and a strong rap, which is pretty much a staple of many songs played on Top 40 radio these days in the U.S.”

FINISHED “GOLDEN DAYS”

Last week, I mentioned that I started reading my first book in almost five years, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt.

Golden Days

The book was incredible.  It had me tearing up by page five before Vanderbilt shares fun stories of Amy, the golden retriever, and an exciting history of the Cape Cod area.

By the time I got to the final chapter, page 133 of the 143-page book, my heart was breaking and the tears started slowing and I knew I had to be focus since I walking on the treadmill.

Amy reminded me so much of Miss ABBA, my golden that went to “puppy heaven” almost two years ago.  I love the stories of Amy and her sticks, her tennis balls, her treats under the table and the frozen paws in the snow.

Here’s Miss ABBA from Spirit Lake, Iowa, in the summer of 2010.

ABBA Spirit Lake Summer 2010

Miss ABBA, Amy, and all goldens are the most amazing creatures God ever created!

Check this book out if you’ve ever loved a dog like it was human and not just a pet!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Sir Cliff Richard turns 74-years-old next Monday and he’s getting ready to release his 100th album!

While he’s music royalty in his native England, he only hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 nine times.  His first hit reached #30 in 1959 and he last hit the Top 40 in 1981 peaking at #23.  Of those nine hits, three reached the Top Ten.

His biggest hit, “Devil Woman” hit #6 in 1976.

However, “We Don’t Talk Anymore”, which was released in late 1979, became his biggest selling song of all time with five million copies sold.   When the song spent two weeks at #7 in January 1980, Richard became the first artist to reach the Top 40 on the Hot 100 with songs in the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s.

From that video, you can see why this 15-year-old (back in 1980) had the biggest crush on him.  That crush only intensified when he sang a duet, “Suddenly” with Olivia Newton-John later that year!

olivia_newtonjohn_cliff_richard-suddenly

Happy Birthday, Cliff!

Everyone have a great weekend and make the best of it.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

Ready for Popcorn & These Fall Movies

Fall is here and I’m ready to spend the shorter and cooler days with a hot bucket of movie popcorn sitting in a dark theater or all comfy on my couch with home-popped popcorn.

Here are the motion pictures that have piqued my interest as we head into that season.  No, not winter, but Oscar-bait season.

The movies that I want to see in the theater will have trailers and the ones that I’ll likely see, but I’ll wait for the DVD release will have just movie posters.

“C.O.G.”

My first selection is already playing at select theaters across the country and I doubt that it’ll play in the Quad Cities.  So, I’ll be waiting for the DVD release on November 19, 2013 and I’ll buy it to add to my collection.

C.O.G.

The comedy, “C.O.G.”, is the first-ever screen adaptation of the work of writer David Sedaris.  It stars Jonathan Groff (“Glee”), Denis O’ Hare (“American Horror Story”), and Troian Bellisario (“Pretty Little Liars”).

WAITING FOR THE DVD RELEASE

As much as I love Lady Gaga and “Modern Family” seductress Sofia Vergara, I’ll wait to see “Machete Kills” (release date:  10/11) on DVD, just in case it’s so bad I’m only out $1.20 at Redbox.

Machete-Kills-Lady-GagaMACHETE KILLS

The latest thriller starring Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips” (release date:  10/11) is based on a true story of Somali Pirates taking over the “Maersk Alabama” in 2009.  The film, which is already getting Oscar buzz, is directed by Paul Greengrass (“United 93”).

Captain Phillips

And, as much as I love Julianne Moore and Chloe Grace Moretz, I’ll be waiting to watch the remake of the Stephen King classic, “Carrie” (release date:  10/18) at home on DVD.

The new version is directed by Kimberly Peirce, who was behind the incredible “Boys Don’t Cry” in 1999.  That movie earned Hillary Swank her first Oscar, as Brandon Teena, a murdered transgender man.

Carrie

Here are the movies that I’m marking my calendar to see in theaters.

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS”

Now that “Dexter” has ended its eight season run on Showtime, I have to get my Michael C. Hall fix somewhere.

Kill Your Darlings

I get that in “Kill Your Darlings” (limited release:  10/16), which also stars Daniel Radcliffe (“Harry Potter”) and Dane DeHaan (“Chronicle”).

It’s based on the murder of David Kammerer (Hall) by Lucien Carr (DeHaan) in 1944.  It also brings the great beat generation poets Allen Ginsberg (Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs (Ben Foster) together.

“12 YEARS A SLAVE”

12 Years A Slave

The star of “12 Years A Slave” (release date:  10/18) that is getting heavy Oscar buzz is Chiwetel Ejifor.

He plays a free black man who was sold into slavery after he was lured away from his home in Saratoga Springs, New York in 1841.  He was forced to work on a Louisiana plantation for 12 years before his release.

The movie also stars sexy Michael Fassbender as an evil plantation owner, along with Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Alfre Woodard, Sarah Paulson, Paul Giamatti, and Quvenzhane Wallis.

“DALLAS BUYERS CLUB”

Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are garnering the best reviews of their acting career for their upcoming drama, “Dallas Buyers Club” (release date:  11/1), which is based on a true story.

Dallas Buyers Club

McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a drug using, womanizing, homophobic man who was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1986 and given only thirty days to live.  It tells the story of how he began smuggling non-toxic, alternative medicines from all over the world, thus forming the “Dallas Buyers Club”.

For his part, McConaughey lost around 40-50 pounds and his co-star, Leto lost 30-40 pounds to play Rayon, an HIV-positive transgendered woman, who became business partners with Woodroof.

This isn’t the first time that Leto has significantly altered his body for a part.  Check out this photo of him playing Mark David Chapman, the man who murdered John Lennon in December 1980.

Jared Leto - Mark David Chapman

In that movie, “Chapter 27” from 2007, Leto gained 67 pounds!  And, it’s disgusting how he did it.  He would drink microwaved ice cream by the pints that was mixed with olive oil and soy sauce every night!

I expect that both McConaughey and Leto will get several nominations in this upcoming awards season!

“THE HUNGER GAMES:  CATCHING FIRE”

There isn’t much I have to say about the second installment of Katniss Everdeen fighting for her life in “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” (release date:  11/22).

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

Gretel has read all three books and she’s excited to see this one.

“AMERICAN HUSTLE”

American Hustle

This movie (limited release 12/13; wide release 12/25) has the “Midas Touch”.

It’s directed by David O. Russell, who was nominated for a Best Director Oscar for “Silver Linings Playbook” last year.  That movie earned “American Hustle” star Jennifer Lawrence an Academy Award and a nomination for her co-stars Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, who are both back in this film.

It also stars Oscar winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter) and four-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams, who was also in Russell’s “The Fighter” in 2010, which earned him another directing Oscar nomination!

“AUGUST:  OSAGE COUNTY”

This black comedy-drama (release date:  12/25) has Oscar written all over it.

august_osage_county

It stars Oscar’s favorite Meryl Streep as a woman with oral cancer that develops an addiction to drugs and Oscar winner Julia Roberts as her daughter.

So, I have my movie rewards card ready to sit in the dark, stare up at the big screen, and stuff myself with popcorn and Coke Zero.  Now, you know what movies excite me this fall and Oscar season.

And, the Oscar goes to….

Anthony