Posts Tagged ‘Don Jon’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 4

Another weekend is here and I’m taking advantage of this one to relax.

While it will feel like summer Friday with highs in the 80s, storms Friday night and Saturday will cool us off.  By Sunday, highs only in the 50s and morning lows in the 30s to around 40° are likely.  This will be the coolest day in the Quad Cities since Memorial Day weekend.

So, I’m thinking a big pot of chili for comfort food, popcorn, watching the first season of “Bates Motel”, and enjoying a nice fire in the fireplace with champagne!

champagne

Here are my random thoughts this week.  Whether you agree or disagree, let me know!

POSTAGE STAMP INCREASE… AGAIN?

To my friends that work for the United States Postal Service (USPS), I hope things work out for you.  With that being said, I’m on the verge of cutting my last ties with the mail service!

The USPS is proposing ANOTHER first-class stamp increase from 46 to 49 cents in January 2014 to try to offset its loss of $6 billion dollars this year.

USPS

I only use stamps once a year at Christmas when I mail out about 150 holiday cards.  I love sending Christmas cards and wishes each year and I wouldn’t mind paying the extra three cents for a stamp if I felt the USPS was serious about trying to save its floundering business.

Why do we still have Saturday mail delivery?  Think of how much money could be saved without that service (The Postmaster General has even asked that Saturday mail delivery be cut for most customers, which would save an estimated $2 billion per year)!

If people really needed to mail something on Saturday, there are substations in many grocery stores and other businesses.

So, if you’re on my Christmas mailing list, this may be the last card you get from me!  And, if you haven’t seen them yet, here are two of the new Christmas stamps for 2013.

2013 Poinsettia Stamp Christmas Cleveland MOA

ERASURE CHRISTMAS ALBUM UPDATE

Three weeks ago, I blogged about Erasure’s first Christmas album, “Snow Globe”, coming out in the U.S. on November 12th.

Erasure Snow Globe

Here’s a first listen to Andy and Vince on “Silent Night”.

ANOTHER EMMY AWARDS THOUGHT

If you, like me, were not one of the 17.6 million people watching the Primetime Emmy Awards two Sundays ago, you missed Michael Douglas winning the Best Actor award for playing Liberace in “Behind The Candelabra” (if you want to read more about the movie from my blog last week, type in “Liberace” in the blog search engine in the top right).

Douglas Emmy Awards

In his acceptance speech, Douglas looked down to his co-star, Matt Damon, who was also nominated, and said, “You really deserve half of this.  So, you want the bottom or the top?  Top?  I figured that!”  Too funny!

If you’ve seen the movie, you know what he’s talking about since it’s part of pivotal scene.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it wouldn’t take much to figure it out. 🙂

COULD THERE BE EMMY CONFUSION NEXT YEAR?

The hit Netflix series, “Orange Is The New Black” is a critical and fan favorite.

The series focuses on Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a Connecticut woman living in New York City, who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her former lover ten years ago.

Orange is the New Black

The series also stars Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset.  Sophia is a transgender woman who’s in prison for credit-card fraud and she’s the hairdresser for many of the inmates. Outside of the prison walls, she has a son with her wife, Crystal.

Laverne Cox

Cox, the actress that plays Sophia is also transgender in real life.

If Cox gets the attention of Emmy votes, would they be progressive (and educated) enough to nominate her in the right category of Outstanding Supporting Actress?

ACRONYMS & LABELS CAN BE CONFUSING

Back in the day, there was the “gay community”, which covered both gays and lesbians.  But, then as society began to educate itself on sexual orientation and sexual identity, a couple more terms, bisexual and transgender were added to that community.

LGBT

So, when you see “LGBT”, it refers to people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (those who deviate from their assigned gender at birth, including transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, and others).

In the coming months and years, there will be more and more court cases and publicity around transgender men and women.  Advocates are working harder to ensure that someone born with a penis, but has always identified as being female, is not discriminated against and called a “man”.  This blurs lines and it’s not cut and dry or one or the other.

I’m bringing this up because I was reading an article last week and it was about a person that was identified as “genderqueer trans masculine person”.  While it would take some thought to figure that one out, I have a simple solution.  Just refer to this human as a “person” and love them just the same.

While it’s easy to label someone, the shoe doesn’t always fit.

As for me, you can call me “gay”.  However, I don’t like the term “homosexual”.  To me, that sounds like a medical term from before 1973 when being gay was still considered a “mental disorder.”

MOST POWERFUL 5 MINUTES TO SIMPLIFY MY LAST COMMENTS

While those terms I just described can label a person, it does so with class.  As we all know, there are other hurtful terms that people use to identity people in the LGBT community.

Check out this incredible, heart-wrenching video, “Define Me”, from New York City singer and songwriter, Ryan Amador, along with Jo Lampert.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Black Sheep Crazy Ass Eat Well

EUROPE IS ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY NOW!

With that last “Food For Thought” in mind, Ray and I have to work very hard over the next two weeks to get to a chosen, acceptable weight as we embark on our first European cruise to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday this past August.

Sound of Music Cruise

When Betty was here recently, I had five buffets in four nights and then last week we celebrated my sister’s birthday by eating out and having cake!!!

Our goal is to lose five to ten pounds before October 18th, which is also the date of my annual physical.  I guess this means other than a pizza buffet for my upcoming birthday, all buffets will be put off until November. 🙂

“WORK BITCH” OR “WORK WORK”?

Britney Spears is racing up the chart with the first release from her new studio album that comes out on December 3rd.  The video debuted earlier this week.

Britney Las Vegas

Two versions of the song were serviced to pop stations across the country.  One changes the title, which is said many times in the song, from “Work Bitch” to “Work Work”.  Here in the Quad Cities, one station is playing the “Bitch” version (my preference) and one is playing the sanitized “Work Work” version.

KHHM program director Pattie Moreno says, “Britney, can you please put out a record out without the word ‘bitch’ in it?  Please, can you help a girl out?”  (If you recall, her last hit, “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am, featured Brit Brit saying her classic line, “It’s Britney, Bitch”.)

However, WNOW New York PD Gillette is playing the original version and adds, “‘Bitch’ is not a dirty word. “No complaints so far. Plus, it’s a great dance track.”

I have one to say, “you’d better work”.  Oh wait, that’s another song!

The bottom line is “It’s Britney, Bitch”!

“PRISONERS”, “DON JON”, & “LOOSE CANNONS”

Two new big movies hit theaters this weekend.  There’s “Gravity”, which already has Oscar buzz for star Sandra Bullock.  The sci-fi thriller also stars George Clooney.  Also, “Runner Runner”, a thriller with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, makes its wide release debut.

If those movies don’t appeal to you, I have a couple of suggestions.  We saw a double feature last weekend of “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.

Prisoners

If you want a psychological thriller that will make you cringe and eat your popcorn nervously, check out “Prisoners” with Academy Award nominees Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard, along with Oscar winner Melissa Leo.

The movie focuses on the disappearance of two little girls on Thanksgiving Day and what lengths one desperate parent (Jackman) would go to get a confession out of the suspect, Alex (Paul Dano).

In a weaker Oscar race year, I think that Jackman would have a chance for a nomination.   But, with many buzzed about performances coming up before Christmas, I’m thinking he’ll just have to relish his nomination last year for “Les Miserables”.

However, I think Melissa Leo could get nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Alex’s religious aunt.

GRADE:  A-

Don Jon

This directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay, is a solid effort.  While porno movies and masturbation play an integral part in the comedy, it’s really a love story!

In no way am I a prude, however, the first part of movie made me think that I was watching some “adults only” site online and it started out as a strong “R-rated” movie that bordered on “NC-17”.

In the movie, Gordon-Levitt plays Jon Martello, a New Jersey bartender that loves God, his family, his apartment, his car, his boys, his girls. and his porn.  He’s totally satisfied with one-night stands and fulfilling his sex life “alone” until he meets the perfect woman, Barbara, played with perfection by Scarlett Johansson.

He loves his movies (porn) and she loves her movies (romantic comedies).  Once they start spending the night together, she discovers that he likes to, um, be alone in the other room after they have intimate time together.  She gives him an ultimatum — her or the porn.

Again, it sound very adult in nature and it is.  But, the bottom line, it’s a comedy that has heart and it’s a love story.

While entertaining, you could definitely wait and see it on DVD.

GRADE:  B

Loose_Cannons

“Loose Cannons” (Mine Vaganti ) is a critically acclaimed 2010 Italian comedy that is just now coming out on DVD in the United States.

It focuses on the Cantones, a pasta making family in conservative southern Italy.  At a family dinner one night, the youngest son, Tommaso, is going to “come out” to his family.  Before he does, his older brother, Antonio, who runs the factory announces to his family that he’s gay!

Their father has a heart attack at the table and he kicks Antonio out of the house and the business.

While there’s plenty of secrets and drama, this is a comedy.

It’s also an award-winning movie.  It was nominated for 13 David di Donatello Awards (the Italian equivalent to the American Oscar), including Best Film.   The film picked up two awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Okay, this week, today’s selection is more of a featured song than a pick hit.  It’s from the movie, “Loose Cannons”.

I fell in love with the song, “Una Notte a Napoli” by the Portland, Oregon, band, Pink Martini, featuring vocalist China Forbes, who is the cousin of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The song was featured on their second album, “Hang On Little Tomato” from 2004, which is sung in seven different languages!

I’M FINALLY READING A BOOK!

For years, my magazines have been stacking up.

I finally organized all of the “Rolling Stone”, “Time”, “Men’s Health”, “Details”, and “Boston Magazine” issues and read the stories that appealed to me.  Since those subscriptions expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “The Advocate”, “Instinct”, and “Out”.  (I just ordered “Time” again!)

Since I’m totally caught up on magazines until the new “EW” arrives later today, I grabbed the book, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt to read.

Golden Days

I bought the 1999 book shortly after its release when Miss ABBA, my late golden, was just a puppy.  I think it’s finally time to read it!

Since I haven’t read a book in five years, I don’t think the 143-page story of Amy, a New England golden retriever and the bonds she formed with her people, will overwhelm me!

Actress Betty White says of the book, “Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a golden retriever, one’s life and one’s outlook are never quite the same again. A warm afterglow remains that lasts a lifetime. The author is fluent in that language.”

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Beatles’ John Lennon would have turned 73 next week on October 9th.

Outside of the Beatles, Lennon, as a solo artist, scored 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Lennon NYC

Of those hits, two reached the top of the charts:  1974’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” and “(Just Like) Starting Over”, which was released in October 1980, but it reached #1 three weeks after Lennon was murdered outside his apartment in New York City on December 8, 1980, at the age of 40.

“Nobody Told Me” reached #5 on the Hot 100 in 1984 more than three years after he died, marking his last Top 40 chart appearance.

Happy Birthday, John!  Your wisdom and your humanity are greatly missed in today’s world.

“BATES MOTEL”

Have yourself a great weekend and make the most of it.  We’re spending it with Norman and Norma Bates.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — September 27, 2013

It’s Friday and this is my first blog of the fall season.  Happy Autumn!

Fall

Miss Betty was here last weekend and this weekend, it’s just me and Ray.  I really wanted to go to Chicago to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert, but that didn’t work out.  So, we’re planning on going to a few yard sales before the rain Saturday and then do a double feature at the movies!

I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

SUMMER’S LAST HURRAH –SORTA!

Last Friday, the second to last full day of summer, I was shocked to see this weather observation from Monticello, Iowa, which is about 80 miles northwest of the Quad Cities.

Monticello Weather

While that 129° reading would have beat the old Iowa state record of 118°, what is even more incredible is the dew point of 127°, which is not even achievable on Earth.  The combination of the temperature and the dew point produced a heat index of 459°!!!!!

The weather sensor at the airport there is now corrected!

THIS MAKES ME SMILE

Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Barbara, are supporters of marriage equality.  However, that support ends with her husband, George W. Bush, the 43rd U.S. President.  At least that was his opinion in 2004 since he won’t comment on the subject today.

However, this past weekend, his father, George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends, Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen in Kennebunk, Maine.

George H.W. Bush

I love how he rocks the one red and one blue sock!  And, Barbara looks very happy at the ceremony.

George Barbara

This gives me hope!

Sadly, the next two thoughts are more about despair!

NOT EVERYONE THINKS RUSSIA IS WRONG

Six American organizations have joined a worldwide coalition of more than 100 conservative groups that are behind Russia’s anti-gay legislation.  One of those groups, World Congress of Families, is located right here in northern Illinois, in Rockford.

Larry Jacobs, the managing editor of the organization, says, “Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has shown that sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and suicide rates are significantly higher among what it discreetly calls a ‘sexual minority.’  CDC data also demonstrates that there is much greater health risks among teenagers who practice homosexuality than those who do not engage in homosexual behavior.”

Jacobs_Family_Christmas

Jacobs adds, “All the law does is to prohibit advocacy aimed at involving minors in a lifestyle that would imperil their physical and moral health.”

Sadly, I’m more concerned with the lies, the close-minded attitudes, and the “family values” he’s teaching his own children!

WHO OWNS THE RAINBOW?

Scott Lively, who runs Abiding Truth Ministries, a church dedicated to combating “the homosexual agenda” in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calling him “the defender of Christian civilization”.  (Maybe Lively should move to Russia to show his love!)

Scott Lively

Recently, Lively made a recommendation to Russian Olympic officials to fly a rainbow banner over the games to steal the thunder of gay activists that plan on rainbow-bombing the games.  His reasoning?  To show “the global homosexual movement” that “the rainbow belongs to God”!

Rainbow Unicorn

Really?  What is he going to tell me next?  That God doesn’t want to share unicorns with the LGBT community either?

ROSIE HAS A VALID POINT

And, I have one more thought in this arena before I move on to happier topics.

Over the years, I’ve been indifferent about out lesbian actress and former talk show host, Rosie O’Donnell.  While I loved her on “Nip/Tuck” as Dawn Budge, she definitely could get under my skin with some of her comments.

I’ve never thought of her as a spokesperson for the entire gay community, just as my comments are likely not supported by all in the LGBT community,.  However, I admire the fact that she speaks out.

Rosie O'Donnell

O’Donnell recently said this about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and it got me to rethinking my thoughts about supporting a boycott.

She says, “I have really mixed feelings about it. Part of me feels yes, we should boycott it. And part of me feels trepidation about all those athletes, some of whom are gay, who have spent their entire lives waiting for this moment that only comes once every four years. Would it be better if America went there and everyone wore a rainbow flag on their arms? I don’t know. It’s a very tough decision. You know, when I hear those stories about what’s going on in Russia, you know, we have to remind ourselves of the amount of gay bashing that happens in our country. Although ours is not sanctioned by the president — you know, Putin seems to be very pro-gay-bashing — it still occurs in our country at a rate that is shameful.

Great point about the gay bashing that takes place here at home!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Heaven Earth Hell

GagaHold It

CHER FINALLY MAKES BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

This has been a very big week for Cher.  Yes, that Cher!

Cher Closer To The Truth

The 67-year-old entertainment icon released “Closer To The Truth”, her first new studio album in almost twelve years (“Living Proof” came out in late 2001) and she announced the dates of her “Dressed To Kill” tour that kicks off in the spring.

Cher

Her last road trip, the “Farewell Tour” ended in 2005 after playing 325 dates in twenty countries over three years.

The “Dressed To Kill” tour kicks off in March 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, and will hit 49 cities wrapping up about four months later in San Diego, California.

Earlier in the week, she performed on the “Today” show and said, “The road is horrible, but the concerts are great.  I understand why guys in bands tear up hotel rooms and throw TVs out the windows, because it’s a very lonely place. The only time you have fun is at the concerts.”

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

If you live in the Midwest, she’ll be playing in St. Louis, MO (June 4), Milwaukee, WI (June 6), Chicago, IL (June 7), Des Moines, IA (June 9), and Minneapolis, MN (June 11).

The first single from the new album, “Woman’s World” didn’t get mainstream radio airplay, but it became her latest #1 hit on the Billboard Dance chart.

Des Moines, here we come!

“BEHIND THE CANDELABRA”

This past Sunday night, “Behind The Candelabra”, Stephen Soderbergh’s HBO movie based on the life of flamboyant pianist Liberace won an incredible, record-tying eleven awards for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie at the Primetime Emmys.  “Eleanor and Franklin”, in 1976, also won eleven Emmys.

Behind The Candelabra

Oscar winner Michael Douglas also picked up the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie playing Liberace beating out his co-star, Matt Damon, who played Liberace’s much younger lover, Scott Thorson.

The movie covers the last ten years of Liberace’s life and the ups-and-downs of the couple’s relationship.  The movie is based on Thorson’s book, “Behind The Candelabra:  My Life With Liberace”, which was published after the entertainer’s death in 1987 of AIDS-related complications.

With that being said, it does paint Liberace in more of a negative light and Thorson as an innocent teenager that was taken in and controlled by the entertainer, who was in his 50s when their relationship started.

I mentioned “innocent”, when talking about Thorson, because he’s had many run-ins with the law including an arrest earlier this year in Reno, Nevada, for burglary and using a credit card without consent.

As I watched the movie, I kept that in mind and told myself that Liberace (“Lee”) probably wasn’t as mean as he was portrayed in the movie.  Instead, I marveled at how Douglas disappeared in the role as the over-the-top piano man.

matt-damon-behind_the_candelabra-02rob-lowe-behind_the_candelabra-01

“Behind The Candelabra” also picked up Emmys for Outstanding Costumes, Hairstyling, Makeup (Non-Prosthetic), and Prosthetic Makeup.

It was incredible how the makeup artists made Damon, who’s in his early-40s, look like a teenager when he met Liberace.  Also, sexy Rob Lowe was almost unrecognizable as Liberace and Scott’s plastic surgeon.

Everything was lavish and over-the-top.  The $23 million movie that was finally picked up by HBO Films because Hollywood movie companies said it was “too gay” to gamble on was a fabulous two hours of entertainment.

GRADE:  A

It just saddens me that Liberace lived in an era (not so much different from today for some lead actors) where he had to pretend to be straight and that he just hadn’t found the right woman for him to settle down and marry.

liberace

Gay?  No way!  Who would have even imagined such a thought?  But, seriously, showmanship and acting can only get you so far.  🙂

VEGAS REGRET

When I was in Las Vegas in 1993, the Liberace Museum was still opened.  I wanted to visit it, but my friend that I was traveling with, Dennis, did not want to see it.  Now, I regret not venturing out on my own to check it out.  The museum, which opened in 1979, closed in the fall of 2010.

Liberace Museum

I’m hoping with the success of the HBO movie that someone will re-open it in 2014 when we’re there to see Britney “It’s Britney, bitch” Spears!

WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

We’re just days away from our two-year wedding anniversary.

While Ray and I have been together going on five years, we made it official on September 30, 2011, in Davenport, Iowa, in a small ceremony attended by Gretel, our now 12-year-old daughter, my sister, Tammy, Ray’s sister, Cindy, and Betty, the woman I call “Mom”.

Wedding Park Fountain

Here is the video I put together of our first three years together.  I posted this the day we made the announcement that we had gotten married.

The song is “So Good Together” by Reba.

Reception 2011

The following day, October 1, 2011, we created the most beautiful majestic, magical reception in our backyard.

The song in this reception video is “In This Life” by Bette Midler.  The photographer was Jenny Butler Hipskind.

Happy Anniversary Ray!  Here’s to many more years together!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

While the duo, Quadron, has only charted in their native country of Denmark, I love their recent song, “Hey Love”.

Quadron

Singer Coco O (Coco Maja Hastrup Karshøj) and musician/producer Robin Hannibal released their self-titled debut album in 2009 and it made “New York” magazine’s top ten album list that year.

They’ve had a big summer.  Coco O recorded “Where The Wind Blows” for “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack and the duo’s second album, “Avalanche”, reached #3 after its May release in Denmark.  The album also peaked at #16 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop album chart in the U.S.

The first  single, “Hey Love”, peaked at #8 on the Danish Charts.

MOVIE DOUBLE FEATURE THIS WEEKEND

This weekend, we plan on seeing “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.

Prisoners

Don Jon

You gotta love Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhall, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Daryl Hall and John Oates met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in 1967 and released their first album in 1972, but it didn’t make the Billboard charts.

Their first single, “She’s Gone” peaked at #60 in 1974.  However, from their first Top 40 hit, “Sara Smile” (#4, 1976) to their last, “So Close (#11, 1990), they scored 29 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, 16 reached the Top Ten, 11 made the Top Five, and 6 topped the chart:  “Rich Girl” (1977), “Kiss On My List” (1981), “Private Eyes” (1981), “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” (1982), “Maneater” (1982), and “Out Of Touch” (1984).

I love Hall & Oates and one of my favorite songs from the duo is from the “Voices” album.  “You Make My Dreams” reached #5 in 1981.

That’s enough random thoughts, insanity, and fun for one week.  I should stop before my head starts hurting.  Here’s to the weekend!

Anthony