Posts Tagged ‘How To Get Away With Murder’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 10, 2017

Happy Friday (or whatever day you read this)!

The first story in today’s blog may not set well with some.  That’s fine.  Read it or scroll past it and check out the rest of my thoughts.

If you’d like to comment (and I’m asking for your opinion), do it diplomatically!

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

Random Thoughts

REFLECTIONS — ONE YEAR LATER!

It’s been one year now since that fateful night in 2016 when the truly impossible happened.

The bottom line is that former FBI Director James Comey’s October 27th bombshell of reopening the email controversy was (and still is) the main reason for the unthinkable.  If that proclamation hadn’t been made, Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States!

Now that I’ve had a year to reflect on it (and you have, too), I’m still no more at ease than I was in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016.

In retrospective, I’m not mad at the minority of people that voted for “that man”. While I don’t know, I try to understand why they did.

I’m still angrier with the people that voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  Did they really think that either of them had a chance to win the election?  No!

Did they vote for them to make a statement against Hillary?  Yes!

But, was it worth the outcomes in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin?  If a fraction of the votes for Johnson and Stein in those all important states had been cast for Hillary, she would have had the electoral votes to win the election.

Now, my question for those who voted for Trump, are you happy with what he’s done for America? Also, do you think he’s well representing the U.S. and what we stand for on the world stage?

And, I didn’t even get started on the Bernie Sanders supporters that didn’t vote or didn’t vote for Hillary.  Again, was the outcome of that anger worth it?

Those are some of the questions I’ve asked myself every day for the past year!  I can’t answer them.

Hillary AP

I just know how I feel waking up daily and not having Hillary Clinton as my president. 😦

I hope things change.

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The seventh season of “American Horror Story” wraps up Tuesday night, November 14th!

ahs dt

Wait, wrong graphic! 🙂

I can’t wait to see how “Cult” ends.  After the dismal fourth and fifth seasons (“Freak Show” and Hotel”, respectively), and the so-so sixth season, “Roanoke”, this season was entertaining and thought-provoking.

FAILED AGGRESSORS! 

“History is filled with aggressors who triumphed for a moment.  Then failed.”

Who do you think Madeleine Albright, the 64th U.S. Seceretary of State, was talking about in “Time” magazine in 2014?

Since you know me so well, I know who you’re thinking!

Surprisingly, it’s not “that man”.  It’s this slime bag– Vladimir Putin!

Putin

But, as time will likely tell, it’ll fit well into our current situation, too!

LAS VEGAS AND NOW TEXAS…

It sounds like a broken record.

Here’s what I wrote on July 14, 2017, before the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas and before the Texas church shooting last weekend.

“When something like the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook school massacre, or the bombing outside the Manchester Ariana Grande concert happens, we’re shocked for a few days before the news cycle moves on to the next story.

People go crazy on Facebook sharing “Remember <insert city>” or “Pray for <insert city>. And, then we move on, too!”

Why is this a regular part of our lives now?

DONNA BRAZILE & HER NEW BOOK

EMMA STONE & SEXISM

In her new movie, “Battle of the Sexes”, Oscar winner Emma Stone plays tennis legend Billie Jean King.

It’s about the historic tennis match with sexist, misogynist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).billie

In “Out” magazine in August 2017, Stone talked about where King and women were in the 1970s and where we are today “with a narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy — again this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean King…”

Stone adds, “Obviously the way this has all panned out has been fascinating and horrifying, and it still feels like we’re in a bad dream, but those parallels make sense to me — the equal-pay issue makes a lot of sense to me.  At our best right now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar.”

“LOSING SLEEP” — CHRIS YOUNG

I’ll admit upfront that I grew up on country music in the 1970s and abandoned the genre for Top 40/English Invasion/Dance music in the 1980s, and then re-discovered country in the 1990s with Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless.

Once radio cooled on Reba and Patty, I pretty music gave up on the format and especially with its love of bro-country.

When I do buy a country album, it’s usually by female singers.  The last male country album I bought was Canadian Brett Kissel’s phenomenal “Pick Me Up”, my #7 CD of 2016.

Brett Kissel

Before that, it was Michael Ray’s self titled full length in 2015.

I went out a limb and bought the latest from country crooner Chris Young.

I really like the texture of his voice on past hits, “Getting You Home (The Black Dress Song)”, “Voices”, “Think of You” (with Cassadee Pope), and “Sober Saturday Night” (with Vince Gill).

On this album, there are some standout perfect songs.

My favorites and I’m putting them in the order of how I’d love for him to release songs as singles:  “Losing Sleep” (his current hit, just outside the Top Ten), the ballad “Where I Go When I Drink”, “Holiday” (the perfect summer song), and “She’s Got A Way”.

“Blacked Out”, “Trouble Looking”, and “Hangin’ On” are also great.

GRADE:  B+

I KID YOU NOT! 🙂

This is the “The River 100.5” WTRV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, playlist from yesterday morning!

24-hour Christmas music was being played just after Halloween at some stations!  Who needs to wait until Thanksgiving anymore?

Carving Turkey

As you can see, several Christmas songs are already charting on the Adult Contemporary charts.

CHRISTMAS ALBUMS SALES

In 2016, overall album sales dropped almost 17% (falling from 241.4 million in 2015 to 200.8 million in 2016).

However, Christmas albums sales jumped 10.6% (climbing from 7.2 million units to 7.97 million).

HOT NEW CRUSH

You may not know the name “Henry Golding” now.

Henry Golding

But, you will when “Crazy Rich Asians” hits theaters August 17, 2018!

Golding is a 30-year-old British-Malaysian actor and he got married a year ago in August! 🙂 😦

MORE MID-FALL TELEVISION THOUGHTS

“How To Get Away With Murder” — Absolutely loving the fourth season.  Analise is incredible and I can’t wait to see what this whole blood bath is all about.  Plus, Connor and Frank are so hot this season!

“Mr. Robot” —  I’m glad that Tyrell (Martin Wallstrom) was given a full episode to expand his back story.  And, Wallstrom is so sexy!

Tyrell

Also, I love Darlene (Carly Chaikin) and I’m always surprised at what comes out of her mouth.  In a recent episode, it was “muff divers” and “diddle your skittle”!  *The horror!* 🙂

As much as I’ve enjoyed the three seasons so far, I hope it ends with this season.

“Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers” — I’m DVR-ing it, but have not watched the first episode yet.  Should I just delete it and free up the space?

“The Walking Dead” (again) — Episodes 2 and 3 of Season 8 sucked!  I’m giving it one more episode and I’m done.

This whole Ezekiel, his pet tiger Shiva, and the Kingdom plot line is such a laughable joke.

PICK HIT  

EDM (electronic dance music) producer and DJ Marshmello, who’s identity is unknown (but may be American DJ Christian Comstock), has scored seven hits in the U.S. on the Billboard Dance charts since 2015.

Two have reached the Top Ten.  “Alone” reached #9 in 2016.

His current hit featuring Khalid, “Silence” is currently at #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.  It’s also #36 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart.

“Silence” already topped the Australian Dance chart and hit the Top 5 in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and on the UK Dance chart.

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 — October 13, 2017

Another weekend is upon us and I hope it’s a great one for you.

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts.  Please feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

WHAT A CLOWN!

It seems that Kellyanne Conway is still around and still Kellyanne.

In the wake of all of the inappropriate sexual allegations coming out against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, I’d call him a pig, but I don’t want to insult the swine community!

Earlier this week, Conway lashed out on Twitter about Hillary Clinton’s slow response on condemning Weinstein, who donated to many Democratic candidates.

Kellyanne

I thought about it and it infuriated me even more, so I decided to reach out to her.

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

Today, I’m starting and ending my blog with it.  We need it!

I woke up a couple of weeks ago to this series of tweets from #45.  I pondered the callousness of the tweets.

DT

Seriously? Puerto Ricans are natural-born citizens of the United States!

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

CarmenThis same mayor that he’s criticizing has been wading through floodwaters helping her people while some “leaders” golf the weekends away.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of #45, but there comes a time when little boys need to grow up or shut up!

This saddens me as much as much as it angers me!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

While being bashed by #45, Carmen Yulin Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, was thinking of Las Vegas and the victims of the massacre there, while working to get aid from the U.S. government for her people.

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s been almost two weeks since a lone, white terrorist gunned down 58 people in a shooting spree at a country music concert outside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas that left more than 500 others injured.

LV

While police sort through the facts of the case to learn “why”, the debate quickly turned to gun control.  Sadly, this is a long-standing debate that falls on deaf ears after every mass shooting in America.

Geez, we have more than any other country in the world, yet we have a gridlocked political system that will not work to find a solution to make both side happy. But, I’m not even getting into that debate in this blog.

I love Vegas and I’m going there in December.  While there, I’ll drop money at the casinos, I’ll eat in the restaurants, and I’ll tip the cocktail and food servers well.

My biggest problem in the hours following this massacre was with the thing that was needed the most.  Although a “Go Fund Me” page was set up and quickly raised several million dollars for the victims’ medical costs, I didn’t donate.  Why?  Because blood was needed more than money as the victims were rushed to the hospitals.

Blood

I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m a gay or bisexual man that’s had sex with another man in the past year.   This excludes me from donating, yet it’s okay for a man or woman that hasn’t had same-sex relations to donate.  Yet, they may have slept with half of the free world (and even without protection), but it’s okay for them to donate.

I understood the hysteria in the 1980s and early 1990s when so much was unknown about HIV and AIDS, but three decades later?

Every blood donation is so thoroughly screened and tested before it enters the blood bank and HIV tests can be done in 15 minutes these days!

I have beautiful veins and in the late-1980s, I donated blood every chance I got and I’m regularly tested for HIV.

So, when there’s a national crisis and the American Red Cross is begging for blood donations, that’s where I draw the line.  I’m emphatically uncompassionate to its pleas!

Harsh?  No, it’s a reality and it’s one for which I didn’t set the rules!  To the Food and Drug Administration, do your job and stop discriminating!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

The new season of one of my favorite shows, ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” is incredible.

After just two episodes (I haven’t watched the newest episode), I love the vibe of the season 4.

Viola Davis is incredible (as always) as the very mean Annalise Keating, who’s turned over a new leaf and so far, so good.

I actually cried during the season premiere and I applauded Annalise in first case after returning to practicing law.

Viola

She’s defending an older black woman, who has spent most of her life in and out of jail and prison.

The woman was raped as a young girl and arrested for prostitution at 13-year-old.  She was released back to the streets, while white girls arrested that year for the same crime was put in a home for rehabilitation and a chance to turn their lives around.

Annalise argues, “Because that’s what we do to black people, women, and gay people. We turn a blind eye and we tell them their lives don’t matter, but they do matter!”

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

I’ve shared many pictures of the cute ducks and the babies in my complex since I moved to Panama City, Florida, in early May.

Ducks

And, I’ve also talked about the turtles feasting on unfortunate ducks.  I know, it’s the “circle of life”.

The other day, I was walking by the pond by my apartment and I noticed a turtle upside down in the shallow water with its head submerged underwater.

I guess it had fallen into the water upside down!  I didn’t know how long it had been there.  So, I had three options: let it drown, let it try to flip itself over (which seemed impossible), or flip it over myself.

Well, being the “tree hugger” and a softie, I helped it and it swam away.

Turtle 1

I hope it remembers that and it doesn’t feast on a baby duck one day!

“THE SNOWMAN”

I’ve only been to the theaters once this year.  Back in the spring, I saw “Beauty and the Beast”.

Next weekend, I’m going to see my future ex-boyfriend, Michael Fassbender, in “The Snowman”.

This movie is based on the superb Norwegian crime thriller by Jo Nesbo.

I haven’t been to a movie alone since 1996 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, when I went to see “101 Dalmatians”!

PREMATURE BABIES

In 2010, the survival rate of a baby born under 3.3 pounds was at 78%.  There was a lot of improvement in those odds since the 1980s.  (What a great decade — except for AIDS and Ronald Reagan!)

Focus Anthony!  The point I want to make is that just five decades earlier, in 1960, the survival rate for a baby that size was only 28%.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964I was one of those babies and I spent the first six weeks of my life in the Mayfield Hospital and look at me now!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, I’m a survivor and it’s my birthday!  I’m celebrating it with my sister Tammy and her boyfriend Gerald, who are visiting me in Panama City.

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

This was my birthday in 2011, my last one with my best friend, Miss ABBA.  Yes, it warm enough in the Quad Cities to be out in a tank top playing ball. 🙂

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

Wait, Dessie didn’t know then that I prefer chocolate cake?  (Actually, I haven’t met too many desserts I didn’t like.  Why can’t people be like desserts for me?) 🙂

AP 1st Birthday

My most exciting birthday ever was my 50th in Paris, France!

It started with a Seine River dinner cruise, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and then sipping champagne stage-side at the Moulin Rogue (sans Satine!)  After that, it was off to my dream destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

Also, I can’t forget celebrating in Las Vegas in 2012 with Madonna!

Let’s hope in the next 50 years I have other birthdays to rival those.

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

It’s the new Christmas album from Reba McEntire, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

As I shared with you in an August blog, Reba released a version of this album through Cracker Barrel, a chain restaurant with a history of homophobic and racist practices.

It was also the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

This re-issue features new versions and new songs with Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

Freddie Highmore was incredible as Norman Bates on A& E’s “Bates Motel”, so I was excited to check out his new ABC series, “The Good Doctor”.

Highmore is very convincing as Dr. Shaun Murphy, who is a surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.  The show follows the struggles he faces in the high pressure world of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.

While some of the show comes across as far-fetched to me, I’m still with it after three episodes.

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

This movie is based on the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s.

Without her knowledge, doctors used her cancer cells, known as HeLa, to advance not only cancer research, but research for many different other diseases, too.

Oprah Winfrey is great as Debra Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, who worked with a Rebecca Skloot, a writer who was researching and writing a book about her mother.

The HBO movie was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

20-year-old Norwegian record producer and DJ Alan Walker was only 17 when he produced a version of a song called “Fade” without vocals.

A new version, “Faded”, featuring Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim, hit #1 in 17 countries and reached the Top Ten in, at least, ten more countries (add another one if you count the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the U.S., where it went to #4.)

“Faded” was my favorite song of 2016 and it’s been viewed more than 1.3 billion times (that’s billions with a “B”) on YouTube!

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 30, 2016

It’s now been a couple of days back at work for me after five days in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ray was at a conference and I went along and spent time with “Mom” (Betty).  It was nice seeing her again since the last time was over a year ago when she was in the Quad Cities.

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

THEY SAID WHAT??? — PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE VERSION

Monday night’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump was the most watched in history.

84 million people tuned in and this doesn’t include the millions who watched online or at other venues like parties, bars, restaurants, and offices.

This beat out the 1980 debate between President Jimmy Carter and eventual winner Ronald Reagan.  80.6 million watched that debate.

A CNN/ORC poll after Monday night’s showdown showed that Clinton easily won it by a margin of 62%-27%, the third largest win in debate history.

debate

Between Trump snorting like a pig, drinking water like he’d walked through the desert, and constantly saying “wrong” during many of Clinton’s answers and rebuttals and Hillary smiling like a Cheshire Cat because she knew Donald was coming unglued, it was an interesting night.

Here are my favorite soundbites:

Donald:  “I think my strongest asset, maybe by far, is my temperament.  I have a winning temperament.”

Hillary Debate.jpg

Hillary:  “I have a feeling by the end of this debate I am going to be blamed for everything that ever happened.”

Donald:  “Why not?”

Hillary:  “Join the debate by saying more crazy things.”

Donald Debate.jpg

Donald:  (on who’s to blame for the Democratic National Committee security breach.  It could have been Russia or China) “It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds.”

hillary-debate

Hillary:  “Donald, I know you live in your own reality.”

Hillary:  “He loves beauty contests, supporting them, and hanging around them.”

BEST TWEET ABOUT THE CANDIDATES

Springer.jpg

JUST IGNORE HIM — HE’S USED TO IT!

Because most of the people that read or will come across my blog are compassionate and caring, you’ll likely click on the video below (it’s less than a minute and you don’t even need the sound up!)

Vote this November!  It’s important!

CANCER SUCKS

In the past I’ve shared many stories about cancer.  The bottom line is that it sucks.

cancer

While I’ve had a couple of scares that, fortunately, didn’t turn out turn out to be cancer, I did lose my grandfather, my hero, and my father to cancer.

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel, one of my favorites, is raising awareness of the disease on his latest single from his album “Pick Me Up”.

Brett Kissel

He’s also donating the money from “I Didn’t Fall In Love With Your Hair” with Carolyn Dawn Johnson to cancer research in Canada.

What a powerful video!

This single is dedicated to his mother, Brenda, a survivor who’s battled cancer several times and has gone through more than forty surgeries!

You can help out by buying the single here (it’s track 10).  But, let me tell you the entire album is spectacular!

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/pick-me-up/id1023505720

And, that’s not all.  Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and two-time cancer survivor W. Brett Wilson is matching the sales of the single up to $25,000 through October 28th.

Kissel has a nice run going with eight consecutive Top Ten hits on the Canadian Country music chart and this is looking like it’ll be his ninth!  It moves up eleven this week to #31!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER!

I want to take a moment to wish my favorite President Jimmy Carter a very happy birthday this weekend.

On Saturday, our 39th U.S. president turns 92 years old.

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter

I got to visit his presidential museum and library earlier this month in Atlanta, Georgia, and it was amazing seeing all of the history of his long, rewarding life.

President Carter is the second-oldest living president.  George H.W. Bush turned 92-year-old back in June.

FIVE YEARS & COUNTING

It’s five years today!  Happy fifth anniversary Ray and Gretel!

These pictures were taken shortly after it became official in Vander Veer Botanical Park in Davenport, Iowa.

Wedding2

Our wedding posse, oops, party (from left to right:  Ray’s sister Cindy, my “Mom” Betty, Ray, Gretel, me, and my sister Tammy.)

Wedding 1

The first years!

And, if you haven’t seen it before, here’s a compilation video of our wedding reception, which was held the next day in our back yard.

We planned it and decorated all by ourselves!  It was beautiful — even if I say so myself!

While the video is labeled “One Year Anniversary”, it’s now five!

Ray and Gretel, here’s to the next five years!

IN SHOCKING POLITICAL NEWS…

Texas Senator and former presidential wannabe Ted Cruz announced that he’ll be voting for Donald Trump in November.

santorum vest

Also, another former presidential wannabe (and several times loser) Rick Santorum has been appointed to Trump’s Catholic Advisory Council.

Heather Mooney’s response to both of these shockers!

HeatherMooney

SERIES & SEASON FINALES

If you haven’t seen the season finales of “Mr. Robot” and “Aquarius”, skip down until you see olives.  Yes, I said olives. 🙂

spoiler-alert

Season two of “Mr. Robot” is over and while the season was much different than the incredible first season, it was enjoyable.

The season two finale was very bold.  It had some very strong language and confrontations.

Speaking of confrontations, the showdown between E Corp’s Scott Knowles and Tyrell’s wife, Joanna, over the death of Knowles’ dead (and pregnant) wife, Sharon, was literally painful to watch!

joanna

And, the last scene with Elliot, Tyrell, and the phone call with Angela makes me look forward to what’s likely to be a shorter season three in 2017.

GRADE:  B  (Season one — GRADE:  A)

aquarius.jpg

The season two finale of “Aquarius” on NBC with David Duchovny will likely serve as a “series finale”.

For two years, we’ve watched Duchovny as Los Angeles Police Detective Sam Hodiak working his job (the right way and, also, bending the law), sexing up the ladies, and teasing his pretty boy, younger partner Brian Shafe (Grey Damon).

Grey Damon

At the same time, since it’s the late-1960s, we also watched Charles Manson and his “family” terrorize Los Angeles, which as we all know, ended in a savage bloodbath of actress Sharon Tate and four others inside her Hollywood home.

It was a strong season that few people watched and it was an enjoyable two years.

While the show hasn’t been “officially” cancelled, I’m almost certain it won’t be back.

GRADE:  B+  (Season one — GRADE:  B)

WELCOME BACK “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

“How To Get Away With Murder” is back for its third season and the premiere episode proves that show has plenty of life left in it.

However, as was teased at the end of the episode, that’s not the case for a major character.  Someone will die by the end of the season.

Here’s a teaser for the remaining fourteen episodes this season.

You can catch the show Thursday nights on ABC.

DO YOU KNOW HOW OLIVES ARE STUFFED?

Yes, I thought about this the other day and I just had to look it up, so I’m sharing it with you.

I figured that olives were stuffed by humans and machines. I was right.

This is an incredible short video showing the process.

After watching this video, I know it’s a job.  But, could you imagine how monotonous it would be!

PICK HIT

Some of the biggest names in country music, from today to yesteryear, created an instant classic.

To celebrate “The 50th Annual CMA Awards”, CMA brings us “Forever Country”, a single that was produced by CMA Award winner Shane McAnally and features 30 superstars including Reba, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Martina McBride, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley, Randy Travis, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Trisha Yearwood, Brett Eldredge, Miranda Lambert, Carrie Underwood, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, and many more.

The song is a medley of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads”, Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You”, and Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”.

The single was downloaded 93,000 times and streamed 5.7 million times in its first week.  That helped it debut at #1 on the Billboard Country Songs chart.

While this is an achievement that only two other songs have done, it’s only getting limited airplay at country radio.

Don’t even get me started about the current state of country radio!!!!!!!!

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR

So, fall officially arrived a week ago last Thursday.  That evening, at the Moline Walmart, I saw that the garden section was already the Christmas section.

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

So, it’s truly one-stop shopping now.  You can pick up Halloween candy and costumes, buy frozen turkeys and canned cranberry sauce, and shop for your artificial tree and decorations all at the same time!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016

What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities.  I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically.  (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah.  The dead horse is still dead!)

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.

Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.

I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.

While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.

Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.

Hillary AP

There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.

LAURA BUSH

Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She seems so genuine and down to earth.

I’ll  share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.

Laura Bush

Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.

Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit.  Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.

She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”

In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”

Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.

rebecca-bradley

Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

My thoughts:  I know people are young (and stupid).  I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.

However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know.  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.

And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!

I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years.  Well, he and I are at odds again.

terry-branstad

Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.

Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”

I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times.  In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.

Brittany Maynard

I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”).  If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/random-friday-thoughts-november-7-2014/

But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.

That’s the good news if you share my views.  The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.  Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.

Sadly, viewers are moving on.  The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers.  However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.

Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!

If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation.  However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.

The Purge Masks

While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).

The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder.  The goal is to stay alive.

This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!

“The Purge:  Election Year” opens July 1st.

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside.  Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Caitlyn.jpg

However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.

Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified.  With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless,  privileged views with her.

I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.

It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.

I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.

I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.

If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.

It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable.  Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.

Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying.  I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.

When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it.  It looked so moronic and not funny.

Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance.  For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.

I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie.  But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding.  I think Franco should be in every movie!

There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.

With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie.  But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess.  How bad was it?  I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony

 

 

Movies To Rent & Two To Avoid

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and we inch closer and closer to the winter season, more and more people will be renting movies becoming couch potatoes.

Here are the recent movies we rented that you may have thinking about checking out.  Some you’ll want to see and some are definitely not worth spending your money or wasting your time on.

LILA & EVE 

This drama stars Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”) and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez (“The Boy Next Door”) as grieving mothers who join a support group after their children are murdered .

Great performances from both actresses with several shocking twists.

If you love Davis as Annalise Keating on “Murder”, treat yourself to this one.

GRADE: B

“BOULEVARD”

Robin Williams stars in this drama, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role.  It’s new to DVD and it’s very touching.

You get heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).

Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

Speaking of Aguire, I tweeted him recently about the movie and got this kind response.

Roberto

A must see!

GRADE:  A

“THE GIFT”

This psychological thriller stars Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton, who also wrote, produced, and directed the movie.

Simon (Bateman) and his wife, Robyn, move from Chicago to California near when Simon grew up.  They run into a man, Gordo, who claims that he and Simon went to high school together.  Simon doesn’t seem to remember Gordo.

Gordo begins popping up at their house with gifts and you realize that Simon does know Gordo and it becomes very interesting.

The story line twist is original and downright creepy.

GRADE:  B

“SPY”

As I’ve blogged before, I’ve never been a big fan of Oscar-nominated comedian Melissa McCarthy.

I enjoyed her dramatic performance in “St. Vincent” and thought I’d give the comedy “Spy” a chance with low expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with the movie and I laughed a lot — once you suspend some belief.

McCarthy and Rose Byrne were hilarious in the movie.

The biggest scene stealer was English actress Miranda Hart, who played a CIA agent and friend of McCarthy’s Susan Cooper.  I definitely want to see more of her.

GRADE:  B

“SAN ANDREAS”

Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) stars in this disaster flick about a massive earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded on Earth, that devastated California from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the San Andreas Fault.

If you suspend ALL belief in science and take the movie at face value for the popcorn thriller it is, you’ll enjoy it.

And, any movie that featuresKylie Minogue in a bit part is all right with me.

The $110 million dollar budgets movie grossed $470.5 million!

GRADE:  C

NOW, LET’S TALK SEQUELS NEW TO DVD…

“THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”

I loved the 2012 surprise hit, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  The $10 million movie ended up making almost $137 million.

Thus, the expectations were high for the follow-up, which cost about the same to make, but only brought in $86 million.

And, it’s fitting.  While the main original cast returned, the movie was enjoyable, but didn’t really add too much to the story and it really didn’t need to be two hours long.

The Bollywood musical number toward the end of the movie bumped it up from a “C”.

GRADE:  B-

“PITCH PERFECT 2”

The 2012 original about the a cappella group, the Barden Bellas was entertaining, it spawned a radio hit, “Cups”, by Anna Kendrick and jump-started the career of Rebel Wilson, who played Fat Amy.

The sequel fell flat!

The only bright spots in the movie were the clueless, politically incorrect commentators played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins and the German powerhouse group “Das Sound Machine” (DSM).

If hearing Kendrick and Snoop Dog (Lion) or just Snoop perform “Winter Wonderland/Here Comes Santa Claus” wasn’t bad enough, by the time Fat Amy performed, “We Belong”, I felt sorry for Pat Benatar for allowing the movie to use the song!

Sadly, another sequel is coming in August 2017.

GRADE:  C-

“MAGIC MIKE XXL”

Here’s what I wrote and graded the summer 2012 original, “Magic Mike”:

“‘Magic Mike’ is definitely a fun, hot movie that also has a heart.  It’s not all about sweaty dollar bills, cheap sex, and chiseled bodies — although there’s nothing wrong with that.  Who am I to judge?”

GRADE:  A-

This sequel three years later was too talky and boring — flaccid!

“We didn’t want to show the best parts of the movie in this trailer, but it was very very hard to resist”.

That’s actually from the movie trailer.  Sure enough, my favorite scene in the whole movie is featured 23 seconds into the trailer — Joe Manganiello’s character doing a dance routine in a convenient store.

I think the “XXL” in the title means “extra extra lousy”.

Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, and Jada Pinkett Smith could not even save this movie!

GRADE:  D

If you saw any of these movies, let me know what you think.  You might have liked them more than me or hated them more.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 23, 2015

Happy Friday!  It’s been a month since I posted some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so here are a few.

It’s time to put the final touches on your Halloween costumes and stock up on candy that you buy for yourself and the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Gretel Halloween

Yes, that’s Gretel from a few years ago!  Visions of “The Walking Dead” are dancing through my head.

“HALLOWEEN” IS STILL MY FAVORITE

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is still my all-time favorite horror movie and Michael Myers still rules 37 years later (and he hasn’t aged one bit!).

Michael

I’ve always wanted to be in a “Halloween” sequel and a new one is coming to theaters next year — without me!  It’s being shot this fall.

CHECK OUT THIS HALLOWEEN MOVIE

While we all have our favorite scary movies (if you like them), the little seen “Hellbent” from 2005 is one that I make sure that I watch ever fall.

Hellbent1

While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it has some great pedigree.  It’s from the co-creator of “Halloween” and the executive producer of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

SOMETHING SCARIER THAN HALLOWEEN…

… Presidential politics!

DT Masks

A new Quinnipiac poll yesterday shows that Donald Trump no longer leads in the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus.

An even scarier candidate, Dr. Ben Carson has jumped to 28 points with Trump at 20 and Marco Rubio in third with 13.

MarcoRubio1

Up until now, I thought that Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee, but now I think it’ll be Rubio!

By the way, if a Rubio is going to be in the White House, I vote for Paulina Rubio (even though she wasn’t born in the United States)!

PaulinaRubio

BIGGEST THREAT TO POLITICIANS — INTERNS?

After the poll came out showing Trump had fallen behind Carson in Iowa, this tweet came across Trump’s Twitter feed.

Trump

Trump now claims it was an “intern” that posted it.

Maybe people should manage their own social media — it’s always the “intern”!

Again, another case of the lack of responsibility!  And, there are hearings today about Benghazi?

Oh, about that…

LAST POLITICAL COMMENT TODAY

Like the email server controversy, I’m ready for the Republican House-led Benghazi hearings with Hillary Clinton to be over and for people to get the answers they need.

president-hillary

Many think (not just me and not just Democrats) that these hearings are being held now to sidetrack Hillary’s bid to be president.

Look at this graph of attacks on U.S. diplomats.  More have happened under which side’s control of the country?

Attacks

Are you not convinced?  In January, just two weeks ahead of the Iowa Caucus, director Michael Bay (the “Transformers” series) will be releasing a Benghazi movie!

Coincidence in timing?  I think not!

FALL TELEVISION — HITS AND MISSES

How are your television favorites this season and what new shows are you watching?

I’m really enjoying the new hits, “Quantico” (ABC) and “Limitless” (CBS).

I love the quirkiness of “Limitless” and the character, Brian Finch.  If that wasn’t enough, actor Jake McDorman is so sexy!

I plan on getting around to checking out the new season of “Fargo” and the series, “Wicked City” and “The Man in the High Castle”.

“Scream Queens” is entertaining if you love camp — deliciously bad!

As for my returning favorites, I think “How To Get Away With Murder” is even better this season than it was in the over-the-top incredible first season.

How the heck are we going to get to this teased ahead shocker???? I can’t wait to find out!

annalise

I’m still loving “Madam Secretary” and the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” is off to a refreshing (and violent) start.

The Walking Dead

I’m reserving my judgement on the Lady Gaga-led “American Horror Story: Hotel” and after three episodes, I’m on the fence about liking the return of “Empire”.

Empire

The first season was fresh and exciting.  This season just seems tired even with the amazing Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett.  I even loved the music of the first season more than the new music this season.

Let’s hope it changes before I abandon the show.

READY FOR MOVIE POPCORN!

We’re approaching the end of October and I still haven’t been to the movie theater this year!  I’m missing my movie popcorn and free refill.

There are two movies I want to see out now and I think I may see one of them this weekend.

I want to see “The Martian” with Matt Damon, but I’m putting my money on “Sicario” with an Oscar-buzzed performance by Emily Blunt.

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ LAST ON-SCREEN MOVIE

We watched “Boulevard”, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role, just out on DVD, and it’s very touching.

It features heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).  Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

A must see!

GRADE:  A-

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

While you may be thinking of the candy rush of Halloween, I’m already salivating over turkey and cheesecake for Thanksgiving.

Our Turkey 2012

But, Christmas is also right around the corner.

I just bought LeAnn Rimes’ “Today is Christmas” album, but the one that I’m really excited for and counting down to (November 13th) is “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.

Kylie Christmas

The deluxe edition not only comes with extra songs, but a DVD, too!

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS

There are three albums that instantly come to mind when I think of Christmas and two of those artists are featured in this one video!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without these staples:  “Christmas” by Michael Buble, “Merry Christmas” from Mariah Carey featuring the incredible “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and “Christmas Portrait” by the Carpenters!

‘Tis the season early!

PICK HIT

24-year-old Alvaro Soler of Barcelona, Spain, is ready to move beyond Europe and take the United States and the world by storm.

Alvaro Soler

His debut album, “Eterno Agosto” came out this past summer to moderate success in Italy and Switzerland.

The first single, “El Mismo Sol” topped the charts in Italy and Poland and the song hit the Top Ten in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Spain.

The song now has a bilingual version subtitled, “Under The Same Sun” featuring Jennifer Lopez and is currently at #22 on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart here in the U.S.

I’m still waiting for the full version, but here’s the amazing teaser.

The song is so uplifting (both versions) and to feature these two beautiful people makes it even better.

Here’s the original version.

I hope that Alvaro becomes a huge star in America.  There’s enough love for him and Enrique Iglesias!

FINAL THOUGHTS

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  If you agree with me on something, let me know.  If you don’t, tell me, too.  We can disagree — diplomatically.

And, since I mentioned Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas today, this sums it up.

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

You Can’t Spend All Summer Outdoors

Summer is a time when most people spend more time outdoors on the lake or river, lounging in the pools, or vacationing.

Pool Summer 2010

Whatever you do, it’s great to escape the cold, snowy months of winter.

11911Snow2

In the evenings, television networks are giving us fresh new shows so we don’t have to watch re-runs and pine for the return of our favorite shows.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Now that my favorites, “The Walking Dead”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Bates Motel”, “American Horror Story”, “Madam Secretary”, “American Crime” are on hiatus, and “The Following” and “Stalker” heading off to the television graveyard, here are the shows that excite me this summer.

I just have to include the trailers for the series finales of “The Following” and “Stalker”, both of which air Monday, May 18th!

R.I.P.

Now, my summer shows……

“Wayward Pines” kicked off on Fox, Thursday, May 14th, to rave reviews.

“Aquarius” with David Duchovny debuts on NBC on Thursday, May 28th.

Duchovny will play a detective who ends up on the hunt for a young serial killer, Charles Manson.

The third season of one of my favorite shows, “Hannibal”, returns on NBC Thursday, June 4th.

Ironically, that means Duchovny will be back-to-back on NBC Thursday night with his “The X-Files” television partner, Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurie.

Gillian David The X-Files

Those ready for the six new episodes of “The X-Files” will have to wait until January 24, 2016!

On USA, I’m going to check out “Mr. Robot”.  It premiers Wednesday, June 24th.

I kept seeing the promotions for it during “Dig”, a ten-episode thriller that has already concluded.  However, if you have On Demand, I highly recommending binge watching it.

And, on Tuesday, June 30th, I plan on checking out “Zoo” on CBS.

There isn’t much in this trailer.  It’s a drama about a global pandemic that causes animals to launch violent, coordinated attacks against humans stars James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, and Billy Burke.

And, the six-episode accompanying series to “The Walking Dead”, “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts some time late this summer on AMC.

Okay, while I don’t want to rush summer, here is the ONLY show that has piqued my curiosity for the fall.

“Scream Queens” comes to Fox in September.

What shows are you excited about?

Anthony