Archive for January, 2014

“Born Round”

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.

Born Round

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 .

Frank Bruni Born Round

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.

GRADE:  A-

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 17, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/random-friday-thoughts-january-17-2014/

“American Hustle”

Last week, you learned that the Israeli drama/love story, “Out in The Dark”, was my favorite movie of 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I’m already starting to compile my best of 2014 list and the first theatrical movie I checked out was “American Hustle”.

American Hustle

The movie, directed by David O. Russell, stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who Russell directed in “The Fighter” and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook”, which was also directed by Russell.

“American Hustle” is loosely based on a FBI undercover operation back in the  late-1970s and early-1980s involving crooked politicians.

All four stars were incredible in the movie and gave Oscar worthy performances.

I think Adams has a Best Actress nomination secured and Lawrence could very well be nominated in the Supporting Actress category.  Her nutty character was funny and heartbreaking.

GRADE:  A-

HOLLYWOOD, LISTEN TO ME!

I’ve now seen Jennifer Lawrence in five movies and she’s been captivating in every one of them.

jennifer-lawrence

I believe every movie should star Lawrence and Melissa Leo, who I hope Oscar remembers in mid-January when the nominations are announced.  She was phenomenal in “Prisoners”.

Melissa Leo Prisoners

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/random-friday-thoughts-january-3/

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.

Lobster Tank

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.

Black Rhino

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.”

rhino-hunt-auction

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.

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 17, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/random-friday-thoughts-january-17-2014/

 

“You’re Next”, “Fruitvale Station”, & “The Family”

Winter is a perfect time to rent movies and many are coming out on DVD just in time for Oscar season.  We rented a few lately and one was fun, one could have been an Oscar contender, and one should have been nominated for the Razzie Awards!

“THE FAMILY”

And, that Razzie Award worthy movie is “The Family”.

Avoid.  Skip.  Pass.

The Family

There isn’t much I can say good about this movie other than I love Michelle Pfeiffer — in other movies.

This $30 million movie made $62.8 million last fall and I’m sorry to those that paid more than $1.20 to rent it from Redbox.  I wonder if I could get my dollar back?

GRADE:  D

“YOU’RE NEXT”

This psychological thriller/horror movie was more fun than I expected it to be and it had plenty of twists throughout that made it exciting to watch.

You're Next

A large family gathers in a quaint, wooded, secluded home.  Unbeknownst to them, their closest neighbors were both murdered and the killers are on the loose.

At dinner, the mother tells her sons, her daughter, and their significant others (wife, girlfriend, and boyfriend) that she’s happy that the family is all together.  Of course, there is friction between two brothers and an argument ensues.

The boyfriend of the daughter walks away from the argument and while looking out the window, he is killed by an arrow that flies through the shattered glass window.  From there, mayhem takes over with plenty of spilled blood and gore as animal-masked killers off the group one by one.  Some of the family are so annoying that you want them to die!

Youre-Next-2013-Pics

Australian actress Sharni Vinson is definitely the star of the movie and I rooted for her to live to the end.

Youre-Next-Vinson

GRADE:  B

“FRUITVALE STATION”

This movie, starring Michael B. Jordan and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer, is based on a real life tragedy that took place in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day in 2009 in Oakland, California.

Fruitvale Station

Jordan, in a compelling and heart-wrenching performance, plays Oscar Grant III, a troubled 22-year-old who had been in jail, had gotten fired from his supermarket job, and was determined to change his life for his girlfriend and little girl, Tatiana.

On New Year’s Eve, Oscar was out ringing in the new year with his girlfriend and their friends and were on their way home.  They took public transportation and a fight broke out on the train.  The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police took Oscar and his friends off the train and detained them on the platform at Fruitvale.

Fruitvale_BARTshooting_620x350

While handcuffed and on his stomach, a shot was fired from a policeman’s gun hitting Oscar in the back.

In a weaker Academy Award field, Jordan could have been nominated for Best Actor this year.  While watching him, you felt the failure that Oscar was feeling and you sensed that he was going to make an effort to better his life.

Spencer was so moving as his mother when she was holding on to faith that her son would survive and you wanted to cry along with her at the guilt she felt by convincing Oscar and his friends to take the train instead of driving if they were going to be partying.

GRADE:  B+

Anthony

More Snow & Much Colder This Week

After hitting 43° in the Quad Cities Sunday with beautiful sunshine, much colder air is on the way for much of this week with some snow.

The first round of snow will arrive later today and tonight.

Accumulations will be around 1-2″ north and northeast of the Quad Cities and around 2-3″ from the Quad Cities southward.

Let’s put this into perspective.  Before this snow even arrives, the Quad Cities (officially, in Moline) has already picked up 28.4″ of snow this winter.  In a typical winter, we see 31.6″ of snow.

For January, we’re up to 13.6″ of snow.  The average for January is 9.4″!

Prior to today’s snow event, we’re only 3.1″ away from this being one of the ten snowiest Januarys on record in the Quad Cities.

More light snow or flurries are in the forecast Wednesday and, again, Friday night and Saturday morning.

Much Colder

Bitterly cold air barges back in tonight through much of the rest of the week.

Overnight lows through Friday morning will be below zero and daytime highs  Tuesday and Thursday will only be in the single digits!

Bundle up and brace yourself for the next dose of winter weather!

Anthony

“Bridegroom”

I’ve blogged about the love story of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom several times and, last weekend, we watched the documentary “Bridegroom” by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the powerhouse behind “Designing Women”.

NETFLIX POSTER

It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or LGBT, the story of Shane and Tom meeting, falling in love and traveling the world, Tom’s accidental death, and Shane not being able to attend the funeral in Indiana because of Tom’s family’s homophobia is touching and heartbreaking.

While watching this 80-minute documentary, you don’t feel that you’re watching a gay love story, you sense that you’re watching the love between two friends grow.  Simply, it’s a love story of two people.

If you’re opposed to marriage equality, this might open your eyes to see why it’s so important in this country and the world that everyone that falls in love should have the right to marry.  If you’re on the fence, I sense that you’ll want to find out how to make marriage legal for everyone.

“Bridegroom” is a must see!  As the credits rolled, I wished that I had known Tom and I hope that Shane can find that same love again.

GRADE:  A+

Anthony

Re-posted from:  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 10, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/random-friday-thoughts-january-10-2014/

2014 Concerts

We’re more than halfway through the first month of the new year and I’ve made no travel plans and I’ve bought no concert tickets.  However, there are shows I want to see.

If it all works out, I want to visit Las Vegas in 2014 and see a double feature of Shania Twain and Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”, which is earning rave reviews since it started last Friday night.

Shania1Britney

More than likely, the first show we’ll see this year will be Cher and her “Dressed To Kill” tour when it comes to Rosemont, outside Chicago, on June 7th.

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

I’d also like to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis’ “Grits & Glamour Tour” in Clinton, Iowa, in June, since I’ve seen both of them separately in concert.

Lorrie-Morgan-and-Pam-Tillis-(Grits-&-Glamour-Tour)

I also want to see Erasure next fall and Olivia Newton-John, if she tours.

Erasure

Olivia

And, I’m still holding out for a Culture Club reunion tour.

culture-club

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/random-friday-thoughts-january-3/