Posts Tagged ‘Brad Pitt’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 23, 2016

Fall is here and summer is officially over!  It’s time to trade in those fruit smoothies for everything apple and pumpkin!

Even the USPS is getting into the act.  Check out these cool stamps.

halloween-2016

As always, thank you for checking out my random thoughts. Let’s get started!

SHUT YOUR MOUTH HATERS!

It’s old news now because news travels fast, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced and he’s being investigated on child abuse allegations!

Brad Angelina.jpg

Reactions:  no surprise, sad, Jennifer Aniston is smiling somewhere, and Jolie is a “f***ing lunatic”.  What?

Comedian Chelsea Handler, who’s friends with Pitt’s ex, Aniston, holds nothing back, “There are rumors that part of the problem was that Brad was allegedly drinking and smoking too much weed. I wonder why he would need to self-medicate.”

She goes on to say, “Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon, instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids speaking 15 different languages. Oh yeah, because he married a f***ng lunatic, that’s why.”

However, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, who stars with Pitt in this November’s “Allied”, is shutting the rumor mill down in a lengthy Instagram post with a big announcement of her own.

marion.jpg

Cotillard says, “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son [5-year-old Marcel] and of the baby we are expecting.  He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need.” (She’s referring to French actor and director Guillaume Canet.)

And, she adds, “Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn’t distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment. With all my love, Marion”

Burn!

MY LITTLE SISTER TURNS 50!

My little sister Tammy reaches a milestone birthday this weekend — she hits the big 5-0!

Tammy1

I wish her the very best as she begins a new era in her life.  As we slowly move toward the “golden years”, I hope she makes the most of it.

She moved to Quad Cities five years ago and has gotten herself back on solid financial ground, but I know she doesn’t want to stay here forever.

She’s been talking about moving back to our hometown!  While I couldn’t imagine doing that, if that’s what she wants, I say “go for it”.  And, why wait?  Do it now since we never really know how much time we have left.

Our own mother, Dessie, died at the age of 47.  Since Tammy has already survived two heart attacks and hasn’t changed her unhealthy habits (mainly smoking), I’m truly surprised that we still have her!

Tammy

This beautiful picture is from a Caribbean cruise we took in 2012.  She definitely loves to get dressed up and we’re looking forward to doing it again this December!

Happy Birthday Tammy!  Enjoy life, don’t let the bitches get to you, and live it up!

“SWEETBITTER”

I’ve stated many times that I mostly read biographies, autobiographies, or books about real events.

When I venture in fiction, I find some real gems like “The Girl on the Train” (Paula Hawkins), “Dietland” (Sarai Walker), and “Day Four” (Sarah Lotz).  Now, I can add Stephanie Danler’s superior debut, “Sweetbitter” to the list!

stephanie-danler_0.jpg

“Sweetbitter” is fiction, but it’s based on real life Danler experienced as a waitress in New York City.

It was the food and drink service industry angle that attracted my attention in this coming-of-age novel because I’ve been there.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or bar, you know how demanding it is — the hours, the hard work, smiling back at ungrateful and demanding customers (oops, guests), the insane amount of readily available cash, and if you worked at the right (or wrong) places, the partying after shifts with alcohol and/or drugs.

But, most of all, it’s the incredibly diverse people you work with “on the floor” and “in the back of the house” that make this business unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of.

Some will make a life and career in this high stress and burnout line of work.  Some, like me, are just passing through on the way to other professions.

Danler perfectly captures all of this.

Her vast experiences — from the people keeping the plates and drinks on the table and the guests coming back, the intrinsic knowledge of food and wine that make the book a beginner’s guide to gastronomy, to living an empty life in a nowhere place and then taking a chance to make it in the big city with a cast of characters wanting more and really wanting nothing — make “Sweetbitter” such a delight.

A must read!

EMMY WINNERS

I’m very happy that Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot” won for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards!

MR. ROBOT

And, it comes as no shock that “The People v. O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story”, the 10-part miniseries that aired earlier this year on FX, won big.

In addition to four Creative Arts Emmys it recently won, the show picked up five more awards Sunday night, including “Outstanding Limited Series” and three for acting – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Sarah Paulson), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Courtney B. Vance), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Sterling K. Brown).

Sarah Paulson looked beautiful making her acceptance speech for the much deserved first Emmy win (out of six nominations since 2012) and the shout-out to the real Marcia Clark was outstanding!

She ended her speech by telling Holland Taylor that she loved her!

sarah-paulson love.gif

What gets me is all the chatter over the more than 30-year age difference (Paulson is 41 and Taylor is 73).

Earlier this summer, Paulson told a magazine, “You should be able to love whomever you f***ing well please.”

Paulson Taylor.jpg

Amen, sister, I wish you and Holland the very best.  Life’s too short not to find and enjoy love at any age.

People need to get real and work on their own love lives, relationships, and marriages.

MARK RUFFALO WILL SHOW IT ALL FOR THIS!

This year’s presidential election is now just a little over six weeks away.  It can’t get here soon enough!

However, there are still some people that are undecided and there are others that may not even vote.

Many celebrities are using their fame to get people to vote and to take this election seriously.  They are even volunteering one of their own to give you his all for the cause!

But, on a more serious note, it’s also about “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.”

Warning:  contains adult language and situations!

Vote on November 8th.  If you don’t do it for Hillary Clinton, then do it for Mark Ruffalo! 🙂

CHRISTMAS IS NOW JUST THREE MONTHS AWAY

My annual tradition is to drop off my Christmas cards at the post office on Thanksgiving Eve and let the cards make their way across the country as people feast on turkey!

Here are the new Christmas stamps being offered by the USPS.

Christmas 2016.jpg

Since they’re “Forever” stamps, they’ll always be good even if the price of stamps goes up in the future.  So buy up and keep Christmas going as long as you want with your mailings.

HALLMARK CHANNEL GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The “Countdown to Christmas” kicks off on the Hallmark Channel on October 28th this year with around the clock original television holiday movies.

It’ll start with classics over the years and then on November 5th, the new original Christmas movies debut.

Lacey Chabert is back (sadly without Mariah Carey, but you can catch Mimi on the October 5th episode of “Empire”!).

I’m excited to see “My Christmas Dream”, which debuts November 19th, because it stars Deidre Hall of “Days of Our Lives”.

DeidreHall

I’ve been a huge fan of Deidre since childhood watching her on “Days” and “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl”, a short-lived 1976 series.

There’s no official trailer yet for “My Christmas Dream”, which simply sounds like the work of Satan! 🙂

possessedmarlena

Oh, come on, you loved that “Days” possession story line as much as I did!

In all, 22 new movies are being prepped for your holiday enjoyment for the Hallmark Channel.

“NOW YOU SEE ME 2”

I really enjoyed the 2013 original.

In a November 2013 blog, I wrote, “If you love magic, suspense, and action, this summer caper is the movie for you.  The $75 million motion picture made $351.7 million and a sequel is in the works and is expected to begin production next summer.”

Well, that sequel came this summer and it did rather well.  The $90 million production made $331.4 million and a third installment is on the way.

My teenaged daughter, Gretel, saw this one twice in the theaters, so she’s partly responsible for its success.  I waited to see it on DVD and that’s a good thing.

I was bored for much of the two-hour movie.  The first lavish card trick and magic act was hokey and unbelievable.  The final reveal had slightly more appeal.

It’s great to see Jesse Eisenberg in anything!

Jesse

It’s funny because I commented on liking his hair in the first movie three years ago.  Well, his hair in this movie was one of the highlights, too.  You can see it in this still image of the trailer.

GRADE: C

SPEAKING OF MAGIC, HOW ABOUT A “PERFECT ILLUSION”?

Lady Gaga is back with new music without her good friend Tony Bennett.

Earlier this month, she released “Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her upcoming fifth studio album, “Joanne” (named after her late aunt, who died of Lupus at the age of 19 in December of 1974, a little over eleven years before Gaga was born).

“Perfect Illusion” is already Gaga’s biggest hit at Top 40 radio since 2013’s “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly, which reached #7 on the radio airplay charts.

It’s an upbeat rock song and we’ve seen her rock out before, but this one has a different sound thanks to Mark Ronson (who’s biggest credits to date are “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars and working with Amy Winehouse).

Gaga Las Vegas

I’ve seen Gaga in concert twice (three times, sorta) and she’s an incredible singer, piano player, and dancer — an all-around amazing entertainer.

She’s an artist with an emphasis on “art”.  There’s no way you’ll ever forget the “meat dress” and the many outlandish and bizarre outfits and stage productions we’ve been blessed with over the past eight years.

Can you believe it’s only been eight years?

Now, back to the art (and the spectacle, the show, the dance moves, the club beats).  After the somewhat commercially disappointing (and uneven) “Artpop”, she’s all about the music this time.  To me, that’s evident after her high profile performances at the Grammys and the Oscars and singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

There’s no glamour in the new video to “Perfect Illusion” and there’s nothing over-the-top and envelope-pushing with the artwork for the new album.  It’s classy and clean.

joanne

It looks like it’s all about the music on “Joanne”, which comes out October 21st.

I admit that this whole new chapter of Lady Gaga is taking some adjusting for me, but I have a month to get there!

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

I just hope that there’s some “Mother Monster” left somewhere on “Joanne” and in Lady Gaga.

Now, where did I leave that “disco stick”?

50 YEARS OF PRIDE — CHARLEY PRIDE

In 2012, Darius Rucker, of Hootie & The Blowfish fame, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.  He bacame only the third African-American to achieve that honor.  The first two were harmonica player Deford Bailey and singer Charley Pride (inducted in 1993).

The 82-year-old Mississippi-born Pride has enjoyed quite the country music career.

Pride.jpg

From the 1960s through the 1980s, he charted an incredible 52 Top Ten Billboard Country hits.  Of those, 29 went all the way to #1!

Pride has also topped the country album charts twelve times — that’s more #1s than Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson!

As he celebrates his 50th year in country music, Pride tells “Billboard” that little has changed in country music when it comes to black artists.

He says, “Promoters were reluctant to book me. When you ask why things haven’t changed, I just say, “How far do you want to go back?” Do you want to go back to 1817? Once someone in the industry said to me, “I don’t mean no harm” — you know, just throwing that in — “but I want to ask: How come every time we let y’all in, you just take over?” I told him, “See that barrel over there? Go peek in it. Oh, look, there I am, down at the bottom! Now where is there for me to go?”

As a kid, I loved Charley Pride.  So did my grandmother Helen.

Here’s one of our favorites from 1971.

“Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” spent five weeks at the top of the country charts and became Pride’s first crossover hit.  It peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top Ten on the Adult Contemporary charts.

Happy 50th Anniversary Charley!  Thank you for all of the wonderful songs and memories.  Best wishes for the future!

By the way, let’s get Charley to perform here in the Quad Cities!

WELCOME FALL 2016!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — January 22, 2016

While I’ve blogged about various topics lately, I haven’t done a “Random Friday Thoughts” blog in some time, so here goes.

SHE’S BACK…..

Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice President nominee Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump.

sarah palin

In news that’s even more shocking, right around that announcement, her 26-year-old son, Track, was arrested after a fight with girlfriend, in which he allegedly punched and kicked her.  She was also concerned he would take his own life with a rifle.

Track faces three misdemeanor charges:  assault, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, and possessing a gun while intoxicated.

Mama Palin says the anger her son displayed may be the result of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).  While that may be true, in her twisted logic, she basically says President Obama is to blame because of the lack of respect for returning veterans.

Palin says, “That comes from our own President.  Where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America?'”

Incredible.

Even the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff disagrees with that.  He says, “It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD.  PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.”

ICE(LAND) ICE(LAND) BABY

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says that gays wanting to marry should go to Iceland and stay.

Rek-Iceland

Really?  Looking at this beautiful view above, how could that be a bad thing?

Burn! 😏

CELEBRITY DEATHS KEEP COMING!

We’re only three weeks into 2016 and, sadly, more and more celebrities are dying.

The actors include Alan Rickman (“Harry Potter” series), Dan Haggerty (“Grizzly Adams”) and Pat Harrington, Jr. (“One Day at a Time”).  Then there’s Celine Dion’s husband and brother (within two days of each other) and music legend David Bowie.

David Bowie  Again

And, earlier this week, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey died.

While “The Heat is On” and “You Belong To The City” were bigger solo hits, this is one my favorite Frey hits.

REBA’S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER

Last spring, Reba released her latest album, “Love Somebody” and it spent two weeks at #1 on the country album chart.

Sadly, country radio pretty much turned its back on the two singles.  “Going Out Like That”, one of my ten favorite songs of 2015, only made it to #23 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and “Until They Don’t Love You” didn’t even make it onto the chart!

I’m not holding my breath that “Just Like Them Horses” will even be released to country radio.

It was one of my favorites songs on the album and Reba just put out a video to the song in memory of her father Clark McEntire that died in October 2014.

“WORLD WAR Z 2”

The sequel to 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt is still scheduled to hit theaters June 9, 2017.  However, the movie is now without a director.

J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”) was attached to direct the zombie film, but backed out saying he was too involved with other commitments.

The movie is still scheduled to shoot this year.

world-war-z-poster

If you recall, there were many setbacks in getting the first film to theaters.  Typically, that means there’s trouble and it suffers at the box office.  That didn’t happen to “World War Z”.  It grossed $540 million.

It was also my second favorite movie of 2013.

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

If you have Amazon Prime, check out the highly acclaimed series, “The Man In the High Castle”.  It’s a great show and the premise is far-fetched and thought-provoking.

It’s 1962 and it appears that America lost World War II.  The western United States in under Japanese rule and the much of the rest of United States is under Germany’s control.

Between the two, there’s a “Neutral Zone”.  It’s there where the story is getting interesting because there’s a resistance underway after film reels surface with news-style footage showing that the Allies did win the war and Japan and Germany lost.

Very intriguing and the three stars are beautiful!

“DIETLAND”

Since it’s an election year, I’ve moved on to reading about political figures.  I started out with “It Takes a Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.  While informative, it seemed a little too clinical, but I loved the tidbits I learned about Hillary and her early life.

I’ve now moved on to Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio will be next.  By that time, I’m 100% sure that it’ll be back to Hillary and “Living History”.

But, before I got all serious, I read Sarai Walker’s “Dietland” and I highly, highly recommend it.

Dietland

The book is about Plum, an overweight woman, that has failed at diets and is considering gastric bypass surgery.  She then realizes she’s being followed and it leads to meeting a woman connected to her past diet failures.  Also, a series of high profile murders of scummy men lead to a revolt about the exploitation of women.

Read my complete review of “Dietland” here.  If you click on the link, it’ll open in a new page.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“THE WALK”

I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’s intense, funny, and incredible in “The Walk” from last fall, which is now out on DVD.

He plays French high-wire artist Philipe Petit, who stunned the world in August 1974, staging the unthinkable — high-wire walking between the newly constructed World Trade Center’s Twin Towers 1,350 feet above the ground

The 45-minute aerial show kept the crowd below holding their breath and police on the roofs of both towers distressed on how to get Petit off the wires alive.

GRADE:  A

“SICARIO”

This was one of my most anticipated movies that I wanted to see on DVD since I never got around to seeing it in theaters.

While it brought home the losing battle we’re fighting in the drug war in Mexico and the United States and the viciousness of the drug lords, it didn’t excite me as much watching it.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is a great movie with superb acting.  I just think I waited too long to see it and my expectations were too high.

One thing I did notice that stood out like a lead character was the haunting score.  While I’ve never paid any attention to that category at the Academy Awards, I mentioned to Ray when we were watching the movie, “that score deserves to be nominated for an Oscar”. And, it was nominated!

You can hear the sounds that caught my attention and made the movie creepier right at the beginning of the trailer here.

GRADE:  B

“FIFTY SHADES OF GREY”

I finally got around to seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I don’t think it deserves the “Razzie Award” nomination, but I don’t think that Dakota Johnson should have won a People’s Choice Award either!

It was more entertaining than I expected.  However, there was no chemistry between Johnson and gorgeous stud Jamie Dornan, who plays billionaire Christian Grey.

I’ll definitely see the second movie when it comes to DVD and I have a casting suggestion for “Mrs. Robinson” — Gillian Anderson.

“The X-Files” and “Hannibal” star is the lead in the incredible and mind-blowing series “The Fall” with Dornan!  Season three of that superb series should be out in 2016!

When I think of Dornan as Grey, it’s still “Fifty Shades of ‘Heyyyy'”!

GRADE:  B

LOVE CAKE, BUT NEVER HAD IT BY THE OCEAN

DNCE, Joe Jonas’ current musical project, is scoring its first pop hit, “Cake By The Ocean”.

I latched on to this one early on and it was my #6 favorite song of 2015.  If you listen to Top 40 radio, you hear it all the time now.

It’s still so much fun and it makes me think of summer during these cold months.

Okay, I could keep going.  But, I’ll stop now before I go on a political rant and endorsement.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you’re thinking.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 28, 2013

I don’t think that I’ve looked so forward to the weekend as I am to this weekend.  With the deadly tornadoes and severe thunderstorms Monday that caused tens of thousands of Quad Citians to lose power (ours was out 44 hours Monday through Wednesday), I’m ready to just chill some.

We’re going out to dinner with four of our friends Friday night in Port Byron, Illinois, and then Saturday, there’s a work picnic.  On Sunday, we’re planning on a movie double feature.  And, I still didn’t get my pancakes last weekend, so that may be this weekend!

“UNDER THE DOME” WINS MONDAY NIGHT, BUT…

Under The Dome

While “Under The Dome” was the most watched show Monday night (13.1 million viewers), I didn’t get a chance to watch it with the power outage.  However, you can find the full episode on cbs.com or on television.  CBS will re-air Monday night’s premiere episode this Sunday night (June 30) at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. Central.   I wish that I was watching the season eight premiere of “Dexter” Sunday night, but we don’t have Showtime.  So, I’ll avoid the spoilers and wait for the DVD. 😦

Now, here are my random thoughts this Friday.

GOOD RIDDANCE DOMA

The Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark ruling Wednesday calling DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, unconstitutional.  For those of you that may not be very familiar with it, DOMA is a 1996 federal law that would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

That may sound simple to some, but it also denied federal benefits, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns for married same-sex couples.  So, while a gay couple could be married in one of twelve states or the District of Columbia, it would not be recognized by the federal government.

Thank you Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan for your votes to strike down DOMA, 5-4.

DOMA Justices

And, Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence “Anita Hill” Thomas, and Samuel Alito, I hope you evolve.  President Obama did it and America is doing it.  I think it’s time that you do, too!

In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote, “Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.  DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”

SIMPLY PUT, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RELIGION?

Nothing!  You can still pray to God each night and attend church when it’s open.  While you may get married in a church, the official document is issued by the government, not the church.  It’s that document from the government that makes marriages legal and it’s also that government that’s based on the notion that “all men are created equal”.  After Wednesday, I feel more equal and less like a second-rate citizen.

Love Knows No Limits

What does this mean to your marriage if you’re in an opposite-sex “traditional” marriage?  Nothing at all — because you should be spending your time making each other happy and worrying less if  two men or two women can now share the same government benefits as you and love each other in a committed marriage bond, too.

Let God judge.  Amen!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ding Dong Dead DOMA   Live Your Life WBCFood Is A DrugLaughing Inside

PAULA, STOP TALKING AND BE WITH YOUR FAMILY!

Food Network star Paula Deen is all over the television these days.  She’s the talk of radio, her face is all over the magazines, and blogger are feasting on a buffet talking about her.  There are many things being said about her — some say give her a break because she hasn’t said anything you probably haven’t said and some say she’s a racist.

Paula Deen Happy

Paula’s whirlwind downfall started recently after she was called to testify last month in a 2012 $1.2 million sexual and racial workplace discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers by former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, who is white, claims that Deen said this when asked about a theme for a wedding, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.  Jackson says that Deen laughed and said, “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

In that deposition last month, Deen admitted to using the “n-word” in the past.  However, she maintains that she hasn’t used it in years and when she did, it was because a black man held a gun to her head at her former place of employment.   Earlier this week on “Today”, Matt Lauer asked Deen , “Are you a racist?” and the 66-year-old grandmother responded, “No, I am not.” and “The day I used that word it was a world ago.  It was 30 years ago.”

This week, Deen was fired from the Food Network and she lost sponsorships with Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, and Target.  QVC is still deciding on Deen’s fate.

Domestic Diva Martha Stewart says, “”I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She’s a public figure and I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure.”  And, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton adds, “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago” and “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”

So, with that being said, I want to know what you think.  Here’s what I think.

IF (and notice that’s a big IF) Paula made that joke about the wedding idea in any era, then or now, it’s not funny.  It’s stupid.  If Paula responded with the n-word after a man held a gun to her head as she stated, while not still acceptable, it’s more likely a case of forgiveness given the circumstances.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s South and that awful word was a commonly used word.  Sadly, my late father, was one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist, and the list goes on, man I think I’ve ever met.  And, even my late grandmother, who was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, uttered that word in my childhood, but she wasn’t using it to be ugly.  As I grew from a child to a teenager, I educated her that although people use that word, it’s not right.

And, as Paula stated in the interview with Lauer, that word is used too freely in today’s society in movies and music.  I agree and that has to stop, too.  I don’t care if you are an African-American or you identify as a black man or woman, that word has to stop in all circles.  While I’m a gay man, I don’t refer to myself as the derogatory “f-word” and I’d be truly offended if someone else did.

In this country, you’re supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”.  How do we know that Lisa Jackson is telling the truth?  I’d really be saddened to know that Paula Deen was not a racist and these allegations ruined her life and career.

Paula Deen Crying

My only advice to Paula is stay off television, avoid interviews, and stop posting internet apologies.  I know you’re hurt and scared, but the tears and the pleas make you seem too apologetic.  As you’ve stated, people who know you know the truth — whatever that truth is.

The bottom line is that if Paula Deen is a racist and she freely used the n-word as Jackson claims, more people would be coming out of the woodwork to make other allegations.  They haven’t!

And, I have to say that I commend Paula for the heartfelt and seemingly genuine comments in the interview, “I believe every creature on this Earth … was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with [and] no matter what church you go to pray.”  And, “There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like that I am prejudiced against, Matt, and that’s thieves and liars.”

Lisa Jackson, if you’re a liar, I hope you get yours.

THE SAD LIFE OF A PIG (AND OTHER FARM ANIMALS)

Oh, how I wish that every pig was like Hollywood’s “Babe”.

This past Tuesday, I took part in the “Celebrity Showmanship” contest at the Rock Island County Fair.  In less than an hour, I had to learn as much as I could about pigs and about showing one from my 4-H member, Grace.  I aced my quiz from the judges and answered all of my questions correctly.

However, when it came time to show my pig, I learned that “my” pig has been competing all day in the summer heat and it was exhausted.  The judge told me “if he lays down, just let him”.  Well, the poor creature did and I think it cost me a ranking in the Top Seven!  I did get a special “honorable mention” for my knowledge of pig farming, so I’m telling myself that I came in 8th place out of 15 people.  I also won $50 for my charity, the Quad City Animal Welfare Center in Milan, Illinois.

As you look at this picture, you’ll see that the pig was exhausted.  But, once he was sprayed with water and cooled off, after the competition, he walked away happily to his barn to sleep.

Pig Showing Contest

(Photo courtesy:  Thomas Geyer of the Quad City Times.)

The whole learning process made me think even more about the lives of pigs and cows.  While I don’t condemn people for eating steak or hamburger, I haven’t eaten either in a very long time and I will not.  As for pork, I’ve been on the fence the past few months.  After Tuesday and learning that the pigs “go to market” in about five to six months, I decided that pork is another meat that I’ll have to decline eating in the future.  What a short little life for the creatures!

Again, I don’t condemn others for eating beef or pork, but I’ll have to stick to chicken, turkey, and seafood for now.  I don’t have the same guilt toward them –yet.

BIG SCREEN SPECTACLE

I love “The Walking Dead” and I love George Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead” and all of its sequels and remakes.

When Brad Pitt announced that he would be starring in “World War Z”, a zombie epic, I got excited.  Then when I saw the trailer for the first time, it looks intriguing, but I got a little concerned about the trailer not showing much of the zombies.  And, then the stories about the problematic shoot started surfacing:  it was going way over budget and the entire third act went through a reshoot.

WWZ

The movie opened last weekend to $66.4 million in U.S. ticket sales alone, which is the biggest open for a Brad Pitt movie.

“World War Z” wasted no time getting right into the action.  Pitt plays Gerry Lane, who used to work for the United Nations.  He gave it up to be a stay at home dad to two girls.  As the family is heading out-of-town (Philadelphia), they encounter an unprecedented traffic jam that turns into chaos with planes flying overhead and then it happens — the undead come alive and start attacking the living.  City after city across the world fall to the zombies.

After spending the night holed up hiding out with a family, they make it out just in time to be taken to a fleet of ships out in the ocean off New York City safely away from living hell on land.  There’s only one catch.  They want Lane to go back to work for the U.N. to try to find what started this epidemic that has killed millions and if he agrees, his wife and two children can stay on the vessel.

Lane agrees and heads off to South Korea where he’s told by a hot-shot young doctor from Harvard that “Mother Nature is a serial killer” and that she leaves little clues to get caught.  While there, Lane and most of his crew barely escape, but he learns that the zombies are attracted by noise.

From there, he’s off to Jerusalem, where he finds out how the Israelis learned about the zombies and how they’ve managed to keep the zombies and the plague from wiping them out.

WWZ Israel

The scene turns deadly as the zombies attack and Lane once again barely escapes to Wales on the most exciting and slightly unrealistic airplane ride ever!

WWZ Airplane Scene

As the massive real-world destruction continues, Lane figures out a couple of more things that might stop the deadly zombie apocalypse.  Let me just say that I’m glad that the trailer did not feature the zombies prominently.  They were amazing, but not your typical zombies.

If you want a thrilling psychological drama, a “Contagion” with action, this is the movie.  It accomplishes the excitement and fear without the blood and gore of “The Walking Dead”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the gory AMC series, but it was fun to see this thriller dominated by the shock of fear and not guts!

GRADE:  A+ (And, I rarely give a movie an A+!)

WEEKEND DOUBLE FEATURE

In last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, I mentioned that we might go see a double feature at the movie.  We only got in “World War Z”.  So, this weekend, it’s going to be “This Is The End” (you can see the trailer in last week’s blog), and the new Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx action thriller, “White House Down”.

For all you women and men (openly gay, closeted, or just secretly jealous), I think we need to get crazy like Precious and Miley Cyrus and check out and sing along to the humorous “(I Wanna) Channing All Over Your Tatum”.  Thanks, Jimmy Kimmel.

TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY?

While my birthday is still more than three months away, I don’t think it’s too early to think about it.  I mean, last year, we bought tickets to see Madonna in Las Vegas in February for my birthday, October 13th, which was still eight months away.

This year, I think I’ll hint to Ray that I want to see the Pet Shop Boys in Chicago in late September.  While the 1980s new wave duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe may be absent from American radio, they’ve been recording new music for the past thirty years and their new album, “Electric” comes out in mid-July and the single, “Axis” is fantastic!!!!!  Check it out

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

It’s very interesting how the music scene works on each side of the Atlantic.  Since exploding on to the music scene in the mid-1980 with their #1 international hit, “West End Girls”, the Pet Shop Boys have only scored five more hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Four of the other five hits made the top ten:  “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) (#10, 1986), “It’s A Sin” (#9, 1987), “What Have I Done To Deserve This” with Dusty Springfield (#2, 1987), and “Always on My Mind” (#4, 1987).  They also reached #18 with “Domino Dancing”.  Since then, the duo has scored many Billboard Dance hit.

However, in England, the Pet Shop Boys have scored 42 Top 40 hits with 22 of those reaching the Top Ten and 4 reached #1.

Here’s the song that kicked it all off around the world, “West End Girls”.

CELEBRITY REACTION TO THE DEATH OF “DOMA”

DOMA Lady Gaga

Dan Savage DOMA DOMA Ben Affleck DOMA Piers Morgan  DOMA Neil Patrick HarrisDOMA Jack

BY THE WAY, WHO IS JACK MACKENROTH?

His tweet about DOMA was funny, so who is he?  Well, he’s a 44-year-old American swimmer (winning medals in the Gay Games), model, and was a contestant on the fourth season of the reality show, “Project Runway”.

Jack Mackenroth

Mackenroth is also a HIV/AIDS activist.  He was diagnosed as HIV-positive in August 1990 and has lived openly about his status to combat the stigma of  having HIV.

He says, “I am most proud of the fact that I was open about my positive HIV status on the show and exemplified that a person can manage HIV and live a successful life.  Every time a person with HIV is open about his or her status it helps everyone who is living with the disease…. I am a living testament to what you can accomplish by letting go of shame and being your own advocate.”

AND, WE OWE IT ALL TO EDIE

And, as I conclude my blog this week, I dedicate it to Edie and to the memory of Thea.

Thea and Edie

Thea Clara Spyer and Edith “Edie” Windsor were together for 40 years when they got married in Canada in 2007.  It was two years later that New York state began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states..  And, it was also the year that Thea Spyer died.

After Thea’s death, Edie, now 84, was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance of her wife’s estate.   However, if Thea had been a man and the two were married, or if DOMA was not a federal law, Windsor would have qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction, and paid no federal estate taxes.

Edie got the ball rolling toward the Supreme Court in the summer of 2012 and now the rest is history.

Edie Celebrating Decision

After the ruling, Edie replied, “One of the things I felt did not have to do with the money but had to do with…with my country is not giving dignity to this beautiful person I lived with.  And today, my country gave dignity and appreciated who she was.”

Edie, I’m so proud of you and the fight you fought for your wife and your rights.  Thank you for all you’ve done for every one us that will now benefit from your determination.

Now, we have 38 more states to win over for every American to have the same rights.  The fight is far from over.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about any or all of it and have a great weekend!

Anthony

Summer’s Coming, So Get the Popcorn Ready

I’m sure there aren’t too many people who would tell Ryan Gosling, Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, James Franco, Amanda Seyfried, and Henry Cavill to wait.

Ryan GoslingHugh Jackmansandra_bullock_james franco imageamanda-seyfried-2Henry-Cavill-Shirtless-On-Superman-Set

As hot and talented as they are, I’ll likely be waiting for their new movies, “Only God Forgives” (Gosling, July 19), “The Wolverine” (Jackman, July 26), “The Heat” (Bullock, June 28), “This Is The End” (Franco, June 12), “Lovelace” (Seyfried, August 9), and “Man of Steel” (Cavill, June 14) to arrive on DVD in late 2013 or 2014, even though they all hit the movie theaters this summer.

Here are the movies that I’ve decided will send me into the theaters for my large popcorn and large Coke Zero (and free refills).

May 10, 2013

“THE GREAT GATSBY”

If the latest Buz Luhrmann movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire is as magical as Luhrmann’s 2001 musical, “Moulin Rouge!”, it’ll be a masterpiece to me.  From all of the buzz I’m hearing, this 2013 version should easily surpass the 1974 adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

May 17, 2013

“STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”

I previewed this sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 hit and re-boot, “Star Trek” last week in my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I can’t wait to see where this movie takes the USS Enterprise.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana return and are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (of the BBC hit series, “Sherlock”).

June 21, 2013

Since we’ll have Gretel one of these two weekends (June 21 or 28), we’ll have to make it a double feature weekend at the movies when she’s not with us.  It also saves money because you’re only buying one popcorn and two sodas and getting refills instead of doing it each weekend!

The last time we did that, Ray and I saw “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” on the same day.

Of the two new movies I want to see in late June, one features a fight to save the world from, you guessed it, zombies!  And, the other features “Magic Mike” Channing Tatum with his clothes on trying to save the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx).

“WORLD WAR Z”

This will be one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.  The Brad Pitt-action flick was pushed back from a December 2012 release date for re-shoots, which is sometimes seen in Hollywood as a sign that the movie is in trouble.  Plus, it’s not a cheap movie with a budget of  more than $170 million!  Pitt hopes that this feature will become a franchise.

All I can say is that these are not your “The Walking Dead” slow-moving flesh eaters.  They can move!

June 28, 2013

“WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

While I’ve never gone to the theater to see over-the-top movies by Roland Emmerich (the modern-day Irwin Allen), I’ve decided that it might be fun doing something I normally don’t do.  I enjoyed his “The Day After Tomorrow” on DVD.

And, with publicity pictures like this, I’d be a fool not to go!

Tatum Foxx

August 7, 2013

“ELYSIUM”

The Oscar-nominated 2009 action/thriller “District 9”  was incredible.  Director Neill Blomkamp is back with his latest thriller starring Matt Damon and a very stunning and sexy Jodie Foster.  I mean, check out that hair!  Did that sound too gay?  I’ve always been in love with Jodie!

Elysium-Jodie-Foster1

The movie takes place in 2154 and “the world has been divided into two classes”, says “Entertainment Weekly”:  the rich living aboard a high-tech orbital space station, “Elysium”, and everyone living on the suffering, dying Earth below.

Matt Damon plays an Earth resident that has to break into Elysium to cure himself of a medical condition that is available there, but not on Earth.  And, from what I’ve read, Jodie Foster is the villian in this movie.  She heads up the Elysium Corporate Authority.

The movie also stars Sharlto Copley, the star of “District 9”.

August 7, 2013

“PERCY JACKSON:  SEA OF MONSTERS”

Sometimes you do it for the kids.

Gretel is a huge fan of the Rick Riordan young-adult series, she loved the first movie, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief”, and she has a crush on “Percy Jackson” actor Logan Lerman.  (I have to admit that he is cute.)  Grown-ups will more likely know him as Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” from last year.

This movie will whet our appetites for “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” coming in November.

HONORABLE MENTION

And, while I’ll wait for the DVD, the new movie from Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar, “I’m So Excited” looks very funny.  His last movie, the horror/psychological drama, “The Skin I Live In”, was one of my favorite movies that I saw in 2012.

And, I’ll never think of the Pointer Sisters performing this song again after seeing this over-the-top, hilarious version of “I’m So Excited”.  Here’s the video.

In honor of the late movie critic Roger Ebert, I hope my choices that I’ll spend good money on get “two thumbs up”.

Anthony

They Said What??? Newt Gingrich, Adam Levine, & Mike Tyson

FORMER REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE NEWT GINGRICH

(about his party’s chances if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2016):  “The Republican party is incapable of competing at that level.  First of all, she’s very formidable as a person.  She’s a very competent person. She’s married to the most popular Democrat in the country; they both think [it] would be good for her to be president. It makes it virtually impossible to stop her for the nomination.”

TALK SHOW HOST WENDY WILLIAMS

“I am a Beyonce fan. I’m gonna watch her upcoming documentary, because fortunately one of the TVs in our kitchen has closed captioning, so I’ll be able to understand what she says.  You know Beyonce can’t talk. She sounds like she has a fifth grade education.”

ARIZONA’S CLUELESS GOVERNOR JAN BREWER

(responding to a question about global warming and whether it’s man-made):  “Everybody has an opinion on it and I probably don’t think it’s man-made.  I believe, you know, that weather’s elements are controlled by different things.”

MORE BREWER

(she walks away and then walks back to the reporter):  “Where the hell did that come from?”  (Note:  Brewer had an upcoming speaking engagement about energy at the Western Governor’s Association Conference and climate change is on the agenda).

EX-BOXER MIKE TYSON

(about his ex-wife, Robin Givens and Brad Pitt):  “I was doing a divorce but I/we [had sex] every day before I would go to my lawyer’s office to say she’s a pig and stealing. I would go to … [Givens’] house to have sex with her. This particular day, someone beat me to the punch. And I guess Brad got there earlier than I did.”

SCOOTER BRAUN, JUSTIN BIEBER’S MANAGER

(tweeting about Justin getting snubbed in the Grammy nominations): “I just plain DISAGREE.  The kid deserved it. Grammy board u blew it on this one.”

SINGER JACK WHITE

(about Lady Gaga):  “I don’t think she lives it, because it’s all artifice.  It’s all image with no meaning behind it. You can’t sink your teeth into it. It’s a sound bite. It’s very of this age, because that’s what people want.”

MORE JACK WHITE

(responding to “NME” adding “Lady Gaga’s music” into his quote):  “I never said anything about her music, or questioned the authenticity of her songs in any way. I was in a conversation about the drawbacks of image for the sake of image, and that it is popular nowadays to not question an image in front of you, but only to label it as ‘cool’ or ‘weird’ quickly and dispose of it.  I don’t like my comments about Lady Gaga’s presentation being changed into some sort of negative critique of her music. If you’re going to try to cause drama, at least get the quotes right. I think journalists should also be held accountable for what they say. Especially publications like the NME who put whatever words they feel like between two quotation marks and play it off as a quote. ”

APPLE CEO TIM COOK

(who has faced criticism from some wanting him to talk more openly about being gay):  “For years I had the privilege of being anonymous.  There is a great privilege in that if you’re a private person. So it’s a bit different.”

MAROON 5 LEAD SINGER ADAM LEVINE

(to “GQ” magazine): “Seriously, Honey Boo Boo is the decay of Western civilization.  Just because so many people watch the show doesn’t mean it’s good. So many people witness atrocities and can’t take their eyes away from them, but that doesn’t mean they’re good. That show is literally The. Worst. Thing. That’s. Ever. Happened. It’s complete f***ing ignorance and the most despicable way to treat your kids. F**k those people. You can put that in the magazine: F**k those idiots. They’re just the worst. Sorry, I’m so sensitive to that—like, I don’t know, man, it’s upsetting. Just to clarify, I said, ‘F**K THOSE PEOPLE.'”

Anthony