Posts Tagged ‘HBO’

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/

More “Looking” Coming Our Way

Great news!  “Looking” has been renewed for a second season.

Ratings have improved from 338,000 viewers for the premiere to 519,000, according to Winq Magazine.

Here’s what I had to say about it in my random blog last Friday.

“LOOKING”

The eight episode, HBO series, “Looking”, is about three gay friends in San Francisco looking to find themselves and love.

Looking

It stars Jonathan Groff, who is best known for his Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award winning role on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and on “Glee” as Jesse St. James.

He also voices the character of Kristoff in the worldwide Disney smash, “Frozen”.

Frozen

“Looking” has been criticized as “boring” and lacking diversity, even with one of the leads and a major recurring character being Hispanic.

I love the show.  It’s funny and it’s sexy.  My only gripe is that there’s only eight episodes and they’re only 30 minutes long!

Here’s the trailer and remember that it’s HBO, so there are so are some adult themes.

I have to admit that I have a crush on Patrick, Groff’s character.  Or, maybe I just have a crush on Groff?

Looking

“Looking” season one is airing now.  Season two will begin shooting this fall.

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — February 21, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/random-friday-thoughts-february-21-2014/

Random Friday Thoughts — September 27

It’s Friday and this is my first blog of the fall season.  Happy Autumn!

Fall

Miss Betty was here last weekend and this weekend, it’s just me and Ray.  I really wanted to go to Chicago to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert, but that didn’t work out.  So, we’re planning on going to a few yard sales before the rain Saturday and then do a double feature at the movies!

I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

SUMMER’S LAST HURRAH –SORTA!

Last Friday, the second to last full day of summer, I was shocked to see this weather observation from Monticello, Iowa, which is about 80 miles northwest of the Quad Cities.

Monticello Weather

While that 129° reading would have beat the old Iowa state record of 118°, what is even more incredible is the dew point of 127°, which is not even achievable on Earth.  The combination of the temperature and the dew point produced a heat index of 459°!!!!!

The weather sensor at the airport there is now corrected!

THIS MAKES ME SMILE

Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Barbara, are supporters of marriage equality.  However, that support ends with her husband, George W. Bush, the 43rd U.S. President.  At least that was his opinion in 2004 since he won’t comment on the subject today.

However, this past weekend, his father, George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends, Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen in Kennebunk, Maine.

George H.W. Bush

I love how he rocks the one red and one blue sock!  And, Barbara looks very happy at the ceremony.

George Barbara

This gives me hope!

Sadly, the next two thoughts are more about despair!

NOT EVERYONE THINKS RUSSIA IS WRONG

Six American organizations have joined a worldwide coalition of more than 100 conservative groups that are behind Russia’s anti-gay legislation.  One of those groups, World Congress of Families, is located right here in northern Illinois, in Rockford.

Larry Jacobs, the managing editor of the organization, says, “Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has shown that sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and suicide rates are significantly higher among what it discreetly calls a ‘sexual minority.’  CDC data also demonstrates that there is much greater health risks among teenagers who practice homosexuality than those who do not engage in homosexual behavior.”

Jacobs_Family_Christmas

Jacobs adds, “All the law does is to prohibit advocacy aimed at involving minors in a lifestyle that would imperil their physical and moral health.”

Sadly, I’m more concerned with the lies, the close-minded attitudes, and the “family values” he’s teaching his own children!

WHO OWNS THE RAINBOW?

Scott Lively, who runs Abiding Truth Ministries, a church dedicated to combating “the homosexual agenda” in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calling him “the defender of Christian civilization”.  (Maybe Lively should move to Russia to show his love!)

Scott Lively

Recently, Lively made a recommendation to Russian Olympic officials to fly a rainbow banner over the games to steal the thunder of gay activists that plan on rainbow-bombing the games.  His reasoning?  To show “the global homosexual movement” that “the rainbow belongs to God”!

Rainbow Unicorn

Really?  What is he going to tell me next?  That God doesn’t want to share unicorns with the LGBT community either?

ROSIE HAS A VALID POINT

And, I have one more thought in this arena before I move on to happier topics.

Over the years, I’ve been indifferent about out lesbian actress and former talk show host, Rosie O’Donnell.  While I loved her on “Nip/Tuck” as Dawn Budge, she definitely could get under my skin with some of her comments.

I’ve never thought of her as a spokesperson for the entire gay community, just as my comments are likely not supported by all in the LGBT community,.  However, I admire the fact that she speaks out.

Rosie O'Donnell

O’Donnell recently said this about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and it got me to rethinking my thoughts about supporting a boycott.

She says, “I have really mixed feelings about it. Part of me feels yes, we should boycott it. And part of me feels trepidation about all those athletes, some of whom are gay, who have spent their entire lives waiting for this moment that only comes once every four years. Would it be better if America went there and everyone wore a rainbow flag on their arms? I don’t know. It’s a very tough decision. You know, when I hear those stories about what’s going on in Russia, you know, we have to remind ourselves of the amount of gay bashing that happens in our country. Although ours is not sanctioned by the president — you know, Putin seems to be very pro-gay-bashing — it still occurs in our country at a rate that is shameful.

Great point about the gay bashing that takes place here at home!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Heaven Earth Hell

GagaHold It

CHER FINALLY MAKES BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

This has been a very big week for Cher.  Yes, that Cher!

Cher Closer To The Truth

The 67-year-old entertainment icon released “Closer To The Truth”, her first new studio album in almost twelve years (“Living Proof” came out in late 2001) and she announced the dates of her “Dressed To Kill” tour that kicks off in the spring.

Cher

Her last road trip, the “Farewell Tour” ended in 2005 after playing 325 dates in twenty countries over three years.

The “Dressed To Kill” tour kicks off in March 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, and will hit 49 cities wrapping up about four months later in San Diego, California.

Earlier in the week, she performed on the “Today” show and said, “The road is horrible, but the concerts are great.  I understand why guys in bands tear up hotel rooms and throw TVs out the windows, because it’s a very lonely place. The only time you have fun is at the concerts.”

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

If you live in the Midwest, she’ll be playing in St. Louis, MO (June 4), Milwaukee, WI (June 6), Chicago, IL (June 7), Des Moines, IA (June 9), and Minneapolis, MN (June 11).

The first single from the new album, “Woman’s World” didn’t get mainstream radio airplay, but it became her latest #1 hit on the Billboard Dance chart.

Des Moines, here we come!

“BEHIND THE CANDELABRA”

This past Sunday night, “Behind The Candelabra”, Stephen Soderbergh’s HBO movie based on the life of flamboyant pianist Liberace won an incredible, record-tying eleven awards for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie at the Primetime Emmys.  “Eleanor and Franklin”, in 1976, also won eleven Emmys.

Behind The Candelabra

Oscar winner Michael Douglas also picked up the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie playing Liberace beating out his co-star, Matt Damon, who played Liberace’s much younger lover, Scott Thorson.

The movie covers the last ten years of Liberace’s life and the ups-and-downs of the couple’s relationship.  The movie is based on Thorson’s book, “Behind The Candelabra:  My Life With Liberace”, which was published after the entertainer’s death in 1987 of AIDS-related complications.

With that being said, it does paint Liberace in more of a negative light and Thorson as an innocent teenager that was taken in and controlled by the entertainer, who was in his 50s when their relationship started.

I mentioned “innocent”, when talking about Thorson, because he’s had many run-ins with the law including an arrest earlier this year in Reno, Nevada, for burglary and using a credit card without consent.

As I watched the movie, I kept that in mind and told myself that Liberace (“Lee”) probably wasn’t as mean as he was portrayed in the movie.  Instead, I marveled at how Douglas disappeared in the role as the over-the-top piano man.

matt-damon-behind_the_candelabra-02rob-lowe-behind_the_candelabra-01

“Behind The Candelabra” also picked up Emmys for Outstanding Costumes, Hairstyling, Makeup (Non-Prosthetic), and Prosthetic Makeup.

It was incredible how the makeup artists made Damon, who’s in his early-40s, look like a teenager when he met Liberace.  Also, sexy Rob Lowe was almost unrecognizable as Liberace and Scott’s plastic surgeon.

Everything was lavish and over-the-top.  The $23 million movie that was finally picked up by HBO Films because Hollywood movie companies said it was “too gay” to gamble on was a fabulous two hours of entertainment.

GRADE:  A

It just saddens me that Liberace lived in an era (not so much different from today for some lead actors) where he had to pretend to be straight and that he just hadn’t found the right woman for him to settle down and marry.

liberace

Gay?  No way!  Who would have even imagined such a thought?  But, seriously, showmanship and acting can only get you so far.  🙂

VEGAS REGRET

When I was in Las Vegas in 1993, the Liberace Museum was still opened.  I wanted to visit it, but my friend that I was traveling with, Dennis, did not want to see it.  Now, I regret not venturing out on my own to check it out.  The museum, which opened in 1979, closed in the fall of 2010.

Liberace Museum

I’m hoping with the success of the HBO movie that someone will re-open it in 2014 when we’re there to see Britney “It’s Britney, bitch” Spears!

WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

We’re just days away from our two-year wedding anniversary.

While Ray and I have been together going on five years, we made it official on September 30, 2011, in Davenport, Iowa, in a small ceremony attended by Gretel, our now 12-year-old daughter, my sister, Tammy, Ray’s sister, Cindy, and Betty, the woman I call “Mom”.

Wedding Park Fountain

Here is the video I put together of our first three years together.  I posted this the day we made the announcement that we had gotten married.

The song is “So Good Together” by Reba.

Reception 2011

The following day, October 1, 2011, we created the most beautiful majestic, magical reception in our backyard.

The song in this reception video is “In This Life” by Bette Midler.  The photographer was Jenny Butler Hipskind.

Happy Anniversary Ray!  Here’s to many more years together!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

While the duo, Quadron, has only charted in their native country of Denmark, I love their recent song, “Hey Love”.

Quadron

Singer Coco O (Coco Maja Hastrup Karshøj) and musician/producer Robin Hannibal released their self-titled debut album in 2009 and it made “New York” magazine’s top ten album list that year.

They’ve had a big summer.  Coco O recorded “Where The Wind Blows” for “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack and the duo’s second album, “Avalanche”, reached #3 after its May release in Denmark.  The album also peaked at #16 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop album chart in the U.S.

The first  single, “Hey Love”, peaked at #8 on the Danish Charts.

MOVIE DOUBLE FEATURE THIS WEEKEND

This weekend, we plan on seeing “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.

Prisoners

Don Jon

You gotta love Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhall, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Daryl Hall and John Oates met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in 1967 and released their first album in 1972, but it didn’t make the Billboard charts.

Their first single, “She’s Gone” peaked at #60 in 1974.  However, from their first Top 40 hit, “Sara Smile” (#4, 1976) to their last, “So Close (#11, 1990), they scored 29 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, 16 reached the Top Ten, 11 made the Top Five, and 6 topped the chart:  “Rich Girl” (1977), “Kiss On My List” (1981), “Private Eyes” (1981), “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” (1982), “Maneater” (1982), and “Out Of Touch” (1984).

I love Hall & Oates and one of my favorite songs from the duo is from the “Voices” album.  “You Make My Dreams” reached #5 in 1981.

That’s enough random thoughts, insanity, and fun for one week.  I should stop before my head starts hurting.  Here’s to the weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 5, 2013

The weekend is almost here and that means it’s Friday and I get to share some of my random thoughts!  When I do this, it’s my way of expressing some of the things that have crossed my mind.  Some are small, some are big, and some have little relevance to anything, but I love having this avenue.  I know you may not always agree with me or I may enlighten you on something you haven’t thought about, but I appreciate you checking out my blog and my random thoughts.  I always welcome your thoughts, too.

I hope you all had a great time celebrating our independence from England yesterday!

Happy Fourth

Oh, the Fourth of July.  A day to show off your pride and wear your finest red, white, and blue!  What a way to rock that fringe!!  (Thanks Stacia!)

Behind_the_Candelabra_poster

By the way, I pre-ordered “Behind the Candelabra”, the HBO Liberace movie with Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his much younger lover, Scott Thorson.  It covers the last ten years of the flamboyant singer’s life and his “secret” affair with Thorson.  “Secret”?  That’s right, people thought he was straight!  (Said no on ever — out loud!)

When “Candelabra” aired on HBO on May 26, 2013, 3.5 million people tuned in making it the highest rated TV film for the network since 2004.  It arrives on DVD on September 17, 2013.

HATERS DEFY THE RECORD NUMBER OF OPEN-MINDED

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.  This now makes federal benefits available to people in same-sex marriages.

Earlier this week, a new USA Today poll shows that a record number of Americans (55%) support marriage equality.  That’s the highest level of support nationwide since Gallup first asked this question in 1996 when only 27% of Americans supported marriage equality.

Yet, while millions are rejoicing and are moving to the right side of history, there are still haters that can’t mind their own business and tend to their own lives, families, and marriages.  Of course, one of the first to speak out against this righting of a wrong in American history was Chick-fil-A COO and President Dan T. Cathy.

Here’s what he tweeted (and quickly deleted) on the day of the SCOTUS landmark decision.

Dan Cathy

Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnson quickly issued a statement saying, “He realized his views didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience” and that “Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great-tasting food and genuine hospitality to everyone.”  If you read between the lines, that basically says the company wants your money — regardless of who you love.

I’ve made it very clear in the past about how I feel about Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy and the money they give to anti-gay groups, so I won’t go there today.  (You can type in Chick-fil-A in the search engine at the top of the blog to read the previous stories!)  However, I’ll just let three sassy “ladies” do the work for me.

Warning:  NSFW!

THE WEAKEST LINK IN EQUALITY

In that poll released this past Monday, “USA Today” also reports that the only other major demographic groups that a majority still opposes marriage equality are Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%).

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS — RAP WITH A HEART  ❤

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop music.  In 1986, I owned the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” cassette and in 1990, I bought the cassette of “To The Extreme” by Vanilla Ice!  However, there’s a Seattle rapper and producer that I have to shout out to and say “thank you”.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis are one of the hottest acts in pop music today.  Just this year alone, the duo topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks (and the R&B/Hip-Hop chart for 14 weeks) with “Thrift Store”.  Its already sold almost 5.6 million copies.  They followed that up with five more weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and 7 weeks atop the R&B/Hip-Hop chart with “Can’t Hold Us”.  That song’s sales are up to 3.1 million copies.

Almost one year ago, on July 18, 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released “Same Love” with singer Mary Lambert.  The song was written to support legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, which would be voting on “Washington Referendum 74” that fall.  It also tackled homophobia in hip-hop music.

“Same Love” is racing up the Billboard Hot 100 (up from #28 to #16 this week).  And, on the Billboard Rap Songs chart, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have three of the top songs (#1, #2, and #4)!  The video has already been viewed more than 54 million times!

Who better than Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the hottest act on the chart, to get the word out about marriage equality and homophobia!  Even if you’re not a rap or hip hop fan, take seven minutes to watch this incredible video with a powerful message.  And, another thing that I love about the video is that there is a sparkler and champagne toast.  Ray and I did that at our wedding reception almost two years ago!  🙂

And, while it doesn’t matter, another thing that makes this even more amazing is that Macklemore is straight.

Macklemore

He says, “It’s a record I’ve wanted to write a long time.  I tried writing it from the perspective of a gay bullied kid… I grew up in the Catholic Church, I grew up with two gay uncles and a gay godfather, and I grew up in the hip hop community. So the Catholic Church and hip hop community are known as being very homophobic communities in a lot of ways.”

Gay Uncles

And, those are his gay uncles.

MORE Z IS ON THE WAY, BUT I’M NOT TALKING “ZZZZZ”, AS IN SLEEP

After months of speculation about how “World War Z” would perform at the box office, the verdict is in and it has Paramount very happy.

world-war-z-poster

The $190 million, zombie flick with Brad Pitt has already brought in $271.4 million in its first thirteen days ($136 million of that is from the United States).  Talk about the troubles the production encountered and a third act re-shoot gave Paramount cold feet about the movie becoming a trilogy.  However, after the box office success, last month Paramount announced that it was moving ahead with a sequel!

Now, we can see if the “camouflage” will really buy the survivors time!  That’s not really a spoiler because you’d have to know what the “camouflage” is and I’m not talking about what you see them wearing on “Duck Dynasty”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Carry On Elementary English Usage

TASTY, BLOODY DEXTER

The eighth and final season of my favorite show, “Dexter”, premiered last Sunday night and shattered records.  This season opener ranked as the series’ highest-rated premiere ever with 2.5 million viewers at 9 p.m., which is up 4% from the season seven premiere.  For the night, “Dexter” had 3.2 million viewers, up 5% from season seven.

Dexter S8

And, since I can’t have Dexter for my birthday, I’ll settle for the “Dexter” action figure or these bloody, incredible desserts created to coincide with the kick off to the final season and the last twelve episodes!

Dexter Cupcakes Dexter Cupcakes2

These sweet confections are from Magnolia Bakery in New York City.  The red velvet cupcakes are topped with a whipped vanilla icing dripping in blood (caramel) and sugar “glass” shards!

SERIOUSLY, GROW A PEAR!

If you remember back to last spring and summer, it was a very warm to hot one in the Quad Cities.  March 2012 was the warmest on record with an average temperature of 53.3°, which was more than 14° above average.  And, we only had 4″ of snow in March 2012 and that fell toward the beginning of the month.

Needless to say that flowers, shrubs, and trees got off to a quick start.  This picture was taken toward the end of June last year.  The pears were huge!

Pears 062412

It’s a much different story this year.

With 10.6″ of snow and temperatures almost 8° below average this March (about 22° colder than March 2012), the growing season is a little behind.   And, it isn’t being helped by more than 21″ of rain falling in April, May, and June.  We’ve only been at 90° or higher three times this year.  Last year, at this time, we had already been there 15 times!

This pear picture was taken this week!  As you can see, they are much smaller.

Pear July 2013

I THOUGHT ABOUT “MACHETE KILLS” AND GOT SIDETRACKED

When I hear the word “Latin”, I instantly think of sexy Enrique Iglesias and Sofia Vergara!   Be still my beating heart! 🙂  How could two people be any sexier???

Enrique Iglesias sofia-vergara

This really has nothing to do with them, it just gave me a reason to Google search images of Enrique and Sofia!  Okay, now that I’m sidetracked, I’ll talk about Sofia and her new movie.  I’ve gone to two movies lately, “World War Z” and “White House Down” and both showed previews of her action flick coming out this fall, “Machete Kills”.

Machete-Kills-Lady-Gaga MACHETE KILLS

It features the acting debut of Lady Gaga and Sofia is over the top cray cray in the previews.  I definitely won’t be seeing it in a theater, but I’ll check it out on DVD.  While it doesn’t appear to be my kind of movie, it’s crazy enough that I’m interested.

And, when listing the stars in the movie, the trailer boasts, “and introducing Carlos Estevez” as the President of the United States.  WTH??  Sorry, Charlie Sheen, you can’t sneak that past me.  I know it’s you.

OKAY, NOW THE HOT LATINA WITH A SHOT OF TEQUILA

Shakira - Paulina Rubio

Does the name Paulina Rubio ring a bell to you?  That’s her on the right in the white shirt.

The other woman is Colombian singer Shakira.  Of course, Shakira is the biggest star of the two selling more than 70 million records worldwide and she is one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time.  Shakira has had nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, four have reached the Top Ten, including her biggest hit, the #1 smash, “Hips Don’t Lie”.  You also know her as the substitute judge on “The Voice” this season for Christina Aguilera.  While Shakira is talented, I want to introduce you to my favorite Latina star.  Okay, that’s Selena, but she’s no longer with us!

PaulinaRubio

My favorite, for about a decade now, is Paulina Rubio.  The 42-year-old Mexico City native has sold about 20 million records worldwide and is regarded as the “most influential Latin celebrity in the world”.

Her first Latin album came out in 1992.  In 2002, she made a modest attempt at a crossover to English music with her album “Border Girl”.  It reached #11 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #1 on the Latin album chart.  The closest she came to having a big hit on mainstream radio in America was with “Don’t Say Goodbye/Si Tú Te Vas”, which peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rubio has scored 24 Billboard Latin chart hits.  Of those, 15 have reached the Top Ten and five of them have reached #1.  Here’s one of those #1 Latin Hits from 2004, “Dame Otro Tequila”.  She and her friends are too Caliente!  Hot!

You’ll see much more of Paulina Rubio this fall when she joins the third season of “The X Factor” as one of the two new judges replacing Britney Spears and L.A. Reid.  The other new judge is Kelly Rowland, formerly with Destiny’s Child.

INTRIGUED BY “LIFE”

I’ve don’t own a Rolling Stones album or CD.  I can only list a few of their songs without cheating and looking at Wikipedia:  “Start Me Up”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Beast of Burden” (with Bette Midler), and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, thanks to Whoopi Goldberg.

But, I just read an excerpt of “Life”, the 2010 rock memoir from Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, in a November 2010 “Rolling Stone” magazine (not to be confused with the Rolling Stones, the band) and it sounds intriguing.

Keith-Richards-book-cover-Life

The book deals with his strained relationship with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, how the Stones got started, and a lot of talk about drugs.

But, it was this quote that captured my attention and made me keep reading the article, “I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it…. It’s impossible not to end up being a parody of what you thought you were.”

“Image is like a long shadow” is so philosophical!

Keith Richards 1967 keithrichards

And, it doesn’t hurt either that in the 1960s and the 1970s, Richards was a hot, young lad!  Since I was never a big fan, it was interesting to looks back 40 or 50 years to see who he was back then.  I’m definitely getting the book and learning more about Richards and the Rolling Stones.

PEEP’S ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since I’m talking about Keith Richards, I’ll feature his band in this week’s ’80s Friday Flashback.  In the United States, from their first hit in 1964 (months before I was born) to their last radio hit in early 1990, the Rolling Stones hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 41 times.  Of that impressive feat, 23 of those songs reached the Top Ten, and seven made it all the way to #1.

My favorite Rolling Stones hit peaked at #2 in the fall of 1981, just as I was halfway through my senior year in high school.  “Start Me Up” was the first release from their #1 multi-platinum album, “Tattoo You”,  which moved more than 4 million copies sold in the U.S.

And, by the way, I remember “State of Shock” with the Jacksons, but that a Mick Jagger hit without the Stones.

‘WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

If you’re going to this movie for an Academy Award winning flick, you’re wasting your time and money.  If you’re going to see a great popcorn summer movie that’s full of action and destruction to American institutions that director Roland Emmerich likes to deliver (“Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”), you’re in the right place.

“People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (Tatum) is trying to get a job as a Secret Service to protect the President of the United States, played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.  Tatum’s John Cale is not having a good day with his 11-year-old daughter after he misses her recital.  He makes it up to her by getting her a tour of the White House.  Needless to say, terrorists take over the White House and then we have an action movie.

The movie was very entertaining, riveting, suspenseful, and enjoyable.  The biggest question on my mind as I went into the movie was not how many people would be killed or blown up, but how long would I have to wait to see Tatum lose the suit and parade around in the more comfortable and appealing white tank top. 🙂

GRADE:  B

WHD

This is a continuation of a running gag that started last summer when I had my picture taken by the poster of the very hunky Channing Tatum when “Magic Mike” was in theaters.

062912 Magic Mike

Now, there are three reasons that my body does not look like Tatum’s:  (1)  that popcorn for starters, (2) he has a trainer and the motivation to work out, and (3) he’s 33 and I’m in my late-40s!

SUMMER PICK HIT

I’ve had pretty good luck picking future hits.  You may have heard of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, but that one was already well on its way.  However, I’m still waiting for “Get It Tonight” by Erika Jayne with Flo Rida to take off.

Take note of the name Avicii, (pronounced “Uh-vee-che”).  The Swedish DJ will turn 24-years-old in early September just about a week before he releases his debut album, “#True”.

Avicii and Madonna

His career really took off last summer when he remixed “Girl Gone Wild” by Madonna and he became the first DJ to headline at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  Two performances last September were sold out and the first show took less than a minute to sell out!

While he’s had a couple of moderate radio hits in the United States (“Levels” reached #33 last year on the radio airplay and “I Could Be The One” with Nicky Romero peaked at #34 on that same chart earlier this year), his biggest successes domestically has been on the Billboard Dance chart.  Avicii has hit the Top Five with his last four songs:  “Collide” with Leona Lewis and “Levels” both topped that chart, “Silhouettes” reached #4, and “I Could Be The One” was also a #1 Dance hit.

And, the song I’m featuring today made its debut all the way up at #12 this week on the Billboard Dance chart.  It’s at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

HAPPY WEEKEND

I hope you have a fun, safe weekend.  Ray and I are going to relax this weekend.  With the heat and Gretel still at her grandmother’s this weekend, we’ll be spending some time in the pool.  I’m sure the potent potable will be refreshing, even if it isn’t a “Skinny Girl white cranberry Cosmo”.  We drank that yesterday in the pool. 🙂

Pool Time

Anthony