Archive for March, 2014

Good News About AIDS Deaths & “The Normal Heart”

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.

STOP AIDS

In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

Anthony

Re-posted from March 21, 2014:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/random-friday-thoughts-march-21-2014/

Random Friday Thoughts — March 28, 2014

I guess if you work weekends, you may not be all that fond of Saturdays and Sundays.

However, since I work a traditional work schedule, I really love my weekends and this one should be a great once since I have no plans and the weather is going to dry and warmer.

So, enjoy your weekend and my random thoughts this Friday.

SPRING PLANTING

With the nice weather expected, I hope to get outdoors and clean out the garden, the herb garden, and the two flower beds.  Ray and I talked about planting and I suggested that we have two herb gardens this year for plenty of fun, tasty herbs to cook with this summer and fall.

Planter

I’m making progress on my indoor planting that I did three weeks ago.  It appears that the Ice White Cherry Tomatoes have popped up!  No luck yet on the Jerusalem Cherry plants that I desperately want.

Now I just have to keep them alive and healthy until I can plant them outdoors.

WINTER’S LAST HOORAY?

While it’s going to be a warm one this weekend with highs in the 50s Saturday and in the 60s Sunday and Monday in the Quad Cities, we had measurable snow this past Monday night.

Snow 032514

That brought us up to 65.1″ of snow for the winter, which is more than twice what we typically see in a winter.

We’re still 4.6″ shy of the snowiest winter on record.  Too bad since I’ve moved on from winter and I want spring now!

ONE JURY I’D LIKE TO BE ON!

Jessica Dutro of Tigard, Oregon, just outside of Portland, is on trial for murder, murder by abuse, second-degree assault, and four other charges in the death of her 4-year-old son, Zachary, because she thought he was gay!

Her boyfriend, Brian Canady, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for his part in the child’s death.

dutro-boggess-canady

Zachary’s 7-year-old sister told investigators that “Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him and punching him.  He didn’t listen to them so they kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and doing it.”

In Facebook messages that the judge is allowing in the trail, the little boy’s mother tells her boyfriend, Brian, using a homophobic slur that he’s going to be gay and “he walks and talks like it.  Ugh.”

Little Zachary did not get medical treatment until two days after the beating and was unresponsive when he was finally taken to the hospital on August 14, 2012.  He was taken off life support two days later.

The child died from the trauma to his abdomen, tears in his bowels, and the infection caused by the leakage into his body.

The other two children in the home, the aforementioned 7-year-old girl and a 3-year-old brother also showed multiple signs of abuse.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370

I know that plane crashes are always a possibility with the high number of flights around the world daily.

However, it’s now been about three weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 lost contact and disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpar International Airport in Malaysia en route to Beijing, China.

Malaysia-Bejing Flight Map

While it’s still unknown what happened to the Boeing 777, it’s likely that the 239 people on board are dead.

Malaysian Airlines is telling the families of those on board that “beyond reasonable doubt” there are no survivors and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told the world that the flight “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.

Malaysia Prime Minister

Unless there was an act of terrorism, in my heart, I feel that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and there are no survivors.

However, I don’t trust the Malaysian government and I believe the press conference they held earlier this week concluding the plane crashed is just damage control because officials there have botched this investigation and its interactions with the media since the beginning.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

19 Down Beliefs

ANOTHER 2014 CONCERT PLANNED

In late May, we’re going to see Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and in June, we have tickets to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis in Clinton, Iowa, on the “Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Cher Cyndi Lauper

While there may be one more concert, we just bought tickets to see the “Dressed To Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in early June.

The concert kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona, last Saturday night and it’s getting great reviews and Cher looks amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi Lauper on “The Farewell Tour” more than ten years ago.  This will be Ray’s first time.

I know it’ll be fun even though Cher doesn’t do my favorite song, “Red”, from her new album.

NCAA BASKETBALL BRACKETS

After winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball “March Madness” last year at the station and for one of the local newspapers, I was doing rather well going in to the “Sweet Sixteen”.

2014 Brackets

Sadly, last night, one of my “Final Four” teams, Baylor, lost miserably to Wisconsin.

If my other three “Final Four” teams continue to win, I’ll have a chance!

IOWA STATE CYCLONES

I have the Iowa State Cyclones winning one more game before falling to Virginia.

ISU is Ray’s alma mater, but that is not the reason I love watching them play.

Fred

That’s Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

He played for Iowa State in the 1990s and then went on to an NBA career from 1995-2005 playing for Indiana, Chicago, and Minnesota.  He’s been the head coach at Iowa State now since 2010.

DIVERGENT

“Divergent” opened with $54.6 million in the U.S. last weekend.

The movie looks interesting and I’ll likely see it when it comes out on DVD.  It stars Shailene Woodley and 29-year-old Englishman Theo James.

Theo James

There’s more to say about the movie, but it escapes me!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY #1

Mother Monster is celebrating her 28th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga!

Lady Gaga

Since 2008, Gaga has charted with 13 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

While my favorite Lady Gaga songs are still “Bad Romance”, “The Edge of Glory”, “Marry The Night” and “Dance in The Dark”, there are many songs on her new album, “ARTPOP”, that are incredible.

Her new single, “G.U.Y.”, is definitely one of them!

Classic Gaga!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”/HAPPY BIRTHDAY #2

While Lady Gaga is celebrating today, she’s not alone.

Reba

My idol, Reba McEntire, turns 59 today!

Reba Anthony 2005

Reba, I hope you’re having an amazing birthday.   While I don’t know if Reba is looking for songs for a new album, I hope so.

Nevertheless, for her birthday, let’s flash back to February 1995 when Reba took “Till You Love Me” to number 2 on the Billboard Country charts.

Reba has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, accumulated 25 #1 hits, which has her tied with Dolly Parton for the most numbers ones by a female country artist.

Reba easily has the most Top Ten hits by a country female artist with 59.

MY PARENTS’ ANNIVERSARY

March 28th seems to be a popular day.  It was on this date back in 1964 that my parents, Hollie Gene and Dessie, got married.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

They were married almost 23 years when Hollie died (Dessie died three years later).

However, that little bundle of joy in the picture turns 50 in October.  Yes, that’s me.

THAT’S IT

Happy Friday and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Have a great weekend.

Anthony

 

Beat The Cold & Snow With These Three Movies

I hope you enjoyed the first weekend of spring.

While it looked nice, it was a chilly one in the Quad Cities after Friday’s high of 62°!  That was the first 60-plus temperature this year and the warmest day in more than four months!

Saturday LeClaire

Now, we have a little snow (an inch or two) on the way today and tonight.  The good news is that it won’t last long and much warmer weather is expected by the weekend!  Yes, I’m already thinking of the weekend and it’s just Monday!

So, if you want to cuddle up on the couch tonight and Tuesday and if you’re not watching “The Following”, I have a few suggestions to definitely check out if you want to rent movies!  I love my Redbox!

“INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED”

This Mexican comedy-drama directed and written by star Eugenio Derbez stunned the American box office when it opened last fall and I can see why.

Instructions Not Included

The $5 million dollar movie is now up to $90.2 million in box office revenues.

Of that amount, $39.3 million was made in the U.S.  “Instructions” is now the highest grossing Spanish-language movie of all time and it’s the 4th highest grossing foreign film domestically.

In Mexico, by the second week in release, it had become the highest grossing Mexican film of all time.

Derbez stars as Valentin’, a bum that likes to sleep around.  One day, a former fling shows up at his door while he’s entertaining a couple of women.  She hands him a baby and gets money to go back down to pay the taxi.  She doesn’t return.

instructions_not_included

Valentin’ begins tracking down the American mother and realizes that she may be in Los Angeles.  He and the little girl, Maggie, head off in search of the baby’s mother, Julie.

He gets a job as a stunt man after saving the baby’s life in front of a director.  Over the years, Valentin’ and Maggie grow close.

Valentin Maggie

And, that’s where the drama comes in.

This movie is a definite must-see.  You won’t even notice that you have to read subtitles!

GRADE:  A

“NEBRASKA”

This black & white movie was nominated for six Academy Awards this year, including Best Picture, Best Director for Alexander Payne, Best Actor for Bruce Dern and Best Supporting Actress for June Squibb.

Nebraska

Dern stars as Woody Grant, an elderly Billings, Montana, man who thinks he’s won a million dollars in a sweepstakes.  Since he’s suffers from memory loss, he heads off walking several times to Lincoln, Nebraska to collect his money.

You can see the stress that this brings to his wife, Kate (Squibb) and his son, David, played by former “Saturday Night Live” comedian, Will Forte, in a dramatic role that he aces.

