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Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

helen olivia.JPG

It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

Olivia 2

In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling.png

Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

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If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony

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My Struggle Before Winter Is Real!

Aging comes with different obstacles and changes in our body.

Since I’m not an expert with the female body (yes, I’m laughing inside now that might just become an “LOL”), I’ll talk from a male perspective — mine!

I know metabolism slows down and aging skin lacks the elasticity a younger body provides.

It’s easy noticing graying hair, more wrinkles and your clothes fitting tighter, but that evil Facebook really drove home the changes for me!  And, I’m not even talking about Anthony in his 20s or 30s!

Since “Memories” are a sidebar option, I take advantage of it sometimes to see what I was doing over the past ten years on a particular day.

ap

That picture was around Labor Day 2010 after being caught in a Chicago thunderstorm following a Scissor Sisters concert and I was 46!

And then, just two years later, there’s this one.

July 6 2012

I still look at those pictures and think that I looked pretty sexy even as I was closing in on 50!

Yet, at the same time, I can still hear Harvey Fierstein getting into drag as Arnold Becker in “Torch Song Trilogy”:  “I think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. It’s my biggest problem because I’ve never been young and beautiful. Oh, I’ve been beautiful. And God knows I’ve been young, but never the twain have met.”

Life changes can also make a big difference in one’s appearance!

I feel the changes in my physical appearance accelerated following my separation, divorce and moving away from the Quad Cities!

I really noticed it after my first Duluth, Minnesota winter that lasted nine months!

Snow

That, along with a major schedule change of moving to evenings after years of working mornings (in bed by 7 p.m. to be up at 2 a.m).

With my new hours, I don’t cook as often and I’m now eating late at night.  That combination is a big mistake!

JR PW.gif

Since moving to Duluth, I’ve gained ten pounds!

Now that I’ve returned from my endless enjoyable buffets and cocktail-filled Las Vegas trip, I’m getting on the scale and slimming down before winter settles in again!

I’m going to cook more, eat less and have meals at more sensible hours!

I’ll start by taking my dinner to work and eating hours before bedtime!  This will cut back on my late night wine, cheese and crackers and late night dinners.

Now I’ll still treat myself to a drink or two when I get home — without the meal!

eating-disorder

As a recovering food addict, I struggle daily with weight gain of even a pound or two and the ever present fear of falling off the wagon!

It’s pretty sad when you have to fight the logic of knowing that bingeing and purging would be the easier route to take — eat all you want and purge = instant weight loss!

However, I know how detrimental that is to one’s body!

So, I’ll do it the healthy way, even if it’s a tough fight!

By the way, I’ve been talking a lot this summer about writing my next chapter.  If you didn’t get a chance to read that, here it is again for you!  (It’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/i-need-to-write-my-next-chapter/

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2019

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts over the past few weeks.  This is it for a while again.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts diplomatically if we disagree.

Have a great weekend!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN LATEST

I’ll start off with some sad news, but I know she’s a fighter!

Pop music icon Olivia Newton-John tells “60 Minutes Australia” she’s not giving up the fight as she battles stage four cancer.

Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer back in 1992.

She overcame the disease, but it returned in 2013.  Olivia won that battle, too, and it was never made public.

However, the cancer returned in May 2017 and metastasized into her lower back.

This month, we learned that the cancer has advanced to Stage IV, which means it has spread to other organs and the mortality rate is higher.

If you click on this, you can hear just how courageous she is!

I’ve loved Olivia since the early-1970s as a little kid when she dominated country radio before crossing over to pop music.

I was so lucky to catch her during her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2014.

Olivia 2014

Olivia, you beautiful woman, stay strong and keep fighting!

Here’s Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi on their #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “You Have To Believe”, from 2015, with Dave Aude!

MY TWO CONNECTIONS TO PRINCESS DIANA

We’re coming up on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lady Diana

Of course, I remember the fairy tale wedding back in 1981 and the tragic news of her death in Paris, France, in 1997.

I was working at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas, as the weekend news anchor.  We led our 10 p.m Saturday newscast with the news of the car crash.  At that point, she was still alive or it hadn’t cross the wires that she had died.

However, just minutes after we said goodnight, the Associated Press reported that the Princess was dead!  We waited for CBS to break into programming.  They didn’t!

Finally, my co-anchor, Ny Lynn Nichols, and I went back on the air with the sad news.  We reported all that we knew at the time, which wasn’t much.  We re-ran the story from the newscast about the crash and gave updates for a few minutes as information came into our newsroom.

That was my first connection to Princess Diana.  So, if anyone was watching CBS in Lubbock, Texas, after the 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday, August 30, 1997, they saw Ny Lynn and I relaying the tragic news.

SARAH, THE DUCHESS OF YORK

My second connection to Princess Diana came many years later.

sarah ferguson.jpg

In March 2010, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (and Princess Diana’s former sister-in-law), came to the Quad Cities for a benefit for Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people fighting cancer.

The Duchess spoke to a crowd of more than 600 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

They had a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book, “Little Red to the Rescue”, and I won.

Sarah Duchess of York

Needless to say, it was so pretty cool to get not only an autographed book from the Duchess, but also a package addressed from Windsor Castle!

“A ROYAL DUTY”

As the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approached, I decided to read the two books on my bookshelf about her life (and death).

The first was “A Royal Duty” by Paul Burrell.

Paul Burrell Diana.JPG

This 2003 best seller chronicles Burrell’s life of working his way up through the ranks in British Royal Household to become Queen Elizabeth II’s footman.

Burrell then worked for Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, before working for Diana exclusively after the Royal separation and divorce up until her untimely death.

While I believe Burrell’s stories about his commitment to Princess Diana, I do think he was overly dramatic at times!

GRADE:  B 

“THE DIANA CHRONICLES”

Tina Brown, who worked for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, released “The Diana Chronicles” in the summer of 2007, a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

Diana Tina Brown.JPG

While I believe Burrell’s stories in his book, I think that he hid away the naughty and nasty side of Princess Diana.  We all have one!

Brown’s book is very comprehensive and easy to read.  It’s much more journalistic, thorough and fair (i.e. honest).  However, she could be catty!  Meow!

Although the front and back cover featured the same collage of photos of Princess Diana’s life, I really wish the book featured photos inside!

One thing that Brown talked about that intrigued me was Diana and Charles’s divorce settlement: a lump sum of £17 million (roughly $20.5 million) and £400,000 annually for Diana’s office (nearly one-half million dollars).

Also, Diana would lose the HRH (Her Royal Highness) title, but retain the Diana, Princess of Wales title.

GRADE:  A

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

If you follow the Royal Family and checked out the first two seasons of “The Crown” on Netflix with the amazing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, the next season is getting closer.

Season 3 with Oscar winner Olivia Colman as a more mature Queen Elizabeth II premieres on November 17, 2019!

“IS IT JUST ME?”

As I mentioned back in February, I’m going through my movie collection and I’m watching older ones to either get rid of or save.

So far, I’ve only kept two:  the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”) and the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”.

Now, a third one is saved — the 2010 romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?” with the sexy Nicholas Downs (Blaine) and David Loren (Xander).

Blaine is looking for a nice guy, but doesn’t think that they exist until he meets Xander online.

After chatting, they talk for hours on the phone.

The problem is that Blaine realizes his roommate, Cameron, an actor and go-go dancer, was logged into his computer and it was his profile they were chatting under.

So, while Xander is talking to Blaine, he thinks Blaine looks like Cameron!

This scene between Blaine and his friend Michelle is one that made me laugh (and I watched it over and over!) The other is the last scene in the movie trailer below. 🙂

Michelle Blaine Sarcasm.JPG

GRADE:  B

LET’S GO TO VEGAS

I’m finally heading back to Vegas this weekend.  I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend since they’ve never been.

As you may know, Vegas experienced a grasshopper invasion earlier this summer.

Grasshopper Las Vegas.JPG

There were so many grasshoppers in the air that it was detected on Doppler radar!

Vegas Radar Grasshopper.jpg

This was the most creative response to the creepy infestation! 😉

Grasshopper

It’d be pretty neat to experience them if they’re still around when we get there! 🙂

VEGAS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG

Since 2012, I’ve tried to get to Vegas every year, but I failed last year since I was moving to Duluth, Minnesota.

However, I had a great time there on my last visit in December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s magical “All I Want For Christmas” show…

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

met Lionel Richie…

Capture2

and saw one of my childhood favorites, Tanya Tucker!

Tanya

“NEW” WHITNEY HOUSTON ON THE RADIO

It’s been more than seven-and-a-half years since Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills, California hotel.

whitney-houston

Now, Whitney and Norwegian record producer Kygo are poised to have a big hit at Top 40 radio with a rework of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love”, one of my all-time favorites.

Whitney originally recorded the song for the Japanese version of her third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The new version is incredible!

“Higher Love” is already at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and at #43 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio airplay chart!

Whitney’s last Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was in the fall of 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks when “The Star Spangled Banner”, her 1991 recording, was re-released.  This time around, it reached #6.

Before that, her last original song to hit the Top 40 was in 2000 when “I Learned from the Best”, the fifth and final release from the “My Love is Your Love” album, hit #27.

Kygo’s 2016 album, “Cloud Nine”, is fantastic.  Check it out!

“THE LOUDEST VOICE”

This Showtime series about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, who sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives, was great.

Okay, the acting was great.  Watching Ailes’ creepiness of preying on women and forcing sex on them was disgusting.

In the series, Ailes blamed the left for all of America’s problems and gloated, “I’ve given the Silent Majority a voice” and that “we worship a Christian God”.

Yes, womanizer and rapist, worship that Christian God!

But, I have to hand it to Ailes for seeing a wide opening in television “news” that wasn’t catering to Republicans and the “religious right” and seizing the opportunity.

Give Russell Crowe his 2020 Emmy now and Roger Ailes, may you rot in hell!

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 9, 2019

Thank you for taking the time to check out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” and have a great weekend!

I know this will likely tick off some people, but that’s okay!

I also know there are so many others here in America (and the world) that are rather pissed off about the way things are right now, too!

DONALD TRUMP

I’ve tried really hard not to be too political lately because with Russian intervention in 2016, it did so much for me to sell Hillary Clinton as president!  And, the 2020 presidential election is still a long ways away!

However, after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, I can’t stay quiet.

Trump

Donald Trump’s hateful words are not going to “Make America Great Again”! 

Those words are destroying the U.S.A. with senseless violence of people killing others almost daily!

Democrats, independents and Americans, let’s UNITE to kick this man and his sad sense of grandeur out of the White House on November 3, 2020!

MENTAL HEALTH & MENTAL ILLNESS

In my lifetime, I’ve fallen into two categories of “mental illness” *, but I wouldn’t go out and kill anyone!

It’s shouldn’t be a “get out jail free card”.

“Mental illness” and “mental health” really need to be addressed in this country and the only time we talk about the need for it SHOULD’NT be when there’s another mass shooting!!!

*Until 1973, being gay was considered a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association.  And, eating disorders are a mental illness!

ONE MORE MENTAL ILLNESS THOUGHT!

Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter worked hard to bring mental health issues to the forefront.

President Jimmy Carter signed the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980 into law in October, a month before the 1980 presidential election.

Ronald Reagan, seven months after taking office, signed The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981 into law.

This repealed most of the Mental Health Systems Act of 1980!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE… MY “LOVER” ARRIVES IN LESS THAN TWO WEEKS!

I’d like to just fast forward through the next two weeks — not only to wish away the summer heat, but for Taylor Swift’s “Lover” to come out on August 23rd!

Taylor Swift Lover

It features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

The video has already been viewed over 106 million times!

“MINDHUNTER”

It’s almost time for more Jonathan Groff and the second season of the critically acclaimed (and incredible) hit series, “Mindhunter”.

It drops on Netflix on Friday, August 16th!

This season will focus on the Atlanta murders (children and young adults) of 1979-1981.

Here’s the season two trailer.

If you’re not familiar with “Mindhunter”, the first season was set in 1977 and follows two FBI agents, who help start the Behavioral Science Unit by profiling criminals.

Awesome Anna Torv (“Fringe”) also stars.

And, it’s also a reason to post this gorgeous shot of my future husband.

Groff

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  1984”

After a mostly disappointing “Apocalypse”, I’m excited for the new installment of “American Horror Story: 1984”!

Not only does it take me back to the slasher films of my youth, but it’ll obviously have a killer soundtrack!  It’s the ’80s!  Like totally! 🙂

“American Horror Story: 1984” premieres on FX Wednesday, September 18, 2019.

“YOUNGER”

I absolutely loved the first five seasons of this cute comedy.  But, I’m definitely not feeling season six!  (Breaking… Episode 8, “The Debu-taunt”, was perfect!)

Sutton Foster (Liza) and Miriam Shor (Diana) are amazing and I just get lost in dreamland when Nico Tortorella (Josh) is on screen.

Nico Tortorella

#TeamJosh

There are still a few episodes left this season for it to turn around AND it’s already been renewed for a seventh season.

It’s now the longest running original program on TV Land!

“AMERICAN WIFE”

Curtis Sittenfeld’s third novel, “American Wife” (2008), is a fictionalized book on the life of former First Lady Laura Bush.

American Wife.jpg

It was a great book, but it was a little weird reading it.

In the book’s dialogue, I was hearing Laura and George W. Bush’s voice.

However, I’d see Laura Bush’s face as “Alice”, but Josh Brolin’s face as the former president!  Oops, I mean, “Charlie”!  (Brolin played George W. in the movie, “W”).

And, it was a little AWKWARD (okay, a lot) reading the graphic sex scenes and thinking of Laura and George W!

Laura Bush

By the way, I still really want to have dinner with and meet President Bush and Laura!

“REFLECTIONS:  LIFE AFTER THE WHITE HOUSE”

A couple of years ago, I read Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s “A Memoir”.

Before reading the book, I stated that I really wasn’t a fan during her White House years  and “there was just something standoffish about her…. I just didn’t feel the warmth was genuine.” 

After reading the book, I said, “I’ve changed my views quite a bit.  I still think she’s a force to reckon with and I still disagree with her on several things, but that’s part of life. She is more down-to-earth than I gave her credit for and she accomplished so much in those twelve years.”

This summer, I read her 2003 book, “Reflections:  Life After the White House”.

Barbara Bush Reflections

It was a very homey book that even featured some recipes!

In it, Ms. Bush talked about many of the speeches she gave (for free and for money), places she visited, her family and friends and the fact that they were very rich.

She wasn’t boasting about being well off financially, but more so that it gave them the luxury of doing things we can only dream about without breaking the bank!

Toward the end of the book she said something that I can definitely relate to these days, “We are at the stage in our lives where we are giving away and not accumulating more.”  

While talking about the crazy 2000 presidential election, which the U.S. Supreme Court gave to her son, George W. Bush, she also talked about Hillary Clinton winning big in New York.

She quoted Hillary saying, “Her first statement was that she was going to work to change the Electoral College, “that it was outdated.””

Fast forward to the 2016 presidential election, all I can say, “If only!” 😦

Still

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 2, 2019

Three weeks now with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”.   There’s two more coming before another break!

I appreciate you taking the time to see what I have to say and for sharing your thoughts, too!

Have a great weekend!

2020 DEMOCRATIC RACE

After the first two round of debates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, I took the the liberty to eliminate those that I think don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

Demo

Less than two weeks after the first debate, on July 8, 2019, Rep. Eric Swalwell announced he’s dropping out of the 2020 race.

Honestly, I only think two or three of those not marked off even have a real chance against that man!

LET’S GET IT TOGETHER TO ELECT #46!

Liberals

AND, ONE LAST THING…

In her book, “Ferraro:  My Story”, she shared this story:  it was early 1983 and she was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.

Ferraro

She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to run against Ronald Reagan.

As we head into the race to get Trump out of office, remember what Ferraro wrote more than 30 years ago.

She perfectly summed it up with, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

ANOTHER POWERFUL “POSE” EPISODE

If you haven’t watched the fourth episode of this season of “Pose”, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”, skip down and start reading after the music video.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

It’s a very powerful episode highlighting the number of our trans sisters and brothers (mostly sisters and almost all people of color) that are murdered each year.

This year alone, at least 12 trans women have been killed.  Denali Berries Stuckey was murdered in Charleston, South Carolina two weekends ago.

Denali.jpg

To drive that point and the story line home, “Pose” killed off an incredible character, Candy Ferocity, played by the amazing Angelica Ross!

Here’s Candy in her “Blonde Ambition” best!

Candy as Madonna

And, what a beautiful sendoff and tribute!

“Never Knew Love Like This Before” by Stephanie Mills reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won two Grammy Awards!

LIGHTENING THE MOOD!

The new Taylor Swift Capital One commercial is hilarious!

In it, “Taylor” fails miserably as a server and bartender!  I love the martini shaker segment!

DROPPING CABLE IN 2020!!!

Charter/Spectrum cable is horrible!  (I know many people think their cable providers are bad, too.  By the way, Mediacom, I didn’t care for you either!)

When I move again in 2020, I’ve already decided that I no longer want cable.  I won’t make cable conglomerates richer!

It seems fitting for me since four of the series I watch are sadly ending:  “Mr. Robot”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Madam Secretary” and “Homeland”!

“MR. ROBOT”

The final season, starring Oscar and Emmy winner Rami Malek, will arrive in later in 2019 and will feature 12 episodes to wrap up the series.

Capture.JPG

And, from this advance image, it looks to be a killer, holiday season!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

As I expected when the show was renewed this summer, the sixth season of the ABC hit, “How To Get Away With Murder” with Oscar and Emmy award winning actress Viola Davis will be the last one!

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Show runner Pete Nowalk says, “For me, Annalise Keating’s journey has always had a clear ending. Knowing I have 15 episodes left to finish her story, and the chance to give all the characters their own killer endings, is a gift rarely given to a series creator and I’m grateful to ABC and ABC Studios for the opportunity and creative freedom.”

He adds, “I also want to thank our fans. The only reason this show exists is because of your loyalty and enthusiasm. I can’t wait for you all to see how it ends, with twists and turns and all the craziness we love to create every Thursday night. Buckle up.”

When the fifth season ended, a major character disappeared and the season featured a hot newcomer that I’m hoping will return this season.

In March, I blogged about the show and Gerardo Celasco, who plays Xavier Castillo, and he was kind enough to tweet me back! 🙂

gerardo

Xavier

The final season premieres September 26, 2019.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Not only will the sixth season of “Madam Secretary” be its last, but it will be a shortened season — ten episodes.

madam_secretary

Spoiler alert:  At the end of season five, Elizabeth announced she’s leaving her position as Secretary of State to run for president.  Will she win?

The final season premieres on CBS on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

“HOMELAND” 

The Emmy winning Showtime series winds up later this year with its eighth season.

The series starting shooting in Morocco early this year, but it was delayed from a summer debut “because of production demands of our international locations”.

I can’t wait to see this season, which takes place in “Afghanistan”, after the heartbreaking ending with Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes).

I’ll take this time to share again what I wrote in April 2019: “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!” and 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!!! 🙂

68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Sep 2016

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

READING WHILE WALKING

I’ve read several books recently while trying to walk off some of the gained winter weight.

This includes “Skywriting” by Jane Pauley about being bipolar, Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation” and “The Greatest Generation Speaks”, two books about World War II, the veterans and the people who kept America running back home while our service men and women were at war.

And, I read Jane Fonda’s “My Life So Far”.

In December 2018, I wrote this about Fonda after seeing “Jane Fonda In Five Acts”.

“Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”)

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.”

GRADE: A-

Also, I read “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.

Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller starred in the movie, which was my third favorite movie in 2012.

Kevin

As I wrote in June 2012, “I did cry from a performance recently from a movie released last year and then I shook my head that the actress was snubbed from an Academy Award nomination.”

I’m talking about Tilda Swinton and her gut-wrenching, Golden Globe, Screen Actor’s Guild, and BAFTA award (the British equivalent to the American Oscar) nominated performance in “We Need to Talk About Kevin”.  Swinton plays Eva Katchadourian, a successful travel writer, wife, and mother of two children.  The movie focuses on her difficult relationship with her older child, her son, Kevin.

There is a scene of Eva sitting in her house eating dinner after an altercation at the grocery store that just broke my heart and Swinton is just incredible.

Another standout in the movie was Ezra Miller, who played Kevin as a 16-year-old.”

GRADE:  A

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 26, 2019

It was great last week sharing some random thoughts with you, along with my funny story involving the movie and the very graphic sex scene! 🙂

This week, I learned first hand to be careful what you write (especially if you have a blog) in today’s technological age!

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

WAIT!  I SAID WHAT???

Writers calls it “foreshadowing”.  I’d probably call it something with expletives!

Five years ago, on the Fourth of July, I reviewed a movie that really touched me and I shared a personal anecdote.

It was the Chilean drama “Gloria” and I said it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.”

In it, Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee facing single life again after her two grown child moved out.  But, Gloria didn’t just sit at home.  She went out drinking and socializing to meet men — hoping she’d find “the one”.

In that blog, I added, I was so impressed with her strength and determination”.  I also wrote about finally finding “the one” and summed “Gloria” up with “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

Wait, what was that again? “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

How prophetic in 2014 that I’d be talking about my own life in 2019 as I approach my mid-50s single for over two years!

Olivia Pope wine.gif

Reading that was definitely a “WTF” moment!

However, “I GOT THIS”!  I’ve already shared with you that 2020 is the year for change.  I’ll take back my life and start living again!

#NextChapter2020 and #Pug2020

“Gloria” ended up being one of my 20 favorite movies in 2014.

Here’s how I ended my review of the movie, “Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.”

GRADE:  A

“GLORIA BELL”

I absolutely love Julianne Moore, but I had serious reservations about whether I wanted to see director Sebastian Lelio’s re-imagining of his original “Gloria”.

Well, I rented it and Moore and John Turturro were amazing.  Except for Americanizing the soundtrack and Moore freely exposing herself with confidence, I couldn’t wait for the movie to be over!

If you love Moore and you haven’t seen the original, rent it and you’ll enjoy it.  Otherwise, rent the original!

GRADE:  C+

“POSE”

Although the second season debuted back in early June on FX, real life got in the way of me catching up on this amazing drama.

pose

After watching the first episode of season two, “Acting Up”, I saved it to watch again!  It was the absolute best episode of the young, incredible series!

Season two picks up three years after the first season (1987).

Last season, two characters learned they’re HIV-positive.  “Acting Up” is about their fight to stay alive when so many of their friends are dying at an alarming rate and the government could care less about their suffering!

It also touched on the fear of taking the life-saving, but also toxic new drug AZT — the only HIV/AIDS drug available at the time.

pose billy porter

For the first season, Billy Porter (Pray Tell) and the show both picked up Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominations.

Both were just nominated for Emmys this year!  This makes Porter the first openly gay black man to be nominated in the “Outstanding Lead Actor” drama category!

I also wish that Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista) had gotten a nomination, too.

One final note about season two:  it’s now 1990 and Madonna just released “Vogue”, which brought the underground ball scene of New York City to a mainstream audience!

Here’s Candy (Angelica Ross) in her “Blonde Ambition” best!

Candy as Madonna

Next week, I want to talk about the powerful fourth episode, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”.  Why not this week?  I want to give you a chance to get caught up!

spoiler-alert

“Pose” is already renewed for a third season!

As Pray Tell says, “THE CATEGORY IS LIVE.WORK.POSE.”

FIVE MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS

Christmas is now less than five months away!

Recently, it was announced that actress/singer Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be starring in the ABC holiday movie, “Same Time, Next Christmas”, in December.

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She’ll also be releasing her first Christmas album later this year!

THIS CHRISTMAS(LAND) GIVE ME THE CREEPS

The ten-episode AMC series, “NOS4A2”, wraps up Sunday night and has already been renewed for a second season of Christmas horror!

It’s a “supernatural horror drama” that’s pretty damn creepy because Christmas and child abductions drive the story line.

Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek”) is unrecognizable, at times, as the immortal 135-year-old Charlie Manx!

A young woman, “Vic” McQueen, realizes she has a supernatural ability to track down Manx, who feeds off the souls of children.

He then drops the living, yet soulless kids, off at Christmasland.  It’s a very twisted part of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day!

By the way, it’s pronounced “Nosferatu”.

GRADE (before the finale):  B

SLOW DOWN CHRISTMAS, LET’S TALK HALLOWEEN!

Last week, Jamie Lee Curtis posted on Twitter that not one, but two more “Halloween” movies are on the way!

Capture

On October 16, 2020, “Halloween Kills” hits theaters and then the following fall on October 15, 2021, “Halloween Ends”!

“Halloween (2018)”, the eleventh movie in the franchise, was critically acclaimed and made $255.5 million worldwide!

Halloween

As we all know, “You can’t kill the boogeyman!”

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Since I talked about “Gloria”, I want to take a moment to memorialize Laura Branigan, who died of a brain aneurysm at her home almost fifteen years on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, three reached the top ten:  the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.

It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

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 19, 2019

It’s been some time since I last shared some random thoughts.

Thoughts

There have many things I would have written about if I was still doing “Random Friday Thoughts” on a weekly basis, so here are just a few.

It’s also a reason to share a personal potentially embarrassing story! 🙂

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today!

THE MANSON MURDERS 

We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Charles Manson “family” murders on August 9-10, 1969.

As you may recall, a group of psychos led by the notorious Manson terrorized Los Angeles by slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Hollywood home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

Manson.jpg

The next night, the “family” randomly killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

A crazy new book by Tom O’Neill called “Chaos” claims much of what we know about the case is wrong and that prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lied in his book “Helter Skelter”.

I read that book and I’m interested to read O’Neill’s far-fetched (?) book and theories.

The thing that intrigues me the most is who O’Neill says knows more about the murders, but isn’t talking — actress Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame (pictured below)!

Candice Bergen

Bergen and record producer Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) actually lived in the house where the murders took place as late as early 1969!!!

O’Neill tells “Entertainment Weekly” that Bergen “knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said.”   

Creepy tidbit:  Before the Manson murders, the home was rented to these Hollywood actors: Lillian Gish, Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, and Olivia Hussey.

Murder House.JPG

And, the house’s owner, Rudolph Altobelli, moved back in just three weeks after the Manson bloodshed!!!  He lived there for the next 20 years before selling it in 1989 for the equivalent of $3.2 million today!

“OZARK” EMMY LOVE

After watching the second season of Netflix’s “Ozark”, in October 2018, I wrote, “I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.”

Netflix TCA 2018

Well, I was right!

“Ozark” picked up two more nominations this summer — one for “Outstanding Drama Series” and another for Jason Bateman.

“ARCTIC”

If you’d like something to distract you from the summer heat and humidity, definitely check out the thriller “Arctic”!

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since NBC’s “Hannibal”.

After seeing the survival story, I definitely hope there’s an Oscar “For Your Consideration” campaign for Mikkelsen for “Best Actor”.

“Arctic” is stunning, breathtaking, and heartbreaking — unlike Robert Redford’s alone on a boat and lost at sea 2013 movie “All Is Lost” (which was one of my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014)!

GRADE:  A

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

I love Armie Hammer and Dev Patel and when I watch movies, I tend to lean toward dramas and thrillers.

This one is based on a real-life terrorist attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

While very realistic, it wasn’t overly gory.  It’s a great movie that was never given a chance for box office success.

GRADE:  B+

“GRAND HOTEL”

I started watching this ABC soap opera with low expectation, but I’m still watching it!

Yes, it’s cheesy and some of the characters are silly caricatures of spoiled rich people.

But, the cast is beautiful — especially Australian actor Lincoln Younes, Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez!

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And, then there’s Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, the hotel manager!

Shalim Ortiz

Eva Longoria Baston (“Desperate Housewives”) is an executive producer on the series and guest stars as the late former hotel co-owner.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

I read Liane Moriarty’s book in early 2017 and absolutely loved the HBO mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgaard and Adam Scott.

After the eight Emmy Award wins (out of sixteen), I was thrilled when it was announced that there’d be a second season even though the first covered everything in the book!

I love Kidman and the thought of spending more time with the “Monterey Five” was fantastic.  Meryl Streep joining the cast as Kidman’s imposing, untrusting mother-in-law with a sharp tongue was just icing on the cake!

What I’ve seen of the second season is great, but not fantastic!.  However, Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep make it very worthwhile.

And, I’m loving Laura Dern’s angry Renata Klein this season.  Here’s an example why! 🙂

And, here is my favorite scene, so far, by far.

Two Oscar winners going at it and then the line, “What do we call that?  Foreplay?” followed by a sinister laugh off-camera are just too much! 🙂

Please give Streep her Emmy now and Kidman and Dern their second ones for this series!

“CLAWS”

I’m still loving this TNT series lead by Niesy Nash!

However, halfway through the third season, it’s definitely different than the first two seasons.

Sometimes, it feels a little lost.  However, I know the payoff will be great!

I mean really, it’s focused around a casino! 🙂

“WORLD WAR Z” SEQUEL CANCELLED

I really loved 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt and I’m bummed that the long-planned sequel has been nixed!

The reason?  A source tells “The Hollywood Reporter” that the Chinese government’s ban on movies with zombies or ghosts is the single biggest reason that Paramount cancelled the sequel!

The expensive $190 million movie was a box office smash bringing in more than $540 million worldwide.  This made it the highest-grossing zombie film of all time!

It was my second favorite movie of 2013.

OMG!

I think this is too funny not to share.  I’m downsizing my apartment before my next move — including my CDs and movies.

I’m watching movies over again that I may have watched once over the years.  Some I enjoyed, but they weren’t my favorites.  Others, I vaguely remember.

The other night after work, I was watching one of those movies while eating a salad and drinking my wine.  A sex scene comes on and I didn’t think anything about it.

I’m VERY open-minded and liberal! 🙂

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

All of sudden, the scene gets more and more graphic!  It went from soft core adult to pornographic.  I thought, “Wow, they can show that!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember that scene!”

Sitting in the dark with only the flicker of the large screen television, I looked over my shoulder and realized my neighbor directly across the way was out on his balcony!!! (Our balconies are only separated by two small patches of grass and a sidewalk.)

I quickly grab the remote to hit “stop” for the very graphic (but erotic) image to go away.  I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

So, not only did it not go away, but it was frozen for all the world (well, my neighbor) to see!

I didn’t go back to finish that movie for a few nights and when I did, it still wasn’t that good.  No wonder I didn’t remember it!

As for the neighbor, I now realize he had his back toward my apartment and was leaning on his ledge watching his own television! 🙂

So, that’s my funny, almost embarrassing story.

Don’t get me wrong!  I have nothing against adult scenes or material. I’d just discrete about it! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony