Posts Tagged ‘Hallmark’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 27, 2018

July is basically over and we’ll be heading into the last unofficial month of summer soon.  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

CELEBRITY AND ACTIVISM

Being in the public eye can be a “Catch 22”.

There are people that think you should stick to whatever it is you’re known for (singing, acting, giving the weather, etc.) and you should keep your personal views and thoughts to yourself.

While I’m not a celebrity, I’ve been a very vocal advocate for LGBT rights and marriage equality.  I was also a Hillary Clinton supporter and I didn’t hide it.

Hillary AP

I know I’ve helped some families deal with relatives coming out as LGBTQ.

But, I’ve also had a few people tell me to stick to television weather and keep my views to myself.  My response to that is that if you don’t like my “views”, then you shouldn’t have friended me on Facebook or read my blogs. (I don’t share my personal views on my professional social media page.)

A former co-worker once expressed his strong dislike for Meryl Streep because she uses her public platform to express her views or her politics.

To that I replied, “I’m a Meryl Streep-loving, tree hugging liberal and I’m proud of it!”

I’m a strong believer that if you have a platform and people’s attention, you should use it to try and educate them on matters they may not be that familiar with!

IMAGINE DRAGONS (AND UNICORNS)

The Grammy Award winning, Las Vegas-based group Imagine Dragons have sold more than 12 million albums and 35 million singles.

They’ve had massive radio hits like 2012’s “Radioactive” and last year’s “Believer”, “Thunder”, and “Whatever It Takes”.

While they’re one of the hottest rock bands on the planet, the group started getting more attention — namely from Mormons and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — when lead singer Dan Reynolds reached out to and began defending the LGBTQ community.

Why?  In Utah, suicide is the leading cause of death for teenagers!!!

Trevor

SuicideHotline

WAKE THE F*CK UP UTAH!  (That’s me speaking and not Dan in those exact words!)

A new HBO documentary, “Believer”, came out in June.

It talks about the struggles of LGBTQ communities across Utah, the suicide rate, and what Reynolds and Neon Trees lead singer Tyler Glenn and others are doing to fight this tragedy.  It also takes on the double cross-talking Mormon church!

Now, I wonder what my former colleague that was always singing “Thunder” would think about Reynolds speaking out against the church’s views on being LGBTQ?  Is Reynolds now in the Streep camp of just “shut up and sing”?

LOVELOUD

The second annual LOVELOUD concert with proceeds supporting national and local LGBTQ+ charities will be held Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Salt Lake City with Imagine Dragons, Tyler Glenn, Zedd, and more.

“SHUT UP & SING”

As the 2003 Iraq War was about to get underway, Natalie Maines, the lead singer of the Dixie Chicks, told a London, England audience, at the kickoff of the “Top of the World Tour”, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States (George W. Bush) is from Texas.”

Once those comments made it to the U.S. and onto every right-wing, conservative radio and television show (and into newspapers), their country music career was over and they became pariahs in that genre.

Their hit, “Travelin’ Soldier”, was #1 on the country chart when the comments were made.  After Cumulus Media dropped the Dixie Chicks from their 42 country stations, the song dropped to #3 the next week and off the entire chart one week later!

They got death threats, which was the premise of the excellent documentary, “Shut Up & Sing”.

Kudos to Natalie, Emily Robinson, and Martie Maguire for putting on a strong face in the face of the turmoil and being called every name in the book!

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The controversy played heavily into their Grammy Award-winning comeback, sans country radio, with “Take The Long Way” and “Not Ready To Make Nice” in 2006.

It was during this time that I first saw them in concert in Chicago in 2006 on the “Accidents & Accusations Tour”.

By the way, Bush responded, “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out … Freedom is a two-way street … I don’t really care what the Dixie Chicks said. I want to do what I think is right for the American people, and if some singers or Hollywood stars feel like speaking out, that’s fine. That’s the great thing about America.”

“LATTER DAYS”

This movie, written by former Mormon C. Jay Cox (“Sweet Home Alabama”) is still one of my favorite movies after a decade.

It’s the story of a group of Mormons on their two-year mission to Los Angeles and one of them has a big secret.

It’s funny, loving, sad, and heartbreaking with amazing performances from leads Steve Sandvoss and Wes Ramsey and guest stars Jacqueline Bisset, Mary Kay Place, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

A must-see!

NOAH’S ARK

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“A QUIET PLACE”

I’m probably one of the last people to finally see this incredible movie.

This $19 million dollar picture, which marked Krasinski’s directing debut, has already brought in $332.4 million dollars!

I love Emily Blunt and she’s incredible (when isn’t she?) and absolutely crush on John Krasinski!  This movie definitely marks his place in Hollywood as a promising director!

I’m claustrophobic and this movie took my breath away with the silence!  Silence that when broken is deadly!

Millicent Simmonds, who played Blunt and Krasinski’s daughter, is magnificent, too.

The movie ended perfectly for a sequel and one is on the way.

Does it need one?  No.  It’s a perfect stand alone movie.   However, it gives us a chance to see more of Blunt and Simmonds.

I hope that the sequel works as both a sequel AND a prequel — without a “spoiler alert”, that’s all I’ll say. 🙂

GRADE:  A

“STREISAND:  HER LIFE”

In my eight weeks since moving to Duluth, I haven’t read a book.  The last book I finished was my 20th of the year, “Streisand:  Her Life” by James Spada.

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It’s amazing how talented Streisand is — from music to television to Broadway to movies.

Based entirely on her looks as a child and a young woman, no one believed she had what it took to make it!  And, now she’s an Oscar, Emmy, and Grammy award winner!

But, the book doesn’t hold back on how self-centered she is or comes across.

Her friend, composer James Newton Howard (“Pretty Woman”):  “Barbra is a sweetheart, but she can be quite blunt.  If you’re not thick-skinned, then she’s not easy to think.  I happen to think she’s a genius.  The process of working with her is a difficult one because her perfectionism is unequaled.  She’s incredibly demanding, but I can truthfully say that working with her has elevated my own work.”

While demanding, she also uses her name and talent to promote causes she believes in — being a staunch liberal! 🙂

Speaking to students at Harvard in 1995, Barbra said, “I’m also very proud to be a liberal.  Why is that so terrible these days?  [The audience cheered].

She continued, “The liberals were liberating.  They fought slavery, fought for women to have the right to vote… fought to end segregation, fought to end apartheid.  Thanks to liberals, we have Social Security, public education, consumer and environmental protection, Medicare, Medicaid, the minimum-wage law, unemployment compensation.  Liberals put an end to child labor.  They even gave us the five-day work week.  What’s to be ashamed of?…”

Still speaking,  “I have opinions, nobody has to agree — I just like being involved, and after many years of self-scrutiny, I’ve realized that the most satisfying feelings come from things outside myself.”

Finally, she concluded, “So until women are treated equally with men, until gays and minorities are not discriminated against, until children have their full rights, artists must continue to speak out, and I will be one of them.  Sorry, Rush, Newt, Jesse — the artist as citizen is here to stay.”
Barbra’s been working on her autobiography for years and it was to be released in 2018.  However, that’s not looking likely.  She told “Entertainment Weekly” that the part about “A Star Is Born” is already 50 pages long!
BARBRA’S MUSIC

In her 50-plus-year career, Barbra scored 22 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with 13 of them reaching the Top Ten.

She’s had five chart toppers:  “The Way We Were”, “Evergreen”, “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” (with Neil Diamond), “No More Tears” (with Donna Summer), and “Woman in Love”.

One of my favorites, “Left in the Dark”, the lead single from her 1984 album, “Emotion”, only reached #50 on the Billboard Hot 100.  But, it reached #2 on the Adult Contemporary chart.

A “POSE” CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY

Christmas is now just five months away.

As you already know, I love FX’s “Pose” and it was renewed for a second season.

The first season has wrapped up, but just three episodes in, I got the thing I love most about any series — a Christmas episode!

Work it Blanca in a Pray Tell creation!

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Angel also looked lovely in the heartwarming episode!

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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 29, 2013

I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving and that you ate plenty of food.  I’m ready to make another turkey since I didn’t have enough.  I’ll have to enjoy the other leftovers!  December is almost here and now it’s time to start thinking about Christmas.  Along with that, here are my random thoughts of the week.

HALLMARK DONS UGLY APPAREL

It appears that Hallmark wants to have fun this Christmas, as long as you don’t associate fun with “gay”.

The song, “Deck The Halls” dates back to the 16th century, but the lyrics, “Don we now our gay apparel“, must be too gay for the company to use on a new ornament.  It’s been changed to “Don we now our FUN apparel“.

Hallmark Sweater
While they will probably sell many of them, it’s turned into a comedic punchline.

Joan Rivers Hallmark

And, Ellen had the best solution to changing lyrics and the meaning of words!

Hallmark says, “When the lyrics to ‘Deck the Halls’ were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800’s, the word ‘gay’ meant festive or merry.  Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation.”

Each Christmas, Betty (Mom) buys me a “son” ornament from Hallmark.  However, I advised her to buy me an ornament from anyplace except Hallmark this year!

ILLINOIS MOVES TO THE RIGHT SIDE OF HISTORY

Last week, Illinois became the 16th state (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage equality law.  This was a happy time for many, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel who stopped by Sidetrack, a Chicago gay bar, to congratulation patrons there and he tweeted:

Illinois

Not everyone was happy with this new law.  A Springfield, Illinois, priest performed an exorcism (I’m not kidding!).

Cardinal George

And, Cardinal Francis George said this in a letter that appeared in church bulletins throughout the Chicago Archdiocese, “The law has made some gays and lesbians happy, and that is not a bad thing in itself. The law, however, is [a] bad law because it will contribute over the long run to the further dissolution of marriage and family life, which are the bedrock of any society… We have lived with bad laws before, and we will do our best to adjust to this one for the sake of social harmony.”

Cardinal George plans on staying on the job for another to three years.  As for me, with his close-minded views over the years, sooner would be better than later.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Turkey Facebook Turkey Moooo turkey_thanksgiving

HAPPY THOUGHT FOR THANKSGIVING

Here’s a fun little video for your Thanksgiving weekend from 1993’s “Addams Family Values”.

CHRISTMAS ROAD TRIP

Since I had a few days of vacation left this year, I mentioned to Ray that I’d like to drive back home and eat my favorite restaurant, Patti 1880’s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, and then visit the Reba McEntire exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.  This would be a simple three-day trip and we could visit my hometown (Mayfield, Kentucky) and where I went to college (Murray State).

Opryland Hotel

As we started looking for hotels, we came across a package deal with the famous Opryland Hotel.

It included tickets to see the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular starring The Rockettes”, the Opry at the Ryman, a Cumberland River luncheon cruise aboard the General Jackson showboat, a night at the Opry at the Ryman (featuring Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, and more) and “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas Dinner and Show”, and several other events.

So, late next week, I’ll be Christmasing in Nashville for a few nights.

FIFTY SHADES OF “HEYYYYY”

I haven’t read E.L. James’ erotic novel series, “Fifty Shades of Grey”, and I have no interest in seeing the movie in theaters Valentine’s Day weekend 2015.

However, because of former Calvin Klein model and actor Jamie Dornan, I’ll definitely rent it from Redbox.

In case you don’t know Dornan.  He’s a 31-year-old, married, soon-to-be dad.  He’s starred in six movies and two television series, including the crime thriller, “The Fall”, with Gillian Anderson.

Calvin Klein Jeans Fall 2009 Ad Campaign

BACKSTREET’S BACK & SHIRTLESS

I will not lie.  I was mildly intrigued two summers ago when the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block teamed up for the album, “NKOTBSB”, which included five hits from each group, two new songs and a mash-up.  That was about it.

BSB

While I loved the Backstreet Boys back in the late-1990s and early-2000s (Kevin and Nick were my favorites), I didn’t care this past summer when they released their new album, “In A World Like This”.

However, I decided to give their new video and song, “Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of)”, a look and a listen since the headlines read “Backstreet Boys Go Shirtless …” and “Backstreet Boys show skin…”.  The gimmick worked and the song is pretty good!

Since the headlines that roped me in were shallow, I’ll say that A.J. needs to seriously maintain that out of control nasty-looking beard, Brian and Nick still look incredible, Kevin is showing his age (he’s the oldest at 42), and Howie is hotter now than he was in the band’s heyday!

DOWN TO EARTH FUTURE KING

I never paid that much attention to 65-year-old Prince Charles, except I did take notice when he and Princess Diana married and divorced.  Back in the 1980s, I crushed on his younger brother, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, who is about four years older than me.

andrew-navy-pilot

Recently, I read an interesting article about Prince Charles that stated that while he’s very wealthy (his total annual income is about $32 million U.S. in the last U.K. financial year), he’s very frugal.

“Time” (November 4, 2013) states that he keeps his “residences frigidly underheated, saves his bathwater for the garden and wears garments so mended, they are more patch than original.”

Prince Charles

While he may be rich and tight with his money, his charities, “The Prince’s Trust”, raises, directly and indirectly, about 161 million U.S. dollars annually!

“CLOUDBURST”

82-year-old Academy Award winner Olympia Dukakis (“Moonstruck”) will always be Clairee Belcher (“Steel Magnolias”) and Anna Madrigal (“Tales of the City”) to me.  However, after seeing “Cloudburst”, alongside Oscar winner Brenda Fricker (“My Left Foot”), I have to add her character, Stella, to my list of favorite Olympia roles.

Cloudburst

Stella is a tough, tequila-swilling lesbian that talks like a sailor and she’s faced with taking care of her blind partner of 31 years, Dotty.

When Dotty’s clueless niece commits her aunt to a retirement home, it’s up to Stella to get Dotty out of the home and out of the situation.  She comes up with a plan to drive Dotty to Canada and get married so she can make the decisions.

Ryan Doucette

Along the way, they comes across Prentice, a very sexy hitchhiker trying to get back to Canada to see his dying mother.  While it seems very “Thelma & Louise”-ish with two ladies on the run with a young stud accompanying them, it’s a very touching and original story.

By the way, to prove the movie isn’t totally ripping off the aforementioned Ridley Scott-directed movie, Ryan has a beautiful hairy chest and Brad Pitt didn’t. 🙂

While the movie does have many heart-tugging scenes, there’s plenty of humor, too.  And, it’s a hoot hearing to the vulgarity coming out of Olympia’s mouth!

GRADE:  B+

FLASHBACK TO THE ’90s, PART 1

“Peeps’ ’80s Friday Flashback” is taking a break this week and will return next week.  This week, I’m showcasing two, not just one, videos from the 1990s since I featured songs earlier from the Backstreet Boys and Lorrie Morgan.

Lorrie Morgan

Since she scored her first country hit in 1988 with “Trainwreck of Emotion”, which reached #20, Lorrie Morgan has amassed 25 hits on the Billboard country charts.  Of those, 14 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts:  “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

I have several favorites from Lorrie:  the three number one hits, along with “A Picture of Me (Without You)” (#9, 1991), “Except for Monday” (#4, 1992), “I Guess You Had To Be There (#14, 1993), “Go Away (#3, 1997), and “Do You Still Want To Buy Me That Drink (Frank) (#50, 2003).

FLASHBACK TO THE ’90s, PART 1

The Backstreet Boys have been nominated for eight Grammy Awards, sold 37 million-plus albums in the U.S., and more than 130 million albums world-wide.

“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” hit #1 in Switzerland and Austria and #2 in the U.K in 1996.  A year later, it was released in the U.S. and peaked at #2, selling two million copies.

The Backstreet Boys would go on to chart 12 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with six of them reaching the Top Ten.  “Quit Playing Games” would be the biggest.

FINAL FORECAST

While I worked Thanksgiving morning and this morning, here’s a weather forecast that is suitable for all weekend as we devour the leftovers.

Thanksgiving Forecast

Let me know if you agree or disagree with some of random thoughts this week or just want to share one of your random thoughts.

Until next week, have a great weekend.

Anthony