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Random Friday Thoughts — April 20, 2018

While winter is relentless for my friends in the Midwest, spring is finally in the forecast.

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

BARBARA BUSH (1925-2018) 

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away earlier this week at her Houston home.

Barbara Bush

The 92-year-old had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.  She’s also suffered from Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition, since the late-1980s.

My thoughts go out to the Bush family.

BARBARA STUNS THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT…

In 1990, former PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) President Paulette Goodman asked for support from the First Lady.

Ms. Bush sent a personal response, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country.  Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.”

Needless to say, the “religious right” went ballistic.

AND, DON’T MESS WITH HER FAMILY

During the 1984 campaign season, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro continued her attacks on then Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Barbara had had enough and referenced Ferraro by saying, “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich!”

Ferraro

The former First Lady apologized for that comment.

REBA STILL STUNS!

Back in 1993, when she performed “Does He Love You”, a #1 hit with Linda Davis, gasps were heard across the world with Reba’s “red dress” and its plunging neckline (right below)!

At the time, Reba said she got “more press off that dress than if I’d won entertainer of the year”.

Reba

At last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, she performed the same song with her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson, and she wore the same dress from 25 years ago (left above)!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR

We know about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, but there’s been other shocking presidential behavior that just isn’t as widely known.

Lyndon-b-johnson-photo.jpg

Lyndon B. Johnson was being badgered by reporters over why the United States was in Vietnam.

With a simple, unmistakable off-the-record gesture, the president unzipped his pants, pulled out his “Johnson” and said, ”This is why!”

Could you just imagine a president doing that today???

GOODBYE OLIVIA POPE & “SCANDAL”

It’s sad to say goodbye to Olivia Pope, the Gladiators, and both President Grants (oops, spoiler) after binge watching seven seasons of the ABC drama — 124 episodes.

Okay 123 episodes, since I won’t get to see the Thursday night’s series finale until tonight! So, no spoilers please!

Mellie

There were many great moments in the seventh and final season, but this one had me laughing out loud.

I think the reaction from Kerry Washington (Olivia) is authentic and that she was really cracking up with Bellamy Young (Mellie)!

Warning:  Adult content!

“Olivia, there’s a famine in my lady bits…”  (Still laughing!)

And, another dramatic and hilarious scene is this confrontation between Olivia and her terrorist mother, Maya!

“You can either be my mother or a bitch!  What’s it gonna be?” and Mama’s reaction, “Girl, if you don’t sit your dramatic ass down…”

GOT MY CHRISTMAS “SCANDAL”

As you know, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I was so thrilled to get a “Scandal” Christmas in season five.

Although it was a tense and heavy episode, it ended with Olivia in a happy place!

Scandal Christmas

This is going to be me this Christmas!  Like Olivia, I’ll find my happy place this year!

GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD” 

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.

I guess I’m not alone.  The season eight finale had the lowest ratings since the season one finale!

About 8 million people watched this season finale.  The season four and five finales both had about 16 million viewers!

Andrew Lincoln

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!

KYLIE HITS #1 AGAIN!

My girl Kylie Minogue hits #1 again with her latest album, “Golden”!

Kylie-Minogue-Golden

The album topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and the U.K.

It started out in the Top 5 in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.

Kylie

It’s definitely “Raining Glitter” for Kylie fans with the new music.

I can’t wait for her to announce her U.S. tour dates to promote the album!

ROSE MAKING A COMEBACK

Over the past few years, drinking rose has been growing at a much higher rate than other wines.

rose

Dry rose almost went extinct in the 1970s when sweet White Zinfandel was introduced in California.

In France, Provence makes more than 140 million bottles of the crisp pink wine.

Spain and Italy are also prime producers of rose!

“ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD”

a.k.a. “The movie that went through drastic, last minute re-shoots with Christopher Plummer in the role that was originally played by Kevin Spacey!”

a.k.a. “The movie that “USA Today” reports that Mark Walhberg got $1.5 million for the re-shoots, while Michelle Williams was only paid less than $1,000!!

WTH on the second a.k.a. — Yes, there’s definitely still a big pay discrepancy between men and women in Hollywood (and the U.S.)!

It’s the story of J. Paul Getty, once the world’s richest private citizen, and the kidnapping of his teenage grandson in Rome in 1973.

At first, the elder Getty (Oscar nominee and former winner Plummer) refused to pay the $7 million ransom, even though that was just pocket change for him!

GRADE:  B

“TRUST” ON FX

Hollywood is mining the Getty kidnapping story with the movie version, “All The Money In The World” and the FX television series, “Trust”.

In the FX series, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland plays the elder Getty.

His kidnapped grandson is played by Harris Dickinson, who earned rave reviews from me (and other critics) in the incredible “Beach Rats”, my #3 movie of last year!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — April 13, 2018

Happy Friday the 13th!  Are you superstitious and think scary things happen on this day and date?

For me, I instantly think of Jason Voorhees!

Jason V

I hope “Friday the 13th” doesn’t spook you because we have another one coming up in July!

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

SECURITY BREACHES

It seems like every day now we hear of another security breach at some large company that many of us do business with on a regular basis.

None of us want our personal information, especially our banking account information, out there in the world.

I make it a daily point to check my banking account online to make sure no unexpected charges are there and that my money is still where it should be.

data breach

However, sadly, it’s becoming such a regular thing that it’s really not all that shocking anymore!

It’s much easier these days for hackers to get our information than it is for companies to build firewalls for our security!

So, while Taylor sings “haters gonna hate”, I say be vigilant with your personal information online because “hackers gonna hack”!

MARIAH CAREY’S REVELATION

On the cover of the new “People” magazine, pop icon Mariah Carey discusses her long battle with being bipolar.

MC

“People” reports that Carey was diagnosed with the disorder in 2001 after being hospitalized with a mental and physical breakdown.

I’m sure you might remember the whole ice cream cart debacle on MTV around that time.

Carey tells “People”, “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.  It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”

She’s currently in therapy and on medication.

MY FAVORITE MARIAH CAREY SONG 

And, since I’m talking about Mimi, here’s my favorite Mariah song.

Ironically, it’s “Emotions”, a three-week #1 hit from the fall of 1991.

MOVING ON

It’s no secret now…

Secret

… but I’m leaving Florida and heading back north to four distinct seasons (although winter seems to last longer). 🙂

Change

I’m moving to Duluth, Minnesota, to take a Chief Meteorologist position (a first for me) at the Fox affiliate for the Northland.

2

You can read the more personal story here.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/ill-let-you-in-on-a-secret/

GOING COUNTRY ON THE DANCEFLOOR

It’s great to have Kylie Minogue back.

Her new album, “Golden”, take us back to the dance floors.  And, it does so with a country twang to it.

Kylie-Minogue-Golden

The first taste of that new sound was the lead off single, “Dancing”.

I love that song and my other favorites are “Every Little Part of Me”, “One Last Kiss”, “Low Blow”, “Shelby ’68”, and “Raining Glitter”.

“Golden” is definitely a different sound for Minogue, but a fresh one!

GRADE:  B+

“REPORTING LIVE”

I just finished reading my 11th book of 2018, “Reporting Live” by Lesley Stahl, who’s now on “60 Minutes”.

RL Stahl

While she shared some interesting stories on the presidents she’s covered — from Richard Nixon to George H. W. Bush — it wasn’t an easy read.

First off, there’s no set up of getting to know Stahl before she got her audition for CBS News in 1972.

We learned about her husband, Aaron, who suffers from depression.  He gained famed as the screenwriter for “Urban Cowboy” with John Travolta.

We also learned about her daughter, Taylor, and her parents and brother.  Yet, there’s very little about Stahl growing up in New England and nothing about her first marriage in the 1960s.

What I came away with from the book is that the now 76-year-old was not only a tough interviewer for “Face The Nation”, but also rather “bitchy” at times!  (I feel comfortable saying that because she used the “b-word”, too, in an indirect self-referential way.)

Stahl was very rough on the presidents.  It was hard reading her 50-plus pages on Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter because I idolize them so much.

However, she was fair.  She had no love loss for Nixon and Reagan either after fawning over Reagan for part of the Carter chapter.

Reagan Bush

Stahl also told an interesting story about Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush.

Apparently early on in the Reagan presidency, the First Lady and the Second Lady were going to an event together and both were wearing red dresses.

One was told to change dresses and basically to never wear red again.

This went on through 1988 when Vice President Bush was running for president and Ms. Bush started wearing red again and getting away from her Barbara blues!

WOMEN’S WINE PREFERENCE

Do you prefer red or white wine?

A “Food & Wine” magazine Facebook poll shows that women prefer red over white about two to one!

Confusing Wine Selection

Me, I prefer white.  Give me a Moscoto and I’m very happy.  I might even share the bottle with you.  Again, I “might” share. 🙂

In 2017, the Top Five brands by volume sold were #5 Carlo Rossi, #4 Sutter Home, #3 Robert Mondavi, and #2 Barefoot.

At #1, my favorite!

Franzia

Much to my chagrin when I moved to Florida, you can only buy 3-liter boxes of wine (back in Illinois, I was used to 5-liter boxes).

Here’s hoping that Minnesota or Wisconsin sells 5-liter boxes!

SHRIMP

Behind desserts, shrimp is probably my favorite food.

Shrimp

I love shrimp cocktail and shrimp scampi.  And, check out this tasty photo of my homemade shrimp ceviche!

Shrimp C

I’m not alone.

“Eating Well” reports that in 2012, Americans ate about 1.2 billion (with a “B”) pounds of shrimp.

But, only about 10% of it is farmed and wild-caught here in the U.S!  Most comes from shrimp farms in Asia and South America.

Another interesting fact, the average seafood consumption has been on the decline since 2004!

While I gave up beef many years ago, I’ll continue to do my part in keeping those shrimp and seafood numbers from dropping too much more!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

“I’m tired of living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth/This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“I’m gonna climb that mountain high/I’m gonna see what’s on the other side/I’m gonna kiss this town good-bye/I’m gonna climb that mountain”

“How I arrived here, heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would’ve chose…I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”

“Climb That Mountain High” is from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”.  It was one of the first CDs I bought and my first from Reba!

That song has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.  It was there when I was looking to launch my television news career and every time I was awaiting my next move.

I’ve been listening to the song again daily for weeks now!

“CHANGE”

Almost a year ago (in “Change”), I shared details of some big changes in my life that would take me to Panama City, Florida, “So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!”

hurricane.gif

What the hell was I thinking — giving up snow and four distinct seasons?

In my “Christmas Update” blog on December 18, 2017, I pontificated, “I’m miserable… life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.”

In a talk after the holidays with my fantastic news director Tom Lewis, he agreed that life’s too short to be unhappy.  I said I’d start looking to return to Midwest and if I didn’t find a job, I’d be gone by Halloween!

In February, I contacted some stations across Illinois to try to get back closer to my sister and my friends in the Quad Cities, where I spent 11.5 years before the ill-fated move to Florida.

Sadly, there were no openings and many “we’ll keep you in mind when we have a position available”.

“CHANGE 2.0”

Change

In television news, like most professions, talent and experience are major factors to be considered.  However, timing and luck also play huge roles.

I contacted a station about an opening that was posted just after Thanksgiving.  I wondered why, four months later, the position wasn’t filled.

It turns out they were not in any hurry to fill the position and were waiting for the right person.

And, now back to that “timing and luck”.

The news director was at the end of his search.  He and I started corresponding and eight days later, I was offered the job and I accepted it.

My friends, in June, I’ll be the Chief Meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, seven hours north of the Quad Cities.

I’m getting my four distinct seasons and my snow back!

From Wikipedia: “At 85″ per year, the port city of Duluth has the highest average snowfall total of any city in Minnesota”!

Two last weather notes:  I’ll have to get used to the bitter cold again.  The record low there is -41°, but it’s never reached 100° (97° is the record high).

I honestly feel like George Bailey in Bedford Falls at Christmas in “It’s A Wonderful Life”! Pottersville (Panama City, for me) was just an alternate universe!

Bedford Falls.gif

While some love it here and many love visiting the beaches (they think Panama City and Panama City Beach are the same), I just didn’t connect with the area.

At the beginning, from a dating standpoint, I wasn’t looking for anything since I was still reeling from the big changes in my personal life.

But, not one date in a year!!!

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to find my knight on a white horse like Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).

“I would pretend I was a princess, trapped in the tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly, this knight, on a white horse, with these colors flying, would come charging up and draw his sword… and I would wave, and he would climb up the tower, and rescue me.”

PW 1.gif

PW 2.gif

However, I did find two dear friends here — Cathy and Gerard Rifenburg.

Cathy founded the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter.

AP G C

A month after I moved here, they graciously invited me to a function they were hosting at their house.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed dinners and parties together, including Christmas Day.

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

Another highlight of my move to Florida was an early Sunday morning road trip last July to Plains, Georgia, to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter!

Autograph Carters

Also, a special thank you goes out to the WMBB morning team that warmly welcomed me into their circle — crazy and funny Chris, bundle of energy Kelsey, bubbly Georgia peach Kara, and our morning director Howard — one of the best I’ve worked with in the business!

One thing I definitely won’t miss — this mentality! (Disclaimer: I know not everyone fits into this category!)

bubba

By the way (and this had no influence in my decision, but it makes me happy), Minnesota has only voted “red” once in my life time!

In 1972, it went along with 48 other states to re-elect Richard Nixon.  Yes, Reagan and Trump lost Minnesota!

So, I’ll proudly display my faded sticker on my car. (I did so in “red” Bay County, Florida, too!)

HCAnthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — April 6, 2018

Welcome to the first week of April!  By now, it’s starting to feel like spring for some.  But, I know my friends in the Midwest are still shivering with cold and snow!

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

LEFTOVER EASTER CANDY

Are you like me and buy too much half-price candy after the holidays (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas)?

If you bought Cadbury Creme Eggs, here’s something you can dazzle your family with. 🙂

Cadbury E Pizza

Crust Bros., a restaurant in London, England, makes a pizza called Fior-egg-tina, which is a dessert pizza based on their classic Fiorentina pizza.

The original pizza is made with tomato, mozzarella, spinach, and egg.

But, the sweet treat pizza used macerated strawberries, mascarpone, mint, and, of course, Cadbury Creme Eggs!

Bon Appetit!

AMERICAN COLLEGE STUDENTS

Here’s something that may surprise you.

Three out of four American college students with credit cards are unaware of late-payment charges!

pile of credit cards

While that statistic may have changed some since “Time” reported it in late 2015, that’s just crazy.  But, at the same time, it’s not totally shocking to me.

First off, I think it’s the parents fault for not instilling a sense of “real life” in their kids when it comes to the value of money.

In a former life, I saw some of that first hand.

It’s easier to understand if the parents are constantly handing over cash, bailing their kids out, or paying delinquent credit card bills!

CHINA

In 2000, 46% of Chinese workers were in the agricultural field, well ahead of industrial jobs and the services industry.

By 2011, the number working in fields dropped to an astounding 3%, while industrial jobs and the services industry both jumped to 47% each!

China

That blows my mind!

In a country with almost 1.4 billion (with a “B”) people, that’s a lot of food to import to feed its people!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE” AFTERTHOUGHTS

If you didn’t watch this “American Crime Story” series on FX, you missed stellar acting from Darren Criss and Judith Light.

You also missed Criss’ (ass)ets!

Criss 1Criss 2

Also, in the club scene when Andrew Cunanan (Criss) meets Navy man Jeff Trail (his first victim — played by Finn Wittrock), one of my twenty ALL-TIME favorite songs is playing.

So, I’m sharing Company B’s only Top 40 hit in America, 1987’s “Fascinated”.

It reached #21 on the Hot 100, but it topped the Billboard Dance chart!

“EXPOSING MYSELF”

I just finished reading my 10th book of 2018, “Exposing Myself” by Geraldo Rivera, all 482 pages!

Capture1

This book came out in 1992, so a lot has happened for the lawyer turned journalist that turns 75 this year on the Fourth of July!

It was very interesting hearing his take on his career path and how he never felt he was respected as a real newsman at ABC, even when he broke huge stories and won countless awards.

He boasted many times about his million dollar salary, which today would be around three million dollars with inflation!

Rivera talked about his sexual conquests just about as much as he did about the news business!  More power to him!

However, I wanted to go to an STD clinic to be tested just from reading about all the women he slept with!

I admit that he was a sexy man in his younger days!

Rivera

Forget monogamy with him — he cheated on all four of his wives through the publication of this book!

“GOOD GIRLS”

When I decided to record this new NBC series that debuted in late February, I thought it was a comedy.

After finally watching it, there were a few funny moments, but it’s definitely a drama.

It’s about three women down on their luck (one has a cheating husband and is about to lose her house, her sister is about to lose her daughter to the child’s father, and the other has a sick daughter who needs a transplant and medication to treat the little girl is $10,000 out of pocket).

They decide to rob the grocery store where one of the women works.  Well, the $30,000 they thought they’d get turns into one-half million dollars in crime money and the manager recognizes the tramp stamp on his employee/masked robber.

He then blackmails her into sex and when she refuses, he tries to force himself on her and it gets more out of hand.

How’s that for comedy?

The cast is incredible, especially Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”).

There are funny, touching, and dramatic moments, but it doesn’t really excel at any of them.  It just doesn’t gel for me.

I decided to quit midway through the third episode!

GRADE:  C+

REMEMBER THIS ONE?

In the spring of 1976, Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot was preparing the release of his June album, “Summertime Dream”.  It would become his fourth #1 album there and reach #12 in the U.S.

In his native country, he had already scored 16 Top 40 hits.

In the U.S., Lightfoot placed four hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Three of those reached the Top Ten:  “If You Could Read Mind” (#5, 1971), “Sundown” (#1, 1974), “Carefree Highway” (#10, 1974).

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down/Of the big lake they called ‘gitche gumee’/The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead/When the skies of November turn gloomy”

In August 1976, those haunting opening lyrics from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, the first single and a song clocking in at almost six minutes (almost unheard for Top 40 radio), wound end up becoming a signature song for Lightfoot.

Weather_Map_from_November_10_1975_Edmund_Fitzgerald_Storm

The song tells the story and tragedy of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank on Lake Superior in a severe storm on November 10, 1975, killing all 29 crew members.

Lightfoot considers the song his finest work and it still haunts me to hear the song all these years later.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 30, 2018

The first big holiday of spring is upon us.  I know it’ll be a busy one for many of you, so thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

HAPPY EASTER!

A flashback to Easter 2001 and Miss ABBA visiting the Easter Bunny!

ABBAEaster2001

KRISPY KREME CELEBRATES EASTER 

For just a limited time in the United States and Canada, Krispy Kreme is featuring a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg donut.

The chocolate-iced, nut-covered sweet treat is filled with a Reese’s peanut butter version of Krispy Kreme’s signature Kreme filling.

Capture1

If that isn’t your thing, the company will start selling a Lemon Glaze Doughnut, which was voted on by fans, on April 23, 2018.

SIX MONTHS NOW

Six months ago this weekend, on October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LV

Before killing himself, he gunned down 58 others and injured more than 700.

Country star Jason Aldean was on stage when the massacre occurred.  While he has commented on the rampage before, he’s ready to try to move on.

Aldean tells “Entertainment Weekly”, “I’m not a politician.  I’m not trying to push my own agenda.  If I say that I believe this, I’m gonna piss off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I’m gonna piss off the other half.  I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know?  I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer.  When people can’t go to a damn movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there’s a flaw in the system.”

Amen!

“AMARILLO SKY”

Aldean has scored 34 Billboard Country hits since his career kicked off in 2005.  Of those, 29 have hit the Top Ten.  Ten topped the chart.

“Amarillo Sky” (#4, 2006) is one of my favorites.

REMEMBRANCE GARDEN 

In December 2017, while in Las Vegas, I visited the memorial for the victims — the Remembrance Garden and Wall!

Remembrance Garden

HOMOPHOBIA — THEN AND NOW

In 1997, homophobia allowed spree killer Andrew Cunanan to murder four people before he gunned down fashion icon Gianni Versace outside his Miami Beach mansion.

In Minneapolis, Cunanan killed his friend, Jeffrey Trail, and his ex-boyfriend David Madson before he murdered real estate developer Lee Miglin in Chicago — Cunanan planted gay erotica material at that crime scene.

Even after three murders, police weren’t looking too hard for the killer because only gays were being executed.

Cunanan ditched Miglin’s stolen car when he realized the car’s cell phone was being tracked by the FBI.  He killed a straight cemetery worker in New Jersey for his truck.

His final victim (besides himself) was Versace.

While police were looking for Cunanan in Miami’s gay community, they were convinced he might be masquerading in drag to hide out!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

Sadly, this excellent series is over.

I think when Emmy nominations are announced in July that Darren Criss and Judith Light will get acting nods for their roles of Andrew Cunanan and Marilyn Miglin.

Miglin

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

If this movie needed an alternate title, how about “The Shape of Excellence”!

Nominated for 13 Oscars, the movie won four including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

An excellent Sally Hawkins was nominated for Best Actress and Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer were both nominated in the Best Supporting categories.

Eliza (Hawkins) is a mute woman working as a cleaning lady in a secret government lab in Baltimore during America’s “Cold War” with the Soviets.

She becomes infatuated with the creature that’s being experimented on in the lab.

Eliza’s neighbor, Giles, like her, is lonely and looking for love.  He’s older and gay and realizes if he’d been born at an earlier or later time, he might have had a fulfilling life as a gay man, complete with love.

Spencer is incredible as Eliza’s friend and after seeing this movie, I think Michael Shannon, the bad guy, should have gotten an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting category instead of Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”).

“The Shape of Water” is a very adult “Beauty and the Beast” story.

GRADE:  A+

“WATCHDOGS OF DEMOCRACY?”

This is the second book this year I’ve read from the late UPI reporter Helen Thomas.  The first was “Front Row at the White House”, which was a great read.

watchdogs

This book examines how reporters were the “watchdogs” for the public in the early days of newspaper and even radio and television.

However, as presidents (especially Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush) began to limit the amount of information the public would know about military conflicts and wars (Vietnam, Grenada, and Iraq), reporters failed by not being more assertive in their questioning the information press secretaries were feeding them.

Thomas was especially harsh toward the presidency of George W. Bush, which she mostly referred to as “Bush-2”.

I was thrilled that she also gave President Jimmy Carter the due respect he deserved for bringing the hostages home alive from Iran.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

Thomas writes, “But television commentators and anchormen [Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” was born out of the hostage crisis] were relentless in citing how many days it had been that the hostages were being held, fueling the perception that Carter was a weak president.  In truth, he brought the hostages back alive.  But President Reagan got the credit, because the Iranians waited until the day Reagan was sworn in to release them.”

“Watchdogs” is the ninth book I’ve read, so far, in 2018.

WHAT NOW?

Now that “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”, “The X-Files”, “9-1-1”, and “The Alienist” (although I still have the series finale to watch) are finished, I’m now going to check out “The Terror” on AMC and “Trust: The Getty Family Saga” on FX.

DONNA SHERIDAN:  DEAD OR ALIVE?

2008’s “Mamma Mia!” is still one of my favorite movies and I’ve watched it countless times.  It’s the 134th biggest movie of all-time worldwide bringing in $615.7 million.

In May 2017, it was announced that a sequel, “Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again” would hit theaters in July 2018.  I was thrilled!

Capture1

But, that excitement turned to despair when the first trailers arrived.  Fans were quick to note that there was very little of Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), the star of the first movie.

Does that mean that Donna is dead since it focused on a young Donna (Lily James)?

After seeing the trailer in theater last week during “Love, Simon”, Donna was still referred to in the past tense.

I know there are many great people in “Mamma Mia!” and with the addition of Cher in the sequel, it’ll be great.

But, a dead Donna Sheridan means no “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for me this summer!

THE END OF “THE X-FILES”

When this series “ended” in 2002 on Fox after the ninth season, I was not pleased with the “series finale”.

It was brought back for a six-episode tenth season in 2016 and then back for ten mostly painful episodes this winter.

Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, announced that she would not return to the series if it comes back for another season.

And, after seeing this final finale, I can see why!

No more “The X-Files” please — unless it’s on the big screen as a movie!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

This Agatha Christie thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as famous Detective Hercule Poirot, was a hit last year.

After solving a case in Jerusalem, Poirot is ready for a vacation, but stumbles across a “Murder on the Orient Express”!

The all-star cast is great and includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and many more.

The cinematography is incredible!

On a $55 million budget, the movie made $350.5 million worldwide.

Fox announced earlier this year that “Death on the Nile”, another Christie novel, will be the sequel.

It’ll hit theaters in November 2019 with Branagh returning as director and star.

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 — March 23, 2018

It’s here!  Welcome to spring!

Spring Already

I know there’s still plenty of winter and snow in the forecast for some of you.  Be careful out there across the Plains and Midwest (Quad Cities, I’m looking at you!).

6″-12″ of snow could fall under the “Winter Storm Warning”!

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Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WEATHER’S “MARCH MADNESS”

If you’re following NCAA college basketball, there’s plenty of shattered brackets — thanks, Virginia!  Actually, I didn’t fill out brackets this year, but I’d never pick Virginia to become the first #1 seed ever to lose to a #16 seed!

Here’s a funny weather forecasting bracket that’s perfect for the Midwest (or any region that has quickly changing weather conditions)!

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THE CALENDAR SAYS WINTER IS OVER, BUT…

Michael Myers Winter

LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME!

I know pet owners take care of their dogs differently.

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When I had my golden retriever, most of my trips were by car so ABBA could go with me.  It never crossed my mind to take her on a plane.

United and Delta airlines are both under media and social media scrutiny over recent mishaps involving dogs — including one that died while being put in an overhead bin and three others sent to the wrong locations.

Okay, both airlines deserve criticism for not getting things right.  However, for as long as there have been airlines, there has been lost luggage.  So, why does misdirecting dogs seem so far-fetched?

The bottom line is that customers that put their pets on a flight know that something could go wrong and should take responsibility for mishaps, too!

A final note:  Earlier this week, United announced that it’s suspending the program of sending pets as cargo!

GOVERNOR NIXON?

While Oprah is pretty much shooting down gossip that she’ll run for president in 2020, “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon announced earlier this week that she’ll be running for Governor of New York!

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She plans to run in the Democratic Primary against current Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon is the mother of three kids and she’s a strong advocate for LGBT rights and women’s rights.

While the bisexual Nixon is definitely vocal and an advocate and has every reason to run, I’m not entirely sold on the idea.

Plus, I don’t think she can beat Cuomo!

“THIS JUST IN” & “FACE THE NATION”

I just finished reading two Bob Schieffer books back to back, his memoir “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV” and “Face The Nation”, my seventh and eighth completed books of the year.  (Yes, six of them have been news people!  The other two were from Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.)

Bob Schieffer

The CBS newsman comes across in this book just as he does on television — very likable.

I really enjoyed Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” and Mike Wallace’s “Between You and Me: A Memoir”, but this was my favorite.

Schieffer talks about his start as a college radio newsman, his time as a Fort Worth newspaper reporter, and getting to go to Vietnam to find personal stories about Fort Worth locals fighting that war.

He shares fun and interesting stories about his career in television and how the news business changed at the network.

Working the God awful hours of a television morning show (going into work while others are sleeping or coming home from the bars) is tough. I know because I’ve done it for years.

About that, Schieffer writes that former “Morning Show” anchor Sally Quinn said “it was only place she has ever worked where people talked more about sleep than sex” and Diane Sawyer summed it up as “being on Moscow time when everyone else was on New York time.”

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And, Schieffer shared this about former President Jimmy Carter and it proves that I may have one more thing in common with my idol, “Many of the reporters who covered him during the [1976 presidential] campaign were turned off by his blunt manner”.

I have been accused of having a “tone” and forgetting to sugar coat things for some people!

I highly recommend Schieffer’s “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV”!

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“Face The Nation”, subtitled “My Favorite Stories From The First 50 Years Of The Award-Winning News Broadcast”, was a very informative and easy read at 227 pages with many great vintage photographs.

The book covered the show’s creation and topics ranging from McCarthyism in the 1950s to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and Vietnam in the 1970s to 9/11 in 2001 and much more.

Schieffer is such a great storyteller.

Here’s an interesting tidbit:  At the end of the book, there is a list of the people that appeared on the show the most times up to the book’s publication (2004).

Many of the people including Robert Dole (62), John McCain (51), Joe Biden (35), Patrick Buchanan (28), Joseph Liberman (27), and others ran unsuccessfully for president, yet several served as vice president!

“LOVE, SIMON”

LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, “You gotta give them hope.”

The new romantic dramedy, “Love, Simon”, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

The movie gives us three possible students that could be “Blue” and all three are cute and sweet and would be a great match for Simon.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

I’m sick of “The Walking Dead”.  Season 8 will be it for me and I’m already counting down to the last four episodes.

I hate saying this because the first few seasons were amazing!

So, to get my zombie fix, last year I checked out the Netflix horror-comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet”.

One day, the lives of real estate agents Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) are turned upside down when, for reasons unknown, Sheila begins to crave human flesh.

And, what’s a loving husband to do — he helps “feed” his wife!

It gets even funnier when their teenage daughter, Abby, finds out about it.

Here’s the trailer for season two if you’ve already watched the first season.

And, if you haven’t started, here’s the season one trailer.

The full season is now on Netfix.

P.S.  Olyphant, who turns 50 in May, is aging beautifully.  I’ve had a crush on him since “The Broken Hearts Club:  A Romantic Comedy” from 2000.

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

This drama was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Frances MacDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell won for Best Supporting Actor.

Both performances were great!  Woody Harrelson was also up against Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor and he was fantastic, too.

Lucas Hedges (“Manchester By The Sea”) could equally have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  He’s always amazing.

The movie about a woman who buys three billboards criticizing police who haven’t solved the rape and murder of her daughter is powerful.

It deserved all of the acting gold, but after seeing it, it rightfully didn’t deserve Best Picture.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR”

Christmas is only nine months away now. 🙂  Too early to start celebrating?

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This animated movie from last fall that brought in $62.8 million is now out on DVD.

“The Star” is an enjoyable film that tells the story of the baby’s birth.  (You know what baby I’m talking about.)

But, it’s pretty scary when you find an animated character sexy and it’s even scarier when it’s Joseph (of Joseph and Mary Bible fame)!

My favorite characters though were the camels Deborah, Cyrus, and Felix voiced by Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Tracy Morgan.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR” TAKES ME BACK TO VEGAS

Watching that Christmas story took me back to one of my few highlights of a rather bleak 2017 — seeing Mariah Carey’s Christmas show in Las Vegas in early December.

She was gorgeous and sounded phenomenal and the show was 90 minutes of Christmas bliss with the music and the glamorous sets!

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“The Star” by Mariah Carey was my 20th favorite song of 2017 and when it played in the movie, I cried. 🙂

While Mariah’s “The Star” was nominated for a Golden Globe award, it didn’t get an Oscar nomination.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

U.S. Country Radio STILL Needs Brett Kissel

Two years ago, in February 2016, I blogged about a hot Canadian country music singer in “American Country Radio Needs Brett Kissel”.

I was talking about his amazing album, “Pick Me Up” and I concluded that blog with, “Here’s hoping American audiences will get to hear Brett on the radio in 2016!”

Click here to read that first blog (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

Well, that didn’t happen in 2016 or 2017!  Hopefully, 2018 will be Kissel’s year to break here in America.

Brett Kissel

Last December, he released his latest album, “We Were That Song”.

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The title track became his 10th Top Ten hit song on Canadian country music radio!

The album features many standouts and potential singles.

My favorites are “Damn!”, “Cecilia”, “Slow Me Down”, “Between You and Me”, and “Guitars and Gasoline”.

By the way, “Damn!” features Dave Mustaine of Metallica and Megadeth fame and country music legend Charley Pride makes an appearance on the track, “Burgers and Fries”.

The second single, “Anthem”, just cracked the Top Ten in Canada on the country charts marking his 11th Top Ten.  It’s also one of my favorites from the album.

“We Were That Song” is a strong album, but it’s not doing as well on the Canadian country album chart as its predecessor.

“Pick Me Up” was fantastic, so check out the new album, too.

By the way, American Country Radio (STILL) Needs Brett Kissel!

GRADE:  B+