Archive for March, 2019

Random Thoughts — March 29, 2019

Spring is here and this is my first random thoughts blog since returning from Bangkok, Thailand.

This is my favorite picture that I took there!  I love koi!

Koi Buddha

If you missed the pictures or the details of that enlightening trip (even with the rat and the snakes), here’s the link.  It’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/my-one-night-in-bangkok-okay-actually-five-nights/

It’s always nice to get away, but it’s nice to come home.  Now I’m ready to enjoy the nicer weather heading our way.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and have a great weekend!

“LEAVING NEVERLAND”

This is the four-hour documentary on HBO that’s everybody’s been talking about regarding Michael Jackson and child sexual abuse allegations.

Choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck, now adults, talk extensively and graphically about the sexual abuse they suffered when spending time with Michael Jackson.

I’m going to make some comments and I’m going to keep the sentences short, so there’s no misunderstanding or taking things out of context.

  • I believe Robson and Safechuck!
  • As a parent, I’d NEVER allow my child to spend nights with a man in his 30s.
  • Where was the parental supervision and let’s talk about the lapse of judgement there — I don’t care if Jackson was the biggest star on the planet!
  • If Jackson was alive today, I’m not sure he’d give details of what did and didn’t happen with those boys, who were around 7 and 10-years-old when the alleged abuse started.
  • I do wish that the director had reached out to a Jackson family member since Michael is dead and couldn’t speak for himself.  But, we know they’d just say it didn’t happen and the two men are out for just money.
  • By the way, Robson is a multi-millionaire!

“Leaving Neverland” is definitely worth seeing — if you can handle the graphic content!

And, yes I’ll listen to Michael Jackson’s music today.  He’s a musical genius!

However, I have no desire now to watch his videos again!!!!!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“BEN IN BACK”

I absolutely love Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges is one of my favorite current young actors.  He was fantastic in “Manchester by the Sea” and “Boy Erased”.  And, he’s so adorable!

I’ve really been wanting to see this movie, but I don’t recall it playing in Duluth, Minnesota, where I live.  If it did, it was brief and I missed it.

The movie is about Ben returning home for the holidays after a stay in drug rehab and trying to stay clean.

The trailer is compelling, but the movie is so much better and more intense!

Now I don’t believe in spoilers, so I won’t say if it happens or not.  But, Ben, I know you’ve watched horror movies and you should know never to say anything like “I’ll be right back”!

As you’ll see in the trailer, Ben says, “I’m not going to die”!

GRADE:  A-

“FREEDOM”

Reba McEntire is back and I really think that country radio is finally going to give her another chance.

Her new single, “Freedom”, makes its debut on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week at #52!

reba 52.JPG

Sadly, Reba’s last Top 10 hit at country radio was “Turn on the Radio”, which topped the chart in January 2011!  What?  That’s eight years ago!

Reba Freedom.JPG

“Freedom” is being called “euphoric” and a “fist-pumping anthem”!

It’s the first official release to country radio from her new album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, which comes out April 5, 2019.

“9-1-1” ON  FOX

If you don’t watch “9-1-1” on Fox, what are you waiting for?  You’re missing a great show that’s really entertaining.

And, two recent episodes — the winter finale and first episode back from the holidays — were the series’ best!

nightmare

Earlier this week, Fox renewed “9-1-1” for a third season!

“GREEN BOOK”

Spoiler alert, “Green Book” won the Oscar for Best Picture!

I’ve seen five of the eight nominations from this year (I still need to see “The Favourite” and “Vice” and I won’t watch “Black Panther”.  I’m not a Marvel fan and if I can’t get through the Captain America movies with my future ex-boyfriend Chris Evans, I won’t be seeing “Black Panther”!  Bummer because I love Angela Bassett!).

I enjoyed “Green Book” and the acting was superb.  However, I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was in a group and they wanted to see it.

I think the talk of the movie’s racism was overblown.  I didn’t see it as a movie where the white man saves the black man.  I think it was a movie of two people becoming friends and enlightening each other.

Yes, it had racial stereotypes in it, but it was set in the early-1960s South!

Best Picture, no!  Of the five I’ve seen, so far, I would have voted for “Bohemian Rhapsody”!

GRADE: B

“FIRST MAN”

I love Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy is incredible (“The Crown” seasons one and two)!  And, director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” was awesome, so what is this?

I almost stopped the movie within the first 30 minutes!

While it does have some great drama (at times) and it has some great special effects, it seems so disjointed.

Bon Jovi sings, “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “First Man” gives space exploration a bad name!

GRADE: C+

MY FAVORITE CURRENT SONG!

Ava Max is a musical newcomer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

But, her song, “Sweet but Psycho” has already topped the charts in at least 22 countries.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Club Songs chart in the U.S.!

The song has a very European sound to it, which is probably why it’s my favorite current song.

In the U.S., it’s currently one of the five most played songs on Top 40 radio and the video is pretty sexy (but psycho), too! 🙂

Ava Max is definitely channeling one of her idols, Lady Gaga in this video and with her voice!

“Sweet but Psycho” has been viewed almost 234 million times!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Celebrations for Three of My Favorite Ladies – 2019

If today is your birthday or anniversary, I hope you have a happy one and that the next years are incredible.

Rainbow Cake

It’s March 28th.  Today is the 87th day of the year and there are 278 days left in 2019.

On this day back in 1920, there was a major Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in the Great Lakes and the Deep South;  in 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania partially melted down; and in 2005, an earthquake rocked Indonesia with a magnitude of 8.7.

But, let’s get back to birthdays and celebrations!

64 years ago today, one of my idols, Reba McEntire, was born in Kiowa, Oklahoma.

Reba Anthony 2005

While she’s been very busy over the past years, she hasn’t had a new country album out since early 2015 and it was pretty much ignored by country radio!

That changes soon!

Her new album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, comes out on April 5th, and it features her new single, “Freedom”, which is starting to get country airplay.

“Freedom” is being called “euphoric” and a “fist-pumping anthem”!

Take a listen!

Lady Gaga is also celebrating her birthday today, number 33!

Gaga3

And, back in 1964, 55 years ago today, my parents married.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Later that year, she’d give birth to a baby boy six weeks premature.  Yes, it’s yours truly.

Happy birthday Reba and Lady Gaga, and Mom, happy anniversary.

cake-and-ice-cream-5

Anthony

My One Night in Bangkok (Okay, Actually Five Nights!)

I’m done!!!

I don’t plan on making any more international trips with flights of more than ten hours!

My recent trip to Bangkok, Thailand involved three flights:  Duluth, Minnesota to Chicago (less than two hours), Chicago to Tokyo, Japan (over thirteen hours), and then Tokyo to Bangkok (over seven hours).

From my door to the hotel room, with early arrival at the airport and sit time between each flight, it was 33 hours!  Once you add in a 12-hour time change, it was 45 hours — early Tuesday morning Duluth time when I left and early Thursday morning Bangkok time when I arrived.

Night Hotel.jpg

As soon as I got the hotel room, I showered and relished in the fact that I’d get to stretch out in a comfortable bed and sleep. Minutes turned into hours…

Finally, five hours later, I couldn’t fall asleep and started thinking of all the world’s problems!  That, along with Facebook not working (which would be my only way to have instant communication with my sister), I had a minor melt down.

At that point, the sun was up and I decided to forego trying to fall sleep.  I showered, ate breakfast, and walked around Bangkok in the heat and humidity.

When I left Duluth, it was in the 20s with more than two feet of snow on the ground.  In Bangkok, highs were in the mid-90s with a heat index of 105°!

Once out of the hotel room, even without sleep, all was good in my world again and I was ready to see Bangkok!

In a city of 8.5 million, a New York in Thailand, there’s so much to see and with limited time, you have to pick and choose.

My first evening, I took a sightseeing dinner tour on the muddy Chao Phraya River.

Night Cruise.JPG

Bangkok was absolutely stunning all aglow in lights!

The top left photo above is “Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan” (try saying that!), also known as the “Temple of Dawn”, and in the bottom left is Iconsiam, a $1.5 billion mixed-use complex including a high end shopping mall, hotels and residences.

The food on the cruise was amazing and I think I held up rather well being awake for two days!

After the cruise, I was confident I’d fall asleep after the exhaustive trip and a full day of sightseeing!  No way!  I dozed off and thirty minutes later, wide awake again!

On my second full day in Bangkok, I visited three temples — Wat Traimit (“Golden Buddha”), Wat Pho (“Reclining Buddha”), and Wat Benchamabophit (“Marble Temple”).

Temples.JPG

The “Golden Buddha” (top left) is a 10-foot tall, 12,000 pound statue.  In 1955, while being moved, it was chipped.  That’s when they discovered that it was made of solid gold and worth $250 million!!!

“Wat Pho” was my favorite temple that I saw.  It’s the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok and is probably the most famous in all of Thailand.  The “Reclining Buddha” is almost 151 feet long and stands 49 feet high!!!

As you know, I love koi and I miss my fish pond back in Illinois.  I hit the jackpot at Wat Pho and this is my favorite picture I took in Bangkok!

Koi Buddha.jpg

On my second night in town, I attended the Siam Niramit Show, a 90-minute production covering Thailand’s 700 years of captivating culture, customs and traditions.  The show features about 100 performers, lavish costumes and stunning set designs!

While the first act was historical, the second act was very dark!  It was more like a horror show acting out the punishments for drinking alcohol (!), committing adultery and talking back to your parents!

I’m not sure if it God or the devil working, but after that bleak act, there was a technical glitch and the show was delayed.  During the interruption, many left and those that stayed saw a cheery, happy final act.  Blah!

Overall, the highlight of the evening was the scary second act of the production, the great dinner buffet,

Curry 2.jpg

and this beautiful sweetheart!

Elephant.jpg

That night, I got a little bit more sleep and walked around the next day.

While I saw expensive high rises and condos and the economic center of Bangkok (and Thailand), I also got to see how many people actually lived.

Houses 2

Clearly, the building codes are more relaxed there!

Houses 1

Those don’t even look safe!  But, it’s home for many.

On my third night in town, I attended the Calypso Cabaret, Bangkok’s famous “lady boy” show.  (Yes, boys entertaining as ladies!)

LB Final.JPG

My favorite dishes in Bangkok were definitely the curry ones!

Curry.jpg

Thailand and Bangkok have made tremendous strides in reducing poverty over the past few decades and it’s easy to see how hard people have to work to survive.

I know Thai people (well, in Bangkok, where I was) are used to the heat and humidity, but it really made me think when I saw elderly women manning shops and food carts all afternoon.  I really hope when I’m elderly, I’ll work by choice and not necessity.  And, maybe they are?

On the next to last day of my trip, I developed an intestinal virus.  While I still explored the city, it slowed me down and prevented me from trying deep-fried insects, which I was so looking forward to!

By the way, these are the deep-fried insects that I didn’t get to sample and not a look at the intestinal virus. 🙂

Silkworms

Maybe on another international excursion!!!

Also, that night, I was very close to trying the famous street food of Bangkok.  Some of it appeared sketchy, yet much of it looked incredible!

Alley 2

I walked through a popular, busy alley (many food vendors just sit up in alleys, sidewalks, and storefronts and you choose the ones that locals are eating at) and finally made the decision on where to have Pad Thai.

Alley 1.jpg

As I was ready to hand the menu over and say “one” for a makeshift table, a friendly rat casually walked by my feet on its way past the food vendor!

I know that the food would have been great (and safe), but since I wasn’t feeling 100% anyways, I passed and ate the snacks I had in my room! 🙂

rat.gif

While I don’t know what caused my intestinal virus, I’d venture to say that it was from the water.  While I drank bottled water, you have to consider that food is prepped and cooked with water that may be potable, then there’s shower water getting in your ears and brushing your teeth, etc.

In America, we’re pretty much guaranteed safe drinking water (sorry Flint that Michigan and the U.S. government failed you) and it’s very easy to take for granted.

However, outside of the U.S., Canada, Greenland, western Europe, and Australia, many countries and continents don’t have safe drinking water.

This includes all of Africa, much of Asia (including Thailand and China), eastern Europe, Russia, Mexico, and all of South America!

Asia Water.JPG

Another Bangkok observation, I’ll never complain about Chicago (or for that matter, Los Angeles or New York City) traffic ever again!

Thai drivers have to the best drivers in the world!

BangkokTrafficJam

The traffic was insane, bumper to bumper, with countless motor scooters zipping in and out between cars with very little breathing room.  I’m so shocked I didn’t see any accidents!

Where most Americans drive, take public transportation, Lyft, Uber, or taxis, in Bangkok, people just jump of the back of motor scooters (with and without helmets).  I’d never do that, especially after I saw the traffic!

On my last day in Bangkok, I had to check out of the hotel at noon.  But, my flight wasn’t until eleven hours later.

So, I visited a “Snake Farm”, which was a 30-minute walk from the hotel.

Snake Farm.jpg

And, with that slithery visit, I very well could have been saving lives there and across Thailand!  The facility, operated by the Thai Red Cross, extracts venom from cobras and other poisonous snakes to make anti-venom serums!

In the presentation, I learned that poisonous snakes are found throughout all of Thailand (including in the city of Bangkok).  And, we got to be see just how large poisonous snakes are caught by hand!

Snake Charmer

FYI — snakes have poor eyesight and they don’t have ears, so they can’t hear you.  If you encounter one, let it crawl on by — or slowly move away and once you’re out of striking distance, run!  That’s not my advice.  That’s what we were told to do!

At the show’s conclusion, not only did we get to see an Albino Burmese Python, which is white with patterns in butterscotch yellow or burnt orange (most are dark colored), we also got to channel pop princess Britney Spears!

AP Britney Snake.JPG

Okay, Britney wore it better at the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards!  And, no I didn’t start lip-syncing “I’m A Slave 4 U”! 🙂

On a humorous side note, we were told not to worry about the snake being hungry since “it had a small child yesterday”! 🙂

So, that’s my trip to Bangkok!  For those that read the blog and looked at all of the pictures, thank you for taking the trip with me!

And, yes, Murray Head, I may not be “a tourist whose every move’s among the purest”, but I did “get my kicks above the waistline, sunshine” on this trip — even though there were many Thai boys offering their services (I mean, company)!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 5, 2019

Wait, it’s not Friday!  But, I’m still sharing some random thoughts with you.

Thank you for checking them out and I hope you have a great week ahead!

LUKE PERRY

After suffering a massive stroke last week, actor Luke Perry died Monday at the age of 52.

Luke Perry.jpg

Perry rocketed to fame in the early 1990s playing Dylan McKay on the first six seasons of Fox’s “Beverly Hills 90210”.  (While he became a series regular in the show’s last two seasons in 1999 and 2000, he was billed as a “special guest”.)

And, in Perry, the LGBTQ community lost an ally!

Luke Perry 1.JPG

R.I.P. LUKE

“MELROSE PLACE”

I was familiar with “90210” and thought Jason Priestley (“Brandon Walsh”) was cute, but I was obsessed with the 1992 spin-off, “Melrose Place”.

Even though I was almost the same age as the “90210” actors playing teenagers, I felt I had more in common with the “Melrose Place” characters and I would have loved to live in that complex!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

Well, before crazy Kimberly blew it up!

I had a major crush on Grant Show (“Jake Hanson”) and I loved Amy Locane (“Sandy”), even though she was only on the first eleven or so episodes.

Grant Amy.jpg

BERNIE SANDERS & 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

We’re still about 20 months away from the 2020 Presidential Election.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve been pretty quiet overall about the “national emergency” the country is experiencing and I’m not talking about a damn wall!

If you recall in 2016, there were more than a dozen Republicans vying for the nomination.  Well, in 2020, that’s the Democrats looking to earn the right to run against that man.

Bernie Sanders has thrown his hat into the race.  That’s all I’ll say about him since my feelings toward him haven’t changed in the past four years. (Well, they have but not for the better.)

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows some interesting thoughts going through potential voters’ minds.

NBC News Poll

A couple of highlights:

68% of those surveyed would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate — that’s up from 43% in 2006!

And, 62% are very uncomfortable with someone over 75!

Ages at the 2020 election:  Sanders (79), Michael Bloomberg (78) and Joe Biden (77).

Hillary AP

If you’re still reading, Hillary Clinton said Monday night, “I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe” and added, “I want to be sure that people understand I’m going to keep speaking out. I’m not going anywhere”.

Translation:  Vice President under Joe Biden! 🙂

But, in the words of Benita Buttrell…

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POST OSCARS THOUGHTS

I’m so happy that Rami Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for his Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

I still haven’t seen “Green Book”, but it’s definitely on my list.

While social media (and Spike Lee) is upset that it won Best Picture, I’m just happy that “Roma” didn’t win!  As I’ve said before, I wasn’t blown away by “Roma”!

Glenn Close

Going into the Academy Awards, I was certain that seven-time nominee Glenn Close would finally win an Oscar.  Well, she didn’t!

I still haven’t seen “The Favourite”, but once I do, I may agree with the Academy that Olivia Colman deserves it.

After the Oscars, I saw another of Close’s competitors.  In retrospective, Close would have been my second choice!

I would have given the Best Actress Oscar to…. MELISSA McCARTHY!!!!!!!!!!!

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

She blew me away in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, a real-life story of author Lee Israel, who became a forger of celebrity letters.

While McCarthy is mostly known for her comedic roles, I saw a hint at her dramatic acting in 2014’s “St. Vincent”.

McCarthy’s co-star, Richard E. Grant was excellent in the movie and picked up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” wasn’t a box office smash, but in addition to the two acting Oscar nominations, it was also up for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I don’t give too many movies this grade!

GRADE:  A+

“A STAR IS BORN”

I finally saw the Academy Award Best Picture-nominated movie.  (It was nominated for a total of eight Oscars and won for Best Original Song for “Shallow”.)

It was enjoyable enough.  I thought Lady Gaga held her own with dramatic acting.  The brutal bathtub scene proved that!

If you haven’t seen it, this really isn’t a spoiler.  I had a hard time buying into one of the first scenes in the movie.

I know if you’re an alcoholic and you need liquor, you might go into a drag bar.  But, to become best buddies?

Even so, I still found Willam’s comment later in the movie, “I wore my Jackson titties!” hilarious! 🙂

Would I watch it again?  Yes, if I was with someone that wanted to see it.

Would I watch it again on my own?  No.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” 

The third season of the hilarious zombie comedy premieres March 29th on Netflix.

I can’t believe how much I still crush on Timothy Olyphant!  That’s not true, I can believe it!

I absolutely loved him in “The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy” (2000) and the critically panned “Catch and Release” (2006).

I have the first three seasons of “Justified” on DVD that I should binge and I need to check Netflix to see if seasons 4-6 are there!

Here’s a sample of “Santa Clarita Diet” and it contains language and violence (and humor)!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

spoiler-alert

The fifth (and final?) season of the fantastic ABC drama wrapped up with a few shocks and cliffhangers!

Two characters went missing, which explains why Annalise is screaming like a mad woman on the street!  And, another was poisoned and left gasping for air!

Capture

The bigger question is not who kidnapped them or will the <poisoned person> die, it’s will ABC renew the low-rated series for us to find out the answers?

With Viola Davis on board, I’d say yes!

I’m still one of those people that can’t wait to see what Annalise and the “Keating 5” (oops, “Keating 4”) get into and out of each week!

Another reason I want the show to come back is to see more of Gerardo Celasco (Xavier Castillo, Laurel’s brother)!

gerardo.jpeg

“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN”

This movie was sold as Robert Redford’s last acting role.  We’ll see!

If it is, then he put in a nice performance and I absolutely love Sissy Spacek.

But, there’s really no need to see this movie based on a real-life elderly (and charming) bank robber.

With that being said, I’m not even posting the trailer!

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony