Posts Tagged ‘Catholic Church’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 1, 2016

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us and that means the first half of the year is already behind us.  Time flies when you’re having fun or so they say.

Have a safe holiday weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts.

NO DOG IN MY FUTURE — MAYBE EVER!

ABBAAnthonyLD2009

It’s been almost four-and-a-half years since Miss ABBA went to puppy heaven and people understandably ask, “When are you getting another dog?”.  I always thought that we would one day.

However, over the past week, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t think I need one!

As you know, Ray and I built our first fish pond a few years back and last summer, we expanded it from a mere 200 gallons to 1,000 gallons.

Fish Pond

It’s so much fun to watch the 50-plus fish at feeding time and the sound of the waterfall is so relaxing.

Sadly, it’s likely that Blizzard, the largest and most recent fish we acquired, or one of the small koi we just bought was sick.

Without warning, Blizzard died early last week.  It came as a total shock and then the real trauma hit me.

Last Friday, my favorite fish, Pumpkin Pie, the one I saved from the mink last summer, died.

Pumpkin Pie is the orange one with black spots and Snowflake is the yellowish/white one.

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

I held her (or him) as it died.  It was heartbreaking and I cried.  At that point, I realized that I’ll not ready for the heartbreak of losing another pet.

After Blizzard and Pumpkin Pie, two days later, Strong, a koi that we adopted from our friends Nathan and Amanda died, followed by one more large fish, Norma Bates, the next day.  (Yes, we name the big ones and a few of the small ones.)

As hard as we work to keep the fish pond clean and happy, the fear quickly set in that this wasn’t just a coincidence and that a fish bacteria or virus was raging through the pond.

The pond is now being treated by a strong anti-virus treatment and we hope that the last of the five or so large fish survive.  So far, none of the 40-plus small fish (mostly goldfish) have been affected.

In memory of the four fish, we planted ornamental grasses around the pond.

Here’s a another look at a happier day not too long ago when Pumpkin Pie, Strong, and Norma Bates were alive and well!  (All three are in this video — the largest ones!)

PEOPLE NEED SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN

Many people choose the Bible when they need something to believe in.  However, others put their faith and money, money, money into self-help books and motivational speakers.

Look at 56-year-old infomercial star Tony Robbins.  He’s made so much money convincing people that they can do almost anything they set their minds to.

That trust and faith sent dozens to the hospital late last week in Texas.

About thirty people were burned and had to be treated after walking on hot coals in a fire walking event at a seminar in Dallas.  Several were hospitalized and others were transported to medical facilities that treat burns.

Coal Fire Burns

Jennifer Connelly, a spokesperson for Robbins says, “The fire walk portion of the event has been celebrated for 35 years.”

She adds that the goal of the exercise is to have guests to feel no discomfort afterwards, but it’s “not uncommon to have fewer than one percent of participants experience ‘hot spots’, which is similar to a sunburn, which can be treated with aloe.”

Um, I think she has this terribly wrong.  Burn treatment at a hospital sounds much different than hot spots and a sunburn.

Seriously people, believe in yourself and not some person that wants your money because they know you’re weak!

PRIDE HIGHLIGHTS

Pride parades were held all across the world this past weekend and earlier in June.

Years & Years, the English dance band, with openly gay lead singer Olly Alexander played the annual Glastonbury Festival in England last weekend.

IFDecked out in a rainbow flag outfit, he told the crowd, “As you might be able to tell by the way that I’m dressed, I’m gay. And in fact, I’m really, really, super gay.

And, then he got more serious about the recent tragedies like the Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.

“But what I keep thinking about in the last year, some crappy and messed up stuff has happened.  As a queer person, as queer people, we know what it’s like to be scared and we know what’s it like to live with fear as part of our every day. But tonight, at Glastonbury, I would like to ask you to join me on Pride weekend and say, ‘no thank you fear. Bye fear bye.  Shove a rainbow in fear’s face.  All I have to say to finish is, I am here and queer and sometimes I am afraid but I am never ashamed of who I am.”

Jessie-Eisenberg-London-Pride

Meanwhile, on Pride weekend in London, “Now You See Me 2” actor Jesse Eisenberg left a West End stage rehearsal of “The Spoils” and walked by an anti-Pride Christian group.

He was asked “Is your mind closed?” by a man offering a brochure.  Eisenberg responded, “That’s so f*cking sad.”

The man asked the same question again and Jesse scoffed and laughed adding, “Is my mind closed?  That’s so f*cked up” and walked away.

Hillary PrideBack in the the United States, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit and walked in New York City’s Pride parade.

NO PRIDE HERE, JUST SHAME!

As many of you know, Pride parades and celebrations started 46 years ago when the gay community took a stand and said we’re not hiding away in the shadows of society any longer.

We’ve made so much progress and there’s still so much more room for advancement.

Sadly, in the LGBT community as it is in society in general, there are those that do things that shine a really bad light on others.

Tennessee Violent Crimes

YouTuber Calum McSwiggan claims that three men attacked him outside a West Hollywood, California gay bar earlier this week.

But, police now say that he faked the report and actually injured himself inside the cell with a pay phone to cover up his arrest on vandalism charges!

I’m not sharing McSwiggan’s picture because if he lied (and police and a witness say he did), he’s just desperate for fame and attention and I’m not giving him face time.  Pulling a stunt like this makes him scum of the earth.

Pulse

As we saw at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and from all the hate talk that comes from politicians, the Westboro Baptist Church, and other haters, the LGBT community has to be vigilant enough already without having some media whore desperate for attention lying about an anti-gay attack!

McSwiggan is now being charged with filing a false police report.

THIS WEEK, THE POPE SAYS…

While I’m not Catholic, much of my family is.

I believe that Pope Francis, who began his papacy in March 2013, is good for Catholicism and is working to bridge the religious and real world divide between the Church and LGBT people.  However, he’s really hard to figure out.

This is what he said in the summer of 2013.

Pope Francis

While he opposes marriage equality and he thinks being a practicing homosexual is intrinsically immoral, he believes gay people should be treated with respect and love.

He’s making headlines again.  On a trip to Armenia last weekend, Pope Francis declared on the flight, “I think that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it offended, but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

He’s not the first Pope to apologize for Catholics and Christians, but he’s the first to ask for an apology to the LGBT people.  In 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II apologized to several groups including Jewish people, immigrants, women, and indigenous peoples.

It’s a step forward if he doesn’t contradict his statement the next time he speaks on the matter!

CLUELESS CAITLYN

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner for coming out as transgender, but I never had any faith in her advancing the cause for my transgender brothers and sisters.  So far, I’d say I’m correct.

Caitlyn

The more I see her name in the press and the more she opens her mouth, the more I cringe. Okay, that’s a polite way of expressing how I really feel about her views.

Jenner’s latest ignorant and misinformed statement:  “Trump seems to be very much for women.  He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”

Maybe she meant to say that Trump is “very much behind” on issues regarding the LGBT community!

I agree with the Huffington Post calling it a “WTF of the week”!

NATE SILVER PREDICTS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT

American statistician and writer Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com has spoken and he predicts that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.

HIllary Flag

If you don’t know him, you definitely don’t follow politics as closely as I do.

The baseball and politics analyst successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008’s U.S. Presidential Election.

In the next election cycle, in 2012, Silver successfully called all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this week, he made his first prediction for the 2016 presidential race and gave a big edge to Clinton.  Here’s how he made his prediction.

538 Predicts

PICK HIT

“Worth It” by Fifth Harmony was one of my favorite songs of last year.

Earlier this year, the band released the first single, “Work From Home”, from their new album “7/27”, that came out in late May.  It topped the airplay charts at Top 40 radio.

It’s an incredibly catchy song with a super hot, sexy video.  (I featured it last week, so just glance back one week to watch it.)

Their new song, “All In My Head (Flex)” is already racing up the charts and it’s catchy, too.  It features the hot ladies of Fifth Harmony, more sexy men, and rapper Fetty Wap.

By the way, what the hell is Fetty Wap singing?

ANOTHER PICK HIT

Michael Ray topped the country radio airplay chart last year with “Kiss You In the Morning”.  It ended being one of my favorite songs of last year and his self-titled album was my #9 album of 2015.

He’s back with a new video for the third single from the album, “Think A Little Less”.

If you’d like to know more about Michael Ray and his incredible album, here’s my blog review.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

FIRST LADIES

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing little known (or well known) tidbits about the wives of the presidents of the United States from the book I read by Betty Boyd Caroli called “First Ladies”.

I’ve covered Martha Washington to Frances Cleveland.  Here’s more trivia that may help you in “Jeopardy” or “Trivial Pursuit”.

First Ladies

Caroline Harrison:  She became ill in the last year of her husband’s presidency and died a few weeks before the 1892 election becoming only the second First Lady to die while in the White House.  She’s best remembered for having electricity added to the White House during 1891’s spring renovations and for starting the White House china collection.

Frances Cleveland:  She served two non-consecutive terms in the White House as First Lady.  In my last blog, here’s what I wrote about her:  “She was 21-years-old when she married the president, who was 28 years older than her!  Frances was the daughter of a former law partner to President Cleveland and he had known her since she was born.  He also bought her her first baby carriage!  Okay, that’s just downright creepy”.

Ida McKinley:  She was very sick and frail as First Lady.  In public, she was prone to seizures.  President McKinley would have a white handkerchief on hand and he’d place it over her face when she had a seizure and would remove it when it was over.  They would continue on in conversation as if nothing had happened.

Edith Roosevelt:  She controlled the information going out to social reporters very carefully and handle criticism well.  Once a famous woman was quoted in a national magazine that the First Lady “dresses on 300 dollars a year and looks it.”  She happily clipped the column and placed it in her scrapbook.

Helen Taft:  She was known to push her husband into positions that would align him to become president one day.  She was influenced by the years she spent in the Orient and as First Lady, she had thousands of Japanese cherry trees planted and the spring blossoms are now a major tourist attraction in Washington D.C.

Ellen Wilson:  She became the first First Lady to address Congress to improve housing conditions in Washington D.C., especially the slums, with “Ellen Wilson’s Bill”.

Edith Wilson:  President Woodrow Wilson’s second wife was highly criticized for “petticoat government” after he suffered a stroke in the fall of 1919.  She kept people away from him until he recovered enough to carry out his presidential responsibilities.  That’s why people didn’t really know who was running the government.  Meanwhile, she set a good example during World War I by having “meatless days” at the White House and she even brought in sheep to graze the lawn to save money and would auction off the wool to raise cash for the American Red Cross.

Florence Harding:  She was known to manipulate the White House press corp.  Because of that, the public never knew how sick she and the president really were and thus their deaths came as more of a shock.  Publicly, she blamed their extended illnesses on food poisoning and other things.

Grace Coolidge:  Her husband, President Calvin Coolidge, was very strict and never allowed her to give interviews.  While he often demeaned her, he spent a lot of money to buy her a lavish wardrobe.

Lou Hoover:  She was a geologist who moved to China with husband and then added Mandarin to the languages she spoke.  She embraced radio and gave many speeches with a feminist slant.

I’ll have the final installment next week.

THAT’S IT

I hope you found something interesting this week in my many random thoughts.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts with me, even if we disagree.  Just do it diplomatically.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.  Happy 240th Birthday America!

Anthony

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Did Oscar Get It Right on “Best Picture”?

This is not BREAKING NEWS!

The 88th annual Academy Awards were almost three months ago and this is not a spoiler:  “Spotlight”, Leo, Brie, Alicia, and Mark came away as the winners in the movie and acting categories.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

It’s taken me this long to see all of the nominees (the exception is “Carol”, which hopefully, I’ll get around to seeing next weekend — sorry Cate and Mara!)

So, did Oscar voters get it right?  Maybe I should rephrase that — “Do I agree with the Hollywood vote casters?  Yes, except for one category.

If you’ve already seen them, feel free to weigh in.  Here are my short reviews.

BEST PICTURE

The nominees:  “The Big Short”, “Bridge of Spies”, “Brooklyn”, “Mad Max:  Fury Road”, “The Martian”, “The Revenant”, “Room”, and “Spotlight”.

And, the Academy Awards goes to:  “Spotlight”!

“SPOTLIGHT”

This incredible story is about the Boston Globe’s investigation that broke open the Catholic church sex scandal and cover-up.

The acting was above par with Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams both picking up Best Supporting Actor and Actress nominations, respectively.  For both of those actors, I agree that “it’s an honor to be nominated”.  Like Oscar, I think someone else in the categories shined brighter.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SHORT”

This movie about the housing bust is very talky with very little physical action and that’s a good thing.

Ryan Gosling was awesome, as always, and an almost unrecognizable Christian Bale was very intruiging.  Bale picked up a nomination for “Best Supporting Actor”, but I didn’t pick him as the winner in that category.

GRADE:  B

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg directed “Cold War” caper was an enjoyable movie starring the always stellar Tom Hanks and Mark Rylance, who won the Oscar for “Best Supporting Actor”.

GRADE:  B

“BROOKLYN”

I saw this Oscar-nominated Best Picture on the flight to China and what a beautiful love story it turned out to be.

Best Actress nominee Saoirse Ronan was heartbreaking as Eilis, a 1950s woman living in New York City and having to choose between the man she met and loves in the U.S. and a charming man back home in Ireland.

GRADE:  A

P.S.  I would have loved to see Saoirse and my dreamboat, Ben Whishaw on Broadway this spring in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw.jpg

Damn you, Tony Awards, for snubbing them both! (Okay, different blog at a different time!)

“MAD MAX: FURY ROAD”

I’ve never seen any of the previous “Mad Max” movies and since they star the hateful Mel Gibson, that’s a good thing.

As beautiful as Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron are, I admit that during the first thirty minute of this movie, my thoughts were “WTF”.  Oh, if that’s too harsh for your sensitivities, I was thinking, “WTH”!

But, then it all started making sense and the movie blew me away.  I want to see it again just to marvel at director George Miller’s brilliance.

GRADE:  B

“THE MARTIAN”

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts — February 19, 2016”:

“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 REVENANT”

This movie took home three Academy Awards (“Best Actor” for Leonardo DiCaprio, Alejandro G. Inarritu for “Best Director”, and Emmanuel Lubezki for “Best Cinematography”).

The cinematography was breathtaking and beautiful.  While the movie was brutal, graphic, and realistic, you couldn’t take your eyes off the screen.

When I’m watching a movie and there’s an animal that is killed or injured, I tell myself that it’s a “Holly (insert animal here)” for “Hollywood (fake) animal”.  Well, there were many “Holly animals” in this one. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“ROOM”

From my “Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016”:

“When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

So, there you have all eight nominees for “Best Picture”, the Oscar winner, and my grades.

You’ll notice that my top picks (based on grades) were “Brooklyn”, “The Revenant”, and “Room”.  If it was based solely on that, I’d say Oscar was wrong.

It was definitely a hard choice for me for “Best Picture” between “The Revenant” and “Spotlight”.  However, with the social message, the real life emotions, and the changes it brought in humanity, “Spotlight” rightfully won the Oscar.

And, I want to add that Oscar was correct honoring Inarritu for “Best Director” and Lubezki for “Best Cinematography” for “The Revenant”.

Soon, I’ll blog about the acting categories since I still need to see “Carol”.  As of now, I agree with three of the four winners.

Stay tuned  or coming soon, whichever you like best.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 2

Happy weekend!  I’m ready to enjoy it since I have a six-day work week next week and off only one day next weekend.  I hope you have fun plans since the weather is going to be closer to average for summer.  Maybe we’ll brave the recent chill and jump in the pool even if it’s cool!!!!  Here are my random thoughts for this Friday.

THERE IS HOPE!

While I’m taking this response by Pope Francis with a grain of salt, it’s encouraging.  This is huge because the Catholic Church still considers homosexuality a sin.

Pope Francis

What a far cry from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.  In 2005, Benedict XVI wrote that being gay was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” and that men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not become priests.

And, I admit that while I was writing this, I read several different accounts of what the Pope said and what commentators thought it meant, including one from Fox News!  OMG, I’m mentioning Fox News and I’m not going to make a snarky comment about it!

Father Jonathan Morris, a Fox News contributor, writes, “When Pope Francis says “who am I to judge” he is saying—and I think we need to hear more of this from religious leaders—that active homosexuals deserve the same kindness, love, and mercy that all of us sinners would hope to receive from God and from others.”

What I take away from that is that we’re all sinners and we all deserve to treated with love and respect.  It starts with you, it starts with me, and it starts with our enemies!

POLITICIAN OR JUST BUTT-HEAD’s FRIEND?

Is it just me or is there a strong resemblance between former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and Beavis, one of the stars of the late-1990s MTV smash, “Beavis and Butt-Head”?

InStyle Golden Globe After Party

It seems that the disgraced politician that was forced to resign from office two years ago this summer after sending sexually suggestive pictures and tweets has more than looks in common with Beavis.

The trio (with Butt-Head) are obsessed with sex and they don’t care who knows.  It appears that Weiner is up to his old tricks and sending out explicit pictures under the alias “Carlos Danger”, which is now diminishing his chances of becoming the next mayor of New York City.

Here’s a funny flashback in honor of Weiner’s similar physical similarities with Beavis.  NSFW (not suitable/safe for work for those scratching their heads)!

RUSSIA’S ANTI-GAY STANCE IS TURNING MORE VIOLENT

The situation in Russia is getting out of hand and becoming more dangerous.

Two weeks ago, in my “Random Friday Thoughts — July 19” blog, I wrote, “The new law that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and went into effect June 30th allows the government to arrest or detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners for up to two weeks before expelling them from the country.”

Russian Extremists Attacks

Now, Russian extremists are creating fake profiles on social media outlets and gay personal ads to attract unsuspecting people and then brutally beating, humiliating, sexually violating them and posting the disgusting pictures online!

The new law and the violence are prompting some groups to ask for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia.

Boycott Sochi 2014

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been talking with the Russian government about how the new law will affect LGBT athletes and sports fans coming to Russia and it says, “To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

However, that doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

Vitaly-Valentinovich-Milonov

Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov, a member of the legislative assembly of the city and region around St. Petersburg, Russia, who co-authored the law that Putin signed into effect, says that the President must “refrain from selective enforcement”.

He added, “I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law.  And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.”

AVOIDING RUSSIAN VODKA

While no decision will be made about the Winter Olympics any time soon, several gay bars around the country, including Sidetrack in Chicago, have stopped serving the Russian vodka, Stolichnaya.   Some of London’s biggest gay bars have pulled Stoli from their shelves, too.

Stoli

From West Hollywood, California, to New York City, politicians, bar owners, and bartenders are having ceremonies where they are pouring out their Stoli supply.

Stoli Boycott

This isn’t making the CEO of Stoli, Val Mendeleev, very happy.    He says, “Stoli has been a friend of the LGBT community and has been an opponent of the Russian government.  Stoli was singled out by the community with which we associated in a way that we don’t believe was appropriate. If you look at our relationship with the Russian government, we’ve been boycotted by the Russian government for the past 10 years. We’ve been threatened, raided. And now we are being boycotted by the LGBT community.”

Vodkas

On a vodka note closer to home (my house), I checked the 40 different vodkas we have and none of them are Russian vodkas!

ACTRESS TILDA SWINTON WANTS YOUR HELP

Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton  wants everyone to share this picture of her holding up a rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

Tilda Swinton Moscow

She risked being arrested by doing this and she says, “In solidarity. From Russia with love”.

BEST COMEDY I’VE SEEN IN YEARS!

Last Sunday, Ray and I walked to the cheap theater down the road and saw “This Is The End” and I’m so glad I didn’t wait until October 1st for it to come out on DVD.

The $32 million comedy has already grossed more than $107 million!  In the movie, many of Hollywood’s hottest stars (and some singers, Rihanna) play altered versions of themselves.  It totally skewers actors and Hollywood.

This Is The End

I love James Franco and I love him even more after this movie.  Just from the roles he takes, I gather he’s a very intelligent freak in real life.  And, in the movie, he plays the self-centered, often rumored to be gay, role to the max.

While rated “R”, I’m very surprised that the movie was not released as “unrated”.  I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD to see if there is a “Director’s Cut”.  But, then again, I can’t imagine what could have been cut out since it was so raunchy and over-the-top.

Oh, what’s it about?  James Franco is throwing a fun Hollywood party complete with stars, drugs, alcohol, and sex.  Armageddon begins and Hollywood is basically destroyed by wildfires, an earthquake, an alien invasion, and a very promiscuous and well-endowed demon!  And, in the final scene, there’s a performance in heaven that will take you back to the late-1990s.  It’ll either make you smile (I did) or cringe.

This is the movie that “Ted” could have been.  There is talk of a sequel, but I think that “This is the End” is perfect enough to watch over and over without having a part two.  However, I’d definitely see if it James Franco is in it.  If you’ve seen the movie, it’s possible.  It’s Hollywood!

I rarely laugh out loud in movie theaters, but this one had me in stitches.

GRADE:  A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wine CupcakesNagging

 NEW MUSIC FROM THE JONAS BROTHERS

The Jonas Brothers are back on the radio with their latest hit, “First Time”.

Nick Jonas

The youngest Jo Bro, Nick, posted this sexy snapshot on Instagram earlier this week.  The 20-year-old singer added, “I never do this, but …  Healthy living and fitness update. Post workout picture. #diabeticinshape #2.0.”

What was I saying about the Jonas Brothers?  Who cares!
Dream

THE WOMAN OF MY DREAMS

In my lifetime, only two female celebrities have made me cry because of their real-life situations.  I must have been a sensitive boy because the first occurred on July 23, 1984 when Miss America Vanessa Williams was pressured into giving up her crown because of some racy pictures that had surfaced of her.

Vanessa-Williams-Crowned-Miss-America

It turned out okay because she went on to become an award-winning singer and actress.

Vanessa-Williams---The-Right-Stuff-single-cover

The other tears fell on Madonna’s 27th birthday on August 16, 1985, when she married Sean Penn.

Madonna Sean Wedding

Thirty years ago this fall, yes that’s 3-0, I started my freshman year at Murray State University and became a television weather man for the first time.  It doesn’t matter that the college campus television station was only broadcast on the cable systems in Murray and Mayfield, Kentucky.   Mayfield, my hometown, is only 22 miles from Murray.

That fall, I met my first pseudo-boyfriend (“pseudo” because we never said we were dating, only hanging out), enjoyed Pagliai’s Pizza (the best pizza I had ever eaten — at the time.  Now, it’s Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport, Iowa), and I met the girl of my dreams at Sunset Boulevard Music, the local record store.

It’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago this week that Madonna’s first album, simply titled “Madonna” came out.

Madonna 1983 Album

She had already had two dance hits that reached #3 before her first radio hit, “Holiday” peaked #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1984.  However, I bought the album before most of mainstream America knew who she was.  And, now she’s one of the most iconic singers and entertainers on the planet!

Madonna, thank you for the 30 years of music and fun.  And, thank you for spending my last birthday with me in Las Vegas!

“UNDER THE DOME”

Under The Dome

If you haven’t started watching this incredible show on CBS, you have to get on board.  Last Monday’s episode was the best of the six that have aired.  And, here’s a spoiler — it can rain inside the dome!

Now is the time to catch up if you’re not watching because it was just renewed for a second season!

MORE MOTHER MONSTER NEWS — ARTWORK & SINGLE REVEALED

I’m sure between now and the August 19th premiere of the new Lady Gaga single AND video from her forthcoming “ARTPOP” album in November, there will be new things revealed weekly to get Little Monsters excited.  This week Lady Gaga released the single artwork and the name of her new single — “Applause”.

Applause

Lady Gaga says it’s going to be a happy song.  However, it hasn’t been revealed whether it’s a fast or mid-tempo dance number or a slow song.  I’m thinking it’ll be mid-tempo.  This other revealing promotional picture of Gaga also came out this week!

Lady Gaga

EXCITEMENT BUILDING FOR FALL

In addition to the new music from Gaga, I’m also excited that the new Britney Spears CD comes out in the next few months, too.  Also, Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” that I saw in Las Vegas last October on my birthday comes out on DVD in early September.

And, that isn’t the only Madonna news.  She’s being very secretive about a new project with fashion photographer Steven Klein simply called “Secret Project”.  What is it about?  It sounds controversial and will likely push buttons.  But, it is Madonna!

THIS ONE COULDN’T WAIT FOR MONDAY’S “THEY SAID WHAT???”

Last week, I blogged about adorable Harry Styles of One Direction standing up to the Westboro Baptist Cult (oops, Church).  Now, in the new British “GQ”, the singer answers a question about his sexuality.

Harry British GQ

When told that there were rumours (it’s English, remember!) that he was dating British DJ Nick Grimshaw, Harry said, “Oh, really? I didn’t even know.  We’re not dating, no. We’re just friends.”

Harry was then asked if he was bisexual and he replied, “Bisexual? Me? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’m not.”

Sweet!  Play it for what it’s worth.

PICK HIT

Latin heart-throb Enrique Iglesias is back and looking and sounding hotter than ever!  His latest song, “Turn The Night Up”, the first single from his upcoming November album is already a smash in the U.S.

Enrique Iglesias

You might not really know how big of a star the 38-year-old singer is.  I didn’t.

Since his first Latin hit in 1995, Enrique has sold more than 60 million albums and he holds the record for the most #1 singles on the Billboard Latin Tracks chart with 22 (his first eight releases all hit #1).

On the Billboard Hot 100, he’s already scored 12 Top 40 hits.  Of those, five have reached the Top 5, including his two #1 smashes, 1999’s “Bailamos” and 2000’s “Be With You”.

While an official video is expected in early August, Enrique released this fun fan video to promote the song.  I love it — the song, the video, and Enrique!

PEEPS’ ’80s FLASHBACK

Here’s something about Madonna again.  Wait, don’t stop reading!  Usually, on Friday, I feature one of my favorite ’80s songs.

Madonna1985

However, since it is Madonna’s 30th anniversary in the music industry, here is a video countdown of her biggest hits, as ranked by Billboard magazine.  And, yes, she’s had more Top Ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 than the Beatles!!!!!

Check out the countdown in this link of her 20 biggest hits.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/whos-that-girl-thats-had-more-top-10-hits-than-the-beatles/

Anthony

Allies Come Forward in the Fight, While Opponents Preach The Same Tired Story

“Should marriage be redefined in our state, the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair.”  Those are the words of consistently anti-gay Washington Bishop Peter Sartain.  (He was a Chicago-area bishop until 2010 when he moved to Seattle and I’ve posted an interesting link at the bottom of the blog on why this man should not really be casting stones and living in a glass house!)

Washington is one of four states that can make marriage equality a reality for all of its residents in November and this has some pushing the panic button to scare people.

The last time I checked Iowa was still a state and it had not fallen into the Mississippi River.  As a matter of fact, with over three million people, the population has increased 4.6% since the 2000 census.  Since the state legalized same-sex marriages in 2009, people are not leaving Iowa in droves for California and North Carolina, two states that recently voted down marriage equality.

When Americans go to the polls in November, the biggest contest will be to re-elect President Barack Obama or replace him with Mitt Romney.  This race is important to me and so are four other ballot measures that I cannot even vote on because they are in other states.

Voters in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, and Washington will decide if marriage equality is important to them and if every loving couple that live in their state should have the same rights.    Six states (Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New  Hampshire, and New York) and the District of Columbia already allow same-sex couples to marry.

Those rights were awarded by legislation or court rulings.  When voters in the previously mentioned four states go to the polls and approve marriage equality, history will be made and the tide will turn.

Sarah Warbelow, state legislative director for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender rights advocacy group, says, “We’re feeling positive. The reality is, we haven’t won a ballot measure on marriage yet.  I think it’s very reasonable and realistic to expect that we’ll win one or more of these ballot measures; certainly the polling suggests that all four are … a possibility.”

And, while polling numbers before an election can be off and misleading, there is definitely reason for optimism.

In Maine, a mid-September poll showed 53% support marriage equality, while 44% are opposed.

Last February, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire pushed forward and made same-sex marriage legal in that state.  However, enough signatures were gathered to force a vote in November.  The good news is that an early September poll shows that 56% are for upholding that law and making marriage equality a reality there, while 38% want it overturned.

The same thing happened in Maryland.  On March 1, 2012, Governor Martin O’Malley made same-sex marriage legal, but opponents got enough signatures to put it on the November ballot.  In a July poll, 54% of those polled are for marriage equality and 40% are against it.

However, in Minnesota, the current home state of conservative whack job Michele Bachmann, the race is much closer with 48% wanting to ban same-sex marriage and 47% for it.  While Bachmann has never been shy with her anti-marriage equality rhetoric during her failed presidential bid, she is facing stiff competition for her congressional seat in Minnesota from Jim Graves.

Graves states, “My stand is, I’ve been for 39 years in a loving and committed relationship.  I’m very fortunate. It’s been the best thing in my life and, by gosh, everybody in America has the same rights under the law and everyone should be able to marry who they want to, when they want to. As far as what churches want to do, or synagogues, again, I believe in separation of church and state. I don’t care what the Catholic Church wants to do. I happen to be born a Catholic. But under the law everybody has the same rights and I believe very strongly in dignity and respect for everybody.”

And, Graves isn’t the only high profile ally we have in Minnesota and in Maryland.

Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, a father of two, is for marriage equality.  He has been fighting for it since 2009.

Once Maryland’s governor signed marriage equality into law this year, Ayanbadejo’s support meant even more.  This provoked Maryland state assembly delegate Emmett Burns enough that he wrote a letter to the owner of the Ravens on official state letterhead demanding that he “take the necessary action … to inhibit such expressions from your employee.”

The Ravens’ owner and president responded with “we support Brendon’s right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment” and Brendon vowed not to remain silent.  And, while football is a tough contact sport, Ayanbadejo got support from another NFL  player halfway across the country in a state where the fight for marriage equality was also being waged — in Minnesota.

Minnesota Vikings’ punter Chris Kluwe, a married father of two, wrote the most eloquent letter defending Brendon and marriage equality and blasting Burns.  And, he added a new phrase to lexicon of gay life! 🙂

Kluwe wrote, “I can assure you that gay people getting married will have zero effect on your life. They won’t come into your house and steal your children. They won’t magically turn you into a lustful c–kmonster. They won’t even overthrow the government in an orgy of hedonistic debauchery because all of a sudden they have the same legal rights as the other 90 percent of our population.”

If you are Catholic, please don’t take this the wrong way.  However, I really have issues with people like Bishop Sartain.  Here is more of the quote I posted at the beginning of this blog:

“We urge our Catholic people to uphold our consistent Catholic teaching on marriage for the good of the Church, society, husbands and wives and their children. Therefore, we bishops reject the redefinition of marriage as a ‘civil contract between two persons.’ … Redefining marriage as a means of dealing with important issues of equality and respect for all persons will not achieve the goal of defending the rights of all and would overturn centuries of common law. To suddenly change the God-given and time-honored understanding of marriage would be a very harmful thing for our state and for the world. … Should marriage be redefined in our state the very foundational nature of marriage for the good and strength of human society would be harmed beyond repair.”

Bishop Sartain should not be condemning marriage equality and talking about how “human society would be harmed beyond repair” for two men or two women to get married.  According to this blog, he has other skeletons that he should be working to get out of the closet rather than fighting against same-sex marriage.

http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/dailyweekly/2010/09/j_peter_sartain_new_seattle_ar.php

It’s nice to know we have people like Governor Gregoire, Governor O’Malley, and Governor Andrew Cuomo (New York), Brendon Ayanbadejo, Chris Kluwe, Jim Graves, and people like you (I know I have many friends that support marriage equality)  on our side, the right side of history, and I wish we had fewer people like Bishop Sartain and his followers that speak out against equality while closing their eyes and ears to indiscretions in their own house.

Anthony