Posts Tagged ‘Golden Days’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 11, 2013

The weekend is almost here and if you consider birthdays a big deal, then this weekend is a big deal.

October 13 1965

48 birthday cakes later( symbolically), this Sunday, I’ll enter the last year of my 40s!

While we’ve been trying to eat healthy and exercise in anticipation for our European trip next Friday to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday, I’m not counting calories this weekend.

I plan on stuffing myself with pizza (mostly dessert pizza) and boneless chicken wings at Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport, Iowa, my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities.  And, Sunday, I think I want crab legs and fried chicken at the casino.  However, I won’t be playing slots!

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

REMEMBERING MATTHEW

Tomorrow marks the 15th anniversary of the death of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, who died five days after being beaten and left for dead tied to wooden fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

Matthew Shepard

Matthew had been robbed, pistol-whipped, tied to the fence for 18 hours, and left to die in 30° Wyoming weather.

When he was found, he had fractures to the back of his head and to the front of his right ear.  Matthew had brain stem damage so severe that doctors could not operate.  He had a dozen or so cuts on his head, face, and neck.  These horrific injuries were inflicted on him because he was gay!

This week and every week, please remember Matt and every person, regardless of their sexuality, gender, race, etc., that are beaten and killed just for who they are.

“NATIONAL COMING OUT” DAY

Today is somewhat a holiday.   While the post offices and the banks won’t be closed, it’s “National Coming Out Day”.

National Coming Out Day

This is a civil awareness day observed all over the world for LGBT people.  It was first held on October 11, 1988, on the one year anniversary of  the “Second March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights”, a political rally that brought an estimated 200,000 people to the nation’s capital.

Come out, come out wherever you are.  While we have a long way to go (hello Russia and Uganda), the world is a more accepting place these days!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Human Rights Respect Hillary 2016Mood Swings

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIE OSMOND

Prior to this year, I always mentioned that I shared my birthday with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.  Sadly, the “Iron Lady” passed away this past April at the age of 87.

Margaret Thatcher

Now, I’m proud to say that I share my birthday with singer and entertainer Marie Osmond.  She turns 54 this year.

While I’ve always been aware of her singing career and her musical family, I was really proud of Marie earlier this year when she was chosen as ABC World News’ “Person of the Week”.

She said about her lesbian daughter, Jessica, “I believe in her civil rights, as a mother.  I think that my daughter deserves everything that she desires in life.  She’s a good girl.  She’s a wonderful child.”

Marie & Jessica

These words are coming from an open-minded devout Mormon.  As you probably already know, that religion and its church hasn’t been a leader in diversity, understanding, and compassion toward the LGBT community.  However, they are slowly coming around.

Marie also added, “The God that I believe in is a God of love, not fear” and “I don’t think God made one color flower, I think He made many.”

Happy Birthday Marie!  I hope it’s everything you could imagine.  Thank you for loving God and your daughter.  And, thank you for your support of marriage equality.

National Television Awards - Inside Arrivals

As a singer, Marie has scored ten Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with four of them reaching #1.  She’s has also had three solo Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  With her brother, Donny, she had another six hits on the Hot 100.

Her first release, “Paper Roses”, in 1973, hit #1 on the country chart and it was a crossover hit on the pop chart where it peaked at #5.

And, did you know that Marie turned down the role of Sandy in the “Grease” movie that went to Olivia Newton-John?

MORE BIRTHDAY WISHES

In addition to Marie Osmond, I also share my birthday with “Borat” actor Sasha Baron Cohen (42), David Duchovny’s character Fox Mulder (52) on “The X-Files”, and “The X-Files” creator Chris Carter (56).

Country singer Rhett Akins, who I met back in Lubbock, Texas in 1997, was also born on my birthday.  He turns 44.

September 2013 001

From 1994-1996, Akins scored six Top 40 hits on the country chart including the #1 song, “Don’t Get Me Started”, in 1996 and “That Ain’t My Truck” that reached #3 in 1995.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Former “Grey’s Anatomy” star T.J. Knight, now playing Mercutio in an off-Broadway production of “Romeo & Juliet”, married his longtime boyfriend, Patrick, last week “in an intimate ceremony in front of family and friends” in New York City.

T.J. Knight

Knight’s best friend and former “Grey’s” co-star Katherine Heigl flew in for the wedding.  It’s unknown if she bought a new dress for the wedding or if she wore one of her “27 Dresses” that she is well-known for. 🙂

MORE CONGRATULATIONS…

On the same day that T.J. and Patrick were getting married on the East Coast, a “Glee” start got engaged on the West Coast.

Three-time Emmy nominee Dot-Marie Jones proposed to her girlfriend of three years, Bridgett Casteen, at Gay Days Anaheim near Disneyland Resort’s Sleeping Beauty Castle.

DotMarie

The 49-year-old actress who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on “Glee” says, “It’s the happiest day of my life. I never thought I’d find somebody that is so loving and kind.”

Casteen is the mother of two children from a previous marriage.

Congratulations T.J., Patrick, Dot-Marie, and Bridgett!

“I DO”

While we’re talking about marriage and engagements, last weekend I saw an incredible movie from writer and out, sexy actor David W. Ross called “I Do”.

Jack Edwards (Ross) is an English photographer that has been living in New York City since he was teenager.  His brother, Peter, and Peter’s fiancée also live there.

When Jack’s work visa is denied, the only option he feels he has to stay with his family is to enter into a “green card marriage” with his best friend, Ali, played by Jamie-Lynn Sigler of “The Sopranos”.

I Do

When the marriage is questioned in a routine investigation from Immigrations and Jack meets Mano, a Spaniard living in New York City, their friendship is tested.

The movie highlights the inequalities that binational gay couples living in the United States face that a married man and woman don’t have to deal with because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Now that the Supreme Court of the United States struck down parts of DOMA, things will get better for binational gay couples sooner rather than later.

LGBT families (supposedly) will now be treated the same under immigration law as different-sex immigrant families.

For more on Immigration Equality, check out this website:  http://immigrationequality.org/issues/couples-and-families/faqs-for-binational-couples/#sthash.rEMOy3rc.dpuf

“THE WALKING DEAD”

Sunday is not just my birthday because there’s something bigger going on.  The fourth season of one of the most incredible shows on television kicks off!

The Walking Dead Season 4

Yes, it’s “The Walking Dead”.  While ratings are at an all-time high for the apocalyptic thriller, AMC is working on a spinoff for the 2015 television season.

Robert Kirkman, the writer of “The Walking Dead” comic book and the co-creator of the television show says, “After 10 years of writing the comic book series and being so close to the debut of our fourth, and in my opinion, best season of the TV series, I couldn’t be more thrilled about getting the chance to create a new corner of ‘The Walking Dead’ universe.  The opportunity to make a show that isn’t tethered by the events of the comic book, and is truly a blank page, has set my creativity racing.”

First-Look-Walkers-Makeup-760

Here’s to more blood, gore, walkers, and biters!

PICK HIT

My pick hit today is one of my favorite songs from one of the best albums of 2013.  It’s the fourth single from “Electric” from the Pet Shop Boys.

Pet Shop Boys

Here’s what I wrote about the song when I reviewed the album back in July, ““Thursday” features English rapper Example.  This song would have the best chance of mainstream success in America because it has an updated feel of 1980s club beats, very distinguishable Pet Shop vocals and music, and a strong rap, which is pretty much a staple of many songs played on Top 40 radio these days in the U.S.”

FINISHED “GOLDEN DAYS”

Last week, I mentioned that I started reading my first book in almost five years, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt.

Golden Days

The book was incredible.  It had me tearing up by page five before Vanderbilt shares fun stories of Amy, the golden retriever, and an exciting history of the Cape Cod area.

By the time I got to the final chapter, page 133 of the 143-page book, my heart was breaking and the tears started slowing and I knew I had to be focus since I walking on the treadmill.

Amy reminded me so much of Miss ABBA, my golden that went to “puppy heaven” almost two years ago.  I love the stories of Amy and her sticks, her tennis balls, her treats under the table and the frozen paws in the snow.

Here’s Miss ABBA from Spirit Lake, Iowa, in the summer of 2010.

ABBA Spirit Lake Summer 2010

Miss ABBA, Amy, and all goldens are the most amazing creatures God ever created!

Check this book out if you’ve ever loved a dog like it was human and not just a pet!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Sir Cliff Richard turns 74-years-old next Monday and he’s getting ready to release his 100th album!

While he’s music royalty in his native England, he only hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 nine times.  His first hit reached #30 in 1959 and he last hit the Top 40 in 1981 peaking at #23.  Of those nine hits, three reached the Top Ten.

His biggest hit, “Devil Woman” hit #6 in 1976.

However, “We Don’t Talk Anymore”, which was released in late 1979, became his biggest selling song of all time with five million copies sold.   When the song spent two weeks at #7 in January 1980, Richard became the first artist to reach the Top 40 on the Hot 100 with songs in the 1950s, the 1960s, the 1970s, and the 1980s.

From that video, you can see why this 15-year-old (back in 1980) had the biggest crush on him.  That crush only intensified when he sang a duet, “Suddenly” with Olivia Newton-John later that year!

olivia_newtonjohn_cliff_richard-suddenly

Happy Birthday, Cliff!

Everyone have a great weekend and make the best of it.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — October 4

Another weekend is here and I’m taking advantage of this one to relax.

While it will feel like summer Friday with highs in the 80s, storms Friday night and Saturday will cool us off.  By Sunday, highs only in the 50s and morning lows in the 30s to around 40° are likely.  This will be the coolest day in the Quad Cities since Memorial Day weekend.

So, I’m thinking a big pot of chili for comfort food, popcorn, watching the first season of “Bates Motel”, and enjoying a nice fire in the fireplace with champagne!

champagne

Here are my random thoughts this week.  Whether you agree or disagree, let me know!

POSTAGE STAMP INCREASE… AGAIN?

To my friends that work for the United States Postal Service (USPS), I hope things work out for you.  With that being said, I’m on the verge of cutting my last ties with the mail service!

The USPS is proposing ANOTHER first-class stamp increase from 46 to 49 cents in January 2014 to try to offset its loss of $6 billion dollars this year.

USPS

I only use stamps once a year at Christmas when I mail out about 150 holiday cards.  I love sending Christmas cards and wishes each year and I wouldn’t mind paying the extra three cents for a stamp if I felt the USPS was serious about trying to save its floundering business.

Why do we still have Saturday mail delivery?  Think of how much money could be saved without that service (The Postmaster General has even asked that Saturday mail delivery be cut for most customers, which would save an estimated $2 billion per year)!

If people really needed to mail something on Saturday, there are substations in many grocery stores and other businesses.

So, if you’re on my Christmas mailing list, this may be the last card you get from me!  And, if you haven’t seen them yet, here are two of the new Christmas stamps for 2013.

2013 Poinsettia Stamp Christmas Cleveland MOA

ERASURE CHRISTMAS ALBUM UPDATE

Three weeks ago, I blogged about Erasure’s first Christmas album, “Snow Globe”, coming out in the U.S. on November 12th.

Erasure Snow Globe

Here’s a first listen to Andy and Vince on “Silent Night”.

ANOTHER EMMY AWARDS THOUGHT

If you, like me, were not one of the 17.6 million people watching the Primetime Emmy Awards two Sundays ago, you missed Michael Douglas winning the Best Actor award for playing Liberace in “Behind The Candelabra” (if you want to read more about the movie from my blog last week, type in “Liberace” in the blog search engine in the top right).

Douglas Emmy Awards

In his acceptance speech, Douglas looked down to his co-star, Matt Damon, who was also nominated, and said, “You really deserve half of this.  So, you want the bottom or the top?  Top?  I figured that!”  Too funny!

If you’ve seen the movie, you know what he’s talking about since it’s part of pivotal scene.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it wouldn’t take much to figure it out. 🙂

COULD THERE BE EMMY CONFUSION NEXT YEAR?

The hit Netflix series, “Orange Is The New Black” is a critical and fan favorite.

The series focuses on Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a Connecticut woman living in New York City, who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her former lover ten years ago.

Orange is the New Black

The series also stars Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset.  Sophia is a transgender woman who’s in prison for credit-card fraud and she’s the hairdresser for many of the inmates. Outside of the prison walls, she has a son with her wife, Crystal.

Laverne Cox

Cox, the actress that plays Sophia is also transgender in real life.

If Cox gets the attention of Emmy votes, would they be progressive (and educated) enough to nominate her in the right category of Outstanding Supporting Actress?

ACRONYMS & LABELS CAN BE CONFUSING

Back in the day, there was the “gay community”, which covered both gays and lesbians.  But, then as society began to educate itself on sexual orientation and sexual identity, a couple more terms, bisexual and transgender were added to that community.

LGBT

So, when you see “LGBT”, it refers to people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (those who deviate from their assigned gender at birth, including transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, and others).

In the coming months and years, there will be more and more court cases and publicity around transgender men and women.  Advocates are working harder to ensure that someone born with a penis, but has always identified as being female, is not discriminated against and called a “man”.  This blurs lines and it’s not cut and dry or one or the other.

I’m bringing this up because I was reading an article last week and it was about a person that was identified as “genderqueer trans masculine person”.  While it would take some thought to figure that one out, I have a simple solution.  Just refer to this human as a “person” and love them just the same.

While it’s easy to label someone, the shoe doesn’t always fit.

As for me, you can call me “gay”.  However, I don’t like the term “homosexual”.  To me, that sounds like a medical term from before 1973 when being gay was still considered a “mental disorder.”

MOST POWERFUL 5 MINUTES TO SIMPLIFY MY LAST COMMENTS

While those terms I just described can label a person, it does so with class.  As we all know, there are other hurtful terms that people use to identity people in the LGBT community.

Check out this incredible, heart-wrenching video, “Define Me”, from New York City singer and songwriter, Ryan Amador, along with Jo Lampert.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Black Sheep Crazy Ass Eat Well

EUROPE IS ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY NOW!

With that last “Food For Thought” in mind, Ray and I have to work very hard over the next two weeks to get to a chosen, acceptable weight as we embark on our first European cruise to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday this past August.

Sound of Music Cruise

When Betty was here recently, I had five buffets in four nights and then last week we celebrated my sister’s birthday by eating out and having cake!!!

Our goal is to lose five to ten pounds before October 18th, which is also the date of my annual physical.  I guess this means other than a pizza buffet for my upcoming birthday, all buffets will be put off until November. 🙂

“WORK BITCH” OR “WORK WORK”?

Britney Spears is racing up the chart with the first release from her new studio album that comes out on December 3rd.  The video debuted earlier this week.

Britney Las Vegas

Two versions of the song were serviced to pop stations across the country.  One changes the title, which is said many times in the song, from “Work Bitch” to “Work Work”.  Here in the Quad Cities, one station is playing the “Bitch” version (my preference) and one is playing the sanitized “Work Work” version.

KHHM program director Pattie Moreno says, “Britney, can you please put out a record out without the word ‘bitch’ in it?  Please, can you help a girl out?”  (If you recall, her last hit, “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am, featured Brit Brit saying her classic line, “It’s Britney, Bitch”.)

However, WNOW New York PD Gillette is playing the original version and adds, “‘Bitch’ is not a dirty word. “No complaints so far. Plus, it’s a great dance track.”

I have one to say, “you’d better work”.  Oh wait, that’s another song!

The bottom line is “It’s Britney, Bitch”!

“PRISONERS”, “DON JON”, & “LOOSE CANNONS”

Two new big movies hit theaters this weekend.  There’s “Gravity”, which already has Oscar buzz for star Sandra Bullock.  The sci-fi thriller also stars George Clooney.  Also, “Runner Runner”, a thriller with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, makes its wide release debut.

If those movies don’t appeal to you, I have a couple of suggestions.  We saw a double feature last weekend of “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.

Prisoners

If you want a psychological thriller that will make you cringe and eat your popcorn nervously, check out “Prisoners” with Academy Award nominees Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard, along with Oscar winner Melissa Leo.

The movie focuses on the disappearance of two little girls on Thanksgiving Day and what lengths one desperate parent (Jackman) would go to get a confession out of the suspect, Alex (Paul Dano).

In a weaker Oscar race year, I think that Jackman would have a chance for a nomination.   But, with many buzzed about performances coming up before Christmas, I’m thinking he’ll just have to relish his nomination last year for “Les Miserables”.

However, I think Melissa Leo could get nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Alex’s religious aunt.

GRADE:  A-

Don Jon

This directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay, is a solid effort.  While porno movies and masturbation play an integral part in the comedy, it’s really a love story!

In no way am I a prude, however, the first part of movie made me think that I was watching some “adults only” site online and it started out as a strong “R-rated” movie that bordered on “NC-17”.

In the movie, Gordon-Levitt plays Jon Martello, a New Jersey bartender that loves God, his family, his apartment, his car, his boys, his girls. and his porn.  He’s totally satisfied with one-night stands and fulfilling his sex life “alone” until he meets the perfect woman, Barbara, played with perfection by Scarlett Johansson.

He loves his movies (porn) and she loves her movies (romantic comedies).  Once they start spending the night together, she discovers that he likes to, um, be alone in the other room after they have intimate time together.  She gives him an ultimatum — her or the porn.

Again, it sound very adult in nature and it is.  But, the bottom line, it’s a comedy that has heart and it’s a love story.

While entertaining, you could definitely wait and see it on DVD.

GRADE:  B

Loose_Cannons

“Loose Cannons” (Mine Vaganti ) is a critically acclaimed 2010 Italian comedy that is just now coming out on DVD in the United States.

It focuses on the Cantones, a pasta making family in conservative southern Italy.  At a family dinner one night, the youngest son, Tommaso, is going to “come out” to his family.  Before he does, his older brother, Antonio, who runs the factory announces to his family that he’s gay!

Their father has a heart attack at the table and he kicks Antonio out of the house and the business.

While there’s plenty of secrets and drama, this is a comedy.

It’s also an award-winning movie.  It was nominated for 13 David di Donatello Awards (the Italian equivalent to the American Oscar), including Best Film.   The film picked up two awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Okay, this week, today’s selection is more of a featured song than a pick hit.  It’s from the movie, “Loose Cannons”.

I fell in love with the song, “Una Notte a Napoli” by the Portland, Oregon, band, Pink Martini, featuring vocalist China Forbes, who is the cousin of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The song was featured on their second album, “Hang On Little Tomato” from 2004, which is sung in seven different languages!

I’M FINALLY READING A BOOK!

For years, my magazines have been stacking up.

I finally organized all of the “Rolling Stone”, “Time”, “Men’s Health”, “Details”, and “Boston Magazine” issues and read the stories that appealed to me.  Since those subscriptions expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “The Advocate”, “Instinct”, and “Out”.  (I just ordered “Time” again!)

Since I’m totally caught up on magazines until the new “EW” arrives later today, I grabbed the book, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt to read.

Golden Days

I bought the 1999 book shortly after its release when Miss ABBA, my late golden, was just a puppy.  I think it’s finally time to read it!

Since I haven’t read a book in five years, I don’t think the 143-page story of Amy, a New England golden retriever and the bonds she formed with her people, will overwhelm me!

Actress Betty White says of the book, “Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a golden retriever, one’s life and one’s outlook are never quite the same again. A warm afterglow remains that lasts a lifetime. The author is fluent in that language.”

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Beatles’ John Lennon would have turned 73 next week on October 9th.

Outside of the Beatles, Lennon, as a solo artist, scored 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Lennon NYC

Of those hits, two reached the top of the charts:  1974’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” and “(Just Like) Starting Over”, which was released in October 1980, but it reached #1 three weeks after Lennon was murdered outside his apartment in New York City on December 8, 1980, at the age of 40.

“Nobody Told Me” reached #5 on the Hot 100 in 1984 more than three years after he died, marking his last Top 40 chart appearance.

Happy Birthday, John!  Your wisdom and your humanity are greatly missed in today’s world.

“BATES MOTEL”

Have yourself a great weekend and make the most of it.  We’re spending it with Norman and Norma Bates.

Anthony