Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 18, 2016

It’s Friday and the weekend is almost here.

In the Quad Cities, the Christmas holiday season officially kicks off with the “Festival of Trees” in Davenport, complete with a parade, and “Lighting on the Commons” in downtown Moline.

It’s been a trying period post-election for winners and losers.  I hope that we all find some peace and common ground soon.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  I welcome yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

“HALLELUJAH” 

This touching performance from “Saturday Night Live” and Kate McKinnon made me smile a little more this week.

HOLLY DUNN PASSES ON

Back in September, I wrote about country music singer Holly Dunn and her fight against a “rare and aggressive” ovarian cancer and that her chances of survival were bleak.

Earlier this week, Holly succumbed to the disease at the age of 59.

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard her music.  Dunn’s breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” topped the chart in 1989 and in memory of Holly, here’s her other #1 hit from 1990, “You Really Had Me Going”.

Thinking of you, Holly.

I’M READY FOR A “SLUMBER PARTY”

The latest singles from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears received only lukewarm responses from Top 40 radio.

To be honest, while “Perfect Illusion” (Gaga), “Rise” (Perry), and “Make Me (Ooh)” were okay songs, none of them represented the best or what was expected of the superstars that released them.

As Christmas songs start popping up on radio, I’m really hoping radio takes a chance on the second single from Britney Spears’ “Glory” album, “Slumber Party”, a new remix featuring Tinashe, a 23-year-old Kentucky-born singer and songwriter.  Go Wildcats!

Glory BS

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I love Britney.

She’s had some moderate success at radio over the past five years, but most of the songs were misses rather than hits.

“Femme Fatale” from 2011 was my favorite album of that year and featured some of the biggest songs of Brit’s career, “Hold It Against Me”, “Till The World Ends”, and “I Wanna Go”.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

“Glory”, the new album, is equally phenomenal and the remix version of “Slumber Party” is different from the album and inviting Tinashe to the party was an excellent idea.

Let’s just say the new video is so hot and sexy, it’ll smolder long after you finish watching it.  It’ll fuel many fantasies — even with gay men (and maybe even a few open-minded straight women)!

American Top 40 radio, add this song now!

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

In just four months, Disney’s live-action remake of its classic, “Beauty and the Beast”, hits theaters.

After a very secretive first trailer last March, a new trailer was released earlier this week.

It was viewed by 127.6 million people in just the first 24 hours breaking the previous record of 114 views in the first 24 hours set by “Fifty Shades Darker”!

“Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters March 17, 2017.

A BEAUTY WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

When Todrick Hall’s “Britney and the Beast” came out last June, I can’t tell you how many times I watched it.

I guess I wasn’t alone. It’s now been viewed almost 1.8 million times.

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

I said I would accept the fact that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton (actually, more people vote for Hillary than for any white president in the history of the U.S.), but Donald Trump won the electoral college vote and the presidency.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t mention interesting developments in the week of Trump!

DT Masks

He’s now accepting of marriage equality (?), wants his kids to have access to “Top Secret” information (? — Trump denies this), Vice President Mike Pence is going to court to keep his emails hidden (wait, wasn’t emails the biggest part of Hillary’s undoing in the public eye?), and Rudy Giuliani ws rumored to be a front runner for Secretary of State (sorry Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell).  Now, it seems that Mitt Romney’s name is floating around for that position.

Stay tuned!

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

The television buzz last year was all about “Mr. Robot”, which was phenomenal in its first season.

However, my favorite new show last year was Amazon Prime’s “The Man in the High Castle”.

The second season is now less than a month away.

Its premieres December 16th.

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

I’m sure there are some great gay movies on the festival scene snow.  However, this year, there weren’t too many that I saw on DVD that really stood out.

“Beautiful Something” was a good one.

Last weekend, I finally got around to watching “People You May Know”, which features a LGBT regular and one of my favorites, Mark Cirillo — a Twitter buddy of mine.

In the movie, Herbert (Cirillo), Joe (Sean Maher) and Delia (Andrea Grano) are BFFs and get together to hang out one Friday night with dinner, wine, and cocaine.

When one of the friends goes to bed, the other two continue to party and that leads to a major plot in the movie.  (And, just because it’s a LGBT film, you might be wrong on which two hook-up).

While I would have liked to have seen more of Herbert as he got to know Nicholas, watching Delia and Joe work through some very complicated circumstances was rewarding.

The cast is amazing and the movie makes you realize just how important friends are in life through the ups and downs.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

“Water Under The Bridge” is Adele’s fourth hit release from her “25” album, which has sold 20 million-plus copies worldwide since its release one year ago this week!

Two of the singles, “Hello” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” reached #1 on the Billboard Top 40 radio airplay charts and “When We Were Young” just missed out on the Top Ten.

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 — June 10, 2016

We’re moving closer to the official start of summer, but this is going to be the hottest weekend in the Quad Cities since last September.  I’ll definitely be floating in the pool with a cold beverage!

