Posts Tagged ‘human rights’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 3, 2018

Welcome to the first weekend of August.  Summer is chugging right along and before you know it, fall will be here.

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

THANK GOD FOR RBG!

Fantastic news this week from 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

This is a major sigh of relief after the sad news earlier this summer that Anthony Kennedy is stepping down, which might allow 45 to make the court more conservative!

Come on Democrats, give the Republicans a dose of their own medicine like in 2016 when President Obama’s SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland didn’t get confirmed.

Back to Ginsburg — she was appointed by President Bill Clinton and was confirmed by a 96 to 3 vote in August 1993.

“RBG”, a documentary about Justice Ginsburg this year has already grossed $13.1 million and will be released to DVD on August 28, 2018.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT FROM MY IDOL

President Jimmy Carter recently spoke at the Carter Center and he stated that the U.S. has lost its long-term commitment to human rights.

He says, “We should be the champion of human rights. We’re a superpower, not based solely on military power; part of that definition should be a commitment to human rights.”

And, this is from earlier this year!

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NATIONAL CHEESECAKE DAY

Earlier this week, it was “National Cheesecake Day”.  Here are four of my favorites that I’ve made over the years.

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SHADE (AND I LOVE IT)

You already know that while I love their food, I won’t pay to eat at Chick-fil-A because of its well known history of being anti-LGBTQ.

A new store is opening soon in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and their next door neighbor, McDonalds, wants people to know that, at the golden arches, “WE WELCOME EVERYONE”.

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While the other side of the sign advertises Quarter Pounders, the message is clear with Chick-fil-A in the background!

McDonald’s manager says with a smile that it didn’t mean anything to the anti-gay chain restaurant,  “It just means that everyone is welcome, young old, everyone.”

“A SHADE SHADY (NOW PRANCE)”

Perfect time for RuPaul’s 1993 #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “A Shady Shade (Now Prance)”.

This was the follow-up to the international hit, “Supermodel (You Better Work)” (1992, #2 Billboard Dance Club Songs) and “Back To My Roots” (1993, #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs).

“SHARP OBJECTS”

Amy Adams comes to television in a big way on HBO’s “Sharp Objects”, based on Gillian Flynn’s first novel.

Many of you know the former “Entertainment Weekly” writer from her blockbuster novel and movie, “Gone Girl”.

In “Sharp Objects”, there are more gone girls, but these young girls turn up dead!

Adams plays Camille Preaker, a St. Louis newspaper reporter and alcoholic, sent back to her small hometown in the southeast Missouri Boothill to cover the tragedy unfolding in Wind Gap.

Also, Camille was recently discharged from a psychiatric hospital and is a “cutter”.  It’s especially painful to watch when she’s carving into her own body!

On a happier note, it’s great seeing Adams and the stunning and sexy Chris Messina together again.

They played a married couple in 2009’s “Julie and Julia”, about chef Julia Child.

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DEMI LOVATO

Since Amy Adams’ character is into “cutting” and in light of singer Demi Lovato’s recent drug overdose, I want to share this information. (Lovato is an admitted “cutter”.)

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There’s a nationally-recognized self-harm help program called S.A.F.E. (Self-Abuse Finally Ends) Alternatives.

The toll-free information hotline number is 1-800-DON’T-CUT (366-8288).

“OZARK”

Season 2 of the amazing Netflix series “Ozark” starring Jason Bateman and Laura Linney, one of my all-time favorites, is less than a month away.

The killer new season premieres August 31st.

The show picked up four Emmy nominations including one for Bateman for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  Both Bateman and Linney are nominated for Screen Actors Guild Awards!

In the new trailer, it’s chilling when Wendy says, “We do not kill people.”

FUN LIQUOR BOTTLES 

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AND, I DEFINITELY WANT TO TRY….

these Ketel One flavors:  Peach & Orange Blossom, Grapefruit & Rose, and Cucumber & Mint.

I just have to catch them on sale!

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“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

You can watch this stunning English drama on Netflix starring Englishman Josh O’Connor and Romanian Alec Secareanu.

O’Connor plays Johnny, a young man living with his father and grandmother on the family farm in northern England.  Johnny now has more responsibility after his father’s stroke.

He leads a lonely existence and drowns his sorrows in alcohol and cheap, meaningless sex.

The family hires Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, for the upcoming lambing season and sparks begin to fly between the two young men.

But, can Johnny admit his feelings for Gheorghe and come out to his family that may or may not be accepting?

O’Connor won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor beating out his co-star for the honor.

GRADE: B+

“THE CROWN”

By the way, O’Connor was just cast to play Prince Charles in seasons 3 and 4 of the incredible Netflix series, “The Crown”, which returns in 2019.

“BORG VS. McENROE”

As a teenager, I played tennis by returning volleys against my grandparent’s garage.  Bjorn Borg did the same thing in Sweden.  Guess which one became one of the greatest tennis players of all time? 🙂

I remembered being glued to the television for the 1980 Wimbledon final between Borg and John McEnroe.

Borg was going for his fifth consecutive Wimbledon final.  Believe it or not, at the time, I had pride in my country and was rooting for McEnroe.

But, after seeing the incredible and nail-biting “Borg vs. McEnroe”, in retrospective, I would have rooted for Borg all the way!

Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg and Shia LaBeouf plays McEnroe.

GRADE:  A

WHAT?  NEVER PLAYED TENNIS???

Swedish actor (of Icelandic origin) Sverrir Gudnason plays Borg in “Borg vs. McEnroe” and he’s absolutely gorgeous and captivating!

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When the soon-to-be 40-year-old landed the role, here’s what he had to say, “I had never even been on a tennis court in my life and I didn’t just learn to play tennis, I learned to play tennis like Bjorn Borg.”  (By the way, he plays Borg at 26-years-old!)

Gudnason’s next big role comes this November as Mikael Blomkvist in “The Girl in the Spider’s Web”, the second movie in the Millennium series following “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2009/2011).

FORMER “REBA” STAR GOES TO BAT FOR OUR TEAM!

Some of you may know Steve Howey from “Shameless”.  I know him from playing Van Montgomery, Reba’s son-in-law on the WB/CW comedy, “Reba”, from 2001-2006.

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The straight, married father of twins shocked some and confused many when he tweeted four words, “I’m gay and proud”.

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Howey, who isn’t gay, says “My whole point was to be a champion, a supporter, of the movement.  I can say it and have no problem with it.  If you are, be proud and say it.  I’m just here to hold the flag up and say I’m in support.  If that helps you come out or say it with pride, that’s all my intention was.”

Howey goes on to tell “The Advocate” (June/July 2018), “If it’s difficult to come out of the closet in Los Angeles, it’s got to be f*cking terrifying in Des Moines, Iowa; or Boulder, Colorado.”

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 — January 24, 2014

Friday is here and that means the weekend gets underway soon!  This evening, I’ll be saying a few words in front of a crowd of thousands for the rodeo that’s in town.  This will be interesting because I’ve never even been to a rodeo!  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“THE BACHELOR” SAYS WHAT?

This is a case of having the right to believe what you want, but not having the intelligence to filter your words.

Juan Pablo

Juan Carlos Galavis, the hunky star of ABC’s  “The Bachelor”, may have shown his true colors last Friday night and then used the lame of excuse of claiming English is not his first language.

When asked whether there would ever be a bisexual or gay “bachelor”, he replied that he didn’t and “honestly, I don’t think it’s a good example for kids”.  I can deal with that because, even though I disagree, that’s his opinion.

However, the media hungry reality star kept talking and this is what ticked me off.  He added, “there’s this thing about gay people… it seems to me, and I don’t know if I’m mistaken or not… but they’re more ‘pervert’ in a sense.  And to me the show would be too strong… too hard to watch.”

Excuse me, did you say “pervert”?

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Well, it didn’t take long for Galavis to be contacted by ABC, the show’s producers, or his manager, because he issued this apology, “My vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself.  What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept…  Once again, I’m sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone.”

Please don’t use language as your excuse for being close-minded!

Yelena Isinbayeva

Last August, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva made anti-gay comments and apologized by saying, “English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday.”

Just as I said back then, I don’t speak foreign languages as a second language, so if I’m going to make derogatory comments, “I’ll do it in English, a language I can fluently speak” to avoid “misunderstanding”!

SALLY KERN IS THE “HUMAN WRONG”

And, why I’m talking about people who tick me off, I can’t leave out habitual anti-gay Oklahoma Republican state representative Sally Kern.

Sally Kern

Recently, when a Oklahoma judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Kern replied, “Homosexuality is not a civil right. “It’s a human wrong. Homosexuals are saying this is who we are. This is how we’re born. You tell a lie long enough, people begin to believe it.”

Obviously, you’ve believed the lie that you’re not a bigot long enough that you believe it!

BAD FEELING ABOUT SOCHI GAMES

Months ago, I blogged my support for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi (Russia).

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Now, with more and more talk about the threat of terrorism and the recent bombings in Russia, I feel more uneasy.

Of course, the reason for my initial call for a boycott was over Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government’s anti-gay laws and his empty assurances that gay people will not be mistreated during the Games.

I guess this teenager, Pavel Lebedev, getting tackled and detained for holding up a rainbow flag doesn’t count because the Olympics haven’t started yet!

Seriously, it’s a flag, not a weapon!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Winter

SpringSmile

SNAP, SNAP, MISS LABELLE

“All these little heifers who can’t sing are called divas.”

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Whatever you do, don’t call R&B and pop legend Patti LaBelle a “diva”!

“That word is used so loosely that I don’t even consider myself a diva.  I always considered myself a woman who sings her heart out and who gives 120 percent. ‘Diva’ is a word that I wouldn’t wanna call myself because it’s so loosely used. It’s not cute anymore.”

Ms. LaBelle went on to call today’s pop stars “a hot mess”.

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LaBelle:  “Well, for opera singers, and for ladies who earned it, but that was way, way back when. Now you can look up to them, but you might not see what you wanna see. A hot mess! People who are doing it and doing it with about 40 people on stage with them to hide their pitifulness—that’s not a word, but you know what I mean.”

For the record, Patti LaBelle has scored 24 Billboard R&B hits as a solo artist and 10 more with Labelle.  However, on the Billboard Hot 100, she only had 3 solo Top 40 hits:  “New Attitude” (#17, 1985), “On My Own” (#1, 1986, with Michael McDonald), and “Oh People” (#29, 1986).

“THE FOLLOWING” SEASON 2 PREMIERE

Fox’s “The Following” kicked off its second season last Sunday night and it was incredible.  It also scored the highest ratings ever coming after the NFC Championship football game.

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Creepy, murderous “followers” of serial killer Joe Carroll are still out to honor him and kill for him.  However, now his loyal group has to contend with copycat groups hellbent on violence and they even have Carroll masks.

Carroll Masks

Emma, one of the Carroll’s followers and lovers from season one, is back and was rather subdued in the season two premiere.  And, while I love the character, her punk look has to go!

The Following - Sam Underwood

My favorite new character in season two is Luke played by English actor Sam Underwood.  You might remember him as the protegé of “Dexter” in the Showtime series’ final season.

Sam Underwood -- Dexter

Without giving away any real spoilers, Underwood was amazing and made creepy, sadistic, and sick look sexy.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of Underwood in “The Following”.  However, because no one is safe on this show, except maybe Kevin Bacon’s “Ryan Hardy”, I can’t say how long Underwood will be on the show.  But, Emma survived all of last season!

And, what makes Underwood, the actor, even cooler is that he “favorited” one of my tweets earlier this week!

Sam Underwood Tweet

If you missed the season two premiere, Fox is airing it again Monday night (January 27, 8 p.m. ET) before an all new episode.

KE$HA HEALTH UPDATE

As I blogged two weeks ago, pop star Ke$ha checked herself into rehab for 30 days for an eating disorder.  She’s being treated at a facility outside of Chicago.

Kesha and Mom

Ke$ha’s mom, songwriter Pebe Sebert, tells “People” magazine, “I’ve watched my beautiful, self-confident, brilliant daughter be berated and ridiculed for her looks and weight to the point that she almost died.”

Sebert goes on to add, “The doctors told me her blood pressure and sodium levels were so low, they’d never seen it that low except with someone who’d had a heart attack or stroke. They said it was a miracle she hadn’t already dropped dead on stage.”

If you or someone you know is fighting anorexia and/or bulimia, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association at 1-800-931-2237 or check out their website, http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

OBESITY MORE OF A PROBLEM THAN MALNUTRITION

As I was reading an old issue of “Eating Well” magazine (June 2013), I learned that in 1990, malnutrition ranked as the top health risk around the world and being overweight was down at #11.

Obesity

A report by the Global Burden of Disease, made up of 500 scientists in 50 countries, now states that for the first time, being overweight is now up to 6th place and malnutrition has dropped to 8th place!

HEALTHY EATING UPDATE

We’re still doing well on our healthy eating choices and walking.  I’ve now lost 5.6 pounds , so far, in January and Ray is down 4 pounds.  We’re still treating ourselves one cheat meal (i.e. buffet) each week and we’ve cut back on the potent potables.

By spending more time on the treadmill, I’m keeping up on my magazines and I just completed my third book of 2014!

ARMISTEAD MAUPIN’S “TALES OF THE CITY”

Although I read “Tales of the City” twenty years ago, I’m re-reading it again, along with the following eight books in Armistead Maupin’s series.

Tales of the City Book

Maupin started the series in the “San Francisco Chronicle” in 1976, after moving to the city in 1971 for a job at the Associated Press.

Armistead

“Tales of the City” is about a group of young people living at 28 Barbary Lane, a complex of apartments owned by Anna Madrigal, an older, eccentric landlady, who loves her marijuana and is harboring her own secrets.

The series focuses on the funky culture and “alternative lifestyles” of San Francisco, starting out in the 1970s.  The tenants are straight (Mary Ann and Brian), gay (Michael), bisexual (Mona), and asexual (Mrs. Madrigal).

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the miniseries that debuted on PBS in the United States giving them their highest ratings ever (at the time) for a dramatic series.  It stars Olympia Dukakis as Mrs. Madrigal and introduces us to future star Laura Linney.

Tales Miniseries

It’s still one of my favorite miniseries of all time.  I watched it for the first time as, in early 1994, as I was getting ready to make my big move to Chicago from small town Kentucky, just like Mary Ann Singleton did in the series from Cleveland to San Francisco!  And, I was just as naive as Mary Ann, too, twenty years ago!

If you lived through or if you love the groovy 1970s, you’ll love this series.

The final book in the series, “The Days of Anna Madrigal” was just released.

“THE X-FILES”

I’m getting all melancholy again as I near the end of “The X-Files”.  What?  Yes, I know that the series ended its nine-year run in 2002, but I’m watching it again.

The X-Files Season 9

While I’ve seen the entire series, Ray never saw it.  So, we’re binge-watching all 202 episodes and the two feature films.

We’re down to the last 13 episodes.  SPOILER ALERT, Ray!  I hope that I find the series finale more exciting this time than I did the first time!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Dave & Sugar, a country trio, racked up 16 hits on the Billboard Country charts from 1975-1981.  Eleven of those songs made the top ten and three topped the chart.

I don’t know if I moved on from them after their first hit because I don’t remember the other 15 songs.  However, I loved “Queen of the Silver Dollar”, their debut song that only reached #25.

THAT’S ALL

While I have many more random thoughts, I don’t want to exhaust you.  Have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking our my blog.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

Happy New Year!  I wish you the very best this year.  If 2013 was a great year for you, I hope this one is better.  If 2013 wasn’t all that great, I hope 2014 is incredible.

Happy 2014

Here are my first random thoughts of 2014!

HELL HAS FROZEN OVER!

This is not a segue into the bitterly cold, below zero temperatures we’re waking up to in the Midwest this Friday or the brutal cold coming in early next week.

Hell has frozen over because I can now say that I agree with former Fox News talk show host Glenn Beck on something!

On CNN recently, Beck cracked me up talking about Santa and race when he replied, “I don’t know what color your imaginary friends are.”

However, it was his comments about Russia and a prominent television star there that caught my attention and we found common ground.

People, I’ve talked about this hate since last summer, but we really need to wake up when it comes to Russia and the sad state of human rights there!

GOODBYE CHRISTMAS

Christmas Outside

As much as I love the Christmas lights and decorations, the outdoors lights will be put away when some of the snow melts and it warms up a little.  The “live” tree inside comes down next weekend!

Christmas Tree

I had a very nice Christmas and Santas Ray, Tammy, Gretel, Betty & Ray’s parents lavished me with some fun and some very practical gifts.  By practical, do you notice the soap, shampoos, and lotions?  I can’t wait to use the food processor this summer when the garden produces enough tomatoes for homemade salsa.

And, Vickie, thank you for the Michael Buble book and Andy, the tie is too cool!

Christmas Gifts

RICKY MARTIN IS SINGLE

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Ricky Martin’s publicist has confirmed that the Latin heartthrob and his partner of about three years, Carlos González Abella, are no longer together.
The statement says, “Ricky and Carlos have mutually agreed to end their relationship, but continue to be united by friendship and their shared experiences.”
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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Jesus

Forecast

Healthy

BEING HEALTHIER IS NOT A RESOLUTION

If you recall, in 2012, Ray and I both lost about 25-30 pounds for his 30th high school reunion and the Madonna concert for my birthday in Las Vegas.  While it was hard eating very little and walking a lot, it was worth it.

Vegas October 2012

Since October 2012, we haven’t been very dedicated to healthy eating and it shows.  I’ve gained all the weight back and more!  Yesterday morning, I weighed more than I’ve ever weighed!

I feel like I look like Christian Bale’s character in “American Hustle”, but with better hair and clothes.  Okay, I’m slightly exaggerating there.

Christian Bale American Hustle

Ray and I have both set our weight loss goal of 15 pounds by summer.

Bring on the lettuce!

REDBOX TARGETED OVER SAME-SEX MOVIE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  I’ll watch a movie that I normally wouldn’t check out, because for $1.20, you generally can’t go wrong.  As far as I can recall, I’ve never rented a gay-themed movie from Redbox because they normally aren’t there.

However, there’s a documentary called “Bridgegroom” available now and it’s causing some uproar.

NETFLIX POSTER

It tells the story of the documentary’s producer, Shane Bitney Crone, and his late partner, Tom Bridegroom, who died in an accidental fall from a rooftop.

Some of you may recall this story about Crone’s grief in the YouTube video sensation, “It Could Happen To You”, in which Crone describes Bridegroom’s family refusing to let him to come to his partner’s funeral and them threatening his life. It has been viewed more 4.6 million times since it was posted more than a year ago.

Crone posted on Facebook earlier this week, “some radio hosts and church groups have encouraged others to boycott the popular Redbox video rental kiosks completely, simply because they are against a love story about two men.”

REDBOX

Redbox plans to supply the documentary to its 44,000 kiosks across the country and is contributing 5% of the film’s proceeds to GLAAD, GLSEN, PFLAG, and Freedom the Marry.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” FLASHBACK

Since I started my blog almost two years ago, I regularly featured some of my favorite pop songs from the 1980s, the best decade of music!

In 2014, I’m taking the mantra of Marie Osmond, with whom I share a birthday.  This year, “I’m a little bit country” and I’m starting it off with Shania Twain.

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No, it’s not one of the awesome country and pop crossover hits from her mega-selling albums “The Woman In Me”, “Come On Over” or “Up” that made Shania the best-selling female country artist not only in America, but the world.  She has sold more than 85 million albums world-wide!

In America alone, “The Woman In Me” sold 12+ million copies, 20+ million for “Come On Over”, and 11+ million for “Up”.

Shania’s first hit, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” reached #11 in 1995.  Including that hit, she has scored 27 Top 40 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 7 have topped the charts.

Shania Twain

However, my feature hit today is her first release from her self-titled debut in 1993.  Sadly, “What Made You Say That” and the follow-up, “Dance With The One That Brought You”, both only reached #55.

We played this song like crazy at Charlie’s, the country bar that I worked at in Chicago, before Shania made it big!

2014 CONCERTS

If it all works out, I want to visit Las Vegas in 2014 and see a double feature of Shania Twain and Britney Spears’ “Piece of Me”, which is earning rave reviews since it started last Friday night.

Shania1Britney

More than likely, the first show we’ll see this year will be Cher and her “Dressed To Kill” tour when it comes to Rosemont, outside Chicago, on June 7th.

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

I’d also like to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis’ “Grits & Glamour Tour” in Clinton, Iowa, in June, since I’ve seen both of them separately in concert.

Lorrie-Morgan-and-Pam-Tillis-(Grits-&-Glamour-Tour)

I also want to see Erasure next fall and Olivia Newton-John, if she tours.

ErasureOlivia

And, I’m still holding out for a Culture Club reunion tour.

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“AMERICAN HUSTLE”

Last week, you learned that the Israeli drama/love story, “Out in The Dark”, was my favorite movie of 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I’m already starting to compile my best of 2014 list and the first theatrical movie I checked out was “American Hustle”.

American Hustle

The movie, directed by David O. Russell, stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who Russell directed in “The Fighter” and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook”, which was also directed by Russell.

“American Hustle” is loosely based on a FBI undercover operation back in the  late-1970s and early-1980s involving crooked politicians.

All four stars were incredible in the movie and gave Oscar worthy performances.

I think Adams has a Best Actress nomination secured and Lawrence could very well be nominated in the Supporting Actress category.  Her nutty character was funny and heartbreaking.

GRADE:  A-

HOLLYWOOD, LISTEN TO ME!

I’ve now seen Jennifer Lawrence in five movies and she’s been captivating in every one of them.

jennifer-lawrence

I believe every movie should star Lawrence and Melissa Leo, who I hope Oscar remembers in mid-January when the nominations are announced.  She was phenomenal in “Prisoners”.

Melissa Leo Prisoners

Happy 2014 again and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  I plan on relaxing this weekend, vegging out, watching movies, and getting through more of “The X-Files”.  We’re midway through season seven.

Since I mentioned my favorite movie of 2013 in this blog, I’ll leave you with my favorite song and video of 2013.  You can find separate blogs of my “best of 2013” by hitting the back button at the top of this blog for past blogs. 🙂

Wait, I have a Cher playlist and I know the words to every Britney song…………

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2013

Another weekend is upon us and I hope you’re excited about whatever you have planned to do.  I know some of my friends are going to take it easy this weekend after partying at Market Days last weekend.  Since I worked 11 of past 12 days, I think I deserve a break today and I’m not talking McDonald’s.  🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy my random thoughts this Friday!  And, please know that I always welcome your feedback on my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and I’d like to know what you’re thinking about whatever.

VACATION

In less than 24 hours from now, we’ll be boarding a plane from the Quad Cities to Dallas and then to Cancun and by tomorrow afternoon, God-willing, we’ll have our feet buried in the sand sipping on a cold potent drink.

It’s been an interesting week of watching the tropics.  If you recall last week, the Caribbean was quiet.  And, then by Wednesday, there was a 60-70% chance of a tropical storm forming and bringing heavy rain and wind to the Yucatan Peninsula, e.g. Cancun!

Atlantic

Fun times!  Luckily, for us, development into a tropical storm (if it happens) will not occur until it gets into the Gulf of Mexico and the rainy, wet weather should be gone by Saturday!

Here’s to margaritas, tequila, beautiful sunsets, and hot bodies!  So, here’s my favorite Latina hottie, Pauline Rubio.  (Don’t worry, Enrique (Iglesias), you’re my favorite Latin hottie!)

PAULA DEEN GETS VINDICATION, BUT…

The lawsuit against celebrity chef Paula Deen that caused her to lose her Food Network television show and many sponsorships has been thrown of out of court.

Lisa Jackson, a former manager at one of Deen’s Savannah restaurants, is suing her former bosses, Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, for millions of dollars for racial and sexual discrimination.

However, earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that Jackson, who is white, cannot sue them for race discrimination because she was not one of the victims — even though others may have allegedly faced discrimination.

Paula Deen Happy

A spokesperson for Paula Deen says, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed.  As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”

There is still the issue of sexual harassment that Jackson is alleging.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday Dear Madonna!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Madonna3

Today, the “Material Girl” turns 55!

In honor of the woman who had the most successful tour of 2012 (the “MDNA Tour” made $305.2 million), has had more Hot 100 Top Ten Billboard hits than the Beatles (38), and leads with the most #1 Billboard Dance chart hits (43), here’s my favorite Madonna song.

“Borderline” became her first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.

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And, here’s my favorite Madonna video.

“Open Your Heart” became Madonna’s 11th Top Ten hit and fifth #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1987.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ozzy Mouth ShutAuto Correct

FINALLY, I GET TO READ A BOOK!

I just finished the April 28, 2011 “Rolling Stone”, the last of my stockpiled magazines that also included “Time”, “Details”, “Men’s Fitness”, and “Boston”.  Now that all of those subscriptions have expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, “Instinct”, and “The Advocate”.

This means that I’ll be able to keep up with the new magazines as they arrive and I can finally read a book!  I haven’t read a book in about five years — right before Ray and I met.

Golden Days The Art of Racing in the Rain

I already have the first four picked out, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein (yes, Vickie, I’m finally going to read it and get it back to you), “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed” by Judy Shepard, and “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter.

meaning_of_matthew_l

Those four should take me up to the end of the year.  The Matthew Shepard book will be timely since the 15th anniversary of his death is October 12th and the book by President Carter should coincide with Christmas this year!

ChristmasInPlains

WHAT I LEARNED FROM “ROLLING STONE” MAGAZINE

I always thought of “Rolling Stone” as a rock music magazine.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how it excels in hard news and investigative reporting.  It expands on stories that mainstream news media outlets shy away from by playing it safe.  “Rolling Stone” doesn’t hold back!

Here are some of the highlights from the last few issues that I just finished reading from 2011 as my subscription expired.  I told you I was behind on reading!

Witty TV commentator Bill Maher was profiled in the March 17, 2011 issue and the article quoted the comedian talking about a shamed Texas politician, “Tom DeLay has done only two things since leaving politics, “Dancing With The Stars” and now prison — somebody must tell him there are easier ways to have sex with men.”  Good stuff!

Image: ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" Season Nine - Week Three

It also had an interesting cover story on talk show host Howard Stern, who still like to shock people.

In the March 31, 2011 issue, it basically made Stern seem much more human and flawed.  The article touched on the fact that Stern currently makes $80 million dollars a year for his SiriusXM talk show, but he’s still very unhappy in his life and fighting demons.  However, it stated that he is now happily remarried.

Since the article is over two years old, Stern now makes another $15 million for being a judge on “America’s Got Talent”!

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

And, while she went though hell at the hands of ex-boyfriend/singer Chris Brown and she gets some bad press because of her actions, I really enjoyed learning more about Rihanna in the April 14, 2011 issue.

Rihanna Rolling Stone

For the record, she’s already scored 39 Top 40 hits in America on the Billboard Hot 100 since her first hit in 2005 and twelve of those songs topped that chart.  She became only the seventh artist in music history to accomplish that.

Her longest charting #1 song on the Hot 100 (ten weeks) was “We Found Love” with Calvin Harris.  And, her latest single with David Guetta, “Right Now” just became her 20th number one song on the Billboard dance chart.  She’s now in second place as the artist with the most #1 dance hits behind Queen Madonna, with 43 chart toppers.

However, I didn’t learn any of that from the “Rolling Stone” article.  Here’s what I learned from the magazine that made RiRi so much more down to earth:  She doesn’t like vegetables because they taste “like bush”, but she loves french fries, Cheetos, and KFC.  She loves going to grocery store and cooking for herself and enjoys a nice chardonnay at the end of the day.

Rihanna loves true-crime reality, she’s chronically late and she’s also a compulsive boob-grabber!

And, finally, her name is Arabic for “sweet basil”.

ALBUM SALES IN DISTRESS…

Earlier this month, Billboard magazine reported “U.S. album sales have hit new historic lows over the last five weeks marking the longest consecutive stretch in the SoundScan era that the industry has gone without scanning more than 5 million units.  And, over the last two weeks, album sales hit consecutive record lows.”

4.68 million albums were sold for the week ending July 28, 2013.   That’s the lowest weekly total since Nielsen SoundScan started in May 1991.

The top-selling album for the first half of this year, through June 30th, is “The 20/20 Experience” by Justin Timberlake.  Sales are right around two million.

THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LIST REVEALED!

And, the top-selling single during that same time period is “Thrift Store” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with U.S. sales of 5.6 million.  The song sold an additional 1.2 million copies in the U.S. in late 2012 when it was released.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

However, by the end of 2013, I expect that “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (with Pharrell and T.I.) will be the biggest selling single of the year.  As of August 7th, it was up to 4.27 million in U.S. sales!

But, we can’t forget “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Roar” from Katy Perry.  Both were rush-released this week because the songs were leaked on the internet.

Lady Gaga-Katy Perry

“Applause” is the first single from the “ARTPOP” album due November 11th.  Gaga will be performing the song live on the MTV VMA show August 25th marking her first real performance since a hip injury and surgery caused her to cancel the remainder of her “Born This Way Ball” tour earlier this year.

This is the lyric video for “Applause”.  The “official” video for the song debuts Monday, August 19th.

And, “Roar” is the first single from Katy Perry’s album “Prism”, which comes out October 22th.

Gretel, my 12-year-old daughter, likes “Roar” more than “Applause”, which she thinks is “weird”.

As for me:

Katy Perry — “Roar” —  I love the catchy chorus of “Roar”, but the rest of the sound is too slow of a build for me.   GRADE:  B

Lady Gaga — “Applause” —  The energy is incredible, the vocals are captivating, and it sounds a little rougher than her previous club hits, but it’ll still make you gravitate to the dance floor.  GRADE:  A

The winner!

Applause

YET, VINYL IS HOT AGAIN

While album sales are suffering, vinyl record albums are making a comeback.  In 2012, 4.55 million were sold in the U.S. compared to just less than a million (990,000) five years ago.  Many record companies are beginning to offer free downloads of an album when vinyl is purchased.

Albums

Last Christmas, I asked Santa Ray & Santa Tammy for a turntable because I missed vinyl records.  Since Santa delivered, I’ve been hitting a few yard sales and my neighbor’s store, Readmore Book World & Rock Shop, in Moline, for albums and Tammy has picked up a few for me at Goodwill.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Go-Go’s first album, “Beauty and the Beat”, in 1981,  hit #1 and sold more than two million copies.  It also gave the group its first two hits and its biggest hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20) and “We Got The Beat” (#2).

They followed that album up the next year with “Vacation”.  The biggest hit off that release was the #8 title track (the album also peaked at #8).  The group did have two other smaller hits from that album and that was it for them.  A total of five Top 40 Hot 100 hits.

Since we’re heading to Cancun tomorrow, this song is very fitting.

“ELYSIUM”

We saw “Elysium” last weekend.  Matt Damon was incredible (and majorly buff) and Jodie Foster, who wasn’t in the movie as much as Damon, was icily perfect.

Elysium Matt Damon Jodie Elysium

Also, Sharlto Copely, who starred in director Neill Blomkamp’s more superior, Oscar-nominated film, “District 9”, was scary and fantastic as the villain, Kruger.

Sharlto Copley

The premise of the movie is that it’s 2154 and Earth (especially Los Angeles) is in ruins.  The wealthy 1% live above the Earth, literally, in space looking down on the ravaged world, the 99%.  On “Elysium”, where the rich live, there is no poverty and no disease.  Life is perfect.

Damon, plays Max, a former car thief, who has a work place accident that exposes him to high levels of radiation.  He’s informed that he only has five days to live and his only chance for survival is to get to Elysium and be treated for the disease.

The movie was action filled and fun.  However, if you saw “District 9”, which was amazing, this movie may not thrill you as much.  It’s still an exciting two hours.

GRADE: B

MY THOUGHTS THIS WEEK ON RUSSIA’S HOMOPHOBIA

boycott-sochi-2014 Madonna Defend Human Rights

THAT’S IT FOR A FEW DAYS

While I might post something on Facebook while in Mexico, my next blog will be next Friday’s random thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Russia, It’s 2012 — Time To Change With The Times

We’ve moved beyond the “Cold War”, so why must many vocal Russian officials have to be so uptight, repressive, and oppressive?  I’m sure you can find a nice place to live in maybe, Uganda?

I’ve never been to Russia or the former Soviet Union and while I’m sure there are more good people there (and I’ve witnessed it via the internet), it’s the ones that are still living, in their minds, in the Middle Ages or the communist world that make the others look bad.  As it stands now, Russia, I will never visit your part of the world and honestly, from your views (at least, the views of St. Petersburg’s politicians), I’m not welcomed anyway.

I’ve blogged before that the government there doesn’t want anyone speaking out positively about anything gay.

Madonna recently played two shows in Russia and she spoke out against the rules imposed by the government and stood up for her LGBT brothers and sisters.

You can hear Madonna’s full speech to the St. Petersburg crowd about fear, intolerance, love, and human dignity here.  (Warning:  it does contain one “adult” word!)

Afterwards, Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin tweeted this about her, “With age, every former slut tries to lecture everyone on morality, Either take off your cross, or put on your knickers.”

Very classy!

And now, the Trade Union of Russian Citizens, which is pro-Kremlin, is filling a $10.5 million lawsuit against Madonna for damaging the cultural foundations of St. Petersburg.  Darya Dedova, the union spokesperson says, “She insulted the believers’ feelings, she promoted homosexuality when there were children at the concert and this is forbidden in St. Petersburg. We, the residents of the cultural capital, suffered a colossal moral damage.”

They claim Madonna did this, in part, by asking concertgoers to wear pink bracelets the night of show as a sign of  support for the LGBT community!

What, you “suffered a colossal moral damage” because Madonna stands up for human rights of all people, including gay people?  Seriously, you have more to worry about in your communities and your country than what Madonna talks about on stage!

Does it look like these concertgoers that paid big bucks to see Madonna in that controversial concert (sarcasm there) are morally damaged because of her performance?  Do they look sad, demoralized, and traumatized?

No, they look just like everyone else.  Well, maybe a little more European! 🙂

Russian leaders, get over it and deal with your own personal lives and let your people move into the 21st century.  Before you say it, I know we have people just like that in the United States (hi Michele & Rick, I haven’t shouted out to you lately), but I think our politicians will make progress before you do.

With the hate and ignorance being displayed in the Russian political world, those politicians are only a small step ahead of the ones that support Uganda’s “Kill The Gays” bill.

It’s time for the world to “come together in every nation” and stand behind a person like Madonna, who has done more for human rights in her career than most of us will do in our lifetimes.  It doesn’t matter what you think of her as a performer, it’s her speaking her heart that makes a difference.  It’s making the world a better place one person at a time.

Anthony