Posts Tagged ‘Fox News’

Random Thoughts — April 5, 2019

It’s the first week of April and I hope you weren’t fooled too much earlier this week.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

KUDOS CHICAGO!

Lori Lightfoot’s election win earlier this week to become Chicago’s new mayor is historical!

Lori Lightfoot

Not only will she become the city’s first African American woman mayor, but she’s also part of the LGBTQ community!  She and her wife, Amy Eshleman, have one daughter!

Best wishes Lori!!!!!!

CHICAGO’S OTHER WOMAN MAYOR

Jane Byrne was the first woman elected as Chicago’s mayor and she served four years — from April 1979 to April 1983.

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“A MIGHTY HEART”

I remember the tragic story when it was developing back in early 2002 and when the Angelina Jolie movie came out in 2007.

However, reading “A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl”, Mariane Pearl’s account of the abduction and beheading of her husband in Pakistan by Islamic and religious extremists, is harrowing and heartbreaking.

A Mighty Heart

If you don’t recall, Daniel worked for the “Wall Street Journal”.  He was reporting on the United States’ “War on Terrorism” following the 9/11 attacks just months earlier.

He disappeared on January 23, 2002, at a Karachi hotel where he was meeting a contact. A terrorist group claimed he was an American spy.  Once they found out he was Jewish, his fate was sealed.

He was beheaded nine days later in a video that surfaced three weeks later.  His body, cut into ten pieces, was found in a shallow grave in May.

Daniel Pearl

One very interesting note I learned from Mariane’s book is that for a 40-day training session at a Taliban camp to learn “how to terrify, torture, kill”, it only cost about $20/day ($50/day with weapons)!  😦

SYMPATHY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN — COUGH!

The last part of Mariane’s book, “A Mighty Heart”, featured comforting letters to the Pearl family from around the world from everyday people and politicians, including President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

But, the one that struck me the wrong way all these years later was from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In light of all the atrocities he’s orchestrated (oops, I mean, that he’s accused of), this part of his letter didn’t set well with me, “We will do everything to root out this evil, eliminate the threat of terrorism, find and neutralize all those who bring death and destruction.”

Earlier in the letter, he was more honest — like he was looking in a mirror, “International terrorism knows no borders or nationality.”

Trump Putin

JOURNALISTS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA & HATRED

Many times while reading “A Mighty Heart”, I thought of 45’s constant attack on the “mainstream media” and his calling journalists that don’t pander to his rhetoric “the enemy of the people”!

No, Donald, jihadists like the ones that kidnapped Daniel Pearl because he was bringing news of their inhumane actions to the world stage are the enemies!

I know that past presidents of both parties have disliked the media.  It’s no secret that Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, just to name a few, disliked reporters and the news outlets.

But, they never went so far as screaming “fake news” to any group that wasn’t Fox News!

We don’t need more blood on our hands with journalists, like Danny Pearl and countless others, being killed just because one man or one group dislikes what they report!

“HOMELAND”

I finally got caught up on the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series “Homeland” with the incredible Claire Danes.

I had watched up to season four, but now that I have premium cable, they’ve added seasons five, six, and seven.

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And, in a casting note that I love, Hugh Dancy (NBC’s “Hannibal”), who’s also Danes’ real-life husband will have a multi-series arc!

The eighth and final season comes out later this year.  They’re currently shooting in Morocco, which is substituting for Afghanistan!

While I’m thrilled that Dancy will be joining the cast, I hope they bring back James D’Arcy and make him Carrie’s love interest.  He’s already mine!!! 🙂

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

FUNNIEST “HOMELAND” LINE

In a series about homeland security, terrorists, shady politics and being bipolar, there usually aren’t a lot of laughs.

However, in season seven, I had to LOL at one of Carrie Mathison’s (Danes) lines.

She’s knows that her body has built up a tolerance to the lithium that’s keeping her sane.  Storming into her therapist’s office with her head bleeding after a fight with a man blackmailing her, a manic Carrie tells the doctor she wants to try new medication.

The doctor is freaked out about the surprise visit and Carrie’s head bleeding asks her repeatedly how it happened.

Carrie’s response:  “Can you focus?” 🙂

“HANNIBAL”

Speaking of “Hannibal”, the amazing NBC series that was probably too intelligent for television was cancelled after three seasons.

There’s still talk of bringing back the critically acclaimed show with a Clarice Starling story line!  Because of contractual blah blah blah, that wasn’t possible in its first run.

I want more Hugh Dancy (“Will Graham”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal Lecter”) and Gillian Anderson (“Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier)!

bedelia

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s 33rd studio album, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now!

Reba Truth

If you’re planning on buying it, Target has an exclusive disc with two additional songs!

“THE FAVOURITE”

This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture is set in the early 18th century and is very quirky!

At the beginning of the movie, Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne makes a humorous comment about the war, thinking it’s over.

But, once you realize that she has very serious health issues that affect her ability to make decisions for the country, it becomes darker.

Best Supporting Actress nominees Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were fantastic.

Now that I’ve seen all five Oscar nominees for Best Actress this year, I’m okay that Colman won.

Ideally, I would’ve been happier if it had been a tie between Colman and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

GRADE: B+

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

And, since I was talking about Best Supporting Actress nominees in “The Favourite”, Regina King won the Oscar this year in that category for this movie.

This is director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight” (2016).

“Tish” (KiKi Layne) and “Fonny” (Stephan James) have been friends all their lives and a romantic relationship develops when they’re a little older.

Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman and his mother-in-law, Sharon Rivers (King), tries to track down the woman and convince her to recant her story and clear Fonny.

Layne’s performance, in a weaker Oscar race, could easily have been nominated!

GRADE:  B

“BRITNEY:  INSIDE THE DREAM”

If you’ve been following the news this week, Britney Spears checked herself in a mental health facility to relax and help her cope with her father’s failing health.

Recently, I recently read Steve Dennis’ 2009 biography on the pop princess and it was more entertaining than reading about Britney on Wikipedia.

However, the book ends after her meltdown more than a decade ago and before she reclaimed her pop throne with “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011.

Additionally, Dennis didn’t have access to Britney, so much of it was speculation and the parts of the book where he had a psychologist analyze Britney without talking to her were a little awkward.

MY THREE FAVORITE BRITNEY SONGS

#3 CD

2

#1

BONUS BRITNEY

Bonus

This song was never released as a single, but it should have been!

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 — November 24, 2017

I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving and had plenty to eat.

With many out shopping or visiting with family, I’m not sure how many will check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but here they are.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA

I’m still one of those people trying to keep the postal service in business by buying 49-cent stamps and mailing out Christmas cards!

While I personalize each card, I started sending out a Christmas letter to recap my year for those that don’t follow me on Facebook or read my blog! (The horror!)

Last year, at the end of my Christmas letter, I shared the photo with Hillary Clinton and I wrote that it was “the highlight of the year” for me.

Hillary AP

And, I added, “Sadly, we all know how that turned out in November!  Regardless of how you voted, I was very dismayed.  But, I hope for the best for the U.S. and the world over the next four years.”

I thought that was diplomatic and it expressed my sadness.

However, I was appalled by a response from, I guess, a former “friend” and co-worker.  On the outside of the envelope, she wrote:

Christmas Card Dilemma

Now, I spent my only Maryland Thanksgiving with her and her husband.  She was my drinking buddy and my confidant.  I still considered her a friend even though at some point in 2016, she unfriended me on Facebook!

So, I was torn.  Do I not send a card this year?  Do I send a card and ignore the comment?

Or, do I send a card and say, “I was already living in a stronger ISIS-free America prior to the election.  As for a “new found security”, I wasn’t insecure.  When I’m in a large crowd, I’m aware of my surroundings, but I’ve never felt threatened or insecure.  But, as one of your LGBT friends, I feel more insecure of my future now –with the current administration — than I did prior to the 2016 election!”

What would you do?  At the end of the blog, I’ll tell you what I did. 🙂

STAMPS

By the way, I chose these fun stamps this year.

Stamps 1

I’M NOT IN THE MIDWEST ANYMORE!

As the winter season moves closer, I know I’ll miss the Midwest snow.  However, I won’t miss the bitterly cold air!

I smiled the other day when I saw this on an area National Weather Service Twitter feed.

Here in northwestern Florida, it only takes 2″+ of snow and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) in a 12-hour period for a “Winter Storm Warning”!

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Back in the Quad Cities, it would take 6″ of snow in a 12-hour period or 8″ in 24 hours and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) for a “Winter Storm Warning” to be issued!

GOODBYE, “AHS: CULT”

This season of “American Horror Story: Cult” was incredible.

While the subject matter — the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election — brought back many painful memories, it was presented pretty realistically (although the violence was highly over exaggerated for dramatic effect!).  There were things as a Hillary or a Trump supporter that you may not have wanted to hear.

So, as I say “thank you” Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for a great season, I want to share two crazy late season scenes.

TV reporter and eventual cult member Beverly Hope tells cult leader Kai Anderson what she thinks of him and his cult as she tries to break away.

BH: “Your promises are sh*t.  You’re a fake.  You don’t stand for a goddamn thing.”

KA:  “I’m standing up for millions of people who are finally being heard.”

BH:  “Nothing is bigger than your ego.  You don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing from one minute to the next.  You’re an incompetent guy — just another media whore.”

And, for this next one, I won’t set up the scene because I don’t believe in complete spoilers.  But, it was my favorite line of the season!

spoiler-alert

Nasty Woman

And, how can I move on without sharing this hilarious one again from earlier in the season!

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WINTER FINALE — “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

With all of the craziness of the past 3.5 seasons, you know when you get a special warning beyond the typical “Viewer Discretion Advised” in the last 20 minutes that it’s going to be over-the-top!

Well, this winter finale had a W-T-F ending that you couldn’t tear yourself away from –even as you cringed!

Without giving it anything away, it was the most painful and heart-wrenching scene I’ve seen on television — maybe ever!

911

This scene made the accidental deadly gunshot to the head and the blood spatter earlier in the episode register only as a “wow”.

“How To Get Away With Murder” returns on January 18, 2018.

NOW THAT IT’S THANKSGIVING…

Maybe people will be a little less touchy about seeing Christmas decorations and hearing all Christmas, all the time on the radio, now that they’ve had some turkey.

However, if you’re decorating this weekend and you live in Florida or in a tropical area, be careful with palm trees and lights! 🙂

Palm Tree Lights

PRICIEST CHRISTMAS TREE

Last year, the Christmas tree at the Emirates Palace Hotel, a seven-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, was valued at $11.4 million!

The-Emirates-Palace-Hotel-Decorated-Christmas-tree

Emeralds, diamonds, and pearls enhanced the 43-feet high tree.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR KIDS

Since many of you will be heading out Christmas shopping, here’s an interesting tidbit:

“U.S. children make up just 3.1% of the global world population, but American families buy 40% of the world’s toys.”  (“Time” — March 23, 2015)

Cash Register

JON STEWART SAID WHAT???

Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart tells “Rolling Stone” in November 2014 about Fox News and Christmas:

“They truly feel the loss of absolute power is the same as persecution.  Like, watch them do their “War on Christmas” stuff.  It’s real, man.  There’s no bullsh*t.  They are in the middle of Rockefeller Center talking about “They won’t let us put up a Christmas tree!”  Meanwhile, they’re standing next to a 60-foot Christmas tree in a place with so much Christmas stuff up it looks like Santa’s balls just exploded.”

HOT JANUARY TELEVISION

Two highly anticipated television shows (at least for me) will be warming up my DVR in January.

Back in June, I wrote about the upcoming Ryan Murphy series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”.

EW verace

The 10-episode series will premiere on January 17, 2018.

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man that killed Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

Here’s the official trailer.

And, the 10-episode eleventh season of “The X-Files” returns even earlier on January 3, 2018, on Fox.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully!

“WIND RIVER”

Jeremy Renner plays a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent who stumbles upon the body of an a teenager in the cold, wintry Wyoming tundra on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The woman’s death isn’t a simple case of hypothermia and frostbite.  The FBI is called in and rookie special agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) has to determine if this is a murder case.

Olsen is incredible in this very intense and, at times, brutal movie.

“Wind River” cost $11 million, but it went on to gross $40 million at the box office.

GRADE:  A-

A DIFFERENT “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

I feature this very different version of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” every year because it’s so funny.

I hope you find it humorous, too.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA — MY SOLUTION

I took the high road and I didn’t send a card.  I decided to vent and share my disappointment here.

If she hadn’t unfriended me on Facebook, I would have addressed it to her privately.

My thought is that if that’s how she approached the subject — on the outside of an envelope last year — her friendship isn’t worth 49 cents!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 21, 2016

Ah, the weekend is here again and to kick it off, here are a few of my random thoughts.

I appreciate you checking them out and have fun this weekend!

LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY — THANK GOD!

Regardless of which candidate you support in this year’s presidential election, I’m sure most of us agree that we can’t wait for November 8th to get here so we can vote and put this long, nasty campaign behind us!

The three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are history and a CNN/ORC poll conducted after each debate shows that Clinton won all three by margins of 35%, 23%, and 13%.

After watching the first two, I decided that I could not and would not subject myself to another ninety minutes of watching an immature and unprepared old man act like a child.

And, did I call that one correctly?  21 seconds into video proves me right!

My summation:  An adult is talking and a spoiled brat without manners interrupts and starts name calling. Said grown adult maintains cool – PRICELESS!

THE DEATH OF A CHILD BEAUTY QUEEN

This Christmas will mark the 20th anniversary of the shocking death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colorado home.

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Two decades later, there have been no arrests, but there’s widespread speculation about who killed her and how and why she was murdered.

I just finished reading “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” by Lawrence Schiller.

Perfect-Murder-Perfect-Town.jpg

If you want to know more about the investigation instead of just the soundbites you remember from the news two decades ago, this is a well written and well researched book.

Here’s what I took away from the 600-plus pages:  There were many dedicated and thorough detectives working to solve the crime, but the murder investigation (that was called in as a kidnapping) was pretty much botched from the beginning with police failing to secure the crime scene, there was a major disconnect between the Boulder Police and the district attorney’s office and this made each side look like amateurs to the nation and the world, and finally, that unless someone confesses one day, the case will never be solved.

JONBENET’S KILLER

Be careful who you accuse of murdering JonBenet.

jb-b

On October 6, 2016, her brother, Burke Ramsey, who was nine at the time of her death, filed a defamation lawsuit against Dr. Werner Spitz, who accused Burke of killing his little sister.

Burke and his attorneys are seeking a total of $150 million in punitive and compensatory damages. They may also be filing new lawsuits against CBS soon.

Burke, now grown, agreed to an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil to talk about his life and sister’s murder.

Burke-Ramsey-Dr.-Phil-McGraw-Rel.jpg

While Burke, his family, and their friends should be presumed innocent in JonBenet’s death until proven otherwise, one thing that Burke is guilty of is being rather creepy and unnerving in the interview.

You’re talking about the savage murder of your little sister on Christmas Day and you’re sitting there smiling like you’re unstable or medicated.  That’s just an observation.  It was awkward.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

No one really knows what happened Christmas night 1995 in the Ramsey’s Boulder mansion.  No one, that is, but the killer(s).

But, as I mentioned above, almost everyone following the case then and now, have theories on who killed JonBenet.  After reading Schiller’s book, I feel I know a little more than the average person following the murder.  I definitely know more than I did twenty years ago.

I would love to throw out my theory, but I don’t want to be sued by Burke Ramsey or anyone else…

THIS IS A WORK OF “FICTION”

… so here’s a ripped from the headline, “fictional” treatment that could become a Lifetime movie.*

A family comes home from a Christmas party and before their two children go to bed, one wants a snack.  While the older child is eating from a bowl of fruit, the younger sibling grabs a piece from the bowl and pops it in her mouth and runs off.  The older child grabs a flashlight from the kitchen counter and a foot chase ensues.  The older child strikes his little sister in the head with the flashlight.  This blow is not intended to kill, but to put the younger child in her place.  The parents put the children to bed, but realize that something is wrong when the little girl becomes unresponsive.  At that point, instead of taking the younger child to the hospital or calling 9-1-1, they panic and stage a crime scene to cover up the accidental, unintentional death.

This isn’t far-fetched.  I grew up with a little sister two years younger than me and we definitely had our fair share of arguments and fights growing up.

*The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

MARCO RUBIO, THANK YOU!

In the past, I’ve blogged about how much former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio scares me because of his LGBT views.

MarcoRubio1

While I still want to keep him at arm’s length, he has come around and spoken out on a couple of issues that Republican politicians and their supporters need to face.

First, Rubio is disputing Donald Trump’s claims that this year’s election is rigged.

Rubio says, “This election is not being rigged.  There is no evidence behind any of this, so this should not continue to be said.”

And, finally, about the WikiLeaks smear campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Rubio says in a statement:

Rubio WikiLeaks.jpg

Here’s what I had to say about Rubio in a blog earlier this year when he was still a contender in the Republican race for the White House.

Why We Should Fear Marco Rubio

RUBIO ISN’T ALONE

Former Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich also disagrees with Trump in thinking the election is rigged.

Kasich says, “Look, to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen — that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is.”

MAYBE WE SHOULD ASK HEATHER MOONEY HER THOUGHTS!

HeatherMooney

“THE WALKING DEAD” FINALLY RETURNS

spoiler-alert

“The Walking Dead, one of the best shows on television, returns for its much anticipated seventh season Sunday night.

If you don’t already know by now, this is a mini-spoiler:

When the season six finale ended, baddie Negan and his barbed-wire covered baseball bat, Lucille, bashed to death a major cast member!

Director Greg Nicotero says this episode is “the most emotional episode I’ve ever shot.”

It’s about time to have Rick back again!  (That is, if he’s not killed!) 🙂

HE WASN’T ALREADY “OUT”?

With all the allegations of sexual misconduct by several women against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, I guess anchor Shepard Smith coming out as gay earlier this week is no big deal.

Personally, I thought he already identified publicly as gay!

smith-ailes

It’s almost 2017 and a person’s sexuality should never be what defines them.  Some may even ask, why should we care?  It’s his business.

I think it’s important for people, even at Smith’s age (early-50s), to have role models if they feel they’re living a lie or can’t be themselves by staying in the closet.

Come out, come out!  It’s freeing and it’s liberating.

Congrats Shepard!

THAT P-WORD AGAIN!

My favorite new comedian and satirist Samantha Bee drives home another winning commentary on the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording!

You know the one that started the debate on kissing and grabbing whatever you want — if you’re a celebrity (or Trump).

Oh no!  You’re going to hear the p-word again and according to Samantha Bee, that word isn’t “presidential”.

This is too funny and I’ve never even heard some of these expressions!

I sure hope Samantha is still as funny after the 2016 presidential election is over in just under three weeks!

MICHAEL BUBLE IS BACK (AND IT’S NOT EVEN CHRISTMAS)

For Michael Buble fans, it’s been a long wait for his ninth studio album (seventh major label release), “Nobody But Me”.

mb

The three-and-a-half year wait is over.

While I enjoyed his early 2013 release, “To Be Loved”, the new album is fantastic!

Michael Buble To Be Loved

My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.

Here’s the first release from the album.  While I featured the lyric video some time ago, the “official” video just came out last week.

“WAITING IN THE WINGS — THE MUSICAL”

When it comes to mainstream movies, there are Oscar worthy ones, some great ones, and some that true turkeys (and not the Thanksgiving kind).  You know the ones — the ones that remind you that you’ll never get those two hours of your life back.

It’s even harder to find those gems in the LGBT movie genre because there are fewer of them being made.

My favorites are still “Longtime Companion”, “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, “Make The Yuletide Gay” and “Lilting”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2015.  (Okay, it has nothing to do with my innocent crush on Ben Whishaw!)

Ben-Whishaw

When I saw the trailer for “Waiting in the Wings:  The Musical”, I thought it had potential to be funny.  I also knew that it could easily leave the rails.

The musical is written and directed by Jeffrey A. Johns, who’s also the star.

Johns plays Anthony, a small town Montana man who lives for musicals (and Disney).  He enters an online contest and heads to New York to make his mark on Broadway.

However, there’s a casting mix-up and Tony, a stripper (played by Adam Huss, who was also entertaining in 2010’s “Is It Just Me?”), gets Anthony’s role and naive Anthony has to learn to strip.

The movie also features Lee Meriwether in a touching and supporting role.  Shirley Jones and Sally Struthers also make cameos.

I really fell in love with Rena Strober, who plays Rita, the lead in an Off-Broadway play. She gets to play sweet and catty, but most of all, her voice is incredible.

Yes, you have to suspend disbelief at times, but isn’t that why we watch movies?

My only complaint is that Rebekah Kochan is underutilized.  She was so crass and so much fun in Q. Allan Brocka’s “Eating Out” movies.

GRADE:  B

HE REALLY IS INVINCIBLE — EVEN IN DEATH!

Michael Jackson died more than seven years ago, but he’s still the top earning dead celebrity.

In 2016, his estate earned $825 million!

$750 million of that is from the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV publishing catalogue.  Back in 1985, Jackson paid $47.5 million to buy the original Beatles-packed ATV.

At #2, with $48 million, is “Peanuts” (and Charlie Brown) creator Charles Schulz.

Charlie Brown

Golf legend Arnold Palmer came in third with $40 million.

Elvis Presley ($27 million) and Prince ($25 million) round out the top five.

“NASTY, NASTY, NASTY”

Okay, back in 1986, in my formative party years, we knew all about those “nasty boys” thanks to Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.

Now, in 2016, in our increasingly all-inclusive world, we have a “nasty” woman (or maybe a few of them). 🙂

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 19, 2016

We made it through another week, but for me it’s a six-day work week since I work Saturday night.  I hope you have some great weekend plans.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.

BREAKING NEWS….

It’s been a long time coming, but Lady Gaga announces her new single. “Perfect Illusion” is coming in September!

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She was last on pop radio in 2014 with “G.U.Y.”, the third single from the “Artpop” album, which peaked at a dismal #29 on the Top 40 airplay charts.

The first two hits from “Artpop” charted higher at Top 40 radio.  “Applause” reached #4 on the airplay chart and “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly peaked at #7.

Welcome back Lady Gaga!

I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

REBA, HOW COULD YOU?

I know that Reba McEntire, one of my musical idols, is very LGBT friendly.

Reba 2011

However, her new business venture with the anti-gay Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has me scratching my head.  I know it’s just business.

Since country radio doesn’t support her new music, Reba’s album sales have dropped off significantly and are pretty non-existent the past few years.  But, her residency at Caesars Palace and her concerts on the road are still bringing in big crowds and she still has her fashion line at Dillard’s.

So, it distresses me for her to associate herself with the hateful chain, especially when she has a new Christmas album coming out that is exclusive to them.  It features five new recordings and six previous releases.  But, I won’t be buying it.  I can’t give my money to a business that supports hate.

Reba, I wish you could make it available from other outlets!

Let’s make a deal!  Send me a copy and I’ll donate the cost of the CD at Cracker Barrel to a LGBT charity in your name!

WINTER’S COMING!

While we’re still experiencing above average temperatures, some kids are still on summer break, and we’re not even to Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer season, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is already scaring people with its 2016-2017 winter forecast.

ap_winter_weather_new_york_snow_ss_101227_ssh

For the “Heartland” (including the Quad Cities, all of Iowa, western Illinois, much of Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas), the forecast is shocking!!!!!!!!!  (Note: sarcasm)

Its winter forecast — “the coldest periods will be in early-to-mid and mid-to-late January and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-to-late November, mid-January, and early February.”

Okay, seriously, you live in the Midwest.  Of course, those are the coldest and snowiest times of the winter climatologically speaking!  You don’t need an almanac or even a meteorologist to tell you that.

I wonder what Heather Mooney would think of that winter forecast being so generic?

HeatherMooney

Next!

GOOD RIDDANCE, CAIT

“I Am Cait” is officially cancelled by E! after two seasons.

Caitlyn

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as transgender in the spring of 2015.  I was hoping that she’d bring much to the table in America’s (and the world’s) LGBT discussions and help demystify and educate on transgender issues.

The problem is she’s learning herself and is not in touch with most transgender men and women.  She’s never really had a clue as to what their lives are really like.  Their lives are not Hollywood parties and open checkbooks.  Many face discriminatory practices and the fear for losing their jobs and their lives daily on the streets due to hate and ignorance.

And, then there’s the whole thing about her thinking the Republican party really cares about her plight and the LGBT community.

We need strong advocates in the transgender (and LGBT) community, but Caitlyn Jenner is not that advocate.

JIMMY CARTER & ELECTION SPENDING

It’s no secret that I think President Jimmy Carter is an amazing man.

Jimmy Carter 90.jpg

I just finished his “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety” — incredible stories of his life and an easy read.

One story that boggled my mind in this presidential election year is how much money is spent by politicians to get elected (or lose) compared to when he was running for office.

Back in the 1976 and 1980 elections, he and his competitors Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan spent $26 million.  People were allowed to donate a dollar each on their income tax payments.

Today, with super-PACs (political action committees), the amount of money is astronomical.  In 2012, President Obama and Mitt Romney both spent over one billion dollars — that’s billion with a “B”!

In this summer 2015 book, Carter writes that the Koch brothers and their associates had already devoted $889 million to get Republicans elected.  What’s scary is that that number continues to rise and that’s just on one side of the aisle!

Incredible!  Could you imagine what we could do with that money to better the U.S. and the world?

PATTI DAVIS BLASTS DONALD TRUMP

The daughter of President Ronald Reagan took to Facebook to rip into GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump after his “second amendment” comments that many thought advocated gun violence against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Patti Davis Donald Trump.jpg

Your thoughts?

Some say liberals read too much into Trump’s off-hand remarks.  Others say he meant exactly what he hinted at with the comments.

FOX NEWS, PAY UP OR SHUT UP

Devastating flooding is hitting Louisiana.  Baton Rouge, one of the hardest hit areas, picked up more than twenty inches of rain since last week.  At least thirteen people have died.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has donated one million dollars for Louisiana flood relief.

This prompted Fox News to run a story with the headline “Taylor Swift fixing her image or just being nice?”

Seriously?  Hey Fox News, work on fixing your own image and donate a million dollars, too!  Louisiana could use the money more than your insults.

Taylor and I have something else to say to you!

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The horror anthology series returns to FX for the sixth season on September 14th.

Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, and Leslie Jordan are returning.

They’ll be joined by newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred in Ryan Murphy’s “The People v O.J. Simpson, as O.J. Simpson.

Several short promos have been released for the sixth season including this awesome campy one.

While details of the sixth season are still secret, it’s rumored to focus on children and Murphy has called this season “more rogue” and “dark”.

This is also the first of the “American Horror Story” seasons that doesn’t have a subtitle before the premiere since the debut.

So, if you’ve watched all five seasons, what is your favorite and least favorite?

Here are mine (and even the incredible Wittrock as Dandy Mott couldn’t save “Freak Show”, as a whole, for me.)

american-horror-story-freak-show

#5  “Freak Show” (season four); #4 “Hotel” (season five); “Coven” (season three); #2 “Murder House” (season one); and my favorite was season two, “Asylum”.

American Horror Story Asylum

CHER RECORDING NEW MUSIC!

Pop music icon Cher is ready to get to work on her new album.

This would be the follow-up to 2013’s amazing and underappreciated “Closer To The Truth”, which was my second favorite album of that year.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Cher tweeted that she’s already recorded two songs and when she’s done with her current campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she’ll be back to work on her 26th studio album.

Cher Singing.jpg

It’s hard to believe that her first album came out more than 50 years ago in the fall of 1965!

“THE LOBSTER”

If you’ve seen the trailer for the movie, “The Lobster”, it screams “quirky”.

When you watch the movie, you’ll laugh and then realize that while it’s a comedy-drama, you feel a little awkward laughing at the sensitive material.

 Colin Farrell stars as a divorced man, in a dystopian society, where single people have 45 days to find a mate or they’ll be transformed into an animal of their choosing.

The dramedy also stars Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and the ever charming Ben Whishaw.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

My pick hit this week is the first American release for French DJ and record producer Kungs and Australian funk trio Cookin’ on 3 Burners with vocalist Kylie Auldist.

“This Girl” is already a chart-topper in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Scotland, Slovakia, and on the UK Dance chart.

“This Girl” is now racing up the American Top 40 radio airplay charts.  It’s at #21.

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 14, 2015

The weekend is almost here and after working the past eight Saturdays, I’m back to having my weekends off again!

I plan on having a fun one and I hope the same for you.  Let’s kick it off with my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

As always, let me know what we agree on and what we don’t!

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER HAS CANCER

My favorite President, Jimmy Carter, who is now 90-years-old, revealed Wednesday that he has cancer.

Jimmy Carter

It was discovered during a recent liver surgery.  He also stated that the cancer had spread to other body parts.

He plans to undergo treatment and says he’ll share more details next week.

I’ll say an extra prayer for President Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, for a speedy recovery.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was an 11-year-old boy growing up in Kentucky when he was running for President in 1976.

I even devoted a full blog to him in March 2012 that I want to share again with you.  (You can click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window so you don’t lose your place in this week’s blog!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REPUBLICAN RACE SHOWDOWN

After a television debate last week with most of the Republican candidates vying to become the next President of the United States, most people talked about Donald Trump and his rude comments.

Fox News commentator Megan Kelly started a question with “You’ve called women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs,’ and ‘disgusting animals’, and Trump replied, “Only Rosie O’Donnell”.

Rosie O'Donnell

While a sad expression of honesty from a man who wants to run this country, it must be working for him.  An NBC News poll after that debate showed Trump as the front-runner with an increasing lead.

Donald Trump had 23% followed by Ted Cruz (13%) and Ben Carson (11%).

Carly Fiorina surged to fourth place (8%) and is now tied with Marco Rubio.

The rest of the top ten: Jeb Bush and Scott Walker (7%), Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee (5%), and Rick Perry and John Kasich (2%).

santorum

Rick Santorum and George Pataki are in last place with 0%!

THEY SAID WHAT???

REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNER FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

(about Fox News commentator Megyn Kelly after her questioning in that debate):  “there was blood coming out of her eyes … blood coming out of her wherever.”

MORE TRUMP

(after an uproar accusing him of being sexist with the hormonal overtones to his comment about Kelly):  “Do you think I’d make a statement like that? Who would make a statement like that? Only a sick person would even think about that.”

Kelly Trump

FOX COMMENTATOR MEGYN KELLY

(speaking about the personal attacks from Trump):  “Mr. Trump is an interesting man who has captured the attention of the electorate. That’s why he’s leading in the polls. Trump, who is the frontrunner, will not apologize. And I certainly will not apologize for doing good journalism, so I’ll continue doing my job without fear or favor. And Mr. Trump, I expect, will continue with what has been a successful campaign thus far. This is a tough business and it’s time now to move forward.”

POP ICON & ACTRESS CHER

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

(About going back out on tour after having to cancel the second leg of her “Dressed To Kill Tour” because of an acute viral infection affecting her kidneys):  “You know, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to do this. That’s my wish. But I can’t say that I actually will be able to… My will is pretty strong, so… I don’t know.”

MARVIN GAYE’S SUE HAPPY FAMILY

The family of late R&B legend Marvin Gaye sure loves to sue people.

They successfully sued Robin Thicke and Pharrell over the mega hit “Blurred Lines” claiming that it ripped off “Got To Give It Up”.  Gaye’s family was awarded $7.4 million in damages for copyright infringement, but this is being appealed.

Empire

Now, a son is ready to sue the makers of Fox’s very successful #1 drama, “Empire”, claiming that it was his idea.

I’m thinking two things:  First, they don’t want Taraji P. Henson’s “Cookie” to come down on their asses and secondly, that family needs to get a life – their own!

MORE “MARVIN GAYE”

Singer and songwriter Charlie Puth topped the charts earlier this year with “See You Again” with Wiz Khalifa.  The song was featured in “Furious 7” and was a tribute to the late actor Paul Walker.

Puth is now racing up the charts with “Marvin Gaye” with a little help from Meghan Trainor.

The song is already one of 25 most played songs at Top 40 radio in the U.S.

I especially like the fun, sexy, and LGBT-inclusive video!

REBA — YOU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD

Sadly, since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” in late July, my idol and country superstar Reba McEntire and her husband Narvel Blackstock announced they were separating after 26 years of marriage.

On a more positive note, I saw Reba in concert for the 13th time when she played the Mississippi Valley Fair last week.  She also announced last week, “Until They Don’t Love You”, would be the second single from her album, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

This song sounds amazing live and she also performed it on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” Wednesday night.

You can click on this link to see it:  http://www.nbc.com/the-tonight-show/video/reba-mcentire-until-they-dont-love-you/2890917

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE”

If you listened to music in the late-1970s, you probably know that’s part of a lyric ( “You have to believe we are magic, nothin’ can stand in our way”) from Olivia Newton-John’s #1 smash “Magic” from the motion picture, “Xanadu”, that hit theaters about this time in 1978.

Now, Olivia has re-recorded part of that song with her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi and DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude.

Olivia and Chloe look incredible re-enacting the vibe from “Xanadu” in and around Las Vegas.

I believe that this song and remix will return Olivia to the Billboard Dance chart.  Her last appearance on that chart was back in 1988 when “The Rumour” peaked at #17.

Olivia’s last Top 40 on the Hot 100 was “Soul Kiss” back in 1985.  It reached #20.

“HANNIBAL”

I’m truly saddened that there’s only three episodes of “Hannibal” left.

Hannibal-NBC-Poster-2012

This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television.  Maybe it was too intelligent!

I’ll especially miss Gillian Anderson as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

However, I’ll still see Anderson in “The X-Files” in January 2016 and I’m really enjoying her as Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Stella Gibson on the BBC hit show, “The Fall”.

It also stars Jamie Dornan, best known as Christian Grey of “Fifty Shades of Grey”.

If you haven’t checked out the two seasons of “The Fall”, it’s a must see!

“MR. ROBOT”

Another show I highly recommend is my new summer favorite, the incredibly intelligent “Mr. Robot” on USA Network.

MR. ROBOT

Rami Malek is the breakout star as Elliot Alderson, a computer hacker by night and a security technician at a cybersecurity company by day.

Elliot suffers from chronic depression and social anxiety disorder, which makes him quirky and very awkward in social situations.

Christian Slater stars as Mr. Robot.

This is definitely a thriller drama you need to check out and it was renewed for a second season even before the first episode aired!

FALLING IN AND OUT OF LOVE WITH COUNTRY MUSIC 

This part will be very familiar if you read my blog earlier in the week!

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010.  In his career, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits, 17 of which hit the Top Ten, and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.  It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became fan of was Keith Urban.

keith_urban

However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

michael-ray

Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” is the most played country song in the U.S. this week.

I just bought his self-titled debut album and I’m so glad I did.  Here is the link to my review of the album and you’ll get to hear more of my favorite tracks from it:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

And, it’s pretty cool that even with his busy touring schedule and with radio and television appearances, Michael had a chance to read my blog and review of his album and tweeted back at me.

Michael Ray Tweets

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

As much as I love movies, it’s crazy that I still haven’t been to the theater this calendar year.  The last theater movie for me was “Unbroken” back in late December!

I’ve been waiting to see “Jurassic World”, but my summer work schedule nixed that.  And, I’m definitely going to see “Everest” on the big screen (the release date is now September 25, 2015).

Now, I’ve found another one that looks amazingly funny and bold and it has a 95% positive rating on the site, “Rotten Tomatoes”.

“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” is the story of a 1970s teenager, Minnie Goetze, played by British actress Bel Powley, and her affair with her mother’s boyfriend told from her diary.

Kristin Wiig, who’s been in two of my favorite movies over the past year, “The Skeleton Twins” and “Welcome To Me”, plays Minnie’s mother and Alexander Skarsgard (“True Blood”) stars as Wiig’s boyfriend.

The movie is only playing in selection theaters now, but will be expanding in August.  Hopefully, it’ll be in the Quad Cities this fall!

“UNDER THE DOME” — THE END?

I loved the first season of “Under The Dome” on CBS and suffered through the end of season two.

under-the-dome

After watching just a bit of the season three premiere, I’d had enough.  And, I guess America has, too.

The show premiered with 13.5 million viewers (17.76 million with DVR figures added).  Last week’s episode was down to an astonishing 3.88 million!

I highly suspect that the show will be cancelled (along with “Extant”).

CBS entertainment chairman Nina Tassler at the Television Critics Association’s press tour earlier this week told reporters that the dome will come down in the finale.  “Entertainment Weekly” reports that “producers have written the finale to serve as a potential series finale or a season finale”.

Regardless of the fate of the show, two great things came out it — one gorgeous and one gory!

600full-mike-vogelCOW UNDER THE DOME

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!  I still try to catch the show’s opening just to see the dome split the cow in half!

FALL IS GETTING CLOSER

Okay, let me get that taste out of your mouth!  Look what’s new from M&M for this fall season: Pecan Pie M&Ms!

Pecan Pie M&M

Yum!  I can’t wait to try them!

While I love spending time floating in the pool and I love snow (but not the extreme Midwestern cold), fall is my new favorite season.

Fall

That all sounds incredible, but it’s really all about…

“THE WALKING DEAD”

On August 23rd, “Fear The Walking Dead” premieres on AMC and hopefully that’ll hold me over until October 11th when the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” begins.

Here’s the incredible new trailer for “The Walking Dead”!

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  Let me know your thoughts on anything I wrote about today.

Have a great weekend.  I’m going to relax and enjoy the pool.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 21, 2014

My favorite two days of the week are upon us — the weekend.  Okay, technically, those aren’t “days”.  But, I’m sure you get the point.

Whatever you have planned, make the best of it and enjoy.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

FIVE YEARS!  HERE’S TO FIVE MORE…

Saturday marks the fifth year that Ray and I met in person for the first time.  While we chatted before then, we had drinks for the first time on February 22, 2009.   It was champagne and we hit it off rather well and after he left, Miss ABBA, the golden, and I talked and agreed that he was worth a second date.

That came a couple of days later with lunch at Exotic Thai in Moline and the rest is history, as they say.

Here’s one of our first pictures together from the spring of 2009!

Ray Anthony Spring 2009

To mark five years together, we’ll have champagne this weekend and go have lunch at Exotic Thai Monday.  We do that each year to mark those dates and Miss ABBA is still with us — in our hearts.

“LOOKING”

The eight episode, HBO series, “Looking”, is about three gay friends in San Francisco looking to find themselves and love.

Looking

It stars Jonathan Groff, who is best known for his Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award winning role on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and on “Glee” as Jesse St. James.  He also voices the character of Kristoff in the worldwide Disney smash, “Frozen”.

Frozen

“Looking” has been criticized as “boring” and lacking diversity, even with one of the leads and a major recurring character being Hispanic.

I love the show.  It’s funny and it’s sexy.  My only gripe is that there’s only eight episodes and they’re only 30 minutes long!

Here’s the trailer and remember that it’s HBO, so there are so are some adult themes.

I have to admit that I have a crush on Patrick, Groff’s character.  Or, maybe I just have a crush on Groff?

JENNIFER NETTLES IS AN ALLY

Jennifer Nettles, the leader singer of the country duo Sugarland and a married mother of a one-year-old boy, is a friend of the LGBT community.

jennifer-nettles

Nettles tells PrideSource that country music is slowly evolving and becoming more accepting.  “It’s exciting to see within the country genre, yet at the same time, for me in terms of social motivation and evolution and moving forward, I always feel — be it within a music genre or a religious movement or whatever — like, ‘OK, come on, let’s move faster. Let’s get there faster. Let’s get it done.”

She adds, “This should have already been behind us. So I am excited about it, but I want it to continue and be more.”

Sugarland, featuring former member Kristen Hall, who is a lesbian, took “Something More” to #2 on the Billboard Country chart in 2005, from their debut album, “Twice The Speed of Life”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Sarah Palin Olympics Shoveling SnowSummer Hot

ONE FOR THE RECORD BOOKS

We’ve had a lot of snow this winter.  We’re now up to 54.3″ in the Quad Cities.

21714 Snow Update

That makes this the 5th snowiest winter on record (and the snowiest since I moved to the Quad Cities in November 2005)!

However, there’s some confusion.  A local newspaper and some local television meteorologists are reporting it as the “snowiest winter” on record.  What they are referring to is the snowiest “meteorological winter” on record.   “Meteorological winter” is the months of December, January, and February.

But, if you use that analogy, do you magically just forget about the snow that falls in October, November, March, and April?  That’s why when we list the snowiest winters on record, the National Weather Service runs the snow totals from summer to summer to cover all the snows from the first to the last.

One thing that isn’t confusing.  It’s the snowiest February on record in the Quad Cities with 21.8″!

Here’s a cool shot of the solar lights around our fish ponds trying to shine through the snow.

Snow globes

Gretel is definitely making the most of the snowy winter.

Gretel Snow HillGretel in Snow

At this point last winter, we had only picked up 14.5″ of snow in the Quad Cities!

“MOST UNPLEASANT CITY RIVALING SOCHI”

How would you like to win that honor?  Russia’s blantant homophobia aside, we’ve heard the less than desirable reports of hotel and facility issues with the 2014 Winter Olympics hosting city.

Now, MissTravel.com, a travel dating site, recently polled more than 3,000 people and asked what the “most unpleasant city rivaling Sochi” is and the winner (or loser) was Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.

In second place was New Delhi, the capital of India.  Also ranking high on the list was Rio de Janerio, the site of the 2016 Summer Olympics!

Two American cities also made the list, Detroit, Michigan and Youngstown, Ohio.

I lived and worked in Youngstown for years from the late 1990s until the summer of 2002 and met some really nice people there.  I hope I don’t lose friends over what I’m going to say.  And, to put a positive spin on the dubious “honor”, I’ll start with a nice photo of Youngstown.

Youngstown 2

When I talk to people about all the places I’ve lived (there have been ten), I refer to the former booming steel town as “the most deplorable city I’ve ever lived.”

I know the loss of the steel mills and jobs, rampant crime, and mob activity took its toll.  From 1930-1960, more than 165,000 people called Youngstown home.  In 2012, the population is down almost 100,000 people to just around 65,000!

Youngstown 1

Sorry, Youngstown.  I guess I’m not alone.

SERIOUSLY, BILLY RAY CYRUS IS BACK ON THE CHART AGAIN!

I was still living in Kentucky, in 1992, when “Achy Breaky Heart, by Billy Ray Cyrus was so popular.  It spent five weeks at #1 on the Billboard Country chart and reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At the time, I was appalled by the song and the fact that we were both from Kentucky.  I was okay with the down home country image that Loretta Lynn portrayed to the world about the Bluegrass state, but not with Cyrus!

Then, when Reba appeared on “TV Guide” with him, I just about died.

Reba Billy Ray Cyrus

Now, I have to admit that I took a chance and listened to the new Buck 22 song, “Achy Break 2”, which features Miley’s dad!  And, Billy, you rock now.

“Achy Breaky 2” is at #80 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is up to #11 on the Hot Rap songs chart!

So, to make amends, here’s a more recent picture of Reba and Billy Ray.

More recent Reba BRC

Billy Ray, this is my sincerest apologies for disliking you so much more than twenty years ago!

One final note is that Buck 22 is Damon Elliott, a well-respected music producer and the son of singer Dionne Warwick!

“ENOUGH SAID”

This little romantic comedy that made $21.8 million at the box office was one of the last roles for the late “The Sopranos” star James Gandolfini.

Enough Said

He and Julia Louis-Dreyfus play a couple of divorcees, Albert and Eve, who meet at a party and start dating.  The only problem is that Eve is the masseuse of Albert’s ex-wife and she starts filling Eve’s head with all of Albert’s faults.

The movie is very touching and very funny.  It’s hilarious to watch these two awkward adults fall for each other.

GRADE:  B+

“CARRIE”

I absolutely love the 1976 original with Sissy Spacek and Piper Laurie.

Carrie

So, I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other when I heard that a remake was coming out.  I love director Kimberly Peirce’s “Boys Don’t Cry”, so having her behind the movie helped.  It was also a positive that stars Chloe Grace Moretz (“Let Me In”) and Julianne Moore are incredible.

Carrie

While some of the special effects were awesome, the high school drama seemed very Disney and silly.  Maybe it’s because the original was so creepy that the suspense never built up for me in this one.

For a dollar in Redbox, you might enjoy it.  Otherwise, watch the original.

GRADE:  C

“SURE OF YOU”

I finished reading my eighth book of 2014 this week, “Sure of You”, which is the sixth book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” series.

Sure of You

While you may not have read them, you’ve likely been following along with me about the book series in my blog.

It’s now 1988, twelve years after the first book and three years after the last book, “Significant Others”.   While the book had some fun parts, this was my least favorite of the series, so far, because there wasn’t much happiness to be found.

Like real life, friends drift apart over the years and that takes place here with some of Barbary Lane’s favorite tenants.

One chance meeting in the last book leads to love in this book and that is a happy point.  However, one person becomes very successful and leaves San Fransisco and their family for fame in the “Big Apple”.

“DJANGO UNCHAINED”

I finally got around to seeing my first Quentin Tarantino movie, “Django Unchained”.

Dja

The lengthy, Oscar-winning movie for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Christop Waltz was entertaining and fun.  However, it too long and too much of a joke.

Maybe that was the intent — to make you laugh through the horror that was slavery in America.  Even the shoot outs were jokey and fake with the overkill of blood.  Don’t get me wrong, I love “The Walking Dead”, “Dexter”, “Hannibal”, and “American Horror Story”.  So, I can handle the blood.

After seeing this, I’m really ready to see this subject matter handled accurately with “12 Years A Slave”!

GRADE:  B-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

In 2014, I’m taking a break from the 1980s music and featuring some of the country songs I loved growing up and when I listened to more country before going pop!

I remember a couple of my favorites from Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers Band.

Gatlin Brothers

From 1973 until their last hit in 1989, the trio reached the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart 34 times.  Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and 3 topped the chart.

My favorites were “Broken Lady” (#5, 1976) and “All The Gold In California” (#1, 1979).

When researching Larry Gatlin for the chart information, I was surprised to see that he’s very conservative (not a problem) and a regular contributor for Fox News (less comfortable).  So, I was concerned about featuring the song because I didn’t want to promote him if he was anti-gay.  But, I haven’t come across anything to point to that.  Hopefully that proves that you can be a “Christian” and not be anti-gay!

Granted, if I learn otherwise about Gatlin, I’ll come in and delete this and that will be another blog topic altogether!

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Other than the plans I mentioned earlier, I’m having lunch with Ray and my sister, Tammy, Saturday and enjoying a blizzard tonight!

No, you didn’t miss a weather report.  I’m talking about a Red Velvet Cake Blizzard, silly!

Red Velvet Blizzard

After posting this blog early Friday morning, I added this line Friday afternoon because my local Dairy Queen was out of Red Velvet Cake blizzard!

That might be a good thing because I’m getting mixed reviews about them.  Some say they weren’t good, but I also heard that they excellent.  Oh well, better luck with the next blizzard, Peeps!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 7, 2014

After a very busy weekend last weekend, I’m happy that I only have one function this weekend.

On Sunday, I’ll be judging a chili cook-off and cookie contest.  Otherwise, it’s a movie watching two days of relaxation.  I hope you have a great weekend.

Thanks for checking out my random thoughts today.

SUPER BOWL — HAPPY THOUGHT

I’m not a football fan, but I know that Seattle blew Denver away, that Bruno Mars got rave reviews for his halftime performance, and that Super Bowl 48 was the most watched television event ever with 111.5 viewers.

And, since Madonna or Beyonce wasn’t performing, I didn’t watch.  However, leading up to the big game, I was touched by this commercial.  Although I only saw three commercials, I’m partial to this one.

It’s been viewed 44 million times on YouTube and, incredibly, about six thousand people gave it a “thumbs down” or “dislike”.  What kind of people are they?

SUPER BOWL — SAD THOUGHT

Probably the same kind of people who are appalled by Coca-Cola’s commercial, “It’s Beautiful”.

Coca Cola

The ad features “America The Beautiful” sung in seven different languages to show what the company calls our country’s “incredible diversity”.

Here’s what Fox News’ Todd Starnes had to say.

Todd Starnes

And, he wasn’t alone!

Anti Coke Tweets

How do these hateful Tweeters know that those featured in the commercials didn’t speak English and were just singing in their native language?  I admit that if I moved to a foreign country, I would learn that country’s language, but I’d also speak English, my first language.

But, there were also some very positive Tweets.

Coca Cola Tweet

I wish the haters could comprehend what Coast Life Guy had to say.

Diversity and tolerance, we’re not there yet and we may never be.  But, I hope that we continue to make strides in the right direction!  Maybe we need to just think back to this 1971 Coca-Cola commercial.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cat Lady Starter KitLet It Snow 5 Stages of Winter

MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND?

A little clipper system dropping across the Midwest Saturday will bring 1-3″ of snow to the area with the heaviest falling across the north.

This has been a very cold and snowy winter, so far!

Temperatures are running about 10° below average this winter and we’ve had 25 mornings with below zero temperatures in the Quad Cities.

Even before this next snow, this ranks as the 27th snowiest winter on record in the Quad Cities. Only 5.2″ of snow would push us from#27 to #10, so we’ll be jumping up this list this weekend!  (The graphic below was updated Saturday with the new snowfall added, so we are higher than 27th now!)

Snowiest Quad City Winters

After more bitter cold early next week, a warming trend FINALLY kicks in by the middle and end of next week!

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Now that I have your attention, this is serious and not a joke.  Ladies, listen up.  Yes, I said ladies.  Men can read it, too.

Did you know that erectile dysfunction is one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease?  While I’ve heard that before, I was glancing through the March 2013 “Family Circle” magazine and Dr. Lawrence Hakin at The Cleveland Clinic Florida added that “It can predate a heart attack by up to five years”.

And, I even took the high road in this public service announcement by not showing a picture!  🙂

MEANWHILE… THAT HIGH ROAD DIDN’T LAST LONG

I think Ben Affleck is hot.  I absolutely loved the ’70s look in “Argo”.

Argo-Ben-Affleck

I got a good laugh and had a few indecent thoughts over a joke CBS producer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory”, “Two and a Half Men”, and many more) told at the Producer Guild Awards in late January when he was accepting a career achievement award.

Lorre joked with the crowd that he was standing next to Affleck in the bathroom, “Yes I peeked. And yes, Comic Con, he can play Batman.”

ben-affleck-batman-t-shirt

As you might know, the fanboy/fangirl world was turned upside down when it was announced that Affleck would play Batman in the new untitled Superman/Batman” movie in May 2016.

Affleck laughed at Lorre’s joke and followed it up onstage with this joke about his genitals, “Thank you very much.  Whoever you are, God bless you. I’m often confused with Matt Damon but rarely with Michael Fassbender, so it was a nice change.”

Chuck Lorre

There was so much uproar about Lorre’s joke that the producer issued this statement, “Not that it really matters, but the joke I made at the Producers Guild Awards regarding Ben Affleck’s genitals being of sufficient size to fill the caped crusader’s codpiece was just that, a joke. I’ve never met Mr. Affleck in or out of a men’s room. Nor am I in the habit of peeking at another guy’s junk while standing at a urinal.”

People, chill out.  It was funny.

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Kylie Minogue and I hope that I get to see her in concert when she tours next.

Kylie has sold about 70 million records worldwide.  In the U.S., she’s had 5 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with two of them reaching the Top Ten.  However, in the U.K, Kylie has scored 49 Top 40 hits with 35 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 8 topped the charts!

I know I featured the lyric video to her new song last week, but here is the official video and she looks incredible!

Kiss Me Once

The new album, “Kiss Me Once” comes out March 18, 2014.

“FURTHER TALES OF THE CITY”

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past two years, you know that I often talk about music, movies, and television.  Lately, I’ve been including books, too.  My friend, Kelly Hager, would be so proud of me.

Over the past week, I just finished my fifth book of 2014!  That obviously means I’ve been spending a lot of time on the treadmill and it’s working.  I’m down 8.2 pounds since the start of the year!  Only 12 more pounds to go before this summer.

I just finished “Further Tales of the City”, the third book in Armistead Maupin’s nine-book “Tales of the City” series.

Further Tales

If you recall from my last two “Random Friday Thoughts” blogs, the series is about a “family” of friends at 28 Barbary Lane in San Fransisco in the 1970s.

In this book, it’s now 1981, President Reagan is just beginning his years in office and the Jim Jones’ Jonestown Masscare plays an integral role in the mystery and intrigue.

One character moves away from Barbary Lane, two residents begin a relationship with each other after years of avoiding it, and one couple re-unites only to break up again.

Someone strives to become a television reporter and another ends up dead and you’ll never guess who killed the character and what happened to the body!

Sadly, this was the last of the books to be made into a miniseries.  It aired on Showtime in 1998.  Here’s the trailer and it contains some adult situations and language!

Many moons ago, I read the first three books in the series that I just re-read.  Now, it’s on to book four and I have no idea what happens, so this is exciting!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Olivia Newton-John just announced this week that she’ll be playing 45 shows from April through August in the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino!

Olivia

Earlier this year, I blogged that I want to see her in concert this year.  This might be my chance to see her and catch Shania Twain and Britney Spears, too.

The English-born, Australian-raised singer first charted in the United States in 1971 with the #25 pop hit, “If Not For You”.

However, she became an international superstar when she scored five consecutive top ten hits on both the pop and country charts at the same time beginning in 1973.

On the country chart, Olivia had 13 top 40 hits.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

“Let Me Be There” was her first Top Ten hit in America in 1973 reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the Billboard Country chart.

That song won Olivia her first Grammy for “Best Female Country Vocal Performance”.  She also won numerous country music awards beginning in 1973 and in the years to come, too.

Olivia Physical

Olivia’s 1981 hit, “Physical” is one of the biggest songs of all-time.  It stayed at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks.  This came after her huge success in the movie, “Grease”, which made $394.5 million in 1978 and the soundtrack spawned three top 5 hits.

Olivia would go on to hit the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 27 times with 15 of those songs reaching the top ten.  She reached the #1 spot on the Hot 100 with “I Honestly Love You” in 1974, “Have You Never Been Mellow” in 1975, “You’re The One That I Want” with John Travolta from “Grease” in 1978, “Magic” in 1980, and “Physical”.

While I could not pick my favorite Olivia song because I love the country songs, the pop songs, and the dance songs, the one that always make me smile and sing along was the #8 title track from her 1980 movie, “Xanadu”.  The song featured the Electric Light Orchestra.

DON’T BLAME CANADA, YOU GOTTA LOVE IT

The 2014 Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi, Russia.  So far, there hasn’t been a lot of love for the hosting city or country from terror threats, poor accommodations for many attending the games, Russia’s anti-gay legislation, and the list goes on.

In full Olympics spirit, the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion has a message for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies.

“Don’t You Want Me” by the Human League is still one of my favorite songs of all time and now I’ll smile even more when I hear it.

That’s it for this week.  Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about anything I had to say, whether you agree with me or not.

Anthony