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Morocco & a Hidden Marrakesh Treasure

Most of the people that read my blog find it on Facebook.  With that being said, you probably already know that I spent my birthday in Morocco, in northern Africa, and you’ve seen some of the pictures from the trip.

Today, I want to share a few thoughts, some things I learned about the country and details of one magical evening.

In Morocco, we arrived at the airport in Casablanca.  From there, we were driven to Rabat for a night, spent two nights in Fez, and two more in Marrakesh before heading back to Casablanca for a night.

Marrakesh was my favorite city.

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Casablanca was my least favorite.  In all fairness, it could have been the short time there (about 12 hours), the congested traffic, and/or the neighborhood surrounding the hotel.

However, the exterior of the Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Morocco, and the stained glass of the Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral in Casablanca were stunning!  (I’ll be sharing many more pictures on my Facebook page in the coming days!)

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THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT MOROCCO

The country makes most of its money from two things that come from the sky:  the rain (agriculture) and planes (tourists).

Olives are everywhere and the trees are handed down in the family and some of the trees can produce for thousands of years!

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There are three pickings of olives.

The first is in late November with green olives.  Those are the highest quality and many are used for olive oil.  The second picking is later in December when the olives are turning red.  And, the last harvest, in January, is of black olives — the lowest quality of olives!

Every Moroccan home has a cat (mice control) and a turtle!  The turtle is to ward off evil spirits or black magic!

Although the country is 99% Muslim, only about 45% are practicing.

Many in Morocco, especially in rural areas, live in poverty, but it’s slowly improving.  Meanwhile, there are some well off and very rich people in the country.  But, it’s a culture where most don’t flaunt it.

The exteriors of many dwellings look very basic or run down, but the homes inside are lavish and filled with riches.

A MAGICAL EVENING

That leads me to the dinner I mentioned earlier.

Here I am with my “Crazy Asians” (Pom, Sheila, Po Po, and Izzy).  I met these fun ladies at the beginning of the trip and I shared a lot of time with them — an incredible group of friends!

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The evening started with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakesh at sunset and a jaunt through the crowded souk (an Arab marketplace or bazaar) in the Medina (the old quarter of town) on the way to dinner.

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Once we were dropped off from the carriage ride, we made our way through a series of alleys that looked like a deserted, bombed out part of town!

But, at the end of the maze was the incredible and gorgeous Lotus Privilege Restaurant!

Lotus

Once we stepped inside, per custom, we washed our hands with warm water from a elegant silver tea pot.  We were then handed a tasty drink and took in the spectacular scenery.

I’m not being vain here.  I just couldn’t choose which beautiful backdrop to choose to share!

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And, this is Elizabeth and Stephen, a delightful Texas couple.  Stephen celebrated his birthday a day before me!

I felt like royalty at this lavish dinner with this gorgeous group!

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Our three course tasting menu stated with incredibly colorful and tasty Moroccan salads.

This was followed by entrees of either cockerel (chicken), veal, or fish Tagine (my pick), and three choices for dessert.  I chose the pastilla with light cream and crushed almonds with fresh mint!

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And, we were treated to live, energetic African music and an elegant, gorgeous belly dancer!

What a memorable evening!

CELEBRITY SIGHTING

By the way, Keanu Reeves was standing right in front of me as we boarded the flight from Paris, France, to Casablanca.

He was heading to Morocco to film scenes for “John Wick 3: Parabellum”, which is scheduled for a May 2019 release which also stars Halle Berry.

My posse got a picture with him! 🙂

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If you’ve ever considered going to Morocco, do so.  And, if you’ve never thought about it, I’d recommend it.

Anthony

 

 

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Move Forward & Stop Looking Back

Birthdays are interesting annual events.  Some people count down to the big day and some would rather it pass unnoticed.

As life goes on, the way we celebrate the natal day changes.  As a kid, we’re excited for a cake, a party, and gifts.

That’s me celebrating my first birthday with a cake that ISN’T chocolate! 😦

October 13 1965

In retrospective, I’m grateful I got to celebrate that birthday.  When I arrived six weeks early, in the fall of 1964, I weighed about three pounds and I wasn’t expected to make it.  The survival rate for preemies back then was only 28%!

For many, becoming a teenager is exciting and to others, it’s a terrifying time. Then, there’s 16, 18, and 21.

After that the pressure settles in as 25 nears and you become frantic at 30 feeling as though your youth is gone.  It’s time to evaluate where you’re at in life and where you’re heading.

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I survived college, partying, and finding myself in my teens and 20s, starting my career in my 30s, finding love in my 40s, and losing it in my 50s.

There are days of bitterness and anger, but many more are now filled with uncertainty — not only of what lies ahead down this road of life we travel, but mortality!   Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

While the average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.7 years, my beautiful mother, Dessie, didn’t get anywhere near that.

She died at 47 (in 1990).  My father died three years earlier at 55.

Time

I’m optimistic that I have many years left since I’m physically and mentally healthy.  I just have to work on becoming emotionally and mentally happy!

My next birthday is right around the corner (October 13).

If you send birthday wishes to me via Facebook, I’ll get around to responding to them when I can since I’ll be out of the country!

I’m marking another continent off my travel list!

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This will be the fourth continent I’ve visited — following North America, Europe, and Asia!

To help you narrow it down, I don’t think I need to visit Antarctica and going to South America isn’t high on my travel “bucket list”.

Final clues before you see the pictures on Facebook when I have internet:  It’s north of the Equator (never been south of it), 99% Muslim, and it’s ruled by a King.

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And, in August, Madonna spent her 60th birthday there.  I’m sure that her arrangements were on a grander scale! 🙂

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P.S. I share my birthday with Sacha Baron Cohen (47), Nancy Kerrigan (49), Fox Mulder (57), and Marie Osmond (59).  Oh, I can’t forget my dear friend, Crystal Craddock-Posey!

With that being said, I want to share some of my favorites birthdays of the past with you.

BIRTHDAY 2016

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BIRTHDAY 2014

For my 50th birthday, I wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel.

When booking the trip, the connecting flight was through Paris, so it was decided to spend three nights in Paris and four in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday, I was treated to a Seine River dinner cruise, a view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, and sitting stage side at the historic Moulin Rogue sipping champagne at midnight as I turned 50!

Anthony 50

Days later, in Tel Aviv, I had the best meal ever at Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea!

Benny The Fisherman

BIRTHDAY 2012

The day started with an incredible brunch at the Stratosphere (back when it was good) in Las Vegas and ended with seeing Madonna and the incredible “MDNA Tour”.

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BIRTHDAY 2011

This would be the last one with my best buddy in the world, my beautiful golden retriever, Miss ABBA.  It was a warm fall day in the Quad Cities and we spent it outside playing.

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BIRTHDAY 2009

2009 Gifts

As I head into my 55th year and beyond, I’ll live by the words of Kylie Minogue and her life affirming hit “Golden” (which chronicles her turning 50 earlier this year)!

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Kylie

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My one goal for 2019 — seeing Kylie’s “Golden Tour” here in the U.S.!

Here’s to future!

Claire

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 5, 2018

Happy first week of October!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts!

MORE REFLECTIONS ON PRESIDENT CARTER

President Jimmy Carter turned 94 earlier this week.

Here’s a note I left at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, a couple of years ago on my visit.

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AMERICA’S MOOD

It’s summed up perfectly by Dana Scully and the always incredible, beautiful, and intelligent Gillian Anderson!

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COMFORTING ROBERT KENNEDY 

Just moments after giving his victory speech in the California Democratic primary at the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was making his exit through the kitchen.

That’s when an assassin’s bullets mortally wounded the Democratic presidential hopeful.

18-year-old hotel busboy, Juan Romero rushed to Kennedy’s side and cradled him and kept his head off the restaurant floor.

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Romero died earlier this week of an apparent heart attack in Modesto, California. He was 68.

Earlier this year, Romero said, “I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, ‘Is everybody OK?’ I said, ‘Yes, everybody’s OK.’ I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable.”

“THE WALKING DEAD”

Like 45 and his old tweets that come back to bite him in the ass, I’m retracting something I said in my April 20, 2018, blog.

Under the ominous headline, GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD”, I wrote, “After eight seasons, I’m giving up on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.  The seventh and eighth season were painful and I didn’t find them enjoyable… Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!”

Well, hell’s bells!  Now that I know Lincoln is leaving the show early in the ninth season, I now have to watch it to say goodbye to my future ex-boyfriend.

Andrew Lincoln

By the way, I saw the first five minutes of the October 7th premiere episode and it looks great.

Okay, show runners, while the details of how he departs is unknown to the public, I hope his death (?) is heartbreaking!  And, as an added bonus, can Judith go along with him?

I’m normally not a shipper, but may I request Jesusaron?

“YOU”

Last week, I talked about the Lifetime stalker drama, “You”.

I’m still loving it and I was laughing out loud with these two lines from the last episode.

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Beck’s thoughts after the quick intimacy with Joe: “What was that? Eight seconds? Hell yeah, he’s got that Trump just took Pennsylvania look!”

Also, from Beck, “You’re a coward. Britney got through 2007 though, right?”

BASEBALL SEASON

I’m a fair weather baseball fan.

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By the way, that Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. 🙂

I don’t really follow a particular team although when I lived in Chicago, I rooted for the Cubs. And, then when the White Sox made the World Series, they were my team.

There are just too many games for me, but I start to pay attention when the 30 teams are whittled down and the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series take place.

The Division Series (quarterfinal round) got underway this week!

In the August 6-13, 2018 issue, “Time” reported that the average age of those watching Major League Baseball (MLB) rose from 52 in 2000 to 57 in 2016. (42 is the average age of National Basketball Association viewers!)

Not only are MLB viewers getting old, there are fewer young people watching the games.  A recent survey showed that nearly two-thirds of people ages 18 to 36 didn’t watch baseball!

By the way, I was huge Cleveland Indians fan when I lived in Ohio and Grady Sizemore played for the team (2004-2011).

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And, as a kid, I had the biggest crush on Kansas City Royals third baseman, George Brett!

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“MANIFEST”

The new hit, “Manifest” on NBC is creepy, sad, and awesome!

In 2013, a flight takes off from Jamaica and arrives in New York five years later.  However, to the people on board, it was a typical three-hour flight with some turbulence.

But, the world has moved on without them.

I was blown away by the premiere and the second episode was equally compelling!  I love the premise, the acting, and I’m touched with the sentimentality!

While I can’t wait to see how the story develops, I’m majorly crushing on Josh Dallas!

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I may have to binge watch “Once Upon a Time” when I’m snowed in this winter to catch more of him!

Totally random here, but one advantage to a “Manifest”-like situation is not having to deal with 45 in the White House!

FALL TELEVISION MVP

I’m happy to see more of my network television shows back from summer break.

“9-1-1” on Fox is still sexy, thrilling , and fun.  The earthquake episodes were fantastic.

And, here’s to the new hotties:

Ryan Guzman (Eddie Diaz, a new firefighter on “9-1-1”)

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and from the USA Network show, “The Purge”, Gabriel Chavarria (Miguel Guerrero, a US Marine who returns home on Purge Night to save his sister, Penelope).

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HARVEST SEASON IS HERE

Before you know it, a hard freeze and snow will be on the way.  Harvest those crops!

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CANDY CORN PIZZA

Would you try it? 🙂

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“A LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS”

Finally, more information about the upcoming John Legend Christmas project.

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The new album (and 25-date Christmas tour) is called “A Legendary Christmas” and it comes out October 26th!

Fourteen songs will appear on the album and it includes several original songs and many classics like “Please Come Home for Christmas”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “The Christmas Song” (featuring Esperanza Spalding).

Stevie Wonder brings his harmonica skills to the album’s first song, “What Christmas Means to Me”.

“SONS OF ANARCHY”

I just started binge-watching the seven season, 92-episode FX series, “Sons of Anarchy”, which ran from 2008-2014.

After the first two seasons, I’m very impressed.  I even Googled to see if “motorcycle club” life was as violent as the series portrays it and from what I read, it’s pretty rough to be part of that gang!

Charlie Hunnam has grown up from when I first saw him in the 1999-2000 original UK series “Queer As Folk”.  He’s still gorgeous and nicely buffed as rough Jax Teller.

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And, I’m blown away by Katey Sagal, who play’s Jax’s mother, Gemma, and is the real life wife of “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter.   Many will remember her as Peg Bundy on Fox’s long-running series “Married… with Children”.

Sagal won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress” in a Television Series Drama for the third season.

In the second season, there’s a brutal rape and beating of a major character and it’s painful to watch.  It’s even more heartbreaking watching her try to recover without her family knowing about it!

Here’s an interesting tidbit that you may remember if you’ve watch the series.

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Other than Hunnam, I’m crushing on Johnny Lewis, who plays “Half-Sack” (no, I won’t explain his nickname!) in seasons one and two.

When I went online to find out more about the actor, I learned that he dated Katy Perry many years ago.

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However, I was shocked to learn that he’s dead.

Lewis and his 81-year-old landlady Catherine Davis were found dead at Davis’ home in September 2012.

Police were called after neighbors heard the woman screaming.  Authorities say Lewis broke into the house, beat Davis to death and killed her cat, Jesse.

They found his body in the driveway and believe he fell to his death from the building.

Lewis had just been released from jail just five days before the murder, but the autopsy found no alcohol or drugs in his body.

His family says he had occasional spurts of violence, which stemmed from untreated head injuries suffered from a high-speed motorcycle accident one year earlier!

“JAKE SHEARS”

It’s hard to believe that the last Scissor Sisters album came out in 2012.

I was so grateful to see them in Chicago in 2010.

This was the pre-concert and post-concert after dancing and getting caught in the rain!

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This is sexy Jake Shears, one of the two lead singers for the band (with Ana Matronic).

Scissor Sisters

In August, Jake released his self-titled debut album and it’s phenomenal.  Sadly, it hasn’t made a splash in America like it did in Europe!

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There are many incredible songs on the album and my favorites are “Good Friends”, “S.O.B.” (which stands for sex on the brain), “Everything I’ll Ever Need”, “Creep City”, and “Sad Song Backwards”!

GRADE:  B+

“DANCING QUEEN”

If you love Cher and you love ABBA, then this album is a combination of unicorns, rainbows, and bell bottoms if you’re a dancing queen!

It’s expected to debut in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart!

And, the album’s first single, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” moves into the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, her 14th top 10 hit on that chart!

Cher

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 — September 28, 2018

September is coming to a close and it’s time to get those pumpkins and think about carving jack-o-lanterns.

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As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.   I’ll start off on a happy note, vent a little, and then share more positive things. 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

It’s a few days early, but I’d like to wish a “Happy Birthday” to my idol, President Jimmy Carter!

Autograph Carters

On October 1st, our nation’s 39th president turns 94!

This makes him the second longest-lived president and the president that’s lived the longest after leaving office (almost 37 years and 8 months and counting)!

What’s amazing about this wonderful man is that he and his incredible wife, Rosalynn, are still both very active writing, touring, and building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Since leaving office in 1981, with The Carter Center, he’s done more for world peace and a healthy planet than any U.S.  president — living or dead!

Here’s to many more happy, loving years, President Carter!

A QUICK MOMENT TO VENT

Full disclosure here:  I think 45 is a joke, I hope America votes him out of office in 2020, and I can’t understand why people still support him — even if they voted for him.

Facebook is a wonderful thing (?) because some “friends” on there make strange bedfellows.

The other day, I defended “that man” (45) for drinking Diet Coke from a wine glass and then I made a critical comment about him.  Well, it was a meme.

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Of course, one of his supporters came to his defense.  That’s fine, if you can coherently debate the topic and defend the man.

However, when she posted this comment, it crossed the line with me:  “but you supported a [sic] anti American Muslim who wanted to take America down?

At this point, I jumped into melee with this post:

“Christine, I’m really glad that Neil blocked you. Why? Your comment on his thread about the American Muslim that tried to take down America! Let me clarify something with you as diplomatically as I can. The Muslims that tried to bring America down on 9/11 were Islamic extremists! They killed thousands, but they failed miserably when you look at the big picture. Whether you’re an American Muslim, a Middle Eastern Muslim, or wherever you’re from, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist. The Islamic faith is not based on those extreme actions from the extremists! Look at all the white terrorists that have made it their ill-fated mission with the killing sprees here in the U.S. I know your life will go on and mine will, too, if I chose to delete you, too. It’s one thing to support that man and his beliefs, but when you demean the #MeToo movement and make sexual misconduct jokes (yes, I looked at your page), I really don’t know what we even have in common and why we’re “friends”!”

People (who really test my tolerance)!

“RBG”

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, this year alone, “Won’t You Be My Friend” ($22.6 million) and”RBG” ($14 million) changed that!

This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She started her trailblazing from just being a woman and using her voice when women didn’t really have a place or a voice in the world of law.

What an amazing woman!

GRADE:  A

MORE GINSBURG

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Earlier this summer, Ginsburg announced that she has no plans to give up her seat anytime soon, “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

And, if you can’t get enough of Ginsburg, you’ll get another chance in select theaters on Christmas Day with “On The Basis of Sex”.

Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Ginsburg and Golden Globe Award nominee Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband Martin.

THEY SAID WHAT???

CHER (on “Ellen” when asked what three celebrities she’d like to record a duet with): “Oh, Adele, Pink, and, uh, um, not Madonna!”

JACQUELINE KENNEDY (born and raised Republican, in 1960, the year her Democratic husband would be elected the 35th president of the U.S.: “But you have to be a Republican to realize how nice it is to be a Democrat.”

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

The final season (eight episodes) of House of Cards” with Robin Wright as President Claire Underwood debuts on Netflix November 2nd!

A new revealing trailer came out this week and “the reign of the middle-aged white man” is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNDERWEAR

Why not take a few minutes for something sexy and lighter?

Here’s a look at the the changes in men’s underwear over the past century!

“YOU”

I shamelessly (sorry, not sorry) admit two things — occasionally watching “Lifetime” and actually enjoying the creepy stalker series, “You”.

It’s based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel about a bookstore owner, Joe (Penn Badgley) who becomes obsessed with a college graduate student, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who comes into the store.

I know many of us has had psychotic exes or stalkers, but what’s more disturbing is that even though you know that what Joe is doing is bad, bad, bad, you still feel for him.  He does have a thin thread of humanity in him!

I guess I’m not alone.  Before the first episode aired, Lifetime renewed it for a second season.

“THE PURGE” TELEVISION SERIES

I love “The Purge” movie series and I thought I’d give the USA Network’s 10-episode television event a chance.

After four episodes, I’m still with it.  However, I don’t know if it’ll hold my interest to see it through to the end.

There are some exciting things in the series and some lame filler, too.

GRADE:  B-

One last note:  The latest movie in the series, “The First Purge”, came out in theaters this summer and made $135.6 million.

I can’t wait to see it when it arrives on DVD October 2nd!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE” 

As I approach my birthday and since I’m in my 50s, I had to laugh out loud at one of Joan Collins’ line from the second episode of “Apocalypse”.

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By the way, Collins is 85.

Another “Apocalypse” note:   Very little on television or in movies shocks me (language, violence, or sex), but I have to say there was a very graphic sex scene in the second episode that probably made conservatives choke — if they watch “American Horror Story”.

It made Joan Collins’s character blush and run away! 🙂

“BLOODLINE”

This three-season, 33-episode Netflix series aired from 2015-2017.

The drama is about the Rayburn family who own a beach side inn, the Rayburn House, in the Florida Keys.

Three of the Rayburn children still live in Monroe County.  John is a detective for the Sheriff’s Office, Meg is a lawyer, and hot-headed Kevin is a mechanic.

The drama comes in when the black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home.

Kyle Chandler plays John and I had the biggest crush on him back in the late-1990s when he starred on the CBS series “Early Edition”.

My recommendation is to watch season one and the last five episodes of season two.  Just read the episode summary for the first five episodes of season two online and skip season three altogether!

I had a major crush on Enrique Murciano, who played John’s work partner, Marco Diaz, who also dated Meg.

Enrique Murciano

The series also stars Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard.

Season 1 GRADE:  B+

Season 2 (FIRST FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  D+

Season 2 (SECOND FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  A-

Season 3 GRADE:  D+

SISSY SPACEK

One of the great pleasures of watching “Bloodline” was seeing Sissy Spacek.

Sissy Spacek

I remember seeing her as a teenager as Carrie White in 1976’s “Carrie” (which earned Spacek an Oscar nomination) and as Loretta Lynn in 1980’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, for which Spacak won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

What did surprise me is that the Texas-born actress, who’ll turn 69 on Christmas Day, has been nominated for an Oscar four other times!

The other Best Actress nominations were for “Missing” (1982), “The River ” (1984), “Crimes of the Heart” (1986), and “In The Bedroom” (2001)!

Spacek has upcoming roles in the movie “The Old Man & the Gun” with Robert Redford and in Amazon’s “Homecoming” (November 2, 2018) starring Julia Roberts and directed and executive produced by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”).

“BREAKING IN”

This movie will likely have a mention in my year end blog of my 20 favorites movies of the year.

But, it’ll be on a different list — the worst movies of the year!

It’s basically the story of four bad guys who take a woman’s two children hostage inside her father’s fortified home.  She has to break into the house to save her children.

The $6 million movie brought in almost $51 million at the box office, but it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!

However, Gabrielle Union is a fine actress and I also enjoyed seeing Billy Burke (“Zoo”) as a bad guy.

It was also great to see Richard Cabral again.   He was phenomenal in seasons one and three of ABC’s “American Crime”.

GRADE:  D+

SPEAKING OF THOSE 20 FAVORITES MOVIES OF THE YEAR…

Now that I’ve seen more than 30 movies in 2017, here are the ones that I liked, but have been pushed out of my Top 20 list for this year (the “honorable mentions”):

“The Star”, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, “Molly’s Game”, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, “It”, “The Mountain Between Us”, “All the Money in the World”, “Darkest Hour”, “Marshall”, “Chappaquiddick”.

“My Friend Dahmer” almost made the list of the three worst movies I saw in 2017, but there were three other stinkers!

“SAY YOU REALLY WANT ME”

English singer Kim Wilde first hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 with “Kids in America”.  Even though it only reached #25, it’s still one of my favorites.

Her biggest hit in the U.S. was a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.  It reached #1 in 1987.

The follow-up was “Say You Really Want Me”, a very sultry song that barely missed the Top 40 on the Hot 100, but I still love it to this day!

Sexy!

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 21, 2018

It’s Friday and I still have things to say.  I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

My sister and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, Minnesota.  We had a great time.

On Monday, she’ll be celebrating her birthday.

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I love this blast from the past, but vintage photos don’t hold up well, thus the discoloration.

Happy Birthday Tammy!

Tammy

“PATTI CAKE$”

While they were here, I shared “Girls Trip” (#15) and “Patti Cake$” (#10) with them.  Both made my 20 favorite movies list in 2017.

“Patti Cake$” was one of the best and most overlooked movies last year.  If you get a chance, check it out.

“DIETLAND” CANCELLED

I was a huge fan of Sarai Walker’s 2015 novel, “Dietland” and the AMC series starring Joy Nash and Julianne Margulies.

Dietland

Sadly, it was cancelled after just one season and Sarai summed it up best in the first line of a very powerful Facebook post this week, “Fat girls can get invited to the party, but we don’t get to stay for very long…”

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Sorry, Sarai, I know there are great things ahead for you and all of the beautiful fat girls.

You can stay at my party as long as you want!!!

COMING SOON!

While I await the “surprise drop” of Madonna’s new studio album this fall, I got excited earlier this week after this social media post from Reba!

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To be honest, “coming soon” doesn’t always come soon enough for my schedule. 🙂

Reba’s last non-holiday album was the amazing gospel collection, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope” in February 2017.

reba-faith

It topped the Billboard Country Album and Billboard Christian Album charts and featured the #1 Christian song, “Back to God”.

During the fall of 2009, Reba was climbing the charts with “Consider Me Gone”.  The song started 2010 at the top of the country charts and would become her longest running #1 song of her career at four weeks.

I’m being shallow here (and complimentary) — the video features three gorgeous people! 🙂

By the way, Reba would also start 2011 at #1 with “Turn on the Radio”.

That tied her with Dolly Parton with 25 number one hits on the Billboard Country charts — the most by a female artist!

QUICK EMMY NOTES!

Emmys, thank you for showing love to Darren Criss and giving him the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story”!

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He even beat an incredible Benedict Cumberbatch for “Patrick Melrose”!

Why not show a few bonus extras of Criss as Cunanan!

Criss

Criss 1

Criss 2

But, I’m saddened that Judith Light lost in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie for the same series!

Miglin

Her performance was heartbreaking and chilling!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE” 

After seeing the first two episodes of FX’s “American Horror Story”, I think I’m going to like it.

It’s all over the place, but it’s already showing a lot of skin and a very edgy and humorous Joan Collins (yes, the Joan Collins of “Dynasty” fame)!

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And, there were several very shocking scenes in the second episode!  The horror! 🙂

FALL ARRIVES THIS WEEKEND

While it’s already “meteorological fall” (September, October, and November) for those weather people, fall officially begins this weekend.

The “autumnal equinox” (fall) is Saturday, September 22nd at 8:54 p.m. Central.

Fall

TEAM FIONA IS READY!

I absolutely love Fiona, the hippopotamus at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoos usually feed large animals frozen melons as treats, especially for special occasions.

Well, thanks to my fantastic director at work, Katie, Fiona is already enjoying the fall season early with a little creative magic!

Fiona Pumpkin

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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“GTFO”

Mariah Carey is getting close to releasing her latest album.

She teased us fans with the slow burning ballad with a very strong message!

Yes, “GTFO” stands for what you think it does and she says it with a breathy coo! 🙂

I, TONYA

I finally got around to seeing this Oscar nominated movie and it was definitely worth the wait.

The documentary style presentation was executed well.  At first, I had my doubts about it being gimmicky.

Oscar nominee Margot Robbie was great as Tonya Harding and Allison Janney definitely earned her Best Supporting Oscar for playing Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden.

Sebastian Stan was very sexy as Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly, despite their abusive relationship.

While there isn’t much that offends me, the language was rather strong. I found it rather ironic that Janney’s character used an offensive word that’s usually directed to women.

It’s not so much that her trashy character used it, it’s just that in the spectacular 2013 film, “The Way, Way Back”, Janney’s hard-drinking Betty says it in a much less offensive way that I’d never heard, “See You Next Tuesday”.

It still cracks me up!  (Guilty!)

GRADE: B+

“THE WAY, WAY BACK”

Since I mentioned “The Way, Way Back”, if you haven’t seen it, check it out.

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 14, 2018

This week’s random thoughts will be a short one because my sister Tammy and her boyfriend are here in Duluth, Minnesota, visiting me.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts!

PIZZA BUFFET

On Thursday, we checked out Sammy’s Pizza buffet.  I’ve been looking forward to checking it out since moving here and it was decent!

I loved the pizza crust and the chicken wings, but it’s no Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport, Iowa, where Tammy works.

I love Wise Guys more because it alternates three dessert pizzas (cherry, apple, and cinnamon sugar crumb) and their boneless chicken wings are amazing!

SOPHIA LOREN 

To Italian food and wine (and Sophia Loren)!

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Sophia Loren

“FEAR” IS A WONDERFUL THING!

I haven’t read Bob Woodward’s new book, “Fear”, but knowing that “that man” will be raked over the coals, fear is a wonderful thing!

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“OZARK” — SEASON 2

I absolutely loved season one of the Netflix series, “Ozark” and season two doesn’t disappoint!

To catch you up if you haven’t started watching this incredible series, Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) and his business partner have been laundering drug money in Chicago.

His partner decides to swindle the drug cartel and it doesn’t end well for him.  As Marty is about to be killed, he remembers a brochure about the Ozarks and tells them that it’d be easy for him to launder about one-half billion dollars there.

So, that takes Marty, his wife Wendy (the always fantastic Laura Linney) and their two children to Ozarks of Missouri.

Bateman was nominated for an Emmy for season one and both Bateman and Linney were nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Season two is the “Wendy” season.  Next year when Emmy nominations are announced, I want Linney to get a nod for Best Actress.

Also, Julia Garner deserves a Supporting Actress nomination for her strong, yet heartbreaking performance of trashy Ruth Langmore.

“Ozark” has yet to be renewed for season 3, but it’ll come.  And, when it does, I hope Janet McTeer, who plays Helen Pierce, the Chicago-based attorney who represents the cartel, is back!

GRADE:  A-

“TALES OF THE CITY”

More on Laura Linney, who I absolutely love.  She’ll be reprising her role of Mary Ann Singleton in “Tales of the City”, which is coming to Netflix in 2019.

If you’re not familiar with Armistead Maupin’s series, it’s incredible.

The first installment debuted in the U.S. on PBS in 1994.

Tales Miniseries

Since then, there’s been “More Tales of the City” and “Further Tales of the City”.

And, Linney’s Singleton is my favorite.

It shows that a small town kid can learn a lot about life in the “big city”.  For her, it was San Francisco. For me, it was Chicago!

Mary Ann

In a March 2014 blog, I thanked Maupin for the amazing book and television series and for motivating me in my career and life!

If you missed it, just click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/armistead-maupin-thank-you-for-motivating-me/

ONLY A MONTH AWAY NOW

The new “Halloween” movie hits theaters Friday, October 19th, and it’s getting rave reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival.

Here’s the latest trailer and it’s phenomenal!

It’s much more indicative that the showdown between Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) and Michael Myers will be final!

Here was the first trailer — it’s more of a set-up of the new movie.

CHER & ABBA COLLIDE!

If you saw this summer’s “Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again”, you know that Cher made a cameo appearance.

It was also announced that she was so enthralled with the music of ABBA that she decided to do an ABBA cover album.

It comes out September 28th and I’ve already ordered it.  Cher is also going out on tour to promote the album!

Cher

Since we’re on the subject of ABBA covers, one of my favorite bands of all-time, Erasure (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke), released a four-song EP, “ABBA-esque”, in 1992.

erasure abba esque.jpg

My only regret is that it was just an EP.  Andy and Vince, how about a re-issue with several more songs to make it a full length? 🙂

RICHARD NIXON

I don’t know what you think of President Richard Nixon. While I didn’t know him personally, I’ve concluded that he wasn’t a good man!  I’m not talking politically because he was a snake in the grass.

I just finished reading Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s “All The President’s Men” (about breaking the Watergate story while reporting for “The Washington Post”) and the sequel, “The Final Days”, my 22nd and 23rd books I’ve read this year.

Woodward Bernstein.JPG

But, interestingly enough, I read “The Final Days” first since I didn’t realize I had “All The President’s Men”! 🙂

This is like reading “The Deathly Hallows” (2007) in J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series before reading 1997’s “The Philosopher’s Stone” and the other five books!

It was very interesting that this wasn’t just a little break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex in June 1972, it was a much bigger debacle of dirty politics and insecurity.

Those underhanded tricks started back in 1969 after Nixon moved into the White House.

And, what’s very crazy about the whole thing is that Nixon was almost guaranteed re-election in 1972 and to think he was all brought down by lies and a cover-up!

debate

It’s not like he was expected to lose an election to a credible woman that should have easily been elected — before collusion (allegedly) and election tampering and interference from an enemy of the United States (Hello, Vladimir Putin)!

Trump Putin

“FROST/NIXON”

Before reading the two Woodward and Bernstein books, I watched the 2008 drama, “Frost vs. Nixon”, which was directed by Ron Howard.

It starred Frank Langella as President Nixon and Michael Sheen as television talk show host David Frost.

It earned five Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor for Langella.

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 — September 7, 2018

As always, I thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

I MAY BE GOING TO HELL

In reality, I think I have a great connection with God.  I talk to him (or someone that I think is listening) and we have an understanding.

But, just in case, if I go to hell, I know I won’t be alone.

Ann Coulter will be there, I’m sure.  Does that mean we have to talk to each other?  I hope not.

This may not be the “Christian” thing to say, but after this tweet last week, I hope I’m around long enough to dance on her grave!

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“HOUSE OF CARDS” SPOILER

The sixth and final season of Netflix’s “House of Cards” will debut November 2, 2018.

Those eight episodes will focus on Claire Underwood (Robin Wright).

The big question will be how the series will handle the firing on Kevin Spacey, who played President Frank Underwood.

spoiler-alert

Although we don’t know how it happens, we now likely know the answer!

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RIP BURT REYNOLDS

Yes, this was scandalous back when it appears in “Cosmopolitan” back in 1972! 🙂

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The actor that died Thursday admits that he was “plastered” for the shoot and he regrets it.

I know many don’t! 🙂

Here’s a younger, sexy Burt clothed!

Young Burt

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cabinet

GATE 1 TRAVEL TO UGANDA

I’ve traveled with Gate 1 Travel a couple of times over the years — a Danube River cruise and a tour of Scandinavia.

However, I got this offer from them in April and NO THANK YOU!

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Now, I’m sure Uganda has something to offer tourists.   That is, unless you’re gay.

In the fall of 2010, the Ugandian newspaper, “Rolling Stone” (not to be confused with the American magazine of the same name), published a front-page article, “100 Pictures of Uganda’s Top Homos Leak”.

It listed the names, addresses, and pictures of 100 gay people (or people perceived to be be gay) alongside a yellow banner that read “Hang Them”!

In one of the more high profile cases, three months later,  gay rights activist David Kato was murdered!

Rebecca_Kadaga

On November 13, 2012, I wrote about Rebecca Kadaga (above), who claims ‘that Ugandans are demanding it’ (the ‘Kill The Gays’ bill that will likely be law by the end of the year).

She calls the bill, a ‘Christmas gift’ to the people of Uganda.

I seriously don’t think she knows the Christ she’s referencing! Very sad!”

Uganda

And, in February 2014, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that makes being gay punishable by life in prison.

Uganda President

He was torn over the issue, but said that gay people were “sick” and needed treatment and not imprisonment.  But, he added that the law was necessary because of the arrogance of Westerners promoting behavior that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

My reply then:  “Here’s a reality check for you, President Museveni:  my being gay and open about it does not threaten the “way of life” in your nation (and the other 37 African countries that make it illegal to be gay).  What you should be threatened by is losing the $1.6 billion aid that you received in 2011 from the United States!”

Gate 1 Travel, I know you can’t stop offering trips to homophobic countries (Hello Russia and Vladmir Putin!), but no thank you!

ROSEANNE BARR, REMEMBER WHEN…

Back in March 2012, I was writing about “has been” child actor Kirk Cameron.

He said this about gay people in a blog about marriage equality, “I think that it’s unnatural. I think that it’s detrimental, and ultimately destructive to so many of the foundations of civilization.”

And, in light of her recent racist tweets and getting fired by ABC, it’s hard to believe that crazy Roseanne Barr, showed compassion for others.  She posted this to Cameron:

“Kirk or Kurt or whatever Cameron is an accomplice to murder with his hate speech. so is Rick Warren. Their peers r killing gays in Uganda.”

A BETTER “AFRICA”

The band Toto scored nine Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1978-1988.

Of those, four reached the Top Ten:  “Hold The Line”(#5, 1978), “Rosanna” (#2, 1982), “Africa” (#1, 1983), and “I Won’t Hold You Back” (#10, 1983).

“Africa” was from the band’s biggest selling album, 1982’s “Toto IV”, which sold 12 million copies worldwide.

ON A HAPPIER NOTE!

The love affair and honeymoon with “Crazy Rich Asians” goes on and on…

CRA.jpg

Raise a glass 🍾🥂!

It brought in another $28.3 million for the 4-day Labor Day weekend – the best since 2007’s “Halloween” ($30.6 million).

This is incredible because “Crazy Rich Asians” is in its 3rd amazing week at #1 and “Halloween” was a new release!

And, the only two movies other than “Crazy Rich Asians” to spend three weeks or more at the top of the domestic box office this year were both Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

Does this mean that “Crazy Rich Asians” are now superheroes? 🙂

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I took this photo in Ottawa, Ontario, a few years ago and now it’s relevant.

So, apply within! 🙂

BF

Maybe the sexy men of “The Snowman” and the four sexy 20-somethings I mention under “Lady Bird” can apply! 🙂

See below!  LOL

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE”

After a stellar seventh season with “Cult”, the new season of “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” looks completely amazing and bonkers!

It arrives on FX on Wednesday, September 12th!

“LADY BIRD”

I finally saw “Lady Bird” from writer-director Greta Gerwig starring Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, and Timothée Chalamet.

The $10 million film made $78.5 million and earned five Oscar nominations — Best Picture, Best Director (Gerwig), Best Actress (Ronan), Best Supporting Actress (Metcalf), and Best Original Screenplay (Gerwig).

I had to rewind and watch the scene about going to City College, to jail, and back to City College again because it cracked me up so much! 🙂  It’s in the trailer. 🙂

I loved the difficult relationship between Lady Bird and her mother.

The movie also stars two of favorite hotties in their 20s, Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”) and Lucas Hedges (“Manchester By The Sea” and “Boy Erased”).  (By the way, my other two are Charlie Puth and Shawn Mendes!)  LOL

GRADE:  B

“THE SNOWMAN” — REVISITED!

On July 24, 2015, I wrote about “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

I called the book “incredible” and I was excited that there was talk of adapting the book into a movie.

Fast forward to 2017… I wrote about the movie several times — the casting of my crush Michael Fassbender, the first trailer, and then the disappointment of the first reviews of the movie.

And, then I saw it and on January 26, 2018, I wrote about it one more time under the ominous headline, “THE SNOWMAN (DISASTER)”!

In short, I wrote, “movie critics are known to be wrong.  But, not this time!”… “it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.  (The director said they did run of time shooting the movie!)”

“I visited Norway late last summer. You know the movie is bad when you spend most of it picking out all of locales that you saw while there”.

“The only real highlight of the movie was a gratuitous, but pointless to the plot, shot of Fassbender standing by the window in tight blue briefs!

Read the amazing book instead!”

GRADE:  D+

“THE SNOWMAN”, PART 2

Don’t get alarmed, there is no part 2!  Silly me recorded the movie and watched it again to see if it really was as bad I thought it was in January.  It is!

However, I did capture that gratuitous shot of Fassbender to share this time. 🙂

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Also, there are two others hotties in the movie:  James D’Arcy,

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

and Jakob Oftebro.

Jakob Rebecca

And, I can’t forget Rebecca Ferguson!

“BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY”

We’re only two months away from a movie that I know will be awesome.

“Bohemian Rhapsody”, the movie based on the life of Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of the rock group Queen.

It stars the amazing and incredibly sexy Emmy winner Rami Malik (“Mr. Robot”).

It hits theaters on November 2, 2018.

AS FOR “MR. ROBOT”

The fourth season of the stellar series will be its last!

Creator Sam Esmail confirmed this and adds that the final season, coming in 2019, will be twelve episodes instead of eight to wrap up the story!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony