Posts Tagged ‘George W. Bush’

Random Friday Thoughts — December 1, 2017

Welcome to December!

I hope you’re getting into the holiday spirit.  I am, but I’m also ready for this dreadful year to end and start anew in 2018.

While I’m glad the upcoming royal wedding is giving us a slight breather from mass shootings and the shameful cesspool of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, television news, and politics, I’m already over the talk of Prince Harry and his actress fiancee. *

With this comment, you can tell that starting anew and positive is still a month away. 🙂

* Oops, I spoke too soon.  After I wrote that paragraph earlier in the week, Matt Lauer was fired from “The Today Show”!

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

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st is “World AIDS Day”.

It was started in 1988 to raise awareness about the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

While we now have medications, when that taken properly, that allow those living with HIV to live a long, full life, that wasn’t always the case.

We still have a world of people that are still not being treated for HIV and AIDS because of the cost of medication and the fact that many in this country and the world don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.

People, if you’re sexually active (even in a relationship), get tested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HIV-POSITIVE & UNDETECTABLE

Great news coming in the fight against the spread of HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that HIV-positive people that are being treated and with undetectable viral loads CANNOT spread the HIV virus to others.

This is fantastic news in the fight against HIV and for serodiscordant couples — where one is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative.

While this is a huge step forward, people still need to be aware of the other sexually transmitted infections out there that are rampant in both the LGBT and straight communities!

THANKING PRESIDENT BUSH

While I agreed with a few things that President George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

STOP AIDS

One of the things I’m most proud of came in the early part of his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Thank you again, President Bush!

By the way, I still love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d love to meet President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

Laura Bush

LOVE ANA’S HONESTY!

If you’re not familiar with Ana Navarro, she’s a Republican strategist and political commentator who’s not afraid to be honest — she doesn’t care what political party!

CONGRATS REBA!

Congratulations to Reba McEntire on the Grammys nomination for her first gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”!

reba-faith

It earned a nomination in the BEST ROOTS GOSPEL ALBUM category.

While “Pray To God” didn’t get nominated, Reba is getting country radio airplay for the latest single, “God and My Girlfriends”!

It debuted on the Billboard Country Airplay chart at #54 and is expected to move up some week!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

“Call Me By Your Name”, the critically-acclaimed LGBT love story, is the movie that I most want to see.  But, it won’t be until early 2018 that I’ll get that chance since it’s only in limited release now.

However, it opened in four theaters last weekend and grossed an eye-opening $103,233 per screen average.

That was the biggest per screen average of 2017 and it was good enough to debut at #14 for the weekend ($412,932) — again, in just 4 theaters!!!

call me

“BEACH RATS”

While I await the wide release of “Call Me By Your Name”, I checked out “Beach Rats”, a movie that’s getting a lot of buzz, too.

It’s nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Harris Dickinson) and Best Cinematography.

21-year-old East London newcomer Dickinson plays Frankie, a young man wasting away his summer hanging out with his friends on the Brooklyn boardwalk drinking, doing drugs, and watching fireworks.

This isn’t just a “coming-of-age” summer for Frankie.  His dad is dying of cancer and he’s secretly meeting older men for sex in public wooded areas.  The struggle with his sexuality is something he keeps from his girlfriend, his family, and his friends for much of the movie.

Dickinson is a bright new talent and earns the rave reviews he’s getting for his acting.  And, that has nothing to do with how cute he is or his gorgeous body! 🙂

GRADE:  A-

“MUDBOUND”

This poignant Netflix drama takes place in poverty-stricken and backwards Mississippi in the 1940s.

It tells the story of a white family with a racist patriarch that ends up having to live on the land of an African American family.

Casey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks lead an excellent cast.

However, the standouts are Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, the two sons — one from each family — returning from war.  The friendship that forms between them is very touching.

I know it’s a period piece, but the frequency of use of the n-word, the blatant racism, and the graphic violence at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan are still painful to watch.  But, the movie is powerful.

I really wish I had seen more of Mary J. Blige.

If you check out “Mudbound”, stay for the amazing Blige song playing over the credits.

GRADE:  B

BINGE WATCH “THE BRAVE”

I’m really enjoying this freshman NBC action series.

The winter finale was very suspenseful and with the holidays, you have a chance to binge watch the nine episodes before it returns January 1, 2018!

For God & Country - Season Pilot

Here’s what I had to say about the series earlier in the fall:

I checked out one of the new fall series, “The Brave”, on NBC, mainly because I have a crush on Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield” and “Under The Dome”).  It was very entertaining and suspenseful and the pilot episode ended with a major cliffhanger, so I’ll be back next week to see what happens.

And, in November, I mentioned the series again and added, Still enjoying this thriller, yet it seems like every time they go up against terrorists, they always win without causalities.  That’s a good thing because this show has the most beautiful cast!

JAMES TAYLOR

Speaking of beautiful, I was just reading an old “Rolling Stone” magazine and came across this 1969 photo of James Taylor!  Holy moly!

JT 1969

You probably remember him from his hits “Fire and Rain” (#3, 1970) and “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1, 1971).

COUNTRY RADIO SHOWING A LITTLE LOVE FOR…

Shania Twain’s second single from “Now”, “We Got Something They Don’t” is getting some radio airplay at country stations.

The lead single, “Life’s About to Get Good” only reached #33 on Billboard Country, but it reached #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

MOST PLAYED CHRISTMAS SONGS

Christmas music is taking over the airwaves now, especially at adult contemporary stations, which have gone to 24-hour holiday music.

Earlier this week, I shared the 10 most played Christmas songs last year, according to Nielsen Music.

Let me just say that I was shocked at what was #1!

It wasn’t “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey or, sadly, my favorite Christmas song, “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters.

The most played Christmas song last year was by a Puerto Rican singer.  It was released in 1970 and didn’t even crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it peaked at #44.

#1

Find out what that song is and if your guess was in the Top Ten!  Click on the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/oh-lord-christmas-music/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

I don’t even want to think of my “Last Christmas” because it would sadden me.

However, this fun, upbeat, chic remake of the Wham! classic is okay to think about. 🙂

If you’ve never seen Cascada’s cool version, here it is.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Advertisements

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

Gaga SB.jpg

While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

GagaLatest

That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

sarah-palin-going-rogue-book-cover.jpg

I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

CarterPres

My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

dishing.jpg

Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

BW.jpg

Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

“Love Is the Cure” To End AIDS

We all know that Elton John is an incredible musician and, since the 1970s, he’s been part of the soundtrack of our lives.

I was fortunate to see him in concert in Las Vegas in October 2012 for my birthday.

Elton LasVegas

Elton John is a survivor (drugs, alcohol, and an eating disorder).

He’s also a great humanitarian.

That’s what I want to talk about today on “World AIDS Day”, a day started on December 1, 1988, to remember those fallen by AIDS, to encourage those living with HIV and AIDS to fight, and to raise awareness, educate the public, and prevent future infections.

world aids day

We don’t hear stories about AIDS today as much as we did in the 1980s and 1990s, but “World AIDS Day” is still very important to remember.

Today, 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV and AIDS and of that number, 1.8 million are children.

elton-john-costume

In the 1970s and 1980s, Elton admitted to having unprotected sex and says he was very lucky he didn’t contract HIV, the infection that causes AIDS.

From the summer of 1981 through December 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that close to 775-thousand people were infected with AIDS in the United States alone and, of that number, about 448-thousand died.

elton_John_ryan_white

While Elton spiraled out of control through the 1980s, it wasn’t until he met Indiana teenager Ryan White, who contracted HIV and AIDS through blood transfusions, in the mid-1980s that he realized he had to turn his life around to stay alive.  He checked into rehab in the early-1990s and has been sober and clean ever since then.

While he recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1986 with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to raise awareness and money for AIDS research, Elton knew that song and the AIDS benefits he performed weren’t enough.

