Posts Tagged ‘champagne’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

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While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

GagaLatest

That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

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I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

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My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

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Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

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Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — February 5, 2016

It looks like I might be back into the routine of writing and sharing my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  This is the third straight week of it. 🙂

So, grab your coffee or your mimosa and check out today’s thoughts and be sure to share yours, too.  If you disagree, that’s fine as long as it’s diplomatically.

DISGRACED POLITICIAN OFFERED A MILLION DOLLARS!

It’s been some time since disgraced and former Illinois Republican politician Aaron Schock of Peoria has been in the news.

The super sexy 34-year-old stud resigned from Congress last March after controversy about his use of federal funds made headlines.

Aaron Schock 2

It wasn’t only social media photos of his lavish trips, but also the interior decorating of his office in “Downton Abbey” motiff that raised eyes on his spending.

Well, now it appears he’s been offered help with his mounting legal fees, which are reported at about $750-thousand!

TitanMen, a powerhouse adult entertainment company, has offered to pay off his lawyers up to a million dollars if he’ll star in a gay porn film!

However, his dad says, “Aaron wears stylish clothing and yet he’s not gay.”

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If you don’t know much about Schock’s time in the political arena, he opposed marriage equality, opposed the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and voted against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes.

CANCELLED CONCERT OVER CHAMPAGNE?

It appears that Timbaland likes champagne, but not just any champagne.

Last week, he was booked at a fundraiser at Club Bleu in Detroit to raise money to buy bottles of water and filters for Flint residents that have contaminated drinking water.

He was to DJ for half an hour and perform five to eight songs.  It’s reported that he took the stage and only nodded his head to the beats another DJ performed.  Why?  Because he wasn’t happy to be served Dom Perignon instead of Jay Z’s Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”), which costs about $300 a bottle.

Jay Z Champagne

The owner, Mitchell Jaworski, claims that the music maestro and his entourage “had about 15 bottles of liquor and champagne, which is extremely excessive especially for a charity event”.

Timbaland’s rep says the story “is simply not true” and that the producer/rapper is an “extremely generous person who agreed to a much lower fee for this event to raise money for the Flint, Michigan’s water crisis”.

The fundraiser raised about $3,000.

MY LOVE OF CHAMPAGNE

While I love Moscato and I love vodkas, champagne is right up there at the top of my list.

I mentioned mimosas in the intro and with the talk of champagne, those sound good about right now.  I’d be ecstatic if it was served with a piece of carrot cake just like my 2012 birthday in Vegas!

Champagne

I prefer sweeter brands of champagne.

GREAT NEW DANCE ALBUM

While we’re just now getting underway in 2016, I found my new favorite CD of the year.

Actually, listening to “Matter” by the Brooklyn-based singer, St. Lucia, will have you checking to make sure we’re not enjoying the most fantastic music of the 1980s.

st-lucia-matter-new-album

St. Lucia is South African-born Jean-Philip Grobler and his band.  Their sound is heavily influenced by Grobler’s 1980s childhood influences: Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, and Fleetwood Mac.

Most of the eleven songs on his second album are very upbeat and very synth-heavily.

My favorites are “Dancing on Glass” (which I’m sharing with you),”Home”, “Rescue Me”, and “Physical”, which is very energetic, but ends very chill.  “The Winds of Change” is very similar in composition — higher beats-per-minute, but ends chill.

“Help Me Run Away” is so retro in feeling that it makes me giddy every time I hear it.

And, the ballad, “Love Somebody”, with the finger snaps and St. Lucia’s vocals, is mesmerizing.

While the album takes me back to the romanticism of the second British invasion of my teenage years in the 1980s, several songs vocally remind me of another New York-based band that’s on hiatus — the Scissor Sisters.

I know singers and artists may not like comparisons, but I mean that as a compliment.

In today’s sad state of Top 40 radio, I’m not holding my breath that “Matter” or St. Lucia will be burning up the airwaves this spring and summer and that’s a tragedy!

GRADE:  A

“AN AMERICAN SON” BY MARCO RUBIO

In my last blog, in an effort be more diversified, I crossed the aisle and read Mike Huckabee’s “Do The Right Thing”.  After the Prologue, his close-mindedness bored me.

I also said “Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.”  While I can’t take credit for it, his abysmal showing in the Iowa Caucus earlier this week prompted him to suspend his run for president that never really a “run”.  It was more like a limp.

Up next, Marco Rubio’s “An American Son”.

Marco Rubio

It was a much better book and story than Huckabee’s.  In an alternate universe (where Rubio liked gay families and didn’t use the word “conservative” like it was dirty), I could see liking the man.

Just based on the book, I would love to sit down and have dinner with him and his wife Jeanette to show them that I pray to God every night and I’m a kind and loving person that just happens not to fit into the “conservative values” circle.

I enjoyed hearing about his wonderful parents and their struggles leaving Cuba and working all their lives to give their kids a life they didn’t have.

Rubio told a very touching story about a struggling woman looking into the eyes of her newborn child, just your parents did to you.  His “people” (inner political handlers) didn’t want him to tell the story even though it was very heartfelt.  The reason?  It’d make sound like a Democrat!  If human = Democrat, I have two things going for me.

By the way, his wife, Jeanette was touched by it and wanted him to tell that story.  That’s another reason I think I’d like her.

Rubio also spoke about the 2008 election when Barack Obama won.  He became teary-eyed because of the significance of an African American being elected to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world.  That night he “was so proud to be an American”.  He knew he’d have plenty of time to fight the president to turn the country around because it was heading in the “wrong direction”.

CarterPres

I disagree with Rubio on his anti-Jimmy Carter sentiments he learned his grandfather.  Jimmy Carter is still my favorite president that was dealt a bad hand while in office.

Also, we’re at odds when he stated that the way Bill Clinton’s administration handled the Elian Gonzales case “arguably, it cost Al Gore the election” in 2000.

Arguably is right.  We know how that election was lost — Republican shadiness in Florida — “arguably”!

NOW, WHY RUBIO SCARES ME…

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know Rubio over 307 pages.  However, I have a couple of issues with his own trustworthiness.

In a recent Republican debate, in his commercials, and in his speech earlier this week after the Iowa Caucus, Rubio bashed Hillary Clinton over honesty.

Yet, nowhere in the book did he mention that he was arrested in a Florida park after hours in 1990 on a misdemeanor charge, yet he shared getting sick on vodka shots on a plane and vomiting on a high-ranking person in the Republican party, talked about going to “foam party” in clubs, and other things he did when he was younger.  Yet, no mention of the arrest?

And, then there’s the issue that his parents were Cuban exiles that immigrated to the United States in 1956 instead of 1959, when the guerrilla war reached its peak and Fidel Castro took office as prime minister.

He only “learned” of this when newspapers reported the inaccuracies???  As detailed as the book was, I find it hard to believe this only surfaced once it went public!

So, who has trust issues, Mr. Rubio?

CHER ON REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNERS

Cher 

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

This coming-of-age dramedy didn’t burn up the box office (actually it’s a $2 million movie that only made $1.8 million), but it has a 94% positive on the film site, Rotten Tomatoes.

One reason it didn’t make money is probably because it was so hard to market and that’s sad.  The movie is hilarious, thought-provoking, and scandalous.

Bel Powley stars as 15-year-old Minnie, in 1976 San Francisco, who’s aspiring to be an artist. She loses her virginity to an older man (Alexander Skarsgard of “True Blood”) who’s very close to her and her mother (Kristen Wiig).

As the parent of a teenage girl that turns 15 this summer, the movie’s premise is frightening. 🙂  However, as a movie lover, it’s fantastic.

GRADE:  A-

IOWA CAUCUS AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s cool that Iowa still kicks off the official presidential election voting season with its caucus.  However, I’m not fond of the caucus process, but Iowa is not the only state that does it.

Ted Cruz upset Donald Trump on the Republican side, but the true winner in that race was Marco Rubio with his strong third place showing.

I’ve comment before that the Trump-Cruz circus would make it very easy for Rubio to secure the Republican nomination.  We’ll have to see if his momentum can carry on into New Hampshire and Super Tuesday on March 1, 2016.

AP Hillary Iowa

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton officially won the caucus becoming the first woman ever and she won it with the slimmest margin ever.

I’m happy, as a Clinton supporter, that the race was close.  With all of the momentum that Sanders had going into the caucus, it could of a had a much different outcome!

To be honest, they were both winners!  (And, trust me when I say that, I’m not one of those people that think everyone that participates deserves a ribbon or trophy!)

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

How successful are Iowans and the Iowa Caucus in picking the candidate for president.

Since 1972, the success rate for predicting the a Democratic candidate is 43% and it’s 50% on the Republican side.

More importantly, the Iowa Caucus predicts which candidates are likely to drop out because of the lack of support.  And, that’s true — goodbye Martin O’Malley and good riddance Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum.

COMEDIC LOOK AT THE IOWA CAUCUS — AND IT’S REALLY FUNNY!

If reading about politics bores or you, let comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert tell you the story in a much more humorous way.

This makes me laugh my butt off every time!

Iowa NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

A thousand miles away from Iowa, the country’s first primary takes place Tuesday, February 9th in Hew Hampshire.  If you believe polls (and I do to a certain extent), it’s pretty much a certainty that Sanders will win and Trump has a pretty good chance.

For Hillary supporters, here’s some good news.  The last three presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all finished second in New Hampshire.

It looks like there’ll be other causalities after the votes are counted in New Hampshire.

After his loss in Iowa, Ben Carson cut his campaign operations “a little more” than half, which was mostly people that worked on the Iowa campaign.

I also predict that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina will seriously have to re-think their future in the race — the one they don’t really have!  I didn’t mention Jim Gilmore because considering him a real candidate is a joke.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK 

As always, I appreciate you taking the time check out my random thoughts.  I always welcome your feedback, whether you agree or disagree.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

 

A Weekend To Warm Hearts

Valentine’s Day weekend is here and this year it comes after a Friday the 13th!

Jason

Let’s hope that Jason isn’t your partner because you’re likely not going to get roses or champagne by the crackling fire!

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But, you never know, they may have cut those scenes from the “Friday the 13th” movies!

While temperatures are going to be bitterly cold in the Quad Cities this weekend, that won’t keep people away from the movie theaters for a date with Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

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This weekend, to celebrate our sixth Valentine’s Day together, Ray is going to make his famous lasagna.  Okay, while it may not be famous, it should be because it’s delicious!

As for gifts, we have something for Gretel, our 13-year-old daughter.  As for us, we know how we feel for each other and we don’t need a gift to express that.  However, we may still pick up a box of chocolates Sunday for half price just to blow the healthy eating for a day or two!

On the other hand, I would definitely settle for a bag of the new “limited edition” Red Velvet Oreos!  Have you tried them yet?  Are they tasty?

red_velvet_oreo.0.0

And, how would this be to top off a weekend of love, Mercer’s Wine Ice Cream?

Mercers Wine Ice Cream

Yes, ice cream with actual wine.  It comes in eight incredible flavors:  Peach White Zinfandel, Strawberry Sparkling, Red Raspberry Chardonnay, Riesling, Port, Spice, Cherry Merlot, and Chocolate Cabaret.

Chocolate Cabanet Wine

The closest stores that carry it to the Quad Cities are Hy-Vee locations in Iowa City, Iowa, and Sycamore and Springfield, Illinois.

Since I won’t be driving there on this bitterly cold weekend and we do have the bottles of chocolate red wine, maybe we could mix that with ice cream and make our wine milk shakes!

Otherwise, our romantic weekend will consist of some fun adult beverages, watching movies and television, a crackling fire, and a nice family weekend.

Happy Valentine’s Day to your and yours.

If you’re single, Happy Valentine’s Day to you!  I had many of those and I didn’t mind since I could eat all of the chocolates myself — except what I shared with ABBA, my golden retriever.  Yes, I know you’re not “supposed” to give dogs chocolate, but it was in moderation!

Anthony