Posts Tagged ‘American Horror Story’

Fall Television & New Movies That Excite Me

When I was younger, I always looked forward to the fall television season.  It was fun seeing my favorite shows return and to check out some new ones.  Now that the television landscape has changed and shows return at different times throughout the year, it’s more exciting.

Usually, I don’t get too excited about new shows.  The ones I like usually get cancelled (“Commander In Chief”, “Invasion”, and “Eli Stone” to name a few.)

However, last weekend, we checked out the series premiere to “Red Band Society” (Fox), “Getting Away With Murder” (ABC), and “Madam Secretary” (CBS).

After just a couple of episodes, I gave up on “Red Band Society” and I don’t think I’m alone.  It might be the first cancellation of the fall season and all shows haven’t even debuted!

Tea Leoni was great in “Madam Secretary” and it is well written and acted.  But, Oscar nominee Viola Davis is incredible in “How To Get Away With Murder” and it’s my early favorite — so intelligent and sexy.

I’m still waiting to see “Gotham” (Fox), “Transparent (Amazon), “Stalker” (CBS), and “Gracepoint”(Fox).

Of course, I can’t wait for the new seasons of “The Walking Dead”, “American Horror Story”, “The Following” and “Hannibal”.


Whether it’s cancelled or renewed for a third season, I’m done with “Under The Dome” after the season two finale.  Sorry, Chesters Mill!


With summer behind us and the days getting shorter, I’m making a list of the movies and the Oscar contenders that I want to see this fall and winter.

Here are the ones that I plan on seeing on the big screen with a large popcorn!


“Gone Girl” (October 3)


“Exodus:  Gods And Kings”

“Into The Woods”

I’m really intrigued by this Nicole Kidman thriller, but I haven’t decided if it’s a theater movie or one that I’ll wait to see at home.

“Before I Go To Sleep”

And, here are the ones that I’ll likely be curled up on the couch and popping my own popcorn to watch when they come out on DVD.

“This Is Where I Leave You”

“Left Behind”


“The Guest”

“Maps To The Stars”

“The Best of Me”

“Horrible Bosses 2”


“The Imitation Game”

“The Interview”


Which ones are you interested in seeing and what new shows are you excited about this fall?



Good News About AIDS Deaths & “The Normal Heart”

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.


In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.


78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.


Re-posted from March 21, 2014:

Sad To Say Goodbye to Dexter

If you watch your television shows as they air, you said goodbye to Showtime’s “Dexter” on September 22, 2013.  The 9 p.m. broadcast brought in the largest overall audience in Showtime’s history.

Dexter S8

I’m one of those that try to avoid the spoilers and watch “Dexter”, “American Horror Story” and “Bates Motel” on DVD.

So, now that I’ve watched the final season and I don’t give away spoilers, it was a satisfying season, but it wasn’t my favorite.

I loved the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  The “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

My problem with the season was Dexter spending so little time doing what he does best — getting rid of bad people who slip through the cracks of the criminal justice system!  With my sexy man Dexter, I want more blood!


If you’ve never seen “Dexter”, you have to start watching it.  It’s one of the best shows ever on television.  Yes, sadistic and gory at times, but intelligent, sexy, and fun.  My last comment before I grade this last season, the last scene should have been left out and left to our imagination!

I ranked my favorite “Dexter” seasons back in my June 7, 2013 blog, and here is what I said then and I’ll add season 8 to the list.

Season 1: (A+)   — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  –   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) –  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) –  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  –  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  GRADE:  B


Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — December 20, 2013


World AIDS Day

Sadly, there are more than 1.1 million people in the United States that are HIV-positive and what’s scary is that 18% don’t even know that they are infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus infection), which can lead to AIDS.  That’s almost one-in-five people who don’t know they are HIV-positive!

Today, December 1, 2013, marks the 25th anniversary of “World AIDS Day”, which was started in 1988 to raise awareness to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

world aids day

Here’s some sobering numbers for you:  AIDS is still a problem, even if it’s now treatable.  There were still 15,529 deaths in the U.S. from AIDS in the U.S. in 2010.


White gay and bisexual men are the groups with the highest new infection rates and black gay and bisexual men follow right behind.


