I definitely look forward to my weekends and I start counting down to them when I walk into the door at work at 2 a.m. on Mondays!
I hope you have a great weekend and that you have some fun or relaxing things to do. My plans are to watch movies, go out to lunch Saturday, and attend the Red Ribbon Dinner, which is a local AIDS fundraiser, Saturday night.
Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.
THRILL KILL ON AUCTION
I know there are people who go into grocery stores or seafood restaurants and choose their lobster dinner from a tank of live crustaceans.
I would never do that since I don’t want to look at my dinner eye-to-eye. However, I can understand that more (sorry, lobster) than going to a charity auction and bidding hundreds of thousands of dollars to stalk and kill an endangered animal for fun.
This past weekend, in Texas, at the Dallas Safari Club’s fundraiser, the winning bidder paid $350,000 to hunt down and execute an endangered African black rhino in the African nation of Namibia.
The executive director of the club, Ben Carter, claims that the money from the auction will actually go toward protecting the species.
Carter adds that the doomed rhino “is old, male and non-breeding” and it would likely be targeted for execution because it’s “becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.”
Protestors are not buying that and see the thrill kill as sadistic and I agree.
However, I disagree with “death threats” that are allegedly being made against Carter, his family, and the Safari Club. One of them states, “For every rhino you kill, we will kill a member of the club.”
In the 1960s, there were about 70,000 black rhinos in the wild and now there about 5,000.
I just finished reading my second book of 2014 and well on my way of surpassing the four that I read last year. I’ve been wanting to read “Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater” by Frank Bruni for some time now.
The book traces Bruni’s New York upbringing in a close-knit large Italian family where the women loved to cook and made it an art.
Describing all of the delicacies his mother, grandmother, and aunts created, it was like reading a “food porn” book.
The main focus of the book was that while Frank was a swimmer and athletic, he was compulsive when it came to food.
He was always fighting being overweight with one fad diet after another. This lead to periods of fasting, binge eating and bulimia, and ballooning up to 268 pounds before he finally took charge of his life and took exercise seriously to responsibly lose the weight .
Once he slimmed down and became fit, Bruni became a restaurant critic for the New York Times.
For five years (2004-2009), he would eat out seven nights a week. On some of those nights, he would have two or three dinners at some of the most talked about and higher class restaurants in New York. Those meals consisted of multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts, and some of the feasts would consists of 20 courses or more!
The book also covers his relationships and during the period of his heaviest weight, the lack of having a boyfriend.
These days, Bruni still works for the Times and he looks amazing.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
OSCAR NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED
While the next few entries are Oscar-related, there are other topics in this blog, so keep reading.
“American Hustle” and “”Gravity” lead this year’s Oscar race with 10 nominations each. “12 Years a Slave” picked up 9 nominations.
I accurately predicted that all four main actors in “American Hustle” would get nominated. I also picked Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to get acting nominations. I correctly thought that “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and Oprah Winfrey would be snubbed, along with Robert Redford for “All Is Lost”.
“AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY”
My apologies go out to Amy Adams (five time Oscar nominee with no wins, so far) and Jennifer Lawrence (three Oscar nominations and one win, so far). Both blew me away in “American Hustle”.
I was pledging my support for them to win until yesterday when I saw “August: Osage County” with fellow Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep and Best Supporting Actress nominee Julia Roberts.
Watching this downer of a movie, I can fully understand how Streep picked up her 18th nomination (three wins, so far) and Roberts got her fourth nomination (one win for “Erin Brockovich”).
The material in this movie adapted from the Tracy Letts’ play is heavy: suicide, oral cancer, infidelity, incest, and inappropriate sexual misconduct with a minor. However, the acting was incredible. In addition to Oscar nominees Streep and Roberts, it also stars past Oscar nominees and winners, Sam Shepard, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, and Abigail Breslin.
You have to see this movie! You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and most of all, you’ll want to scream, “Eat the fish, bitch”! (If you haven’t seen the movie, that’s dialogue from a pivotal scene.)
CONGRATULATIONS MATTHEW & JARED
I’m happy that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were nominated for Oscars after both won much-deserved acting awards at last weekend’s Golden Globes for their incredible performances in the AIDS-themed, “Dallas Buyers Club”.
I’ve blogged about the incredible movie many times and it was #3 favorite movie of 2013. It’s also nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.
Just in case you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is.
“LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER”
While I was hoping for Oprah Winfrey to get an Academy Award nomination for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”, once I saw the movie a couple of days ago, she had only one scene that screamed Oscar.
When this $30 million movie came out late last summer (it grossed $167.5 million), I wanted to go see in the theaters. But, I waited for it to arrive on DVD and I’m glad I did.
The movie covers the life of Cecil Gaines, an African-American, who left the South as a cotton picker and then worked 34 years as a butler in the White House under eight presidents.
Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”) gives an solid performance as Cecil and Academy Award-nominee Oprah Winfrey (“The Color Purple”) is amazing as Cecil’s boozy wife, Gloria.
While the movie is intense at the beginning on the cotton field where Cecil worked as a child with his parents, the rest of the movie over the next two hours moved along like a “best of” countdown of historical events and the presidents that handled them during Gaines’ year of working at the White House.
The most moving scenes were of disgusts at how white people treated black people and the whites that supported their fight for civil rights back in the 1960s.
And, as a final note, Jane Fonda was an incredible Nancy Reagan.
When the movie was in theaters, the controversies surrounded Fonda, a liberal playing one of the most beloved conservative first wives in history, and Fonda’s days that go back to the Vietnam when she was referred to as “Hanoi Jane”. There was even a movie theater in Kentucky that refused to the play “The Butler” because of Fonda. (Go figure! I can say that because I’m from there.)
HOLY F*#K SCORSESE
Martin Scorsese’s latest, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, received major Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), and Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill). While the movie isn’t exactly setting box office records, it does hold one motion picture record.
The $100 million dollar movie about excess is also excessive on the use of the f-word.
There are 506 uses of the f-word or variations of it. That easily beats out Spike Lee’s 1999 thriller, “Summer of Sam” with 435 f-bombs.
Only a documentary called “F*ck”, which is about the f-word, is higher in count at 857 times.
Scorsese also has two other movies in the top twenty on the list: “Casino” at 422 and “Goodfellas” with 300.
And, I thought I used the word a lot! Either it’s a popular word (my theory) or Hollywood writers are not very creative. No comment about the number of remakes and sequels when it comes to creativity!
SO FAR, SO GOOD
We’re now halfway through the month of January and I’m happy to report that Ray and I are doing well on our healthy eating and exercise regiment to shed those 15-20 unwanted pounds.
And, we’re treating ourselves one cheat brunch or buffet each week including this one last Sunday with unlimited mimosas and a piece of cheesecake that I decorated myself!
During my first week of being healthy, I lost 3.2 pounds! It’s taken a lot of self-control of cutting back on wine and vodka (and food), making fun, tempting salads and veggies, and walking a lot on the treadmill. At least, I’m getting some reading done!
Better Homes & Gardens (July 2013): The average American will walk 35,000 miles in a lifetime and will watch nine years of television!
And, speaking of television, I only watch three network shows, “The Following”, “Hannibal”, and “Under The Dome”, and one of them returns this weekend.
“THE FOLLOWING” SEASON 2 PREMIERE
I guess I’ll be tired Monday morning at work because the second season of “The Following” kicks off this Sunday night (January 19) after the football game on Fox.
“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”
Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music from our AM radio station, WNGO, 1320 AM in Mayfield.
One of my favorite songs as a kid was the first hit from the St. Louis, Missouri, father-daughter duo, The Kendalls, Royce and Jeannie.
“Heaven’s Just A Sin Away” not only became the Kendalls first hit in 1977, it also became the biggest hit of their career topping the country chart for four weeks and reaching #69 on the Billboard Hot 100.
It also won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal by a Duo or Group.
From 1977 to 1985, the Kendalls scored 22 hits on the Billboard Country chart. Of those, 11 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts: “Heaven;s Just A Sin Away”, “Sweet Desire” in 1978, and “Thank God For the Radio” in 1984, which Alan Jackson also recorded for his 1994 album, “Who I Am”.
Royce Kendall died of stroke in 1998 at the age of 62. Jeannie still occasionally records music and tours.
THAT’S IT FOR NOW
Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my blog. It was nice sleeping in. I was just dreaming that we moved to a different house and that Gretel and I got to meet international superstar DJ, Avicii.
So, at the last minute, I’m including his current Top 40 American hit, “Hey Brother”, the follow-up to the top five smash, “Wake Me Up”.