Posts Tagged ‘CBS’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 16, 2018

I hope March is treating you well.  For the winter-weary, spring can’t be too far away.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!


Leslie Gibson, a Republican running unopposed in Maine’s House 57th District, deleted a tweet calling 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez a “skin head lesbian”.

She’s a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where last month a shooter killed 17 people and injured 14 others.


The complete tweet said, “There is nothing about this skin head lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat.”

Gibson apologized in another tweet:  “I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you. It was wrong and unacceptable.”

He added, “You are doing work that is important to you. I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you.”

While he’s a moron, he does have a right to an uneducated opinion.  But, maybe he does know a thing or two about being a “frothing at the mouth moonbat”, whatever the hell that is!

By the way Gibson, Gonzalez is not a lesbian.  She identifies as bisexual — you know the “B” in LGBT!


If you didn’t catch this four-time Oscar-nominated, critically acclaimed movie in its theatrical run, please see it now!

89-year-old James Ivory won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie.

call me

It’s beautiful, touching, loving, heartbreaking, and sensual.

As I wrote back in January, “It’s not only a coming-of-age love story between Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and a slightly older American graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) visiting northern Italy, but it’s a beautiful bond of love between a teenager and his parents.”



After I saw “Call Me By Your Name”, I shared my own stories of innocence, lust, and living.

It’s been my most read blog (non-weather-related) of 2018!  Thank you for all of you that checked it out the first time.


If you didn’t get a chance to read it, please click below on the link and it’ll open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”!


Just finished reading my sixth book of the year, Mike Wallace’s “Between You and Me: A Memoir”.  While it isn’t an autobiography, it did cover part of his career.


It tells stories about the news he covered including interviews with Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.

Also, it talks about some of the people he admired — Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, and Shirley MacLaine.


Two years ago, in February 2016, I blogged about a hot Canadian country music singer in “American Country Radio Needs Brett Kissel”.

I was talking about his amazing album, “Pick Me Up” and I concluded that blog with, “Here’s hoping American audiences will get to hear Brett on the radio in 2016!”

Well, that didn’t happen in 2016 or 2017!  Hopefully, 2018 will be Kissel’s year to break here in America.

Brett Kissel

Last December, he released his latest album, “We Were That Song”.


The title track became his 10th Top Ten hit song on Canadian country music radio!

The album features many standouts and potential singles.

My favorites are “Damn!”, “Cecilia”, “Slow Me Down”, “Between You and Me”, and “Guitars and Gasoline”.

By the way, “Damn!” features Dave Mustaine of Metallica and Megadeth fame and country music legend Charley Pride makes an appearance on the track, “Burgers and Fries”.

The second single, “Anthem”, just cracked the Top Ten in Canada on the country charts marking his 11th Top Ten.  It’s also one of my favorites from the album.

“We Were That Song” is a strong album, but it’s not doing as well on the Canadian country album chart as its predecessor.

“Pick Me Up” was fantastic, so check out the new album, too.

By the way, American Country Radio (STILL) Needs Brett Kissel!


Here’s that blog from two years ago to hear more about and from Brett Kissel:


Margaret Sanger (founding mother of the “birth control” movement before women were given the right to vote in 1920):  “No woman can call herself free who does not have control over her own body.”


Sanger, who died in 1966, was not afraid to go up against and speak out against the very powerful Catholic church and its views on birth control and natural law.

She told CBS newsman Mike Wallace, “Oh, I certainly take issue with it, and I think it’s untrue and I think it’s unnatural.  It’s an unnatural attitude to take.  How do they know?  I mean, after all, they’re celibates.  They don’t know love, they don’t know marriage, they know nothing about bringing up children nor any of the marriage problems of life, and yet they speak to people as if they were God.”

Just imagine what she would have said about the sexual abuse scandal!


This movie about people down on their luck and finances living in a “project” (The Magic Castle Motel) in Kissimmee, Florida (near Walt Disney World), is sad and incredible.

The real star of the movie is Brooklynn Prince, who plays 6-year-old Moonee.  She’s spectacular for a child actor expressing a happy childhood of not knowing just how bad things are in her life.

Bria Vinaite, is great as Moonee’s white trash mother, Halley.

My sister and I grew up in a bug-infested apartment and we didn’t have much during our childhood, so I could definitely relate to this movie.

Willem Defoe earned a “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar nomination for his role as Bobby, the manager of the motel.  Either it was a slow year for actors in that category or Defoe was just too great and very subtle in his touching role.



This historical drama about Winston Churchill earned six Oscar nominations including “Best Picture” and “Best Actor” for Gary Oldman.

A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that Oldman would win the Oscar, even though Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”) deserved it more.

I went on to say this about Oldman, “He was great and so was the make-up.”  By the way, the movie did get a nomination for “Best Makeup and Hairstyling”.

However, while compelling, “Darkest Hour” was too cut and dry.

I enjoyed John Lithgow’s Churchill on the first season of “The Crown” better.



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



Random Friday Thoughts — October 21, 2016

Ah, the weekend is here again and to kick it off, here are a few of my random thoughts.

I appreciate you checking them out and have fun this weekend!


Regardless of which candidate you support in this year’s presidential election, I’m sure most of us agree that we can’t wait for November 8th to get here so we can vote and put this long, nasty campaign behind us!

The three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are history and a CNN/ORC poll conducted after each debate shows that Clinton won all three by margins of 35%, 23%, and 13%.

After watching the first two, I decided that I could not and would not subject myself to another ninety minutes of watching an immature and unprepared old man act like a child.

And, did I call that one correctly?  21 seconds into video proves me right!

My summation:  An adult is talking and a spoiled brat without manners interrupts and starts name calling. Said grown adult maintains cool – PRICELESS!


This Christmas will mark the 20th anniversary of the shocking death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colorado home.


Two decades later, there have been no arrests, but there’s widespread speculation about who killed her and how and why she was murdered.

I just finished reading “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” by Lawrence Schiller.


If you want to know more about the investigation instead of just the soundbites you remember from the news two decades ago, this is a well written and well researched book.

Here’s what I took away from the 600-plus pages:  There were many dedicated and thorough detectives working to solve the crime, but the murder investigation (that was called in as a kidnapping) was pretty much botched from the beginning with police failing to secure the crime scene, there was a major disconnect between the Boulder Police and the district attorney’s office and this made each side look like amateurs to the nation and the world, and finally, that unless someone confesses one day, the case will never be solved.


Be careful who you accuse of murdering JonBenet.


On October 6, 2016, her brother, Burke Ramsey, who was nine at the time of her death, filed a defamation lawsuit against Dr. Werner Spitz, who accused Burke of killing his little sister.

Burke and his attorneys are seeking a total of $150 million in punitive and compensatory damages. They may also be filing new lawsuits against CBS soon.

Burke, now grown, agreed to an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil to talk about his life and sister’s murder.


While Burke, his family, and their friends should be presumed innocent in JonBenet’s death until proven otherwise, one thing that Burke is guilty of is being rather creepy and unnerving in the interview.

You’re talking about the savage murder of your little sister on Christmas Day and you’re sitting there smiling like you’re unstable or medicated.  That’s just an observation.  It was awkward.


No one really knows what happened Christmas night 1995 in the Ramsey’s Boulder mansion.  No one, that is, but the killer(s).

But, as I mentioned above, almost everyone following the case then and now, have theories on who killed JonBenet.  After reading Schiller’s book, I feel I know a little more than the average person following the murder.  I definitely know more than I did twenty years ago.

I would love to throw out my theory, but I don’t want to be sued by Burke Ramsey or anyone else…


… so here’s a ripped from the headline, “fictional” treatment that could become a Lifetime movie.*

A family comes home from a Christmas party and before their two children go to bed, one wants a snack.  While the older child is eating from a bowl of fruit, the younger sibling grabs a piece from the bowl and pops it in her mouth and runs off.  The older child grabs a flashlight from the kitchen counter and a foot chase ensues.  The older child strikes his little sister in the head with the flashlight.  This blow is not intended to kill, but to put the younger child in her place.  The parents put the children to bed, but realize that something is wrong when the little girl becomes unresponsive.  At that point, instead of taking the younger child to the hospital or calling 9-1-1, they panic and stage a crime scene to cover up the accidental, unintentional death.

This isn’t far-fetched.  I grew up with a little sister two years younger than me and we definitely had our fair share of arguments and fights growing up.

*The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.


In the past, I’ve blogged about how much former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio scares me because of his LGBT views.


While I still want to keep him at arm’s length, he has come around and spoken out on a couple of issues that Republican politicians and their supporters need to face.

First, Rubio is disputing Donald Trump’s claims that this year’s election is rigged.

Rubio says, “This election is not being rigged.  There is no evidence behind any of this, so this should not continue to be said.”

And, finally, about the WikiLeaks smear campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Rubio says in a statement:

Rubio WikiLeaks.jpg

Here’s what I had to say about Rubio in a blog earlier this year when he was still a contender in the Republican race for the White House.

Why We Should Fear Marco Rubio


Former Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich also disagrees with Trump in thinking the election is rigged.

Kasich says, “Look, to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen — that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is.”





“The Walking Dead, one of the best shows on television, returns for its much anticipated seventh season Sunday night.

If you don’t already know by now, this is a mini-spoiler:

When the season six finale ended, baddie Negan and his barbed-wire covered baseball bat, Lucille, bashed to death a major cast member!

Director Greg Nicotero says this episode is “the most emotional episode I’ve ever shot.”

It’s about time to have Rick back again!  (That is, if he’s not killed!) 🙂


With all the allegations of sexual misconduct by several women against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, I guess anchor Shepard Smith coming out as gay earlier this week is no big deal.

Personally, I thought he already identified publicly as gay!


It’s almost 2017 and a person’s sexuality should never be what defines them.  Some may even ask, why should we care?  It’s his business.

I think it’s important for people, even at Smith’s age (early-50s), to have role models if they feel they’re living a lie or can’t be themselves by staying in the closet.

Come out, come out!  It’s freeing and it’s liberating.

Congrats Shepard!


My favorite new comedian and satirist Samantha Bee drives home another winning commentary on the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording!

You know the one that started the debate on kissing and grabbing whatever you want — if you’re a celebrity (or Trump).

Oh no!  You’re going to hear the p-word again and according to Samantha Bee, that word isn’t “presidential”.

This is too funny and I’ve never even heard some of these expressions!

I sure hope Samantha is still as funny after the 2016 presidential election is over in just under three weeks!


For Michael Buble fans, it’s been a long wait for his ninth studio album (seventh major label release), “Nobody But Me”.


The three-and-a-half year wait is over.

While I enjoyed his early 2013 release, “To Be Loved”, the new album is fantastic!

Michael Buble To Be Loved

My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.

Here’s the first release from the album.  While I featured the lyric video some time ago, the “official” video just came out last week.


When it comes to mainstream movies, there are Oscar worthy ones, some great ones, and some that true turkeys (and not the Thanksgiving kind).  You know the ones — the ones that remind you that you’ll never get those two hours of your life back.

It’s even harder to find those gems in the LGBT movie genre because there are fewer of them being made.

My favorites are still “Longtime Companion”, “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, “Make The Yuletide Gay” and “Lilting”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2015.  (Okay, it has nothing to do with my innocent crush on Ben Whishaw!)


When I saw the trailer for “Waiting in the Wings:  The Musical”, I thought it had potential to be funny.  I also knew that it could easily leave the rails.

The musical is written and directed by Jeffrey A. Johns, who’s also the star.

Johns plays Anthony, a small town Montana man who lives for musicals (and Disney).  He enters an online contest and heads to New York to make his mark on Broadway.

However, there’s a casting mix-up and Tony, a stripper (played by Adam Huss, who was also entertaining in 2010’s “Is It Just Me?”), gets Anthony’s role and naive Anthony has to learn to strip.

The movie also features Lee Meriwether in a touching and supporting role.  Shirley Jones and Sally Struthers also make cameos.

I really fell in love with Rena Strober, who plays Rita, the lead in an Off-Broadway play. She gets to play sweet and catty, but most of all, her voice is incredible.

Yes, you have to suspend disbelief at times, but isn’t that why we watch movies?

My only complaint is that Rebekah Kochan is underutilized.  She was so crass and so much fun in Q. Allan Brocka’s “Eating Out” movies.



Michael Jackson died more than seven years ago, but he’s still the top earning dead celebrity.

In 2016, his estate earned $825 million!

$750 million of that is from the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV publishing catalogue.  Back in 1985, Jackson paid $47.5 million to buy the original Beatles-packed ATV.

At #2, with $48 million, is “Peanuts” (and Charlie Brown) creator Charles Schulz.

