Posts Tagged ‘China’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 6, 2018

Welcome to the first week of April!  By now, it’s starting to feel like spring for some.  But, I know my friends in the Midwest are still shivering with cold and snow!

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

LEFTOVER EASTER CANDY

Are you like me and buy too much half-price candy after the holidays (Valentine’s Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas)?

If you bought Cadbury Creme Eggs, here’s something you can dazzle your family with. 🙂

Cadbury E Pizza

Crust Bros., a restaurant in London, England, makes a pizza called Fior-egg-tina, which is a dessert pizza based on their classic Fiorentina pizza.

The original pizza is made with tomato, mozzarella, spinach, and egg.

But, the sweet treat pizza used macerated strawberries, mascarpone, mint, and, of course, Cadbury Creme Eggs!

Bon Appetit!

AMERICAN COLLEGE STUDENTS

Here’s something that may surprise you.

Three out of four American college students with credit cards are unaware of late-payment charges!

pile of credit cards

While that statistic may have changed some since “Time” reported it in late 2015, that’s just crazy.  But, at the same time, it’s not totally shocking to me.

First off, I think it’s the parents fault for not instilling a sense of “real life” in their kids when it comes to the value of money.

In a former life, I saw some of that first hand.

It’s easier to understand if the parents are constantly handing over cash, bailing their kids out, or paying delinquent credit card bills!

CHINA

In 2000, 46% of Chinese workers were in the agricultural field, well ahead of industrial jobs and the services industry.

By 2011, the number working in fields dropped to an astounding 3%, while industrial jobs and the services industry both jumped to 47% each!

China

That blows my mind!

In a country with almost 1.4 billion (with a “B”) people, that’s a lot of food to import to feed its people!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE” AFTERTHOUGHTS

If you didn’t watch this “American Crime Story” series on FX, you missed stellar acting from Darren Criss and Judith Light.

You also missed Criss’ (ass)ets!

Criss 1Criss 2

Also, in the club scene when Andrew Cunanan (Criss) meets Navy man Jeff Trail (his first victim — played by Finn Wittrock), one of my twenty ALL-TIME favorite songs is playing.

So, I’m sharing Company B’s only Top 40 hit in America, 1987’s “Fascinated”.

It reached #21 on the Hot 100, but it topped the Billboard Dance chart!

“EXPOSING MYSELF”

I just finished reading my 10th book of 2018, “Exposing Myself” by Geraldo Rivera, all 482 pages!

Capture1

This book came out in 1992, so a lot has happened for the lawyer turned journalist that turns 75 this year on the Fourth of July!

It was very interesting hearing his take on his career path and how he never felt he was respected as a real newsman at ABC, even when he broke huge stories and won countless awards.

He boasted many times about his million dollar salary, which today would be around three million dollars with inflation!

Rivera talked about his sexual conquests just about as much as he did about the news business!  More power to him!

However, I wanted to go to an STD clinic to be tested just from reading about all the women he slept with!

I admit that he was a sexy man in his younger days!

Rivera

Forget monogamy with him — he cheated on all four of his wives through the publication of this book!

“GOOD GIRLS”

When I decided to record this new NBC series that debuted in late February, I thought it was a comedy.

After finally watching it, there were a few funny moments, but it’s definitely a drama.

It’s about three women down on their luck (one has a cheating husband and is about to lose her house, her sister is about to lose her daughter to the child’s father, and the other has a sick daughter who needs a transplant and medication to treat the little girl is $10,000 out of pocket).

They decide to rob the grocery store where one of the women works.  Well, the $30,000 they thought they’d get turns into one-half million dollars in crime money and the manager recognizes the tramp stamp on his employee/masked robber.

He then blackmails her into sex and when she refuses, he tries to force himself on her and it gets more out of hand.

How’s that for comedy?

The cast is incredible, especially Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”).

There are funny, touching, and dramatic moments, but it doesn’t really excel at any of them.  It just doesn’t gel for me.

I decided to quit midway through the third episode!

GRADE:  C+

REMEMBER THIS ONE?

In the spring of 1976, Canadian singer Gordon Lightfoot was preparing the release of his June album, “Summertime Dream”.  It would become his fourth #1 album there and reach #12 in the U.S.

In his native country, he had already scored 16 Top 40 hits.

In the U.S., Lightfoot placed four hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Three of those reached the Top Ten:  “If You Could Read Mind” (#5, 1971), “Sundown” (#1, 1974), “Carefree Highway” (#10, 1974).

The legend lives on from the Chippewa on down/Of the big lake they called ‘gitche gumee’/The lake, it is said, never gives up her dead/When the skies of November turn gloomy”

In August 1976, those haunting opening lyrics from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald”, the first single and a song clocking in at almost six minutes (almost unheard for Top 40 radio), wound end up becoming a signature song for Lightfoot.

Weather_Map_from_November_10_1975_Edmund_Fitzgerald_Storm

The song tells the story and tragedy of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank on Lake Superior in a severe storm on November 10, 1975, killing all 29 crew members.

Lightfoot considers the song his finest work and it still haunts me to hear the song all these years later.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 2, 2018

I know February is a short month, but it’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2018 are already behind us.

I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

VACATIONS

It’s no secret that I love taking vacations.  I’ve often joked that I work for two reasons — to pay the bills and to travel.  Actually, it’s no joke!

Last year, my big trip was to Scandinavia — Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

AP Scand

However, some Americans are afraid to take their earned time off.

One poll shows that 22% skip vacations because they don’t want to be seen as replaceable and 28% want to show dedication to work by not taking vacations.

F(orget) that!!!!!!!!!!  If I don’t prove myself when I’m on the clock, I’m not going to worry about it when it comes to taking time off!

Finally, here are a couple of interesting facts:  In 2013, the average number of unused vacation days was 4.9.

Also, in the early-1980s, the average number of paid vacation days was around 21.  By, 2014, that number had dropped to 16 days!

RONALD REAGAN & THE QUAD CITIES  

In his book, “An American Life”, President Ronald Reagan talked about landing his first radio job at WOC in Davenport, Iowa.

After an interview in Chicago, with no radio experience, he was told to try a smaller market.

An American Life

Reagan wrote, “the suggestion from the woman at NBC that I try for a job in the sticks”.

He went on to write, “Radio was so new that many Midwestern towns still didn’t have a commercial station, but I only knew of two or three in the tri-cities area of Davenport, Moline, and Rock Island along the Illinois-Iowa border.”

Sorry, Bettendorf!  You’ll have to let it slide this time since it was the early-1930s.

But, it still cracks me up to think of the Quad Cities as “the sticks” back in the day!

QUICK OSCAR NOTES

The Oscars are Sunday night on ABC.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Here are the nominees for Best Actor and I’ve seen four of the performances.

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

I think that Gary Oldman will win the Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”.  He was great and so was the make-up.

CMBYN 2

However, I think that Timothee Chalamet acted more and with more heart and truly deserves to win “Best Actor”.

I even enjoyed Denzel Washington’s performance more than Oldman’s!

I haven’t seen Daniel Day-Lewis in “Phantom Thread”.

Final Oscar tidbits:  I’ve seen four of the nine “Best Picture” nominees and it’s the first four in alphabetical order. 🙂

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

And, strangely enough, I haven’t seen any of the five Best Actress performances, yet I’m picking Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) to win.

I’m also picking that movie to win “Best Picture”.

“A REPORTER’S LIFE”

The fourth book I read in 2018 was Walter Cronkite’s “A Reporter’s Life.

Walter Cronkite

Although the book did drag a bit after he talked about his childhood and before he talked more about being on the cutting edge of television news, it was a decent book.

He was definitely a liberal and that’s a good thing. 🙂

“NIGHTLINE”

I also just finished my fifth book — “Nightline” by Ted Koppel and Kyle Anderson.

Excellent read!

Nightline Ted K

It’s about the ABC late night news show that’s still on the air.  Koppel anchored it from 1980 until he retired in 2005.

The book provided incredible insight on some of the biggest stories of the past three decades without a lot of rambling.

Koppel and Anderson touch on AIDS, Russia, South African Apartheid, and the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China, along with the television news business.

Interesting tidbit:  The show started as a continuation of “America Held Hostage” — about the American hostages held in Iran for 444 days from late 1979 until January 1981.

MORE ON TIANANMEN SQUARE

Tiananmen Square was one of the stops on my visit to China in the spring of 2016.

What was very interesting is that our tour guide referred to the Tiananmen Square massacre that killed hundreds to thousands (China disputes that number) as an “incident”.

He was also very uncomfortable even talking about it (and I don’t blame him — China eavesdrops!).

Tiananmen

While there, I noticed fire extinguishers located around the square.  We were told that people occasionally bring gasoline to the Square and set themselves on fire in protest!

GUESS WHO???  

“This woman is a political force of enormous ambitions.  I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to the truth, vain, and cynical — all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.” 

Answer at the bottom!

“WONDER”

It’s always great to see Julia Roberts in a movie.

And, in “Wonder”, Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) is great as Auggie, a fifth grader with a rare medical facial deformity.

Tremblay definitely has a great future in Hollywood.  He was fantastic in 2015’s “Room”, that earned Brie Larson a Best Actress Oscar.

GRADE:  A-

“ROMAN J. ISREAL, ESQ.”

This crime thriller is a very slow burn for the first hour, but the second hour redeems the slow start.

Washington earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

GRADE: B

“HAPPY DEATH DAY”

“The Snowman” is no longer my least favorite movie I’ve seen in 2018.

This horror movie is atrocious!  It’s definitely geared to a younger demographic.

Sadly, for me, this horror movie made a lot of money and there’s talk of a sequel!

GRADE: D

STRONG WOMEN SCARE PEOPLE

“This woman is a political force of enormous ambitions.  I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to the truth, vain, and cynical — all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.” 

This was written by columnist Westbrook Pegler in the 1950s about Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt!

EleanorRoosevelt_640x400

Sounds like something some have been said over recent years about another incredibly strong former First Lady!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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!

Pool

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.

R.I.P. BETH HOWLAND

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

Vera

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.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

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….

GRADE:  A+

LET’S CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS!!!

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.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY (AND EVERYDAY)

Fish Be You

POLITICS TIDBITS

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!

NEXT VEGAS PLAN CHANGES 

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?

FOR THE LOVE OF NANCY REAGAN

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.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

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.

nancy.jpg

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.

RonaldReagan

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.

PRESIDENT REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

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.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

TWO WEEKS IN CHINA

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!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

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. 🙂

“LONDON SPY”

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”.

Ben_Whishaw

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”).

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT 

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.

Anthony