David gives in and decides to drive to Nebraska with his father.  On the way, there will be a family get together in Woody’s small Nebraska hometown the weekend before they arrive in Lincoln.  Once Woody tells people he’s won a million dollars, family and friends all come forward to demand their share of the winnings.

June Squibb

The movie was very hard to watch at times because it was so awkward, but real.  I felt like I was a voyeur in the Grant family’s life.

While Dern and Forte were amazing, June Squibb made the movie.  The fact that she didn’t have a filter and said what she was thinking, her performance definitely deserved an Oscar nomination — if not for the cemetery scene alone and it was funny!

GRADE:  A-

“OLDBOY”

Director Spike Lee’s remake of the 2003 South Korean cult film, Oldboy, was a box office bomb, but it was very entertaining and intriguing.

OLDBOY

Josh Brolin stars as Joe, an alcoholic advertisement executive.  He drinks during the work day just to get through it and he’s good at what he does.

However, one night, after he botches a pretty much sealed high-profile deal over dinner, he gets wasted and wakes up being held captive in a “room” after following an Asian woman with an umbrella through an alley.

In his captivity, he finds out the he’s being framed for the rape and murder of his ex-wife.  His infant child, Mia, survived the attack.

Josh Brolin

Joe is held prisoner for 20 years and then he’s drugged and released in a box in the middle of a field with cash and a cell phone.  While in captivity, he was forced to watch a video of his grown daughter, Mia, talking about how she’d feel to meet her father again.

That’s where it gets violent and very creepy.

The movie also features incredible performances from Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen, who’s one of the best new actresses out there, and Sharlto Copley (“District 9” and “Elysium”).

While I enjoyed this movie, when it hits theaters, it was one of the weakest openings for Thanksgiving of all time.  It only grossed $850,000 in the first five days.

“Summer of Sam” is still my favorite Spike Lee movie, but this is solid, too.

GRADE: B

As you know, I love watching movies and I’m sure I’ll have a few more short reviews to share with you soon.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 21, 2014

Well, according to the calendar and astronomy, winter is over and spring is here.

After six straight months (since October 2013) of below average temperatures in the Quad Cities and more than 64″ of snow, I’m ready to work in the yard and mow it and plant a garden.

I hope you have a great weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

FRED PHELPS IS DEAD

The founder and leader of the cult group, Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas, died Thursday at the age of 84.

While I will not happily dance around or protest his funeral, I’m not saddened by his passing.  And, that is a little sad.

fred-phelps

The man and his family, for years, have protested the funerals of soldiers and celebrities with their signs telling us everything that God hates, mostly gay people.  However, the group doesn’t choose words as gentle as “gay”.

If you took these protests at face value, you’d come to the conclusion that his God is not a very happy God since he hates so much.   All I know is that his God is not my God!

And, is this really what you want the children of the future to grow up thinking?

WBC Kids

I feel for Phelps’ family that are mourning his death.  However, with Fred gone, there’s a little more love in the world today and a little less hate.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wet My PlantsPlaneEffective

GREAT NEWS ABOUT AIDS

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.

STOP AIDS

In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

PICK HIT — DOUBLE FEATURE

It’s time now to lighten the mood just a bit and to steam up the windows now that it’s spring.

I just bought the new CDs from Kylie Minogue “Kiss Me Once” (amazing and fun) and Enrique Iglesias ” SEX+LOVE” (still need to listen to it).

Kiss Me OnceEnrique SEX AND LOVE

The beautiful singers even have a duet together, “Beautiful”, which is featured on both albums.

While Kylie’s current single is the incredible “Into The Blue” and Enrique’s current hit is “I’m A Freak” featuring Pitbull, I’m featuring two versions of a new release from Kylie called “Sexercize”.

If you like looking at sexy women, the first video is for you.  If you like gorgeous and hot men, the second is the one you should check out.

And, of course, we can’t leave Enrique out.

Something tells me that Kylie and Enrique are obsessed with sexy people and I’m okay with that!

“CYNDI LAUPER:  A MEMOIR”

I just finished reading Cyndi Lauper’s memoir and it was incredible to learn more about talented and zany singer that has been entertaining us for thirty years.

Cyndi Lauper A Memoir

She talks about music, videos, love, her commitment to the LGBT community, Cher, Madonna, and much more in the book.

From my Wednesday blog about the book, “She had a rough childhood with a creepy stepfather, school problems, keeping a job, losing a baby, sexual assault by former band members, and several health issues.”

If you’d like to read the entire blog about Cyndi and her book and to relive some of the classic videos, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/cyndi-lauper-is-unusual-but-most-of-all-shes-an-ally/

If not, enjoy this #3 hit from 1987, “Change of Heart”, from her second album, “True Colors”.

“CRISIS”

NBC’s newest drama, “Crisis” debuted last Sunday night with a “soft” opening with 6.5 million viewers.

“Entertainment Weekly” gave the show a grade of C+ and I definitely think the first episode was better than that.

Crisis

A group of elite teenagers of very powerful players in Washington D.C., including the President’s son, are ambushed and taken hostage.  We don’t know why or how this will play out over the 13 episode season.

But, I’m excited that I get another hour of television that features my favorite female crush, Gillian Anderson.

Crisis - Season Pilot

Her recurring role as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier on “Hannibal” (NBC, 9 p.m. Central) is not enough for me.

“Crisis” airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. Central on NBC.

“ALL IS LOST”

I just saw the latest Robert Redford movie, “All Is Lost”.

All Is Lost

While there was Oscar buzz and his performance was commanding for a one-man show, there wasn’t much else in the movie.

We never learned who he was, why he was out in the Indian Ocean, and why we should really care if he lived or died other than because he was a living person.

All I lost with this movie is the 106 minutes that I’ll never get back.

GRADE:  D

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Today in this feature, I’m showcasing two artists that I’ve already seen in concert, but they’re heading back out for the “The Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Grits Glamour Tour

I met Pam in Bettendorf, Iowa, in November 2012, and she was a sweetheart.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This past December, we saw Lorrie’s Christmas show at Opryland Hotel.  She was so beautiful.

IMG_4551

Both women still sound amazing and it’ll be fun seeing them together.

Pam has had 22 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 13 of them making it to the Top Ten.  Of those, ten scaled the Top Five.

Her only #1 hit was 1995’s “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)”.

“Shake The Sugar Tree” is one of my favorite Pam Tillis songs.  It peaked at #3 in early 1992.

Lorrie has scored 25 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts.  Of those, 14 have reached the Top Ten, and 11 made the Top Five.

She’s topped the charts three times: “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (3 weeks at #1, 1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

One of my favorite Lorrie songs failed to reach the Top Ten.  Sadly, “Something In Red” stalled at #14 in 1992.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my blog this week.

Happy Spring everyone!  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.

Anthony

Cyndi Lauper Is Unusual, But Most of All, She’s An Ally

As a kid, I loved the “Island of Misfit Toys” in the Christmas classic, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”.

rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer-island-of-misfit-toys

When I was a teenager, I was captivated by the originality of Top 40 pop music newcomer Cyndi Lauper, with her crazy clothes, her bizarre hair styles and hair colors, and that unmistakable voice.

She was so unusual and in her autobiography, “Cyndi Lauper:  A Memoir”, she admits to being a “misfit” and mentions “Rudolph” and the “island”.

Cyndi Lauper A Memoir

While reading the book, I realized why, other than her music and her style, I was so mesmerized by her in the 1980s and, even, today.

This summer, Cyndi turns 61-years-old.

Cyndi Lauper 2

While she’s only eleven years older than me and eleven years younger than my mother, her approach to life reminds me so much of my late mother, Dessie.  My mother could have been Cyndi’s big sister if Cyndi was a southern woman!

Cyndi tells people the way it is and she takes no bull.  My mother was the same way.

cyndi lauper 1970s

Without giving away too many details of the book since I think you should read it, it was interesting to learn more about Cynthia Ann Stephanie Lauper before she became “Cyndi Lauper”.

She had a rough childhood with a creepy stepfather, school problems, keeping a job, losing a baby, sexual assault by former band members, and several health issues.

It was interesting hearing her take on the music business in her bands before she made it big with her #2 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”.

The follow-up, “Time After Time”, became her first chart-topper.

It was followed by the #3 hit, “She Bop”, the #5 “All Through The Night” and one of my all-time favorites, “Money Changes Everything”, which was only a modest radio hit reaching #27 in 1985.

Her debut solo album, “She’s So Unusual”, from 1983, would go on to sell 16 million copies worldwide.  Six million of those were in the United States.

cyndi-lauper-she' s-so-unusual

My favorite Cyndi Lauper performance has always been and is still “When You Were Mine”, the Prince classic, on 1985’s “American Music Awards”.  It was so captivating to me almost thirty years ago and it still takes my breath away today!

Cyndi was also part of the historic, “We Are The World” charity recording by USA For Africa that topped the chart in 1985 and she scored her first Top Ten hit movie theme, “The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough”.

Illness, surgery, and turmoil with the record company delayed the release of the follow-up album, “True Colors” until 1986.

True Colors

However, it turned out to be another success selling more than 7 million copies worldwide.  More than 2 million of those were sold in the U.S.

The title track became Cyndi’s second #1 hit (third counting her contribution to USA For Africa).  “True Colors” also became an anthem for the LGBT community and for her friends that were dying from AIDS.

While radio changed in the late 1980s and 1990s and stop playing Cyndi with her last hit, “I Drove All Night”, which hit #6 in 1989, she kept recording albums and touring and scored 9 more Billboard Dance hits after her radio days.  Five of those reached #1 or #2.

In all, Cyndi has picked up 15 Grammy nominations over the past thirty years.  In addition to her Grammy Awards, she’s also won MTV Video Music Awards, American Music Awards, an Emmy Award for her acting on the NBC hit, “Mad About You”, and a Tony Award for “Kinky Boots”.

In the past twenty years, Cyndi has become a leading force in the fight for equality for her LGBT friends.  While the gay community fights very hard, it’s always encouraging when our straight brothers and sisters like Cyndi, Cher, Madonna, and Lady Gaga reach out and fight hard for our rights.

In 2007, Cyndi started the “True Colors Tour”, the “True Colors Fund” in 2010, and the “Forty to None Project” in 2012, which brings to light the fact that about 10% of youth in America is LGBT, but that small group makes up about 40% of the homeless youth in the U.S.  Cyndi and her organization want that number to drop to zero.

If you’re looking for an interesting, fun, ballsy book to read this spring or summer, you definitely have to check out “Cyndi Lauper:  A Memoir”.  It’ll take you back thirty years to remind you why you loved Cyndi Lauper so much in the 1980s and you’ll learn so much more about her.

I find it hilarious that she’s not afraid to set people straight and then tell us about it.  Bob Dylan, are you listening?

She's So Unusual 30th Anniversary

On April 1, 2014, Cyndi will be releasing “She’s So Unusual:  A 30th Anniversary Celebration”, a two-disc deluxe set featuring many songs from that hugely successful 1983 album, plus old and new remixes, early demos, and rehearsals.  It’s a must for die-hard Lauper fans.

Cyndi is also working on a new studio album and she’s heading out on tour again this spring with Cher on the “Dressed To Kill Tour”.

Cher Cyndi Lauper

I saw Cyndi and Cher in concert about ten years ago in Chicago and the show was incredible.

I’ll be seeing Cher and Cyndi for the second time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on June 6th.

Cyndi, I know you won’t notice me in the crowds, but I’ll be screaming for you and singing along to your music.  Thank you for sharing your music, your humor, your strength, and your commitment with us over the past 30 years.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 14, 2014

It’s no surprise that I love my weekends.  It’s going to be relatively mild this weekend and I hope to take a few walks in the neighborhood and get some fresh air. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Here are my random thoughts for this week.

MICHELE BACHMANN, THE WORLD HAS CHANGED!

Minnesota Representative and failed Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is still behind the times and she thinks that President Obama, liberal judges, and gay people are out to “take away” her religious rights.

Bachmann

I guess that’s better than her thinking we want to take her husband away from her!

Marcus Bachmann

Okay, let me get back on track.  She’s upset with not only the LGBT community, but also Arizona Governor Jan Brewer because she vetoed the very bad SB 1062 last month.

Bachmann says, “There’s nothing about gays in there. But the gay community decided to make this their measure.  I think the thing that is getting a little tiresome, the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they’ve so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.”

ELECTION 2016

Since 2014 is just getting underway and the next presidential election is still about two years away, who are Iowa voters most excited about?

For Democrats, former Secretary of State, former First Lady, and 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has incredible support with Democrats with 88% saying it’s a good idea for her to run for President and 11% saying it’s a bad idea.

president-hillary

Current Vice President Joe Biden only has 58% of the polled saying it’s a good idea for him to run in 2016.

Potential Iowa Voters

On the Republican side, of the candidates that were asked about, 2012 Vice President wannabe Paul Ryan has the support of 67% of Republicans with only 16% thinking it’s a bad idea.

Right behind him with 65% thinking it’s a good idea is former Arkansas Governor and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“GAYEST PRESIDENT YET”

Kudos to Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

Last summer, she could have been arrested for holding up this rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

Tilda Swinton Moscow

Recently, at  SXSW  in Austin, Texas, she topped herself by saying this about Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Well, Russia has the gayest president ever. No, that’s an offensive thing to say—not to him, but to the gay community.”

Putin

Tilda, if I didn’t already love you for your amazing work and, especially, your performance in “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, I’d love you even more now.

WINTER, GO AWAY!

As much as I love snow, a few days of 50° or higher this week and I’m now in “spring” mode!

When it comes to farmers’ almanacs and long-term forecasts, it’s fun to looked at the books’ generalized forecasts for the upcoming winter season.  But, there’s definitely no scientific validity to the daily forecasts for each month.  It’s definitely guess-work.

But, check out this “Farmers’ Almanac” forecast from last fall that I blogged about on August 30, 2013.

Farmers' Almanac

With temperatures from December 2013 through March 2014 running more than nine degrees below average in the Quad Cities and 62.4″ of snow this winter, almost twice the average winter’s snowfall, I say “kudos” to the “Farmers’ Almanac” for nailing this winter’s outlook.

“BAGGAGE CLAIM”

The romantic comedy, “Baggage Claim”, was the funniest movie I’ve seen since “We’re The Millers” last year.

Baggage Claim

Paula Patton stars a Montana Moore, a flight attendant who finds out that her younger sister who’s still in college is engaged.  She begins to feel the pressure from her mother who’s been married five times.

When her boyfriend, Graham, invites her, by letter, to spend Thanksgiving with him in Chicago, Montana is convinced that he’s going to pop the question.  Wait, he sends a letter inviting her????  What year is this?

Well, things don’t go as planned.

That’s when her two flight attendant friends, Gail and Sam, devise a master plan to get her married or engaged before her sister’s wedding in thirty days!

Gail and Sam Baggage Claim

Jill Scott is hilarious as the promiscuous Gail and Adam Brody is adorably cute and funny as Montana gay best friend, Sam.

With the help from others that work within the airline industry, the trio tracks down Montana’s exes that are flying over the holidays to see if any of them have changed and if they could now be the “one”.

While predictable, it’s funny, sexy, and cute.  Dare I say this, but it’s a modern-day “Pretty Woman” without Julia Roberts and prostitutes.

“Baggage Claim” is a definite must-see and I’m even considering buying the DVD!

GRADE:  A-

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Spring Forward Yelling

CONGRATULATIONS BELINDA CARLISLE

Today marks a very special anniversary in former Go-Go’s lead singer, Belinda Carlisle’s life.

It was nine years ago today that she stopped using drugs after almost 30 years of abuse!

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

She made those revelations in her memoir, “Lips Unsealed”, which I blogged about earlier this week.

Here’s an excerpt from my blog:  “In March 2005, Belinda was in London rehearsing for some tour dates and having talks about a new venture for her, an album of French pop songs.   In heartbreaking detail in the book, she went on a cocaine frenzy in her hotel room and envisioned herself dead of an overdose.  It gave her the strength to do something she had never been able to do.  She was going to finish the last of the cocaine sitting on the table and quit cold turkey.”

Belinda

Belinda, congratulations on nine years.  I know that overcoming an addiction is a daily fight and I wish you and your family the very best.

Here’s Belinda from last year with “Sun”.

If you missed my blog about Belinda, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/belinda-carlisle-from-the-germs-the-go-gos-to-beating-demons/

AMERICANS BECOMING MORE OPEN-MINDED

There will always be prejudiced against <insert minority group here>.  Otherwise, what would close-minded people have to talk about?

I want to comment and focus on the LGBT community and marriage equality.

“USA Today” reported in late February that a study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that the number of Americans supporting marriage equality has risen from 32% in 2003 to 53% last year!

LoveMarriageEquality

In that same time period, 17 states and the District of Columbia have allowed same-sex marriages.

The PRRI study also shows that in the past ten years, the number of people who say same-sex marriages are against their religious beliefs dropped from 62% to 51%.

The top three religions that were deemed most “unfriendly” to the LGBT community were the Catholic Church (58%), the Mormon Church (53%) and Evangelical Christian churches (51%).

gays_in_church

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI, says that 24% of those polled left their childhood religion and now have no religious identity.  One of the main reasons given was their church’s negative teachings or treatment of LGBT people.

In younger people, ages 18 to 33, that number jumps to 31%!

MILEY-KATY CAT FIGHT

There’s a pop music cat fight going on now and Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Elton John are not involved!

Recently, at Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz Tour” stop in Los Angeles, Katy leaned in to give Miley an innocent kiss during the song, “Adore You”.

Miley Katy Kiss

So, here’s Katy’s side of the story.

Katy on Miley's Tongue

Well, Miley didn’t take kindly to Katy’s comment and Tweeted this.

Miley Response

Ladies, since we never really know where other people’s tongues have been, let’s just use Scope, kiss, and make up!

“ROMEO & JULIET”

We all know the story of the dreaded feud between the Montagues and the Capulets that doomed the love affair of their children, Romeo and Juliet.

In the latest box office bomb, Romeo is played by the stunningly drop-dead gorgeous English actor Douglas Booth and Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) portrays Juliet.

romeojuliet1

The movie is definitely getting a bad rap.  If it wasn’t bad enough that the $24 million dollar movie only made $1.2 million in theaters, it was mostly panned by critics, and has an approval rating of only 21% on the website, “Rotten Tomatoes”!

I didn’t think the movie lacked energy as many have stated.  If you want to see a new version of the classic story, you won’t be thoroughly disappointed.

And, look on the bright side, if you start watching it and you think I’m wrong about the movie being okay, just stare at the beautiful Douglas Booth and make the best of it.

romeo-douglas-booth

GRADE:  B

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Texan Clay Walker first appeared on the country music scene in 1993 when his debut single, “What’s It To You” and its follow-up, “Live Until I Die”, both topped the Billboard Country chart.

He was so dreamy and quickly became my favorite male country singer.

Clay Walker

I finally saw him in concert in Merrillville, Indiana, in early 1996.

Clay charted with 29 country hits with 17 of them reaching the Top Ten.

Of those, six topped the chart!  Including the two I previously mentioned, “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” (1994), “If I Could Make A Living” (1994), “This Woman And This Man” (1995), and “Rumor Has It” (1997) were also chart toppers.

I have many favorites of Clay’s, but I think this is my absolute favorite.

THAT’S IT

Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend to you.  If you have a lot of green beer, make sure you have a designated driver!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

Belinda Carlisle — From The Germs & The Go-Gos To Beating Demons

It’s funny how comparing ages with someone at two different points in your life are so different.

I just finishing “Lips Unsealed” by former Go-Go’s Belinda Carlisle.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

This fall, Belinda will turn 56-years-old and I’ll hit the big 5-0!

Back in 1981, I remember dancing around my bedroom to the Go-Go’s first hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, as a 17-year-old beginning my senior year in high school.  At that age, I had no real sense of age and time.  I thought people who were in their 20s were so mature and people who were 30-years-old were over-the-hill and ready for the grave.

I’d watch that video and think that the band was so much fun and so worldly.

What I definitely didn’t know then and I didn’t know until reading “Lips Unsealed” was that Belinda, the self-assured looking young lady in that video that was only six years older than me.  But, she was a scared, insecure singer and performer that didn’t really think she had what it takes to be a real star.  And, that she and the Go-G0s were wasted on drugs and alcohol more often than not.

Go Go' Beauty and the Beat

While helping to usher in “new wave” music in the United States, “Beauty and the Beat”, the Go-Go’s 1981 debut album, spent six weeks at #1 and sold more two million copies here at home.  At the time, it became the most successful debut of all time.

In addition to the #20 hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed”, which reached the Top 5 in Canada and Australia and in 2000 was named one of the greatest pop songs of all time by “Rolling Stone” magazine, the album produced the biggest hit of the Go-Go’s career, the #2 smash, “We Got The Beat”.

It’s so interesting to watch these videos now thirty years later and know from reading Belinda’s book how she and the Go-Go’s partied so hard at night and just went through the motions for some promotional events and concerts.

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

When I started reading the book about Belinda’s childhood and her being weight-conscious and being called fat, her parents’ divorce, and her abusive and alcoholic stepfather, I thought about my own struggles with eating disorders and how, no matter how much weight you lost, you still thought you could lose more.

I also thought about the abuse that my father brought upon my mother, my sister, and myself and how he was an okay person on the days he wasn’t drinking.

And, while I’ve never done a recreational drug in my life, as I was reading the book, it took me back to the 1970s when Belinda was deep into the growing Hollywood punk rock scene and I thought about how much fun hanging out in that seedy environment would have been.

Punk Belinda Punks

To hang out the parking lots of the clubs and see the pop, rock, and punk music stars walk by would have been incredible.  With all the people musicians have working for them these days, that could never happen now.

The-Go-Gos

While reading “Lips Unsealed”, at times, I felt she was boasting about how much cocaine and other drugs she did, along with the alcohol.  However, without that honesty, how could one really know how detrimental she was to herself, the band, and those that she cared most about, including her husband, Morgan Mason, that she married in 1986.

Belinda Morgan Mason 1986

After their successful breakthrough with their first album, the Go-Go’s follow-up, “Vacation” in 1982 reached the Top Ten and moved 500,000+ copies.  The title track was the only hit from the album reaching #8.

vacation

Their third album, in 1984, produced two hits that reached #11 and #32 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it was time for a change for the band.  Between drugs, alcohol, less success at radio, and infighting, the band called it quits, except for concerts here and there to make money and just to play music.

Belinda was ready to become a solo star.

Belinda Carlisle Belinda

Her first solo album, Belinda, went gold, in 1986 and produced her first hit without the Go-Go’s, “Mad About You”.

While the song reached #3 in the U.S. and #1 in Canada, it would be the only hit from the album.  Belinda did score a Top 30 dance hit with the remake of Freda Payne smash, “Band of Gold”.  I used to play it all the time when I was a disc jockey at the gay bar in Paducah, Kentucky.

Belinda Carlisle Heaven On Earth

Belinda’s solo career would sky-rocket with the release of her second album, “Heaven On Earth” in 1987.

It would produce three Top Ten hits, including the #1 smash, “Heaven Is A Place on Earth”, “I Get Weak”, which peaked at #2, and “Circle In The Sand”, which reached #7.

While she was on top of the world as a solo singer, her personal life was in shambles.  Her drug use and insecurities about her weight, her singing, and her performances were out of control.  She was also hiding her drug and alcohol addiction from her husband, who appeared in her “Mad About You” and “Heaven” videoes.

Good Heavens Tour

That was made easier since he was busy with his movie production career and she was touring.

Belinda’s third album, “Runaway Horses” produced only two modest hits in the U.S. with the biggest, “Leave A Light On”, reaching only #11.

While her career cooled because of the changing music scene in the early 1990s, Belinda was still a drug addict that would not admit that she had a problem.  In 1991, she found out she was pregnant and in April 1992 gave birth to her son, James Duke Mason.

Belinda and family

In a very touching story, Belinda talks about how one of her doctors spread lies about her alleged drug use during her pregnancy and how the trash tabloids picked up on  it.

Sadly, Belinda struggled to be a good mother and a good wife.  She spent the rest of the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s as a drug addict and alcoholic fearing that every talk or intervention with her husband would lead to him saying that was leaving her.

In March 2005, Belinda was in London rehearsing for some tour dates and having talks about a new venture for her, an album of French pop songs.

In heartbreaking detail in the book, she went on a cocaine frenzy in her hotel room and envisioned herself dead of an overdose.  It gave her the strength to do something she had never been able to do.  She was going to finish the last of the cocaine sitting on the table and quit cold turkey.

That was March 14, 2005.  Nine years later, she is still drug free.

belinda_carlisle

Weeks later, she was ready to give up her other addiction — alcohol.  She bought her favorite wine, Corbiere, and went home and drank it and passed out on April 3, 2005.  She is still on the wagon.

Belinda

In the past nine years of living healthy, Belinda starred in “Hairspray” in London’s East End, released her French album, “Viola”, in 2007, performs occasionally, and is getting ready to release her latest collection of songs, “The Anthology” and “The Collection” later this month.

Last year, Belinda released the incredible song, “Sun”.  She still looks and sounds amazing.

Belinda & SonBelinda Duke

Belinda and her husband, Morgan, call Los Angeles and France home, while her son, Duke, soon to be 22-years-old, is an actor and LGBT activist and he was named as one of the “100 most influential LGBT people in the world” in 2011 for “Out” magazine.

Belinda, Morgan, and Duke, I wish you all happiness and love.  And, my friends, you have to check out Belinda’s memoir, “Lips Unsealed”.

Anthony