Posts Tagged ‘Beyonce’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 12, 2020

It was so nice sharing some of my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week. It was even better that it was read and well received. For those of you that took the time to check it out, thank you!

As I always say, if you disagree with me, that’s fine. Do it diplomatically!

With that being said, my first thought today may not sit well with some. Don’t take it out of context, so read it all before you comment! 🙂 And, don’t take it personally!

Have a fantastic weekend!

STIMULUS CHECKS & UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

While I’m expressing my displeasure of how misaligned the pandemic unemployment compensation program is, I’ll cut it short in light of what’s going on now in America.

There have been a couple of times in my life that I collected unemployment and let me tell you, the checks are NOT enough!

Since unemployment benefits are only a fraction of what you’d make by working, people living on unemployment alone find it hard to make ends meet.

But, now, with the pandemic unemployment compensation program, it’s become a joke and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t tick me off!

With an additional $600 a week on top of the unemployment checks, there are people not working that are making more money than essential workers working through this pandemic!

I know people that are benefiting from this financial windfall, so please use the money wisely!

I’ve worked through this entire pandemic and it’s a little upsetting that I’m clearing less on payday than some of those out of work!

People should NOT be making more money by staying at home than they would be making if this had never happened and they were working!

If this ever happens again, the pandemic unemployment compensation program needs to regulated better! On the positive side, I’m happy taxpaying Americans got a stimulus check!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox!

“HANNIBAL” IS NOW ON NETFLIX!

There are several topics that I’ve written about extensively over the past eight years: Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christmas, food, travel, and “Hannibal”.

What? Yes, I mean Hannibal Lecter and the NBC television series that ran for three season!

Well, after all this time, it’s now on Netflix! So, please, binge watch and see what you (and America) missed during its original run.

So, why should you watch it? Here’s what I’ve said about the show in the past:

April 3, 2013: “From the trailers, I feel that NBC is definitely pushing the envelope with the network’s standards and practices department with the gore and violence.  But, then again, this is a story about serial killers and a cannibal.  This isn’t Disney!”

April 5, 2013: (after seeing the premiere episode): ” it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.”

February 28, 2014: “If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.” 

I’m not alone! This is what “Entertainment Weekly” wrote about the season 2 premiere. (By the way, it gave the season two finale an “A-” also!)

May 16, 2014: NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.”

August 14, 2015: “This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television. Maybe it was too intelligent!”

“THE POLITICIAN”

I loved season one of Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” and I can’t wait to see season two, which premieres June 19, 2020, on Netflix.

Jessica Lange is mesmerizing as white trash conniver Dusty Jackson!

(Here’s the trailer to season one, so I don’t spoil anything for season two!)

And, I’ve said it before that in “another place and time”, I could see being married to star Ben Platt! 🙂

Here’s a Ben Platt extra — “The Rain” — check out that voice and those moves! 🙂

“HOLLYWOOD”

After watching season one of “The Politician”, I thoroughly enjoyed the seven episode series, “Hollywood” (also from Ryan Murphy).

It’s based on Scotty Bowers’ book, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” and the documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood”.

It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about “homophobia” and “racism” in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!)

Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.

She plays the wife of a studio head that ignores her at home — in every way — so she hires a young, hot escort!

Their small talk on their first tryst definitely gets “three snaps in a z-formation”! (Quickly scroll past the LuPone GIF if you’re easily offended!)

JACK (David Corenswet): “You want an honest answer?”
AVIS (LuPone):

Now, I’m finally watching all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

STILL WATCHING…

I had free HULU for a week this spring, so I watched 20 of the 36 episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd are amazing and even though he’s not a nice guy, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) is so hot!

And, Max Minghella (Nick) is so beautiful in the f***ed up dystopian world of “Handmaid’s”!

“CHROMATICA”

If you’re ready for some fun dance (and disco) music to brighten your days with all of the unrest across the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic, Lady Gaga’s new “Chromatica” fits the bill!

My favorite songs on the album are “Free Woman”, “Fun Tonight”, and “911” (makes me think of Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok”)!

My other favorites are “Alice”, “Sour Candy” (with the South Korean group Blackpink) and “1000 Doves” — in addition to the first two hits, “Stupid Love” (#5) and “Rain On Me” (#1) with Ariana Grande.

And, I hate to admit that the duet with Elton John doesn’t do much for me, which is shocking since I love both artists! (It was a good song until the last 15 seconds — epic fail to an otherwise decent song!)

Please tell me that when “Enigma” comes on that it sounds like she’s saying “I’ll be your enema” instead of “enigma” if you’re not really paying attention! Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

GRADE: B

However, if the album only consisted of the first ten songs, I’d give it an “A”. But. the last part of the CD brings the grade down!

LADY GAGA JOINS AN ELITE GROUP OF WOMEN

With “Chromatica” debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, it becomes her sixth chart topper!

This places her in a five-way tie for fourth place among women with Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift.

Janet Jackson is in third place with seven #1 albums, Madonna is second with nine, and the leader is Barbra Streisand with eleven!!!

Jay-Z leads men with 14 chart toppers and the Beatles lead all artists with 19 #1 albums.

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY “LOVERS”

One of my favorite Kylie Minogue songs turns 10 years old this week. It’s definitely one of the sexiest, button-pushing videos ever!

Due to its erotic nature, the video was banned or censored in many Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!

Kylie says, “I think, yes, it’s sexy but I also think it’s very touching and sensual and the message is love.”

While the song reached the Top 5 in many countries, it only hit #1 on one chart — the American Dance Club Songs chart! Go U.S.A. deviates! 🙂

The video has been viewed more than 24 million times! 🙂

ALSO READ…

Three books I’ve read this spring on my walks around Lake Decatur are 2004’s “Chasing The Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer” by David Reichert.

It covers the notorious serial killer that targeted young prostitutes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also, there was 2009’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — a parody novel/mash-up of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic, “Pride and Prejudice”.

My favorite line in the book was from an annoying character that I prayed would be devoured by zombies! No such luck! 😦

I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in – and I am sure my dinners are good enough for her, since she is an unmarried woman of seven-and-twenty, and as such should expect little more than a crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness.”

So catty! Meow!

And, I read “Julie & Julia” (2005) by Julie Powell, which is based on real life.

Many of you know of this book from the 2009 movie starring Oscar Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell.

“TALKING TO GIRLS ABOUT DURAN DURAN”

I also finished Rob Sheffield’s humorous look of growing up in the 1980s and how the music ( “best.music.ever” — my description of the 1980s) shaped his life.

DURAN DURAN

Since the book is more about the music and the decade rather than Duran Duran, here are a couple of pictures I took when I saw them on the “Paper Gods Tour” in Las Vegas in 2016.

Here’s a snippet of my 4th favorite Duran Duran song, “The Wild Boys”, live from that concert!

And, here are my three favorite Duran Duran songs!

“HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

“THE REFLEX”

“IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?

DURANNIES, YOUR FAVORITE?

Let’s hope this doesn’t start World War 3, but who was/is your favorite?

For me, it’s Roger Taylor!

He’s followed by Simon, John, and Nick. Sorry, Andy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 27, 2017

It’s Friday again and the weekend is almost here.

I appreciate you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.  As always, if we disagree and you want to tell me so, do it diplomatically and concisely.

LGBT RIGHTS & CLIMATE CHANGE, GONE!

Moments after #44 became history and America moved on to #45, searching the White House website yielded no results for “LGBT” and “Climate Change”.

white-house-lgbt

In my heart I know what this means and anyone with a functioning brain knows, as well.

At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!

donald-lgbt

I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…

If you’ve never watched the U.S. version of the political drama, “House of Cards”, you’re missing one of the most intelligent television shows ever!

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are incredible in the lead roles.  Their characters’ determination, iciness, and conviction to get what they want in the political arena is mesmerizing.

The show gives us the backstory of what really goes on in Washington.  Things are not cut and dry.  While it’s a television show, you know that Beau Willimon, the man behind the American version, is serving you a slice of reality.

He also tweeted that slice of reality last Friday morning!

beau

We’re now at 1,454 days now!

Resist!

ONE LAST COMMENT

Facts:  “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Synonyms of “facts”:  reality, actuality, certainty

kc

So, Kellyanne Conway, “Alternative facts” are LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REBA HEADS INTO A NEW DIRECTION

Country music icon Reba McEntire is heading into a new musical direction with her latest release on February 3rd.

The deluxe version “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” will feature 22 gospel hymns.

Ever since “Sky Full of Angels” from 2003’s “Room To Breathe” album, I was hoping that Reba would record a gospel album.  And, since country radio airplay for her last album, 2015’s “Love Somebody” was pretty much non-existent, this is the perfect time for a change of genres.

The first single is “Back to God”.

Reba, how about a dance-oriented album next since you hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in 1996 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”?

JIMMY CARTER

In September, when visiting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library And Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, I left this message.

msg-jc-r

I’d love to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and leave a similar message!

Hope

I hope I have those feelings again for a future president!

HAVEN’T TALKED GAGA IN FOREVER

If you regularly read my blog, you know I love Lady Gaga.  I’ve see her in concert several times and her shows are amazing!

Gaga Las Vegas

However, I wasn’t fond of the musical direction she took on “Joanne”, her latest album, and it’s the first Gaga album I didn’t buy. 😦  (I wasn’t alone.  Sales and radio airplay have paled in comparison with her previous releases!)

She’ll be playing the Super Bowl halftime show next weekend.  While I’m not a football fan, I’ll be watching her performance.

Sources close to Gaga told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that Gaga was informed that she couldn’t mention the 2016 presidential election or the current president.

The NFL says otherwise, “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Ironically, that nameless “source” is quoting another “unsourced” person.  Seriously, grow a pair, face up, and speak up or shut up.

Unless Gaga has gone soft, you know she’ll say and do whatever she wants.

Did Beyonce make a statement last year with “Formation”?  You’re damn right, she did.

Did her career suffer?  One word:  “Lemonade”!

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

This comedy, based on a true story, was my #3 favorite movie of 2016.

It’s about a wealthy woman, Florence Foster Jenkins, who was determined to become a successful singer although she was horrible.

Meryl Streep, who some idiot called “overrated”, was amazing as Jenkins.

On Tuesday, she earned her 20th Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category.

GRADE:  A

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

Also, on Tuesday, I was ecstatic Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the “Best Actor” category for my #2 movie of 2016.

Here’s what I had to say about the movie in December.

“I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT

Calum Scott is best known for appearing on “Britian’s Got Talent” in 2015.

One of the songs he performed on the reality series was “Dancing On My Own”, a remake of Robyn’s 2010 hit.

Scott’s version has already topped the chart in Scotland and reached #2 in Australia and the U.K.

It’s recently just debuted on the American’s Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Scott’s debut album is expected this year.

ORIGINAL VERSION BY ROBYN

Swedish singer Robyn dominate the worldwide charts with this incredible song in 2010.

In America, it was a bigger hit on the Dance Club songs chart.

It reached #3 on both the U.S. and the U.K. dance charts.  But, it hit #1 in Sweden and #2 in Denmark.

“THE SHALLOWS”

It’s winter now, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water and thinking about sharks.

The last two Blake Lively (the beautiful wife of the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds) movies I saw were also on my favorites’ list in the respective years.

She was great in “Savages” (my #7 movie of 2013) and she was incredible in “The Age of Adaline” (my #7 movie of 2015).

I see a trend there.  Will “The Shallows” be my #7 movie of 2017?  Probably not.

However, it was a very enjoyable and realistic movie.

I got a little scared 72 minutes into the 87-minute movie because the plausibility took a little hit.  You realized that while what happened could take place, the stars would really have to align perfectly.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood.  Just go with it.

“Jaws” this isn’t, but it’s worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts –February 19, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the week and are ready for the weekend.

It’s been an interesting week since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” — Valentine’s Day, a snowstorm for Iowa and Illinois, the return of “The Walking Dead”, and warmer temperatures!

Have a fun weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today.

YOUR COMPASSION IS HEARTWARMING

Last Friday, I shared with you a vile response to a blog I posted on why I support Hillary Clinton for president.  It was one of my most viewed blogs on the day it was posted since  I started writing my blog four years ago.

MrazLoveAlbumCover

The feedback and compassion you extended to me was incredible and greatly appreciated.  I know there are so many more great people in this world than the jerks — they just spew their hate openly and loudly.

As I told many of you in my responses, rude comments like that tick me off.  However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because being in the public eye, I’ve developed a tough skin.

Something it proves is that as much progress as we’ve made in this country, there’s still so much more work to be done before we reach equality — not just for the LGBT community, but for women, race, pay, and the list goes on and on.

Again, thank you!

LoveEqualityFormula

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DEAD

Speaking of equality, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man that made a career of voting against it, died at a Texas resort last weekend at the age of 79.

Since I was just talking about compassion, I’ll just say that I feel for his wife and their nine children.

Since the word “hate” is such a vile word, I didn’t “hate” Scalia, but I disliked him with strong convictions because of his long history of being anti-gay in his court decisions.

NATALIE COLE’S FAMILY UPSET ABOUT THE GRAMMYS

The family of singer Natalie Cole, who died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65, is upset with the “shameless” tribute she received at Monday night’s Grammys compared to other musicians that were memorialized.

Cole’s son, Robert Adam Yancy told “Entertainment Weekly”, “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than a minute-and-a-half tribute.”

Cole was remembered in a photo montage, while Lady Gaga performed a seven-minute musical tribute to David Bowie, who won two Grammys in his career.  (I’m torn writing this because Gaga was incredible.  It’s the principle I’m addressing here!)

There were also tributes to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire), winner of seven Grammys, Glenn Frey of the Eagles (six Grammys) and Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead) with only one Grammy win.

One one other music tribute was to a musician who won more Grammys than Cole, B. B. King  (15 Grammys).

So, there’s my tribute video to Cole and not the others!

OKAY, I COULDN’T RESIST

Here’s Lady Gaga’s amazing tribute to David Bowie from the Grammys.

STARS READING “MEAN TWEETS”

These always crack me up because the entertainers make the best of a bad situation.  On the other hand, mean people really do suck!

What troopers — to read what idiots say about them!

“THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”

We all know the story — a savage double murder in the posh Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1994 involving the wife of a famed football star.

A botched (?) criminal case that allowed a murderer (?) to walk free!

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (“American Horror Story”) are behind the new Fox series “American Crime Story:  The People v. O.J. Simpson” (notice the similar title).

This 10-episode series event is going behind the story to share details that we may not remember from the headlines or the circus that was the murder trail against Simpson.

After watching the first two episodes, I’m intrigued with the detailed story telling and the acting of Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran).

However, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson is a hard sell for me.  One, Gooding doesn’t remind me that much of Simpson and, two, the constant whining and ranting is annoying.  I’m totally not buying him as O.J.!

Overall, a great show and it hasn’t even gotten to the trail yet!

YES, BEYONCE IS BLACK!

I’m sure you already know that Beyonce is black.  If not, she is!  And, remember that expression from the 1960s that “Black is Beautiful” and Bey is definitely beautiful.

Bey1

The most recent controversy with Beyonce started on February 6th when she released the “Formation” video, which features references to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina black culture, racism, and police.

She performed the song the next day at “Super Bowl 50” and more controversy ensued from conservatives thinking she was promoting too much black — power, the Black Panthers, and Black Lives Matter.

Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani vented, “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

While “Formation” won’t have the same radio success as “Crazy in Love”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, pop and R&B/Hip Hop stations are already playing it!

For the record, Beyonce has had huge success on the pop chart (Billboard Hot 100) with 26 hits, fifteen of which hit the Top Ten, and five of those went all the way to #1.

However, she’s had more success on the R&B/Hip Hop charts — 38 hits, 23 of which made the Top Ten, and 8 topped the chart.

And, this is not even counting her hits with Destiny’s Child!

“SNL” NAILS IT AGAIN!

“ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY” IS BECOMING GREEDY

I’m a huge fan of “Entertainment Weekly” and I look forward to my magazine each week even though I can find much of the same information online from their website and tweets.

It used to be that they’d have a feature series with several cover photos and present them all in the issue.  You’d just flip the cover and there’d be the next one.

That would have been perfect for this week’s “The Walking Dead” feature with six different collector edition covers.  However, they randomly picked which cover you’d get.  But, you could purchase the other five covers!

Seriously?

Rick EW.jpg

While I wanted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I got Daryl Dixon.  As much as I love the show, there’s no way I’d buy the other five!

Greedy!

29 AND ANCHORING IN NEW YORK CITY?  NO WAY!

If you’re familiar with how the television news business works, you know you start out at small market stations and work there for a couple of years before moving on to a larger market.

You work there for a couple of years and then move on again.  You continue this process until you get to the big markets (New York City is the largest TV market followed by Los Angeles and Chicago).

If you’re very talented and you luck out, you might skip one of these ladder jumping moves.  Or, maybe there’s other factors.

I’m not saying that 29-year-old Stefan Holt, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, isn’t talented, but…

The younger Holt graduated college and interned at KABC in Los Angeles and with NBC News in London before joining the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as a reporter and fill-in anchor.  This is market  #38 out of 210 (the smallest).  It’s unusual to get your first job in a market that size.

After just two years there, he moved on to NBC5 in Chicago (market #3) as a reporter and weekend morning anchor.  Holt was promoted to weekday mornings just months later where he worked for five years.

Again, 29 and anchoring in the biggest television market in the country!  What’s next? Filling in for his dad on “NBC Nightly News”?

JUSTIN BIEBER

Okay, first things first about Justin Bieber.

I bought his “Purpose” album last fall and it’s a great album and has already produced four huge hits, including three #1s, “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry”, and “Love Yourself”, and my favorite 2015 Bieber hit, the Grammy Award-winning “Where Are U Now”  with Skrillex and Diplo.

And, if you haven’t noticed, Justin is gorgeous and I feel more comfortable saying that now that he’s a man — over 18 years old!

Bieber

However, I was a little freaked out by music executive and producer L.A.Reid’s description of Bieber in his new book, “Sing To Me”.

Reid says, “this kid was beautiful, like a woman can be beautiful and men rarely are, and he turned it on as soon as he stepped into the room.”.

This one sounds more innocent and I totally agree, “Justin was simply beautiful.  His superpower was his face.”

PICK HIT

Zayn Malik, another sexy and beautiful man, who left the boy band One Direction for a solo career, is off to a great start.

“Pillowtalk” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is burning up the radio airwaves.  It’s already on the short list of my favorite songs of 2016.  I know, it’s only February!

The video is pretty erotic and steamy, too!

Malik’s debut album, “Mind of Mine”, comes out March 25, 2016.

“THE MARTIAN”

I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.  I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE OVERNIGHT”

In stark contrast to “The Martian” in running time, “The Overnight” is one hour, 18 minutes long and it works in a lot in that short time.

A couple with a small son move from Seattle to Los Angeles where they meet another father and son playing in the park one day.  Since they don’t know anyone and the boys get along, they’re invited to a pizza party.

At the party, after much alcohol and the boys go to bed, the foursome talk about everything, including sex.  Inhibitions are lowered and tempers flare when insecurities surface.

The question becomes will they or won’t they and how will that change the course of the relationships — between each couple and the two couples’ friendship.

GRADE:  B

“FREEHELD”

This movie is an expansion of the Oscar-winning “Best Short Documentary” in 2007 with the same name.

This 2015 film stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a 23-year veteran of the police force in Orange County, New Jersey.

She sues after finding out she has lung cancer and her request to have her domestic partner receive her benefits is denied.  Oscar nominee Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays her love interest, Stacie.

The acting is superb not only from the female leads, but also from Michael Shannon, Hester’s partner on the police force, and Luke Grimes, a closeted police colleague.

However, watching the movie, it did feel like a Lifetime movie.  And, that’s not a bad thing.

This is based on a true story.

GRADE:  B

“TRUTH”

This movie focuses on the authenticity of documents reported by “60 Minutes” on CBS from iconic news anchor Dan Rather during George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential re-election campaign.

The controversy called into question if Bush received preferential treatment while he served in the Texas Air National Guard in the early-1970s.

Robert Redford stars as Rather in the last days of his career at CBS, but the focus of the movie is on Mary Mapes, Rather’s producer on the investigative piece.

Mapes is played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  As expected, she is flawless.  Yet, even she couldn’t save this movie and make it a thriller.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough thoughts for one week.  As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my randomness!  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — as long as you’re diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

VMA Nominations Announced & My Favorites!

Drama!  Drama!  Drama!

The MTV VMAs nominations were announced Tuesday and Nicki Minaj went to Twitter to express her dissatisfaction about the picks for video of the year, even though she’s up for three other “Moonmen” awards.

Nicki Minaj

Her beef is with Taylor Swift, who Nicki didn’t mention by name.  But, it was so clear.

Taylor Swift

And, thankfully, T-Swizzle took the high road on Twitter.

Here’s a full list of the 2015 VMA nominees and my favorites (not necessarily what will win).

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

BEST MALE VIDEO
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
The Weeknd – “Earned It”
Nick Jonas – “Chains”

BEST FEMALE VIDEO  (Yes, I want this category to end up in a tie!)
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Sia – “Elastic Heart”
Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

BEST POP VIDEO
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

BEST ROCK VIDEO
Hozier – “Take Me To Church”
Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”
Florence + the Machine – “Ship To Wreck”
Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”
Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Big Sean ft. E-40 – “IDFWU”

ARTIST TO WATCH
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Vance Joy – “Riptide”
George Ezra – “Budapest”
James Bay – “Hold Back The River”
FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

BEST COLLABORATION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”
Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE
Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”
Colbie Caillat – “Try”
Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”
Rihanna – “American Oxygen”
Wale – “The White Shoes”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)
Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)
Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jeff Peterson)
The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)
OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)
Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)
Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

BEST DIRECTION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)
Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty, Conal Thomson)
Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

BEST EDITING
Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)
A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)
Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)
Tyler, The Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

The show which will be hosted by Miley Cyrus airs Sunday, August 30th.

Anthony

Beyonce Should Ask Kanye Not To Speak For Her

Was Beyonce robbed for “Album of the Year” at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards Sunday night when she lost to Beck for “Morning Phase”?

Kanye West ran up on the stage to re-enact his sabotage of Taylor Swift’s happy moment at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 when he thought the award should have gone to Beyonce.

Kanye Beck

After the show, West angrily exclaimed, “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”

Beyonce-Album-Cover-750x400

Many in the industry (obviously not the Grammy voters) agree that Beck should not have won “Album of the Year”.

I don’t own any of the albums that were nominated, so I can’t say.  I know that Beck had one of the least commercial albums of the nominees, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the best.

So, did the Grammys make a mistake or was this just a major upset?

The two biggest upsets that I remember in recent memory were in the same year, 2011, when Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” lost to Arcade Fire for “Album of the Year” and when the award for “Best New Artist” was announced.

The nominees that night were Justin Bieber, Drake, Florence + the Machine, Mumford & Sons, and Esperanza Spalding.

When the envelope was opened and the winner was announced, there was a huge gasp heard around the world.

The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards - Show

The winner was jazz performer Esperanza Spalding!

I was one of the shocked people.

Did she rightfully win without ever having a radio hit?

She’s had three Top Three Jazz albums and only one of them reached the Top Ten on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart.

However, she’s now won four Grammy Awards:  That “Best New Artist” Grammy, plus two others in 2013 and one last year.

amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala, Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI: Red Carpet Arrivals

While he’s only been nominated twice and lost both times, Bieber has definitely had the most success with radio, album and single sales, concerts, etc.

Florence + the Machine has been nominated three times for Grammy Awards and still has no wins.  Meanwhile, Mumford & Sons has had 12 nominations with two wins.

And, the other “Best New Artist” nominee in 2011, Drake has amassed a total of 22 nominations and has won one Grammy Award.

Beyonce

While Beyonce would have loved to have won “Album of the Year”, she did win three Grammy Awards Sunday night to Beck’s two awards.

Two of her awards were for “Drunk in Love” with her husband, Jay-Z.

Overall, Beyonce is the most nominated woman in Grammy Awards history with 53 and she’s won a total of 20 Grammy Awards, the second most honored woman in Grammy history.

Kanye Beck

Here’s the rest of West’s comment about Beck and Beyonce, “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé.”

Grammy Awards, listen up!

West is a sore loser and he wasn’t even up for the award.  Maybe you should not invite him back next year.

Bring Beyonce and Beck back to the party, but lose Kanye’s invitation in the mail next year.

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — December 27, 2013

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

“LIFESTYLE” OR “CHOICE”

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

phil-robertson-p11

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

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

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

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

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

gay-lifestyle

Sound familiar?

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

BRISTOL PALIN ON ROBERTSON & THE LGBT COMMUNITY

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

Bristol Palin Crying

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

ONE MORE PALIN RESPONSE

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

sarah palin

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

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

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

SURPRISE “GLEE”FUL WEDDING

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

Bridgett and Dot-Marie

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

Congratulations Dot-Marie and Bridgett!

IPOD BOY

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT  — WINTER VERSION

Snowman Eats KidSnow Cone Stand  Snowman Life in Prison

BEYONCE

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

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

Beyonce-Album-Cover-750x400

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

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

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

THE BIBLE

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

C.O.G.

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

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

SINCE WE’RE TALKING RELIGION AND HUMOR

Christian

PICK HIT

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

Martin Garrix

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

FOUR BOOKS THIS YEAR

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

Christmas In Plains

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

Jimmy Carter

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

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

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

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

Iranian Hostage

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

The other 52 Americans hostages were held for 444 days.

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

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

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

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

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

Hostages Freed

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

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

President Carter and Lillian Carter

BEST & WORST OF CHRISTMAS SONGS

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

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

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

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

FINAL CHRISTMAS 2013 WISH

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

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

Happy New Year early!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 6, 2013

The weekend is almost here, but it’s going to be a short one for me since I work Sunday evening.  However, I’m going to make the most of it.  We’re having a yard sale with the rest of the neighborhood today and tomorrow and we’ve already decided that the money we make will go toward Las Vegas in the spring of 2014!

Riverfront Pops

Saturday night, we’re going to the Riverfront Pops concert at LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa, featuring the music of Michael Jackson and then fireworks!  As you can see from this picture, it was the music of ABBA last year!

ABBA Riverfront Pops

Have a great weekend and make the most of it.  I hope you enjoy my random thoughts this week.  If so, let me know.  If not, let me know why.

SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ARIZONA

No, I’m not talking about Governor Jan Brewer this time, but that, too, is a sad state of affairs!

This is about Daniel Hernandez, Jr., the intern who helped save then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ life by applying first-aid assistance in the January 2011 deadly shooting rampage near Tucson, Arizona, where six people died and twenty others were hurt.

Tucson-shooting-vitims-007

Later that year, Hernandez was elected to the Sunnyside Unified School District, which covers southern Tucson and adjacent areas in Pima County.  Now, he and three other board members (out of five) are facing a recall campaign.

However, for Hernandez, it’s more personal and it’s a smear campaign.

Hernandez Slam

Seriously, he’s being attacked because he’s gay!  And, that means he’s not a “real man”???  People in that school district need to wake up and smell the orange juice.  Did the country not learn anything from Anita Bryant and John Briggs’ anti-gay discrimination from the 1970s?

Hernandez has the support from Gabby from this Tweet she sent out.

Gabrielle Giffords

Good luck, Daniel!

If you want to read more about those idiots (Bryant & Briggs), here’s my blog from last October about their 1970s hatred:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/sour-orange-juice-fruit-pies/

ILLINOIS HOUSE, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

To the Illinois House, it’s time for you to move forward and make marriage equality a reality in the “Land of Lincoln”.

By doing so, Illinois would join 13 other states, the District of Columbia, seven counties in New Mexico (next week), and five Native American tribes in the United States that offer same-sex marriage.

Here in Illinois, the Senate approved a marriage equality bill in early 2013, but it stalled in the House this past May before it adjourned.  Proponents say they were just a few votes shy.

Politicians no longer can use the excuse that the general public does not support marriage equality.  More people than ever are saying “yes” to equality and in last November’s election, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota said “yes” to marriage equality.  And, this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court did away with parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Supporters are ready this time.  The American Civil Liberties Union has hired former state Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady, who supports marriage equality, to lobby Republicans.

Illinois Unites For Marriage

And, “Illinois Unites for Marriage” put together that amazing video from the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago to reach out to the city’s black community, which has people like Reverend James Meeks condemning marriage equality.  Meeks says, “Men should not be marrying men, and women should not be marrying women.  God does not support homosexuality, and neither do I.”

forum-CST-1215-11.JPG

Illinois, it’s time to make marriage available for all in the state.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Losing WeightRetiringRain

MIDWESTERN DROUGHT INTENSIFIES

I really wish I could make the clouds cry over the Quad Cities without being a bully.  It’s now been 32 days since we saw measurable rain in the Quad Cities.  This is now the 5th longest period without rainfall, officially, at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.

Dry Days

That photo, showing how dry it is, was taken by my friend, Cindy Farmer, near Kewanee, Illinois, about 30 minutes from the Quad Cities.

It’s hard to believe that we had more than 20″ of rain back in April, May, and June, and now we’re seeing a “moderate” to “severe” drought.

Let’s all do a rain dance or pretend that we’re Lizzie Cooper and call the Rainman.

Tanya Tucker, who I idolized as a kid, hit #1 in 1975  with that song, “Lizzie and the Rainman”.  It was her eighth Top 40 country hit and her fourth to hit #1.  It also peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first, and only, crossover hit.

CONGRATULATIONS LANCE & MICHAEL

Former ‘N Sync band member, Lance Bass, is now engaged.

Lance Bass - Michael Turchin

The 34-year-old proposed to his boyfriend, Michael Turchin, in New Orleans.

Lance says, “New Orleans is my favorite city in the world, it really is. I’ve been coming here my whole life.  I was born just across the border here (in Laurel, Mississippi). …I got down on one knee and I proposed, right in front of Jackson Square, my favorite place.  I was pretty nervous.”

Of course, Michael said, “yes”.

The two have been seeing each other since December 2011.

Congratulations Lance and Michael!

Lance’s former band, ‘N Sync, had many hits.  “Tearin’ Up My Heart” is from 1997 and it was their second release, a Top Ten radio airplay hit.

TWO MOVIES TO CHECK OUT

Last weekend, in our quest not to binge watch season three of “The Walking Dead”, we rented three movie.  All three were enjoyable, but I highly recommend two of them.

Amour

“Amour” took home the Academy Award this year for Best Foreign Language Film and was up for three other Oscars including Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director.

It tells the story of an aging married couple that has to deal with the onset of failing health and memory and not wanting to resort to life in a nursing home or a hospice.  Both Riva and her on-screen husband, Jean-Louis Trintignant won Cesar Awards, the French equivalent to the American Oscar, for their performances.

GRADE:  A

“Olympus Has Fallen”

This terrorists take over the White House movie came out a couple of months before Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx’s very, very similar movie, “White House Down”.  While I enjoyed Channing in his white tank top and his movie, “Olympus” was far more superior in its story line and acting.

olympus-has-fallen

“Olympus Has Fallen” stars Gerard Butler, Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott, and Golden Globe nominees Aaron Eckhart and Ashley Judd.

Since it was directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), you know it’s a very violent movie.  But, it’s also very entertaining and definitely worth seeing.

GRADE:  B+

The third movie we watched was “Mud” starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon (in a much smaller role).

mud

The movie is about love and redemption.  It also focuses on the bond between McConaughey’s  on-the run criminal character and 14-year-old Ellis, an Arkansas boy helping “Mud” get back with the woman he loves.

GRADE:  B-

While enjoyable in “Mud”, I’m more impressed with McConaughey’s recent performances in “The Paperboy”, “Killer Joe”, and “Magic Mike”.  However, it’s his upcoming role in “Dallas Buyers Club” that has people really take him serious as an actor and there’s pre-season buzz that he could get his first Oscar nomination!

dallas_buyers_club

In the movie, out November 1, 2013, McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic, straight man from Texas who is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and is told that he has 30 days to live.  He begins smuggling alternative medication into the U.S. from Mexico.  For the role, McConaughey reportedly lost 40 pounds.

Jared Leto

“Dallas Buyers Club” also stars Jared Leto as a HIV-positive transgendered woman, Rayon, and Jennifer Garner as Ron’s doctor.

FUTURE PICK HIT

26-year-old Scottish singer Emeli Sande is releasing her second single, “My Kind Of Love”, here in America next week.

This is the follow-up to “Next To Me”, which was a Top 20 radio airplay song here in the States.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Club chart and reached the Top Ten on the Adult Contemporary and R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

YOU HAVE TO GET THIS ALBUM!

“Our Version of Events” has already produced three #1 songs in the U.K. and spent seven weeks at the top of the albums charts there.  It was also the best-selling album of 2012 in the U.K.

Emeli Sande

Sadly, Emeli and the album have not made it big in the United States and that’s a shame.  While the first single, “Next To You” was a modest radio hit here, it topped the charts in Ireland and Scotland and reached the Top 5 in Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and the U.K.

If you love Adele and Beyonce, you’ll love this album.  It’s one of my favorites that I bought this year.

The album kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Heaven” followed by the new single, “My Kind of Love”, which has a catchy hook and sounds like a hit that Beyonce wishes she had recorded.

If you like more upbeat songs, you’ll love “Daddy” featuring Naughty Boy and “Next To Me”.

If slower songs really grab your attention, you’ll love “Suitcase” and “Breaking The Law”, both amazing songs with aching vocals.

But, my favorite song on the album is “Clown”, which reached the Top Ten in a few countries across Europe.

“Our Version of Events” is an album you need to add to your collection!  It spent 63 consecutive weeks in the Top Ten on the U.K. charts breaking the record established by the Beatles almost 50 years ago when “Please Please Me” stayed in the Top Ten for 62 straight weeks.

GRADE:  B+

STOP FIGHTING, YOU’RE BOTH PRETTY

The “Boy” is in a feud with the boys of One Direction and their fans, which is scarier.

Boy George One Direction

Recently, at the BRIT Awards, Boy George asked the boy band for an autograph for his niece and Harry obliged,  but Liam Payne didn’t.  Boy George, always the one to speak his mind, got One Direction’s fans riled up.   He said, “”Top marks to Harry Styles for stopping for a picture with my niece and Bollox’s to Liam and the disrespectful wanker of a minder!”

Liam Boy George

But, Liam didn’t take it lying down.

He fired back in a Tweet, “@BoyGeorge now now boy lets not tell porkies. Firstly thanks for getting my name wrong three times secondly then asking me where is liam?…awkward. Then when you finally got it right saying you wanted Niall instead.  If you would have asked me for a picture i would have stopped bro i just did what you said and pointed niall out for you so u just keep wearing ur strange hats and enjoy yourself my little Georgie pie… It’s still not cool you just look weird.”

Boy told the “Daily Star” that the band is not as straight as their fans think, “The odds are one of One Direction must be gay.  I think everyone is a bit bisexual deep down, so the odds are they are probably all bisexual. They’re rock stars so it’s what you’d expect, isn’t it? I’d be disappointed if they weren’t. Tattoos don’t make you butch. Look at me.”

And, then the One Direction fans started in on Boy George.  He claims, “One tweeted me saying:  ‘My mum says you’re a horrible old has-been.’ I tweeted back saying: ‘Your mum’s probably an old, fat ugly b***h.'”

George adds,  “I was having such a laugh, fighting with One Dir­ection’s fans all night. I did say some vile things, I had too much sugar. But I really enjoyed it.”

Nothing like a little Twitter Twitting!

One Direction hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this summer with “Best Song Ever” and it’s currently of the 20 most played songs on pop radio.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

From 1982 through 1986, Boy George and Culture Club scored ten Top 40 hits in America.

Their first six singles reached the Top Ten.  Of those, only “Karma Chameleon” reached #1 (in 1984).  Their introduction in America was “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”, which spent three weeks at #2 in the spring of 1983.

Nothing makes me feel better than listening to 1980s music and boy bands and I featured two today!  Enjoy your weekend and stay cool!

Anthony

They Said What??? Margaret Cho, Pat Robertson, & LeAnn Rimes

RELIGIOUS ZEALOT PAT ROBERTSON

“You’ve got a couple of same-sex guys kissing, do you like that? Well that makes me want to throw up. To me I would punch ‘Vomit’ not ‘Like’ but they don’t give you that option on Facebook.”

ZIMBABWE PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE

(speaking about gay people):  “I should like to shut them-up in some room and see if they get pregnant; if they don’t then its jail because they have claimed they can have children. So, to that kind of rot, we say no, no, no, no!”

MORE MUGABE

“Women are also engaged in this vile activity.  We have some claiming to be men but what is it that makes you a man? Show us your manhood. You want to make other women your wives and you the husband? Well, that is madness; we refuse to accept that.”

SINGER LEANN RIMES

“I was bullied when I was a kid — when I was in junior high. A lot of girls can get real mean during the sixth grade year.  i used to perform around Dallas and Texas where I lived, a lot. My principal would put something on the bulletin board if I was in the newspaper or something, and there was this clique of girls that did not like it.  So, I had my locker egged, I had a girl bring a knife to school the last day of sixth grade and tried to kill me! Awesome. So, I’d say I was bullied a little.”

MORE RIMES

“I’ve been such a target I guess for misjudgment lately, and a lot of anger from some people, especially through social media. Obviously we’re [celebrities] underneath a microscope and in the spotlight all the time, but it’s no reason to be able to pick apart someone the way that a lot of people do. We’re human … this is my job, and then I have my life. But I’m a human being in both of them — and I think people forget that a lot of times.”

NEW YORK TIMES WRITER MARK BITTMAN

(criticizing Beyonce Knowles for her Pepsi endorsement and working with Michelle Obama’s fitness campaign in his article, “Why Do Stars Think It’s O.K. to Sell Soda?):  “Knowles is renting her image to a product that may one day be ranked with cigarettes as a killer we were too slow to rein in.  From saying, as she once did in referring to Let’s Move, that she was ‘excited to be part of this effort that addresses a public health crisis,’ she’s become part of an effort that promotes a public health crisis.”

POP SUPERSTAR SINGER BEYONCE

(responding to the criticism):  “Pepsi is a brand I’ve grown up seeing my heroes collaborate with.  The company respects musicians and artistry. I wouldn’t encourage any person, especially a child, to live life without balance.”

PENNSYLVANIA ATTORNEY GENERAL KATHLEEN KANE

(announcing that she will not defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban being challenged by 10 same-sex couples and one widow):  “We are the land of the free and the home of the brave, and I want to start acting like that.  It is our duty, each and every one of us, to protect the constitutionality, to protect the rights and dignity of others, and to protect the equality of all men and women in this Commonwealth.”

COMEDIAN MARGARET CHO

(about saying John Travolta is “so gay” and “like Oscar Wilde gay” in Australia earlier this year):  “You know, I would hope that he would be able to be himself. It’s not even like I’m outing him, because it’s so obvious.  That’s like outing Liberace.  All I’m doing is taking public speculation and joining it with what I know to be true.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 26, 2013

Happy Friday!  The last weekend of April 2013 is almost upon us.  I hope you have fun plans.  Since the weather is going to be nice, I hope to get outdoors and prep some things for spring planting.  Last weekend in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Ray bought several plants that we’ll be putting in the ground.  I hope they are hearty because I don’t trust this Midwestern weather!

Fort Dodge Plants

Old Farmer’s Almanac says to “plant trees and shrubs while it’s still cool and wet”.  Ray and I did just that two weeks ago with a couple of trees.  Gretel and I really want a cherry tree and we saw a nice one last night, so maybe we should get it.

Although I have to work Saturday afternoon and evening, I still plan on getting out and enjoying the very nice weather this weekend and maybe even mow the yard for the first time this season.  All of the recent rains have really greened up the lawn and the grass is growing.  By the way, don’t expect to see me on the air Saturday.  I’m only there as behind the scenes support for our new weekend meteorologist, Kyle Kiel, who is making his Quad Cities’  and CBS4 debut.  Check him out!

Even though we have a few days of mostly dry weather in the forecast, this April is already going down in the record books as one of the wettest Aprils on record in the Quad Cities.  And, we still have four more days to go and rain is expected Monday and Tuesday.  (This graphic was from earlier in the week.  We now stand at 7.21″, since we’ve added a whopping 0.01″ more!)

Wettest Aprils

ANOTHER REASON TO WATCH CBS EARLY IN THE MORNING

Other than joining me for your latest Quad City weather forecast Monday through Friday from 5-7 a.m.  on CBS4 and to get live updates during the national morning show from 7-9 a.m., national publications are telling you why you should check out Norah, Charlie, and Gayle on “CBS This Morning”.

cbs-this-morning

“Broadcasting & Cable” recently commended the show for being a “bright spot” in the morning.  And, affiliates like mine, CBS4, are happy, too.   Chris Cornelius, the chairman of the CBS affiliates board, told the the group at a recent gathering in Las Vegas, “We’ve got a wonderful advantage in that we do [hard] news in the morning.”

It’s working.  While those other two national morning shows are fighting each other for number one, mediabistro.com just reported, “The big winner again is “CBS This Morning” which, while still trailing by two million viewers, is up +24% in viewership vs. last year.”

Up 24%!  Incredible!

DO YOU THINK ABOUT DYING?

Normally, I’m a care free kind of guy that always looks and plans for the future.  I rarely think of dying except in mid-February when my mother’s birthday and the anniversary of my father’s death comes around (February 14th & 15th) and in early November around the anniversary of my mother and grandmother’s deaths.

However, lately, I just get a weird feeling that the hereditary curse of my father (brain cancer) and grandfather (colon cancer) is catching up to me.  I know I’m getting older, but I’m noticing more and more aches and pains internally that I didn’t have before.  I know it could very well be from the lack of sleep with my new position at work.  Is three or four hours enough sleep to thrive on during the week? 🙂

I saw this on someone’s Facebook page the other day and it got me to thinking even more!  Luckily, if I were to die tomorrow, I don’t share four of those regrets:  I definitely have the courage to be true to myself (#1), I express my feelings (#3), I do a relatively good job staying in touch with my friends if they want to (#4), and I allow myself to be happy (#5).

The only regret that I have is #2, working too hard in life.  But, short of winning the lottery, how do you get around that one?

Dying Regrets

“I’M TOO SEXY” FOR THIS COUNTRY

After that buzz kill random thought, let’s lighten the mood.  “Out Traveler” is reporting that three men have been kicked out of Saudi Arabia because they were “too handsome” and that women “might fall for them.”  Seriously!  One of the men is actor/poet/photographer Omar Borkan Al Gala from Dubai.

Too Sexy

Now, you can thank me for getting that #1 hit from 1991 by Right Said Fred stuck in your head for the day!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Boston Adam Sandler Tweet  Never Give UpArk StrangeMarriage EqualityNew England

I LOVE FOOD, BUT NO THANKS!

My friend, Joan, always teases me that many of my blogs and posts have to do with food.  Yes, I love food.  I love talking about it, posting pictures of great culinary treats that I make, and restaurant entrées or buffets that I’ve sampled.  However, I came across an entrée in a past “Boston” magazine food review that I had to say, “no thank you” to and turn away!

Fish, no thanks

I’ll just have the fish and chips, please!

BEY BEY BEY

There is no doubt that Beyonce is gorgeous and hot.  Okay, there are a couple of pictures that you can argue about and I want to share  one of them with you!

She’s now less than two weeks into “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour”, her new 65-date, three-leg concert across Europe, North America, and South America.  While some are surprised that the concert doesn’t feature any new music (her new album is due later this year), one thing that is definitely turning heads is the costumes.

This one has me saying “Bey Bee” (baby)!

Bey1

And, this one has me saying “Bey BOO!”

Bey Boo!

You go on with your bad self!  Lady Gaga and Madonna, watch out, Bey has gone “Boobie-liciuous”.

AWESOME SURPRISE FROM HELEN REDDY

Last month, I blogged about finally getting to see one of my childhood idols, Helen Reddy, in concert in St. Charles, Illinois.  As you already know, back in the 1970s, she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world.  In 1992, Helen gave up touring and started enjoying life and doing whatever she wanted.  Luckily, for her fans, she decided that she wanted to tour some more this spring.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Although I didn’t get a chance to meet the 71-year-old singer after the show, her great fan club president and Facebook page administrator, Jim Keaton, made my day recently.  Look what he got me!

Helen Reddy Autograph

Jim and Helen, thank you very much!

CHRISTMAS IS ONLY EIGHT MONTHS AWAY!

Too early to think about it?  I don’t think so considering we had just snow flurries in the Quad Cities last weekend!

While Christmas is still eight months away and I have no desire to even think about what to buy people this Christmas, I already have the first new Christmas album on my list to buy.

Erasure

Erasure, the new wave/dance band from the 1980s, is recording a Christmas album that is expected to come out in November or December!

While the duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have dominated the Billboard Dance charts with 21 hits, 15 of which have made the Top Ten, and two reaching #1, they’ve only charted with three Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100:  “Chains of Love”  (#12, 1988), “A Little Respect” (#14, 1988), and #Always” (#20, 1994).

Since this isn’t my Flashback ’80s hit, I’ll share “Always” from 1994 with you since it has a wintry, holiday feel to it.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

Three years ago this week, we purchased two “King Winter Hawthorne” trees for our front yard.

Interestingly enough, we didn’t have to convince Miss ABBA and Gretel to help us dig the holes for the news trees.  ABBA thought it was fun because she got to dig in the yard without getting reprimanded and Gretel pretended to be a ghoul rising up out of a grave!  The trees have done very well in the three years since we planted them and I can’t wait for the new leaves to sprout out so I can share a new picture with you from this spring to show how they’ve grown.

042410 ABBA Digging For Trees Gretel 042410

And, this awesome photo is from April 28th of last year.  I wasn’t lucky enough to “catch” the lightning streak.  I had to cheat.  I recorded a video and was able to capture frames from the video.  Nevertheless, it’s a cool shot.

042812 Lightning

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Why not have another dose of Erasure?  I met the band briefly when I was a writer for “Fox News Chicago” when they were on the morning show about ten years ago.  They even signed my VHS copy of “Erasure Live!”

April 2013 001

The synthpop band first charted on the U.S. Dance chart with 1985’s “Who Needs Love Like That” and first topped the dance chart in 1987 with “Victim of Love”.

When I was a club disc jockey in the 1980s, “Oh L’Amour” and “Sometimes” were two of my favorite Erasure songs.

MY FINAL “THE FOLLOWING ” THOUGHT BEFORE THE FINALE

Emma

“The Following” season one finale is Monday night at 8pm Central on Fox, that other network!

Have yourself a great weekend and thank you for checking out my weekly random Friday thoughts.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 8, 2013

Happy Friday. I hope you had a great week and that you are looking forward to the weekend.

My blog this morning is coming to you from Des Moines, Iowa. Ray is speaking at a conference in Kansas City, Missouri Saturday and since my schedule was open, I took advantage of the road trip. He’s also going to Washington D.C. in April and I really want to go, but I plan on being back to work, in some capacity, by then. Here are my random thoughts for today.

SPORTS TALK

Now that the Super Bowl is over and the more gay-friendly Baltimore Ravens won and Beyonce blew out the lights with her dazzling dancing, smiling, and all around sexiness (oh, she did sing some), I’m ready to start following college basketball again just in time for “March Madness”. I guess if there’s any consolation of not being at the station, I won’t lose $5 in the annual basketball brackets contest!

Real life usually prevents me from keeping up with basketball until just before the conference tournaments. And, as I glanced at the AP and USA Today polls, I was shocked to see that neither Kentucky or my alma mater, Murray State, are in the Top 25 until I saw their records.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Here are some of the things on Facebook I saw recently that made me smile or take a second look. One Direction, it’s good to see that most of you guys are close and get along rather well! And, Justin, I really know very little about you, but it was still funny!

February Zombie HellHow Gay One Direction! Justin Bieber

NEW MUSIC — MAKE IT OR BREAK IT?

Justin Timberlake has scored 11 Top 40 hits and has been featured on 8 more hits since he started his solo career after ‘N Sync. While I love “Sexy Back”, I really don’t care for “Suit & Tie”, his new song with Jay-Z and the first release from his upcoming album, “The 20/20 Experience”.

I also don’t care for the new Destiny’s Child song, “Nuclear” from their January 29th release, “Love Songs”.

My favorite songs out now are still Chris Wallace’s “Remember When”, which strangely enough was released July 10, 2012, and it’s still slowly gaining popularity. Another song that I still love right now is “C’mon” by Ke$ha, which is approaching the Top Ten!

I bought the album, “Our Version of Events” from Scottish singer Emeli Sande this week. She’s already has six hits from the album in the U.K., where it was released in February 2012! Four of those songs have hit the Top Ten. In addition to her own album hits, she’s been featured on five other Top Ten hits in the U.K. and two of those have topped the charts.

Her new release in the United States is “Next To Me”. It’s already in the Top 20 on the AC chart, it’s been released to Top 40 radio this week.

She already being compared to Adele. What’s really bizarre is that her real first name is, you guessed it, Adele!

TELEVISION THAT I’M STILL LOVING

I’m still waiting for season seven of “Dexter”, the third season of “The Walking Dead” (which returns to AMC this weekend) and the second season of “American Horror Story” to arrive on DVD this summer or fall.

In the meantime, I absolutely love “Elementary” on CBS with the beautiful and sexy Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu. It’s the story of Sherlock Holmes and JANE Watson story set in New York City instead of London.

jonny_lee_miller

“The Following” on Fox is incredibly addictive and gruesomely creepy awesome.

FollowingPoster

It stars Kevin Bacon as a former FBI agent that captured serial killer Dr. Joe Carroll, a college professor and writer that is obsessed with the writings of Edgar Allen Poe, played by James Purefoy. Carroll escaped from prison in the premiere, but was captured. However, he now has a Charles Manson-like “following”, or cult, that are now carrying on his sadistic brutality.

If you haven’t started “following”, I mean, watching the show, you’ve only missed three episodes and they are available on the Fox website and itunes.

I’m still loving “The New Normal”. Although it won the People’s Choice Award (the real one, not my award) for “Favorite New TV Comedy”, I’m afraid the show may get cancelled since last week’s episode was only watched by 3.1 million people!

“Nashville” on ABC is still on my viewing list on Wednesday night and I’m still barely hanging on to “Malibu Country” on ABC, which stars my idol, Reba. Sorry, Red!

“PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK”

The English trio, The Police, was one of the biggest hit makers in the 1980s. They scored their first hit, “Roxanne”, which peaked at #32, in 1978.

But, in the 1980s, they scored eight more Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with songs from their four Top Ten albums, “Zenyatta Mondatta (1980, double platinum), “Ghost In The Machine” (1981, triple platinum), and their career album, “Synchronicity” (1983, 8 times platinum). In 1986, their greatest hits album “Every Breath You Take: The Singles” reached #7 and went 5 times platinum. Remember, platinum means one million units shipped to stores!

The band’s first Top Ten hit was “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” from 1980. That and their next song, “De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da” both peaked at #10. With “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, they moved closer to #1, reached #3.

In 1983, they topped the charts with “Every Breath You Take”, which spent eight weeks at #1.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

Two years ago, 2/11/2011, we were eating pizza and playing games at Incredible Pizza in Davenport, Iowa. RIP! I guess we were “Wanted”, too, with a reward offering of one million dollars! We must have been bad!

February 10 2011

Three years ago, we were preparing for Valentine’s Day. I made steak and lobster and Miss ABBA was peaking around the corner to make sure I didn’t forget her and if I dropped something. she wanted to be there to pick it up. I also made cherry cookies with melon frosting and melon cookies with cherry frosting to keep it simple. 🙂

February 14 2010February 13 2010

AND, I CAN’T STOP WATCHING THIS VIDEO!

She’s Hailey Rowe and he is Blake Peyrot!

Have a great weekend.

Anthony