Charlie Brown

Golf legend Arnold Palmer came in third with $40 million.

Elvis Presley ($27 million) and Prince ($25 million) round out the top five.


Okay, back in 1986, in my formative party years, we knew all about those “nasty boys” thanks to Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.

Now, in 2016, in our increasingly all-inclusive world, we have a “nasty” woman (or maybe a few of them). 🙂


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


My 20 Favorite Dixie Chicks Songs

I’ve never met Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, yet I have a connection (okay, two or three).


When I took my second television job in Lubbock, Texas, (Natalie’s hometown),  in 1997, as a reporter and Saturday anchor at the CBS affiliate, her sister, Kim, was the 10 p.m. weekday producer.  What a sweetheart!

1997 was also the year that Natalie and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison exploded onto the country music scene with “I Can Love You Better”, which went on to reach #7 on the Billboard Country chart.


Their debut album, “Wide Open Spaces”, has now sold over twelve million copies in the U.S. alone and generated four more Top Ten hits (three of them topped the country charts).

If you’re a fan of the Dixie Chicks, you know they paid the price for being openly honest about then President George W. Bush in 2003 as America moved closer to war with Iraq.

Today’s blog isn’t about that, but I’ll share the blog I wrote about it here:


As the Dixie Chicks get ready to play the Quad Cities Thursday night in Moline at the iWireless Center, I’m counting down my twenty favorite Dixie Chicks songs.  Let me tell you, narrowing it down to twenty was hard!

By the way, here’s another connection I have to Natalie. 🙂  We feel the same way about Donald Trump (GRRRRRR)!


Now, my Top 20 Dixie Chicks songs.













#14 Movie






#11 Movie




9 CD


#8 CD


#7 CD








#3 CD


#2 CD




So, there you have my twenty favorites.

As I wrap up here, I do think too much.

Natalie and I have yet another connection, we’re both Libras — born almost on the same day many years apart (me on October 13 and Natalie on October 14th ten years later!)

By the way, Martie was also almost born on my birthday, too, five years later on October 12th!

So, happy belated birthday Emily and happy birthday early Martie and Natalie!



Random Friday Thoughts — May 27, 2016

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

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


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Ban Bags

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

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

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

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


Fish Be You


I was wrong!

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

Hillary AP

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

DT Masks

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


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

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

Las Vegas

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

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

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

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

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

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

AP Ray Shanghai.jpg

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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



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

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



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.


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.


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!



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.


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!


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


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!


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!


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.


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!



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!


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!



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”?


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!


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.”


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.


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.



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.



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.



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.



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!



Random Friday Thoughts — August 14, 2015

The weekend is almost here and after working the past eight Saturdays, I’m back to having my weekends off again!

I plan on having a fun one and I hope the same for you.  Let’s kick it off with my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

As always, let me know what we agree on and what we don’t!


My favorite President, Jimmy Carter, who is now 90-years-old, revealed Wednesday that he has cancer.

Jimmy Carter

It was discovered during a recent liver surgery.  He also stated that the cancer had spread to other body parts.

He plans to undergo treatment and says he’ll share more details next week.

I’ll say an extra prayer for President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, for a speedy recovery.


I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was an 11-year-old boy growing up in Kentucky when he was running for President in 1976.

I even devoted a full blog to him in March 2012 that I want to share again with you.  (You can click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window so you don’t lose your place in this week’s blog!)


After a television debate last week with most of the Republican candidates vying to become the next President of the United States, most people talked about Donald Trump and his rude comments.

Fox News commentator Megan Kelly started a question with “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’, and Trump replied, “Only Rosie O’Donnell”.

Rosie O'Donnell

While a sad expression of honesty from a man who wants to run this country, it must be working for him.  An NBC News poll after that debate showed Trump as the front-runner with an increasing lead.

Donald Trump had 23% followed by Ted Cruz (13%) and Ben Carson (11%).

Carly Fiorina surged to fourth place (8%) and is now tied with Marco Rubio.

The rest of the top ten: Jeb Bush and Scott Walker (7%), Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee (5%), and Rick Perry and John Kasich (2%).


Rick Santorum and George Pataki are in last place with 0%!



(about Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly after her questioning in that debate):  “there was blood coming out of her eyes … blood coming out of her wherever.”


(after an uproar accusing him of being sexist with the hormonal overtones to his comment about Kelly):  “Do you think I’d make a statement like that? Who would make a statement like that? Only a sick person would even think about that.”

Kelly Trump


(speaking about the personal attacks from Trump):  “Mr. Trump is an interesting man who has captured the attention of the electorate. That’s why he’s leading in the polls. Trump, who is the frontrunner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism, so I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor. And Mr. Trump, I expect, will continue with what has been a successful campaign thus far. This is a tough business and it’s time now to move forward.”


Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

(About going back out on tour after having to cancel the second leg of her “Dressed To Kill Tour” because of an acute viral infection affecting her kidneys):  “You know, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do this. That’s my wish. But I can’t say that I actually will be able to… My will is pretty strong, so… I don’t know.”


The family of late R&B legend Marvin Gaye sure loves to sue people.

They successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell over the mega hit “Blurred Lines” claiming that it ripped off “Got To Give It Up”.  Gaye’s family was awarded $7.4 million in damages for copyright infringement, but this is being appealed.


Now, a son is ready to sue the makers of Fox’s very successful #1 drama, “Empire”, claiming that it was his idea.

I’m thinking two things:  First, they don’t want Taraji P. Henson’s “Cookie” to come down on their asses and secondly, that family needs to get a life – their own!


Singer and songwriter Charlie Puth topped the charts earlier this year with “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa.  The song was featured in “Furious 7” and was a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker.

Puth is now racing up the charts with “Marvin Gaye” with a little help from Meghan Trainor.

The song is already one of 25 most played songs at Top 40 radio in the U.S.

I especially like the fun, sexy, and LGBT-inclusive video!


Sadly, since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” in late July, my idol and country superstar Reba McEntire and her husband Narvel Blackstock announced they were separating after 26 years of marriage.

On a more positive note, I saw Reba in concert for the 13th time when she played the Mississippi Valley Fair last week.  She also announced last week, “Until They Don’t Love You”, would be the second single from her album, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

This song sounds amazing live and she also performed it on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Wednesday night.

You can click on this link to see it:


If you listened to music in the late-1970s, you probably know that’s part of a lyric ( “You have to believe we are magic, nothin’ can stand in our way”) from Olivia Newton-John’s #1 smash “Magic” from the motion picture, “Xanadu”, that hit theaters about this time in 1978.

Now, Olivia has re-recorded part of that song with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi and DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude.

Olivia and Chloe look incredible re-enacting the vibe from “Xanadu” in and around Las Vegas.

I believe that this song and remix will return Olivia to the Billboard Dance chart.  Her last appearance on that chart was back in 1988 when “The Rumour” peaked at #17.

Olivia’s last Top 40 on the Hot 100 was “Soul Kiss” back in 1985.  It reached #20.


I’m truly saddened that there’s only three episodes of “Hannibal” left.


This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television.  Maybe it was too intelligent!

I’ll especially miss Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

However, I’ll still see Anderson in “The X-Files” in January 2016 and I’m really enjoying her as Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson on the BBC hit show, “The Fall”.

It also stars Jamie Dornan, best known as Christian Grey of “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

If you haven’t checked out the two seasons of “The Fall”, it’s a must see!


Another show I highly recommend is my new summer favorite, the incredibly intelligent “Mr. Robot” on USA Network.


Rami Malek is the breakout star as Elliot Alderson, a computer hacker by night and a security technician at a cybersecurity company by day.

Elliot suffers from chronic depression and social anxiety disorder, which makes him quirky and very awkward in social situations.

Christian Slater stars as Mr. Robot.

This is definitely a thriller drama you need to check out and it was renewed for a second season even before the first episode aired!


This part will be very familiar if you read my blog earlier in the week!

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010.  In his career, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits, 17 of which hit the Top Ten, and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.  It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became fan of was Keith Urban.


However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).



Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” is the most played country song in the U.S. this week.

I just bought his self-titled debut album and I’m so glad I did.  Here is the link to my review of the album and you’ll get to hear more of my favorite tracks from it:

And, it’s pretty cool that even with his busy touring schedule and with radio and television appearances, Michael had a chance to read my blog and review of his album and tweeted back at me.

Michael Ray Tweets


As much as I love movies, it’s crazy that I still haven’t been to the theater this calendar year.  The last theater movie for me was “Unbroken” back in late December!

I’ve been waiting to see “Jurassic World”, but my summer work schedule nixed that.  And, I’m definitely going to see “Everest” on the big screen (the release date is now September 25, 2015).

Now, I’ve found another one that looks amazingly funny and bold and it has a 95% positive rating on the site, “Rotten Tomatoes”.

“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is the story of a 1970s teenager, Minnie Goetze, played by British actress Bel Powley, and her affair with her mother’s boyfriend told from her diary.

Kristin Wiig, who’s been in two of my favorite movies over the past year, “The Skeleton Twins” and “Welcome To Me”, plays Minnie’s mother and Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”) stars as Wiig’s boyfriend.

The movie is only playing in selection theaters now, but will be expanding in August.  Hopefully, it’ll be in the Quad Cities this fall!


I loved the first season of “Under The Dome” on CBS and suffered through the end of season two.


After watching just a bit of the season three premiere, I’d had enough.  And, I guess America has, too.

The show premiered with 13.5 million viewers (17.76 million with DVR figures added).  Last week’s episode was down to an astonishing 3.88 million!

I highly suspect that the show will be cancelled (along with “Extant”).

CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler at the Television Critics Association’s press tour earlier this week told reporters that the dome will come down in the finale.  “Entertainment Weekly” reports that “producers have written the finale to serve as a potential series finale or a season finale”.

Regardless of the fate of the show, two great things came out it — one gorgeous and one gory!

600full-mike-vogelCOW UNDER THE DOME

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!  I still try to catch the show’s opening just to see the dome split the cow in half!


Okay, let me get that taste out of your mouth!  Look what’s new from M&M for this fall season: Pecan Pie M&Ms!

Pecan Pie M&M

Yum!  I can’t wait to try them!

While I love spending time floating in the pool and I love snow (but not the extreme Midwestern cold), fall is my new favorite season.


That all sounds incredible, but it’s really all about…


On August 23rd, “Fear The Walking Dead” premieres on AMC and hopefully that’ll hold me over until October 11th when the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” begins.

Here’s the incredible new trailer for “The Walking Dead”!


Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  Let me know your thoughts on anything I wrote about today.

Have a great weekend.  I’m going to relax and enjoy the pool.



You Can’t Spend All Summer Outdoors

Summer is a time when most people spend more time outdoors on the lake or river, lounging in the pools, or vacationing.

Pool Summer 2010

Whatever you do, it’s great to escape the cold, snowy months of winter.


In the evenings, television networks are giving us fresh new shows so we don’t have to watch re-runs and pine for the return of our favorite shows.


Now that my favorites, “The Walking Dead”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Bates Motel”, “American Horror Story”, “Madam Secretary”, “American Crime” are on hiatus, and “The Following” and “Stalker” heading off to the television graveyard, here are the shows that excite me this summer.

I just have to include the trailers for the series finales of “The Following” and “Stalker”, both of which air Monday, May 18th!


Now, my summer shows……

“Wayward Pines” kicked off on Fox, Thursday, May 14th, to rave reviews.

“Aquarius” with David Duchovny debuts on NBC on Thursday, May 28th.

Duchovny will play a detective who ends up on the hunt for a young serial killer, Charles Manson.

The third season of one of my favorite shows, “Hannibal”, returns on NBC Thursday, June 4th.

Ironically, that means Duchovny will be back-to-back on NBC Thursday night with his “The X-Files” television partner, Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurie.

Gillian David The X-Files

Those ready for the six new episodes of “The X-Files” will have to wait until January 24, 2016!

On USA, I’m going to check out “Mr. Robot”.  It premiers Wednesday, June 24th.

I kept seeing the promotions for it during “Dig”, a ten-episode thriller that has already concluded.  However, if you have On Demand, I highly recommending binge watching it.

And, on Tuesday, June 30th, I plan on checking out “Zoo” on CBS.

There isn’t much in this trailer.  It’s a drama about a global pandemic that causes animals to launch violent, coordinated attacks against humans stars James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, and Billy Burke.

And, the six-episode accompanying series to “The Walking Dead”, “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts some time late this summer on AMC.

Okay, while I don’t want to rush summer, here is the ONLY show that has piqued my curiosity for the fall.

“Scream Queens” comes to Fox in September.

What shows are you excited about?