Posts Tagged ‘antigay’

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

Two more snow events are on the way to the Northland of Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan this weekend.

With almost three feet of snow this month, by Friday night, this will be the snowiest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota, breaking the record set back in 1939!

I hope you have a great weekend whatever you do and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

I’ll preface this by saying that I want “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to be innocent and that this media circus has been one big misunderstanding.

Okay, that was my feeble attempt at thinking the best.

You’ve heard a lot about the case this week, but I first blogged about it three weeks ago.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor reported to Chicago police that two men yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

jussie-smollett

The story has taken a strange turn and now it seems that Smollett MAY have orchestrated the whole ordeal for the publicity and to get more money from “Empire”!

He turned himself into police late this week for allegedly filing a false police report about the racist and homophobic attack!  A judge set his bond at $100,000 and Smollett had to turn over his passport.

IF HE’S GUILTY, I hope he goes to jail and that he NEVER works again!

IF HE’S GUILTY, in the mind of people that don’t like people of color and the LGBTQ community, this stunt will call into doubt every hate crime and every gay bashing reported to police in the future!

And, it’ll also make the LGBTQ community and people of color more reluctant to even report hate crimes!

Again, I hope that this turns out to be a huge misunderstanding.  Sadly, it’s not looking that way!

Here’s why I’m thinking that:  Our country has a nasty history of hate crimes against people based on race and sexual orientation.

Many times, when LGBTQ people and people of color are attacked, it’s not just a punch to the face and name calling!  These attacks are usually very violent and sometimes lead to death!

Two names quickly come to mind:  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

It’s Academy Awards weekend!  I’ve never been to an Oscars party, but I think it’s be fun.  Well, the food spread and drinking sounds fun!

Here are the movies and actors that I think will take Oscar home!

I predict “Roma” will win Best Picture, but I don’t think it should!

While I haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, I saw “Roma” and it didn’t even make my Top 20 list of favorite movies of 2018!

Oscars 1.JPG

While I pick Christian Bale to win, I really, really hope that Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) wins!

Oscars 2.JPG

Oscars 3.JPG

“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

This movie tells the story of the final years of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Willem Dafoe earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of the tormented, alcoholic van Gogh.

It’s a decent movie and Dafoe is great, but I’m not sure that he deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

He was also was nominated for an Oscar last year for the fantastic “The Florida Project” (my #14 movie of 2018).

Last year, I even wrote that he didn’t deserve that nomination!  Clearly, the Academy and his peers love him.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fantastic, and if I had to choose, his van Gogh was more Oscar worthy of the two roles.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about “At Eternity’s Gate” and the van Gogh brothers:

Defoe, who played Vincent, is 63 and van Gogh died at the age of 37!

Vincent van Gogh was four years older than his brother, Theo, but Rupert Friend (“Homeland”), who played Theo, is only 37 in real life! 🙂

And, finally, Theo van Gogh died at the age of 33 just six months after Vincent died!

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

This movie is about Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 run for the Democratic nomination for president.

His campaigned ended after news broke of an extramarital affair.  His argument was that it was his private life and it shouldn’t affect his job as president.

Remember, this was a time before reporters ran with stories like this.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reporters knew about John F. Kennedy’s affairs, but didn’t make them public.

I love Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga, who play Hart and his long suffering wife, Lee.

They both had some powerful scenes, but it seemed like the movie dragged on longer than his 1984 and 1988 presidential runs!

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

As I mentioned last week, I’m going through my movie collection and watching old movies to either get rid of or save.

One gem that made the save list was “Angels of Sex” which I talked about in my last blog.  Another one that I enjoyed much more the second time around was the 2008 Israeli film, “Antarctica”.

Director Yair Hochner’s love story follows a group of very sexy men and women around Tel Aviv searching for that special one (or just a good time)!

It’s a very sensual movie with nudity and graphic sex scenes.  Israelis definitely know how to make a movie sexy and erotic without it automatically being seen as soft porn!

Yiftach Mizrahi (Danny) was stunning and he can act and dance beautifully!

P.S.  This trailer may be a little risque for some!

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

I just finished reading Evan Thomas’ 2000 biography, “Robert Kennedy:  His Life”.

Robert Kennedy.JPG

It paints a very interesting look at RFK 32 years after he was gunned down in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic California Primary in his 1968 presidential run.

The book touches on RFK’s neglected childhood following in the shadows of his two older, golden brothers.

Thomas doesn’t shy away from showing the nasty, dark side of RFK and what he did to make his brother, John F. Kennedy, president and a very successful one.

It also shows how he became a fighter for the disenfranchised — blacks, poor and other minorities.

I’ve written before about how much I love Bobby Kennedy and how great it would have been if he had become our 37th president.

However, there’s still something about him (and the other Kennedys) that I still have a problem with today.

Recently, I wrote this while talking about Jackie Kennedy, “By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.”

I also said, “Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.”

Thomas also touches on RFK’s fear of gay people.  Like Jackie and John, I hope that Bobby would have “evolved”.  Remember, this was the 1950s and 1960s and there was no such thing as “gay rights” or openly and accepted people in the LGBTQ community.

Bobby Kennedy

So, I’ll still crush on the image of the youthful and charming Bobby Kennedy with reservations about the homophobia.

And, I learned from Thomas that RFK hated popping corks of champagne bottles!

Come on RFK, what’s up with that?  I love champagne and there’s only so much I can overlook! 🙂

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

While technically “Bobby Kennedy For President” wasn’t a movie, I ranked this excellent Netflix documentary as my #11 movie of 2018.

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

Before reading the book on RFK, I read Ted Sorensen’s 800-plus page biography of John F. Kennedy and Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack” and Andersen’s “The Day John Died”.

JOHN DIED

While I did learn things about JFK, Jr., a lot of the book was a rehash of “Jackie After Jack”, especially when he talked of Jackie and how she dominated her son’s life and the Kennedy Camelot legacy.

Also, I didn’t care much for Andersen’s highly speculative dramatization of events in the minutes before John John’s plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, in 1999.

That crashed not only killed JFK, Jr., but also his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren.

Skip it!

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

ORIGINAL POST:  November 23, 2016

UPDATED:  November 28, 2017

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and we’ve already enjoyed our Thanksgiving feasts.

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.

I added one Christmas CD to my collection, “My Kind of Christmas” by Reba McEntire.

REBA

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 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

Random Friday Thoughts — February 21, 2014

My favorite two days of the week are upon us — the weekend.  Okay, technically, those aren’t “days”.  But, I’m sure you get the point.

Whatever you have planned, make the best of it and enjoy.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

FIVE YEARS!  HERE’S TO FIVE MORE…

Saturday marks the fifth year that Ray and I met in person for the first time.  While we chatted before then, we had drinks for the first time on February 22, 2009.   It was champagne and we hit it off rather well and after he left, Miss ABBA, the golden, and I talked and agreed that he was worth a second date.

That came a couple of days later with lunch at Exotic Thai in Moline and the rest is history, as they say.

Here’s one of our first pictures together from the spring of 2009!

Ray Anthony Spring 2009

To mark five years together, we’ll have champagne this weekend and go have lunch at Exotic Thai Monday.  We do that each year to mark those dates and Miss ABBA is still with us — in our hearts.

“LOOKING”

The eight episode, HBO series, “Looking”, is about three gay friends in San Francisco looking to find themselves and love.

Looking

It stars Jonathan Groff, who is best known for his Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award winning role on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and on “Glee” as Jesse St. James.  He also voices the character of Kristoff in the worldwide Disney smash, “Frozen”.

Frozen

“Looking” has been criticized as “boring” and lacking diversity, even with one of the leads and a major recurring character being Hispanic.

I love the show.  It’s funny and it’s sexy.  My only gripe is that there’s only eight episodes and they’re only 30 minutes long!

Here’s the trailer and remember that it’s HBO, so there are so are some adult themes.

I have to admit that I have a crush on Patrick, Groff’s character.  Or, maybe I just have a crush on Groff?

JENNIFER NETTLES IS AN ALLY

Jennifer Nettles, the leader singer of the country duo Sugarland and a married mother of a one-year-old boy, is a friend of the LGBT community.

jennifer-nettles

Nettles tells PrideSource that country music is slowly evolving and becoming more accepting.  “It’s exciting to see within the country genre, yet at the same time, for me in terms of social motivation and evolution and moving forward, I always feel — be it within a music genre or a religious movement or whatever — like, ‘OK, come on, let’s move faster. Let’s get there faster. Let’s get it done.”

She adds, “This should have already been behind us. So I am excited about it, but I want it to continue and be more.”

Sugarland, featuring former member Kristen Hall, who is a lesbian, took “Something More” to #2 on the Billboard Country chart in 2005, from their debut album, “Twice The Speed of Life”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Sarah Palin Olympics Shoveling SnowSummer Hot

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

We’ve had a lot of snow this winter.  We’re now up to 54.3″ in the Quad Cities.

21714 Snow Update

That makes this the 5th snowiest winter on record (and the snowiest since I moved to the Quad Cities in November 2005)!

However, there’s some confusion.  A local newspaper and some local television meteorologists are reporting it as the “snowiest winter” on record.  What they are referring to is the snowiest “meteorological winter” on record.   “Meteorological winter” is the months of December, January, and February.

But, if you use that analogy, do you magically just forget about the snow that falls in October, November, March, and April?  That’s why when we list the snowiest winters on record, the National Weather Service runs the snow totals from summer to summer to cover all the snows from the first to the last.

One thing that isn’t confusing.  It’s the snowiest February on record in the Quad Cities with 21.8″!

Here’s a cool shot of the solar lights around our fish ponds trying to shine through the snow.

Snow globes

Gretel is definitely making the most of the snowy winter.

Gretel Snow HillGretel in Snow

At this point last winter, we had only picked up 14.5″ of snow in the Quad Cities!

“MOST UNPLEASANT CITY RIVALING SOCHI”

How would you like to win that honor?  Russia’s blantant homophobia aside, we’ve heard the less than desirable reports of hotel and facility issues with the 2014 Winter Olympics hosting city.

Now, MissTravel.com, a travel dating site, recently polled more than 3,000 people and asked what the “most unpleasant city rivaling Sochi” is and the winner (or loser) was Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

In second place was New Delhi, the capital of India.  Also ranking high on the list was Rio de Janerio, the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics!

Two American cities also made the list, Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio.

I lived and worked in Youngstown for years from the late 1990s until the summer of 2002 and met some really nice people there.  I hope I don’t lose friends over what I’m going to say.  And, to put a positive spin on the dubious “honor”, I’ll start with a nice photo of Youngstown.

Youngstown 2

When I talk to people about all the places I’ve lived (there have been ten), I refer to the former booming steel town as “the most deplorable city I’ve ever lived.”

I know the loss of the steel mills and jobs, rampant crime, and mob activity took its toll.  From 1930-1960, more than 165,000 people called Youngstown home.  In 2012, the population is down almost 100,000 people to just around 65,000!

Youngstown 1

Sorry, Youngstown.  I guess I’m not alone.

SERIOUSLY, BILLY RAY CYRUS IS BACK ON THE CHART AGAIN!

I was still living in Kentucky, in 1992, when “Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus was so popular.  It spent five weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At the time, I was appalled by the song and the fact that we were both from Kentucky.  I was okay with the down home country image that Loretta Lynn portrayed to the world about the Bluegrass state, but not with Cyrus!

Then, when Reba appeared on “TV Guide” with him, I just about died.

Reba Billy Ray Cyrus

Now, I have to admit that I took a chance and listened to the new Buck 22 song, “Achy Break 2”, which features Miley’s dad!  And, Billy, you rock now.

“Achy Breaky 2” is at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is up to #11 on the Hot Rap songs chart!

So, to make amends, here’s a more recent picture of Reba and Billy Ray.

More recent Reba BRC

Billy Ray, this is my sincerest apologies for disliking you so much more than twenty years ago!

One final note is that Buck 22 is Damon Elliott, a well-respected music producer and the son of singer Dionne Warwick!

“ENOUGH SAID”

This little romantic comedy that made $21.8 million at the box office was one of the last roles for the late “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini.

Enough Said

He and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a couple of divorcees, Albert and Eve, who meet at a party and start dating.  The only problem is that Eve is the masseuse of Albert’s ex-wife and she starts filling Eve’s head with all of Albert’s faults.

The movie is very touching and very funny.  It’s hilarious to watch these two awkward adults fall for each other.

GRADE:  B+

“CARRIE”

I absolutely love the 1976 original with Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.

Carrie

So, I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other when I heard that a remake was coming out.  I love director Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry”, so having her behind the movie helped.  It was also a positive that stars Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”) and Julianne Moore are incredible.

Carrie

While some of the special effects were awesome, the high school drama seemed very Disney and silly.  Maybe it’s because the original was so creepy that the suspense never built up for me in this one.

For a dollar in Redbox, you might enjoy it.  Otherwise, watch the original.

GRADE:  C

“SURE OF YOU”

I finished reading my eighth book of 2014 this week, “Sure of You”, which is the sixth book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” series.

Sure of You

While you may not have read them, you’ve likely been following along with me about the book series in my blog.

It’s now 1988, twelve years after the first book and three years after the last book, “Significant Others”.   While the book had some fun parts, this was my least favorite of the series, so far, because there wasn’t much happiness to be found.

Like real life, friends drift apart over the years and that takes place here with some of Barbary Lane’s favorite tenants.

One chance meeting in the last book leads to love in this book and that is a happy point.  However, one person becomes very successful and leaves San Fransisco and their family for fame in the “Big Apple”.

“DJANGO UNCHAINED”

I finally got around to seeing my first Quentin Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained”.

Dja

The lengthy, Oscar-winning movie for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Christop Waltz was entertaining and fun.  However, it too long and too much of a joke.

Maybe that was the intent — to make you laugh through the horror that was slavery in America.  Even the shoot outs were jokey and fake with the overkill of blood.  Don’t get me wrong, I love “The Walking Dead”, “Dexter”, “Hannibal”, and “American Horror Story”.  So, I can handle the blood.

After seeing this, I’m really ready to see this subject matter handled accurately with “12 Years A Slave”!

GRADE:  B-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

In 2014, I’m taking a break from the 1980s music and featuring some of the country songs I loved growing up and when I listened to more country before going pop!

I remember a couple of my favorites from Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band.

Gatlin Brothers

From 1973 until their last hit in 1989, the trio reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart 34 times.  Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and 3 topped the chart.

My favorites were “Broken Lady” (#5, 1976) and “All The Gold In California” (#1, 1979).

When researching Larry Gatlin for the chart information, I was surprised to see that he’s very conservative (not a problem) and a regular contributor for Fox News (less comfortable).  So, I was concerned about featuring the song because I didn’t want to promote him if he was anti-gay.  But, I haven’t come across anything to point to that.  Hopefully that proves that you can be a “Christian” and not be anti-gay!

Granted, if I learn otherwise about Gatlin, I’ll come in and delete this and that will be another blog topic altogether!

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Other than the plans I mentioned earlier, I’m having lunch with Ray and my sister, Tammy, Saturday and enjoying a blizzard tonight!

No, you didn’t miss a weather report.  I’m talking about a Red Velvet Cake Blizzard, silly!

Red Velvet Blizzard

After posting this blog early Friday morning, I added this line Friday afternoon because my local Dairy Queen was out of Red Velvet Cake blizzard!

That might be a good thing because I’m getting mixed reviews about them.  Some say they weren’t good, but I also heard that they excellent.  Oh well, better luck with the next blizzard, Peeps!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 18, 2013

It’s been a hectic week since I celebrated my birthday last weekend and this weekend is going to be another crazy one.

After work this morning, we’re off to Chicago for my annual physical and then this evening, we take off for Zurich, Switzerland.

We’ll be there for about 24 hours and then fly to Budapest, Hungary.  Originally, that’s where we were going to board our “Sound of Music” Danube River cruise of Europe to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday.  But, there is a mechanical problem at a dam and the cruise ship cannot get to Budapest.  We now have to take a two-hour bus ride and embark on the cruise in Bratislava, Slovakia!

Sound of Music Cruise

If you missed the details of the trip, here’s the blog I wrote about it back in August:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/plans-for-a-milestone-birthday/

Here are my random thoughts for the week!  Enjoy your weekend!

HOBBY LOBBY ISN’T VERY HOLLY JOLLY!

It’s not even Halloween yet, so many of you might not be thinking of decorating for Christmas.  But, if you are, you can find anything you want for the holidays at Hobby Lobby!

Hobby Lobby

That is, unless you celebrate Hanukkah!

The chain of more than 550 stores nationwide is owned by conservative billionaire Steve Green and it seems that Hobby Lobby refused to carry Hanukkah items like paper dreidels, menorah-making kits, or greeting cards because of Green’s “Christian values”.

hobby-lobby-jewish-hanukkah-goods

New Jersey blogger Ken Berwitz made this public in late September.  He even quoted a Hobby Lobby employee telling a woman asking about bar mitzvah cards, “We don’t cater to you people”.

The company then responded to Religion News Service, “Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is currently working with our buyers over our merchandise selection. Our customers have brought this to our attention and we are currently evaluating our Holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”

Steve Green

After the uproar, it now appears that things will change at some Hobby Lobby stores.  Green issued this statement, “We do not have any problems selling items that celebrate Jewish holidays.  We have in the past and have decided we would try it again in some of the markets where we have Jewish population.”

A group that fights anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League, accepts Green’s apology.  The group says, “We are satisfied with the apology of Hobby Lobby and appreciate the company’s efforts to investigate the incident and to ensure that it does not happen again.”

TORN ABOUT ELTON JOHN’S DECISION

Weeks ago, Cher declined an invitation to play at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, because of the country’s anti-gay laws it implemented this past summer.

Boycott Sochi 2014

However, Elton John refused to cancel his early December shows in Kazan and Moscow stating, “I’m aware of the situation and I will be diplomatic. I’m not going to go into Russia and tell [Vladimir Putin] to go to hell and things like that. That’s not the way things are done. You chip away at something, and you hope there will be dialogue and that the situation can get better. You don’t just go in there with guns blazing and say, ‘Well, to hell with you.’ Because they’re going to say, ‘To hell with you, and get out of the country.’ That’s not going to solve anything.”

las-vegas-shows-elton-john

I understand that Elton playing those two shows will raise awareness of the deplorable laws that are in place to target Russia’s LGBT community.  But, it’s an uphill battle since those laws and documented cases of violence toward gays are supported not only by Russian officials, but a large portion of the Russian population.

This Pew Research survey came out two months ago.

Anti-Gay Russia

When Madonna and Lady Gaga played shows in Russia, they spoke out against the country’s barbaric attitudes to Russia’s LGBT community and faced fines and jail time.

There’s a part of me that wants Elton to go there and speak up and say “screw you”!  However, I’ll be appalled if he performs and takes the money without making a stand for equality and progress.

…BUT SOME AREN’T TORN ABOUT ELTON PLAYING THERE

Seidzhagfar Lutfullin, a conservative imam from Russia’s predominantly Muslim Tartarstan region, wants the concerts cancelled.

He thinks by allowing Elton to play that God could rain destruction on Russia as act of revenge because “sodomy…is what the world famous homosexual Elton John, (sic) who recently wed a man in public, is promoting.”

Other conservative groups want Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the concerts.

Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill

And, a coordinator for the Christian group Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods says, “The statement by this gay guy – Elton John – about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert in Moscow is an insult to all Russian citizens.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Right

Confusing Wine SelectionHappy Hour

SERIOUSLY, LIGHTEN UP!

I admit that I’m a very strong supporter for equality and I’ll be the first to stand up to someone being anti-gay or derogatory.

However, I think that people can be a little oversensitive and try to find things to be upset about.

I love Britney Spears!  I did fifteen years ago when “…Baby One More Time” came out and topped the charts.  I was concerned when she had her breakdown and I thought her career was over, but she sure showed me and the rest of the world with “Femme Fatale” and that tour solidified “It’s Britney, Bitch”.

Britney July 2011

Some people think that her use of the word “bitch” is part of her catering to the “gay” audience.  Seriously?  People can’t just enjoy the music and not think that it’s “too gay”.  Do you think that Madonna, Lady Gaga, or Cher sits around and wonders if they cater to a certain demographic?  They know who still lines their pockets with gold!

Recently, Britney told a DJ, “A lot of my hair stylists and my beauty team that I work with are gay so I hang out with gays a lot and I just think they’re adorable and hilarious.”  And, then some gay bloggers took issue with her choice of words.

Let me say that if anyone ever want to call me “adorable and hilarious”, I’m okay with it!

Get a life, Mary!  Wait, maybe I shouldn’t refer to a man as “Mary”!  Well, here’s a little Britney with a “rock & roll” edge.  It doesn’t sound that “gay”, does it? 🙂

“THE MEANING OF MATTHEW”

It was 15 years ago last week that 21-year-old Matt Shepard died from injuries after being relentlessly beaten and tied to a wooden fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

After starting the Matthew Shepard Foundation with her husband, Dennis, and their son, Logan, Judy Shepard released her book, “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed”, in 2009.  I just got around to reading it and it’s fantastic.

The Meaning of Matthew

While we’ve read the tragic headlines and seen the pictures of Matthew and his killers splashed across the news, this book lets us know who Matt was from the people who knew him.

Judy said it best in the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book, “You know him as Matthew.  To us he was Matt.  I have tried to reconcile the two within these pages.  It would be unfair to Matt if only Matthew’s story was told.  Matt was so much more than “Matthew Shepard, the gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming college student.”  He had a family and countless friends.  He had a life before the night he was tied to that fence.”

I only have one small complaint about the book —  no pictures of the Matt that the Shepard family remembers.  Judy talks about Matt dressing as Dolly Parton twice as a child and I would have loved to see that photo.

But, that’s minor!  Check out this book because it’s phenomenal.

“BATES MOTEL”

While we await the arrival of the final season of “Dexter” on DVD (November 12th), Ray and I checked out the first season of A&E’s “Bates Motel”.

The 10-episode thriller focuses on the lives of a young Normal Bates (“Psycho”) and his very alive mother as they start a new life in a small Oregon town and manage their new business, the infamous Bates Motel.

Bates-Motel-Title

Freddie Highmore (“Toast”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and “Five Children and It”) is creepy and enchanting as 17-year-old Norman Bates.

Max Thieriot and Mike Vogel (“Under The Dome” and “Cloverfield”) smolder on the screen as Norma Bates’ son, Dylan, and her lover, Deputy Shelby, respectively.

Max Thieriotbates-motel-trust-me-vera-farmiga

But, let’s talk about the real star of “Bates Motel”, Vera Farmiga, who was nominated for an Emmy for her performance of Norma Bates.  (She was also nominated for an Oscar for 2009’s “Up In The Air”.)

Farmiga is electrifying from the first moment we see her and she is totally captivating in every scene.  Regardless of the scene she’s in, whether it’s violent, sad, or happy, you can’t take your eyes away from her!

)Norma Norman

I want a one-way ticket to this crazy-town.

And, a final note.  The first episode of the series features W. Earl Brown, as Keith Summers, the former owner of the Bates Motel, known then as the Seafairer Motel.

W Earl Brown Keith Summers

Earl is from western Kentucky and we were in the Radio-Television department together at Murray State University and I was one of two actors in a one-act play he directed back in the early-1980s!

He’s also starred in “There’s Something About Mary”, “Scream”, and HBO’s “Deadwood”.

Way to go, Earl!

NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Except this….

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The world first became aware of Ke$ha when she sang back-up on Flo Rida’s #1 hit “Right Round” in 2009.  Later that year, she scored her first solo #1 on her first try with “Tik Tok”.

Kesha

Since then she’s tallied up a total of 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Ten of those reached the Top Ten, including another #1 hit, “We R Who We R”.

Pitbull

Pitbull has charted with 18 Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Of those, nine have reached the Top Ten.  He topped the chart with “Give Me Everything” with Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer in 2011.

pitbull-kesha

This summer, we drove to Tinley Park, just outside of Chicago, to see Ke$ha and Pitbull in concert.  While they didn’t perform a number together, they must have been working on something behind the scene!

“Timber”, which features Ke$ha, is the first single from Pitbull’s upcoming album.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Earlier I featured Britney Spears’ version of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

While Britney’s version hit the Top Ten in Germany and Ireland, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts spent seven weeks at the top of the chart with the song in 1982 here in the U.S.

Jett scored eight other hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40, but only two of them reached the Top Ten — “Crimson and Clover” (#7, 1982) and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (#8, 1988).

That’s it for today.  Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 20, 2013

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.

ONE ICON SAYS “NO”, ONE SAYS “YES” TO RUSSIA

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.”

EltonJohn2

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.”

MARRIAGE EQUALITY, THE BIBLE, & RELIGION

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!

SAYING GOODBYE IS NEVER EASY

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.

Dexter

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!

Dexter-michael-c-hall

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

“UNDER THE DOME” SEASON FINALE — UNDERWHELMED ME

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!!!!!!!

under-the-dome

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

A QUIET FALL

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.

malibu-country

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.

kinopoisk.ru

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.

Hostages

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.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Egg ChickenOffendedExpert

SPRING BREAK 2014

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

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

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.”

DARREN CRISS IS NOT ONLY CUTE, BUT WISE!

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”!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAMMY

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 IS VISITING

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!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

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.

SUPERMODEL (YOU BETTER WORK)

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.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 18, 2013

Happy Friday, my friends. I hope you all have a great weekend.  Here are the random thoughts going through my mind.

ENJOY THE WARMTH

With southwesterly winds today and tomorrow, temperatures will likely soar into the 40s across the Quad Cities before bitterly cold air blasts in Sunday into early next week.  We could even see some snow Sunday night with that transition.

Check out this map at noon on Monday that shows the core of the bitterly cold air sitting right over the Midwest and the Great Lakes.

MONDAY NOON

It’s likely that Monday and Tuesday’s high temperatures will be in the low teens with some single digit highs possible.  Overnight lows could be dropping below zero Monday night.

The last time we saw single digits highs in the Quad Cities was back on February 8, 2011 with a high of 9° and a low of -6°.  Our last high temperature below zero was January 15, 2009.  It only reached -6° that day and dropped to -21° that night!  BRRRRRRRRR!  The only way a below zero high could be achieved early next week is if we get heavy snow Sunday night.

Also, from a climatic standpoint, January 15th-19th is the coldest period of the winter in the metro area!

ICE, ICE BABY (FISH)

With the cold snap earlier this week, I’m glad the de-icer in our fish pond is still working and it’s still mostly unfrozen.  Since our fountain is sending a constant spray of water into the air, the wind-blown water is freezing on contact to the rock foundation and is making for a rather cool display.  And, the fish are still doing great.  You can see one of them in the second picture.

Ice 3Ice 2

IT’S GETTING CLOSER!

The only trip I have planned this year, Las Vegas, in now less than a week away.  Before I plan anything else, I’m waiting to see what transpires with my career or decide what to do next before I make additional vacation plans.

Nevertheless, my Lady Gaga concert is next Friday.  The reviews have been fantastic, but there has been controversy.  I blogged two days ago about her spat with Sharon Osbourne and the gun play in the show.

Born Brave Bus Gaga

But, I want to talk about the “Born Brave Bus”.  This is what I blogged January 4, 2013, “Several hours before Gaga hits the stage at each of her American shows, her Born This Way Foundation will provide the “Born Brave Bus”, which offers a free, safe space for 13- to 25-year-olds ‘to learn more about local resources on anti-bullying, suicide prevention, and mental health services.'”

While Gaga is reaching out to young people, the Florida Family Association, out of Tampa, spent about $1,900 to fly a plane in the background of the “Born Brave Bus” with a “NOT BORN THIS WAY” banner in Tacoma, Washington, Monday.

The anti-gay group’s website states, “How would you feel if your child or grandchild went to a concert where unbeknownst to you they were convinced to embrace a homosexual or transgender lifestyle for a lifetime?”  It’s also asking for donations to fund flying this plane and banner at other Lady Gaga concert stops!  Incredible!

I was “Born This Way”!  And, if I had the chance, I’d like to ask those in the Florida Family Association that if they think I was “NOT BORN THIS WAY”, I’d like to know when they chose to be straight?????

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Baby FoodClimate Change John Lennon Mary J. Blige

SPEAKING OF FOOD

Yes, Joan, I love food and I love talking about it. 🙂

I was reading an article this week, “Tel Aviv…+76 Other Things to Love About Israel”.  Tel Aviv is on my bucket travel list and I want to do it while I’m still relatively young enough to get the full experience.  And, one of the things that it mentioned was falafel.

Falafel

I had this for the first time in Houston in early October (it’s that little ball at the top of the picture) and I would love to have it again. Does anyone know of a place in the Quad Cities with authentic Mediterranean food?  I could Google it, but I trust my friends more. 🙂

If you’ve never had it or heard of it, falafel is a deep-fried patty or ball made from ground chickpeas and/or fava beans (down Hannibal Lecter!) and served in a pita or lafa, (flatbread).  It’s then topped with salads, pickled veggies, and served with an incredible sauce consisting of tahini (paste made from ground sesame seeds), lemon juice, salt and olive oil.

STILL LOVIN’ ME SOME KE$HA

“Have a nice life, Dick!”

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

January 14 2011

I posted this cool picture taken by Ben Hanan January 14, 2011.  Maybe I’ll be back on the “green screen” somewhere this spring!

January 15 2012

And, Miss ABBA’s Kermit stuffed animal was not really hurt in this twisted winter game that Gretel, ABBA, and I were playing January 15th of last year.

“SAVAGES”

Savages

This summer 2012 crime thriller, directed by Oliver Stone, came out on DVD in November.

It stars a very sexy Taylor Kitsch and Aaron Taylor-Johnson as a couple of marijuana growers in Laguna Beach, California, and their girlfriend, O, played by Blake Lively (Mrs. Ryan Reynolds) of “Gossip Girl”.

While I never saw “Friday Night Lights” and I haven’t seen the highly panned “John Carter” or “Battleship”, watching Kitsch’s intensity in this movie, I’d venture to say that the U.S. box office failures of those two Hollywood movies had bigger issues other than the actor.

They are contacted by a Mexican drug cartel, which sends them a video of several people being beheaded.  The cartel, headed up by Elena (Salma Hayek), wants them to join their organization.  Hayek is incredible in this movie as a cold-hearted, savage leader.

“Savages” is a very intense and violent movie.  But, it’s realistic.  More and more, in the U.S., we hear how innocent, and not so innocent, people are brutally murdered in the escalating Mexican drug trade.  This movie allows us to witness it in the safety of our homes.

I highly recommend this movie.

GRADE:  A

PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The 1980s English band, Spandau Ballet, which was part of the New Romantic movement, is making a comeback 30 years later.  It’s been that long????

While the band scored 17 Top 40 hits in the U.K., Spandau Ballet only had three hits in America.

In 1983, “True” reached #4 in the U.S. (#1 in the U.K.).  “Gold”, the follow-up single, only peaked at #29 and the third single, “Only When You Leave” stalled at #34.

Belgium DJ Basto, who’s worked with Lasgo, Kylie Minogue, Flo Rida & Sia, and the Wanted, remixed that 1983 hit and this week, it cracked the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance chart at #8.

“GOLD 2012”  — SPANDAU BALLET VS. BASTO

And, in case you want to reminisce, here’s the 1983 original.

Anthony