Posts Tagged ‘Agatha Christie’

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.

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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!

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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

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 7, 2017

I hope you had a nice Fourth of July with some good food, great friends, and celebrating the country’s birthday.

I worked, so it was just another day for me.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts and enjoy your weekend!

FACE LIFTS & DECENCY

I’ve been very good at saying little about the state of nation since January 20th.

I expressed my feelings of how my life has shattered since the night of November 8th and not being able to deal with the anger in “It Starts With Me”:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/it-all-starts-with-me/

And, the “Change” it’s brought to my life:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/change/

So, I’ll still stick to saying very little about #45.

However, I’m going to comment on the disgusting Twitter tirade of Donald Trump toward Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

 

Psycho 1

I don’t watch their show, so I’m have no loyalty for them in that sense.

However, there are so many things going on in this country and the world that needs the undivided attention of a leader and this isn’t one of them.

Neither is Twitter.  I know it’s the electronic age and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever social media you use gives you access to express your feelings with immediacy. But, maybe some just need to think before they speak.

The bottom line is that there isn’t a politician in this country EVER that hasn’t been criticized by the news media.

Jimmy Carter

Look at all that was said about Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s.  Did you see them personally attack news anchors or reporters with such vile?

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No, they were gentlemen.

This is a disgrace!

#Resistance

FOURTH OF JULYS

I worked until noon this Fourth of July and chilled out the rest of the day in the Florida heat and humidity.

For those of you that have followed me for years, you may already know this.

My favorite Independence Day was 1976 when America celebrated its 200th birthday, our bicentennial.

This is what I wrote on July 4, 2012:  “As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of hundreds of boats from the U.S. and other countries filling New York Harbor and with the sound of “Fernando” by ABBA blasting on the radio.  (It’s hard to believe that just one month later, ABBA would release “Dancing Queen”!)”

Meanwhile, July 4, 2007, will go down as the worst Fourth of July ever for me (hopefully).

I was working the morning show and I went in at 1:45 a.m.  Rain was coming down in buckets.  As I was running toward the door, my keys went flying out of my hand and were submerged underwater.  By the time I found my spare keys in my bag, I was soaked from head to toe.

I told the producer that I had to go home and get another suit.  On the three-minute drive to my house, the torrential rains continued to fall and all of a sudden, a wall of water flooded into the intersection.

In a matter of seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and the motor died as water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate that mine did!

FloodingBSticker3flat

I quickly thought about the power locks in the car and if it shorted out, I’d be locked inside with no way out.  I’d drown getting trapped in my car on a busy street in town!

I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment.  For those of you that don’t know who her, she is/was one of my idols.  She was a news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of  NBC news, back in the late 1970s.  She drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Jessica-Savitch

As I took off my shoes and socks and opened the door, I stepped out into the raging waters as three intoxicated teenagers came running over and helped me push my car into an alley.

At this time, I was soaked and water had already risen into the intersection up to my knees.  I went back and helped the kids push the other three cars to safety.

I walked the fifteen blocks to my house dressed in a suit, soaking wet, and bare-footed.

The car’s engine was hydro-locked and had to be replaced!

That was ten years ago and I hope that goes down as the worst Fourth of July in my lifetime!

“MASTER OF NONE”

While a little “Netflix and chill” soundS good, it’s just “Netflix” for me this summer. 🙂

I finished season five of “House of Cards” and just started watching “Master of None”.

The Emmy Award-winning show features comedian Aziz Ansari in the lead role.

He plays a 30-year-old actor working toward his big break while navigating single life in New York City.

My favorite episodes of season one:  “Indians on TV”, “Old People”, and “Hot Ticket” .

While Ansari is funny and I love the conversations he has with his three best friends, my favorite character on the show is his lesbian friend Denise.

Her dry, dead-pan delivery just cracks me up.  Denise is played by out Chicago-born actress Lena Waithe.

Denise Lena

FELL IN LOVE WITH FATHER JOHN MISTY

After seeing the “Hot Ticket” episode of “Master of None”, which partly took place at a private Father John Misty show, I fell in love with the song “Chateau Lobby #5 (in C for Two Virgins)” from his “I Love You, Honeybear” album (and he’s cute, too).

The scene gets rather raunchy so I’ll share this BBC Two performance.

By the way, Father John Misty is 36-year-old Josh Tillman, the drummer for the rock folk band, Fleet Foxes.

His new solo album is “Pure Comedy”.

“I LOVE DICK”

Okay, I bet that got your attention! 🙂  It’s a bold statement that probably comes only as a surprise to you that I typed it.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter!  If you have Amazon Prime, you might not have gasped out loud seeing that headline.

It’s a new series co-created by Jill Soloway (“Transparent”).  I haven’t seen it and I’m only writing about it to share a line of the funny review by “Entertainment Weekly” (June 23, 2017): “She becomes obsessed with Kevin Bacon’s Dick, a fine artist whose withering judgement and sex-cowboy cool threatens to unravel her.”

Seriously, I read the first seven words and smiled, laughed, and saw “blah blah blah” after that.

Creative writing is so much better than angry, immature, and insensitive tweets in the middle of the night!

#Resistance

MISSING “HOUSE OF CARDS”?

Are you like me and you’ve already binge-watched the fifth season of “House of Cards” and you already miss the iciness of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)?

Then you have to check out “Miss Sloane” with two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Jesssica Chastain!

She’s incredible as always!

GRADE:  A

DONUT DELIGHT!

Once I moved to Panama City, Florida, two months ago, I got to shop at Piggly Wiggly again.  If you’re from the South (or you’ve seen “Steel Magnolias”), you know it’s a staple here.

One my first visit, I found a bag of “Peach Cobbler” limited edition mini donuts from Tastykake.  They were so good.

I then tried the “Key Lime”, which were just okay.

But, I just found my new favorite (so far) — Birthday Kake!

Birthday Kake

I can’t wait to see what seasonal flavors arrive this fall and winter!

However, a quick Google search shows they’ve sold Pumpkin Spice, Karrot Kake, Caramel Apple, Gingerbread, Salted Caramel, and Red Velvet in the past! 🙂

‘Tis the season!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

I’ve only been to the theater once this year to see “Beauty and the Beast”. I’m still thinking of going to see “Wonder Woman”.

Otherwise, there’s only three other movies that I want to see this year:  “The Beguiled” with my girl crush Nicole Kidman, “The Snowman” with my boy crush Michael Fassbender (no official trailer yet — in theaters October 20th), and this interesting remake of the Agatha Christie classic, “Murder on the Orient Express”.

It opens November 10th.

FLASHBACK TO KICK OFF WEEKEND

As crazy as it may seem, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” was my #3 song of 2013.

Since its release, the video has been viewed almost 680 million times on YouTube!

So, here’s to the weekend.  Enjoy. 🙂

By the way, the song hit #1 in the duo’s native Norway.

It also hit the Top Ten here in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, along with Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Scotland, and Sweden!

 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 16, 2017

It’s the last weekend of the spring of 2017, but with the heat and humidity we’re already experiencing, it feels like summer.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

DIVIDED EVEN AFTER A TRAGEDY

“Liberal intolerant people!”

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

In the wake of the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and several others earlier this week at a Washington D.C.-area baseball field, that’s what someone said to me about the reasoning behind it.

While it’s still being investigated, it appears that the shooter may have targeted the group because they were Republicans.

Who knows if that was the only or real reason?  It’s too early to write anything off.

As I said many times and it’s worth repeating again now, there are good and bad Democrats and there are good and bad Republicans.

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You can love or loathe Donald Trump and you can love or loathe Hillary Clinton, but you can’t go around threatening violence or being violent.

The words liberal and conservative are used as dirty words.

I’m not perfect. I’ve been guilty at jumping at conclusions that those people are close-minded.  Well, I was right and I was wrong.  Some are and some are not!

I’m always trying to educate myself .  The bottom line is that being “liberal” or “conservative” really just means we have many differences and that we need to work on them for a common good.

Those are truly only bad words when you add ignorance to the mix!

WILD KINGDOM!

Since moving to Panama City, Florida, more than a month-and-a half ago, I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wildlife around my apartment complex.  No, I still haven’t seen an alligator or a snake and I’d like to leave it that way.

I’ve seen a few fish and many turtles and ducks.

But, as I blogged before, my fascination with the ducks is turning more to tragedy.  At first, it was like “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” — the ducks being killed by inattentive drivers or turtles.

Now, it’s more like the duck version of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel, “And Then There Were None”.

And then there were none

Take this little duck family.  I’ve seen then waddling along and swimming the pond together. This was taken one morning.

On a walk that evening, I saw Mom and two ducklings.  The next morning, it was Mom and just one duckling and then later that day, Mom was alone!

Now, hypothetically, they could have been at “ducky day care”, visiting “duck relatives”, or the three could have been adopted by one of the other “duck families”!

But, the reality is that they were probably grabbed by a turtle and that’s all she wrote. 😦

BREAKING NEWS…. I wrote that part early Wednesday.  However, later that afternoon, I think I saw the same duck above with FOUR ducklings.  So, maybe they were visiting their “cousins”!

I think I need to make human friends!

Carp Tail

And, then there’s the case of this carp that mysteriously just appeared one day.  For days, it swam at the top of the pond looking like a small shark with just the top fin showing.

As I watched it slowly swim, I noticed a turtle following close behind.  I thought, ” you’d better swim a little faster”, but then I got a good look at its tail.

It looks like a turtle (or turtles) already had a few bites!

After witnessing it floating upside down a few times and then flipping over and swimming away, I haven’t seen it now for four days.

Wildlife, I’m over you!  I think I’ll just look at plants!

PRIDE IN THE PANHANDLE

While June is national LGBT Pride Month, Pride celebrations are held on different weekends throughout the month across the country and the world.

Last weekend, I was cordially invited to a gathering by the founder of the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, Cathy Rifenburg.

AP G C

She started the chapter here more than a decade ago because her two sons (one gay and one straight) did not have the same rights in the Panhandle and in the United States.

The meet & greet cocktail party was to introduce Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan.

AP Gina

Gina spoke to us about how she’s protected in Orlando, where she lives, for being transgender, but how she could be fired from her job for being transgender here in Panama City and Bay County.

Also, how, in many Florida counties, an LGBT couple could get married on the weekend because of “marriage equality” is legal in the U.S., yet they could still be fired on Monday for placing a picture of their spouse on their desk!

So much progress in this country, yet we still have a long road to travel.

PrideFlag

I also met with organizers of Pride of the Panhandle, too.

It was a great time and a wonderful chance to meet some members of the Panama City LGBT community, but a real opportunity to introduce myself  to the community’s “straight but not narrow” friends.

Cathy and Jerry, thank you for the invitation.

PERFECT SCENE FOR PRIDE MONTH

I’ll talk about “House of Cards” in a bit, but this Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) scene is stunning and appropriate for Pride month.

It makes up for some of the devious things that Claire has done. 🙂

“BREAKING BAD”

After watching the first two seasons of what many call “one of the greatest series ever”, “Breaking Bad”, last summer, I recently binge-watched the last three seasons of the series.

The series finale was phenomenal and 35 minutes into it, I was crying!!!!!

Warning:  contains spoilers!

I also loved the “Hannibal” (NBC) finale.

Dexter The Final Season

While I loved “Dexter” and “The X-Files”, the finales didn’t blow me away — even though there were explosions in both finales. 🙂

Slight detour there, but I loved seasons one, two, three, and five of “Breaking Bad”.  I didn’t really care for season four, except for the nursing home scene toward the end of the season.

While I done with Walter White and company, I don’t see myself dialing up “Better Call Saul”.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

I just wrapped up season five of the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards” with the incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) and Kevin Spacey (Francis Underwood).

Wright’s icy portrayal is spellbinding to watch.  I could watch her as Claire Underwood all day.

I was blown away by Donald’s (the vice president) comment to Claire regarding her initials and the two that were missing! 🙂

And, what about these four choice lines!

Television commentator:  “in the end as we all know… it comes down to the Electoral College.

Campaign manager: “you lost, but more than half the country sees you as their president.

And, this one from “House of Cards” Secretary of State Catherine Durant:  “I’ve been at this for 30 years, so I think I can survive… I’m not alarmed.

FBI agent: “it’s unthinkable to assume the FBI would involve itself in an election.”

Where does Hollywood come up with this sh**?  Oops, stuff!    🙂

debate

Unreal!!!!!!!!

Oh, sadly, it isn’t!

PRIDE MUSICAL MEMORY

Since it’s Pride month, I’ll share a couple of songs that still take me back to the days when I first started clubbing.

“Fascinated” by Company B is still one of my all-time favorite dance club songs.  While the band had four Billboard Dance hits, this is the only one that hit #1 and, in 1987, it actually crossed over to Top 40 radio and reached #21 on the Hot 100.

Another one of my all-time favorites filled the dance floors every time it played.

Just listening to the words of the song today, Miquel Brown’s “So Many Men, So Little Time” personifies the 1980s mood of excessive living and the “me” mindset — just as AIDS was becoming rampant in the gay community.

The song reached #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1983.

Of course, with the option of choosing a shorter live performance or the very sensual and scandalous extended version, you know which one I chose!

Proceed with caution!! 🙂

MOVING SECRETS

After being on the road for 19 hours, I stopped over in Dothan, Alabama, for a few hours of sleep in a dump of a hotel.  While I locked up the U-Haul, I left my car door unlocked.  It was packed front and back with everything from wall art and plants, and yes, my computer!

Thank you party people at the hotel for leaving all my stuff for me!

Also, at two different gas fill-ups, I left the lid off the U-Haul gas tank.  Luckily, it had such deep tanks that there was no spillage.

Woops!

That expression was just an excuse to use this hilarious scene from the incredible “Torch Song Trilogy” and end the blog on a happy note.

Have a great weekend!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony