Posts Tagged ‘Emmy Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 21, 2018

It’s Friday and I still have things to say.  I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

My sister and her boyfriend visited me last week in Duluth, Minnesota.  We had a great time.

On Monday, she’ll be celebrating her birthday.

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I love this blast from the past, but vintage photos don’t hold up well, thus the discoloration.

Happy Birthday Tammy!

Tammy

“PATTI CAKE$”

While they were here, I shared “Girls Trip” (#15) and “Patti Cake$” (#10) with them.  Both made my 20 favorite movies list in 2017.

“Patti Cake$” was one of the best and most overlooked movies last year.  If you get a chance, check it out.

“DIETLAND” CANCELLED

I was a huge fan of Sarai Walker’s 2015 novel, “Dietland” and the AMC series starring Joy Nash and Julianne Margulies.

Dietland

Sadly, it was cancelled after just one season and Sarai summed it up best in the first line of a very powerful Facebook post this week, “Fat girls can get invited to the party, but we don’t get to stay for very long…”

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Sorry, Sarai, I know there are great things ahead for you and all of the beautiful fat girls.

You can stay at my party as long as you want!!!

COMING SOON!

While I await the “surprise drop” of Madonna’s new studio album this fall, I got excited earlier this week after this social media post from Reba!

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To be honest, “coming soon” doesn’t always come soon enough for my schedule. 🙂

Reba’s last non-holiday album was the amazing gospel collection, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope” in February 2017.

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It topped the Billboard Country Album and Billboard Christian Album charts and featured the #1 Christian song, “Back to God”.

During the fall of 2009, Reba was climbing the charts with “Consider Me Gone”.  The song started 2010 at the top of the country charts and would become her longest running #1 song of her career at four weeks.

I’m being shallow here (and complimentary) — the video features three gorgeous people! 🙂

By the way, Reba would also start 2011 at #1 with “Turn on the Radio”.

That tied her with Dolly Parton with 25 number one hits on the Billboard Country charts — the most by a female artist!

QUICK EMMY NOTES!

Emmys, thank you for showing love to Darren Criss and giving him the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie award for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story”!

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He even beat an incredible Benedict Cumberbatch for “Patrick Melrose”!

Why not show a few bonus extras of Criss as Cunanan!

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Criss 1

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But, I’m saddened that Judith Light lost in the Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Limited Series Or Movie for the same series!

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Her performance was heartbreaking and chilling!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY: APOCALYPSE” 

After seeing the first two episodes of FX’s “American Horror Story”, I think I’m going to like it.

It’s all over the place, but it’s already showing a lot of skin and a very edgy and humorous Joan Collins (yes, the Joan Collins of “Dynasty” fame)!

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And, there were several very shocking scenes in the second episode!  The horror! 🙂

FALL ARRIVES THIS WEEKEND

While it’s already “meteorological fall” (September, October, and November) for those weather people, fall officially begins this weekend.

The “autumnal equinox” (fall) is Saturday, September 22nd at 8:54 p.m. Central.

Fall

TEAM FIONA IS READY!

I absolutely love Fiona, the hippopotamus at the Cincinnati Zoo.

Zoos usually feed large animals frozen melons as treats, especially for special occasions.

Well, thanks to my fantastic director at work, Katie, Fiona is already enjoying the fall season early with a little creative magic!

Fiona Pumpkin

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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“GTFO”

Mariah Carey is getting close to releasing her latest album.

She teased us fans with the slow burning ballad with a very strong message!

Yes, “GTFO” stands for what you think it does and she says it with a breathy coo! 🙂

I, TONYA

I finally got around to seeing this Oscar nominated movie and it was definitely worth the wait.

The documentary style presentation was executed well.  At first, I had my doubts about it being gimmicky.

Oscar nominee Margot Robbie was great as Tonya Harding and Allison Janney definitely earned her Best Supporting Oscar for playing Harding’s mother, LaVona Golden.

Sebastian Stan was very sexy as Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly, despite their abusive relationship.

While there isn’t much that offends me, the language was rather strong. I found it rather ironic that Janney’s character used an offensive word that’s usually directed to women.

It’s not so much that her trashy character used it, it’s just that in the spectacular 2013 film, “The Way, Way Back”, Janney’s hard-drinking Betty says it in a much less offensive way that I’d never heard, “See You Next Tuesday”.

It still cracks me up!  (Guilty!)

GRADE: B+

“THE WAY, WAY BACK”

Since I mentioned “The Way, Way Back”, if you haven’t seen it, check it out.

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 — August 3, 2018

Welcome to the first weekend of August.  Summer is chugging right along and before you know it, fall will be here.

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

THANK GOD FOR RBG!

Fantastic news this week from 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

This is a major sigh of relief after the sad news earlier this summer that Anthony Kennedy is stepping down, which might allow 45 to make the court more conservative!

Come on Democrats, give the Republicans a dose of their own medicine like in 2016 when President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland didn’t get confirmed.

Back to Ginsburg — she was appointed by President Bill Clinton and was confirmed by a 96 to 3 vote in August 1993.

“RBG”, a documentary about Justice Ginsburg this year has already grossed $13.1 million and will be released to DVD on August 28, 2018.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT FROM MY IDOL

President Jimmy Carter recently spoke at the Carter Center and he stated that the U.S. has lost its long-term commitment to human rights.

He says, “We should be the champion of human rights. We’re a superpower, not based solely on military power; part of that definition should be a commitment to human rights.”

And, this is from earlier this year!

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NATIONAL CHEESECAKE DAY

Earlier this week, it was “National Cheesecake Day”.  Here are four of my favorites that I’ve made over the years.

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SHADE (AND I LOVE IT)

You already know that while I love their food, I won’t pay to eat at Chick-fil-A because of its well known history of being anti-LGBTQ.

A new store is opening soon in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and their next door neighbor, McDonalds, wants people to know that, at the golden arches, “WE WELCOME EVERYONE”.

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While the other side of the sign advertises Quarter Pounders, the message is clear with Chick-fil-A in the background!

McDonald’s manager says with a smile that it didn’t mean anything to the anti-gay chain restaurant,  “It just means that everyone is welcome, young old, everyone.”

“A SHADE SHADY (NOW PRANCE)”

Perfect time for RuPaul’s 1993 #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “A Shady Shade (Now Prance)”.

This was the follow-up to the international hit, “Supermodel (You Better Work)” (1992, #2 Billboard Dance Club Songs) and “Back To My Roots” (1993, #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs).

“SHARP OBJECTS”

Amy Adams comes to television in a big way on HBO’s “Sharp Objects”, based on Gillian Flynn’s first novel.

Many of you know the former “Entertainment Weekly” writer from her blockbuster novel and movie, “Gone Girl”.

In “Sharp Objects”, there are more gone girls, but these young girls turn up dead!

Adams plays Camille Preaker, a St. Louis newspaper reporter and alcoholic, sent back to her small hometown in the southeast Missouri Boothill to cover the tragedy unfolding in Wind Gap.

Also, Camille was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital and is a “cutter”.  It’s especially painful to watch when she’s carving into her own body!

On a happier note, it’s great seeing Adams and the stunning and sexy Chris Messina together again.

They played a married couple in 2009’s “Julie and Julia”, about chef Julia Child.

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DEMI LOVATO

Since Amy Adams’ character is into “cutting” and in light of singer Demi Lovato’s recent drug overdose, I want to share this information. (Lovato is an admitted “cutter”.)

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There’s a nationally-recognized self-harm help program called S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives.

The toll-free information hotline number is 1-800-DON’T-CUT (366-8288).

“OZARK”

Season 2 of the amazing Netflix series “Ozark” starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, one of my all-time favorites, is less than a month away.

The killer new season premieres August 31st.

The show picked up four Emmy nominations including one for Bateman for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  Both Bateman and Linney are nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards!

In the new trailer, it’s chilling when Wendy says, “We do not kill people.”

FUN LIQUOR BOTTLES 

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AND, I DEFINITELY WANT TO TRY….

these Ketel One flavors:  Peach & Orange Blossom, Grapefruit & Rose, and Cucumber & Mint.

I just have to catch them on sale!

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“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

You can watch this stunning English drama on Netflix starring Englishman Josh O’Connor and Romanian Alec Secareanu.

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B+

“THE CROWN”

By the way, O’Connor was just cast to play Prince Charles in seasons 3 and 4 of the incredible Netflix series, “The Crown”, which returns in 2019.

“BORG VS. McENROE”

As a teenager, I played tennis by returning volleys against my grandparent’s garage.  Bjorn Borg did the same thing in Sweden.  Guess which one became one of the greatest tennis players of all time? 🙂

I remembered being glued to the television for the 1980 Wimbledon final between Borg and John McEnroe.

Borg was going for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final.  Believe it or not, at the time, I had pride in my country and was rooting for McEnroe.

But, after seeing the incredible and nail-biting “Borg vs. McEnroe”, in retrospective, I would have rooted for Borg all the way!

Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg and Shia LaBeouf plays McEnroe.

GRADE:  A

WHAT?  NEVER PLAYED TENNIS???

Swedish actor (of Icelandic origin) Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg in “Borg vs. McEnroe” and he’s absolutely gorgeous and captivating!

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When the soon-to-be 40-year-old landed the role, here’s what he had to say, “I had never even been on a tennis court in my life and I didn’t just learn to play tennis, I learned to play tennis like Bjorn Borg.”  (By the way, he plays Borg at 26-years-old!)

Gudnason’s next big role comes this November as Mikael Blomkvist in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, the second movie in the Millennium series following “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2009/2011).

FORMER “REBA” STAR GOES TO BAT FOR OUR TEAM!

Some of you may know Steve Howey from “Shameless”.  I know him from playing Van Montgomery, Reba’s son-in-law on the WB/CW comedy, “Reba”, from 2001-2006.

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The straight, married father of twins shocked some and confused many when he tweeted four words, “I’m gay and proud”.

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Howey, who isn’t gay, says “My whole point was to be a champion, a supporter, of the movement.  I can say it and have no problem with it.  If you are, be proud and say it.  I’m just here to hold the flag up and say I’m in support.  If that helps you come out or say it with pride, that’s all my intention was.”

Howey goes on to tell “The Advocate” (June/July 2018), “If it’s difficult to come out of the closet in Los Angeles, it’s got to be f*cking terrifying in Des Moines, Iowa; or Boulder, Colorado.”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

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Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

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I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

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Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter.  He gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”.  His fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”.

But, that film and the money gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do:  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed their lifestyle.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Kock) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

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Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

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Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

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Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

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 30, 2018

The first big holiday of spring is upon us.  I know it’ll be a busy one for many of you, so thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

HAPPY EASTER!

A flashback to Easter 2001 and Miss ABBA visiting the Easter Bunny!

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KRISPY KREME CELEBRATES EASTER 

For just a limited time in the United States and Canada, Krispy Kreme is featuring a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg donut.

The chocolate-iced, nut-covered sweet treat is filled with a Reese’s peanut butter version of Krispy Kreme’s signature Kreme filling.

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If that isn’t your thing, the company will start selling a Lemon Glaze Doughnut, which was voted on by fans, on April 23, 2018.

SIX MONTHS NOW

Six months ago this weekend, on October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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Before killing himself, he gunned down 58 others and injured more than 700.

Country star Jason Aldean was on stage when the massacre occurred.  While he has commented on the rampage before, he’s ready to try to move on.

Aldean tells “Entertainment Weekly”, “I’m not a politician.  I’m not trying to push my own agenda.  If I say that I believe this, I’m gonna piss off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I’m gonna piss off the other half.  I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know?  I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer.  When people can’t go to a damn movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there’s a flaw in the system.”

Amen!

“AMARILLO SKY”

Aldean has scored 34 Billboard Country hits since his career kicked off in 2005.  Of those, 29 have hit the Top Ten.  Ten topped the chart.

“Amarillo Sky” (#4, 2006) is one of my favorites.

REMEMBRANCE GARDEN 

In December 2017, while in Las Vegas, I visited the memorial for the victims — the Remembrance Garden and Wall!

Remembrance Garden

HOMOPHOBIA — THEN AND NOW

In 1997, homophobia allowed spree killer Andrew Cunanan to murder four people before he gunned down fashion icon Gianni Versace outside his Miami Beach mansion.

In Minneapolis, Cunanan killed his friend, Jeffrey Trail, and his ex-boyfriend David Madson before he murdered real estate developer Lee Miglin in Chicago — Cunanan planted gay erotica material at that crime scene.

Even after three murders, police weren’t looking too hard for the killer because only gays were being executed.

Cunanan ditched Miglin’s stolen car when he realized the car’s cell phone was being tracked by the FBI.  He killed a straight cemetery worker in New Jersey for his truck.

His final victim (besides himself) was Versace.

While police were looking for Cunanan in Miami’s gay community, they were convinced he might be masquerading in drag to hide out!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

Sadly, this excellent series is over.

I think when Emmy nominations are announced in July that Darren Criss and Judith Light will get acting nods for their roles of Andrew Cunanan and Marilyn Miglin.

Miglin

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

If this movie needed an alternate title, how about “The Shape of Excellence”!

Nominated for 13 Oscars, the movie won four including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

An excellent Sally Hawkins was nominated for Best Actress and Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer were both nominated in the Best Supporting categories.

Eliza (Hawkins) is a mute woman working as a cleaning lady in a secret government lab in Baltimore during America’s “Cold War” with the Soviets.

She becomes infatuated with the creature that’s being experimented on in the lab.

Eliza’s neighbor, Giles, like her, is lonely and looking for love.  He’s older and gay and realizes if he’d been born at an earlier or later time, he might have had a fulfilling life as a gay man, complete with love.

Spencer is incredible as Eliza’s friend and after seeing this movie, I think Michael Shannon, the bad guy, should have gotten an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting category instead of Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”).

“The Shape of Water” is a very adult “Beauty and the Beast” story.

GRADE:  A+

“WATCHDOGS OF DEMOCRACY?”

This is the second book this year I’ve read from the late UPI reporter Helen Thomas.  The first was “Front Row at the White House”, which was a great read.

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This book examines how reporters were the “watchdogs” for the public in the early days of newspaper and even radio and television.

However, as presidents (especially Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush) began to limit the amount of information the public would know about military conflicts and wars (Vietnam, Grenada, and Iraq), reporters failed by not being more assertive in their questioning the information press secretaries were feeding them.

Thomas was especially harsh toward the presidency of George W. Bush, which she mostly referred to as “Bush-2”.

I was thrilled that she also gave President Jimmy Carter the due respect he deserved for bringing the hostages home alive from Iran.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

Thomas writes, “But television commentators and anchormen [Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” was born out of the hostage crisis] were relentless in citing how many days it had been that the hostages were being held, fueling the perception that Carter was a weak president.  In truth, he brought the hostages back alive.  But President Reagan got the credit, because the Iranians waited until the day Reagan was sworn in to release them.”

“Watchdogs” is the ninth book I’ve read, so far, in 2018.

WHAT NOW?

Now that “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”, “The X-Files”, “9-1-1”, and “The Alienist” (although I still have the series finale to watch) are finished, I’m now going to check out “The Terror” on AMC and “Trust: The Getty Family Saga” on FX.

DONNA SHERIDAN:  DEAD OR ALIVE?

2008’s “Mamma Mia!” is still one of my favorite movies and I’ve watched it countless times.  It’s the 134th biggest movie of all-time worldwide bringing in $615.7 million.

In May 2017, it was announced that a sequel, “Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again” would hit theaters in July 2018.  I was thrilled!

Capture1

But, that excitement turned to despair when the first trailers arrived.  Fans were quick to note that there was very little of Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), the star of the first movie.

Does that mean that Donna is dead since it focused on a young Donna (Lily James)?

After seeing the trailer in theater last week during “Love, Simon”, Donna was still referred to in the past tense.

I know there are many great people in “Mamma Mia!” and with the addition of Cher in the sequel, it’ll be great.

But, a dead Donna Sheridan means no “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for me this summer!

THE END OF “THE X-FILES”

When this series “ended” in 2002 on Fox after the ninth season, I was not pleased with the “series finale”.

It was brought back for a six-episode tenth season in 2016 and then back for ten mostly painful episodes this winter.

Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, announced that she would not return to the series if it comes back for another season.

And, after seeing this final finale, I can see why!

No more “The X-Files” please — unless it’s on the big screen as a movie!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

This Agatha Christie thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as famous Detective Hercule Poirot, was a hit last year.

After solving a case in Jerusalem, Poirot is ready for a vacation, but stumbles across a “Murder on the Orient Express”!

The all-star cast is great and includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and many more.

The cinematography is incredible!

On a $55 million budget, the movie made $350.5 million worldwide.

Fox announced earlier this year that “Death on the Nile”, another Christie novel, will be the sequel.

It’ll hit theaters in November 2019 with Branagh returning as director and star.

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 — 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

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