Posts Tagged ‘jack-o-lanterns’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2020

Fall is here!

I hope as we head toward the holiday season, people are more caring and happier like Jack and his friends!

However, with the 2020 election ahead, that may have to wait until 2021. ūüė¶

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. It’s okay if we disagree, just do it diplomatically!

“RBG”

Much of America is still reeling from the loss of 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday.

She was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed in 1993.

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, in 2018, “Won‚Äôt You Be My Neighbor?” (about Mister Rogers) ($22.6 million) and “RBG” ($14.4 million) changed that!

This is a superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

It documents Ginsburg’s trailblazing career — from just being a woman and a mother who decides to become a lawyer in an unwelcoming field for females and to use her voice to make the world a better place for us all!

GRADE:  A

“The Notorious RBG” was an amazing woman and will be sorely missed!

ONE MORE THING…

My original scenario didn’t involve Ginsburg dying, but I hope the outcome is correct!

Back on October 18, 2019, I wrote, “In early 2021 when the Democratic 46th president takes office, I think Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down from the bench and Hillary [Clinton] will become the new Supreme Court Justice!”

ON A HAPPIER NOTE!

My idol, former President Jimmy Carter will celebrate his 96th birthday next Thursday, October 1st!

Meanwhile, back in August, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter turned 93, and this past summer, the couple celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary!

This makes them the longest married presidential couple!

For the record, President Carter is not only the oldest living president, he’s also the nation’s longest-lived president, and he’s had the longest post-presidency life — closing in on almost 40 years!

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, here’s to the holidays, more anniversaries, and more birthdays!

Four years ago this month, I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and here’s the message I left for the Carters.

Happy Birthday and I love you both!

AND, SPEAKING OF THESE TWO AMAZING PEOPLE

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT….

Many people are devouring pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. Some are in denial and trying to hang on to summer.

Well, it’s my duty to inform you that Christmas will be here before you know it! It’s only three months from today! ūüôā

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This year on November 1st when I put up my trees and decorations, I’ll have a new musical entry to help me decorate alongside last year’s stellar Deluxe Anniversary Edition of “Mariah Carey Merry Christmas”!

Dolly Parton is releasing her first new Christmas album in 30 years, “A Holly Dolly Christmas”, on October 2nd.

And, she’s doing a remake of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey’s iconic Christmas standard!

The album also features one of my crushes, Michael Buble — also known as “Mr. Christmas” — on the single, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”!

Here’s the track listing:

Holly Jolly Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Is (featuring Miley Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas РDolly Parton, Michael Bublé
Christmas On The Square – Dolly Parton
Circle Of Love – Dolly Parton
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Dolly Parton, Jimmy Fallon
Comin’ Home For Christmas РDolly Parton
Christmas Where We Are (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Pretty Paper – Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Dolly Parton
You Are My Christmas (feat. Randy Parton) – Dolly Parton
Mary, Did You Know? – Dolly Parton

Final note, Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” is still one of my all-time favorite holiday songs and now he’s doing it with Dolly!

“OBAMA’S WARS”

Bob Woodward, along with Carl Bernstein, are household names for basically single-handedly bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency.

Woodward is back in the news with his latest new book, “Rage”, about #45 and his presidency. This is a follow-up to his 2018 book, “Fear: Trump in the White House”.

However, I’m writing about his 2010 book, “Obama’s Wars” today.

It’s a great book that covers how President Barack Obama planned to exit from the two wars he acquired from President George W. Bush — Iraq and Afghanistan.

The downside to the book is that it came out in 2010 and while thorough, it would have been better to show how the exit from those wars and countries progressed.

There’s a quote from President Obama that I hope comes true in 2021 about his 2008 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama told his senior political aide and closest advisor David Axelrod, “Hillary and I were friends before this started. We had this very vituperative campaign, but, you know, she is smart and we ought to be able to do something with her.”

Before he offered her the position of “Secretary of State”, he stated she did her homework, fought hard, was relentless, and “she’d make a great Supreme Court justice”, according to Woodward.

By the way, I had not read the Woodward book when I made the comment last year about Hillary becoming a Supreme Court justice in 2021!

Personally, I’m ready for the next Hillary chapter!

“SPELL MY NAME”

I’ve been a huge fan of Toni Braxton since her 1993 self-titled debut. Her tenth studio album, “Spell My Name”, is perfect Toni Braxton!

The lead off single, “Do It”, is featured twice on the album and both version have charted this summer.

Both versions are amazing — the slower, original version topped the Adult R&B chart and the remix version with Missy Elliot made it to #11 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart.

However, the first song I heard from the album got my feet moving. “Dance” is racing up the Adult R&B chart now and is in the Top 25.

While I absolutely love the upbeat “Dance”, my favorite song on the album is “Happy Without Me”!

Other standout tracks are “Saturday Night” and “Nothin'”.

GRADE: B+

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 23, 2016

Fall is here and summer is officially over! ¬†It’s time to trade in those fruit smoothies for everything apple and pumpkin!

Even the USPS is getting into the act.  Check out these cool stamps.

halloween-2016

As always, thank you for checking out my random thoughts. Let’s get started!

SHUT YOUR MOUTH HATERS!

It’s old news now because news travels fast, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced and he’s being investigated on child abuse allegations!

Brad Angelina.jpg

Reactions: ¬†no surprise, sad, Jennifer Aniston is smiling somewhere, and Jolie is a “f***ing lunatic”. ¬†What?

Comedian Chelsea Handler, who’s friends with Pitt’s ex, Aniston,¬†holds nothing back, “There are rumors that part of the problem was that Brad was allegedly drinking and smoking too much weed. I wonder why he would need to self-medicate.”

She goes on to say, “Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon, instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids speaking 15 different languages. Oh yeah, because he married a f***ng lunatic, that‚Äôs why.”

However, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, who stars with Pitt in this November’s “Allied”, is shutting the rumor mill down in a lengthy Instagram post with a big announcement of her own.

marion.jpg

Cotillard says, “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son [5-year-old Marcel] and of the baby we are expecting. ¬†He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need.” (She’s referring to French actor and director Guillaume Canet.)

And, she adds, “Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn‚Äôt distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment. With all my love, Marion”

Burn!

MY LITTLE SISTER TURNS 50!

My little sister Tammy reaches a milestone birthday this weekend — she hits the big 5-0!

Tammy1

I wish her the very best as she begins a new era in her life. ¬†As we slowly move toward the “golden years”, I hope she makes the most of it.

She moved to Quad Cities five years ago and has gotten herself back on solid financial ground, but I know she doesn’t want to stay here forever.

She’s been talking about moving back to our hometown! ¬†While I couldn’t imagine doing that, if that’s what she wants, I say “go for it”. ¬†And, why wait? ¬†Do it now since we never really know how much time we have left.

Our own mother, Dessie, died at the age of 47. ¬†Since Tammy has already survived two heart attacks and hasn’t changed her unhealthy habits (mainly smoking), I’m truly surprised that we still have her!

Tammy

This beautiful picture is from a Caribbean cruise we took in 2012. ¬†She definitely loves to get dressed up and we’re looking forward to doing it again this December!

Happy Birthday Tammy! ¬†Enjoy life, don’t let the bitches get to you, and live it up!

“SWEETBITTER”

I’ve stated many times that I mostly read biographies, autobiographies, or books about real events.

When I venture in fiction, I find some real gems like “The Girl on the Train” (Paula Hawkins), “Dietland” (Sarai Walker), and “Day Four” (Sarah Lotz). ¬†Now, I can add Stephanie Danler’s superior debut, “Sweetbitter” to the list!

stephanie-danler_0.jpg

“Sweetbitter” is fiction, but it’s based on real life Danler experienced as a waitress in New York City.

It was the food and drink service industry angle that attracted my attention in this coming-of-age novel because I’ve been there.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or bar, you know how demanding it is — the hours, the hard work, smiling back at ungrateful and demanding customers (oops, guests), the insane amount of readily available cash, and if you worked at the right (or wrong) places, the partying after shifts with alcohol and/or drugs.

But, most of all, it’s the incredibly diverse people you work with “on the floor” and “in the back of the house” that make this business unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of.

Some will make a life and career in this high stress and burnout line of work.  Some, like me, are just passing through on the way to other professions.

Danler perfectly captures all of this.

Her vast experiences — from the people keeping the plates and drinks on the table and the guests coming back, the intrinsic¬†knowledge of food and wine that make the book a beginner’s guide to gastronomy, to living an empty life in a nowhere place and then taking a chance to make it in the big city with a cast of characters wanting more and really wanting nothing — make “Sweetbitter” such a delight.

A must read!

EMMY WINNERS

I’m very happy that Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot” won for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards!

MR. ROBOT

And, it comes as no shock that “The People v. O.J. Simpson: ¬†American Crime Story”, the 10-part miniseries that aired earlier this year on FX, won big.

In addition to four Creative Arts Emmys it recently won, the show picked up five more awards Sunday night, including “Outstanding Limited Series” and three for acting – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Sarah Paulson), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Courtney B. Vance), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Sterling K. Brown).

Sarah Paulson looked beautiful making her acceptance speech for the much deserved first Emmy win (out of six nominations since 2012) and the shout-out to the real Marcia Clark was outstanding!

She ended her speech by telling Holland Taylor that she loved her!

sarah-paulson love.gif

What gets me is all the chatter over the more than 30-year age difference (Paulson is 41 and Taylor is 73).

Earlier this summer, Paulson told a magazine, “You should be able to love whomever you f***ing well please.”

Paulson Taylor.jpg

Amen, sister, I wish you and Holland the very best. ¬†Life’s too short not to find and enjoy love at any age.

People need to get real and work on their own love lives, relationships, and marriages.

MARK RUFFALO WILL SHOW IT ALL FOR THIS!

This year’s presidential election is now just a little over six weeks away. ¬†It can’t get here soon enough!

However, there are still some people that are undecided and there are others that may not even vote.

Many celebrities are using their fame to get people to vote and to take this election seriously.  They are even volunteering one of their own to give you his all for the cause!

But, on a more serious note, it’s also about “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.”

Warning:  contains adult language and situations!

Vote on November 8th. ¬†If you don’t do it for Hillary Clinton, then do it for Mark Ruffalo! ūüôā

CHRISTMAS IS NOW JUST THREE MONTHS AWAY

My annual tradition is to drop off my Christmas cards at the post office on Thanksgiving Eve and let the cards make their way across the country as people feast on turkey!

Here are the new Christmas stamps being offered by the USPS.

Christmas 2016.jpg

Since they’re “Forever” stamps, they’ll always be good even if the price of stamps goes up in the future. ¬†So buy up and keep Christmas going as long as you want with your mailings.

HALLMARK CHANNEL GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The “Countdown to Christmas” kicks off on the Hallmark Channel on October 28th this year with around the clock¬†original television holiday movies.

It’ll start with classics over the years and then on November 5th, the new original Christmas movies debut.

Lacey Chabert is back (sadly without Mariah Carey, but you can catch Mimi on the October 5th episode of “Empire”!).

I’m excited to see “My Christmas Dream”, which debuts November 19th, because it stars¬†Deidre Hall of “Days of Our Lives”.

DeidreHall

I’ve been a huge fan of Deidre since childhood watching her on “Days” and “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl”, a short-lived 1976 series.

There’s no official trailer yet for¬†“My Christmas Dream”, which simply sounds like the work of Satan! ūüôā

possessedmarlena

Oh, come on, you loved that “Days” possession story line as much as I did!

In all, 22 new movies are being prepped for your holiday enjoyment for the Hallmark Channel.

“NOW YOU SEE ME 2”

I really enjoyed the 2013 original.

In a November 2013 blog, I wrote, “If you love magic, suspense, and action, this summer caper is the movie for you.¬† The $75 million motion picture made $351.7 million and a sequel is in the works and is expected to begin production next summer.”

Well, that sequel came this summer and it did rather well.  The $90 million production made $331.4 million and a third installment is on the way.

My teenaged daughter, Gretel, saw this one twice in the theaters, so she’s partly responsible for its success. ¬†I waited to see it on DVD and that’s a good thing.

I was bored for much of the two-hour movie.  The first lavish card trick and magic act was hokey and unbelievable.  The final reveal had slightly more appeal.

It’s great to see Jesse Eisenberg in anything!

Jesse

It’s funny because I commented on liking his hair in the first movie three years ago. ¬†Well, his hair in this movie was one of the highlights, too. ¬†You can see it in this still image of the trailer.

GRADE: C

SPEAKING OF MAGIC, HOW ABOUT A “PERFECT ILLUSION”?

Lady Gaga is back with new music without her good friend Tony Bennett.

Earlier this month, she released “Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her upcoming fifth studio album, “Joanne” (named after her late aunt, who died of Lupus at the age of 19 in December of 1974, a little over eleven years before Gaga was born).

“Perfect Illusion” is already Gaga’s biggest hit at Top 40 radio since 2013’s “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly, which reached #7 on the radio airplay charts.

It’s¬†an upbeat rock song and we’ve seen her rock out before, but this one has a different sound thanks to Mark Ronson (who’s biggest credits to date are “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars and working with Amy Winehouse).

Gaga Las Vegas

I’ve seen Gaga in concert twice (three times, sorta) and she’s an incredible singer, piano player, and dancer — an all-around amazing entertainer.

She’s an artist with an emphasis on “art”. ¬†There’s no way you’ll ever forget the “meat dress” and the many outlandish and bizarre outfits and stage productions we’ve been blessed with over the past eight years.

Can you believe it’s only been eight years?

Now, back to the art (and the spectacle, the show, the dance moves, the club beats). ¬†After the somewhat commercially disappointing (and uneven) “Artpop”, she’s all about the music this time. ¬†To me, that’s evident after her high profile performances at the Grammys and the Oscars and singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

There’s no glamour in the new video to “Perfect Illusion” and there’s nothing over-the-top and envelope-pushing with the artwork for the new album. ¬†It’s classy and clean.

joanne

It looks like it’s all about the music on “Joanne”, which comes out October 21st.

I admit that this whole new chapter of Lady Gaga is taking some adjusting for me, but I have a month to get there!

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

I just hope that there’s some “Mother Monster” left somewhere on “Joanne” and in Lady Gaga.

Now, where did I leave that “disco stick”?

50 YEARS OF PRIDE — CHARLEY PRIDE

In 2012, Darius Rucker, of Hootie & The Blowfish fame, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.  He bacame only the third African-American to achieve that honor.  The first two were harmonica player Deford Bailey and singer Charley Pride (inducted in 1993).

The 82-year-old Mississippi-born Pride has enjoyed quite the country music career.

Pride.jpg

From the 1960s through the 1980s, he charted an incredible 52 Top Ten Billboard Country hits.  Of those, 29 went all the way to #1!

Pride has also¬†topped the country album charts twelve times — that’s more #1s than Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson!

As he celebrates his 50th year in country music, Pride tells “Billboard” that little has changed in country music when it comes to black artists.

He says, “Promoters were reluctant to book me. When you ask why things haven’t changed, I just say,¬†“How far do you want to go back?” Do you want to go back to 1817? Once someone in the industry said to me, “I don’t mean no harm” — you know, just throwing that in — “but I want to ask: How come every time we let y’all in, you just take over?” I told him, “See that barrel over there? Go peek in it. Oh, look, there I am, down at the bottom! Now where is there for me to go?”

As a kid, I loved Charley Pride.  So did my grandmother Helen.

Here’s one of our favorites from 1971.

“Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” spent five weeks at the top of the country charts and became Pride’s first crossover hit. ¬†It peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top Ten on the¬†Adult Contemporary charts.

Happy 50th Anniversary Charley!  Thank you for all of the wonderful songs and memories.  Best wishes for the future!

By the way, let’s get Charley to perform here in the Quad Cities!

WELCOME FALL 2016!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony