Posts Tagged ‘American Horror Story: Asylum’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 30, 2018

Can you believe that 2018 is already winding down?  I admit that the second half of the year was better for me than the first and I’m excited about 2019!

While I have a couple of more blogs coming this year, this will likely be the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2018.

Thanks for checking it out!

Happy Holidays!

White Red Christmas

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st marks the 30th anniversary of “World AIDS Day” — it originated in 1988 to raise awareness to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

We now live in an age where, with proper medication and taking it as prescribed, HIV is a treatable disease and those that are HIV-positive can live with “undetectable” viral loads, which mean they cannot spread the virus.

Yet, in 2017, 38,739 people in the U.S. and six dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands) became HIV-positive.

STOP AIDS

People, have sex, but use condoms!

This isn’t just to keep from contracting or spreading HIV, STIs are on the rise!

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the highest number of STIs ever in the U.S.!

I read an interesting “Out” magazine article in May 2018 quoting veteran AIDS activist Peter Staley.

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Staley says that an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (which killed a reported 34 people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1976) prompted the “New York Times” to write 62 stories on the outbreak — 11 of them appeared on the front page.

He added that before AIDS ever got a front page story in “The New York Times”, more than 6,000 people were already dead.

Staley:  “Imagine if the Times put AIDS on the front page 11 times in 1981.  How would that have changed the course of the epidemic?”

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HIV

If you don’t know your status, get tested.  It’s painless and knowing one way or the other is the first step to healthy or healthier living!!!

“CAUTION”

The incredible, the incomparable Mariah Carey is back with “Caution”!

It debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 becoming her 18th Top Ten album and it topped the R& B album chart!

MC

The album contains ten fantastic songs.  Seven of them are flawless and classic Mimi!

In addition to the two songs I’m featuring below, the other five standouts are the title track, “A No No”, “The Distance”, “Giving Me Life” and “8th Grade”.

Even the three other songs on “Caution” are great!

In September, Mariah’s teased the album with “GTFO” and I think it’s one of the most awesome songs on the album!

Yes, GTFO stands for what you think it does!!!!!!!!! 🙂

“With You”, the first official single is already in the Top Ten in Hungary and here in the U.S., it’s just outside the Top Ten on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary, Adult R&B Songs, and Hot R&B Songs charts!!!!!!

The album is beyond amazing, so GTFO and get it now. 🙂

GRADE:  B+

MARIAH CHRISTMAS!

Not only is Mariah’s new album in the Top 5 on the big chart, she’s also in the Top 5 on the Billboard Holiday Album chart with 1994’s “Merry Christmas”!

MC B200

And, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” made its debut this season on the Hot 100 at #29!

“SONS OF ANARCHY”

I just finished the FX series “Sons of Anarchy”.  It really was a binge-watching event!

This includes psuedo-spoilers!

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I was on the third (of seven) seasons when I found out that it was leaving Netflix on December 1st!

That meant I had to watch the last 56 episodes in three weeks or less.  I did it!

If you’re not familiar, the 2008-2014 series is about a northern California “motorcycle club” that dealt heavily in guns, drugs, prostitution, and porn, along with violence and a lot of sex!

It starred the amazing Charlie Hunnam (Jax) and Katey Sagal (Gemma).

Charlie Katey

I really enjoyed the first two seasons.

SEASONS 1 & 2 GRADE:  A

While still good, the series began to drag a bit when it became repetitious with the same story lines, the same violence and who would be the bad guys this season (the Irish, blacks, Mexicans, white supremacists, etc.)

SEASONS 3, 4, 5 GRADE:  B

While Gemma and Jax were my early on favorites, as the series went on I fell in love with Dr. Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) and Sheriff Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie), two characters that were the closest thing to a “moral compass” for the show. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As season six progressed, the show was down to its last two seasons and an end game was in sight!

Two major characters were killed off!  Well, that sounds too innocent.

Season six ended with the most horrific and brutal scene involving two main characters on the series!!!

I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the one character, but I didn’t expect the brutality and the viciousness of the murder!  WOW, but incredible!

SEASON 6 GRADE:  A

Skip the horrible last season!

Except for two scenes in two different episodes and the highlight of the season, the “Red Rose” episode, it was unbearably stupid!

Watch the series through the sixth season, watch the “Red Rose” episode in season seven, and the last ten minutes of the series finale!

SEASON 7 GRADE:  D

OVERALL GRADE: B

“SONS OF ANARCHY” FUNNY

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SANTA CHARLIE!

Thanks to my sister for sending me this.

And, we don’t have to sexist!  Ladies aren’t the only ones that might be interested in a new Santa Baby! 🙂

Santa Jax.jpg

LAST RANDOM THOUGHTS IN 2018

Next year, I don’t want to be thinking of “last Christmas”.

I want to be celebrating with fun, sexy friends.  Okay, they really don’t have to be “sexy”, just lively and fun!

And, this very chic or elegant (whichever word you prefer) video is my inspiration! 🙂

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The latest installment of FX’s “American Horror Story”, “Apocalypse”, wrapped up a very uneven season.

It was incredible seeing Joan Collins and Jessica Lange again!

And, I love this t-shirt modeled by star Evan Peters!

Evan Peters

So, what are your favorite and least favorite seasons?  Here’s my rankings:

#8 “Freak Show” (season four, 2014) — The highlight!

american-horror-story-freak-show

#7 “Hotel” (season five, 2015)

#6 “Roanoke” (season six, 2016)

#5 “Apocalypse” (season eight, 2018)

#4 ” Coven” (season three, 2013)

#3 “Murder House” (season one, 2011)

#2 “Cult” (season seven, 2017)

Nasty Woman

#1 “Asylum (season two, 2012)

American Horror Story Asylum

And, we’re still living the continuing episode of the real “American Horror Story”.

ahs dt

PICK HIT

Kylie Minogue is the last of my divas that I still haven’t seen in concert.  Hopefully, in the fall of 2019!

“Golden” is my favorite album of 2018 and here’s the latest video.

Isn’t Jack Savoretti just so adorable????  Okay, that question can be rhetorical! 🙂

“DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS”

THEY SAID WHAT???

House of Cards.JPG

Cody Fern on his first day on the “House of Cards” set for the final season:  “I was so intimidated because I’ve been watching HoC longer than I’ve been acting.  The first day, I walk down the hallway and Robin [Wright] says, ‘Cody’ because we met at the reading.  And I said, ‘Claire’.  On my God!  I could have vomited.”

Director John Waters on what worse than Taffy (“Female Trouble”) joining the Hare Krishna, “Worse than a Hare Krishna?  I suppose a Trump supporter!”

“12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, my blog about the holidays wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include this twisted version of the holiday classic! 🙂

AND, THIS MORE RECENT FUN ONE!  

“You ruined my Christmas, you made it a drag!” — classic Boy George!

He co-wrote the song and directed the video!

Thank you. 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 7, 2016

October is here and I’m excited that cooler days are in the forecast and the holiday seasons are right around the corner.  (Notice I said “seasons”?  While Christmas is my favorite, I do love my Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving feast!)

Now that the summer heat is giving way to fall temperatures, we’ll probably be eating fewer Popsicles.

Popsicle

But, it’s always the perfect time for ice cream!

As political as I get sometimes, I admit that I really want November 8th to get here and have this long, drawn out election cycle and 2016 presidential election behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random Friday thoughts and as always, if you disagree, do it diplomatically!

CREEPY CLOWN SIGHTINGS

I’m not sure what’s behind this sudden fascination with creepy clowns showing up and freaking people out.

I’d venture to guess that social media and 24-hour news cycles are huge factors for us hearing so much about it.  Aren’t those two always to blame? 🙂

john-wayne-gacy-killer-clown

When it comes to creepy clowns, this is the creepiest by far!  On the brighter side, this particular “killer clown” in no longer a threat to anyone.

If you’re too young to know, that’s John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer and rapist that murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 inside his Chicago-area home.  Let me tell you, as a teenager when that killing spree was exposed, it creeped me out big time.

A decade or so later, I had a “too close for comfort” brush with Jeffrey Dahmer.  That’s a story for another time!

KIM KARDASHIAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was reportedly robbed at gunpoint earlier this week at her Paris hotel residence by five men dressed as police officers.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

While she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, it had to be a scary ordeal!

At least $11 million in jewelry was taken including a jewelry box worth about $6.7 million and a ring valued at $4.5 million.

Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never know what it’s like to have that kind of money and anything of that much value in my house.

The thing that baffles me most about the ordeal is that if someone had that much money or jewelry, wouldn’t you keep it at a safer location like a bank or a vault?

In Kardashian West’s case, if she wanted any particular piece of her collection that was safely tucked away, she could have someone fetch it for her!

MAGIC MIKE MISFIRE

I really enjoyed “Magic Mike”, but I hated the sequel.

Now, James Marsden reveals that he regrets not signing on for the movie.

Well, that makes two of us.  Okay, three if you count Ray and I know the number doesn’t stop there!

With that in mind, if Marsden is still up to strip down, this might actually excite me for a third installment!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON FINALE

The second season of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” wrapped up last Sunday night with back-to-back episodes for a two-hour finale.

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While the first season’s six episodes were slow, it was still enjoyable.  However, the second season was stronger and much more powerful.

The finale featured one of the most intense “walker” deaths of the series.  It was a wrenching scene that lasted beyond the comfort level and that’s a good thing.

We also saw one of the show’s original cast members die.  While the death may not have come as a surprise, how it was executed was a shocker to me.  I tweeted the actor about his amazing two seasons and he liked the tweet.

While I gave the season and the finale a high grade (see below), I have a complaint.

It’s becoming monotonous when the characters disembowel a walker and smear the blood on themselves now that they’ve learned they can walk freely among the walking dead by doing that.

This is much more believable and is done with more intensity on “The Walking Dead”.  And, it isn’t overused as a gimmick.

rick

If “Fear The Walking Dead” is going to keep doing this, why not make it a “chore” and each day for several hours, people can go out, get exercise, and rid themselves of the walker population in their area.  But, this would be boring.

That’s my only complaint and I can’t wait for season three in 2017.

GRADE:  A-

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

After what seems like an eternal wait since I read the book, “The Girl on the Train” finally hits theaters this weekend.

I’ve highly recommended the Paula Hawkins book several times in my blog and I can’t wait to see the movie, which I think will easily debut at #1 in the U.S. and at worldwide box office.

“WILL & GRACE” TAKE ON VOTING

If you miss the NBC hit comedy, “Will & Grace”, you got a treat around the time of the first presidential debate.

The cast gathered ten years after the comedy left television to raise awareness on the importance of voting in this November’s election.

This is hilarious (and even borderline offensive to some).

Disclaimer:  it’s definitely not made for NBC’s “standards and practices”!

A LESS “BRAGGADOCIOUS” LOOK BACK

Comedian Randy Rainbow takes a much different approach to last week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think this is the best skit I’ve seen him perform.

“MONEY MONSTER”

This Jodie Foster-directed suspense thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Donnell (“Unbroken”) was high on my list to see this summer when it hit theaters.

Life got in the way, so I caught it on DVD.

I’m glad it worked out that way because I wouldn’t have been too happy if I had spent $35-plus for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d watch Julia Roberts read the newspaper.

The story was intense and the way it ended was fulfilling, but I had higher expectations.

I guess most of all, I want to see Foster back in front of the camera!

GRADE:  B

“RISEN”

This movie about the search for a risen Jewish messiah (yes, Jesus) was a modest box office hit earlier this year.

The $20 million movie grossed $46.1 million and most of that was here in the United States.

It was an entertaining movie without being too preachy for those that proceed with caution with religious-based movies.

The very sexy Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman tribute, assigned to investigate the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  By the way, Jesus is played by Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis on “Fear The Walking Dead”.

One thing that cracked me up was the silly MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie.

For this one, it warned viewers of “Biblical Violence”.

Okay, while implied more than glorified with blood and gore, the movie was rather savage, at times, and violence is violence.  Putting the word “biblical” in front of it doesn’t make it less painful or deadly, right? 🙂

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

I admit that since I don’t hear any new music from my country favorites on the radio these days and I’m not a fan of “bro-country”, I don’t make it a point to listen to the genre.

However, Canadian country music star Brett Kissel is one of my new favorites even though he doesn’t get airplay on American country radio.

Recently, “Entertainment Weekly” showcased several women making inroads in the country music field.  Two of them stood out to me.

Margo Price, who was born in Aledo, Illinois, in Mercer County, just down the road from the Quad Cities, is one of them.

Her debut album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”, which hit #10 on the Billboard Country Album chart earlier this year, features some great country music.

“4 Years of Chances” is a favorite of mine.

Next week, I’ll feature another standout and if you like traditional country music, you’ll love it.

ANOTHER PICK HIT

As I’ve stated before, “7/27”, the latest CD from Fifth Harmony is a great album.

It’s already produced the #1 hit “Work From Home” and the smash “All In My Head (Flex)”.

“That’s My Girl” is their latest release.

Right now, it’s at #36 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

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 19, 2016

We made it through another week, but for me it’s a six-day work week since I work Saturday night.  I hope you have some great weekend plans.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.

BREAKING NEWS….

It’s been a long time coming, but Lady Gaga announces her new single. “Perfect Illusion” is coming in September!

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She was last on pop radio in 2014 with “G.U.Y.”, the third single from the “Artpop” album, which peaked at a dismal #29 on the Top 40 airplay charts.

The first two hits from “Artpop” charted higher at Top 40 radio.  “Applause” reached #4 on the airplay chart and “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly peaked at #7.

Welcome back Lady Gaga!

I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

REBA, HOW COULD YOU?

I know that Reba McEntire, one of my musical idols, is very LGBT friendly.

Reba 2011

However, her new business venture with the anti-gay Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has me scratching my head.  I know it’s just business.

Since country radio doesn’t support her new music, Reba’s album sales have dropped off significantly and are pretty non-existent the past few years.  But, her residency at Caesars Palace and her concerts on the road are still bringing in big crowds and she still has her fashion line at Dillard’s.

So, it distresses me for her to associate herself with the hateful chain, especially when she has a new Christmas album coming out that is exclusive to them.  It features five new recordings and six previous releases.  But, I won’t be buying it.  I can’t give my money to a business that supports hate.

Reba, I wish you could make it available from other outlets!

Let’s make a deal!  Send me a copy and I’ll donate the cost of the CD at Cracker Barrel to a LGBT charity in your name!

WINTER’S COMING!

While we’re still experiencing above average temperatures, some kids are still on summer break, and we’re not even to Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer season, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is already scaring people with its 2016-2017 winter forecast.

ap_winter_weather_new_york_snow_ss_101227_ssh

For the “Heartland” (including the Quad Cities, all of Iowa, western Illinois, much of Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas), the forecast is shocking!!!!!!!!!  (Note: sarcasm)

Its winter forecast — “the coldest periods will be in early-to-mid and mid-to-late January and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-to-late November, mid-January, and early February.”

Okay, seriously, you live in the Midwest.  Of course, those are the coldest and snowiest times of the winter climatologically speaking!  You don’t need an almanac or even a meteorologist to tell you that.

I wonder what Heather Mooney would think of that winter forecast being so generic?

HeatherMooney

Next!

GOOD RIDDANCE, CAIT

“I Am Cait” is officially cancelled by E! after two seasons.

Caitlyn

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as transgender in the spring of 2015.  I was hoping that she’d bring much to the table in America’s (and the world’s) LGBT discussions and help demystify and educate on transgender issues.

The problem is she’s learning herself and is not in touch with most transgender men and women.  She’s never really had a clue as to what their lives are really like.  Their lives are not Hollywood parties and open checkbooks.  Many face discriminatory practices and the fear for losing their jobs and their lives daily on the streets due to hate and ignorance.

And, then there’s the whole thing about her thinking the Republican party really cares about her plight and the LGBT community.

We need strong advocates in the transgender (and LGBT) community, but Caitlyn Jenner is not that advocate.

JIMMY CARTER & ELECTION SPENDING

It’s no secret that I think President Jimmy Carter is an amazing man.

Jimmy Carter 90.jpg

I just finished his “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety” — incredible stories of his life and an easy read.

One story that boggled my mind in this presidential election year is how much money is spent by politicians to get elected (or lose) compared to when he was running for office.

Back in the 1976 and 1980 elections, he and his competitors Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan spent $26 million.  People were allowed to donate a dollar each on their income tax payments.

Today, with super-PACs (political action committees), the amount of money is astronomical.  In 2012, President Obama and Mitt Romney both spent over one billion dollars — that’s billion with a “B”!

In this summer 2015 book, Carter writes that the Koch brothers and their associates had already devoted $889 million to get Republicans elected.  What’s scary is that that number continues to rise and that’s just on one side of the aisle!

Incredible!  Could you imagine what we could do with that money to better the U.S. and the world?

PATTI DAVIS BLASTS DONALD TRUMP

The daughter of President Ronald Reagan took to Facebook to rip into GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump after his “second amendment” comments that many thought advocated gun violence against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Patti Davis Donald Trump.jpg

Your thoughts?

Some say liberals read too much into Trump’s off-hand remarks.  Others say he meant exactly what he hinted at with the comments.

FOX NEWS, PAY UP OR SHUT UP

Devastating flooding is hitting Louisiana.  Baton Rouge, one of the hardest hit areas, picked up more than twenty inches of rain since last week.  At least thirteen people have died.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has donated one million dollars for Louisiana flood relief.

This prompted Fox News to run a story with the headline “Taylor Swift fixing her image or just being nice?”

Seriously?  Hey Fox News, work on fixing your own image and donate a million dollars, too!  Louisiana could use the money more than your insults.

Taylor and I have something else to say to you!

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The horror anthology series returns to FX for the sixth season on September 14th.

Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, and Leslie Jordan are returning.

They’ll be joined by newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred in Ryan Murphy’s “The People v O.J. Simpson, as O.J. Simpson.

Several short promos have been released for the sixth season including this awesome campy one.

While details of the sixth season are still secret, it’s rumored to focus on children and Murphy has called this season “more rogue” and “dark”.

This is also the first of the “American Horror Story” seasons that doesn’t have a subtitle before the premiere since the debut.

So, if you’ve watched all five seasons, what is your favorite and least favorite?

Here are mine (and even the incredible Wittrock as Dandy Mott couldn’t save “Freak Show”, as a whole, for me.)

american-horror-story-freak-show

#5  “Freak Show” (season four); #4 “Hotel” (season five); “Coven” (season three); #2 “Murder House” (season one); and my favorite was season two, “Asylum”.

American Horror Story Asylum

CHER RECORDING NEW MUSIC!

Pop music icon Cher is ready to get to work on her new album.

This would be the follow-up to 2013’s amazing and underappreciated “Closer To The Truth”, which was my second favorite album of that year.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Cher tweeted that she’s already recorded two songs and when she’s done with her current campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she’ll be back to work on her 26th studio album.

Cher Singing.jpg

It’s hard to believe that her first album came out more than 50 years ago in the fall of 1965!

“THE LOBSTER”

If you’ve seen the trailer for the movie, “The Lobster”, it screams “quirky”.

When you watch the movie, you’ll laugh and then realize that while it’s a comedy-drama, you feel a little awkward laughing at the sensitive material.

 Colin Farrell stars as a divorced man, in a dystopian society, where single people have 45 days to find a mate or they’ll be transformed into an animal of their choosing.

The dramedy also stars Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and the ever charming Ben Whishaw.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

My pick hit this week is the first American release for French DJ and record producer Kungs and Australian funk trio Cookin’ on 3 Burners with vocalist Kylie Auldist.

“This Girl” is already a chart-topper in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Scotland, Slovakia, and on the UK Dance chart.

“This Girl” is now racing up the American Top 40 radio airplay charts.  It’s at #21.

THAT’S IT

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

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 — May 9, 2014

If you read my blog on a regular basis or if you’re new to it, I love my weekends and I always start counting down to them when I head into work on Monday morning at 2 a.m.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the ladies out there, whether it’s a child, a pet, a fish, or a plant to which you show your love.

TammyDessie

This is my sister, Tammy, and our late mother, Dessie, from the 1980s.

Here are my random thoughts for this Friday.  As always, let me know if you agree of disagree with any of them.

MORE SEX ALLEGATIONS & “THE X-MEN” SERIES

Just as the seventh movie in the successful “X-Men” series hits theaters in two weeks, another sexual assault lawsuit is filed against director Bryan Singer.

Bryan Singer

The director is distancing himself from the promotion of the $225 million “X-Men:  Days of Future Past” starring Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and many more.

x-men-days-of-future-past-poster

Singer says, “I do not want these fictitious claims to divert ANY attention” from the film.  He goes on to say, “I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shakedown it is.”

This all started back in mid-April when failed actor Michael P. Egan III, now 31, filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Singer and two other entertainment heavyweights claiming they involved him in a Hollywood sex ring back in the 1990s when he was a teenager and an aspiring actor.

Bryan Singer - Mike Egan III

Now, Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, is representing a British man, now in his 20s, known as “John Doe No. 117”, who claims that Singer sexually assaulted him back in 2006 when the director was in the U.K. promoting “Superman Returns”.

I’m really torn about this.  I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if anything inappropriate happened.

However, I find it really hard to believe that Egan is just now coming forward with these allegations for something that happened back in the 1990s.  And, this wasn’t a one-time thing.  It allegedly happened multiple times in California and Hawaii!

If these allegations are true, I hope Singer and the other two men named in the lawsuit pay dearly.  If they’re innocent and this is character assassination, I hope it doesn’t affect their careers in the long-term and the accusers get help with their problems!

CAMPAIGN ROAD BUMP FOR GOP CANDIDATE

Steve Wiles

34-year-old Republican Steve Wiles supports North Carolina’s constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and he’s running for a state Senate seat there. 

And, he’s also running from his past.

Steve Wiles - Mona Sinclair

It appears that in his early-20s, he was gay and worked at the Winston-Salem gay bar, Club Odyssey, as “Mona Sinclair”!

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Wiles first stated, “That’s not me” and “no” when asked if was gay.

In another interview, Wiles says, “I have already apologized to the people who matter most to me for the things I did when I was young.”

Before his campaign website, Twitter account, and Facebook page were taken offline, Wiles posted this on Facebook:

Facebook Steve Wiles

Sorry, Steve, but you say that “equality doesn’t mean infringing on someone else’s right”.  Plain and simple, marriage equality is a “right” that every human should have in their lifetime.  It’s your problem that you’re using religion as a litmus test to define “marriage”.

And, another thing that’s more appalling than your self-righteous views and denial of your past is that picture of Mona Sinclair!  If this story was going public, at least get a more flattering picture out there.  Didn’t you learn anything from RuPaul?

TOMMY LASORDA DOESN’T MINCE WORDS

Tommy Lasorda, who managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976-1996, is a long time friend of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

As you know, Sterling was fined $2.5 million, banned for life from the NBA, and may be forced to sell the team for making racially insensitive comments to his girlfriend, Vivian  Stiviano.

tommy-lasorda-donald-sterling-and-v-stiviano

Lasorda was in West Palm Beach, Florida, to pick up an honorary doctorate from Northwood University. 

He told the local ABC affiliate, WPBF, that he’s known Sterling for more than thirty years and Sterling said things he shouldn’t have said.

However,  it’s what he said about Stiviano that surprised me!

He just said it so nonchalantly.  I just hope Stiviano doesn’t cross any streets any time soon!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Brunei Crazy Bitter Tiger

I KNOW THAT CAT!

That last cartoon is definitely Gretel’s mean orange cat, Tiger.

Tiger from Hell

She’ll love on me and just when she earns my trust and I consider her my “friend”, she attacks me with teeth and back claws drawing blood!

That’s why I want to trade her in for two dogs.

I just need to convince Gretel to take the cats to her mother’s house and to make Ray see that we need two loving dogs!

“PRAYERS FOR BOBBY”

We’ve heard so much over the past few years of teenagers being bullied and taking their own lives.

Suicide is hard for survivors to handle regardless of the age of the person who dies.

For me, it’s especially hard to think of young people killing themselves because someone is using God and “The Bible” to bully someone over something they don’t understand.

Bobby Griffith

This happened to Bobby Griffith in 1983.  I just read the book about his life and death and how his mother learned to unconditionally love her gay son after it was too late.

Here’s the blog I posted earlier this week if you missed it.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/dont-just-pray-for-the-bobbys-of-the-world-love-them/

ZACHARY QUINTO

“Star Trek” actor Zachary Quinto is looking better than ever.  He’s currently shooting “Agent 47”, the sequel to “Hitman” that was released in 2007.

He posted this selfie recently on Instagram.

Zachary Quinto

While I’ve seen both “Star Trek” movies he’s been in, along his creepy performance as Dr. Oliver Thredson in “American Horror Story:  Asylum” and as Chad Warwick in the first season of “American Horror Story”, he captured my attention back in 2006 as Sasan in Tori Spelling’s “So NoTORIous”.

Zachary Tori

Sadly, that 10-episode series on VH1 only lasted one season.

But, a few years ago, the station I was working at was doing a satellite interview with Tori and I got to chime in and ask her a question.  I complimented her on her performances in “Trick” and “So NoTORIous” and she was flattered that I had seen them.  She told me that she would have loved to have done another season of  “So NoTORIous”.

If “The Comeback” can come back, let’s bring “So NoTORIous” back for season two on VH1 or any network!

PICK HIT

Legendary music icon Michael Jackson has been dead for almost five years now, but he makes his debut on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 at #20 with his highest charting single since “Butterflies” went to #14 in 2002.

Michael Jackson Xscape

“Love Never Felt So Good”, a duet with Justin Timberlake, is the first single from the new Michael Jackson album, “Xscape”, that comes out Tuesday, May 13th.   It was downloaded 80,000 times in just the first three days of release last Friday!

With his solo hits, feature hits with other artists, and adding in the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons hits, “Love” becomes Michael’s 66th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40.

Of those, 42 have reached the Top Ten with 18 topping the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, for Justin, with his solo hits, feature hits with other artists, and ‘N Sync hits, “Love” marks his 35th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 chart.

21 of those hits have reached the Top Ten and give have topped that chart.

HYDRANGEAS FOR MOTHER’S DAY?

Sorry, Madonna, I’m talking about hydrangeas this Mother’s Day.

We have several in our front yard, including some called “Limelight Green”.

Here’s something that I didn’t know.  You can actually influence the color of your hydrangeas, whether they are pink or blue, by changing the acidity of the soil!

Hydrangea pH Levels

In its May 2014 email newsletter, Wallace’s Garden Center states, “in general, more acidity makes hydrangeas turn blue, less acidity (or more alkaline soil) promotes pink-that is, unless we’re talking about white hydrangeas, which, alas, are limited to white.”

It does says that this doesn’t happen overnight!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Texas-born singer Johnny Lee enjoyed several years of hit-making on country radio from 1976-1985.

In that time period, he scored 19 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 12 of those reaching the Top Ten.

LFL Johnny Lee

In 1980, his song, “Looking For Love” was featured in the movie, “Urban Cowboy”.

It topped the country chart for three weeks and even reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song went on to sell more than a million copies.

Lee would pick up four more #1 country hits.

From 1982-1984, Lee was married to Charlene Tilton, who played Lucy Ewing on the hit CBS series, “Dallas”.

THAT’S IT

I think this is a good stopping point.  As always, thank you for reading my blog.  I appreciate it.

Have a great weekend whatever you do.  I think we’ll hit a few yard sales and work out in the yard some to enjoy the warmer weather.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 27, 2013

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you.  This is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” blog of 2013, so “Happy New Year” early!

“LIFESTYLE” OR “CHOICE”

Last week, a can of worms about the First Amendment was opened when “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson made anti-gay comments to “GQ” magazine.  It caused A&E to indefinitely suspend Robertson.

phil-robertson-p11

My comments today are not about that ordeal, but I’ll re-post the link if you want to read what I wrote about “Duck Dynasty”, being gay, and God last Friday.  It was one of my most viewed blogs of the year!

In the dialogue following my blog and the fallout about the suspension, one woman started badgering me about the “gay lifestyle”.

I responded that being gay is not a “choice” or a “lifestyle”.  As for “choice”, LGBT people don’t normally go around asking straight people when they “chose” to be straight.

And, being gay is just one facet of who I am.  It’s my life and not a “lifestyle”, but she wouldn’t drop it and even posted a dictionary definition of “lifestyle” for me!

So, if you insist that being gay is a lifestyle, this pretty much sums it up.

gay-lifestyle

Sound familiar?

Last Friday’s blog about the “Duck Dynasty” uproar:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/eventually-all-dynasties-fall/

BRISTOL PALIN ON ROBERTSON & THE LGBT COMMUNITY

Since I’ve blogged about Bristol Palin and her views before, here’s what she’s saying about “Duck Dynasty” and the LGBT community in her blog post, “Leave Phil Robertson Alone”.

Bristol Palin Crying

“I think it’s so hypocritical how the LGBT community expects every single flippen person to agree with their life style. This flies in the face of what makes America great – people can have their own beliefs and own opinions and their own ways of life. Everyone needs to treat others like God would, with love. It goes both ways. I hate how the LGBT community says it’s all about ‘love’ and ‘equality.’ However, if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, they spread the most hate. It is so hypocritical it makes my stomach turn.”

ONE MORE PALIN RESPONSE

Another Robertson defender was Bristol’s mother, failed Alaska Governor and Vice President wannabe Sarah Palin.

sarah palin

Last week, Palin was defending Robertson on her Facebook page, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin and taking on the ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”  However, now she admits that she didn’t even read his comments to “GQ” magazine to even know what he said!

On Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren”, when pressed about the graphic nature of Robertson’s comments, Palin admits, “I haven’t read the article … I don’t know exactly how he said it.”

I have one thing to say:  read first before you spout off in his (or anyone’s) defense!  But, then again, consider the source….

SURPRISE “GLEE”FUL WEDDING

A couple of months ago, I blogged that 49-year-old actress Dot-Marie Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on “Glee”, proposed to her girlfriend of three years, Bridgett Casteen.

Bridgett and Dot-Marie

The couple invited family and friends to their Los Angeles home last Saturday for a holiday party.  When the guests arrived, they were then told it was a secret wedding ceremony!

Congratulations Dot-Marie and Bridgett!

IPOD BOY

While it’s a few years old, Preston Leatherman still makes me smile and hit “replay” with his dancing with an ipod in public version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.  Watch and tell me you’re not smiling!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT  — WINTER VERSION

Snowman Eats KidSnow Cone Stand  Snowman Life in Prison

BEYONCE

Beyonce has been struggling to find that next big hit on pop radio following many misfires.  That may have changed with her new single, “XO”, which is already racing up the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Bey did something unheard of recently when she released her new self-titled album, “Beyonce”.  There was advance notice, no hype, and she released it exclusively to iTunes.

Beyonce-Album-Cover-750x400

It paid off in a big way.  In just the first three days, the album was downloaded 617,000 times and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.  (Worldwide, it sold more than 800,000 copies in those first three days.)

In its second week with a full week of sales, it sold an additional 374,000 copies in the U.S.  That’s a total of almost a million copies in just ten days!

However, the exclusivity to iTunes in those first few days ticked off other music retailers.  Target and amazon.com are refusing to carry the album, but something tells me that Beyonce isn’t losing any sleep over it.

THE BIBLE

I recently saw the movie, “C.O.G.”, which stands for “Children of God”, starring Jonathan Groff, who will be appearing in the new HBO series, “Looking” next month.

C.O.G.

It’s based on the life of writer David Sedaris.  While there were many funny lines in the drama, here is the scene that made me fall over with laughter.

“The Bible says”… “I know what the Bible says”… “Then what’s your problem with it?”… “It’s poorly written!”

SINCE WE’RE TALKING RELIGION AND HUMOR

Christian

PICK HIT

17-year-old Dutch DJ/producer Martin Garrix is on the verge of scoring his first Top 40 hit in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 (#51).

Martin Garrix

His hit, “Animals, has already reached #1 in Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Scotland, the U.K., and on the Billboard Dance chart here in the States.  The song is already a Top Ten hit in, at least, ten other countries.

FOUR BOOKS THIS YEAR

I am proud to say that as 2013 winds down, I just finished reading my fourth book.  In 2014, I plan on making a dent in the more than 160 books I own now that I’m caught up on my magazines.

Christmas In Plains

Just in time for the holidays, I read “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter, our nation’s 39th president and my favorite President.

Jimmy Carter

In the 155-page, easy-to-read book, he shares stories of  his Christmases growing up, serving in the Navy, as Governor of Georgia, as President of the United States, and after leaving office.

President Carter talks about growing up in Georgia during the Great Depression and his close-knit friendships with the black kids that lived on his father’s land in a time when there was much more racial divide in the South than there is today.

The book reminded me of growing up poor in Kentucky in the 1970s and Christmases being skimpy and how Santa brought some kids much more than others.

I enjoyed the stories about the traditions that he and his family started and how they progressed in life.  However, my favorite story that he told was from one of the darkest times in American history.

Iranian Hostage

On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students/terrorists took over the U.S. Embassy in Teheran with 66 original hostages.  Thirteen of those were released two weeks later and another man, who was becoming seriously ill, was released in July 1980.

The other 52 Americans hostages were held for 444 days.

During the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House in December 1979, President Carter and his daughter, Amy, surprised America when she flipped the switch for the tree.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

President Carter writes, ” Amy and I planned a big surprised for the ceremony.  When the television cameras focused on her at the crucial moment, she threw the switch but no lights lit up on the tree except the single Star of Hope on top — a symbolic acknowledgement that we were not celebrating while our hostages were being held, but were confident that all of them would return safely and to freedom.”

In Christmas 1980, the lights on the tree were turned on for 417 seconds, one second for each day that the hostages were being held.  After that, only the Star of Light was lit up that holiday season.

In the final hours of his presidency on January 20, 1981, President Carter secured the hostages’ release.  Right as President Ronald Reagan completed his inaugural address after being sworn in, the 52 hostages were released into U.S. custody after 444 days.

Hostages Freed

And, one more funny story from the book became answers to Trivia Pursuit questions.

While President Carter was happy that he was the answer to the first American president born in a hospital, he was less thrilled with the answer about a quote from his mother, Lillian.  She said, “Sometimes when I look at my children, I wish I had remained a virgin.”

President Carter and Lillian Carter

BEST & WORST OF CHRISTMAS SONGS

Now that Christmas is over and radio is returning to playing the same tired twenty pop songs over and over, I have to say that I now have two Christmas songs that I despise.

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” has always been on that list.  However, I just realized this season how much I dislike “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”!

On the other hand, I could listen to my two favorite Christmas songs year around.  My second favorite is “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid.

And, my favorite Christmas song of all time is “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters!  Karen’s sweet, angelic voice still melts me to this day!

FINAL CHRISTMAS 2013 WISH

I know the holidays can be stressful and crazy, so to honor of the best season of “American Horror Story” so far, “Asylum”, since I haven’t seen “Coven” yet…

American-Horror-Story-Asylum-Happy-Holidays-1024x892

Happy New Year early!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 22, 2013

The weekend before Thanksgiving is here and we have a little light snow in the Quad Cities!  While I have a couple of events to attend and one to emcee, I want to start decorating inside!  Whatever plans you have this weekend, I hope you have a good one.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

TORNADO AFTERMATH

My heart goes out to the victims of last Sunday’s tornadoes in Illinois.  There were 119 reported tornadoes mostly in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Michigan.  (Tornadoes were also reported in Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee.)

Washington Illinois

Washington Illinois

Those are images of the devastation in Washington, Illinois, about 100 miles southeast of the Quad Cities, near Peoria.  Winds in that EF-4 tornado, that killed one man and injured 122 others, were determined to be around 190 miles-per-hour.

At least eight people died in the twisters, six in Illinois and two in Michigan.

THE WORLD CHANGED (AGAIN) 50 YEARS AGO TODAY

On November 22, 1963, Americans woke up and the Vietnam conflict was still raging on.  In Fort Worth, Texas, light rain was falling.

Later that day, the world would be shocked and saddened as President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.  Since then, there have been many books and movies that cover this tragic event.

parkland

“Parkland”, a little seen fall movie co-produced by actor Tom Hanks, is the latest.  While it covers the Kennedy shooting, it focuses more on what happened when the President and his shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, were both taken to Parkland Hospital, where they both died two days apart.

While only grossing about $650,000 in its limited theatrical run, the all-star movie features Zac Efron in a very mature role as Dr. Jim Carrico, the first doctor that attended to the ill-fated president.  The also stars Academy Award winner Marcia Gay Harden and Oscar nominees Paul Giamatti, Jackie Earle Haley, Billy Bob Thornton, and Jacki Weaver.

The movie is compelling and it doesn’t come across as a boring history recap.  It does feature some good-looking men, great 1960’s hair and decor, but a lot of blood.

GRADE:  B

THANKSGIVING INVITATION

If you’re looking for somewhere to spend Thanksgiving, to volunteer and serve food, or if you want to make food to serve those in need, feel free to help out my very dear and open-minded friends, Constance and Erin, and their church.  Here are the details.

Thanksgiving Riverside United Methodist Moline

For more on what they need:  http://qcriverside.com/volunteer-for-thanksgiving-dinner

JOAN JETT’S FLOAT FOR THE THANKSGIVING DAY PARADE

Rocker Joan Jett will be performing at next week’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  However, she’ll be changing floats because she’s a vegetarian!

Macys-Parade

She’ll no longer be performing on the South Dakota float.  The state’s Cattleman’s Association issued this statement, “When we learned that about Miss Jett, we were rightly concerned about her representing South Dakota and a state that is so heavily reliant on agriculture and livestock production to drive our economy.”

Joan Jett

Jett says, “I’ve decided to switch from South Dakota to another float because people’s political agendas were getting in the way of what should be a purely entertainment driven event.  I will remain focused on entertaining the millions of people watching, who will be celebrating a great American tradition.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Holiday Workout Madness Mental Institution

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  ASYLUM”

I know that millions of you are spending time with the witches in “Coven”, but Ray and I just got out of the “Asylum”.

While I loved the first season, “American Horror Story:  Murder House” with crazy Constance Langdon (Jessica Lange) and the strangely sexy, “Rubber Man”, the 13 episode, ten-hour second season, “Asylum”, was an emotional roller coaster ride of sadistic depravity, murder, sex, gore, and religion that I didn’t want to end.

American Horror Story Asylum

Although I just finished watching it, I want to go back and watch seasons one and two again!

In season one, it was easy to choose my favorite characters: Constance (Lange), her son, Tate (Evan Peters), her daughter, Addie (Jamie Brewer), and Chad (Zachary Quinto) and his lover, Patrick (Teddy Sears).  However, in season two, it’s impossible.

Sarah Paulson, who had a minor role in the first season, has plenty of scenery to chew on in the new installment.  She plays, Lana Winters, a lesbian reporter, in 1964, visiting Briarcliff Mental Institution to get an exclusive story on serial killer, “Bloody Face”.  Well, needless to say, and this isn’t a spoiler, Sister Jude (Lange) gets Lana institutionalized!

Sarah PaulsonJessica

Each returning actor plays a different character in each new season of “American Horror Story” and from the picture above of Sister Jude, you realize that some things change very quickly and there’s a reason why she doesn’t look very religious there.

What I love about the second season is that just when you think friendships are formed, things are not as they seem.  Each character doesn’t know who to trust!

zachary-quinto

Zachary Quinto was fantastic and creepy as Dr. Oliver Thredson and it was great to see Joseph Fiennes again, as Monsignor Timothy Howard.  While a man of the cloth, he does have some stimulating, partially clothed scenes and he has been working out! 🙂  (Totally non-related to this blog, but his full name is Joseph Twisleton Wykeham Fiennes.  Isn’t that a cool name?)

Joseph-Fiennes-American-Horror-Story

And, my final standout performance and character was the once meek Sister Mary Eunice.

Lily Rabe

Lily Rabe, the daughter of the late actress Jill Clayburgh, was incredible as her Mary Eunice transformed during the season.

While all of the episodes were spectacular, I think my favorite was “Unholy Night”.  You’ll never look at Christmas the same way again!

Unholy Night

Between mental illness, a serial killer named “Bloody Face”, Nazis, aliens, and medical experiments gone awry, let’s just hope that you never have to visit a facility like Briarcliff, unless it’s sitting on your couch.

GRADE:  A+

“SEXIEST MAN ALIVE”

Adam Levine is a very busy man.  He’s still recording music with Maroon 5, coaching singers on “The Voice”, and he was a guest on “American Horror Story:  Asylum”.

He now has another honor and accomplishment.  “People” magazine just named him this year’s “Sexiest Man Alive”!

adam-levine-tattoos

You mean that qualifies as sexy?  Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question.  And, if want an answer, say it like they do in the South, “hell yea”!

THIS IS WAY TO JINGLE BELLS!

K-Mart is ready for the holiday season and wants us to pay attention.  You have my attention and ’tis the season!

MOVIES THAT ARE TOO UPSETTING

“Entertainment Weekly” recently highlighted “8 Great Movies Too Upsetting To See Twice”.  Of those listed, I saw “United 93” several times.  It’s about one of the hijacked planes from 9-11 that was headed toward Washington D.C. when it crashed into a Pennsylvania field.

Some of the others listed were “Requiem for a Dream” (2000) and “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995).

Boys Don't Cry

I have one that “EW” left out.  I was blown away back in 2000 with Hilary Swank’s Oscar-winning performance in “Boys Don’t Cry”.  After seeing the movie, my sister bought me the VHS copy, which I haven’t opened nearly a decade later.  I’m sure I’ll watch it again, but not yet.

The movie is based on a true story.  Swank plays Brandon Teena, a Nebraska trans man, who was born a woman, but lived as a man.  Brandon was raped and killed by men from the small town when they found out.

“THE PURGE”

In this summer psychological thriller, it’s 2022 and crime and unemployment rates are at all-time low.  It’s because the government has instituted a 12-hour period once a year where all criminal activity, including murder, is legal.

While many are out for blood on this night, home security salesman James Sandin (Ethan Hawke), his wife, Mary (Lena Headey) and their two children are locked away in their home waiting out the 12-hour “purge”.

However, their son, Charlie, notices an injured man begging for help to get away from a group of masked criminals and he lets the man in.

The Purge Masks

The masked criminals are definitely creepy and add some life to an otherwise lifeless movie.  Needless to say, the masked group gets into the Sandin home, but what are neighbors for, if only to come in and save the day!  Or, do they do?

The $3 million dollar movie went on to gross $89.3 million and a sequel is in the works.

GRADE:  B-

CHENEY PUBLIC DISPUTE

It might be an interesting Thanksgiving at the Dick & Lynne Cheney household if all of the family gets together.

Liz Cheney

After their daughter, Liz, who’s running for political office in Wyoming reiterated her views on marriage equality (she told “Fox News Sunday” that she supports “the traditional definition of marriage”), her lesbian sister, Mary, blasted her on Facebook.

Mary wrote, “Liz — this isn’t just an issue on which we disagree you’re just wrong — and on the wrong side of history.”

Mary Cheney, Heather Poe

Mary’s wife, Heather Poe (left in above picture), also commented, “I can’t help but wonder how Liz would feel if as she moved from state to state, she discovered that her family was protected in one but not the other.  Yes, Liz, in fifteen states and the District of Columbia you are my sister-in-law.”

Here is the part that irritates me.  Mom and Dad Cheney and Liz all say that Liz loves her younger sister and her family (Mary and Heather have two children).  However, how can you say that and know that having those anti-marriage equality views denies every married LGBT couple countless benefits from the federal government and in 35 states!

Go Team Mary & Heather!

PICK HIT

Winning Grammy Awards and having international success doesn’t always make singers a household name in America.

Outside of the Latin music charts where she’s scored 16 hits in the U.S., most Americans probably don’t know Italian singer Laura Pausini.  She did score two #1 Billboard dance hits in 2003 from her English debut album, which is incredible.  Check out “Surrender” on YouTube.

Laura Pausini

In Italy, Pausini has scored 25 Top 40 hits.  Of those, 16 reached the Top Ten and six topped the chart.

She has sold around 70 million albums, singles, and DVDs worldwide.  For the first release, Limpido”, from “20 – The Greatest Hits”, which has is her latest #1 in Italy, Laura has teamed up with another international superstar with only modest success here in the U.S.

Kylie Minogue

Like Laura, Kylie has sold about 70 million records worldwide.  In the U.S., she’s had 5 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with two reaching the Top Ten.  However, in the U.K, Kylie has scored 49 Top 40 hits with 35 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 8 topped the charts!

This is their recent collaboration and I really hope I get to see them both in concert in 2014.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The English band, Haircut 100 only reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 one time.

““Love Plus One” only reached #37 in 1982.  Although that makes them a “one hit wonder”, it’s still one of my favorite songs of that decade.  The song did reach #8 on the Dance/Club Play chart.

It’s also featured in one of my favorite coming-of-age movies, “Edge of Seventeen”, from 1998.

CHRISTMAS SONG KICK-OFF

Okay, technically I’ve already featured videos from Kelly Clarkson and Erasure letting you know how much I love their new Christmas albums.  But, beginning this week and running through Christmas, I’ll feature one of my favorite holiday videos.

It’s from Janice Dickinson, one of the most successful models of the 1970s and 1980s and the self-described first “supermodel”.  She now runs a talent agency.

This is one that I watch multiple times each holiday season and I smile and laugh each time.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

I hope you enjoyed this week’s random thoughts as much as I love thinking about, researching, and writing them each week.  Let me know what you agree with and what you may not agree on.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Anthony