Posts Tagged ‘homophobic’

Dying To Live: Death Sentence 1981 ≠ Undetectable 2021

Hate is an awfully strong word and I try very hard not to use it. 

I’m human and there are some people, living and dead, that I do hate or that I have hated.

Ronald Reagan, one of the most popular and beloved presidents, is one of those people.

More on that in a moment, but we’ve hit a milestone in the United States.

While it likely started in the late-1970s, a new disease was introduced to the public this week in 1981 — an epidemic that ended up killing hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends and lovers.

And, for many years, it was ignored by the U.S. president (Reagan) and the government!

These days, those deaths are still happening for people that are diagnosed too late or that don’t have access to life-saving and costly drugs (without insurance). However, with proper medication and healthier living, HIV (and AIDS) is now a livable condition that’s more of a medical inconvenience.

But, let’s flashback to the spring and early summer of 1981. 

Doctors in New York and California started noticing that some of their young, gay patients were coming in with weakened immune systems and were developing pneumonia and cancer.

On July 5, 1981, “The New York Times” published one of the first articles on this new disease that didn’t even have a name. In 1982, it was incorrectly labeled “GRID” (gay-related immune deficiency) — how homophobic and ignorant!

While the Times was one of the first to mention this “rare cancer”, the U.S. media, including the Times, did a poor job getting the message out about this new fatal disease.

“GRID” was changed to “AIDS” (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) once doctors realized that it didn’t only affect gay men.

The early 1980s was a scary time because there was so much that doctors didn’t know and this led to fear and misconceptions about how you could get it.

It’s taken me almost 30 years, but I can now say that I no longer hate Ronald Reagan! 

I’ve always questioned his legacy. At the time, I would have loved to ask him about his actions, or lack of actions, in the 1980s that led to my hateful feelings toward him. 

While AIDS (unnamed at the time) was identified in the summer of 1981, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference, years later, in 1985.

That same year, teenager Ryan White, a hemophiliac who contracted the disease through a blood transfusion, was barred from his Indiana school.

And, actor Rock Hudson died of AIDS, making him the highest profile person to succumb to the disease and his face became synonymous with AIDS in the years to come.

Still, nothing from the White House! President Reagan didn’t give his first speech on AIDS until early 1987, almost six years into the epidemic! 

His ignorance, his fear of AIDS, and the government’s slow reaction to fighting the disease in the 1980s led to the deaths of more than 90,600 people, mostly gay men, in the United States that decade.

HOPE — THE FIRST ROUND OF MEDS

In 1987, AZT, the first AIDS drug was introduced and ACT UP, an activist group, formed to protest the $10,000/year price tag.

In the years to come, more medications would become available — the drug “cocktails” in the mid-1990s were more effective, but patients would take up to 60 pills daily!

In 2006-2007, it was estimated that the cost of extending the life of an HIV patient for 24 years was $618,900!

HIV & AIDS — 40 YEARS LATER

Today, some 38 million people are living with HIV worldwide.

Of that number, as of 2018, 1.2 million are Americans. Sadly, more than one-in-ten don’t even know it! GET TESTED!

Over the 40 years since AIDS became public, 35 million people have died worldwide.

700,000 were Americans with gay men and transgender women making up about 79% of that staggering number.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it IMPOSSIBLE to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

FINAL THOUGHTS ON MY IMPRESSIONABLE YEARS

I was 16-years-old when the first AIDS cases went public and I became sexually active in the 1980s as fear and hate spread across the world toward gay people because of the disease.

It’s hard not to dislike (or hate) the man running the country when people in your community were dying a very painful death and the government dragged its feet. 

My views of President Reagan didn’t soften any in the 1990s as I headed into my 20s and then my 30s seeing more and more people contract HIV and develop AIDS. 

We witnessed the resistance of religious leaders, school officials, and parents to educate kids about safe sex — they thought abstinence would keep children safe (it would, but it’s not a reality when hormones are raging)!  That mentality started in the 1980s during the uptight, conservative regime of Reagan.

While there may never be a cure for HIV and AIDS, those that get HIV can now, at least, lead a more “normal” life.

This hope made me look closer at Reagan.  As he grew older and Alzheimer’s disease robbed him of his mind, I knew that no matter how much I despised him, it couldn’t bring back all of the people that AIDS killed.

I asked myself, “how he could be so calm and collected and be so ignorant during the early years of AIDS?” 

The truth is that he probably had so many people telling him what to do and what to avoid saying because his political base didn’t want to hear about the disease those “queers” were spreading! Middle and upper class white, heterosexual couples didn’t think it affected them!

I now realize it’s time for me to move on and to find peace with the man who had many faults.  What man doesn’t?  I can’t forgive him, but I no longer hate him. We can’t change history and the government’s inaction in the 1980s with AIDS. 

While I can’t ask President Reagan what he was thinking when he ignored the disease for so long, I hope that the former president and all of the men, women, and children that died of AIDS during his presidency (and since) can come to peace with each other in that higher place.

When I finally make it to heaven, I hope I see Reagan hanging out with the more than 700,000 Americans that have died of AIDS — the majority of them gay men.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all that succumbed to AIDS in the 33 years after he left office.

“AND THE BAND PLAYED ON”

I just re-read Randy Shilts’ enlightening history of the first years of the AIDS epidemic about the failure of the American government which led to so many people dying.

While San Francisco was believed to be the AIDS capital of the U.S., there were far more cases and deaths of AIDS in New York City.

Mayor Ed Koch and Dr. David Sencer, the city’s health commissioner, failed miserably in providing for those in the fight in the early years.

The only real help was coming from the Gay Men’s Health Crisis center, which was founded by the iconic advocate Larry Kramer.

If reading a 600-page book about the AIDS epidemic may be too much for you, the 1993 Emmy-winning movie of the same name, with an all-star cast, is incredible.

“THE GREAT BELIEVERS”

This 2018 book by Rebecca Makkai is amazing!

It tells the story of how the AIDS epidemic decimated Chicago’s gay community in the early-1980s. While fiction, it felt so real — especially if you or your friends lived through that era watching your friends die.

Makkai’s story is so well researched and touching. It had you rooting for characters that you knew were doomed by the “gay cancer” and President Ronald Reagan’s blind eye.

The book isn’t just about a group of friends dying and struggling to stay alive in 1985 Chicago. It also takes you to 2015 Paris and ties the two stories and timelines together!

As a former Chicago transplant (I lived there two years in the 1990s and two more years in the early-2000s), it was fun hearing the names of places I hadn’t thought about in years (Nookie’s and Ann Sather).

Amy Poehler is adapting the book into a television series. I can’t wait to see who is cast as Yale, my favorite character. As I was reading it, I could definitely see Yale in my younger self!

“The Great Believers” is the best fiction book I’ve read in the past year!

“LONGTIME COMPANION”

And, for those of you that may not have seen it, 1990’s “Longtime Companion” is still one of my favorite movies of all time.

It was one of the first widely recognized theatrically-released movies (mainstream) that dealt with AIDS in the 1980s. It earned a Golden Globe Award for acting for Bruce Davidson and he also earned an Oscar nomination.

Thank you for taking the time travel down this road 40 years later!

Be safe and play safe!

Peace!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 7, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day weekend!

I’ll take a moment to remember my mother, Dessie, and be thankful that I still have my sister, Tammy, in my life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

STICKS & STONE MAY BREAK MY BONES

…but words shall never hurt me!

As kids, we’ve all heard that saying (or something like it). And, I believe, for the most part, it’s true.

I know that when you’re young and impressionable or if you’re a grown-up with insecurities (who doesn’t have some), hurtful words from parents, friends, lovers, or spouses can hurt. Actually, words said in anger do have a lasting impact.

However, being called a “f***ing fa**ot” by a speeding car driving by definitely doesn’t hurt my feelings. It just pisses me off.

This happened last Friday afternoon on one of my many daily walks around Lake Decatur.

It was from a group of youngsters and the man/boy in the back seat yelled it out the window. This person had no clue who was on the other side of busy U.S. 36. He was just being juvenile and ignorant.

I’m sure if it was a woman walking, he’d yell something sexist and stupid.

I was a teenager and young adult in the conservative dark Reagan-era years when homophobia was rampant and the world was scared of gay people and AIDS. (It didn’t help that it took President Reagan almost six years to mention it publicly!)

So, “f***ing fa**ot” is something that most LGBTQ people have heard before. However, it was scarier back then (in the 1980s and 1990s) because those people threatened us with baseball bats!

I’m a very secure person and my immediate reaction last Friday was to go back to reading my book and enjoying my day, while the thought bubble above my head said, “f***ing idiot”!

This is a perfect time for Heather Mooney! 🙂

Before I move on, I just hope that it made his day a little better to yell that out the window at a stranger. And, I hope he becomes more educated before he spawns a child and projects his ignorance onto another generation!

While I know there are others here (and in the U.S. and across the world) that share that narrow-minded mentality, Decatur and Central Illinois, I’ve met so many of you and I know there are so many more loving, caring, and beautiful people that make the world a better place!

Let’s carry on…

GOODBYE OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

Academy Award and Golden Globe winner (“Moonstruck”) Olympia Dukakis passed away last weekend at the age of 89.

In her almost 60 year career, she acted in more than 130 stage productions, over 60 movies, and in 50 television series!

I remember her most fondly as Anna Madrigal, the transgender “mother” of the tenants at 28 Barbary Lane in the “Tales of the City” series.

I always wanted to move into an apartment complex like 28 Barbary Lane and have Mrs. Madrigal as my landlady!

Armistead Maupin’s book series is my favorite and I’ve read it many times over the years. It was made into four continuing series (1993, 1998, 2001, and the most recent on Netflix in 2019).

And, as a gay man, I must mention her role as Clairee Belcher in 1989’s classic, “Steel Magnolias”!

Come on, you know the rest of it!!! All together now…

“…come sit by me.”

And, if you want to watch the entire 30-second scene…

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The 2020 U.S. presidential election is estimated to have cost $14 billion dollars, that’s with a “B”!
  • Gay and bisexual men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating than straight men and 12 times more likely to binge and purge. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Kenta Seki is a Los Angeles-based fitness guru? Neither did I, but I do now! 🙂

“THE MEANING OF MARIAH CAREY”

As you know, I love Mariah Carey. I’ve been a huge Mariah Carey fan since the spring of 1990 when I first heard “Vision of Love”.

I’ve seen her go through the highs with international success and we’ve see her hit the lows — the ice cream cart ordeal on MTV.

So, when Mariah’s biography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey” came out in the fall of 2020, I didn’t know what to expect.

Once I read it, I love Mariah even more — if that was even possible.

I knew her life and career was a rags to riches story, but I never realized just how hard she had as a child.

Not only was her family poor, but she also had a very difficult time of being biracial — she wasn’t Black enough for some family members and too white for others.

I was astounded at some of the things her sister made her do as a teenager and some of the things she did to Mariah! And, once Mariah became an international superstar with money flowing in, I was saddened to hear how her family tried to siphon that money away.

And then, there’s the whole creepiness of her first husband (and manager), Tommy Mottola!

Here’s a review of the book I read and it sums it up perfectly: “improbable and inspiring journey of survival and resilience as she struggles through complex issues of race, identity, class, childhood, and family trauma during her meteoric rise to music superstardom.”

“The Meaning of Mariah Carey” is an excellent book! Read it now!

Here are a few things I learned:

Since I now live in Central Illinois, it’s interesting that Mariah’s mother was born in Illinois’ capital of Springfield and grew up there in the 1940s and 1950s, which Mariah describes as “a center of insidious institutional racism”.

After years of racially-motivated crimes in the early 1900s in Springfield, the city had a strong Ku Klux Klan presence in the 1920, which Mariah summed up this way, “Springfield was a city openly cloaked in hate.”

On a happier note, I loved the wine quote about working with David Morales. “I’d have a couple splashes of wine, and we would just go wherever the spirit took us — which were almost always high-energy dance tracks with big, brand-new vocals.”

A couple splashes! What a cool description! 🙂

And, it was interesting to read who the song “My All” was written about!

I finally got to see Mariah in concert in December 2017 with her “All I Want For Christmas: A Night of Joy and Festivity” show in Las Vegas at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Mariah was phenomenal, beautiful, and she sounded flawless and the sets were incredible!!!!!!!

After my separation and eventual divorce, that show lifted my spirits and it would be the most magical 90 minutes I’ve enjoyed in the past few years!

FINAL NOTES ABOUT MARIAH & CHRISTMAS

About “All I Want For Christmas”, that she wrote in her early-20s for her fourth album, 1994’s “Merry Christmas”: “I wanted to write a song that would make me happy and make me feel like a loved, carefree young girl at Christmas.

Mariah added, “I wanted to sing it in a way that would capture joy for everyone and crystallize it forever. Yes, I was going for vintage Christmas happiness!”

HOW DID I MISS THIS???

I’m usually on top of pop culture, but I totally missed this bus on this!

Recently, I was catching up on magazines and I was shocked to learn that Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy died a year ago this weekend (May 8, 2020) of COVID-19! He was 75.

The famed Las Vegas entertainer’s publicist announced on April 28, 2020, that Horn tested positive for the virus and was responding well to treatment.

I also didn’t know that Siegfried (Fischbacher) announced on January 11, 2021, that he had terminal pancreatic cancer and died two days later in Las Vegas at the age of 81!

As you recall, Roy (on the left in the photo) was the one that was attacked at the Mirage on October 3, 2003, by a seven-year-old white tiger named Mantecore. It was on his 59th birthday!

As the story goes, Horn held his microphone to Mantecore’s mouth and told him to say “hello”. The tiger bit Horn’s sleeve. Horn swatted the tiger and barked “release!”.

Horn, became dizzy, tripped, and fell onto his back. (He ended up having a stroke.)

Mantecore moved to stand over him and then bit into Horn’s neck and dragged him offstage!

SO WHAT HAPPENED TO MANTECORE?

Horn asked that nothing happen to the tiger and it was re-integrated back into the duo’s pack of cats.

Mantecore died more than a decade later, in March 2014, at Fischbacher and Horn’s Little Bavaria estate in Las Vegas at the age of 17!

“THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE”

Last week, I talked about Jim Jones and shared some interesting things from Jeff Guinn’s compelling 2017 book.

Here are a few more tidbits from that great book.

The bisexual Jones believed that everyone, women and men, desired him. One follower in his close knit managerial team was not afraid to stand up to him. Harriet Tropp told him that she didn’t desire him because “You are 47 and fat”, but she added, “I don’t have romantic illusions. They say the greatest orgasm is death, so I hope we have the great pleasure of dying together.”

Once in Jonestown, the cost to feed almost a thousand people was extravagant and they began to see less meat and more watered down rice dishes and beverages, like water and cheap Flavor Aid.

As Jonestown began to fall apart in the fall of 1977, Jones and his inner circle were already thinking of how to conduct a mass suicide. Some suggested people being shot, but Jones preferred poison.

In early August 1978, Jones told his followers that he had terminal lung cancer. However, there was no evidence of this — yet another deceit by Jones to his cult.

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

If you don’t have time to read Guinn’s book, this SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life was incredible!

I saw it in the fall of 2018 and gave it an “A”!

“DA 5 BLOODS”

The latest Spike Lee movie garnered mix reviews.

If you know what to expect from one of his movies, you’ll enjoy it. After the compelling opening montage, the first hour dragged a bit. However, the second hour was riveting.

It’s about four older Black American vets returning to Vietnam to search for the remains of their fallen squad leader and buried treasure.

Delroy Lindo’s performance as Paul was insane! He deserved an Oscar nomination.

Now there was talk that Chadwick Boseman might get an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the movie, but that didn’t happen.

GRADE: B-

FAVORITE MARIAH CAREY SONGS

Before I share my five favorite Mariah Carey songs, let me tell you how difficult this was to narrow down.

Here’s how much of a superstar she is:

She’s had 36 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1990. Of those, 28 reached the Top Ten and 27 made the Top 5!!!

And, 19 went on to top the Hot 100 and she’s had two different runs of five or more consecutive #1 songs!

Mariah also had at least one #1 song on the Hot 100 for eleven straight years (1990-2000) and she’s had the most #1 singles on the Hot 100 than any other solo artist!

If that’s not impressive enough, Mariah has sold more than 200 million records worldwide and is the biggest selling certified female artist in the United States.

“DREAMLOVER”

“VISION OF LOVE”

“MAKE IT HAPPEN”

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

“EMOTIONS”

What’s your favorite Mariah Carey song?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S. My full Mariah Carey blog is here:

Random Friday Thoughts — February 19, 2021

The weekend is almost here and while we’re still shivering, relief is on the way.

Thank you for taking the time to check out what’s on my mind!

LOVE SNOW, BUT NOT THE COLD!

When I started putting this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” together, I was going to share a humorous joke about the cold and snow.

However, after two powerful ice and snow storms across Texas that has left millions without power and heat, I put it at the bottom of the blog.

I know we experience power outages across the country when we have severe weather (ice storms, heavy wet snow, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms), but to this magnitude is mind-blowing.

Come on Texas Governor Greg Abbott, get your act together and help these people.

Stop blaming the failure of renewable energy sources (wind and solar power).

Leave politics out of it for now!

COUNTRY WITH A RAINBOW TWIST

Last week I talked about a racist (or just a drunken, closet racist) country music star that people still want to support financially by buying more of his music than he was selling before his racist slip-up. Well, enough about him!

At basically the same time as this story was blowing up, another country music star was sharing his personal truth in a beautiful way.

While his family and personal friends already knew, 36-year-old T.J. Osborne, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the country duo Brothers Osborne came out as a proud, gay man.

Big deal, you think, because people are gay! However, in a very ageist, sexist, racist, and homophobic genre, J.T. is the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label!  

Brothers Osborne have charted nine country radio hits, two of which have hit the Top 5 — their 2015 hit, “Stay a Little Longer” reached #2 on the Country Airplay chart and they were featured on Dierks Bentley’s #2 2018 Country Airplay hit, “Burning Man”.

Other than the fact that I thought T.J. was so dreamy and hot, I never thought he might be gay.

However, my gaydar went off with the “Stay a Little Longer” video, which featured same-sex couples kissing! Of course, it caused controversy! 🙂

And, here’s a little fun trivia about Brothers Osborne. T.J.’s name is Thomas John and his older brother and band mate is John Thomas!

“THE CROWN” — SEASON 4

The latest season of this incredible, award-winning Netflix series was my absolute favorite.

I loved the first two seasons with Claire Foy and Olivia Colman and Josh O’Connor are great in season three, but season three just seemed so disjointed to me.

However, season four with my girl crush Gillian Anderson as tyrant (oops, Prime Minister) Margaret Thatcher took the series to a whole new level.

Even if you haven’t watched the first three seasons, watch this one. You don’t need to see their first three to follow the storyline.

Anderson (Thatcher), O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana), Colman (Queen Elizabeth II), and Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) all got Golden Globe nominations.

The series was also nominated.

“THE WHITE TIGER”

This incredible Netflix drama is set in India and drives home the stark difference in lives of the haves and the have nots!

Adarsh Gourav is amazing as Balram, a dirt poor stone crusher in a small village, who dreams of becoming a chauffeur.

As an intelligent kid that had to drop out of school, he was told her was a “white tiger”, one person that’s born to each generation.

Once he lands a job as a driver, all goes well until a tragic turn of events one night leaves Balram having to make a life-changing decision.

The biggest English speaking star in the movie is Priyanka Chopra Jonas (“Quantico”).

GRADE: A

“THE WEST WING”

As much as I love politics (politicians, not so much), believe it or not, I never watched “The West Wing” during its seven-year run on NBC from 1999-2006.

It’s one of my dear friend, Katie’s favorite shows. She was always on me in Duluth to watch it, so I started. I got through season three, but was always finding other things to watch.

And, in November, she dropped the bombshell that it was leaving Netflix Christmas Eve! Guess what I did in all of my free time in those five weeks? Yes, I binge watched and finished the series.

Final thoughts: I loved the Christmas episodes, you definitely saw a quality change in the show after creator and writer Aaron Sorkin left, and while I still enjoyed them, seasons six and seven were my least favorites.

Oh, Donna, Josh, and C.J. were my favorite characters!

IF YOU MISS SORKIN’s INTELLIGENCE…

Definitely check out his latest, his directorial debut, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, on Netflix!

It was my #3 movie of 2020 and it’ll rack up several Oscar nominations this year! Here’s what I said about it in November:

“The Whole World Is Watching!”

It’s sad that a movie about the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago resonates so strongly in the United States in 2020!

The movie and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and directing are definite shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.

While there are many compelling performances, I think Yahya Abdul-Mateer II, as Bobby Seale, National Chairman of the Black Panther Party, has the best chance of getting a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Seale was the eighth defendant and not part of the “Chicago 7”.

The Whole World Is STILL Watching!

GRADE: A

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON “

David Grann’s 2017 book subtitled “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” is so compelling and it was one of the best books I read in the past year.

It tells the story of the Osage Indians and how they had to continually move from place to place so the white man could expand on their land.

Finally, they were given rocky, useless land in Oklahoma. When oil was discovered there, they became the richest people in the world per capita. Then, one by one, they ended up dead — murdered!

The book also tracks the up and coming career of the young FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover.

When Mollie Burkhart’s sister Anna was murdered in the 1920s, it was common to charge the Osage close to $6,000 for a funeral. That’s equivalent to about $80,000 today! It was because the white man knew the Osage had all the oil money!

How pathetic!

While the murders continued, one Osage member replied, “It is a question in my mind whether this jury is considering a murder case of not. The question for them to decide is whether a white man killing an Osage is murder — or merely cruelty to animals.”

The book is currently planned for production as a film directed by Martin Scorsese with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro set to star.

MORE FROM “GROCERY”

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a few interesting tidbits from an incredible book I read last year, Michael Ruhlman’s 2017’s “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”! I’d definitely recommend it!

Who would think to write an entire book on just how groceries came to be, the changes grocery stores have to make to accommodate how quickly we change our eating habits, and just how small the profit margins are in the grocery business?

While I gave up eating beef more than a decade ago, Ruhlman shares some very interesting information about cattle and what would happen to them if we stopped eating beef. Intriguing!

Here are a few more things I learned:

Beef makes up about 40% of a grocery’s meat section (almost half of that is ground), chicken makes up 20%, pork 11%, and lamb 2.5%.

Before cows were fed corn (89% of it genetically modified which eventually makes the animal sick), it took them about four years to grow to the weight needed to slaughter. Now it only takes fourteen to seventeen months to attain that weight!!! Disgusting. I’m so glad I gave up beef!

If we didn’t use pigs, chicken, and cows for meat, eggs, and milk, the author claims they would only exist in the wild and “We would likely get rid of them for being a nuisance, scarcely different than rats and mice, the lives of which most seem to have moral qualms about extinguishing.”

And, a decade after World War II, the 1950s, frozen foods would become a $50 billion industry in the U.S. ($300 billion worldwide). This is all thanks to Clarence Birdseye: “Birdseye discovered in the 1920s that peas quickly blanched before being frozen result in a vividly green pea.”

GROUNDHOG HUMOR

After two bitterly cold weekends across Central Illinois and the Midwest, I’ll state it again, “I love the snow, but not the bitter cold!

Thanks Punxsutawney Phil, you damn rodent!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

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

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

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

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

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

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

MM.gif

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

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

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

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

Hillary AP

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

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

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

Autograph Carters

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

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

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

Reba Anthony 2005

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

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

Reba Art

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

AP Shania

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

THE SOS BAND — 1984

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

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

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

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

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

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

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

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LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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

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

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RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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

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

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

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LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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

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

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GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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

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

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

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

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

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

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

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

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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

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

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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

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

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

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

WISHFUL THINKING!

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

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

Gillian Anderson

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

Mary Ann

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

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

Two more snow events are on the way to the Northland of Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan this weekend.

With almost three feet of snow this month, by Friday night, this will be the snowiest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota, breaking the record set back in 1939!

I hope you have a great weekend whatever you do and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

I’ll preface this by saying that I want “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to be innocent and that this media circus has been one big misunderstanding.

Okay, that was my feeble attempt at thinking the best.

You’ve heard a lot about the case this week, but I first blogged about it three weeks ago.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor reported to Chicago police that two men yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

jussie-smollett

The story has taken a strange turn and now it seems that Smollett MAY have orchestrated the whole ordeal for the publicity and to get more money from “Empire”!

He turned himself into police late this week for allegedly filing a false police report about the racist and homophobic attack!  A judge set his bond at $100,000 and Smollett had to turn over his passport.

IF HE’S GUILTY, I hope he goes to jail and that he NEVER works again!

IF HE’S GUILTY, in the mind of people that don’t like people of color and the LGBTQ community, this stunt will call into doubt every hate crime and every gay bashing reported to police in the future!

And, it’ll also make the LGBTQ community and people of color more reluctant to even report hate crimes!

Again, I hope that this turns out to be a huge misunderstanding.  Sadly, it’s not looking that way!

Here’s why I’m thinking that:  Our country has a nasty history of hate crimes against people based on race and sexual orientation.

Many times, when LGBTQ people and people of color are attacked, it’s not just a punch to the face and name calling!  These attacks are usually very violent and sometimes lead to death!

Two names quickly come to mind:  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

It’s Academy Awards weekend!  I’ve never been to an Oscars party, but I think it’s be fun.  Well, the food spread and drinking sounds fun!

Here are the movies and actors that I think will take Oscar home!

I predict “Roma” will win Best Picture, but I don’t think it should!

While I haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, I saw “Roma” and it didn’t even make my Top 20 list of favorite movies of 2018!

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While I pick Christian Bale to win, I really, really hope that Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) wins!

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“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

This movie tells the story of the final years of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Willem Dafoe earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of the tormented, alcoholic van Gogh.

It’s a decent movie and Dafoe is great, but I’m not sure that he deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

He was also was nominated for an Oscar last year for the fantastic “The Florida Project” (my #14 movie of 2018).

Last year, I even wrote that he didn’t deserve that nomination!  Clearly, the Academy and his peers love him.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fantastic, and if I had to choose, his van Gogh was more Oscar worthy of the two roles.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about “At Eternity’s Gate” and the van Gogh brothers:

Defoe, who played Vincent, is 63 and van Gogh died at the age of 37!

Vincent van Gogh was four years older than his brother, Theo, but Rupert Friend (“Homeland”), who played Theo, is only 37 in real life! 🙂

And, finally, Theo van Gogh died at the age of 33 just six months after Vincent died!

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

This movie is about Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 run for the Democratic nomination for president.

His campaigned ended after news broke of an extramarital affair.  His argument was that it was his private life and it shouldn’t affect his job as president.

Remember, this was a time before reporters ran with stories like this.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reporters knew about John F. Kennedy’s affairs, but didn’t make them public.

I love Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga, who play Hart and his long suffering wife, Lee.

They both had some powerful scenes, but it seemed like the movie dragged on longer than his 1984 and 1988 presidential runs!

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

As I mentioned last week, I’m going through my movie collection and watching old movies to either get rid of or save.

One gem that made the save list was “Angels of Sex” which I talked about in my last blog.  Another one that I enjoyed much more the second time around was the 2008 Israeli film, “Antarctica”.

Director Yair Hochner’s love story follows a group of very sexy men and women around Tel Aviv searching for that special one (or just a good time)!

It’s a very sensual movie with nudity and graphic sex scenes.  Israelis definitely know how to make a movie sexy and erotic without it automatically being seen as soft porn!

Yiftach Mizrahi (Danny) was stunning and he can act and dance beautifully!

P.S.  This trailer may be a little risque for some!

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

I just finished reading Evan Thomas’ 2000 biography, “Robert Kennedy:  His Life”.

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It paints a very interesting look at RFK 32 years after he was gunned down in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic California Primary in his 1968 presidential run.

The book touches on RFK’s neglected childhood following in the shadows of his two older, golden brothers.

Thomas doesn’t shy away from showing the nasty, dark side of RFK and what he did to make his brother, John F. Kennedy, president and a very successful one.

It also shows how he became a fighter for the disenfranchised — blacks, poor and other minorities.

I’ve written before about how much I love Bobby Kennedy and how great it would have been if he had become our 37th president.

However, there’s still something about him (and the other Kennedys) that I still have a problem with today.

Recently, I wrote this while talking about Jackie Kennedy, “By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.”

I also said, “Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.”

Thomas also touches on RFK’s fear of gay people.  Like Jackie and John, I hope that Bobby would have “evolved”.  Remember, this was the 1950s and 1960s and there was no such thing as “gay rights” or openly and accepted people in the LGBTQ community.

Bobby Kennedy

So, I’ll still crush on the image of the youthful and charming Bobby Kennedy with reservations about the homophobia.

And, I learned from Thomas that RFK hated popping corks of champagne bottles!

Come on RFK, what’s up with that?  I love champagne and there’s only so much I can overlook! 🙂

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

While technically “Bobby Kennedy For President” wasn’t a movie, I ranked this excellent Netflix documentary as my #11 movie of 2018.

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

Before reading the book on RFK, I read Ted Sorensen’s 800-plus page biography of John F. Kennedy and Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack” and Andersen’s “The Day John Died”.

JOHN DIED

While I did learn things about JFK, Jr., a lot of the book was a rehash of “Jackie After Jack”, especially when he talked of Jackie and how she dominated her son’s life and the Kennedy Camelot legacy.

Also, I didn’t care much for Andersen’s highly speculative dramatization of events in the minutes before John John’s plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, in 1999.

That crashed not only killed JFK, Jr., but also his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren.

Skip it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 24, 2018

Kids are heading back to school soon and summer is winding down.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

THANK YOU KELLY CLARKSON!

Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson has always been an ally to the LGBTQ community and earlier this week, she took on a homophobic fan on Twitter.

Back in December 2016, Clarkson invited fan Kiana Clark on stage to propose to her girlfriend, Amanda.

The couple married recently and Kelly congratulated them and then came the rude tweet.

But, Kelly handled it like a sweetheart!

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Oh, Terri, if you’re going to be condescending and rude, I want to let you know that “dikes” are built to hold back water.

The offensive slang you were trying to use is spelled with a “y”!

“MARILYN MONROE:  THE BIOGRAPHY”

I finished reading my 21st book of the year.

This 1993 biography by Donald Spoto is just one of many books written about Marilyn Monroe after her death in 1962.

MARILYN

There’s no denying that in movies and magazines, Monroe was magic.

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But, boy was she one tormented soul!

She was pawned off from person to person as a kid and then spent time in an orphanage before she was married at 16-years-old to avoid another children’s home!

As she was trying to launch her career, she was even a “boulevard hooker”!

While there were many flaws in Monroe’s work ethic (tardiness and absenteeism), it’s easy to see from the book that she was a very generous and loving woman (to a fault).

It was heartbreaking reading about how Hollywood manipulated her financially as just another dumb blonde, when she worked so hard to be a great actress in both comedy and drama.

Also, her drug dependency (from 1954 to her death in August 1962) was sad.

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The book convinced me that her affair with President Kennedy was a one-night stand and that she and Bobby Kennedy never had an affair and that the Kennedys did NOT have her killed.

While there are many conspiracy theories out there, including the one I just mentioned, I believe that her psychiatrist/”doctor” ordered a drugged enema that negatively reacted with sleeping pills that Monroe had taken and that’s what killed her.

marilynmonroe

Her death was ruled a “probable suicide”.

I had two faults with the book.  It could have had a better editor and the 611 pages of Monroe’s story could have easily been cut down to 500 pages!

Also, the author was very protective of his subject and lacked objectivity at times.  There was, at least, one instance in the book that he justified Monroe’s drug dependency, just like all the “yes” people and “doctors” she surrounded herself with.

CATERING DRUGS TO CELEBRITIES 

With the loss of such a legend as Monroe more than fifty years ago, it’s nice to know that “doctors” are much more careful about prescribing medication to celebrities.

Oh wait, that’s not true.  There’s Michael Jackson (2009), Whitney Houston (2012), and Prince (2016), for starters!

Just to drive home how crazy things are getting in the U.S. — two million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers and nearly 50,000 died from opioids over a recent 12-month period!

“GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES”

Contracts are usually nasty pieces of paper.  They benefit the company more than the people signing them.

That was definitely the case for Marilyn Monroe when she did 1953’s iconic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

For the movie, Marilyn was only paid $15,000, while her co-star Jane Russell was paid $150,000!

By the way, Russell was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, which is about 150 miles northwest of Duluth! 🙂

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

“Crazy Rich Asians” was the box office champion last weekend bringing in $26.5 million ($48.2 million over its first eight days)!  It’s expected to be #1 again this weekend.

Jon M. Chu has directed a classic romantic comedy — a masterpiece of not only love, but culture.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a must-see!

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As Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), enjoy dessert in New York City, he asks her to join him on a trip back home in Singapore where he’s going to be the “best man” in his best friend’s wedding.  It’ll also give Rachel a chance to meet his family.

The movie is gorgeously shot and the cast is phenomenal.

It has romance, drama (not only with Nick’s mother), and humor, mostly supplied by actress/rapper Awkwafina.

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There’s one character not billed in the credits that’s vital to success of the movie — decadence!

It’s important to the movie’s charm and escapism — that mansion, the food, the parties, the wedding, and Singapore!

Nighttime

“Crazy Rich Asians” shows that it’s time for executives to realize that movies don’t need white faces to make money.  But, then again, it’s hard for that to sink in when most of ones controlling the industry and making the decisions are older, white men!

GRADE:  A

MY COMPLETE REVIEW HERE

That was a condensed version of what I thought of the movie.  Here’s the complete and more exciting review (sexier and steamier)! 🙂

Click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/crazy-rich-asians-sparkles-fascinating-irresistible/

HELLO, SELENA TAN!

Selena Tan, who plays ‘Alix’, Nick’s aunt in “Crazy Rich Asians”, is hilarious at the beginning of the movie at the Bible study.  I wish she had had a bigger role in the movie.

I’m honored that she got to see my blog review of the movie and that she took the time to reply and follow me on Twitter!

Greetings across the miles!

Selena Tan

“ALEX STRANGELOVE” OR “LOVE, SIMON”

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Which coming-of-age LGBTQ movie do you choose to watch if you haven’t already seen them?

Why do you have to choose? Watch them both!

“Alex Strangelove” is a touching Netflix comedy and it’s more realistic in tone and language than “Love, Simon” since it was made for a streaming service.

The sex talk about losing one’s virginity and about being gay is spot on.

And, the scene when Alex is practicing his come-on lines with his stuffed monkey is hilarious!

Daniel Doheny is very funny and adorkable as Alex.  At times, he looks like a young Andrew Garfield.

GRADE: B

“Love, Simon” was a box office success bringing in $66.2 million total ($40.8 million of that was in the U.S.).  Since it was a mainstream movie with a PG-13 rating, it wasn’t as wild and mature as “Alex Strangelove”.

Here’s what I wrote about “Love, Simon” after I saw it in March 2018:

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUMS THIS FALL

While Christmas is still four months away, holiday albums usually come out in the fall.

I’m very excited about John Legend’s first Christmas album.  As of now, no title, track list or release date is known.

Maybe this 2010 track, “When Christmas Comes”, with Mariah Carey, will hold us over until we know more about Legend’s album.

Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) is releasing “Season of Peace” on October 12th.  It’s a compilation from his first three Christmas albums, plus a new song.

Also, Eric Clapton’s first holiday disc, “Happy Xmas” also arrives on October 12th.

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It’ll feature classics like “White Christmas”, “Away in the Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Mary Christmas Baby”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, along with seven lesser known titles, and an original “For Love on Christmas Day”.

It’ll also feature “Jingle Bells”, in memory of EDM superstar DJ Avicii, who died from suicide last spring in Oman.

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Martina McBride’s new collection “It’s The Holiday Season” comes out October 19th and will feature nine songs.

Now, I say “new” because her first holiday collection, “White Christmas”, came out in 1998 and there were “re-releases” in 1999, 2007, and a re-packaging and renaming of the album as “The Classic Christmas Album” in 2013!

Also, Brett Eldredge is working on a re-vamped version of his 2016 Christmas collection, “Glow”.

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This one is likely going to be called “Glow 2.0”.

And, finally, The Mavericks’ “Hey, Merry Christmas!” arrives November 2nd.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 20, 2018

July is moving right along and before you know it, it’ll be August!  I hope you’re having a great summer and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

DEAR CANADA

Will you please share Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with us here in the U.S.?  We’re heading into crisis mode!

JT

TRUMP-PUTIN LOVE AFFAIR

45 and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland earlier this week and 45 basically says he trusts his buddy more than American intelligence.  (Seriously, him debating anyone’s intelligence?)

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You know my thoughts without me expressing them.  So, I’ll let fellow Republicans speak their mind of the summit, or as Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) calls it, “a tragic mistake”.

McCain calls it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) says it was NOT “a good moment for our country. This was a very good day for President Putin” and that Trump made the U.S. “look like a pushover”.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says there’s “no question” that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and this about “that man” (45): “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

BREAKING NEWS… 24 HOURS LATER.  45 claims that he misspoke.  Whatev!

HeatherMooney

JUST A FEW THINGS RUSSIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF…

Interfering in the 2016 American presidential election, buying the right to host the World Cup soccer tournament, condemning and making the lives of the LGBTQ community miserable, and poisoning people with substandard street alcohol… for starters.

DAN QUAYLE, REST EASY…

You’ll likely not be remembered as the most useless Vice President in recent American history.

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Mike Pence is giving you one hell of a run for your money!

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This photo of just another old white man standing around gives credence to the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”!

What has he really done as vice president?  I can answer that with two comments:  (1) With his boss that wants, needs, and lives for the spotlight, nothing, and (2) with his hateful views, I’m glad he doesn’t have power to do anything!

I really don’t think that 45 will run again in 2020, although he says he will and is already setting the stage for it.

If he does run, I hope there’s a Republican that’ll pull a stunt like Ronald Reagan did in 1976 or Ted Kennedy in 1980 and be successful.  Both Reagan and Kennedy failed in their efforts in trying to steal the nominations from sitting presidents (Ford in 1976 and Carter in 1980).

Hopefully, a “sea of blue” in the 2018 midterm elections in November and the 2020 presidential election will end the current rhetoric of “Make America Hate Again”!

And, then Mike Pence can take his misguided interpretation that God stands for hate and fade away into obscurity.

“MAMMA MIA:  HERE WE GO AGAIN”

I absolutely love and adore the 2008 original starring Meryl Streep and the fabulous music of ABBA!

With that being said, I WILL NOT being seeing the sequel out in theaters now!  That’s all I’ll say since I don’t believe in spoilers.

Full disclosure:  I may break down and watch it on DVD one day!

CHER DOES ABBA

On a happier note, the iconic and legendary Cher will be releasing an album of ABBA covers in September!

Cher says, “It’s not what you would think of when you think of ABBA, ’cause I did it in a different way.”

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In “Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again”, Cher plays Sophie’s grandmother and Donna’s mother.

EMMY NOMINATIONS HITS & MISSES

Last week, the Emmy nominations were announced and I’m excited that FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story” picked up 18 nods, the most for a Limited Series!

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As I predicted, Darren Criss was nominated for “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Andrew Cunanan in “Versace”.

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Also, I said that Judith Light would be pick up a nod for “Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Marilyn Maglin, the wife of one of Cunanan’s victims.

I’m happy that Finn Wittrock was nominated in the supporting actor category, but I was a little surprised that Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, and Ricky Martin were also nominated in supporting roles.

And, as I expected, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated in the “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for Patrick Melrose.

However, I’m disappointed that Jennifer Jason Leigh was snubbed as his mother, Eleanor.

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Also, bummed that Evan Peters was overlooked for “American Horror Story: Cult”. But, there is some happy news — two of his castmates, Sarah Paulson and Adina Porter were nominated.

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Beware a “Nasty Woman” and two Emmy nominees (Paulson and Porter)!

Contains strong language and violence!!!

Again, no nomination for Peters!!!!

Finally, no love for AMC’s “The Terror”.

KINDNESS

If you haven’t been watching “Pose”, you’re missing out on an incredible period of life in LGBTQ culture and a show that’s so damn heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time!

In a recent episode, Pray Tell (Billy Porter) doesn’t hold back when he retaliated against Blanca’s transphobic and homophobic siblings after their mother’s funeral.

Kindness.gif

“Kindness doesn’t cost you anything.”

Pray Tell, tell it!!!

“DIETLAND”

I first wrote about “Dietland” (the book) in January 2016 and I’ve become Twitter friends with the amazing author, Sarai Walker.

Sarai Walker

Dietland

Now, “Dietland” is a hit AMC series.

Not every woman is a size zero and trying to get there can kill you or get you killed if you’re one to degrade women or fat girls!

Okay, before you think I’m insensitive to use the word “fat”, instead of “full figured”, “large”, or “overweight”, you need to understand what Walker wants people to know about these beautiful women!

The series stars an incredible Joy Nash, as Plum, a mostly reclusive 300-pound-plus woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to young women.

plum.gif

She works for a very demanding, gorgeous, piranha of a woman named Kitty Montgomery (Julianna Margulies).

Next year when Emmy nominations are announced, I hope that both Nash and Marguilies get a nod!

The 10-episode series concludes on July 30, 2018, so you still have time to binge watch it before the finale.

Here’s my original blog on Walker’s book (clicking on this link will open it in a new window)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

FARMERS’ MARKETS

Since moving to Duluth, I haven’t been to a farmers’ market, yet peaches 🍑 and grapefruits are on my mind!

Maybe that has to do with “Call Me By Your Name” and “Girls Trip”.  If you’ve seen both of those movies, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t, I won’t tell! 🙂

peach 1.gif

Grapefruiting.jpg

I’m still thinking of juicy peaches! 🍑 🙂

SPEAKING OF PEACHES! 🍑

Armie Hammer told Stephen Colbert recently that people are bringing him peaches 🍑 to autograph.

Wondering what people did with those peaches 🍑, Hammer says,  “Watch it wither like Donald Trump’s presidency.”  (and this was even before 45 spoke, misspoke in Helsinki!)

“GEORGE MICHAEL: FREEDOM”

There’s an incredible documentary on Showtime about music icon George Michael.

While I knew much of what was covered, it was heartbreaking to hear George talk about finally meeting the man of his dreams only to have his lover become ill and die of AIDS not long into the relationship.

It was very interesting to hear how George became a staple at black radio and then once he won awards in that genre over black artists, he became a pariah in that format.

Michael was found dead at his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day 2016. A coroner’s report attributed his death to natural causes.

I think he died of a broken heart and loneliness!

If you think you’ll never watch the documentary, this longer trailer gives you much more of the George Michael story.

MY FAVORITE GEORGE MICHAEL HITS

5

“FAITH” (1987)

So damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4

“FREEDOM ’90” (1987)

green 3

“ONE MORE TRY” (1988)

#2 CD

“I WANT YOUR SEX” (1987)

Again, so damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another number 1

“I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” featuring Aretha Franklin (1987)

Bonus

FAVORITE WHAM! SONG

As much as I love “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Last Christmas”, and “Everything She Wants”, “I’m Your Man” (1985) is my favorite Wham! song.

Bonus

“JESUS TO A CHILD” (1996)

I didn’t realize how emotional and touching this song was until I heard the story behind it — finally falling in love and coming out and then losing your lover without getting to spend much time together! 😦

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts – June 13, 2014

Happy Friday and Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week and have a great weekend!

ACCEPTING JONAH HILL’S APOLOGY?

It’s been almost two weeks since two-time Oscar nominee Jonah Hill (“This Is The End”, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, and “Moneyball”) screamed out a homophobic remark to the paparazzi that was hounding and berating him in a Los Angeles neighborhood near Hollywood.

He quickly went into damage control mode expressing how disgusted he was with himself because that’s not how he really feels and that he’s always been very supportive of the LGBT community.

While he’s a solid actor, I can’t say that I’m a fan.  On the other hand, I don’t dislike him.

I feel he’s genuinely sincere with his apology.  However, if he was really pushed into lashing out, he could have still said, “Suck my d***” without the derogatory f-word that precipitated this whole apology tour.

When I’m mad, I may use choice words, but they definitely don’t start with “F” or “N”, because those words are not part of my daily vocabulary and shouldn’t be a part of anyone’s!

BRAD PAISLEY IS AWESOME

I met country music superstar Brad Paisley back in 2001 in Canfield, Ohio, when he was just starting out and was promoting his second album.  (That’s a much younger me in the middle with the microphone).

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

At the time, he was new to business and came across as rather shy.  Now, he’s very outgoing and outspoken.

Here’s how he handled the Westboro Baptist cult outside his show in the Kansas City, Missouri, area back on June 1st.

Brad Paisley WBC

He took a selfie with the group that was protesting him and said that they’d “play loud” enough that night for the group to hear outside.

Awesome!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

At this point, I might as well feature Brad as my weekly country music pick of the songs and artists that I’ve loved or admired when I listened to country music.

Brad first hit the chart in 1999 when “Who Needs Pictures” peaked at #12.  The follow-up, “He Didn’t Have To Be” topped the chart in December of that year.

In all, he’s had 37 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 30 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Of those, 18 have reached #1.  As a matter of fact, he had an amazing run from 2005-2009 with ten consecutive number one hits on the charts!

While I love, “He Didn’t Have To Be”, “We Danced”, and “When I Get Where I’m Going” with Dolly Parton, my pick hit today is convenient.  “Celebrity” reached #3 in 2003.

Brad has sold more than 12 million albums, picked up three Grammys, 14 Academy of Country Music Awards, and 14 Country Music Association Awards.

“TONY AWARDS” HUMOR

Hugh Jackman from Sunday night’s “Tony Awards” broadcast:  “There’s the amazing Neil Patrick Harris, nominated for Hedwig.  He is a legendary four-time Tony host.  But, Angela Lansbury has hosted five times. So, Neil is right behind her and I was right behind him, which is still illegal in 13 states.”

Hugh Jackman

Disclaimer:  That picture of Hugh Jackman has nothing to do with the Tony Awards.  Oh well….

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

It’s now June and I’ve only gone to the movies once this year.  I saw “August:  Osage County” back in January.

I still want to see “Godzilla” on the big screen and I’ll wait to see “Neighbors” on DVD.  Other than that, there’s nothing out there or coming out anytime soon that I can’t wait for to watch at home.

The next movie I anticipate seeing is “The Hundred-Foot Journey” with Academy Award winner Helen Mirren (“The Queen”, 2006, Best Actress).

The movie is co-produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey and is directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolat”, “The Cider House Rules”, and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”).

“The Hundred-Foot Journey” opens August 8th.

CHER IS COMING BACK TO THE QUAD CITIES

This fall, music and screen icon, Cher, will be making another stop in the Quad Cities on October 22nd with her “Dressed To Kill Tour”.  Pat Benatar is opening for her.

Cher 2014 311

I saw her last Friday night in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with Cyndi Lauper opening for her.  The show, from the costumes, the sets, the choreography, and Cher’s humor and voice, was amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi back in 2002 in Chicago on “The Farewell Tour” and the “Dressed To Kill Tour” was much better and more entertaining.

DO YOU KNOW RYAN LEWIS?

Ryan Lewis is part of the biggest act that has hit pop and rap music in the past few years.  He’s the good-looking half of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.

But, could you pick him out a crowd?  Obviously, New Yorkers couldn’t.  Lewis is so funny in this clip from “The Tonight Show”.

COOKIE FAIL

I got really excited when I saw that Chips Ahoy had birthday frosting and Oreo creme filled cookies.

Chips Ahoy Filled Cookies

I wasn’t impressed.  I think the cookies would have been much better if they were crunchy Chips Ahoy with the creme frosting filling.  I’ll save my 75 calories per small cookie for something more rewarding.

PICK HIT

Swedish music producer and DJ Avicii has produced songs for some of the biggest names in music — Madonna, Coldplay, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, Daft Punk, Robyn, and many more.

He even scored his first hit album with himself as the star.  “True” debuted at #5 in the U.S. last fall and was one of my favorite albums of 2013.

The first two songs from that album have made a big impact on Top 40 radio in America and both have topped the Billboard Dance chart.

“Wake Me Up” reached #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013 and was downloaded more than 4 million times.  The follow-up, “Hey Brother”, peaked at #16 on the Hot 100.

His new song, “Addicted To You”, has already topped the Billboard Dance chart and is now racing up the Top 40 radio chart.

Warning:  the video does include shots of butts!

SPEAKING OF MADONNA

It seems that she is hard at work on her 13th studio album.  While there is no release date set, it appears that she’s working with Avicii,  the English duo Disclosure (who’s scoring big on American radio right now with their Top 15 hit, “Latch”), American DJ and producer Diplo, and English singer/actress Natalia Kills.

I really thought that Natalia Kills would have been big in the U.S. in the wake of Lady Gaga and Katy Perry.  However, that didn’t happen even with will.i.am on her side.

But, “Wonderland” is still one of my favorite songs and videos.  Warning — it’s disturbing.

THAT’S IT

Have a splendid weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week!

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — May 16, 2014

Another weekend is upon us and I can’t believe that next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to the summer season.

Have a fantastic weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  As always, let me know what you agree with and what you don’t.  I love feedback as long as you’re nice about it.

OKAY PEOPLE, OPEN YOUR MIND AND CLOSE YOUR MOUTH

There were basketball playoff games over the past week, but the big story is the National Football League (NFL) draft and Michael Sam.

Sam, the University of Missouri football first-team all-star player that publicly came out as gay three months ago, became a seventh round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams.

Michael Sam

If he plays this fall in a professional game, he’ll become the first active NFL player to have publicly come out.

When the announcement was made that he was drafted by the Rams, a very emotional Sam cried and then smashed cake into the face of his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, a former University of Missouri swimmer.

And, then, for the love of God, he kissed his boyfriend to celebrate!  OMG, clutch my pearls!

Michael Vito Kiss Cake

It was a monumental moment and the White House sent out this message from President Barack Obama, “The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

While Sam got encouraging and welcoming tweets from future Rams’ teammates, there was a big uproar over the kiss!

Former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward tweeted, “I’m sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv”.  He added:

Derrick Ward

And, Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted “horrible” and “OMG” about the kiss.  Those tweets were deleted and he was reprimanded by the team, given a fine, and ordered to attend sensitivity training.

jones_dolphins

He has since apologized to Michael Sam about the tweets.  However, I don’t know about Michael, but I don’t want Jones to apologize for speaking out about how he feels.  His disapproval and ignorance is real.  His apology is empty, condescending, and nothing more than damage control.

I have more to say about this whole reaction to Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend and people’s negative response.  But, I want to share a link about a previous blog I wrote back in June 2012 about public apologies after homophobic comments are made.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/your-apology-really-doesnt-mean-that-much-to-me/

Now, back to Michael Sam and his boyfriend, Vito.

Michael Vito Beach

They appear to be a happy couple and I’m glad that Sam is out now and the two of them can be public about the love they share for each other.

I’m also very happy that they can openly celebrate Sam’s accomplishment.  How many little boys and teenagers wish that one day they’ll be drafted into the NFL?  And, when that time comes, they should be able to share it with the one that they love!

People that were appalled by the public display of affection really need to get over it.  They find that kiss unacceptable, but they’ll accept bad and criminal behavior from their NFL stars?

Ray Rice

Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens is awaiting sentencing for dragging his fiancée out of an Atlantic City casino elevator.  He was found guilty of third-degree aggravated assault and could face a 3-5 year sentence and a fine for the spousal abuse.

Then there’s Daryl Washington of the Arizona Cardinals.  He pleaded guilty last month of choking his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child, and causing her to fall and break her collarbone.

daryl washington

And, Michael Boley of the Cincinnati Bengals was arrested for abusing his child.

Michael Boley

And, the list of bad behavior and criminal acts from NFL players goes on and one and people are bent out of shape over a same-sex kiss!  This is the 21st century people and love is love.

Michael, congratulations.  Michael and Vito, I wish you the very best in life and love!

Vito Michael Champagne

Cheers!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Pug FactoryEating  Laughing

KARL ROVE IS SUCH AN IDIOT

Karl Rove, the Senior Advisor for President George W. Bush is in news again and this time, in desperation, he stoops to an all-time low.

Rove Clinton

Rove is on the defensive after suggesting that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffered a brain injury in a fall she suffered back in 2012 that required hospitalization.  Rove made this sick insinuation based on the glasses Clinton wore during  testimony a month later!

Even people in his own party are speaking out against this tactic.

Former House Speaker and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he is “deeply offended” by Rove’s comments.

newtngingrich

With Clinton, Gingrich sees a correlation to what people were saying about former President Ronald Reagan’s health when he was a candidate, “I was angry when people did this to Reagan in 1980 and I am angry when they do it to her today”.

Gingrich also added, ” I’ve have many policy disagreements with Hillary[,] but this kind of personal charge is exactly whats wrong with [A]merican politics.”

Karl Rove, go away — now!

2016 RUN FOR PRESIDENT

Earlier this month, before Rove’s comments, Zogby Analytics polled 893 likely voters and found that Hillary has a substantial lead over former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a possible showdown for the 2016 race for President.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

With a +/-3% margin, Mrs. Clinton leads Bush 52%-36%.  Her lead over Paul was 52% to 35% and she was 16% ahead of Christie.

None of these candidates have thrown their hat into the ring yet.

PICK HIT

I’ve been a huge fan of the German dance band, Cascada, since I first heard “Everytime We Touch” back in late 2005.  That song went on to reach #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2009, Cascada had another Top 40 American radio hit with “Evacuate The Dancefloor”.  It made it up to #25.

Those two songs and 2008’s remake of Rascal Flatts’ #1 country hit, “What Hurts The Most” all topped the Billboard Dance chart.

Cascada-Blink

Cascada is back with a new single, “Blink”.

MORE “HANNIBAL” ON NBC

NBC’s “Hannibal” is without a doubt one of the best shows on television.

I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.

Hannibal

There are only two episodes left this season (the season two finale is next Friday night, May 23rd) and we already know that the serial killer Hannibal could be going down in the finale.

In case you’re one of the millions that haven’t watched “Hannibal”, here’s how season two started before the episode flashed back twelve weeks to show us how this showdown came about.

How will it end now that Jack Crawford knows Hannibal is a killer?

ARE JOURNALISTS PSYCHOPATHS?

Since I work in the news business and I’m talking about “Hannibal”, I have to share a couple of funny lines from the May 2nd episode, “Naka-Choko”.

Hannibal - Season 2

Shady, sensationalist reporter Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) confronts FBI profiler, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

Freddie Will Allegedly

And, then there’s this correspondence between Will and Hannibal.

Will Psychopath

PICK HIT BONUS

This week, the latest Michael Jackson album, “Xscape”, was released.  I featured the first single, “Love Never Felt So Good”, in my blog last week.

The official video is out now and it’s incredible!

The song debuted at #20 last week on Billboard’s Hot 100 and the album could debut at #1 on next week’s chart.

I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

The country band, Lonestar, from Texas, have hit the chart with six gold and platinum albums since their self-titled debut release in the fall of 1995.

Lonestar

Their first hit, “Tequila Talkin'”  peaked at #8 in 1995 and the follow-up, “No News”, topped the chart for three weeks in April 1996.

In all, Lonestar has charted 23 Top 40 songs on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 18 made the Top Ten, and nine have reached the top!

Also, their hit “Amazed” was number one on the Country charts for eight weeks in 1999 and it even made it to the top of the Hot 100 for two weeks the following year!

Back in 1997, I interviewed lead singer Richie McDonald and keyboardist/vocalist Dean Sams in Lubbock, Texas, and they were both great guys.

Lonestar Sara Evans

For those near the Quad Cities, Lonestar and Sara Evans will be playing at this year’s Rosefest Outdoor Concert Series at the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton, Iowa, on July 11th.

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough this week.

We have a wedding to attend in Dubuque, Iowa, this weekend.  While the weather is going to be nice Sunday, I’m torn about whether to work outside to get the garden ready when we get home or go to the movie.

We’ve only been to the theater once this year.  Back in January, we saw the Oscar-nominated and amazing “August:  Osage County”.

godzilla_2014_poster

I really want to see “Godzilla (2014)” after seeing the trailer.  With the suspense and creepiness of the previews, I think it could be this year’s “World War Z”!

“Godzilla” opens Friday!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 28, 2014

I guess if you work weekends, you may not be all that fond of Saturdays and Sundays.

However, since I work a traditional work schedule, I really love my weekends and this one should be a great once since I have no plans and the weather is going to dry and warmer.

So, enjoy your weekend and my random thoughts this Friday.

SPRING PLANTING

With the nice weather expected, I hope to get outdoors and clean out the garden, the herb garden, and the two flower beds.  Ray and I talked about planting and I suggested that we have two herb gardens this year for plenty of fun, tasty herbs to cook with this summer and fall.

Planter

I’m making progress on my indoor planting that I did three weeks ago.  It appears that the Ice White Cherry Tomatoes have popped up!  No luck yet on the Jerusalem Cherry plants that I desperately want.

Now I just have to keep them alive and healthy until I can plant them outdoors.

WINTER’S LAST HOORAY?

While it’s going to be a warm one this weekend with highs in the 50s Saturday and in the 60s Sunday and Monday in the Quad Cities, we had measurable snow this past Monday night.

Snow 032514

That brought us up to 65.1″ of snow for the winter, which is more than twice what we typically see in a winter.

We’re still 4.6″ shy of the snowiest winter on record.  Too bad since I’ve moved on from winter and I want spring now!

ONE JURY I’D LIKE TO BE ON!

Jessica Dutro of Tigard, Oregon, just outside of Portland, is on trial for murder, murder by abuse, second-degree assault, and four other charges in the death of her 4-year-old son, Zachary, because she thought he was gay!

Her boyfriend, Brian Canady, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for his part in the child’s death.

dutro-boggess-canady

Zachary’s 7-year-old sister told investigators that “Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him and punching him.  He didn’t listen to them so they kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and doing it.”

In Facebook messages that the judge is allowing in the trail, the little boy’s mother tells her boyfriend, Brian, using a homophobic slur that he’s going to be gay and “he walks and talks like it.  Ugh.”

Little Zachary did not get medical treatment until two days after the beating and was unresponsive when he was finally taken to the hospital on August 14, 2012.  He was taken off life support two days later.

The child died from the trauma to his abdomen, tears in his bowels, and the infection caused by the leakage into his body.

The other two children in the home, the aforementioned 7-year-old girl and a 3-year-old brother also showed multiple signs of abuse.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370

I know that plane crashes are always a possibility with the high number of flights around the world daily.

However, it’s now been about three weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 lost contact and disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpar International Airport in Malaysia en route to Beijing, China.

Malaysia-Bejing Flight Map

While it’s still unknown what happened to the Boeing 777, it’s likely that the 239 people on board are dead.

Malaysian Airlines is telling the families of those on board that “beyond reasonable doubt” there are no survivors and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told the world that the flight “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.

Malaysia Prime Minister

Unless there was an act of terrorism, in my heart, I feel that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and there are no survivors.

However, I don’t trust the Malaysian government and I believe the press conference they held earlier this week concluding the plane crashed is just damage control because officials there have botched this investigation and its interactions with the media since the beginning.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

19 Down Beliefs

ANOTHER 2014 CONCERT PLANNED

In late May, we’re going to see Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and in June, we have tickets to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis in Clinton, Iowa, on the “Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Cher Cyndi Lauper

While there may be one more concert, we just bought tickets to see the “Dressed To Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in early June.

The concert kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona, last Saturday night and it’s getting great reviews and Cher looks amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi Lauper on “The Farewell Tour” more than ten years ago.  This will be Ray’s first time.

I know it’ll be fun even though Cher doesn’t do my favorite song, “Red”, from her new album.

NCAA BASKETBALL BRACKETS

After winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball “March Madness” last year at the station and for one of the local newspapers, I was doing rather well going in to the “Sweet Sixteen”.

2014 Brackets

Sadly, last night, one of my “Final Four” teams, Baylor, lost miserably to Wisconsin.

If my other three “Final Four” teams continue to win, I’ll have a chance!

IOWA STATE CYCLONES

I have the Iowa State Cyclones winning one more game before falling to Virginia.

ISU is Ray’s alma mater, but that is not the reason I love watching them play.

Fred

That’s Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

He played for Iowa State in the 1990s and then went on to an NBA career from 1995-2005 playing for Indiana, Chicago, and Minnesota.  He’s been the head coach at Iowa State now since 2010.

DIVERGENT

“Divergent” opened with $54.6 million in the U.S. last weekend.

The movie looks interesting and I’ll likely see it when it comes out on DVD.  It stars Shailene Woodley and 29-year-old Englishman Theo James.

Theo James

There’s more to say about the movie, but it escapes me!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY #1

Mother Monster is celebrating her 28th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga!

Lady Gaga

Since 2008, Gaga has charted with 13 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

While my favorite Lady Gaga songs are still “Bad Romance”, “The Edge of Glory”, “Marry The Night” and “Dance in The Dark”, there are many songs on her new album, “ARTPOP”, that are incredible.

Her new single, “G.U.Y.”, is definitely one of them!

Classic Gaga!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”/HAPPY BIRTHDAY #2

While Lady Gaga is celebrating today, she’s not alone.

Reba

My idol, Reba McEntire, turns 59 today!

Reba Anthony 2005

Reba, I hope you’re having an amazing birthday.   While I don’t know if Reba is looking for songs for a new album, I hope so.

Nevertheless, for her birthday, let’s flash back to February 1995 when Reba took “Till You Love Me” to number 2 on the Billboard Country charts.

Reba has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, accumulated 25 #1 hits, which has her tied with Dolly Parton for the most numbers ones by a female country artist.

Reba easily has the most Top Ten hits by a country female artist with 59.

MY PARENTS’ ANNIVERSARY

March 28th seems to be a popular day.  It was on this date back in 1964 that my parents, Hollie Gene and Dessie, got married.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

They were married almost 23 years when Hollie died (Dessie died three years later).

However, that little bundle of joy in the picture turns 50 in October.  Yes, that’s me.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony