Posts Tagged ‘anti-gay’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 17, 2017

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re part of the 55% of Americans that celebrate the day.

Roses

If you’re in a relationship, I hope you got chocolates, flowers, or whatever makes you happy.  And, if you’re not seeing anyone, I hope you treated yourself to something nice.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

We just finished binge-watching the first four seasons of “House of Cards”.

I absolutely love Robin Wright as First Lady Claire Underwood and Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood.

Season five debuts on Netflix May 30, 2017.

If you haven’t watched the show and you love politics, you have to start!

Check out this amazing scene from season three.  Claire has to tell the world that an American citizen jailed in Russia for being openly gay and protesting the country’s anti-LGBT laws committed suicide.

To Russia and the rest of the world that still think this way (Americans, #45, and his cabinet members, some of you could use some educating, too), wake up, open your eyes and your heart, and let’s start more of a dialogue!

A NEGRO TRAVEL GUIDE?

It’s sad to think this is reality, but it’s definitely not hard to believe in our country with all the hatred — then and now.

I was reading an “Out” magazine article that mentioned “The Negro Motorist Green Book”.

TNMGB.gif

It was a resource travel guide that started publication in 1933.

Its purpose was to keep black motorists safe and to let them know what places refused to serve non-whites, provide information on “sundown towns”, predominately or all-white towns that practiced segregation, and much more.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there must have been enough security (or hope) in the United States that it ceased publication in 1966.

Sadly, with the open hatred of people that aren’t white in the “post-January 20, 2017th world”, it might need to come back.

And, while we’re at it, maybe a rainbow version is needed, too, to keep the LGBT community safe from the haters, too!

PICK HIT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Last fall, as Michael Buble was ready to launch his latest album, “Nobody But Me”, he and his wife, model Luisana Lopilato, dropped out of the public eye when his 3-year-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with cancer.

buble-family

Two weeks ago, Buble released this encouraging update:

MB.jpg

Last Friday, the video to “I Believe in You” was released and if you don’t smile or shed a tear after seeing this video, hopefully you got a heart for Valentine’s Day because you need one. 🙂

Oh, if that didn’t encourage you to watch it, Derek Hough of “Dancing With The Stars” fame is absolutely drop dead gorgeous (and shirtless) in the video!!!!!!

REMEMBERING EMMANUELLE RIVA

With so many celebrity deaths already this year, the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva was pretty much overlooked in America.  She died of cancer January 27, 2017, in Paris.

In 2012, she became the oldest woman to earn an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for her heartbreaking turn in “Amour”. (She was 85 at the time.)

“Amour” was my #6 movie of 2013.

“REMNANTS”

Whether country music stations play her new songs or not, LeAnn Rimes’ albums usually debut in the Top Ten on the Country Albums charts.

Her last Top Ten album on the Billboard 200, which includes all genres, was 2007’s “Family”.

LeAnn Rimes is back with her latest album, “Remnants” and it’s flawless.

remnants

I definitely love LeAnn’s country music.  My favorites in that genre are “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Some People”,”One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”, and “Big Deal”.

I met LeAnn in Salisbury, Maryland, in the fall of 2005.  She was a sweetheart.

AnthonyLeAnn

LeAnn has released many pop-oriented albums in her career and “Twisted Angel” (2002) is still one of my all-time favorites of hers.

Her new album, “Remnants” is the latest pop effort.  It was released last fall in the U.K. and just came out last week here in the U.S.

The highest charting single from the new album is “Long Live Love”.  The Dave Aude remix is currently #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

Twelve of the thirteen songs on “Remnants” are absolutely perfect!

My favorites are the soulful “Do It Wrong”, the religious-tinted “I Couldn’t Do That To Me”, “Love Is Love Is Love” (which LeAnn sings about not wanting to start an argument, just a conversation about tyrants, politics, religion, and love), the torch song-sounding “Outrageous Love”, and “The Story”.

Just because radio is missing out this amazing voice and music doesn’t mean you have to!

GRADE:  A

“SING IT NOW: SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE”

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is Reba McEntire’s 29th studio album, but it’s her first Christian album.

Reba faith.jpg

It debuted at #1 on this week’s Billboard County Albums chart and at the top of the Christian Albums chart, too.  On the Billboard 200 Albums chart, which includes all music, it debuted all the way up at #4.

It sold 52,000 copies in its first week!

I’ve always wanted Reba to do a full gospel album after she recorded “Sky Full of Angels” for her 2003 “Room To Breathe” album.

The deluxe version of the new album features 22 songs.

“Back To God” is the first single.

On the gospel classics, Reba’s voice and musicianship are simple and stunning!

There are many songs that, if you didn’t know more about this album, you’d think they were just more Reba country songs.

But, as Reba once joked around the 1995 release of “Starting Over” album, whatever genre of music she sings becomes country when the words come out of her mouth.

The song I love the most on the album is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.  The album version is four minutes of pure bliss!

My favorite “country” gospel numbers on this album are “I’ll Fly Away”, Hallelujah Amen”, “I Got The Lord on My Side”, “How Sweet Thou Art”, “Sing It Now”, “Oh Happy Day”, and “God And My Girlfriends”.

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is almost perfect.  I think when an artist stretches an album out to 22 songs, there are ultimately a couple that wouldn’t have made the cut on a shorter album.  But, I’ll take those songs here just to have more new Reba music.

With the divisive election last November and the circus of the past few weeks, this album does soothe the soul.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church that preached all about fire, brimstone, and damnation and I still find solace in gospel music!

Reba, if you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!

GRADE: B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Merry Xmas (Christmas) To All

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and the electoral college picked its next president of the United States since the candidate with a two million vote lead didn’t win!

Tomorrow, we’ll be sitting down and enjoying Thanksgiving feasts with our families and friends.

Our Turkey 2012

People are decorating their homes, writing out Christmas cards, and making holiday gift lists and checking them twice.

Meanwhile, radio stations are transitioning from their tired playlists to treat us with holiday standards while sprinkling in a few new offerings of Christmas musical cheer.

This year, I added “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and Kacey Musgraves’ “A Very Kacey Christmas”  — both country selections — to my Christmas musical library.

I’d recommend both of them, but avoid the new Straight No Chaser Christmas offering.  Pick up their first album, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition” instead.

Yet, I know I’ll resort to listening to The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” (1978) , Michael Buble “Christmas” (2011), Mariah Carey “Merry Christmas” (1994), and Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas to You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) over and over again.

I love Christmas music so much that I could listen to it year around.

Christmas is just so magical.  I’m mesmerized by the twinkling of the lights and I love holidays parties. I can’t get enough of the appetizers and the baked goodies — the cookies, fudge and divinity, and even the fruitcake!

funny_fruitcake

Each year, my Christmas cards are mailed the day before Thanksgiving to begin the trek across the country.

Xmas.jpg

I’m smiling now because I’m sure someone has already commented on Facebook where the link to this blog was first posted because I put Xmas in the title line.

I know that many people get their tinsel all twisted (that’s a Christmas way of saying “get their panties in a wad”) when they see “Merry Xmas”!

christ-in-chrismas

They say that writing Xmas takes Christ out of “Christmas”.  After all, he’s the reason for the season!

The whole Christ, Christmas, and Xmas debate got me to thinking.

People get so up in arms about leaving “Christ” in “Christmas”, yet many of those same people claiming to be Christians and living for the Lord can be so hateful and judgmental.

All of a sudden it hit me.  Maybe these same people should take a moment to put Christ back into Christian”! At that point, I decided to write about it and I really thought I was on to something.

As Indiana’s governor, we had Vice President-elect Mike Pence doing all he could do to be discriminatory to LGBT people in his state until businesses started moving out (or threatening to) and it cost Indiana money.

Pence

He’s one of those people — “Christians”.  Note there that “Christians” is in quotation marks. They are the ones that use religion to hate or discriminate — “Christians”.

Then there are those that love and live for the Lord that also love their fellow man for who they are.  They are the true Christians!

As someone who doesn’t believe in “organized religion”, but prays to God and believes in a higher power, I’m all about loving the Lord and trying to live the best life I can.

However, when you “religious freedom” to hate, I don’t think my Lord would like that very much.

pence-gay-marriage

So, when I started putting this together, I did a quick Google image search to add a fun and colorful graphic to the story.

It was then that I found that my whole thought process of putting “Christ” back in “Christian” to off set “Christ” in “Christmas” wasn’t such an original idea!

Christ in Christian.jpg

Here’s the bottom line for me. I never write Xmas in a Christmas card, nor do I type it online (except in today’s blog to drive home a point!).

It has nothing to do with keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

In the same line of thinking, when you go to talk about “Christ” this Christmas, live up to what he was preaching.  Love your fellow man (or woman) whether they live the same way of life as you.

It’s something that I try to do every day and not just at Xmas.  (Ha, I was just seeing if you were still reading.)  I fail and then I just try harder the next time.

Christmas will always be Christmas to me and not Xmas.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Krampusnacht!  Happy Yule!  Happy Chalica!

Whatever you celebrate, have a great December and an even better 2017!

christmascocktails

Anthony

Why We Should Fear Marco Rubio

Florida Republican U.S. Senator Marco Rubio saw a surge in his political profile after last Monday’s Iowa Caucus.

Marco Rubio

He finished third, but it was a major boost to the candidate that had taken a back seat to blowhards Donald Trump and Ted Cruz in the campaign.

However, now that the spotlight is on the rising young star, he might be cracking a bit under the pressure.  In a debate Saturday night before the upcoming New Hampshire Primary, Rubio got frustrated over badgering from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

It prompted Christie to comment, “he gets very unruly when he gets off his talking points.”

Christie is on to something here and Rubio will be the first to tell you that he gets agitated easily and when confronted, he loses it.  He confessed that, as much, in his book, “An American Son”.

I just read it and I enjoyed it.  I’ll have more on that book and the introduction to his family, but first I want to focus on why I think Rubio is not right for America.  Actually, why he scares me and should scare you.

WHY RUBIO SCARES ME…

There are reasons more than being anti-gay.

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know Rubio over 307 pages.  However, I have a couple of issues with his own trustworthiness.

In a recent Republican debate, in his commercials, and in his speech last week after the Iowa Caucus, Rubio bashed Hillary Clinton over honesty.

president-hillary

Yet, nowhere in the book did he mention that he was arrested in a Florida park after hours in 1990 on a misdemeanor charge, yet he shared getting sick on vodka shots on a plane and vomiting on a high-ranking person in the Republican party, talked about going to “foam party” in clubs, and other things he did when he was younger.  Yet, no mention of the arrest?

And, then there’s the issue that his parents were Cuban exiles that immigrated to the United States in 1956 instead of 1959, when the guerrilla war reached its peak and Fidel Castro took office as prime minister.

He only “learned” of this when newspapers reported the inaccuracies???  As detailed as the book was, I find it hard to believe this only surfaced once it went public!

So, who has trust issues, Mr. Rubio?

Marco Rubio

In a recent blog, in an effort be more diversified, I crossed the aisle and read Mike Huckabee’s “Do The Right Thing”.  After the Prologue, his close-mindedness bored me.

I also said “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.”  While I can’t take credit for it, his abysmal showing in the Iowa Caucus earlier this week prompted him to suspend his run for president that never really a “run”.  It was more like a limp.

Now about Rubio’s “An American Son”.

It was a much better book and story than Huckabee’s.  In an alternate universe (where Rubio liked gay families and didn’t use the word “conservative” like it was dirty), I could see liking the man.

Just based on the book, I would love to sit down and have dinner with him and his wife Jeanette to show them that I pray to God every night and I’m a kind and loving person that just happens not to fit into the “conservative values” circle.

I enjoyed hearing about his wonderful parents and their struggles leaving Cuba and working all their lives to give their kids a life they didn’t have.

Rubio told a very touching story about a struggling woman looking into the eyes of her newborn child, just your parents did to you.  His “people” (inner political handlers) didn’t want him to tell the story even though it was very heartfelt.  The reason?  It’d make sound like a Democrat!  If human = Democrat, I have two things going for me.

By the way, his wife, Jeanette was touched by it and wanted him to tell that story.  That’s another reason I think I’d like her.

Rubio also spoke about the 2008 election when Barack Obama won.  He became teary-eyed because of the significance of an African American being elected to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world.  That night he “was so proud to be an American”.  He knew he’d have plenty of time to fight the president to turn the country around because it was heading in the “wrong direction”.

CarterPres

I disagree with Rubio on his anti-Jimmy Carter sentiments he learned his grandfather.  Jimmy Carter is still my favorite president that was dealt a bad hand while in office.

Also, we’re at odds when he stated that the way Bill Clinton’s administration handled the Elian Gonzales case “arguably, it cost Al Gore the election” in 2000.

Arguably is right.  We know how that election was lost — Republican shadiness in Florida — “arguably”!

So, the bottom line is, I really want to like Rubio.  But, I’m not willing to give back the rights and happiness I’ve been given over the past few years as an American.

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — February 28, 2014

It’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2014 are already behind us.  I sure hope that with March starting this weekend that spring can’t be too far behind.  With that being said, enjoy the snowy weekend.  Here are my random thoughts for this week.

DISGUSTED WITH UGANDA

This past Monday, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed a controversial law that makes being gay punishable by life in prison.  Before this week, a gay person faced 14 years of jail time.

Uganda President

Museveni had been going back and forth over the issue and just last week he said that gay people were “sick” and needed treatment and not imprisonment.

He added that this is necessary because of the arrogance of Westerners promoting behavior that threatens Ugandans’ “way of life”.

Here’s a reality check for you, President Museveni:  my being gay and open about it does not threaten the “way of life” in your nation (and the other 37 African countries that make it illegal to be gay).  What you should be threatened by is losing the $1.6 billion aid that you received in 2011 from the United States!

UGANDAN AID BEING CUT

In wake of Museveni signing that law, Norway, Denmark, and the Netherlands were the first three countries to cut aid to the Ugandan government.

Pink News

Pink News, Europe’s largest gay news service, reports that Norway and Denmark will donate money directly to human rights groups now and not the government there.

The news service also reports that the U.K. is making changes.  It will now only send money to multilateral aid agencies and non-governmental organizations in Uganda.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT — ARIZONA

Normally, in this segment, I don’t add commentary.  But, this week, I must.

Wednesday night, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer vetoed SB 1062 that would have allowed individuals and businesses to refuse service based on religion, especially toward the LGBT community.

While I applaud Governor Brewer for vetoing it, in my heart, I feel that she did it because of the money Arizona stood to lose and not because it was the right thing to do.

Today’s “Food For Thought” is for the 17 Senators and the 33 Representatives that voted for the ill-fated and bad SB 1062 in the first place!

Uganda Arizona  ArizonaGay Wedding Cake

“HANNIBAL” RETURNS

The critically acclaimed and ratings challenged NBC series based on the Thomas Harris novel, “Red Dragon”, returns tonight (February 28th).

Hannibal S2

For the 2 million people in the U.S. that were still watching the series for the June finale last year, Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen) had done his part to drive FBI criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) mad and Will was jailed for murder.

If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.

“Entertainment Weekly” and NBC released this two-minute opening teaser for tonight’s premiere.  Let me warn you, it’s awesome and violent.  It also makes you wonder what led up to this scene because once you watch it, you know they will flash back to let you know how this transpired!

“EW” definitely likes the season 2 premiere!

EW Hannibal Review

For the thirteen episodes this season, I really hope that we see much more of Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychotherapist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

Gillian Anderson Hannibal

I can’t get enough of my crush, Gillian Anderson!

BREAKING NEWS…. MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND

Sick of Winter

Remember, I’m only the messenger.  But, in reality, I’m shooting for 70″ this winter and the all-time record!

This is where we stand right now before any snow falls today, tomorrow, and Sunday in the Quad Cities.

Snow Stats -- Friday Morning

Light snow is on the way later this evening and tonight.  This first wave will be gone by daybreak Saturday.  Accumulations will generally be less than an inch for most of us.  Northern hometowns near the Wisconsin border may see a little more — closer to 2″.

More snow is on the way Saturday afternoon into early Sunday night.

This Weekend

Here is how much snow I’m expecting from Friday evening through Sunday night.  This snow will be falling over a three-day period and not all at once!

Snow This Weekend

‘Tis the season!  Yes, it’s still winter!

SNOW SWIMMING!

Obviously some in Duluth, Minnesota, look at snow differently than we do in the Quad Cities!

Duluth has had about 84″ of snow this winter and there’s still about 29″ on the ground.

Snow?  I didn’t notice snow in the video!

OSCAR WEEKEND 2014

I’ll be staying up past my bedtime Sunday to watch some or all of this year’s Oscars with host Ellen DeGeneres.

While I’ll post my Oscar picks for all 24 categories Sunday morning, including Best Picture, I’ll touch on a few here.

After seeing the incredible performances of Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, both nominated this year, for “August: Osage County”, I wanted them both to win.  Their performances were flawless.

august-osage-county- Julia Roberts Meryl Streep

However, I don’t think either will take home the Oscar.

Although I haven’t seen “Gravity” yet, I don’t want  Sandra Bullock to win, as much as I love her.  Yes, I’m still jaded that she beat Meryl for “The Blind Side”.  Meryl’s Julia Child in “Julie & Julia” was much more deserving.

Cate Blue Jasmine

For Best Actress, Cate Blanchett will win for her devastating and heartbreaking performance in “Blue Jasmine”.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

I also pick Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey to win for  “Best Supporting Actor” and “Best Actor”, respectively, for  their incredible performances in “Dallas Buyers Club”.

My other 21 winning picks will be revealed Sunday!

“BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU’RE DEAD”

Last weekend, we watched two more of the late, great actor Philip Seymour Hoffman’s movies, “The Savages” and “Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead”.

Both were amazing and I highly recommend them for different reasons.

“Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead” was released in 2007 and was director’s Sidney Lumet’s last movie before his death in 2011.

before_the_devil_knows_youre_dead

The $18 million dollar crime drama barely made its money back at the theaters ($25 million), but it was highly entertaining and it kept you guessing as to how it would end.

Hoffman played Andy, a finance executive at a New York City real estate firm, who was embezzling money from the company to help support his drug use.  In a scary case of real-life deja vu, it was hard watching Hoffman shooting up drugs.

He devises a plan with his brother Hank (Oscar nominee Ethan Hawke) to knock off a small mom & pop jewelry store, which would net them about $120,000.  As you can guess, things don’t go as planned.

The movie also stars Oscar winner Marisa Tomei and five-time Academy Award nominee Albert Finney.

I have a warning and a spoiler about the movie:  I’ll never get the image of Hoffman’s naked butt, while having sex with his wife, in the opening scene out of my mind — ever!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“THE SAVAGES”

We also watched Hoffman’s 2011 family dramedy, “The Savages”, which earned co-star Laura Linney an Oscar nomination.  The movie was also nominated for Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Tamara Jenkins.

E25SavagesB

Hoffman and Linney star as a couple of single New Yorkers, who have to come up with a plan to take care of their estranged elderly father suffering from dementia in Arizona.

While the subject matter is heavy at times, it’s also heartwarming and funny.  I’m a huge fan of Laura Linney, so it was a pleasure seeing her in the movie.

The movie was produced by Academy Award winner Alexander Payne, who’s up for an Oscar this year for directing “Nebraska”.

GRADE:  B

With these two movies, I’ve now seen ten Hoffman movies:  “Twister” (1996), “Boogie Nights” (1997 — his Scotty J. was heartbreaking), “Happiness” (1998 — a sad, creepy performance in an amazing movie that made you want to shower after watching it), “Magnolia” (1999), “The Talented Mr. Ripley” (1999), “Red Dragon” (2002 — slimy, sleazy, but unforgettable as Freddy Lounds), “Doubt” (2008 — touching and worthy of the Oscar nomination), and “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” (2013).

PICK HIT

“Take Me Home” by the dance band, Cash Cash, featuring vocals from Bebe Rexha is my pick hit of the week.

While the song has already reached the Top Ten in Australia and on the Billboard Dance chart, it only reached #64 on the Hot 100.

However, it’s one of the 20 most played songs right now on Top 40 radio stations in the  U.S.

It’s still a great song to get your weekend off to a fun start.

“MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES”

I’m almost done with Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” nine-book series.  Over the past week, I read books seven and eight, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “Mary Ann in Autumn”, respectively.

If you’re familiar with the series, Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”) is one of the original tenants of Mrs. Madrigal’s 28 Barbary Lane.

Michael Tolliver Lives

It’s now 2005, almost thirty years since the first book.  Michael is no longer a youngster from Orlando, Florida, living in San Francisco’s Castro.  He’s now married to a younger man about 20 years his junior.  It’s a very happy union.

The bleakness from the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, is gone, even when we learn of an original “Tales” character’s death to cancer and the death of a loved one closer to Michael.

Also, the book is told in first person from Michael, which is a departure from the third person story telling of the previous six books.

“Michael Tolliver Lives” is one of my favorite books of the “Tales” series.

At the end of “Michael Tolliver Lives”, Mary Ann Singleton, now a married woman on the East Coast, returned briefly to visit an elderly friend that may not recover from a stroke.

Mary Ann

In “Mary Ann in Autumn”, it’s a couple of years later and Mary Ann and “Mouse” are back together again in San Francisco almost thirty years after they first met in 1970s.

A couple of secrets brings Mary Ann back to cry on Michael’s shoulder.  All of the years and the tears of twenty years apart are forgotten when they examine their friendship and what they’ve been missing.  It brought me so much joy to see them together poking fun at each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they head toward their golden years — both are in their late fifties and early sixties now!

And, boy, does Maupin have a few shockers up his sleeve that go all the way back to the original “Tales” book.

As much as I loved “Michael Tolliver Lives”, “Mary Ann In Autumn” is my new favorite after the first book.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

One of my favorite songs as a kid was “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Texan Jeannie C. Riley.

Jeannie C. Riley

I used to play the record over and over as a 4-year-old.  I played it so much that my older step-sister too the record away from me and broke it!

The song went on to sell six million copies and it became the first song by a woman to top both the Billboard Hot 100 and the Billboard Country charts at the same time.   That was in 1968.  The next time that would happen would be in 1981 with “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton.

From 1968-1972, Jeannie C. Riley would score 14 hits on the country charts.  Of those, six would reach the Top Ten.  “Harper Valley P.T.A.” was her first and only #1 hit.

Later in the 1970s, Riley would become a “born again Christian” and she briefly distanced herself from the sexy and risque song, but she never stopped performing it.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

That’s enough random thoughts for one blog.  I have no plans this weekend and I just might take advantage of the freshly fallen snow and go sledding with Gretel.  It’ll take me back to December 2010 when Ray, Gretel, Miss ABBA, and I took advantage of the winter wonderland.

Sledding December 2010

Ray Gretel ABBA December 2010

Anthony

Happy Birthday! Let’s Have Cake!

It’s a very special birthday for me today.  It’s not my actual birthday.  That’s in October.

My blog turns two years old today!  Happy Birthday!

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

I want to thank each and every one of you that took minutes of your day to read my thoughts regardless of the subject.  And, I also want to thank you for sharing your views on my blog whether you agreed or disagreed with me on the topic.  I love to write and share my thoughts and if it gets people to think, that’s even better.

Here are a few interesting numbers.  I can’t believe that in the two years, the blog was viewed roughly 227,500 times.  If I had continued to blog daily over the past year since I started my new job and schedule, it would have easily surpassed a quarter of a million hits in the two years!  That’s incredible.

The most viewed blog day was last Saturday with details on the weekend snowstorm and this week’s Arctic cold outbreak (2,328 views).

Some of the more popular blogs that I’ve written (in number of views) were about Adele’s weight and eating disorders, John Travolta coming out of the closet, Magic Mike, the Erie, Illinois school board’s decision to ban a book about alternative families (gay), my leaving WQAD, and then getting hired at CBS4 in the Quad Cities.

The most viewed blog over the two years (25,052 views) was about 50 Cent.

50

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/01/29/super-bowl-bet-50-cent-ill-pay-you-a-dollar-to-keep-it-to-yourself/

But, here are some of my favorite blogs I’ve shared with you.

“THERE IS A HEAVEN & I’LL BE GOING THERE ONE DAY”

february-3-2012-daddy-a-abba

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/there-is-a-heaven-ill-be-going-there-one-day/

“I WAS THE CHOSEN ONE”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/05/i-was-the-chosen-one/

“ABBA: MY BEST FRIEND”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/03/abba-my-best-friend/

“DO WE REALLY NEED TO TELL ADELE SHE’S “TOO FAT”?”

adele out

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/do-we-really-need-to-tell-adele-shes-too-fat/

“THE BOOK OF REVELATION SCARED ME AWAY FROM CHURCH”

lake_of_fire

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“OUR EATING HABITS ARE KILLING US”

72ozSteaklarger

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

“HAVE YOUR RECEPTION HERE UNLESS YOU’RE GAY”

uclublogo

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/have-your-reception-here-unless-youre-gay/

“EVENTUALLY, ALL DYNASTIES FALL”

Robertson

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/eventually-all-dynasties-fall/

As we head into the third year, I hope you come along with me to see what I might be writing about next.

You can also use the search at the top of blog page to look for topics that might interest you to see if I blogged about it.

Again, thank you.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8

The weekend is almost here and I’m so ready for it.  We have friends coming over for dinner Saturday night and I plan on putting up the outdoor Christmas lights Sunday.

In addition to working on today’s blog and still posting pictures of our European trip on Facebook, I started working on my Christmas cards this week.  I ended up not buying the poinsettia Christmas stamps that I featured a few weeks ago in my blog.  When I went to the post office, they had these awesome little decorated Christmas Gingerbread houses!

GingerBreadHouses-Forever-Block4-Singles-v2

Here are my random Friday thoughts.

TOTALLY GIVING UP ON EMINEM

By the time you read this, Eminem’s latest album that was released Tuesday will have already sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

After years of spewing anti-gay lyrics in his songs, I thought he was “evolving”.  I read an old “Rolling Stone” article after he crashed from drug abuse and it actually made him sound very down to earth and more human.  And, in 2010, he even made comments to support marriage equality.

Eminem

However, he’s back to his old ways.  Check out these disgusting lyrics from “Rap God” on his new album.

“Break a motherf**ker’s table over the back of a couple of fa**ots and crack it in half”, “You fags think it’s all a game till I walk a flock of flames off a plank, and tell me what in the f*ck are you thinking” and “Little gay looking boy/So gay I can barely say it with a straight face looking boy/You witnessing a massacre like you watching a church gathering.”

And, his views toward women haven’t softened any either, “They asking me to eliminate some of the women hate/But if you take into consideration the bitter hatred that I had/Then you may be a little patient and more sympathetic to the situation/And understand the discrimination”.

elton-john-and-eminem1

Eminem has performed with and befriended openly gay singers Elton John and Sia, who scored big with “Titanium” with David Guetta.  She even has a duet with him on the new album.

After hearing the lyrics to “Rap God”, in a Twitter discussion with a fan, she initially defended Eminem as not personally being homophobic, but added, “I truly understand your point, and am certainly experiencing fear around the repercussions if he doesn’t explain his art.  I am queer, and love my queers, young and old. I work with the Center and homeless LGBT kids, and when I heard ‘Rap God’ I was very anxious.  He has a character called Slim Shady who represents the worst and darkest bile of America. I see how it can be unclear.”

sia

You may or may not be shocked at how many homophobic remarks popped up against Sia and the fan from Eminem fans!  Very sad!

Sia is now donating the proceeds she receives from the Eminem collaboration, “Beautiful Pain”, to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, a 50-bed shelter and transitional living program geared toward LGBT homeless youth.

Here is how Eminem responded to “Rolling Stone” for his upcoming cover story about “Rap God” being anti-gay, “It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then…  And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career – man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves.”

Maybe that “real me” that is Marshall Mathers III (Eminem) is really okay with LGBT people.  But, I don’t understand how he’ll spew hate, I mean, raps that are homophobic that advocate young or uneducated people to have such vile and hateful thoughts toward the LGBT community!

Maybe I just don’t get it!

ILLINOIS HOUSE DOES THE RIGHT THING!

With a vote of 61-54-2 Tuesday, the Illinois House says “yes” to marriage equality!

The Illinois Senate approved this back in February with a 34-21 vote.

Marriage Equality Illinois

The “Land of Lincoln” is now the 15th state (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage available to all residents.  Governor Pat Quinn plans on signing it into law on November 20th.

Locally, I want to say “thank you” to Representatives Pat Verschoore and Mike Smiddy for their “yea” votes!

Same-sex marriages in Illinois will begin on June 1, 2014.

THE COUNTDOWN TO “ARTPOP”

It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since Lady Gaga released “Born This Way” and in just a few days, we get “ARTPOP”, Gaga’s third full-length studio album.

ARTPOP

Several of the album’s 15 songs have been made public, including the Top 5 Hot 100 hit “Applause”, along with “Aura”, “Dope”, “Venus”, and her new single, a duet with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want”, which is already racing up the charts.

Here is Lady Gaga’s recent performance of “Venus” and “Do What U Want” on “The X Factor” UK, which prompted several complaints for being too adult!  Seriously?

OUR FISH LOVE THE RECENT RAIN

During the drought in the Quad Cities this summer, it was a struggle to keep the water level up in the fish pond.

As we head deeper into fall and eventually winter, last week’s almost two inches of rain and the one-half inch that fell earlier this week really made a big difference in giving our 13 fish (our original six and the newly acquired, older, and bigger ones) plenty of water.  And, we’ve already added the de-icer to keep the pond from freezing this winter.  So, bring on the snow!

Fish Pond Late February 2013

IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

While we’re still weeks away from decorating the inside of our house, this weekend I’m decorating the outside before it gets too cold!  We have some new lights that we bought for half-price last Christmas.  This is what it looked like two years ago.

Christmastime 2011

I love following charts, whether it’s music, movie, or whatever.  As I was looking at the Mediabase charts and playlists, the first Christmas song of the season is at #43 today on the Adult Contemporary (AC) airplay chart.  AC stations are usually the ones that embrace and switch over to Christmas first.

“Underneath The Tree” was the song from Kelly Clarkson’s new album, “Wrapped in Red”.

“WRAPPED IN RED”

I love Kelly Clarkson’s music and her voice, but I have to admit that two other variables put it at the top of my new CD wish list:  it’s a Christmas album and it features Reba McEntire!

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

Reba and Trisha Yearwood join Kelly on “Silent Night”, the last song on the album.

While Reba’s version on her own 1987 album, “Merry Christmas To You” is flawless, the arrangement on the new version is spectacular.

Of the album’s 14 tracks, eight are Christmas classics and Kelly does each one justice.

Kelly’s versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Please Come Home For Christmas”, “Blue Christmas”, and “White Christmas” are my favorites of the classics.  And, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, joins Kelly on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

Most of the originals are strong songs, too.  My favorites of the six original are the slow tempo, “Winter Dream (Brandon’s Song)”, dedicated to her new husband, the upbeat, fun, and catchy “4 Carats” and the new single, “Underneath The Tree”.

It’s going to take many more listens, but “Just For Now” doesn’t do anything for me — for a Christmas album.

GRADE:  A-

A holiday television special to promote the album, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale” was filmed live in Las Vegas last week and it’ll air on NBC on December 11th.  It also features Reba, Trisha, and Ronnie.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Mommie DearestHuckabee

VeteransDay

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Marketing is very important in what we watch, wear, drive, drink, and eat.  Advertisement agencies make billions and earn billions for their clients by cleverly encouraging us to spend our hard-earned money on their products.

But, I have to ask, did this agency close its doors after this ad campaign and what was Burger King in Singapore thinking?

burger-king_seven-incher

Last January when I was in Las Vegas for the Lady Gaga concert, I visited the old downtown area and Fremont Street for the first time and the Heart Attack Grill stood out to me.

Heart Attack Grill Las Vegas

The restaurant features the “Quadruple Bypass Burger” (four half-pound beef patties, twenty strips of bacon, eight slices of American cheese, a whole tomato, one-half of an onion served in a bun coated with lard).  It checks in at a whopping 9,982 calories!

Quadruple Bypass

Disgusting!

“THE WAY WAY BACK”

On our recent flight to Europe on Swiss Airlines, we watched the coming of age dramedy, “The Way Way Back”, rated PG-13.

The movie focuses on 14-year-old Duncan, played by the incredible 17-year-old Canadian actor Liam James, as he spends his summer vacation seaside in Cape Cod with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell).

Trent is a total jerk, which is made clear in the opening scene of the movie when he forces Duncan to rate himself on a scale of one-to-ten.  When the teenager says “six”, Trent proceeds to tell him he’s just a three!

All summer long, Trent stays on Duncan’s case.  To escape the misery, the teenager sneaks away to a local water park, Water Whizz, and befriends Owen (Sam Rockwell).

Duncan and Owen

While the movie features stellar performances from all of the actors, the standout is Allison Janey, who plays a boozer, Betty, who lives next door.  Her one liners kept me laughing and her comic timing is impeccable!  (“See You Next Tuesday”!)  If you’ve seen the movie, you’re laughing at that line right now. 🙂

“The Way Way Back” is a must see this fall!

GRADE:  A

“NOW YOU SEE ME”

If you love magic, suspense, and action, this summer caper is the movie for you.  The $75 million motion picture made $351.7 million and a sequel is in the works and is expected to begin production next summer.

Now You See Me

In the movie, four street magicians are summoned by an unknown benefactor and make their debut as “The Four Horsemen” in Las Vegas.

Their Vegas finale is to rob a bank of millions of Euros in Paris, France.  The movie follows them as they continue to dazzle crowds by stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and giving it to the audience while trying not to get caught by the FBI and Interpol.

“Now You See Me” stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Common, and Michael Caine.

If you loved Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” or “Zombieland”, you’re going to love him in “Now You See Me”.  And, I was really digging his long hair in this movie.

Jesse

GRADE:  B 

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Corey Hart was one of my biggest crushes back in the mid-to-late-1980s and my favorite Canadian export.

His latest release is with Papercha$er, “Night Visions (Sunglasses)”.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Corey+Hart

Hart hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 nine times, but only two of those songs reached the Top Ten hits.

In 1985, he took “Never Surrender” to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, but it was “Sunglasses at Night”, his first hit that made it up to #7 that captured my attention and provided me with my second entertainment crush.  John Schneider (Bo Duke, from “The Dukes of Hazzard”) was the first!

FINAL THOUGHTS

That’s it for this week.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Let me know what you think of my random thoughts or let me know your random thoughts!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 13

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

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

Rain

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

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

Here are my random thoughts for this week!

I DON’T FEEL THAT I’M HYPOCRITICAL

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

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

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

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

RUSSIA-RIGHTS-GAY-DEMOUganda

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

ChickFilA

I don’t think that makes me a hypocrite!

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

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

Alexei Zhuravlev

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

So sad!

WE NEED OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN NEXT YEAR

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

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

Debby_boone_christmas

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

Olivia

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

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

IT’S NOT TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT CHRISTMAS

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

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

Erasure Snow Globe

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

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

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

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

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Stop Believing

Emotional Rollercoaster Highlights

“WORK BITCH”

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

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

Britney Britney Tweet 1

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

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

RuPaul Tweet

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

REMEMBERING 9/11

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

9 11

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

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

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

ANOTHER SOLEMN ANNIVERSARY

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

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

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

And_band_played_on_(1993)

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

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

Randy Shilts

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

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

A HAPPIER ANNIVERSARY

x-files

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

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

It made David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson stars.

Gillian David The X-Files

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

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

Happy Anniversary, “The X-Files”.

CRAZY ASS PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Sometimes, I pick mainstream songs and video to showcase.

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

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

The Fox Billboard Hot 100

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

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

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

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

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

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

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

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

the-walking-dead-walker-zombie2

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

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

Anthony