Random Friday Thoughts — September 2, 2016

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina!

As a meteorologist, I’ve never been interested in chasing tornadoes. But, I’m stoked that Tropical Storm Hermine (formerly a hurricane before hitting Florida) is bearing down on South Carolina and it’ll be soaking us with heavy, wind blown rains today!

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That red outlined area is where we are and it indicates a “Tropical Storm Warning”!

WHY ARE WE HERE?

Ray has a conference in Atlanta, so we took off a few days early to explore the southern charm of Charleston and Savannah, Georgia, and the beaches at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

In the weeks leading up to this last hooray of summer, we ate healthy and exercised like crazy.  We wanted to indulge in good ol’ Southern cooking with no calorie counting.

So, here are my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  As always, if we disagree, just do it diplomatically.

GET WELL WISHES FOR HOLLY DUNN

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard Holly Dunn.  Her breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” in 1989 and this one, “You Really Had Me Going” in 1990, topped the charts.

After her last album in 2003, Holly left country music to focus on another love — art.

Now, at 59, she’s fighting for her life.

In March, she was diagnosed with a “rare and aggressive” form of ovarian cancer.  She had surgery and she’s now undergoing chemotherapy, but the statistics are bleak.

Holly says, “Good thing I don’t believe in statistics!”

She has faith, but is still asking for prayers, “I have since grown more tumors and it is going to be more of a battle than I anticipated, but I have a huge faith in the healing power of God and the healing power within me that originates from my God. I look towards a future when I am completely healed and cancer free. I ask for prayers of strength and courage as this journey continues.”

My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Holly.

PAULA DEEN IS ONE CRAZY WOMAN

Before heading off to the southeastern United States, I read Paula Deen’s “It Ain’t All About the Cookin'”.

PD.jpg

It was a very brutally honest book that shared all of the downs Paula endured in her life before she because a famous restaurateur and television cooking star.

I won’t give too much away, but I’ll share a quick story from the book of her being single and lonely for a long time and wanting to find love.  She even makes that story funny!

Paula writes, “Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the furnace.  No one knew how I felt — even my children, who could no more imagine their momma’s feet pointed up to Jesus than they could imagine me deserting them!”

Paula!

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME BISCUITS WITH THAT GRAVY?

Paula learned her craft by watching her grandmother, just as I learned much of the cooking basics I’ve built upon in my lifetime from my grandmother Helen.

Helen

I’ve always regretted not paying close attention to my grandmother when she was making southern biscuits.

However, at the end of the one of Paula’s chapters, she has a recipe for biscuits that sounds just like my grandmother’s.  So, this fall or winter, I’m making breakfast from scratch — including homemade biscuits!

THE EMPIRE CRASHES…

Paula’s television culinary empire came crashing down in the summer of 2013 when she was accused of being racist by a former employee.

If you don’t remember the details, I’m sharing it again because that problem and that word is still very much part of today’s landscape.

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 28, 2013:

“Food Network star Paula Deen is all over the television these days.  She’s the talk of radio, her face is all over the magazines, and blogger are feasting on a buffet talking about her.  There are many things being said about her — some say give her a break because she hasn’t said anything you probably haven’t said and some say she’s a racist.

Paula Deen Happy

Paula’s whirlwind downfall started recently after she was called to testify last month in a 2012 $1.2 million sexual and racial workplace discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers by former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, who is white, claims that Deen said this when asked about a theme for a wedding, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.  Jackson says that Deen laughed and said, “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

In that deposition last month, Deen admitted to using the “n-word” in the past.  However, she maintains that she hasn’t used it in years and when she did, it was because a black man held a gun to her head at her former place of employment.   Earlier this week on “Today”, Matt Lauer asked Deen , “Are you a racist?” and the 66-year-old grandmother responded, “No, I am not.” and “The day I used that word it was a world ago.  It was 30 years ago.”

This week, Deen was fired from the Food Network and she lost sponsorships with Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, and Target.  QVC is still deciding on Deen’s fate.

Domestic Diva Martha Stewart says, “”I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She’s a public figure and I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure.”  And, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton adds, “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago” and “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”

So, with that being said, I want to know what you think.  Here’s what I think.

IF (and notice that’s a big IF) Paula made that joke about the wedding idea in any era, then or now, it’s not funny.  It’s stupid.  If Paula responded with the n-word after a man held a gun to her head as she stated, while not still acceptable, it’s more likely a case of forgiveness given the circumstances.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s South and that awful word was a commonly used word.  Sadly, my late father was one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist, and the list goes on, man I think I’ve ever met.  And, even my late grandmother, who was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, uttered that word in my childhood, but she wasn’t using it to be ugly.  As I grew from a child to a teenager, I educated her that although people use that word, it’s not right.

And, as Paula stated in the interview with Lauer, that word is used too freely in today’s society in movies and music.  I agree and that has to stop, too.  I don’t care if you are an African-American or you identify as a black man or woman, that word has to stop in all circles.  While I’m a gay man, I don’t refer to myself as the derogatory “f-word” and I’d be truly offended if someone else did.

In this country, you’re supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”.  How do we know that Lisa Jackson is telling the truth?  I’d really be saddened to know that Paula Deen was not a racist and these allegations ruined her life and career.

Paula Deen Crying

My only advice to Paula is stay off television, avoid interviews, and stop posting internet apologies.  I know you’re hurt and scared, but the tears and the pleas make you seem too apologetic.  As you’ve stated, people who know you know the truth — whatever that truth is.

The bottom line is that if Paula Deen is a racist and she freely used the n-word as Jackson claims, more people would be coming out of the woodwork to make other allegations.  They haven’t!

And, I have to say that I commend Paula for the heartfelt and seemingly genuine comments in the interview, “I believe every creature on this Earth … was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with [and] no matter what church you go to pray.”  And, “There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like that I am prejudiced against, Matt, and that’s thieves and liars.”

Lisa Jackson, if you’re a liar, I hope you get yours.”

…BUT THE PHOENIX RISES

After losing sponsors and her “Food Network” show, Paula took time to be with her family.

She now has a web television show on http://www.pauladeen.com she still has her “The Lady and Sons” restaurant in  Savannah, Georgia, and I’ll be eating there on Labor Day!

POOR MTV AND THE “VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS”

Remember when MTV actually played music videos on television.  Just as youngsters today waste hours at a time online, I did the same watching the same music videos on television.

Back in the day, the Video Music Awards (VMAs) was a fun show with all of the best stars.  Now, for the most part, it’s painful to watch.

This year, when I’d flip over to the VMAs during commercials (I was watching AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead”), comedians Key & Peele’s alter-ego psuedo-hosts were painful to watch.  It didn’t get much better when Olympics-gold medalist Michael Phelps struggled to read the prompter and introduce a boring Future performance.

If this is the “future” of the VMAs, may the show sign off and rest in peace!

IT’S BRITNEY BITCH! (G-EAZY)

My first thoughts when seeing Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV VMAs was how hot she was and the amazing color and outfit she was wearing!  (And, I don’t even watch fashion shows!)

Then, I had to laugh Tuesday when I read that the Parents Television Council (PTC) blasted MTV and its parent company stating, “Sadly, last night’s program contained concerning levels of sexualization throughout the night.”

A spokesperson specifically mentioned Britney’s outfit to “Entertainment Weekly” stating that G-Eazy, who performed with her, was “totally covered up”.

Yes, it would have been interesting to see Eazy wearing a similar outfit, but I thought what he wore made him look sexier than ever.

As a Britney fan, I admit the two had very little chemistry together.  But, I loved the performance and, yes, I know she was lip-syncing. 🙂

“GLORY” — BRITNEY SPEARS

Last Friday, Britney released her ninth studio album, “Glory”.

Glory BS

It’s a very different, more mature sound for her.  While there’s still a dance vibe, the beat-per-minutes are not as dance club driven, but more sensual in a slow-groove kind of way.

As any music fan knows, the sequence of the songs is a well thought out process and it shows here.

The first four songs, “Invitation”, “Do You Wanna Come Over?”, the current single, “Make Me…” and “Private Show” are incredible.

The album features some standout ballads such as “Just Luv Me”.

And, Britney gets very naughty on “Slumber Party” .  I guess living and working in Vegas does affect your song selection and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While I liked her last album, “Britney Jean”, which many saw as a commercial flop, this album is much better.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

It’s no “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011 and my favorite Britney album.

“Glory” is highly recommended!

My goal in 2017 is to see Britney again in concert!

GRADE:  B+

“STAR TREK BEYOND” DUBSTEP

“Star Trek Beyond” is now up to a $242.9 million for its worldwide box office budget.  It’s the third most highest grossing in the film series.

It was released a few weeks after one of its stars, Anton Yelchin, died in a freak accident this summer.

In this dub smash video, you can tell the stars of the movie (and Anton) were have a good time off-camera.

PICK HIT

Australian record producer and musician Flume (Harley Streten) and Canadian singer Kai are enjoying huge success in the U.S. with “Never Be Like You”, the first single from Flume’s Top Ten summer album, “Skin”.

It’s already a Top Ten Billboard Dance hit and it’s at #11 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

It’s an incredible song and I’m bummed that Flume will be playing two shows in Atlanta at the Tabernacle while I’m there next week and both shows are SOLD OUT!

“Rolling Stone” listed “Never Be like You” as one of the 30 best songs of the first half of 2016 and I totally agree.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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