He formed the “Elton John AIDS Foundation” in 1992 in the United States (1993 in the United Kingdom) and has raised more than $200 million dollars to fund innovative HIV prevention and education programs and for direct care and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.

love-is-the-cure

“Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, Elton’s 2012 book, is an excellent read.

While it does give some eye-opening stats on HIV and AIDS, the book has a heart and it tugs at yours.

Throughout the book’s lean 219 pages, he talks of the friends he’s lost (Freddie Mercury of Queen) and two heroes that defied convention to raise awareness of AIDS — Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

elton-hillary

He shares stories of politicians who have been instrumental in the fight against HIV and AIDS — Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and George W. Bush!  Yes, despite his short-comings in the LGBT community, Bush made a huge contribution in the fight against AIDS during his presidency.

In “Love is the Cure”, Elton also tells stories of lesser known heroes in the fight against AIDS and ignorance and raising awareness — Elizabeth Glaser and Fumana (a South African rape victim, now HIV-positive, who uses her status and survival as a talking tool to educate others in that country to fight against the stigma of HIV).

HIV AIDS

Poor Sub-Saharan countries in Africa and the gay community aren’t the only groups that HIV and AIDS are ravaging today.

We have those places right here in the United States — the South is being hit hard and some parts of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., are devastated with HIV and AIDS.

And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

Yes, Indiana — while Vice-President elect Mike Pence was governor and before he was picked to be second in command in the U.S.

Also, while the HIV rates are still climbing in the younger LGBT community here in America, the heteorosexual black community is seeing the rates of infection skyrocketing.

STOP AIDS

Last year alone, 2.1 million people became HIV-positive and, sadly, only 60% of people know they are HIV-positive.  That means that 40% of the people that are HIV-positive don’t even know their status and could be spreading HIV without even being aware of it!

GET TESTED!  It’s painless and simpleand it could save your life!

love-is-the-cure

Elton John says that the fight against AIDS can only be won when there’s no stigma associated with the disease.

Every person that is HIV-positive, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, their color, their age, their profession, or their religion, needs to be treated for the infection and the disease.

He says how that person contracted HIV and AIDS should not be a factor in getting treatment.  A sex worker should be given the same compassion as someone who became HIV-positive through a blood transfusion.

Elton says eliminating that stigma with HIV and AIDS starts with love — “Love is the Cure”.

This is a book that every person needs to read — NOW!

In honor of Elton’s contributions in the fight against AIDS, for love and compassion, and for eliminating the stigma that HIV-positive people encounter, I’m sharing these two powerful songs.

Love!

Anthony

My 20 Favorite Dixie Chicks Songs

I’ve never met Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks, yet I have a connection (okay, two or three).

natalie

When I took my second television job in Lubbock, Texas, (Natalie’s hometown),  in 1997, as a reporter and Saturday anchor at the CBS affiliate, her sister, Kim, was the 10 p.m. weekday producer.  What a sweetheart!

1997 was also the year that Natalie and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison exploded onto the country music scene with “I Can Love You Better”, which went on to reach #7 on the Billboard Country chart.

dc

Their debut album, “Wide Open Spaces”, has now sold over twelve million copies in the U.S. alone and generated four more Top Ten hits (three of them topped the country charts).

If you’re a fan of the Dixie Chicks, you know they paid the price for being openly honest about then President George W. Bush in 2003 as America moved closer to war with Iraq.

Today’s blog isn’t about that, but I’ll share the blog I wrote about it here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/a-nation-at-war-abroad-on-country-radio-as-a-statue-topples/

dc-2016-tour

As the Dixie Chicks get ready to play the Quad Cities Thursday night in Moline at the iWireless Center, I’m counting down my twenty favorite Dixie Chicks songs.  Let me tell you, narrowing it down to twenty was hard!

By the way, here’s another connection I have to Natalie. 🙂  We feel the same way about Donald Trump (GRRRRRR)!

Natalie

Now, my Top 20 Dixie Chicks songs.

#20

“THE LONG WAY AROUND”

#19

“WHITE TRASH WEDDING”

#18

“BITTER END”

17

“A HOME”

16

“TRUTH NO. 2”

15

“COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY”

#14 Movie

“WITHOUT YOU”

#13

“TOP OF THE WORLD”

12

“I CAN LOVE YOU BETTER”

#11 Movie

“READY TO RUN”

#10 MOVIE

“SIN WAGON”

9 CD

“THERE’S YOUR TROUBLE”

#8 CD

“LONG TIME GONE”

#7 CD

“TRAVELIN’ SOLDIER”

6

“I HOPE”

5

“EASY SILENCE”

4

“TONIGHT THE HEARTACHE’S ONE ME”

#3 CD

“IF I FALL YOU’RE GOING DOWN WITH ME”

#2 CD

“SOME DAYS YOU GOTTA DANCE”

#1

“NOT READY TO MAKE NICE”

So, there you have my twenty favorites.

As I wrap up here, I do think too much.

Natalie and I have yet another connection, we’re both Libras — born almost on the same day many years apart (me on October 13 and Natalie on October 14th ten years later!)

By the way, Martie was also almost born on my birthday, too, five years later on October 12th!

So, happy belated birthday Emily and happy birthday early Martie and Natalie!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 26, 2016

It’s now the last weekend of August.  Where did summer go?

While we still have about four weeks of summer left, Labor Day is fast approaching and, for some, that’s the unofficial end of the summer season.

If you’re ready for fall (and winter), then the first story in my “Random Friday Thoughts” is just for you.

Even if it’s not for you, if you live in the Quad Cities or nearby, please read it and take it to heart.

THE BOY THAT CRIED WOLF

It’s still summer, but we all know that fall is getting closer since our low dropped to 53° this past Monday in the Quad Cities.

While there’s plenty of warm weather left and time for several tropical systems to develop in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, colder weather is spilling in well to our northwest and some long-term computer models even paint a little snow over western Canada by September 1st. 🙂

Sept 1.jpg

This is a perfect time to clarify a couple of things and I’m sure you’ll hear me reiterate this again during the winter months!

We know there are some local forecasters across Iowa and Illinois that cry wolf and dramatize every potential snowflake to get Facebook likes, shares, and blog hits!

Snowflake

That’s not me!  While I love for people to read what I write and comment on it, I’m not going to sensationalize a forecast to get you to watch me or brag about the number of people that click on my page.

With that being said, when you see astronomical snow forecasts a week or so ahead of a potential snow event (which is stupid from a forecasting standpoint), just ignore them!

However, if you insist on looking, don’t make the mistake of asking me about it!  If I think there’s a chance of seeing a decent snow, I’ll definitely be telling you.  But, I will not justify another forecaster’s sensationalism!

Again, I know I’ll have to mention this again this winter.

2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS

I’m so proud of all of the athletes on Team USA that won gold, silver, and bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

rio.jpg

I’m just as happy for those that made the team that didn’t win medals, too.

I didn’t watch the games, but I did follow the medal count as Team USA won more gold and more medals overall than any other team in the world.

All of those performances shined brighter than the adolescent ignorance and shame brought on by gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte and his three friends who claimed they were robbed at gunpoint.  Lochte now says his story was “over-exaggerated”.

Speedo Ryan.jpg

SPEEDO FALLOUT

No, there’s no photo of a “wardrobe malfunction” with Lochte and his Speedo.  However, there is fallout from his lies.

Speedo USA ended its sponsorship of him earlier this week.  The company will still donate a portion of his fee ($50,000) to the global charity “Save The Children” in Brazil.

Sppedo Short.jpg

 

RALPH LAUREN FOLLOWS SPEEDO

The hits against Lochte didn’t stop with Speedo.  Ralph Lauren and two other companies cut ties, too.

The fashion company says, “Ralph  Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody.”

It added, “Ralph Lauren’s endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the company will not be renewing his contract.”

Lochte, stuff that in your Speedos!

STILL NOT READY!

The Dixie Chicks debuted on the Billboard County charts in 1997 with “I Can Love You Better”.  From 1997-2003, the Texas trio charted 16 Top 40 hits with 14 of them reaching the Top Ten, and six topping the charts.

Then, in 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a foreign crowd that she was ashamed that then President George W. Bush was from Texas.  The fallout at country radio was swift, but not like Taylor!

“Travelin’ Soldier” was at the top of the country charts when Natalie’s words made is back to America.  Cumulus radio stations banned the Chicks and the song dropped off the charts in two weeks — from #1!

The Dixie Chicks returned with a new album, “Taking The Long Way”, in 2006.  It topped Billboard’s Top 200 and Country album charts, sold over two million copies, and won a total of five Grammy Awards.

They’re back on tour now, their first since 2006, and Natalie still has more to say!

Natalie

I’ll be seeing Natalie, Martie, and Emily for the second time in less than three weeks when they play the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois, on September 15th, on the “DCX MMXVI World Tour”.

I’m currently listening to all my Dixie Chicks CDs again to rank my 20 favorite songs before the concert!

If you want to see the April 2012 blog I wrote about them and the war with country radio, here it is.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/a-nation-at-war-abroad-on-country-radio-as-a-statue-topples/

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!

It’s not a milestone birthday, but here’s to a great year ahead Ray as you celebrate your birthday week.

While we may not be on a Danube River cruise in Europe like when we celebrated your 50th birthday, I hope you enjoyed the margarita and Mexican food Thursday night.

Here’s a trip down memory lane!

Ray 2

 

Ray 5

Ray, while you celebrated this birthday in the Quad Cities, it’s never too early to be thinking ahead of a fun place to be next year when it comes around again!

Here’s to many more birthdays (and vacations)!

DO YOU LOVE COTTON CANDY?

I love cotton candy and I eat it every time I go to Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.  cotton candy

However, I thought of it in a different way recently reading an interview with Jennifer Lawrence talking about her upcoming movie, “Passengers”, with Chris Pratt.

Lawrence says (referring to Pratt), “He’s a bag of Gummi Bears.  He’s human cotton candy.”

Three things crossed my mind:  (1) “human cotton candy” sounds like something Hannibal Lecter would make if he was slumming for a dinner party dessert, (2) I do like cotton candy, and (3), I’d like it even more if it comes in the shape of the new and improved Chris Pratt body!

Chris Pratt.jpg

“BREAKING BAD”

I have another thought about winter today.

I know the most critically acclaimed show of all time (Guinness World Records, 2013), “Breaking Bad” concluded its five year run in the fall of 2013.

Ray and I were finally going to binge watch it when we got snowed in this winter, but we started it this week and after just three episodes, all I can say is “it’s incredible” — even if we saw Walter White (Bryan Cranston) too many times in his tighty whities. 🙂

Now, if we start seeing Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in his, that’ll be different!

While we’ll still be watching “Breaking Bad” this winter, we also have “House of Cards”, “Justified”, and “Tyrant” to binge watch on when the days get short, the air gets colder, and the snow piles up.

Snow Saturday Morning

A BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR ME???

At my age, I don’t really make a big deal out of my birthdays since I’ve already passed many of the milestones (13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, and 50).  Okay, I still have many years to go before retirement and social security.

For my 50th birthday, Ray treated me to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, a trip to top of the Eiffel Tower, and a show at the world famous Moulin Rouge, where I was sipping champagne and watching very risque and sexy performers at the stroke of midnight!

AP R Moulin

But, this year there’ll be a fun birthday present that I might just have to buy for myself.

One of my favorite bands of all-time, Erasure, is releasing a mammoth boxed set called “From Moscow to Mars”.  If you’re a die-hard Erasure fan or a fan of 1980s music, you’ll know where that title came from.  I know, you’re racking your brain now!

Check out this incredible video teaser!

Who knows how much that 13 disc set with over 200 tracks will cost, but I think I’m worth it!

AND THERE’S MORE….

If that wasn’t enough, Michael Buble is back, too, with a new album, “Nobody But Me” on October 21st.

Michael Buble To Be Loved

His last album, “To Be Loved” came out more than three years ago and his last tour ended in March 2015.

Michael has been spending more time with his wife, Luisana, and their two sons, three-year-old Noah and seven-month-old Elias.

The first single and the title track came out last week.

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS OFFERING

Christmas is still four months away, but it’s that time of the year when details of upcoming holiday albums emerge.

Already, I’ve talked about a duets Christmas album from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and a new holiday album from Kacey Musgraves.

Illinois native and country hit maker Brett Eldredge will also be releasing his first Christmas collection this fall.

The album will feature classics and a new song called “Glow”.  It’ll also have a “big band and swing sound”.

Until we get the track listing and that first video, here’s Brett from the 2014 CMA Country Christmas special.

And, if it’s too early for you to listen to a Christmas song, here’s Brett with one of my favorite songs of last year, his #1 country smash, “Lose My Mind”.

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 18, 2016

It’s almost the weekend and, as always, I’m ready for it.

Got any big plans?  Whatever you do, or don’t do, enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

SPRING STORMS THIS WEEK

Our first round of severe storms in 2016 brought five tornadoes to northern Illinois and eastern Iowa Tuesday evening.  This required me to go back into work for several hours.  It saddens me to see the widespread devastation, but I’m happy to report there were no casualties!

Of course, the two-plus hours of continuous coverage ticked some people off because watching their regular programs was more important than keeping people safe.

Oh well, people get over it.  We’ll do the same thing the next time there are tornadoes in the area!

PATTI DAVIS & HER FATHER’S AIDS FAILURE

Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan & First Lady Nancy Reagan is promoting her new book, “The Earth Breaks In Colors” and she’s not holding back on her father’s failure in handling the AIDS crisis.

Nancy+Reagan+Patti+Davis

She says, “I’m not gonna make excuses for, um, the failure of his administration to address the AIDS crisis when it was going on.”   She adds, “I mean, it was a failure. It hurts my heart that that happened, on so many levels.”

RonaldReagan

Davis:  “Presidents get briefings every morning, um, they’re busy, so their time watching CNN is limited, so they do rely on people to bring them information on what was going on. There were people around him who did not want him dealing with the AIDS crisis, and I’m not making excuses for him, I’m saying that’s a flaw of his, and in this case it turned out to be a really tragic flaw because he didn’t really know the extent of what was going on until Rock Hudson died.”

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

AIDS wasn’t the only topic Davis talked on when reflecting on her father.

Trump

She also implied that President Reagan would not be behind Donald Trump’s bid for the White House because he supported immigration.

Davis says, “He would certainly not be saying that Muslims should register and let’s build a huge wall and let Mexico pay for it and send them all back.”

A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS

Even politicians can put their differences aside!

George W Hillary

This picture was taken at Nancy Reagan’s funeral last week.

“SPOKEN FROM THE HEART” — LAURA BUSH

I just finished reading Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, “Spoken From The Heart” and it solidified my fondness of the former First Lady.  As I stated last week, she’s one of my five favorite First Ladies.

Laura Spoken.jpg

When deciding to read the book, I was afraid.  What if she wasn’t as charming as I perceived her to be?  What if she didn’t like Hillary Clinton?  (That’s important to me when both are one my list of five favorite First Ladies!)

My concerns and fears were unfounded and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Laura Welch better.  I would so honored to meet her one day.

In the book, she described Hillary as “gracious and forthcoming” when the outgoing First Lady was giving the future First Lady a tour of the White House.

I loved the touching story of Hillary and her daughter, Chelsea, showing Ms. Bush tomato plants that they had growing on the parapet off the third floor because “you just can’t get good tomatoes.”

President and Ms. Bush would go on to grow pots of tomatoes there, too.

ABBAtomatoes

I love this story so much because I used to grow tomatoes and peppers in pots for Miss ABBA, the golden retriever, before I lived in a house where I could have a garden!

In the book, Ms. Bush says very few bad things about people.  Even when she took people to task for their words or actions, she was cordial about it.

President Obama

Laura Bush on Barack Obama and the 2008 Presidential race:  “And I wondered if Barack Obama, who spent far more time attacking George than he did his opponent, John McCain, would want to amend his words once he discovered the reality of the White House and was himself confronted by the challenges and crises that hit a president every day, all day.”

DONALD TRUMP, THIS COULD BE YOU!

While Laura Bush had just talked about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Nevada Senator and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and their constant name calling of her husband, President George W. Bush, she stated that the president was always polite and didn’t resort to name calling.

She said, “The president doesn’t have the luxury of behaving like a smart-aleck kid on a school playground; he has to work not just with Congress but with leaders around the world.”

Hey, Donald Trump, listen up.  This could apply to you, too!

FOR THE LOVE OF GEORGE W. BUSH

One thing very clear and so sweet in Ms. Bush’s book is the love between her and her husband.

Bush_mission_accomplished

I know that she’s his wife and I expect her to say nice and flattering things about him. However, after reading about their love and their life together, I’ll still disagree with him on certain policies, but I’d break bread with him and maybe even find him pleasant!

DISAGREED WITH LAURA JUST ONCE

As I’ve always told people, you can disagree with me as long as you do it diplomatically.  As much I admire Ms. Bush, I disagree with her view on the last presidential debate in 2004 between President Bush and his Democratic rival, John Kerry.

Debate moderate Bob Schieffer asked the men if homosexuality was a choice.

Kerry replied, “We’re all God’s children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was. She’s being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it’s not a choice.”

Mary Cheney, Heather Poe

I agree with Senator (and now Secretary of State) Kerry.  It’s not a choice.

Was it inappropriate to mention Mary Cheney?  Absolutely not.  Ms. Bush and both Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, blasted Kerry for the comments.

Mary Cheney was an “out” lesbian in a long-term relationship with a woman (they married in the summer of 2012).  LGBT issues were a big talking point in the 2000 election when President Bush was elected and still an an issue in 2004.

Even if we disagree on that, I value Ms. Bush’s opinion and I still think she’d make a great friend!

I’M NOT FEELING “THE BERN”

Five states went to the polls this past Tuesday night and with close wins in Illinois and Missouri and easier wins in the other three states, Hillary Clinton went five-for-five.

On the rival side, a win in Ohio kept John Kasich in the race.  However, a big loss in Florida prompted Marco Rubio to drop out of the race for president.

Marco Rubio

Good riddance!

As I’ve said before, I will not personally attack Bernie Sanders the way I’ve seen him and his “Feel The Bern” followers attack Clinton.

With that being said, I’m rather dismayed by Senator Sanders’ nasty tone toward the Democratic front-runner in recent week.  I know it has a lot to do with the fact that with each primary and caucus, she’s moving closer and closer to the delegate count needed to secure the party’s nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

But, really?  Be tough and if you’re going to lose, know you fought a good fight with dignity.  Don’t resort to Trump tactics!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

I’ve never had a desire to visit any of the biggest studio attractions.

But, let me tell you after seeing this new permanent “The Walking Dead” attraction coming this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood, I might change my mind!

Boo!  Walkers and survival, I’m game!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

As the sixth season winds down (the finale is Sunday, April 3rd), the second and longer season of “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts one week later.

The six episodes of the first season were enjoyable, but it started out really slow.  But, then again, in the early days of the virus apocalypse, I’m sure the process of walkers taking over and turning was slower. 🙂

However, the trailer for the new season looks incredible and out of this world!

“RECOUNT”

I finally got around to watching the award-winning, HBO movie, “Recount”, about the 2000 presidential election where Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but the presidency went to George W. Bush because of Florida’s 25 electoral vote.

If you lived through it, but got bored with it by early December, the battles that both sides went through to get the win for their candidate in the court system were entertaining and frustrating in movie form.

Many in the cast were nominated for Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards including Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Denis Leary, Bob Balaban, and Laura Dern.

Dern was the only winner for acting.  She snagged the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

She was insanely entertaining (crazy !) as Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

GRADE:  B

One day, I hope to run across “Game Change” with Emmy winner Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential election.

“DAMIEN”

The new television series on A&E following “Bates Motel” is a sequel to “The Omen”.  Damien is now grown and just beginning to piece together his violent childhood as the “antichrist”.

The premiere was decent, but it definitely has room for improvement. (I haven’t watched the second episode yet.)

I liked actor Bradley James, who plays Damien, but I want to see more of Barbara Hershey and learn more about her evil connection to Damien.

“BATES MOTEL”

Despite my hopes for “Damien”, ratings may be the killer for the show.  It’s debut only attracted 75o-thousand viewers and by the second episode, the ratings dropped even more to just a little over one-half million people.

It lost about one-half of the viewers that tuned in to see the season 4 opener of “Bates Motel”, which itself was at a series low in ratings!

Norman and Norma were amazing and I can’t wait to see more of their zaniness this season.

You can catch “Bates Motel” and “Damien on A&E Monday nights.

PICK HIT

I’ve blogged many times about my love for the incredible English trio Years & Years.  Their debut album last summer, “Communion” was perfect and ended up being my second favorite album of the year.

I wanted to see them in concert last fall when I was in San Francisco, California, but the show was sold out.  Luckily, I’ll be seeing them in early May in Rosemont, Illinois, when they open for Ellie Goulding on the “Delirium World Tour”.

They just re-released one of their earlier English hits, “Desire”.  It now features Tove Lo, who scored big hits with the #1 airplay smash, “Habits (Stay High)”, and the Top 5 airplay sonh, “Talking Body”.

Here’s the new “Desire” video and trust me, the second half gets rather risque and will shock many people in the U.S.  Maybe that’s why I love it so!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

They Said What??? — George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Rahm Emanuel, & Madonna

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

“It would be a sad and terrible thing if the world chose this moment to lose its focus and will. Other countries and local governments in Africa can do more in providing resources and increasing funding — as the new government of Zambia is doing. But to continue the momentum in the fight against AIDS, America must continue to lead.  It is heart-wrenching to save a woman from AIDS, only to watch her die from cervical cancer, which is more prevalent in women with HIV.” (He says those are two of the leading causes of death in Africa.)

CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.  They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY

(about London being prepared for the Olympics):  “The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials — that obviously is not something which is encouraging.  “Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that’s something which we only find out once the games actually begin.”

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.  I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom, but also we’re extremely good at welcoming people from across the world.  I will obviously make those points to Mitt Romney. I look forward to meeting him.”

MADONNA!  MADONNA!  MADONNA!

(continuing the feud with Lady Gaga over the similarities of “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way”):  “I’m a really big fan of “Born This Way”.   I’m glad that I helped Gaga write it.”

MADONNA!  MADONNA!  MADONNA!

(about recent uproar with a French politician):  “I know that I made a certain Marine Le Pen very angry with me.  And it’s not my intention to make enemies … It’s my intention to promote tolerance. And when we start saying that we have to get rid of this person or we have to get rid of that person, because then we’ll have a better place, it starts to sound like something else, it starts to sound like something scary. So the next time you want to point the finger at somebody and blame them for a problem in your life, take that finger and point it back at you.”

MADONNA!  MADONNA!  MADONNA!

“Playing the Olympia was a magical moment for me and it was a real treat to do this special show for my fans and be so close to them.  Unfortunately at the end of the show — after I left the stage– a few thugs who were not my fans rushed the stage and started throwing plastic bottles pretending to be angry fans.  The press reports have focused on this and not the joyous aspect of the evening.  But nothing can take away or ruin this very special evening for me and my fans.  When I looked out in the audience, everyone I saw had a smile on their face.  I look forward to having this wonderful experience again.”

Anthony