Posts Tagged ‘Christmas in Plains’

Random Thoughts — February 8, 2019

We’re snowed in again here in the Northland of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin with  almost a foot of new snow!

Here’s hoping that we all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’M TAKING THE PLUNGE!!!!!!!

I’ve always wanted to do a Polar Plunge, but I’ve never had the opportunity.

Now, I get to do it for a great cause — Special Olympics Minnesota!

On February 16th in Duluth, Minnesota, a group of co-workers and I are raising money and are jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Polar Plunge

Any donation, large or small, will add up!

Once you go to the page and if you want to make a smaller donation that what’s listed, just type it into the box!

Thank you in advance and here’s the link:

https://reg.plungemn.org/participant/anthonypeoples

OUT AND PROUD & CLOSETED AND OUTING

I’ve always been out.  For me, the closets are for clothes.  But, that’s not the case for many others.

In the mid-1980s, as Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and his management team was giving lame excuses for his sickness, one of my favorite authors and a leading LGBTQ activist Armistead Maupin outed him as being gay.

While it was an “open secret”, Maupin confirmed to mainstream news agencies that Hudson was gay.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

Maupin also came down hard on lesbian actress Lily Tomlin in the 1990s for waiting so long to come out.

Personally, I think the LGBTQ community needs visibility.  Kids need role models to look up to when they feel alone in some small town or in a family that doesn’t accept gay people.

While I’d love for rumored LGBTQ celebrities and politicians to come out and be proud, it’s their choice.  I would not out them.

However, for politicians that are anti-LGBTQ or support anti-LGBTQ legislation, I’m all for outing them without any remorse at the first hint of them being deceptive and closeted!

Even for those “straight” celebrities that support religions (or cults pretending to be religion, TC/JT, I’m looking at you) that are anti-LGBTQ, I’m all for someone outing them when there’s proof!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  

Was Maupin right or wrong with outing Hudson as a gay man or saying Tomlin shouldn’t have waited so long to come out?

What do you think?

“THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN”

While I’ve read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the Cities” novels many times (there are nine of them), the series was first written for a California newspaper.

The story begins in San Francisco in the 1970s and follows a core group of friends that become “family” over time.

If you’ve never heard of it, go to the library and get them or buy the first one on Amazon and you’ll be hooked!

“The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”, a 2017 documentary, follows Maupin from his conservative upbringing in North Carolina (where he even worked for racist, homophobic Senator Jesse Helms) to becoming a writer in San Francisco and coming out.

It’s also an incredible love story!

GRADE:  A

So far, the “Tales of the City” novels have been made into three amazing miniseries with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.

A fourth arrives on Netflix this year!

“THE WIFE”

“And, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Glenn Close in ‘The Wife’!”

That’s what I predict we’ll be hearing Sunday, February 24th, at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

After six previous nominations and six losses, I think this is Close’s year.  Sorry, Lady Gaga, you may have more chances.

Close plays Joan, the wife of Jonathan Pryce’s Joseph Castleman, who’s awaiting a call from the Nobel Prize committee to see if he’ll earn one for his literary work.

Spoiler, not Spoiler: he does!

As the story unfolds, we see how Joseph and Joan meet and how their lives have played out over the decades — professionally and personally.

Close plays the perfect wife standing by her famous writer husband, but also feels the sting of disappointment over how her husband depends on her and takes her for granted — professionally and personally!

GRADE:  A

“BOY ERASED”

The main point I want to stress here is that “gay conversion therapy” is still going on across the U.S. and it’s sad, pathetic, and damaging!

This movie, with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges, is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 “Boy Erased:  A Memoir” about his time in an Arkansas facility.

Pop singer Troye Sivan, director/actor Xavier Dolan, and Joe Alwyn (Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) also turn in amazing performances.

Since I hadn’t read Conley’s book when the movie was announced, I decided to wait to do so and now I’m ready to read it.

“Boy Erased” will be more powerful to people who are not all that familiar with gay conversion therapy.

While the movie was very touching, it was a bit sanitized.  For those of us that have heard the horror stories of conversion therapy, I felt it was too Hollywood-ized and needed a rougher edge!

It’s still a must see!

GRADE:  B

LAST TWO BOOKS READ IN 2018

It’s a tradition for me to read “Christmas in Plains” by my idol President Jimmy Carter every year at the holidays!

Christmas In Plains

“JACKIE AFTER JACK”

After finishing Ted Sorensen’s 800+ page biography of John F. Kennedy and “Christmas in Plains”, I jumped right into Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack”.

Anderson Jackie after Jack

Sorensen’s book on President Kennedy was more about Kennedy as “President” rather than Kennedy as a husband, father, brother, and friend.

I was shocked into reality with the abrasive tone difference at beginning of Andersen’s book, which pretty much talks about Kennedy’s assassination in graphic detail.

Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.

But, if only a fraction of the book is true, Jackie certainly loved her children and she was definitely what we’d call a “gold digger” today!

By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.

Andersen mentions several times about Jackie wanting to toughen her son, John John, up because she was didn’t want him to “grow up to be a fruit”.

I’m not giving a free pass on that, but I’m putting it in the context of the 1960s and 1970s and how most people have evolved when it comes to being gay.  I know the Kennedys would have been much more accepting in today’s world!

Thank God “homosexuality” (a truly clinical term that had implications of mental illness prior to 1973 in the United States) has now progressed to being “gay” and part of the acronym LGBTQ!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Advertisements

Random Thoughts — Christmas 2016

BITTER COLD & SNOW

We all know that Santa lives at the North Pole and it’s pretty cold and snowy there.  Well, if you’re out doing Christmas shopping across the Midwest, the weather is rather Christmas-sy or very North Pole-ish.

We picked up 2.8″ of snow this weekend, officially, in the Quad Cities bringing us to 13.8″ for December.  But, more importantly, it’s bitterly and dangerously cold.

Sunday morning, I woke up to -9° at my house in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, was even colder at -13° .  We saw similar temperatures Monday morning.

cold

This is the coldest morning since late February 2015, almost two years ago, when we reached about -18° in the Quad Cities.

If those temperatures weren’t bad enough, the wind chill early Sunday morning was -35° in Davenport and Clinton.

Temperatures start to warm today and this warming will last through the rest of the week!

 

 

That’s my part of the blog to keep you safe.  Now let’s have fun since you’re already reading!

CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is only a week away now!  Where has this year gone?

White Red Christmas

I hope you and yours are having a festive holiday season.  I’ve only bought four Christmas presents so far.  What am I waiting for?

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

NOLA Christmas

THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO, HMMMM

Now that some stations are playing Christmas tunes twenty-four hours a day and others are sprinkling in a holiday song here and there, I have these questions for the writers of some of the classics.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” — So “a child shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.  Why not bring him a blanket or clothes?
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” — “Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”  Um, if he’s the most famous of all, of course we remember his name.  But, can we name the other eight without singing the song?
  • “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” — Wanting one this Christmas?  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER

WHAT SONGS MAKE YOU CRINGE?

“Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer” is without a doubt my least favorite Christmas song of all time!

Other songs that make me quickly change the radio station in the car are “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” and “Linus And Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

For Ray, it’s “Santa Baby”.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not there yet, but it’s definitely getting tired.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOK

It’s not secret that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president and after reading his book, “Christmas in Plains” a few years back, it’s one of my Christmas traditions to read it each holiday.

ChristmasInPlains

I’m finishing the political book I’m reading now and I’ll dive into the very touching, easy-to-read 155 page book.

President Carter shares stories of Christmases from his childhood, with Rosalynn and his children, in the White House, and more.

Merry Christmas President and Mrs. Carter!

MERRY X-MAS!

So, does seeing “Merry X-Mas” upset you at the holidays?

xmas

It doesn’t bother me.  However, “Christians” do!  Before you have a coronary thrombosis, click here to see what I’m talking about!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

So, every day, not just at Christmas, let’s put “Christ” back into “Christian”, too.

READY FOR AN “UNSILENT NIGHT”  *

VH1, the older people’s MTV, rang in the Christmas cheer earlier this month with “Unsilent Night”, the latest concert in its “Diva” concert series.

Mariah Carey was the headliner and opening act for this show.

And, before you watch it here, know that as a gay man, I can’t get enough of Mariah Carey’s divaness and her boobs!  (As you gasp,  you’ll know what I’m taking about from the video or just from the thumbnail image below.  There’s no doubt that she wanted those ornaments to be seen!)

I also love the back-up dancers.  Who knew Christmas could be so sexy?

The other divas this year included Vanessa Williams, Miss Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan.

A VERY MERRY ($$$) MARIAH CHRISTMAS  *

Mariah Carey’s holiday tradition of performing shows at the Beacon Theater x is something that I hope I can finally see.  Heck, this year, Beyonce and Shania Twain checked out the performance.

While she won’t be singing “All I Want For Christmas”, I’m planning on seeing Mariah and Lionel Richie on tour in the spring of 2017.

Along with her Christmas shows, her Las Vegas residency, her tour with Lionel Richie, and performing on this year’s “Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year Eve” to ring in 2017, Mariah kicked off the holiday season with a seven-minute performance in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).

Mariah Toronto.jpg

She performed “Here Comes Santa Claus” and her now iconic classic, “All I Want For Christmas” for a cool million bucks for Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window display unveiling!

SPEAKING OF DIVAS

This performance by Patti LaBelle (without her back-up singers and the words) is classic for all the wrong reasons.

But, Ms. LaBelle is a champion!

READY FOR A “CHRISTMAS PARTY”?

Derrick Barry is the most amazing Britney Spears!  Okay, other than the real Britney, bitch!

This Christmas version of “Slumber Party”, “Christmas Party” makes me want to deck the halls!

While this has nothing to do with Christmas, it gives me a chance to show the original “Slumber Party” by Britney Spears and Tinashe, which is now a Top 40 song at pop radio!

It’s already been viewed more than 38 million times in less than a month.

THIS CHRISTMAS IS SUCH A “DRAG”

And, that’s amazing!

One hundred or so Dutch drag queens got together to put together this Christmas medley and it’s amazing!

Ray was scared of some of them, but I loved it.  This is what drag is all about.

Warning:  This is a rather risque part about eight minutes in. 🙂

Thank you, Lady Galore!

THIS CHRISTMAS GIVE FRUITCAKE SOME LOVE

I’m one of those that absolutely loves fruitcake, but not everyone does.

funny_fruitcake

But, I know some celebrities that do!

Sir Paul McCartney orders a fruitcake from cake designer Fiona Cairns each Christmas and, in early 2011, Cairns was tapped to make the royal wedding cake for Prince William and his future bride, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Royal Wedding Fruit Cake

CONFESSION AT CHRISTMASTIME *

You probably know how very popular James Corden’s “Carpool Karoke” is.  If not, he’s joined by celebrties in a car and they sing, talk, laugh, and confess.

Okay, I’ll confess two things — (1) I think James is adorable and I have a tiny crush on the teddy bear and (2) I’ve always loved Mariah Carey and I just can’t get enough of her now!  And, I finally get to see her in concert in May in Nashville, Tennessee!

But, first things first, check out this all-star version of Mariah’s incredible Christmas hit (again).

Love it!

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA TO DAZZLE FRIENDS

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

Poinsettia 1

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is the late, great, golden retriever, Miss ABBA, wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

Again,I hope that Bible story and information is correct since I didn’t verify it.  The big man upstairs didn’t get back with me on that one.

CHARITY & CHRISTMAS

While we feast at Christmas, one of my favorite songs of the holiday season is, sadly, about not having enough to eat and starvation.

Can you believe that “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released more than 30 years ago?

Between the single’s release in December 1983 and 1989, it sold 11.7 million singles worldwide.

It was the best selling single in U.K. until “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John in 1997 following Priness Diana’s death.

FORGET THAT OLD “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

The Christmas classic is tired and so outdated.  Do we really care about “Lords a Leaping”, “Maids a Milking”, and all that stuff.

Why not infuse the song (and video) with botox, prancing gays, naked men, former husband, and giant breasts.

I bet I have your attention now!

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG

“O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional Christmas song, but my favorite of all-time is a song that was first released in 1970.

It was re-issued in 1974 and 1977.  It’s The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling” by my favorite vocalist of all-time, Karen Carpenter.

And, what song is now my second-favorite Christmas song?….

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS *

without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”.

What did we do before this now-classic, 1994 hit was released that’s had more than 226.7 million views?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S.  Did you figure out the what the * denoted in the blog?  Mariah “visions”, of course. 🙂  Leave the “visions of sugarplums” for ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”!

P.S. 2  

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.  I hope it’s fun of love and joy.  Most of all, I hope you’re not screaming “You Ruined My Christmas” to anyone this year.

Here are the Supreme Fabulettes, thanks to the one and only Boy George, who directed the video and co-wrote the song.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 27, 2013

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you.  This is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” blog of 2013, so “Happy New Year” early!

“LIFESTYLE” OR “CHOICE”

Last week, a can of worms about the First Amendment was opened when “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson made anti-gay comments to “GQ” magazine.  It caused A&E to indefinitely suspend Robertson.

phil-robertson-p11

My comments today are not about that ordeal, but I’ll re-post the link if you want to read what I wrote about “Duck Dynasty”, being gay, and God last Friday.  It was one of my most viewed blogs of the year!

In the dialogue following my blog and the fallout about the suspension, one woman started badgering me about the “gay lifestyle”.

I responded that being gay is not a “choice” or a “lifestyle”.  As for “choice”, LGBT people don’t normally go around asking straight people when they “chose” to be straight.

And, being gay is just one facet of who I am.  It’s my life and not a “lifestyle”, but she wouldn’t drop it and even posted a dictionary definition of “lifestyle” for me!

So, if you insist that being gay is a lifestyle, this pretty much sums it up.

gay-lifestyle

Sound familiar?

Last Friday’s blog about the “Duck Dynasty” uproar:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/eventually-all-dynasties-fall/

BRISTOL PALIN ON ROBERTSON & THE LGBT COMMUNITY

Since I’ve blogged about Bristol Palin and her views before, here’s what she’s saying about “Duck Dynasty” and the LGBT community in her blog post, “Leave Phil Robertson Alone”.

Bristol Palin Crying

“I think it’s so hypocritical how the LGBT community expects every single flippen person to agree with their life style. This flies in the face of what makes America great – people can have their own beliefs and own opinions and their own ways of life. Everyone needs to treat others like God would, with love. It goes both ways. I hate how the LGBT community says it’s all about ‘love’ and ‘equality.’ However, if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, they spread the most hate. It is so hypocritical it makes my stomach turn.”

ONE MORE PALIN RESPONSE

Another Robertson defender was Bristol’s mother, failed Alaska Governor and Vice President wannabe Sarah Palin.

sarah palin

Last week, Palin was defending Robertson on her Facebook page, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin and taking on the ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”  However, now she admits that she didn’t even read his comments to “GQ” magazine to even know what he said!

On Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren”, when pressed about the graphic nature of Robertson’s comments, Palin admits, “I haven’t read the article … I don’t know exactly how he said it.”

I have one thing to say:  read first before you spout off in his (or anyone’s) defense!  But, then again, consider the source….

SURPRISE “GLEE”FUL WEDDING

A couple of months ago, I blogged that 49-year-old actress Dot-Marie Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on “Glee”, proposed to her girlfriend of three years, Bridgett Casteen.

Bridgett and Dot-Marie

The couple invited family and friends to their Los Angeles home last Saturday for a holiday party.  When the guests arrived, they were then told it was a secret wedding ceremony!

Congratulations Dot-Marie and Bridgett!

IPOD BOY

While it’s a few years old, Preston Leatherman still makes me smile and hit “replay” with his dancing with an ipod in public version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.  Watch and tell me you’re not smiling!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT  — WINTER VERSION

Snowman Eats KidSnow Cone Stand  Snowman Life in Prison

BEYONCE

Beyonce has been struggling to find that next big hit on pop radio following many misfires.  That may have changed with her new single, “XO”, which is already racing up the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Bey did something unheard of recently when she released her new self-titled album, “Beyonce”.  There was advance notice, no hype, and she released it exclusively to iTunes.

Beyonce-Album-Cover-750x400

It paid off in a big way.  In just the first three days, the album was downloaded 617,000 times and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.  (Worldwide, it sold more than 800,000 copies in those first three days.)

In its second week with a full week of sales, it sold an additional 374,000 copies in the U.S.  That’s a total of almost a million copies in just ten days!

However, the exclusivity to iTunes in those first few days ticked off other music retailers.  Target and amazon.com are refusing to carry the album, but something tells me that Beyonce isn’t losing any sleep over it.

THE BIBLE

I recently saw the movie, “C.O.G.”, which stands for “Children of God”, starring Jonathan Groff, who will be appearing in the new HBO series, “Looking” next month.

C.O.G.

It’s based on the life of writer David Sedaris.  While there were many funny lines in the drama, here is the scene that made me fall over with laughter.

“The Bible says”… “I know what the Bible says”… “Then what’s your problem with it?”… “It’s poorly written!”

SINCE WE’RE TALKING RELIGION AND HUMOR

Christian

PICK HIT

17-year-old Dutch DJ/producer Martin Garrix is on the verge of scoring his first Top 40 hit in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 (#51).

Martin Garrix

His hit, “Animals, has already reached #1 in Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Scotland, the U.K., and on the Billboard Dance chart here in the States.  The song is already a Top Ten hit in, at least, ten other countries.

FOUR BOOKS THIS YEAR

I am proud to say that as 2013 winds down, I just finished reading my fourth book.  In 2014, I plan on making a dent in the more than 160 books I own now that I’m caught up on my magazines.

Christmas In Plains

Just in time for the holidays, I read “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter, our nation’s 39th president and my favorite President.

Jimmy Carter

In the 155-page, easy-to-read book, he shares stories of  his Christmases growing up, serving in the Navy, as Governor of Georgia, as President of the United States, and after leaving office.

President Carter talks about growing up in Georgia during the Great Depression and his close-knit friendships with the black kids that lived on his father’s land in a time when there was much more racial divide in the South than there is today.

The book reminded me of growing up poor in Kentucky in the 1970s and Christmases being skimpy and how Santa brought some kids much more than others.

I enjoyed the stories about the traditions that he and his family started and how they progressed in life.  However, my favorite story that he told was from one of the darkest times in American history.

Iranian Hostage

On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students/terrorists took over the U.S. Embassy in Teheran with 66 original hostages.  Thirteen of those were released two weeks later and another man, who was becoming seriously ill, was released in July 1980.

The other 52 Americans hostages were held for 444 days.

During the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House in December 1979, President Carter and his daughter, Amy, surprised America when she flipped the switch for the tree.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

President Carter writes, ” Amy and I planned a big surprised for the ceremony.  When the television cameras focused on her at the crucial moment, she threw the switch but no lights lit up on the tree except the single Star of Hope on top — a symbolic acknowledgement that we were not celebrating while our hostages were being held, but were confident that all of them would return safely and to freedom.”

In Christmas 1980, the lights on the tree were turned on for 417 seconds, one second for each day that the hostages were being held.  After that, only the Star of Light was lit up that holiday season.

In the final hours of his presidency on January 20, 1981, President Carter secured the hostages’ release.  Right as President Ronald Reagan completed his inaugural address after being sworn in, the 52 hostages were released into U.S. custody after 444 days.

Hostages Freed

And, one more funny story from the book became answers to Trivia Pursuit questions.

While President Carter was happy that he was the answer to the first American president born in a hospital, he was less thrilled with the answer about a quote from his mother, Lillian.  She said, “Sometimes when I look at my children, I wish I had remained a virgin.”

President Carter and Lillian Carter

BEST & WORST OF CHRISTMAS SONGS

Now that Christmas is over and radio is returning to playing the same tired twenty pop songs over and over, I have to say that I now have two Christmas songs that I despise.

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” has always been on that list.  However, I just realized this season how much I dislike “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”!

On the other hand, I could listen to my two favorite Christmas songs year around.  My second favorite is “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid.

And, my favorite Christmas song of all time is “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters!  Karen’s sweet, angelic voice still melts me to this day!

FINAL CHRISTMAS 2013 WISH

I know the holidays can be stressful and crazy, so to honor of the best season of “American Horror Story” so far, “Asylum”, since I haven’t seen “Coven” yet…

American-Horror-Story-Asylum-Happy-Holidays-1024x892

Happy New Year early!

Anthony