Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 23, 2021

Two weeks ago in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I jokingly posted about breaking up with winter because summer is hotter!

It snowed earlier this week here in Central Illinois!!! That’s what I get! 🙂

Oh, if winter looked like this in the real world, I’d be all for it twelve months a year!

Thanks Gus (Kenworthy) for making my day!

And, thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts this week! (Oh, apologies to the uninitiated to my blog about the pictures above, but my thoughts are really random!)

REMEMBERING WALTER MONDALE

Earlier this week, the world lost a great man when former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away at the age of 93.

Before become President Jimmy Carter’s vice president from 1977-1981 and running as the Democratic nominee for President in 1984, he served as the U.S. senator from Minnesota from 1964-1976.

Here are some interesting facts from Jonathan Alder’s 2020 book, “HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”:

President Carter changed the role of Vice President. Before Carter, it was basically a useless role — other than becoming the leader of the free world in the case of the president died or became incapacitated.

But, Carter made Vice President Walter Mondale’s role real. He invited him into meetings, gave him real responsibilities, and valued his opinions.

At a farewell dinner before President Carter left office in 1981, Mondale said, “Never once did you put me down. Never once did you fail to treat me with dignity.” He made a toast and added, “We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.”

AND, ON A MORE INFAMOUS NOTE

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., future serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and met Vice President Mondale!

AMERICA, GET ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!

Even though thousands are still being diagnosed with COVID-19 daily in America and the death toll continues to rise, more and more of us are fully vaccinated!

In the U.S., 26.7% of us are fully vaccinated! That’s slightly more than one-in-four!

In Illinois, we’re at 26.9% and up to 43.3% for those with at least one shot.

While this is great news, I personally feel that some are getting a little too comfortable a little too soon. However, I’m happy to see things moving toward the “new normal”.

With that being said, more and more artists are announcing fall 2021 tour dates.

In the past few weeks, Eric Church, Kane Brown, Andrea Bocelli, and Sammy Hagar announced new tour dates and Elton John and James Taylor posted new dates for their previously postponed tours.

Meanwhile, last week, Reba postponed her 2021 road concerts to 2022 and Michael Buble did the same for his 2021 U.K. dates.

I’m still waiting for Kylie Minogue to announce dates for her late 2020 critically acclaimed album, “Disco”. As I said before, she’s at the top of my concert “bucket list” and I want to see her in some foreign city!

Call it wanderlust!

How comfortable are you attending concerts with 100% capacity later this year?

I’m ready for us to safely travel again. However, it may still be a while for international travel.

At this point, only 2.8% of the world is fully vaccinated!

REBA ANNOUNCEMENT

Oh, back to Reba! When she announced the postponement of her summer arena tour, she also dropped something that made me very happy!

Yes, new music!!!!!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

My two most highly anticipated movies this year are “Halloween Kills” (October 15, 2021) and Netflix and Zack Snyder’s “Army of The Dead” (May 21, 2021).

I’m excited for two reasons: (1) it’s about zombies and (2) it’s set in Las Vegas!

Let’s just hope the excitement for me when I visit in June is winning big bucks (or breaking even) — no explosions or zombies, please!

The full trailer is now out and if you love Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”, take a look and listen!

RIP JIM STEINMAN

Earlier this week, the same day that Vice President Mondale died, the rock music world lost a legendary producer.

Jim Steinman produced some of the biggest hits in pop and rock music including Bonnie Tyler’s four week #1 smash “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in 1983 and Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) in 1993, that topped the charts in 28 countries, including five weeks in the U.S., and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, which hit #2 in 1996.

He also wrote and produced my favorite Air Supply song from 1983, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All”. It peaked at #2 for three weeks behind Bonnie Tyler’s “Eclipse”!

“ANOTHER ROUND”

Earlier this week, I checked out the 2020 Danish movie “Druk” (which means “binge drinking”) on Hulu.

While most of you haven’t heard of it, it’s actually nominated for two Oscars this year, including Thomas Vinterberg for Best Director.

My interest in the movie is that it stars Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal”).

It’s the story of four high school teachers in Denmark going through mid-life crises.

They decide to do an experiment with alcohol, since a leading psychiatrist believes that an alcohol blood content level of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed.

They test the theory and push it to the limits.

While a very interesting movie, I probably wouldn’t watch it again. However, the final scene is amazing!

Spoiler Alert: The captured image above is part of that incredible last scene.

GRADE: B

MORE MADS

If you love Mads Mikkelsen and you’re going through “Hannibal” withdrawals like me, check out “Arctic”, my #9 movie of 2019.

Awesome movie!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “There were thousands of complaints of sexual abuse at migrant shelters during the Trump years. Not to say what’s going on now is right, but we couldn’t find one instance of you complaining & calling that out when President Trump was president.”

“ME”

I’ve read several book about and from Elton John, but his 2019 autobiography, “Me”, is by far the best!

I absolutely loved this book and I’d highly recommend it.

I was very intrigued about what he had to say about Michael Jackson (“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”) and Tina Turner.

In 1997, he and Tina had planned to tour together but found her very difficult to work with. His band called her a “f**king nightmare” and Elton agreed!

Elton says she called him at home and told him, “She didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like the color of my piano – which for some reason had to be white – and she didn’t like my clothes.” And, then Elton says, she added, “You wear too much Versace, and it makes you look fat – you need to wear Armani.” 

I loved that he and Rod Stewart have female nicknames for each other.

And, I was so touched when he told the story of how he and his husband, David Furnish, met in October 1993. (Elton was feeling down, so he called a friend and said bring others over for a dinner party before they went out to celebrate Halloween. David was one of the people his friend brought along to dinner!)

He and David are now the dads of 10-year-old Zachary and 8-year-old Elijah.

Since I haven’t had a date in more than two years, I should try that when the “new normal” post-pandemic world begins!

Also, I was curious about what he’d have to say about Madonna.

If I recall correctly, Elton mentioned her four times and three were positive. The other time he spoke of Madonna was about his anger toward her and he said he apologized to her!

THE NIGHT I SPENT WITH ELTON JOHN

Ha! That’s just tease writing! I never spent the night with Elton John — just the evening! 🙂

For my birthday weekend in 2012, I had tickets to see Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas.

Earlier that year, Sir Elton John was forced to cancel nine shows due to health reasons and it was announced in the summer that he would make up those dates in October.  But, I didn’t have tickets.

As luck would have it, just hours after arriving in Las Vegas, I searched ebay one last time and found fantastic rear orchestra seats for a great price. And, just like that, two hours later I was sitting there waiting for the show to begin!

I’ve always been a fan of Elton’s from the days of my childhood and his poppy ’70s songs, the fun, yet sometimes, moody hits of the ’80s, the more mature themed music of the ’90s when radio began to move away from playing his new songs (except for “The Lion King” and his tribute to Princess Diana), to his recent adult contemporary fare.

Elton closed out his 19-song set with his award-winning “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.

It was two hours of pure gold entertainment!!! 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE ELTON

In January 2018, Elton announced his final “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour that would play more than 300 shows worldwide.

The North American leg kicked off that September and ran through March 2019 and then moved to Europe for the summer and then back to North America though November. The show moved “down under” to Australia and New Zealand from late 2019 to March 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the tour and the world!

Dates are now rescheduled and the tour is expected to resume in Europe on September 1, 2021, and return to the U.S. and Canada in January 2022 for 43 shows through April!

MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONGS

On the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., Elton has scored 58 Top 40 hits. Of those, 27 reached the Top 10 with 19 making it to the Top Five. Nine reached #1!

And, he’s had even more hits on the American Adult Contemporary charts. He’s scored 74 Top 40 hits with 40 of them making the Top 10 and 33 of those reaching the Top Five! Eighteen topped the charts!

So, it was so hard narrowing the list down….

“I’M STILL STANDING”

“THE LAST SONG”

“SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)”

“EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)”

“I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES”

What’s your favorite Elton song?

If you want to see the full blog and my other 15 favorite Elton John songs, here it is! (It should open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/04/20/finding-my-next-love-with-help-from-elton-john/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 16, 2021

The weekend is upon us and I hope you have fantastic plans.

I’m working part of it, but will make the most of it!

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

AGATHA CHRISTIE

Okay, I’ll kick off with an astounding statistic that might blow your mind! (There’s a theme here for me to kick off with a writer that’s been dead for 45 years, the same year her last novel, “Sleeping Murder”, came out.)

English writer Agatha Christie, who’s mostly known for her 66 detective novels, has had more than 2 billion (that’s with a “B”) copies of her work published!!!

In 2019 alone, she moved 2 million copies!!!

She’s only been outsold by the Bible and the works of William Shakespeare!

Jokingly, some could say that “fiction sells”! 🙂

ARMIE HAMMER

34-year-old Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice Award nominee Armie Hammer is still under investigation for sexual assault by the Los Angeles Police Department.

This comes after multiple women came forward earlier this year about abuse they had allegedly experienced during relationships with Hammer.

His wife of ten years, Elizabeth Chambers, announced their separation in the summer of 2020 — before the allegations surfaced.

He’s now been dropped by his talent agency and his publicist is no longer with him. He’s also been fired/dropped out of several new movies, including one with Jennifer Lopez.

If that sexual assault allegations weren’t bad enough, texts with “disturbing sexual fantasies” involving cannibalism surfaced!

DEATH ON THE NILE”

So, what does this mean for the blockbuster release of the Kenneth Branagh-directed movie, “Death on the Nile”, which Hammer co-stars alongside Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”), Annette Benning (“The Kids Are All Right”), and Branagh?

The movie opening has already been delayed, at least, six times.

It was originally scheduled for December 20, 2019, and was pushed back to October 9, 2020. Then with COVID-19, it was pushed back to September 17, 2021.

Last month, it was rescheduled once again to February 11, 2022! And, I’d bet money this was due to the Hammer scandal!

COSTLY SCANDAL SOLUTION

What I think will happen is that unless Hammer’s role is a major one, his scenes will be re-shot this summer with a new actor.

This happened with Kevin Spacey in “All The Money in the World”.

After his sex/rape scandal, his scenes were re-shot with the late Christopher Plummer. Plummer earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

If you don’t remember the story, gay actor Anthony Rapp, a star of Broadway’s “Rent” and the CBS All Access’ series, “Star Trek Discovery”, alleges that back in 1986, then 26-year-old Spacey invited him to a party at his Manhattan apartment, when Rapp was only 14!

Rapp told “Buzzfeed” Spacey tried to seduce him and that “I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually”.

It was then that Rapp says that Spacey “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk … He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”

Spacey’s career disintegrated and he was written out of the final season of “House of Cards”. I absolutely loved that show and would still watch it again with Spacey, but it would a little cringy.

However, my main draw to the show was always Robin Wright as Claire Underwood.

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

Now, with Hammer, I’m torn because the LGBTQ+ classic “Call Me By Your Name” with Hammer and Timothee Chalamet was my favorite movie of 2018!

I know I’ll still watch it, but just like listening to the music of Michael Jackson, I still do it. It just adds creepiness to it!

MOVING ON!

THEY SAID WHAT???

GEORGE H.W. BUSH (then Republican National Committee Chairman, in his August 6, 1974, diary entry three days before President Nixon resigned, on President Ford and President Nixon): “this era of tawdry, shabby, lack of morality has got to end… I will take Ford’s decency over Nixon’s toughness because what we need at this juncture in our history is a certain sense of morality and a certain sense of decency.”

LEGENDARY DIRECTOR MARTIN SCORSESE (about Glenn Close, who was recommended to play Tony Montana’s (Al Pacino) mistress in “Scarface” by Oliver Stone in his book, “Chasing The Light”: “She’s got a face like a horse!”

Um, WTF? Glenn Close is beautiful! Well, definitely not in “Hillbilly Elegy”! 🙂

Darren Franich (in The Bullseye “Entertainment Weekly” March 2021): “‘Clarice’ is a ‘Silence of the Lambs’ spin-off about… who cares, ‘Hannibal’ is on Netflix.”

“JUSTIFIED”

I just finished binge watching the 2010-2015 FX series, “Justified”, with Timothy Olyphant, and absolutely loved it!

It’s tells the story of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Olyphant) having to go back to his home state of Kentucky in the Appalachian Mountains as punishment for shooting a Miami thug in a questionable manner. (Givens has his own set of justice that doesn’t set well with his bosses!)

I’ve had the biggest crush on Olyphant since I saw him in Greg Berlanti’s 2000 LGBTQ movie, “The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy”.

His character, Dennis, did have major flaws though — he wasn’t into commitment, he definitely got around, AND, worst of all, he hated the Carpenters! 🙂

Fast forward ten years or so –this is how you rock your 40s (from “Justified”)!

And, there’s been industry buzz that the team behind the series may be bringing it back in some form with the Emmy-nominated Olyphant rumored to be coming back!

Final note: if you want to see a more comical side of Olyphant, he was amazing in the three seasons of the Netflix’s comedy “Santa Clarita Diet” with Drew Barrymore.

BEWARE OF HARLAN COUNTY

Since much of “Justified” took place around Harlan County, Kentucky, “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” was featured prominently in five of the six season finales. (Only season three didn’t use it.)

It’s an amazing and haunting song. Brad Paisley’s version from his 2001 album, “Part II” is amazing and was used in the season one and season two finales.

However, my favorite version of the song is by Patty Loveless from her 2001 album, “Mountain Soul”.

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

Final comments from Jonathan Adler’s must read 2020 biography…

Nine months before Islamic Revolution “students” seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, and kept 52 Americans hostage for 444 days, they briefly took over the embassy nine months earlier on Valentine’s Day, but released them!

President Carter sensed allowing the exiled Shah of Iran to stay in the U.S. could cause Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini and his radicals to take over the embassy again. In March 1979, President Carter asked his Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, “What are you guys going to advice me to do if they overrun our embassy and take our people hostage?”

After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan over Christmas 1979, it led a longshoreman group’s members to refuse to load ships with grain headed to the Soviet Union. While high ranking officials in Carter’s administration was behind a grain embargo, Rosalynn (Jimmy’s wife and one his closest advisors) and Vice President Walter Mondale was opposed.

President Carter went along with it and that decision was later compared to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. When Johnson signed that into law, it turned the Democratic South “red” (Republican) just as the embargo did for the farm belt states!

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 26, 2021

Spring is here and it’s hard to believe we’re down to the last few days of March!

Make the most of your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

As we head into the second year of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m so excited that 14.1% of Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Illinois, that number is at 14.5%!

And, more than one in four (26.8%) Illinoisans have had at least one dose.

Earlier this week, I joined that group with the Moderna vaccine!!! (One shot down and one shot to go in April!)

Sadly, in the United States, there are more than 30 million reported cases of COVID-19 with 545-thousand-plus deaths!

REMEMBERING GARRY BOWIE

While that death toll rate is staggering and in any situation, one death is one death too many, I want to take a moment to remember Garry Bowie.

Like most of you, I didn’t know of the LGBTQ activist until he died in early April 2020 from COVID-19.

As the former executive director of Long Beach AIDS Foundation, Garry worked tirelessly helping people fight HIV and AIDS in the Greater Long Beach and Los Angeles areas.

What makes his death even more heartbreaking is that he was one of the longest living survivors of the AIDS epidemic. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1983, back when having HIV (and AIDS) was pretty much a death sentence!

Garry was 59.

“THE GREAT BELIEVERS”

I just read the most amazing book, 2018’s “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai and it fits in perfectly with the previous thought.

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPRING & SUMMER BBQS

On a lighter note…

It’s time to start firing up those grills, so remember the rules for wine pairings.

While it’s recommended you serve white wine with chicken and fish and red with beef, here’s how it used to be! 🙂

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN”

What an incredible movie and it’s now at Redbox!

The dark comedy/drama is up for five Oscars: “Best Picture”, “Best Actress” (Carey Mulligan), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

Mulligan is fantastic in this compelling and heartbreaking movie with a very strong #MeToo message.

It features an all-star cast, including Connie Britton (her one scene is powerful).

GRADE: A

“9-1-1: LONE STAR”

After finding this season’s 16 episodes of “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” on my DVR, I binge watched all eight episodes of the new season of each show, which were amazing.

And, WOW, the last 3 minutes of the winter finale of “9-1-1: Lone Star” brought tears to my eyes and it ended on a shocking out-of-nowhere cliffhanger!

While diversity is a staple of series from Ryan Murphy, I have to hand it to “Lone Star” for probably being one of the most diverse.

There’s a Muslim woman, a transgender man (trans women make up most of the few transgender characters on television), a Cuban woman, two Hispanic men, and then there’s Rob Lowe! 🙂

Also, in the main cast, you have two gay men (one white and one Hispanic) and they’re beautiful together.

MORE JIMMY CARTER

Last week, I sang high praises for Jonathan Alter’s 2020 biography, “His Very Best, Jimmy Carter, A Life”. I also shared a few things I didn’t already know.

Today, I’m sharing a few more tidbits:

Freshman Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, then 33, was the first Senator to endorse Jimmy Carter in his presidential run in early 1976.

John Hinckley Jr., who was obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, planned to assassinate President Carter in the fall of 1980 to impress her.

In September, he followed the president to Dallas and even shook his hand in Dayton, Ohio! But, he had decided that he’d kill President Carter in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 9th. (For the record, but not from this book, Hinckley was arrested at the airport in Nashville for possession of three firearms hours after President Carter arrived there!)

But, the book says that Hinckley had already decided that Carter would lose the 1980 presidential election, so he changed his mind to kill future President Ronald Reagan. He attempted that in March 1981!

Finally, famous celebrity chef and TV star Ina Garten (“Barefoot Contessa”) was an analyst in the Office of Management and Budget in the Carter administration to study nuclear weapons!!!

ONE MORE THING ABOUT INA GARTEN

“Southern Living” says Garten always keeps these three things in her freezer: vodka, vanilla ice cream, and bread!

Those are definitely three of my favorites! (Well, I love flavored ice cream and flavored vodka!)

ONLY NINE MONTHS AWAY!

The countdown is on to Christmas!

It’s only nine months away and this spring, Reba McEntire is getting into the holiday spirit by shooting a Lifetime Christmas movie!

The movie is tentatively titled, “Christmas In Tune”, and will feature a new Reba song.

Here’s the plotline from the press release: Christmas In Tune tells the story of Belle, a marketing executive who is worried she may lose her job.  She decides to reunite a singing duo for a charity Christmas concert in order, but the problem is — the singers are actually her parents and they have not spoken to each other in years! Soon the at-odds couple is helping Belle get her life in order and she begins her own romantic duet with the new man in her life.”

“THIS IS JUST MY FACE: TRY NOT TO STARE”

This is the 2017 autobiography from Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”).

Things I learned from Gabourey:

False reports of her death started on Facebook and then spread to other outlets. About Facebook, she wrote, “You know, that social-media site you use to spy on your ex and find out at election time which of your family members are racist.”

She’s funny as hell and shares many hilarious stories!

At one point she talked about “a girl like me”. Whatever you do, don’t mistakenly think about her being fat or black. She won’t take fat-shaming sitting down or hesitate calling you a racist!

She responds, “Fat-shaming racists make me sick! Just kidding.” You know she’s kidding, right? (Well, personally, my ex used to tell me, “there’s a little bit of truth to your jokes!”)

Sidibe is very serious about calling it like it is, whether you can handle it or not!

At one point in the book, she told of the time she was having a “poor-off” with a really handsome guy that she didn’t know well and she made the comment, “Oh, yeah? Your family ever wait in line for government cheese?”

This really made me laugh!

My personal story: We were very poor growing up, but we didn’t have to wait in line for our government cheese. That’s because my aunt volunteered at the hand-outs and brought ours to us! 🙂

And, let me tell you, it was the best damn cheese I had until I tried international cheeses in my later adult life! 🙂

One other thing that Gabourey and I have in common: we’re both recovering bulimics.

SPEAKING OF…

March 31, 2021, marks my one-year anniversary of being back on the wagon after falling off in the 2019 holiday season through late March 2020!

One year later and one day at a time, it’s a struggle. But, I’m winning!

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN” SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack is phenomenal!

The first song in the movie, “Boys (DROELOE remix) by Charli XCX is so much fun!

It also features a very different remake of “It’s Raining Men” from DeathbyRomy and a very haunting instrumental version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”.

And, in a very cute romantic scene in a store, Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” is played. Am I one of the few that absolutely disliked Hilton, but loved that song???

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 19, 2021

As I post this Friday morning, it’s the last day of winter across the Northern Hemisphere!

If you read this after Saturday morning at 4:37 a.m. Central time, it’s spring!

So, to honor spring since I’m not in Las Vegas to enjoy it in person, here’s the view of a beautiful hummingbird in the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is always a must-see when I’m in Vegas!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too. If we disagree, do it diplomatically!

THANK YOU, 45!

In an NPR/NewsHour/Marist survey earlier this month, 30% of those polled said they WOULD NOT get the COVID-19 vaccination! While that number may surprise you, it’s down from 44% last September.

Less surprising, of those surveyed that say NO to the vaccination, 49% were Republican men and 47% supported Donald Trump in 2020!

After growing calls for him to speak out in support of the COVID-19 vaccination, on Tuesday, Trump said, “I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it.”

He went on to say, “But, you know, again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also… But it’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine, and it’s something that works.”

I’ll take what little he gives to get more Americans vaccinated!

SUMS UP LIFE & NEW STIMULUS CHECKS

I saw this on Twitter and Facebook and I laughed. I kept laughing, so I wouldn’t cry!

Don’t get me wrong! I’ve always been gay and I’m a proud gay man that’s accomplished everything I’ve wanted to in life. It’s not that. 🙂

However, the part about not crying is that I personally know people that are racking up a small fortune with each stimulus check and are not working. They’re basically choosing NOT to work!

Case in point — a married couple with four kids gets $8,400 with the latest stimulus check. So, for some, why work? The sad thing is, other than a roof over their head, the kids are not even benefiting from it!

While I know there are so many people that NEED this money AND I’m happy they’re getting it, I also know that aid packages throughout our government’s history have countless flaws and abusers, too!

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox!

FUNNY DVR STORY

I was just talking to my colleagues about cable being included in my rent, so all I pay the cable provider for is internet and DVR.

I said that I should drop DVR because I never use it. The last program I recorded was the CNN special about Jimmy Carter being a rock & roll president.

So, last week, I clicked on my recorded shows to see if it was still there. I was pleasantly surprised to find 41 episodes of “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star”, “Prodigal Son”, “Snowpiercer”, and “The Good Doctor” waiting for me to watch!

Those are shows that I had programmed last spring to record, so it recorded the new episodes of this season!

I’ve watched the first seven episodes of the new season of “9-1-1” and the first five episodes of “9-1-1: Lone Star” season two and both series are excellent this season!

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

This 2020 biography by Jonathan Alter was amazing! Even if you’ve read Carter’s books or biographies about the 39th president, this one is a must read!

Three things I learned that I didn’t already know about my idol:

He and Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown, share the same great-great grandfather; he wore his wristwatch face down because when he was in the Navy that’s how he’d see the time holding onto a periscope; and he doesn’t like contractions! (That’s one thing I disagree with President Carter! I love contractions (and exclamation points!!!!) 🙂

During his four-year presidency, President Carter appointed 262 federal judges, more than any other president. Of those, 55 were people of color and 40 women (five times more than all of the presidents before him — COMBINED!)

One of those was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who became a Supreme Court Justice under President Bill Clinton in 1993. (In his four years, Carter didn’t get a chance to place anyone on the Supreme Court.)

When asked after joining the Supreme Court if she always wanted to be a judge, RBG replied, “My answer is that it just wasn’t in the realm of the possible until Jimmy Carter became president and was determined to draw on the talent of all the people, not just some of them.”

LILLIAN CARTER FUNNY

This is still one of my favorite stories about President Carter’s mother Lillian.

When running for president, Carter said he would not lie. When pressed on that statement, his mother, Lillian, said the family may tell “white lies”. The female reporter asked her to define a “white lie”.

Lillian responded, “Remember when you knocked on the door and I went to the door and said I was glad to see you?”

“ALL THE WOMEN I AM”

Last weekend, on YouTube, Reba released her 2011 “All The Women I Am” concert from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, from that November.

I saw the show when it passed through the Quad Cities, in Moline, Illinois, a month earlier.

Since the concert is no longer available on YouTube, here’s my video of her last solo #1 hit, “Turn On The Radio”, from that show.

“KILLING EVE” — LITERALLY!

The fourth season of the incredible, award-winning AMC spy series, “Killing Eve” will be its last!

Earlier this week, it was announced production on the eight episodes will begin this summer and will air in 2022.

However, AMC added that there a “number of spin-off ideas” being developed.

Let’s hope the one they choose is all about Villanelle/Oksana Astankova (Jodie Comer)!

ENTERTAINMENT SPATS

In its October 2020 Fall TV Preview issue, “Entertainment Weekly” featured some of the best spats in entertainment.

My favorite was the love-hate relationship (mostly hate) between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

It was no secret that these two icons hated each other. It started in 1935 when Crawford married Davis’ love!

When they were making 1962’s “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”, there’s a scene when Davis had to carry Crawford up the stairs. It’s been reported that Crawford wore weights on her legs to make herself heavier for Davis to carry!!!

Davis once said that Crawford “slept with every male star at MGM — except Lassie.”

And, in 1977, when Crawford died, Davis supposedly said, “You should never say any bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good!”

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 5, 2021

Happy March!

Soon, we’ll start seeing budding trees and blooming flowers and bushes!

For much of the country, the weather is finally starting to warm up. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done with snow and cold yet, but it sure feels nice.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. The first two are a little heavy.

So, if you don’t agree with me and you want to comment, that’s fine. Just do it diplomatically!

KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS TO YOURSELF!

More sexual misconduct allegations are coming out against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Three women are now accusing him of inappropriate advances.

Sadly, we live in a country where men feel they can do whatever they want — even “grab ’em by the p***y”!

In a culture where the last president of the United States is accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than two dozen women, this needs to stop — now!!! Actually, it should never have started!

Men (and women), regardless of profession, unless you’re asked to touch or kiss someone, keep your damn hands and lips to yourself!

“No” means “No”!

And, if you don’t understand printed or verbal words, maybe a song will help you understand better. Here’s the one hit wonder, The Georgia Satellites’ #2 1986 hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”!

BUSINESS AS USUAL IN TEXAS!

Note to self: AVOID TEXAS until I get vaccinated!

Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week announced that the state is lifting its mask mandate.

Texas is now the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the state will no longer limit the number of diners that can be served indoors!

Even during the worst outbreak of the pandemic, over the past months, restrictions across the Lone Star state were only lightly enforced.

More than 45,000 Texans have been killed by the pandemic and only two states, California and New York, have had more COVID-19 deaths than Texas!

And, what makes this change even more shocking is that over the past two weeks, Texas has seen a 31% increase in the number of daily new cases!!!

After Texas made the announcement, it should come as a shock to no one that Mississippi got on the bandwagon, too, announcing it would be dropping mask restrictions and businesses opening to 100% again!

GOLDEN GLOBES HITS

Last month, I said that season four of the “The Crown”, the award-winning Netflix series, was my absolute favorite. I added, “Even if you haven’t watched the first three seasons, watch this one. You don’t need to see their first three to follow the storyline.”

I guess the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) agrees because “The Crown” was a smash hit at this year’s Golden Globes!

The series won for Best Television Series Drama and my girl crush, Gillian Anderson picked up the Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie award as Margaret Thatcher.

Also, sexy Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin both came away as winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Television Series Drama categories as Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Sadly, with Corrin’s win, that means Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, lost as Ozark’s Wendy Byrde.

DREAMING OF… DEXTER!

After an eight-year absence and that disappointing series finale, America’s favorite, sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan is coming back this fall.

As fans already know, production for the ten-episode, ninth season is underway in New England. While nothing is known about the storyline and what’s happened since they show wrapped in 2013, here’s the sexy new look Dexter is sporting!

Good riddance, 2013 lumberjack Dexter!

While I can’t wait for the new season to debut later this year, I did see Michael C. Hall off-Broadway in January 2015 in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. It was a fantastic show and he was so damn sexy as the genderqueer East German rocker!

“THE UNITED STATES vs. BILLIE HOLIDAY”

This Hulu original is very compelling, even at over two hours. I never realized how messed up legendary singer Billie Holiday was with her heroin addiction.

Also, just another reason to despise J. Edgar Hoover, it amazes me the lengths the FBI went through to trap and falsely imprison Holiday because she refused to stop singing the controversial song “Strange Fruit”.

Why was it controversial and scared the government so? It focused the spotlight on the lynching of Black people in the South!

Andra Day was amazing as Holiday and won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe last weekend.

GRADE: B+

“NOMADLAND”

This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2020 and will get many Oscar nominations later this month. Ahead of the Golden Globes, I watched it last weekend.

I can’t imagine living the life of a nomad (someone in a community without fixed habitation that regularly moves from place to place), but I can see the freedom of it.

Frances McDormand is excellent and heartbreaking as Fran, who loses her job and her husband. When the town, Empire, closes down, too, she hits the road.

I definitely feel that the movie deserves its Best Picture Drama win at last weekend’s Golden Globes.

While McDormand is excellent in everything she does and I think this role is definitely worthy of an acting nomination, I don’t feel that it deserves the top prize! (I guess the HFPA agrees. Oscar voters may disagree!)

So far, I’ve seen four of the five performances for the Best Actress Drama category for the Golden Globes and I think that Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) all deserved it more.

P.S. I wrote these last two paragraphs before last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony!

You can see it on Hulu.

GRADE: B+

MY NIGHT WITH MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Following 63 old white guys, she became the first woman Secretary of State (1997-2001) during President Bill Clinton’s second administration.)     

Albright was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

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

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

However, I then flubbed a simple English word that followed Milošević’s name! 🙂

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Last summer, I finally got around to reading Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

What an incredible read! Here are a few things I learned:

She was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in May 1937. Her real name is Marie Jana Korbelová.

Her grandmother nicknamed her “Madla” and her mother modified it to “Madlen”, but most of the time she was called “Madlenka”. However, while learning French at the age of ten, she chose “Madeleine”.

Three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust.

One of her favorites treats and something I’d love to try is “Knedliky” — “Czechoslovak fruit dumplings swimming in melted butter, cover with sugar and ground nuts”.

At the age of 40, after earning her Ph.D., she began working in President Jimmy Carter’s office under his National Security Advisory.

Since Albright, there have been two more female Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

MISSING RIHANNA?

You might not have even thought about it, but I bet it crossed your mind now. 🙂

While her last album was 2016’s “Anti” and she says her new album is complete, there is no release date.

Earlier this week, I heard a new dance song that sounds a lot like Rihanna and I love the lyrics, “I got a bed, but I’d rather be in yours”!

Enjoy the new song from David Guetta with Joel Corry and RAYE! It’s my new favorite right now!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 2, 2020

The holiday seasons are fast approaching with Halloween up next!

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’ll be nice to put 2020 behind us and hope for a better 2021!

Just a clarification before you read it. I’m calling someone “scum of the earth” and I’m following my own advice of being “diplomatic”. The words I’d like to use would show far less diplomacy! 🙂

But, first…

HELEN REDDY, YOU’RE ALREADY MISSED!

International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee, and feminist Helen Reddy passed away earlier this week at the age of 78!

A movie honoring Helen and her iconic song, “I Am Woman” is out now and will be released on DVD on November 3, 2020.

I submitted an entry this summer on what Helen’s music and that song meant to me for an advertising campaign promoting the movie. I was chosen! 🙂

Here’s my original and unedited 1 minute, 10 second submission!

Here’s a little bit about my favorite Helen Reddy song!

While the song was included on her 1971 album, she re-recorded it and it was shipped to radio in May 1972. 

It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart! Months later, it was released again.

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

Helen, thank you for the music and you’ll be missed even though you’ll be in our hearts and souls! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

SCUM OF THE EARTH

Read this clearly: Most of us already know which candidate we’re going to vote for on November 3, 2020, so this isn’t about Joe Biden or Donald Trump!

But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scum of the earth!

In no time following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell was on the fast track to have her replacement named and confirmed before the 2020 Election — just a little over a month away!

Again, I don’t care if you’re supporting Biden or Trump (well, I really do, but that’s not the point of this post!), it’s the principle.

SCALIA’S DEATH

Because it was a presidential election year, when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell was such an obstructionist!

He and the Republican-controlled Senate declined to take any action on President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, one month later.

That nomination expired with the end of the 114th Congress in January 2017 and #45’s nomination later that month was confirmed in the spring.

The bottom line is that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”!

While a nominee has already been announced, we SHOULD WAIT for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to move this process forward. The winner should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice!!!

THE “MILLENNIUM” SERIES

Although this Swedish crime series came out more than a decade ago, the three books have been sitting on my bookshelf.

I finally read the Stieg Larsson’s series — “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” — and loved them!

The first book was my favorite and I felt the quality dropped off a little with the next two books.

I also watched the first two Swedish movies based on the books and Noomi Rapace was amazing as Lisbeth Salander.

I remember seeing David Fincher 2011’s English version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and it not making an impression on me. I’ll have to watch it again now that I’ve read the books!

“BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END”

Leif G.W. Persson’s 2002 book was translated to English in 2010.

On the back cover, here how it’s described: “acclaimed as one of the greatest Swedish crime novels of all time” .

Well, based on the four that I’ve read, after the three “Millennium” books, I disagree! Halfway through the 638 page book, I was ready to discard it!

So, skip it!

There are definitely better Scandinavian crime novels out, like Norwegian Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” (2007, translated to English in 2010)!

And, totally irrelevant, 60-year-old Nesbo is so hot! 🙂

That’s just a bonus! 🙂

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

I normally read autobiographies, biographies, and books on real events, so my familiarity with fiction isn’t that great.

However, in the four Scandinavian crime novels that I read this year from Stieg Larsson and Leif G.W. Persson, one thing I appallingly noticed was the degradation and the violence directed toward women.

But, just the description of women in these books was gross and unjust.

Is it a crime novel thing? Heaven forbid, I can’t imagine that Scandinavian women would put up with this from men! Now, granted, these four books were written before the “Me Too” movement.

However, earlier this year, this was addressed by Nesbo in an interview with “The Guardian”.

He says, “Violence against women is a problem in society – it is something we should talk about. I would be more worried if there was an absence of violence against women in fiction, because it’s a problem in real life. Of course, it’s a question of how you do it, but in general I would be more worried if fiction pretended it wasn’t a problem.”

“MAGIC”

On a lighter note and one that excites me so much, Kylie Minogue treated us fans to the second single from her upcoming “Disco” album coming out November 6th!

“Magic” is the new single!

“MAGIC” BONUS TRACK!

I hope you took a few minutes and watched the amazing Kylie video.

So, now you know it’s not a remake of Olivia Newton-John’s four-week #1 smash from the “Xanadu” soundtrack from 1980!

MEGYN KELLY “SETTLE FOR MORE”

I enjoyed reading Megyn Kelly’s 2016 autobiography.

Along with stories about her childhood, her career as a successful lawyer, and how she gave it up to become a television reporter and anchor with no experience (really, I mean no real experience!), she spent a lot of time talking about her abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters in the 2016 presidential election!

She also talked about how great of a guy that toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert Roger Ailes was! He’s the one that sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives!!!

By the way, “toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert” are my words, not Kelly’s!

It wasn’t until the end of the book that she addressed the sexual allegations that brought Ailes down. It felt more like, “Oh, I should mention that!”.

In fairness, Kelly shared a 2006 meeting with Ailes in his office when he once again came on to her. She said he tried “to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips”.

Kelly got away from him and as she moved toward the door, Ailes allegedly (I’ll say that word for legalities even though the scumbag likely said it with venom) said, “When in your contract up?”

She also states that Ailes earlier said, “I don’t like to fight, but when I do, I fight to kill.”

MORE THINGS SHE SHARED IN “SETTLE FOR MORE”

When she moved to Chicago in 1995 to take a law firm job, she looked out her Navy Pier apartment window drinking white Franzia boxed wine and listened to Tina Turner’s “I Don’t Wanna Fight” CD. She said that her “real life” was starting! (I only shared this one because I loved Franzia boxed wine!)

She told Roger Ailes that while she was raised in a Democratic household, she was “apolitical”. She went on to share a passage from her 1988 journal, “Am I a Republican or a Democrat? I seriously don’t know.”

There were rumor of her having an affair with married Fox News anchor Brit Hume. He thought it was funny and said people wouldn’t believe it. She disagreed by saying, “people love to dismiss potentially threatening women as ‘nuts or sluts’. Evidently, I didn’t pass as a nut, so I was to branded a slut…”

“BOMBSHELL”

If you haven’t seen the 2019 movie, “Bombshell”, check it out.

Here’s what I said about it in January.

“Even after seeing ‘The Loudest Voice’ on Showtime last year, watching ‘Bombshell’ was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!”

GRADE:  B

“Bombshell” was my #13 movie of 2019!

“CHOW DOWN”

Although this parody of Wilson Phillips’ #1 1990 debut hit, “Hold On”, came out in 2012, I can’t watch it enough — even today! 🙂

The drag queen trio of Willam Belli, Detox, and Vicky Vox take on the anti-gay agenda of the Georgia chicken restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A.

Disclaimer: Yes, it’s hilariously funny and R-rated.

***It includes adult language and adult situations***!

The bottom line and I couldn’t have said it better myself:  “we just want a little meat without your Bible!”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!

While I wished my idol, President Jimmy Carter a Happy 96th Birthday last week, I’ll do it again since his birthday was October 1st!

In 2016, I left this message for the Carters when I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

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 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. 😦

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’t 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! 🙂

“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 – Dolly 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 – Dolly 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

Making Good on a Bad Decision

“I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left! 

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.”

Those were my thoughts in June 2019 in my “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” blog.

Capture

I really don’t have too many regrets in my life, but there’s one that’s been weighing heavily on me.

My life shattered in February 2017 when my ex and I decided to end our marriage and our eight-year relationship.

I made the irrational decision to move away from the Quad Cities rather than stay and start my life over again there.

So, after 11.5 years in Moline, Illinois, I took a job in Panama City, Florida, and moved there in May 2017.  I stayed for a year.

AP G C

I made three incredible friends, Gerard and Cathy, who started the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, and Diane, a neighbor in my apartment complex.

Also, while there, I drove through the backwoods of the South to Plains, Georgia, to meet my idol, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Autograph Carters

However, there was nothing else I liked about Panama City or the area.

So, in the summer of 2018, I took the Chief Meteorologist position at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota.

It gave me a chance to work with some really great people, including zany Dan Hanger, our evening anchor, the most popular newscaster in Northland television!

After our appearance at the Superior, Wisconsin, Halloween parade, we decided to have an adult beverage and we sent our evening director Katie this little snippet of us lip syncing Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down”.

The joke is that Katie regularly has to tell Dan, “Not Today!” 🙂

And, speaking of Katie…

She and her mother, Mary Kaye, became two of my dearest friends, along with Kass, one of my neighbors.

For the past two Thanksgivings and Christmases, I feasted with Katie and Mary Kaye (and Duke, the golden retriever).  We also made it a point to have each other over for Saturday night dinners almost monthly.

Capture

As you can tell, they’re camera shy! 🙂

And, Kass regularly hosted cocktail hour at her place for the two of us to enjoy each other’s company and talk.

But, the dating scene in Duluth was dismal and my work schedule became very undesirable.  No one wants to basically work around the clock for days on end — at any age or at any point in their career!

Plus, I was still an eight-hour drive away from my sister, Tammy, in the Quad Cities.

Night Cruise

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2019, I made the decision that when my contract was up in June 2020, I’d move to Las Vegas, give up television, and wait tables!

I wanted to start living again!

However, this winter, after a lot of thought and deliberation (with myself), I came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t the right time in my life.

And, then Coronavirus came along and I’m glad I didn’t pursue Vegas as “home”.

As that door closed, another one opened and a great opportunity presented itself to me out of the blue.

Now, the time has come to share some news with you — the “next chapter” is beginning soon amidst the Coronavirus pandemic! 😱

Kylie

Back in May 2017 as I was driving through Henry County, Illinois, on Interstate 74, tears streamed down my face as I left my sister, my friends, and my shattered life in the Quad Cities.

This past February, I made a covert trip back to the Quad Cities and Illinois. 🙂

And, this time, driving that same stretch of I-74 in Henry County at sunrise offered me hope and the chance to right the wrong — I was making good on a bad decision!

Henry County Illinois

“Climb That Mountain High” from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”, has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.

The song was an inspiration to me when I started my television news career and it’s given me hope every time I was ready to move on.

“Red sun a-rising, over the hill/I’ve had enough of this desert to last from now until… This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“How I arrived here, oh heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would have chose… I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”!

I’m heading back to the Land of Lincoln!

I accepted the morning meteorologist position at the NBC affiliate in Decatur, in central Illinois!  (It’s part of the Champaign-Decatur-Springfield television market.)

Decatur

Now, I’ll be able to see my sister in three hours, instead of setting aside a whole day to drive one way!

And, we’ll be able to spend holidays together again!

AP T

And, along with this “next chapter”, #Pug2020 is still in my plans unless the real life situation (Coronavirus, again!) delays it!

By the way, this “air freshener” was another “sign” from Bangkok last year.  It was in one of the cabs! 🙂

#Pug2020

Thailand Pug AP

MY NEXT APARTMENT

Let’s end on a lighthearted note!

When I left Kentucky, for good, in the summer of 1994 for Chicago, as my 20s were winding down, I envisioned my next apartment complex.

I had hoped it’d be like “Melrose Place” with Jake (Grant Show) as my neighbor. 🙂

Grant Amy

Okay, the “Melrose Place” before crazy Kimberly (Marcia Cross) moved in and blew the damn place up! 🙂

Melrose Place

Oops, spoiler alert!

Or, I was dreaming of 28 Barbary Lane (“Tales of the City”) with Anna Madrigal as my eccentric land lady…

28 Barbary Lane

and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver as my friends!

Mary Ann

Neither has happened in all my moves, but there’s always Decatur!  LOL

Honestly, I think I’m too old for those silly dreams and dramas now!

My friends, here’s to new beginnings and a happy, healthy new future — not just for me, but for all of us!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 20, 2020

After a few weeks of making time to share some of my “Random Friday Thoughts”, this will be the last one for some time.

I have another blog coming soon to announce my “next chapter”.

Shhhhh

CORONAVIRUS & LAS VEGAS

When we rang in 2020, my plans were to move to Las Vegas on June 1st.  I was giving up television weather to wait tables and pursue a “life”!

2020

After much thought and deliberation (with myself), I decided that the timing wasn’t right.   And, much to my chagrin, I also don’t think a move to Vegas in this lifetime is now in the cards! 😦

Now, with the widespread impact of Coronavirus just beginning to be felt nationwide (and across the world), I know I made the right decision!

The service industry in Vegas (and many other cities) is going to decimated by this and who knows how long it’ll take to recover once Coronavirus is under control!

DOG REVENGE

This cartoon is too funny not to share — K9 revenge!!!

Dogs

By the way, the World Health Organization says, as of now, dogs can get Coronavirus, but there’s no evidence they can spread it!!!

PARENTS, TRUE OR NOT???? 🙂

Parenting

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

Recently, I watched Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) again.  It’s still a great addition to the zombie genre.

I was excited to learn that Netflix acquired the rights to the sequel with a $90 million budget.

“Army of the Dead” will center around a heist on a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak!

Principle photography and filming is reportedly done, but a release day is not set.

Now I’m wondering if/how our real life Coronavirus outbreak will affect the release of a movie about a viral outbreak that causes the dead to become undead and walk the Earth!

If you haven’t seen Snyder’s movie, here’s the trailer.

By the way, I also watched George A. Romero’s 1968 “Night of the Living Dead” again recently and it was SO BAD!

LAST CORONAVIRUS THOUGHT

While I’m taking precautions to stay safe and healthy (and I hope you are, too), the fear of the unknown is overwhelming!

When I feature songs or music videos in my blog, you may just scroll right past them.

But, here are five that ALWAYS make me feel so happy and carefree. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with them, give them a listen!  It might help you to relax and forget about real life for a few minutes at a time! 🙂

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN  (#8, 1980)

“TARZAN BOY” — BALTIMORA (#13, 1985)

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q (#3, 1986)

“ONLY IN MY DREAMS” — DEBBIE GIBSON (#4, 1987)

“I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME) — WHITNEY HOUSTON (#1, 1987)

AVOCADOS

I love avocados anyway you serve them!

I especially love making guacamole and when I add them to shrimp for a ceviche, I’m in heaven.  (Yes, I made this!)

Shrimp C

In a perfect world, I’d love to be rich and live on land where I had avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Wishful thinking!

Avocado

I was going through an old “Eating Well” magazine (March 2019) and came across these interesting tidbits.  I thought I’d share them.

  • 90% of U.S. avocados are grown in California.  There are over 5 million avocado trees in the state and and one tree can produce up to 200 avocados in one year!
  • It takes 12 to 18 months to grow a California avocado and the heaviest avocado on record weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces!
  • Hass avocado trees bloom in the spring and a mature fruit can stay on the tree for up to a year!  They don’t ripen until they’re picked, but most are harvested from March through September.
  • Finally, the average American eats about 7.75 pounds of avocados a year.  In 1990, that number was only ONE POUND!

Happy Avocados

Way to go America!

“TRUE COMPASS”

I just read Edward Kennedy’s 2009 memoir that came out after he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008.

True Compass Ted Kennedy

Kennedy did a lot of great things in his almost 47 years as a U.S. Senator and I applaud him for that.

I enjoyed hearing his stories about his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy.

In the book, I felt he was upfront and honest about the tragic accident at Chappaquiddick that resulted in Mary Jo Kopechne’s death in the summer of 1969.

I admired his honesty about indulging too much in liquor, women, and food in his single years between marriages.

He also talked extensively about the fact that he made it a point never to address tabloid gossip, no matter how far-fetched.

Kennedy said once you do, you’ll spend more time trying to correct the misinformation.  If you start setting the record straight, then you’d look guilty in the future if you didn’t address a story, rumor, or gossip!

With that being said, I turned against Ted Kennedy in 1980 and I held a grudge against him for mounting his only presidential bid against my idol, sitting President Jimmy Carter.

CarterPres

It was bad enough that Iranian militants in Tehran were holding American hostages for over a year, but the economy was in the pits and we were dealing with an energy crisis.

Kennedy’s presidential run weakened Carter’s presidency even more since it forced the president to spend more time and effort to be the Democratic nominee for re-election.

It was time Carter could have used to fight Ronald Reagan and try to solve America’s problems and free the hostages.

Kennedy admits that he felt Carter held that against him from that point on and, personally, I don’t blame him!

“True Compass” was a fantastic read.  I’m glad I took time to learn more about the man.

Edward Kennedy died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, on August 25, 2009.

ONE MORE EDWARD KENNEDY NOTE

I’m currently reading “The Senator: My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy” by Richard E. Burke, who became Kennedy’s Chief of Staff in the late-1970s, at the ripe age of 25!

The Senator Burke

As a freshman in college in 1971, Burke started working as a volunteer in Kennedy’s mail room.

While Burke idolized Kennedy, “The Senator” is a much more scandalous book talking about Ted Kennedy’s very active sex life (extramarital affairs), orgies, and drug use (cocaine and poppers).

I’m only halfway through the book, but I can’t imagine Senator Kennedy being too thrilled when the book came out in 1992!

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 27, 2019

It’s been over a month since I shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so I thought it was about time to share a few more!

I appreciate you checking them out!

WILL NOT TALK POLITICS THIS WEEK, BUT…

peach 1

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

In just a few days, my idol, President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 95th birthday (October 1).

As you know, he’s the oldest living president in history and what’s amazing is that he and Rosalynn, his wonderful wife, are still very active building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Recently, people were asked to send President Carter birthday messages and here’s the one that I sent him!

Happy 95 President Carter Final

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!

Before today’s entry, I only posted one new blog in September — a tribute and “thank you” letter to Olivia Newton-John, who turned 71 yesterday!

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling

In that tribute, I talked about her courageous fight with Stage IV cancer, shared some stories on how her music has touched my life and I counted down my 13 favorite ONJ songs, with three bonus songs.

Many people checked it out.  If you didn’t, click here and it’ll open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/thank-you-for-the-beautiful-music-and-a-lifetime-of-wonderful-memories/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than three months away and I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a random thought or two about my favorite time of the year.

I love Christmas movies, but I can’t recall ever going to the theaters to see one.  That’ll change this year.

“Last Christmas” stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”), and Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”), who is also a co-writer.

Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”) also co-star!

It takes its name from George Michael and Wham’s 1984 holiday classic.

Thompson was in touch with Michael before his death, ironically on Christmas Day 2016, about using several of his songs in the movie!

The romantic comedy is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“Last Christmas” opens November 8, 2019, and my dear friend, Katie, and I are already planning on seeing it after work on November 12th! 🙂

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS” COMES EARLY THIS YEAR

While I bought Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, “Merry Christmas”, in 1994, and have been gleefully enjoying it every year since then, I just ordered the 25th “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” that arrives November 1, 2019!

MC Deluxe

In addition to the ten songs on the original, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will be added to disc one.

And, check out all of the amazing goodies on the second new CD!

Track List CD2.JPG

While I ordered mine from Amazon, if you order from Mariah’s website for $13.98 (plus about $10 for shipping), you’ll get “as a special bonus for fans, this special edition package includes rare photos, a personal note from Mariah, and some Mariah-themed Christmas decorations!”

https://mariahcareyshop.com/products/merry-christmas-25th-anniversary-2cd

NEW COFFEE MATE CREAMER

I already have my Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer in the refrigerator.  And, while I absolutely love Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog, it now has some competition this holiday season!

Just announced: Red Velvet!

Red Velvet.gif

“RAIN”

This is my new favorite song!

Take a listen because it probably won’t make Top 40 radio!

In “another place and time” (If I was much younger and in Ben Platt’s orbit), we could so be together! 🙂

He’s so dreamy and talented and this song is incredible and the video is so sensual!

My plans this weekend include binge watching “The Politician” with Platt, of course, on Netflix.

It co-star the incredible Jessica Lange and her line in the restaurant in this trailer is so hilarious that it almost makes me pee my pants every time I watch it!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

This 2007 novel by Andre Aciman came to big screen in late 2017 with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet in the lead roles.

It ended up being my favorite movie of 2018.

call me

Aciman is finally releasing the sequel, “Find Me” next month (October 29, 2019).

Since I don’t think Hammer and Chalamet will ever get together for a movie sequel, I hope to read it as soon as it hits the library.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The movie was my 5th favorite of 2018 and I recently read Kevin Kwan’s novel that it’s based on.

CRA Kwan

If you loved the movie, read the book!  It fills in so much about just how crazy and rich the Asians are that have passed through Kwan’s life for him to write these “fictional” stories!

There are two more books in the series, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems”, but I don’t want to read them yet.  Why?

Because, in 2020, they’re shooting two movies back-to-back based on the books to cut down on how long it takes for them to hit movie theaters!

“MA”

This psychological thriller starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer was much better than I expected!  But, then again, just having Spencer in the movie adds credibility.

Plus, it was directed and co-produced by Tate Taylor, who also directed 2011’s “The Help” (co-starring Spencer) and “The Girl on the Train” (which co-starred Luke Evans).

Speaking of Evans, he’s so freaking hot in his few scenes in this movie, including the “full monty” one!   Evans is best known as Gaston in the live-action Disney hit “Beauty and the Beast”.

The two young leads in the movie, Diana Silvers and Corey Fogelmanis, are very convincing as young lovers, who are terrorized when “Ma” becomes unhinged!

By the way, Fogelmanis is adorable (he just turned 20) — just like his on-screen dad, played by Evans!

GRADE: B

“THE PURGE” SEASON 2

I loved the first three movies in “The Purge” franchise, but I hated 2018’s fourth installment.  I gave it a “D” grade.

Last year, I watched the 10-episode USA Network television version with the same premise as the movies.

Purge TV

The second season with a new cast premieres on USA on October 15, 2019.  I’ll be back for season two, but I’m definitely going to miss Gabriel Chavarria this season.

Gabriel Chavarria

SPOOKY STAMPS

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky stamps this fall, the postal service is putting these out October 11, 2019!

It would definitely surprise people if I used them on my Christmas cards this year! 🙂

Spooky Stamps.jpg

HAPPY AUTUMN

Thank you for checking out my thoughts!  Have a great weekend  — the first weekend of autumn 2019!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony