What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities. I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.
Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday. As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically. (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah. The dead horse is still dead!)
REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN
Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.
She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.
Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.
I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.
While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.
FAMOUS FIRST LADIES
It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.
Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.
There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.
I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.
Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. She seems so genuine and down to earth.
I’ll share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.
Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.
Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit. Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”
ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.
She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”
In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”
Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.
Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”
My thoughts: I know people are young (and stupid). I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.
However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know. I didn’t mean to offend you.”
We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.
And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!
I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”
“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR
After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years. Well, he and I are at odds again.
Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.
Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”
I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times. In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.
I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”). If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):
But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.
That’s the good news if you share my views. The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.
“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis. Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.
Sadly, viewers are moving on. The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers. However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.
Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!
If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation. However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!
THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR
I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.
While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).
The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder. The goal is to stay alive.
This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!
“The Purge: Election Year” opens July 1st.
CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!
I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside. Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.
However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.
Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified. With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless, privileged views with her.
I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.
She was real and not the product of reality television!
When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced. Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.
However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.
Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie. Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.
“BRIDGE OF SPIES”
This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.
It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.
I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.
Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.
I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.
If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.
It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.
“THE NIGHT BEFORE”
I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable. Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.
Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying. I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.
When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it. It looked so moronic and not funny.
Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance. For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.
I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie. But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding. I think Franco should be in every movie!
There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.
With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!
FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST
I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie. But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess. How bad was it? I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.
Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week. I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.
Enjoy your weekend.