Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

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

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

Rolling Stone.JPG

Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

Duluth.jpg

I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

white_house_rainbow

Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter.  He gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”.  His fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”.

But, that film and the money gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do:  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed their lifestyle.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Kock) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Larry+Kramer+in+Love+02.jpg

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

Ap 1987.jpg

Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

silence death

Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — April 27, 2018

It’s crazy to believe that we’re already heading into May!  Here’s to a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

While a sad occasion, Barbara Bush’s funeral last weekend brought out the best of both sides.

America the Beautiful

Sadly, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn were unable to attend.

The Carter Center announced that the former president was “on a private trip overseas, and although she is recovering, Mrs. Carter is not yet able to travel following her recent intestinal surgery.”

THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH!

Canadian country and pop superstar Shania Twain was at the center of a social media storm last weekend.

I admit that I, too, was flabbergasted when she said she would have voted for Donald Trump in 2016!

Twain told “The Guardian”, “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

Okay, everyone has a right to their opinion.  But, just because you’re “honest” doesn’t mean your views are on the right side of history!  And, it doesn’t mean you’re qualified!

Well, needless to say, there was an internet uproar that ranged from “No”, “she’s a has been”, “who”, and this popular meme.

whatever

By Sunday afternoon, Twain was in damage control posting four messages on her Twitter page.

Twain 1Twain 2Twain 3Twain 4

My last thoughts on the matter is that new stars get media training to know how and what to say and what not to say.  She’s not a newcomer, so if that question was awkward, she could have danced around it.

Finally, I still love her music, I’m glad I saw her in concert, and that she was my first awkward attempt at a selfie.

AP Shania

It helped me be more experienced for the selfie that truly mattered. 🙂

Hillary AP

AVICII — DEAD AT 28

Last Friday, I was shocked to learn of the sudden death of Swedish electronic music DJ Avicii in Muscat, Oman.

Avicii and Madonna

At the time, the family said, “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii… The family is devastated…”

While not publicly announced, sources close to family now says Avicii died from an apparent suicide.

“Entertainment Weekly” obtained this statement, “Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions… When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”

I know he had experienced health issues and anxiety in the past that prompted him to give up touring in 2016.  But, this is still a shock.

Avicii worked with artists as diverse as Madonna, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and Coldplay.

Avicii True

His debut album, “True”, was my #11 album of the 2013 and “Wake Me Up” was the biggest hit of his career.

BONUS — AVICII + MADONNA (“GIRL GONE WILD”)

So young and so sad!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR (PART 2)

RL Stahl

In her “Reporting Live” autobiography, CBS News and “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, talks about the time George H. W. Bush, after a contentious interview with Dan Rather, made a rather rude comment comparing her to Rather.

While the microphone was still open, Bush said, “The bastard didn’t lay a glove on me”adding that Rather made “Leslie Stahl look like a pussy.”  (Normally, I’d not spell that word out, but Stahl was brave enough to do it in her book.)

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

Bush’s camp told Stahl that he meant to say “pussycat”.

However, Bush’s public apology only made matters worse.  He said, “If I had known the microphone was on, I wouldn’t have done it at all.”

What?  He only apologized because the microphone was still on and not for his juvenile vulgarity?

“LOOKING”

Last week, Comcast gave its customers free access to HBO and other networks.  The last time they did this, I caught the first season of “The Leftovers”.  I still need to see seasons two and three.

This time, I binge-watched seasons one and two (18 30-minute episodes) of the LGBT series, “Looking”, and “Looking: The Movie”, which wrapped up the cancelled-too-soon series.

Looking

It’s the story of three friends, Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), and Dom (Murray Bartlett) as they navigate life in San Francisco’s Castro District.

The supporting cast was amazing, too.

Doris (Lauren Weedman), Dom’s roommate and best friend from childhood, was too funny, and Patrick’s boyfriends (over the two seasons), Richie (Raul Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey) were too sexy.

While the eighteen regular episodes were entertaining and funny, “The Movie” was incredible.

Spoiler alert:  This “movie” trailer might give something away that happened in seasons one and two!

It brought back a lot of memories of me and my party days of my 20s and 30s.

It made me miss one of my friends that’s a space cadet and was never good at keeping in touch and my former “best friend” that chooses not to stay in touch.  Bummer!

“THE SHAPE OF WATER” WORDS OF WISDOM

“Never trust a man even if he looks flat down there!”

Shape of Water

FINAL “SCANDAL” THOUGHTS

Here’s another funny quote between President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) and her former Chief of Staff Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi).

Mellie:  “You don’t like me!”

Liz:  “I don’t like people!”

Mellie

I never bought into mild-mannered Gladiator Quinn Perkins becoming a B-613 killing machine.

When Huck, Charlie, and Quinn would torture and/or kill “bad” people or people they needed information from, the whole wrapping them in saran wrap was either paying homage to or ripping off “Dexter”!

Which brings me around to sharing this one again — after all Christmas is about eight months away! 🙂

Dexter Elf

BOOKS #12, #13, & #14

After giving up on “The Walking Dead” following the season eight finale, I just finished reading my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth books of the year.

This is a technicality — I just finished “The Walking Dead” Compendium One, Two, and Three that I got for Christmas two years ago.

WD

The mammoth books, literally weighing in at around five pounds each, cover the graphics novels from issues 1 through 144.

It was interesting to read them since some characters on the TV series are still alive and they are dead in the books and vice versa.  Also, there are some characters in the TV show that are not in the books.

Toward the end of the third book, we’re introduced to “The Whisperers”, which was an interesting twist.

However, it’s not enough to bring me back for season nine of the AMC series!

“AUTOMATIC” “LOOKING” BONUS

The Pointer Sisters took “Automatic” to the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984 (#2 Dance).

The song, by Ultra Nate, appeared in a nightclub scene in the “Looking” movie (2016).  However, her version topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart in 2007.

It’s just one of her 20 Top Ten Billboard Dance hits! (Seven have reached #1!)

And, check out this hot video.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 13, 2017

Another weekend is upon us and I hope it’s a great one for you.

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts.  Please feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

WHAT A CLOWN!

It seems that Kellyanne Conway is still around and still Kellyanne.

In the wake of all of the inappropriate sexual allegations coming out against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, I’d call him a pig, but I don’t want to insult the swine community!

Earlier this week, Conway lashed out on Twitter about Hillary Clinton’s slow response on condemning Weinstein, who donated to many Democratic candidates.

Kellyanne

I thought about it and it infuriated me even more, so I decided to reach out to her.

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

Today, I’m starting and ending my blog with it.  We need it!

I woke up a couple of weeks ago to this series of tweets from #45.  I pondered the callousness of the tweets.

DT

Seriously? Puerto Ricans are natural-born citizens of the United States!

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

CarmenThis same mayor that he’s criticizing has been wading through floodwaters helping her people while some “leaders” golf the weekends away.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of #45, but there comes a time when little boys need to grow up or shut up!

This saddens me as much as much as it angers me!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

While being bashed by #45, Carmen Yulin Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, was thinking of Las Vegas and the victims of the massacre there, while working to get aid from the U.S. government for her people.

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s been almost two weeks since a lone, white terrorist gunned down 58 people in a shooting spree at a country music concert outside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas that left more than 500 others injured.

LV

While police sort through the facts of the case to learn “why”, the debate quickly turned to gun control.  Sadly, this is a long-standing debate that falls on deaf ears after every mass shooting in America.

Geez, we have more than any other country in the world, yet we have a gridlocked political system that will not work to find a solution to make both side happy. But, I’m not even getting into that debate in this blog.

I love Vegas and I’m going there in December.  While there, I’ll drop money at the casinos, I’ll eat in the restaurants, and I’ll tip the cocktail and food servers well.

My biggest problem in the hours following this massacre was with the thing that was needed the most.  Although a “Go Fund Me” page was set up and quickly raised several million dollars for the victims’ medical costs, I didn’t donate.  Why?  Because blood was needed more than money as the victims were rushed to the hospitals.

Blood

I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m a gay or bisexual man that’s had sex with another man in the past year.   This excludes me from donating, yet it’s okay for a man or woman that hasn’t had same-sex relations to donate.  Yet, they may have slept with half of the free world (and even without protection), but it’s okay for them to donate.

I understood the hysteria in the 1980s and early 1990s when so much was unknown about HIV and AIDS, but three decades later?

Every blood donation is so thoroughly screened and tested before it enters the blood bank and HIV tests can be done in 15 minutes these days!

I have beautiful veins and in the late-1980s, I donated blood every chance I got and I’m regularly tested for HIV.

So, when there’s a national crisis and the American Red Cross is begging for blood donations, that’s where I draw the line.  I’m emphatically uncompassionate to its pleas!

Harsh?  No, it’s a reality and it’s one for which I didn’t set the rules!  To the Food and Drug Administration, do your job and stop discriminating!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

The new season of one of my favorite shows, ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” is incredible.

After just two episodes (I haven’t watched the newest episode), I love the vibe of the season 4.

Viola Davis is incredible (as always) as the very mean Annalise Keating, who’s turned over a new leaf and so far, so good.

I actually cried during the season premiere and I applauded Annalise in first case after returning to practicing law.

Viola

She’s defending an older black woman, who has spent most of her life in and out of jail and prison.

The woman was raped as a young girl and arrested for prostitution at 13-year-old.  She was released back to the streets, while white girls arrested that year for the same crime was put in a home for rehabilitation and a chance to turn their lives around.

Annalise argues, “Because that’s what we do to black people, women, and gay people. We turn a blind eye and we tell them their lives don’t matter, but they do matter!”

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

I’ve shared many pictures of the cute ducks and the babies in my complex since I moved to Panama City, Florida, in early May.

Ducks

And, I’ve also talked about the turtles feasting on unfortunate ducks.  I know, it’s the “circle of life”.

The other day, I was walking by the pond by my apartment and I noticed a turtle upside down in the shallow water with its head submerged underwater.

I guess it had fallen into the water upside down!  I didn’t know how long it had been there.  So, I had three options: let it drown, let it try to flip itself over (which seemed impossible), or flip it over myself.

Well, being the “tree hugger” and a softie, I helped it and it swam away.

Turtle 1

I hope it remembers that and it doesn’t feast on a baby duck one day!

“THE SNOWMAN”

I’ve only been to the theaters once this year.  Back in the spring, I saw “Beauty and the Beast”.

Next weekend, I’m going to see my future ex-boyfriend, Michael Fassbender, in “The Snowman”.

This movie is based on the superb Norwegian crime thriller by Jo Nesbo.

I haven’t been to a movie alone since 1996 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, when I went to see “101 Dalmatians”!

PREMATURE BABIES

In 2010, the survival rate of a baby born under 3.3 pounds was at 78%.  There was a lot of improvement in those odds since the 1980s.  (What a great decade — except for AIDS and Ronald Reagan!)

Focus Anthony!  The point I want to make is that just five decades earlier, in 1960, the survival rate for a baby that size was only 28%.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964I was one of those babies and I spent the first six weeks of my life in the Mayfield Hospital and look at me now!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, I’m a survivor and it’s my birthday!  I’m celebrating it with my sister Tammy and her boyfriend Gerald, who are visiting me in Panama City.

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

This was my birthday in 2011, my last one with my best friend, Miss ABBA.  Yes, it warm enough in the Quad Cities to be out in a tank top playing ball. 🙂

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

Wait, Dessie didn’t know then that I prefer chocolate cake?  (Actually, I haven’t met too many desserts I didn’t like.  Why can’t people be like desserts for me?) 🙂

AP 1st Birthday

My most exciting birthday ever was my 50th in Paris, France!

It started with a Seine River dinner cruise, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and then sipping champagne stage-side at the Moulin Rogue (sans Satine!)  After that, it was off to my dream destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

Also, I can’t forget celebrating in Las Vegas in 2012 with Madonna!

Let’s hope in the next 50 years I have other birthdays to rival those.

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

It’s the new Christmas album from Reba McEntire, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

As I shared with you in an August blog, Reba released a version of this album through Cracker Barrel, a chain restaurant with a history of homophobic and racist practices.

It was also the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

This re-issue features new versions and new songs with Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

Freddie Highmore was incredible as Norman Bates on A& E’s “Bates Motel”, so I was excited to check out his new ABC series, “The Good Doctor”.

Highmore is very convincing as Dr. Shaun Murphy, who is a surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.  The show follows the struggles he faces in the high pressure world of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.

While some of the show comes across as far-fetched to me, I’m still with it after three episodes.

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

This movie is based on the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s.

Without her knowledge, doctors used her cancer cells, known as HeLa, to advance not only cancer research, but research for many different other diseases, too.

Oprah Winfrey is great as Debra Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, who worked with a Rebecca Skloot, a writer who was researching and writing a book about her mother.

The HBO movie was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

20-year-old Norwegian record producer and DJ Alan Walker was only 17 when he produced a version of a song called “Fade” without vocals.

A new version, “Faded”, featuring Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim, hit #1 in 17 countries and reached the Top Ten in, at least, ten more countries (add another one if you count the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the U.S., where it went to #4.)

“Faded” was my favorite song of 2016 and it’s been viewed more than 1.3 billion times (that’s billions with a “B”) on YouTube!

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Ready to Watch Some Movies?

I love watching movies, yet I’ve only been to the theater once this year.  I saw “Beauty and the Beast” when it came out this spring.

I want to share some of the recent ones I’ve watched at home.  I highly recommend some and you should proceed with caution on others.

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

If you want a movie that doesn’t have superheroes or isn’t a sequel, check out this Warren Beatty-directed flick about reclusive and eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes.

While he’s the star of the movie, it focuses on the flirting and budding affair of one of his drivers (Alden Ehrenreich) and an actress on his payroll (Lily Collins).

Ehrenreich is mesmerizing on screen and for “Star Wars” fans, he’ll be playing the young Han Solo in next year’s stand alone film.

Collins was nominated for a Golden Globe Award.

Sadly, the movie bombed at theaters, so here’s your chance to see it in Redbox.

GRADE:  B+

“THE INCREDIBLE JESSICA JAMES”

You’ve got to check out this Netflix original comedy!

Jessica Williams plays a struggling New York City playwright that’s trying to get over a break-up.

Since her relationship ended, life hasn’t been all that great — career rejections letters and rejects in her single life.

She goes out on a date with a divorced man a few years older, played by the charming Chris O’Dowd.

Williams and O’Dowd are funny together and that first date is hilarious.

If you’ve ever had a break-up, this romantic comedy (with some drama) is perfect.

GRADE:  B+

“THE DINNER”

This movie stars two of my favorite actors, Richard Gere and Laura Linney, and one of my new discoveries, Rebecca Hall.

Gere and Hall (he’s a politician running for governor and she’s his wife) are having dinner with his brother and sister-in-law (Steve Coogan and Linney).

They’re there to discuss a family issue that could blow up and become a public relations nightmare for Gere and bring criminal charges onto the family.

If the movie focused on the two couples and dinner at the restaurant, it would have been rated much higher.

While I know there has to be back story to set it up, some of the scenes went on way too long — especially the Gettysburg scene.  It was painfully long!

However, “The Dinner” is still a movie to see just for the spectacular acting of the four leads.

GRADE:  B-

Since I mentioned that Rebecca Hall is one of my new favorites, I want to add “Christine” to the list.

I saw this movie this summer on Netflix and wrote about it to my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 23, 2017.

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“CLOSET MONSTER”

This little seen Canadian movie is about a kid that witnesses a harrowing hate crime and doesn’t tell anyone.

As he’s coming of age as a teenager, he’s traumatized living in a broken home with a homophobic father, especially since he thinks he’s gay.

Connor Jessup is incredible as Oscar, the tormented teenager.

You’ll probably remember Jessup from the second season of ABC’s “American Crime”, where he played a teen that was raped by a member of the football team, which was covered up by the school.

Jessup plays heartbreak and pain well!

GRADE:  B

“PHIL SPECTOR”

This 2013 HBO film was nominated for eleven Primetime Emmy Awards.

I bought it when a movie franchise was going out of business and just got around to watching it.

It stars one of my favorite actresses Helen Mirren as an attorney for Phil Spector, incredibly played by Al Pacino.

As you recall, Spector, one of the most famous music producers of all time, was on trial for shooting and killing a “down on her luck” actress in his home.

While the movie didn’t win any Emmy Awards, Mirren did win the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie”.

GRADE:  B+

I hope you’re able to check some of these out.  Some are in Redbox, some on Netflix, and some might be harder to find.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 4 , 2017

Are you ready for the weekend?  Although I have nothing planned, I’m still ready!

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

THREE MONTHS ALREADY

This weekend marks my third month in Panama City, Florida!

While everyone’s life carries on, the things I miss the most about the Quad Cities are my family and friends, my fish pond, my beautiful and spacious sun porch, and Sunday champagne brunch!

Missing QC

I’M READY FOR A GETAWAY

Clearly from the way I kicked off this week’s blog, I’m ready for a vacation.

Shania Twain has the right idea in her latest video, “Life’s About To Get Good”, that dropped last week.

And, when I take that getaway, I’m coming back with a new attitude and moving on with my life.

“NOW” IS GETTING CLOSER!

It’s been 15 years since Shania Twain released her last studio album.  Her new one, “Now”, comes out September 29th.

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good” is the first single and while country radio decided not to embrace it, the song is getting some airplay at adult contemporary stations.

CAITLYN, YOU CONTINUE TO DISAPPOINT ME

It’s no secret that I’m not a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While I applauded her decision to come out to the world as a trans woman, her misinformation and ignorance proves she’s not a good spokeswoman for the transgender movement.

I find her latest escapade of expressing her love of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” highly offensive.

caitlyn steven

We all know that she transitioned from the gorgeous Olympic star Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn because she was born male, but that wasn’t her gender identity.  But, now to finally be seen as a woman and then to make a mockery of it is just tacky.

You could say that it’s no different from a gay man calling himself a “sissy” or a “girl”.  It is different because that gay man may have always identified and lived that way.

We may disagree on this, but Caitlyn has spent a fortune trying to look like the woman she felt inside.  So, why cheapen yourself by thinking it’s still cool to publicly admit that you love an offensively, crude song with the title, “Dude Looks Like a Lady”.

Sadly, in the world we live in, many people still see you that way!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The new season of “American Horror Story” debuts on FX September 5, 2017.

The first episode deals with the 2016 presidential election and takes place in the battleground state of Michigan.

The creator, Ryan Murphy, says it’s about “the fallout of that night, which to many people, from all sides of the camps is a horror story.”

Trump

Oh, by the way, the season is called “Cult”.

Trump

I guess that’s because “Freak Show” and “Asylum” have already been used in the series!

“THE SINNER” & “MANHUNT: UNABOMBER”

Both of these limited series made their debut this week.  I’m definitely find one more intriguing.

After watching the first two episodes of “Manhunt: Unabomber”, it was informative and entertaining enough even with very little of the Unabomber.  It was more about his crimes and the FBI manhunt to capture him.

Maybe we’ll find out more about Ted Kaczynski and get to see Paul Bettany (“Wimbledon”) do his thing as the hunted serial bomber.

I was much more impressed with USA’s “The Sinner”, which “seemed” like a cut and dry story.

A woman (Jessica Biel) is at the beach with her attractive husband and child and while cutting a pear, she savagely attacks and kills a man sitting with his friends in front of her.

She confesses to the crime to police, but why did she do it?  A twist at the end of the first episode has me awaiting next week’s second of eight episodes.

“MANHUNT: UNABOMBER” GRADE (after two episodes):  B

“THE SINNER” GRADE (after one episode): A- 

“THE LEFTOVERS”

While Comcast pimped me over recently by not recordings movies on my DVR during my free HBO and Cinemax week, I did get a chance to catch the first season of “The Leftovers”.

The Bible-like “rapture” story is chilling enough, but when you add in a “cult” (wait, they say they’re not a cult) and mental illness, it gets unsettling.

But, on the other hand, Justin Theroux is gorgeous!

JT

Now, I can’t wait to see seasons two and three.

By the way, happy second anniversary to Justin and his beautiful wife, Jennifer Aniston.

“MASTER OF NONE”

I loved the first season of Netflix’s “Master of None”.  While I enjoyed all but one episode, I wasn’t blown away as much by season two.

But, the show is nominated for an Emmy for “Comedy Series”, Aziz Ansari got a nod for “Comedy Actor”, and Ansari and Lena Waithe (“Denise”) are up for the “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode, which was my favorite of the season.

Angela Bassett is almost nominated for “Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode.

“Master of None” is nominated for four more Emmy Awards for a total of eight.  I really wish Bobby Cannavale was nominated, too.

“FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE”

Two episodes into this Netflix original comedy series, I realized why I don’t have any friends.  These people are annoying!

I’ll pass.

MY NEW FAVORITE VEGETABLE

Turnips

As a kid, I hated turnips.  I don’t even remember how my mother and grandmother cooked them to make them look like puree.

I dice them and saute them in seasoning and olive oil and I can’t get enough.  I need to experiment with recipes and try them others ways, too.

PICK HIT

24-year-old English DJ Sigala is racking up the Top Ten hits in his native United Kingdom. He’s already has five, including a #1 hit.

“Came Here For Love” with 23-year-old U.K. vocalist Ella Eyre is his latest.  It went all the way to #6 and has made the Top Three in Belgium and Scotland.

“NEW ATTITUDE”

I can’t mention “New Attitude” earlier in the blog without sharing Miss Patti LaBelle!

This #1 dance hit in 1985 was featured on the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack and earned LaBelle a “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” Grammy nomination!!!

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 6, 2014

Greetings from Las Vegas!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I didn’t post a “Random Friday Thoughts” last week while I was in Vegas.  Trust me that most of it was written, but I was so wrapped up in shows, eating, drinking, and playing slot machines that I didn’t finish it.  So, here goes…

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

THE “KING OF POP” LIVES 

Just hours after we arrived in Vegas last Wednesday, we had dinner and were off to our first show.

Originally, we were just going to see Shania Twain and Olivia Newton-John.   However, we got a great deal to see two Cirque du Soleil shows.

MJ One

First up was “Michael Jackson ONE” at Mandalay Bay.

This show was amazing.  The music, the theatrics, and the energy were incredible.

“ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE”

On Thursday night, it was “The Beatles LOVE” at the Mirage.

Somehow we lucked out and had second row seats to this sold out show and we just bought them last week!

Like the Cirque du Soleil “Michael Jackson ONE” show, the sets, scenery, and the mind-blowing theatrics were breath-taking.

Even if you’re not a true Michael Jackson or the Beatles fan, you still get caught up in the music and the show.

VEGAS FOOD

As you know, every thing in Vegas is about excess.  Buffets are no exception.

The first night we ate at the Carnival World Buffet at Rio.  The service was great, but there was nothing really spectacular about it.  It was average.

However, for lunch Thursday, we ate at the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood Las Vegas.  And, just like our first visit there, it was incredible.  This is one of my absolute favorites.

Spice Market Buffet Desserts

Viena, our server, was so warm and attentive.  She’s definitely a great asset to the establishment!

On Friday, we lunched at the Paris Le Village and it was tasty.

And, on Saturday, we had our typical weekend brunch at the Stratosphere.  We’ve eaten there all three times we’ve visited Vegas and our server remembers us each time and she always picks up where we left off the last time!

AP Saturday Brunch Stratosphere

Yes, we did eat buffets over the four days we were there (along with unlimited cocktails and mimosas).  However, each day, that was our only meal of the day and we walked a total of 58.4 miles while in Vegas.

With that being said, we gained no weight while there!

After a few non-Vegas random thoughts, I have some pictures and comments about the Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain concerts, too.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Look Married

EMMY AWARDS, EXPAND YOUR HORIZIONS

Over the past few years, the Primetime Emmy Awards have been given kudos for looking outside the box and nominating and awarding newer shows and performances.

However, outside of technical achievement, actors from one show keep getting overlooked.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

AMC’s “The Walking Dead” has been nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards and has won two of them.  However, all of the nominations are in the Prosthetic Makeup, Sound, and Special Visual Effects categories and not for acting.

the-walking-dead-season-4-emmy-ad

AMC is reaching out with its “For Your Consideration” campaign, especially for Melissa McBride’s heart-breaking portrayal of Carol in season four.

Nominations for the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards will be announced on July 10th and the Emmys will be handed out August 25th.

WEDDING BLUES

Two of the most overrated celebrities were married late last month weekend in Italy.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

From the following wedding announcement, I don’t think that Kanye West and Kim Kardashian should expect a wedding gift from the New York Post!

New York Post

“THE NORMAL HEART”

The film version of AIDS activist Larry Kramer’s 1985’s play debuted this Memorial Day holiday weekend to solid numbers.

The Normal Heart HBO

The Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story” and “Glee) produced drama stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Jim Parsons, and Taylor Kitsch.

“The Hollywood Reporter” writes “As it stands, “The Normal Heart” premiere ranks fifth in viewership among the 17 HBO Films originals to premiere since 2010. Expect a significant boost once time-shifting and HBO Go views are taken into account.”

Since I don’t have HBO, I can’t wait for “The Normal Heart” to come out on DVD.

BIEBS HAS A HEART

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has had his fair share of bad publicity over the past year, including the “racist” joke/song he told a few years ago that has just surfaced.

However, what he did something recently that is setting him back more than one-half of million dollars and that’s a good thing.

amfAR's 21st Cinema Against AIDS Gala, Presented By WORLDVIEW, BOLD FILMS, And BVLGARI: Red Carpet Arrivals

At an amfAR (The Foundation for AIDS Research) celebrity gala fundraiser in Cannes, when a wealthy gentleman pledged $545,000, Bieber quietly match the bid!  He said he just wanted to do something good.

amfAR is dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and more.

PICK HIT

Latin heartthrob Enrique Iglesias extends his lead over Ricky Martin and Gloria Estefan for the most number one singles on the Billboard Latin chart.

enrique_iglesias

“Bailando”, with Descemer Bueno and Gente de Zona, the latest single from “Sex and Love”, becomes his 26th chart topper.  Martin has 13 and Estefan has 11.

The song is now gaining airplay at Top 40 radio stations.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

With temperatures near 100°, it’s only right that we enjoy “Summer Nights” in Las Vegas at the Flamingo with Olivia Newton John in concert.

Olivia 2

Last Friday night, Olivia looked stunning and her voice was so crisp and beautiful.

She was also very personable and funny.  At one point, she told the audience, “I know you probably know the song and want to sing along.  Don’t.  It’ll mess us up”.  That was followed by a cute laugh.

I’ve been a huge fan since “Let Me Be There” blasted from my hometown country radio station, WNGO-AM 1320, in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1973.

That song went on to reach #6 on the Billboard Hot 100, #7 on the Billboard Country chart, and it won Olivia a Grammy Award for “Best Female Country Vocalist”.

When I bought tickets for this show back in February, I blogged being hopelessly devoted to Olivia.  Here’s the link if you missed it or want to read it again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/im-still-hopelessly-devoted-to-olivia/

Whether it’s the policy of The Flamingo or something written in Olivia’s contract, but no photos were allowed.  I can fully understand prohibiting recording the performance, but no photos.  Really?

I complied until the end of the show!

Olivia

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” (PART TWO)

Here’s a double dose of country and Vegas.

Our final show in our Vegas trip was Shania Twain and her show, “Shania:  Still The One” at Caesars Palace.

Shania Still The One

Shania was amazing and she allowed those in the audience to take selfies with her, including me.  (I really need to work on my selfie picture-taking skills.  I got one, but it wasn’t perfect).

The bottom line is that she was amazing and the show was true Vegas.

Shania

However, there was a scary moment with one of the horses on stage that Shania was riding.  But, the horse and Shania were both okay and the show, as they say, went on.

Back in February, I blogged about Shania and why I loved her as a singer and entertainer.  And, after reading her book, “From This Moment On”, I blogged about it just a couple of days ago.  It is fantastic.

Here’s that link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/shania-is-iconic-but-i-feel-i-know-eilleen-more/

And, here’s the one from back in February.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/13/after-20-years-shanias-still-the-one/

That’s “Ka-Ching!” form Shania’s “Up” album.  The song reached #2 in Austria, Hungary, Romania, and Switzerland, and #3 in Germany.

THAT’S IT

I have one more whirlwind weekend before I can enjoy a chill out weekend at home.  After work today, Ray and I are heading off to Milwaukee to see the “Dressed to Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper.

Then it’s back to the Quad Cities Saturday for me to judge a Bacon festival that evening.

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

Anthony

 

Good News About AIDS Deaths & “The Normal Heart”

In New York City, for the first time since 1983, AIDS is no longer on the list of the Top Ten causes of death.

STOP AIDS

In 2012, there were 609 deaths from AIDS.  That is still 609 too many!

One year earlier, there were 766 deaths, which ranked AIDS as the 9th leading cause of deaths in New York City.

Health Commissioner Mary Bassett says that better treatment is allowing people to live longer.

Also, here’s some other great news out of the “Big Apple”.  The number of new HIV cases has dropped there unlike other parts of the United States where the number of cases of men who have sex with men is still rising.

While that’s very encouraging, people must also remember that people are still getting infected with HIV and AIDS is still killing people.  It hasn’t gone away.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

78-year-old activist and author Larry Kramer was one of the most vocal advocates in the 1980s to make government officials aware of the HIV/AIDS pandemic that was killing so many gay men and he forced them to take it seriously.

Larry Kramer

Kramer was the founder of the political action protest group, ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, in 1987.

A few years before he wrote “The Normal Heart” and it played Off Broadway in 1985.  It’s now an upcoming HBO movie by “American Horror Story” and “Glee” creator Ryan Murphy.

The Normal Heart HBO

In the movie, Mark Ruffalo plays Ned Weeks, a writer and HIV/AIDS activist that chose loud public confrontations to quiet private meetings, just like the real-life Kramer.

“The Normal Heart” also stars Matt Bomer, Julia Roberts, Alec Baldwin, Jim Parsons, Jonathan Groff, and Taylor Kitsch.

It premiers on HBO on May 25, 2014.

Anthony

Re-posted from March 21, 2014:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/random-friday-thoughts-march-21-2014/