Posts Tagged ‘Emmy Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 3, 2021

Happy Labor Day weekend to you! Some call this holiday weekend the “unofficial end of summer”.

If you’re wanting more warm weather, I know you’ll get it. But, if you’re ready for fall, temperatures definitely start dropping off in September!

Those stats are for Decatur in Central Illinois.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. Feel free to share yours with me.

A TASTE OF FALL

Bud Light is introducing a new line of fall-flavored seltzers!

Which would you try? I’d try them all. I think my favorites (in order) would be Maple Pear, Apple Crisp, Pumpkin Spice, and Toasted Marshmellow!

I’ve had the Bud Light Mango Seltzer and it was so good.

AND, NOW A TASTE OF THE WINTER HOLIDAYS!

Last week, at Kroger, I spotted Egg Nog ice cream 🍨!

Happy Holidays! 🎄

NORMALLY, I DON’T SHAME PEOPLE….

Except those that absolutely deserve it and are totally ignorant.

Chloe Mrozak, you’re a pathetic individual!

The Oak Lawn, Illinois, woman was arrested last week in Honolulu, Hawaii, for allegedly using a fake COVID-19 vaccination card.

On the falsified and sloppy card, the vaccination “Moderna” was misspelled “Maderna”!

She was ultimately taken into custody and her bail was set at $2,000

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office in Honolulu says “Everyone should know that falsified CDC cards are a federal offense and in some states, it is a separate state charge. In Hawaii, using falsified proof of testing or vaccination documents for travel into the state is a misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year for each count. Our department will prosecute these crimes to the fullest extent provided by the law.”

Damn, why didn’t you just put Madea on it?

IN OTHER COVID-19 NEWS….

61.6% of adult Illinoisans are fully vaccinated now (78.6% have gotten at least one dose)!

And…

“YOU LOVE ME”

This is third book in the “You” book series by Caroline Kepnes from which the Lifetime/Netflix television series “You” originated.

Book 1 (“You” — 2014) and Season 1 were pretty close, yet there was much more of difference between Book 2 (“Hidden Bodies”– 2016) and Season 2.

After reading the Kepnes’ latest, “You Love Me”, I hope the new season deviates greatly from the book. Also, I hope Kepnes expands her writing resume and leaves the “You” series behind!!!

There was very little I enjoyed about the third book!

“YOU” (SEASON 3)

Now, speaking of the creepy, stalker, “love story” series, “You”, the trailer for the third season dropped earlier this week.

It premieres on Netflix on October 15, 2021. It’s not known if Netflix will drop the entire series as once, as it usually does.

REBA’S TRIPLE TREAT

This year, I’ll get an early birthday gift from Reba McEntire even though I’ll be buying it for myself!

The three-disc, “Reba Revived Remixed Revisited”, arrives October 8, 2021, on MCA Nashville, the record company where she scored most of her career hits and chart toppers.

I’m mostly excited for the “Remixed” disc.

DJ Tracy Young, who won a Grammy for her 2019 Madonna remix of “I Rise” is remixing “Turn On The Radio”, which was Reba’s last #1 hit at country radio, on January 1, 2011.

Here’s the original. I can’t wait to hear Tracy’s remix!

In a February 2017 blog entitled, “Reba Invites You To Church – Country Style”, I wrote, “If you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!”

And, in June 2012, I wrote, “But, when you’re ready, skip country music and make a dance album in the vein of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, your #2 Billboard Dance hit from 1996.  That would be awesome.”

So, this is definitely something I’ve been feeling since 1995 when “Starting Over” came out!

“CHERNOBYL”

After watching the incredible HBO miniseries about Chernobyl, I read Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book, “Chernobyl”, subtitled “The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

What a great, thorough book.

Here are a few things I learned and I’ll share more in the future.

  • Ground was broken for the Chernobyl plant in 1970 and its Reactor Unit Four went online in 1983 as the newest and most advanced RBMK (Reaktor bolshoy moschnosti kanalnyy), a graphite-moderated boiling water reactor, which was unique to the Soviet Union.
  • The Soviet Union, especially after the Three Mile Island accident in Pennsylvania, touted its nuclear industry superior to the United States because their scientists were better trained and their safety standards were higher.
  • The Soviets knew of all the faults with their reactors, but did nothing about them because of the cost. This, even after several accidents dating back to the 1957, when the USSR had its first nuclear disaster.
  • At the time of the explosion of Reactor Unit Four on April 26, 1986, a fifth and sixth reactor were being built. They were never finished.

CHERNOBYL”

This five-episode 2019 HBO series covers the hours leading up to tragic 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in the Soviet Union and its aftermath.

The series was nominated for 18 Emmy Awards, including three for acting, and it won a total of ten, including “Outstanding Limited Series”.

The acting was incredible and I’m glad I finally got to see the series and it prompted me to read the book I talked about above.

GRADE: B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Dying To Live: Death Sentence 1981 ≠ Undetectable 2021

Hate is an awfully strong word and I try very hard not to use it. 

I’m human and there are some people, living and dead, that I do hate or that I have hated.

Ronald Reagan, one of the most popular and beloved presidents, is one of those people.

More on that in a moment, but we’ve hit a milestone in the United States.

While it likely started in the late-1970s, a new disease was introduced to the public this week in 1981 — an epidemic that ended up killing hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends and lovers.

And, for many years, it was ignored by the U.S. president (Reagan) and the government!

These days, those deaths are still happening for people that are diagnosed too late or that don’t have access to life-saving and costly drugs (without insurance). However, with proper medication and healthier living, HIV (and AIDS) is now a livable condition that’s more of a medical inconvenience.

But, let’s flashback to the spring and early summer of 1981. 

Doctors in New York and California started noticing that some of their young, gay patients were coming in with weakened immune systems and were developing pneumonia and cancer.

On July 5, 1981, “The New York Times” published one of the first articles on this new disease that didn’t even have a name. In 1982, it was incorrectly labeled “GRID” (gay-related immune deficiency) — how homophobic and ignorant!

While the Times was one of the first to mention this “rare cancer”, the U.S. media, including the Times, did a poor job getting the message out about this new fatal disease.

“GRID” was changed to “AIDS” (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) once doctors realized that it didn’t only affect gay men.

The early 1980s was a scary time because there was so much that doctors didn’t know and this led to fear and misconceptions about how you could get it.

It’s taken me almost 30 years, but I can now say that I no longer hate Ronald Reagan! 

I’ve always questioned his legacy. At the time, I would have loved to ask him about his actions, or lack of actions, in the 1980s that led to my hateful feelings toward him. 

While AIDS (unnamed at the time) was identified in the summer of 1981, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference, years later, in 1985.

That same year, teenager Ryan White, a hemophiliac who contracted the disease through a blood transfusion, was barred from his Indiana school.

And, actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS, making him the highest profile person to succumb to the disease and his face became synonymous with AIDS in the years to come.

Still, nothing from the White House! President Reagan didn’t give his first speech on AIDS until early 1987, almost six years into the epidemic! 

His ignorance, his fear of AIDS, and the government’s slow reaction to fighting the disease in the 1980s led to the deaths of more than 90,600 people, mostly gay men, in the United States that decade.

HOPE — THE FIRST ROUND OF MEDS

In 1987, AZT, the first AIDS drug was introduced and ACT UP, an activist group, formed to protest the $10,000/year price tag.

In the years to come, more medications would become available — the drug “cocktails” in the mid-1990s were more effective, but patients would take up to 60 pills daily!

In 2006-2007, it was estimated that the cost of extending the life of an HIV patient for 24 years was $618,900!

HIV & AIDS — 40 YEARS LATER

Today, some 38 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

Of that number, as of 2018, 1.2 million are Americans. Sadly, more than one-in-ten don’t even know it! GET TESTED!

Over the 40 years since AIDS became public, 35 million people have died worldwide.

700,000 were Americans with gay men and transgender women making up about 79% of that staggering number.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it IMPOSSIBLE to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY IMPRESSIONABLE YEARS

I was 16-years-old when the first AIDS cases went public and I became sexually active in the 1980s as fear and hate spread across the world toward gay people because of the disease.

It’s hard not to dislike (or hate) the man running the country when people in your community were dying a very painful death and the government dragged its feet. 

My views of President Reagan didn’t soften any in the 1990s as I headed into my 20s and then my 30s seeing more and more people contract HIV and develop AIDS. 

We witnessed the resistance of religious leaders, school officials, and parents to educate kids about safe sex — they thought abstinence would keep children safe (it would, but it’s not a reality when hormones are raging)!  That mentality started in the 1980s during the uptight, conservative regime of Reagan.

While there may never be a cure for HIV and AIDS, those that get HIV can now, at least, lead a more “normal” life.

This hope made me look closer at Reagan.  As he grew older and Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of his mind, I knew that no matter how much I despised him, it couldn’t bring back all of the people that AIDS killed.

I asked myself, “how he could be so calm and collected and be so ignorant during the early years of AIDS?” 

The truth is that he probably had so many people telling him what to do and what to avoid saying because his political base didn’t want to hear about the disease those “queers” were spreading! Middle and upper class white, heterosexual couples didn’t think it affected them!

I now realize it’s time for me to move on and to find peace with the man who had many faults.  What man doesn’t?  I can’t forgive him, but I no longer hate him. We can’t change history and the government’s inaction in the 1980s with AIDS. 

While I can’t ask President Reagan what he was thinking when he ignored the disease for so long, I hope that the former president and all of the men, women, and children that died of AIDS during his presidency (and since) can come to peace with each other in that higher place.

When I finally make it to heaven, I hope I see Reagan hanging out with the more than 700,000 Americans that have died of AIDS — the majority of them gay men.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all that succumbed to AIDS in the 33 years after he left office.

“AND THE BAND PLAYED ON”

I just re-read Randy Shilts’ enlightening history of the first years of the AIDS epidemic about the failure of the American government which led to so many people dying.

While San Francisco was believed to be the AIDS capital of the U.S., there were far more cases and deaths of AIDS in New York City.

Mayor Ed Koch and Dr. David Sencer, the city’s health commissioner, failed miserably in providing for those in the fight in the early years.

The only real help was coming from the Gay Men’s Health Crisis center, which was founded by the iconic advocate Larry Kramer.

If reading a 600-page book about the AIDS epidemic may be too much for you, the 1993 Emmy-winning movie of the same name, with an all-star cast, is incredible.

“THE GREAT BELIEVERS”

This 2018 book by Rebecca Makkai is amazing!

It tells the story of how the AIDS epidemic decimated Chicago’s gay community in the early-1980s. While fiction, it felt so real — especially if you or your friends lived through that era watching your friends die.

Makkai’s story is so well researched and touching. It had you rooting for characters that you knew were doomed by the “gay cancer” and President Ronald Reagan’s blind eye.

The book isn’t just about a group of friends dying and struggling to stay alive in 1985 Chicago. It also takes you to 2015 Paris and ties the two stories and timelines together!

As a former Chicago transplant (I lived there two years in the 1990s and two more years in the early-2000s), it was fun hearing the names of places I hadn’t thought about in years (Nookie’s and Ann Sather).

Amy Poehler is adapting the book into a television series. I can’t wait to see who is cast as Yale, my favorite character. As I was reading it, I could definitely see Yale in my younger self!

“The Great Believers” is the best fiction book I’ve read in the past year!

“LONGTIME COMPANION”

And, for those of you that may not have seen it, 1990’s “Longtime Companion” is still one of my favorite movies of all time.

It was one of the first widely recognized theatrically-released movies (mainstream) that dealt with AIDS in the 1980s. It earned a Golden Globe Award for acting for Bruce Davidson and he also earned an Oscar nomination.

Thank you for taking the time travel down this road 40 years later!

Be safe and play safe!

Peace!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 13, 2020

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

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

DECORATED FOR THE HOLIDAYS

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

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

This is my main tree in the living room.

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

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

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

Happy Holidays!

MY ONLY POLITICAL POST THIS WEEK!

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

“DISCO” WEEK!

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: A

“SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“RATCHED”

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

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

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

And I love Finn Wittrock for many reasons!

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

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

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

Another season is coming.

GRADE: B+

“THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS”

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

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

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

DRINK UP!

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

Yo Baby Yoda!

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

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

THE MILLENNIUM SERIES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 4, 2020

It’s already September!

That means this horrible year is almost over and the dreadful 2020 presidential election will (hopefully) be behind us soon!

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

SEASONS IN THE SUN

🎶Summer loving, had me a blast🎶… blah blah blah… bring on the holidays 🍂🎃🦃🎄🎅🤶!

It’s now officially “meteorological fall”, the three months (September, October, and November) between the hottest and coldest months of the year.

Big changes will be coming in the weather across Central Illinois. Check out the temperature drop over the next three months with average highs — from 85° to 45°!!!

And, on Monday, Labor Day marks the “unofficial end of the summer”!

Here’s the countdown to fall and the holidays (as of today, 9/4/20).

KYLIE MINOGUE ❤️ ME!

I’ve been a Kylie Minogue fan since the 1980s and a super fan since 2001’s “Fever” album.

“All The Lovers” is one of the most amazing songs and videos of the past 20 years and the “Golden” album is phenoemenal.

The video to her latest hit, “Say Something”, from the upcoming “Disco” album (November 6, 2020), is mind-blowing and I just can’t stop watching it. It just makes me smile!

I finally got a reply back from Kylie, so now I can just retire from Twitter! 🙂

If you’re not one of the 4.7 million views of “Say Something”, take three minutes and make yourself happier in time for the weekend!

Here’s the video!

“PARASITE”

I finally got around to seeing the “Best Picture” winner at this year’s Oscars and it definitely deserves the top prize.

Worldwide, it has brought in $257.5 million on an $11 million dollar budget!

While Bong Joo-ho’s “Snowpiercer” was my #14 movie I saw in 2014, it’s not even in the same league as this incredible film!!!

And, what’s shocking is that the two young leads in the movie are almost 30 years old and could easily pass as teenagers! WOW!

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

CONGRATULATIONS & WELCOME TO THE FAMILY

I can’t wait to see the fourth and final season of “Claws” and see what fantabulously gorgeous Desna Simms and her insane posse!

But, that can wait. I’m blown away by not on the fact that the amazing Niecy Nash just came out, but she also introduced the world to her new wife, singer Jessica Betts.

And, you know how much I love desserts, look at this amazing cake!

Congratulations and best wishes Niecy and Jessica! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

OVERSHARING?

And, since we’re talking weddings and wedding cakes, I was married in a former life.

This was my fall wedding cake.

While not as dreamy as Niecy and Jessica’s, it was beautiful!

BRING IT ON MARIAH CAREY!

2020 is turning out to be the year of Mariah Carey.

At the end of the month (September 29), she’ll be releasing her new autobiography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey”.

Days later, on October 2nd, a new double album called “The Rarities” arrives!

And, this holiday season, Apple+ will be airing “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special”.

Billboard magazine says this about the exclusive holiday event, “It is being described as an “innovative special” that will mix music, dancing and animation “driven by a universally heartwarming story that brings the world together.”

So, basically, it sounds like a great substitute to her annual “All I Want For Christmas is You” show.

I saw it in Las Vegas in December 2017 and it was the most magical 90-minutes of my life!

SPEAKING OF (SCARY) CHRISTMAS

I finished watching the creepy second season of “NOS4A2”, which was cancelled by AMC this week.

While I enjoyed the series and I’m now going to read Joe Hill’s book that the series is based on, I had already made up my mind that if it had been renewed for a third season, I was already done with it!

So long, Christmasland and Charlie Manx!

“A WOMAN IN CHARGE”

I read Carl Bernstein’s 2007 mammoth 916 page tome (large print) this summer.

Things I learned from the book:

One of Hillary’s mother, Dorothy Rodman’s (in her 70s at the time) favorite movies was 1994’s “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” — one of my all-time favorite movies about three drag queens on a cross country trip of Australia.

During the 1992 presidential run, in a Chicago coffee shop, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell asked Hillary a question about her working at a law firm that had clients that did business with the state (where Bill was governor) and her answer became the soundbite of the day, “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies, and had teas…”

It came across as condescending to housewives and stay at home moms.

What didn’t get press was the complete quote, “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies, and had teas. The work that I’ve done as a professional, as a public advocate, has been aimed in part to assure that women can make the choices that they should make — whether it’s a full-time career, full-time motherhood, some combination, depending on what stage of life they are at — and I think that is still difficult for people to understand right now, that it is a generational change.”

“Later, Jackie [Kennedy] told friends that of all of her successors as first lady, she was most fond of Hillary.”

About Whitewater, Bernstein says the New York Times and others reporting on the matter “were often contextually misleading, exaggerated in significance, and sometimes factually off-base.”

At another point in the book, Bernstein writes that the “Whitewater story” was “overblown” from the start and that the New York Times stories and editorials during the 1992 campaign were “increasingly long on innuendo, short on context, and in some important ways unfair to the Clintons.”

But, he adds, “The Clintons’ response was not straight-forward, and served only to create more suspicion.”

And, about Hillary’s 2000 successful run for U.S. Senate: “No woman had ever won office in New York in a statewide race.”

“LITTLE”

I finally watched the 2019 comedy “Little”.

It’s about Jordan (Regina Hall), a bully of a boss at her own tech company (she was bullied a kid in school) and her put upon assistant, April (Issa Rae).

Jordan is rude to a little girl who practices magic and is put under a spell.

She wakes up her as a youngster again to go through her childhood years in today’s time period with her current adult mindset.

Rae is so funny that now I’m going to check out her critically acclaimed HBO series, “Insecure”. (She’s also nominated for an Emmy this year in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category.)

GRADE: B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 31, 2020

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

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

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM…

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

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

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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

MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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

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

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

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

SAY SOMETHING” & “DISCO”

Might as well continue that festive theme….

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

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

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

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

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

“THE ALIENIST”

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

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

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

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

“THE ALIENIST— TV SERIES

TNT, you suck!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

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

DELMONICO’S

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

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

It re-opened in the late-1990s!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bon Appetit!

“EMMY LOVE & EMMY SNUB”

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FROM “THE CLINTON TAPES”

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

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

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

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

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

Again, not much has changed some 30 years later!

“SNOWPIERCER” (TV SERIES)

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2020

I know many of you are taking advantage of the summer heat and humidity and enjoying outdoor activities.

Some may just be vegging out inside in the air conditioning.

Me, I’m just fantasizing! Oh, I mean, I’m dreaming of fall and winter! 🙂

Actually, we’re only five months from Christmas! I’ve already decided how I’m decorating my two trees this year! 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. If you’d like to comment (or disagree), do it diplomatically!

THE IRONY!

In the 2016 failed presidential election, there was all this talk about building “a wall”, the “wall”, that “wall”, the wall THAT.NEVER.HAPPENED.!

And, now this recent headline about Mexico shutting down the borders — to keep Americans out!

Again, the irony! 🙂

LESS IRONIC, BUT JUST AS TRUE!

“HALLOWEEN KILLS” …. DEAD FOR A YEAR!

While it comes as no surprise with the rampant spread of Covid-19 and rising death tolls, Michael Myers’ victims will live to see another day (well, actually 364 of them)!

The latest installment in the “Halloween” franchise, which was scheduled to hit theaters October 16, 2020, has been pushed back to October 15, 2021.

Here’s what director David Gordon Green and original “Halloween” director John Carpenter had to say about the delay.

TINA TURNER IS BACK!

Norwegian DJ/Producer Kygo is making the world a better place. Okay, he’s taking our mind off real life events for four minutes.

He talked Tina Turner into briefly coming out of retirement for a new remix to her 1984 hit, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, her only #1 solo hit on the Billboard Hot 100!

And, since we won’t see a new season of “Younger” anytime soon, enjoy seeing sexy Charles Michael Davis in the video, which also stars Laura Harrier.

“THE CLINTON TAPES”

Taylor Branch’s 2009 book is subtitled, “Wrestling History with the President”.

This mammoth book (668 pages) was a very interesting read.

Branch, a long-time friend with President Clinton, met almost monthly with Clinton during his eight years in the White House.

They had one-on-one conversations (except when Hillary or Chelsea would drop in to say good night) about life and events he was dealing with as President. He’d use these recordings to vent, write his memoirs, and put the transcripts in his Presidential Library.

What I learned from the book:

In February 1999, Clinton told Branch that he thought George W. Bush would be the GOP candidate for the 2000 presidential race and that he thought Elizabeth Dole could be his running mate.

Also in that session, while he said he was behind Hillary running for the Senate in New York, it “would waste her unique strength across the country”. Clinton thought that a Gore-Hillary ticket would be their best chance to beat Bush in 2000, “but I don’t think Al would ever do it.”

As the 2000 race was getting underway, Clinton sized up the two leading Republican candidates. He thought George W. Bush was “unqualified to be president, but he had shrewd campaign instincts”. On the other hand, he thought John McCain “would make a good president, but he had no idea how to run”.

When they left the White House, the Clintons’ debt from having to hire personal lawyers during the seven-year-plus Whitewater investigation by special prosecutors Ken Starr and Robert Ray was $14 million! (That investigation led to the Paula Jones investigation and the Monica Lewinsky affair and testimony.)

All this starting from a failed land deal in which the Clintons lost more than $35,000 (about $135,000 today — adjusted for inflation)!

The Whitewater investigation that lasted through much of Clinton’s two terms ended with “no charges, required no admissions, made no adverse findings, and alleged no misstatements from Clinton in any sworn testimony”, which had been the whole basis for the impeachment!

Clinton said it was “irksome” that no major news outlets wanted the story, but he was glad it was over.

“THE POLITICIAN” SEASON 2

While there’s no Jessica Lange this time, I absolutely loved the second season of Netflix’s “The Politician” with Ben Platt.

Also, it’s incredible having Bette Midler and Judith Light in high profile roles. I expect Emmy nominations for both next week! 🙂

Definitely check it out.

UPDATE ON “BUBBLES”

No, I’m not talking about Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee (neither are no longer with us)!

I’m talking about Bubbles, the python that Britney Spears accessorized with at 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.

It’s still alive and has retired! 🙂

I had my own Britney moment in March 2019 when I visited the WHO Snake Farm in Bangkok, Thailand.

At the conclusion of the snake show, we not only got to see an Albino Burmese Python, which is white with patterns in butterscotch yellow or burnt orange (most Pythons are dark colored), but we could have it draped over our shoulders!

It was so cool, but Britney wore it better. And, no, I didn’t start lip-syncing “I’m A Slave 4 U”! 🙂

On a humorous side note, we were told not to worry about the snake being hungry since “it had a small child yesterday”! 🙂

FYI — snakes have poor eyesight and they don’t have ears, so they can’t hear you.  If you encounter one, let it crawl on by — or slowly move away and once you’re out of striking distance, run! 

That’s not my advice — that’s what we were told to do! (Thailand has a lot of snakes, so they should know!)

MY LOVE OF ABBA

It’s no secret I love the Swedish band ABBA.

Recently, I shared how I came to be a fan and what inspired me to name my golden retriever after the band.

It wasn’t just them or their music, it was actually something from Australia!

Also, I shared my ten favorite ABBA songs. (By the way, “Dancing Queen” barely made the Top Ten!)

If you missed it, just click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/abba-the-iconic-band-the-dog-the-six-degrees-of-separation/

Now, sing and dance around the room embarrassing your spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, or co-workers! 🙂

“WALK OF SHAME”

I just watched the 2014 box office bomb, “Walk of Shame” again and I laughed as much as I did six years ago! (The movie only made $59,209 — yes, that’s thousands and NOT millions!)

It doesn’t hurt that Elizabeth Banks is so adorable and funny and her co-star is my future ex-husband, James Marsden.

Here’s what I wrote about the movie the first time I saw it.

“Critics hated it and it was panned by the few movie goers that saw it… Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan Miles, a Los Angeles television news anchor, who is dumped by her fiance.  Her two friends force her to go on the town.  After getting drunk and hooking up with the very hunky Gordon, played by James Marsden, she leaves his place when he falls asleep and checks her messages.  The network is coming to see her show for a promotion to do the national news.

When she leaves Gordon’s place, her car is being towed away with her purse in it.  In her quest to get the car back, she runs into altercations with local drug dealer, prostitutes, the police, and that’s only part of the drama and the chaos.

Many of us have done the ‘walk of shame’ and this is one I’d definitely do again!”

GRADE:  B

trailer

And, if that wasn’t enough, it was my 10th favorite movie of 2014, so here’s a bonus!

“THE WEATHERMAN”

This 1995 creepy thriller by Steve Thayer is fiction, but it covers three things I know a bit about: the weather, television news, and serial killers. It also takes place in Minnesota!

As a major weather event occurs each season, a woman is murdered. As police zero in on the killer, you guessed it, the (television) “weatherman” becomes the prime suspect.

Horror novelist Stephen King loved the book!

“DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY”

The second season of was definitely NOT as exciting as season one of the series with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

“The Betty Broderick Story” stars Amanda Peet (“The X-Files”) and Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”) in the true life story of a scorn woman pushed to murder her ex-husband and his new wife.

Both actors are great, but the story line was too simplistic, repetitive, and way too drawn out.

I was totally over it by the finale!

GRADE: C

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 3, 2020

Since it’s been a rather bizarre year so far, it probably comes as no surprise that summer is here and 2020 is already half over!

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

It’s going to be “hotter than a firecracker” * out there this holiday weekend as temperatures top out around 90° across Illinois (heat indices will be near 100°)! 

* Technically, firecrackers and sparklers can burn to more than 1800° to 3000°+, so it’s just hot!

PUT A LITTLE SPARKLE IN YOUR FOURTH!

I have another thought or two to share about the flamboyant showman.

On my first visit to Las Vegas in 1993, I didn’t get to visit the “official” Liberace Museum (thanks Dennis for your hangover! LOL).

However, I did get to see an exhibition of some of his possessions on my July 2016 trip. It was called the “Liberace Garage”!

By the way, I know I could rock those boots! 🙂

MY FAVORITE FOURTH OF JULY

My favorite Independence Day is, without a doubt, probably one of your favorites, too.

Back in 1976, the United States was celebrating its 200th birthday, its bicentennial.

As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of more than a dozen tall ships and tens of thousands of boats filling New York Harbor.

On my transistor radio, “Fernando” by ABBA was playing.  It’s hard to believe that just one month later, the band would release the iconic “Dancing Queen”!

No other Fourth of July comes close for me as positively memorable!

MY LEAST FAVORITE FOURTH OF JULY

On the other hand, for the worst, none compares to the 4th of July in 2007!

I was working the morning show and on my drive in, it started pouring rain. In the three minute drive to the station, it was coming down in buckets.

As I was running toward the door, my keys flew out of my hands and went underwater in a puddle.  I got to the door and banged and banged, but no one heard it! It was 1:45 a.m.

So, I dug through my bag and found my spare car keys.  I drove to the other side of the building and, this time, one of the producers heard me knocking and opened the door.

Since I was soaked, I decided to go back home and change into a dry suit.

As torrential rains continued falling, a wall of water came crashing into the intersection. Without warning, in just seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and died as the water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate as mine.

I quickly thought about the power doors and windows! If there was a shortage, I would be locked inside!

Yes, I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment!

For those of you that don’t know her or remember her, Savitch is/was one of my idols.  She was the weekend news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News, back in the late 1970s. 

Savitch drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Three intoxicated teenagers came running through the water and helped me push my car into an alley.

Soaking wet, I walked fifteen blocks to my house bare-footed in a ruined suit.

I ended up with three large blisters on the soles of my feet. Luckily, I didn’t step on anything sharp, which would have allowed bacteria in the nasty floodwaters to make me sick!

By the way, I made it back in time to get my weather graphics done and was on the air at 5 a.m.!

As a meteorologist, I’ve never encountered the force of raging water and now I know first hand just where “flash flooding” gets its name. 

It just two or three seconds, the water came out of nowhere and submerged the cars!

Remember, it only takes about six inches of flowing water to sweep a person off their feet, a foot of moving water to make a car buoyant, and only two feet of raging water to sweep a car away!

“OZARK”

“Ozark”, one of my favorite shows, will be returning for a fourth and FINAL season. 🙂 😦

Netflix announced earlier this week that final season will feature fourteen episodes instead of the usual ten.

It’ll also be divided in two parts, seven episodes each (like the final season of “Breaking Bad”).

The return date is unknown.

ANOTHER “OZARK” THOUGHT

When the 72nd Emmy Awards nominations are announced on July 28th, I have a request (or three)!

In May, I wrote that season 3 “was incredible! WOW!”, so “just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy Awards now!”

And, in June, I added that “I’ve loved Linney since I saw her as Mary Ann Singleton in ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities’ in 1994 and I feel this is her year to collect another Emmy!”

AUDITION”

Barbara Walters’ 2008 autobiography, “Audition” is incredible!

After reading it, I’m sorry for two things: that it took me this long to read it and that even at 576 pages, I wished it was longer!

In television news, Barbara is an icon and a trailblazer for women.

We all know of her famous specials and interviews, her time spent on “Today”, “20/20”, and “The View”, along with her million dollar-plus salary (back when it was unheard of for most network anchors — especially women).

However, her home life was very interesting.

Her famous father would earn several fortunes and lose them all, she had a mentally challenged older sister, and she was very open about her successes and failures in love and in her career.

I wish she had talked more about the lavish parties she hosted at her New York City penthouse. I’ve read that they are to die for!

“Audition” is a fantastic read!

“MY THOUGHTS BE BLOODY”

Another interesting book I read this spring was “My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry That Led To The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” by Nora Titone.

The book doesn’t dwell much on the night of Lincoln’s shooting death.

It focuses on the lives of Edwin Booth (a rich, world-renowned famous actor) and his less successful younger brother, John Wilkes Booth, a failed actor and oil businessman.

It wasn’t just the inferiority complex that John Wilkes felt when it came to acting and financial stability that led to his decision to kill Lincoln.

Politics and slavery deepened the familial divide that led to John Wilkes Booth outshining both his brother and famous Shakespearean actor father’s achievements through infamy!

DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES

Daryl Hall & John Oates are still one of the few acts that I’ve never gotten to see in concert! (The other four are Kylie Minogue, Culture Club, Toni Braxton, and Vanessa Williams).

In the summer of 1980, the duo’s “Voices” was the first album I bought with my own money. Actually, it was a cassette.

In Rob Sheffield’s book “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran” (2010), he had a chapter on Daryl Hall & John Oates.

He calls the “H20” cover art, “Hall & Oates’ second-gayest album cover”.

Now, while Sheffield doesn’t mention which Daryl Hall & John Oates album had the gayest cover, I’d venture to guess it was their fourth album — the self-titled effort that included their hit “Sara Smile” (#4, 1976). 🙂

And, Sheffield shares part of an interview to “Rolling Stone” in January 1985 from Daryl Hall saying he wasn’t into John Oates in that way, “he’s not my type — too short and dark” and then he (Hall) adds, “The idea of sex with a man doesn’t turn me off…”

Wait? What?

You mean as a 15-year-old, in the summer of 1980, when they became my favorite act, I had already missed my window of opportunity with an older, experienced man? (Hall was 33-years-old!)

No, I didn’t have “daddy issues” at the time! (I still don’t!) 🙂

Here’s the entire quote: “The idea of sex with a man doesn’t turn me off, but I don’t express it. I satisfied my curiosity about that years ago. I had lots of sex between the ages of three or four and the time I was fourteen or fifteen. Strange experiences with older boys. But men don’t particularly turn me on. And, no, John and I have never been lovers. He’s not my type. Too short and dark.”

To pay tribute to this dynamic duo and their influence on my life, here are my ten favorite Daryl Hall & John Oates hits.

It’s so hard narrowing it down to ten since they charted 29 hits in the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, sixteen reached the Top Ten and six topped the charts!

My ten favorites are:

#10 “Did It In a Minute” (1982) — #9 “Adult Education” (1984) — #8 “One On One” (1983) — #7 “Maneater” (1982) — #6 “Say It Isn’t So” (1983).

“OUT OF TOUCH” (#1, 1984, two weeks)

“KISS ON MY LIST” (#1, three weeks, 1981)

“I CAN’T GO FOR THAT (NO CAN DO)” (#1, one week, 1982)

“PRIVATE EYES” (#1, two weeks, 1981)

YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (#5, 1981)

Here’s a little bit more Daryl Hall & John Oates trivia for you. BMI reports that the duo had fourteen songs to be played more than a million times on the radio!

P.S. Notice I didn’t refer to them as “Hall & Oates”? They don’t like that.

John Oates told “Esquire, “There isn’t one album that says Hall and Oates. It’s always Daryl Hall and John Oates, from the very beginning. People never note that. The idea of ‘Hall and Oates,’ this two-headed monster, this thing, is not anything we’ve ever wanted or liked.”

So there! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My (Interesting) First Month in Decatur

Boy, time sure does fly by as you get older!

With the Coronavirus and COVID-19, I know many of you, are under “stay at home” protocols with state governments, working from home, or unemployed because of restaurants being closed to diners, like my sister and her family!

As for me, I’ve been working since the media is considered “essential” in this crazy time across the United States and the world.

Snowy Duluth UHaul

It seems just like yesterday that I left snow-covered Duluth, Minnesota, and moved into my new apartment in Decatur, in central Illinois.

What a whirlwind month it’s been!  I moved into my apartment on Wednesday, April 1st, and started work the next day.    I’ve already been on the air at WAND-17, the NBC-affiliate, four weeks!

Except for hanging two pieces of wall art that’s rather heavy and needs to be done by someone that know what’s they’re doing, my apartment is set up and livable.

It’ll “do” for a year and I’ll find another place here that I’ll make my forever home.  I’m tired of moving, but this apartment is not that place!

Bedroom View

However, I do love the view out my bedroom window, which gave me a front row seat of deer frolicking and playing in the shallow end of this part of Lake Decatur one afternoon.

I’ll share more pictures when I’m totally done decorating.  But, with “social distancing”, I’m not sure when that’ll be!

Interesting

PASSING THE TIME

It’s bizarre and interesting to have lived here a month and not be able to experience life in Decatur, to invite my morning co-anchors over for dinner, or to meet new people for drinks.

I know that one day I’ll get to eat out and see what central Illinois has to offer.

Until then, to pass the time, I take regular four-mile walks from my complex and through the marina around one part of Lake Decatur.

Lake Decatur

Since I walk and read at the same time, I’ve already finished four books, all by my idol, former President Jimmy Carter.

I’m currently reading “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” by Maureen Orth.

The book is the basis for the Emmy-winning FX series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” with ALL of Emmy winner Darren Criss!

Criss

Criss 1

Oops, sorry for not warning you! 🙂

My connection to Cunanan and this story goes back to 1997 when it was happening and I was the weekend anchor in Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, this made it “on air” and we did get calls because of the eerie similarities! 🙂

Cunanan

Since I didn’t watch a lot of television in Duluth, I dropped cable this past January.

My new apartment complex offers “free” cable (I still pay for DVR service and internet), so I’ve been catching up on the shows I used to watch.

In April, I binge-watched 60-plus hours of television!

I watched the last season of “Homeland” (except for the series finale because Showtime and xfinity suck and aren’t making it “free” like it did for the first eleven episodes of the last season.

I’ve also watched the 2020 episodes of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “9-1-1” (the final two episodes of both series air in May — for “Murder”, it’s the series finale), along with “Prodigal Son”, “9-1-1 Lone Star”, “The Good Doctor”, and the third season of “The Sinner”!

Bad Netflix

In Duluth, for some reason, I got this message on my television while trying to watch Netflix.

What’s bizarre is that Netflix works on my television in Decatur!

Since discovering this, I’ve already binged the third season of “Ozark” and I’m almost done with the third season of “The Crown”.

Up next, seasons two of “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, and “You”, the first season of “The Politician”, and the fourth season of “Eastsiders”.

And, to make my bestie, Katie, happy, I can now binge-watch all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

Speaking of “Ozark”, season three is the best, so far!

Ozark Emmys

While nominations don’t come out until this summer, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy awards now!

BACK ON THE WAGON

The last four months in Duluth were very stressful for me.

While I’ve talked about the crazy stretches of work (days and nights for several days with just a couple of hours of sleep in between),  I never mentioned and I won’t elaborate here on a police-involved harassment ordeal that forced me to “fall off the wagon”.

Over the years I’ve been very open about being a recovering food addict.

Since 1995, I’ve pretty much successfully fought the daily battle by eating healthier with a great dose of exercise.

There were a few stumbles (most recently in early 2017 when I was going through a divorce).  But, with the stress of work, being stalked and harassed, job hunting, and relocating, I took a big step backwards and my weight dropped has dropped from 163 to 138 pounds.

My new schedule not only allows me more free time each afternoon, but it gives me the opportunity to cook more and eat at a reasonable hour!

April 7 Dinner

I’m back on track, “on the wagon”, and I have one month under my belt now!!!

I don’t know what I weigh now and I don’t need to know.  All I know is that I should gain a few more pounds to be healthier again.

I owe much of that success to Kroger!  Yes, the grocery chain.  There’s one located right by work and another one a couple of miles from my apartment.

On my first visit to each, I noticed they marked down all kinds of fun produce as it approaches the “sell by” or “best by” dates.

So, now instead of binging and purging on high caloric junk to satisfy an addiction, I’m now a little O-C-D about making very regular trips to the Kroger stores in Decatur and stocking up on greens and veggies!

April 17 Dinner

(For the record, I went to three Kroger stores a total of 17 times in April!) 🙂

I’ve also treated myself to fried chicken three times and three rotisserie chickens, along with the chicken that I cook at home.

Did I mention several bottles of wine, too?

FOND MEMORIES AND MAKING NEW ONES

I’ll fondly remember my two years in Duluth.

Lake Superior was beautiful and the almost 107″ of snow my first winter there was mind-blowing.

When I left Duluth at the end of March, we had already picked up almost 90″ this past winter!

I had the pleasure to work with some fun and entertaining people at Fox 21 in Duluth (and one that I hope I never, oh, never mind)!

Fun People

And, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my dear friends, Katie (who was my evening director at work), her mother Mary Kaye, and my neighbor, Kass.

Over the past two years, I shared many delicious meals (including Thanksgivings and Christmases) with these special ladies.

And, Kass and I regularly had “cocktail hour” at her place.  (Kass, I don’t have a drinking buddy here yet, but I did see your spiced rum at a liquor store and I smiled!) 🙂

Love Duluth Friends

While I miss my Northland Peeps, I know that when America is healthier again and it’s safe to socialize, I’ll find some dear friends and colleagues in central Illinois.

To all my friends reading this, stay safe and healthy!

And, while it’s not a “Random Friday Thoughts”, I’ll end it with my signature sign-off.

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 13, 2020

Two weeks in a row with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy!

Feel free to comment on any of my thoughts, but, as always, do it diplomatically!

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

Don’t zone out from fatigue over the Coronavirus.  I’ll keep this part short!

You’re hearing a lot on the news about the virus, which is now a pandemic.

Basically the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is that an epidemic is an illness affecting a specific region and a pandemic has global impacts!

Here is the U.S., sports seasons and playoffs are basically done, concerts are being cancelled or postponed, schools are extending spring break and going to online classes when they return, restaurants are closing, and the list goes on.

And, on Wednesday, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, in Australia, announced they they tested positive for Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

Yet, there are those that are blaming the media (of course) for hyping up something that’s no worse than the flu, which kills people each year.

However, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the Coronavirus is ten times (that’s 10 times) deadlier than the seasonal flu!

Coronavirus

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust the government!  (I’m not just talking about the Trump administration — yet that speaks for itself!)  I’m talking about trust on a daily basis and not specifically with Coronavirus.

This mistrust of the U.S. government is a product of past administrations (Republican and Democrats) of telling us just what we “need” to know, when it deems the time is right.

Well, here’s the thing.  I think Coronavirus is a real public threat and I think we’re going to see the number of cases (and deaths) in the U.S. and Canada shoot up drastically over the next month or so.

As for me, I pray that I don’t get sick.  However, I’m doing nothing more to prevent it than I normally do in a typical day. 

I always wash my hands.  I love using hand sanitizer (even before it was chic).  I cover my mouth when I cough and I move away from people hacking like they’re coughing up a lung.

And, no I didn’t raid the store for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water!

Watermelon Mint Vodka

However, I did buy a bottle of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Zero Sugar Infusions vodka.  It sounded fun!  And, I do have a decent supply of wine and liquor!

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

Hello, Wicked Spoon!  These were my four plates and truly UNLIMITED champagne and mimosas this past December from there!

Wicked Spoon

Because of Coronavirus, my life as I know it is (temporarily?) disrupted — if I was in Vegas now.

MGM Resorts (which doesn’t own Wicked Spoon) issued this statement earlier in the week:

“MGM Resorts will temporarily close buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday March 15. These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

It what could be called “joy” and “madness”, I found out this week that I joined Facebook more than a decade ago.

So, if you don’t follow me there, here were my thoughts on my eleventh anniversary!

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

Primaries and caucuses are taking places across the nation ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, which I think will be Joe Biden and 45.

I love looking at polls and I trust them — for the most part.

Vote

However, I also know that polls mean nothing if people don’t get out and vote!

And, come November 3, 2020, if you want to make “that man” a one-term president (or if you support him), you have to VOTE!

“OZARK” 

Season three of one of the best shows on television is coming back later this month.

“Ozark” returns March 27th on Netflix and from the new trailer, it looks like this could be Laura Linney’s year for an Emmy win!

She was incredible in season two and I was hoping that she and Julia Garner would take home trophies.  Garner won in the Emmy’s supporting actress category.

THANKS NETFLIX!

But, before I can check out the new season of “Ozark” with the incredible Linney, season three of “The Crown”, season two of “Sex Education”, season two of “Mindhunter”, and the first season of “The Politician”, I now have to buy a new television!

Thanks a lot Netflix!

Last month, I was going to start binge-watching “The West Wing” and this is what greeted me!

Bad Netflix

On December 1, 2019, Netflix deemed my Samsung television, which I got in 2014, obsolete for its streaming service!

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

Last week, I talked about the new Lady Gaga single, “Stupid Love” (it debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), from her upcoming April 10th album, “Chromatica”.

Now, I’m excited to know what my second album that I’ll buy in 2020 will be and when.

“Gaslighter” is the new single and the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ new album that’ll drop May 1, 2020!

“Gaslighter” is actually getting country music airplay!  It debuted on the Billboard Country chart at #31 and moved to #20 in its second week!

That’s their biggest hit at country radio since “Travelin’ Soldier” hit #1 in early 2003, about the time that Natalie Maines’ comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War got the Chicks banned from country radio!

Their last album, “Taking The Long Way”, came out in May 2006, and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

The Dixie Chicks’ last hit song was 2006’s “Not Ready To Make Nice”, which reached #4 on the Hot 100.

It went on to win three Grammy Awards — “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”, in 2007!

“KNIVES OUT”

If you like whodunit movies, you’ll like this mystery comedy.

The all-star cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson.

The first half of the movie features some very humorous scenes as the story was set up.  Collette was especially funny.

I figured out early on who was likely the killer.  From that point on, the movie started to drag.  (Oh, I was correct!).

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

For months now, I’ve been purging my CD and movie collection.

I started listening to CDs that I liked at one time in my life, but I’d never say, “I want to listen to <insert album title here>.  I had about one thousand CDs and now it’s down to about 425 essentials that I don’t want to part with.

With my movies, I’m watching older ones, some of which didn’t become one of “my favorites”, and I’m getting rid of them.

Until recently, only three of them made the cut and I put them back on the shelf.

I kept the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”), the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”, and the 2010 American romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?”.

“LEMON TREE”

This past week, I added three more “keepers”.

The first is the 2008 Israeli drama, “Lemon Tree”.

Hiam Abbass is heartbreaking and stunning!  She plays Salma, a widowed Palestinian woman fighting to keep the Israeli government from cutting down her lemon grove, which was planted by her late father decades ago.

It becomes a security risk when the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife, Mira, (a moving performance by Rona Lipaz-Michael) move next door.

“PATRIK 1.5”

Another was the very touching 2008 Swedish film, “Patrik 1.5”.

It stars one of the sexy Skarsgard brothers (no, not Alexander from “True Blood” and “Big Little Lies” and not creepy Bill (Pennywise in the new “It” movie series).

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

His Göran Skoogh in “Patrik 1.5” would make the perfect husband! 🙂

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

Even though this Argentinean movie came out in 2013, it speaks volumes about today’s dating and app hook-up scene!

You never really know who you’re meeting or hooking up with and what could happen!

Manuel (Patrico Ramos) and Julio (Mario Veron) finally decide to meet after chatting online for a while.

Once they meet, Julio tells Manuel, “There are really bad people round there. They say one thing and they mean another. You never know who you’re dealing with. You don’t even know who you’re bringing into your home.”

“TRANSAMERICA”

I also watched the incredible “Transamerica” with Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman and the adorably sexy Kevin Zegers.

While still a very fulfilling movie, so much has changed since it came out in 2005.

After the groundbreaking television series “Pose” and “Transparent”, I couldn’t imagine a movie made today about a trans woman that WOULD NOT be played by a real trans actress!

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

Debbie Gibson, one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, is back with a huge club hit!

“Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young Radio Remix) is currently at #4 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In 2019, Tracy Young scored back-to-back chart toppers on the the Dance Club Songs chart with Madonna’s “I Rise” and “Crave”.  (Young won a Grammy Award for the “I Rise” remix!)

From 1986 to early 1991, Gibson scored nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, five reached the Top Ten, including the #1 hits, “Foolish Beat” (1988) and “Lost in Your Eyes” (1989, three weeks at #1).

When “Foolish Beat” topped the chart in the summer of 1988, Debbie became youngest person to write, produce, and perform a number-one single entirely on her own, at age 17!!!

“Only In My Dreams”, Debbie’s first hit in 1987 that reached #4, is still one of my all-time favorites!

“ICE BOUND:  A DOCTOR’S INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE”

Ice Bound

This 2001 book is about Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an Ohio doctor that took a year off from medicine to find herself by “wintering” in Antarctica with 40 others.

Just a few months into her one-year stay, she found a lump in her breast.

This book is the story of how she and her new friends, “winterovers”, worked via satellite and computers in the harsh -100° weather and months of complete darkness to keep her alive.

This lasted for eight months before the weather finally broke and she could be rescued and brought back to the U.S. for surgery in the fall of 1998.

In 2000, while I was an anchor and reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, I interviewed Dr. Nielsen.  Twenty years later, I have no clue what about!  Maybe it was about her recovery?

Dr. Nielsen was a cancer survivor for over a decade before she died in the summer of 2009.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2019

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts over the past few weeks.  This is it for a while again.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts diplomatically if we disagree.

Have a great weekend!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN LATEST

I’ll start off with some sad news, but I know she’s a fighter!

Pop music icon Olivia Newton-John tells “60 Minutes Australia” she’s not giving up the fight as she battles stage four cancer.

Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer back in 1992.

She overcame the disease, but it returned in 2013.  Olivia won that battle, too, and it was never made public.

However, the cancer returned in May 2017 and metastasized into her lower back.

This month, we learned that the cancer has advanced to Stage IV, which means it has spread to other organs and the mortality rate is higher.

If you click on this, you can hear just how courageous she is!

I’ve loved Olivia since the early-1970s as a little kid when she dominated country radio before crossing over to pop music.

I was so lucky to catch her during her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2014.

Olivia 2014

Olivia, you beautiful woman, stay strong and keep fighting!

Here’s Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi on their #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “You Have To Believe”, from 2015, with Dave Aude!

MY TWO CONNECTIONS TO PRINCESS DIANA

We’re coming up on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lady Diana

Of course, I remember the fairy tale wedding back in 1981 and the tragic news of her death in Paris, France, in 1997.

I was working at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas, as the weekend news anchor.  We led our 10 p.m Saturday newscast with the news of the car crash.  At that point, she was still alive or it hadn’t cross the wires that she had died.

However, just minutes after we said goodnight, the Associated Press reported that the Princess was dead!  We waited for CBS to break into programming.  They didn’t!

Finally, my co-anchor, Ny Lynn Nichols, and I went back on the air with the sad news.  We reported all that we knew at the time, which wasn’t much.  We re-ran the story from the newscast about the crash and gave updates for a few minutes as information came into our newsroom.

That was my first connection to Princess Diana.  So, if anyone was watching CBS in Lubbock, Texas, after the 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday, August 30, 1997, they saw Ny Lynn and I relaying the tragic news.

SARAH, THE DUCHESS OF YORK

My second connection to Princess Diana came many years later.

sarah ferguson.jpg

In March 2010, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (and Princess Diana’s former sister-in-law), came to the Quad Cities for a benefit for Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people fighting cancer.

The Duchess spoke to a crowd of more than 600 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

They had a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book, “Little Red to the Rescue”, and I won.

Sarah Duchess of York

Needless to say, it was so pretty cool to get not only an autographed book from the Duchess, but also a package addressed from Windsor Castle!

“A ROYAL DUTY”

As the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approached, I decided to read the two books on my bookshelf about her life (and death).

The first was “A Royal Duty” by Paul Burrell.

Paul Burrell Diana.JPG

This 2003 best seller chronicles Burrell’s life of working his way up through the ranks in British Royal Household to become Queen Elizabeth II’s footman.

Burrell then worked for Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, before working for Diana exclusively after the Royal separation and divorce up until her untimely death.

While I believe Burrell’s stories about his commitment to Princess Diana, I do think he was overly dramatic at times!

GRADE:  B 

“THE DIANA CHRONICLES”

Tina Brown, who worked for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, released “The Diana Chronicles” in the summer of 2007, a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

Diana Tina Brown.JPG

While I believe Burrell’s stories in his book, I think that he hid away the naughty and nasty side of Princess Diana.  We all have one!

Brown’s book is very comprehensive and easy to read.  It’s much more journalistic, thorough and fair (i.e. honest).  However, she could be catty!  Meow!

Although the front and back cover featured the same collage of photos of Princess Diana’s life, I really wish the book featured photos inside!

One thing that Brown talked about that intrigued me was Diana and Charles’s divorce settlement: a lump sum of £17 million (roughly $20.5 million) and £400,000 annually for Diana’s office (nearly one-half million dollars).

Also, Diana would lose the HRH (Her Royal Highness) title, but retain the Diana, Princess of Wales title.

GRADE:  A

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

If you follow the Royal Family and checked out the first two seasons of “The Crown” on Netflix with the amazing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, the next season is getting closer.

Season 3 with Oscar winner Olivia Colman as a more mature Queen Elizabeth II premieres on November 17, 2019!

“IS IT JUST ME?”

As I mentioned back in February, I’m going through my movie collection and I’m watching older ones to either get rid of or save.

So far, I’ve only kept two:  the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”) and the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”.

Now, a third one is saved — the 2010 romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?” with the sexy Nicholas Downs (Blaine) and David Loren (Xander).

Blaine is looking for a nice guy, but doesn’t think that they exist until he meets Xander online.

After chatting, they talk for hours on the phone.

The problem is that Blaine realizes his roommate, Cameron, an actor and go-go dancer, was logged into his computer and it was his profile they were chatting under.

So, while Xander is talking to Blaine, he thinks Blaine looks like Cameron!

This scene between Blaine and his friend Michelle is one that made me laugh (and I watched it over and over!) The other is the last scene in the movie trailer below. 🙂

Michelle Blaine Sarcasm.JPG

GRADE:  B

LET’S GO TO VEGAS

I’m finally heading back to Vegas this weekend.  I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend since they’ve never been.

As you may know, Vegas experienced a grasshopper invasion earlier this summer.

Grasshopper Las Vegas.JPG

There were so many grasshoppers in the air that it was detected on Doppler radar!

Vegas Radar Grasshopper.jpg

This was the most creative response to the creepy infestation! 😉

Grasshopper

It’d be pretty neat to experience them if they’re still around when we get there! 🙂

VEGAS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG

Since 2012, I’ve tried to get to Vegas every year, but I failed last year since I was moving to Duluth, Minnesota.

However, I had a great time there on my last visit in December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s magical “All I Want For Christmas” show…

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

met Lionel Richie…

Capture2

and saw one of my childhood favorites, Tanya Tucker!

Tanya

“NEW” WHITNEY HOUSTON ON THE RADIO

It’s been more than seven-and-a-half years since Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills, California hotel.

whitney-houston

Now, Whitney and Norwegian record producer Kygo are poised to have a big hit at Top 40 radio with a rework of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love”, one of my all-time favorites.

Whitney originally recorded the song for the Japanese version of her third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The new version is incredible!

“Higher Love” is already at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and at #43 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio airplay chart!

Whitney’s last Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was in the fall of 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks when “The Star Spangled Banner”, her 1991 recording, was re-released.  This time around, it reached #6.

Before that, her last original song to hit the Top 40 was in 2000 when “I Learned from the Best”, the fifth and final release from the “My Love is Your Love” album, hit #27.

Kygo’s 2016 album, “Cloud Nine”, is fantastic.  Check it out!

“THE LOUDEST VOICE”

This Showtime series about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, who sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives, was great.

Okay, the acting was great.  Watching Ailes’ creepiness of preying on women and forcing sex on them was disgusting.

In the series, Ailes blamed the left for all of America’s problems and gloated, “I’ve given the Silent Majority a voice” and that “we worship a Christian God”.

Yes, womanizer and rapist, worship that Christian God!

But, I have to hand it to Ailes for seeing a wide opening in television “news” that wasn’t catering to Republicans and the “religious right” and seizing the opportunity.

Give Russell Crowe his 2020 Emmy now and Roger Ailes, may you rot in hell!

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony