Archive for September, 2021

Random Friday Thoughts — September 17, 2021

Summer is fleeting!

Since fall officially begins Wednesday, September 22, 2021, this is my last blog of the summer. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts. As always, if you disagree with me, state it diplomatically!

9/11: NEVER FORGET

As the nation commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington D.C., and rural Pennsylvania, I learned of a connection that I hadn’t heard about over the past two decades.

The Las Vegas CBS affiliate, KLAS 8NewsNow, reports “Ringleader Mohammed Atta and at least four of the other 19 hijackers made six visits to Las Vegas between late May and mid-August of 2001.”

Investigative Team reporter George Knapp (with Justin Hopkins) adds that “Atta, who piloted the first plane into the World Trade Center, flew to Las Vegas on June 28, rented a car, then spent 90 minutes online at an internet cafe across from UNLV.

Knapp also reports that “The hijackers weren’t the only visitors of note in the summer of 2001. On 9/11 itself, more than 100 members of the Saudi royal family and their friends the Bin Ladens were staying in Las Vegas, mostly at Caesars Palace and the Four Seasons. Osama Bin Laden’s sister was well known at the Bellagio.”

If you want to watch the investigative report, here it is!

So, 20 years later, detectives still don’t know why the 9/11 terrorists were in Las Vegas — was the city being targeted or was someone in southern Nevada helping them?

“DEXTER” IS GETTING REAL NOW!

Last week, an incredible new trailer for “Dexter: New Blood” dropped.

It reveals Dexter’s new “dark passenger” and a new serial killer that we may already know — even though we really know very little about the person if that’s the case!

So excited for November!

WHERE’S MY MAGAZINE, “EW”?

Love the cover! Can’t wait to read it!

Yes, I’m still crushing on Michael C. Hall!

And, while we’ve never met, I was in the same room with him once when he was performing on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”!

ANOTHER FALL THOUGHT THIS SUMMER

Dairy Queen is ready for fall!

While it’s advertising seven Blizzards in the “Fall Together Now” advertisement, only two are truly fall flavors — “Pumpkin Pie” and “Pecan Pie” (although I wouldn’t say no to the others).

And, the “Choco Dipped Strawberry” could double as a Christmas treat!

The others are “Sea Salt Toffee Fudge”, “Reece’s Pieces Cookies”, and “Oreo Mocha Fudge”.

NEVER TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS TREATS!

Hershey’s is ready to make Christmas a whole lot tastier (and naughtier — okay, unhealthier). 🙂

Several new candies will be coming out this holiday season. The two I’m most excited about is the classic KitKat wafers with a gingerbread-flavored creme.

And, there’s also the miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups with peanut brittle-flavored creme wrapped around crunchy peanut butter — no chocolate!

There’s also Whoppers Snowballs (milk balls in a new festive new wrapper and a new vanilla-flavored creme) and Hershey’s Sugar Cookie Kisses!

CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED!

Now that I have you excited, Christmas is cancelled!!! (Yes, I like “cancelled” instead of “canceled”!)

Wait, before you get alarmed, the holiday is still on!

However, the Backstreet Boys are cancelling their Las Vegas Christmas show residency and pushing their new Christmas album back to 2022 because of COVID-19.

Now, there’s something to look forward to for Christmas 2022 — the pandemic (hopefully) being under control and new holiday music from my second favorite “boy band” (New Kids are still #1)!

“THE BODY REMEMBERS”

Debbie Gibson’s first album “Out of the Blue” was released in 1987 and it sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.

It produced five Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The first four all reached the Top 5 including her #1 smash, “Foolish Beat”.

Her debut hit, “Only In My Dreams” is my 22nd favorite song from my first 35 years! (Yes, I love making countdowns!)

Last month, Debbie released her first album of new material in twenty years, her 7th studio album, “The Body Remembers”. (She did release an album mostly of Broadway standards in 2003 and a Japanese only album in 2010.)

The album features many club bangers including her #4 dance hit, “Girls Night Out (Tracy Young Remix), and her latest, “One Step Closer”.

It also features a remake of her #1 hit from 1989, “Lost In Your Eyes”, a duet with Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block.

My favorite songs on the album are the three hits I just mentioned, along with the title track and “Runway”. (Honestly, the six songs are perfect and that part of the album gets an “A+”!!!

The ballads, “Strings” and “Me Not Loving You” are incredible.

This is the most cohesive album of Debbie’s career and well worth the two decades wait.

It’s also my favorite album since Kylie Minogue’s “Disco” that came out in November 2020!

GRADE: A-

ONE MORE DEBBIE & JOEY NOTE

I’m flying out to Vegas Sunday and it’s the last night of their limited residency at The Sands Showroom at the Venetian.

Barring no delays, I’m going to get a ticket and head to the show.

In anticipation, I wrote a blog in late July about my love of Debbie and Joey (with NKOTB) and counted down my seven favorite hits from each.

If you didn’t read it before, here it is and if you click on the link, it should open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/07/30/i-want-my-girls-night-out-with-debbie-joey/

SPECIAL”

If you’re looking for something touching, funny, and dramatic, check out the Netflix series, “Special”.

The two season series, with eight episodes each, centers around 20-something Ryan Hayes (Ryan O’Connell), who gets an unpaid internship at a blog site called Eggwoke.

Ryan is gay, a virgin, and has cerebral palsy, which he plays off as a result of a car accident, which did happen.

The series is very touching, yet there is one scene that should be very warm and cuddly (it is, at first), but it turns very creepy.

My favorite character was his best friend and co-worker at Eggwoke, Kim Laghari (Punam Patel).

And, if you’ve followed by blog over the years, you know I love the Hindu holiday, Diwali, and I get to see Kim and her family celebrate it!

GRADE: B+

KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS POPCORN

Back in April, I talked about craving a donut shop that isn’t a chain store. I still haven’t had one.

However, I also talked about the new Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut Smartfood Popcorn. Well, my sister bought some and she left the bag with me!

Verdict: Skip it and have a real Krispy Kreme or whatever brand of donut you like!

“MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared some interesting tidbits from Adam Higginbotham’s amazing 2019 book, subtitled, “The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

Here are three more things:

  • As the 2010s came around, a contract to build a new nuclear plant in the United States was underway, the first in more than thirty years, and in March 2011, two new reactors were to be built in Ukraine not far from Chernobyl.
  • However, on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima, Japan, nuclear plant reactor meltdown occurred and was played out on live television. While there were no deaths or injuries from the immediate release of radiation there, the U.S. reactor plans were cancelled, Japan took its 48 reactors offline, and Germany closed eight of its seventeen reactors — with plans to close the rest of them by 2022.
  • The book states there are still a hundred licensed and operational power reactors today in the United States, including one at Three Mile Island. Also, France generates 75% of its electricity from nuclear plants, and China has twenty new reactors under construction with 39 already operating.

For the record, I’m an advocate for nuclear power, if it’s done the right way with no Chernobyl-like shortcuts in safety precautions.

Your thoughts?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 10, 2021

The weekend is upon us and I’m happy to be sharing some of the thoughts on my mind this week.

And, I appreciate you taking the time to check them out.

As always, we don’t have to agree. But, if you choose to disagree, be intelligent and diplomatic about it!

RAMPING UP THE FIGHT TO END THE PANDEMIC

Here is a Thursday afternoon breaking news headline and story from the Associated Press in President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic and to make America safer!

MR. ED WANTS HIS MEDS BACK!

This ISN’T about those of you that refuse to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccinations available in the United States. (But, I wish you would!)

However, it just boggles my mind that there are an increasing number of people that don’t trust the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but will go to a store and buy a horse de-wormer as a treatment measure!!!

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says Ivermectin is causing “all kinds of issues” in people consuming it, including liver problems and nausea.

Arwady adds, “First and foremost, do not ever, please, take any medicine that is formulated for animals. It’s dangerous, and it can really be a problem.”

Wait, there’s a call for you, idiots!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that Ivermectin overdoses can bring on seizures, coma, and, even death!

WHILE I’M TALKING VET DRUGS

Another example of a drug veterinarians use that should not be in the hands (or bodies) of the public — ketamine (aka “Special K”).

This anesthetic, which is, in many cases, is used illegally by people to get high.

This dissociative drug produces auditory distortion and a detachment from reality. Like GHB, some use ketamine-based drugs as a “date-rape” drug because it causes memory loss.

So… NO! NO! NO! to using drugs and medications that should be left to veterinarians!

The COVID-19 vaccines make much more sense!

IN OTHER HAPPIER NEWS (IF YOU HAVEN’T DISOWNED ME)…

OH, DADDY!

In the “Oh, how I wish it was with me, but it isn’t” category, congratulations go out to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten on becoming the parents of two newborns!

Buttigieg posted on Instagram, “Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we’re becoming parents. We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”

NEW ELTON JOHN DUETS ALBUM

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the new Elton John/Dua Lipa hit, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”.

It features Elton singing part of his 1990 hit “Sacrifice” (one of his best and most underappreciated hits) and Lipa belting out his 1972 classic “Rocket Man”.

The song is remixed by Australia’s Pnau (brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore and Peter Mayes).

Now, I know it’s part of the new Elton John album, “The Lockdown Sessions”, and will feature sixteen duets.

Here’s the track listing:

The album drops October 22, 2021.

ABBA LIVES ON!

The iconic Swedish band ABBA shocked the world last week by announcing a new album later this fall and “tour dates” in the spring of 2022!

Fans already knew the legendary band had recorded some new music. However, the announcement that “Voyage”, the first new studio album since “The Visitors” forty years ago, will arrive November 5, 2021, was definitely earth-shattering!

The new album will feature ten new songs including the ballad “I Still Have Faith in You” and the upbeat pop song “Don’t Shut Me Down.”

Billboard magazine reports that ABBA “will be reborn as avatars that will take the stage with a live 10-piece band for the shows and “will perform a run of shows in a specially built arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London beginning on May 27, 2022”.

THE RYAN MURPHY UNIVERSE

While it may not be as well known or as lucrative as the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ryan Murphy’s domination of the television medium is probably the equivalent to Marvel’s box office domination.

I was intrigued with the seven episode, first season of “American Horror Stories” (not to be confused with the long-running anthology series, “American Horror Story”). “Stories” was renewed for a second season.

Instead of one theme running through an entire season, “Stories” was pretty much like “The X-Files” when it featured a different monster or case of the week!

Now, I’m watching then tenth season of “American Horror Story: Double Feature”, which is unique because this season will feature six episodes with the “Red Tide” (“by the sea”) theme and the four final episodes are “Death Valley” (“by the sand”).

And, watching “American Horror Stories” and “AHS: Double Feature” got me excited about two more Ryan Murphy series.

“AMERICAN CRIME STORY: IMPEACHMENT”

Those two were keeping me entertained until the higher prestige series, “American Crime Story: Impeachment”, dealing with Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and the fallout, arrived.

I loved the first two Emmy Award installments dealing with the O.J. Simpson trial and the shooting death of Gianni Versace and the manhunt for Andrew Cunanan. If you haven’t seen them, binge watch now!

In “Impeachment”, it was interesting seeing Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton, although she was only in one scene in the series debut. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched Falco in anything — not even “The Sopranos” or “Nurse Jackie”.

The first episode aired earlier this week. It was okay, but I know it was just setting up the drama. I can’t wait to see the next nine episodes!

“RATCHED”

The other series from Ryan Murphy I’m ready for is “Ratched”!

I’m ready for more Sarah Paulson and Finn Wittrock (yes, one of my fantasies) in season two of the incredible series from Murphy.

No information yet for the release date!

MORE CHERNOBYL

Here are a few more things I found interesting from the Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book “Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

I shared some last week.

Three years after the explosion, the “Moscow News” reported that parts of the Ukraine, just 40 kilometers west of the “Exclusion Zone” near Reactor Number Four were still radioactive hot spots. Farmers noticed a steep rise in the number of livestock with birth defects, such as “piglets with froglike eyes and malformed skulls, and calves born without legs, eyes, and heads.”

It was even reported that tons of pork and beef contaminated with radioactive cesium had been mixed in with sausages and sold to the unsuspected public. The government said this was not true and that Chernobyl sausage was safe to eat and it was processed “in strict accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of the USSR.”

While the first three reactors were supposed to be shut down within five years of the 1986 explosion, the last of the Chernobyl reactors didn’t go offline until 2000.

“THE CHINA SYNDROME”

I finally got around to watching the 1979 classic, “The China Syndrome”, with Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas.

The nuclear disaster meltdown flick earned $51.7 million on a $5.9 million budget and earned four Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Lemmon and Best Actress for Fonda.

After watching six seasons of “Grace and Frankie” with octogenarian Fonda (she’s 83 now), it was awesome seeing her as a very sexy 41-year-old! (She’s very sexy now at 83, too!)

GRADE: B+

“GERALD FORD”

Douglas Brinkley’s 2007 book is part of “The American Presidents” series.

What I really liked about this book is that while it’s comprehensive (not as much as a real biography or an autobiography), it was an easy read at just 160 pages!

One interesting thing about Gerard Ford is that isn’t his real name. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, as Leslie Lynch King Jr.

His mother, Dorothy, left her abusive husband and moved in with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and met and married Gerald R. Ford in 1917. He informally adopted her child and named him after himself. The child would officially change his name in 1935!

After two failed assassination attempts against him in September 1975 by women in California, Ford, in 2003, said he told Betty, “I’m going to have to review my support for the Equal Rights Amendment. These women are trying to kill me.”

On Inauguration Day 1977, President Ford was deeply touched and surprised when the new President Jimmy Carter opened him speech with “For myself and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”

Carter and Ford, after a bitter campaign in 1976, became good friends and each asked the other to give the eulogy at their funerals. As you know, President Ford died on December 26, 2006, and President Carter did just as he promised!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 3, 2021

Happy Labor Day weekend to you! Some call this holiday weekend the “unofficial end of summer”.

If you’re wanting more warm weather, I know you’ll get it. But, if you’re ready for fall, temperatures definitely start dropping off in September!

Those stats are for Decatur in Central Illinois.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. Feel free to share yours with me.

A TASTE OF FALL

Bud Light is introducing a new line of fall-flavored seltzers!

Which would you try? I’d try them all. I think my favorites (in order) would be Maple Pear, Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Spice, and Toasted Marshmellow!

I’ve had the Bud Light Mango Seltzer and it was so good.

AND, NOW A TASTE OF THE WINTER HOLIDAYS!

Last week, at Kroger, I spotted Egg Nog ice cream 🍨!

Happy Holidays! 🎄

NORMALLY, I DON’T SHAME PEOPLE….

Except those that absolutely deserve it and are totally ignorant.

Chloe Mrozak, you’re a pathetic individual!

The Oak Lawn, Illinois, woman was arrested last week in Honolulu, Hawaii, for allegedly using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

On the falsified and sloppy card, the vaccination “Moderna” was misspelled “Maderna”!

She was ultimately taken into custody and her bail was set at $2,000

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office in Honolulu says “Everyone should know that falsified CDC cards are a federal offense and in some states, it is a separate state charge. In Hawaii, using falsified proof of testing or vaccination documents for travel into the state is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year for each count. Our department will prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent provided by the law.”

Damn, why didn’t you just put Madea on it?

IN OTHER COVID-19 NEWS….

61.6% of adult Illinoisans are fully vaccinated now (78.6% have gotten at least one dose)!

And…

“YOU LOVE ME”

This is third book in the “You” book series by Caroline Kepnes from which the Lifetime/Netflix television series “You” originated.

Book 1 (“You” — 2014) and Season 1 were pretty close, yet there was much more of difference between Book 2 (“Hidden Bodies”– 2016) and Season 2.

After reading the Kepnes’ latest, “You Love Me”, I hope the new season deviates greatly from the book. Also, I hope Kepnes expands her writing resume and leaves the “You” series behind!!!

There was very little I enjoyed about the third book!

“YOU” (SEASON 3)

Now, speaking of the creepy, stalker, “love story” series, “You”, the trailer for the third season dropped earlier this week.

It premieres on Netflix on October 15, 2021. It’s not known if Netflix will drop the entire series as once, as it usually does.

REBA’S TRIPLE TREAT

This year, I’ll get an early birthday gift from Reba McEntire even though I’ll be buying it for myself!

The three-disc, “Reba Revived Remixed Revisited”, arrives October 8, 2021, on MCA Nashville, the record company where she scored most of her career hits and chart toppers.

I’m mostly excited for the “Remixed” disc.

DJ Tracy Young, who won a Grammy for her 2019 Madonna remix of “I Rise” is remixing “Turn On The Radio”, which was Reba’s last #1 hit at country radio, on January 1, 2011.

Here’s the original. I can’t wait to hear Tracy’s remix!

In a February 2017 blog entitled, “Reba Invites You To Church – Country Style”, I wrote, “If you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!”

And, in June 2012, I wrote, “But, when you’re ready, skip country music and make a dance album in the vein of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, your #2 Billboard Dance hit from 1996.  That would be awesome.”

So, this is definitely something I’ve been feeling since 1995 when “Starting Over” came out!

“CHERNOBYL”

After watching the incredible HBO miniseries about Chernobyl, I read Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book, “Chernobyl”, subtitled “The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

What a great, thorough book.

Here are a few things I learned and I’ll share more in the future.

  • Ground was broken for the Chernobyl plant in 1970 and its Reactor Unit Four went online in 1983 as the newest and most advanced RBMK (Reaktor bolshoy moschnosti kanalnyy), a graphite-moderated boiling water reactor, which was unique to the Soviet Union.
  • The Soviet Union, especially after the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania, touted its nuclear industry superior to the United States because their scientists were better trained and their safety standards were higher.
  • The Soviets knew of all the faults with their reactors, but did nothing about them because of the cost. This, even after several accidents dating back to the 1957, when the USSR had its first nuclear disaster.
  • At the time of the explosion of Reactor Unit Four on April 26, 1986, a fifth and sixth reactor were being built. They were never finished.

CHERNOBYL”

This five-episode 2019 HBO series covers the hours leading up to tragic 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in the Soviet Union and its aftermath.

The series was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards, including three for acting, and it won a total of ten, including “Outstanding Limited Series”.

The acting was incredible and I’m glad I finally got to see the series and it prompted me to read the book I talked about above.

GRADE: B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony