Posts Tagged ‘AIDS’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

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

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

Rolling Stone.JPG

Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

Duluth.jpg

I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

white_house_rainbow

Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter.  He gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”.  His fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”.

But, that film and the money gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do:  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed their lifestyle.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Kock) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Larry+Kramer+in+Love+02.jpg

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

Ap 1987.jpg

Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

silence death

Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

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 — May 4, 2018

Happy Friday!

I hope you have a great weekend!  It’s Kentucky Derby weekend and there’s also Cinco de Mayo!  I’ll be making guacamole!

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

E-COLI & ROMAINE LETTUCE

At least 121 people have become ill across 25 states with E-coli bacteria linked to romaine lettuce from Yuma, Arizona.

There is now one death in California linked to the tainted lettuce.

Traces Of Toxic Chemical Found In California Lettuce

And, just today, Friday, May 4th, there’s a ground beef recall from possible plastic in the product that was sold at Kroger stores!

It seems like we’re always hearing about tainted produce, meat, and other edibles that you “should throw away” or “return to the store for a refund” from various bacteria and viruses (listeria, salmonella, E coli), seafood and nut contaminants, or physical hazards (glass, metal, etc.).

While the U.S. has strict food processing guidelines, I think it should be much tougher.

If food-producing companies faced even higher penalties, I think shortcuts would be a thing of the past and consumer safety would be the top priority — not profit.

There’s too many hungry people in the U.S. (and the world) and there’s already too much food waste to just throw more away because of lazy production standards!

NEW OREO FLAVORS

There are three new limited edition Oreos on the shelves:  Cherry Cola, Kettle Corn, and Piña Colada.

New Oreos

Let me know if you try them and what you think of them.

The only problem I have with these limited edition Oreos is that they trick you with a smaller package without a smaller price!!! 🙂

DON’T SNAP AT ME!

My good deeds and my quest to save a duck took a scary turn last weekend.

I heard a baby duck frantically chirping and saw the mother staring down at it stuck in mud and muck.  She flew away and I found a long stick to try to lift the baby out to safety.

It didn’t work, so I took my shoes and socks off and slowly trudged through the muck to get close enough to pull it out without sinking.

As I reached down to pull it out, it was still stuck.  I figured it was caught under dead cattail roots.  I reached down further to get a better grip.

Up came the duck — in the mouth of a creepy, long-necked turtle!!!  I had my freaking hand on the duck and the turtle that looked just like this one!  (It could have been this one!!!)

Creepy Turtle

My snap decision was to save the duck and I got it out of the turtle’s mouth before I was attacked!

Once the adrenaline rush passed, I was very creeped out to have been that close to the ugly turtle!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM!

Hmmmm

So, Monday morning I’m getting dressed for work and I hear a mosquito buzzing around my head.

Instinctively, I swat at my head and ear to kill it.

Ummm, that hurts when you forget that you have a Q-tip in your ear.  Oops and ouch!

KENT STATE SHOOTING ANNIVERSARY

It’s hard to believe it’s now been 48 years ago that four students were killed by the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University in northeast Ohio, on May 4, 1970.

Kent State Univ Shootings-4May70

Protests were expanding across the country on college campuses over America’s involvement in Vietnam.

As a reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, in 2000, I got to cover the 30th anniversary of the Kent State shootings.

Three decades later, it was still chilling to be there and the mood on campus was somber.

Here’s the story I filed for WMFD-68.*

*Ignore the shakiness because I recorded it with my phone from a VHS tape playing on television! 🙂

CINCO DE MAYO WEEKEND

Since it’s Cinco de Mayo weekend, would you be down to trying Chocolate-covered peanut butter filled jalapenos?

chocolate covered peanut butter filled jalapenos

I’d definitely be willing to try one!

“TALKING BACK”

I just finished reading my 15th book of the year, Andrea Mitchell’s “Talking Back… To Presidents, Dictators, and Assorted Scoundrels.”

Mitchell is a correspondent and anchor for NBC News.  She started at the network in the early-1970s after a stint in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

andrea mitchell

This was a very enjoyable look behind the glamour of television news.

She shared how rough it can be for a correspondent jetting from one continent to another without the luxuries of life, including sleep.

She talked poignantly about covering her first big story for NBC News — Jim Jones and the Jonestown, Guyana, mass Kool-Aid murder-suicide.

Jonestown-kool-aid

I was very impressed that of all of the news books I’ve this year (Cronkite, Koppel, Wallace, Schieffer, Stahl, etc.), Mitchell’s book was the first to take President Ronald Reagan to task for his gross mishandling of the AIDS crisis.

As you know from my years of writing about it, this was one of the main reasons I didn’t care for Ronald Reagan — even hating him for many years.

reagan aids

“Gay cancer” was first reported in the summer of 1981, even before it had a name, AIDS.  It wasn’t until early 1987 that Reagan made his first public comments about it.  By that time, 20,000+ Americans had already died.

Mitchell’s scoundrels include Syria’s Hafez al-Assad, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and many more.

Excellent read!

TOM BROKAW ALLEGATIONS

Former “NBC Nightly News” and “Today” anchor and news icon Tom Brokaw is the latest to face sexual misconduct charges.

Last week, former NBC correspondent and anchor Linda Vester says Brokaw, on several occasions in the 1990s, tried to physically force himself on her.

She says he tried to kiss her two times and that he groped her in a NBC conference room.

Vester Brokaw

Brokaw denies Vester’s accusations.  He admits to meeting with her briefly and “the meetings were brief, cordial and appropriate”.

Brokaw response.png

Two other women have since come forward making accusations against Brokaw.  The latest said the unwanted advances took place 50 years ago!

#METOO, BUT SUPPORT FOR BROKAW

After Vester’s accusations, many influential women in the news business, that currently work with and have worked with Brokaw, defended his character.

maddowbrokaw

More than 60 women, including Rachel Maddow and Andrea Mitchell, signed a letter that called Brokaw, “a man of tremendous decency and integrity”.

“DIETLAND”

The first trailer for AMC’s “Dietland” is out.

The series is based on Sarai Walker’s incredible debut novel.

Dietland

It about Plum, a reclusive 300-pound-plus woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women.

Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.

Here’s the blog I posted about Walker’s excellent “Dietland” novel in January 2016.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“MOLLY’S GAME”

I can play Solitaire, Uno, Phase 10, and Old Maid, but that’s about the extent of my experience with card games.

So, while watching “Molly’s Game”, a true story about a competitive skier with Olympic aspirations who becomes rich by running underground Poker tournaments, I was lost for a bit.

But, I was mesmerized, as always, by Jessica Chastain and her acting!

Once the story became more of a drama than “Card Sharks”, I was all in.

GRADE:  B

REMEMBER THIS?

Were you part of the techno music scene back in the early-1990s?  I admit that I was into techno and dance music big time!

L.A. Style, a Dutch duo, hit the Top 5 in American dance clubs and #59 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “James Brown is Dead”. (He wasn’t at the time, but is now.)

It topped the charts in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Spain in 1991 and 1992.

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 2, 2018

I know February is a short month, but it’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2018 are already behind us.

I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

VACATIONS

It’s no secret that I love taking vacations.  I’ve often joked that I work for two reasons — to pay the bills and to travel.  Actually, it’s no joke!

Last year, my big trip was to Scandinavia — Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

AP Scand

However, some Americans are afraid to take their earned time off.

One poll shows that 22% skip vacations because they don’t want to be seen as replaceable and 28% want to show dedication to work by not taking vacations.

F(orget) that!!!!!!!!!!  If I don’t prove myself when I’m on the clock, I’m not going to worry about it when it comes to taking time off!

Finally, here are a couple of interesting facts:  In 2013, the average number of unused vacation days was 4.9.

Also, in the early-1980s, the average number of paid vacation days was around 21.  By, 2014, that number had dropped to 16 days!

RONALD REAGAN & THE QUAD CITIES  

In his book, “An American Life”, President Ronald Reagan talked about landing his first radio job at WOC in Davenport, Iowa.

After an interview in Chicago, with no radio experience, he was told to try a smaller market.

An American Life

Reagan wrote, “the suggestion from the woman at NBC that I try for a job in the sticks”.

He went on to write, “Radio was so new that many Midwestern towns still didn’t have a commercial station, but I only knew of two or three in the tri-cities area of Davenport, Moline, and Rock Island along the Illinois-Iowa border.”

Sorry, Bettendorf!  You’ll have to let it slide this time since it was the early-1930s.

But, it still cracks me up to think of the Quad Cities as “the sticks” back in the day!

QUICK OSCAR NOTES

The Oscars are Sunday night on ABC.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Here are the nominees for Best Actor and I’ve seen four of the performances.

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

I think that Gary Oldman will win the Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”.  He was great and so was the make-up.

CMBYN 2

However, I think that Timothee Chalamet acted more and with more heart and truly deserves to win “Best Actor”.

I even enjoyed Denzel Washington’s performance more than Oldman’s!

I haven’t seen Daniel Day-Lewis in “Phantom Thread”.

Final Oscar tidbits:  I’ve seen four of the nine “Best Picture” nominees and it’s the first four in alphabetical order. 🙂

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

And, strangely enough, I haven’t seen any of the five Best Actress performances, yet I’m picking Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) to win.

I’m also picking that movie to win “Best Picture”.

“A REPORTER’S LIFE”

The fourth book I read in 2018 was Walter Cronkite’s “A Reporter’s Life.

Walter Cronkite

Although the book did drag a bit after he talked about his childhood and before he talked more about being on the cutting edge of television news, it was a decent book.

He was definitely a liberal and that’s a good thing. 🙂

“NIGHTLINE”

I also just finished my fifth book — “Nightline” by Ted Koppel and Kyle Anderson.

Excellent read!

Nightline Ted K

It’s about the ABC late night news show that’s still on the air.  Koppel anchored it from 1980 until he retired in 2005.

The book provided incredible insight on some of the biggest stories of the past three decades without a lot of rambling.

Koppel and Anderson touch on AIDS, Russia, South African Apartheid, and the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China, along with the television news business.

Interesting tidbit:  The show started as a continuation of “America Held Hostage” — about the American hostages held in Iran for 444 days from late 1979 until January 1981.

MORE ON TIANANMEN SQUARE

Tiananmen Square was one of the stops on my visit to China in the spring of 2016.

What was very interesting is that our tour guide referred to the Tiananmen Square massacre that killed hundreds to thousands (China disputes that number) as an “incident”.

He was also very uncomfortable even talking about it (and I don’t blame him — China eavesdrops!).

Tiananmen

While there, I noticed fire extinguishers located around the square.  We were told that people occasionally bring gasoline to the Square and set themselves on fire in protest!

GUESS WHO???  

“This woman is a political force of enormous ambitions.  I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to the truth, vain, and cynical — all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.” 

Answer at the bottom!

“WONDER”

It’s always great to see Julia Roberts in a movie.

And, in “Wonder”, Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) is great as Auggie, a fifth grader with a rare medical facial deformity.

Tremblay definitely has a great future in Hollywood.  He was fantastic in 2015’s “Room”, that earned Brie Larson a Best Actress Oscar.

GRADE:  A-

“ROMAN J. ISREAL, ESQ.”

This crime thriller is a very slow burn for the first hour, but the second hour redeems the slow start.

Washington earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

GRADE: B

“HAPPY DEATH DAY”

“The Snowman” is no longer my least favorite movie I’ve seen in 2018.

This horror movie is atrocious!  It’s definitely geared to a younger demographic.

Sadly, for me, this horror movie made a lot of money and there’s talk of a sequel!

GRADE: D

STRONG WOMEN SCARE PEOPLE

“This woman is a political force of enormous ambitions.  I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to the truth, vain, and cynical — all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.” 

This was written by columnist Westbrook Pegler in the 1950s about Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt!

EleanorRoosevelt_640x400

Sounds like something some have been said over recent years about another incredibly strong former First Lady!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 23, 2018

The shortest month of the year is coming to a close and spring arrives next month.

Here in the Florida Panhandle, summer has already arrived with more than a week of highs in the 70s and 80s!

I’m ready to return to the Midwest with four distinct seasons — and snow. 🙂

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

SADLY, JUST THE ONE BEFORE THE NEXT ONE

Last week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Florida high school killing 17 people and injuring 15 others.

It was the deadliest school shootings since Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, where 27 died at the school (the shooter’s mother was killed at home, making it 28 dead).

This was also the deadliest mass shooting since another man killed 59 people (including himself) in Las Vegas, last October.

LV

The most recent shooting at the Florida high school was done with a legally obtained AR-15 style rifle.

AR 15

Just in those shootings above, 209 people died and about 611 others were hurt by gunfire (hundreds more were injured during and after the gunfire)!

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS 

I’m all for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”.

However, these AR-15-style weapons were designed for the military, not the public!

So, prayers alone are not the answer to all of these shootings.  God doesn’t have the money or the power over politicians like the National Rifle Association does!

STUPID KIDS

Sadly, four Florida Panhandle students are in trouble for making threats to shoot up their schools in just one day this week!

A couple of those students said it was “a joke”.

I’m sorry, but in today’s climate, what kind of stupid kid would think it’s “a joke”?

Throw the book at them!

“AN AMERICAN LIFE”

I just finished Ronald Reagan’s 1990 autobiography, “An American Life”, which wasn’t a short read at 723 pages!

An American Life

I wasn’t a fan and I voted against him twice even though I wasn’t old enough to vote (I accompanied my grandmother inside the voting booth and I chose Jimmy Carter each time).  However, I like to give people a chance and expand my mind.

It seems he was a likable guy and I hope one day to find a romance like the one he and Nancy shared.

ronald-reagan-nancy-reagan-presidential-marriage-r

I’m happy that Reagan gave President Carter the due credit Carter deserved for getting the American hostages released from Iran after more than a year of captivity.  (Ironically, the Iranians boarded the hostages on a plane and held them on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as President.  Carter heard that they were out of Iran on his flight home to Plains, Georgia!)

CarterPresIt was interesting to read how hard and how long Reagan worked with the Russians to reduce the threat of nuclear war.

However, he did a poor job of convincing me (as he did the public) on his role (or lack thereof) in the Iran-Contra affair controversy.

Reagan only wrote two lines about his nine-year marriage to actress Jane Wyman.

Sadly, that was two lines more than he dedicated to his failures as president of getting out ahead of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

AIDS (“gay cancer”) first appeared in the summer of 1981, but it wasn’t until early 1987 that Reagan mentioned the disease publicly for the first time!

reagan aids

I hated him for this for decades and “hate” is not a word I use too often…

RONALD REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

which leads me to this — my original Ronald Reagan blog from the summer of 2012.  Click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window.

Ronald Reagan murderer

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

THEY SAID WHAT???

SHONDA RHIMES (ABC “TGIT” MEGA-PRODUCER)

“Getting on a plane and discovering that your seat belt won’t fit around you was a moment of extreme horror.  It was hard to ignore.”

shonda-rhimes

MORE SHONDA RHIMES

“Accepting that losing weight was always going to suck:  I was always going to be hungry.  I was always going to want to eat fried chicken.  We work so hard in all areas of life to succeed, I don’t understand why we think this should be easy.”

SCANDALOUS “SCANDAL” QUOTES

While the men are sexy,

SF

the women of “Scandal” are strong.

I love Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Sally Langston (Kate Burton), Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), and Abby “Red” Whelen (Darby Stanchfield).

Here are some of my favorite quotes through the first episode of season five.

First up… right-wing religious fanatic Republican Vice President Sally Langston

Sally 1.gif

Sally 2

Sally 3

First Lady Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope, who is the president’s mistress!

Mellie

Mellie 1

Also, there’s Olivia and Queen Isabel of Caledonia…

Olivia Queen.gif

Olivia 1

And, we can’t forget Gladiator Abby, who’s now the President’s Press Secretary.

Abby 1Abby 2.gif

Remember, I’m just starting season five, so I know some of the descriptions of the characters change in upcoming seasons. 🙂

“A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS”

So, it’s ten months before Christmas or two months past last Christmas and I just watched this holiday movie since it’s new to DVD.

It was a smash bringing in $130.6 million on a $28 million budget.

Christine Baranski was my favorite of the three older moms (the mothers of the moms from the original 2016 “Bad Moms” movie).

I love her character’s idea of the perfect Christmas party (with the exception of Kenny G)!

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines play the other two moms.

Kathyrn Hahn (“Transparent”) was my favorite of the three younger moms and I loved her foul mouth and thought process. 🙂

GRADE:  B

“MARSHALL”

This movie is the story of Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice years before he was appointed to that position.

At that time, Marshall was going around the country fighting for people of color in court cases they would have lost otherwise because of the racist views stacked against them.

Great acting, but it felt like a made-for-television movie rather than a big screen motion picture.

GRADE: B

REAGAN & GORBACHEV’S EFFECT ON ’80S POP

The threat of nuclear war made its way into the music world in the early-1980s.

“Two Tribes” was the follow-up to the international smash “Relax” by the English group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

While the song hit #1 in seven countries and the Top Ten in many more, it only reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Maybe radio was afraid to play it since America was having a love fest with Ronald Reagan in 1984!

This song (and the English version, “99 Red Balloons”) by the German band Nena hit #1 in more than a dozen countries in 1983 and 1984.

In the U.S., it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 1, 2017

Welcome to December!

I hope you’re getting into the holiday spirit.  I am, but I’m also ready for this dreadful year to end and start anew in 2018.

While I’m glad the upcoming royal wedding is giving us a slight breather from mass shootings and the shameful cesspool of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, television news, and politics, I’m already over the talk of Prince Harry and his actress fiancee. *

With this comment, you can tell that starting anew and positive is still a month away. 🙂

* Oops, I spoke too soon.  After I wrote that paragraph earlier in the week, Matt Lauer was fired from “The Today Show”!

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

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st is “World AIDS Day”.

It was started in 1988 to raise awareness about the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

While we now have medications, when that taken properly, that allow those living with HIV to live a long, full life, that wasn’t always the case.

We still have a world of people that are still not being treated for HIV and AIDS because of the cost of medication and the fact that many in this country and the world don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.

People, if you’re sexually active (even in a relationship), get tested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HIV-POSITIVE & UNDETECTABLE

Great news coming in the fight against the spread of HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that HIV-positive people that are being treated and with undetectable viral loads CANNOT spread the HIV virus to others.

This is fantastic news in the fight against HIV and for serodiscordant couples — where one is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative.

While this is a huge step forward, people still need to be aware of the other sexually transmitted infections out there that are rampant in both the LGBT and straight communities!

THANKING PRESIDENT BUSH

While I agreed with a few things that President George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

STOP AIDS

One of the things I’m most proud of came in the early part of his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Thank you again, President Bush!

By the way, I still love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d love to meet President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

Laura Bush

LOVE ANA’S HONESTY!

If you’re not familiar with Ana Navarro, she’s a Republican strategist and political commentator who’s not afraid to be honest — she doesn’t care what political party!

CONGRATS REBA!

Congratulations to Reba McEntire on the Grammys nomination for her first gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”!

reba-faith

It earned a nomination in the BEST ROOTS GOSPEL ALBUM category.

While “Pray To God” didn’t get nominated, Reba is getting country radio airplay for the latest single, “God and My Girlfriends”!

It debuted on the Billboard Country Airplay chart at #54 and is expected to move up some week!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

“Call Me By Your Name”, the critically-acclaimed LGBT love story, is the movie that I most want to see.  But, it won’t be until early 2018 that I’ll get that chance since it’s only in limited release now.

However, it opened in four theaters last weekend and grossed an eye-opening $103,233 per screen average.

That was the biggest per screen average of 2017 and it was good enough to debut at #14 for the weekend ($412,932) — again, in just 4 theaters!!!

call me

“BEACH RATS”

While I await the wide release of “Call Me By Your Name”, I checked out “Beach Rats”, a movie that’s getting a lot of buzz, too.

It’s nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Harris Dickinson) and Best Cinematography.

21-year-old East London newcomer Dickinson plays Frankie, a young man wasting away his summer hanging out with his friends on the Brooklyn boardwalk drinking, doing drugs, and watching fireworks.

This isn’t just a “coming-of-age” summer for Frankie.  His dad is dying of cancer and he’s secretly meeting older men for sex in public wooded areas.  The struggle with his sexuality is something he keeps from his girlfriend, his family, and his friends for much of the movie.

Dickinson is a bright new talent and earns the rave reviews he’s getting for his acting.  And, that has nothing to do with how cute he is or his gorgeous body! 🙂

GRADE:  A-

“MUDBOUND”

This poignant Netflix drama takes place in poverty-stricken and backwards Mississippi in the 1940s.

It tells the story of a white family with a racist patriarch that ends up having to live on the land of an African American family.

Casey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks lead an excellent cast.

However, the standouts are Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, the two sons — one from each family — returning from war.  The friendship that forms between them is very touching.

I know it’s a period piece, but the frequency of use of the n-word, the blatant racism, and the graphic violence at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan are still painful to watch.  But, the movie is powerful.

I really wish I had seen more of Mary J. Blige.

If you check out “Mudbound”, stay for the amazing Blige song playing over the credits.

GRADE:  B

BINGE WATCH “THE BRAVE”

I’m really enjoying this freshman NBC action series.

The winter finale was very suspenseful and with the holidays, you have a chance to binge watch the nine episodes before it returns January 1, 2018!

For God & Country - Season Pilot

Here’s what I had to say about the series earlier in the fall:

I checked out one of the new fall series, “The Brave”, on NBC, mainly because I have a crush on Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield” and “Under The Dome”).  It was very entertaining and suspenseful and the pilot episode ended with a major cliffhanger, so I’ll be back next week to see what happens.

And, in November, I mentioned the series again and added, Still enjoying this thriller, yet it seems like every time they go up against terrorists, they always win without causalities.  That’s a good thing because this show has the most beautiful cast!

JAMES TAYLOR

Speaking of beautiful, I was just reading an old “Rolling Stone” magazine and came across this 1969 photo of James Taylor!  Holy moly!

JT 1969

You probably remember him from his hits “Fire and Rain” (#3, 1970) and “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1, 1971).

COUNTRY RADIO SHOWING A LITTLE LOVE FOR…

Shania Twain’s second single from “Now”, “We Got Something They Don’t” is getting some radio airplay at country stations.

The lead single, “Life’s About to Get Good” only reached #33 on Billboard Country, but it reached #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

MOST PLAYED CHRISTMAS SONGS

Christmas music is taking over the airwaves now, especially at adult contemporary stations, which have gone to 24-hour holiday music.

Earlier this week, I shared the 10 most played Christmas songs last year, according to Nielsen Music.

Let me just say that I was shocked at what was #1!

It wasn’t “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey or, sadly, my favorite Christmas song, “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters.

The most played Christmas song last year was by a Puerto Rican singer.  It was released in 1970 and didn’t even crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it peaked at #44.

#1

Find out what that song is and if your guess was in the Top Ten!  Click on the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/oh-lord-christmas-music/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

I don’t even want to think of my “Last Christmas” because it would sadden me.

However, this fun, upbeat, chic remake of the Wham! classic is okay to think about. 🙂

If you’ve never seen Cascada’s cool version, here it is.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 18 , 2017

We’re already past the middle of August and most kids are back in school or getting close.  Fall will be here before you know!  Yeah!

Fall

It’s been another contentious couple of week, so if you feel you want to disagree with me, do it diplomatically or don’t say anything at all. 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

WHEN I FIND MYSELF IN TIMES OF TROUBLE…

Sadness

“LET IT BE”

PANAMA CITY LOVE

While I have no friends outside of work here in Panama City after three months, that doesn’t mean I’m unknown.  It’s really nice to finally work at a #1 station!

Last week, I had several people stop me and ask me, “are the weather guy at Channel 13?”

The nicest was at the grocery store last weekend when a man stopped me.  I was wearing a tank top and shorts and he asked me the question.  I always reply, “yes, I’m just dressed down”.

He, like “Barbara” a few weeks ago, told me that it looked good on me.  Some people are so nice.

He proceeded to tell me that I do a great job and they enjoy watching me.  Then, he said, your mannerisms remind me of Tyler Henry, the medium that with the hit E! show, “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry”.

I said, “I’ve heard of it, but I’m not familiar with him”.  He then said, you could be his dad.

Okay, that translates into “You’re supergay”. 🙂  Tyler and I can handle it. 🙂

MY LOVE FOR NICOLE KIDMAN

I recently watched “Grace of Monaco” with Nicole Kidman.

The movie bombed and was panned by critics.  While entertaining and fulfilling, it won’t make my list of 20 favorites movies I’ve watched in 2017.

However, as is always the case with Nicole Kidman, I was mesmerized.

I believe that she, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and Gillian Anderson are the most talented actresses of our time.  You also can’t forget Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Melissa Leo, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Near the end of the movie, Kidman’s Grace gave a speech at a Red Cross benefit in front of a packed house.

The speech was heavily directed to French President Charles de Gaulle (which in reality was not at the event).

It doesn’t matter whether it was Hollywood or not, what Kidman’s Grace said was superb and I wish it could be the basis of today’s world.

If only, just like “Let It Be” and “Give Peace A Chance”!

TELEVISION FUNNY OF THE WEEK

“Look, I think college is a scam anyways.  Bobby, you might as well just join the Church of Scientology.  At least they give you industry connections and a wife to cover up your homosexuality!” — Nekeisha (Tiffany Haddish) on “The Carmichael Show.

I’M READY FOR PIZZA!

It’s been four months since I’ve had pizza.  Yes, they have pizza in Panama City, but I’m ready to go to my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities again, Wise Guys.  Of course, their dessert pizzas are my favorite and that’s what I mostly eat.

But, I’m wondering if they can make me some of these exotic pizzas that I’ve come across online?

PIZZA

Almond Citrus Seafood”  (Vietnam) The Almond Citrus Seafood pizza is a staple on Domino’s Vietnamese menu and includes shrimps, scallops, orange sauce, almonds, red pepper, mozzarella, cheddar and coriander.

Bavarian (Russia)  topped with marinated cucumbers, salami and mozzarella cheese.

Ayam Bakar (Indonesia) a creamy base of rendang sauce – a spicy coconut cream with lemongrass and garlic. It’s topped with ayam baker (charcoal-grilled chicken), onion, parsley and mozzarella.

Creamy Chicken Carbonara (New Zealand) — New Zealand’s super-creamy feast is topped with all the ingredients of a classic carbonara: chicken, bacon, red onion, mushroom and garlic crème fraiche along with spring onion and Parmesan.

Adalim (North Cyprus) — You may be used to finding dried basil sprinkled on your pizza but how about dried mint? The herb is added along with mozzarella, halloumi, black olive and tomato to this Cyprian veggie classic.

KESHA’S RAINBOW AFTER STORMY YEARS

Kesha’s last studio album, 2013’s “Warrior” was my favorite album of the year.

Last Friday, she released the follow-up, “Rainbow”, after several turbulent years of fighting an eating disorder and legal battles with her manager and producer, Dr. Luke, who was keeping her from releasing new music, and will be in court facing allegations of sexual abuse and other charges.

You can tell that Kesha has been through a lot recently and she’s putting that pain and the strength she’s found in the music.

The first line on the album is “I’ve got too many people/I got left to prove wrong/All those mother f**ckers/Been too mean for too long” on “Bastards” that kicks off the stellar album.

The first single, “Praying”, is already one of the most played songs at Top 40 radio.

The album is a fusion of pop, rock, punk, country, and some dance.

Her duet with country icon Dolly Parton,”Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You”)” is incredible.

Other standout tracks include are “Learn To Let Go”, “Hunt You Down”, “Hymn”, “Let Em Talk”, and the aforementioned “Bastards”, “Praying”, and “Old Flames”.

GRADE: A-

PRINCESS DIANA’S DEATH ANNIVERSARY

August 31st will make the 20-year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

diana

I was working as the weekend anchor at KLBK-13 in Lubbock, Texas.  We ran a CBS news story at the top of our show that Saturday night telling viewers that she had been in a car crash in a Paris tunnel.

After we signed off at 10:35 p.m. central time, it came across the wires that Princess Diana died.

CBS was asleep and had no one breaking in with the news.  Ny Lynn Nichols, my co-anchor, and I broke into programming with the news.

It’s pretty crazy that two local news anchors in market #147 (small market) were breaking the news to the Southern Plains watching CBS that night that Princess Diana was dead.

By the way, CBS finally got someone on the air well after the fact.

“EASTSIDERS” ON NETFLIX

I recently discovered the LGBT series “Eastsiders” on Netflix.  It’s witty, funny, and perfectly covers the ups-and-downs of relationships.

It’s created, written and directed by the star of the series Kit Williamson.

Most of the episodes are short (10-15 minutes) and season one covers Cal and Thom’s turbulent relationship and also that of Cal’s friend Kathy and her gorgeous boyfriend, Ian.

Season two is much stronger and very realistic and Cal and Thom (Van Hansis) are much sexier!

The series also stars the adorable Matthew McKelligon (from the off-kilter and funny movie “You’re Killing Me”).

In May, Williamson tweeted that season three has already been shot and there’s a Kickstarter campaign to fund getting it on the air.

Check it out!

FREDDIE MERCURY LIVES!

Emmy Award winner Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) will star as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in 2018’s motion picture, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Rami

In late 2010, it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) would play Mercury, but he dropped out three years later.

As 2013 drew to a close, my fantasy husband, Ben Whishaw was chosen to play the gay front man.

Ben_Whishaw

But, he had to withdraw because of production on the next James Bond movie.

There has been some controversy that the movie may try to shift attention away from the fact that Mercury died from AIDS.

HIV AIDS

While Mercury’s illness was rumored, he didn’t publicly admit that he had AIDS until the day before he died on November 24, 1991, at the age of 45.

Bryan Singer (“The X-Men” series) will direct with production getting underway this fall. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is set to hit theaters on Christmas Day 2018.

FAVORITE QUEEN SONG?

What is your favorite Queen song?  For me, it’s definitely not “”Bohemian Rhapsody”!!!!!!!

My three favorite Queen songs are:

3.  “Under Pressure” (with David Bowie) (#29, 1981-1982)

2.   “Another One Bites the Dust) (3 weeks at #1, 1980)

Another number 1

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (4 weeks at #1, 1980)

“HANNIBAL” RETURN?

The three-season series wrapped up on NBC in August 2015.

But, creator Bryan Fuller (now working on “American Gods”) says while it may take time, talks have started about bringing the artistic thriller back!

Fuller says, “I have conversations with (“Hannibal” executive producer) Martha De Laurentiis.”. He adds, “I have conversations with Mads and Hugh. We’re are all excited about the prospect of returning to the story. There’s some hurdles to get through… [But] I just had a great idea for season 4. There’s an interesting next chapter in the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter that would be fascinating to unpack. I’ve shared it with the gentlemen and they’re both keen on it.”

I’m all there as long as Gillian Anderson returns as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

bedelia

REAL LIFE

(*For the record, the next two segments were already written before the Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy*)

Headlines

LIFE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

Trust me, it’s better!

As you can tell, nine months later I’m still not at peace from last November’s election!

“FROZEN” WASN’T ONE OF MY FAVORITES, BUT…

I know I’m in the minority, but “Frozen” was just okay.  It didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t dislike it either.

However, I’m excited about Walt Disney Pictures’ “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”.

It’s an 11-minute animated short that’ll be shown at the beginning of the new Pixar’s feature, “Coco”, which his theaters November 22, 2017.

CHRISTMAS IS GETTING CLOSER

I know with the hot and humid summer we’re enduring,  winter and Christmas are probably the last things on your mind.  But, the entertainment industry is gearing up.

It’s only four months away now and Reba McEntire, Sia, Hanson, Lindsey Stirling, Cheap Trick, and Martina McBride reportedly have new Christmas albums coming out this fall.

McBride says, “I hired Patrick Williams to arrange it, who is legendary and has arranged for so many people, and he has that classic big band approach. When I made 1998’s “White Christmas”, I wanted to make a classic sounding record. I can’t do that same record again, of course, but this one is going to have several up-tempo things on it. It won’t have as many hymns on it. It will be more things like ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’ and ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.'”

Here’s a flashback to 1998’s “White Christmas”.

REBA’S “MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS”

On my birthday, October 13th, Reba will be releasing her third holiday album, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

This album was released last year through a chain that has a history of homophobic and racist practices and it was the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

But, I can finally buy it now!

Reba has recorded three new songs for the album that’ll feature Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

On this re-release, no portion of the money is going to (“previously”?) unnamed  homophobic and racist chain.

CB

TAKING A BREAK

I’m sure you know how much I love writing and sharing my thoughts, whether we agree or not.

At times, I’ve been accused of being intolerant.  But, in the world we live in, I guess I shouldn’t take it personally (AND I DON’T). 🙂

I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  When there’s something I want to talk about, I’ll blog about it.  Since most of my blog views come from my Facebook posts, you’ll see when I have something new to share.  I’m sure my Friday thoughts will return one day.

FOR NOW…

Before I close, I want to share an upbeat, fun song that I played all the time when I was club dee-jay at Club DV8 (deviate, get it) in Paducah, Kentucky, back in 1986-1987. (I was horrible at mixing beats, but my drunken queens didn’t care too much!)

This was one of my favorite songs.

Click on it and for those of you that remember it, I hope it made you smile and you thought of being 30 years younger.

For my friends that didn’t hit the clubs in the ’80s, enjoy it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.

Advocate

The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.

LGBT

“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.

Stonewall_riots

That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.

Milk1

“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.

aidsquilt

Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.

RonaldReagan

“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.

marriage

“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)

SEXUAL RACISM

I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.

haring

Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexual

Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.

Anthony