Posts Tagged ‘Beijing’

Random Friday Thoughts — May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  It’s the unofficial kick-off to the summer season.  I hope you have a great one.  It’ll be especially nice for those with a three-day weekend (Ray!).

I wasn’t planning on an installment of Random Friday Thoughts, but here it is.  Surprise!

Pool

We’re running behind schedule this year, but we’re putting up our pool this weekend.

We closed it down in late September, but I’m ready to float the weekends and afternoons away — especially now that we’re enjoying summer-like, above average temperatures in the Quad Cities.

R.I.P. BETH HOWLAND

Beth Howland, who played ditzy waitress Vera, on the long running 1970s-1980s CBS sitcom, “Alice”, has died of lung cancer. She was 74.

Vera

Howland actually died December 31, 2015, but her actor husband, Charles Kimbrough, told The Associated Press that it “her choice” not to have a memorial service or funeral.  That’s why the news is just now coming out.

As a kid, I loved her character and comedic timing.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

For whatever reason, the 2014 Austrian psychological thriller/horror movie, “Goodnight Mommy”, just hit Redbox and I highly recommend it!

Susanne Wuest is incredible in the role as “The Mother” and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz, are mesmerizing.

The movie was Austria’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, but it wasn’t picked as a nominee.  Oscar fail!

Before I saw the movie, I wrote, “the trailer definitely creeps me out”.  Wait until you see the movie!

I don’t give too many movies this grade, but “Goodnight Mommy” gets….

GRADE:  A+

LET’S CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS!!!

I know Earth Day is in April.  But, there’s something that we can do to cut back on pollution and some communities are working hard to make it happen.

As I travel across the country (and the world), I see more and more businesses charging for those paper-thin, flimsy plastic bags that Walmart and other stores use.

They’re cheap to produce and many aren’t used again because they rip open before you even get home!  Many end up blowing in the wind or floating in area lakes and rivers.

Ban Bags

More businesses are selling cloth reusable bags and I think that’s fantastic.

Aldi stores sell the reusable bags, but they also have plastic bags.  However, if you want one (whether you throw it away or reuse it), you pay for it.

I know it’d get expensive if you’re paying for the plastic bags at big stores like Walmart, but it’d probably prompt you to buy quality, reusable bags.  And, the environment would love you for it.

Many communities are even banning or proposing bans on the plastic bags.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY (AND EVERYDAY)

Fish Be You

POLITICS TIDBITS

I was wrong!

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014”, I predicted that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would be the two candidates on November’s ballot for U.S. president.

Hillary AP

Well, it looks like I’ll be right with the Democratic nominee come June 7th once New Jersey and California vote, but who would have thought the presumptive nominee out of seventeen candidates on the Republican side would be Donald Trump!

DT Masks

Scary, right?  Yes!  I don’t need to wait for an answer!

NEXT VEGAS PLAN CHANGES 

Going to Las Vegas is an annual pilgrimage for me and Ray.

We love to eat, gamble, catch a couple of shows, walk, walk, walk, and see the sights.

Las Vegas

We love checking out the beautiful hotels and casinos — especially the displays made of flowers at the Bellagio.  I really want to visit one December when the glitzy city is decorated for Christmas.

However, our next trip in late July will not include a visit to the gorgeous The Venetian and The Palazzo.

The CEO is donating $100 million (yes, million) to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign! I’m sorry, but I will not help fund in any way that sorry excuse of a man that wants to be president!

There are plenty of other places there to try my luck at the slots — and eat desserts!

We’ll be visiting the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.  It’s a tradition for us to eat there and have the weekend champagne brunch at the Stratosphere.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

Have I mentioned how much I love buffets, slot machines, and Las Vegas?

FOR THE LOVE OF NANCY REAGAN

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died earlier this year of congestive heart failure at the age of 94.  Her husband, Ronald, our country’s 40th president, died back in June 2004 at the age of 93.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

Since it’s an election year, I’ve mostly been reading biographies and autobiographies of political figures.  I’ve read books from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jimmy Carter, plus books on presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee.

I just finished Nancy Reagan’s “My Turn” and Kitty Kelley’s “Nancy:  The Unauthorized Biography”.

What I concluded from Nancy’s book is that she definitely heavily influenced Ronald Reagan in his two terms as California’s governor (1967-1975) and his two terms as president (1981-1989).

Even in her own words, I don’t think she was probably a very nice person (outwardly).  However, I don’t think she was the evil pariah that Kelley made her out to be.

But, reading some of the accusations made by Kelley — including an affair with Frank Sinatra, date rape, and unplanned pregnancies — it definitely makes one wonder what was really going on in the lives of one of the most conservative political families.

nancy.jpg

To restore some of my faith in Ms. Reagan, I read Michael Deaver’s “Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan”.

Although it’s a short book, don’t waste your time.  It’s basically the “CliffsNotes” version of Nancy’s “My Turn”.

He told the same stories she did with very little new insight.  The book only one earned its worth when in the last thirty or so pages, he addressed Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

RonaldReagan

There’s one thing that I would never dispute about the Reagans — their love for each other in their 50+ years of marriage.  It’s very admirable.

I still have a few more books to read about them — about their love and President Reagan’s autobiography.

PRESIDENT REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

I didn’t personally know or like the Reagans (especially the President).

There’s one big reason that I used to despise Reagan and it was much deeper than him defeating my favorite President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.  Here’s a blog from the summer of 2012 to explain.  (Clicking on this blog link will open a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s reading.)

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

TWO WEEKS IN CHINA

Since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”, Ray and I spent two weeks in China.  We met some really nice people in our tour group from all over the world, including New Zealand.

We climbed the Great Wall of China, cruised on the Yangtze River (when we weren’t fogged in and unable to move), saw the stunning Gorges, endured the worst smog I’ve ever seen in Beijing where our trip started and ended, and witnessed the lights and glamour of Shanghai, the reason we went to China!

AP Ray Shanghai.jpg

Maybe because it was for a tour group, the food was pretty bland and too Westernized.  I’m ready to enjoy my favorite Asian food in the Quad Cities, Osaka Buffet, in Moline, for some “real” tasty cuisine.

Would I ever go back to China?  Probably not.  Would I recommend seeing it once in your lifetime?  Definitely!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The first time I heard “Faded” by 18-year-old British-born Norwegian record producer Alan Walker (with vocals by Iselin Solheim), I fell in love with the song.

Instantly, I searched out more songs from Walker and much to my chagrin, I found there isn’t an album — yet.

The ethereal, very moody, and captivating song is already a chart-topping smash in Austria, Belgium,  France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vietnam, and eight other counties!

Here is the United States, the song is racing up the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart jumping from #26 to #17 this week and it’s already in the Top Ten on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

It’s getting some airplay at Top 40 radio here, but I hope it really catches on soon.  If you haven’t heard it, here it is.

Call B100 and 101.3 KISSFM here in the Quad Cities and request it.  Just tell them that Anthony from Local 4 requests that you play it. 🙂

“LONDON SPY”

If you’re looking for an intelligent television series to add to your summer viewing, you have to check out this five-part BBC America series. (You can catch it on Netflix.)

“London Spy” stars one of the best English actors working today, Ben Whishaw, who’s also appearing on Broadway in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw

It doesn’t hurt that Whishaw is charming and adorable, too!  But, I’m recommending this thriller because he’s incredible and the story is very suspenseful.

It also stars Jim Broadbent (“Moulin Rouge!”) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT 

Since I don’t write as much as I used to or as much as I’d like, I appreciate you checking out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.  As always, feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree — just do it diplomatically.

Have a great holiday weekend and remember the great men and women that made this Memorial Day weekend a holiday.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 26, 2013

It’s Friday morning and since I’m working the afternoon and evening shift, I have not been up since 1 a.m.!  While I’ll have a shortened weekend, I’m looking forward to it, nevertheless.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Here are the things on my mind this week — my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think of them and what you’re thinking about these days.

CHINA, KEEP YOUR FAST FOOD

As you know, I love buffets and Osaka Buffet in Moline, Illinois, and Wise Guys in Davenport, Iowa, are my favorites.  However, I know some people who hate buffets because they have issues with cleanliness and others touching the same serving utensils.

However, maybe they should reconsider their eating out options, especially if they’re going to China.

mcdonalds-kfc-kungfu

China Central Television tested the ice at McDonald’s, KFC, and Kungfu, a Chinese fast-food chain, in Beijing, and found that the ice cubes contained 13 times more bacteria than water from a toilet.  The worse offender in the undercover test was KFC.  There were 900 colony-forming bacteria units per milliliter.

KFC

Now, while this sounds very gross, Dong Qingli, a food safety expert, says the headline might get your attention, but the information is not useful stating, “The bacteria count on your teeth or on the bottom of your shoe is about the same. Instead you should look at which actual bacteria types exceeded levels.”

Nevertheless, all three restaurants promise to improve their sanitary procedures.

I guess I don’t have anything to worry about with this because I have no desire to visit China and even if I did, I wouldn’t be eating American fast food in Asia!

THREE UPDATES ON LAST WEEK’S BLOG

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the city’s Fox affiliate KTVU fired three producers involved with reporting the offensive and fake names of the pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines flight 214 airplane crash that killed three people.  An investigative producer, a special projects producer, and a producer who tweeted “oh sh*t!” right after the names were read on the air were let go.

This is the graphic that started it all.

KTVU Asiana Flight 214

It now looks like Sasha Baron Cohen will not be playing Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.  Deadline.com exclusively reported, “The reason is that the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer.”  That’s a bummer because I love Sacha and I know he’d be perfect in the role.  I guess I’ll have to watch him in “Borat” or “Les Miserables” again.

borat-mercury

And, Josh Rottenberg of “Entertainment Weekly” is reporting that Orson Scott Card, the controversial author of “Ender’s Game”, has “quietly stepped down from the board of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)”.

Ender's Game

As I blogged last week, NOM is an outspoken group that is against marriage equality and Card has been very vocal in the past with his views against gay people and same-sex marriage.

The $110 million movie, based on Card’s book, hits theaters November 1, 2013, and is facing a public relations’ nightmare and a boycott because of Card’s personal views.

You can read more about all three of these stories in my original post last Friday:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/random-friday-thoughts-july-19/

NAUGHTY SHIRLEY JONES

Although I was only 5-years-old when it premiered back in September 1970, I remember Shirley Jones as Shirley Partridge on “The Partridge Family”, the musical comedy that lasted four seasons on ABC.

Partridge_Family_first_cast_1970

On the show, Shirley and her children record a pop song in their garage and it becomes a hit and then they get an old school bus and go on tour.

Fast forward 43 years and the Academy Award winning actress has just released her autobiography and she shared some very naughty stories.  You may want to close your eyes and not read some of the juicy stories she tells in the book (Spoiler alert:  I share some after this picture!).

Shirley Jones

She talks a lot about her troubled 18-year marriage to the late Jack Cassidy, the father of her three sons (including Shaun Cassidy) and the father of her stepson, David Cassidy, who played her television son, Keith, on “The Partridge Family”!  Jack’s body was found in December 1976 the morning after his penthouse went up in flames.

In the book, Shirley reveals that Jack was her first lover, that he was well endowed, and that he carried on a sexual affair with musician Cole Porter before and during their marriage.  Oh, and they had a threesome with a woman that she didn’t enjoy.

David Cassidy

Now, back to David.  Apparently, he and his father shared a family trait.  Wink, wink!  Shirley writes, “David’s brothers called him Donk, for Donkey.”

Okay, Shirley, I really didn’t expect to hear such things!  But, I’ll definitely be reading your book!

BREAKING GAGA-LICIOUS NEWS!

Yes, I’m getting very excited about the new Lady Gaga single coming out in mid-August (the new album arrives this November).

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

Gaga sent out this news Thursday afternoon!

“It’s official! Lady Gaga returns to the stage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on August 25th for the world premiere performance of the first single from ARTPOP!”

LEBANON IS EVOLVING

After being heavily criticized by the “Human Rights Watch” for mistreatment, torture (which included conducting “anal probes examination” to “test” if a person engages in anal sex as “evidence” of being gay), and arrests of LGBT people, some progress is being made in Lebanon, in the Middle East.

LEBANON-SOCIETY-HOMOPHOBIA-RALLY

The Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) made it clear last week that being gay is NOT a mental disorder and it does NOT need to be treated.  It went on to say that “conversion therapy” that falsely converts gays into straights has no scientific backing.  The LPS made these comments after Dr. Nabil Khoury stated on prime time television that being gay is a disease and it needs to be treated.

The group says, “Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities.  The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cold Crazy Hungry

ADVANTAGES OF BEING A GAY DAD TO A 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL

One of the advantages is that you get to discuss which member of One Direction is the cutest.  I say it’s Harry Styles and for the most part, Gretel agrees.

Harry Styles Pics

And, we also both feel sorry for him for dating Taylor Swift (even though she likes Taylor and her music).

One

Harry and his band must be doing something right because they faced the fury of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  The cult calls One Direction “perverted” and went on to diminish them and the United Kingdom as “sin-chasing, fag-enabling, God-hating, Christ-rejecting”.

In June, the WBC released this statement about the band, “These freaks and their fans think it’s funny for these five perverts to grab each other’s asses on stage. “They glamorize sin and make a mock of God’s standards. Their one purpose is to encourage the youth of this generation to pursue every lust their evil hearts can imagine.”

So, last Friday night , the cult protested at One Direction’s Kansas City, Missouri, concert prompting Harry to send out this tweet.

Harry Styles

The cult quickly tweeted a compliment to Harry for mentioning God, before sending this follow-up.

WBC

All I can say is that at this point, the Westboro Baptist Church amuses me with their ignorance.    And, while I’ve used this before, it’s still perfect and I do it every day! 🙂

Live Your Life WBC

TINA TURNER GETS MARRIED

Pop superstar Tina Turner is a married woman again!

Deutscher Medienpreis 2005

The 73-year-old Tennessee native wed her longtime German-born record producer boyfriend Erwin Bach at their home in Lake Zurich, Switzerland, last Sunday.  Tina reportedly says, “I am happier than I could ever dream of.”

While the couple has lived in Switzerland for 18 years, it looks as though they will be staying there since Tina received her Swiss citizenship in late April.

“BLURRED LINES” HAS SOME COMPETITION

I love the biggest song in the country, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”.  The song is now spending its seventh week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it’s been the top-selling digital song for the past eight weeks ago.  A few weeks, I featured the PG version and the unrated versions (featuring women showing their boobies).

Today, I’m posting the best parody of the song and video from the Seattle-based Boylesque group, Mod Carousel, which has been viewed more than a million times this week on YouTube, to positive reviews.

COMIC REACTION TO PAT ROBERTSON

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a video of televangelist Pat Robertson talking about what makes him want to vomit.  I stated my opinions then, but here’s another. 🙂

Conan Pat Robertson Follow

“THE LONE RANGER” = BIG BOMB!

I knew the latest Johnny Depp movie, “The Lone Ranger” was going to bomb at the box office.  The marketing ploy told the story.  When I saw “World War Z” and “White House Down”, the previews for “The Lone Ranger” basically stressed that it was a movie that you had to see in theaters for full effect.  In others words, please come see it and don’t wait to watch it on DVD.

The Lone Ranger

The movie’s budget is reportedly $215 million and since its July 3rd opening, it has only made $148.9 million worldwide ($82.5 million of that is from the U.S.).  It’s not the only bomb lately.  “R.I.P.D.”, “Red 2”, “White House Down”, and “Turbo” also tanked.  “Pacific Rim” performed poorly in the U.S., but is doing very well across the rest of the world.

A MOVIE RECOMMENDATION & TWO TO AVOID

We rented movies recently from Redbox.  Avoid “Texas Chainsaw 3D” and “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.

Hansel & Gretel

It was painful to watch Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner in “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.  If you love special effects, it was a great movie.  However, the story line was lacking and the violence was over the top.  Also, this is definitely not a movie for kids!

While it made $55.7 million in the U.S., it was a blockbuster around the rest of the world with a total take of $225.7.  A sequel is on the way!

GRADE:  D

Texas Chainsaw

There have been much better Texas Chainsaw movies and the only reason to watch this movie would be for the eye candy.  No, I’m not talking about Leatherface!   The movie earned back its budget grossing $39.3 million.

GRADE:  C-

Side Effects

The movie you should definitely rent soon is “Side Effects”, which was in theaters earlier this year.  The $30 million dollar movie ended up making $60.3 million.

It stars Oscar nominee Rooney Mara and Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, along with Jude Law and Channing Tatum.

It’s a suspenseful drama that focuses on a trial drug and who’s responsible if something bad happens while someone is taking that pill.  It has plenty of drama and a few surprise twists including the finale!  It’s a must see movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Even before I saw the tweets between Harry Styles of One Direction and the Westboro Baptist Church, I caught a snippet of the band latest song, “Best Song Ever” and I actually liked it enough to check out the video.  And, I’m glad I did.  It cute and humorous and the song is fun.  Yes, I admit to liking a One Direction song!

And, I’m not alone.  The “Best Song Ever” video debuted Monday and broke the Vevo record for most views — 10.9 million views in the first 24 hours!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Jennifer Holliday is best known from her Tony Award-winning role of Effie White from Broadway’s “Dreamgirls”.  “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from that musical was her only top forty Hot 100 hit, reaching #22 in 1982.  It also won her a Grammy Award.  However, “No Frills Love” hit #1 two times on the Billboard Dance charts, first in 1985 and, again, in 1996.

I got to see fabulous Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in August 2010!

And, as a bonus to kick off your weekend, here’s the extended dance remix of “No Frills Love”.  Have fun this weekend!

Anthony