Great response and feedback to last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, so let’s jump right into this week’s edition.

WHITNEY HOUSTON RUMOR CONFIRMED (?)

It’s been more than four years since superstar Whitney Houston died, but in his new book, “Every Little Step”, ex-husband Bobby Brown confirms a longstanding rumor about Houston.

As I wrote in a blog in early 2013, there was always speculation that Whitney was in an intimate relationship with her personal assistant, Robyn Crawford.

Whitney Robyn

In that blog, Whitney’s mother, Cissy Houston denied it.

However, in his new book, Brown says that Whitney was bisexual and that she and Crawford were in a longtime relationship.

Brown writes, “I really feel that if Robyn was accepted into Whitney’s life, Whitney would still be alive today.” He goes on to say that Whitney didn’t have any close friends after Crawford.

It’s sad to think that if that’s true and she had been accepted for who she was, she might still be with us.

You can read my blog about her mother’s views on Whitney’s sexuality and relationship with Crawford by clicking this link.  (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/whitney-houstons-mother-her-conditional-love/

One last thing — Bobby Brown, please don’t continue to mine Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths for your personal financial gain.  Let them R.I.P. after this.

BEST.COMEBACK.EVER.

Delete

Those 115-thousand-plus Hillary retweets and likes were just in the first hour!

On the other hand, Donald Trump’s comment had 100-thousand less retweets and only 26-thousand likes in the same time period!

Oh Snap!

BERNIE SANDERS, THANK YOU!

While things didn’t work out for Senator Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic race for president and he did get testy and borderline rude toward the end of the primary and caucus season, I commend him on the fight and the awareness of the broken system he brought to this year’s race for the White House.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

After meeting with President Obama Thursday, Sanders told reporters he would “work as hard as I can to make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States”, which he said would be a “disaster”.

He also said, “I look forward to meeting with (Clinton) in the near future to see how we can work together to defeat Donald Trump and to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1%.”

Here’s to unity and the political demise of Trump!

PAUL RYAN CALLED DONALD TRUMP WHAT?

House Speaker Paul Ryan (Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate) this week said that 2016 Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump made “a textbook definition of a racist comment” about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel.

Trump claims that because Curiel is of Mexican heritage he can’t preside over Trump’s case fairly because the likely GOP presidential candidate wants to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.

RomneyRyan

But, Ryan still says he’ll be voting for Trump in November.

Nicely played, GOP!

GOODBYE BRETAGNE, YOU BEAUTIFUL GIRL

Bretagne (pronounced “Brittany”), a 16-year-old golden retriever, crossed the “rainbow bridge” earlier this week in Houston, Texas.

bretagne.jpg

She’s the last known surviving canine hero who searched the rubble of “Ground Zero” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

“The Daily Golden” reports that her owner and handler noticed that Bretagne wasn’t eating (her favorite thing) and she knew something was wrong.

On Monday, members of the Texas Task Force 1 and the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department greeted Bretagne as she entered the veterinarian’s office for the last time.

Goodbye Bretagne.jpg

She was later brought out draped in an American flag while her admirers still stood saluting.

An autopsy is being conducted since the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation is conducting a study of all 9/11 search and rescue dogs.

I don’t often tear up when writing my blogs, but I did with this entry.

GORILLA KILLING FOLLOW-UP

Last week, I talked about the Cincinnati Zoo incident that led to the shooting death of a 17-year-old silverback gorilla after a 3-year-old child crawled into the animal’s exhibit.

Hamilton County prosecutor Joseph T. Deters announced earlier this week that no charges would be brought against the little boy’s mother stating she “did not act in any way where she presented this child to some harm. She had three other children with her and turned her back.”

Deters added, “The zoo lost a beautiful animal and one that many people in this area have enjoyed watching for some time.”  But, he continued, “it’s still an animal”.

He stated that zoo officials are “heartsick” and “on so many levels, this is a tragedy.”

TODRICK HALL IS A GENIUS!

If you’re a big YouTuber or an avid “American Idol” fan, you might know 31-year-old singer-dancer-choreographer-actor-director Todrick Hall.

If not, let me share with you a soon to be masterpiece.  Hall blends together two of my favorites into seven minutes of pure bliss — Britney Spears and “Beauty and the Beast”.

So, until Britney drops her new single “Make Me (Oooh)” in July and the album this fall and the live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters next spring (more on that below), this will be on repeat on my computer.

Classic!

THE PUBLIC RESTROOM DEBATE 

Confused over the whole controversy of allowing transgender Americans to use the bathroom of their gender identity and not their sex?

LGBT

If you haven’t been following the story, North Carolina put into place “House Bill 2, the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act” which bans people from using public bathrooms that do not correspond to their biological sex in late March 2016.

The Department of Justice alerted the state’s Governor and the University of North Carolina system that this is a violation of the U.S. Civil Rights Act.

In just the first month after “House Bill 2” was announced, tourism and hospitality took a $77 million hit in investments and visitor spending with cancelled concerts, TV and movie production, and many state and city governments refusing to travel to North Carolina.

THE INCREDIBLE DOLLY PARTON SPEAKS OUT

You don’t have to be a country music fan to think the world of Dolly Parton because of her open-mindedness and honesty.

Dolly

While Dolly didn’t cancel the opening night of her “Pure & Simple Tour” in Greensboro, North Carolina last Friday night, she definitely has something to say about the transgender community and the controversy.

This appeared on CNN Money’s Facebook page last Friday.

Kudos Dolly!

“JUST PEE”

Pop icon Cyndi Lauper, Broadway and movie star Harvey Fierstein, and the cast of Broadway’s “Kinky Boots” have an entertaining and thought-provoking look at the whole bathroom debate with “Just Pee”.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

We’re already six months into the year and I still haven’t gone to the movies yet.  I had planned on seeing “Money Monster”, but that never materialized.

Last year, it was December before Ray and I finally went to the theater and we saw “Krampus”.

This will all change October 7th when “The Girl on the Train” hit multiplexes with Emily Blunt.

The Girl on the Train

If you’re not familiar with it, get on board and read the thriller.

In Paula Hawkins’ 2015 worldwide best seller, “Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.  One day, she sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”  (That’s what I had to say about the book last July.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

After finishing the book last summer, here’s a blog I posted with my dream cast.  Needless to say, Hollywood didn’t listen.  But, I do love Emily Blunt.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/31/my-dream-cast-for-the-girl-on-the-train/

A TALE AS OLD AS TIME….

“Beauty and the Beast” is my favorite Disney movie ever!  I absolutely adore Belle!

Beauty-And-The-Beast

I honestly grew up in Kentucky as the male “Belle”.  In Mayfield, where I was born and raised, I felt like Belle in the “poor provincial town” — just waiting to get out there and I’ve been gone 26 years now!

I’ve been very protective of the 1991 “Best Picture” Oscar-nominated original.  I haven’t seen the musical, but I’d like to one day.

When the direct-to-video sequel, “Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” arrived in 1997, I bought it only because it was Christmas-themed.  It was enjoyable.

Two summers ago, a live-action version of the film was announced for a March 2017 release date starring Emma Watson of the “Harry Potter” series and “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”.

I was elated and scared at the the same time.  Now, after seeing the first trailer, I can’t wait until March 17, 2017 arrives!

The trailer has been viewed almost 16 million times already in just over two weeks!

PICK HIT

American singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor blasted on the music scene with her chart-topping single, “All About That Bass”.  That song stayed #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for eight weeks and was downloaded more than 9 million times in the U.S. alone!

“Bass” also won two Billboard Music Awards in 2015 and in 2016, Trainor picked up a Grammy Award for “Best New Artist”.

She’s now added three more Top Ten hits on the Hot 100 (“Lips Are Movin”, “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (with John Legend), and “No”).

While I thought her music was cute, I didn’t jump on the “Bass” band wagon.

However, I do like “Marvin Gaye”, a duet with Charlie Puth.

I fell in love with Meghan after her smoking hot performance of her new song on Jimmy Fallon’s show.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if she hadn’t fallen off her high heels after the incredible performance.

But, it was the style and class she exhibited when she fell that endeared her to me.  And, the song, “Me Too”, is now one of my favorites.  It’s such a fun “Song of the Year” contender.

“Me Too” is already a Top Ten hit in Australia and Canada and is currently one of the twenty most played songs on American Top 40 radio.

“SONG OF THE SUMMER”

There’s already speculation as to what will be 2016’s “Song of the Summer” (Memorial Day to Labor Day). Justin Timberlake’s “Trolls” movie song, “Can’t Stop The Feeling!”, is a front-runner.

“Billboard” magazine just released its Top Ten songs of each summer dating back to 1985.

Flashing back thirty years to 1986, Madonna had the “Song of the Summer” with “Papa Don’t Preach”.  I remember so well getting ready on Saturday nights and heading out to “Club DV8” jamming to this song.

BEN WHISHAW…JUST BECAUSE

I have nothing new to report on the talented English actor!

Ben_Whishaw

However, if you haven’t checked out the mini-series “London Spy” or the movie, “Lilting”, stop wasting time and do so now!

THAT’S IT

Well, this has been fun and I already have some thoughts for next week.  I didn’t want you to have to read all day!

As always, thank you for checking out my thoughts and I always welcome yours — as long as you’re diplomatic if we disagree.

Until next week, peace, love and understanding!

peace_love_understanding

Anthony

Movies For A Rainy Day

Unseasonably cool weather has taken over the Midwest the last few days and with rain Friday night and for much of Saturday, here are a few movies suggestions if you’re in the mood to rent movies and just listen to the falling rain.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

“The Imitation Game” was a fantastic lesson of one of the true heroes of World War 2 that few know.

It’s tragic how pathetic British laws were back in the 1950s persecuting people for just being themselves. Benedict Cumberbatch was very touching as a tormented genius that helped to bring the Germans down.

While definitely an Oscar worthy performance from Cumberbatch because I couldn’t take my eyes off him, I still think that Eddie Redmayne in “The Theory of Everything” deserved the Best Actor Oscar and I’ve seen 4-of-the-5 performances.

GRADE: A

“THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING”

Speaking of the Oscars and Eddie Redmayne, I’ve seen four of the five Best Actor nominees from last year.

Without seeing Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper” and as much as I love Cumberbatch, Eddie deserved his Oscars hands down playing ALS-stricken theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.

Eddie was so believable as Hawking as he met the love of his life that would become his wife and then find out that the debilitating disease would, in just years, take his life.

The most heartbreaking scene in the movie for me was a dinner scene with Hawking, his wife, and close friends, but I won’t spoil it for you by describing it.

Redmayne succeeds and Hawking was a winner in real life.

GRADE:  A-

“BEYOND THE LIGHTS”

When this musical drama came out in theaters late last year, I didn’t have any desire to movie house prices to see it.  I guess America didn’t either.  The $7 million dollar movie earned only $14.6 million at the box office.

However, I definitely wanted to see it on DVD and what a pleasurable movie it is.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who earned rave reviews in the 2013 period piece, “Belle”, was excellent as pop star Noni Jean, who just won a Billboard Music Award and is getting ready to release her debut album.

But, an incident on a hotel balcony railroads her path to success.

“Beyond The Lights” has great music, a good storyline, a hot love interest played by hunky Nate Parker, and an incredible performance by Minnie Driver as an obsessive stage mom.

If you’re like me, it’ll be hard to watch some of the movie and not see Rihanna (and Chris Brown).

GRADE:  B

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

She won rave reviews, her first Oscar, and a Golden Globes award for “Still Alice”.  She also won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for another Golden Globes award for “Maps To The Stars”.

In this satirical drama (although Moore was nominated in the “comedy” category for the Golden Globes) from acclaimed director David Cronenberg, Moore plays an aging actress, who’s trying to win the dream role of playing her late mother (a famous actress) in a movie remake.

Needless to say, Moore’s Havana Segrand is messed up and out of touch with real life.  I’m not saying all in Hollywood are. 🙂

But, she’s calm and collected compared to Agatha Weiss, played with perfection by Mia Wasikowska (who also played Moore’s daughter in 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right”).  She has many issues, as does most everyone in this movie.

“Maps To The Stars” is a very strange, but riveting movie.

GRADE:  B

“A MOST VIOLENT YEAR”

New Year’s Eve may not be the best time to release a movie if you want people to see it.

This drama takes place in early 1981 New York City during a very violent period when several oil trucks were being hijacked.

Oscar Isaac, who was amazing in the much better “Inside Llewyn Davis” that I wrote about earlier this year, is the owner of Standard Oil, an up and coming oil company.  Several of his trucks are taken and one of his drivers is almost beaten to death.

The movie follows his quest to find out who’s behind the violence.  At the same time, he’s being investigated for price-fixing, tax evasion, and other charges by the city’s assistant district attorney.

Academy Award nominee and Golden Globes winner Jessica Chastain, played his powerful, domineering, and heartless wife, Anna, the daughter of a mob boss.  She’s incredible and needed to be in the movie more.

GRADE:  B-

“INTO THE WOODS”

My 13-year-old daughter has seen this Disney musical, from the man who brought us the Oscar-winning 2002 musical, “Chicago”, several times and she loves it.

I, on the other hand, did not care for it.

It was too long and tried to serve too many children’s stories without much cohesiveness.

When Meryl Streep was on-screen as “The Witch”, the movie soared.

But, I don’t know everything.  The $50 million production has now grossed more than $204 million worldwide.

GRADE:  C

“NIGHTCRAWLER”

I was excited to see “Nightcrawler” with Jake Gyllenhaal, but I had to suspend belief while watching it since I’m in the news business.

A casual viewer would rate the movie higher.

However, I know it’s IMPOSSIBLE to just walk into the news studio of the #2 market in the country saying you have video and seeing the news director working with the editor on how to put a story together.

The movie paints the news business as very unscrupulous (and some stations and networks are, hi Fox News!).

Gyllenhaal is so creepy in the movie, it could have been called “NightCreeper” or “CreepyCrawler”.

GRADE: C- (to a non-news person: C+)

“RABBIT HOLE”

Here’s a fantastic flashback if you can find it.  It only took me more than four years to finally see it.

This little seen 2010 movie directed by the incredible John Cameron Mitchell (“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and “Shortbus”) stars Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, and a younger Miles Teller (“Whiplash”).

The drama follows the lives of husband and wife, Howie and Becca (Eckhart and Kidman) after their 4-year-old son was struck and killed by a car when he ran out into the street chasing their dog.

Kidman earned an Oscar nomination for Best Actress for her sad and incredible performance.

Not a happy movie, but very powerful.

GRADE:  B+

Enjoy your weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 7, 2014

Happy Friday!  Can you believe that Halloween is behind us and we’re already into the first week of November?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2015 will be here before you know it.

While I gave up writing a weekly “Random Friday Thoughts” this summer because of time constraints and I’m running out of free space to post images in the blog without paying, I enjoyed putting together the October 24th random thoughts, so I thought I’d do it again.

And, I’ll start this one with a big time, eat crow apology!

TAYLOR, I’M SORRY

Many times over the past couple of years, I’ve sort of bashed Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift

While I saw her in concert in the Quad Cities opening for Keith Urban in the summer of 2009 and I bought her “Fearless” album, I quickly tired of the constant reports of “manizing” (my word for the opposite of womanizing) and her overexposure.

However, in her latest #1 hit, “Shake It Off”, the lead single from her new and hugely successful, record-setting album, “1989”, Taylor won me back with her “eff-off” to me and all of her haters!

“Shake It Off” is brilliant.  It shows that Taylor is in on the joke and not the joke.

Taylor, I promise that I’ll never pass judgement on you again.  And, if I do, I know you can come back with another “eff-you” song in the vain of “Shake It Off”.

“SHAKE IT OFF”

TAYLOR SWIFT RULES THE WORLD

With “1989”, Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, selling an incredible 1.287 million copies in the United States alone, that makes Taylor the only singer in music history to have three (and three consecutive) million selling-plus first week albums.

This is also her best-selling first week ever!

Her 2010 album, “Speak Now” sold 1.047 million in its first week and the follow-up, 2012’s “Red” sold 1.208 million in its first week.

AND, THAT’S NOT ALL FOR “1989” AND TAYLOR

Those first week sales make “1989” the biggest selling first-week album since 2002 (Eminem), the biggest-selling album released in 2014 (Sam Smith’s “In The Lonely Hour” is second with 746,000 copies sold since May), and it’s the second biggest selling album of the year behind the “Frozen” soundtrack, which has sold 3.2 million copies in 2014.

SHOUT-OUT TO BRITNEY

While Taylor’s first week sales of 1.287 million copies were astounding, “1989” now ranks in second place behind “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears for most albums sold in the first week by a woman.

In its first week, in 2000, that album had sales of 1.32 million.  To date, “Oops!…” has sold 10.4 million copies in the United States and 24 million worldwide.

I absolutely love Britney.  I plan on seeing her in concert again next year in Las Vegas with her “Britney:  Piece of Me” show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney

So, here’s a shout-out to “It’s Britney, bitch” as she holds on to her record.

The lead single and title track,”Oops!… I Did It Again”, hit #1 on the radio airplay charts in 2000.

HOZIER – RUSSIA AND HOMOPHOBIA

24-year-old Irish singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne, professionally known as just Hozier, is enjoying his third Top Three hit back in his native Ireland.

But, it’s his first hit there that is now getting a lot of airplay here in the United States.

“Take Me To Church” reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Rock Songs and Adult Alternative Songs charts.

While a powerful song, it’s the video, that calls attention to Russia’s homophobia and homophobic laws, that is so riveting and sad.

Hozier, thank you for getting the message out there.

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY”

29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, took her own life in Portland, Oregon, last weekend, assisted by a physician.

Back on New Year’s Day 2014, Brittany was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She had surgery, but the cancer came back in April and she was given six months to live.

She and her husband moved from California to Oregon so when the pain got to be too much, she could take own life with the help of a doctor because of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law that was passed by Oregon voters twenty years ago.

Oregon became the first state to allow this, but appeals kept Oregonians from using the law until 1997.

Brittany Maynard

I’m a firm believer that every human should die with dignity and I applaud Brittany’s decision.  I’m glad she and her family enjoyed a nice vacation to the Grand Canyon last month to cross it off her “bucket list”.

So far, about 750 people in Oregon have used the law since 1997.

REMEMBERING “DR. DEATH”

I’ve talked about “doctor-assisted suicide” before.  Here is a re-post of what I had to say May 31, 2013, about Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

“While more Americans find doctor-assisted suicides less acceptable today than a decade ago, according to that recent Gallup poll, I’m taking a moment to remember the man whose name is synonymous with that subject.  He died two years ago next week.

Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan born pathologist, gained national attention in late 1998 when he allowed CBS News’ “60 Minutes” to air a videotape he made two months earlier of the voluntary euthanasia of 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating disease that causes progressive weakness, muscle atrophy, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing.

After a two-day trial, a Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder.  After serving time, he was paroled eight years later.

He may have been involved in more than 130 deaths and Kevorkian told “Time” magazine, “My specialty is death.”

So, what is your view on doctor-assisted suicides?  Feel free to tell me, even if we disagree.

I’m all for it.  I’ve seen people wither away to almost nothing in so much pain. I look at their lives and I see that some have no quality of life.  My mother died of a sudden heart attack at age 47.  While we were unable to say goodbye, I’m thankful that she never suffered for a long period like some people do.

If I’m ever in a terminal health situation where there is no chance of recovery (short of a miracle) and I’m in unimaginable pain, I’d welcome being euthanized.  Why is it that we’re in a position in this country where we have to watch our loved ones suffer until they die naturally, but we can do the “humane” thing to keep our beloved pets from immense suffering when they reach that point of no return by euthanizing them?

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

On February 3, 2012, Miss ABBA, our golden retriever that was just like a child to us, took that final R-I-D-E in the car.  I carried her to the car that morning and into the vet’s office.  I sat on the floor holding her when the doctor administered the two shots and she peacefully crossed over the “rainbow bridge”.

Many of you already know that Miss ABBA lived ten fantastic months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was only given two to three months to live.  She never got sick or down until the day before she died.

I’m blessed for the almost 12 years Miss ABBA and I had together.  I’m so glad that she never had to suffer and that I had that option to ease her pain when her quality of life ended.  I would want the same for myself or for my human counterparts.”

SPEAKING OF MY MOTHER

My sister and I lost that beautiful woman 24 years ago today!

Dessie

Dessie, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you and wish that we could talk.  But, I know that you’re looking over us now!

ELECTIONS ARE OVER, BUT WHAT ABOUT 2016?

I believe that former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and it won’t be a long vicious fight for that nomination like it was in 2008 against President Obama.

hillary2016

It’s going to be a much tougher fight for the Republican Party since there is no real front-runner.  And, because of that, I think it’s going to be nasty for quite some time once there are people vying for that nomination.

That’s why I predict that the candidates will start throwing their hat in the ring in early 2015 (or even by the end of this year).

For weeks now, I’ve said that the first person that will announce their candidacy will be former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

And, when all is said and done, here is my prediction of who we’ll be choosing from in the 2016 presidential election.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

Clinton and Bush!  Talk about dynasties in American politics!

“MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY 2”

There are many Christmas movies that I love, but one of my favorites came out in 2009.

It’s called “Make The Yuletide Gay”, a Rob Williams-directed movie about a college kid wanting to “come out” to his parents at Christmas, but he’s afraid to do it because of how he thinks they may react.  A visit from his college boyfriend pushes the “coming out” to the forefront.

While the boys are definitely charming, Wisconsin’s own Kelly Keaton, who plays Anya Gunnunderson, the mother of boy coming out, is so sweet and she makes you laugh.

There’s been talk about a sequel for years and now that is falling into place.  The director and producers have a script and just started a Kickstarter campaign through the end of December to raise the $175,000 needed to assist in the movie.

You can find out more about it here and make a small donation.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robwilliams/make-the-yuletide-gay-2-a-sequel-to-the-hit-comedy

I love the original movie so much that if I had $2,500 lying around, I’d donate it so I could make my Hollywood debut in the movie!

Could you imagine me transitioning from a television meteorologist to actor?

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

As you may recall, I saw Olivia Newton-John in concert this past May in Las Vegas and she was fantastic.  She sounded and looked great.

Olivia

I recently read a biography about her life by Tim Ewbank.

It was a thorough book that covered her pre-career life in Australia and England, her career, both in music and movies, her marriage and divorce, and her fight with cancer.

I was glad that the book talked about how some of the biggest country music stars in the 1970s (Conway Twitty, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis, Dolly Parton, and more) formed the Association of Country Entertainers as a protest to “outsiders” that were not country purists or “Nashville”.

Dolly quickly withdrew from that group and embraced Olivia.

Also, the book covered her friendship with another Australian that I love, Helen Reddy.  The book claims that it was Helen and he ex-husband that convinced Olivia to take the role of Sandy in “Grease”!

WATCHING MORE TELEVISION

When we had cable before, we never watched television.  Now that we have it, we’ve caught up on season five of  “The Walking Dead” and now we don’t have to avoid the spoilers until it arrives on DVD the following August!

We’re also watching “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.

Another show I really loved after seeing the first episode is “Stalker” on CBS.  It’s creepy, but I love it.

Maggie Q is my new “girl I would switch for”!  I’m kidding. 🙂

My favorite line in the pilot is when Dylan McDermott’s detective character, Jack Larsen, says “I get the feeling you don’t like me” and Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis replies, “Don’t be silly, I’m sporadically rude.”

Murder

I’m still loving “How To Get Away With Murder.  It’s the best new show this fall and so scandalous and real that you’d never know that Disney is the parent company of ABC.

My two favorite characters are Annalise Keating, a criminal law professor, played by multiple Oscar nominee Viola Davis, and Connor Walsh, a gay law student, played by Jack Falahee.

It’s one thing for a television show to feature a gay character, but to allow him (or her) to be sexually active on-screen is groundbreaking.

Here’s a video tribute to Connor and it includes scenes from the October 16th episode that made me think I was watching a soft-core adult movie!

If you watched that to the end, you probably heard the most “did he just say that?” moment I’ve seen on television.  EVER.

Yes, this is ABC and not premium cable!

In the same episode, Viola Davis’ character is sitting at her bureau and removes her wig, all of her make-up, and her eye lashes in one of the most emotionally naked scenes written for television.

And, if that wasn’t riveting enough, the scene ends when she holds up a cell phone to her cheating husband and asks the most mind-blowing question that no spouse ever wants to ask their husband!

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER:  A+

Way to go, Mouse House!

THAT’S IT

How do you top that?  I won’t even try.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my random thoughts this week from the serious to the silly to the entertaining.

I hope you enjoyed them.  Let me know what you think.

Until the next “Random Friday Thoughts”, happy holidays.

Peace!

Anthony

“Frozen” Still Hot This Spring

“Frozen”, Disney’s latest animated blockbuster, is now the biggest animated film in history.  It’s crossed the one-billion dollar mark at $1.07 billion!

Frozen

When it was released a couple of weeks ago to the home market, it sold more than 3.2 million blue-rays and DVDs and in February, it became the biggest digital release ever!

I finally got around to seeing it.  Gretel, our 12-year-old daughter, has seen it several times already and loves it.  She says it’s one of her favorite Disney movies.

I guess my expectations were too just high with its box office success and the Oscar win for Best Animated Feature.  While I enjoyed the movie, it was no “Beauty and The Beast” and Belle will always be my favorite.

Beauty-And-The-Beast

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

The “Frozen” soundtrack is just as popular as the movie.  It’s the only album that has sold more than a million copies in 2014.  Since its November release, the soundtrack has sold 1.8 million copies and has spent eight weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Frozen Soundtrack

“Let It Go”, the first release from the album, picked up an Oscar for Best Original Song.  That song by Adele Dazeem has been downloaded around 1.8 million times!

What?  Damn you, John Travolta!  You’re right, it’s not Adele Dazeem, it’s “Wicked” star Idina Menzel!

John and Idina

“Frozen” is now ready to melt dance clubs across the country.  The song’s remix just debuted on the Billboard Dance Chart.  While Dave Aude’s remix is great, this is my favorite version by Papercha$er.

This will be Menzel’s fourth dance chart hit.  Her biggest hits on that chart were the #5 smash, “Defying Gravity”, from “Wicked” in 2007 and “Gorgeous” from her 2008 album, “I Stand”, peaked at #3.

Anthony

Taken from:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/random-friday-thoughts-april-4-2014/ 

Some Wrongs You Can’t Right

While I’ll continue to fight for equality, I’m going to talk less about politics in 2013.  I’m saying that because no matter what politicians say, chances are they will lie or promise more than they can deliver.  Another wrong that we can’t right is “Crash” winning the Academy Award for Best Picture for 2005 over “Brokeback Mountain”.  While Ang Lee won for Best Director for “Brokeback” and the movie won “Best Adapted Screenplay”, it was a shock to many that “Crash” won for “Best Picture”.

Brokeback Mountain

Another wrong that we can’t right is the box office disappointment of the 2012 Disney movie, “John Carter”.  While the budget for the science fiction adventure film was $250 million, it only grossed $282.8 million thanks to a very strong box office outside the United States.  Domestically, the movie only made $73 million.

John Carter

“John Carter” is definitely a wrong that you can make right by renting it on DVD.  We did that this past weekend and I’m so glad we took a chance on it.

The problem with the movie is definitely not with sexy Taylor Kitsch as John Carter or beautiful Lynn Collins as Princess Dejah Thoris of Helium.

Taylor Kitsch as John CarterLynn Collins

The problem with “John Carter” at the box office was in marketing.  I don’t think Disney knew how to sell the movie.  I was expecting the action flick to be some far-fetched science fiction movie set in some future time.

While the movie predominately took place on Mars, known in the movie as “Barsoom”, it opened with a death scene set in New York in the late 19th century and then flashed back to the Wild West!  At first, I was confused as to how this movie was going to move from a western setting to another planet.

I’ll go ahead and give away a spoiler from the opening scenes.  John Carter, a former Civil War Army Captain, dies suddenly and everything is left to his nephew.  Carter is buried in a tomb that can only be opened from the inside before his nephew arrives.

As his nephew reads a locked diary that John Carter left him, we flash back to the Arizona Territory where Carter is arrested and jailed.  He escapes and after an altercation in a cave where Carter is searching for gold, something happens and for much of the 2 hours, 12 minute movie, we’re on the neighboring planet of Mars, aka Barsoom.  There, John Carter realizes that he has developed a special power that comes in handy since a war is taking place on the planet.

I thoroughly enjoyed “John Carter” and it had little to do with the hotness of the two lead characters, John Carter and the princess.  The movie also featured an army of Green Martians, the good guys in the war, and a very loyal Martian “dog”.

The American box office and the trailer does not do “John Carter” justice.

GRADE:  A-

‘THE PAPERBOY”

The_Paperboy

Nicole Kidman is one of the best living actresses out there.  I absolutely love her.  I found her mesmerizing in “To Die For” and “Moulin Rouge!” and there are still many of her other movies I still want to see.

In “The Paperboy”, she plays seductive and trashy Charlotte Bless, who falls in love with a series of prison convicts.  Her latest crush is Hillary Van Wetter, played with intense creepiness by John Cusack.

thepaperboy_nicolekidman_web

Kidman was nominated for a Golden Globe award and a Screen Actors Guild award for this role.  And, boy does she chew the scenery whether she is teasing Cusack into a frenzy during a prison visit or  urinating on Zac Efron (I won’t say why, but it’s not what you think).

The movie is the followup to director Lee Daniels’ Oscar winning “Precious”.

“The Paperboy” also stars the aforementioned Zac Efron as Jack Jansen, who falls in love with Kidman’s Charlotte.

Matthew McConaughey plays Efron’s older brother, Ward Jansen, who is investigating the case that put Cusack’s Van Wetter in prison.  This was McConaughey’s third highly acclaimed role in 2012 following his star turn in “Magic Mike” to his frightening and under appreciated role in “Killer Joe” to this one.  Ward is harboring his own secrets that could cost him his life in the racially-divided 1960s South.

After seeing “The Paperboy”, you’ll likely be very thankful for the life you have and you’ll probably want to take a shower!

GRADE:  B

Anthony

And Now, Your Weather Forecast With Reverend Pat Robertson

There are weather forecasters on television throughout the country that do a great job keeping you safe in severe storms and bringing you your nightly or morning forecast without ever taking a college meteorology course.

For many years, I was one of those people.  I started my career in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, in 1996, as a weatherman and started my quest to become a certified “meteorologist” in the fall of 2003 through the distant learning program at Mississippi State University.  In 2005, I earned my broadcast “Seal of Approval” from the National Weather Association and in the fall of 2006, I officially became a “meteorologist”, having passed 17 classes hand-picked by the American Meteorological Society.

And, there are people who should not be making forecasts or trying to connect the dots of a natural disaster or weather event and why it happened.  This is one of those people.

Pat Robertson, of the “700 Club” television ministries, has a long history of making really bad forecasts.

When Hurricane Gloria battered the East Coast of the United States and threatened Robertson’s Virginia Beach, Virginia, television headquarters, he probably thought that his prayers sent the storm out to sea.  However, from a meteorological standpoint, storms usually veer off to the north-northeast after they make landfall or a near-landfall.

He probably forgot to pray for the rest of the East Coast where there were eight fatalities and $1.94 billion in damage (in today’s money).

But, more than a decade later, he was still earning big bucks preaching religion and he was still working on his forecasting.

In 1998, he sent out this warning to Orlando, Florida, because of its “Gay Days” at Walt Disney World that began in 1991, “I would warn Orlando that you’re right in the way of some serious hurricanes and I don’t think I’d be waving those flags in God’s face if I were you.”

No hurricanes hit Orlando during the 1998 “Gay Days”.  However, the remnants of Hurricane Mitch did hit southwestern Florida in early November as the weakened storm moved out of the Gulf of Mexico.  False alarm!

And, in late December 2010, Christmas travel around the country was disrupted by this winter storm on the East Coast.  Here’s a satellite image of the storm and a picture of what it dumped on the Northeast.

Of that storm, Robertson missed the mark!  In his explanation, he didn’t mention that the developing low pressure system brought heavy snow to Alabama and a “White Christmas” to the Deep South or that once the low moved out over the Atlantic Ocean, it strengthened into an intense storm with a barometric pressure of 964 millibars, which is what you see in hurricanes.

He didn’t explain how the storm caused 20″ of snow in Central Park and across other locations because of the collision of warm, moist ocean air and the cold Arctic air begin pulled in on the back side of the winter storm.

Here’s his explanation:  “Because of the bad road conditions the Almighty has made, any gay activities that people were planning on doing will have to be postponed by a day or two.”  He also said that God shut down all the big airports in New York “so that people who were hoping to fly to do something of a gay nature would have to take a train or a bus, so it might be days before the gay thing they were going to do could occur.”

The weather forecasting wonder/natural disaster prognosticator has also blamed gays for earthquakes in southern California and famine in East Africa.

So, with all of his past successes and failures in forecasting and all of the blame he’s placed on the “gays”, why is he so quiet today?  Is he not watching the Tropics?

Here is the forecast from the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Isaac is located near the Lesser Antilles with sustained winds of 45 miles-per-hour.  This storm is expected to intensify into a hurricane tomorrow as it nears Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republican and Haiti Friday and Saturday, Cuba on Sunday, and Florida Monday.

This means that the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, that begins next Monday could be threatened by Hurricane Isaac!  Here is the headline from “USA Today”:

“Isaac could threaten GOP convention in Tampa”

So, why hasn’t Robertson sounded his alarm?  Oh, that’s right.  It’s the Republican convention and we know how many of them feel about gay people.  They’ve made that very clear and you don’t need a satellite or radar to see that.

Anthony