Posts Tagged ‘Hannibal’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 12, 2020

It was so nice sharing some of my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week. It was even better that it was read and well received. For those of you that took the time to check it out, thank you!

As I always say, if you disagree with me, that’s fine. Do it diplomatically!

With that being said, my first thought today may not sit well with some. Don’t take it out of context, so read it all before you comment! 🙂 And, don’t take it personally!

Have a fantastic weekend!

STIMULUS CHECKS & UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

While I’m expressing my displeasure of how misaligned the pandemic unemployment compensation program is, I’ll cut it short in light of what’s going on now in America.

There have been a couple of times in my life that I collected unemployment and let me tell you, the checks are NOT enough!

Since unemployment benefits are only a fraction of what you’d make by working, people living on unemployment alone find it hard to make ends meet.

But, now, with the pandemic unemployment compensation program, it’s become a joke and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t tick me off!

With an additional $600 a week on top of the unemployment checks, there are people not working that are making more money than essential workers working through this pandemic!

I know people that are benefiting from this financial windfall, so please use the money wisely!

I’ve worked through this entire pandemic and it’s a little upsetting that I’m clearing less on payday than some of those out of work!

People should NOT be making more money by staying at home than they would be making if this had never happened and they were working!

If this ever happens again, the pandemic unemployment compensation program needs to regulated better! On the positive side, I’m happy taxpaying Americans got a stimulus check!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox!

“HANNIBAL” IS NOW ON NETFLIX!

There are several topics that I’ve written about extensively over the past eight years: Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christmas, food, travel, and “Hannibal”.

What? Yes, I mean Hannibal Lecter and the NBC television series that ran for three season!

Well, after all this time, it’s now on Netflix! So, please, binge watch and see what you (and America) missed during its original run.

So, why should you watch it? Here’s what I’ve said about the show in the past:

April 3, 2013: “From the trailers, I feel that NBC is definitely pushing the envelope with the network’s standards and practices department with the gore and violence.  But, then again, this is a story about serial killers and a cannibal.  This isn’t Disney!”

April 5, 2013: (after seeing the premiere episode): ” it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.”

February 28, 2014: “If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.” 

I’m not alone! This is what “Entertainment Weekly” wrote about the season 2 premiere. (By the way, it gave the season two finale an “A-” also!)

May 16, 2014: NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.”

August 14, 2015: “This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television. Maybe it was too intelligent!”

“THE POLITICIAN”

I loved season one of Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” and I can’t wait to see season two, which premieres June 19, 2020, on Netflix.

Jessica Lange is mesmerizing as white trash conniver Dusty Jackson!

(Here’s the trailer to season one, so I don’t spoil anything for season two!)

And, I’ve said it before that in “another place and time”, I could see being married to star Ben Platt! 🙂

Here’s a Ben Platt extra — “The Rain” — check out that voice and those moves! 🙂

“HOLLYWOOD”

After watching season one of “The Politician”, I thoroughly enjoyed the seven episode series, “Hollywood” (also from Ryan Murphy).

It’s based on Scotty Bowers’ book, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” and the documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood”.

It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about “homophobia” and “racism” in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!)

Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.

She plays the wife of a studio head that ignores her at home — in every way — so she hires a young, hot escort!

Their small talk on their first tryst definitely gets “three snaps in a z-formation”! (Quickly scroll past the LuPone GIF if you’re easily offended!)

JACK (David Corenswet): “You want an honest answer?”
AVIS (LuPone):

Now, I’m finally watching all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

STILL WATCHING…

I had free HULU for a week this spring, so I watched 20 of the 36 episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Elizabeth Moss and Ann Dowd are amazing and even though he’s not a nice guy, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) is so hot!

And, Max Minghella (Nick) is so beautiful in the f***ed up dystopian world of “Handmaid’s”!

“CHROMATICA”

If you’re ready for some fun dance (and disco) music to brighten your days with all of the unrest across the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic, Lady Gaga’s new “Chromatica” fits the bill!

My favorite songs on the album are “Free Woman”, “Fun Tonight”, and “911” (makes me think of Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok”)!

My other favorites are “Alice”, “Sour Candy” (with the South Korean group Blackpink) and “1000 Doves” — in addition to the first two hits, “Stupid Love” (#5) and “Rain On Me” (#1) with Ariana Grande.

And, I hate to admit that the duet with Elton John doesn’t do much for me, which is shocking since I love both artists! (It was a good song until the last 15 seconds — epic fail to an otherwise decent song!)

Please tell me that when “Enigma” comes on that it sounds like she’s saying “I’ll be your enema” instead of “enigma” if you’re not really paying attention! Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

GRADE: B

However, if the album only consisted of the first ten songs, I’d give it an “A”. But. the last part of the CD brings the grade down!

LADY GAGA JOINS AN ELITE GROUP OF WOMEN

With “Chromatica” debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, it becomes her sixth chart topper!

This places her in a five-way tie for fourth place among women with Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift.

Janet Jackson is in third place with seven #1 albums, Madonna is second with nine, and the leader is Barbra Streisand with eleven!!!

Jay-Z leads men with 14 chart toppers and the Beatles lead all artists with 19 #1 albums.

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY “LOVERS”

One of my favorite Kylie Minogue songs turns 10 years old this week. It’s definitely one of the sexiest, button-pushing videos ever!

Due to its erotic nature, the video was banned or censored in many Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!

Kylie says, “I think, yes, it’s sexy but I also think it’s very touching and sensual and the message is love.”

While the song reached the Top 5 in many countries, it only hit #1 on one chart — the American Dance Club Songs chart! Go U.S.A. deviates! 🙂

The video has been viewed more than 24 million times! 🙂

ALSO READ…

Three books I’ve read this spring on my walks around Lake Decatur are 2004’s “Chasing The Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer” by David Reichert.

It covers the notorious serial killer that targeted young prostitutes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also, there was 2009’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — a parody novel/mash-up of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic, “Pride and Prejudice”.

My favorite line in the book was from an annoying character that I prayed would be devoured by zombies! No such luck! 😦

I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in – and I am sure my dinners are good enough for her, since she is an unmarried woman of seven-and-twenty, and as such should expect little more than a crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness.”

So catty! Meow!

And, I read “Julie & Julia” (2005) by Julie Powell, which is based on real life.

Many of you know of this book from the 2009 movie starring Oscar Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell.

“TALKING TO GIRLS ABOUT DURAN DURAN”

I also finished Rob Sheffield’s humorous look of growing up in the 1980s and how the music ( “best.music.ever” — my description of the 1980s) shaped his life.

DURAN DURAN

Since the book is more about the music and the decade rather than Duran Duran, here are a couple of pictures I took when I saw them on the “Paper Gods Tour” in Las Vegas in 2016.

Here’s a snippet of my 4th favorite Duran Duran song, “The Wild Boys”, live from that concert!

And, here are my three favorite Duran Duran songs!

“HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

“THE REFLEX”

“IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?

DURANNIES, YOUR FAVORITE?

Let’s hope this doesn’t start World War 3, but who was/is your favorite?

For me, it’s Roger Taylor!

He’s followed by Simon, John, and Nick. Sorry, Andy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 2, 2019

Three weeks now with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”.   There’s two more coming before another break!

I appreciate you taking the time to see what I have to say and for sharing your thoughts, too!

Have a great weekend!

2020 DEMOCRATIC RACE

After the first two round of debates for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020, I took the the liberty to eliminate those that I think don’t have a snowball’s chance in hell.

Demo

Less than two weeks after the first debate, on July 8, 2019, Rep. Eric Swalwell announced he’s dropping out of the 2020 race.

Honestly, I only think two or three of those not marked off even have a real chance against that man!

LET’S GET IT TOGETHER TO ELECT #46!

Liberals

AND, ONE LAST THING…

In her book, “Ferraro:  My Story”, she shared this story:  it was early 1983 and she was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.

Ferraro

She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to run against Ronald Reagan.

As we head into the race to get Trump out of office, remember what Ferraro wrote more than 30 years ago.

She perfectly summed it up with, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

ANOTHER POWERFUL “POSE” EPISODE

If you haven’t watched the fourth episode of this season of “Pose”, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”, skip down and start reading after the music video.

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It’s a very powerful episode highlighting the number of our trans sisters and brothers (mostly sisters and almost all people of color) that are murdered each year.

This year alone, at least 12 trans women have been killed.  Denali Berries Stuckey was murdered in Charleston, South Carolina two weekends ago.

Denali.jpg

To drive that point and the story line home, “Pose” killed off an incredible character, Candy Ferocity, played by the amazing Angelica Ross!

Here’s Candy in her “Blonde Ambition” best!

Candy as Madonna

And, what a beautiful sendoff and tribute!

“Never Knew Love Like This Before” by Stephanie Mills reached #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and won two Grammy Awards!

LIGHTENING THE MOOD!

The new Taylor Swift Capital One commercial is hilarious!

In it, “Taylor” fails miserably as a server and bartender!  I love the martini shaker segment!

DROPPING CABLE IN 2020!!!

Charter/Spectrum cable is horrible!  (I know many people think their cable providers are bad, too.  By the way, Mediacom, I didn’t care for you either!)

When I move again in 2020, I’ve already decided that I no longer want cable.  I won’t make cable conglomerates richer!

It seems fitting for me since four of the series I watch are sadly ending:  “Mr. Robot”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Madam Secretary” and “Homeland”!

“MR. ROBOT”

The final season, starring Oscar and Emmy winner Rami Malek, will arrive in later in 2019 and will feature 12 episodes to wrap up the series.

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And, from this advance image, it looks to be a killer, holiday season!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

As I expected when the show was renewed this summer, the sixth season of the ABC hit, “How To Get Away With Murder” with Oscar and Emmy award winning actress Viola Davis will be the last one!

Annalise.gif

Show runner Pete Nowalk says, “For me, Annalise Keating’s journey has always had a clear ending. Knowing I have 15 episodes left to finish her story, and the chance to give all the characters their own killer endings, is a gift rarely given to a series creator and I’m grateful to ABC and ABC Studios for the opportunity and creative freedom.”

He adds, “I also want to thank our fans. The only reason this show exists is because of your loyalty and enthusiasm. I can’t wait for you all to see how it ends, with twists and turns and all the craziness we love to create every Thursday night. Buckle up.”

When the fifth season ended, a major character disappeared and the season featured a hot newcomer that I’m hoping will return this season.

In March, I blogged about the show and Gerardo Celasco, who plays Xavier Castillo, and he was kind enough to tweet me back! 🙂

gerardo

Xavier

The final season premieres September 26, 2019.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Not only will the sixth season of “Madam Secretary” be its last, but it will be a shortened season — ten episodes.

madam_secretary

Spoiler alert:  At the end of season five, Elizabeth announced she’s leaving her position as Secretary of State to run for president.  Will she win?

The final season premieres on CBS on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

“HOMELAND” 

The Emmy winning Showtime series winds up later this year with its eighth season.

The series starting shooting in Morocco early this year, but it was delayed from a summer debut “because of production demands of our international locations”.

I can’t wait to see this season, which takes place in “Afghanistan”, after the heartbreaking ending with Carrie Mathison (Claire Danes).

I’ll take this time to share again what I wrote in April 2019: “And, in a casting note that I love, Hugh Dancy (NBC’s “Hannibal”), who’s also Danes’ real-life husband will have a multi-series arc!” and While I’m thrilled that Dancy will be joining the cast, I hope they bring back James D’Arcy and make him Carrie’s love interest.  He’s already mine!!! 🙂

68th Primetime Emmy Awards, Arrivals, Los Angeles, USA - 18 Sep 2016

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

READING WHILE WALKING

I’ve read several books recently while trying to walk off some of the gained winter weight.

This includes “Skywriting” by Jane Pauley about being bipolar, Tom Brokaw’s “The Greatest Generation” and “The Greatest Generation Speaks”, two books about World War II, the veterans and the people who kept America running back home while our service men and women were at war.

And, I read Jane Fonda’s “My Life So Far”.

In December 2018, I wrote this about Fonda after seeing “Jane Fonda In Five Acts”.

“Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”)

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.”

GRADE: A-

Also, I read “We Need To Talk About Kevin” by Lionel Shriver.

Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller starred in the movie, which was my third favorite movie in 2012.

Kevin

As I wrote in June 2012, “I did cry from a performance recently from a movie released last year and then I shook my head that the actress was snubbed from an Academy Award nomination.”

I’m talking about Tilda Swinton and her gut-wrenching, Golden Globe, Screen Actor’s Guild, and BAFTA award (the British equivalent to the American Oscar) nominated performance in “We Need to Talk About Kevin”.  Swinton plays Eva Katchadourian, a successful travel writer, wife, and mother of two children.  The movie focuses on her difficult relationship with her older child, her son, Kevin.

There is a scene of Eva sitting in her house eating dinner after an altercation at the grocery store that just broke my heart and Swinton is just incredible.

Another standout in the movie was Ezra Miller, who played Kevin as a 16-year-old.”

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2019

It’s been some time since I last shared some random thoughts.

Thoughts

There have many things I would have written about if I was still doing “Random Friday Thoughts” on a weekly basis, so here are just a few.

It’s also a reason to share a personal potentially embarrassing story! 🙂

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

THE MANSON MURDERS 

We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Charles Manson “family” murders on August 9-10, 1969.

As you may recall, a group of psychos led by the notorious Manson terrorized Los Angeles by slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Hollywood home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

Manson.jpg

The next night, the “family” randomly killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

A crazy new book by Tom O’Neill called “Chaos” claims much of what we know about the case is wrong and that prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lied in his book “Helter Skelter”.

I read that book and I’m interested to read O’Neill’s far-fetched (?) book and theories.

The thing that intrigues me the most is who O’Neill says knows more about the murders, but isn’t talking — actress Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame (pictured below)!

Candice Bergen

Bergen and record producer Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) actually lived in the house where the murders took place as late as early 1969!!!

O’Neill tells “Entertainment Weekly” that Bergen “knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said.”   

Creepy tidbit:  Before the Manson murders, the home was rented to these Hollywood actors: Lillian Gish, Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, and Olivia Hussey.

Murder House.JPG

And, the house’s owner, Rudolph Altobelli, moved back in just three weeks after the Manson bloodshed!!!  He lived there for the next 20 years before selling it in 1989 for the equivalent of $3.2 million today!

“OZARK” EMMY LOVE

After watching the second season of Netflix’s “Ozark”, in October 2018, I wrote, “I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.”

Netflix TCA 2018

Well, I was right!

“Ozark” picked up two more nominations this summer — one for “Outstanding Drama Series” and another for Jason Bateman.

“ARCTIC”

If you’d like something to distract you from the summer heat and humidity, definitely check out the thriller “Arctic”!

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since NBC’s “Hannibal”.

After seeing the survival story, I definitely hope there’s an Oscar “For Your Consideration” campaign for Mikkelsen for “Best Actor”.

“Arctic” is stunning, breathtaking, and heartbreaking — unlike Robert Redford’s alone on a boat and lost at sea 2013 movie “All Is Lost” (which was one of my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014)!

GRADE:  A

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

I love Armie Hammer and Dev Patel and when I watch movies, I tend to lean toward dramas and thrillers.

This one is based on a real-life terrorist attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

While very realistic, it wasn’t overly gory.  It’s a great movie that was never given a chance for box office success.

GRADE:  B+

“GRAND HOTEL”

I started watching this ABC soap opera with low expectation, but I’m still watching it!

Yes, it’s cheesy and some of the characters are silly caricatures of spoiled rich people.

But, the cast is beautiful — especially Australian actor Lincoln Younes, Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez!

GH.JPG

And, then there’s Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, the hotel manager!

Shalim Ortiz

Eva Longoria Baston (“Desperate Housewives”) is an executive producer on the series and guest stars as the late former hotel co-owner.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

I read Liane Moriarty’s book in early 2017 and absolutely loved the HBO mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgaard and Adam Scott.

After the eight Emmy Award wins (out of sixteen), I was thrilled when it was announced that there’d be a second season even though the first covered everything in the book!

I love Kidman and the thought of spending more time with the “Monterey Five” was fantastic.  Meryl Streep joining the cast as Kidman’s imposing, untrusting mother-in-law with a sharp tongue was just icing on the cake!

What I’ve seen of the second season is great, but not fantastic!.  However, Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep make it very worthwhile.

And, I’m loving Laura Dern’s angry Renata Klein this season.  Here’s an example why! 🙂

And, here is my favorite scene, so far, by far.

Two Oscar winners going at it and then the line, “What do we call that?  Foreplay?” followed by a sinister laugh off-camera are just too much! 🙂

Please give Streep her Emmy now and Kidman and Dern their second ones for this series!

“CLAWS”

I’m still loving this TNT series lead by Niesy Nash!

However, halfway through the third season, it’s definitely different than the first two seasons.

Sometimes, it feels a little lost.  However, I know the payoff will be great!

I mean really, it’s focused around a casino! 🙂

“WORLD WAR Z” SEQUEL CANCELLED

I really loved 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt and I’m bummed that the long-planned sequel has been nixed!

The reason?  A source tells “The Hollywood Reporter” that the Chinese government’s ban on movies with zombies or ghosts is the single biggest reason that Paramount cancelled the sequel!

The expensive $190 million movie was a box office smash bringing in more than $540 million worldwide.  This made it the highest-grossing zombie film of all time!

It was my second favorite movie of 2013.

OMG!

I think this is too funny not to share.  I’m downsizing my apartment before my next move — including my CDs and movies.

I’m watching movies over again that I may have watched once over the years.  Some I enjoyed, but they weren’t my favorites.  Others, I vaguely remember.

The other night after work, I was watching one of those movies while eating a salad and drinking my wine.  A sex scene comes on and I didn’t think anything about it.

I’m VERY open-minded and liberal! 🙂

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

All of sudden, the scene gets more and more graphic!  It went from soft core adult to pornographic.  I thought, “Wow, they can show that!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember that scene!”

Sitting in the dark with only the flicker of the large screen television, I looked over my shoulder and realized my neighbor directly across the way was out on his balcony!!! (Our balconies are only separated by two small patches of grass and a sidewalk.)

I quickly grab the remote to hit “stop” for the very graphic (but erotic) image to go away.  I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

So, not only did it not go away, but it was frozen for all the world (well, my neighbor) to see!

I didn’t go back to finish that movie for a few nights and when I did, it still wasn’t that good.  No wonder I didn’t remember it!

As for the neighbor, I now realize he had his back toward my apartment and was leaning on his ledge watching his own television! 🙂

So, that’s my funny, almost embarrassing story.

Don’t get me wrong!  I have nothing against adult scenes or material. I’d just discrete about it! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

MM.gif

And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

When I was last in Las Vegas this past December, not only did I get to see Paula Abdul’s great “Forever Your Girl” residency, I got a hug from her as she passed through the crowd during that song! 🙂

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

Martha Layne Collins.jpg

LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

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LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

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GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

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PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

 
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Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — April 5, 2019

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

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

KUDOS CHICAGO!

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

Lori Lightfoot

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

Best wishes Lori!!!!!!

CHICAGO’S OTHER WOMAN MAYOR

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

Jane Byrne.JPG

“A MIGHTY HEART”

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

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

A Mighty Heart

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

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

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

Daniel Pearl

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

SYMPATHY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN — COUGH!

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

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

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

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

Trump Putin

JOURNALISTS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA & HATRED

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

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

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

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

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

“HOMELAND”

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

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

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

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

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

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

FUNNIEST “HOMELAND” LINE

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

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

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

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

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

“HANNIBAL”

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

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

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

bedelia

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

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

Reba Truth

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

“THE FAVOURITE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B+

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“BRITNEY:  INSIDE THE DREAM”

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

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

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

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

MY THREE FAVORITE BRITNEY SONGS

#3 CD

2

#1

BONUS BRITNEY

Bonus

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 18 , 2017

We’re already past the middle of August and most kids are back in school or getting close.  Fall will be here before you know!  Yeah!

Fall

It’s been another contentious couple of week, so if you feel you want to disagree with me, do it diplomatically or don’t say anything at all. 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

WHEN I FIND MYSELF IN TIMES OF TROUBLE…

Sadness

“LET IT BE”

PANAMA CITY LOVE

While I have no friends outside of work here in Panama City after three months, that doesn’t mean I’m unknown.  It’s really nice to finally work at a #1 station!

Last week, I had several people stop me and ask me, “are the weather guy at Channel 13?”

The nicest was at the grocery store last weekend when a man stopped me.  I was wearing a tank top and shorts and he asked me the question.  I always reply, “yes, I’m just dressed down”.

He, like “Barbara” a few weeks ago, told me that it looked good on me.  Some people are so nice.

He proceeded to tell me that I do a great job and they enjoy watching me.  Then, he said, your mannerisms remind me of Tyler Henry, the medium that with the hit E! show, “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry”.

I said, “I’ve heard of it, but I’m not familiar with him”.  He then said, you could be his dad.

Okay, that translates into “You’re supergay”. 🙂  Tyler and I can handle it. 🙂

MY LOVE FOR NICOLE KIDMAN

I recently watched “Grace of Monaco” with Nicole Kidman.

The movie bombed and was panned by critics.  While entertaining and fulfilling, it won’t make my list of 20 favorites movies I’ve watched in 2017.

However, as is always the case with Nicole Kidman, I was mesmerized.

I believe that she, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and Gillian Anderson are the most talented actresses of our time.  You also can’t forget Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Melissa Leo, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Near the end of the movie, Kidman’s Grace gave a speech at a Red Cross benefit in front of a packed house.

The speech was heavily directed to French President Charles de Gaulle (which in reality was not at the event).

It doesn’t matter whether it was Hollywood or not, what Kidman’s Grace said was superb and I wish it could be the basis of today’s world.

If only, just like “Let It Be” and “Give Peace A Chance”!

TELEVISION FUNNY OF THE WEEK

“Look, I think college is a scam anyways.  Bobby, you might as well just join the Church of Scientology.  At least they give you industry connections and a wife to cover up your homosexuality!” — Nekeisha (Tiffany Haddish) on “The Carmichael Show.

I’M READY FOR PIZZA!

It’s been four months since I’ve had pizza.  Yes, they have pizza in Panama City, but I’m ready to go to my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities again, Wise Guys.  Of course, their dessert pizzas are my favorite and that’s what I mostly eat.

But, I’m wondering if they can make me some of these exotic pizzas that I’ve come across online?

PIZZA

Almond Citrus Seafood”  (Vietnam) The Almond Citrus Seafood pizza is a staple on Domino’s Vietnamese menu and includes shrimps, scallops, orange sauce, almonds, red pepper, mozzarella, cheddar and coriander.

Bavarian (Russia)  topped with marinated cucumbers, salami and mozzarella cheese.

Ayam Bakar (Indonesia) a creamy base of rendang sauce – a spicy coconut cream with lemongrass and garlic. It’s topped with ayam baker (charcoal-grilled chicken), onion, parsley and mozzarella.

Creamy Chicken Carbonara (New Zealand) — New Zealand’s super-creamy feast is topped with all the ingredients of a classic carbonara: chicken, bacon, red onion, mushroom and garlic crème fraiche along with spring onion and Parmesan.

Adalim (North Cyprus) — You may be used to finding dried basil sprinkled on your pizza but how about dried mint? The herb is added along with mozzarella, halloumi, black olive and tomato to this Cyprian veggie classic.

KESHA’S RAINBOW AFTER STORMY YEARS

Kesha’s last studio album, 2013’s “Warrior” was my favorite album of the year.

Last Friday, she released the follow-up, “Rainbow”, after several turbulent years of fighting an eating disorder and legal battles with her manager and producer, Dr. Luke, who was keeping her from releasing new music, and will be in court facing allegations of sexual abuse and other charges.

You can tell that Kesha has been through a lot recently and she’s putting that pain and the strength she’s found in the music.

The first line on the album is “I’ve got too many people/I got left to prove wrong/All those mother f**ckers/Been too mean for too long” on “Bastards” that kicks off the stellar album.

The first single, “Praying”, is already one of the most played songs at Top 40 radio.

The album is a fusion of pop, rock, punk, country, and some dance.

Her duet with country icon Dolly Parton,”Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You”)” is incredible.

Other standout tracks include are “Learn To Let Go”, “Hunt You Down”, “Hymn”, “Let Em Talk”, and the aforementioned “Bastards”, “Praying”, and “Old Flames”.

GRADE: A-

PRINCESS DIANA’S DEATH ANNIVERSARY

August 31st will make the 20-year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

diana

I was working as the weekend anchor at KLBK-13 in Lubbock, Texas.  We ran a CBS news story at the top of our show that Saturday night telling viewers that she had been in a car crash in a Paris tunnel.

After we signed off at 10:35 p.m. central time, it came across the wires that Princess Diana died.

CBS was asleep and had no one breaking in with the news.  Ny Lynn Nichols, my co-anchor, and I broke into programming with the news.

It’s pretty crazy that two local news anchors in market #147 (small market) were breaking the news to the Southern Plains watching CBS that night that Princess Diana was dead.

By the way, CBS finally got someone on the air well after the fact.

“EASTSIDERS” ON NETFLIX

I recently discovered the LGBT series “Eastsiders” on Netflix.  It’s witty, funny, and perfectly covers the ups-and-downs of relationships.

It’s created, written and directed by the star of the series Kit Williamson.

Most of the episodes are short (10-15 minutes) and season one covers Cal and Thom’s turbulent relationship and also that of Cal’s friend Kathy and her gorgeous boyfriend, Ian.

Season two is much stronger and very realistic and Cal and Thom (Van Hansis) are much sexier!

The series also stars the adorable Matthew McKelligon (from the off-kilter and funny movie “You’re Killing Me”).

In May, Williamson tweeted that season three has already been shot and there’s a Kickstarter campaign to fund getting it on the air.

Check it out!

FREDDIE MERCURY LIVES!

Emmy Award winner Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) will star as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in 2018’s motion picture, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Rami

In late 2010, it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) would play Mercury, but he dropped out three years later.

As 2013 drew to a close, my fantasy husband, Ben Whishaw was chosen to play the gay front man.

Ben_Whishaw

But, he had to withdraw because of production on the next James Bond movie.

There has been some controversy that the movie may try to shift attention away from the fact that Mercury died from AIDS.

HIV AIDS

While Mercury’s illness was rumored, he didn’t publicly admit that he had AIDS until the day before he died on November 24, 1991, at the age of 45.

Bryan Singer (“The X-Men” series) will direct with production getting underway this fall. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is set to hit theaters on Christmas Day 2018.

FAVORITE QUEEN SONG?

What is your favorite Queen song?  For me, it’s definitely not “”Bohemian Rhapsody”!!!!!!!

My three favorite Queen songs are:

3.  “Under Pressure” (with David Bowie) (#29, 1981-1982)

2.   “Another One Bites the Dust) (3 weeks at #1, 1980)

Another number 1

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (4 weeks at #1, 1980)

“HANNIBAL” RETURN?

The three-season series wrapped up on NBC in August 2015.

But, creator Bryan Fuller (now working on “American Gods”) says while it may take time, talks have started about bringing the artistic thriller back!

Fuller says, “I have conversations with (“Hannibal” executive producer) Martha De Laurentiis.”. He adds, “I have conversations with Mads and Hugh. We’re are all excited about the prospect of returning to the story. There’s some hurdles to get through… [But] I just had a great idea for season 4. There’s an interesting next chapter in the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter that would be fascinating to unpack. I’ve shared it with the gentlemen and they’re both keen on it.”

I’m all there as long as Gillian Anderson returns as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

bedelia

REAL LIFE

(*For the record, the next two segments were already written before the Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy*)

Headlines

LIFE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

Trust me, it’s better!

As you can tell, nine months later I’m still not at peace from last November’s election!

“FROZEN” WASN’T ONE OF MY FAVORITES, BUT…

I know I’m in the minority, but “Frozen” was just okay.  It didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t dislike it either.

However, I’m excited about Walt Disney Pictures’ “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”.

It’s an 11-minute animated short that’ll be shown at the beginning of the new Pixar’s feature, “Coco”, which his theaters November 22, 2017.

CHRISTMAS IS GETTING CLOSER

I know with the hot and humid summer we’re enduring,  winter and Christmas are probably the last things on your mind.  But, the entertainment industry is gearing up.

It’s only four months away now and Reba McEntire, Sia, Hanson, Lindsey Stirling, Cheap Trick, and Martina McBride reportedly have new Christmas albums coming out this fall.

McBride says, “I hired Patrick Williams to arrange it, who is legendary and has arranged for so many people, and he has that classic big band approach. When I made 1998’s “White Christmas”, I wanted to make a classic sounding record. I can’t do that same record again, of course, but this one is going to have several up-tempo things on it. It won’t have as many hymns on it. It will be more things like ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’ and ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.'”

Here’s a flashback to 1998’s “White Christmas”.

REBA’S “MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS”

On my birthday, October 13th, Reba will be releasing her third holiday album, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

This album was released last year through a chain that has a history of homophobic and racist practices and it was the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

But, I can finally buy it now!

Reba has recorded three new songs for the album that’ll feature Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

On this re-release, no portion of the money is going to (“previously”?) unnamed  homophobic and racist chain.

CB

TAKING A BREAK

I’m sure you know how much I love writing and sharing my thoughts, whether we agree or not.

At times, I’ve been accused of being intolerant.  But, in the world we live in, I guess I shouldn’t take it personally (AND I DON’T). 🙂

I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  When there’s something I want to talk about, I’ll blog about it.  Since most of my blog views come from my Facebook posts, you’ll see when I have something new to share.  I’m sure my Friday thoughts will return one day.

FOR NOW…

Before I close, I want to share an upbeat, fun song that I played all the time when I was club dee-jay at Club DV8 (deviate, get it) in Paducah, Kentucky, back in 1986-1987. (I was horrible at mixing beats, but my drunken queens didn’t care too much!)

This was one of my favorite songs.

Click on it and for those of you that remember it, I hope it made you smile and you thought of being 30 years younger.

For my friends that didn’t hit the clubs in the ’80s, enjoy it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 16, 2017

It’s the last weekend of the spring of 2017, but with the heat and humidity we’re already experiencing, it feels like summer.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

DIVIDED EVEN AFTER A TRAGEDY

“Liberal intolerant people!”

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

In the wake of the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and several others earlier this week at a Washington D.C.-area baseball field, that’s what someone said to me about the reasoning behind it.

While it’s still being investigated, it appears that the shooter may have targeted the group because they were Republicans.

Who knows if that was the only or real reason?  It’s too early to write anything off.

As I said many times and it’s worth repeating again now, there are good and bad Democrats and there are good and bad Republicans.

ss

You can love or loathe Donald Trump and you can love or loathe Hillary Clinton, but you can’t go around threatening violence or being violent.

The words liberal and conservative are used as dirty words.

I’m not perfect. I’ve been guilty at jumping at conclusions that those people are close-minded.  Well, I was right and I was wrong.  Some are and some are not!

I’m always trying to educate myself .  The bottom line is that being “liberal” or “conservative” really just means we have many differences and that we need to work on them for a common good.

Those are truly only bad words when you add ignorance to the mix!

WILD KINGDOM!

Since moving to Panama City, Florida, more than a month-and-a half ago, I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wildlife around my apartment complex.  No, I still haven’t seen an alligator or a snake and I’d like to leave it that way.

I’ve seen a few fish and many turtles and ducks.

But, as I blogged before, my fascination with the ducks is turning more to tragedy.  At first, it was like “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” — the ducks being killed by inattentive drivers or turtles.

Now, it’s more like the duck version of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel, “And Then There Were None”.

And then there were none

Take this little duck family.  I’ve seen then waddling along and swimming the pond together. This was taken one morning.

On a walk that evening, I saw Mom and two ducklings.  The next morning, it was Mom and just one duckling and then later that day, Mom was alone!

Now, hypothetically, they could have been at “ducky day care”, visiting “duck relatives”, or the three could have been adopted by one of the other “duck families”!

But, the reality is that they were probably grabbed by a turtle and that’s all she wrote. 😦

BREAKING NEWS…. I wrote that part early Wednesday.  However, later that afternoon, I think I saw the same duck above with FOUR ducklings.  So, maybe they were visiting their “cousins”!

I think I need to make human friends!

Carp Tail

And, then there’s the case of this carp that mysteriously just appeared one day.  For days, it swam at the top of the pond looking like a small shark with just the top fin showing.

As I watched it slowly swim, I noticed a turtle following close behind.  I thought, ” you’d better swim a little faster”, but then I got a good look at its tail.

It looks like a turtle (or turtles) already had a few bites!

After witnessing it floating upside down a few times and then flipping over and swimming away, I haven’t seen it now for four days.

Wildlife, I’m over you!  I think I’ll just look at plants!

PRIDE IN THE PANHANDLE

While June is national LGBT Pride Month, Pride celebrations are held on different weekends throughout the month across the country and the world.

Last weekend, I was cordially invited to a gathering by the founder of the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, Cathy Rifenburg.

AP G C

She started the chapter here more than a decade ago because her two sons (one gay and one straight) did not have the same rights in the Panhandle and in the United States.

The meet & greet cocktail party was to introduce Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan.

AP Gina

Gina spoke to us about how she’s protected in Orlando, where she lives, for being transgender, but how she could be fired from her job for being transgender here in Panama City and Bay County.

Also, how, in many Florida counties, an LGBT couple could get married on the weekend because of “marriage equality” is legal in the U.S., yet they could still be fired on Monday for placing a picture of their spouse on their desk!

So much progress in this country, yet we still have a long road to travel.

PrideFlag

I also met with organizers of Pride of the Panhandle, too.

It was a great time and a wonderful chance to meet some members of the Panama City LGBT community, but a real opportunity to introduce myself  to the community’s “straight but not narrow” friends.

Cathy and Jerry, thank you for the invitation.

PERFECT SCENE FOR PRIDE MONTH

I’ll talk about “House of Cards” in a bit, but this Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) scene is stunning and appropriate for Pride month.

It makes up for some of the devious things that Claire has done. 🙂

“BREAKING BAD”

After watching the first two seasons of what many call “one of the greatest series ever”, “Breaking Bad”, last summer, I recently binge-watched the last three seasons of the series.

The series finale was phenomenal and 35 minutes into it, I was crying!!!!!

Warning:  contains spoilers!

I also loved the “Hannibal” (NBC) finale.

Dexter The Final Season

While I loved “Dexter” and “The X-Files”, the finales didn’t blow me away — even though there were explosions in both finales. 🙂

Slight detour there, but I loved seasons one, two, three, and five of “Breaking Bad”.  I didn’t really care for season four, except for the nursing home scene toward the end of the season.

While I done with Walter White and company, I don’t see myself dialing up “Better Call Saul”.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

I just wrapped up season five of the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards” with the incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) and Kevin Spacey (Francis Underwood).

Wright’s icy portrayal is spellbinding to watch.  I could watch her as Claire Underwood all day.

I was blown away by Donald’s (the vice president) comment to Claire regarding her initials and the two that were missing! 🙂

And, what about these four choice lines!

Television commentator:  “in the end as we all know… it comes down to the Electoral College.

Campaign manager: “you lost, but more than half the country sees you as their president.

And, this one from “House of Cards” Secretary of State Catherine Durant:  “I’ve been at this for 30 years, so I think I can survive… I’m not alarmed.

FBI agent: “it’s unthinkable to assume the FBI would involve itself in an election.”

Where does Hollywood come up with this sh**?  Oops, stuff!    🙂

debate

Unreal!!!!!!!!

Oh, sadly, it isn’t!

PRIDE MUSICAL MEMORY

Since it’s Pride month, I’ll share a couple of songs that still take me back to the days when I first started clubbing.

“Fascinated” by Company B is still one of my all-time favorite dance club songs.  While the band had four Billboard Dance hits, this is the only one that hit #1 and, in 1987, it actually crossed over to Top 40 radio and reached #21 on the Hot 100.

Another one of my all-time favorites filled the dance floors every time it played.

Just listening to the words of the song today, Miquel Brown’s “So Many Men, So Little Time” personifies the 1980s mood of excessive living and the “me” mindset — just as AIDS was becoming rampant in the gay community.

The song reached #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1983.

Of course, with the option of choosing a shorter live performance or the very sensual and scandalous extended version, you know which one I chose!

Proceed with caution!! 🙂

MOVING SECRETS

After being on the road for 19 hours, I stopped over in Dothan, Alabama, for a few hours of sleep in a dump of a hotel.  While I locked up the U-Haul, I left my car door unlocked.  It was packed front and back with everything from wall art and plants, and yes, my computer!

Thank you party people at the hotel for leaving all my stuff for me!

Also, at two different gas fill-ups, I left the lid off the U-Haul gas tank.  Luckily, it had such deep tanks that there was no spillage.

Woops!

That expression was just an excuse to use this hilarious scene from the incredible “Torch Song Trilogy” and end the blog on a happy note.

Have a great weekend!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

“At first I was afraid, I was petrified”… but, “I will survive”.  Those Gloria Gaynor lyrics are blasting through my head this morning.  So, I’ll share the video with you — just because!

Election night, around 6:15 p.m. central time, I realized hours before all the polls closed that the unthinkable was going to happen.  I hoped for a miracle that never came.

As the night wore on, I was at a loss for words.

Sitting at my work desk early on the morning of November 9th, mere hours after securing enough red states to pass the 270 mark in the electoral vote, I knew he would become the president-elect. When my closest colleague and I talked about the shock, the tears started streaming down.

DT Masks

It was scary then and it’s even scarier now as it becomes official Friday — President of the United States!

As I stated in my New Year’s Day blog, “Since I live in the real world, I know some of you voted for someone other than Hillary and you got your wish!  I hope I never hear you express regret over that decision.  You won’t find a bit of sympathy coming from me.”

I added, “With that being said, I sincerely hope for the best for America (and the world). As someone put it after the stunning election — “wishing for the new president to fail is like boarding a plane and hoping it crashes.”

WWZ Airplane Scene

We’ve boarded that flight now and after I state a couple of things, I’m moving on, accepting the facts, and planning on not writing about him for quite some time!

The world will be a better place after this four-year reign of terror ends.

Trump

When the new Democratic president takes office in January 2021, this face and Kellyanne Conway’s face will serve as a reminder that we’re really going to “Make America Great Again”!

Once he’s sworn in, it’d be too easy to name call the 45th president of the United States.

While I find him ignorant and repulsive, I know he’s not the most evil person in American politics (Jesse Helms, George Wallace, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Jeff Sessions, and a few others come to mind).

It’s going to be a long four years.

ss

But, it’ll be four years that’ll be used wisely to ensure America and the world that he’ll be a one-term president.

Additionally, that means his vice-president will have to wait, too.  That is unless he becomes #46 after #45 realizes this is “real life” with real consequences and not some television reality show.

The most amusing thing over the next four years will be the schizophrenic tweets and lies on Twitter.

HeatherMooney

My determination and that of more than 65.8 million others between now and November 2020 can be summed up in this quote I recently came across and it’s perfect.

“If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

bedelia

Bon Appetit!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 14, 2015

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

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

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

FORMER PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER HAS CANCER

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

Jimmy Carter

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

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

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

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

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

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

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

REPUBLICAN RACE SHOWDOWN

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

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

Rosie O'Donnell

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

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

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

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

santorum

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

THEY SAID WHAT???

REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNER FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

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

MORE TRUMP

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

Kelly Trump

FOX COMMENTATOR MEGYN KELLY

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

POP ICON & ACTRESS CHER

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

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

MARVIN GAYE’S SUE HAPPY FAMILY

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

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

Empire

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

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

MORE “MARVIN GAYE”

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

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

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

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

REBA — YOU TAKE THE GOOD, YOU TAKE THE BAD

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

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

Reba Until They Don't Love You

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

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

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE”

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

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

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

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

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

“HANNIBAL”

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

Hannibal-NBC-Poster-2012

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

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

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

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

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

“MR. ROBOT”

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

MR. ROBOT

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

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

Christian Slater stars as Mr. Robot.

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

FALLING IN AND OUT OF LOVE WITH COUNTRY MUSIC 

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

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

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

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

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

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

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

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

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

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

keith_urban

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

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

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

michael-ray

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

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

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

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

Michael Ray Tweets

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“UNDER THE DOME” — THE END?

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

under-the-dome

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

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

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

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

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

600full-mike-vogelCOW UNDER THE DOME

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

FALL IS GETTING CLOSER

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

Pecan Pie M&M

Yum!  I can’t wait to try them!

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

Fall

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

“THE WALKING DEAD”

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

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

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

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

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Happy Fourth

Oh, Liberace!

I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. 

Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront.  But, is it really “United” or just “States”?

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states.  While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.

marriage

I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.

I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.

I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right.  It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION

One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.

Let it go, people.

God

I pray every night to God.

I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.

I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that.  Let God judge me.  When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.

Worry about your own relationship with God!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”

It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.

gays_in_church

Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.

I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING

Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.

There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.

Pathetic!

People, live your lives and let others live their lives.  It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE

We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.

Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state?  Not at all!

Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.

AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”

After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.

This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.

Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.

However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.

Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina?  That’s up for debate.

Church Fire

But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..

Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.

You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt.  It is so big.  She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.  Who understands those rap guys?  They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”

That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.

Becky-Wegner-Rommel

However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.

An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.

While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!

This video is NOT to be missed!  🙂

Bless her heart!  I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…

“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN

On to a much lighter topic…

When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.

APMagicMike

I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.

I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.

ChanningTatum

Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”

Matt Bomer

Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed.  Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”

He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”

Ahhhh!

EVEREST

It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.

“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.

I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.

“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard.  It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).

“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.

“BITCH I’M MADONNA”

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.

Madonna Rebel Heart

But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.  This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.

Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist.  Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.

Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.

MID-YEAR UPDATE

Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?

Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)

And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.

Frozen Soundtrack

At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies.  However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.

The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs

1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)

Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.

“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK

In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.

The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.

Hannibal

There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.

However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows.  Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.

Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.

Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.

Hannibal 3

Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.

hannibal gillian

Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!

“ZOO”

Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?

I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.

I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.

The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television.  “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.

He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.

However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.

“BEAUTIFUL NOW”

One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”.  “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.

The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.

True Colors Zedd

Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.

GRADE:  B+

ELECTION 2016

The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014” blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, that seems to holding true.

Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.

In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.

“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD

Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend.  I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.

I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.

However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.

gay-pride NYC

While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK!  NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.

She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development.  He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”

Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!

SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT

“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year.  It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.

The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today.  And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you.  As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.

Anthony