Posts Tagged ‘9/11’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 16, 2016

It’s Friday and another weekend is almost here.  This one is the last weekend of summer 2016 as fall officially begins on September 22nd!

After enjoying my getaway to South Carolina and Georgia, it was back to work this week and it wasn’t bad.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically.

COUGHING, “OVERHEATED”, AND PNEUMONIA

Last Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left an event commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary of “9/11” because she felt “overheated”.  She went to her daughter’s apartment in New York City and came out a short time later looking much better and waving to the crowd.

chelsea hillary

That evening, her doctor released a statement saying that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was finally going to take doctor’s order and rest a few days before carrying on with the presidential campaign.

Dr. Statement.jpg

All of this comes at a critical time in the race when some started questioning whether she’s healthy enough to run the country.

My final thoughts:  I wish Clinton’s camp had just come out last Friday and said she had pneumonia instead of adding fire to the conspiracy theories.

However, pneumonia is very common with more than three million Americans getting it each year.  As Clinton said, she tried to work through it and it got the best of her and that’s why she didn’t reveal it.  I see the point.  Would you want to know if she had a yeast infection or if Donald Trump had a urinary track infection?

HEAT EXHAUSTION

While summer is winding down, we may still have some very warm days with humidity.  So, I’ll talk about getting “overheated”, particularly since Clinton’s health scare was front and center last week.

Here are the facts and these aren’t political party facts, it’s science.

While temperatures in Central Park were around 80° at the time Clinton felt “overheated” last Sunday, New York City and Central Park had been dealing with stifling heat and humidity.  Here are the actual high temperatures leading into last Sunday.

CP Temps.jpg

 

Once you factor in the humidity, those highs around 90° felt more like 95°-102° to the human body.

If you’re even somewhat familiar with heat, humidity, and the human body (and you don’t have to be a doctor or meteorologist), you know that heat exhaustion cases really rise after days of excessive heat and humidity, which was encountered in New York City — not just on the first hot day.

It’s less relevant that it was only 80° at the time.

FAVORITE.AMERICAN.ENTREE.EVER.

As you know, I love food and writing about it.

My favorite restaurant is Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Their Flowering Colossal Onion and Dark Beer-Battered Cheese Sticks appetizers are so tasty.

OnionStix2011

Their two-inch specialty pork chops are amazing and their desserts, especially the Sawdust Pie, make the seven-hour drive from the Quad Cities worth every bite.

SawdustPie

My favorite meal ever was in Tel Aviv, Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea, two years ago during my 50th birthday week at Benny the Fisherman.

This was just the “salad” part of the experience!

Benny The Fisherman

Now, I have a favorite entree to add to the list.

Last week, we walked an hour from our downtown hotel to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit, which was phenomenal.

20160907_195127

I bought a Groupon for a four-course meal at Tavernpointe.  It was roughly another hour’s walk from the Botanical Garden through the Ansley Park neighborhood to the Sherwood Forest restaurant and it was worth every step!

From the incredible service from Joey, the bartender who doubled as our waiter, to each of the four courses and the beer and wine pairing for each course, it was the most perfect evening.

My sensational entree was Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

20160907_214342.jpg

Thank you, Tavernpointe (and Groupon — otherwise, we would have missed out on this culinary experience)!

WHY EAT AT PAULA DEEN’S?

I know that food mogul Paula Deen would love to put the talk about using the “n-word” and the accusations of racism behind her.

Paula Deen Happy

Two blogs ago, I wrote about Paula and shared my 2014 thoughts when her empire came crashing down.

Last week, I stated that I ate at her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and it was amazing for good southern cooking.

20160905_151453

Someone asked me on Facebook after reading the blog, “Can I ask why you went to Paula Deen’s restaurant after all the publicity about her racism and discrimination? Asked respectfully.”

Here’s my reply:  “Because I wanted to. I know about her use of the n-word and the circumstances around her usage of it. However, “racism” is a whole new can of worms.”

But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that I had more to say about the lawsuit, race, and the use of that ugly “n-word”.

I am appalled by that word and I don’t care what race is using it. As I’ve written before, if the woman [Deen] was a “racist” (and I don’t know her to know, but I suspect she is NOT), you can’t tell me that people would not have already come out of the wood works to back up Lisa Jackson’s claims.”

I concluded with this, “I was even thinking of this the day I was eating there. There were many African-Americans working that day, including our server. I cannot imagine that any one of them would value that job so much if they really thought that she felt that way about them. There are other restaurants in Savannah and I honestly don’t think they’d be there.

JIMMY CARTER

Ever since I was an 11-year-old boy that got to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election (with my grandmother), I’ve idolized the former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

While in Atlanta last week, I just missed seeing the Carters by mere days, but I did check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

20160908_140207.jpg

The tour at the museum started with a movie of his life from his childhood in Plains, Georgia, to joining the U.S. Navy, heading back to Plains, and then entering the political arena (from Georgia State Senator to Georgia’s Governor to becoming the 39th President of the United States).

The amount of memorabilia displayed in the museum is incredible.  It’s definitely a labor of love — not only to President Carter, but to his fans and the United States as a country.

20160908_133138.jpg

It’s also nice to see all the displays of what the Carters have accomplished in life after they left the White House in 1981.

What an amazing couple!

CALLING OUT THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

I’ve known of Canadian comedian Samantha Bee for some time.

She was on Comedy Central’s  “The Daily Show” before leaving to host her own satirical news show on TBS, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.

I finally caught her act criticizing the mainstream media for not calling out Donald Trump on his blatant lies.  Kudos to you, Samantha.

If you’ve never watched Bee, check this out and, by the way, shame on you Matt Lauer!

Warning: language!

I’ll definitely feature more of Bee in the future because she’s on to something.

Gallap reports thats only one in three Americans trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”.  This is the lowest level since tracking started in 1972.

DIXIE CHICKS

The Dixie Chicks put on an amazing show last night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

dc

This was the second time I’ve seen them perform.  The first was back in 2006, in Chicago, on the “Accidents and Accusations Tour”.

It was so great partying with Natalie, Martie, and Emily again!

“SULLY”

On the afternoon of January 15, 2009, if you had your television on, you were likely watching the incredible, real life events unfolding on a bitterly cold afternoon in New York City.

US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese causing engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

It’s now a #1 box office movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as “Sully” and Aaron Eckhart as Skiles.

As always, Hanks is incredible and while the movie covers the landing on the cold, icy waters, it focuses more on the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and whether Sully made the right decision on the water landing instead of trying to make it back to the airport.

In the conversation after the model, we debated and decided that while it was a strong and compelling role for Hanks, it probably won’t garner an Oscar nomination for Hanks.  However, the Academy does like actors playing real-life heroes.

GRADE: B+

PICK HIT

This summer, late-80s English pop star Rick Astley released his eighth studio album (his seventh was never released) conveniently called “50” since he turned 50 earlier this year.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and will be released here in the U.S. on October 7th.

Three singles have already been released in European markets and I’m featuring “Dance” as my pick hit today.

FLASHBACK!

I have to admit that I crushed on Rick when I was in my early-20s and I have to say that he’s aging rather well at almost 51. (I’m slightly older — I turn 52 in October.)

Rick topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart here in the U.S. with his first two songs, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (March 1988) and “Together Forever” (June 1988).

He went on to score three more Top Ten hits, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” (#10, 1988), “She Wants To Dance With Me” (#6, 1988), and “Cry For Help” (#7, 1991).

Here’s a little music trivia for you.  He also sang backing vocals on Elton John’s 1994 Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 10, 2016

We’re moving closer to the official start of summer, but this is going to be the hottest weekend in the Quad Cities since last September.  I’ll definitely be floating in the pool with a cold beverage!

Great response and feedback to last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, so let’s jump right into this week’s edition.

WHITNEY HOUSTON RUMOR CONFIRMED (?)

It’s been more than four years since superstar Whitney Houston died, but in his new book, “Every Little Step”, ex-husband Bobby Brown confirms a longstanding rumor about Houston.

As I wrote in a blog in early 2013, there was always speculation that Whitney was in an intimate relationship with her personal assistant, Robyn Crawford.

Whitney Robyn

In that blog, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston denied it.

However, in his new book, Brown says that Whitney was bisexual and that she and Crawford were in a longtime relationship.

Brown writes, “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today.” He goes on to say that Whitney didn’t have any close friends after Crawford.

It’s sad to think that if that’s true and she had been accepted for who she was, she might still be with us.

You can read my blog about her mother’s views on Whitney’s sexuality and relationship with Crawford by clicking this link.  (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/whitney-houstons-mother-her-conditional-love/

One last thing — Bobby Brown, please don’t continue to mine Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths for your personal financial gain.  Let them R.I.P. after this.

BEST.COMEBACK.EVER.

Delete

Those 115-thousand-plus Hillary retweets and likes were just in the first hour!

On the other hand, Donald Trump’s comment had 100-thousand less retweets and only 26-thousand likes in the same time period!

Oh Snap!

BERNIE SANDERS, THANK YOU!

While things didn’t work out for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic race for president and he did get testy and borderline rude toward the end of the primary and caucus season, I commend him on the fight and the awareness of the broken system he brought to this year’s race for the White House.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

After meeting with President Obama Thursday, Sanders told reporters he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States”, which he said would be a “disaster”.

He also said, “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1%.”

Here’s to unity and the political demise of Trump!

PAUL RYAN CALLED DONALD TRUMP WHAT?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate) this week said that 2016 Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump made “a textbook definition of a racist comment” about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Trump claims that because Curiel is of Mexican heritage he can’t preside over Trump’s case fairly because the likely GOP presidential candidate wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

RomneyRyan

But, Ryan still says he’ll be voting for Trump in November.

Nicely played, GOP!

GOODBYE BRETAGNE, YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL

Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), a 16-year-old golden retriever, crossed the “rainbow bridge” earlier this week in Houston, Texas.

bretagne.jpg

She’s the last known surviving canine hero who searched the rubble of “Ground Zero” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“The Daily Golden” reports that her owner and handler noticed that Bretagne wasn’t eating (her favorite thing) and she knew something was wrong.

On Monday, members of the Texas Task Force 1 and the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department greeted Bretagne as she entered the veterinarian’s office for the last time.

Goodbye Bretagne.jpg

She was later brought out draped in an American flag while her admirers still stood saluting.

An autopsy is being conducted since the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is conducting a study of all 9/11 search and rescue dogs.

I don’t often tear up when writing my blogs, but I did with this entry.

GORILLA KILLING FOLLOW-UP

Last week, I talked about the Cincinnati Zoo incident that led to the shooting death of a 17-year-old silverback gorilla after a 3-year-old child crawled into the animal’s exhibit.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced earlier this week that no charges would be brought against the little boy’s mother stating she “did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back.”

Deters added, “The zoo lost a beautiful animal and one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for some time.”  But, he continued, “it’s still an animal”.

He stated that zoo officials are “heartsick” and “on so many levels, this is a tragedy.”

TODRICK HALL IS A GENIUS!

If you’re a big YouTuber or an avid “American Idol” fan, you might know 31-year-old singer-dancer-choreographer-actor-director Todrick Hall.

If not, let me share with you a soon to be masterpiece.  Hall blends together two of my favorites into seven minutes of pure bliss — Britney Spears and “Beauty and the Beast”.

So, until Britney drops her new single “Make Me (Oooh)” in July and the album this fall and the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters next spring (more on that below), this will be on repeat on my computer.

Classic!

THE PUBLIC RESTROOM DEBATE 

Confused over the whole controversy of allowing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of their gender identity and not their sex?

LGBT

If you haven’t been following the story, North Carolina put into place “House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” which bans people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex in late March 2016.

The Department of Justice alerted the state’s Governor and the University of North Carolina system that this is a violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

In just the first month after “House Bill 2” was announced, tourism and hospitality took a $77 million hit in investments and visitor spending with cancelled concerts, TV and movie production, and many state and city governments refusing to travel to North Carolina.

THE INCREDIBLE DOLLY PARTON SPEAKS OUT

You don’t have to be a country music fan to think the world of Dolly Parton because of her open-mindedness and honesty.

Dolly

While Dolly didn’t cancel the opening night of her “Pure & Simple Tour” in Greensboro, North Carolina last Friday night, she definitely has something to say about the transgender community and the controversy.

This appeared on CNN Money’s Facebook page last Friday.

Kudos Dolly!

“JUST PEE”

Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Broadway and movie star Harvey Fierstein, and the cast of Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” have an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the whole bathroom debate with “Just Pee”.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

We’re already six months into the year and I still haven’t gone to the movies yet.  I had planned on seeing “Money Monster”, but that never materialized.

Last year, it was December before Ray and I finally went to the theater and we saw “Krampus”.

This will all change October 7th when “The Girl on the Train” hit multiplexes with Emily Blunt.

The Girl on the Train

If you’re not familiar with it, get on board and read the thriller.

In Paula Hawkins’ 2015 worldwide best seller, “Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.  One day, she sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”  (That’s what I had to say about the book last July.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

After finishing the book last summer, here’s a blog I posted with my dream cast.  Needless to say, Hollywood didn’t listen.  But, I do love Emily Blunt.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/my-dream-cast-for-the-girl-on-the-train/

A TALE AS OLD AS TIME….

“Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney movie ever!  I absolutely adore Belle!

Beauty-And-The-Beast

I honestly grew up in Kentucky as the male “Belle”.  In Mayfield, where I was born and raised, I felt like Belle in the “poor provincial town” — just waiting to get out there and I’ve been gone 26 years now!

I’ve been very protective of the 1991 “Best Picture” Oscar-nominated original.  I haven’t seen the musical, but I’d like to one day.

When the direct-to-video sequel, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” arrived in 1997, I bought it only because it was Christmas-themed.  It was enjoyable.

Two summers ago, a live-action version of the film was announced for a March 2017 release date starring Emma Watson of the “Harry Potter” series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

I was elated and scared at the the same time.  Now, after seeing the first trailer, I can’t wait until March 17, 2017 arrives!

The trailer has been viewed almost 16 million times already in just over two weeks!

PICK HIT

American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor blasted on the music scene with her chart-topping single, “All About That Bass”.  That song stayed #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was downloaded more than 9 million times in the U.S. alone!

“Bass” also won two Billboard Music Awards in 2015 and in 2016, Trainor picked up a Grammy Award for “Best New Artist”.

She’s now added three more Top Ten hits on the Hot 100 (“Lips Are Movin”, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (with John Legend), and “No”).

While I thought her music was cute, I didn’t jump on the “Bass” band wagon.

However, I do like “Marvin Gaye”, a duet with Charlie Puth.

I fell in love with Meghan after her smoking hot performance of her new song on Jimmy Fallon’s show.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t fallen off her high heels after the incredible performance.

But, it was the style and class she exhibited when she fell that endeared her to me.  And, the song, “Me Too”, is now one of my favorites.  It’s such a fun “Song of the Year” contender.

“Me Too” is already a Top Ten hit in Australia and Canada and is currently one of the twenty most played songs on American Top 40 radio.

“SONG OF THE SUMMER”

There’s already speculation as to what will be 2016’s “Song of the Summer” (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Justin Timberlake’s “Trolls” movie song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”, is a front-runner.

“Billboard” magazine just released its Top Ten songs of each summer dating back to 1985.

Flashing back thirty years to 1986, Madonna had the “Song of the Summer” with “Papa Don’t Preach”.  I remember so well getting ready on Saturday nights and heading out to “Club DV8” jamming to this song.

BEN WHISHAW…JUST BECAUSE

I have nothing new to report on the talented English actor!

Ben_Whishaw

However, if you haven’t checked out the mini-series “London Spy” or the movie, “Lilting”, stop wasting time and do so now!

THAT’S IT

Well, this has been fun and I already have some thoughts for next week.  I didn’t want you to have to read all day!

As always, thank you for checking out my thoughts and I always welcome yours — as long as you’re diplomatic if we disagree.

Until next week, peace, love and understanding!

peace_love_understanding

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 29, 2015

I’m starting off with a quick thank you for taking the time to check out my blogs when I share new ones and for your comments.

I miss writing every day.  Since my new blogs are not regular, fewer people check them out.  But, I appreciate each and every one of you that reads them.

And, as always, feel free to share your thoughts — if you agree with me or disagree.  Just tell me why and do it diplomatically.

Here goes…

BIZARRE “KING OF POP” CASTING

A new British made-for-television movie, “Elizabeth, Michael, & Marlon”, focusing on a road trip that Michael Jackson allegedly took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 is getting a lot of buzz.  I say “allegedly” because this incredibly hard to believe story was disputed by “Vanity Fair” magazine in 2011.

“The Guardian”, a British daily newspaper, is reporting that Joseph Fiennes, who won praise and several awards for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love”, will be playing Michael Jackson!

Joseph-Fiennes-American-Horror-Story

Wouldn’t the Oscars just love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember him very, very well as the naughty Monsignor Timothy Howard on “American Horror Story: Asylum” in 2012-2013.

Stockard Channing is reportedly playing Liz Taylor.

WHAT WOULD MICHAEL THINK ABOUT THIS?

In a 23-year-old interview with Oprah Winfrey, she asked the legendary singer about rumors of him wanting a white kid play him in a Pepsi commercial.

http://www.michael-jackson-photos.com/

Michael replied, “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I am proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”

I guess he wouldn’t approve of Fiennes!

THIS “SNL” SCENE FITS PERFECTLY — #OSCARSSOWHITE

For two years in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy Awards) failed to nominate an actor of color in the acting awards — that’s 20 white people two years running.

I’m not a fan of “Saturday Night Live”, but they can get it right and when they do, it’s too funny.

IOWA CAUCUS

Like music and movie charts and stats, I love polls and numbers when it comes to big elections and this year’s presidential election will be a big one.

I’m excited about Monday’s Iowa Caucus, the first vote in the nation for the next president of the United States, for two reasons:  (1) to see who wins and if the polls were correct and (2) so we’ll hear and see less of the so-called candidates that never stood a snowball’s chance in hell of winning!

Earlier in the week, I posted a really interesting blog about why the race for president is much bigger than Iowa and New Hampshire and how diversity across the U.S. will have a bigger impact on the nominations.  The day after I shared it, “Real Clear Politics” had a similar story.

Lately when you say politics, people zone out.  So, if you didn’t read it, here it is again.  At least, glance at it.  (The link will open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/diversity-in-america-the-2016-presidential-election/

Now that you’ve read it, do you agree or disagree?

DONALD TRUMP CAN GET AWAY WITH MURDER?

Maybe he could get a show on ABC since NBC got rid of him!

And, technically, he didn’t say he could kill someone.

Last Saturday, in Sioux City, Iowa, the not-fit-for-president blowhard told an audience, “The polls say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that, that I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters? Okay, it’s like incredible.”

This isn’t Russia and he’s not Putin, it’s not Germany and he’s not Hitler.  Nevermind, I can’t prove who he is and who he isn’t!

I just know that even my Republican friends across the aisle can’t think that he’d be good for America no matter how much they hate President Obama and dislike the Democratic candidates and the Republicans running against Trump.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember this former Monday feature?

POP STAR KELLY CLARKSON (on Trump):  “I am legitimately frightened for our nation.”

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

POP MUSIC ICON CHER (tweeting about Trump backing out of this week’s Fox debate):

“Trump NOT Doing FOX Debate Cause Of MEGAN KELLY😂Some1 Get Him TOE SHOES,fkng PRIMA DONNA. HOW CAN HE FACE ISIS,HE CANT FACE A CHICK ON TV.🐈

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

REPUBLICAN MAINE GOVERNOR PAUL LePAGE (on drug traffickers):  “What I think we ought to do is bring the guillotine back. We could have public executions.”

Say what????

DANCE MIX TO GET YOU GOING THIS FRIDAY

Sometimes you just have to smile and make the best of the trainwreck that is Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

Her endorsement of the Republican front runner is rather entertaining!  Okay, this version is fun.

“CANCELLED” OR “CANCELED”

Thousands of flights were “cancelled” last weekend with the epic blizzard across the mid-Atlantic and the northeastern United States.  Even when school are delayed or “canceled” locally, you see the spelling both ways.

Which do you prefer, since both are correct?  I’m old school and I like “CANCELLED”.

PANDA IN SNOW — LOVE IT!

While I know the historic snowstorm wreaked havoc for millions and, sadly, killed people, you have to find the beautiful of it.

This video from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. made my weekend last weekend.

Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), the male giant panda, loved playing in the snow.  The zoo says “giant pandas have thick woolly coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountains of China”.

“FORCE MAJEURE”

Since we’re talking snow, I finally got to see a movie that I’ve been wanting to see for well over a year now.

“Force Majeure”, a 2014 Swedish film, that was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is funny and serious.

A family of four are vacationing for a week in the French Alps.  One day at a patio lunch, a controlled avalanche rolls down the mountain dangerously close to where they’re sitting blasting them with snow.

In the pandemonium, as vacationers run from the patio, the father, Tomas, rushes from the scene leaving his wife, Ebba, to get to two children to safety.

It’s only a false alarm and they go back to lunch with snow on the patio.  But, things have changed.

Did Tomas really run and leave his family and how will he and Ebba deal with the aftermath as a family?

After seeing the movie, I wish that Johannes Bah Kuhnke, who plays Tomas, would do some American movies.

GRADE:  A-

“THE 5TH WAVE”

Last Friday night, with Ray in New Orleans, Gretel, our 14-year-old daughter, and I had a dad and daughter weekend.

It started at the movies with a large popcorn and two large Coke Zeros with a splash of cherry!

She’s read “The 5th Wave” novel and was looking forward to the movie starring one of her favorite actresses, Chloe Grace Moretz, and one of her crushes, Nick Robinson (“Jurassic World”).

It’s a young-adult end-of-the-world movie about aliens taking over the world in a catastrophic waves.

While the U.S. box office results for opening weekend were weak at $11 million, part of that may have been due to historic snowstorm on the East Coast.  Foreign box office returns are stronger and the movie has, at least, made back its $38 million budget.

If you like doomsday movies, you can look past the teenage love story (triangle) and enjoy the movie.  I did.  (And, Gretel is right.  Both Robinson and Alex Roe are very cute young men!)

GRADE:  B

I CROSSED THE AISLE TO BE FAIR, BUT HE SURE ISN’T!

If you’ve read my blogs and thoughts on a regular basis, you know that I’m a Democrat and that I support Hillary Clinton.

However, this random thought is about being open-minded and crossing the aisle and reading books by a couple of Republicans.  I started with two-time failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee

I read his 2008 “New York Times” bestseller “Do The Right Thing” and here’s a quick summation of the 216-page book to prove that I actually read it. 🙂

I enjoyed the six-page Prologue, “I Love Iowa! January 3, 2008”, which focused on the Iowa Caucus that he won keeping him in the presidential race that year longer than expected.

After that, it was all downhill!  It was filled with his anti-Democrat, anti-gay rhetoric, and his holier than thou religious life.  I’m perfectly fine that people love God and want to talk about it.  I pray to God every night and thank him for all he’s blessed me with in life.

Huckabee starts one chapter about “all men are created equal” and later in the book, on protecting human life, he states, “I do pray that one day we will be clear as to the value and worth of each and every human life”.  What baffles me is the hate he then spews in the name of his love for God.  It fully contradicts those comments.

The book is not very cohesive — it’s all over the place.  In the middle of talking about abortions and being pro-life, there’s a couple of paragraphs about how repulsive slavery was.  It was!  However, that was awkward place for it.  Couldn’t it have its own chapter?

The biggest laugh I had (and there weren’t many in the book) was at the start of chapter 6 (page 83) when he declared, “On Saturday, January 28, 2007, I made history by becoming the first person both to announce his candidacy for president of the United States on “Meet the Press” and, moments later, to be seen on the same program wearing a Hawaiian shirt and playing “Born to Be Wild” with his band.”

Technically, it may have never happened before.  But, I’m sorry Mike, that’s not history-worthy and it won’t be remembered by anyone other than you and your family!

As I stated, the Prologue was interesting and then when he talked about FairTax, he got my attention.

It’s basically a system to tax goods we buy instead of taxing our salaries and doing away with the IRS and income taxes.  Huckabee made a good point, “Do you think that drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, or people in this country illegally are filling out the same IRS tax forms each year and reporting the money they illegally earned?”

I can say I gave him a chance and I was hoping to see where he developed so much hate for me and my family and the rest of the LGBT community.

Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.

ONE-HIT WONDER — I BET YOU DON’T REMEMBER THIS

I’m going through my movies and CDs and downsizing.

I came across the self-titled debut from Hanna-McEuen (cousins Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen) from the fall of 2005.

The first single from the album, “Something Like A Broken Heart” is a great song and Jaime’s voice is incredible.  Sadly, it only made a blip on country music radio peaking at #38.

I’m hoping Hanna’s good looks weren’t what prompted me to buy the CD.  Nevermind, I already said his voice is incredible.

By the way, he’s currently playing in Gary Allan’s band.

Gary is a great guy.  I had a chance to interview him in Lubbock, Texas, as we were both starting out in our respective professions, back in 1996.  He was enjoying his first hit, “Her Man”, which reached #7.

As charming and sexy as he is (and was), all he wanted to be was “her man”, not mine. 🙂

Gary has now scored 23 country hits, eleven have gone Top Ten, and four have hit #1.  His first was “Man To Man” from the 2001 “Alright Guy” album.

Gary Allan

Gary is coming to the area to Davenport, Iowa, August 3, 2016, to the Mississippi Valley Fair.

OR THIS ONE-HIT WONDER…

I also came across another self-titled, one-hit wonder, Katrina Elam of Oklahoma.

She reached #29 on the country charts with “No End in Sight”.

While that was her only Top 40 country hit as a singer, she’s written Top Ten hits for Rascal Flatts (“Easy”, #2, 2011) and Hunter Hayes (“Invisible”, #4, 2014), and songs for Carrie Underwood and the Eli Young Band.

Reba McEntire did a remake of Elam’s “I Want A Cowboy” on her 2009 “Keep on Loving You” album.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

I hope you found something interesting here.  If something got you thinking, share your thoughts with me and have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 13

It’s been a long six-day work week for me since I’m working strange hours — the evening shift.  There are two sides to the coin on this one.  It means that I’ve gotten to sleep in past 1 a.m. this week.  But, it also means that I’m been working to almost 11 p.m. or midnight (last Sunday because of the women’s U.S. Open tennis final).

I hope you have fun plans for the weekend.  Since the weather is going to be absolutely fantastic:  cooler temperatures and a decent chance of rain Sunday, I’m going to make soup today!

Rain

Liquid gold after the 36 consecutive days with no measurable rain at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.

SATURDAY MORNING UPDATE:  More than one-half of inch of rain could fall in the Quad Cities late Saturday night and Sunday!

Here are my random thoughts for this week!

I DON’T FEEL THAT I’M HYPOCRITICAL

In last week’s blog, I criticized some idiots in Tucson, Arizona, that are asking for a recall of a school council member (and several others).  I could care less that they’re wanting a recall.  However, they’re attacking one of the men because he’s gay and even implied that he wasn’t “a REAL man” because of that!

In teasing what I was talking about in my random blog on Facebook, I wrote “Remind me not to go to Arizona”.

This prompted a former co-worker of mine now living there to write this to me, “Nice to see you’re making judgements about an entire state by the actions of a few. I don’t find anything hypocritical in that at all. I love you Anthony, but I think you’re wrong to condemn an entire state for that one story.”

This got me to thinking about whether I was being hypocritical?  I know that there are good people in Arizona, but I was talking about a certain group of people and not everyone in Tucson or Arizona.  However, I don’t feel that I’m hypocritical if I don’t want to go to Arizona because of that and the governor that I referenced in the story.

RUSSIA-RIGHTS-GAY-DEMOUganda

In the past, I’ve talked about the anti-gay laws and gay bashing in Russia, Uganda wanting to make “kill the gays” a law, and Chick-fil-A COO Dan Cathy giving money to anti-gay organizations.  Because of that, I don’t want to visit Russia, Uganda, or Chick-fil-A, even if there are nice people in Russia and Uganda and LGBT employees or supporters at some Chick-fil-A stores.

ChickFilA

I don’t think that makes me a hypocrite!

SPEAKING OF RUSSIA AND I DON’T EVEN HAVE TO SAY ANYTHING MORE…

Alexei Zhuravlev, a member of the Russian Parliament, plans to introduce a bill that would prevent gay parents from getting custody of their children.  He adds that if a single mother was found to be gay, she should lose custody of her child and he’d rather see the child go to an orphanage!

Alexei Zhuravlev

Zhuravlev says, “Homosexuals must not raise children.  They corrupt them. They do them much more harm than if the child were in an orphanage. I am deeply convinced of this.”

So sad!

WE NEED OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN NEXT YEAR

Did you attend the Riverfront Pops concert with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra and the music of Michael Jackson last weekend?

The symphony was amazing and the singer’s voice was incredible.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

While I loved the music, I thought the show was too chatty and it zapped the energy for me.  I loved the music of ABBA much more last year.

This was only my second Riverfront Pops concert and I plan on making it an annual tradition.  Since we’re talking about the Quad City Symphony, I’ve never attended the Holiday Pops concert to kick off the Christmas season.  However, I want to see this year’s show with Debby Boone (“You Light Up My Life”) as the featured guest vocalist.

Debby_boone_christmas

Since I’m a planner, I have a suggestion for the planning committee for next year’s Riverfront Pops — Olivia Newton-John.

Olivia

She is an award-winning actress and singer that has been charting hit singles for more than forty years.  She was a hit at last year’s Northalsted Market Days in Chicago and she has performed with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in Australia.

Organizers, please contact Olivia now and make this happen!   🙂

IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT CHRISTMAS

There may be 103 days left to Christmas, but for fans of 1980s synthpop music, the holiday season arrives on November 12th this year.

Erasure will release its first holiday collection, “Snow Globe”.

Erasure Snow Globe

The album will feature a collection of original songs and seasonal classics.  The first single, “Gaudete”, is the duo’s take on a Medieval Latin carol, which was also a folk hit four decades ago for Steeleye Span.

Vince Clarke says of Andy Bell, “I haven’t actually heard him sing better.  And, Andy adds this about the recording sessions, “I found my inner choirboy again.  I thought I’d lost him but he was there all along.”

I can’t wait to deck the halls this year to Erasure’s sounds of Christmas.

And, since I’m talking about Christmas, I’m also excited about two other Christmas collections this fall:  “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige (October 15), produced by the legendary David Foster and featuring a duet with Barbra Streisand and “Wrapped in Red” by Kelly Clarkson (October 29), with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood joining Kelly on “Silent Night”.

mary-j-blige-christmaskelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Stop Believing

Emotional Rollercoaster Highlights

“WORK BITCH”

The countdown is on to next Tuesday morning when Britney Spears is set to make a major announcement.

For weeks now, a countdown clock has been ticking away on her website.  Is it the big reveal to her Las Vegas Planet Hollywood residency rumored to be coming this fall?  Or, will “Work Bitch”, the first single from her eighth studio album coming out this fall, hit radio Tuesday?

Britney Britney Tweet 1

Last weekend, she released this hot picture from her video shoot in the desert.

And, could the biggest supermodel of the world be involved in the project?

RuPaul Tweet

Whatever it is, I can’t wait.  But, just like fans across the world, I’m counting down to next Tuesday!

REMEMBERING 9/11

This week marks the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

9 11

Almost three thousand people died that day and more than six thousand others were injured in the hijackings and crashing of four planes in less than a two-hour period.

I was living in Ohio at the time.  Since I was filling in for the evening meteorologist, all morning I watched the coverage and thought, “how could this be happening?”.

That evening, we cut away from the national coverage and at the top of the 11pm newscast, I was “live” at a gas station covering the speculation that gas prices would skyrocket in the days to follow.  Minutes later, I was back at the station presenting weather on the green screen!?!?!?!   Strange producing without a doubt.

ANOTHER SOLEMN ANNIVERSARY

From 1981-2009, almost 30 million people died of AIDS.  In 2010, there were about 1.8 million deaths from AIDS, which was down from about 2.2 million in 2005.  And, as of 2011, it was estimated that there are 34 million people worldwide that are HIV-positive.

Those are some staggering numbers.  The bottom line is that HIV and AIDS are still major concerns and neither are not going away anytime soon regardless of the advancements in medication and treatment.

On September 11, 1993, one of the best movies about the AIDS epidemic, “And The Band Played On” premiered on HBO.

And_band_played_on_(1993)

The $8 million production featured an all-star cast including Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Ian McKellen, Richard Gere, Lily Tomlin, Steve Martin, Phil Collins, B.D. Wong, Anjelica Huston, and Glenne Headly.  It earned 14 Emmy nominations and won three awards.

The book from which the movie was based, “And The Band Played On:  Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic”, was written by Randy Shilts, who was born in Davenport, Iowa in 1951.

Randy Shilts

Shilts found out he was HIV-positive in March 1987, but he didn’t publicly reveal he had AIDS  until shortly before his death in February 1994.  He was 42.

If you ever want to watch a comprehensive, heart touching, and entertaining lesson of the early years and history of AIDS,  you have to see “And The Band Played On” and “Longtime Companion” (1990).  (You might even be able to find the entire movie on YouTube!)

A HAPPIER ANNIVERSARY

x-files

It was twenty years ago this week that “The X-Files” made its debut on Fox, on September 10, 1993.

12 million people tuned in that night to see FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully explore and try to explain the paranormal and the conspiracy to cover up an alien invasion and the existence of extraterrestrials.

It made David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson stars.

Gillian David The X-Files

When the fifth season kicked off in November 1997, more than 27.3 million people tuned in!

It’s still one of my favorite series of all time.  Although I’ve already watched it, I’m watching the series again with Ray, who never saw it.  We’re now into the sixth of nine seasons.

Happy Anniversary, “The X-Files”.

CRAZY ASS PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Sometimes, I pick mainstream songs and video to showcase.

This week, it’s a song that is so far out there (try Norway) from a couple of brothers, Bard and Vegard Ylvisaker, who have a variety show called “Ylvis”.

They premiered “The Fox”, an electronic psuedo-parody last week and it was viewed 22.8 million times in just over a week!

The Fox Billboard Hot 100

The YouTube play, along with more than 71 million shares, was enough for the song to debut on the Billboard Hot 100 at #29!  And, a few radio stations are beginning to play it.  Check this out and then tell me that can forget it!  🙂

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The English band, the Human League scored six Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States from 1981 to 1995.

Of the six, three reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t You Want Me” (#1, 1982), “(Keep Feeling) Fascination (#8, 1983), and “Human” (#1, 1986).

“Don’t You Want Me” was their first American hit and it spent three weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 during my senior year of high school, 1982.

I finally got to see them in concert at Market Days in Chicago about ten years ago.  They were amazing!

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

Earlier this week, Ray and I finished season three of “The Walking Dead”.  It was absolutely incredible and mind-blowing!  So, “Dead” fans, we’re used to the undead being referred to as “walkers”.  What did you think of the Governor and residents of Woodbury calling them “biters”?  It grew on me and I like both references.

the-walking-dead-walker-zombie2

We’re going to finish season six of “The X-Files” and then take a break and finish out seasons four and five of “Fringe”.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

Random Thoughts 2012 Recap, Part Three

Okay, new blogs start tomorrow.  This is my final installment of the recaps of my “random” blogs from 2012.  Those are the ones where I talked about multiple topics in one blog.  Basically, it was whatever was on my mind that day!  To read the individual blogs from this fall, I’ve made it easy.  Just click on the title once you’ve opened today’s blog.

September 15, 2012

In this blog, I covered Osama bin Laden, 9/11, “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Argo”, “Lincoln”, freaky fish, Asian carp, bananas, and marriage equality.

I’m Having More Random Thoughts

September 27, 2012

My random thoughts on this day included Ohio and the presidential election, heavy rain expected in Houston for my vacation, our fish pond and raccoons, “The Impossible”, Christmas, Reba and “Malibu Country”, “The New Normal”, “Elementary”, and new music from Calvin Harris.

A Buffet of Thoughts — A Little of This & That

November 10, 2012

In this blog, I put the elections into perspective and behind me and I covered the top-selling artists in English music history, how many people believe in God, Christmas cards, and featured new music from Reba McEntire.

My Early November Random Thoughts

November 15, 2012

In this blog, I talked about Channing Tatum being named the “Sexiest Man Alive”, Christmas, Christmas music from Rod Stewart and Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta.  Also, I blogged about “The Campaign” and “Arthur Christmas”, bigotry, Madonna, and PSY.

I’m Thinking About Christmas & Much More Today

December 6, 2012

Christmas was on my mind in this blog, along with human rights, Hillary Clinton, the lack of snow, my sister, Tammy, Shania Twain in Las Vegas, Britney Spears and will.i.am, Christmas decorating, Ke$ha, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and “Love Actually”.

Random December Thoughts

December 15, 2012

And, finally, Christmas, “Dexter”, marriage equality, killing camels, ice, snow, winter, and the fish pond were on my mind in my last random blog of the year.

I’m Having More Random December Thoughts

Anthony

I’m Having More Random Thoughts

You know what it’s like to have random thoughts much of time.  Seriously, tell me that I’m not alone. 🙂  My mind works all the time and sometimes it’s a picture that prompts me to think.  At other times, its entertainment, a magazine, or Facebook.  And, today’s blog is about sharing some of those thoughts with you.

Miss Betty, “Mom”, is with us through Tuesday morning.  We’ve already been to the casino and we’re going back tonight.  She says she has to win her money back.  Last night, we grilled out and enjoyed the beautiful, cool weather.  With the exception of the casino tonight, we’re going to continue to chill out.

‘SAWDUST PIE” & BANANAS

Last weekend, when we had dinner guests, I made Patti’s 1880s’ (my favorite restaurant in Grand Rivers, Kentucky) “Sawdust Pie”.  Actually, I made two and froze one for Betty’s visit.  You serve them warm with cool whip and sliced bananas.

I didn’t know that bananas are the most purchased grocery item in the United States!

While that surprised me, here’s the shocker that I learned from “Time” magazine:  Bananas “are picked immature, shipped in special boats and then taken to ripening rooms that use ethylene gas to complete the job.”  So since the boats use fuel, the price of bananas increase when gas prices are high.  Stick with me and you might learn all kinds of interesting (or useless) information.

ASIAN CARP, WHILE BAD FOR OUR AREA LAKES AND STREAMS, DON’T LOOK SO BAD NOW!

PUTTING MARRIAGE  AND FAMILY INTO PERSPECTIVE

LINCOLN” & “ZERO DARK THIRTY” TRAILERS

Earlier this summer, I blogged about the movies that have my attention as we head into the fall.  I still want to see “Looper” and “The Paperboy”, but I’ll probably wait to see them in the cheap theater or on DVD.

There’s also “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” and “Argo”.  “Argo”, directed by Ben Affleck, is my most heavily anticipated movie this fall.  It’s based on a true story of a rescue effort to free American hostages from Iran back in 1979.  It comes out October 12th and I’ll be seeing it in Las Vegas, one day before my birthday and Madonna.  I’ve never gone to a movie in Vegas and to be honest, do tourists even do that? 🙂

Also, the trailers for two more movies that I want to see later this year were finally released.  Both “Lincoln” and “Zero Dark Thirty” will likely have a date with Oscar in early 2013.

REMEMBERING 9/11

Since “Zero Dark Thirty” is about the search for Al-Qaeda learder Osama bin Laden and last Tuesday marked the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks when terrorists flew four planes into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing more than 3, 000 Americans, I’ll reflect by showing some of my favorites pictures posted that day on Facebook.

FORGETTING OSAMA BIN LADEN

While President Barack Obama gave the order for the brave U.S. Navy Seals to capture or kill Osama bin Laden in its successful mission in killing the terrorist leader in May 2011, we’ll always live with the threat that jihadists or other terrorists will attack Americans here at home or abroad.  We saw that last Tuesday in Libya when Islamic jihadis killed an American ambassador and three others.

As I read more about the man who had so much hatred for western civilizations and especially, the United States, it makes me happy that bin Laden was killed and buried deep below the North Arabian Sea.

In 1996, bin Laden said “O Lord, shatter their gathering, divide them among themselves, shake the earth under their feet and give us control over them” and then in December 2001, “We calculated in advance the number of casualties.”

It’s also very interesting that President Barack Obama announced that bin Laden was dead on May 1st.  That is also the same date back in 1945 when the German government announced that Adolf Hitler, the man responsible for the mass murder of more than six million people, most of them Jewish people, was also dead.

bin Laden and his terrorist group won the battle on 9/11, but we’ll win the war.  It may take us the rest of our lifetime and the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren, but there’s hope that one day “the world will live as one” as John Lennon so eloquently sang in “Imagine”.

POINSETTIAS

The plant that grows in the wild in its native Mexico and Central America is my favorite plant.  Over the years, I’ve collected misfit poinsettias that were either marked down in the  stores because they weren’t beautiful enough or had a broken stem or from friends that just wanted to get rid of them after the holiday.  My poinsettias are huge now and I can’t wait for them to turn from green to red, white, and pink.  Here’s just one my four potted poinsettias.

My goal this year is to locate a very hard to find variety called “Harvest Orange”.  Last year, a California grower was producing them.  So, I’ll have to keep my eyes open to find that poinsettia in my favorite color!  This is what it looks like.

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.  What’s on your mind?

Here’s a closing thought.

Anthony