However, here’s something that needs to be addressed and people need to wake up.  While African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population, they account for 44% of new HIV cases in 2010/living with HIV.  And, Hispanics account for 16% of the U.S. population, but make up 21% of the new HIV cases/people living with HIV.

We’ve come a long way in the past 32 years, but we have a long way to go.

Flashback to the spring and early summer of 1981.  Doctors in New York and California started noticing that some of their young, gay patients were coming in with weakened immune systems and were developing pneumonia and cancer.


“The New York Times” published one of the first articles on this new disease that didn’t even have a name and was incorrectly labeled “GRID” (gay-related immune deficiency) in 1982.  It was changed to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) once doctors realized that it didn’t only affect gay men.

The early 1980s was a scary time because there was so much that doctors didn’t know about this “gay cancer”, as it was also called.  This led to fear and many misconceptions about who or how people could catch it.

Princess Diana

Ryan White Pic

Ryan White, an Indiana hemophiliac, contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion and he was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his 13th birthday during a partial-lung removal procedure.

His school refused to let him come back and the family was subjected to threats and a bullet was even fired into their living room forcing the family to leave Kokomo, Indiana.

Ryan White

Ryan died in April 1990 at the age of 18.

Jerry Falwell

Before Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in late 1984, Reverend Jerry Falwell in the summer of 1983 called AIDS, the “gay plague”.  He also made other ignorant and hateful comments about AIDS and gay people.


Sept 1986, Ken Died 3 Days Later

In the early-and-mid-1980s, a diagnosis of AIDS was an almost certain death sentence.  Outside of large metropolitan cities, many in America still thought it was a strictly a disease that affected gay men.

Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell

In retrospective, that doesn’t seem illogical because President Ronald Reagan didn’t even mention AIDS publicly until 1987, six years after he began his presidency and AIDS went public!


While the President chose to or just remained silent on the topic, the nation’s started talking in the summer of 1985 when one of America’s biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s startled the world when he admitted that he had AIDS.

Roy Scherer, Jr., who was born outside of Chicago, moved to Los Angeles in 1946 to become an actor after serving in the U.S. Navy in Philippines during World War II.  His name was changed to Rock Hudson and he became a matinée idol and made several romantic-comedies, including a few with his dear friend, actress Doris Day.

Doris Day Rock Hudson

Hudson was a heartthrob — a tall drink of water at 6’5″ — and the magazines loved him.

Rock Hudson 1951

However, rumors that he was gay dogged him.  When “Confidential” magazine threatened to out him in 1955, he got married that same year and then divorced in 1958.

In 1956, Hudson was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Giant” that also starred Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean.  He worked steadily in movies and television through 1985 and his last role was on “Dynasty” as Daniel Reece, the love interest of Linda Evan’s character, Krystle Carrington.

Rock Hudson Dynasty

While Hudson’s character was killed off in the spring of 1985, the gasp that could be heard around the world came months later, in July.  Hudson appeared in a promo to promote his friend, Doris Day’s new television show.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

The actor appeared thin and unhealthy.  He spoke incoherently during the press event.  This led to widespread speculation about his health.  Days later he collapsed at a hotel in Paris, France, and his publicist, Dale Olson, denied that Hudson had AIDS and that he was suffering from inoperable liver cancer.

Four days later, on July 25, 1985, Olson admitted that Hudson had AIDS and that he had been diagnosed one year earlier and had been flying to Paris for treatments.

People Headline

Hollywood freaked out over this revelation, including some on the set of “Dynasty”.  However, it’s been reported that Linda Evans was not one of those people even though they shared intimate love scenes together.

At the time, some erroneously thought that you could contract AIDS through kissing.  YOU CANNOT GET AIDS FROM KISSING!  This is a perfect time for the facts about HIV and AIDS.

HIV HIV Prevention

On October 2, 1985, Rock Hudson died at home in his sleep in Beverly Hills, California.  He was 59.

Rock Hudson 1950s

Shortly before he died, Hudson sent a telegram to Commitment to Life, a Hollywood AIDS benefit, saying “I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

Comedian Joan Rivers added, “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage.”  And, actress Morgan Fairchild said that “Rock Hudson’s death gave AIDS a face.”


While health officials worked tirelessly in the 1980s and 1990s to educate the public about HIV/AIDS, activists staged protests at government offices to work harder to fund research and to find a cure.

Slowly, Hollywood came around and “An Early Frost” on NBC in November 1985 was the first movie to address AIDS.

An Early Frost

34 million people tuned to see Aidan Quinn as a Chicago lawyer, who not only became ill with AIDS, but he also had to tell his parents (Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands) that he was gay.  The movie earned 14 Emmy nominations, winning three.

While it was the most watched show of the night beating out football and “Cagney & Lacey”, NBC lost $500,000 in commercial revenue because some clients were scared away by the subject matter.

Here are some other incredible Hollywood movies and television movies or series that excel at telling the HIV/AIDS story.

“Longtime Companion” (1989) is one of my all-time favorite movies.

While it was the first wide-release theatrical movie to address AIDS,  it only earned $4.6 million at the box office.  It stars Campbell Scott, Mary-Louise Parker, and Bruce Davison, who earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination.

It follows a group of New York City friends from the 1981 beginning of the AIDS pandemic and shows how they learned to live, fight, and die from the disease.

Longtime Companion

“And The Band Played On”, a 1993 HBO movie, is probably the best historical movie for you to learn about the history of AIDS without it sounding like a boring history lesson.  The Emmy Award winning movie (it won three out of its 14 nominations) stars Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Gere, and Phil Collins.

And, the book was written by Randy Shilts, who was born in Davenport, Iowa.


In 1993, “Philadelphia” became the most profitable AIDS movie in Hollywood history earning $206.7 million (almost $77 million of that was from the U.S.).

Tom Hanks won an Oscar playing a closeted lawyer at a big law firm, who is given the company’s biggest case only to have them fire him when a partner sees a lesion on his forehead and he is hospitalized.  He hires a homophobic, personal injury lawyer played by Denzel Washington.


Another touching small theatrical movie, “The Cure”, tells the story of Dexter, a Midwestern boy who befriends his latch-key neighbor, Erik, who’s a little older.  Initially, Erik is afraid of Dexter and his disease.  But, the boys form a close friendship when they decide to travel down the Mississippi River to New Orleans to find a rumored cure for AIDS.

The Cure

Not all AIDS-related movie are dramas.  “Jeffrey”, a 1995 film by funny man Paul Rudnick, made about $3.5 million at the box office and stars Steven Weber and Michael T. Weiss.

Weber is Jeffrey, a New York City man who is scared of catching AIDS, so he gives up sex and then he meets Steve, the man of his dreams only to find out that Steve is HIV-positive.

The movie features an all-star cast including Patrick Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, Sigourney Weaver, Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, and Kathy Najimy.


The play, “Angels in America” blasted onto HBO in 2003 with a cast that included Al Pacino, Meryl Streep (playing four characters), Emma Thompson, Jeffrey Wright (also playing four characters), Mary-Louise Parker and Patrick Wilson.  The almost six-hour series earned 21 Emmy nominations and 11 wins, including acting awards for Pacino, Streep, Parker, and Wright.

Angels in America

And, in 2014, Ryan Murphy, the man behind the award-winning series, “American Horror Story” and “Glee”, will be directing the Larry Kramer-penned, Tony Award-winning play, “The Normal Heart”.


The HBO movie stars Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons. Matt Bomer, and Taylor Kitsch, and focuses on the AIDS crisis in New York City in the early-1980s.

For those of you that don’t know him, Larry Kramer is and was one of the biggest health advocates in the history of HIV/AIDS and helped start the protest organization, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), in early 1987.



Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”!

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.


McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.



Madonna, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, the Pet Shop Boys, and many other musicians have recorded songs about HIV and AIDS and losing friends or lovers to the disease.

In 1986, Elton John was joined by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder on “That’s What Friends Are For”.  That Grammy Award-winning song reached #1 and raised over $3 million dollars for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, a nonprofit organization founded by some leading AIDS specialist and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Six years later, Elton John founded the nonprofit organization, the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  His 1992 hit, “The Last Song”, about a father and son reuniting before the son died of AIDS, was the first of Elton’s American singles to benefit his AIDS foundation.

While pop music embraced the fight against HIV/AIDS and lent a voice, it took the biggest name in country music almost twenty years ago to release a song that was controversial in that musical genre to put a heterosexual face to AIDS.

Reba She Thinks His Name Was John

Typically, summer radio is filled with bubbly, fun songs.  However, in 1994, Reba McEntire serviced “She Thinks His Name Was John” to country radio as the second single from “Read My Mind”.   The song tells the story of a woman, who is dying alone of AIDS after an alcohol-fueled one night stand a few years earlier.

The song only reached #14 on the Billboard County charts.  But, it opened eyes in a genre that was used to drinking songs, but not one with the horrors of a disease that affected a large number of gay men.

While things are changing, there’s still a long way to go in the fight against HIV and AIDS.  And, we still need to educate people.

Annie Lennox

Back in 2010, Annie Lennon of the Eurythimics wore a “HIV Positive” shirt on “Idol Gives Back”.  This prompted many to think that she was ill.

She replied, “I can tell you the good news is actually I am not. However, many people are. In fact, 22 million in sub-Saharan Africa are currently HIV positive.  And I am wearing this in solidarity with them because it’s very hard when you are HIV positive to be open about your status and to be able to tell your family and your friends.”

Annie Lennox

Red Ribbon

You may not see many people these days wearing red ribbons to raise awareness, but more people than ever are getting infected with HIV.  Last year, around the world, 2.3 million people were newly affected!


Since 1981, more than 636,000 people have died from AIDS in the United States.  If those numbers don’t wake you up, try these:

AmFAR Stats

On this “World AIDS Day”, remember those who have lost the battle with AIDS.  Whether you know it or not, I can almost guarantee that you know someone who is HIV-positive or that you will in the future.


Abstaining from sex is what some tell you to do.  That works.  However, if you’re going to be sexually active, protect yourself.  Use condoms!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”

HIV and AIDS are preventable.  Be safe.  It’s not just a slogan!



Random Friday Thoughts — September 20

The weekend is almost here.  I hope you have a great one since the weather in the Quad Cities is going to be ideal — plenty of sunshine and highs in the 70s!

Here are my random thoughts for this week.


As you’ve probably heard in the news and from reading my blogs, there is increasing pressure for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, because of the country’s homophobia and recent anti-gay laws.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Pop and gay icon, Cher recently declined an invitation to open the Olympics show.

Cher, whose new album, “Closer To The Truth” comes out next week says, “I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show.  I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there.  He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.”


Meanwhile, Elton John says he has to think of the LGBT people living in Russia and that his December concert in Moscow must go on.

Elton says, “I’ve got to go.  And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought:  Do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation.  As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.”


Kevin Rudd, the Former Prime Minister of Australia, had an interesting debate with a pastor during his re-election campaign.  While Rudd lost the election, he would definitely have gotten my vote.  This is priceless!


This weekend, millions will say goodbye to one of America’s favorite vigilante serial killers!  For me, that goodbye will come in early November when the eighth and final season of “Dexter” arrives on DVD.


As the series wraps up, star Michael C. Hall gives this hint as to what to expect, “Dexter, at different points over the life of the show, found himself entertaining the idea that he could be rehabilitated, that he could live a life that isn’t primarily in service of his Dark Passenger. … But things have happened that have taught him at least temporarily, and maybe more permanently, that that’s not a possibility.”

So, my friends, please don’t share with me any details of the finale.  I still have to wait another month or so!

And, sadly, I’ll have to say goodbye to one of my biggest television crushes — Dexter and Michael C. Hall!


On a brighter note, I’ll always have Paris, I mean, all eight seasons of “Dexter” on DVD! 🙂


After an incredible season, the summer’s most watched new series, “Under The Dome” limped through the final minutes of the first season’s finale.

While a few answers were provided, there was no “OMG” gasp to keep me hanging on until next summer.  What happened!!!!!!!


“The pink stars are falling; the pink stars are falling in line” until next summer!


The new fall season is rolling out on network television.  While I’ll have to wait until next year to see the new seasons of “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story:  Coven” on DVD, I won’t be investing too much time on new shows.

Last fall, I didn’t watch too many debut shows.  I started “Nashville” and “Elementary”, but I missed a few episodes here and there.  I plan on going back and catching up on those two.

I also watched “Malibu Country” with Reba on ABC, but it was cancelled after the first season.  As much as I love Reba, it was not as funny as her WB/CW series, “Reba” from 2001-2007, outside of Reba and Lily Tomlin, who played her mother.


While it wasn’t the fall season, I loved “The Following” and “Hannibal” earlier this year.

This season, there are only three shows that I’m trying out.

Tuesday night, I watched “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (ABC) with Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher and it was enjoyable and kept me entertained.   I’ll definitely be watching the second episode.

However, watching the last few minutes of its lead-in, “Dads”, the new Seth MacFarlane show, was painful.  I don’t want to call it a comedy because it wasn’t funny!

On Thursday, September 26th, I plan on checking out “The Crazy Ones” (CBS).  This will mark Robin Williams’ first series-regular role on television since 1982!  It also stars Sarah Michelle Gellar.  Even if turns out to be a painful 30 minutes, James Wolk will be good eye candy!

The Crazy Ones

But, the show that excites me the most is “Hostages” (CBS).

It stars Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress Toni Collette, who’ll always be Muriel Heslop (“You’re terrible Muriel”) from “Muriel’s Wedding” to me.  Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott also stars.


McDermott plays Duncan Carlisle, a rogue FBI agent that takes Ellen Sanders, a doctor who will be performing surgery on the President of the United States, and her family hostage.  She’s told that she has to assassinate the President or her family dies!

“Hostages” debuts on CBS Monday night, September 23rd.


Egg ChickenOffendedExpert


While I still have Ray’s big 50th birthday European cruise on the Danube River coming up in October and maybe a trip back home in early December to eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s, it’s not too early to be thinking of 2014.

Gretel want to go to Las Vegas and after an announcement this past Tuesday, I’m all for it.

Britney Spears just announced a two-year, $30 million deal to play 50 shows a year at Planet Hollywood!

Britney Piece of Me

So far, only the first 16 dates have been announced and it doesn’t cover Gretel’s spring break yet.

The 90-minute show makes its debut on December 27th and Britney says it’ll be a combination of club meeting theater.  I saw Britney in concert in the summer of 2011 on the “Femme Fatale” tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and she was fantastic.

Britney Las Vegas


Okay, this is a no-brainer.  “Work Bitch” is the first single from the upcoming unnamed Britney Spears album coming December 3rd.

The song was released earlier this week.

Britney Tweet

“You wanna live fancy?  Live in a big mansion?  Party in France?  You better work, bitch.”


So, does my love of Britney mean that Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson on “Glee”) is a wise man?

Darren Criss

Recently, in “Out” magazine, he commented about his fan base, “The funny thing is that—I’d say that older gay men are basically the same as 16-year-old girls. It all gets lost in the wash. Neither one is any crazier than the other.”

Have I reminded you lately that Darren touched my hand at the “Glee” concert a couple of years ago in Rosemont, Illinois?  He’s so adorable, but remember I’m crazy and crazy about Britney.  “Work Bitch”!


Next week, my sister, Tammy, celebrates her birthday on September 24th.

She moved here two years ago and we got to celebrate her birthday together for the first time in about twenty years.

Tammy 45

She’s already picked Olive Garden for her birthday meal this year!

Happy Birthday, little sister!


Betty, otherwise known as “Mom” arrived yesterday from Ohio to visit us until Monday.

Betty Last September

However, it wasn’t as simple as driving to the airport in Cleveland (90 minutes for Betty), flying to Chicago, and then to Moline.

Chicago Storms -- Flight Disaster

Because of early morning storms in Chicago, flights heading to O’Hare were grounded until early afternoon.  She sat at the airport in Cleveland from 6 a.m. until noon and they finally took off and arrived at 1 p.m.  Since she was flying no-revenue, standby, it was a long shot that there would be an open seat for her to Moline.

It’s a good thing that I drove the three hours to Chicago to pick her up Thursday afternoon, because all afternoon flights to the Quad Cities from Chicago were cancelled.  While she made here safely at 7 p.m. Thursday, her luggage is still M.I.A.

We’ll likely get it today when flights resume.  On a happier note, since she celebrated her 70th birthday late last month, we’ll be taking her to Osaka Buffet for lunch this weekend, since it’s one of her favorite places in the Quad Cities.  For the record, it’s one of my favorites and Gretel.

We’ll also hit the casinos for her to win a fortune and I hope the machines are loose for me, too.  I plan on giving up on the casinos after this weekend!


Since I talked about Cher earlier in the blog, why not flashback to the 1980s with her.

Cher had 11 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1964-1972 as part of the duo, Sonny & Cher, with her ex-husband, Sonny including the 1965 #1 smash, “I Got You Babe”.

However, she had more success as a solo artist.  From her first Top 40 hit in 1965 to her last Top 40 entry on the Hot 100 in 1999 with “Believe”, Cher scored 22 solo Top 40 hits with 12 of them reaching the Top Ten, and four making it all the way to the top of the charts:  “Gypsys, Tramps, & Thieves”, “Half-Breed”, and “Dark Lady” all in the early-1970s and then “Believe” in 1999.

Today, I’m featuring one of my favorite Cher songs (there’s so many to choose from!).  “We All Sleep Alone” reached #14 on the Hot 100 in 1988.

It’s a “Woman’s World” according to Cher’s recent #1 Billboard Dance chart hit and I’m happy to be a part of it.


Since I featured Britney’s new song, “Work Bitch” earlier in my blog, I’ll close out my blog on a happy, fun note from 1993 with a song that may have inspired Brit Brit.

RuPaul Andre Charles was a struggling musician and filmmaker in Atlanta in the 1980s, but gained national attention as a dancer in the B-52’s “Love Shack” video.  You couldn’t miss him unless you were looking for a very tall bald black man.

Love Shack RuPaul

RuPaul stormed onto the pop culture scene in the summer of 1993 when “Supermodel (You Better Work) reached #2 on the Billboard Dance chart and #45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While it wasn’t a huge radio hit, the song was played prominently in MTV’s video rotation back when they played videos!  And, it was one of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain’s favorite songs that year and the two of them (with his family) hung out together at the MTV Video Music Awards!

RuPaul Kurt Cobain

Sashay!  Shantay!  Shantay!  Shantay!  You better work and have a great weekend.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.



A Buffet of Thoughts — A Little of This & That

It feels like one of those days where I’d love to have a buffet!  But, I’m determined to eat healthy through Saturday when I leave for Houston.  So, I’ll have a blog buffet — where I talk a little about this and a little about that.


Watch out, Mitt Romney!!!  If the great people of the Buckeye State are correct and they have been since 1972, you’re in trouble.  Since Ohio is considered a “battleground” state that will be key in deciding the 2012 election, you’d better be spending much of your time, money, and efforts there.

Since 1972, Ohio has picked the winning candidate in the presidential election.  As a matter of fact, since 1944, the state has only picked the wrong candidate in the race for the White House one time!  Back in 1960, Ohio picked Republican Richard Nixon over Democratic winner John F. Kennedy by 6.6%.

In the latest CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters posted on Real Clear Politics, President Barack Obama leads Romney by 10%!

And, speaking of President Obama, I entered a contest the other day and the winner gets to have dinner with the President before the election.  While a long shot, Gretel is very excited.


While the Quad Cities will enjoy more “Indian Summer-like” weather (NOAA: “Indian Summer” is generally associated with a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions ushered in on a south or southwesterly breeze”), from this weather map you’d think that a storm would be bringing a dinosaur into the middle of the country!  I saw this a while back and saved it.  Too funny!

Sadly, the forecast for Houston Saturday when we arrive doesn’t look too great and will likely keep us from seeing the “Balloon Glow” of hot air balloons at the Johnson Space Center!   Bummer!  😦


Overnight, I was awakened around 2 a.m. by a noise down on the patio, which is located right below our bedroom window.  One of the cats heard it, too, and she was in the window peering outside.  As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw it.  A raccoon was scurrying around trying to get the can of fish food open after it knocked the container off the patio table.  I ran downstairs and turned on the patio light and it ran up the steps into the backyard away from me.  Like a warrior, I grabbed the water hose and started spraying it into the direction that it ran.

Those are pictures of the fish earlier in the week.  I think we need to find something to keep the raccoons away from them this week while we’re gone.  We definitely didn’t  fatten them up to be a meal for a nocturnal beast!



On Monday, my sister, Tammy, turned 46.  We celebrated by Ray making her dinner and we had pumpkin cake roll for dessert.  Tammy is not the only family member that would have been celebrating a birthday Monday.  She was born on my grandmother Helen’s birthday.

Had my grandmother been alive, she would have been 99 years old!!!


I’m so excited to see the new Ben Affleck movie, “Argo” when it’s released on October 12th.  I’ll be in Las Vegas and I plan on finding a movie theater.  I’ve already expressed interest in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “The Paperboy”, “Lincoln”, and “Zero Dark Thirty”.  Now, I’ve added another one to the list.

“Entertainment Weekly” calls “The Impossible”, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, a “shocking tsunami drama” based on one family’s experience of the Indian Ocean tsunami that hit on Christmas Day (our time) 2004.  The trailer looks incredible.


I know that I just blogged two days ago about the new Mattel Barbie coming out and that I still didn’t get my Reba doll from last year, but here are a few nice places you can shop this year and know that some of your money goes toward marriage equality.


While I wait for the new ABC Reba McEntire comedy, “Malibu Country” (November 2nd), the only new television show I’ve checked out this fall is “The New Normal”, from Ryan Murphy (“Glee”, “American Horror Story”, and “Nip/Tuck”).  It focuses on a gay Los Angeles couple (Bryan and David) wanting to have a baby.  Goldie, who just moved to LA from Ohio agrees to be their surrogate mother for $35,000 to go back to law school and to make a better life for her daughter, Shania.

It’s funny and enjoyable.  The premiere episode has been the best.  The ensemble cast is great and the standouts are Ellen Barkin (Goldie’s grandmother), NeNe Leakes (Bryan’s personal assistant), and Bebe Wood (Shania, Goldie’s pre-teen daughter).

Sadly, the ratings for the NBC show have already started slipping from almost 7 million viewers for the first two episodes to around 5 million for Tuesday night’s politically-charged episode, “Obama Mama”.  Check out this extended preview if you haven’t already watched the show.

Tonight (Thursday night), I want to check out CBS’ new take on Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary”.  It’s not because I’m a fan of the detective.  It’s because I’ve had the hots for Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband, Jonny Lee Miller, ever since he played “Eli Stone” on ABC (thanks for cancelling that ABC, bad call!).

Speaking of hots, Miller’s version of Holmes is even tattooed! 🙂

And, finally, Sunday night is the seventh season premiere of “Dexter”.  And, we’re only two weeks away from the new season “The Walking Dead”!  I love this post to thank the show’s 10 million Facebook fans!

And, the new season of “American Horror Story” is coming, along with the final season of “Fringe”.


With the trees beginning to turn and mums opening up, colors are beginning to pop.  Did you know that in the winter of 1636, tulip mania hit Holland and for some time, bulbs traded for the price of houses? Crazy!  Although I’d never pay that much for anything, other than a house, the sight is majestic!


While I await the new Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, “On This Winter’s Night” and  Blake Shelton’s Christmas album (because it features Reba), the album I’m really excited about is Calvin Harris’ “18 Months” (October 29, 2012).

For those that don’t know him, he’s a Scottish DJ and producer.  He also spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Rihanna on “We Found Love”.  He’s also had other hits like, “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.  His new song, “Sweet Nothing”, features Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.

And, FYI, I still cringe when I hear the current Taylor Swift song, “We Are Never Blah Blah Blah”!


I’ll leave with you this amazing quote from Chinese journalist Hu Shuli, “Believe in what you do, do it smartly, and never give up.”

Have a great day and thanks for checking out my buffet blog.



Fall Is A Time For Cooler Weather & Horror Stories

Now that Labor Day is behind us, that means summer is unofficially over.

However, after reaching the 90s again Tuesday in the Quad Cities (since May, we’ve reached 90° or higher 45 times, which ranks 7th for most 90° days in a calendar year), I’m ready for the cooler weather that’s on the way this weekend.  This morning’s rain will help trend temperatures downward and with more rain Thursday night and Friday, it’s going to feel like fall.  By Saturday, highs will be in the low-70s with lows in the 40s.  Brrrrrr!!!!!!  🙂

Up until a couple of years ago, my favorite season was winter.  Now, while my favorite season is still Christmas and I love snow, autumn has moved to the top of my list thanks to brutal winter temperatures in the Midwest.

At home, we’re already breaking out the autumn decorations. The wreath on the door is just the first phase.

Last week, I bought two new bags of coffee, caramel apple and pumpkin spice, to usher in autumn.  We tried the caramel apple Monday morning and it’s yummy.

Weather aside, I love August and September because the latest seasons of “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead” and “Fringe” arrive on DVD and new episodes start airing on Showtime, AMC, and Fox, respectively.  This will be the last season of “Fringe” and it’s only going to be 13 episodes.

Sadly, it took me and Ray no time to butcher and dispose of season six of “Dexter” in August and to devour season two of “The Walking Dead” last week and this weekend like crazed, hungry zombies.

If you’re not a fan of gore or zombies, then you need to skip to the last line of the blog.  If you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead”, chances are that you’ve either already watched the first two seasons when they aired or you’re watching them now.  Nevertheless, I’m giving you a warning that I will mention a couple of plots that will be spoilers, so skip ahead to the end of the blog, too.

While season one of “The Walking Dead” consisted of only six episodes, the second season was 13 episodes.  The third season, which premieres on AMC October 14th, will be 16 episodes long and will be presented in two parts.  Eight will air in the fall and the final eight in early 2013.

9 million people watched the season two finale when it aired last spring, which made it the most-watched basic cable drama telecast in history!!

Season one showed how survivors in Atlanta dealt with “the walkers”, the updated word for zombies, and season two focuses on Sheriff Rick Grimes, his wife, their son, and the people that they picked up along the roadway in their quest to stay alive.

There was plenty of gore in season one, but the blood, guts, and gore factor is magnified in season two and it’s not just because there are seven more episodes.  The increasingly violent way that the survivors on Hershel’s farm, the place where Rick and company find refuge after a tragedy involving one of the two kids that in the group, kill the undead is amazing and it makes sense.  They are scared and are fighting for their lives.

This isn’t like horror movie sequels when the body count goes up and the gore factor increases because the story line is lacking.  There are plenty of subplots in “The Walking Dead”, but you have to consider that in the two months since “the walkers” took over the country (and maybe the world), one mistake by the survivors could cost them their life or the lives of someone they care for.

In a few scenes, (the well, the woods with the hanging walker, and the barn), the producers make you stop and think that these “walkers” were once family members and loved ones before they just wanted to eat you.  It adds humanity to the river of blood and gore.

There are some very tense moments between Sheriff Grimes and his partner, Shane, and a love triangle that drive the men apart.

Three characters (two major) die this season and in the midst of sadness, some of the survivors find love and new reasons to live and fight to keep the others alive for season three!

One of my favorite interactions is when a couple takes a box of condoms from the pharmacy on a medical run into town and decide to test them right then and there.  Back at the farm, the male character states, “You know, we still have eleven condoms.”  The female looks at him and says, “You see eleven condoms, I see eleven minutes of my life I’m never gettin’ back.”  Awesome!

That shows how witty and intelligent “The Walking Dead” is.  It’s not just a gore fest or a reject from SyFy.  It’s the real deal!

Some fans complained at how slow the season was at the beginning when the group was searching for a missing member.  I didn’t think it was slow.  There were other plots to keep the story moving along.

There were two major massacres, one at mid-season and in the finale.  I will say that after the incredible mid-season shootout with “the walkers” in an episode called “Pretty Much Dead Already”, that the next two episodes, “Nebraska” and “Triggerfinger” didn’t really gel with me and felt out of place.  However, the series quickly rebounded and remains one of my favorite series on television.

And, Andrew Lincoln (“Sheriff Rick Grimes”) is so adorable and sexy trading in his real-life British accent for a southern drawl in the series!

With “The Walking Dead” season two finished, I guess I should focus my attention on season two of “American Horror Story” and see what crazy, amazing things Jessica Lange will do in this season called “Asylum”.

For now, with the days getting shorter and the nights getting longer and vacation season kicking off for me Thursday, September 13th, I’ll just focus on fun and putting together my Halloween costume to go trick or treating with Gretel.  I also think she wants to go on a haunted hay ride, which I think would be fun.