It’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2014 are already behind us. I sure hope that with March starting this weekend that spring can’t be too far behind. With that being said, enjoy the snowy weekend. Here are my random thoughts for this week.
DISGUSTED WITH UGANDA
This past Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that makes being gay punishable by life in prison. Before this week, a gay person faced 14 years of jail time.
Museveni had been going back and forth over the issue and just last week he said that gay people were “sick” and needed treatment and not imprisonment.
He added that this is necessary because of the arrogance of Westerners promoting behavior that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.
Here’s a reality check for you, President Museveni: my being gay and open about it does not threaten the “way of life” in your nation (and the other 37 African countries that make it illegal to be gay). What you should be threatened by is losing the $1.6 billion aid that you received in 2011 from the United States!
UGANDAN AID BEING CUT
In wake of Museveni signing that law, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands were the first three countries to cut aid to the Ugandan government.
Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, reports that Norway and Denmark will donate money directly to human rights groups now and not the government there.
The news service also reports that the U.K. is making changes. It will now only send money to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organizations in Uganda.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT — ARIZONA
Normally, in this segment, I don’t add commentary. But, this week, I must.
Wednesday night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 that would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service based on religion, especially toward the LGBT community.
While I applaud Governor Brewer for vetoing it, in my heart, I feel that she did it because of the money Arizona stood to lose and not because it was the right thing to do.
Today’s “Food For Thought” is for the 17 Senators and the 33 Representatives that voted for the ill-fated and bad SB 1062 in the first place!
The critically acclaimed and ratings challenged NBC series based on the Thomas Harris novel, “Red Dragon”, returns tonight (February 28th).
For the 2 million people in the U.S. that were still watching the series for the June finale last year, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) had done his part to drive FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) mad and Will was jailed for murder.
If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.
“Entertainment Weekly” and NBC released this two-minute opening teaser for tonight’s premiere. Let me warn you, it’s awesome and violent. It also makes you wonder what led up to this scene because once you watch it, you know they will flash back to let you know how this transpired!
“EW” definitely likes the season 2 premiere!
For the thirteen episodes this season, I really hope that we see much more of Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychotherapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!
I can’t get enough of my crush, Gillian Anderson!
BREAKING NEWS…. MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND
Remember, I’m only the messenger. But, in reality, I’m shooting for 70″ this winter and the all-time record!
This is where we stand right now before any snow falls today, tomorrow, and Sunday in the Quad Cities.
Light snow is on the way later this evening and tonight. This first wave will be gone by daybreak Saturday. Accumulations will generally be less than an inch for most of us. Northern hometowns near the Wisconsin border may see a little more — closer to 2″.
More snow is on the way Saturday afternoon into early Sunday night.
Here is how much snow I’m expecting from Friday evening through Sunday night. This snow will be falling over a three-day period and not all at once!
‘Tis the season! Yes, it’s still winter!
Obviously some in Duluth, Minnesota, look at snow differently than we do in the Quad Cities!
Duluth has had about 84″ of snow this winter and there’s still about 29″ on the ground.
Snow? I didn’t notice snow in the video!
OSCAR WEEKEND 2014
I’ll be staying up past my bedtime Sunday to watch some or all of this year’s Oscars with host Ellen DeGeneres.
While I’ll post my Oscar picks for all 24 categories Sunday morning, including Best Picture, I’ll touch on a few here.
After seeing the incredible performances of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both nominated this year, for “August: Osage County”, I wanted them both to win. Their performances were flawless.
However, I don’t think either will take home the Oscar.
Although I haven’t seen “Gravity” yet, I don’t want Sandra Bullock to win, as much as I love her. Yes, I’m still jaded that she beat Meryl for “The Blind Side”. Meryl’s Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” was much more deserving.
For Best Actress, Cate Blanchett will win for her devastating and heartbreaking performance in “Blue Jasmine”.
I also pick Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey to win for “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Actor”, respectively, for their incredible performances in “Dallas Buyers Club”.
My other 21 winning picks will be revealed Sunday!
“BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD”
Last weekend, we watched two more of the late, great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s movies, “The Savages” and “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”.
Both were amazing and I highly recommend them for different reasons.
“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” was released in 2007 and was director’s Sidney Lumet’s last movie before his death in 2011.
The $18 million dollar crime drama barely made its money back at the theaters ($25 million), but it was highly entertaining and it kept you guessing as to how it would end.
Hoffman played Andy, a finance executive at a New York City real estate firm, who was embezzling money from the company to help support his drug use. In a scary case of real-life deja vu, it was hard watching Hoffman shooting up drugs.
He devises a plan with his brother Hank (Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke) to knock off a small mom & pop jewelry store, which would net them about $120,000. As you can guess, things don’t go as planned.
The movie also stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney.
I have a warning and a spoiler about the movie: I’ll never get the image of Hoffman’s naked butt, while having sex with his wife, in the opening scene out of my mind — ever!!!!
We also watched Hoffman’s 2011 family dramedy, “The Savages”, which earned co-star Laura Linney an Oscar nomination. The movie was also nominated for Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Tamara Jenkins.
Hoffman and Linney star as a couple of single New Yorkers, who have to come up with a plan to take care of their estranged elderly father suffering from dementia in Arizona.
While the subject matter is heavy at times, it’s also heartwarming and funny. I’m a huge fan of Laura Linney, so it was a pleasure seeing her in the movie.
The movie was produced by Academy Award winner Alexander Payne, who’s up for an Oscar this year for directing “Nebraska”.
With these two movies, I’ve now seen ten Hoffman movies: “Twister” (1996), “Boogie Nights” (1997 — his Scotty J. was heartbreaking), “Happiness” (1998 — a sad, creepy performance in an amazing movie that made you want to shower after watching it), “Magnolia” (1999), “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999), “Red Dragon” (2002 — slimy, sleazy, but unforgettable as Freddy Lounds), “Doubt” (2008 — touching and worthy of the Oscar nomination), and “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire” (2013).
“Take Me Home” by the dance band, Cash Cash, featuring vocals from Bebe Rexha is my pick hit of the week.
While the song has already reached the Top Ten in Australia and on the Billboard Dance chart, it only reached #64 on the Hot 100.
However, it’s one of the 20 most played songs right now on Top 40 radio stations in the U.S.
It’s still a great song to get your weekend off to a fun start.
“MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES”
I’m almost done with Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” nine-book series. Over the past week, I read books seven and eight, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “Mary Ann in Autumn”, respectively.
If you’re familiar with the series, Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”) is one of the original tenants of Mrs. Madrigal’s 28 Barbary Lane.
It’s now 2005, almost thirty years since the first book. Michael is no longer a youngster from Orlando, Florida, living in San Francisco’s Castro. He’s now married to a younger man about 20 years his junior. It’s a very happy union.
The bleakness from the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, is gone, even when we learn of an original “Tales” character’s death to cancer and the death of a loved one closer to Michael.
Also, the book is told in first person from Michael, which is a departure from the third person story telling of the previous six books.
“Michael Tolliver Lives” is one of my favorite books of the “Tales” series.
At the end of “Michael Tolliver Lives”, Mary Ann Singleton, now a married woman on the East Coast, returned briefly to visit an elderly friend that may not recover from a stroke.
In “Mary Ann in Autumn”, it’s a couple of years later and Mary Ann and “Mouse” are back together again in San Francisco almost thirty years after they first met in 1970s.
A couple of secrets brings Mary Ann back to cry on Michael’s shoulder. All of the years and the tears of twenty years apart are forgotten when they examine their friendship and what they’ve been missing. It brought me so much joy to see them together poking fun at each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they head toward their golden years — both are in their late fifties and early sixties now!
And, boy, does Maupin have a few shockers up his sleeve that go all the way back to the original “Tales” book.
As much as I loved “Michael Tolliver Lives”, “Mary Ann In Autumn” is my new favorite after the first book.
“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”
One of my favorite songs as a kid was “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Texan Jeannie C. Riley.
I used to play the record over and over as a 4-year-old. I played it so much that my older step-sister too the record away from me and broke it!
The song went on to sell six million copies and it became the first song by a woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Country charts at the same time. That was in 1968. The next time that would happen would be in 1981 with “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.
From 1968-1972, Jeannie C. Riley would score 14 hits on the country charts. Of those, six would reach the Top Ten. “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was her first and only #1 hit.
Later in the 1970s, Riley would become a “born again Christian” and she briefly distanced herself from the sexy and risque song, but she never stopped performing it.
THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK
That’s enough random thoughts for one blog. I have no plans this weekend and I just might take advantage of the freshly fallen snow and go sledding with Gretel. It’ll take me back to December 2010 when Ray, Gretel, Miss ABBA, and I took advantage of the winter wonderland.