Archive for April, 2014

“Me” Personifies Ricky Martin’s Compassionate Life

I grew up listening to country music in Kentucky in the 1970s and switched over to pop, new wave, and dance music in the 1980s.  While I recall hearing about Menudo, I didn’t know much about the Puerto Rican boy band.

Ricky Martin File Photos

I also grew up watching NBC soap operas, especially “Days of Our Lives” and I recall, in the 1980s, how obsessed people at Murray State University were with “General Hospital” on ABC.

Since I wasn’t a fan of Menudo and I didn’t watch “General Hospital” in the mid-1990s when the character Miguel Morez, a bartender and singer, was on there, I missed my first two chances to fall under the spell of Ricky Martin.

Miquel Ricky

That’s okay because when he hit the Grammy Awards stage in February 1999, I took notice, along with the other 187 million people around the world that might not have known Ricky Martin.

Ricky Martin Grammy Performance

Even though “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and the follow-up songs, the hot videos, and the non-stop touring would propel him to super stardom, I really didn’t get to know and really admire Ricky Martin until I recently read his autobiography, “Me”.

ricky-martin-me

The book came out in late 2010,  the same year that he admitted to the world on his website, in March, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

I won’t give away all of the details of “Me” because I highly recommend you reading it.  But, for someone sitting on top of the world and that could have anything they wanted, I’ll say that I was most impressed with Ricky’s down-to-earth attitude and his commitment to making the world a better place for those that he loves and for the people he’ll never meet.

Enrique Martín Morales was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Christmas Eve in 1971.  While his parents divorced when he was young, he remained very close to both of them.

young_ricky_photo_8

As a child, he would sing into wooden spoons in kitchen along with popular rock groups Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Led Zepplin.  Even then, he knew he wanted to entertain.  Thanks to the encouragement of his parents, he got into television commercials and it became profitable.

He had multiple auditions to join Menudo, one of the most successful bands in the history of music.  Interesting enough, it wasn’t his lack of talent or his age that kept him from joining the band, it was because he was too short!

menudo

Ricky became a member of Menudo in 1984 and stayed with them until 1989.  Touring the world as a pre-teen and a teenager was grueling, but it taught him the importance of working hard and being committed to his craft.

As a 17-year-old, in the summer of 1989, he left Menudo and headed back to Puerto Rico.  On his 18th birthday, he finished school and then made one of the biggest decisions of his young life less than two weeks later.

He moved to New York City in January 1990 and enjoyed living life out of the spotlight and even considered giving up show business.  While in the “Big Apple”, Ricky visited friends in Mexico City and was drawn back into the entertainment business.

Ricky Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock)

He did theater work that led to a soap opera role that was made into a movie that won him the Mexican equivalent of the Oscar.  That led to a successful tour of the music inspired by the movie, which was about six boys in a band.

This renewed his love for music.  He signed on to Sony Music and released his first two Spanish albums in 1991 and 1993.  Together, those albums sold 1.2 million copies and produced six hits on the Billboard Latin chart with three of them reaching the Top Ten.

As excited as Ricky was to be sing again, he realized he should have checked that music contract out better because he got “robbed” — earning only about a penny from each album sold!

He continued to sing and tour and then moved to Los Angeles to act.  Before landing at “General Hospital” in 1994, he was on a short-lived series called “Getting By”.

A medio vivir

Outside of the United States, Ricky hit it big with the release of his third album, “A Medio Vivir” in late 1995.  Ricky’s book states the album went on to sell more than seven million copies world-wide and it produced one of the biggest hits of his career around the world, “Maria”.

Ricky writes that when a record executive first heard the song, he said, “Are you crazy?  You have ruined your career!  I can’t believe you are showing me this.  You’re finished — this is going to be your last album.”  It goes to show what some record company people know!

Ricky-Martin

As Ricky’s star continued to rise, so did the scrutiny about his private life.  He was hot, young, Latin, and single.  But, Ricky would not talk about his private life to reporters and so they’d speculate and start rumors.

You didn’t have to get too far into “Me” , (page 5), to learn about the real Ricky Martin, the man he kept hidden from the world because of fear.  Ricky writes that he wanted to “end the secret” and “I accept my homosexuality and celebrate the gift that life has given me.”

One of the things that I admire most about Ricky is that he said the book was about his life and his coming to terms and honestly admitting to the world who he was.  In the book, he’s a perfect gentleman.    While he talked about his affairs and falling in love with both women and men, he didn’t name names!

While he admitted these things in 2010, throughout his career in the 1980s and the 1990s, he didn’t talk about his private life.

Vuelve

In 1998, he released his fourth album, “Vuelve” early in the year and it sold more than seven million copies around the world and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.  Also, he recorded and performed “Copa de La Vida (The Cup of Life)” for the 1998 World Cup.

He would add English lyrics to that song and perform it on the Grammy Awards in February 1999 and the superstar, who had already conquered the Latin world with his music, became a household name in America.

Ricky Martin 1999

That led to his first English album. “Ricky Martin” in 1999 that sold 22 million copies worldwide.  Even in the U.S., it sold an incredible 660,000 copies in its first week out.

The first single, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” topped the charts in America and all over the world.

At more than eight million copies sold, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is one of the best-selling singles of all time!

Ricky was on the cover of “Time” and “People” and was named “Artist of the Year” by “Entertainment Weekly”.  He continued to tour to promote “Ricky Martin” while recording the follow-up album, “Sound Loaded”, and was being pulled in a million directions.

At the 1999 performance at the Grammy Awards, Ricky met Madonna.

madonna-ricky-martin-grammy

When they were recording “Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón)” for the “Ricky Martin” album, she gave him some good advice, “Ricky, stop doing interviews.  Everybody knows who you are.”  However, he continued saying “yes” to everything that his people and the record company asked.

The scrutiny about his private life continued to mount after a March 26, 2000, interview with Barbara Walters before the Oscars, in which she was relentless in her questioning him about whether he was gay.

Ricky Barbara Walters

In 2010, Barbara told the “The Toronto Star”, “In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was,” Walters said. “A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.”

The gossip about his personal life and the pressure of a tour of more than 100 dates forced him to lose control.  He finally took Madonna’s advice and put himself and his emotional state first.

While in Australia in late October 2000, he cancelled his next concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was only the second cancellation of his career — the other was because of illness.

Ricky-Martin-closeup

In “Me”, Ricky talks about how he met, by chance, a Puerto Rican, who was living in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1998, that would become a spiritual adviser to him.  That man prompted Ricky to go to India.  He went back to India, to Calcutta, in late 2000, and that trip opened his eyes to world of human child trafficking — selling children, as young as four-years-old, into the sex trade business.

Ricky Martin Foundation

Ricky has always been a  humanitarian and in 2002, he started the Ricky Martin Foundation, and two years later, added “People for Children”, to raise awareness about the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children around the world.

Child Trafficking

Ricky was instrumental in the relief efforts and the rebuilding of Thailand after the December 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed about one-quarter of a million people.  And, he was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after a January 2010 earthquake that killed around 159,000 people.

ricky martin haiti

In the book, Ricky never boasted about Haiti or Thailand, about raising awareness of child trafficking, or his organization just to say, “look at what I’ve done”.  You can definitely tell he is a great person and humanitarian.

If you’d like to know more about The Ricky Martin Foundation, here’s the link to the website:  http://www.rickymartinfoundation.org/en/

Exclusive - Ricky Martin Spends Time With His Partner And Children

Ricky spent the last part of “Me” talking about his beautiful twins boys, Matteo and Valentino, who were born in August 2008, to a surrogate mother.  It was heart-warming to hear how he kept the pregnancy a secret to keep the media away from the boy’s mother during the pregnancy.

And, he just gushes when he talks about how he wants the boys to be free to live their life without fear and with compassion to everyone they meet.

That song, “The Best Thing About Me Is You”, was released in late 2010 and reached #1 on the Billboard Latin chart.

ricky-martin-headshot

Ricky Martin is undeniably hot.  And, once you read “Me”, you’ll know he’s the kind of person any person would be lucky to call a “friend” and someone who any man would be lucky to call “husband”.

After reading “Me”, I know Ricky Martin much better and I wish him and the boys the very best in life.

Anthony

 

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“The Following” Shocks Before The Finale

The season two finale of “The Following” is tonight on Fox.

The Following S 2

I’m very excited to see how it all goes down, but I’d definitely not happy with something that transpired in the last episode.  In today’s blog, I’m venting about that and why I may not be following “The Following” next season!  (Okay, I’ll be watching the third season.  I’m just venting!)

Warning:  If you’re a fan of “The Following” and you haven’t watched this last episode, this blog does contain spoilers!

spoiler-alert

This your last chance to look away.

If you stop here, enjoy the season finale of “The Following” tonight.  I’m sure I will, too, with one exception!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

In season one of “The Following”, my favorite characters were Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), Emma (Valorie Curry), Jacob (Nico Tortorella), and Paul (Adan Canto)!

Shawn Ashmore

Paul, Emma, & Jacob

Two of them didn’t make it to season two!

This season, my favorite characters are the two survivors from season one, Mike and Emma, along with Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her two psychotic sons, Luke and Mark, played with amazing creepiness by English actor Sam Underwood (Zach Hamilton on the last season of “Dexter”).

The Following - Sam Underwood

So, I had this season all figured out going into the last three episodes of the season.  I knew it was going to come down to a confrontation between Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and Mike Weston and the villains: Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), Emma, Luke, Mark, and Lily.

Lily Gray

And, then Lily was murdered in the final minutes of the second episode from the finale!

I had to re-think my plan.  I knew that the twins would have to avenge their mother’s death, so they’d play a big role in the final two episodes.

Joe-Emma

In the first season, Emma was strong-willed and cold-hearted.  However, she was still vulnerable around Joe.  For much of this season, she was under-utilized and weak until the last couple of episodes when her iciness re-surfaced and I loved it.

Emma was beginning to doubt whether Joe had lost focus (he has) with this whole boring cult-loving, Bible-quoting, God-like vision he has of himself.

Joe  Emma Cult The Following

Since “The Following” was renewed for a third season, I saw Emma taking all she could take of Joe and his carelessness and killing him!  At that point, she and the twins would go on to terrorize Ryan, Mike, the FBI, and America next season.

However, that theory was shot to hell when Emma was brutally murdered in the final minutes of Monday’s episode by Joe Carroll’s ex-wife, Claire (Natalie Zea).  While I was shocked beyond belief with the killing, it was incredible drama!

The Following Silence

I know that Emma is dead, but if you’re holding out for the magic of television and drama to reveal that she’s alive, stop hoping!

Valorie Curry, who plays Emma, tells tvguide.com, “They really wanted to drive the point home.  It’s so funny, because people are on Twitter like, ‘She’s just in a coma! Maybe she’s alive.’ I’m like, she was stabbed, she was thrown out a window, and then staked like a vampire. There’s no coming back from impaling.”

R.I.P. Emma Hill!

Valorie Curry   The Following

Valorie Curry, you are amazing and thank you for the past two years!  Best wishes!

Now, what do I think will happen on the season two finale?

Joe will escape the church and be killed for real this time by Claire, who will be murdered by Tilda (Mackenzie Marsh), the Korben member and Joe Carroll follower.

Tilda

Carrie Cooke, the author and television reporter and Ryan’s love interest, will die.

Carrie Cooke

And, I think that Luke will also meet his death at the hands of Agent Weston as he tries to get revenge for Lily’s death.  And, since Lily told Mark, the sensitive twin, to “man up” right before she died, I think he’ll survive and wreak havoc in season three.

following Mark

Stay tuned.  The season finale is Monday night, 10 Eastern/9 Central, on Fox!

I’ve heard from several of the actors that three different endings were shot and that they don’t even know how the second season will end.

Anthony

P.S.  If you’re still in shock over Emma’s death and are big fans of Mike and the twins, here are a couple of fun pictures to get us over the grief of Emma and that will help melt away the cold and snow that the actors are dealing with in the last few episodes of “The Following”.

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

double-the-fun

 

Random Friday Thoughts — April 25, 2014

The weekend is here and that means, at least, two things:  my random Friday thoughts and two days off work.

Over the past two weekends, I had to work an extra day on one of them and I had two events to attend on behalf of work the other weekend.  However, it’s all about relaxing this weekend for me.  Enjoy yours and thank you for checking out my random thoughts today.

The Following S 2

Warning:  If you’re a fan of “The Following” and you haven’t watched this last episode, stop reading my blog when you get to the country music segment remembering a music star that recently died.

Translation:

spoiler-alert

I’m venting at the bottom of this blog about last Monday night’s episode and why I may not be following “The Following” next season!

PAT SAJAK, MAY I BUY A CLUE?

I’ve known who Pat Sajak is since I was a teenager and he started hosting the mega-popular game show, “Wheel of Fortune”.

sajak

Until last Friday, I didn’t know much more about him and didn’t really feel I needed to until he sent out this tweet.

PatSajak

At first glance, I thought it was interesting.  Then, I thought about it a little more and starting thinking that either he had had a few drinks or that he was being funny.

On closer examination of why he may have sent it, I thought that it was a way to express his conservatism.  It’s well-known that he’s right-wing, that he blogs for conservative websites, and he’s made many contributions to Republican political candidates.

I’ve concluded that it’s his way to offset all of the recent “coming out” stories by gay celebrities.

I was never a fan of Sajak’s, nor did I dislike him.  And, I still don’t dislike him.  Whatever his reason, this correspondence soothed my feathers a little.

Pat Follow

Tweet away, Pat.  You do your thing and I’ll do mine.

DO PEOPLE NEED TO “COME OUT”?

That last tweet I shared between Maliheh and Pat Sajak brings up a topic that I’ve talked about many times.  My headline on this random thought is ‘”Do People Need To “Come Out?”‘ and I’ll keep my answer short.  Yes!

daniel-franzese

Just this week, “Mean Girls” star Daniel Franzese came out as “gay”.

In February, “Juno” actress Ellen Page and college football player Michael Sam announced that they were gay, as did Olympic bronze medalist Tom Daley, this past December.

ellen-page-

Michael SamTom Daley

Yes, I think people need to come out as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, whether they’re celebrities or not.  While some may argue that it’s nobody’s business if someone is LGBT and that’s it personal.  That’s true.

But, coming from someone (me) that’s known he was gay since childhood, I know firsthand that everyone needs role models and someone who “feels” like they do or who are like them.

It’s a scary, lonely world when you think you’re alone.

Anthony April 1969

It’s a lot different today than in the late-1960s and early-1970s when I was looking for someone like me and someone to say, “Just be yourself” or “You’re not alone”.

SIR CLIFF RICHARD’S PERFECT RESPONSE

73-year-old English singer Cliff Richard has scored nine Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 here in the United States.

However, in the U.K., he’s charted an incredible 126 Top 40 hits since he first first appearance in 1958.  Of those hits, 69 reached the Top 10 and fourteen topped the chart.  And, just last fall, he released his 100th album.  That’s one reason that in England, he’s Sir Cliff Richard.

I’ve always been a fan of his music and, as a teenager, I didn’t know if he was married, gay or straight, or whatever.  All I know is that I loved his voice, he was cute, and he sang with Olivia Newton-John!

olivia_newtonjohn_cliff_richard-suddenly

Recently, he was on Australia’s “A Current Affair” and addressed why he never married and the rumors about his sexuality.

While having people to look up to is important, I loved his perfect response, “If I was gay, would it make any difference?  Would you not come to my concert if I was gay?”

Cliff_Richard

Here in the U.S., his highest charting hit was “Devil Woman”.  It reached #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!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Boy ToyUdder

Earth Day

DID LINCOLN MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION WITH THE SOUTH?

Mrs. Betty Bowers, America’s Best Christian, takes a look at how the south differs from its counterparts across the rest of the country.

This is a hilarious look at a sad situation — and I grew up in the South!  (And, yes, this right ticked a couple of people off, but it’s humor!)

Mrs. Betty Bowers is played by Canadian comedian Deven Green, who now lives in Los Angeles.

CONGRATULATIONS JODIE FOSTER!

One of my favorites actresses is now a married woman and I wish the couple the very best of luck!

Jodie Foster Alexandra Hedison Marry

Last weekend, Oscar winner Jodie Foster married her girlfriend, Alexandra Hedison, in a private ceremony.

And, for those that thought Jodie’s acceptance speech at the Golden Globes in January 2013 was a little cryptic and wondered if she was “coming out”, I think she’s gay. 🙂

You can read about that night here and why I thought that speech was so powerful and why is was and wasn’t important.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/15/jodie-foster-coming-out-why-it-is-and-isnt-important/

“FROZEN” — NEWS WORTHY

Coming from this Quad Cities’ morning meteorologist, Bob Herzog is one of the funniest local news men on television.

He’s the traffic reporter and one of the morning anchors for Local 12, WKRC, Cincinnati’s CBS affiliate.  Bob also does a segment called “Dance Party Friday”.

Bob Herzog

Recently, he took advantage of the wicked winter weather and did this incredible parody to “Let It Go” from “Frozen”.

Bob is not only funny, but has an incredible voice.  Kudos!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

The country music world lost one its 1990s hit makers last weekend when 43-year-old Kevin Sharp died.

His mother stated the cause was “complications due to cancer” and his website added “ongoing complications from past stomach surgeries and digestive issues” as a cause.

Kevin Sharp

Sharp was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer when he was a teenager and was given little chance of survival.  He beat the odds, but continued to have problems with the radiation and chemotherapy treatments.

In 1996, he exploded on the country music scene and topped the chart with his first release, “Nobody Knows”.

The two follow-up, “She’s Sure Taking It Well” and “If You Love Somebody” peaked at #3 and #4 respectively in 1996 and 1997.  His last three singles failed to reach the Top 40 on the Billboard Country charts.

R.I.P. Kevin!

“THE FOLLOWING” SHOCKER BEFORE THE FINALE!

This your last chance to look away.

If you stop here, I appreciate you checking out my blog this week.  Enjoy the season finale of “The Following” Monday night.  I’m sure I will, too, with one exception!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

In season one of “The Following”, my favorite characters were Agent Mike Weston (Shawn Ashmore), Emma (Valorie Curry), Jacob (Nico Tortorella), and Paul (Adan Canto)!

Shawn AshmorePaul, Emma, & Jacob

Two of them didn’t make it to season two!

This season, my favorite characters are the two survivors from season one, Mike and Emma, along with Lily Gray (Connie Nielsen) and her two psychotic sons, Luke and Mark, played with amazing creepiness by English actor Sam Underwood (Zach Hamilton on the last season of “Dexter”).

The Following - Sam Underwood

So, I had this season all figured out going into the last three episodes of the season.  I knew it was going to come down to a confrontation between Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon) and Mike Weston and the villains: Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), Emma, Luke, Mark, and Lily.

Lily Gray

And, then Lily was murdered in the final minutes of the second episode from the finale!

I had to re-think my plan.  I knew that the twins would have to avenge their mother’s death, so they’d play a big role in the final two episodes.

Joe-Emma

In the first season, Emma was strong-willed and cold-hearted.  However, she was still vulnerable around Joe.  For much of this season, she was under-utilized and weak until the last couple of episodes when her iciness re-surfaced and I loved it.

Emma was beginning to doubt whether Joe had lost focus (he has) with this whole boring cult-loving, Bible-quoting, God-like vision he has of himself.

Joe  Emma Cult The Following

Since “The Following” was renewed for a third season, I saw Emma taking all she could take of Joe and his carelessness and killing him!  At that point, she and the twins would go on to terrorize Ryan, Mike, the FBI, and America next season.

However, that theory was shot to hell when Emma was brutally murdered in the final minutes of Monday’s episode by Joe Carroll’s ex-wife, Claire (Natalie Zea).  While I was shocked beyond belief with the killing, it was incredible drama!

The Following Silence

I know that Emma is dead, but if you’re holding out for the magic of television and drama to reveal that she’s alive, stop hoping!

Valorie Curry, who plays Emma, tells tvguide.com, “They really wanted to drive the point home.  It’s so funny, because people are on Twitter like, ‘She’s just in a coma! Maybe she’s alive.’ I’m like, she was stabbed, she was thrown out a window, and then staked like a vampire. There’s no coming back from impaling.”

R.I.P. Emma Hill!

Valorie Curry   The Following

Valorie Curry, you are amazing and thank you for the past two years!  Best wishes!

Now, what do I think will happen on the season two finale?

Joe will escape the church and be killed for real this time by Claire, who will be murdered by Tilda (Mackenzie Marsh), the Korben member and Joe Carroll follower.

Tilda

 

Carrie Cooke, the author and television reporter and Ryan’s love interest, will die.

Carrie Cooke

And, I think that Luke will also meet his death at the hands of Agent Weston as he tries to get revenge for Lily’s death.  And, since Lily told Mark, the sensitive twin, to “man up” right before she died, I think he’ll survive and wreak havoc in season three.

following Mark

Stay tuned.  The season finale is Monday night, 10 Eastern/9 Central, on Fox!

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

Anthony

“Out Of The Furnace” & “The Best Man Holiday”

If you’re looking for a couple of movies to rent, I have some suggestions.

“OUT OF THE FURNACE”

Christian Bale is one of the best actors in the movie business today.

“Out of The Furnace” is a little seen movie that came out about a week before his Oscar-nominated role in “American Hustle”.

In the movie, Bale plays Russell Baze, a West Virginia steel mill worker that has a beautiful girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) that wants to have a baby, a brother (Casey Affleck) with a gambling problem and is struggling with life after serving in the war, and a dying father.

He works every day and is paying off his little brother’s gambling debts.  After stopping for a few drinks after work one night, he’s involved in an accident that changes his life forever.

Also, his little brother disappears and Russell feels it’s up to him to find out what happened and to make things right.

The movie features incredible performances from Bale, Affeck, Saldana, and Woody Harrelson as a New Jersey sociopathic, inbreed, drug dealer named Harlan DeGroat.

GRADE:  A

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends –  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 18, 2014

It’s Friday and it’s Easter weekend.  I hope it’s a nice one for you and if you’re going to church, enjoy the services.  I hope your Easter egg hunts are dry and fun and your Easter feast is a tasty one.

I’m working Saturday, so Ray and Gretel are celebrating with Ray’s family in northwestern Iowa and my sister, Tammy, is visiting her granddaughters in Tennessee.  So, I’m home alone and I plan on sleeping in Sunday, having pancakes, and watching a couple of my favorite movies again.

Easter Bunny

If you’re thinking of what to buy someone for a great Easter present and bunnies come to mind, make it a chocolate bunny!

Here are my random thoughts this Friday.  Thank you for checking them out.

AIRLINE THREATS ARE NOT FUNNY

Before the 1970s, it was a much different world when it came to flying.  High profile plane hijacking changed the rather lax airport security.

I remember seeing a cartoon during my childhood of a man raising his hand to his friend and yelling “Hi Jack” before being arrested.

After the terrorist attacks on the United States on 9/11, it’s hard to imagine anyone making a joke of threatening an airline, an airport, or a plane.

However, last Sunday night, it happened when a 14-year-old Dutch girl, “Sarah”, sent a threatening tweet to American Airlines.

AA Threat

Once she realized that this was turning into a big deal with the police involved, she tweeted, “I was joking and it was my friend not me, take her IP address not mine. I’m so scared I’m just a 14-year-old white girl I’m not a terrorist.”  She was arrested the next day!

airport security

I have two things to say about this.  I don’t care how old someone is when they threaten to bomb a plane.  It’s not a joke and they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.

Secondly, if this tweet is proven to be sent by a “14-year-old white girl who is not “a terrorist”, she’s truly offensive.  Implying that a “white girl” couldn’t possibly be a “terrorist” is racist!

Sadly, the only leeway I’ll give her on that one is immaturity, but even a teenager should know that the tweet would cause fear in some people and that is terrorism!

More Threats 1 More Threats 2 More Threats 3

Incredibly, this has caused a rash of similar copycat tweets to American and other airlines.  Real threats or not, this is just mind-boggling!

HAPPY FLIGHT

On a happier airline note, I sure hope this flight attendant is working my next Southwest Airlines’ flight.

I hope this made you smile.

HE CUT OFF WHAT?

Rapper Andre Johnson, also known as Christ Bearer, is recovering at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after severing his penis and jumping off the second floor balcony of his North Hollywood apartment!

Andre Johnson

Those present say that no one was using drugs and that they believe he suffered from mental illness.

TMZ reports that efforts to reattach the appendage were unsuccessful.

If Johnson is mentally ill, I hope that he gets the help he needs.  If he isn’t ill, this was a very painful and horrific plea for attention!

And, as a man, this is just painful to think about!

WHILE WE’RE IN THAT MIND SET…

Now that “How I Met Your Mother” has ended its nine-year run on CBS, Neil Patrick Harris is getting rave reviews for his upcoming Broadway performance in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”

NPH Hedwig

If you’re not familiar with the rock musical/love story, Hansel is an East German that falls in love with an American soldier.

Since the couple wants to get married and the laws says that it has to be a man and a woman, Hansel’s mother changes his named to Hedwig (her name) and finds a doctor to perform a sex change.  The operation is botched leaving Hedwig with the so-called “angry inch”.

hedwig-680

Harris’ performance as Hedwig on Broadway runs from April through August.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

MichelangeloCollege  Dog

TATTOOS

Do you have a tattoo?  While still somewhat controversial, getting inked is becoming mainstream.

Even Miss Kansas 2013, Theresa Vail, is tattooed with the Serenity Prayer and a military medical insignia.  She says, “If I were crowned Miss America, bearing my tattoos, do you realize the stereotypes and stigmas it would break?”

Miss Kansas 2013

If you’re in your thirties, there’s a 40% chance that you have a tattoo.  If not, 30% of people in their 20s and almost 30% of people in the 40s are getting inked!

More women than men and Hispanics more than whites or blacks have body art.

Two years ago this week, I join the group of white men in their 40s to get a tattoo.  It was a painful, almost four-hour process and I’m very happy to sport it and show it off.

Tattoo1

As you know, my sweet golden retriever and my best friend , Miss ABBA, went to “puppy heaven” in February 2012.

Two months later, I turned her beautiful face into body art.  Here’s the picture from Halloween 2011 and you can see the final product.

ABBA Inspiration For Tattoo Anthony ABBA Tattoo

John Kautz, from O’Toole Design, in Rock Island, Illinois, did an incredible job.

You can read about the entire experience here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/miss-abba-ill-cherish-this-piece-of-art-forever/

“LATE, LATE AT NIGHT” WITH RICK SPRINGFIELD

I recently finished Rick Springfield’s memoir about his life, his battle with depression, his sexual addiction, and his music and acting career.

Late, Late At Night

It was a fun book.  I’ll share the link again if you didn’t read my blog about the book.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/the-ups-downs-of-rick-springfields-rock-star-lifestyle/

However, one thing that I forgot to mention in the blog was his one year affair with “The Exorcist” star Linda Blair.

Linda and Rick

At the time, he was 25 at the time and she was only 15! I guess things were different in the 1970s and in Hollywood!

“Don’t Talk To Strangers” hit #2 in 1982 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It was the second biggest hit of Rick’s career behind the number one, Grammy-winning smash, “Jessie’s Girl” the year before.

“OUT OF THE FURNACE”

Christian Bale is one of the best actors in the movie business today.

“Out of The Furnace” is a little seen movie that came out about a week before his Oscar-nominated role in “American Hustle”.

Out of the Furnace

In the movie, Bale plays Russell Baze, a West Virginia steel mill worker that has a beautiful girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) that wants to have a baby, a brother (Casey Affleck) with a gambling problem and is struggling with life after serving in the war, and a dying father.

He works every day and is paying off his little brother’s gambling debts.  After stopping for a few drinks after work one night, he’s involved in an accident that changes his life forever.

Also, his little brother disappears and Russell feels it’s up to him to find out what happened and to make things right.

The movie features incredible performances from Bale, Affeck, Saldana, and Woody Harrelson as a New Jersey sociopathic, inbreed, drug dealer named Harlan DeGroat.

GRADE:  A

DAVID DUCHOVNY IS COMING TO NBC

Once Showtime’s “Californication” wraps up its seventh and final season in late June, David Duchovny will star in the new NBC series, “Aquarius”.

david_duchovny_02

The 13-epidsode drama take place in the late-1960s.  Duchovny stars as a Los Angeles police sergeant “who starts tracking a small-time criminal and budding cult leader seeking out vulnerable women to join his ’cause.’ The name of that man is Charles Manson.”

Young Charles Manson

NBC goes on to say that “the twists and turns of a complicated undercover operation will lead Duchovny’s character and his young partner to the brink of Manson’s crimes that will eventually lead to the Tate-LaBianca murders in subsequent seasons.”

Here’s my two cents.  I love David Duchovny and I’ve always been intrigued with serial killers.  I’ll be watching.

NBC, if “Crisis” and “Hannibal” are not renewed, please write Gillian Anderson into the script and let her work with Duchovny’s character!

Gillian David The X-Files

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

The first concert that Ray and I went to together was Keith Urban and Taylor Swift in Moline in June 2009.  Both were amazing performers and this was before I quickly tired of the teen sensation.

Keith Urban Moline 2009

Since his first hit on the Billboard Country chart in 1999, “It’s A Love Thing”, reached #18 (his first four releases from 1990 and 1991 didn’t chart), Urban has been a force to reckon with on country radio.

Of his 33 Top 40 hits, an incredible 31 have hit the Top Ten, the aforementioned “Love Thing” and “Blue Sky” by Emily West, which he was just featured on and so, really that one doesn’t count!

keith_urban

28 of his hits have made the Top 5 and 15 have topped the Country charts.

The ones that spent multiple weeks on top are:  “Somebody Like You” (6 weeks, 2002), “You’ll Think Of Me” (2 weeks, 2004), “Days Go By” (4 weeks, 2004), “Making Memories Of Us” (5 weeks, 2005), “Better Life” (6 weeks, 2005), “Sweet Thing” (2 weeks, 2009), “You Gonna Fly” (2 weeks, 2012), and “We Were Us” (with Miranda Lambert, 3 weeks, 2013).

Keith’s current hit, “Cop Car”,  recently reached #4 on the Billboard Country chart.

HAPPY EASTER!

Have a great weekend!  Here’s a flashback to Easter 2001 and Miss ABBA and the Easter bunny.

ABBAEaster2001

That’s it for this week.  I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.

Let me know what you think.  I always appreciate feedback — good or bad.  Well, obviously, I like the positive comments more!

Anthony

 

Movies — “12 Years A Slave”, “Kill Your Darlings”, “About Time” & “Gravity”

For the most part, the weather is getting nicer.  I know we’ll start spending more time outdoors, but there will always be time to rent movies.

I’ve watched a few lately and if you haven’t seen them, I’ll let you know if you should.

“ABOUT TIME”

When I saw the trailer for this British romantic comedy in theaters last year, I knew I would be waiting to see it on DVD.

The time travel movie is about a young man, Tim Lake, (Domhnall Gleeson) that can go back in time and change his life for the better.  He does this to get to know Mary (Rachel McAdams) better.

The $12 million movie was a box office hit bringing in $87 million.

It was directed by Richard Curtis who also directed “Love Actually”.

While a cute movie, “About Time” is no “Love Actually”.

GRADE:  B

“KILL YOUR DARLINGS”

This drama set in the 1940s covers the college life of some of the men that would go on to define the “beat generation”.

It stars Daniel Radcliffe as poet Allen Ginsberg, Ben Foster as William S. Burroughs, and Jack Huston as Jack Kerouac.

When Ginsberg heads off to Columbia University in New York City, he meets the very charming and beautiful blond-haired Lucien Carr, played to perfection by Dane DeHaan.

Carr is anti-establishment, a player, and unstable.  He gets people, young (Ginsberg) and mature (David Kammerer played by “Dexter” star Michael C. Hall), to do his college homework and papers for him.

Without giving too much away, since the movie is called “Kill Your Darlings”, it’s a pretty safe bet that one of the characters dies and the defense in court is shocking.  But, you have to remember that it’s the 1940s.

It was a good movie and Radcliffe’s sex scene in the movie proves that he no longer “Harry Potter”!

 GRADE:  B

“GRAVITY”

This seven-time Academy Award winner grossed more than $715 million at the box office.

From a technical standpoint, it was beautiful and Sandra Bullock turns in a great Oscar-nominated performance.

While enjoyable, outside of the technical achievement, I didn’t find that it had too much substance.  I know I’m probably alone in that assessment.

GRADE:  C

“12 YEARS A SLAVE”

I finally got around to seeing the Best Picture of 2013 and it was definitely worth it.

12 Years A Slave

While the movie covered the darkest period in American human rights history, it was riveting and you couldn’t take your eyes off it.  It was painful knowing that a portion of America thought it was okay to enslave, beat, rape, and treat others with no dignity.  Sadly, some still think that way!

The all-star cast was incredible.  While heartbreaking to watch her as Patsey, Lupita Nyong’o deserved her Oscar.

In another year that didn’t include Jared Leto as Rayon in “Dallas Buyers Club”, Michael Fassbender would have walked away with a gold statuette, too, as sadistic plantation and slave owner Edwin Epps.

GRADE:  A+

All of these movies are available now at Redbox and other movie outlets.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 11, 2014

The weekend is upon us!  While I have a couple of work-related events to take part in this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday, I plan on taking full advantage of my down time.

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

GIVE YOUR LOVED ONES AN EXTRA HUG

We all get overwhelmed and sometimes we forget to do simple things like show others how much we care.

alexhribelshackles

You just never know what will happen that day.

Who would have thought this innocent-looking 16-year-old boy is now suspected of stabbing 21 students and a security guard earlier this week in a Pennsylvania school?

To my friends, I appreciate you.  To my loved one, I’m thankful you’re in my life!

RE-WRITING THE BIBLE

Failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wants you to know he is not homophobic.

Huckabee

That’s what he told a crowd earlier this week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring fundraiser.

Huckabee says, “I’m not against anybody. I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic. I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives…but… when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand.”

I admit that Huckabee knows more about the Bible than I do, but I really don’t think that God put his signature on the first one, much less rewriting it, signing it, and sending it down now!

HIT THE ROAD, JACK

After thirty years of marriage, it’s over for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila.

Putin

Unless she’s like him, I wonder why it took thirty years?  Who knows (or cares)?  Maybe his hateful, ignorant attitude is something relatively new.

They have two daughters.

COUNTRY MUSIC SHINES ON CBS

Last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards show on CBS brought in some big numbers with 14.2 million people watching.

While I had no desire to watch it, I did flip over from “Crisis” on NBC during a couple of commercial breaks and I have three observations to make.

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Show

In her performance with husband Tim McGraw, Faith Hill looked amazing.  I didn’t really care for the song they performed and I really wish that she’d release an incredible album that country radio would have to embrace.

Meanwhile, show co-host Luke Bryan (left, below) looked incredibly hot.  Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.  As for Blake Shelton, not so much.

Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton

I didn’t watch the opening monologue and I know that the point is to poke fun at pop culture.

I thought Blake’s comment about marriage equality was funny, “A year ago, same-sex marriage just meant once you got married, you had the same sex over and over and over again.”  From what I’ve read, his wife, Miranda Lambert, in the audience, mouthed, “Thank you” to him!  It might have been a cold night in Las Vegas in their suite that night!

But, I didn’t care for one of his other “jokes” that I’m sure others thought was funny.

When the hosts were talking about the upcoming live performances on the show, Shelton added, “And if you don’t like live music, you have to go down the block and see Britney Spears”.

Britney Las Vegas

Stop!  I’m laughing out loud.  Not really.

I know it was a joke and they have writers, so I’m saying this in fun.  Blake, when you get own residency in Vegas and can ask for $800 a ticket and $2,500 for a VIP/Meet & Greet ticket, give me a call!

HERE’S THE KICKER TO BLAKE’S JOKE

Rascal Flatts, performing their new single, “Rewind”, on the ACMs now admit to lip-syncing (badly)!

Rascal Flatts

The band says, “After having performed several shows earlier in the week, Gary lost his voice.  So instead of canceling our commitment to do the show, we made a last-minute decision to lip-synch. We’ve never done it before, and we’re obviously not very good at it. We look forward to singing live again in the very near future!”

“WTH” FASHION STATEMENT

And, my last ACM Awards comment is about Miranda Lambert.  She is a beautiful woman and she looks amazing in the right and left pictures from Sunday night.

Miranda Lambert

However, in the middle picture, from the braided hair to the demin shirt and the belt, the whole ensemble had me censoring myself and just saying, “WTH”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Freaking StupidDog Social MediaPeas and Hominy

WAY TO GO, NOTRE DAME

In life, there are good and bad Democrats and Republicans.  There are good and bad straight people and LGBT people.  There are good and bad <insert group here>.

The University of Notre Dame, a Catholic college, in South Bend, Indiana, is making strides to be on the right side of history.

Matt Dooley

Watch this amazing video the University released after tennis play Matt Dooley came out as gay.  It’s incredible and touching.

REMEMBERING RYAN WHITE

It was 24 years ago this week that 18-year-old Ryan White died of complications of AIDS.

Ryan White

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.  We have come so far in the fight against AIDS and today, with proper medication, it’s no longer a death sentence and people can now live a full and long life.

That wasn’t the case back in the 1980s.  Ryan, a hemophiliac, was infected with HIV from contaminated blood in December 1984 and was given only six months to live.  He surprised doctors and the world by living for another five years.

While he posed no threat to other students, he was expelled from middle school because of his diagnosis.  Many parents and teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, fought against him returning to school and the family left Kokomo after bullets were fired into their house.

elton_John_ryan_white MIchael Jackson Ryan White

In life, Ryan became good friends with Elton John and Michael Jackson, along with John Cougar Mellencamp, and former President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Before he died, Ryan became a national spokesperson for bringing AIDS discrimination to the forefront in America.  Sadly, he died a month before graduating from high school.

Ryan, your memory is still alive.  And, to all of the Ryan Whites in the world today, live life to the fullest.

Here’s Elton John performing “Skyline Pigeon” at Ryan’s funeral.

DID YOU KNOW?

On a lighter note, now that it’s warming up, ice cream sounds like a great treat to enjoy outdoors.

In the July 2013 issue, “Better Homes and Gardens” reported that the average American eats 24 pounds of ice cream a year!

rocky road ice cream

While I love many flavors of ice cream, if I had to choose only one, it’d be Rocky Road.  And, if I could add one ingredient, it’d be coconut.

Now, there are many ranking of favorite flavors.  My favorite, Rocky Road, barely makes the Top 15.

Most rankings have Strawberry at #4, Butter Pecan at #3, and Chocolate comes in second place.

What’s shocking to me is that Vanilla is the favorite by a three-to-one margin!  Maybe because of its versatility?

PICK HIT

Pharrell Williams is hot right now.

As a solo artist, he’s at #1 with his song, “Happy”, and last year, he was featured in two of the biggest songs of the year, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “Blurred Line” with Robin Thicke.

I don’t really care for “Happy”, but I love him accompanying other artists.  I first became aware of him when appeared on Madonna’s album “Hard Candy” and on her 2008’s #1 dance smash, “Give It 2 Me”.

Pharrell is featured on one of my favorite songs from Kylie Minogue’s latest album, “Kiss Me Once”.

kylie_pharrell

“I Was Gonna Cancel” is the album’s second single and the follow-up to the #1 Billboard Dance hit, “Into The Blue”.

Radio programmers, add this to your playlist now!

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The-Best-Man-Holiday-Poster

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends —  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Earlier I talked about Luke Bryan, so I’ll feature him in my segment of some of my favorite country songs.

In just seven short years, the 37-year-old Georgia native and married father of two boys has racked up an incredible 15 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 11 of  have reached the Top Three with seven making it to the #1 spot!

His latest, “Play It Again”, is at #3 this week and it could top the chart, too.  However, he’d have to knock himself out of the top spot since he’s featured on Florida Georgia Line ‘s “This Is How We Roll”, at #1.

luke-bryan-nbc-today-show-650-430

I really like many of his hits like “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “Rain Is A Good Thing”, but his first hit, “All My Friends Say”, which reached #5 in 2007, is my still my favorite.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with any of them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony