Posts Tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

My First Weekend in Panama City

Hello, my friends!  I hope your week is off to a good start.

I got a lot done Monday after my first weekend of not living in the Quad Cities in more than a decade and my first as an official Florida resident.

I left Friday morning at 6 a.m. and stopped at Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky,  for a leisurely two-hour lunch and visit with my friend since childhood, Steve.   I had garlic shrimp alfredo pasta and “Boo Boo Pie” for dessert (“a rich brownie type pie with a gooey, coconut macaroon filling topped with whipped cream and a cherry”).

Boo Boo

I witnessed a horrible 3-car accident in western Kentucky Friday afternoon and I had three idiots try to cut me off because they were in such a hurry.  I can see why Mario Andrettis do it, but in front of an inexperienced driver of a 15-foot U-Haul towing a car! Really?

On Friday, I drove 950 miles from Moline, Illinois, to Dothan, Alabama.  I definitely got what I paid for with the hotel.  But, after being up for 19.5 hours and driving all but three hours of that time, I didn’t care about the star rating or the loud party animals.  The free breakfast was good, but I quickly ate and hit the road.

The final 80 miles from Dothan, Alabama, to Panama City, Florida on U.S. Route 231 Saturday morning was very enjoyable.

I saw cow pastures, many peanut and produce stands, a bear crossing sign, and other fun stuff.

Pine

It was also fun to see the pine trees transition to palm trees closer to Panama City.

Two movers met me at my apartment to help move my stuff in and the only thing I lost was my computer desk.  One side of the “fake wood” broke.  Ironically, it sat in my bedroom at my old house for eight years and never had a computer on it!

My washer and dryer was delivered Saturday evening, my cable and internet was hooked up Sunday, and the gas was turned on Monday morning.

With no gas, I had to take two cold showers, but it was exhilarating.  Good thing it was in the 80s during the day and it was Florida and not Alaska.

My apartment is spacious, but very awkwardly designed.  I had a hard time trying to figure out the logistics of the furniture for the living room and dining room.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done.  I still have a long way to go.  After sleeping two nights on the couch, I got my bed set up and it felt nice to sleep in.

The apartment complex grounds are very cool.

Ducks

Right off my balcony is a “duck pond”.

There are ducks everywhere, along with turtles, and, at least, two large fish — one that looks like a brown carp and one is white, possibly a koi?

I witnessed two funny things Saturday.  These two ducks got into a loud disturbance in the water.  I don’t know if it was a mating ritual gone bad or the two were fighting over another duck?

Fighting

And, the ice cream truck drove through the complex and a parade of ducks was walking down the middle of the parking lot behind it!  Maybe they were following because of that annoying and creepy ice cream truck music?

Ducks Ice Cream Truck

I did a lot of running around this past weekend to buy things to stock the kitchen and to replace some things I simply forgot to pack.  I’m not a shopper, but I hit about a dozen stores.

I actually bought screwdrivers at Home Depot (how butch), but lost points by buying a plant and three planters. 🙂

Initial thoughts after my first weekend:

(1)  It was great having a Piggly Wiggly again.  It reminds me so much of my childhood in the South!  I found some good bargains there.

Publix was a fun store and I saw a Tres Leches cake that looked divine for when I have company (hint hint Tammy and Ray), and Winn Dixie was nice.  I’ll probably buy most of my groceries from Piggly Wiggly and Walmart.

(2) I was devastated to learn that my complex DOES NOT recycle.  But, from the chats I had around town, recycling is not big here.  Of Florida’s 67 counties, I learned that only twenty have a recycling rate of 50% or higher.  Bay County, where I now live, is not one of those 20!

(3) With that being said, I’ll only buy soda for work now since the 2-liter bottles go in the trash!  I’ll start drinking more water and tea (or fountain soda).

(4) I’ve now heard two different unflattering nicknames for this area, but I’m not going to let either of them cloud my judgment of the people or where I now live.  If people treat me with respect, I’ll do the same to them.  Well, I have a tendency to treat mean people nicer than I should.  🙂  Oh, the names were “Redneck Riviera” and “L.A.” (Lower Alabama)!

45

(5) On Saturday, I saw this very pro-Trump car and I don’t know if they could have found another place for a sticker!

While Iowa went red in the last presidential election and Illinois stayed blue, I definitely live in a “red state” and county now.

I thought about taking my rainbow Hillary sticker off my car before I moved here, but I got busy and never did it.  Now, I’m glad I didn’t!

HC

(6) I loved listening to Sunny 98.5 FM on my way into town.  It’s the equivalent to Mix 96 in the Quad Cities!

(7) Since I didn’t get around to unpacking my kitchen, I bought a garlic-rosemary rotisserie chicken Saturday night and I’ve been eating that for three days now.  As I stated in my last blog, living alone, I don’t eat out a lot.  Since I love to cook, I can’t wait to make my first meal Tuesday.

Next weekend, my apartment should be unpacked and mostly decorated.  So, I plan on treating myself to Chinese buffet or Pizza Hut buffet next Saturday and hitting the beaches for the first time on Sunday!

(8) Finally, I start training at work this week.  I’m not sure when I’ll go on the air for the first time.  As soon as I have a new work Facebook page, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for checking out my thoughts after my first weekend in Panama City.  I’ll have another one soon with pictures of my apartment.

Now I just need to find a second job to pay for all the money I’ve been spending. 🙂

Yesterday, I checked into work for a couple of hours and saw the water for the first time at the Panama City Marina!

Marina

Anthony

 

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

ABBADecember2007

I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 3, 2017

It’s already the first week of March and for the winter weary (even though in the Quad Cities, the winter hasn’t been bad at all), it’s officially “meteorological spring”.

That’s the three months (March, April, and May) sandwiched between the three coldest months of the year and the three hottest of the year.

So, enjoy that and my Random Friday Thoughts.

FOUR YEARS ALREADY 

This past weekend, Facebook alerted me through its “On This Day” feature that I started my new position on “Local 4 News This Morning” four years ago!  Time sure does fly.

Anthony CBS4

When I posted that as my status update, the outpouring of kind comments was heartwarming.  Thank you all so much for following me down the road in the Quad Cities as I continue to do what I love and something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.

But, it wasn’t the four year announcement that got a few people to thinking, it was this line that started off the post, “As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes know where it’ll lead. At other times, the unforeseen detours make it more exciting.”

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

One of my close friends sent me this, “…lately I’ve been having a feeling you may be leaving broadcast weather, or debating doing so…So upon seeing your anniversary post, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an announcement that you were moving on to a different challenge.”

So, that got me to thinking and two things came to mind.

I’ve always been upfront in my daily correspondences with family and friends, in my blog, and on social media.  At times, I’m too brutally honest (a fault, I know — it’s that “tone”)!

Mouth Shut

Kidding aside, when there’s something new to disclose, you know I’ll share it with you.  I’m just honored that some of you really care.

I appreciate that and the feelings are mutual.

AND THE WINNER IS…. NO, WAIT…..

Remember back in 1993 when Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny”?

There are still people today that believe the wrong name was announced and to save face, a correction was never made.  (By the way, Tomei has been nominated two more times since in the Best Supporting Actress category!)

True or not, the climax of the 89th Annual Academy Awards was definitely suspenseful.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Legendary actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” won Best Picture.

Warren Faye.jpg

Well, the winner of Best Picture was actually “Moonlight”!

As the “La La Land” team was making its way on stage, the error was realized and the correct winner was announced.  Awkward!

According to Beatty and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles Oscar voting and the envelopes with the winners, the presenters were handed the envelope for Best Actress, which was won by Emma Stone of “La La Land”.

Sounds logical, but here’s where it gets fishy!

Emma.jpg

Best Actress Stone, who had just picked up her Oscar, says “I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time.”  Stone adds, “I don’t mean to start stuff but whatever story that was, I had that card, so I’m not sure what happened.”

But, the snafu might make sense!  In a 2016 interview, PricewaterhouseCoopers says it makes duplicates of every card.  So, Stone may have had hers and the other one was accidentally handed to Beatty and Dunaway.

Leave it to Hollywood for the drama.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

Since I don’t have HBO, I’m bummed that I have to wait to see “Big Little Lies”, the seven-part series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Alexander Skarsgaard when it comes to DVD.

It’s based on the Liane Moriarty book, which I just read!

I loved that you got almost to the end of the the book before you find out who was killed and who did it.  Now, that’s great storytelling and suspense.

Once I finished the book, I finally checked out the trailer for the series.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that I’m not surprised that the locale moved from Pirriwee, Australia in the book to Monterrey, California, for the series.

I also can’t wait to see the HBO series to find out more about the gun you see in the trailer. I sure don’t want that to be the method of “murder” since the book’s cause of death is much more potent and highly unexpected than a gunshot!

It’s a great, catty, powerful read.

BARBARA BUSH

I have a confession to make.

BB.jpg

When Barbara Bush was the “First Lady” of the United States (1989-1993) and even the eight years that she was the “Second Lady of the United States” (1981-1989), I wasn’t a fan.

There was just something standoffish about her.  It was clear to me that she loved her family, but I just didn’t feel the warmth was genuine.

After reading her book, “A Memoir”, I’ve changed my views quite a bit.  I still think she’s a force to reckon with and I still disagree with her on several things, but that’s part of life.

She is more down-to-earth than I gave her credit for and she accomplished so much in those twelve years.

However, she did say some things that sound so odd today (keep in mind that the book came out in 1994) and very politically incorrect.

But, Ms. Bush gets brownie points with me when she talks about whether or not she thinks the American public likes the First Lady to be front and center.

president-hillary

She writes, “Hillary Rodham Clinton is certainly very much a part of her husband’s decision-making process.  She seems much the stronger of the two.  Does it make him seem weaker?  I am afraid that when problems or controversy occur, and they will, the finger will be pointed at Hillary.”

How prophetic!

It’s great seeing her and former President George H.W. Bush out in public whenever they make appearances these days.

George Barbara

She’s now 91 and he’s 92 (both have June birthdays) and they’re now the the oldest living President and First Lady.

My favorite Commander-in-Chief Jimmy Carter is less than four months younger.  He turns 93 on October 1st.

Jimmy Carter

I still have another Barbara Bush book to read, “Reflections:  Life After the White House”(2003).

And, as I’ve stated before, my favorite Bush family member is former First Lady Laura Bush.

Laura Bush

I still want to meet her one day!

YOUTH SUICIDE RATES IN UTAH

I’m getting caught up on some magazines stacked in my bedroom and I came across an eye-opening fact in a couple of them.

In “Out” (September 2016), it was reported that in Utah, suicide is the number one cause of death for kids ages 10 to 17.

How sad is that!

MORE STARTLING FACTS

In “The Advocate” (June/July 2016), I read these startling facts from John T. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago:

  • Living with obesity increases the odds of an early death by 20%
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases the odds by 30%
  • Loneliness increases odds of an early death by 45%

Damn!  This means some of us aren’t going to live anywhere near forever!

“I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER”

I’m just a bundle of happiness today! 🙂

Maybe this is the perfect time to share my favorite song out right now —  Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.

“MANCHESTER BY THE SEA”

Casey Affleck won the Best Actor award at the Oscars last weekend for his role in this Best Picture nominee.

Affleck was incredible in character, but his character had no likable characteristics.

He plays a Boston janitor with many issues and you learn more of them as the movie goes on.

He’s called home when his brother has a fatal heart attack and he’s asked to raise his teen-aged nephew.  That’s not a spoiler!

Michelle Williams plays Affleck’s ex-wife and is only in a few scenes, but a couple of them were very emotional and earned her an Oscar nomination.

Lucas Hedges played Affleck’s nephew and he’s incredible.  He has some very funny lines that are still rooted in pain.  There’s one scene where he doesn’t speak, but his facial expressions and reaction speaks volumes.

Hedges was also nominated for an Oscar, but didn’t win.

GRADE:  B

“ARRIVAL”

I love Amy Adams and she was great, as always, in this science fiction movie.

I also like sci-fi, too, but this one didn’t blow me away.

While the movie was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (Adams didn’t get a nomination), neither deserved it.

Adams plays a language expert grieving a personal loss and she’s asked to decipher the language of aliens that have landed in different ships around the world.

It just didn’t gel me and I didn’t get excited about the fate of the world or the aliens.

GRADE:  C+

ONE LAST BARBARA BUSH NOTE

One thing that resonated strongly while reading “A Memoir” by Barbara Bush is her response to late actress and two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters (“The Poseidon Adventure”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “A Patch of Blue”, and “A Place in the Sun”).

An upset Winters called the First Lady during “Desert Storm” and wanted President Bush to enact some war act restricting the press from telling all.

Ms. Bush writes, “I tried to explain to this extremely agitated woman that if the President were to do as she asked and put a ban on the press, the hue and cry from one and all would be deafening.”

I agree.

So, where is that deafening cry from one and all today with #45???

ss

Resist!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

Gaga SB.jpg

While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

GagaLatest

That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

sarah-palin-going-rogue-book-cover.jpg

I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

CarterPres

My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

dishing.jpg

Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

BW.jpg

Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 27, 2017

It’s Friday again and the weekend is almost here.

I appreciate you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.  As always, if we disagree and you want to tell me so, do it diplomatically and concisely.

LGBT RIGHTS & CLIMATE CHANGE, GONE!

Moments after #44 became history and America moved on to #45, searching the White House website yielded no results for “LGBT” and “Climate Change”.

white-house-lgbt

In my heart I know what this means and anyone with a functioning brain knows, as well.

At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!

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I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…

If you’ve never watched the U.S. version of the political drama, “House of Cards”, you’re missing one of the most intelligent television shows ever!

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are incredible in the lead roles.  Their characters’ determination, iciness, and conviction to get what they want in the political arena is mesmerizing.

The show gives us the backstory of what really goes on in Washington.  Things are not cut and dry.  While it’s a television show, you know that Beau Willimon, the man behind the American version, is serving you a slice of reality.

He also tweeted that slice of reality last Friday morning!

beau

We’re now at 1,454 days now!

Resist!

ONE LAST COMMENT

Facts:  “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Synonyms of “facts”:  reality, actuality, certainty

kc

So, Kellyanne Conway, “Alternative facts” are LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REBA HEADS INTO A NEW DIRECTION

Country music icon Reba McEntire is heading into a new musical direction with her latest release on February 3rd.

The deluxe version “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” will feature 22 gospel hymns.

Ever since “Sky Full of Angels” from 2003’s “Room To Breathe” album, I was hoping that Reba would record a gospel album.  And, since country radio airplay for her last album, 2015’s “Love Somebody” was pretty much non-existent, this is the perfect time for a change of genres.

The first single is “Back to God”.

Reba, how about a dance-oriented album next since you hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in 1996 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”?

JIMMY CARTER

In September, when visiting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library And Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, I left this message.

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I’d love to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and leave a similar message!

Hope

I hope I have those feelings again for a future president!

HAVEN’T TALKED GAGA IN FOREVER

If you regularly read my blog, you know I love Lady Gaga.  I’ve see her in concert several times and her shows are amazing!

Gaga Las Vegas

However, I wasn’t fond of the musical direction she took on “Joanne”, her latest album, and it’s the first Gaga album I didn’t buy. 😦  (I wasn’t alone.  Sales and radio airplay have paled in comparison with her previous releases!)

She’ll be playing the Super Bowl halftime show next weekend.  While I’m not a football fan, I’ll be watching her performance.

Sources close to Gaga told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that Gaga was informed that she couldn’t mention the 2016 presidential election or the current president.

The NFL says otherwise, “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Ironically, that nameless “source” is quoting another “unsourced” person.  Seriously, grow a pair, face up, and speak up or shut up.

Unless Gaga has gone soft, you know she’ll say and do whatever she wants.

Did Beyonce make a statement last year with “Formation”?  You’re damn right, she did.

Did her career suffer?  One word:  “Lemonade”!

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

This comedy, based on a true story, was my #3 favorite movie of 2016.

It’s about a wealthy woman, Florence Foster Jenkins, who was determined to become a successful singer although she was horrible.

Meryl Streep, who some idiot called “overrated”, was amazing as Jenkins.

On Tuesday, she earned her 20th Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category.

GRADE:  A

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

Also, on Tuesday, I was ecstatic Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the “Best Actor” category for my #2 movie of 2016.

Here’s what I had to say about the movie in December.

“I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT

Calum Scott is best known for appearing on “Britian’s Got Talent” in 2015.

One of the songs he performed on the reality series was “Dancing On My Own”, a remake of Robyn’s 2010 hit.

Scott’s version has already topped the chart in Scotland and reached #2 in Australia and the U.K.

It’s recently just debuted on the American’s Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Scott’s debut album is expected this year.

ORIGINAL VERSION BY ROBYN

Swedish singer Robyn dominate the worldwide charts with this incredible song in 2010.

In America, it was a bigger hit on the Dance Club songs chart.

It reached #3 on both the U.S. and the U.K. dance charts.  But, it hit #1 in Sweden and #2 in Denmark.

“THE SHALLOWS”

It’s winter now, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water and thinking about sharks.

The last two Blake Lively (the beautiful wife of the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds) movies I saw were also on my favorites’ list in the respective years.

She was great in “Savages” (my #7 movie of 2013) and she was incredible in “The Age of Adaline” (my #7 movie of 2015).

I see a trend there.  Will “The Shallows” be my #7 movie of 2017?  Probably not.

However, it was a very enjoyable and realistic movie.

I got a little scared 72 minutes into the 87-minute movie because the plausibility took a little hit.  You realized that while what happened could take place, the stars would really have to align perfectly.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood.  Just go with it.

“Jaws” this isn’t, but it’s worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 20, 2017

It seems like forever since I’ve written a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

While I shared my favorite movies, songs, and albums in blogs in December, I’ve mostly written about the weather lately.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically and concisely.  I won’t put up with tired rants! 🙂

LAST MENTION (HOPEFULLY)

I did share one more blog about you know who yesterday and that means I’ll be trying very hard not to bash him either.  You guessed it —  I’m not referring to him by name.

If you missed that, click here and it’ll open in another window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/fasten-your-seat-belts/

IT’S AN HONOR….

Playing for the president of the United States, regardless of party, would be an honor for any performer.

But, after the decisive 2016 election, singers are catching hell for signing on or skipping this year’s inauguration and parties.

Garth Brooks is facing backlash from some of his conservative fans, but he says his decision not to play the inauguration was because of his world tour.

Brooks says, “We left it up to karma. If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then of course we are out.”

Strong sales prompted him to add three more shows over that weekend.

PresidentObama

Brooks adds, “I’ll tell you with this whole presidential thing: We got one going out. Pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let’s stay together.  Love, unity — that’s what it’s all about.”

As Garth sings in his amazing anthem, “We Shall Be Free”.

https://vimeo.com/8515766

However, it was the other way around for Jennifer Holliday.  When it was announced that the “Dreamgirls” star was planning on performing, the backlash from her fans — people of color and LGBT — was immediate.

Holliday dropped out and apologized.

jh-apology

While I’m happy for that decision, I’m appalled about a reporte that Holliday and her family received death threats once it was initially announced that she would be performing.

hate

If true, those people are as disgusting as the ones spewing their hate and ignorance before and after the 2016 presidential election!

Disgusting!

…BUT YOU’RE NOT DOING IT “FOR THE COUNTRY”.

While I said “it’s an honor” to play for the president, I’ve actually heard some performers say they do it for the country.

I think that’s stretching it quite a bit.

flag

Our uniformed men and women in the armed forces do what they do for the country!

WHERE IS THE SNOW?

It’s now January 20th and it’s been over a month since we’ve had measurable snow in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

Officially, in the Quad Cities,  in Moline, we’re at the same point we were at last winter at this time on snowfall — 13.8″ (as of Thursday).

winter-snow

Typically, we should be at around 16″ at this point in the winter.

Since Davenport had more snow with the first storm of the season in early December, the total there is up to 16.5″ this winter compared to 11.8″ at this point last winter.

No snow is expected until later next week.

“THE WIDOW”

While we’re only a few weeks into the new year, I’ve already finished two books while walking on the treadmill.

I mostly read autobiographies, biographies, or books about real life events.  Occasionally, I’ll read fiction.

Over the past year, my favorites were “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker.

Dietland

If you’re looking for a thriller with the “Gone Girl”-like twist of who’s telling the truth and what is real and what isn’t, “The Widow” by Fiona Barton is a great book to check out.

widow.jpg

Jeanie is now a widow and is being pursued by journalists to tell her story after her husband Glen is hit by a bus.

But, this isn’t the first time that she felt badgered by the television and print reporters.  The last time, it was mostly about Glen and a crime for which he was charged.

There’s also twists and turns centering around a missing child and internet porn.

“DON’T BREATHE”

This psychological thriller is now out on DVD and it’s definitely worth catching.

Three down on their luck young adults are breaking into houses in Detroit and selling what they steal for money.   Yet, they feel they’re not getting the money they deserve for the stolen merchandise.

So, they decide to target one more person, an Army veteran, who won a settlement from a wealthy family after their daughter killed his only daughter in a car accident.

He appears to be an easy target because he’s blind.  Big mistake!

Let’s just say you’ll never look at a turkey baster the same way again! If your mind is already reeling, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking! 🙂

This thriller was very successful.  It made $155.1 million on a $10 million budget!

GRADE:  A

“LIGHTS OUT”

While “Don’t Breathe” is a psychological thriller and I love those types of crime capers, “Lights Out” is more of a suspenseful, supernatural movie.

It’s like an extended movie version of an episode of “The X-Files”.

A family is left to pick up the pieces after the dad is murdered at his business by something that can only be seen when it’s dark — “lights out”.

His wife, played by Maria Bello, suffers from a mental illness.

She sinks further into depression after her husband’s death and their adolescent son, Martin, is becoming more and more distressed after seeing his mother talk to a third unseen “person” in the room.

Unable to sleep, he falls asleep in school and goes to stay with his grown sister.  We learn that she left home because of her mother’s behavior.

It’s all because of Diana and Diana’s identity drives this movie.

The $5 million movie made close to $149 million and a sequel is in the works,

GRADE:  B

MORE FROM TERESA PALMER

Teresa Palmer is the star of “Lights Out” and she’s phenomenal.

Although movie goers will recognize her from “Warm Bodies”, “I Am Number Four”, “The Grudge 2”, and “Hacksaw Ridge”, I first saw the Australian actress in her incredible second movie, “2:37” from 2006.

If you come across it, it’s definitely worth checking out.

JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

I saw Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in 2007.  She was amazing, as usual.

JH.jpg

Most people remember her as Effie White in her Tony Award-winning role on Broadway in “Dreamgirls”.

That show also gave Holliday her only Top 40 hit on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.  It reached #22 in 1982.  (That song also reached #1 on the R&B charts and won her a Grammy Award.)

Holliday has also scored six Top Ten hits on the Billboard Dance charts.

“And I Am Telling You…” hit the Top Ten twice, in 2001 and 2007, but it didn’t chart when the song came out originally in 1982!

She’s also topped the dance chart twice with “No Frills Love” — in 1985 in its original release and again in 1996!

This is my favorite Holliday song!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Fasten Your Seat Belts!

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

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

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

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

DT Masks

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

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

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

WWZ Airplane Scene

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

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

Trump

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

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

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

It’s going to be a long four years.

ss

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

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

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

HeatherMooney

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

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

bedelia

Bon Appetit!

Anthony