Posts Tagged ‘Donald Trump’

Random Friday Thoughts — May 7, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day weekend!

I’ll take a moment to remember my mother, Dessie, and be thankful that I still have my sister, Tammy, in my life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

STICKS & STONE MAY BREAK MY BONES

…but words shall never hurt me!

As kids, we’ve all heard that saying (or something like it). And, I believe, for the most part, it’s true.

I know that when you’re young and impressionable or if you’re a grown-up with insecurities (who doesn’t have some), hurtful words from parents, friends, lovers, or spouses can hurt. Actually, words said in anger do have a lasting impact.

However, being called a “f***ing fa**ot” by a speeding car driving by definitely doesn’t hurt my feelings. It just pisses me off.

This happened last Friday afternoon on one of my many daily walks around Lake Decatur.

It was from a group of youngsters and the man/boy in the back seat yelled it out the window. This person had no clue who was on the other side of busy U.S. 36. He was just being juvenile and ignorant.

I’m sure if it was a woman walking, he’d yell something sexist and stupid.

I was a teenager and young adult in the conservative dark Reagan-era years when homophobia was rampant and the world was scared of gay people and AIDS. (It didn’t help that it took President Reagan almost six years to mention it publicly!)

So, “f***ing fa**ot” is something that most LGBTQ people have heard before. However, it was scarier back then (in the 1980s and 1990s) because those people threatened us with baseball bats!

I’m a very secure person and my immediate reaction last Friday was to go back to reading my book and enjoying my day, while the thought bubble above my head said, “f***ing idiot”!

This is a perfect time for Heather Mooney! 🙂

Before I move on, I just hope that it made his day a little better to yell that out the window at a stranger. And, I hope he becomes more educated before he spawns a child and projects his ignorance onto another generation!

While I know there are others here (and in the U.S. and across the world) that share that narrow-minded mentality, Decatur and Central Illinois, I’ve met so many of you and I know there are so many more loving, caring, and beautiful people that make the world a better place!

Let’s carry on…

GOODBYE OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

Academy Award and Golden Globe winner (“Moonstruck”) Olympia Dukakis passed away last weekend at the age of 89.

In her almost 60 year career, she acted in more than 130 stage productions, over 60 movies, and in 50 television series!

I remember her most fondly as Anna Madrigal, the transgender “mother” of the tenants at 28 Barbary Lane in the “Tales of the City” series.

I always wanted to move into an apartment complex like 28 Barbary Lane and have Mrs. Madrigal as my landlady!

Armistead Maupin’s book series is my favorite and I’ve read it many times over the years. It was made into four continuing series (1993, 1998, 2001, and the most recent on Netflix in 2019).

And, as a gay man, I must mention her role as Clairee Belcher in 1989’s classic, “Steel Magnolias”!

Come on, you know the rest of it!!! All together now…

“…come sit by me.”

And, if you want to watch the entire 30-second scene…

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The 2020 U.S. presidential election is estimated to have cost $14 billion dollars, that’s with a “B”!
  • Gay and bisexual men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating than straight men and 12 times more likely to binge and purge. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Kenta Seki is a Los Angeles-based fitness guru? Neither did I, but I do now! 🙂

“THE MEANING OF MARIAH CAREY”

As you know, I love Mariah Carey. I’ve been a huge Mariah Carey fan since the spring of 1990 when I first heard “Vision of Love”.

I’ve seen her go through the highs with international success and we’ve see her hit the lows — the ice cream cart ordeal on MTV.

So, when Mariah’s biography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey” came out in the fall of 2020, I didn’t know what to expect.

Once I read it, I love Mariah even more — if that was even possible.

I knew her life and career was a rags to riches story, but I never realized just how hard she had as a child.

Not only was her family poor, but she also had a very difficult time of being biracial — she wasn’t Black enough for some family members and too white for others.

I was astounded at some of the things her sister made her do as a teenager and some of the things she did to Mariah! And, once Mariah became an international superstar with money flowing in, I was saddened to hear how her family tried to siphon that money away.

And then, there’s the whole creepiness of her first husband (and manager), Tommy Mottola!

Here’s a review of the book I read and it sums it up perfectly: “improbable and inspiring journey of survival and resilience as she struggles through complex issues of race, identity, class, childhood, and family trauma during her meteoric rise to music superstardom.”

“The Meaning of Mariah Carey” is an excellent book! Read it now!

Here are a few things I learned:

Since I now live in Central Illinois, it’s interesting that Mariah’s mother was born in Illinois’ capital of Springfield and grew up there in the 1940s and 1950s, which Mariah describes as “a center of insidious institutional racism”.

After years of racially-motivated crimes in the early 1900s in Springfield, the city had a strong Ku Klux Klan presence in the 1920, which Mariah summed up this way, “Springfield was a city openly cloaked in hate.”

On a happier note, I loved the wine quote about working with David Morales. “I’d have a couple splashes of wine, and we would just go wherever the spirit took us — which were almost always high-energy dance tracks with big, brand-new vocals.”

A couple splashes! What a cool description! 🙂

And, it was interesting to read who the song “My All” was written about!

I finally got to see Mariah in concert in December 2017 with her “All I Want For Christmas: A Night of Joy and Festivity” show in Las Vegas at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Mariah was phenomenal, beautiful, and she sounded flawless and the sets were incredible!!!!!!!

After my separation and eventual divorce, that show lifted my spirits and it would be the most magical 90 minutes I’ve enjoyed in the past few years!

FINAL NOTES ABOUT MARIAH & CHRISTMAS

About “All I Want For Christmas”, that she wrote in her early-20s for her fourth album, 1994’s “Merry Christmas”: “I wanted to write a song that would make me happy and make me feel like a loved, carefree young girl at Christmas.

Mariah added, “I wanted to sing it in a way that would capture joy for everyone and crystallize it forever. Yes, I was going for vintage Christmas happiness!”

HOW DID I MISS THIS???

I’m usually on top of pop culture, but I totally missed this bus on this!

Recently, I was catching up on magazines and I was shocked to learn that Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy died a year ago this weekend (May 8, 2020) of COVID-19! He was 75.

The famed Las Vegas entertainer’s publicist announced on April 28, 2020, that Horn tested positive for the virus and was responding well to treatment.

I also didn’t know that Siegfried (Fischbacher) announced on January 11, 2021, that he had terminal pancreatic cancer and died two days later in Las Vegas at the age of 81!

As you recall, Roy (on the left in the photo) was the one that was attacked at the Mirage on October 3, 2003, by a seven-year-old white tiger named Mantecore. It was on his 59th birthday!

As the story goes, Horn held his microphone to Mantecore’s mouth and told him to say “hello”. The tiger bit Horn’s sleeve. Horn swatted the tiger and barked “release!”.

Horn, became dizzy, tripped, and fell onto his back. (He ended up having a stroke.)

Mantecore moved to stand over him and then bit into Horn’s neck and dragged him offstage!

SO WHAT HAPPENED TO MANTECORE?

Horn asked that nothing happen to the tiger and it was re-integrated back into the duo’s pack of cats.

Mantecore died more than a decade later, in March 2014, at Fischbacher and Horn’s Little Bavaria estate in Las Vegas at the age of 17!

“THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE”

Last week, I talked about Jim Jones and shared some interesting things from Jeff Guinn’s compelling 2017 book.

Here are a few more tidbits from that great book.

The bisexual Jones believed that everyone, women and men, desired him. One follower in his close knit managerial team was not afraid to stand up to him. Harriet Tropp told him that she didn’t desire him because “You are 47 and fat”, but she added, “I don’t have romantic illusions. They say the greatest orgasm is death, so I hope we have the great pleasure of dying together.”

Once in Jonestown, the cost to feed almost a thousand people was extravagant and they began to see less meat and more watered down rice dishes and beverages, like water and cheap Flavor Aid.

As Jonestown began to fall apart in the fall of 1977, Jones and his inner circle were already thinking of how to conduct a mass suicide. Some suggested people being shot, but Jones preferred poison.

In early August 1978, Jones told his followers that he had terminal lung cancer. However, there was no evidence of this — yet another deceit by Jones to his cult.

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

If you don’t have time to read Guinn’s book, this SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life was incredible!

I saw it in the fall of 2018 and gave it an “A”!

“DA 5 BLOODS”

The latest Spike Lee movie garnered mix reviews.

If you know what to expect from one of his movies, you’ll enjoy it. After the compelling opening montage, the first hour dragged a bit. However, the second hour was riveting.

It’s about four older Black American vets returning to Vietnam to search for the remains of their fallen squad leader and buried treasure.

Delroy Lindo’s performance as Paul was insane! He deserved an Oscar nomination.

Now there was talk that Chadwick Boseman might get an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the movie, but that didn’t happen.

GRADE: B-

FAVORITE MARIAH CAREY SONGS

Before I share my five favorite Mariah Carey songs, let me tell you how difficult this was to narrow down.

Here’s how much of a superstar she is:

She’s had 36 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1990. Of those, 28 reached the Top Ten and 27 made the Top 5!!!

And, 19 went on to top the Hot 100 and she’s had two different runs of five or more consecutive #1 songs!

Mariah also had at least one #1 song on the Hot 100 for eleven straight years (1990-2000) and she’s had the most #1 singles on the Hot 100 than any other solo artist!

If that’s not impressive enough, Mariah has sold more than 200 million records worldwide and is the biggest selling certified female artist in the United States.

“DREAMLOVER”

“VISION OF LOVE”

“MAKE IT HAPPEN”

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

“EMOTIONS”

What’s your favorite Mariah Carey song?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S. My full Mariah Carey blog is here:

Random Friday Thoughts — March 19, 2021

As I post this Friday morning, it’s the last day of winter across the Northern Hemisphere!

If you read this after Saturday morning at 4:37 a.m. Central time, it’s spring!

So, to honor spring since I’m not in Las Vegas to enjoy it in person, here’s the view of a beautiful hummingbird in the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is always a must-see when I’m in Vegas!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too. If we disagree, do it diplomatically!

THANK YOU, 45!

In an NPR/NewsHour/Marist survey earlier this month, 30% of those polled said they WOULD NOT get the COVID-19 vaccination! While that number may surprise you, it’s down from 44% last September.

Less surprising, of those surveyed that say NO to the vaccination, 49% were Republican men and 47% supported Donald Trump in 2020!

After growing calls for him to speak out in support of the COVID-19 vaccination, on Tuesday, Trump said, “I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it.”

He went on to say, “But, you know, again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also… But it’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine, and it’s something that works.”

I’ll take what little he gives to get more Americans vaccinated!

SUMS UP LIFE & NEW STIMULUS CHECKS

I saw this on Twitter and Facebook and I laughed. I kept laughing, so I wouldn’t cry!

Don’t get me wrong! I’ve always been gay and I’m a proud gay man that’s accomplished everything I’ve wanted to in life. It’s not that. 🙂

However, the part about not crying is that I personally know people that are racking up a small fortune with each stimulus check and are not working. They’re basically choosing NOT to work!

Case in point — a married couple with four kids gets $8,400 with the latest stimulus check. So, for some, why work? The sad thing is, other than a roof over their head, the kids are not even benefiting from it!

While I know there are so many people that NEED this money AND I’m happy they’re getting it, I also know that aid packages throughout our government’s history have countless flaws and abusers, too!

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox!

FUNNY DVR STORY

I was just talking to my colleagues about cable being included in my rent, so all I pay the cable provider for is internet and DVR.

I said that I should drop DVR because I never use it. The last program I recorded was the CNN special about Jimmy Carter being a rock & roll president.

So, last week, I clicked on my recorded shows to see if it was still there. I was pleasantly surprised to find 41 episodes of “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star”, “Prodigal Son”, “Snowpiercer”, and “The Good Doctor” waiting for me to watch!

Those are shows that I had programmed last spring to record, so it recorded the new episodes of this season!

I’ve watched the first seven episodes of the new season of “9-1-1” and the first five episodes of “9-1-1: Lone Star” season two and both series are excellent this season!

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

This 2020 biography by Jonathan Alter was amazing! Even if you’ve read Carter’s books or biographies about the 39th president, this one is a must read!

Three things I learned that I didn’t already know about my idol:

He and Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown, share the same great-great grandfather; he wore his wristwatch face down because when he was in the Navy that’s how he’d see the time holding onto a periscope; and he doesn’t like contractions! (That’s one thing I disagree with President Carter! I love contractions (and exclamation points!!!!) 🙂

During his four-year presidency, President Carter appointed 262 federal judges, more than any other president. Of those, 55 were people of color and 40 women (five times more than all of the presidents before him — COMBINED!)

One of those was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who became a Supreme Court Justice under President Bill Clinton in 1993. (In his four years, Carter didn’t get a chance to place anyone on the Supreme Court.)

When asked after joining the Supreme Court if she always wanted to be a judge, RBG replied, “My answer is that it just wasn’t in the realm of the possible until Jimmy Carter became president and was determined to draw on the talent of all the people, not just some of them.”

LILLIAN CARTER FUNNY

This is still one of my favorite stories about President Carter’s mother Lillian.

When running for president, Carter said he would not lie. When pressed on that statement, his mother, Lillian, said the family may tell “white lies”. The female reporter asked her to define a “white lie”.

Lillian responded, “Remember when you knocked on the door and I went to the door and said I was glad to see you?”

“ALL THE WOMEN I AM”

Last weekend, on YouTube, Reba released her 2011 “All The Women I Am” concert from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, from that November.

I saw the show when it passed through the Quad Cities, in Moline, Illinois, a month earlier.

Since the concert is no longer available on YouTube, here’s my video of her last solo #1 hit, “Turn On The Radio”, from that show.

“KILLING EVE” — LITERALLY!

The fourth season of the incredible, award-winning AMC spy series, “Killing Eve” will be its last!

Earlier this week, it was announced production on the eight episodes will begin this summer and will air in 2022.

However, AMC added that there a “number of spin-off ideas” being developed.

Let’s hope the one they choose is all about Villanelle/Oksana Astankova (Jodie Comer)!

ENTERTAINMENT SPATS

In its October 2020 Fall TV Preview issue, “Entertainment Weekly” featured some of the best spats in entertainment.

My favorite was the love-hate relationship (mostly hate) between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

It was no secret that these two icons hated each other. It started in 1935 when Crawford married Davis’ love!

When they were making 1962’s “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”, there’s a scene when Davis had to carry Crawford up the stairs. It’s been reported that Crawford wore weights on her legs to make herself heavier for Davis to carry!!!

Davis once said that Crawford “slept with every male star at MGM — except Lassie.”

And, in 1977, when Crawford died, Davis supposedly said, “You should never say any bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good!”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 5, 2021

Happy March!

Soon, we’ll start seeing budding trees and blooming flowers and bushes!

For much of the country, the weather is finally starting to warm up. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done with snow and cold yet, but it sure feels nice.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. The first two are a little heavy.

So, if you don’t agree with me and you want to comment, that’s fine. Just do it diplomatically!

KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS TO YOURSELF!

More sexual misconduct allegations are coming out against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Three women are now accusing him of inappropriate advances.

Sadly, we live in a country where men feel they can do whatever they want — even “grab ’em by the p***y”!

In a culture where the last president of the United States is accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than two dozen women, this needs to stop — now!!! Actually, it should never have started!

Men (and women), regardless of profession, unless you’re asked to touch or kiss someone, keep your damn hands and lips to yourself!

“No” means “No”!

And, if you don’t understand printed or verbal words, maybe a song will help you understand better. Here’s the one hit wonder, The Georgia Satellites’ #2 1986 hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”!

BUSINESS AS USUAL IN TEXAS!

Note to self: AVOID TEXAS until I get vaccinated!

Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week announced that the state is lifting its mask mandate.

Texas is now the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the state will no longer limit the number of diners that can be served indoors!

Even during the worst outbreak of the pandemic, over the past months, restrictions across the Lone Star state were only lightly enforced.

More than 45,000 Texans have been killed by the pandemic and only two states, California and New York, have had more COVID-19 deaths than Texas!

And, what makes this change even more shocking is that over the past two weeks, Texas has seen a 31% increase in the number of daily new cases!!!

After Texas made the announcement, it should come as a shock to no one that Mississippi got on the bandwagon, too, announcing it would be dropping mask restrictions and businesses opening to 100% again!

GOLDEN GLOBES HITS

Last month, I said that season four of the “The Crown”, the award-winning Netflix series, was my absolute favorite. I added, “Even if you haven’t watched the first three seasons, watch this one. You don’t need to see their first three to follow the storyline.”

I guess the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) agrees because “The Crown” was a smash hit at this year’s Golden Globes!

The series won for Best Television Series Drama and my girl crush, Gillian Anderson picked up the Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie award as Margaret Thatcher.

Also, sexy Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin both came away as winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Television Series Drama categories as Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Sadly, with Corrin’s win, that means Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, lost as Ozark’s Wendy Byrde.

DREAMING OF… DEXTER!

After an eight-year absence and that disappointing series finale, America’s favorite, sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan is coming back this fall.

As fans already know, production for the ten-episode, ninth season is underway in New England. While nothing is known about the storyline and what’s happened since they show wrapped in 2013, here’s the sexy new look Dexter is sporting!

Good riddance, 2013 lumberjack Dexter!

While I can’t wait for the new season to debut later this year, I did see Michael C. Hall off-Broadway in January 2015 in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. It was a fantastic show and he was so damn sexy as the genderqueer East German rocker!

“THE UNITED STATES vs. BILLIE HOLIDAY”

This Hulu original is very compelling, even at over two hours. I never realized how messed up legendary singer Billie Holiday was with her heroin addiction.

Also, just another reason to despise J. Edgar Hoover, it amazes me the lengths the FBI went through to trap and falsely imprison Holiday because she refused to stop singing the controversial song “Strange Fruit”.

Why was it controversial and scared the government so? It focused the spotlight on the lynching of Black people in the South!

Andra Day was amazing as Holiday and won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe last weekend.

GRADE: B+

“NOMADLAND”

This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2020 and will get many Oscar nominations later this month. Ahead of the Golden Globes, I watched it last weekend.

I can’t imagine living the life of a nomad (someone in a community without fixed habitation that regularly moves from place to place), but I can see the freedom of it.

Frances McDormand is excellent and heartbreaking as Fran, who loses her job and her husband. When the town, Empire, closes down, too, she hits the road.

I definitely feel that the movie deserves its Best Picture Drama win at last weekend’s Golden Globes.

While McDormand is excellent in everything she does and I think this role is definitely worthy of an acting nomination, I don’t feel that it deserves the top prize! (I guess the HFPA agrees. Oscar voters may disagree!)

So far, I’ve seen four of the five performances for the Best Actress Drama category for the Golden Globes and I think that Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) all deserved it more.

P.S. I wrote these last two paragraphs before last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony!

You can see it on Hulu.

GRADE: B+

MY NIGHT WITH MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Following 63 old white guys, she became the first woman Secretary of State (1997-2001) during President Bill Clinton’s second administration.)     

Albright was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report. It did!

However, I then flubbed a simple English word that followed Milošević’s name! 🙂

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Last summer, I finally got around to reading Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

What an incredible read! Here are a few things I learned:

She was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in May 1937. Her real name is Marie Jana Korbelová.

Her grandmother nicknamed her “Madla” and her mother modified it to “Madlen”, but most of the time she was called “Madlenka”. However, while learning French at the age of ten, she chose “Madeleine”.

Three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust.

One of her favorites treats and something I’d love to try is “Knedliky” — “Czechoslovak fruit dumplings swimming in melted butter, cover with sugar and ground nuts”.

At the age of 40, after earning her Ph.D., she began working in President Jimmy Carter’s office under his National Security Advisory.

Since Albright, there have been two more female Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

MISSING RIHANNA?

You might not have even thought about it, but I bet it crossed your mind now. 🙂

While her last album was 2016’s “Anti” and she says her new album is complete, there is no release date.

Earlier this week, I heard a new dance song that sounds a lot like Rihanna and I love the lyrics, “I got a bed, but I’d rather be in yours”!

Enjoy the new song from David Guetta with Joel Corry and RAYE! It’s my new favorite right now!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 26, 2021

The shortest month of the year is almost over and that means spring is right around the corner!

Thank you for taking time to check out what I’m thinking about this week!

I always value your opinions even if we disagree. Just do it diplomatically!

DOGNAPPING AND SHOOTING!

UPDATE: A woman brought the two missing dogs into the LAPD’s Olympic station in Koreatown Friday night UNHARMED!

Two of Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs were stolen and the other one, Asia, escaped after the dog walker was shot in West Hollywood early Wednesday night. 

The 30-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital and CNN reports that he is recovering well.

While they were missing, TMZ reported that Gaga was offering a “no questions” asked $500,000 reward for Koji and Gustav’s safe return!

FORGIVING STUDENT LOANS

Many in Congress want President Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt.student

Biden told a town hall group in mid-February that he was prepared to write off $10,000, but not $50,000.

He added that community colleges should be free and that “any family making under $125,000 whose kids go to a state university they get into, that should be free, as well.”

I’m totally against forgiving $50,000 of debt! Why?

When I went to college and earned my degree in 1989 and I went back to school for three more years in the early-2000s for another certification, I paid for my education both times all by myself. My parents didn’t assist me financially and the government definitely didn’t erase my debt.

And, once I got my degree, it took more than a year (fall 1990) before I was offered a job in my field of study (television news). I wasn’t even able to take that job, which would have only paid a measly $13,000 a year!

After that, it wouldn’t be until the summer of 1996 that I was finally able to start my career. The offer, again, was $13,000!

With that being said, you can see why I have a problem just forgiving student loan debt!

ONE MORE THING…

Did you know that only 1.25 million students were enrolled in college in 1938?

With the G.I. Bill following World War II, nearly 7.8 million of the 16 million veterans that served in the armed forces decided to take advantage of the bill and go to college!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD” IS FINALLY COMING!!!!!!

“Army of the Dead”, Zack Synder’s highly anticipated zombie heist movie, finally has a Netflix release date of May 21st and the first trailer dropped Thursday! I’m so excited because it takes place in my favorite U.S. city!

It follows a group of mercenaries plotting a Las Vegas casino heist during a zombie outbreak. 

The ensemble cast includes Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy” series), Garret Dillahunt (“Fear The Walking Dead” and “Justified”), and Raúl Castillo (“Looking”).

While I wouldn’t want it to happen with the real places, it’s fun seeing Planet Hollywood, Paris, and the iconic “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” sign crumble in a disaster flick!

“THE HUNT”

This is the movie that got Republicans and Donald Trump in an uproar — before any of them even saw it!

It’s a very sadistic and crazy survival story!

If you love “The Purge” series, you’ll enjoy it and Betty Gilpin (“Glow”) was amazing.

It was my #11 movie of 2020.

GRADE: B

“MRS. AMERICA”

This nine-episode FX on Hulu miniseries focused on the fight for women’s rights in the early-1970s with an all-star cast.

Uzo Aduba won an Emmy Award for her Shirley Chisholm, the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Cate Blanchett was incredible as the mean, close-minded Phyllis Schlafly. (Her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations are pending!)

I know it was the ’70s, but I still can’t understand how women (a lot of homemakers) could be against equal rights for women. And, about Schlafly again, it shocks me that she’d be opposed to gay rights with a gay soon. Sadly, she’s not alone. It still happens today!

One complaint I had about the series (unless I missed it somehow), how can you have a series about women’s rights and the ERA and not mention Helen Reddy and “I Am Woman”?

GRADE: B

THEY SAID WHAT???

Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S. President (in 1807): “The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor am I.”

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley (in 1873): “The paramount mission and destiny of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator.”

“GROCERY”

All month long, in February, I’ve been sharing fun things from Michael Ruhlman’s awesome 2017 book, “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”.

Here are the final mind boggling or interesting things I learned:

Sugar Crisps cereal was introduced in 1949 by Post. It was the first cereal to be covered in sugar and now some cereals are more than 50% sugar!

Frito-Lay started putting 5% fewer chips in the bag and this added as much as $80 million dollars to the company’s bottom line since chips are a $1.6 billion a year business.

Apples are held in vast warehouses filled with oxygen and carbon dioxide, which puts them “to sleep”. When needed, companies “break the room”, thus “if you’re buying a ‘fresh’ American apple in August, it was harvested late last year.”

Between December and May, as much as 90% of fresh domestic tomatoes come from south Florida.

Americans eat 10 billion pounds of cheese each year!

And, one more fun fact!!!!

A 200-pound man uses 30% of his calories to feed his three-pound brain!

STORMY DANIELS BARES IT ALL

“Full Disclosure”, Stormy Daniels’ autobiography, came out in the fall of 2018 to critical success.

What a compelling story!

I’m not talking just about the encounter with Donald Trump and the subsequent threats on her life after her involvement with 45 came out.

From her very painful childhood to working in a strip bar while still a teenager in high school, Daniels is an incredible story teller.

While the book is a great read, her Twitter account is even better and wittier!

And, speaking of that…. In November, I tweeted Stormy to let her know I enjoyed reading her story and she “liked” it!

(By the way, while thunder and lightning are weather terms, it’s also what she calls her boobs!)

“AFTER VISITING FRIENDS: A SON’S STORY”

I just read this 2013 book by “GQ” editor Michael Hainey’s, which tries to find answers about his father’s death.

As a six-year-old, Hainey always believed that his 35-year-old father died of a heart attack in 1970.

However, as an adult, reading the three Chicago newspapers obituaries of his journalist father didn’t add up, so he started inquiring about the mystery decades later.

Great book!

“THE WOMAN WHO LOST HER SOUL”

Bob Shacochis’ 2013 book is fiction, yet it covers five decades of tragedies based on real-life events — rape and murder in World War II Europe as the Germans invaded small countries, murder in the Middle East and Turkey in the 1980s, to destitution in war and hurricane-ravaged Haiti in the 1990s.

It was interesting to see how the story would be weaved together with Haitian voodoo.

The book is a lengthy one at 715 pages and it’s definitely not happy feely with only one semi-redeeming character!

And, I wouldn’t call it a “masterpiece” as is quoted on the cover!

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 13, 2020

We’ve made it to the middle of November and Thanksgiving is not far off now. I can’t wait to feast!

Thank you for taking time to check out my random thoughts!

DECORATED FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Christmas for me runs from November 1st through January 30th!

My trees are up, my cards are ready, and my tunes are putting a jingle in my step!

This is my main tree in the living room.

And, in my bedroom, my tree without icicles! Ironically, every ornament was picked up at yard sales this year in Decatur!

I love the idea so much that next year I’ll place all of my personal ornaments on this tree just to highlight them for you.

And, I’ll put the yard sale ornaments on the main tree with all the icicles!

Happy Holidays!

MY ONLY POLITICAL POST THIS WEEK!

This was too funny not to share! 🙂 If it makes you mad, just be diplomatic in your response.

“DISCO” WEEK!

I’ve already been enjoying Christmas music while I write out my holiday cards. However, Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, Reba, and The Carpenters are temporarily on pause.

I’ve been jamming out and partying to Kylie Minogue’s highly-anticipated new deluxe album, “Disco”!

What a perfect distraction from the U.S. presidential election and the dismal and sad Covid-19 pandemic!

So far, my favorite songs on the album are “Real Groove”, “Supernova”, “Last Chance”, “Where Does The DJ Go?”, “Fine Wine”, and “Spotlight”.

This is, in addition, to the first three single releases, “Say Something”, “Magic”, and “I Love It”.

GRADE: A

“SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES”

This 2017 book is subtitled, “A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words”.

It’s by TVLine editor-in-chief and former “Entertainment Weekly” and “TV Guide” columnist Michael Ausiello.

IT’S ABSOLUTELY THE BEST BOOK I’VE READ IN YEARS!

I’ve been wanting to read it since it came out, but real life and my own drama (D-I-V-O-R-C-E) got in the way.

By page eight, I was ready to date and fall in love in again. By page 26, I had tears streaming down my cheeks and I was happy no one was close enough to me as I was reading and walking by Lake Decatur to see me crying!

The book is amazing. While it’s a heartbreaking story of finding love, fighting for love, and then losing that love in a painful, year-long death sentence, it’s a beautiful love story!

Many will never experience the love that Michael and Kit did.

Ausiello knew just when to drop a funny line, a pop culture reference, or a naughty memory to bring a smile to my face alongside the tears.

One of the “other four-letter words” could be my favorite word (think “F).

Another is one I absolutely love, but I can’t use it without offending someone! (I won’t even give you a hint on that one, but if you’re busy this weekend and on Monday, I’ll see you next Tuesday!)

Also, after reading this beautiful book, “olive oil” take on a whole new meaning and I hope to get to use it one day! ❤️

“RATCHED”

While Netflix’s “Ratched” feels like another season of “American Horror Story”, it was definitely much better than the last two seasons!

It’s very twisted and entertaining. The color scheme in the sets and wardrobe is gorgeous and is a lead character in itself!

I absolutely love Sarah Paulson as Nurse Mildred Racthed! Well, I love Paulson in everything she does and I’d watch her read a phone book!

And I love Finn Wittrock for many reasons!

But, the dreamiest character in an early episode was Daniel Di Tomasso.

And, if there’s only one Emmy nomination for acting in this series, it’s definitely Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo.

She plays Charlotte Wells, a patient suffering from multiple personalities! Okonedo is amazing to watch!

Another season is coming.

GRADE: B+

“THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS”

I just finished Caleb Carr’s 1997 follow-up to “The Alienist”.

If you watched season two of the TNT series, read this book. It’s totally a different story although Libby Hatch is still featured.

Some that die in the series live in the book and others bite the bullet (spoiler alert)!

DRINK UP!

While I’m one of the few Americans that have never seen any movie in the “Star Wars” series or “The Mandalorian”, I’d partake in this in a heartbeat.

Yo Baby Yoda!

It’s Grey Goose Vodka with muddled kiwi fruit, fresh lime, demerara syrup and bitters 🥝.

The cocktail was created by Michael Young, co-owner of the restaurant Vault in Banbridge in the United Kingdom.

THE MILLENNIUM SERIES

I just finished reading the last three books in Stieg Larsson’s Swedish crime series, which were written by David Lagercrantz.

As you might know, Larrsson wrote the first three books, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2005), “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (2006), and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2007).

He turned them in and died before reaping any money or success from them!

Writer Lagercrantz wrote the next three books in the series with the Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist characters.

His books are “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (2015), “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” (2017), and “The Girl Who Lived Twice” (2019).

I definitely enjoyed the three newer books. They definitely had more of an American influence, while mainly still based in Stockholm, Sweden.

You can definitely tell the last were (likely) influenced by the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election with this line: “a string of troll factories that spewed out fake news… not only caused chaos and influenced political elections.”

And, in the “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” category…

In the last book, there’s a very evil, crooked rich tycoon with several hotels around the world (including one in Las Vegas) with ties to Russia and a wife he cheats on that’s from Hungary (which neighbors Slovenia)!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 30, 2020

It’s that time again — the weekend and a few of my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Thank you for checking out what’s on my mind.

Trust me, it’s twisted, naughty, dangerous, and sweet!

So, Happy Halloween!

POPULAR CANDY BY STATE

I guess you won’t be finding these candies in your neighborhood stores at half price November 1st since they’re the most popular!

Of the states I’ve lived, I totally agree with Snickers in Minnesota and I could deal with Milk Duds in Maryland.

But, I’m definitely unsure about Mars bars in Ohio (not sure if I’ve ever had one), M&Ms in Florida and Texas, and Pretzel M&Ms in Wisconsin.

The one that baffles me most is Swedish Fish in Kentucky!!! Seriously? Give me chocolate anytime!

And, Jolly Ranchers in Illinois? Again, give me chocolate!

Final thought: If Swedish Fish makes the list only in Kentucky, where are Twizzlers?

Your thoughts on your state’s favorite candy?

MOST POPULAR HORROR VILLAINS

With more than 100,000 tweets and hashtags tracked since October 1st, here are the most popular horror villains by state this Halloween!

Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Voorhees (“Friday The 13th”) are tied with 12 states each, followed by Pennywise (“It”) with 10 states.

Freddy Krueger (“Nightmare On Elm Street”) won in 7 states.

Other winners include: Chucky (“Child’s Play”) and Hannibal Lecter (“The Silence Of The Lambs”) both with 3 states, and Leatherface (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), The Candyman (“Candyman”), and The Babadook (“The Babadook”) each won in one state!

Go on with your bad selves Michael Myers and Hannibal Lecter, two of favorite villains! 🙂

HALLOWEEN POLITICAL HUMOR

President Richard Nixon can rest easily in his grave this Halloween!

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD TUESDAY!

“I AM WOMAN”

The Helen Reddy biopic that I’ve been talking a lot about lately, “I Am Woman”, is now on Netflix. I’ll be watching it this weekend!

“DEXTER”

Showtime announced that one of my favorite characters (Dexter Morgan), series (“Dexter”), and actors (Michael C. Hall) are coming back next year for another season!

I can’t say how happy this makes me. While I loved the series, I hated how it ended!

When Dexter returns, I want my favorite serial killer doing what he does best — killing! (Well, that and looking damn fine!)

Here are my thoughts and my grades on the eight seasons:

Season 1: (A+)  — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B) —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-) —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+)  — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  (B) — (Despite that main character’s death and with “that” series finale, I’m surprised this season didn’t grade lower!) The only reason it scored higher was because I loved Sam Underwood, who played Zach Hamilton. Also, the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  Additionally, the “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

“THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL KILLERS”

This summer I read this 1992 book by Brian Lane and Wilfred Gregg. Just imagine how many more are known now in the past 28 years!

While the more popular ones live on in infamy, it was interesting reading about other twisted killers that aren’t as well known.

Here are some interesting things I learned:

Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron won an Oscar playing her in “Monster”) was the most well-known female serial killer.

While women only make up about 8% of serial killers in the U.S., they make up 76% of the world’s total!

Albert De Salvo, “The Boston Strangler”, was likely responsible for the deaths of 13 women in a reign of terror from June 1962 to January 1964.

“Likely”? That’s because he confessed to the killings, but he NEVER stood trial for the murders since there wasn’t one piece of direct evidence to connect him to the crimes!

He was jailed on a 1965 rape charge and was murdered in prison in 1973.

I guess I’m a little twisted because I laughed at a couple of responses from serial killers!

German Christa Lehmann confessed to intentionally poisoning three people and accidently killing a fourth person (a friend that ate a poisoned truffle intended for someone else).

When she was led into prison, she reportedly said, “I don’t suppose I should have done it. But with the exception of Anni, they were all nasty people. Besides, I love to go to funerals.”

And, there’s Mary Elizabeth Wilson, who was also known as the “Merry Widow of Windy Nook” in England in the 1950s.

After her first husband of 43 years died painfully from phosphorous poisoning, she went on to murder three husbands in a span of just a few years. One died just 12 days after marrying her!

At her final wedding reception, a modest affair, she “jokingly” told the caterer, “Save the leftover cakes, they will come in handy for the funeral.” She added later, “Better not save them, I might give him a bit longer to live.”

He died within the year and she didn’t even attend the funeral!

“WHEN THE MOB RAN VEGAS”

Back in my former life, there was talk of “us” moving to Las Vegas and that Christmas Santa brought me three books on my favorite American city.

I finally got around to reading them! (More on the other two at a later date!)

This 2007 book by Steve Fischer is subtitled, “Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder” spelled out how the Mob ruled Vegas in its gambling boon, in the 1950s and 1960s.

While I was too young to be a fan of Frank Sinatra during his heyday, he’s definitely portrayed as a scumbag!

Here are some of the fascinating stories Fisher shared:

Sinatra was at the “Havana Mafia Conference” (to perform?) at the Hotel Nacional over Christmas 1946. This was the “meeting” where it was decided that Bugsy Siegel would be killed. This happened six months later in Los Angeles!

While gruesome, this photo actually appeared in the morning Los Angeles Times!

Las Vegas was a very segregated town. While black performers, such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Lena Horne, could perform in the casino showrooms, they COULDN’T walk through the casino or stay in the Strip hotels.

The Moulin Rogue was the first integrated (multiracial) casino and hotel. It opened in mid-May 1955. It was so progressive and successful that it mysteriously closed just six months later!

More widespread integration began on the Strip hotels around 1960.

The Teamsters Union and Jimmy Hoffa loaned millions of dollars to Strip casinos during the 1950s and 1960s through its Pension Fund.

Now that I think about it, could Hoffa, who disappeared in the summer of 1975, be buried under one of the spectacular Strip Casino and Hotels?

And, finally, I find this story very interesting. Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes spent millions to buy up several Strip casinos and hotels in the 1970s.

Hughes was a very paranoid man.

He believed the huge shoe 65 feet off the ground atop the Silver Slipper’s billboard had a photographer hidden inside taking his picture on the Penthouse floor of the Desert Inn.

Why? Because the shoe would stop in his direction!

Hughes wanted the hollowed out shoe “filled in”. When that was denied, he just bought the Silver Slipper Casino for $5.4 million and stopped the “Slipper” from rotating forever!

But, here’s the best story and it’s naughty. So, you may only want to read part of it. 🙂

In March 1951, the Senate Committee on Organized Crime hearings were broadcast live on the early days of television and everyone was glued to their sets.

Not only were many people learning about the Mob for the first time, they also witnessed a very funny, vulgar exchange.

While I’ll censor the word (it’s inappropriate, but the quote is totally hilarious), some may just want to stop here and have a great weekend! 🙂

Remember this was on live television with no way to edit it!

While being questioned about her income, Senator Estes Kefauver asked Virginia Hill, the girlfriend of the late Bugsy Siegel, why so many men gave her so much money.

He said there was a doctor in Chicago, New York mobsters, Ben Siegel, a concert violinist in New York, and a millionaire in Mexico, giving her money for no reason.

She toyed with the Senator and asked if he was “SURE” he really wanted to know. He said, “Of course, I want to know, Miss Hill.”

Hill replied, “Senator, they give me the money, because I’m the best damn ****sucker in the United States.”

Well, wasn’t than scandalous! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 9, 2020

What an interesting week across America! And, hello to my friends beyond our borders! 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts. While we don’t have to agree, we must do it diplomatically!

“HAPPY HOLIDAYS” DOESN’T REALLY COVER IT!

Let’s start off light and cheery! I found a new greeting to get us through the next three months!

And, this is still one of my favorites!

COVID-19 LATEST

I’ve been trying really, really hard to stay out of the fray that is the past four years of 45’s presidency.

But, just when you think nothing else can shock you, SURPRISE!

What? WTH? WTF?

More than 212-thousand people in the U.S. have died this year from Covid-19 and more than 7.6 million have tested positive for it and he tweets, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.” and “Don’t let it dominate your life.”!

While I’m no doctor or medical expert, I feel pretty confident in saying that many people testing positive for Covid-19 are doing so because they’re following pathetic advice like that and not following safety protocols!

This GIF has nothing to do with his comments, but it works!

“VOTE NOT GLOAT”

“Halloween” movie icon Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted an incredible and powerful message last Friday after Donald and Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.

As you can see, I approve this message!

PROOF THAT MASKS SAVE LIVES!

If you don’t believe that masks save lives, I have two words for you –Hannibal Lecter!

Now I want to watch 1991’s Oscar winning Best Picture, “The Silence of the Lambs”, again!

#1 SELLING NON-CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

Since Halloween is nearing, I’ll share this candy stat from the book.

It states that PayDay is the top selling non-chocolate candy bar in the U.S.!

If you love that candy bar, but you crave chocolate, too, a new PayDay was introduced in August — Chocolatey PAYDAY!

What are your favorite candy bars?

Mine are (#4) Milky Way, (#3) PayDay, (#2) Snickers, and at (#1) Zero!

By the way, the original Zero candy bar was produced in Centralia, Illinois!

HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY MARY GRIFFITH

Mary Griffith died earlier this year at the age of 85. She shared the same birthday as me (October 13th).

Most of you don’t know the name. But, in the 1980s, she became an icon after she saw the light and became one of the strongest advocates for the LGBTQ community.

However, it took a tragedy for that to happen.

Because of her faith in religion and the Bible, she terrorized her gay son, Bobby, constantly with Bible verses and with the fear of God after he came out to her.

Bobby ended his life is the summer of 1983 when he jumped off a Portland, Oregon, overpass into the path of an 18-wheeler!

Over time, Mary realized that God didn’t need to change Bobby because her son was perfect just as God created him — gay!

Through heartache and pain, she became a staunch advocate for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in her northern California chapter.

Mary, now that you and Bobby are reunited, I hope you’re enjoying the happiness you never found together on Earth.

I’m honored to share a birthday with you!

If you want to read Mary’s story, Leroy Aarons’ book, “Prayers For Bobby” is excellent.

And, there’s a great Lifetime movie with Sigourney Weaver.

“LOVE, VICTOR”

When this project was announced, I was excited thinking it was a movie and a true sequel to 2018’s “Love, Simon”. When I found out it was a 10-episode Hulu series and would not be a Nick Robinson-series, I was less excited.

So, I waited a almost three months after it premiered. Boy, was I wrong!

“Love, Victor” has a great cast including the adorable lead, Michael Comino as Victor, Anthony Turpel as his best friend, Felix, and George Sear (Benji) and Rachel Hilson (Mia) as his two crushes.

And, it’s a well-rounded story that just doesn’t just focus on Victor’s coming of age story and coming out. His parents have their own drama!

Plus, Nick Robinson does make a brief appearance in a later episode.

“Love, Victor” was renewed for a second season.

There were many funny one-liners including this one from Benji to Victor about Dolly Parton:

“She’s actually one of the few things that gay sons and straight guys agree on!”

“LOVE, SIMON”

This was my #10 movie of 2018 grossing $66.3 million in theaters. When I saw it March of that year, I gave it a grade of B+ and wrote:

“LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, ‘You gotta give them hope.’ The new romantic dramedy, ‘Love, Simon’, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.”

I went on to add, “I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!”

SELENA

One day I was singing a Selena song and then in a scene that night in “Love, Victor”, his mother was singing one of her songs!

It took me back to my 1997 Lubbock, Texas days when I was a reporter and weekend anchor at the CBS affiliate, KLBK.

That was the year that the movie, “Selena”, with Jennifer Lopez came out. I felt like I was on the Selena “beat” because it seem like I was always doing stories on the movie.

And, I remember interviewing Jackie Delgado, who I honestly believe was Selena’s biggest fan in West Texas!

In 1994, I became a Selena fan when I moved to Chicago and bought her fourth album, “Amor Prohibido”.

At the time of her death, at the age of 23, in the spring of 1995, Selena was working on her English language debut album, “Dreaming of You”.

That album debuted at #1 that summer and produced her only Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (the title track).

“SELENA: THE SERIES”

This new series debuts December 4, 2020, on Netflix with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) playing Selena.

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This is Dolly Parton’s first new Christmas album is 30 years.

I loved the duet with Michael Bublé, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”, and the duet with Willie Nelson on his holiday classic, “Pretty Paper”.

Also, her upbeat duet with her brother, Randy, “You Are My Christmas” is great. And, her giddy versions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” are fun.

I also liked her originals “Christmas on the Square”, “Circle of Love”, and “Comin’ Home for Christmas”.

Now, the downside, her duet with Billy Ray Cyrus would have been much better as just a Dolly song. Despite his success in the 1990s, who said he could sing? And, the pairing with Miley Cyrus was forgettable.

However, the most unforgivable song on the album is Dolly’s remake of Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, with Jimmy Fallon!

While I love Dolly and I like Fallon, this song is iconic and it shouldn’t have been so gimmicky!

All I can say is “Mariah, I’m sorry!”

After the first listen, I didn’t feel too cheery. On the second listen, the grade went up some. I hope it continues to grow on me!

GRADE: B

HARVEST SEASON

It’s harvest season, so watch out for farmers and farm machinery on the roadways.

Also, you never know what you might find in your gardens! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 2, 2020

The holiday seasons are fast approaching with Halloween up next!

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’ll be nice to put 2020 behind us and hope for a better 2021!

Just a clarification before you read it. I’m calling someone “scum of the earth” and I’m following my own advice of being “diplomatic”. The words I’d like to use would show far less diplomacy! 🙂

But, first…

HELEN REDDY, YOU’RE ALREADY MISSED!

International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee, and feminist Helen Reddy passed away earlier this week at the age of 78!

A movie honoring Helen and her iconic song, “I Am Woman” is out now and will be released on DVD on November 3, 2020.

I submitted an entry this summer on what Helen’s music and that song meant to me for an advertising campaign promoting the movie. I was chosen! 🙂

Here’s my original and unedited 1 minute, 10 second submission!

Here’s a little bit about my favorite Helen Reddy song!

While the song was included on her 1971 album, she re-recorded it and it was shipped to radio in May 1972. 

It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart! Months later, it was released again.

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

Helen, thank you for the music and you’ll be missed even though you’ll be in our hearts and souls! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

SCUM OF THE EARTH

Read this clearly: Most of us already know which candidate we’re going to vote for on November 3, 2020, so this isn’t about Joe Biden or Donald Trump!

But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scum of the earth!

In no time following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell was on the fast track to have her replacement named and confirmed before the 2020 Election — just a little over a month away!

Again, I don’t care if you’re supporting Biden or Trump (well, I really do, but that’s not the point of this post!), it’s the principle.

SCALIA’S DEATH

Because it was a presidential election year, when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell was such an obstructionist!

He and the Republican-controlled Senate declined to take any action on President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, one month later.

That nomination expired with the end of the 114th Congress in January 2017 and #45’s nomination later that month was confirmed in the spring.

The bottom line is that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”!

While a nominee has already been announced, we SHOULD WAIT for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to move this process forward. The winner should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice!!!

THE “MILLENNIUM” SERIES

Although this Swedish crime series came out more than a decade ago, the three books have been sitting on my bookshelf.

I finally read the Stieg Larsson’s series — “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” — and loved them!

The first book was my favorite and I felt the quality dropped off a little with the next two books.

I also watched the first two Swedish movies based on the books and Noomi Rapace was amazing as Lisbeth Salander.

I remember seeing David Fincher 2011’s English version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and it not making an impression on me. I’ll have to watch it again now that I’ve read the books!

“BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END”

Leif G.W. Persson’s 2002 book was translated to English in 2010.

On the back cover, here how it’s described: “acclaimed as one of the greatest Swedish crime novels of all time” .

Well, based on the four that I’ve read, after the three “Millennium” books, I disagree! Halfway through the 638 page book, I was ready to discard it!

So, skip it!

There are definitely better Scandinavian crime novels out, like Norwegian Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” (2007, translated to English in 2010)!

And, totally irrelevant, 60-year-old Nesbo is so hot! 🙂

That’s just a bonus! 🙂

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

I normally read autobiographies, biographies, and books on real events, so my familiarity with fiction isn’t that great.

However, in the four Scandinavian crime novels that I read this year from Stieg Larsson and Leif G.W. Persson, one thing I appallingly noticed was the degradation and the violence directed toward women.

But, just the description of women in these books was gross and unjust.

Is it a crime novel thing? Heaven forbid, I can’t imagine that Scandinavian women would put up with this from men! Now, granted, these four books were written before the “Me Too” movement.

However, earlier this year, this was addressed by Nesbo in an interview with “The Guardian”.

He says, “Violence against women is a problem in society – it is something we should talk about. I would be more worried if there was an absence of violence against women in fiction, because it’s a problem in real life. Of course, it’s a question of how you do it, but in general I would be more worried if fiction pretended it wasn’t a problem.”

“MAGIC”

On a lighter note and one that excites me so much, Kylie Minogue treated us fans to the second single from her upcoming “Disco” album coming out November 6th!

“Magic” is the new single!

“MAGIC” BONUS TRACK!

I hope you took a few minutes and watched the amazing Kylie video.

So, now you know it’s not a remake of Olivia Newton-John’s four-week #1 smash from the “Xanadu” soundtrack from 1980!

MEGYN KELLY “SETTLE FOR MORE”

I enjoyed reading Megyn Kelly’s 2016 autobiography.

Along with stories about her childhood, her career as a successful lawyer, and how she gave it up to become a television reporter and anchor with no experience (really, I mean no real experience!), she spent a lot of time talking about her abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters in the 2016 presidential election!

She also talked about how great of a guy that toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert Roger Ailes was! He’s the one that sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives!!!

By the way, “toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert” are my words, not Kelly’s!

It wasn’t until the end of the book that she addressed the sexual allegations that brought Ailes down. It felt more like, “Oh, I should mention that!”.

In fairness, Kelly shared a 2006 meeting with Ailes in his office when he once again came on to her. She said he tried “to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips”.

Kelly got away from him and as she moved toward the door, Ailes allegedly (I’ll say that word for legalities even though the scumbag likely said it with venom) said, “When in your contract up?”

She also states that Ailes earlier said, “I don’t like to fight, but when I do, I fight to kill.”

MORE THINGS SHE SHARED IN “SETTLE FOR MORE”

When she moved to Chicago in 1995 to take a law firm job, she looked out her Navy Pier apartment window drinking white Franzia boxed wine and listened to Tina Turner’s “I Don’t Wanna Fight” CD. She said that her “real life” was starting! (I only shared this one because I loved Franzia boxed wine!)

She told Roger Ailes that while she was raised in a Democratic household, she was “apolitical”. She went on to share a passage from her 1988 journal, “Am I a Republican or a Democrat? I seriously don’t know.”

There were rumor of her having an affair with married Fox News anchor Brit Hume. He thought it was funny and said people wouldn’t believe it. She disagreed by saying, “people love to dismiss potentially threatening women as ‘nuts or sluts’. Evidently, I didn’t pass as a nut, so I was to branded a slut…”

“BOMBSHELL”

If you haven’t seen the 2019 movie, “Bombshell”, check it out.

Here’s what I said about it in January.

“Even after seeing ‘The Loudest Voice’ on Showtime last year, watching ‘Bombshell’ was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!”

GRADE:  B

“Bombshell” was my #13 movie of 2019!

“CHOW DOWN”

Although this parody of Wilson Phillips’ #1 1990 debut hit, “Hold On”, came out in 2012, I can’t watch it enough — even today! 🙂

The drag queen trio of Willam Belli, Detox, and Vicky Vox take on the anti-gay agenda of the Georgia chicken restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A.

Disclaimer: Yes, it’s hilariously funny and R-rated.

***It includes adult language and adult situations***!

The bottom line and I couldn’t have said it better myself:  “we just want a little meat without your Bible!”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!

While I wished my idol, President Jimmy Carter a Happy 96th Birthday last week, I’ll do it again since his birthday was October 1st!

In 2016, I left this message for the Carters when I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2020

Fall is here!

I hope as we head toward the holiday season, people are more caring and happier like Jack and his friends!

However, with the 2020 election ahead, that may have to wait until 2021. 😦

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. It’s okay if we disagree, just do it diplomatically!

“RBG”

Much of America is still reeling from the loss of 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday.

She was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed in 1993.

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, in 2018, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (about Mister Rogers) ($22.6 million) and “RBG” ($14.4 million) changed that!

This is a superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

It documents Ginsburg’s trailblazing career — from just being a woman and a mother who decides to become a lawyer in an unwelcoming field for females and to use her voice to make the world a better place for us all!

GRADE:  A

“The Notorious RBG” was an amazing woman and will be sorely missed!

ONE MORE THING…

My original scenario didn’t involve Ginsburg dying, but I hope the outcome is correct!

Back on October 18, 2019, I wrote, “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 [Clinton] will become the new Supreme Court Justice!”

ON A HAPPIER NOTE!

My idol, former President Jimmy Carter will celebrate his 96th birthday next Thursday, October 1st!

Meanwhile, back in August, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter turned 93, and this past summer, the couple celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary!

This makes them the longest married presidential couple!

For the record, President Carter is not only the oldest living president, he’s also the nation’s longest-lived president, and he’s had the longest post-presidency life — closing in on almost 40 years!

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, here’s to the holidays, more anniversaries, and more birthdays!

Four years ago this month, I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and here’s the message I left for the Carters.

Happy Birthday and I love you both!

AND, SPEAKING OF THESE TWO AMAZING PEOPLE

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT….

Many people are devouring pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. Some are in denial and trying to hang on to summer.

Well, it’s my duty to inform you that Christmas will be here before you know it! It’s only three months from today! 🙂

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This year on November 1st when I put up my trees and decorations, I’ll have a new musical entry to help me decorate alongside last year’s stellar Deluxe Anniversary Edition of “Mariah Carey Merry Christmas”!

Dolly Parton is releasing her first new Christmas album in 30 years, “A Holly Dolly Christmas”, on October 2nd.

And, she’s doing a remake of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey’s iconic Christmas standard!

The album also features one of my crushes, Michael Buble — also known as “Mr. Christmas” — on the single, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”!

Here’s the track listing:

Holly Jolly Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Is (featuring Miley Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas – Dolly Parton, Michael Bublé
Christmas On The Square – Dolly Parton
Circle Of Love – Dolly Parton
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Dolly Parton, Jimmy Fallon
Comin’ Home For Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Where We Are (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Pretty Paper – Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Dolly Parton
You Are My Christmas (feat. Randy Parton) – Dolly Parton
Mary, Did You Know? – Dolly Parton

Final note, Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” is still one of my all-time favorite holiday songs and now he’s doing it with Dolly!

“OBAMA’S WARS”

Bob Woodward, along with Carl Bernstein, are household names for basically single-handedly bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency.

Woodward is back in the news with his latest new book, “Rage”, about #45 and his presidency. This is a follow-up to his 2018 book, “Fear: Trump in the White House”.

However, I’m writing about his 2010 book, “Obama’s Wars” today.

It’s a great book that covers how President Barack Obama planned to exit from the two wars he acquired from President George W. Bush — Iraq and Afghanistan.

The downside to the book is that it came out in 2010 and while thorough, it would have been better to show how the exit from those wars and countries progressed.

There’s a quote from President Obama that I hope comes true in 2021 about his 2008 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama told his senior political aide and closest advisor David Axelrod, “Hillary and I were friends before this started. We had this very vituperative campaign, but, you know, she is smart and we ought to be able to do something with her.”

Before he offered her the position of “Secretary of State”, he stated she did her homework, fought hard, was relentless, and “she’d make a great Supreme Court justice”, according to Woodward.

By the way, I had not read the Woodward book when I made the comment last year about Hillary becoming a Supreme Court justice in 2021!

Personally, I’m ready for the next Hillary chapter!

“SPELL MY NAME”

I’ve been a huge fan of Toni Braxton since her 1993 self-titled debut. Her tenth studio album, “Spell My Name”, is perfect Toni Braxton!

The lead off single, “Do It”, is featured twice on the album and both version have charted this summer.

Both versions are amazing — the slower, original version topped the Adult R&B chart and the remix version with Missy Elliot made it to #11 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart.

However, the first song I heard from the album got my feet moving. “Dance” is racing up the Adult R&B chart now and is in the Top 25.

While I absolutely love the upbeat “Dance”, my favorite song on the album is “Happy Without Me”!

Other standout tracks are “Saturday Night” and “Nothin'”.

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 — July 31, 2020

It’s another Friday and another week with Random Friday Thoughts! I guess I’ve been thinking a lot lately! 🙂

Have a great weekend and if you disagree with any of my thoughts, do it diplomatically!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM…

Two things come to mind when I saw this poll a couple of weeks ago.

First, C+C Music Factory’s #4 Hot 100 hit from 1991, “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…”

Also, the title of Justin Simien’s award winning and critically acclaimed 2014 movie! 🙂

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Actually, it’s Shiraz (or Moscato) for me, but this works! 🙂

MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Has anyone tried the limited release Piñata Party Blizzard at Dairy Queen?

It’s described as a birthday cake treat “filled with confetti cake white chocolate stars in pink, blue, and white… pink confetti icingwhipped topping and a rainbow of edible glitter.”

I haven’t had one, but I found a VERY TASTY, similar ice cream at Kroger!

It’s called “Unicorn Swirl” — cake batter ice cream with icing covered animal cracker bits”. And, it’s pink and blue! 🙂

SAY SOMETHING” & “DISCO”

Might as well continue that festive theme….

I’m very excited for November 6, 2020, to get here and it has nothing to do with Christmas, although that’s exciting.

Kylie Minogue will release her 15th studio album, “Disco”, that day.

Last week, she dropped the first single, “Say Something”.

As you can see, I’m ready from just watching the lyric video and dancing along! 🙂

Turn up the volume, take a listen, and try not to dance around like you’re out at a dance club with your friends!

“THE ALIENIST”

Caleb Carr’s 1994 book is incredible. I’ve had it forever and FINALLY got around to reading it!

His attention to detail in late-1890s New York City and the study of those with mental illnesses (the “alienated”) and those that studied them (“alienists”) is remarkable and the writing is spellbinding.

I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for almost two decades — even after I watched the first season of the TNT’s series based on the book.

Now I have to read the sequel, “The Angel of Darkness”.

“THE ALIENIST— TV SERIES

TNT, you suck!

After reading the book, I decided to watch the first season again. I got through four episodes and now they’ve take down the last six episodes. I’m not going to pay for them since I’ve already seen it!

Okay, Anthony, focus… The second season is underway!

If you haven’t watched the first season and you want something mind-boggling and creepy, check it out.

Here’s what I had to say about the first season in February 2018:

“Now it’s an 10-episode TNT series that debuted last week and the production values are first rate.  TNT is spent a reported $5 million on each episode — that’s as much as some movies.  And, trust me, each episode looks like a mini-movie.

After seeing the first two episodes, let me say that it’s an incredibly acted series, but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

‘The Alienist’ is a psychological thriller.  It’s 1896 in New York City and a serial killer is on the loose.  The victims are boy prostitutes, some dressed as girls.

Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), a criminal psychologist, John Moore (Luke Evans), a newspaper artist, and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), a secretary at the police headquarters under newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, are investigating the gruesome murders since “criminal psychology” isn’t a thing yet.”

GRADE:  A

And, sexy Luke Evans plays John Schuyler Moore, a newspaper cartoonist and illustrator who joins Dr. Kreizler’s team of alienists.

DELMONICO’S

If I ever make another trip to New York City (my third), I’m definitely treating myself to an extravagant meal at Delmonico’s.

It’s a famous family chain of restaurants that operated for about a century from the 1820s to the 1920s.

It re-opened in the late-1990s!

I first heard of it while reading Nina Titone’s “My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry That Led To The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”.

John Wilkes Booth’s older famous actor brother, Edwin, regularly dined there.

And, it was prominently featured in Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist”.

While I was already sold on the eatery, here’s the feast that Dr. Kreizler treated his team of amateur alienists to at Delmonico’s (not sure if these items were really served back around 1896 or Carr has exquisite culinary taste – or both):

“platters of oysters”, “green turtle soup au clair”, “aiguillettes [long, thin slivers] of bass done in a creamy Mornay sauce”, “plates of saddle of lamb a la Colbert”, “succulent Maryland terrapin”, “canvasback duck, prepared with hominy and a currant gelee”, “petits aspics de foie gras”, and “Alliance pears: steeped in wine, deep-fried, powdered with sugar, and smothered in apricot sauce” and “petits fours” for dessert.

And, the courses of food the alienists enjoyed at Delmonico’s were served with and “glasses of sherry and bitters”, amontillado [a dry sherry], Hochheimer [a German Rhine white wine], Chateau Lagrange [a Bordeaux French red wine], and Chambertin [a red wine from the Burgundy region].

Bon Appetit!

“EMMY LOVE & EMMY SNUB”

The Emmy nominations came out this week and as I expected Laura Linney was nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress Drama category for “Ozark”! (Co-stars Jason Bateman and Julia Garner also got nominated, along with the series.)

I was surprised that Janet McTeer and Tom Pelphrey were snubbed, especially Tom! 😦

I really think this is Laura’s year to win!

I was also pleased to see Bette Midler nominated for “The Politician” as Hadassah Gold, but bummed that Judith Light was overlooked.

Finally, congratulations to Hulu and Hillary Clinton for the nomination in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series category for “Hillary”.

MORE FROM “THE CLINTON TAPES”

In my last blog, I talked about Taylor Branch’s 2009 book, which is based on his regular one-on-one conversations with President Bill Clinton during his eight years in office.

A couple of other things from the book that I found interesting.

Clinton says there are those in the Republican Party that run primitive campaigns centered around “God, gays, and guns”.

It’s interesting that almost 30 years later, not much has changed!

Also, even back in the 1990s, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was viewed as a “key Republican obstructionist”.

Again, not much has changed some 30 years later!

“SNOWPIERCER” (TV SERIES)

Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer”, with sexy Chris Evans and the incredible Tilda Swinton, was my 14th favorite movie I saw in 2014.

This summer’s TNT’s 10-episode series was very enjoyable.

I liked the fresh take on the climate change disaster and especially seeing Allison Wright (“The Americans”) again.

While entertaining, I don’t think I’ll stick around for season two, even with the shocking revelation at the end of season one.

Shooting on season two was almost finished before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Hollywood.

It’s expected to return in the summer of 2021.

GRADE: B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony