Posts Tagged ‘homophobic’

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

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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.

MM2

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.

marilyn

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”.

glow

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.

Quayle

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!

Criss

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

Miglin

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.

JJL

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.

spoiler-alert

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.

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“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.

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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! 🙂

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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

 

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8, 2013

The weekend is almost here and I’m so ready for it.  We have friends coming over for dinner Saturday night and I plan on putting up the outdoor Christmas lights Sunday.

In addition to working on today’s blog and still posting pictures of our European trip on Facebook, I started working on my Christmas cards this week.  I ended up not buying the poinsettia Christmas stamps that I featured a few weeks ago in my blog.  When I went to the post office, they had these awesome little decorated Christmas Gingerbread houses!

GingerBreadHouses-Forever-Block4-Singles-v2

Here are my random Friday thoughts.

TOTALLY GIVING UP ON EMINEM

By the time you read this, Eminem’s latest album that was released Tuesday will have already sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

After years of spewing anti-gay lyrics in his songs, I thought he was “evolving”.  I read an old “Rolling Stone” article after he crashed from drug abuse and it actually made him sound very down to earth and more human.  And, in 2010, he even made comments to support marriage equality.

Eminem

However, he’s back to his old ways.  Check out these disgusting lyrics from “Rap God” on his new album.

“Break a motherf**ker’s table over the back of a couple of fa**ots and crack it in half”, “You fags think it’s all a game till I walk a flock of flames off a plank, and tell me what in the f*ck are you thinking” and “Little gay looking boy/So gay I can barely say it with a straight face looking boy/You witnessing a massacre like you watching a church gathering.”

And, his views toward women haven’t softened any either, “They asking me to eliminate some of the women hate/But if you take into consideration the bitter hatred that I had/Then you may be a little patient and more sympathetic to the situation/And understand the discrimination”.

elton-john-and-eminem1

Eminem has performed with and befriended openly gay singers Elton John and Sia, who scored big with “Titanium” with David Guetta.  She even has a duet with him on the new album.

After hearing the lyrics to “Rap God”, in a Twitter discussion with a fan, she initially defended Eminem as not personally being homophobic, but added, “I truly understand your point, and am certainly experiencing fear around the repercussions if he doesn’t explain his art.  I am queer, and love my queers, young and old. I work with the Center and homeless LGBT kids, and when I heard ‘Rap God’ I was very anxious.  He has a character called Slim Shady who represents the worst and darkest bile of America. I see how it can be unclear.”

sia

You may or may not be shocked at how many homophobic remarks popped up against Sia and the fan from Eminem fans!  Very sad!

Sia is now donating the proceeds she receives from the Eminem collaboration, “Beautiful Pain”, to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, a 50-bed shelter and transitional living program geared toward LGBT homeless youth.

Here is how Eminem responded to “Rolling Stone” for his upcoming cover story about “Rap God” being anti-gay, “It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then…  And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career – man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves.”

Maybe that “real me” that is Marshall Mathers III (Eminem) is really okay with LGBT people.  But, I don’t understand how he’ll spew hate, I mean, raps that are homophobic that advocate young or uneducated people to have such vile and hateful thoughts toward the LGBT community!

Maybe I just don’t get it!

ILLINOIS HOUSE DOES THE RIGHT THING!

With a vote of 61-54-2 Tuesday, the Illinois House says “yes” to marriage equality!

The Illinois Senate approved this back in February with a 34-21 vote.

Marriage Equality Illinois

The “Land of Lincoln” is now the 15th state (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage available to all residents.  Governor Pat Quinn plans on signing it into law on November 20th.

Locally, I want to say “thank you” to Representatives Pat Verschoore and Mike Smiddy for their “yea” votes!

Same-sex marriages in Illinois will begin on June 1, 2014.

THE COUNTDOWN TO “ARTPOP”

It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since Lady Gaga released “Born This Way” and in just a few days, we get “ARTPOP”, Gaga’s third full-length studio album.

ARTPOP

Several of the album’s 15 songs have been made public, including the Top 5 Hot 100 hit “Applause”, along with “Aura”, “Dope”, “Venus”, and her new single, a duet with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want”, which is already racing up the charts.

Here is Lady Gaga’s recent performance of “Venus” and “Do What U Want” on “The X Factor” UK, which prompted several complaints for being too adult!  Seriously?

OUR FISH LOVE THE RECENT RAIN

During the drought in the Quad Cities this summer, it was a struggle to keep the water level up in the fish pond.

As we head deeper into fall and eventually winter, last week’s almost two inches of rain and the one-half inch that fell earlier this week really made a big difference in giving our 13 fish (our original six and the newly acquired, older, and bigger ones) plenty of water.  And, we’ve already added the de-icer to keep the pond from freezing this winter.  So, bring on the snow!

Fish Pond Late February 2013

IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

While we’re still weeks away from decorating the inside of our house, this weekend I’m decorating the outside before it gets too cold!  We have some new lights that we bought for half-price last Christmas.  This is what it looked like two years ago.

Christmastime 2011

I love following charts, whether it’s music, movie, or whatever.  As I was looking at the Mediabase charts and playlists, the first Christmas song of the season is at #43 today on the Adult Contemporary (AC) airplay chart.  AC stations are usually the ones that embrace and switch over to Christmas first.

“Underneath The Tree” was the song from Kelly Clarkson’s new album, “Wrapped in Red”.

“WRAPPED IN RED”

I love Kelly Clarkson’s music and her voice, but I have to admit that two other variables put it at the top of my new CD wish list:  it’s a Christmas album and it features Reba McEntire!

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

Reba and Trisha Yearwood join Kelly on “Silent Night”, the last song on the album.

While Reba’s version on her own 1987 album, “Merry Christmas To You” is flawless, the arrangement on the new version is spectacular.

Of the album’s 14 tracks, eight are Christmas classics and Kelly does each one justice.

Kelly’s versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Please Come Home For Christmas”, “Blue Christmas”, and “White Christmas” are my favorites of the classics.  And, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, joins Kelly on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

Most of the originals are strong songs, too.  My favorites of the six original are the slow tempo, “Winter Dream (Brandon’s Song)”, dedicated to her new husband, the upbeat, fun, and catchy “4 Carats” and the new single, “Underneath The Tree”.

It’s going to take many more listens, but “Just For Now” doesn’t do anything for me — for a Christmas album.

GRADE:  A-

A holiday television special to promote the album, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale” was filmed live in Las Vegas last week and it’ll air on NBC on December 11th.  It also features Reba, Trisha, and Ronnie.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Mommie DearestHuckabee

VeteransDay

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Marketing is very important in what we watch, wear, drive, drink, and eat.  Advertisement agencies make billions and earn billions for their clients by cleverly encouraging us to spend our hard-earned money on their products.

But, I have to ask, did this agency close its doors after this ad campaign and what was Burger King in Singapore thinking?

burger-king_seven-incher

Last January when I was in Las Vegas for the Lady Gaga concert, I visited the old downtown area and Fremont Street for the first time and the Heart Attack Grill stood out to me.

Heart Attack Grill Las Vegas

The restaurant features the “Quadruple Bypass Burger” (four half-pound beef patties, twenty strips of bacon, eight slices of American cheese, a whole tomato, one-half of an onion served in a bun coated with lard).  It checks in at a whopping 9,982 calories!

Quadruple Bypass

Disgusting!

“THE WAY WAY BACK”

On our recent flight to Europe on Swiss Airlines, we watched the coming of age dramedy, “The Way Way Back”, rated PG-13.

The movie focuses on 14-year-old Duncan, played by the incredible 17-year-old Canadian actor Liam James, as he spends his summer vacation seaside in Cape Cod with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell).

Trent is a total jerk, which is made clear in the opening scene of the movie when he forces Duncan to rate himself on a scale of one-to-ten.  When the teenager says “six”, Trent proceeds to tell him he’s just a three!

All summer long, Trent stays on Duncan’s case.  To escape the misery, the teenager sneaks away to a local water park, Water Whizz, and befriends Owen (Sam Rockwell).

Duncan and Owen

While the movie features stellar performances from all of the actors, the standout is Allison Janey, who plays a boozer, Betty, who lives next door.  Her one liners kept me laughing and her comic timing is impeccable!  (“See You Next Tuesday”!)  If you’ve seen the movie, you’re laughing at that line right now. 🙂

“The Way Way Back” is a must see this fall!

GRADE:  A

“NOW YOU SEE ME”

If you love magic, suspense, and action, this summer caper is the movie for you.  The $75 million motion picture made $351.7 million and a sequel is in the works and is expected to begin production next summer.

Now You See Me

In the movie, four street magicians are summoned by an unknown benefactor and make their debut as “The Four Horsemen” in Las Vegas.

Their Vegas finale is to rob a bank of millions of Euros in Paris, France.  The movie follows them as they continue to dazzle crowds by stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and giving it to the audience while trying not to get caught by the FBI and Interpol.

“Now You See Me” stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Common, and Michael Caine.

If you loved Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” or “Zombieland”, you’re going to love him in “Now You See Me”.  And, I was really digging his long hair in this movie.

Jesse

GRADE:  B 

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Corey Hart was one of my biggest crushes back in the mid-to-late-1980s and my favorite Canadian export.

His latest release is with Papercha$er, “Night Visions (Sunglasses)”.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Corey+Hart

Hart hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 nine times, but only two of those songs reached the Top Ten hits.

In 1985, he took “Never Surrender” to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, but it was “Sunglasses at Night”, his first hit that made it up to #7 that captured my attention and provided me with my second entertainment crush.  John Schneider (Bo Duke, from “The Dukes of Hazzard”) was the first!

FINAL THOUGHTS

That’s it for this week.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Let me know what you think of my random thoughts or let me know your random thoughts!

Anthony