Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 18, 2019

While I’ll still post a few new blogs before the end of the year, this is the next to last the “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019!

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and have a great weekend!

HILLARY CLINTON’S NEXT ROLE

While I’d love for Hillary Clinton to make an “eleventh hour” entry into 2020 Democratic race for president, I don’t think that’ll happen.

STILL. HOPING.

Still

Before you even say it, Ronald Reagan ran for president three times before winning in 1980!

However, I think I’ve already figured out her next role in the history of U.S. politics.

In early 2021 when the Democratic 46th president * takes office, I think Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down from the bench and Hillary will become the new Supreme Court Justice!

* Oh, a technically — it might the 47th president of the U.S. if 45 is impeached or forced to resign and that despicable Mike Pence becomes #46 for a few months!

Or, maybe Hillary could be Vice President and then ascend to Commander in Chief!

“MADAM SECRETARY” “MADAM PRESIDENT”

Spoiler Alert:  As the sixth and final season of the CBS hit, “Madam Secretary” kicked off earlier this month, it’s now “Madam President (sort of)”!

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The show has never been subtle that Secretary of State (now president) Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) is based heavily on real life Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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The final season premiere was a very powerful and pointed episode.  It made no effort to mask “real life” in America today with these lines about Elizabeth’s opponent:

“…his disgusting attacks on immigrants, the media.  He’s not fit to be president.”

“He won the nomination, but that doesn’t mean honorable people should get behind him and validate his worst impulses.”

“His politics WILL divide the country even further!”

ONE BIG DEVIATION FROM REAL LIFE

President McCord realizes near 100 days into her presidency that Iran COLLUDED to release information on her competitor, which may have led to her winning the election!

This would make her an “illegitimate president”!

WHERE DO THEY COME UP WITH THESE STORY IDEAS???? 

Trump Putin

However, unlike Donald Trump, President McCord tries to find out how this happened and not make a love nest with a Vladmir Putin!

FINAL THOUGHT ON “THAT MAN”

Here’s a tweet that I responded to when I read his tweet about his “great and unmatched wisdom”!

DT wisdom

CLUTCH YOUR PEARLS OVER ELLEN DeGENERES & PRESIDENT BUSH!

Weeks later, people are still talking about comedian/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game.

Ellen Bush

Many in the LGBTQ community blasted her for being friends with such a devil.  A couple of days after the game, I tweeted Ellen:

Ellen.JPG

Elton John is now defending her.

While I agreed with a few things that George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

One of the things I’m most proud of came early in his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Laura Bush

By the way, I love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d enjoy meeting President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

“ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA”

This quirky ten-episode Showtime series wraps up its first season this weekend.

It stars Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Kirsten Dunst as Krystal Stubbs, a struggling minimum-wage-earning water park employee near Orlando, Florida.

She schemes her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM), a cultish, flag waving, multi-billion dollar organization that made her family lose all of its money.  It also indirectly caused her husband’s death (a very interesting one at that)!

22-year-old Canadian actor Theodore Pelleren co-stars as pyramid scheme victim Cody Bonar.  He’s incredible and I’m calling it now — he’ll get an Emmy nomination in 2020!

In late-September, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” was renewed for a second season!

As much as I enjoyed season one, I don’t think I’ll return for season two!

GRADE:  B

“OUR BOYS”

I was really intrigued with the gut-wrenching HBO Israeli series, “Our Boys”, since I have an indirect connection to it.

The events it dramatizes were happening in the months leading up to my trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, in October 2014, to celebrate my 50th birthday.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Tensions were still running rather high on my visit and we were advised not to visit Jerusalem for safety reasons.

This series focuses on the murder investigation of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burnt alive in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.

While the entire series is compelling, “Chapter 7: Judging by its End” is so tense and heartbreaking.

The series features standout performances from Shlomi Elkabetz (Simon), Adam Gabay (Avishay), Jony Arbid (Hussein, Mohammed’s father) and Ruba Blal-Asfour (Suha, Mohammed’s mother).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a boycott of the series because it portrays Israelis in a bad light.   Um, okay!!!!!!

GRADE:  A-

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

I can’t wait until November 17th for the return of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, “The Crown”!

Olivia Colman succeeds Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip, replacing Matt Smith.

The third season covers the years 1964-1976, including Harold Wilson’s terms as prime minister until 1976.

Sexy Josh O’Connor (“God’s Own Country”) will play Prince Charles.

This trailer is so clever in how it prepares us for the transition from a younger Queen Elizabeth in seasons one and two to a more mature Queen (Oscar winner Colman in seasons three and four)!

The fourth season will include Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”) as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and it’ll introduce Lady Diana Spencer.

“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

If you want to get a taste of O’Connor before the new season of “The Crown” arrives, check out “God’s Own Country” on Netflix.  It was my 8th favorite movie of 2018.

Along with O’Connor, this stunning English drama stars Romanian actor Alec Secareanu.

O’Connor plays Johnny, a young man living with his father and grandmother on the family farm in northern England.  Johnny now has more responsibility after his father’s stroke.

He leads a lonely existence and drowns his sorrows in alcohol and cheap, meaningless sex.

The family hires Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, for the upcoming lambing season and sparks begin to fly between the two young men.

But, can Johnny admit his feelings for Gheorghe and come out to his family that may or may not be accepting?

O’Connor won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor beating out his co-star for the honor.

GRADE: B+

“PURE GOLDWATER”

This book by John Dean and Barry Goldwater, Jr. covers the Arizona Senator’s life and his 1964 Republican Presidential campaign.  He lost to President Lyndon Johnson.

Pure Goldwater

While Goldwater was very conservative, in the 1980s when he was in his 80s, he turned against the close-minded values of the Republican party and was supportive of his gay grandson, Ty Ross.

Ty Ross 1

Ross, a former Zoli model turned interior decorator, says this about his grandfather, he “knew I was gay since I was a teen. He was fine with it, and it was never an issue. He wasn’t terribly religious. It was all kind of a non-issue in the family.  In the early 1990s, I went to go protest in support of a local ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity into the city charter, and there was this raucous debate.  My grandfather happened to be at our house when I got back. ‘I heard you went downtown. Good job, standing up for what you believe in.'”

Ty Ross 2

Ross adds, “He was aware I was in POZ. I was never dealt any shame about it or met with adulation. It was neither, which was good for me because I didn’t have to feel any guilt. We never really talked about me being HIV positive. Without a doubt, he knew I was positive and was supportive of me more in that I was involving myself in standing up for gay rights.”

Additionally, in June 1993, after consulting with military experts, Goldwater realized that gays posed no security risk and declared that the military should lift its ban on gays.

He was quoted as saying, “you don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country; you just need to shoot straight.”

Two months later, he told the LGBTQ magazine, “The Advocate” that people being worked up over gays in the military was “pointless” and “stupid”.  He added that the GOP’s stance on gays was “dumb”.

“GOLDWATER GIRL”

As a 17-year-old in Chicago, you’ll never guess who was a “Goldwater Girl”, campaigning for the Republican in the 1964 presidential election!

Hillary Clinton Goldwater

Appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in November 1993, Goldwater told the story of Hillary campaigning for him, “I remember her going around in a gingham dress trying to get people to vote for me.  Trouble is, she didn’t get around to enough of them.”

In October 1996, less than two years before Goldwater died, Hillary made a surprise visit to Goldwater at his Paradise Valley home!

Goldwater Hillary

And, if you didn’t know, Hillary was raised in a very conservative household in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge.

I’m just glad Hillary was much quicker to get away from the Republican party than Goldwater. 🙂

MY PICK HIT IS CATCHING ON!

Whitney Houston is back on Top 40 radio!

“Higher Love” with Kygo is at #27 on Mediabase today!

The reworked song is from the Japanese version of Houston’s third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The video is so sexy and cute and the song will sound familiar — it’s a remake of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, which is one of my all-time favorite songs!

NEW CHRISTMAS STAMPS

The new holiday offering from the United States Postal Service this year is artsy, but I’ll be looking for an alternative for my Christmas cards this year.

Wreaths

I may go with the same ones I used last year!

Diwali.jpg

As I stated in my blog last November, “I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights… It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.  We could really use that in the world these days!!!!!!!!”

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  This year, it’ll be on Sunday, October 27th in the U.S.

“CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY”

Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be releasing her first holiday album, “Christmas in the City” on October 25th.

Lea Michele Christmas

It’ll feature duets with two very sexy men!

Jonathan Groff (“Glee” and “Mindhunter”) joins her on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and Darren Criss (“Glee” and “American Crime Story:  The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) sings “White Christmas” with Lea.

Broadway star Cynthia Erivo, who was amazing in “Bad Times at the El Royale” and will star in the upcoming “Harriet”, joins Lea on “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

Other classics included on the album will be “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “Silver Bells” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

“Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from “Frozen” is also featured.  (By the way, Groff is also the voice of Kristoff in the “Frozen” movie franchise!)

“ALL TOO HUMAN”

I also read George Stephanopoulos’ 1999 book subtitled “A Political Education” this fall.

All Too Human George Stephanopoulous

It covered the years 1992, when he worked to get Bill Clinton elected president, through 1996, when he resigned from being Clinton’s Senior Advisor shortly after Clinton was re-elected in November 1996.

Stephanopoulos talked openly about his abrasive relationship with Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

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 — September 27, 2019

It’s been over a month since I shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so I thought it was about time to share a few more!

I appreciate you checking them out!

WILL NOT TALK POLITICS THIS WEEK, BUT…

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

In just a few days, my idol, President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 95th birthday (October 1).

As you know, he’s the oldest living president in history and what’s amazing is that he and Rosalynn, his wonderful wife, are still very active building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Recently, people were asked to send President Carter birthday messages and here’s the one that I sent him!

Happy 95 President Carter Final

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!

Before today’s entry, I only posted one new blog in September — a tribute and “thank you” letter to Olivia Newton-John, who turned 71 yesterday!

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

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In that tribute, I talked about her courageous fight with Stage IV cancer, shared some stories on how her music has touched my life and I counted down my 13 favorite ONJ songs, with three bonus songs.

Many people checked it out.  If you didn’t, click here and it’ll open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/thank-you-for-the-beautiful-music-and-a-lifetime-of-wonderful-memories/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than three months away and I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a random thought or two about my favorite time of the year.

I love Christmas movies, but I can’t recall ever going to the theaters to see one.  That’ll change this year.

“Last Christmas” stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”), and Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”), who is also a co-writer.

Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”) also co-star!

It takes its name from George Michael and Wham’s 1984 holiday classic.

Thompson was in touch with Michael before his death, ironically on Christmas Day 2016, about using several of his songs in the movie!

The romantic comedy is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“Last Christmas” opens November 8, 2019, and my dear friend, Katie, and I are already planning on seeing it after work on November 12th! 🙂

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS” COMES EARLY THIS YEAR

While I bought Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, “Merry Christmas”, in 1994, and have been gleefully enjoying it every year since then, I just ordered the 25th “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” that arrives November 1, 2019!

MC Deluxe

In addition to the ten songs on the original, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will be added to disc one.

And, check out all of the amazing goodies on the second new CD!

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While I ordered mine from Amazon, if you order from Mariah’s website for $13.98 (plus about $10 for shipping), you’ll get “as a special bonus for fans, this special edition package includes rare photos, a personal note from Mariah, and some Mariah-themed Christmas decorations!”

https://mariahcareyshop.com/products/merry-christmas-25th-anniversary-2cd

NEW COFFEE MATE CREAMER

I already have my Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer in the refrigerator.  And, while I absolutely love Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog, it now has some competition this holiday season!

Just announced: Red Velvet!

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“RAIN”

This is my new favorite song!

Take a listen because it probably won’t make Top 40 radio!

In “another place and time” (If I was much younger and in Ben Platt’s orbit), we could so be together! 🙂

He’s so dreamy and talented and this song is incredible and the video is so sensual!

My plans this weekend include binge watching “The Politician” with Platt, of course, on Netflix.

It co-star the incredible Jessica Lange and her line in the restaurant in this trailer is so hilarious that it almost makes me pee my pants every time I watch it!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

This 2007 novel by Andre Aciman came to big screen in late 2017 with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet in the lead roles.

It ended up being my favorite movie of 2018.

call me

Aciman is finally releasing the sequel, “Find Me” next month (October 29, 2019).

Since I don’t think Hammer and Chalamet will ever get together for a movie sequel, I hope to read it as soon as it hits the library.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The movie was my 5th favorite of 2018 and I recently read Kevin Kwan’s novel that it’s based on.

CRA Kwan

If you loved the movie, read the book!  It fills in so much about just how crazy and rich the Asians are that have passed through Kwan’s life for him to write these “fictional” stories!

There are two more books in the series, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems”, but I don’t want to read them yet.  Why?

Because, in 2020, they’re shooting two movies back-to-back based on the books to cut down on how long it takes for them to hit movie theaters!

“MA”

This psychological thriller starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer was much better than I expected!  But, then again, just having Spencer in the movie adds credibility.

Plus, it was directed and co-produced by Tate Taylor, who also directed 2011’s “The Help” (co-starring Spencer) and “The Girl on the Train” (which co-starred Luke Evans).

Speaking of Evans, he’s so freaking hot in his few scenes in this movie, including the “full monty” one!   Evans is best known as Gaston in the live-action Disney hit “Beauty and the Beast”.

The two young leads in the movie, Diana Silvers and Corey Fogelmanis, are very convincing as young lovers, who are terrorized when “Ma” becomes unhinged!

By the way, Fogelmanis is adorable (he just turned 20) — just like his on-screen dad, played by Evans!

GRADE: B

“THE PURGE” SEASON 2

I loved the first three movies in “The Purge” franchise, but I hated 2018’s fourth installment.  I gave it a “D” grade.

Last year, I watched the 10-episode USA Network television version with the same premise as the movies.

Purge TV

The second season with a new cast premieres on USA on October 15, 2019.  I’ll be back for season two, but I’m definitely going to miss Gabriel Chavarria this season.

Gabriel Chavarria

SPOOKY STAMPS

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky stamps this fall, the postal service is putting these out October 11, 2019!

It would definitely surprise people if I used them on my Christmas cards this year! 🙂

Spooky Stamps.jpg

HAPPY AUTUMN

Thank you for checking out my thoughts!  Have a great weekend  — the first weekend of autumn 2019!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 26, 2019

It was great last week sharing some random thoughts with you, along with my funny story involving the movie and the very graphic sex scene! 🙂

This week, I learned first hand to be careful what you write (especially if you have a blog) in today’s technological age!

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

WAIT!  I SAID WHAT???

Writers calls it “foreshadowing”.  I’d probably call it something with expletives!

Five years ago, on the Fourth of July, I reviewed a movie that really touched me and I shared a personal anecdote.

It was the Chilean drama “Gloria” and I said it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.”

In it, Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee facing single life again after her two grown child moved out.  But, Gloria didn’t just sit at home.  She went out drinking and socializing to meet men — hoping she’d find “the one”.

In that blog, I added, I was so impressed with her strength and determination”.  I also wrote about finally finding “the one” and summed “Gloria” up with “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

Wait, what was that again? “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

How prophetic in 2014 that I’d be talking about my own life in 2019 as I approach my mid-50s single for over two years!

Olivia Pope wine.gif

Reading that was definitely a “WTF” moment!

However, “I GOT THIS”!  I’ve already shared with you that 2020 is the year for change.  I’ll take back my life and start living again!

#NextChapter2020 and #Pug2020

“Gloria” ended up being one of my 20 favorite movies in 2014.

Here’s how I ended my review of the movie, “Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.”

GRADE:  A

“GLORIA BELL”

I absolutely love Julianne Moore, but I had serious reservations about whether I wanted to see director Sebastian Lelio’s re-imagining of his original “Gloria”.

Well, I rented it and Moore and John Turturro were amazing.  Except for Americanizing the soundtrack and Moore freely exposing herself with confidence, I couldn’t wait for the movie to be over!

If you love Moore and you haven’t seen the original, rent it and you’ll enjoy it.  Otherwise, rent the original!

GRADE:  C+

“POSE”

Although the second season debuted back in early June on FX, real life got in the way of me catching up on this amazing drama.

pose

After watching the first episode of season two, “Acting Up”, I saved it to watch again!  It was the absolute best episode of the young, incredible series!

Season two picks up three years after the first season (1987).

Last season, two characters learned they’re HIV-positive.  “Acting Up” is about their fight to stay alive when so many of their friends are dying at an alarming rate and the government could care less about their suffering!

It also touched on the fear of taking the life-saving, but also toxic new drug AZT — the only HIV/AIDS drug available at the time.

pose billy porter

For the first season, Billy Porter (Pray Tell) and the show both picked up Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominations.

Both were just nominated for Emmys this year!  This makes Porter the first openly gay black man to be nominated in the “Outstanding Lead Actor” drama category!

I also wish that Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista) had gotten a nomination, too.

One final note about season two:  it’s now 1990 and Madonna just released “Vogue”, which brought the underground ball scene of New York City to a mainstream audience!

Here’s Candy (Angelica Ross) in her “Blonde Ambition” best!

Candy as Madonna

Next week, I want to talk about the powerful fourth episode, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”.  Why not this week?  I want to give you a chance to get caught up!

spoiler-alert

“Pose” is already renewed for a third season!

As Pray Tell says, “THE CATEGORY IS LIVE.WORK.POSE.”

FIVE MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS

Christmas is now less than five months away!

Recently, it was announced that actress/singer Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be starring in the ABC holiday movie, “Same Time, Next Christmas”, in December.

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She’ll also be releasing her first Christmas album later this year!

THIS CHRISTMAS(LAND) GIVE ME THE CREEPS

The ten-episode AMC series, “NOS4A2”, wraps up Sunday night and has already been renewed for a second season of Christmas horror!

It’s a “supernatural horror drama” that’s pretty damn creepy because Christmas and child abductions drive the story line.

Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek”) is unrecognizable, at times, as the immortal 135-year-old Charlie Manx!

A young woman, “Vic” McQueen, realizes she has a supernatural ability to track down Manx, who feeds off the souls of children.

He then drops the living, yet soulless kids, off at Christmasland.  It’s a very twisted part of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day!

By the way, it’s pronounced “Nosferatu”.

GRADE (before the finale):  B

SLOW DOWN CHRISTMAS, LET’S TALK HALLOWEEN!

Last week, Jamie Lee Curtis posted on Twitter that not one, but two more “Halloween” movies are on the way!

Capture

On October 16, 2020, “Halloween Kills” hits theaters and then the following fall on October 15, 2021, “Halloween Ends”!

“Halloween (2018)”, the eleventh movie in the franchise, was critically acclaimed and made $255.5 million worldwide!

Halloween

As we all know, “You can’t kill the boogeyman!”

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Since I talked about “Gloria”, I want to take a moment to memorialize Laura Branigan, who died of a brain aneurysm at her home almost fifteen years on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, three reached the top ten:  the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.

It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — May 10, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the moms and future moms out there, whether it’s children, godchildren, pets or plants!

Here’s a flashback to spring 1990 with my mother, Dessie, and my sister, Tammy.  While we didn’t know it then, this would be her last spring and Mother’s Day with us! 😦

Dessie 1990

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  If you disagree, feel free to diplomatically share yours with me!

IT’S SPRING, BUT NOT SO MUCH IN DULUTH

Okay, we’re already past the first week of May and we just experienced record May snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota.

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10.6″ of snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Of that, 8.3″ fell Wednesday night making it the snowiest May 8th on record and the snowiest single day in May.

An additional 2.3″ fell on Thursday making it the snowiest May 9th on record.

This is now the snowiest May on record with 10.9″ (so far).

For this snow season, we’re up to 104.4″ in Duluth, making this the 15th snowiest winter on record and these records go back to 1884!

REALLY CLASSY PANAMA CITY BEACH! 

As you know, I was miserable the year I spent in Panama City, Florida, before moving to Duluth.

While I made three amazing friends and I’m sure there were many other great people I didn’t meet, there were a lot of people there that believed every word that spews out of 45’s ugly mouth.

Trump PC.JPG

He was in Panama City Beach this week and while talking about immigrants and how to handle the border, a woman in the audience shouted, “Shoot them”!

He smiled and commented, “That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement. Only in the Panhandle!”

Sadly, it’s probably true!  Pathetic!

PINK SAID WHAT???? 

To “Entertainment Weekly” about the title track of her latest album, “Hurts 2B Human”, a duet with Khalid: “I feel like if you’re present in 2019 and not totally escaping your feelings and looking around at what’s going on in the world, especially this country, it hurts.  It fucking hurts your heart.  I think that’s a good thing, because that’s what creates change, and we’re starting to see change and people show up and fight back!” 

“FERRARO: MY STORY”

This 1985 autobiography is by Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro.

In 1984, she became the first woman to make it on a major presidential ticket when Democratic nominee Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate.

Ferraro.jpg

While she talked about her family, her mother raising her and her brother as a single parent after her father’s death and her early political career, the book focuses mostly on the weeks leading up to her nomination and the long and painful 1984 presidential run.

In the book, this story stood out to me and it’s very relevant today as we head into a bitter fight into the 2020 race to get Donald Trump out of office.

It was early 1983 and Ferraro was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.  She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to defeat Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro wrote, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

“THE BLOOD OF ABRAHAM”

This 1985 book by my idol and former President Jimmy Carter traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil back to biblical times when the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians all came from Abraham.

The Blood Jimmy Carter.jpg

If you’re not a reader of the Bible, some of the history is overwhelming and, to me, unbelievable (Abraham fathered children when he around 100 years old and he lived to 175!).

But, this was only in the first few pages of the book.

The great, concise book (just over 200 pages) details the torturous history of Palestine that only became more daunting once Israel came into existence in 1948 and Arab Palestinians didn’t have a home or home state.

As you recall, President Carter worked night and day for almost two week at Camp David in the summer of 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Arabs.

Sadly, there will never be peace between the two peoples over this small piece of real estate because neither side wants to give up anything to make peace.

Carter sums up the book talking about Abraham’s blood flowing through the veins of the Arab, Jew and Christian people and the bloody history of the Middle East with this chilling line, “The spilled blood in the Holy Land cries out to God — an anguished cry for peace.” 

AMERICA’S CRY FOR PEACE

It’s easy for Westerners to shake their heads over the long-standing history of violence in the Middle East.  But, that’s very narrow-minded of us.

Without being too judgmental, it’s like that right now in the United States.  We have strong race divisions, religious divisions, human rights divisions, and many more.

Just look at the divide between Democrats and Republicans, Hillary Clinton supporters, Bernie Sanders fans, and the ones that think that Donald Trump can do no wrong!

We’ve crossed a line from which we can’t (or will never) rebound!

I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist!

“MADAME X TOUR”

Madonna announced her latest tour this week to support her 14th studio album, “Madame X” coming out June 14th.

And, not surprising, it’s something new for the ever-changing icon.

Instead of taking her very expensive and incredible tours to arenas and cities all over the world, she’s doing mini-residencies in smaller theaters in large cities in the U.S. and Europe.

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So far, only New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have been announced.  The tickets sold out so quickly that five more shows were added in New York City and four more in Los Angeles.

While only 25 show dates are known now, she’s set to announce additional dates for Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, and Philadelphia for 2019.

Since I didn’t get to Vegas last year, I’m planning on seeing Madonna for the fifth time when the show plays at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

And, while the dates aren’t public yet, I’d venture to say that it’ll be in December since no headliner has been announced there in that month! 🙂

“KILLING EVE” UPDATE

I couldn’t take the suspense any longer.  After finishing season one of the critically acclaimed BBC America series, I slowly started watching season two.

I’m four episodes in (five of the eight season two episodes have aired).

In the second episode, I almost peed myself with a line that likely went over the heads of most Americans!

Giving a power point presentation to her new team of detectives about Villanelle’s murders, Eve mentions that Bill was killed (oops, spoiler!) on a club’s dance floor and she quickly replies:

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“MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR”

“Murder on the Dance Floor” by Sophie Ellis Bextor was a minor dance club hit here in the U.S. in the early 2000s, yet it hit the Top Ten in, at least, 18 countries worldwide.

I fell in love with this song at Roscoe’s when I moved back to Chicago in 2002.

It’s from her fantastic debut album, “Read My Lips”.

MARIAH CHRISTMAS EARLY!

While Christmas is still more than seven months away, Mariah Carey recently announced that she’ll be performing her holidays standards again in Las Vegas.

Her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be returning to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for five shows November 22-30, 2019.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

Trust me, this is a phenomenal show!  I saw a version of it in December 2017 in Vegas.

This is what I wrote about it on my return, “She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic. The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Life This Year – Christmas 2018

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

Here’s my tree and my presents this year.

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Most of them are from my sister and her boyfriend, Gerald.  There’s also three tins of homemade sweet treats from my dear friend Connie and “Crazy Rich Asians” which I bought for myself. 🙂

It’s that time of the year again and I hope life is treating you well.  

Bedford Falls

It’s been another year of changes for me.  Luckily, for the better! As you know, 2017 was a life-altering year that I’d rather forget!

However, there were two highlights in 2017, which is where I’ll start!

In July, I got to meet my idol, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

Autograph Carters

And, in December, I saw three incredible concerts in Las Vegas.

With all of the sadness I felt last year, it was forgotten for 90 minutes at Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

To this day, the beauty and spectacle of that holiday treat still brings a smile to my face. 🙂  The sets were magical and Mariah looked and sounded flawless!

Also on that trip, I saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie.

Tanya

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I met Lionel and he told me that he doesn’t shake hands, he’s a hugger!  Then, he hugged me! 🙂

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In March 2018, my sister, Tammy, and I escaped for several days to Cancun, Mexico.

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Weeks later, I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position at Fox 21 News in Duluth, Minnesota, and I moved there in June.

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I spent a year in Panama City, Florida, and it’s no secret that I was very unhappy there.  However, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to leave when I did.  In October, Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida, including Panama City.

Much of my apartment complex was totally destroyed and my dear friends, Cathy and Gerard

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and Robbie (left) and Diane (right)

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are still picking up the pieces of their lives! 😦

In memory of my apartment and the complex in Panama City, here’s my balcony from last Christmas!

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On a happier note, after 19 months, I saw snow again in October!

I can’t wait to have a real winter, but it scares me a bit.  It’s not the 86” of snow that Duluth picks up in an average winter (more in some years), it’s that the city is built on a hill that leads down to Lake Superior!  And, I’ll have to endure months of bitterly cold temperatures in the Northland!

This is my apartment’s backyard view toward Lake Superior down the “hill”!

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In October, I went to Morocco, in northwest Africa.

This was the first time I traveled internationally by myself.   I met some fun people that made the trip very enjoyable.

It was incredible learning about the African continent, the Muslim faith, and enjoying delicious Moroccan food!

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I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life.  I’m already trying to decide what I want to do next (when I grow up)!!! 🙂

For now, I’ll just have an Olivia Pope Christmas and enjoy my beautiful tree, free flowing wine and popcorn!

Olivia Christmas

If you had a great year, I hope 2019 is even more fantastic.  If 2018 was a tough one for you, I hope things turn around in the New Year!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Anthony

 

Randomness — Holidays, Movies & More

Since I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I still wanted to share some recommendations on things I watched and enjoyed lately.

If you saw these, too, let me know what you thoughts.  If you didn’t, you have some things to check out!

A QUEEN BRINGS LIFE TO THE NEWBORN KING!

Leave it to a queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, to bring life to the newborn king holiday ballad, “The Little Drummer Boy” !

This is an incredible, fun version of the song and I love the video. 🙂

BABY, BRING THE BUBBLY INSIDE!

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CHRISTMAS SONG THOUGHTS

I’m not even going to get into the whole “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” debate.  It was already one of my least favorite holiday songs even before this year!

But, here are a few things to think about when listening to Christmas music this year!

In “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, it lists the other reindeer and then asks a very silly question, “but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all”!

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Seriously, if he’s the most famous reindeer of all, of course we remember him!

From “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “a child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.

While silver and gold would be nice to have, why not a damn blanket since the baby is cold!!!

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And, I love the Carpenters!  But, in “Home For The Holidays”, I shake my head when Karen sings of going home and “Geez, the traffic is terrific!”

Traffic is terrific????  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER.

It’s more like…

gtfo

… of my way!

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE”

I finally got around to watching “It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes, which made debuted on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Rimes stars as Eve Morgan, who goes back home as Interim school superintendent to get the district out of financial trouble.  The easiest way to do it is to cut the arts program.

And, who does she meet living across the street from her mother and stepfather?  You probably guessed it — a very handsome music teacher, Liam (Tyler Hynes), at one of the schools on the chopping block!

While predictable, it’s still a cute movie.

The only thing I cringed about was the use of my least favorite (and widely overused) term these days:  “meet cute”.   It wasn’t used once or twice, but three times, if I’m not mistaken! 🙂

GRADE:  B

Before the show premiered, I wrote, “the soundtrack is incredible!  Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave it an “A” grade!

REMEMBERING DREW & JUAN

After the summer 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims — especially 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

While that Christmas was perfect for the young men and their families, I know the following ones have been difficult for the grieving families.

To their families. Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

This past November marked the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.  Some called it “mass murder” and others, a “mass suicide”.

I’m in the “mass murder” camp, since the Reverend Jim Jones was deranged and pretty much forced those people to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at gunpoint!

More than 900 people died.

This SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life from Indiana to the jungles of Guyana was incredible.

GRADE:  A

“PADDINGTON 2”

2014’s “Paddington” was fun.  The little bear is adorable and especially so, voiced by my big-time crush, Ben Whishaw!

Ben Whishaw

Plus, Nicole Kidman as a villain was icing on the cake.

This year’s $40 million sequel was box office gold.  It made $226.9 million.

Paddington is living in London and wants to buy his aunt a picture book.  But, this movie’s villain (played by Hugh Grant) wants the book because it holds clues to a treasure that no one knows about, except him.

The movie is very cute and heartwarming.  With just minutes before the end credits, Iit brought tears to my eyes!  🙂

Also, at one point near the end of the movie, a scene with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins made me feel like I was watching “The Shape of Water 2”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“SEARCHING”

This incredible movie was made for just a million dollars and brought in an astounding $70.6 million in theaters.

It was shot mostly on smartphones and computer screens and is eerie and creepy.

John Cho stars as a dad that learns he knows very little about his 15-year-old daughter when she goes missing.

Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) is a detective that’s helping solve the case.

Cho is nominated for the “Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead”.

GRADE: A-

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” WINTER FINALE

While I still like “The Good Doctor” on ABC, I recently wrote that I’ve cooled on the show.  Well, that all changed with the winter finale, “Quarantine”!

If you’ve never watched the show or you don’t watch it religiously, watch this episode “On Demand”!!!

And, if you’ve never watched it, all you need to know is that Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is autistic and is considered a savant!

It was intense and scary to think that this could really happen!  And, which major characters will die?

“The Good Doctor” returns on ABC Monday, January 14, 2019.

“JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS”

Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”).

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.

GRADE: A-

“BLACKkKLANSMAN”

This Spike Lee picture was made for $15 million and made $88.2 million in theaters.

It’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado in the early-1970s.

John David Washington (Denzel’s son) plays Stallworth, who contacts the Ku Klux Klan and then has to coach a white officer (Adam Driver) to pose as Stallworth to meet the hooded haters!

While this story took place in the ’70s, there were subtle and not so subtle references to “that man”, 45!

The nominations are coming in for BLACKkKLANSMAN”!  It’s up for five Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

It’s also nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Washington) and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

While this movie was very enjoyable and entertaining, my favorite Spike Lee movie is still 1999’s underappreciated “Summer of Sam”.

GRADE: B+

“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU”

Lakeith Stanfield will be a name you’ll hear more of in the future.

He leads this movie about a telemarketer who learns that using a “white voice” helps his sales and will move him up the corporate ladder at WorryFree faster.

But, it comes with a price.

This comedy is crazy and definitely goes off the rails with well-endowed horse people (you’ll have to watch the movie)! 🙂

Sexy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) stars as the CEO of the company.

It made $17.6 million in theaters and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

GRADE: B

“HEREDITARY”

I like horror movies and I love Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding”), but I wasn’t drawn to the theaters to see “Hereditary”.

I finally saw it on DVD and I made the right decision to avoid it.

Supernatural movies have less appeal to me than horror movies with deranged serial killers!  Hello Michael Myers!

Halloween

“Hereditary” does have a very surprising and shocking death scene that I didn’t see coming.

While Collette and Alex Wolff, who plays her 16-year-old son, are great, the movie was too long and convoluted.

Yet, it was a box office hit earning $79.3 million.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — November 30, 2018

Can you believe that 2018 is already winding down?  I admit that the second half of the year was better for me than the first and I’m excited about 2019!

While I have a couple of more blogs coming this year, this will likely be the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2018.

Thanks for checking it out!

Happy Holidays!

White Red Christmas

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st marks the 30th anniversary of “World AIDS Day” — it originated in 1988 to raise awareness to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

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We now live in an age where, with proper medication and taking it as prescribed, HIV is a treatable disease and those that are HIV-positive can live with “undetectable” viral loads, which mean they cannot spread the virus.

Yet, in 2017, 38,739 people in the U.S. and six dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands) became HIV-positive.

STOP AIDS

People, have sex, but use condoms!

This isn’t just to keep from contracting or spreading HIV, STIs are on the rise!

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the highest number of STIs ever in the U.S.!

I read an interesting “Out” magazine article in May 2018 quoting veteran AIDS activist Peter Staley.

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Staley says that an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (which killed a reported 34 people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1976) prompted the “New York Times” to write 62 stories on the outbreak — 11 of them appeared on the front page.

He added that before AIDS ever got a front page story in “The New York Times”, more than 6,000 people were already dead.

Staley:  “Imagine if the Times put AIDS on the front page 11 times in 1981.  How would that have changed the course of the epidemic?”

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HIV

If you don’t know your status, get tested.  It’s painless and knowing one way or the other is the first step to healthy or healthier living!!!

“CAUTION”

The incredible, the incomparable Mariah Carey is back with “Caution”!

It debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 becoming her 18th Top Ten album and it topped the R& B album chart!

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The album contains ten fantastic songs.  Seven of them are flawless and classic Mimi!

In addition to the two songs I’m featuring below, the other five standouts are the title track, “A No No”, “The Distance”, “Giving Me Life” and “8th Grade”.

Even the three other songs on “Caution” are great!

In September, Mariah’s teased the album with “GTFO” and I think it’s one of the most awesome songs on the album!

Yes, GTFO stands for what you think it does!!!!!!!!! 🙂

“With You”, the first official single is already in the Top Ten in Hungary and here in the U.S., it’s just outside the Top Ten on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary, Adult R&B Songs, and Hot R&B Songs charts!!!!!!

The album is beyond amazing, so GTFO and get it now. 🙂

GRADE:  B+

MARIAH CHRISTMAS!

Not only is Mariah’s new album in the Top 5 on the big chart, she’s also in the Top 5 on the Billboard Holiday Album chart with 1994’s “Merry Christmas”!

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And, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” made its debut this season on the Hot 100 at #29!

“SONS OF ANARCHY”

I just finished the FX series “Sons of Anarchy”.  It really was a binge-watching event!

This includes psuedo-spoilers!

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I was on the third (of seven) seasons when I found out that it was leaving Netflix on December 1st!

That meant I had to watch the last 56 episodes in three weeks or less.  I did it!

If you’re not familiar, the 2008-2014 series is about a northern California “motorcycle club” that dealt heavily in guns, drugs, prostitution, and porn, along with violence and a lot of sex!

It starred the amazing Charlie Hunnam (Jax) and Katey Sagal (Gemma).

Charlie Katey

I really enjoyed the first two seasons.

SEASONS 1 & 2 GRADE:  A

While still good, the series began to drag a bit when it became repetitious with the same story lines, the same violence and who would be the bad guys this season (the Irish, blacks, Mexicans, white supremacists, etc.)

SEASONS 3, 4, 5 GRADE:  B

While Gemma and Jax were my early on favorites, as the series went on I fell in love with Dr. Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) and Sheriff Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie), two characters that were the closest thing to a “moral compass” for the show. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As season six progressed, the show was down to its last two seasons and an end game was in sight!

Two major characters were killed off!  Well, that sounds too innocent.

Season six ended with the most horrific and brutal scene involving two main characters on the series!!!

I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the one character, but I didn’t expect the brutality and the viciousness of the murder!  WOW, but incredible!

SEASON 6 GRADE:  A

Skip the horrible last season!

Except for two scenes in two different episodes and the highlight of the season, the “Red Rose” episode, it was unbearably stupid!

Watch the series through the sixth season, watch the “Red Rose” episode in season seven, and the last ten minutes of the series finale!

SEASON 7 GRADE:  D

OVERALL GRADE: B

“SONS OF ANARCHY” FUNNY

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SANTA CHARLIE!

Thanks to my sister for sending me this.

And, we don’t have to sexist!  Ladies aren’t the only ones that might be interested in a new Santa Baby! 🙂

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LAST RANDOM THOUGHTS IN 2018

Next year, I don’t want to be thinking of “last Christmas”.

I want to be celebrating with fun, sexy friends.  Okay, they really don’t have to be “sexy”, just lively and fun!

And, this very chic or elegant (whichever word you prefer) video is my inspiration! 🙂

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The latest installment of FX’s “American Horror Story”, “Apocalypse”, wrapped up a very uneven season.

It was incredible seeing Joan Collins and Jessica Lange again!

And, I love this t-shirt modeled by star Evan Peters!

Evan Peters

So, what are your favorite and least favorite seasons?  Here’s my rankings:

#8 “Freak Show” (season four, 2014) — The highlight!

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#7 “Hotel” (season five, 2015)

#6 “Roanoke” (season six, 2016)

#5 “Apocalypse” (season eight, 2018)

#4 ” Coven” (season three, 2013)

#3 “Murder House” (season one, 2011)

#2 “Cult” (season seven, 2017)

Nasty Woman

#1 “Asylum (season two, 2012)

American Horror Story Asylum

And, we’re still living the continuing episode of the real “American Horror Story”.

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PICK HIT

Kylie Minogue is the last of my divas that I still haven’t seen in concert.  Hopefully, in the fall of 2019!

“Golden” is my favorite album of 2018 and here’s the latest video.

Isn’t Jack Savoretti just so adorable????  Okay, that question can be rhetorical! 🙂

“DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS”

THEY SAID WHAT???

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Cody Fern on his first day on the “House of Cards” set for the final season:  “I was so intimidated because I’ve been watching HoC longer than I’ve been acting.  The first day, I walk down the hallway and Robin [Wright] says, ‘Cody’ because we met at the reading.  And I said, ‘Claire’.  On my God!  I could have vomited.”

Director John Waters on what worse than Taffy (“Female Trouble”) joining the Hare Krishna, “Worse than a Hare Krishna?  I suppose a Trump supporter!”

“12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, my blog about the holidays wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include this twisted version of the holiday classic! 🙂

AND, THIS MORE RECENT FUN ONE!  

“You ruined my Christmas, you made it a drag!” — classic Boy George!

He co-wrote the song and directed the video!

Thank you. 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony