Posts Tagged ‘Grammy Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 13, 2020

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

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

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

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

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

Coronavirus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watermelon Mint Vodka

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

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

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

Wicked Spoon

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

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

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

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

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

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

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

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

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

Vote

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

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

“OZARK” 

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

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

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

THANKS NETFLIX!

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

Thanks a lot Netflix!

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

Bad Netflix

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

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“KNIVES OUT”

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

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

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

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

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

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

“LEMON TREE”

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

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

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

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

“PATRIK 1.5”

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

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

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

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

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

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

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

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

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

“TRANSAMERICA”

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

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

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

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ice Bound

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8, 2019

I still have a few blogs to share before the end of the year, but this is the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019.

If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

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

“LOCK HIM UP”

So, at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington D.C. last week, when Donald Trump was introduced, he was booed and “Lock Him Up” was chanted.

Donald Trump Lock Him Up.jpg

Less than a week later, he was booed at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Some say it was disrespectful.

I didn’t think that because it all goes back to what I was taught at a young age — you have to earn respect.

It’s no secret that 45 not only called Hillary Clinton “Crooked”, but he also went along with his cult, oops, his supporters, in saying “Lock Her Up”!

So then, why is it disrespectful now?

APOLOGIZE OR NOT?

A couple of weeks ago, Sevier County (Tennessee) Commissioner Warren Hurst unleashed a rant about 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and current South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (without mentioning him by name).

Hurst Comment

GLAAD, an LGBTQ media monitoring group, asked for an apology.

GLAAD 1.JPG

Pete Buttigieg.jpg

Mayor Pete, a Navy veteran, responded, “Well, he was right about one thing.  He’s right that there is a gay man running for president. He doesn’t seem to be right about much else.”

If GLAAD gets an apology from Hurst, that’s great.  But, sadly, if he does apology, it’d be an empty apology, so why bother!

In the early months of my blog in 2012, I wrote about public figures saying hateful things and then apologizing.

I said, “I’m sure if someone watching the news when I’m doing the weather makes a derogatory comment to their buddy about me, and not my performance, I’d bet that he or she really means it.”

So, if you say it and that’s what you think, saying “sorry” isn’t going to change the hurt behind your ignorance!

You can read the full blog here:

Your Apology Really Doesn’t Mean That Much to Me

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/your-apology-really-doesnt-mean-that-much-to-me/

“MR. ROBOT”

The fourth and final season of the incredible FX series, “Mr. Robot” is airing and we’re down the last eight episodes.

I love the series and I’m so glad the final showdown between Elliot and fsociety and White Rose and the Dark Army is taking place at Christmas, my favorite time of the year!

And, I still cherish this Twitter response from the show’s genius creator, Sam Esmail, after the season three finale!

Mr Robot

“BOMBSHELL”

I absolutely love Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron is incredible!

Throw in John Lithgow as creepy Roger Ailes (played by Russell Crowe on Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice”) and you have a sure fire winner when “Bombshell” opens December 20, 2019.

It’s the story of the sexual harassment lawsuit that threatened to topple Ailes and Fox News!

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than seven weeks away, but next Tuesday night my dear friend, Katie, and I are heading to the movies to see “Last Christmas”, which opens this weekend.

It stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh, both from “Crazy Rich Asians”, alongside Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”).

The romantic comedy/drama is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“COMPOSED”

I just came across Rosanne Cash’s 2010 autobiography, “Composed”, and I have to say it was very enjoyable.

Rosanne Cash Composed.jpg

It was nice reading about her early years in California, the ups and down of her life, her parents’ life, and how she handled the deaths of her mother and her father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash.

I was especially touched by the eulogy she gave at June Carter Cash’s funeral.

It was fun hearing her honest thoughts about her music career and her albums.  Interestingly enough, my favorite album of Rosanne’s was her least favorite! 🙂

Recording “Rhythm and Romance” was a very long process — they started in April 1984 and it wasn’t mastered until April 1985!

Rosanne says, “I still cannot stand to listen to ‘Rhythm and Romance’, even though I think that some of its songs — “Second to No One” and “Halfway House” especially – are among my best to date.”

As Rosanne started charting on the country music charts, I still listened to country.  But, I was moving quickly away from the genre for pop music and dance.

And, because of the pop sound, I admit that “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”, a song that hit #1 and won Rosanne her first Grammy Award, is still my favorite.

Coming in a close second is “Seven Year Ache”.  In 1981, Rosanne reached the top of the country music charts with that song and it became her only crossover hit.  It hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I still love hearing the lines, “The boys say, ‘when is he gonna give us some room’ / The girls say, ‘God I hope he comes back soon'”! 

Classic!

Rosanne scored 22 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Eleven went all the way to #1!

Thank you for the music and the wonderful book, “Composed”!   And, Rosanne, thank you for your activism and not straying away from being political!

I’M (STILL) WITH HER

It’s so hard to think that the 2016 presidential election was ONLY three years ago today!  It seems like an eternity!

Hillary AP

And, it makes me happy, regardless of the outcome, that Rosanne Cash and I were on the same team! 🙂

Rosanne Hillary Clinton.JPG

SCREAMING WOMAN & CAT MEMES

Here’s proof that I don’t always write and think about heavy topics!

For some reason, just the image of the “woman yelling at cat” cracks me up.  And, it’s usually funnier once it’s a meme!

Some are very naughty.  But, this one, by far, is my favorite!

Cat Woman

If you’re not familiar with this (where have you been?), it’s a screenshot of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards from 2011 next to a white cat enjoying a fancy meal.

NEW COCA-COLA FLAVORS!

Just in time for the holidays, Coca-Cola is rolling out two limited edition flavors:  Cinnamon Coca-Cola and Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite.

Cinnamon Coke Winter Spiced Sprite

These will be available through New Year’s Day or while supplies last!

Would you try it?

“THE HATE U GIVE”

I finally got around to seeing this 2018 movie about a young lady witnessing the shooting of her unarmed best friend, who’s black, by a white police officer.

Amandla Stenberg is amazing as 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in a crime-ridden, poor area, but attends a mostly white private prep school.

She’s at a party where a fight breaks out and shots are fired.  People quickly leave before police arrive.  Starr is given a ride home from her childhood friend, Khalil.

They pull over away from the party and talk about their childhood, Harry Potter, his sick grandmother, and the path he’s taken in life.  As they pull back onto the street, they’re stopped by a white police officer.

Khalil is shot dead in front of her.

Now, Starr has to bottle up her feelings about the tragedy and hide her identity at her private school — even as she decides to go public in a television interview about the incident with police.

My favorite scene was between Starr and her uncle, a black policeman (Common).

Ironically, this same topic (white police officers pulling over an unarmed black family) was highlighted recently on Fox’s “9-1-1”.

GRADE:  B+

“YESTERDAY”

This is a cute musical about struggling musician Jack Malik who wakes up after being injured in an accident caused by a global blackout.  He also learns that it’s now a world where no one has heard of The Beatles!

As he tries to remember all the Beatles lyrics and songs to recreate them, he becomes an international superstar.  He’s right up there with Ed Sheeran, who stars in the movie.

Himesh Patel is great as Malik in this Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) directed movie!

GRADE:  B

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD” 

Believe it or not, this is not about “that man”! 🙂

Trump

The second season of the critically acclaimed British dark comedy series, “The End of the F***ing World” premiered on Netflix earlier this week.

If you didn’t see the first season, here’s what I said about it in August 2018, “If you’re looking for something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:  ‘I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.’

Here’s the trailer for the first season.

GRADE:  B

“STAND BY YOUR MAN”

I just read Tammy Wynette’s 1979 autobiography in an original paperback that was discolored and falling apart.

Tammy Wynette.JPG

What an interesting life she lead!

The book ended in the late-1970s after the height of her popularity, on her fifth and final husband, and many hospital stays — and she was on in her 30s!

If you’re not a country music fan, you probably don’t know that she had 44 solo hits on the Billboard Country charts with 31 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Seventeen topped the chart!

And, with former husband George Jones, she scored 13 more hits with eight of them making the Top Ten and three reaching #1.

However, she also hit #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1991 with the British duo, the KLF on “Justified and Ancient”.

“REACHING FOR GLORY:  LYNDON JOHNSON’S SECRET WHITE HOUSE TAPES, 1964-1965”

This 2001 book by Michael Beschloss actually starts in December 1963 with a Prologue called “Jackie, I Love You”.

It’s a series of privately recorded telephone conversations between President Johnson (by Johnson) and Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of his predecessor John F. Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson Beschloss.JPG

The book mostly covered Johnson’s 1964 campaign against Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona and his first two years in office (1964 and 1965).

While there were many interesting conversations, the ones about a scandal weeks before the 1964 presidential election intrigued me the most.

Walter Jenkins, Special Assistant to the President, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct with another man (oral sex) in a public restroom in Washington, D.C. just weeks before the 1964 election.

Back then, it was thought that gays were a security risk knowing highly sensitive government information. Incorrectly, it was believed they were more likely to be blackmailed and spill the U.S. government’s secrets!

Hoover Johnson.jpg

What I found humorous is a chat between President Johnson and closet case FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Johnson:  “They raised the question of the way he combed his hair…”

Hoover:  “It’s just… that his mannerisms… were suspicious.”

And, Johnson, knowing the rumors of Hoover being a “secret homosexual”, wins with this line to Hoover:  “I guess you are going to have to teach me something about this stuff… I swear I can’t recognize them.  I don’t know anything about them.”

To which Hoover replies:  “It’s that you just can’t tell sometimes.”

I guess “gaydar” wasn’t perfected back in the 1960s!

Another interesting tidbit:  Analyzing the results of his landslide victory in 1964, but losing five states in the South because of his support for the Civil Rights legislation, Johnson said in a conversation, “Louisiana’s a bunch of crooks, and Mississippi’s too ignorant to know any better, and Alabama’s the same way.  But Georgia knows better.”

X-RATED LBJ

Another story this book touches on is rather infamous in President Johnson’s circle.

Lyndon Johnson.jpg

Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations, told of the time that someone asked the President why America was in Vietnam, Johnson “unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, ‘This is why!'”

Could you just imagine????????

A FINAL JOHNSON THOUGHT

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It’s very interesting that two vice presidents named Johnson — Lyndon and Andrew — became President of the United States after their Commander in Chiefs, Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and John F. Kennedy in 1963, were assassinated!

Lincoln Kennedy.JPG

And, civil rights for blacks were a major part of Lincoln, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s presidencies about a century apart with the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), the Civil Rights Act (1964), and the Voting Rights Act (1965)!

“ROCKETMAN”

The acting in “Rocketman” was incredible.  Taron Egerton was amazing as Elton John and I love Elton’s music, but I thought this movie was a mess!

Unlike the far more superior “Bohemian Rhapsody”, this movie seems very thrown together.

But, people went to see it.  The $40 million movie brought in $193.4 million at the box office!

GRADE: C+

“9 to 5”

It’s hard to believe that it took almost forty years, but I finally watched the comedy classic, “9 to 5”.

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, the December 1980 movie brought in $103.3 million on a $10 million budget.

Parton and Fonda both confirmed in 2018 that a sequel featuring them (and Tomlin) was in the works.

By the way, Dolly Parton’s #1 Billboard Hot 100 and Country single was nominated for a Best Song Oscar and she won two Grammy awards!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — Weekend of January 26, 2019

The snowy and bitterly cold weather this weekend is keeping many inside hibernating, so if you need something to watch, I have a few suggestions.

I was going to keep my random thoughts to entertainment and leave heavier topics, like politics, the government shutdown, and Chris Brown out of it, but I digress!

cb

I’m not commenting on the allegations, but about his name being “tarnished”!  Seriously????

Trust me, he took care of that 10 years ago!  As a matter of fact, we’re just a couple of weeks away from that Grammy Awards weekend shocker!

And, one more!

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Will my recommendations make the childhood Anthony smile or will they bring on the “you gotta be kidding me” and “there’s no way I’m going to smile” look? 🙂

AP Kid.JPG

“SEX EDUCATION”

I absolutely love Gillian Anderson and she’s incredible in this Netflix series.

She plays Dr. Jean Milburn, a sex therapist with a 16-year-old son, Otis (Asa Butterfield), who suffers from solo performance anxiety.

While dealing with his own sexually repressed issues, Otis and a classmate start a “clinic” (for pay) offering sex advice to fellow students.

Otis’ best friend, Eric, is out and proud, but he endures an encounter that makes him re-think his life and his friendship with Otis.

While a comedy, the story lines are real and dramatic, too.

I’m hoping that “Sex Education” is renewed for a second season.  With Gillian Anderson involved, I’m sure it will be! 🙂

GRADE: A

GOODBYE “MANIFEST & HELLO “THE OTHER TWO”

I loved “Manifest” on NBC when it started, but once it came back from its holiday break, it didn’t hold my attention and I abandoned it!

I’m still enjoying “How To Get Away With Murder” as it heads toward the end of its fifth season (February 28, 2019).

A part of me thinks this will be the last season because of dwindling ratings.

However, it’s still a strong show and it still needs another 13 episodes to reach the new “standard” of 88 episodes for syndication!  ABC, bring it back for season six!

I also hope that “Madam Secretary” is renewed for a sixth season.

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And, I absolutely loved the premiere episode of Comedy Central’s “The Other Two”.   It’s only 30 minutes long, so check it out!

It’s about a 13-year-old who becomes an overnight viral sensation and how it affects his struggling millennial siblings!

I absolutely fell in love with Drew Tarver (Cary)!

My favorite scene, other than the “Survivor” make out scene, was when Cary’s boss at his server job told him and a co-worker that he and his wife watched “Brokeback Mountain”, but didn’t care for it.

The reaction was priceless, “You are… an ally.  We’ll see you at Pride!” 🙂

Molly Shannon and Helene Yorke also star.

PREMIERE GRADE:  A

“ESCAPE AT DANNEMORA”

This Ben Stiller-directed, seven-episode limited series on Showtime is based on the 2015 escape at the Clinton Correctional Facility in upstate New York.

Patricia Arquette stars as Tilly Mitchell, a supervisor in the facility that helped inmates Richard Matt (Benicio del Toro) and David Sweat (Paul Dano) escape.

Arquette picked up Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Television awards for her performance.

While the acting is superb, the story that Stiller told in seven episodes could very well have been done in six tighter episodes!

GRADE: B-

COMING SOON TO DVD

I’m very excited that “Boy Erased” and “The Wife” with Oscar nominee Glenn Close are both coming to Redbox next Tuesday (January 29th)!

Sadly, “Boy Erased” didn’t come to theaters where I live.

It’s a heartbreaking story about “gay conversion therapy” that I wish more people knew about.  Yes, it’s appalling and it’s still happening in the U.S!

It stars two of absolute favorites, Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges!

For “The Wife”, Glenn Close picked up an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.  This is her seventh Oscar nomination without a single win in the first six tries!

While she’s up against Lady Gaga (and before seeing either performance), my money is on Close.

Close has already won a Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice for this role, along with many film festival awards.

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

The next movie I’m looking forward to seeing in theaters is “Hotel Mumbai”, which is based on a November 2008 true event that rocked India.

It stars Oscar nominee Dev Patel (“Lion”, my favorite 2017 movie), and Golden Globe Award nominee and my future husband Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”).

It hits theaters March 29, 2019.

“THE AMERICANS

I highly recommend “The Americans”, which just wrapped up last summer.

It took me no time to binge watch all 75 episodes of the Emmy and Golden Globes winning series with the incredible Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys.

For six seasons, Russell and Rhys played Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, Soviet spies in Washington D.C. in the early-1980s at the height of the “Cold War”.

It’s intense, sexy, violent and thought-provoking!

The sixth and final season just won the Golden Globe Award for Best TV Series – Drama, an Emmy Award for Rhys and won three Critics’ Choice Television Awards!

And, let me tell you without spoilers, the series finale was one of the best finales I’ve watched!

It was heartbreaking, but the perfect ending to an almost perfect series.

GRADE: A

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Celine Dion Saves Two Little Ducks!

Okay, the headline might be a little misleading and be construed by some as “fake news”! 🙂

Let me clarify that the words of Celine Dion in the hardback version, “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”, saved two little ducks!

Celine

While I have many of Celine’s CDs and I’ve had this 2000 autobiography forever, I just now got around to reading it and it’s a good thing I was reading it on a recent walk.

As I was making my way around the pond, I heard a commotion.

A mama duck chased one of those creepy turtles (them again) into the water.

Creepy Turtle

As she flew away, it came charging back out of the water at two small ducks.

I raced down the embankment and the turtle didn’t slow down even with me approaching it.  Finally, I swatted at it with the Celine book!!!

Here’s the dirt and mud to prove it. 🙂

Celine Book

The ticked off turtle went back into the water and I got the ducklings back with the mother.

So, thank you Celine for being there! 🙂

Celine 2

I really enjoyed reading about Celine’s life story and I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to read it.

I was surprised to hear that she’s the youngest of fourteen (yes 14!) children!

I became aware of Celine in the early-1990s at the same time as most Americans.  We also learned around that time that she was in a relationship with her manager and future husband, Rene Angelil.  (They married December 17, 1994 in Montreal, Quebec.)

Celine wedding

It was still a little weird reading about the love affair — with the 26-year age difference.  She was the one that fell in love first and pursued him!  But, knowing that the love was real made me smile.  We all want that!

Early Celine

I love how Celine was upfront and honest about the nastiness of the press about things such as her love life and her weight (calling her anorexic).  Being a recovering food addict, I feel for her having endured that.

While Celine has been a multi-millionaire for much of career (after hitting it big worldwide), I’m glad she didn’t sugarcoat her love of spending money.  She earned it!

Celine House

She talked about building and furnishing her dream home (the Jupiter, Florida, estate sold for $28 million last year), her lavish wedding to Angelil, and the renewal of her vows in a January 2000 ceremony at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

SINGER CELINE DION AND RENE ANGELIL RENEW WEDDING VOWS IN EASTERN ORTHODOX CEREMONY.

The couple’s son René-Charles is now 17-years-old and fraternal twins, Eddy and Nelson, were born in October 2010.

Celine &amp; family

Sadly, Rene passed away from throat cancer in January 2016 at the age of 73.  Two days later, Celine suffered another heartbreak when her brother Daniel died, also of cancer.  He was 59.

Celine is definitely a survivor and one of the greatest entertainers of all time!  Definitely check out “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”!

Now, let’s talk about her music.

Celine Dion 1st single

Celine released her first single in 1981 at the age of 13.

While many of her singles throughout the 1980s charted well in Quebec, it wouldn’t be until 1989 before she would see her name on the mainstream Canadian charts. (There was an exception — a Top 5 hit in France in 1982.)

Celine’s American debut came in early 1990 with the “Unison” album and her breakthrough American single, “(If There Was) Any Other Way”, which reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, she’s had 18 hits with 11 reaching the Top 10, and 4 topping the charts.

She’s also won five Grammy Awards.

Celine has released over 150 singles worldwide and I’m going to share my 10 favorite songs of her.

Since five is her lucky number, I was going to choose five.  But, she’s had so many amazing songs, I’m going with ten, which is five times two! 🙂

However, I’m only going to choose from the songs that have charted in the U.S.!

#10 MOVIE

“THAT’S THE WAY IT IS” (1999)

#9 MOVIE

“MY HEART WILL GO ON” (1997)

8

“I DROVE ALL NIGHT” (2003)

7

“THE POWER OF LOVE” (1993)

#6 CD

“ALL BY MYSELF” (1996)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU ASKED ME TO” (1992)

4

“IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO ME NOW” (1996)

3

“LOVE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS” (1992)

2

“WHERE DOES MY HEART BEAT NOW” (1990)

Holiday Bonus

Since this one didn’t chart (why, I don’t know?), it’s still one of my favorites, so it’s a bonus!

“HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)” (2013)

#1

“BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME” (1996)

Here’s hoping that I finally get to see Celine’s Las Vegas show!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Remembering Whitney Houston

In the past year, we’ve lost 1980s musical icons David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years ago this weekend that the music world was crushed to learn of the passing of Whitney Houston.

whitney

Sadly, a little over three years later, her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, died, too, in an eerily similar fashion.

This Grammy Awards weekend, I’m remembering Whitney by sharing my ten favorite Whitney songs.  (By the way, she won six Grammy Awards and was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, thus seven!)

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Bonus

Since Whitney had so many classics, here are some of my favorites that couldn’t fit it in the Top Ten:

“Saving All My Love For You”, “I’m Every Woman”, “My Name Is Not Susan”, “Love Will Save The Day”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Fine”, “Step By Step”, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, and “If I Told You That” with  featuring the late great George Michael!

As I begin my countdown, you’ll notice her upbeat songs rank higher since that’s when I was a youngster out clubbing and enjoying the dance floor!  🙂

10

#9

#8 MOVIE

7

6

#5 MOVIE

4

green 3

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

1

What are you favorites?

Anthony