Archive for July, 2016

My Ten Favorite Duran Duran Songs

I’m finally getting to see one of my favorite 1980’s bands in concert Friday night in Las Vegas.

duran-duran-seven-and-the-ragged-tiger

In anticipation of seeing Duran Duran at Mandalay Bay, I went back and listening to every Fab Five songs and ranked my Top 20.  Here are the videos of my Top Ten.

10
9

“SKIN TRADE”

8
7

“UMF”

6

“NEW MOON ON MONDAY”

5

“UNION OF THE SNAKE”

4

“THE WILD BOYS”

3

“HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF”

2

“THE REFLEX”

Another number 1

“IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?”

So, it may not be the early -1980s and I may not be 18-years-old either, but tonight I’m going party with Duran Duran like one of “The Wild Boys”.

Anthony

My 20 Favorite J. Lo Songs

It’s my second favorite time of the year after Christmas — my annual trip to Las Vegas!

Las Vegas

I absolutely love the city! Ray and I have talked about it and one day, a few years down the line, we may move there.

The next few days will be filled with lounging by the pool in the 100°+ heat, people watching, playing slots, sipping drinks and mimosas, and eating some great food.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

We also plan on catching a show and seeing Duran Duran and Jennifer Lopez in concert.  (And, if it works out, maybe even catching Reba for the 14th time, along with Brooks & Dunn for a second time).

JLo AP

But, this is all about J. Lo., one of the world’s most beautiful women!

No, I haven’t been lucky enough to meet her (or see her in concert).  This photo was taken last March at Madame Tussauds in New York City.

In anticipation of seeing J. Lo’s incredible “All I Have” Vegas show, I went back and listened to every track from her eight studio albums.  Here is a countdown of my 20 favorite J. Lo songs.

20

19

18

17

16

#15 Movie

#14 Movie

13

12

11

10

9

8

7

6

5

4

3


2

Another number 1

And, because J. Lo is so stunning and I love her attitude (hello to objectifying men), here’s a bonus!

Bonus

Anthony

 

 

 

Feeling Hotter Than Las Vegas

We all know it gets very hot in Las Vegas, Nevada.  However, when we hear people talk about the heat out in the desert metropolis, we always hear, “it’s a dry heat”.

Las Vegas

To me, hot is hot.  However, yesterday’s weather is Las Vegas proved that even a dry heat can feel cooler than the humidity and heat in the Midwest.

In the Quad Cities Sunday afternoon, we hit 92° for the official high.  Yet, at one point, with the humidity factored in, the heat index hit 106°.

2 Cities

At the same time, while the Las Vegas temperature was 109°, the humidity was only 8%.  That combination produced a heat index of 103°.  It actually felt cooler than the temperature.

The bottom line is that your body cools off by sweating and lower humidity dries that sweat and cools your body.

However, when the humidity is high, the sweat can’t evaporate and your body heats up more.

I’ll take the Las Vegas “dry heat” any time!

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 22, 2016

The weekend is almost here and that means I’m sharing some of my random thoughts with you.

I realize now if I want to take a break and still have something to post, I’ll just have Malania Trump, Donald’s wife, to put together a blog for you under my name.  It wouldn’t take much effort. 🙂

Malania, look up the word “plagiarism”.  P-L-A-G-I-A-R-I-S-M.

Melania

I saw this online and it was perfect and it made me smile, “I’d like to thank my speech writers ‘Copy and Paste'”.

VICIOUS ATTACKS ON ACTRESS LESLIE JONES

I never saw the original “Ghostbusters” from the 1980s and I have no desire to see the all-female remake in theaters now.

However, all of the sexist chatter on the Internet is rather appalling.  Actress Leslie Jones, the only black actress of the four leads (the others are Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Kate McKinnon), has been singled out for the most vicious of the online insults.

ghost-hospital

It’s a sad, sad world when it’s so easy to sit at a computer or use your smartphone and make racist and misogynistic comments and think it’s okay.

Please crawl back under the rock you surfaced from.  It just might help you from getting heat exhaustion this summer in the real world!

SPEAKING OF SUMMER HEAT

Liz

KARDASHIAN-WEST-SWIFT FUED

I truly don’t care what Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, and Taylor Swift argue about.  There are so many things in this world that demand our attention and our actions.

Who cares about these millionaire celebrities’ petty little attempt to garner more headlines?

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

See, even Taylor agrees!

BUT, THIS STUFF JUST WRITES ITSELF

Originally, when I started this week’s blog, I was going to briefly mention Donald Trump’s moment of glory and call attention to his lesser known running mate.  And, I wasn’t going to say anything more about the tiff between the millionaires mentioned above until….

Joseph Kahn, the Grammy Award and MTV Video Music Awards winning director of some the most classic music videos by Taylor Swift, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Janet Jackson, Kylie Minogue, Eminen, and so many more, went on a Twitter rant against Kim Kardashian and her family.

Kahn 1.jpg

Kahn 2.jpg

Usually when someone tweets something that people are shocked or offended by, the tweet mysteriously disappears (and lives on through screenshots).  Not, Kahn.  He makes no apologies.

Wednesday he tweeted, “People have been group attacking me for years on Twitter but they don’t understand that unlike normal humans, I have no emotions.”

MORE CIVIL SWIFTIES DEFENDERS

Unlike Kahn, other Swift friends have commented on the matter in a much more civil manner.

Singer and actress Selena Gomez tweeted “There are more important things to talk about… Why can’t people use their voice for something that fu**ing matters?” and “Truth is last thing we need right now is hate, in any form”.

But, she summed it up perfectly with “This industry is so disappointing yet the most influential smh”.

Gomez Moretz

Actress Chloe Grace Moretz tweeted “Everyone in this industry needs to get their heads out of a hole and look around to realize what’s ACTUALLY happening in the REAL world” and “Stop wasting your voice on something so petulant and unimportant”.

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL CIRCUS CONVENTION

Since more Republican voters chose Donald Trump as their choice in the primaries, I’m glad that he was picked as the nominee at the Republican Nation Circus Convention.

Cleveland.jpg

Why?  Because I’ll be visiting Cleveland, Ohio, in late September and I didn’t want people to burn the city down in protest.

ANTI-GAY VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MIKE PENCE

Indiana Governor Mike Pence was chosen to be Trump’s running mate.

I thought it was going to be New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and all of his baggage, but I never thought for a minute that it’d be Newt Gingrich.

So, who is Pence?  Well, I definitely know he’s not a friend of LGBT people.

He’s opposed to marriage equality and civil unions, he believes that gays should not serve in the military, he opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crime Prevention Act of 2009 (which expanded the definition of hate crimes to include gender identity and sexual orientation), and he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (it would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation).

And, then there’s the whole Religious Freedom Restoration Act (Indiana State Bill 101), which allows individuals and companies to discriminate against LGBT people using religion as a defense.

He signed it into law in March of last year, but amended it a week later with certain provisions to “protect” LGBT people.

Pence.jpg

However, there was still widespread opposition and criticism.  Many huge companies threatened to take their business elsewhere and some cities and states would not allow employees to travel to Indiana on business.

So, if you have loved ones or people you love that are LGBT, you might want to think twice in November if you’re thinking of this pair for president.

peace_love_understanding

ONE MONTH SINCE THE DEATH

It’s hard to believe that the tragic car accident that took the life of 27-year-old actor Anton Yelchin was over a month ago.

Anton

His new movie, “Star Trek Beyond” hits theaters this weekend.

In a full page ad in “Variety” magazine, his parents shared these heartfelt words:

“Thank you to all of you who have sent flowers and gifts, for your condolences and kind words and to all who came to celebrate the life of our dear son, Anton.  We are deeply grateful for your unconditional love… He would be surprised at how many hearts and souls he touched. Thank you very much.”

Yelchin died in a freak accident on July 19th when his Jeep pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar attached to a security fence outside his home in Los Angeles.

“GREEN ROOM”

This weekend, Anton Yelchin will most likely debut at the top of the box office with “Star Trek Beyond”.

“Green Room” was the last movie he released before his death and it’s now out on DVD.

He turns in an incredible performance as Pat, a member of a punk rock band, the Ain’t Rights.  The group is down on their luck and they get booked a gig at a backwoods Oregon dive.

But, it turns out that the audience is a group of neo-Nazis skinheads and the venue is owned by a menacing drug peddler played by Patrick Stewart.

When Pat goes back into the “green room” to grab a band mate’s phone as they’re leaving, he witnesses a death.  It quickly becomes apparent that the band has to be silenced to keep police away and it becomes a psychological game of survival.

This is “red band” trailer (adult language and situations).

GRADE:  B

FIVE MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS

The heat index in the Quad Cities (of Illinois and Iowa) hit 114°  Thursday as much of the middle part of the country is in a heat wave that’ll last through, at least, the weekend.

christmascocktails

So, some may think it’s too early to be thinking about winter or Christmas, but I say, “bah humbug”.

It’s only five months to Christmas now, but new holiday albums from some of your favorite singers start coming out in the fall.

This year, I’m looking forward to a duets Christmas album from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and I’m really excited about a new holiday collection from Kacey Musgraves.

I’m sure it’ll have Christmas classics and originals with her witty, down home brand of country music.  That’ll make me very happy as long as it doesn’t sound anything like the hokiness of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer”.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Grammy Award-winning singer, this is a big hit from her album, “Same Trailer Different Park”, which was my 10th favorite album of 2013.

Last year, my favorite new Christmas album was “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.

Kylie Christmas

While she covered classics like “Let It Snow”, “Winter Wonderland”, and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”, there were new tracks such as the instant disco classic with her sister, Dannii Minogue, “100 Degrees”.  Give it listen!

Country acts Rascal Flatts and Chris Young are also promising new Christmas albums this fall.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

While there are a few movies I want to see later this year, “The Girl on the Train” has been at the top of my list since I read Paula Hawkins’ amazing debut novel and the movie was announced.

The Girl on the Train

Here’s what I had to say last July about the book and the lead character, Rachel, who will be played by Emily Blunt:

“Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.  One day, she sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”

The first trailer was released in April and now a second trailer is out just months before the movies opens October 7th.

I’m so ready for October!

PICK HIT

17-year-old Daya (Grace Tandon) from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is well on her way to becoming a pop music superstar.

She most recently topped the Top 40 radio airplay charts with her collaboration with The Chainsmokers, “Don’t Let Me Down”.

She made her debut last summer with “Hide Away”, which reached #7 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Her latest, “Sit Still, Look Pretty” is already Top 20 at pop radio and is my pick hit of the week.

Here’s a recent morning show performance since there isn’t an official video yet.  Check out the incredible Lady Gaga-ish shoes.  The shoes are almost as awesome as Daya’s voice!

A full album from Daya is expected later this year.

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 15, 2016

I don’t know about you, but this week seemed to drag on for me and I’m very happy the weekend is here.

I hope you have a great one and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours afterwards.

“YES, I STARVE MY KIDS”

We live in a country where it’s easier (and cheaper) to grab high caloric and fatty foods instead of healthier ones.  It’s no surprise that more than one in three Americans is obese (body mass index of over 30).

We’re not alone.  Worldwide, in 2014, nearly two BILLION people are overweight and more than 600 million adults were obese.

When it comes to children, in 2013, 42 million kids younger than five years old were overweight!

Kristin.jpgWith those sobering facts, it’s no surprise the Internet went crazy when actress and reality star Kristin Carvallari, the wife of the Chicago Bears’ Jay Cutler, posted this Fourth of July picture of two of her children.

People accused Carvallari of starving her children. Her sarcastic response, “Yes, I starve my kids”, was priceless!

I know some of you may think they’re too thin.  Could it be the angle of the camera or the fact that the little boy is in motion playing and not posing?

But, are we so accustomed to seeing people carrying around so many unwanted, unhealthy pounds that we attack a mother because her kids are thin?

Clearly, shaming is for everyone — thick or thin.

MY HEART BREAKS AGAIN FOR THE WORLD

Another senseless tragedy strikes France.

A large truck intentionally drove through a crowd of thousands Thursday night gathered to watch fireworks and celebrate the country’s biggest holiday, Bastille Days, in the southern city of Nice.

Officials say the truck was loaded with guns and explosives.

Nice France

At least 84 are dead and another 19 are in critical condition.

It’s been a devastating 18 months for France. 

In January 2015, ISIS and al-Qaeda gunmen murdered 17 people in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo satiric publication and at a grocery store.

Then, last November, 130 people were killed and another 368 were hurt when ISIS militants attacked six locations in France and its northern suburbs with assault rifles, hand grenades, and explosive belts worn by suicide bombers.

How much more grief can France and the world take?  Sadly, I think we’re going to find out. 😦

O.J. SIMPSON — MURDERER

Oops, strike that.  He was found “not guilty” by a California jury.

I don’t think you can find many people in the world that don’t know or have an opinion about Orenthal James Simpson.

OJ Gloves.pngPeople too young to know him from the infamous murder trial of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman or the “white Bronco chase” in the mid-1990s  might have caught FX’s “American Crime Story:  The People v O.J.” this spring.

If you think you know all there is to know about the sports legend, ESPN begs to differ.  Its ten hour series, “OJ:  Made In America”, covers two big aspects of Simpson’s life in great detail — fame and race.

I’ve watched the first four hours of the five-part series and it’s incredible.  I can’t wait to see the rest of it.

So far, I learned that O.J.’s dad was gay and I hope to see more about his first wife, Marguerite, since they just skipped over the rest of that story!  I hope she took him to the cleaners once he met and married Nicole.

O.J. SIMPSON — SEX SYMBOL

As a kid, I wasn’t a football fan (I’m still not), so I didn’t know that Simpson was a standout football star with the University of Southern California Trojans or that he played professional football for the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers.

Young OJ.jpg

I only remember two things about him:  running through airports in Hertz rental car commercials and the savage murder of his wife and Goldman, the televised Bronco chase, and the pathetic circus that was called a trial.

The first part of “OJ: Made in America” showed a more recent Simpson — an overweight, old man in prison.  However, much to my chagrin (and fascination), we met and fell for a very charming, sexy, and articulate star athlete that I would have had a major crush on if I had been old enough in the 1970s.

But, it only took a moment to snap back into reality:  infidelity, domestic violence, murder charges, and the list goes on…

RACE RELATIONS

O.J. Simpson aside, the ESPN series and the current book I’m reading “Jimmy Carter:  A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency” by Peter Bourne has me thinking even more about race relations in the United States.

Both of those touch on race in the 1960s — the Watts Riots in 1965 in the television series and school integration in Georgia and the South in the 1960s in the book.

However, it’s disheartening to think that we’ve made so many advancements in the past fifty years, yet when you listen to the news today about the police shootings of black people on the streets, the protests that stem from that, and then a gunman executing officers in Dallas, you have to ask, “Is this still the 1860s or the 1960s?”.

Dallas

People have every right to be pissed off.  But, the bottom line is that there are good and bad police officers, just as there are good and bad people in society.

I wish there was more love and compassion in our world instead of the anger, hate, and violence.

ONE MONTH SINCE THE PULSE MASSACRE

It’s been a little over a month now since a lone gunman walked into the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, opening fire killing 49 people and injuring 53 others before police killed him.

Pulse

Last week, I featured a Ryan Murphy produced tribute to each of the victims from some of the biggest stars in entertainment.

This week, “Hands”, a new tribute song featuring Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Pink, Meghan Trainor, Jason Derulo, Troye Sivan, and so many more was released.

The video even features Patience Carter, Tiara Parker and Angel Anthony Santiago, three of the survivors of the Pulse massacre.  It’s so touching.

Profits go to the Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, and GLAAD.

THIS SUMMER NEEDS (AND GOT) BRITNEY!

Okay, this part of the blog had to be rewritten and revamped this morning.  When I awoke for work just after midnight, I got the surprise of the summer — the much anticipated release of the new Britney Spears song, “Make Me”, featuring G-Eazy!

With her revamped residency, “Piece of Me”, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and her amazing seven-minute performance to open the Billboard Music Awards, this summer needs the much-anticipated return of Britney Spears.

Earlier this week, she teased us with new music in the commercial for her “Private Show” fragrance.  She is so freaking hot!

Excitement continues to build as Britney readies her ninth studio album expected this fall.  It’ll be her first since the under-performing “Britney Jean” in 2013.  It produced the Top 20 hit, “Work Bitch”, but it was the worst selling single of her three decade career.

Also, with “Make Me”, it’s time to put that hideous misfire, last summer’s “Pretty Girls”, with Iggy Azalea (is she still around?), behind us.

Welcome back, Brit Brit!

BITTER DAYS FOLLOW BREAK-UP

I enjoyed the fifteen months that Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris were together because they made a beautiful couple.

Taylor Calvin

I absolutely love “This Is What You Came For”, Harris’ current Top 5 Hot 100 and #1 Dance Club Songs smash with Rihanna.

Ever since I discovered Harris on his amazing “18 Months” album and since “Blank Space” was my favorite song of 2014, you know I love both Calvin and Taylor’s music.

It’s now been revealed there may be another reason I like the new song so much.  It appears that Taylor wrote the song under a pseudonym!

However, the aftermath of the revelation is getting nasty.  Calvin tweeted this one Wednesday:

“And she sings on a little bit of it too 🙃 .  Amazing lyric writer and she smashed it as usual. I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym.”

“Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though 🤔.  I figure if you’re happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do.  I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it.”

Even with the bitterness of those tweets, I’m happy that Calvin took the high road and offered an olive branch in the final two tweets:  “Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you’ve earned a great one” and “God bless everyone have a beautiful day.”

Calvin, man, I really like you and I wish you success in life and love.  But, have fun and live it up because this is what we came for!

SUMMER TELEVISION

I’m so happy that “Mr. Robot”, the best new show on television last year, is back and it picked up a lot of Emmy nomination love yesterday!

MR. ROBOT

If you didn’t see the incredibly written, acted, and addictive first season, you need to set your DVR to record the second season and binge watch the first.

You’ll fall in love with the quirky, strange, and sad Elliot Alderson, played by Rami Malek.  I guess I should say Emmy-nominated Rami Malek.

The new season kicked off Wednesday night on the USA network.

Now, that “The Walking Dead, “Madam Secretary” and “Quantico” are on hiatus until the fall, “Mr. Robot” couldn’t have come at a better time.

While CBS renewed “Zoo” for a second season, it only took a hokey herd of wild animals on the rampage in the first few minutes of the second season premiere for me to finally give up on the show after an uneven first season.

The premise of the animal kingdom turning on man was great.  The execution became contrived over last season’s thirteen episodes.

Wolk Zoo S2.jpg

My only regret is saying goodbye to James Wolk.

Also, this summer, I gave “American Gothic” on CBS a try, but thirty minutes was all it took to delete it and take the series record off of the DVR.

TWO SHOWS WE’RE ENJOYING

However, we’ve started watching two other shows that are entertaining us in half the time!

Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, a Tina Fey production, and Amazon Prime’s “Catastrophe” have both completed their second seasons, but are new to us.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has been renewed for a third season.  The show and the leads, Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess, were all nominated for Emmy Awards this week!

There’s no word on whether there’ll be more “Catastrophe”.

PICK HIT

18-year-old Swedish singer Zara Larsson is ready to follow-up her first American hit, the Top 5 smash “Never Forget You” with MNEK, with a song that was actually first released last summer.

“Lush Life” is a fun, peppy perfect summer song.

If you remember this song and the video last year, you notice that more money was spent on the new one.  Just for fun, here’s the original video.

In her native country, she’s already had eight hits, six of which reached the Top Ten, and three have topped the charts, including “Lush Life” and “Never Forget You”.

CONGRATULATIONS BRETT KISSEL

If you follow my blog, you know I’m a big supporter of Canadian country singer Brett Kissel, who now lives in Nashville with his wife and little girl.

I’m still waiting for American country radio to expand their horizons and play him.

I want to congratulate Brett on scoring his eighth consecutive Top Ten hit on the Canadian Country chart.

Brett Kissel

This week, “Cool With That”, the third single from his “Pick Me Up” album, moved from #11 to #8.

If you’d like to know more about him and I’d highly recommend it, here’s what I wrote back in February.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Oscars, I Disagree in One Acting Category

Finally, I can post this blog after seeing “Carol”.

Although the Oscars were months ago, I didn’t want to agree or disagree with voters on the Academy Awards until I watched each of the movies nominated for Best Picture and the ones featuring acting nominees.

In May, I posted whether I agreed or disagreed with the “Best Picture” category and I suggested some of the movies in that category that you may not have seen yet.  Here’s that blog again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/05/13/did-oscar-get-it-right-on-best-picture/

Now, on with the acting categories.  I agree with Oscar on three of the four winners!

BEST ACTOR 

I agree that Leonardo DiCaprio won this category hands down for “The Revenant”.

Eddie Redmayne was incredible in “The Danish Girl” and Michael Fassbender was mesmerizing as “Steve Jobs”.

Bryan Cranston is always amazing and his role in “Trumbo was no different.

And, while I enjoyed “The Martian” and Matt Damon’s performance in the movie, I’m still a little surprised he was nominated for the big acting award.

BEST ACTRESS

This was a very tough category because all five women were captivating.  However, unless there had been a tie, Brie Larson was the true winner and was rightfully awarded the Oscar for her heartbreaking performance in “Room”.

I once blogged that Jennifer Lawrence (and Melissa Leo) should be in every movie and she outdid herself in “Joy”.  I know many see it as a movie about a woman and a mop and that would be simplifying it too much.  I loved this movie and Jennifer.

Charlotte Rampling is one of the most underrated actresses working today and if more people saw her in “45 Years”, they’d have to agree.

I admit that it took a turn on the final season of Showtime’s “Dexter” to introduce me to Rampling and her calculated performance in “London Spy” makes me want to check out more of her movies.

I also loved Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn”, which was one of my favorite movies of last year. It was amazing and if more people see the movie, I’m sure they’d fall in love with her “Eilis” and Emory Cohen’s “Tony”.

And, then there’s the always captivating Cate Blanchett and her turn in “Carol” was no exception.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

I want to do this supporting category first because I agree that Alicia Vikander won the Academy Award without a doubt playing opposite Best Actor nominee Eddie Redmayne in “The Danish Girl”.

If Vikander hadn’t been in the category, I would have wanted Rooney Mara in “Carol” to win because I fell in love with her just as Cate Blanchett’s Carol did.

It’s interesting that both Vikander and Mara could just as easily been nominated in a less crowded “Best Actress” race.

I’m glad that Jennifer Jason Leigh was nominated in the over-the-top “The Hateful Eight” because I couldn’t take my eyes off her and she kept me laughing.  However, she didn’t deserve to win this category.

Kate Winslet was almost unrecognizable in “Steve Jobs” and the performance was duly recognized by Oscar.

While Rachel McAdams put in a strong performance in the “Best Picture” winner “Spotlight”, her reward was the nomination.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Here’s where my agreement with the Academy voters ends.  They chose Mark Rylance for “Bridge of Spies” as the winner.  It was a great performance opposite Tom Hanks in the Steve Spielberg movie.

But, there are two other actors in the category that I thought deserved the gold statuette more.

Before the Oscars, odds makers put their money on Sylvester Stallone picking up the award for his latest installment as Rocky Balboa in “Creed”.  I agree with them.

And, if it wasn’t Stallone, I would have given the award to Tom Hardy for his villainous performance opposite Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Revenant”.

The other nominees in the category were Christian Bale in “The Big Short” (incredibly quirky and unrecognizable) and Mark Ruffalo in “Spotlight” (solid performance, but not worthy of Oscar).

oscar-statues-02

Now that it’s taken me almost five months to finally post this blog after seeing all of the Best Picture and acting category movies, the 89th annual Academy Awards is just seven months away — February 26, 2017.

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 8, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying your week following the Fourth of July weekend.

I loved the cooler temperatures last weekend, but the heat and humidity definitely returned to the Midwest.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and many of you did last Friday, so thank you again.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.

Jimmy & Rosalynn.jpg

Thursday marked the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.

After the couple married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, they lived in several different parts of the country when President Carter was in the Navy.  After that, they returned to Plains to run the family’s peanut farm and business before moving on to Atlanta to become to Governor and First Lady of Georgia.

As I’ve written before, as a 12-year-old boy, I accompanied my grandmother, Helen, who was mostly illiterate into the voting booth in November 1976 in Mayfield, Kentucky, and placed my first presidential vote for the former Georgia governor.

I want to think that my vote was instrumental in him winning my state’s nine electoral votes.

CarterPres

I went with her again in 1980 and, again, voted for President Carter.

I’ll be visiting Atlanta in early September for the first time and I can’t wait to see the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  I’m so hoping that the former President and First Lady will be speaking at the Carter Center while I’m there.

So, President and Mrs. Carter, I’d love to treat you to an anniversary lunch or dinner if our path’s cross in Atlanta this September!  🙂

Happy Anniversary!

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

In case you missed it, here’s the blog from four years ago confessing my admiration for President and Mrs. Carter. (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

SAD STATE OF THE WORLD

I already had this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” ready to post when the bloodshed in Dallas, Texas, became the top story.

Dallas

A sniper (or snipers) opened fire on about 100 police officers at a demonstration of around 800 people in Dallas.  Eleven police officers were shot and, at least, five were dead.

The group gathered to protest two police-related deadly shootings this week — one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota.

At least three people were in custody after an exchange of gunfire with police at a parking garage downtown.

This story is changing by the minute and will continue to do so throughout the day and weekend.

the real world

America and the world, violence is and has always been a part of our existence.   But, the lack of empathy and the total disregard for life and our fellow man has to change.

I’m a realist and I know how this will play out, but I truly want society and mankind to prove me wrong!

STOP THE HATE

(This part of the blog was already written before the Dallas shooting spree.)

It’s been almost a month since the deadly shooting at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.

49 people were gunned down and another 53 were injured.

There have been many vigils and memorials in the past few weeks.

Now, heavyweight producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”, “American Crime Story”, “Scream Queens”, and “Glee”) is behind a very powerful and beautiful 18-minute video tribute featuring Hollywood stars sharing the stories of each of the 49 victims’ lives with their photographs.

The video may be long, but that time pales in comparison to the lifetime that each of those 49 people will never experience now.

I hope you take the time to watch it.

So touching and heartbreaking!

THOSE “DAMN EMAILS”

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Those words came from Senator Bernie Sanders on October 13, 2015 (my birthday)  in a Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive U.S. Presidential nominee, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clinton quickly replied with a chuckle, “Thank you. Me, too.  Me, too.”

DEM 2016 Debate

Now, almost nine months later, the debate is over with FBI Director James Comey stating in a press conference with his agency’s decision, “Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But, Comey did call Clinton’s handling of private emails “extremely careless.”

Yesterday, while being grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he basically said that none of the Clinton documents in the investigation had headers stating it was “classified”.

Now that precedence is set, hopefully every Secretary of State from John Kerry forward will learn from this and new guidelines will be instituted that can keep up with the always changing internet world.

BENGHAZI — FOUR YEARS LATER

If you asked Americans what country Benghazi is in or where to find it on the map, most would not know.  From a security standpoint four years ago, our own government didn’t seem to have it (and several other places) high on their radar either.

It didn’t seem like a priority until September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans there.

The U.S. government, the Obama administration, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted formal responsibility and she said this of the blame game, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Hearing were held and many studies were conducted (even independent ones).  Yet, in this presidential election year, people are still looking for the “silver bullet” to implicate Clinton for this tragedy.

The Stevens Family.jpg

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Stevens, is that family’s spokesperson and she says the latest reports added nothing new because it was already established that Benghazi was not secure.

Stevens adds, “I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

Clinton Stevens.jpg

And, when asked what Chris would have thought about this year’s upcoming presidential election, she says, “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”

Sadly, many people are keeping this tragedy alive, not because they are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other men, to make it another piece of this year’s election puzzle.

It’s time to make security changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and, most of all, it’s time to move on people.

“13 HOURS:  THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

When it was announced in late 2014 that director Michael Bay would be bringing a movie about the Benghazi tragedy to the big screen, I didn’t have any interest in seeing it.

He’s famous for making popcorn movies geared toward teenage fanboys and fangirls (“The Transformers” series and “Armageddon”).

However, once I heard that the movie wasn’t just propaganda (it was released two weeks before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, 2016, which is the kick-off to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election), I decided I would check it out on DVD.

It’s much better than I expected it to be.  From a Hollywood telling of real life events, it was definitely a great thriller.  It ended up making about $70 million in theaters with a $50 million budget.

Since we’re talking about the movie here, John Krasinski looks incredible with his newly buffed physique.

GRADE:  B

TICKETMASTER & FREE TICKETS

The concert movie giant is trying to make good after a losing a lawsuit over the crazy fees it charges.

Ticketmaster has already released two waves of tickets totaling almost $15 million, but it’s only for select concerts and venues.

It’s a nice gesture, but it’ll not likely benefit most of the customers it ripped off over the years, including myself.

Here’s a July 1st post from Ticketmaster:

tm

Ticketmaster, I have an idea if you really (and I stress, REALLY) want to make good on redemption from your shady activities that got you sued.

Since you’re only offering select number of tickets anyway, let us pick the general admission seats to the concerts we’d want to attend — if seats are available.

For instance, there are two shows that still have plenty of cheap seats open in Las Vegas when I’m there later this month.  Let me use my free vouchers there.

Just a thought!

SULLY

You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.

Flight 1549

This is US Airways Flight 1549 resting on the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Shortly after take-off, the plane hit a flock of Canadian geese, which caused engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

Director Clint Eastwood and Oscar winner Tom Hanks are bringing this amazing story to the big screen September 9th.

The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart as Skiles and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

FISH POND UPDATE

It appears that the anti-viral chemical we’re using in the fish pond is making a difference!

As I told you in last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, we had four larger koi to die in about a week’s time and then we quickly treated the pond with an agent to fight viruses in case the last fish we acquired were sick.

Sadly, Snowflake, another of the larger koi, died last weekend.  (She’s on the left here.  Pumpkin Pie, my favorite fish, on the right, died two weeks ago.)

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.

FIRST LADIES

For the past three weeks, I’ve been sharing tidbits from the book I read called “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.

I’m wrapping it up this week.

First Ladies

Eleanor Roosevelt:   She worked for the advancement of women and civil rights for black Americans.  Many saw her and FDR as a team in politics.  She loved press conferences — she had 348 in the three terms as First lady.  She also ended Prohibition by serving wine in the White House in 1934.

Elizabeth “Bess” Truman:  She and President Harry Truman made it no secret that they closely worked together for his policies.  She didn’t travel by air and mostly took the train.  Unlike her First Lady predecessor, she hated press conferences and only gave one!

Mamie Eisenhower:  Her favorite color was pink and she surrounded herself with it.  She saw her role as wife as secondary and supportive.  She made many “best dressed” lists, but often bought clothes off the rack.  While she exuded a “soft” side, White House staff saw her as militaristic.

Jacqueline Kennedy:  She worked hard to restore the White House (she didn’t like the word “redecorate”).  She was the first First Lady to hire her own press secretary and she was very into art and not just what was popular at the time.

Lady Bird Johnson:  Her first name was Claudia.  She borrowed against her inheritance, so her husband, LBJ, could run for Congress in Texas in 1937.  She also borrowed money to buy an Austin radio station in 1942 and when television took off in the 1950s, her broadcasting complex made her a very rich woman.  She’s best known for supporting the environment and for starting Highway Beautification projects.

Pat Nixon:  Thelma was her first name.  In her renovations of the White House, she made it more accessible for disabled and the sight-impaired.  She responded to her correspondences individually and she was also a well-traveled First Lady visiting 83 nations.

Betty Ford:  Her real name was Elizabeth.  She was widely lauded (and likely mocked) for her frankness — about her kids, health problems, and her life, including using Valium.  She wasn’t afraid to share her views even when they contradicted President Gerald Ford’s stances.

Rosalynn Carter:  Her first name is Eleanor and she gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation of eleven students in Plains, Georgia.  As First Lady of Georgia and the country, she worked very hard for mental health reforms.  She also fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified.  She also played a big role in the Middle East Peace Talks at Camp David by making many trips back to Washington D.C. during the lengthy process to stand in at events for President Jimmy Carter.

Nancy Reagan:  She wasn’t shy about asking for White House renovations and new china even as the country was in a major recession.  She was often criticized for influencing her husband, especially in his second term.  The “New York Times” even wrote about her “Associate Presidency”.

Barbara Bush:   She worked hard during her White House years for literacy and to bring attention to the fight against AIDS.  She was heavily into volunteerism before she became First Lady.

Hillary Rodham Clinton:  As First Lady, she was seen as highly ambitious because she was a strong woman that worked on policy for her husband.  To counter criticism, she lightened her hair, wore a more feminine wardrobe, and cut back on her public speaking.  To top it off, she even added her married name publicly to her already establish name of “Hillary Rodham”.

This book was updated in 1993 and it didn’t have chapters on Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

HIllary Flag

One last interesting comment that the author made was “By 1993, the credentials of First Lady Hillary Clinton looked very much like those of the President.”

Prophetic much???? 🙂

PICK HIT

I saw Cardiknox, the pop duo of Thomas Dutton and lead singer Lonnie Angle, open for Carly Rae Jepsen in New York City in March on the “Emotion Tour”.

They are full of energy and their debut album, “Portrait”, is fantastic.

Here’s their new video, “Wild Child”.

PICK HIT BONUS

I also want to share the first song and video from the album, “On My Way”, which is one of my favorite songs of 2016.

The video is amazing because it definitely looks like it done in one take with no edits.

THAT’S IT

With all that’s going on in the world, I hope you can make your little part of this f**ked up world a little brighter!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 1, 2016

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us and that means the first half of the year is already behind us.  Time flies when you’re having fun or so they say.

Have a safe holiday weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts.

NO DOG IN MY FUTURE — MAYBE EVER!

ABBAAnthonyLD2009

It’s been almost four-and-a-half years since Miss ABBA went to puppy heaven and people understandably ask, “When are you getting another dog?”.  I always thought that we would one day.

However, over the past week, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t think I need one!

As you know, Ray and I built our first fish pond a few years back and last summer, we expanded it from a mere 200 gallons to 1,000 gallons.

Fish Pond

It’s so much fun to watch the 50-plus fish at feeding time and the sound of the waterfall is so relaxing.

Sadly, it’s likely that Blizzard, the largest and most recent fish we acquired, or one of the small koi we just bought was sick.

Without warning, Blizzard died early last week.  It came as a total shock and then the real trauma hit me.

Last Friday, my favorite fish, Pumpkin Pie, the one I saved from the mink last summer, died.

Pumpkin Pie is the orange one with black spots and Snowflake is the yellowish/white one.

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

I held her (or him) as it died.  It was heartbreaking and I cried.  At that point, I realized that I’ll not ready for the heartbreak of losing another pet.

After Blizzard and Pumpkin Pie, two days later, Strong, a koi that we adopted from our friends Nathan and Amanda died, followed by one more large fish, Norma Bates, the next day.  (Yes, we name the big ones and a few of the small ones.)

As hard as we work to keep the fish pond clean and happy, the fear quickly set in that this wasn’t just a coincidence and that a fish bacteria or virus was raging through the pond.

The pond is now being treated by a strong anti-virus treatment and we hope that the last of the five or so large fish survive.  So far, none of the 40-plus small fish (mostly goldfish) have been affected.

In memory of the four fish, we planted ornamental grasses around the pond.

Here’s a another look at a happier day not too long ago when Pumpkin Pie, Strong, and Norma Bates were alive and well!  (All three are in this video — the largest ones!)

PEOPLE NEED SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN

Many people choose the Bible when they need something to believe in.  However, others put their faith and money, money, money into self-help books and motivational speakers.

Look at 56-year-old infomercial star Tony Robbins.  He’s made so much money convincing people that they can do almost anything they set their minds to.

That trust and faith sent dozens to the hospital late last week in Texas.

About thirty people were burned and had to be treated after walking on hot coals in a fire walking event at a seminar in Dallas.  Several were hospitalized and others were transported to medical facilities that treat burns.

Coal Fire Burns

Jennifer Connelly, a spokesperson for Robbins says, “The fire walk portion of the event has been celebrated for 35 years.”

She adds that the goal of the exercise is to have guests to feel no discomfort afterwards, but it’s “not uncommon to have fewer than one percent of participants experience ‘hot spots’, which is similar to a sunburn, which can be treated with aloe.”

Um, I think she has this terribly wrong.  Burn treatment at a hospital sounds much different than hot spots and a sunburn.

Seriously people, believe in yourself and not some person that wants your money because they know you’re weak!

PRIDE HIGHLIGHTS

Pride parades were held all across the world this past weekend and earlier in June.

Years & Years, the English dance band, with openly gay lead singer Olly Alexander played the annual Glastonbury Festival in England last weekend.

IFDecked out in a rainbow flag outfit, he told the crowd, “As you might be able to tell by the way that I’m dressed, I’m gay. And in fact, I’m really, really, super gay.

And, then he got more serious about the recent tragedies like the Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.

“But what I keep thinking about in the last year, some crappy and messed up stuff has happened.  As a queer person, as queer people, we know what it’s like to be scared and we know what’s it like to live with fear as part of our every day. But tonight, at Glastonbury, I would like to ask you to join me on Pride weekend and say, ‘no thank you fear. Bye fear bye.  Shove a rainbow in fear’s face.  All I have to say to finish is, I am here and queer and sometimes I am afraid but I am never ashamed of who I am.”

Jessie-Eisenberg-London-Pride

Meanwhile, on Pride weekend in London, “Now You See Me 2” actor Jesse Eisenberg left a West End stage rehearsal of “The Spoils” and walked by an anti-Pride Christian group.

He was asked “Is your mind closed?” by a man offering a brochure.  Eisenberg responded, “That’s so f*cking sad.”

The man asked the same question again and Jesse scoffed and laughed adding, “Is my mind closed?  That’s so f*cked up” and walked away.

Hillary PrideBack in the the United States, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit and walked in New York City’s Pride parade.

NO PRIDE HERE, JUST SHAME!

As many of you know, Pride parades and celebrations started 46 years ago when the gay community took a stand and said we’re not hiding away in the shadows of society any longer.

We’ve made so much progress and there’s still so much more room for advancement.

Sadly, in the LGBT community as it is in society in general, there are those that do things that shine a really bad light on others.

Tennessee Violent Crimes

YouTuber Calum McSwiggan claims that three men attacked him outside a West Hollywood, California gay bar earlier this week.

But, police now say that he faked the report and actually injured himself inside the cell with a pay phone to cover up his arrest on vandalism charges!

I’m not sharing McSwiggan’s picture because if he lied (and police and a witness say he did), he’s just desperate for fame and attention and I’m not giving him face time.  Pulling a stunt like this makes him scum of the earth.

Pulse

As we saw at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and from all the hate talk that comes from politicians, the Westboro Baptist Church, and other haters, the LGBT community has to be vigilant enough already without having some media whore desperate for attention lying about an anti-gay attack!

McSwiggan is now being charged with filing a false police report.

THIS WEEK, THE POPE SAYS…

While I’m not Catholic, much of my family is.

I believe that Pope Francis, who began his papacy in March 2013, is good for Catholicism and is working to bridge the religious and real world divide between the Church and LGBT people.  However, he’s really hard to figure out.

This is what he said in the summer of 2013.

Pope Francis

While he opposes marriage equality and he thinks being a practicing homosexual is intrinsically immoral, he believes gay people should be treated with respect and love.

He’s making headlines again.  On a trip to Armenia last weekend, Pope Francis declared on the flight, “I think that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it offended, but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

He’s not the first Pope to apologize for Catholics and Christians, but he’s the first to ask for an apology to the LGBT people.  In 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II apologized to several groups including Jewish people, immigrants, women, and indigenous peoples.

It’s a step forward if he doesn’t contradict his statement the next time he speaks on the matter!

CLUELESS CAITLYN

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner for coming out as transgender, but I never had any faith in her advancing the cause for my transgender brothers and sisters.  So far, I’d say I’m correct.

Caitlyn

The more I see her name in the press and the more she opens her mouth, the more I cringe. Okay, that’s a polite way of expressing how I really feel about her views.

Jenner’s latest ignorant and misinformed statement:  “Trump seems to be very much for women.  He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”

Maybe she meant to say that Trump is “very much behind” on issues regarding the LGBT community!

I agree with the Huffington Post calling it a “WTF of the week”!

NATE SILVER PREDICTS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT

American statistician and writer Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com has spoken and he predicts that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.

HIllary Flag

If you don’t know him, you definitely don’t follow politics as closely as I do.

The baseball and politics analyst successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008’s U.S. Presidential Election.

In the next election cycle, in 2012, Silver successfully called all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this week, he made his first prediction for the 2016 presidential race and gave a big edge to Clinton.  Here’s how he made his prediction.

538 Predicts

PICK HIT

“Worth It” by Fifth Harmony was one of my favorite songs of last year.

Earlier this year, the band released the first single, “Work From Home”, from their new album “7/27”, that came out in late May.  It topped the airplay charts at Top 40 radio.

It’s an incredibly catchy song with a super hot, sexy video.  (I featured it last week, so just glance back one week to watch it.)

Their new song, “All In My Head (Flex)” is already racing up the charts and it’s catchy, too.  It features the hot ladies of Fifth Harmony, more sexy men, and rapper Fetty Wap.

By the way, what the hell is Fetty Wap singing?

ANOTHER PICK HIT

Michael Ray topped the country radio airplay chart last year with “Kiss You In the Morning”.  It ended being one of my favorite songs of last year and his self-titled album was my #9 album of 2015.

He’s back with a new video for the third single from the album, “Think A Little Less”.

If you’d like to know more about Michael Ray and his incredible album, here’s my blog review.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

FIRST LADIES

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing little known (or well known) tidbits about the wives of the presidents of the United States from the book I read by Betty Boyd Caroli called “First Ladies”.

I’ve covered Martha Washington to Frances Cleveland.  Here’s more trivia that may help you in “Jeopardy” or “Trivial Pursuit”.

First Ladies

Caroline Harrison:  She became ill in the last year of her husband’s presidency and died a few weeks before the 1892 election becoming only the second First Lady to die while in the White House.  She’s best remembered for having electricity added to the White House during 1891’s spring renovations and for starting the White House china collection.

Frances Cleveland:  She served two non-consecutive terms in the White House as First Lady.  In my last blog, here’s what I wrote about her:  “She was 21-years-old when she married the president, who was 28 years older than her!  Frances was the daughter of a former law partner to President Cleveland and he had known her since she was born.  He also bought her her first baby carriage!  Okay, that’s just downright creepy”.

Ida McKinley:  She was very sick and frail as First Lady.  In public, she was prone to seizures.  President McKinley would have a white handkerchief on hand and he’d place it over her face when she had a seizure and would remove it when it was over.  They would continue on in conversation as if nothing had happened.

Edith Roosevelt:  She controlled the information going out to social reporters very carefully and handle criticism well.  Once a famous woman was quoted in a national magazine that the First Lady “dresses on 300 dollars a year and looks it.”  She happily clipped the column and placed it in her scrapbook.

Helen Taft:  She was known to push her husband into positions that would align him to become president one day.  She was influenced by the years she spent in the Orient and as First Lady, she had thousands of Japanese cherry trees planted and the spring blossoms are now a major tourist attraction in Washington D.C.

Ellen Wilson:  She became the first First Lady to address Congress to improve housing conditions in Washington D.C., especially the slums, with “Ellen Wilson’s Bill”.

Edith Wilson:  President Woodrow Wilson’s second wife was highly criticized for “petticoat government” after he suffered a stroke in the fall of 1919.  She kept people away from him until he recovered enough to carry out his presidential responsibilities.  That’s why people didn’t really know who was running the government.  Meanwhile, she set a good example during World War I by having “meatless days” at the White House and she even brought in sheep to graze the lawn to save money and would auction off the wool to raise cash for the American Red Cross.

Florence Harding:  She was known to manipulate the White House press corp.  Because of that, the public never knew how sick she and the president really were and thus their deaths came as more of a shock.  Publicly, she blamed their extended illnesses on food poisoning and other things.

Grace Coolidge:  Her husband, President Calvin Coolidge, was very strict and never allowed her to give interviews.  While he often demeaned her, he spent a lot of money to buy her a lavish wardrobe.

Lou Hoover:  She was a geologist who moved to China with husband and then added Mandarin to the languages she spoke.  She embraced radio and gave many speeches with a feminist slant.

I’ll have the final installment next week.

THAT’S IT

I hope you found something interesting this week in my many random thoughts.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts with me, even if we disagree.  Just do it diplomatically.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.  Happy 240th Birthday America!

Anthony