Archive for April, 2019

Random Thoughts — April 26, 2019

My sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, so I didn’t share any random thoughts.

While she was here, we ate some great food and actually won some money at the casino — finally!

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

STILL SHAKING MY HEAD!

So, former Vice President Joe Biden announced he’s running for president in 2020.  Of course, 45 fires off a tweet.

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Two things quickly come to mind!

It’s so encouraging when “that man” vows the race will be “nasty”. (Note, that’s sarcasm!)

It’s even more bizarre when 45 talks about himself the same way his detractors speak of him, “you will be dealing with people who truly have some very sick & demented ideas”.    For once, I agree with Trump on something!

And, really, attacking Biden’s intelligence, “long in doubt”.   That’s the pot calling the kettle black!

A similar scenario:  it’s usually the most disgusting guys that are always thinking that gay guys are cruising them or hitting on them!

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“WRITE IT WHEN I’M GONE”

While it may be common, this is the first time I’ve come across this premise for a biography!

President Gerald Ford talked with print journalist Thomas M. DeFrank, the author of “Write It When I’m Gone”, for almost three decades.  The only thing is that nothing they talked about could be published until after Ford’s death.

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What an insightful read!  I’m glad that even after their harsh 1976 election campaign, Ford and my idol, President Jimmy Carter became friends and Carter even spoke at Ford’s January 2007 funeral.

Even though I was on Team Carter in 1976, I’m sure that I would have liked Ford in person!  He seemed down to earth, dearly loved his wife, Betty, and had two golden retrievers, Liberty and her pup, Misty.

LibertyandPuppiesGeraldFord

Here’s what Ford said about gay couples in the years after his short stint as president in the mid-1970s, “I think they ought to be treated equally. Period!” and gays joining and being welcomed by the Republican Party, “I have always believed in an inclusive policy, in welcoming gays and others into the party. I think the party has to have an umbrella philosophy if it expects to win elections.”

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, her first country album in four years, debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart.

That’s a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me a little for deviating from Reba’s new album!

Reba Truth

This is Reba’s divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but gives us hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.  She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on “Stronger Than The Truth” with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

“Freedom”, the first official single that radio ignored, is a great song, too.

GRADE:  B+

REBA’s SINGING TO ME

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.

And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, from this album it’s not an optimistic song.  It’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

In a future blog I’m working on, I’ll go more in depth on this subject!  🙂

MADONNA’S RETURN TO MUSIC

Madonna is back with a new song, Medellín”, which features Colombian hottie Maluma.  Her album, “Madame X” arrives June 14th.

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The video debuted earlier this week on a format that Madonna knows all too well, MTV!

Madonna’s last album was 2015’s “Rebel Heart”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

The fifth season of this great CBS drama just wrapped with a huge announcement!

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Now it’s up to CBS to renew the show for a sixth season to see how it all plays out.

“VEEP”

The seventh and final season of “Veep”, the Emmy-winning HBO comedy, is airing now.

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I just got caught up on the first six seasons and Julia Louis-Dreyfus is amazing!

The series is so funny and so filthy.  If you want political correctness, you won’t find it here! 🙂

Warning: graphic! 🙂

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In addition to the star being outrageously funny, I absolutely love Sam Richardson as Richard and Tony Hale’s Gary is hilarious!  Poor Gary!

HAPPY 40TH “BAD GIRLS”

This week back in 1979, Donna Summer released her seventh studio album, “Bad Girls”.

Donna-Summer Bad Girls

The double album sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone and spent six weeks at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.

The “Bad Girls” album would produce four hits in the U.S. with two of them reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 — “Hot Stuff” for three weeks and the title track for five weeks.

“Dim All The Lights” made it to #2.

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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Random Thoughts — April 12, 2019

While it’s officially spring, I hope you’re having spring weather.

We had a significant winter storm with blizzard-like conditions move into the Northland of Minnesota and Wisconsin Thursday!

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Snow Car 1

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“IN SEARCH OF HOPE”

After reading Mariane Pearl’s “A Mighty Heart” about the Al Qaeda kidnapping and execution of her journalist husband, Daniel, in early 2002, I jumped right into “In Search of Hope:  The Global Diaries of Mariane Pearl”.

MARIANE PEARL HOPE

It’s an excellent book with many great stories and photos of extraordinary women around the world up against incredible odds to make a difference.

While human and sex trafficking is a problem all over the world, including the U.S., some parents in Cambodia sell their daughters off to become prostitutes for less than $10!

Those girls and women then have to service many men each day for just pennies a trick while the pimps keep the rest.

Now, that may not sound like something you would want to read, but to hear about the women who are risking their owns lives to stop things like this is very encouraging.

“In Search of Hope” is a very powerful read!

GRADE:  A

“POSE”

If you didn’t see the incredible first season of FX’s “Pose”, you have time to binge watch the award winning series NOW!

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Season two premieres June 9th, just in time for the 50th anniversary of the “Stonewall Riots” and gay pride month!

This season jumps ahead to 1990 after Madonna released “Vogue”!

“CLAWS”

I know what I’ll be doing after work on June 9th.  I’ll be watching “Pose” and one of my other favorite shows, “Claws” on TNT.

Desna and the girls return for their third season.

I guess this isn’t a spoiler, but a main character that was shot in an assassination attempt at the end of season two is in the trailer, so I guess she lives. 🙂  I never thought for a moment that she’d die!

Again, if you haven’t seen the first two seasons, binge watch now!

Niecy Nash is awesome!

“THE NUTCRACKER & THE FOUR REALMS”

This 2018 holiday movie ended up making $173 million worldwide against an expensive $120+ million budget.

As you may gather, this fantasy is based on the “The Nutcracker”.

If you like the ballet and you like adventure, you’ll enjoy this movie.

If not, watch for the amazing special effects with the Mouse King in the woods!  Once you see it, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about!

The incredible sequences with American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland are breathtaking!

GRADE:  B

“VICE”

This movie about George W. Bush’s Vice President Dick Cheney rightfully earned the Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling!

This was the only win out of eight nominations, including Best Picture!  What????

Attractive Christian Bale was physically lost in his look as Cheney.  He and Amy Adams, who played wife Lynn Cheney, were amazing in their performances.

That’s really about the only good thing I can say about this atrocious movie and waste of time — other than the hair and makeup!

Cheney is probably one of the most vile men ever in American politics.  With all of the nasty things he’s done in life, I definitely won’t shed a tear when he dies.  In all fairness, he won’t shed a tear for me when it happens either!

Full disclaimer here:  I’m a die-hard liberal (actually, in an argument once with a Republican former co-worker, I exclaimed, “I’m a Meryl Streep-loving, tree hugging liberal and I’m proud of it!”), but “Vice” was nothing more than a hatchet job against Cheney.  But, an honest one!

Spoiler alert:  About an hour into the movie, there was a fake ending and credit roll.  Watching the movie, I wished it was the real ending!

But, it wasn’t and the second half of the movie was better than the first half!

GRADE:  C-

PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER!

Horror movies really don’t drive me to the theaters like they used to.  Last October, I was excited to see “Halloween” and it was worth it.

I’d much rather see psychological thrillers now and there’s one coming out May 31, 2019, that really has me excited.

I first saw the short trailer of “Ma” on the season five finale of “How To Get Away With Murder”.

It stars Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer as a villain!!!!!!!!!

It’s directed by Tate Taylor (“The Help” and “The Girl on the Train”) and produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions (“Halloween” and “Get Out”).

“A NO NO”

I absolutely love Mariah Carey’s latest album, “Caution” and this is the second single!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — April 5, 2019

It’s the first week of April and I hope you weren’t fooled too much earlier this week.

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

KUDOS CHICAGO!

Lori Lightfoot’s election win earlier this week to become Chicago’s new mayor is historical!

Lori Lightfoot

Not only will she become the city’s first African American woman mayor, but she’s also part of the LGBTQ community!  She and her wife, Amy Eshleman, have one daughter!

Best wishes Lori!!!!!!

CHICAGO’S OTHER WOMAN MAYOR

Jane Byrne was the first woman elected as Chicago’s mayor and she served four years — from April 1979 to April 1983.

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“A MIGHTY HEART”

I remember the tragic story when it was developing back in early 2002 and when the Angelina Jolie movie came out in 2007.

However, reading “A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl”, Mariane Pearl’s account of the abduction and beheading of her husband in Pakistan by Islamic and religious extremists, is harrowing and heartbreaking.

A Mighty Heart

If you don’t recall, Daniel worked for the “Wall Street Journal”.  He was reporting on the United States’ “War on Terrorism” following the 9/11 attacks just months earlier.

He disappeared on January 23, 2002, at a Karachi hotel where he was meeting a contact. A terrorist group claimed he was an American spy.  Once they found out he was Jewish, his fate was sealed.

He was beheaded nine days later in a video that surfaced three weeks later.  His body, cut into ten pieces, was found in a shallow grave in May.

Daniel Pearl

One very interesting note I learned from Mariane’s book is that for a 40-day training session at a Taliban camp to learn “how to terrify, torture, kill”, it only cost about $20/day ($50/day with weapons)!  😦

SYMPATHY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN — COUGH!

The last part of Mariane’s book, “A Mighty Heart”, featured comforting letters to the Pearl family from around the world from everyday people and politicians, including President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

But, the one that struck me the wrong way all these years later was from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In light of all the atrocities he’s orchestrated (oops, I mean, that he’s accused of), this part of his letter didn’t set well with me, “We will do everything to root out this evil, eliminate the threat of terrorism, find and neutralize all those who bring death and destruction.”

Earlier in the letter, he was more honest — like he was looking in a mirror, “International terrorism knows no borders or nationality.”

Trump Putin

JOURNALISTS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA & HATRED

Many times while reading “A Mighty Heart”, I thought of 45’s constant attack on the “mainstream media” and his calling journalists that don’t pander to his rhetoric “the enemy of the people”!

No, Donald, jihadists like the ones that kidnapped Daniel Pearl because he was bringing news of their inhumane actions to the world stage are the enemies!

I know that past presidents of both parties have disliked the media.  It’s no secret that Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, just to name a few, disliked reporters and the news outlets.

But, they never went so far as screaming “fake news” to any group that wasn’t Fox News!

We don’t need more blood on our hands with journalists, like Danny Pearl and countless others, being killed just because one man or one group dislikes what they report!

“HOMELAND”

I finally got caught up on the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series “Homeland” with the incredible Claire Danes.

I had watched up to season four, but now that I have premium cable, they’ve added seasons five, six, and seven.

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And, in a casting note that I love, Hugh Dancy (NBC’s “Hannibal”), who’s also Danes’ real-life husband will have a multi-series arc!

The eighth and final season comes out later this year.  They’re currently shooting in Morocco, which is substituting for Afghanistan!

While I’m thrilled that Dancy will be joining the cast, I hope they bring back James D’Arcy and make him Carrie’s love interest.  He’s already mine!!! 🙂

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

FUNNIEST “HOMELAND” LINE

In a series about homeland security, terrorists, shady politics and being bipolar, there usually aren’t a lot of laughs.

However, in season seven, I had to LOL at one of Carrie Mathison’s (Danes) lines.

She’s knows that her body has built up a tolerance to the lithium that’s keeping her sane.  Storming into her therapist’s office with her head bleeding after a fight with a man blackmailing her, a manic Carrie tells the doctor she wants to try new medication.

The doctor is freaked out about the surprise visit and Carrie’s head bleeding asks her repeatedly how it happened.

Carrie’s response:  “Can you focus?” 🙂

“HANNIBAL”

Speaking of “Hannibal”, the amazing NBC series that was probably too intelligent for television was cancelled after three seasons.

There’s still talk of bringing back the critically acclaimed show with a Clarice Starling story line!  Because of contractual blah blah blah, that wasn’t possible in its first run.

I want more Hugh Dancy (“Will Graham”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal Lecter”) and Gillian Anderson (“Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier)!

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“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s 33rd studio album, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now!

Reba Truth

If you’re planning on buying it, Target has an exclusive disc with two additional songs!

“THE FAVOURITE”

This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture is set in the early 18th century and is very quirky!

At the beginning of the movie, Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne makes a humorous comment about the war, thinking it’s over.

But, once you realize that she has very serious health issues that affect her ability to make decisions for the country, it becomes darker.

Best Supporting Actress nominees Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were fantastic.

Now that I’ve seen all five Oscar nominees for Best Actress this year, I’m okay that Colman won.

Ideally, I would’ve been happier if it had been a tie between Colman and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

GRADE: B+

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

And, since I was talking about Best Supporting Actress nominees in “The Favourite”, Regina King won the Oscar this year in that category for this movie.

This is director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight” (2016).

“Tish” (KiKi Layne) and “Fonny” (Stephan James) have been friends all their lives and a romantic relationship develops when they’re a little older.

Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman and his mother-in-law, Sharon Rivers (King), tries to track down the woman and convince her to recant her story and clear Fonny.

Layne’s performance, in a weaker Oscar race, could easily have been nominated!

GRADE:  B

“BRITNEY:  INSIDE THE DREAM”

If you’ve been following the news this week, Britney Spears checked herself in a mental health facility to relax and help her cope with her father’s failing health.

Recently, I recently read Steve Dennis’ 2009 biography on the pop princess and it was more entertaining than reading about Britney on Wikipedia.

However, the book ends after her meltdown more than a decade ago and before she reclaimed her pop throne with “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011.

Additionally, Dennis didn’t have access to Britney, so much of it was speculation and the parts of the book where he had a psychologist analyze Britney without talking to her were a little awkward.

MY THREE FAVORITE BRITNEY SONGS

#3 CD

2

#1

BONUS BRITNEY

Bonus

This song was never released as a single, but it should have been!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony