Posts Tagged ‘Fiona Barton’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 3, 2017

The first month of 2017 is already behind us.  I hope the year is off to a good start for you.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours diplomatically and concisely!

WITH SADNESS & REGRETS

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

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy would have turned 14 at the end of March.

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!

FIVE YEARS ALREADY!

The news of Mr. Panda crossing the “Rainbow Bridge” comes near the anniversary of us saying goodbye to my precious golden, ABBA.

I can’t believe it was five years ago today!

Here are the two of them on a spring walk when Miss ABBA decided she was going to be Mr. Panda’s “seeing eye dog”.

ABBAWalkingPanda

The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.

ABBAWalkingPandaArticle

Miss ABBA, I still think of you daily, but it’s with smiles now instead of tears.

Here’s a look back at her beautiful, golden life.

And, on we go…

BUILDING WALLS & BARRIERS

I’m going out on a limb here and say that most of us have been in relationships — successful ones and failed ones.

Lack of communication is probably to blame for a number of the failed relationships and it’s likely at the heart of the problems in the successful ones, too.

NOH8 Heart

We build walls around our heart and it causes friction, insecurity, miscommunication, and eventually, hate.

While those walls are emotional, the talk of building physical walls between people and countries is at all-time high.

Check out this incredible airlines commercial from Aeromexico driving home the message that ideological and physical barriers hurt people!

MURDER IN AMERICA

It’s a proven fact that most of the murders here in the United States are committed by people of the same race — white people are mostly killed at the hands of other white people, black people are mostly responsible for killing black people, etc.

The reasons for the senseless murders are many:  domestic problems, drugs, robbery, stupidity, etc.

KILLING SPREES CAUSED BY HATE AND IGNORANCE

quebec-city

Last Sunday, police say this white man walked into a Quebec City (Canada) mosque, opened fire, and killed six people and injured eight others.

When I heard this and the words “mosque” and Canada came up, the first thing that crossed my mind is that this wasn’t a “suicide bombing” by a Middle Eastern group attacking its own people.

Pulse

Last summer, when news broke about a gunman storming into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and hurting 53 others, I didn’t think it was an LGBT person going in with a vendetta.

And, when nine African Americans were massacred in a downtown Charleston, South Carolina, church, I didn’t think the shooter was another black person .

Roof.jpg

In all three of these incidents, I instantly thought the motivation was hate.  Today, I still feel certain it was.

The accused Quebec City shooter is reported to have “far-right, nationalist views” and publicly supported Donald Trump and the French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen.

Th man behind the Pulse shootings was disgusted by gay people and might even have been a self-hating gay man himself, and the Charleston shooter is a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Notice I didn’t use their names.  They don’t deserve any more publicity!  We know the hateful things they did or are accused of doing.

I’d love to say that people will be nicer and things will get better.  But, I’m a realist and I’m saddened and scared for our future — our intolerance of people that look or act different than us.

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

I’m thinking about this even more after listening to all of Mariah Carey’s albums again.

On her 1990 self-titled debut, she had a song called “There’s Got To Be A Way”.

It features the chilling lyrics, “In another land they still believe/color grants supremacy/I don’t understand how there can be/regulated bigotry”.

Sadly, in this day and age, you don’t even have to go to another country.  It’s alive here in America and now those people don’t even have to hide under sheets in the darkness of night or behind a computer screen.

Optimistically, Mariah sings on, “Some of us don’t even wonder/some of us don’t even care/couldn’t we accept each other/can’t we make ourselves aware”.

Let’s hope!

Hope

FINDING HOPE WHERE WE CAN!

On a much brighter note, we’re now only six weeks away from the live action version of Disney’s remake of “Beauty and the Beast”.

The final official trailer came out earlier this week.

It gives us a comprehensive look at the movie and we finally hear Ariana Grande and John Legend’s remake of the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s theme song.

I’m excited even more for the March 17, 2017 premiere.

The original “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 made $425 million and it was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  (It lost to “The Silence of the Lambs”.)

WHERE ARE THOU, SNOW?

Only 0.4″ of snow officially fell in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, for the month of January.

There have only been two other winters on record that date back to the 1870s where less snow accumulated in January.

lack-of-january-snow

Only a trace of snow fell in January 1989 and January 1944.

This January ties 1973 as the third least snowiest on record.

“GROUNDHOG DAY BLIZZARD”

While this winter is rather skimpy on snow, six years ago today we were digging out of the “Groundhog Day Blizzard”.

Snow started falling on January 31, 2011, and by the time the storm departed February 2, 2011, the Quad Cities tied the record for a single snowstorm with the one from January 11-13, 1979 at 18.4″!

Blizzard 2-2-2011

The bulk of the snow in 2011, 14.8″ fell on February 1st, with 1.7″ the day before that, and 1.9″ the day after the big snow.  If you look at those totals, the 16.7″ that fell on February 1st and 2nd set the record for the most snow in 24 hours in the Quad Cities!

Days later, Gretel and I took advantage of the snow by playing snow zombie attack and Ray helped us dig a tunnel, which ABBA loved.

February 5 2011February 6 2011

Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!

“THE HYPNOTIST”

As I’ve stated many times, I read books, mostly autobiographies, biographies, or real life events, while walking on the treadmill.

Occasionally, I check out some fiction.  I just finished Fiona Barton’s “The Widow” and a Swedish book translated into English, “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler.

After reading Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” in 2015, I’ve come to realize that Scandinavians love their violent novels.

“The Hypnotist” picks up after a vicious and savage attack on a family leaves the mom, dad, and their little girl dead and in pieces.  The only survivor was a teenage boy stabbed hundreds of times.

Detectives are in a race against time to talk to the boy because he is the only one that saw the killer(s).  They learn that he has an older sister not living at home and the killer could be after her next.

The only way they can reach the boy’s memories of the brutal attack is to use hypnosis by a discredited doctor.

The use of hypnosis opens up old wounds from ten years ago and brings forth a new crime spree as detectives race to catch the savage murderer and a newly discovered serial killer.

A great read!  Now, I need to find the hit 2012 movie based on the book.

“THE SNOWMAN”

Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!

Nesbo+Snowman

Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

the-snowman

Until there’s an official trailer, here’s what I wrote about the book in July 2015 if you want to check it out.

“Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train [Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”], I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

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

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.”

PICK HIT

LeAnn Rimes is back this week with “Remnants”, her 13th studio album!  While it’s just now coming out in the U.S., it was released last fall in the U.K.

Here at home, Rimes is best known for many huge country hits that kicked off with 1996’s “Blue”.  Those hits continued through 2004-2006 when she scored three Top Ten Country smashes from her “This Woman” album.

She also scored huge pop hits with “How Do I Live” and with tracks from the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack (“Can’t Stop the Moonlight”).

Rimes also had amazing, but less commercially successful, albums like “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I highly recommend both!

She’s currently in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart at #6 with “Long Live Love” from the new “Remnants” album.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — January 20, 2017

It seems like forever since I’ve written a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

While I shared my favorite movies, songs, and albums in blogs in December, I’ve mostly written about the weather lately.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically and concisely.  I won’t put up with tired rants! 🙂

LAST MENTION (HOPEFULLY)

I did share one more blog about you know who yesterday and that means I’ll be trying very hard not to bash him either.  You guessed it —  I’m not referring to him by name.

If you missed that, click here and it’ll open in another window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/fasten-your-seat-belts/

IT’S AN HONOR….

Playing for the president of the United States, regardless of party, would be an honor for any performer.

But, after the decisive 2016 election, singers are catching hell for signing on or skipping this year’s inauguration and parties.

Garth Brooks is facing backlash from some of his conservative fans, but he says his decision not to play the inauguration was because of his world tour.

Brooks says, “We left it up to karma. If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then of course we are out.”

Strong sales prompted him to add three more shows over that weekend.

PresidentObama

Brooks adds, “I’ll tell you with this whole presidential thing: We got one going out. Pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let’s stay together.  Love, unity — that’s what it’s all about.”

As Garth sings in his amazing anthem, “We Shall Be Free”.

https://vimeo.com/8515766

However, it was the other way around for Jennifer Holliday.  When it was announced that the “Dreamgirls” star was planning on performing, the backlash from her fans — people of color and LGBT — was immediate.

Holliday dropped out and apologized.

jh-apology

While I’m happy for that decision, I’m appalled about a reporte that Holliday and her family received death threats once it was initially announced that she would be performing.

hate

If true, those people are as disgusting as the ones spewing their hate and ignorance before and after the 2016 presidential election!

Disgusting!

…BUT YOU’RE NOT DOING IT “FOR THE COUNTRY”.

While I said “it’s an honor” to play for the president, I’ve actually heard some performers say they do it for the country.

I think that’s stretching it quite a bit.

flag

Our uniformed men and women in the armed forces do what they do for the country!

WHERE IS THE SNOW?

It’s now January 20th and it’s been over a month since we’ve had measurable snow in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

Officially, in the Quad Cities,  in Moline, we’re at the same point we were at last winter at this time on snowfall — 13.8″ (as of Thursday).

winter-snow

Typically, we should be at around 16″ at this point in the winter.

Since Davenport had more snow with the first storm of the season in early December, the total there is up to 16.5″ this winter compared to 11.8″ at this point last winter.

No snow is expected until later next week.

“THE WIDOW”

While we’re only a few weeks into the new year, I’ve already finished two books while walking on the treadmill.

I mostly read autobiographies, biographies, or books about real life events.  Occasionally, I’ll read fiction.

Over the past year, my favorites were “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker.

Dietland

If you’re looking for a thriller with the “Gone Girl”-like twist of who’s telling the truth and what is real and what isn’t, “The Widow” by Fiona Barton is a great book to check out.

widow.jpg

Jeanie is now a widow and is being pursued by journalists to tell her story after her husband Glen is hit by a bus.

But, this isn’t the first time that she felt badgered by the television and print reporters.  The last time, it was mostly about Glen and a crime for which he was charged.

There’s also twists and turns centering around a missing child and internet porn.

“DON’T BREATHE”

This psychological thriller is now out on DVD and it’s definitely worth catching.

Three down on their luck young adults are breaking into houses in Detroit and selling what they steal for money.   Yet, they feel they’re not getting the money they deserve for the stolen merchandise.

So, they decide to target one more person, an Army veteran, who won a settlement from a wealthy family after their daughter killed his only daughter in a car accident.

He appears to be an easy target because he’s blind.  Big mistake!

Let’s just say you’ll never look at a turkey baster the same way again! If your mind is already reeling, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking! 🙂

This thriller was very successful.  It made $155.1 million on a $10 million budget!

GRADE:  A

“LIGHTS OUT”

While “Don’t Breathe” is a psychological thriller and I love those types of crime capers, “Lights Out” is more of a suspenseful, supernatural movie.

It’s like an extended movie version of an episode of “The X-Files”.

A family is left to pick up the pieces after the dad is murdered at his business by something that can only be seen when it’s dark — “lights out”.

His wife, played by Maria Bello, suffers from a mental illness.

She sinks further into depression after her husband’s death and their adolescent son, Martin, is becoming more and more distressed after seeing his mother talk to a third unseen “person” in the room.

Unable to sleep, he falls asleep in school and goes to stay with his grown sister.  We learn that she left home because of her mother’s behavior.

It’s all because of Diana and Diana’s identity drives this movie.

The $5 million movie made close to $149 million and a sequel is in the works,

GRADE:  B

MORE FROM TERESA PALMER

Teresa Palmer is the star of “Lights Out” and she’s phenomenal.

Although movie goers will recognize her from “Warm Bodies”, “I Am Number Four”, “The Grudge 2”, and “Hacksaw Ridge”, I first saw the Australian actress in her incredible second movie, “2:37” from 2006.

If you come across it, it’s definitely worth checking out.

JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

I saw Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in 2007.  She was amazing, as usual.

JH.jpg

Most people remember her as Effie White in her Tony Award-winning role on Broadway in “Dreamgirls”.

That show also gave Holliday her only Top 40 hit on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.  It reached #22 in 1982.  (That song also reached #1 on the R&B charts and won her a Grammy Award.)

Holliday has also scored six Top Ten hits on the Billboard Dance charts.

“And I Am Telling You…” hit the Top Ten twice, in 2001 and 2007, but it didn’t chart when the song came out originally in 1982!

She’s also topped the dance chart twice with “No Frills Love” — in 1985 in its original release and again in 1996!

This is my favorite Holliday song!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony