Posts Tagged ‘Emmy Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 2, 2018

In life, we’re lucky if we’re blessed with good health, prosperity, happiness, and love.

As we go through “real life”, some or all of those things are taken away.

In my random thoughts today, I honor my one true unconditional love — the one that brought me so much joy and happiness.

STILL MISS MY SWEET GIRL

This week marks six years now that my golden retriever, Miss ABBA, crossed over the rainbow bridge.  She was a few months shy of turning 12.

We traveled down many roads together.  From the llama farm in Ohio where she was born to swimming in Lake Michigan when we lived in Chicago to the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and then back to the cold, snowy Midwestern winters in the Quad Cities, Miss ABBA loved it all and she loved life!

This is her contribution to storm clean up after a derecho (a fast-moving, widespread, intense line of wind) moved through Iowa and Illinois in 2008.  In Moline, Illinois, 94 mph winds brought destruction and power outages for days.

ABBADerecho1

This is Miss ABBA enjoying her last snow just days before that fateful day in 2012.

This was part of a calendar in her memory — “Miss ABBA’s 12 Christmases”.

ABBA Christmas Card 001

As I was lying on the bed comforting ABBA on those final two days, these words just came to me and I put them on paper.

While I’m not a poet, I still love this — my goodbye to Miss ABBA!

ABBA letter 001

 

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

 

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

 

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

 

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

 

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

 

My best friend — ABBA (May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012)

This is one of my favorite pictures taken of Miss ABBA in her last month with us…

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

… and this one was one of the funniest back in the day! 🙂

ABBAJuly2010

Reading that poem brought tears to my eyes again, but seeing this goofy picture is making me smile. 🙂

Miss ABBA, thank you for the memories!

ALSO, MR. PANDA

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” one year ago this week, too.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy was almost 14!

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

WINTER OLYMPICS — GO GUS!!!!!!

Okay, if that last picture of Miss ABBA didn’t make you smile, this might.

This month, when our athletes go to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, we should all support them.

I’m totally “behind” 26-year-old British born-American silver medalist (2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi) freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy! 🙂

snowy gus

Now, who’s complaining about winter and snow??? 🙂

I hope he wins more medals this year.  Even if he doesn’t, he flies the rainbow flag proudly for the LGBT community!

Okay, can you tell I’m crushing on him? It’s all innocent because he has a boyfriend — actor Matt Wilkas (“Gayby”) !

Gus Matt

THIS MAKES ME SMILE, TOO!

The new country-tinged dance hit, “Dancing”, from Kylie Minogue came out Wednesday and I can’t stop watching it!

She looks so glamorous in her sequins!

The new album, “Golden” arrives April 6, 2018!

REMEMBERING KAREN CARPENTER

It was 35 years ago this weekend that superstar Karen Carpenter died of heart failure brought on from years of battling the eating disorder, anorexia nervosa.

It was a sad day and it still is because I idolized The Carpenters as a kid and I still love their music.

karen carpenterpeople

While eating disorders mainly affect girls and women, I’ve been very open and vocal about my battle with bulimia.

With all the images we see in the entertainment world of size zero women and men with their washboard abs, we need to be honest that those are unrealistic goals for most people.

Karen

On the Billboard Hot 100, The Carpenters scored 20 hits with 11 of them reaching the Top 5, including three #1s:  “(They Long To Be) Close To You” (1970, four weeks), “Top of the World” (1973, two weeks), and “Please Mr. Postman” (1975).

However, Karen and Richard were even bigger on the Billboard Adult Contemporary charts.  They scored 32 hits.  Of those, 15 topped the charts and three more reached #2!

In honor of The Carpenters, I’m sharing my five favorite songs.

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 CD

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING”

#1 CD

top of the world

“THE ALIENIST”

You know I love “The X-Files”.  However, “The Alienist” is not about those “aliens”.

An “alienist” is someone who works with those with mental illness, those that have been “alienated” from society.

Caleb Carr’s book, “The Alienist”, came out in 1994 and I’ve owned the book for many years, yet I haven’t read it.

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

OTHER PHENOMENAL RECOMMENDATIONS FROM “THE ALIENIST” DIRECTOR

“The Alienist” is directed by sexy Belgian Jakob Verbruggen.

Jakob

He’s also directed three of my favorite shows:  “The Fall” (with Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan),  “House of Cards”, and “London Spy” (with Ben Whishaw).

If you’ve never seen the fantastic and creepy “The Fall” (three seasons — 17 episodes)…

or the incredible and heartbreaking “London Spy” (5 episodes), do so now!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE:  AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

If you’re not watching this, start!

I’m beginning my thoughts with Wednesday night’s stunning third episode and working backwards.

The most recent episode was about Chicago real estate developer Lee Miglin’s murder, Andrew Cunanan’s third victim.

Judith Light plays Miglin’s wife, Marilyn, the owner of a cosmetics and perfume company and a star on the Home Shopping Network.

Miglin

When Emmy nominations are announced later this year, I can see Light getting a nomination along with Darren Criss (more on him later).

Lee Miglin was played by Mike Farrell of television’s “M*A*S*H” fame!

After I watched this episode, I didn’t even delete it because it was so powerful that I might watch it again!!!

EPISODE THREE GRADE:  A+

The latest FX series from Ryan Murphy, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now three episodes into its nine-episode run.

It focuses on the murder of fashion designer Versace, how his family reacted to the senseless killing, and the manhunt for the shooter.

However, it drives home how homophobia in the police investigation let Andrew Cunanan’s killing spree go on long enough for Versace to become the most famous victim. After all, it was mostly just “gay people” being killed!

sarcasm

“Glee” and “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” star Darren Criss is incredible as Cunanan.  This role is giving him a great opportunity to go the dark side!

GRADE:  B+

INTERESTING TIDBITS

The Versace family is calling the series “a work of fiction”.

Yet, Ryan Murphy and FX are standing behind its accuracy and the validity of Maureen Orth’s 1999 book, “Vulgar Favors:  Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History”, which it’s based.  The Versace family was against the book, too, when it came out.

In Italy, where the Versace family lives, the series is so popular, its ratings are higher than “Game of Thrones”!

RYAN MURPHY ON THE SHOW’S TIMING

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Ryan Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

ANTHONY AS CUNANAN — BY ACCIDENT

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.

Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in the city.

Cunanan

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities.  See for yourself! 🙂

“IT”

While I never saw the original television version of “It” with Tim Curry, I finally got around to seeing 2017’s movie version that’s made $700 million worldwide!

It was enjoyable and creepy.

While I expected the paper sailboat scene to end badly, how it went down surprised me and set the mood for the movie.

On a lighter note, the cussing teenagers and all the New Kids on the Block references cracked me up!

GRADE: B+

A sequel “It: Chapter Two” is scheduled to hit theaters in September 2019!

ALTERNATIVE “IT”

And, for a scarier (humorous) look at “It” and “Kellywise”.

snl kellyanne

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — January 12, 2018

It’s a new year and I’m posting my first official “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2018.

2018 RFT

I hope you had a happy holiday season and are looking forward to great things over the next twelve months.

GLAD “WINTER BREAK” IS OVER

It’s not because 24-hour Christmas music is no longer being played or that people are taking down their trees and decorations.  I miss that!

I’m glad “winter break” is over so my favorite television shows return.

I want my “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Madam Secretary”, “The Good Doctor”, and “The Brave”.

On, “Murder”, I’m ready to see how the bloody elevator scene turns out!

911

When “The Walking Dead” returns in February for the final eight episodes of this season, I’m excited for another reason.

While I want to see the original character revealed to have been bitten by a walker die…

FTWD Christmas

… the real reason is that I want this dreadful season to end so “Fear The Walking Dead” will return for its fourth season!

“MADAM SECRETARY”

I got a pleasant surprise on the latest episode of “Madam Secretary” with Jayne Atkinson playing Vice President Teresa Hurst!

Needless to say, there’s tension between her and Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni).

Jayne

If Atkinson looks familiar, she was Secretary of State Catherine Durant under President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) on “House of Cards”!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

When we last saw her, she was hospitalized after being pushed down the stairs by Underwood! *

It’s unknown whether she’ll return for the final season this year.

*He’s still an incredible actor!  Creep!

FLINT WATER CRISIS

One of my goals in 2018 is to drink more water.

While there are many parts of the world that lack clean water or have water shortages, it’s a given here in the United States that we should have a safe water supply.

In China, even the people that live there will not drink the water without boiling it, which should be a crime in itself — that a country can’t or doesn’t provide clean water!

However, I’m venting today about the Flint, Michigan water crisis that started in 2014.

I just read a couple of extensive (old) articles in “Time” and “Rolling Stone” and it still infuriates me now as it did almost four years ago.

To think city government officials (not elected officials, but ones appointed by Republican Governor Rick Snyder) approved a plan to change the water supply to save $19 million over eight years.

That might have been a logical choice had they not chosen to get the water from the Flint River, which was basically a dumping ground for the auto industry for decades.

The short story is that a month after the source of the city’s water changed, people started reporting funny smelling water coming out of the faucets brown or yellow.

flint-water

Yet, city officials said it was safe!

Kids started getting sores on their bodies from bathing and people’s hair started falling out.

It wasn’t until early 2016 that Governor Snyder admitted failure and vowed to make things right.

POLL__Governor_Rick_Snyder

Film maker Michael Moore stated “The people of my hometown, Flint, Michigan, are being poisoned.  Let’s not mince words:  This is a racial crime.  If it were happening in another country, we’d call it an ethnic cleansing.”

Senator Bernie Sanders called for Snyder to resign.

And, in Charleston, South Carolina, in January 2016, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We’ve had a city in the United States of America where the population, which is poor in many ways and majority African American, has been drinking and bathing in lead-contaminated water, I’ll tell you what — if the kids in a rich suburb of Detroit had been drinking contaminated water and being bathed in it, there would’ve been action!”

I think Flint city officials, Governor Snyder, and even those at the Environmental Protection Agency that knew about this and dropped the ball should be jailed for their incompetence!

To this day, we still don’t know how the lead poisoning that the kids got from the contaminated water will affect them in the long run.

The bottom line is that this is a disgrace and, I agree, racism is and was the catalyst!

SO, WHAT NOW?

In March 2016, “Time” reported that the state legislature appropriated $37 million to help treat kids with high lead levels and pay residents’unpaid utility bills.

Governor Snyder proposed $195 million for aid and infrastructure improvements (potentially replacing about 5,000 lead pipes) and Flint Mayor Karen Weaver is proposing $55 million to replace corroded plumbing.

Remember, this was to save $19 million over eight years!!!!!

MICHELE BACHMANN, GOD TALKED TO ME!

Former Minnesota Congresswoman and presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann is considering a run for Al Franken’s U.S. Senate seat.

Bachmann

She says she’s asking God if it should be her!

Well, Michele, I had enough your insanity in 2012 and God came to me in a vision and said, “Tell Michele thanks, but no thanks!”

“THE X-FILES”

In television, we’ve learned to “never say never” or believe the words “series finale”.  Also, being killed off doesn’t mean you’re really dead!

x-files

I’m excited that “The X-Files” is back for ten episodes for its eleventh season, but I’m bummed to hear that Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, says she won’t return for another season.

And, creator Chris Carter and Fox says without her, there will be no more “The X-Files”!

Gillian David The X-Files

Many of you gave up on the series before it ended with its ninth season in 2002.  The six-episode reboot last year started off strong and lost much of its audience.

It’s back for ten episodes on Fox this winter and the first episode was a major shocker to “The X-Files” fans.

The first few minutes were just okay, but once it got going, it was a crazy ride!

Now, about that major shocker.  Let’s just say that fans are irate and Carter is defending his decision.  The shocking scene was a “wow” — that turned to creepy and then disgusting!

This season focuses again on the extinction of the human race, aliens, and Scully’s teenage son, William, who has alien DNA.  He’s also been in hiding from the government (the bad guys) since birth.

I can’t wait to see how this “ends”!

“THE CROWN”

I finally got on board and binge-watched this Netflix original now in its second season.

Claire Foy and Matt Smith star as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

It’s interesting how Elizabeth II became the Queen and watch all the obstacles she faced.  Also, it’s great to see the “young” Queen because I grew up with and only know the “older” Queen.

In the first season, Foy won both the Golden Globe Award and the Screen Actors Guild Award and the series also won the Golden Globe for Best Series – Drama.

John Lithgow was amazing as Prime Minister Winston Churchill.  He also won the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series Emmy.

While the cast of seasons one and two were incredible, Foy, Lithgow, and Vanessa Kirby (Princess Margaret) were my favorites.

When the show returns for seasons three and four, there will be an all new cast and we’ll see a time jump from the early-1960s.

By the way, my favorite episode was S2, E9 with President John F. Kennedy & Jackie visiting Buckingham Palace.  It was also also Foy’s favorite episode of the second season.

GRADE: A

“DETROIT”

This was my fourth favorite movie of 2017.  Sadly, it was ignored in theaters, so watch it on DVD.

It’s from Oscar winning director Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) and is about the race riots in Detroit in the late-1960s.

The scenes between racist white police officers and the violence they subject to a mostly black group at a hotel is appalling and gripping.

GRADE: A

“GIRLS TRIP”

If you think you need a group of men acting badly (“The Hangover”) to have a great time, get with the times.

A group of long-time friends get together in New Orleans and let it all hang out in this smash comedy ($139 million at the box office) starring Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith, Regina Hall, and newcomer Tiffany Haddish.

We all need a friend like Haddish’s Dina!

The movie is hilarious and it easily earns its hard “R” rating — for raunchy. 🙂

You’ll also want to Google Kofi Siriboe afterwards!

kofi-feat

GRADE: A-

REMEMBERING DAVID BOWIE

It’s hard to think that it’s been two years now this week since David Bowie left us.

To remember him, here’s my favorite Bowie song.

While “Modern Love” hit #2 in the Canada, Israel, and the U.K., it only hit #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 here in the U.S.

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 13, 2017

Another weekend is upon us and I hope it’s a great one for you.

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts.  Please feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

WHAT A CLOWN!

It seems that Kellyanne Conway is still around and still Kellyanne.

In the wake of all of the inappropriate sexual allegations coming out against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, I’d call him a pig, but I don’t want to insult the swine community!

Earlier this week, Conway lashed out on Twitter about Hillary Clinton’s slow response on condemning Weinstein, who donated to many Democratic candidates.

Kellyanne

I thought about it and it infuriated me even more, so I decided to reach out to her.

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

Today, I’m starting and ending my blog with it.  We need it!

I woke up a couple of weeks ago to this series of tweets from #45.  I pondered the callousness of the tweets.

DT

Seriously? Puerto Ricans are natural-born citizens of the United States!

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

CarmenThis same mayor that he’s criticizing has been wading through floodwaters helping her people while some “leaders” golf the weekends away.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of #45, but there comes a time when little boys need to grow up or shut up!

This saddens me as much as much as it angers me!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

While being bashed by #45, Carmen Yulin Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, was thinking of Las Vegas and the victims of the massacre there, while working to get aid from the U.S. government for her people.

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s been almost two weeks since a lone, white terrorist gunned down 58 people in a shooting spree at a country music concert outside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas that left more than 500 others injured.

LV

While police sort through the facts of the case to learn “why”, the debate quickly turned to gun control.  Sadly, this is a long-standing debate that falls on deaf ears after every mass shooting in America.

Geez, we have more than any other country in the world, yet we have a gridlocked political system that will not work to find a solution to make both side happy. But, I’m not even getting into that debate in this blog.

I love Vegas and I’m going there in December.  While there, I’ll drop money at the casinos, I’ll eat in the restaurants, and I’ll tip the cocktail and food servers well.

My biggest problem in the hours following this massacre was with the thing that was needed the most.  Although a “Go Fund Me” page was set up and quickly raised several million dollars for the victims’ medical costs, I didn’t donate.  Why?  Because blood was needed more than money as the victims were rushed to the hospitals.

Blood

I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m a gay or bisexual man that’s had sex with another man in the past year.   This excludes me from donating, yet it’s okay for a man or woman that hasn’t had same-sex relations to donate.  Yet, they may have slept with half of the free world (and even without protection), but it’s okay for them to donate.

I understood the hysteria in the 1980s and early 1990s when so much was unknown about HIV and AIDS, but three decades later?

Every blood donation is so thoroughly screened and tested before it enters the blood bank and HIV tests can be done in 15 minutes these days!

I have beautiful veins and in the late-1980s, I donated blood every chance I got and I’m regularly tested for HIV.

So, when there’s a national crisis and the American Red Cross is begging for blood donations, that’s where I draw the line.  I’m emphatically uncompassionate to its pleas!

Harsh?  No, it’s a reality and it’s one for which I didn’t set the rules!  To the Food and Drug Administration, do your job and stop discriminating!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

The new season of one of my favorite shows, ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” is incredible.

After just two episodes (I haven’t watched the newest episode), I love the vibe of the season 4.

Viola Davis is incredible (as always) as the very mean Annalise Keating, who’s turned over a new leaf and so far, so good.

I actually cried during the season premiere and I applauded Annalise in first case after returning to practicing law.

Viola

She’s defending an older black woman, who has spent most of her life in and out of jail and prison.

The woman was raped as a young girl and arrested for prostitution at 13-year-old.  She was released back to the streets, while white girls arrested that year for the same crime was put in a home for rehabilitation and a chance to turn their lives around.

Annalise argues, “Because that’s what we do to black people, women, and gay people. We turn a blind eye and we tell them their lives don’t matter, but they do matter!”

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

I’ve shared many pictures of the cute ducks and the babies in my complex since I moved to Panama City, Florida, in early May.

Ducks

And, I’ve also talked about the turtles feasting on unfortunate ducks.  I know, it’s the “circle of life”.

The other day, I was walking by the pond by my apartment and I noticed a turtle upside down in the shallow water with its head submerged underwater.

I guess it had fallen into the water upside down!  I didn’t know how long it had been there.  So, I had three options: let it drown, let it try to flip itself over (which seemed impossible), or flip it over myself.

Well, being the “tree hugger” and a softie, I helped it and it swam away.

Turtle 1

I hope it remembers that and it doesn’t feast on a baby duck one day!

“THE SNOWMAN”

I’ve only been to the theaters once this year.  Back in the spring, I saw “Beauty and the Beast”.

Next weekend, I’m going to see my future ex-boyfriend, Michael Fassbender, in “The Snowman”.

This movie is based on the superb Norwegian crime thriller by Jo Nesbo.

I haven’t been to a movie alone since 1996 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, when I went to see “101 Dalmatians”!

PREMATURE BABIES

In 2010, the survival rate of a baby born under 3.3 pounds was at 78%.  There was a lot of improvement in those odds since the 1980s.  (What a great decade — except for AIDS and Ronald Reagan!)

Focus Anthony!  The point I want to make is that just five decades earlier, in 1960, the survival rate for a baby that size was only 28%.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964I was one of those babies and I spent the first six weeks of my life in the Mayfield Hospital and look at me now!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, I’m a survivor and it’s my birthday!  I’m celebrating it with my sister Tammy and her boyfriend Gerald, who are visiting me in Panama City.

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

This was my birthday in 2011, my last one with my best friend, Miss ABBA.  Yes, it warm enough in the Quad Cities to be out in a tank top playing ball. 🙂

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

Wait, Dessie didn’t know then that I prefer chocolate cake?  (Actually, I haven’t met too many desserts I didn’t like.  Why can’t people be like desserts for me?) 🙂

AP 1st Birthday

My most exciting birthday ever was my 50th in Paris, France!

It started with a Seine River dinner cruise, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and then sipping champagne stage-side at the Moulin Rogue (sans Satine!)  After that, it was off to my dream destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

Also, I can’t forget celebrating in Las Vegas in 2012 with Madonna!

Let’s hope in the next 50 years I have other birthdays to rival those.

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

It’s the new Christmas album from Reba McEntire, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

As I shared with you in an August blog, Reba released a version of this album through Cracker Barrel, a chain restaurant with a history of homophobic and racist practices.

It was also the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

This re-issue features new versions and new songs with Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

Freddie Highmore was incredible as Norman Bates on A& E’s “Bates Motel”, so I was excited to check out his new ABC series, “The Good Doctor”.

Highmore is very convincing as Dr. Shaun Murphy, who is a surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.  The show follows the struggles he faces in the high pressure world of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.

While some of the show comes across as far-fetched to me, I’m still with it after three episodes.

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

This movie is based on the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s.

Without her knowledge, doctors used her cancer cells, known as HeLa, to advance not only cancer research, but research for many different other diseases, too.

Oprah Winfrey is great as Debra Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, who worked with a Rebecca Skloot, a writer who was researching and writing a book about her mother.

The HBO movie was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

20-year-old Norwegian record producer and DJ Alan Walker was only 17 when he produced a version of a song called “Fade” without vocals.

A new version, “Faded”, featuring Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim, hit #1 in 17 countries and reached the Top Ten in, at least, ten more countries (add another one if you count the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the U.S., where it went to #4.)

“Faded” was my favorite song of 2016 and it’s been viewed more than 1.3 billion times (that’s billions with a “B”) on YouTube!

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Ready to Watch Some Movies?

I love watching movies, yet I’ve only been to the theater once this year.  I saw “Beauty and the Beast” when it came out this spring.

I want to share some of the recent ones I’ve watched at home.  I highly recommend some and you should proceed with caution on others.

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

If you want a movie that doesn’t have superheroes or isn’t a sequel, check out this Warren Beatty-directed flick about reclusive and eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

While he’s the star of the movie, it focuses on the flirting and budding affair of one of his drivers (Alden Ehrenreich) and an actress on his payroll (Lily Collins).

Ehrenreich is mesmerizing on screen and for “Star Wars” fans, he’ll be playing the young Han Solo in next year’s stand alone film.

Collins was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Sadly, the movie bombed at theaters, so here’s your chance to see it in Redbox.

GRADE:  B+

“THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES”

You’ve got to check out this Netflix original comedy!

Jessica Williams plays a struggling New York City playwright that’s trying to get over a break-up.

Since her relationship ended, life hasn’t been all that great — career rejections letters and rejects in her single life.

She goes out on a date with a divorced man a few years older, played by the charming Chris O’Dowd.

Williams and O’Dowd are funny together and that first date is hilarious.

If you’ve ever had a break-up, this romantic comedy (with some drama) is perfect.

GRADE:  B+

“THE DINNER”

This movie stars two of my favorite actors, Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and one of my new discoveries, Rebecca Hall.

Gere and Hall (he’s a politician running for governor and she’s his wife) are having dinner with his brother and sister-in-law (Steve Coogan and Linney).

They’re there to discuss a family issue that could blow up and become a public relations nightmare for Gere and bring criminal charges onto the family.

If the movie focused on the two couples and dinner at the restaurant, it would have been rated much higher.

While I know there has to be back story to set it up, some of the scenes went on way too long — especially the Gettysburg scene.  It was painfully long!

However, “The Dinner” is still a movie to see just for the spectacular acting of the four leads.

GRADE:  B-

Since I mentioned that Rebecca Hall is one of my new favorites, I want to add “Christine” to the list.

I saw this movie this summer on Netflix and wrote about it to my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 23, 2017.

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“CLOSET MONSTER”

This little seen Canadian movie is about a kid that witnesses a harrowing hate crime and doesn’t tell anyone.

As he’s coming of age as a teenager, he’s traumatized living in a broken home with a homophobic father, especially since he thinks he’s gay.

Connor Jessup is incredible as Oscar, the tormented teenager.

You’ll probably remember Jessup from the second season of ABC’s “American Crime”, where he played a teen that was raped by a member of the football team, which was covered up by the school.

Jessup plays heartbreak and pain well!

GRADE:  B

“PHIL SPECTOR”

This 2013 HBO film was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards.

I bought it when a movie franchise was going out of business and just got around to watching it.

It stars one of my favorite actresses Helen Mirren as an attorney for Phil Spector, incredibly played by Al Pacino.

As you recall, Spector, one of the most famous music producers of all time, was on trial for shooting and killing a “down on her luck” actress in his home.

While the movie didn’t win any Emmy Awards, Mirren did win the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie”.

GRADE:  B+

I hope you’re able to check some of these out.  Some are in Redbox, some on Netflix, and some might be harder to find.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 21 , 2017

It’s the weekend and can you believe it’s already late July.  Where does the time go?

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. Please feel free to share yours with me.

PRESIDENT CARTER WAS SPEAKING TO ME

As I shared with you earlier this week, I got to meet the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life — President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

R JC AP

Here’s that blog about me meeting three of my four idols (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

What I didn’t share with you was a part of his Sunday school sermon that spoke just to me (well, I’m sure others felt he was speaking to them, too).

Four days before meeting President Carter, in my blog “Sugar Coating Life”, I shared with you, “I’m not depressed or despondent, but I’m sad and lonely.  I miss human correspondence and friendship.  However, in life, we never know what’s right around the corner.  Tomorrow, I could meet my new best friend — someone to make me change the way I feel about life, love, and the future.”

President Carter told us that his favorite chapter in the Bible is James.  In James, it talks about if you’re unhappy, it’s your fault.  You are the one that has to change it.

So, with my feelings last week about not loving the direction of my life, it seems like I really needed to be at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, last weekend, for inspiration.

IRONIC?

There was another thought racing through my mind during President Carter’s Sunday school lesson from Ezekiel.

He told us that Ezekiel and Jesus Christ were both “unpopular” in life, but God gave them a second chance.

I couldn’t help but think about President Carter, too.

CarterPres

While I idolize the man (and I’m not alone), he had a very difficult presidency.

He told us that he prayed more in those four years than in his entire life.  At times, he’d say a prayer with his eyes open!

So, like Ezekiel and Jesus, Jimmy Carter got a second chance in life after being president.

In those 36 years, he and Ms. Rosalynn have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, ensured fair elections across the world, brought medication to poor countries and worked to eradicate Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raised awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

Second chances are great!

“THE SNOWMAN” TRAILER IS HERE!

“The Snowman” trailer is finally here!

It’s one of the most anticipated movies for me behind “Beauty and the Beast”, which I saw in March, and next year’s “Mamma Mia” sequel!

snowman

Two summers ago, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

The book was creepy and incredible and a must-read if you like crime novels!

In it, Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

My man crush (well, one of them), Michael Fassbender, plays Hole.  The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”).

It opens on October 20th.

EMMY NOMINATIONS

I’m thrilled “House of Cards”, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, and Michael Kelly got some Emmy love with nominations.

Also, my girl crush, Nicole Kidman, was nominated (alongside Reese Witherspoon) for the fantastic “Big Little Lies”, which also got a nod.

However, I most excited that Jessica Lange is nominated for “Feud:  Bette and Joan” (Susan Sarandon was also nominated).

feud

In “Feud”, I was mesmerized by Lange’s transformation into Joan Crawford.  As much as I love Susan Sarandon as an actress, I saw her “Bette Davis” as Susan Sarandon.

What’s surprising is that Lange has never seen the 1981 Faye Dunaway movie, “Mommie Dearest” and she says that she’ll likely never see it.

Let’s hope that Lange picks up the Emmy award on September 17th.

READ MY MIND, IT’S YOUR CALL! OR, FOR MY BROKEN HEART, RUMOR HAS IT…

With her Las Vegas residency, Reba McEntire (with Brooks & Dunn) has a good thing going.  She performs her music a few months out of the year to sold out crowds that come to her.

Sadly, now that ABC passed on her new series from Marc Cherry, I have an idea for Reba.

Back in the  late-1990s, Reba did a non-traditional tour called “The Singer’s Diary”.  It was part theater and part concert.

Lately, many artists like U2 and Bruce Springsteen are touring and performing entire albums and not just the hits and popular songs.

Could you imagine Reba performing most of the tracks of her early 1990s albums, “Rumor Has It”, “For My Broken Heart”, “It’s Your Call”, and “Read My Mind” in a more intimate venue?

Reba

Of course, “Rumor Has It” and “Read My Mind” are my favorite Reba albums.

CHRISTMAS & GOD

Okay, if that’s too far-reaching, how about a Christmas and gospel-tinged show to feature tracks from her 1987 and 1999 Christmas albums and her latest “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”?

reba-faith

There’s little hope of hearing new Reba music on country radio, so I was just thinking outside the box for our favorite redhead.

ONE MORE CHRISTMAS NOTE

Christmas is now only five months away and you know I love me some Mariah Carey.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-Tape

While Mariah is currently on tour with Lionel Richie (I had tickets to the postponed Nashville show, but it was eventually cancelled), I’ve been wanting to go to New York to see her annual Christmas concert.

On Wednesday, Mariah announced that she’s taking the show to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for six nights in December!  I think I need to plan a trip now!

Here’s a couple of version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for my “Christmas in July” friends. 🙂

It should come as no shock why I posted more than just the original video. 🙂

Two words: Hot Elves!

CHEAPER TO DRINK LIQUOR!

Now that I’m getting settled into Panama City, Florida, I’ve noticed a few peculiar things.

I expected produce to be really cheap here and it isn’t.  Well, limes are inexpensive.

Milk

However, I’m always jealous when my sister tells me that milk is sometimes less than a dollar a gallon back in the Quad Cities, when it’s almost $4 a gallon here.

Heck, it’s cheaper to drink liquor, especially when I find a big clearance sale at Walmart like I did here.  This’ll make the Christmas party fun!

Christmas Cheer

MORE “TALES” COMING!

I’ve been missing 28 Barbary Lane for far too long and it’s time for more Tales.

Netflix is bringing Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series back!

Laura Linney (“Mary Ann Singleton”) and Olympia Dukakis (“Anna Madrigal”) are returning.

If you recall, the series made its American debut on PBS in 1994.  It was followed by “More Tales of the City” in 1998 (Showtime), and “Further Tales of the City” in 2001 (also on Showtime).

If you missed it, you’ve got to search it out.

Here’s what I wrote about it before.  (Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/armistead-maupin-thank-you-for-motivating-me/

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

This is another of “based on a true story” movies that I’ve been checking out lately.

It stars David Oyelowo (“Selma”, “The Butler”, “The Help”, and “Lincoln”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) as a interracial couple that meets in London during World War II.

He’s in line to become President of a South African tribe when he meets a woman he falls madly in love with and neither of their families approve of the union.

Many of the movies that I’ve loved on DVD this summer failed miserably at the box office, including this one.

Maybe they just play better at home!

GRADE:  A

HUGE BOX OFFICE BOMB THIS WEEKEND

I expect “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” to be a massive box office bomb this weekend — maybe the biggest of 2017.

The sci-fi movie, which opens wide (3,400+ theaters), has a reported $209 million budget!

“Newsweek” reports that it’ll have to make $400 worldwide to break even with all the promotion!

PANAMA CITY DRIVING

Getting around here is interesting.

Drivers in Panama City are crazy.  They’ll be driving along at 40 mph and just slam on the brakes to make a turn.  No slowing down or signal, just stop and turn!

Also, the signal lights here are a nightmare.  I drive to work from north to south on Harrison Avenue and I’m sitting at lights forever.  It seems the lights are set up to keep east-west traffic moving.

In Chicago, you sit in traffic because there’s thousands of cars.  Here, you just sit and wait. 🙂

“BLOOD DRIVE”

This SyFy series has an interesting plot line.  It’s set in the future and cars run on blood!  So, I gave it a try.

After watching a vixen standing outside her car sensually licking on a sucker to entice drivers to stop, she teases a couple of guys that stop and then jumps in her car to have them chase her.

She stops and the one creep attempts to rape her and she stabs him in the privates and feeds him to her car engine.

Blood Drive

This was how the series started and I stopped it at the 4 minute, 57 second mark.  No thanks!

FLASHBACK

James Blunt scored a massive #1 worldwide hit in 2005 with “You’re Beautiful”.  The follow-up single, “Goodbye My Lover” was even better, but it didn’t connect with American Top 40 radio.

Both were from the fantastic album, “Back to Bedlam”.

The first single from the follow-up album, “All the Lost Souls”, was released ten years ago this week.

Sadly, “1973” didn’t bring continued success to Blunt in America.

However, the song is still one of my favorites.

It topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela and reached #2 in Germany and Italy.

Blunt’s new album, “The Afterlove”, came out in March.

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 7, 2017

I hope you had a nice Fourth of July with some good food, great friends, and celebrating the country’s birthday.

I worked, so it was just another day for me.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts and enjoy your weekend!

FACE LIFTS & DECENCY

I’ve been very good at saying little about the state of nation since January 20th.

I expressed my feelings of how my life has shattered since the night of November 8th and not being able to deal with the anger in “It Starts With Me”:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/it-all-starts-with-me/

And, the “Change” it’s brought to my life:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/change/

So, I’ll still stick to saying very little about #45.

However, I’m going to comment on the disgusting Twitter tirade of Donald Trump toward Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

 

Psycho 1

I don’t watch their show, so I’m have no loyalty for them in that sense.

However, there are so many things going on in this country and the world that needs the undivided attention of a leader and this isn’t one of them.

Neither is Twitter.  I know it’s the electronic age and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever social media you use gives you access to express your feelings with immediacy. But, maybe some just need to think before they speak.

The bottom line is that there isn’t a politician in this country EVER that hasn’t been criticized by the news media.

Jimmy Carter

Look at all that was said about Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s.  Did you see them personally attack news anchors or reporters with such vile?

RonaldReagan

No, they were gentlemen.

This is a disgrace!

#Resistance

FOURTH OF JULYS

I worked until noon this Fourth of July and chilled out the rest of the day in the Florida heat and humidity.

For those of you that have followed me for years, you may already know this.

My favorite Independence Day was 1976 when America celebrated its 200th birthday, our bicentennial.

This is what I wrote on July 4, 2012:  “As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of hundreds of boats from the U.S. and other countries filling New York Harbor and with the sound of “Fernando” by ABBA blasting on the radio.  (It’s hard to believe that just one month later, ABBA would release “Dancing Queen”!)”

Meanwhile, July 4, 2007, will go down as the worst Fourth of July ever for me (hopefully).

I was working the morning show and I went in at 1:45 a.m.  Rain was coming down in buckets.  As I was running toward the door, my keys went flying out of my hand and were submerged underwater.  By the time I found my spare keys in my bag, I was soaked from head to toe.

I told the producer that I had to go home and get another suit.  On the three-minute drive to my house, the torrential rains continued to fall and all of a sudden, a wall of water flooded into the intersection.

In a matter of seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and the motor died as water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate that mine did!

FloodingBSticker3flat

I quickly thought about the power locks in the car and if it shorted out, I’d be locked inside with no way out.  I’d drown getting trapped in my car on a busy street in town!

I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment.  For those of you that don’t know who her, she is/was one of my idols.  She was a news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of  NBC news, back in the late 1970s.  She drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Jessica-Savitch

As I took off my shoes and socks and opened the door, I stepped out into the raging waters as three intoxicated teenagers came running over and helped me push my car into an alley.

At this time, I was soaked and water had already risen into the intersection up to my knees.  I went back and helped the kids push the other three cars to safety.

I walked the fifteen blocks to my house dressed in a suit, soaking wet, and bare-footed.

The car’s engine was hydro-locked and had to be replaced!

That was ten years ago and I hope that goes down as the worst Fourth of July in my lifetime!

“MASTER OF NONE”

While a little “Netflix and chill” soundS good, it’s just “Netflix” for me this summer. 🙂

I finished season five of “House of Cards” and just started watching “Master of None”.

The Emmy Award-winning show features comedian Aziz Ansari in the lead role.

He plays a 30-year-old actor working toward his big break while navigating single life in New York City.

My favorite episodes of season one:  “Indians on TV”, “Old People”, and “Hot Ticket” .

While Ansari is funny and I love the conversations he has with his three best friends, my favorite character on the show is his lesbian friend Denise.

Her dry, dead-pan delivery just cracks me up.  Denise is played by out Chicago-born actress Lena Waithe.

Denise Lena

FELL IN LOVE WITH FATHER JOHN MISTY

After seeing the “Hot Ticket” episode of “Master of None”, which partly took place at a private Father John Misty show, I fell in love with the song “Chateau Lobby #5 (in C for Two Virgins)” from his “I Love You, Honeybear” album (and he’s cute, too).

The scene gets rather raunchy so I’ll share this BBC Two performance.

By the way, Father John Misty is 36-year-old Josh Tillman, the drummer for the rock folk band, Fleet Foxes.

His new solo album is “Pure Comedy”.

“I LOVE DICK”

Okay, I bet that got your attention! 🙂  It’s a bold statement that probably comes only as a surprise to you that I typed it.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter!  If you have Amazon Prime, you might not have gasped out loud seeing that headline.

It’s a new series co-created by Jill Soloway (“Transparent”).  I haven’t seen it and I’m only writing about it to share a line of the funny review by “Entertainment Weekly” (June 23, 2017): “She becomes obsessed with Kevin Bacon’s Dick, a fine artist whose withering judgement and sex-cowboy cool threatens to unravel her.”

Seriously, I read the first seven words and smiled, laughed, and saw “blah blah blah” after that.

Creative writing is so much better than angry, immature, and insensitive tweets in the middle of the night!

#Resistance

MISSING “HOUSE OF CARDS”?

Are you like me and you’ve already binge-watched the fifth season of “House of Cards” and you already miss the iciness of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)?

Then you have to check out “Miss Sloane” with two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Jesssica Chastain!

She’s incredible as always!

GRADE:  A

DONUT DELIGHT!

Once I moved to Panama City, Florida, two months ago, I got to shop at Piggly Wiggly again.  If you’re from the South (or you’ve seen “Steel Magnolias”), you know it’s a staple here.

One my first visit, I found a bag of “Peach Cobbler” limited edition mini donuts from Tastykake.  They were so good.

I then tried the “Key Lime”, which were just okay.

But, I just found my new favorite (so far) — Birthday Kake!

Birthday Kake

I can’t wait to see what seasonal flavors arrive this fall and winter!

However, a quick Google search shows they’ve sold Pumpkin Spice, Karrot Kake, Caramel Apple, Gingerbread, Salted Caramel, and Red Velvet in the past! 🙂

‘Tis the season!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

I’ve only been to the theater once this year to see “Beauty and the Beast”. I’m still thinking of going to see “Wonder Woman”.

Otherwise, there’s only three other movies that I want to see this year:  “The Beguiled” with my girl crush Nicole Kidman, “The Snowman” with my boy crush Michael Fassbender (no official trailer yet — in theaters October 20th), and this interesting remake of the Agatha Christie classic, “Murder on the Orient Express”.

It opens November 10th.

FLASHBACK TO KICK OFF WEEKEND

As crazy as it may seem, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” was my #3 song of 2013.

Since its release, the video has been viewed almost 680 million times on YouTube!

So, here’s to the weekend.  Enjoy. 🙂

By the way, the song hit #1 in the duo’s native Norway.

It also hit the Top Ten here in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, along with Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Scotland, and Sweden!

 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 23, 2016

Fall is here and summer is officially over!  It’s time to trade in those fruit smoothies for everything apple and pumpkin!

Even the USPS is getting into the act.  Check out these cool stamps.

halloween-2016

As always, thank you for checking out my random thoughts. Let’s get started!

SHUT YOUR MOUTH HATERS!

It’s old news now because news travels fast, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced and he’s being investigated on child abuse allegations!

Brad Angelina.jpg

Reactions:  no surprise, sad, Jennifer Aniston is smiling somewhere, and Jolie is a “f***ing lunatic”.  What?

Comedian Chelsea Handler, who’s friends with Pitt’s ex, Aniston, holds nothing back, “There are rumors that part of the problem was that Brad was allegedly drinking and smoking too much weed. I wonder why he would need to self-medicate.”

She goes on to say, “Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon, instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids speaking 15 different languages. Oh yeah, because he married a f***ng lunatic, that’s why.”

However, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, who stars with Pitt in this November’s “Allied”, is shutting the rumor mill down in a lengthy Instagram post with a big announcement of her own.

marion.jpg

Cotillard says, “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son [5-year-old Marcel] and of the baby we are expecting.  He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need.” (She’s referring to French actor and director Guillaume Canet.)

And, she adds, “Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn’t distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment. With all my love, Marion”

Burn!

MY LITTLE SISTER TURNS 50!

My little sister Tammy reaches a milestone birthday this weekend — she hits the big 5-0!

Tammy1

I wish her the very best as she begins a new era in her life.  As we slowly move toward the “golden years”, I hope she makes the most of it.

She moved to Quad Cities five years ago and has gotten herself back on solid financial ground, but I know she doesn’t want to stay here forever.

She’s been talking about moving back to our hometown!  While I couldn’t imagine doing that, if that’s what she wants, I say “go for it”.  And, why wait?  Do it now since we never really know how much time we have left.

Our own mother, Dessie, died at the age of 47.  Since Tammy has already survived two heart attacks and hasn’t changed her unhealthy habits (mainly smoking), I’m truly surprised that we still have her!

Tammy

This beautiful picture is from a Caribbean cruise we took in 2012.  She definitely loves to get dressed up and we’re looking forward to doing it again this December!

Happy Birthday Tammy!  Enjoy life, don’t let the bitches get to you, and live it up!

“SWEETBITTER”

I’ve stated many times that I mostly read biographies, autobiographies, or books about real events.

When I venture in fiction, I find some real gems like “The Girl on the Train” (Paula Hawkins), “Dietland” (Sarai Walker), and “Day Four” (Sarah Lotz).  Now, I can add Stephanie Danler’s superior debut, “Sweetbitter” to the list!

stephanie-danler_0.jpg

“Sweetbitter” is fiction, but it’s based on real life Danler experienced as a waitress in New York City.

It was the food and drink service industry angle that attracted my attention in this coming-of-age novel because I’ve been there.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or bar, you know how demanding it is — the hours, the hard work, smiling back at ungrateful and demanding customers (oops, guests), the insane amount of readily available cash, and if you worked at the right (or wrong) places, the partying after shifts with alcohol and/or drugs.

But, most of all, it’s the incredibly diverse people you work with “on the floor” and “in the back of the house” that make this business unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of.

Some will make a life and career in this high stress and burnout line of work.  Some, like me, are just passing through on the way to other professions.

Danler perfectly captures all of this.

Her vast experiences — from the people keeping the plates and drinks on the table and the guests coming back, the intrinsic knowledge of food and wine that make the book a beginner’s guide to gastronomy, to living an empty life in a nowhere place and then taking a chance to make it in the big city with a cast of characters wanting more and really wanting nothing — make “Sweetbitter” such a delight.

A must read!

EMMY WINNERS

I’m very happy that Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot” won for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards!

MR. ROBOT

And, it comes as no shock that “The People v. O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story”, the 10-part miniseries that aired earlier this year on FX, won big.

In addition to four Creative Arts Emmys it recently won, the show picked up five more awards Sunday night, including “Outstanding Limited Series” and three for acting – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Sarah Paulson), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Courtney B. Vance), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Sterling K. Brown).

Sarah Paulson looked beautiful making her acceptance speech for the much deserved first Emmy win (out of six nominations since 2012) and the shout-out to the real Marcia Clark was outstanding!

She ended her speech by telling Holland Taylor that she loved her!

sarah-paulson love.gif

What gets me is all the chatter over the more than 30-year age difference (Paulson is 41 and Taylor is 73).

Earlier this summer, Paulson told a magazine, “You should be able to love whomever you f***ing well please.”

Paulson Taylor.jpg

Amen, sister, I wish you and Holland the very best.  Life’s too short not to find and enjoy love at any age.

People need to get real and work on their own love lives, relationships, and marriages.

MARK RUFFALO WILL SHOW IT ALL FOR THIS!

This year’s presidential election is now just a little over six weeks away.  It can’t get here soon enough!

However, there are still some people that are undecided and there are others that may not even vote.

Many celebrities are using their fame to get people to vote and to take this election seriously.  They are even volunteering one of their own to give you his all for the cause!

But, on a more serious note, it’s also about “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.”

Warning:  contains adult language and situations!

Vote on November 8th.  If you don’t do it for Hillary Clinton, then do it for Mark Ruffalo! 🙂

CHRISTMAS IS NOW JUST THREE MONTHS AWAY

My annual tradition is to drop off my Christmas cards at the post office on Thanksgiving Eve and let the cards make their way across the country as people feast on turkey!

Here are the new Christmas stamps being offered by the USPS.

Christmas 2016.jpg

Since they’re “Forever” stamps, they’ll always be good even if the price of stamps goes up in the future.  So buy up and keep Christmas going as long as you want with your mailings.

HALLMARK CHANNEL GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The “Countdown to Christmas” kicks off on the Hallmark Channel on October 28th this year with around the clock original television holiday movies.

It’ll start with classics over the years and then on November 5th, the new original Christmas movies debut.

Lacey Chabert is back (sadly without Mariah Carey, but you can catch Mimi on the October 5th episode of “Empire”!).

I’m excited to see “My Christmas Dream”, which debuts November 19th, because it stars Deidre Hall of “Days of Our Lives”.

DeidreHall

I’ve been a huge fan of Deidre since childhood watching her on “Days” and “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl”, a short-lived 1976 series.

There’s no official trailer yet for “My Christmas Dream”, which simply sounds like the work of Satan! 🙂

possessedmarlena

Oh, come on, you loved that “Days” possession story line as much as I did!

In all, 22 new movies are being prepped for your holiday enjoyment for the Hallmark Channel.

“NOW YOU SEE ME 2”

I really enjoyed the 2013 original.

In a November 2013 blog, I wrote, “If you love magic, suspense, and action, this summer caper is the movie for you.  The $75 million motion picture made $351.7 million and a sequel is in the works and is expected to begin production next summer.”

Well, that sequel came this summer and it did rather well.  The $90 million production made $331.4 million and a third installment is on the way.

My teenaged daughter, Gretel, saw this one twice in the theaters, so she’s partly responsible for its success.  I waited to see it on DVD and that’s a good thing.

I was bored for much of the two-hour movie.  The first lavish card trick and magic act was hokey and unbelievable.  The final reveal had slightly more appeal.

It’s great to see Jesse Eisenberg in anything!

Jesse

It’s funny because I commented on liking his hair in the first movie three years ago.  Well, his hair in this movie was one of the highlights, too.  You can see it in this still image of the trailer.

GRADE: C

SPEAKING OF MAGIC, HOW ABOUT A “PERFECT ILLUSION”?

Lady Gaga is back with new music without her good friend Tony Bennett.

Earlier this month, she released “Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her upcoming fifth studio album, “Joanne” (named after her late aunt, who died of Lupus at the age of 19 in December of 1974, a little over eleven years before Gaga was born).

“Perfect Illusion” is already Gaga’s biggest hit at Top 40 radio since 2013’s “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly, which reached #7 on the radio airplay charts.

It’s an upbeat rock song and we’ve seen her rock out before, but this one has a different sound thanks to Mark Ronson (who’s biggest credits to date are “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars and working with Amy Winehouse).

Gaga Las Vegas

I’ve seen Gaga in concert twice (three times, sorta) and she’s an incredible singer, piano player, and dancer — an all-around amazing entertainer.

She’s an artist with an emphasis on “art”.  There’s no way you’ll ever forget the “meat dress” and the many outlandish and bizarre outfits and stage productions we’ve been blessed with over the past eight years.

Can you believe it’s only been eight years?

Now, back to the art (and the spectacle, the show, the dance moves, the club beats).  After the somewhat commercially disappointing (and uneven) “Artpop”, she’s all about the music this time.  To me, that’s evident after her high profile performances at the Grammys and the Oscars and singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

There’s no glamour in the new video to “Perfect Illusion” and there’s nothing over-the-top and envelope-pushing with the artwork for the new album.  It’s classy and clean.

joanne

It looks like it’s all about the music on “Joanne”, which comes out October 21st.

I admit that this whole new chapter of Lady Gaga is taking some adjusting for me, but I have a month to get there!

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

I just hope that there’s some “Mother Monster” left somewhere on “Joanne” and in Lady Gaga.

Now, where did I leave that “disco stick”?

50 YEARS OF PRIDE — CHARLEY PRIDE

In 2012, Darius Rucker, of Hootie & The Blowfish fame, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.  He bacame only the third African-American to achieve that honor.  The first two were harmonica player Deford Bailey and singer Charley Pride (inducted in 1993).

The 82-year-old Mississippi-born Pride has enjoyed quite the country music career.

Pride.jpg

From the 1960s through the 1980s, he charted an incredible 52 Top Ten Billboard Country hits.  Of those, 29 went all the way to #1!

Pride has also topped the country album charts twelve times — that’s more #1s than Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson!

As he celebrates his 50th year in country music, Pride tells “Billboard” that little has changed in country music when it comes to black artists.

He says, “Promoters were reluctant to book me. When you ask why things haven’t changed, I just say, “How far do you want to go back?” Do you want to go back to 1817? Once someone in the industry said to me, “I don’t mean no harm” — you know, just throwing that in — “but I want to ask: How come every time we let y’all in, you just take over?” I told him, “See that barrel over there? Go peek in it. Oh, look, there I am, down at the bottom! Now where is there for me to go?”

As a kid, I loved Charley Pride.  So did my grandmother Helen.

Here’s one of our favorites from 1971.

“Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” spent five weeks at the top of the country charts and became Pride’s first crossover hit.  It peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top Ten on the Adult Contemporary charts.

Happy 50th Anniversary Charley!  Thank you for all of the wonderful songs and memories.  Best wishes for the future!

By the way, let’s get Charley to perform here in the Quad Cities!

WELCOME FALL 2016!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony