Posts Tagged ‘HIV’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 26, 2019

It was great last week sharing some random thoughts with you, along with my funny story involving the movie and the very graphic sex scene! 🙂

This week, I learned first hand to be careful what you write (especially if you have a blog) in today’s technological age!

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

WAIT!  I SAID WHAT???

Writers calls it “foreshadowing”.  I’d probably call it something with expletives!

Five years ago, on the Fourth of July, I reviewed a movie that really touched me and I shared a personal anecdote.

It was the Chilean drama “Gloria” and I said it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.”

In it, Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee facing single life again after her two grown child moved out.  But, Gloria didn’t just sit at home.  She went out drinking and socializing to meet men — hoping she’d find “the one”.

In that blog, I added, I was so impressed with her strength and determination”.  I also wrote about finally finding “the one” and summed “Gloria” up with “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

Wait, what was that again? “I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!”

How prophetic in 2014 that I’d be talking about my own life in 2019 as I approach my mid-50s single for over two years!

Olivia Pope wine.gif

Reading that was definitely a “WTF” moment!

However, “I GOT THIS”!  I’ve already shared with you that 2020 is the year for change.  I’ll take back my life and start living again!

#NextChapter2020 and #Pug2020

“Gloria” ended up being one of my 20 favorite movies in 2014.

Here’s how I ended my review of the movie, “Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.”

GRADE:  A

“GLORIA BELL”

I absolutely love Julianne Moore, but I had serious reservations about whether I wanted to see director Sebastian Lelio’s re-imagining of his original “Gloria”.

Well, I rented it and Moore and John Turturro were amazing.  Except for Americanizing the soundtrack and Moore freely exposing herself with confidence, I couldn’t wait for the movie to be over!

If you love Moore and you haven’t seen the original, rent it and you’ll enjoy it.  Otherwise, rent the original!

GRADE:  C+

“POSE”

Although the second season debuted back in early June on FX, real life got in the way of me catching up on this amazing drama.

pose

After watching the first episode of season two, “Acting Up”, I saved it to watch again!  It was the absolute best episode of the young, incredible series!

Season two picks up three years after the first season (1987).

Last season, two characters learned they’re HIV-positive.  “Acting Up” is about their fight to stay alive when so many of their friends are dying at an alarming rate and the government could care less about their suffering!

It also touched on the fear of taking the life-saving, but also toxic new drug AZT — the only HIV/AIDS drug available at the time.

pose billy porter

For the first season, Billy Porter (Pray Tell) and the show both picked up Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Television Awards nominations.

Both were just nominated for Emmys this year!  This makes Porter the first openly gay black man to be nominated in the “Outstanding Lead Actor” drama category!

I also wish that Mj Rodriguez (Blanca Rodriguez-Evangelista) had gotten a nomination, too.

One final note about season two:  it’s now 1990 and Madonna just released “Vogue”, which brought the underground ball scene of New York City to a mainstream audience!

Here’s Candy (Angelica Ross) in her “Blonde Ambition” best!

Candy as Madonna

Next week, I want to talk about the powerful fourth episode, “Never Knew Love Like This Before”.  Why not this week?  I want to give you a chance to get caught up!

spoiler-alert

“Pose” is already renewed for a third season!

As Pray Tell says, “THE CATEGORY IS LIVE.WORK.POSE.”

FIVE MONTHS TO CHRISTMAS

Christmas is now less than five months away!

Recently, it was announced that actress/singer Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be starring in the ABC holiday movie, “Same Time, Next Christmas”, in December.

Lea Michele Christmas.JPG

She’ll also be releasing her first Christmas album later this year!

THIS CHRISTMAS(LAND) GIVE ME THE CREEPS

The ten-episode AMC series, “NOS4A2”, wraps up Sunday night and has already been renewed for a second season of Christmas horror!

It’s a “supernatural horror drama” that’s pretty damn creepy because Christmas and child abductions drive the story line.

Zachary Quinto (“Star Trek”) is unrecognizable, at times, as the immortal 135-year-old Charlie Manx!

A young woman, “Vic” McQueen, realizes she has a supernatural ability to track down Manx, who feeds off the souls of children.

He then drops the living, yet soulless kids, off at Christmasland.  It’s a very twisted part of Manx’s imagination where every day is Christmas Day!

By the way, it’s pronounced “Nosferatu”.

GRADE (before the finale):  B

SLOW DOWN CHRISTMAS, LET’S TALK HALLOWEEN!

Last week, Jamie Lee Curtis posted on Twitter that not one, but two more “Halloween” movies are on the way!

Capture

On October 16, 2020, “Halloween Kills” hits theaters and then the following fall on October 15, 2021, “Halloween Ends”!

“Halloween (2018)”, the eleventh movie in the franchise, was critically acclaimed and made $255.5 million worldwide!

Halloween

As we all know, “You can’t kill the boogeyman!”

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Since I talked about “Gloria”, I want to take a moment to memorialize Laura Branigan, who died of a brain aneurysm at her home almost fifteen years on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, three reached the top ten:  the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.

It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — November 30, 2018

Can you believe that 2018 is already winding down?  I admit that the second half of the year was better for me than the first and I’m excited about 2019!

While I have a couple of more blogs coming this year, this will likely be the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2018.

Thanks for checking it out!

Happy Holidays!

White Red Christmas

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st marks the 30th anniversary of “World AIDS Day” — it originated in 1988 to raise awareness to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

We now live in an age where, with proper medication and taking it as prescribed, HIV is a treatable disease and those that are HIV-positive can live with “undetectable” viral loads, which mean they cannot spread the virus.

Yet, in 2017, 38,739 people in the U.S. and six dependent areas (American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands) became HIV-positive.

STOP AIDS

People, have sex, but use condoms!

This isn’t just to keep from contracting or spreading HIV, STIs are on the rise!

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the highest number of STIs ever in the U.S.!

I read an interesting “Out” magazine article in May 2018 quoting veteran AIDS activist Peter Staley.

Staley.JPG

Staley says that an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease (which killed a reported 34 people in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1976) prompted the “New York Times” to write 62 stories on the outbreak — 11 of them appeared on the front page.

He added that before AIDS ever got a front page story in “The New York Times”, more than 6,000 people were already dead.

Staley:  “Imagine if the Times put AIDS on the front page 11 times in 1981.  How would that have changed the course of the epidemic?”

FINAL THOUGHTS ON HIV

If you don’t know your status, get tested.  It’s painless and knowing one way or the other is the first step to healthy or healthier living!!!

“CAUTION”

The incredible, the incomparable Mariah Carey is back with “Caution”!

It debuted at #5 on the Billboard 200 becoming her 18th Top Ten album and it topped the R& B album chart!

MC

The album contains ten fantastic songs.  Seven of them are flawless and classic Mimi!

In addition to the two songs I’m featuring below, the other five standouts are the title track, “A No No”, “The Distance”, “Giving Me Life” and “8th Grade”.

Even the three other songs on “Caution” are great!

In September, Mariah’s teased the album with “GTFO” and I think it’s one of the most awesome songs on the album!

Yes, GTFO stands for what you think it does!!!!!!!!! 🙂

“With You”, the first official single is already in the Top Ten in Hungary and here in the U.S., it’s just outside the Top Ten on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary, Adult R&B Songs, and Hot R&B Songs charts!!!!!!

The album is beyond amazing, so GTFO and get it now. 🙂

GRADE:  B+

MARIAH CHRISTMAS!

Not only is Mariah’s new album in the Top 5 on the big chart, she’s also in the Top 5 on the Billboard Holiday Album chart with 1994’s “Merry Christmas”!

MC B200

And, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” made its debut this season on the Hot 100 at #29!

“SONS OF ANARCHY”

I just finished the FX series “Sons of Anarchy”.  It really was a binge-watching event!

This includes psuedo-spoilers!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

I was on the third (of seven) seasons when I found out that it was leaving Netflix on December 1st!

That meant I had to watch the last 56 episodes in three weeks or less.  I did it!

If you’re not familiar, the 2008-2014 series is about a northern California “motorcycle club” that dealt heavily in guns, drugs, prostitution, and porn, along with violence and a lot of sex!

It starred the amazing Charlie Hunnam (Jax) and Katey Sagal (Gemma).

Charlie Katey

I really enjoyed the first two seasons.

SEASONS 1 & 2 GRADE:  A

While still good, the series began to drag a bit when it became repetitious with the same story lines, the same violence and who would be the bad guys this season (the Irish, blacks, Mexicans, white supremacists, etc.)

SEASONS 3, 4, 5 GRADE:  B

While Gemma and Jax were my early on favorites, as the series went on I fell in love with Dr. Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff) and Sheriff Wayne Unser (Dayton Callie), two characters that were the closest thing to a “moral compass” for the show. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As season six progressed, the show was down to its last two seasons and an end game was in sight!

Two major characters were killed off!  Well, that sounds too innocent.

Season six ended with the most horrific and brutal scene involving two main characters on the series!!!

I knew it wasn’t going to end well for the one character, but I didn’t expect the brutality and the viciousness of the murder!  WOW, but incredible!

SEASON 6 GRADE:  A

Skip the horrible last season!

Except for two scenes in two different episodes and the highlight of the season, the “Red Rose” episode, it was unbearably stupid!

Watch the series through the sixth season, watch the “Red Rose” episode in season seven, and the last ten minutes of the series finale!

SEASON 7 GRADE:  D

OVERALL GRADE: B

“SONS OF ANARCHY” FUNNY

Al Bundy.jpg

SANTA CHARLIE!

Thanks to my sister for sending me this.

And, we don’t have to sexist!  Ladies aren’t the only ones that might be interested in a new Santa Baby! 🙂

Santa Jax.jpg

LAST RANDOM THOUGHTS IN 2018

Next year, I don’t want to be thinking of “last Christmas”.

I want to be celebrating with fun, sexy friends.  Okay, they really don’t have to be “sexy”, just lively and fun!

And, this very chic or elegant (whichever word you prefer) video is my inspiration! 🙂

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The latest installment of FX’s “American Horror Story”, “Apocalypse”, wrapped up a very uneven season.

It was incredible seeing Joan Collins and Jessica Lange again!

And, I love this t-shirt modeled by star Evan Peters!

Evan Peters

So, what are your favorite and least favorite seasons?  Here’s my rankings:

#8 “Freak Show” (season four, 2014) — The highlight!

american-horror-story-freak-show

#7 “Hotel” (season five, 2015)

#6 “Roanoke” (season six, 2016)

#5 “Apocalypse” (season eight, 2018)

#4 ” Coven” (season three, 2013)

#3 “Murder House” (season one, 2011)

#2 “Cult” (season seven, 2017)

Nasty Woman

#1 “Asylum (season two, 2012)

American Horror Story Asylum

And, we’re still living the continuing episode of the real “American Horror Story”.

ahs dt

PICK HIT

Kylie Minogue is the last of my divas that I still haven’t seen in concert.  Hopefully, in the fall of 2019!

“Golden” is my favorite album of 2018 and here’s the latest video.

Isn’t Jack Savoretti just so adorable????  Okay, that question can be rhetorical! 🙂

“DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS”

THEY SAID WHAT???

House of Cards.JPG

Cody Fern on his first day on the “House of Cards” set for the final season:  “I was so intimidated because I’ve been watching HoC longer than I’ve been acting.  The first day, I walk down the hallway and Robin [Wright] says, ‘Cody’ because we met at the reading.  And I said, ‘Claire’.  On my God!  I could have vomited.”

Director John Waters on what worse than Taffy (“Female Trouble”) joining the Hare Krishna, “Worse than a Hare Krishna?  I suppose a Trump supporter!”

“12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, my blog about the holidays wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include this twisted version of the holiday classic! 🙂

AND, THIS MORE RECENT FUN ONE!  

“You ruined my Christmas, you made it a drag!” — classic Boy George!

He co-wrote the song and directed the video!

Thank you. 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 1, 2017

Welcome to December!

I hope you’re getting into the holiday spirit.  I am, but I’m also ready for this dreadful year to end and start anew in 2018.

While I’m glad the upcoming royal wedding is giving us a slight breather from mass shootings and the shameful cesspool of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, television news, and politics, I’m already over the talk of Prince Harry and his actress fiancee. *

With this comment, you can tell that starting anew and positive is still a month away. 🙂

* Oops, I spoke too soon.  After I wrote that paragraph earlier in the week, Matt Lauer was fired from “The Today Show”!

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

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st is “World AIDS Day”.

It was started in 1988 to raise awareness about the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

While we now have medications, when that taken properly, that allow those living with HIV to live a long, full life, that wasn’t always the case.

We still have a world of people that are still not being treated for HIV and AIDS because of the cost of medication and the fact that many in this country and the world don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.

People, if you’re sexually active (even in a relationship), get tested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HIV-POSITIVE & UNDETECTABLE

Great news coming in the fight against the spread of HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that HIV-positive people that are being treated and with undetectable viral loads CANNOT spread the HIV virus to others.

This is fantastic news in the fight against HIV and for serodiscordant couples — where one is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative.

While this is a huge step forward, people still need to be aware of the other sexually transmitted infections out there that are rampant in both the LGBT and straight communities!

THANKING PRESIDENT BUSH

While I agreed with a few things that President George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

STOP AIDS

One of the things I’m most proud of came in the early part of his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Thank you again, President Bush!

By the way, I still love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d love to meet President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

Laura Bush

LOVE ANA’S HONESTY!

If you’re not familiar with Ana Navarro, she’s a Republican strategist and political commentator who’s not afraid to be honest — she doesn’t care what political party!

CONGRATS REBA!

Congratulations to Reba McEntire on the Grammys nomination for her first gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”!

reba-faith

It earned a nomination in the BEST ROOTS GOSPEL ALBUM category.

While “Pray To God” didn’t get nominated, Reba is getting country radio airplay for the latest single, “God and My Girlfriends”!

It debuted on the Billboard Country Airplay chart at #54 and is expected to move up some week!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

“Call Me By Your Name”, the critically-acclaimed LGBT love story, is the movie that I most want to see.  But, it won’t be until early 2018 that I’ll get that chance since it’s only in limited release now.

However, it opened in four theaters last weekend and grossed an eye-opening $103,233 per screen average.

That was the biggest per screen average of 2017 and it was good enough to debut at #14 for the weekend ($412,932) — again, in just 4 theaters!!!

call me

“BEACH RATS”

While I await the wide release of “Call Me By Your Name”, I checked out “Beach Rats”, a movie that’s getting a lot of buzz, too.

It’s nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Harris Dickinson) and Best Cinematography.

21-year-old East London newcomer Dickinson plays Frankie, a young man wasting away his summer hanging out with his friends on the Brooklyn boardwalk drinking, doing drugs, and watching fireworks.

This isn’t just a “coming-of-age” summer for Frankie.  His dad is dying of cancer and he’s secretly meeting older men for sex in public wooded areas.  The struggle with his sexuality is something he keeps from his girlfriend, his family, and his friends for much of the movie.

Dickinson is a bright new talent and earns the rave reviews he’s getting for his acting.  And, that has nothing to do with how cute he is or his gorgeous body! 🙂

GRADE:  A-

“MUDBOUND”

This poignant Netflix drama takes place in poverty-stricken and backwards Mississippi in the 1940s.

It tells the story of a white family with a racist patriarch that ends up having to live on the land of an African American family.

Casey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks lead an excellent cast.

However, the standouts are Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, the two sons — one from each family — returning from war.  The friendship that forms between them is very touching.

I know it’s a period piece, but the frequency of use of the n-word, the blatant racism, and the graphic violence at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan are still painful to watch.  But, the movie is powerful.

I really wish I had seen more of Mary J. Blige.

If you check out “Mudbound”, stay for the amazing Blige song playing over the credits.

GRADE:  B

BINGE WATCH “THE BRAVE”

I’m really enjoying this freshman NBC action series.

The winter finale was very suspenseful and with the holidays, you have a chance to binge watch the nine episodes before it returns January 1, 2018!

For God & Country - Season Pilot

Here’s what I had to say about the series earlier in the fall:

I checked out one of the new fall series, “The Brave”, on NBC, mainly because I have a crush on Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield” and “Under The Dome”).  It was very entertaining and suspenseful and the pilot episode ended with a major cliffhanger, so I’ll be back next week to see what happens.

And, in November, I mentioned the series again and added, Still enjoying this thriller, yet it seems like every time they go up against terrorists, they always win without causalities.  That’s a good thing because this show has the most beautiful cast!

JAMES TAYLOR

Speaking of beautiful, I was just reading an old “Rolling Stone” magazine and came across this 1969 photo of James Taylor!  Holy moly!

JT 1969

You probably remember him from his hits “Fire and Rain” (#3, 1970) and “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1, 1971).

COUNTRY RADIO SHOWING A LITTLE LOVE FOR…

Shania Twain’s second single from “Now”, “We Got Something They Don’t” is getting some radio airplay at country stations.

The lead single, “Life’s About to Get Good” only reached #33 on Billboard Country, but it reached #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

MOST PLAYED CHRISTMAS SONGS

Christmas music is taking over the airwaves now, especially at adult contemporary stations, which have gone to 24-hour holiday music.

Earlier this week, I shared the 10 most played Christmas songs last year, according to Nielsen Music.

Let me just say that I was shocked at what was #1!

It wasn’t “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey or, sadly, my favorite Christmas song, “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters.

The most played Christmas song last year was by a Puerto Rican singer.  It was released in 1970 and didn’t even crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it peaked at #44.

#1

Find out what that song is and if your guess was in the Top Ten!  Click on the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/oh-lord-christmas-music/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

I don’t even want to think of my “Last Christmas” because it would sadden me.

However, this fun, upbeat, chic remake of the Wham! classic is okay to think about. 🙂

If you’ve never seen Cascada’s cool version, here it is.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 2, 2016

The weekend is almost here and can you believe in just three weekends, it’s Christmas already.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Since I took a break last week on my “Random Friday Thoughts” since people were shopping and eating leftovers, here’s a short version for this week.

HELLO DECEMBER AND WINTER!

UPDATED POST:  early Saturday, December 3, 2016

If you follow my forecast on “Local 4 News This Morning” or my blogs for winter weather updates, you know I always tell you to keep up on the changing forecast when snow is coming.  There’s a good reason.  Small changes in the forecast can have big implications.

Here’s an update on the three weather systems that I first told you about Friday morning in my blog and on-air:

Saturday Night:  Rain and snow will develop late and change over to snow.

Sunday:  Moderate snow in the morning changing to rain in the afternoon.

Since the ground is still relatively warm and part of the precipitation will come down as a mix or rain, accumulations will mainly be on grassy and elevated surfaces.

We could anywhere for 1-3″ of slushy snow.  It’ll start to melt away during the afternoon.

Monday Night & Tuesday:  Wintry mix still possible.  It’s not looking too impressive this morning.

Wednesday and Wednesday Night bigger snow:  This may very well not happen!  Stay tuned.  The cold air will definitely be coming in late week!

However, since we may not get a blanket of snow Wednesday night and Thursday, lows later in the week may only drop into the teens and not the single digits.

If we get a blanket of snow Wednesday and Wednesday night, then lows in the single digits are still possible.

Stay up on the latest forecast.  This is a developing and changing weather pattern.

March Snow

ORIGINAL POST:  early Friday, December 2, 2016

After the third warmest November on record in the Quad Cities, winter will be making its return to Iowa and Illinois to welcome December.

Over the next week, we have three chances of seeing some snow accumulation.

Late Saturday night and early Sunday, snow may accumulate on grassy and elevated surfaces.  Early indications show an inch or two possible.  That will melt away Sunday.

winter

Another system could bring some grassy accumulation Monday night and early Tuesday.

However, we could be seeing a winter storm Wednesday and Wednesday night.  As of this writing, there is low confidence in the details and the models are not very consistent.

This will have to monitored closely because depending on how this develops, we could be talking little or no snow or a lot of snow.

One thing is certain.  Late next week, we’ll see the coldest blast of air this season with highs only in the lower half of 20s and lows could drop to the single digits!

Brrrrr!!!!!!

“LOVE IS THE CURE”

If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s (and through “The Lion King” and “Candle in the Wind”, the 1990s), you have been touched by the genius of Elton John’s music.

During that same time period, you also heard a lot about Elton’s personal life since he was a pop music superstar.  That’s an understatement — he’s an icon.

He’s also a great humanitarian.  His 2012 book, “Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, he shares the struggles he went through to give more of himself to fight HIV and AIDS.

Love is the Cure.jpg

If you missed my thoughts on Elton, the book, and “World AIDS Day”, here’s the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/love-is-the-cure-to-end-aids/

After you read the touching stories in that blog, check out the book.  It’s an incredible read.

A MONSTER BEHIND THAT PRETTY SMILE

Since we’re talking about AIDS, Donald Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser pick, Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland is a monster behind that pretty smile.

kt

In 2006, when the New York Times Magazine was writing an article on McFarland, they found a 1992 letter she wrote to her parents shortly after finding out her brother, Michael Troia, had AIDS.

She reportedly wrote, “Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other?”  She added, “He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.

Michael died of AIDS in 1995.

McFarland goes on to elaborate and say that her father was an abusive parent, who beat them with belts and waved guns in their faces.

Responding to the allegations, her father denied them and offered to take a lie detector test.  Her other brother, Tom, living in Janesville, Wisconsin, at the time of the magazine article replied, “If I had one word to describe my sister, it would be ‘evil.’ ”

Not surprising, the people Trump has chosen for his cabinet are all anti-LGBT.

It’s going to be a fun four years!  (Note: sarcasm.)

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

Since I opened Pandora’s box by mentioning his name…

Pre-election, Donald Trump talked about a “rigged” election.  When he won the electoral vote, there was no big proclamations from Trump about the rigged elections.

Now that there’s talk of recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump has plenty to say, especially in incoherent tweets and rants.

He’s even saying that millions of California votes are illegal.

Even in victory, he’s such a “sore loser”.  It might have something to do with the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than two million votes and that number is still climbing as votes are still being counted.  Little man!

Hey, Donald, why don’t we just have a total recount or better yet, why don’t we have another election before the holidays and monitor the voting process even closer.

DT Masks

One final note and I actually agree with Trump on this one:  Burning an American flag is just wrong (but allowed by the freedom of free speech).

flag

However, here’s where I disagree with him.

Being threatened with losing citizenship or being imprisoned for burning the American flag sounds a lot like Russia — but, then again, Donald and Russia are friends, so I hear!

ARETHA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM

“The Queen of Soul” is earning mixed reviews for her Thanksgiving Day performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Vikings-Lions football game.

The gospel-tinged song clocked in at 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

Comments on the performance have ranged from “stirring” and “memorable” to “punishingly long”.

YouTube “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” are two to one positive.

What do you think?

LOSING FAITH IN “THE WALKING DEAD”

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” started off strong with the second highest ratings in the series history with 17 million viewers.

Last weekend’s episode dropped to the lowest ratings (10.4 million viewers) since season three when the ratings were still rising.

The fifth and sixth episodes this season were two of my least favorites.  Maybe I should look at it as a baseball game.  Those two episodes were strikes, so either this weekend, I need a base hit or I’m out.  I’m not interested in a foul or a ball.

Andrew Lincoln

Bring Rick (Andrew Lincoln) back and you’ll, at least, have my attention!

I’m not saying I want the show to be cancelled, but if it doesn’t come to life soon, maybe an end date should be set!

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

As the days get shorter and winter settles in, we find ourselves watching more television and movies.

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

“HELL OR HIGH WATER”

Since I just mentioned the “Critics’ Choice Award” nominations, “Hell Or High Water” was nominated for six — “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Original Screenplay”, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster for “Best Supporting Actor”, and “Best Acting Ensemble”.

Chris Pine, Bridges, and Foster are incredible in this crime caper about a couple of brothers (Pine and Foster) on a bank robbing spree across west Texas.

Bridges plays a Texas Rangers nearing retirement when he gets the assignment of catching these small town crooks.

What makes this story compelling is learning the motivation of why the brothers need the money.

What’s also thrilling is that you know things will probably turn out badly for some or all of the characters.  It’s a crime drama, so don’t expect a truly happy ending.

GRADE:  B

BASHING “CHRISTIANS”

I love Christmas and I always smile when I hear people get bent out of shape about those who write “Merry Xmas”.  That takes “Christ” out of “Christmas”.

christ-in-chrismas

But, what about the “Christians”, who conveniently leave “Christ” our of their life.  Those are the ones I have issues with in this blog I shared last week.

Many have checked it out and here’s that link if you didn’t get a chance to read it.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you can continue reading today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

Happy  whatever you celebrate this holiday season!

ANOTHER CHANCE “THIS CHRISTMAS” FOR OLIVIA & JOHN

Each Christmas, I buy some of the new holiday offerings.  This year, I got “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and “A Very Kacey Christmas” by Kacey Musgraves and would recommend both of them.

I also bought the latest Straight No Chaser album, “I’ll Have Another…Christmas Album” and I really wish I had said, “No thanks.”

Don’t waste your time or money on it. Instead, pick up their other two Christmas albums, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition”.

Earlier this week, I also decided to give “This Christmas” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John from 2012 another listen.

I’ve avoided this album for four years now!

John Olivia Christmas

This is what I wrote about it at the time:  “I’ll get the bad news out of the way first and then focus on the good.  The opening song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, is probably the worst version I’ve ever heard.  As much as I love Olivia, she couldn’t get “Physical” enough to save this disaster!  Three songs later, “This Christmas” would have been better without John’s vocals.”

On the listen four years later, their version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is still painful and the worst version I’ve ever heard.

However, while Travolta is definitely the weak link and Olivia soars as usual, I enjoyed it a lot more this time and Travolta actually does a decent job on “Silent Night” and a few others.

What I wrote four years ago about “I Think You Might Like It” still holds true today, “It’s a very fun song and if I close my eyes while listening to it, I see Danny & Sandy in “Grease” dancing to it around the Christmas tree.

2012  GRADE:  C+

2016 GRADE:  B

ANOTHER TAKE ON OLIVIA’S “PHYSICAL”

I’ve never watched “The Real O’Neals” on ABC Tuesday nights, but this scene looks pretty funny and that so would have been me as a teenager if I had gone to a gym.

16-year-old Kenny (Noah Galvin) wants to check out the fitness center after seeing a sexy guy on the cover of a brochure.

This seems like the perfect time for the original again.

Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” was the biggest song of the 1980s.  It spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from November 1981 to January 1982!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

“Love Is the Cure” To End AIDS

We all know that Elton John is an incredible musician and, since the 1970s, he’s been part of the soundtrack of our lives.

I was fortunate to see him in concert in Las Vegas in October 2012 for my birthday.

Elton LasVegas

Elton John is a survivor (drugs, alcohol, and an eating disorder).

He’s also a great humanitarian.

That’s what I want to talk about today on “World AIDS Day”, a day started on December 1, 1988, to remember those fallen by AIDS, to encourage those living with HIV and AIDS to fight, and to raise awareness, educate the public, and prevent future infections.

world aids day

We don’t hear stories about AIDS today as much as we did in the 1980s and 1990s, but “World AIDS Day” is still very important to remember.

Today, 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV and AIDS and of that number, 1.8 million are children.

elton-john-costume

In the 1970s and 1980s, Elton admitted to having unprotected sex and says he was very lucky he didn’t contract HIV, the infection that causes AIDS.

From the summer of 1981 through December 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that close to 775-thousand people were infected with AIDS in the United States alone and, of that number, about 448-thousand died.

elton_John_ryan_white

While Elton spiraled out of control through the 1980s, it wasn’t until he met Indiana teenager Ryan White, who contracted HIV and AIDS through blood transfusions, in the mid-1980s that he realized he had to turn his life around to stay alive.  He checked into rehab in the early-1990s and has been sober and clean ever since then.

While he recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1986 with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to raise awareness and money for AIDS research, Elton knew that song and the AIDS benefits he performed weren’t enough.

He formed the “Elton John AIDS Foundation” in 1992 in the United States (1993 in the United Kingdom) and has raised more than $200 million dollars to fund innovative HIV prevention and education programs and for direct care and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.

love-is-the-cure

“Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, Elton’s 2012 book, is an excellent read.

While it does give some eye-opening stats on HIV and AIDS, the book has a heart and it tugs at yours.

Throughout the book’s lean 219 pages, he talks of the friends he’s lost (Freddie Mercury of Queen) and two heroes that defied convention to raise awareness of AIDS — Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

elton-hillary

He shares stories of politicians who have been instrumental in the fight against HIV and AIDS — Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and George W. Bush!  Yes, despite his short-comings in the LGBT community, Bush made a huge contribution in the fight against AIDS during his presidency.

In “Love is the Cure”, Elton also tells stories of lesser known heroes in the fight against AIDS and ignorance and raising awareness — Elizabeth Glaser and Fumana (a South African rape victim, now HIV-positive, who uses her status and survival as a talking tool to educate others in that country to fight against the stigma of HIV).

HIV AIDS

Poor Sub-Saharan countries in Africa and the gay community aren’t the only groups that HIV and AIDS are ravaging today.

We have those places right here in the United States — the South is being hit hard and some parts of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., are devastated with HIV and AIDS.

And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

Yes, Indiana — while Vice-President elect Mike Pence was governor and before he was picked to be second in command in the U.S.

Also, while the HIV rates are still climbing in the younger LGBT community here in America, the heteorosexual black community is seeing the rates of infection skyrocketing.

STOP AIDS

Last year alone, 2.1 million people became HIV-positive and, sadly, only 60% of people know they are HIV-positive.  That means that 40% of the people that are HIV-positive don’t even know their status and could be spreading HIV without even being aware of it!

GET TESTED!  It’s painless and simpleand it could save your life!

love-is-the-cure

Elton John says that the fight against AIDS can only be won when there’s no stigma associated with the disease.

Every person that is HIV-positive, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, their color, their age, their profession, or their religion, needs to be treated for the infection and the disease.

He says how that person contracted HIV and AIDS should not be a factor in getting treatment.  A sex worker should be given the same compassion as someone who became HIV-positive through a blood transfusion.

Elton says eliminating that stigma with HIV and AIDS starts with love — “Love is the Cure”.

This is a book that every person needs to read — NOW!

In honor of Elton’s contributions in the fight against AIDS, for love and compassion, and for eliminating the stigma that HIV-positive people encounter, I’m sharing these two powerful songs.

Love!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 29, 2014

Happy Friday and surprise as I’ve put together some random thoughts to kick off the weekend!  I hope it’s a good one.

BIRTHDAY TRIP IS STILL ON

My 50th birthday vacation and celebration is now just six weeks away and it’s still on.

In case you didn’t read my blog from last Friday, the conflict between Israel and Palestine has us, at least, reconsidering that leg of the trip.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Here’s that blog that talks about both continents that we plan on visiting.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/50th-birthday-plans-revealed/

THE LATE GREAT, GRACEFUL ARTHUR ASHE

Since I’ve been walking on the treadmill so much this year to prepare me for my fall trips, I’ve read many books.

I just finished “Days of Grace” by tennis great Arthur Ashe, who won three Grand Slam tournaments:  the U.S. Open in 1968, the Australian Open in 1970, and Wimbledon in 1975 against Jimmy Connors.

Arthur Ashe - Days of Grace

In this book, Ashe not only talked about his tennis achievements and disappointments, but also about growing up in a very segregated Richmond, Virginia, in the 1950s.

Even as he became a tennis professional playing in tournaments around the world, Ashe still faced obstacles.  If not facing blatant racism, there were those including his friend, fellow tennis legend Billie Jean King, that expected him to react differently to certain situations and she teased him.

She once said, “I’m blacker than Arthur“.  Ashe responded to that in the book with “I suppose she meant that I was not impulsive or explosive enough.  Maybe I should have called her a name, or slapped her around a little, and thus demonstrated my ‘blackness.’  Unfortunately, I don’t call people names, and I have never slapped anybody in my life.  Besides, she might slap me back.”

In the book that was co-written by Arnold Rampersad, Ashe talked at length about the heart attack in July 1979 and the quadruple bypass five months later that ended his tennis playing career.  Another heart surgery in 1983 to correct the first bypass would change his life forever.

Ashe needed a blood transfusion after that surgery that infected him with HIV, the virus that leads to AIDS.  However, it wasn’t until he had paralysis in his hand in late 1988 that doctors discovered that not only had he been infected with HIV, but that he had developed AIDS.

HIV AIDS

He talked a lot in the book about the the moral and religious aspects of sexuality.

“I want them to be familiar with the teachings of the Bible and with other religious doctrines.  Because of AIDS, however, I am equally committed to the policy of giving condoms, as well as the bare, unvarnished factors about sex and AIDS, to students.  I want adolescents caught up for the first time in the sizzling heat of sex to know scientifically about the penis, the vagina, and the rectum; about blood, sperm, and mucous membranes; about pregnancy, viruses, and the fatality of HIV.  In the midst of an epidemic that will only grow worse, I have no time for evasions and euphemisms or other timidly genteel deceptions in teaching young people who are either sexually active or on the brink of becoming so.”

Ashe died on February 6, 1993, at the age of 49, just a week after he finished writing his part of “Days of Grace”.

THE HUNDRED FOOT JOURNEY

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

Back in January, I saw “August: Osage County” and I loved it.  Since then, there have been a couple of movies that grabbed my attention (“Godzilla” is one of them), but it didn’t make me go.

Once I saw the trailer to “The  Hundred-Foot Journey”, I knew I would be there on opening day.  If you love food porn, this is the movie for you.

Oscar winner Helen Mirren stars as Madam Mallory, the owner of a Michelin-star restaurant in the South of France.  Her life is turned upside down when an Indian family moves in across the street from her and opens a restaurant serving authentic Indian food.

Madam Mallory does whatever she can to make sure the new venture fails.  Even so, she’s captivated by the charm and the cooking expertise of young Hassan, played by the charismatic and beautiful Manish Dayal.

You figure out early on how the movie will play out, but it’s still a great journey.

The movie, brought to us by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, has grossed $33.7 million.

GRADE:  A-

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAY!

Ray turned 49 again (51 in reality) this week.

Ray BD

He chose Mexican for his birthday dinner at Los Agaves, a newer restaurant, on Avenue of the Cities in Moline.

While the food and the service were less than stellar compared to the chain’s other restaurant on John Deere Road, he enjoyed it.

Here’s to 50 more birthdays Ray!

DIVERGENT

After seeing the first two “The Hunger Games” movies, I’m no longer interested in seeing the final two movies in the franchise.  The reason, “Divergent”!

This futuristic dystopian science fiction film takes place in Chicago where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues:  Abnegation the selfless, Amity the peaceful, Candor the honest, Dauntless the brave, and Erudite the intelligent.

Each person takes a serum-based aptitude test to best place them into one of the factions.  Those that exhibit several factions are called “divergent” and are seen as a threat to social order.

Shailene Woodley plays Beatrice, a young woman who chooses Dauntless, much to the chagrin of her parents (played by Ashley Judd and Tony Goldwyn), even though she’s really “divergent”.

She is trained by the very sexy, smoldering, and tattooed Four, played by Theo James.

She must keep the fact that she’s “divergent” from the icy Jeanine, the leader of Erudite, played with perfection by Oscar-winner Kate Winslet.

The movie made $275 million dollars in theaters and the sequel “Insurgent” arrives in March 2015.  That will be followed by two more sequels in 2016 and 2017.

AMY GRANT REMIXED!

Amy Grant is sitting at #4 on the Billboard Dance chart this week with a song she first charted back in 1991.

Since her first Christian hit in 1977, Amy Grant has hit the top of that chart 16 times and she’s also crossed over to the pop chart.

Amy has a total of ten Top 40 hits of the Billboard Hot 100, including five from her 1991 album, “Heart in Motion”, that sold more than five million copies in the U.S.

Of those pop hits, two have topped the Hot 100, “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera in 1986, and a solo hit, “Baby Baby”, for two weeks in the spring of 1991.

Amy Grant

Her new album is called “In Motion: The Remixes” and it features remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, moves up to #4 on the Billboard Dance chart.

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

This week marks the tenth anniversary of Laura Branigan’s death.

Laura Branigan was from New York and in the early-1970s, she was in a band called Meadow, but they never charted.

As a solo artist, Laura’s first four releases didn’t make an impact at radio or on the charts.  The biggest of those, “All Night With Me”, which was the first release from her debut album, “Branigan”, peaked at #69 in 1982.

However, everything changed with the second single from that album!

Laura-Branigan-Gloria

Not only did “Gloria” reach #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it earned Laura a Grammy Award nomination for “Best Pop Vocal Performance – Female”.  However, she lost to Melissa Manchester’s “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”

The follow-up album, “Branigan 2″, came out in the spring of 1983.  The first single, “Solitaire” hit #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it was followed by “How Am I Supposed To Live Without You” (#12).

In the spring of 1984, Laura released her third album and the title track, “Self Control”, is still my favorite Laura Branigan song to this date.  It made it all the way up to #4.

In 1995, Laura released the last music video of her career for the album, “The Best of Branigan”.  It was for the remake of the Donna Summer classic, “Dim All The Lights”, in which she was partying it up with a group of drag queens. It reached #36 on the Billboard Dance chart.

She withdrew from the music business in 1994 to care for her husband, Larry, who had colon cancer.  He would succumb to the disease in the summer of 1996.

Eight years later, Laura died in her sleep on August 26, 2004, of an undiagnosed cerebral aneurysm and her ashes were scattered over Long Island Sound.

Laura, your music will always live on!

A PEPPY ANSWER TO SEXISM IN COUNTRY MUSIC

To the good ol’ boys in country music, move over for the Texas and Oklahoma duo of Maddie & Tae.

They’re currently at #17 on  the Billboard Country chart with their first hit single, “Girl In A Country Song”.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and have a fantastic weekend!

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/