Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 15, 2018

It’s been a few weeks without a new “Random Friday Thoughts” as I moved across the country to Duluth, Minnesota.

This now marks my third weekend in the “Northland” and I’m looking forward to making it my home.

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

TWO YEARS LATER

Earlier this week, we marked the two year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Pulse

49 people were massacred while out having a good time with their family and friends.  At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in modern American history.  That distinction now goes to the Las Vegas shooting last October.

Pulse

Former President Barack Obama, in 2016, said, “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.  And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”.

No comment from #45 this year on the anniversary.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT BUSH

On a happier note, earlier this week, the nation’s 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush turned 94-years-old.

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

He’s now the oldest living president and the first former president to live to age 94.

It’s been a tough year for him with numerous health issues and hospitalizations on top of losing his wife of 73 years, Barbara, back in April.

Jimmy Carter

My favorite president, Jimmy Carter, is now the second oldest living president.  He’ll turn 94 on October 1, 2018.

“HALLOWEEN” IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!

Excitement is building for Halloween and it has nothing to do with what costumes will be popular and how much candy you’ll get.

The reboot of the “Halloween” series hits theaters Friday, October 19, 2018, and it’ll pick up as the sequel to 1978’s original.

In this movie universe, none of the other sequels even happened!  After Rob Zombie’s very rancid and painful to watch “Halloween II” (2009), it’s time for a fresh start!

The trailer was released last Friday and had almost a million view in just four days!

“TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL”

Movie icon Tab Hunter was the hottest sex symbol is the 1950s and was usually seen in public with beautiful ingenues.

It was all a front to hide his sexuality and maintain his matinee idol status.

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his book, the 19th that I’ve read this year, Hunter doesn’t go into any sordid details about his sexual escapades, but he did talk a lot about his relationship with “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.

tab_hunter_anthony_perkins.jpg

One interesting story that Hunter shared was when an ex-lover tried to blackmail him.  The man, desperate for money, threatened to sell all the letters Hunter had sent him to the “Enquirer” in the late-1970s.

Hunter paid him off ($10,000) and the man asked to keep them because they meant something to him!!!! Um, yeah, blackmail material.  However, the man died a few years later.

Hunter is almost 87-years-old now and is still with his partner of more than 35 years, film producer Allan Glaser.

CELINE DION GOES ON AND ON

The 18th book I read this year and shared a blog about was “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”.

Celine

I really enjoyed reading about Celine’s life story and I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to read it.

I was surprised to hear that she’s the youngest of fourteen (yes 14!) children!

I became aware of Celine in the early-1990s at the same time as most Americans.  We also learned around that time that she was in a relationship with her manager and future husband, Rene Angelil.  (They married December 17, 1994 in Montreal, Quebec.)

Celine wedding

It was still a little weird reading about the love affair — with the 26-year age difference.  She was the one that fell in love first and pursued him!  But, knowing that the love was real made me smile.  We all want that!

I love how Celine was upfront and honest about the nastiness of the press about things such as her love life and her weight (calling her anorexic).  Being a recovering food addict, I feel for her having endured that.

Celine House

While Celine has been a multi-millionaire for much of career (after hitting it big worldwide), I’m glad she didn’t sugarcoat her love of spending money.  She earned it!

Celine is definitely a survivor and one of the greatest entertainers of all time!  Definitely check out “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”!

And, I shared my ten favorite Celine Dion songs.  Here’s my all-time Celine favorite!

You can read about how the book saved two ducks from a turtle and see my other nine favorites by clicking here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/celine-dion-saves-two-little-ducks/

“THE GREATEST SHOWMAN”

Before beginning my journey north, I did get a chance to check out the musical “The Greatest Showman”.

It was very entertaining and Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron looked and sounded amazing.

Many people know Jackman as Wolverine from the “X-Men” series, but he does have a background in musical theater and musicals (“Les Miserables” in 2012).

He gained worldwide attention playing flamboyant Australian entertainer Peter Allen on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, which earned Jackman a Tony Award for “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical”.

In “The Greatest Showman”, he plays P.T. Barnum, a down on his luck showman and entrepreneur that started the world famous circus.

The song, “This Is Me”, won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song” and it was also nominated for an Oscar.

It’s an incredible life affirming number!

My other favorite was from Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale” (Rebecca Ferguson), “Never Enough”, with real vocals by Loren Allred.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

If you’ve never watched this Netflix zombie comedy, what are you waiting for?

Season one was funny and season two was outstanding — even funnier and more crisp and cutting.

It’s the story of a typical California family that wakes up one day and the wife/mom begins violently vomiting and then starts craving human flesh.

The main cast, Drew Barrymore (Sheila Hammond), Timothy Olyphant (Joel Hammond), and Liv Hewson (Abby, their daughter), are incredible.

However, the one that cracks me up the most is Eric Bemis (Skyler Gisondo), the Hammond’s teenage neighbor and friend/love interest for Abby.

Small spoiler_alert_300_w2ahead!

In one scene, Eric is about to lose his virginity to Ramona, a Rite-Aid employee, and tries to sound more experienced than he really is. 🙂

Eric Ramona

Ramona : There are a million things I wanna do to you.”

Eric Bemis : There’s a million things I’ve had done to me. But I did all of them myself. Actually, it’s just one thing a million times.”

“Santa Clarita Diet” will be back for a third season in 2019.

HUGH GRANT & BEN WHISHAW MOVIE

Hugh Grant goes gay again (“Maurice” in 1987 and “Our Sons” in 1991) and this time with my major crush Ben Whishaw.

Ben Whishaw

In “A Very English Scandal”, a three-part series, Grant plays former British Liberal political party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who went on trial for the attempted murder of his ex-lover, Norman Scott (Whishaw) in 1979.

Spoiler! 🙂

The limited series was written by Russell T. Davies (“Queer as Folk”) and directed by Stephen Frears (“Florence Foster Jenkins” and “The Queen”).

Ben_Whishaw

If you’re not familiar with my major crush Whishaw (other than as the voice of Paddington, the bear), check out “London Spy”…

and my favorite movie of 2015, “Lilting”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — April 13, 2018

Happy Friday the 13th!  Are you superstitious and think scary things happen on this day and date?

For me, I instantly think of Jason Voorhees!

Jason V

I hope “Friday the 13th” doesn’t spook you because we have another one coming up in July!

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

SECURITY BREACHES

It seems like every day now we hear of another security breach at some large company that many of us do business with on a regular basis.

None of us want our personal information, especially our banking account information, out there in the world.

I make it a daily point to check my banking account online to make sure no unexpected charges are there and that my money is still where it should be.

data breach

However, sadly, it’s becoming such a regular thing that it’s really not all that shocking anymore!

It’s much easier these days for hackers to get our information than it is for companies to build firewalls for our security!

So, while Taylor sings “haters gonna hate”, I say be vigilant with your personal information online because “hackers gonna hack”!

MARIAH CAREY’S REVELATION

On the cover of the new “People” magazine, pop icon Mariah Carey discusses her long battle with being bipolar.

MC

“People” reports that Carey was diagnosed with the disorder in 2001 after being hospitalized with a mental and physical breakdown.

I’m sure you might remember the whole ice cream cart debacle on MTV around that time.

Carey tells “People”, “Until recently I lived in denial and isolation and in constant fear someone would expose me.  It was too heavy a burden to carry and I simply couldn’t do that anymore. I sought and received treatment, I put positive people around me and I got back to doing what I love — writing songs and making music.”

She’s currently in therapy and on medication.

MY FAVORITE MARIAH CAREY SONG 

And, since I’m talking about Mimi, here’s my favorite Mariah song.

Ironically, it’s “Emotions”, a three-week #1 hit from the fall of 1991.

MOVING ON

It’s no secret now…

Secret

… but I’m leaving Florida and heading back north to four distinct seasons (although winter seems to last longer). 🙂

Change

I’m moving to Duluth, Minnesota, to take a Chief Meteorologist position (a first for me) at the Fox affiliate for the Northland.

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You can read the more personal story here.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/ill-let-you-in-on-a-secret/

GOING COUNTRY ON THE DANCEFLOOR

It’s great to have Kylie Minogue back.

Her new album, “Golden”, take us back to the dance floors.  And, it does so with a country twang to it.

Kylie-Minogue-Golden

The first taste of that new sound was the lead off single, “Dancing”.

I love that song and my other favorites are “Every Little Part of Me”, “One Last Kiss”, “Low Blow”, “Shelby ’68”, and “Raining Glitter”.

“Golden” is definitely a different sound for Minogue, but a fresh one!

GRADE:  B+

“REPORTING LIVE”

I just finished reading my 11th book of 2018, “Reporting Live” by Lesley Stahl, who’s now on “60 Minutes”.

RL Stahl

While she shared some interesting stories on the presidents she’s covered — from Richard Nixon to George H. W. Bush — it wasn’t an easy read.

First off, there’s no set up of getting to know Stahl before she got her audition for CBS News in 1972.

We learned about her husband, Aaron, who suffers from depression.  He gained famed as the screenwriter for “Urban Cowboy” with John Travolta.

We also learned about her daughter, Taylor, and her parents and brother.  Yet, there’s very little about Stahl growing up in New England and nothing about her first marriage in the 1960s.

What I came away with from the book is that the now 76-year-old was not only a tough interviewer for “Face The Nation”, but also rather “bitchy” at times!  (I feel comfortable saying that because she used the “b-word”, too, in an indirect self-referential way.)

Stahl was very rough on the presidents.  It was hard reading her 50-plus pages on Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter because I idolize them so much.

However, she was fair.  She had no love loss for Nixon and Reagan either after fawning over Reagan for part of the Carter chapter.

Reagan Bush

Stahl also told an interesting story about Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush.

Apparently early on in the Reagan presidency, the First Lady and the Second Lady were going to an event together and both were wearing red dresses.

One was told to change dresses and basically to never wear red again.

This went on through 1988 when Vice President Bush was running for president and Ms. Bush started wearing red again and getting away from her Barbara blues!

WOMEN’S WINE PREFERENCE

Do you prefer red or white wine?

A “Food & Wine” magazine Facebook poll shows that women prefer red over white about two to one!

Confusing Wine Selection

Me, I prefer white.  Give me a Moscoto and I’m very happy.  I might even share the bottle with you.  Again, I “might” share. 🙂

In 2017, the Top Five brands by volume sold were #5 Carlo Rossi, #4 Sutter Home, #3 Robert Mondavi, and #2 Barefoot.

At #1, my favorite!

Franzia

Much to my chagrin when I moved to Florida, you can only buy 3-liter boxes of wine (back in Illinois, I was used to 5-liter boxes).

Here’s hoping that Minnesota or Wisconsin sells 5-liter boxes!

SHRIMP

Behind desserts, shrimp is probably my favorite food.

Shrimp

I love shrimp cocktail and shrimp scampi.  And, check out this tasty photo of my homemade shrimp ceviche!

Shrimp C

I’m not alone.

“Eating Well” reports that in 2012, Americans ate about 1.2 billion (with a “B”) pounds of shrimp.

But, only about 10% of it is farmed and wild-caught here in the U.S!  Most comes from shrimp farms in Asia and South America.

Another interesting fact, the average seafood consumption has been on the decline since 2004!

While I gave up beef many years ago, I’ll continue to do my part in keeping those shrimp and seafood numbers from dropping too much more!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

“I’m tired of living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth/This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“I’m gonna climb that mountain high/I’m gonna see what’s on the other side/I’m gonna kiss this town good-bye/I’m gonna climb that mountain”

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

“Climb That Mountain High” is from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”.  It was one of the first CDs I bought and my first from Reba!

That song has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.  It was there when I was looking to launch my television news career and every time I was awaiting my next move.

I’ve been listening to the song again daily for weeks now!

“CHANGE”

Almost a year ago (in “Change”), I shared details of some big changes in my life that would take me to Panama City, Florida, “So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!”

hurricane.gif

What the hell was I thinking — giving up snow and four distinct seasons?

In my “Christmas Update” blog on December 18, 2017, I pontificated, “I’m miserable… life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.”

In a talk after the holidays with my fantastic news director Tom Lewis, he agreed that life’s too short to be unhappy.  I said I’d start looking to return to Midwest and if I didn’t find a job, I’d be gone by Halloween!

In February, I contacted some stations across Illinois to try to get back closer to my sister and my friends in the Quad Cities, where I spent 11.5 years before the ill-fated move to Florida.

Sadly, there were no openings and many “we’ll keep you in mind when we have a position available”.

“CHANGE 2.0”

Change

In television news, like most professions, talent and experience are major factors to be considered.  However, timing and luck also play huge roles.

I contacted a station about an opening that was posted just after Thanksgiving.  I wondered why, four months later, the position wasn’t filled.

It turns out they were not in any hurry to fill the position and were waiting for the right person.

And, now back to that “timing and luck”.

The news director was at the end of his search.  He and I started corresponding and eight days later, I was offered the job and I accepted it.

My friends, in June, I’ll be the Chief Meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, seven hours north of the Quad Cities.

I’m getting my four distinct seasons and my snow back!

From Wikipedia: “At 85″ per year, the port city of Duluth has the highest average snowfall total of any city in Minnesota”!

Two last weather notes:  I’ll have to get used to the bitter cold again.  The record low there is -41°, but it’s never reached 100° (97° is the record high).

I honestly feel like George Bailey in Bedford Falls at Christmas in “It’s A Wonderful Life”! Pottersville (Panama City, for me) was just an alternate universe!

Bedford Falls.gif

While some love it here and many love visiting the beaches (they think Panama City and Panama City Beach are the same), I just didn’t connect with the area.

At the beginning, from a dating standpoint, I wasn’t looking for anything since I was still reeling from the big changes in my personal life.

But, not one date in a year!!!

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to find my knight on a white horse like Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).

“I would pretend I was a princess, trapped in the tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly, this knight, on a white horse, with these colors flying, would come charging up and draw his sword… and I would wave, and he would climb up the tower, and rescue me.”

PW 1.gif

PW 2.gif

However, I did find two dear friends here — Cathy and Gerard Rifenburg.

Cathy founded the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter.

AP G C

A month after I moved here, they graciously invited me to a function they were hosting at their house.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed dinners and parties together, including Christmas Day.

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

Another highlight of my move to Florida was an early Sunday morning road trip last July to Plains, Georgia, to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter!

Autograph Carters

One thing I definitely won’t miss — this mentality! (Disclaimer: I know not everyone fits into this category!)

bubba

By the way (and this had no influence in my decision, but it makes me happy), Minnesota has only voted “red” once in my life time!

In 1972, it went along with 48 other states to re-elect Richard Nixon.  Yes, Reagan and Trump lost Minnesota!

So, I’ll proudly display my faded sticker on my car. (I did so in “red” Bay County, Florida, too!)

HCAnthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 30, 2018

The first big holiday of spring is upon us.  I know it’ll be a busy one for many of you, so thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

HAPPY EASTER!

A flashback to Easter 2001 and Miss ABBA visiting the Easter Bunny!

ABBAEaster2001

KRISPY KREME CELEBRATES EASTER 

For just a limited time in the United States and Canada, Krispy Kreme is featuring a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg donut.

The chocolate-iced, nut-covered sweet treat is filled with a Reese’s peanut butter version of Krispy Kreme’s signature Kreme filling.

Capture1

If that isn’t your thing, the company will start selling a Lemon Glaze Doughnut, which was voted on by fans, on April 23, 2018.

SIX MONTHS NOW

Six months ago this weekend, on October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LV

Before killing himself, he gunned down 58 others and injured more than 700.

Country star Jason Aldean was on stage when the massacre occurred.  While he has commented on the rampage before, he’s ready to try to move on.

Aldean tells “Entertainment Weekly”, “I’m not a politician.  I’m not trying to push my own agenda.  If I say that I believe this, I’m gonna piss off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I’m gonna piss off the other half.  I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know?  I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer.  When people can’t go to a damn movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there’s a flaw in the system.”

Amen!

“AMARILLO SKY”

Aldean has scored 34 Billboard Country hits since his career kicked off in 2005.  Of those, 29 have hit the Top Ten.  Ten topped the chart.

“Amarillo Sky” (#4, 2006) is one of my favorites.

REMEMBRANCE GARDEN 

In December 2017, while in Las Vegas, I visited the memorial for the victims — the Remembrance Garden and Wall!

Remembrance Garden

HOMOPHOBIA — THEN AND NOW

In 1997, homophobia allowed spree killer Andrew Cunanan to murder four people before he gunned down fashion icon Gianni Versace outside his Miami Beach mansion.

In Minneapolis, Cunanan killed his friend, Jeffrey Trail, and his ex-boyfriend David Madson before he murdered real estate developer Lee Miglin in Chicago — Cunanan planted gay erotica material at that crime scene.

Even after three murders, police weren’t looking too hard for the killer because only gays were being executed.

Cunanan ditched Miglin’s stolen car when he realized the car’s cell phone was being tracked by the FBI.  He killed a straight cemetery worker in New Jersey for his truck.

His final victim (besides himself) was Versace.

While police were looking for Cunanan in Miami’s gay community, they were convinced he might be masquerading in drag to hide out!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

Sadly, this excellent series is over.

I think when Emmy nominations are announced in July that Darren Criss and Judith Light will get acting nods for their roles of Andrew Cunanan and Marilyn Miglin.

Miglin

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

If this movie needed an alternate title, how about “The Shape of Excellence”!

Nominated for 13 Oscars, the movie won four including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

An excellent Sally Hawkins was nominated for Best Actress and Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer were both nominated in the Best Supporting categories.

Eliza (Hawkins) is a mute woman working as a cleaning lady in a secret government lab in Baltimore during America’s “Cold War” with the Soviets.

She becomes infatuated with the creature that’s being experimented on in the lab.

Eliza’s neighbor, Giles, like her, is lonely and looking for love.  He’s older and gay and realizes if he’d been born at an earlier or later time, he might have had a fulfilling life as a gay man, complete with love.

Spencer is incredible as Eliza’s friend and after seeing this movie, I think Michael Shannon, the bad guy, should have gotten an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting category instead of Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”).

“The Shape of Water” is a very adult “Beauty and the Beast” story.

GRADE:  A+

“WATCHDOGS OF DEMOCRACY?”

This is the second book this year I’ve read from the late UPI reporter Helen Thomas.  The first was “Front Row at the White House”, which was a great read.

watchdogs

This book examines how reporters were the “watchdogs” for the public in the early days of newspaper and even radio and television.

However, as presidents (especially Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush) began to limit the amount of information the public would know about military conflicts and wars (Vietnam, Grenada, and Iraq), reporters failed by not being more assertive in their questioning the information press secretaries were feeding them.

Thomas was especially harsh toward the presidency of George W. Bush, which she mostly referred to as “Bush-2”.

I was thrilled that she also gave President Jimmy Carter the due respect he deserved for bringing the hostages home alive from Iran.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

Thomas writes, “But television commentators and anchormen [Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” was born out of the hostage crisis] were relentless in citing how many days it had been that the hostages were being held, fueling the perception that Carter was a weak president.  In truth, he brought the hostages back alive.  But President Reagan got the credit, because the Iranians waited until the day Reagan was sworn in to release them.”

“Watchdogs” is the ninth book I’ve read, so far, in 2018.

WHAT NOW?

Now that “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”, “The X-Files”, “9-1-1”, and “The Alienist” (although I still have the series finale to watch) are finished, I’m now going to check out “The Terror” on AMC and “Trust: The Getty Family Saga” on FX.

DONNA SHERIDAN:  DEAD OR ALIVE?

2008’s “Mamma Mia!” is still one of my favorite movies and I’ve watched it countless times.  It’s the 134th biggest movie of all-time worldwide bringing in $615.7 million.

In May 2017, it was announced that a sequel, “Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again” would hit theaters in July 2018.  I was thrilled!

Capture1

But, that excitement turned to despair when the first trailers arrived.  Fans were quick to note that there was very little of Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), the star of the first movie.

Does that mean that Donna is dead since it focused on a young Donna (Lily James)?

After seeing the trailer in theater last week during “Love, Simon”, Donna was still referred to in the past tense.

I know there are many great people in “Mamma Mia!” and with the addition of Cher in the sequel, it’ll be great.

But, a dead Donna Sheridan means no “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for me this summer!

THE END OF “THE X-FILES”

When this series “ended” in 2002 on Fox after the ninth season, I was not pleased with the “series finale”.

It was brought back for a six-episode tenth season in 2016 and then back for ten mostly painful episodes this winter.

Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, announced that she would not return to the series if it comes back for another season.

And, after seeing this final finale, I can see why!

No more “The X-Files” please — unless it’s on the big screen as a movie!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

This Agatha Christie thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as famous Detective Hercule Poirot, was a hit last year.

After solving a case in Jerusalem, Poirot is ready for a vacation, but stumbles across a “Murder on the Orient Express”!

The all-star cast is great and includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and many more.

The cinematography is incredible!

On a $55 million budget, the movie made $350.5 million worldwide.

Fox announced earlier this year that “Death on the Nile”, another Christie novel, will be the sequel.

It’ll hit theaters in November 2019 with Branagh returning as director and star.

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 — March 23, 2018

It’s here!  Welcome to spring!

Spring Already

I know there’s still plenty of winter and snow in the forecast for some of you.  Be careful out there across the Plains and Midwest (Quad Cities, I’m looking at you!).

6″-12″ of snow could fall under the “Winter Storm Warning”!

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

WEATHER’S “MARCH MADNESS”

If you’re following NCAA college basketball, there’s plenty of shattered brackets — thanks, Virginia!  Actually, I didn’t fill out brackets this year, but I’d never pick Virginia to become the first #1 seed ever to lose to a #16 seed!

Here’s a funny weather forecasting bracket that’s perfect for the Midwest (or any region that has quickly changing weather conditions)!

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THE CALENDAR SAYS WINTER IS OVER, BUT…

Michael Myers Winter

LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME!

I know pet owners take care of their dogs differently.

ABBACANADA

When I had my golden retriever, most of my trips were by car so ABBA could go with me.  It never crossed my mind to take her on a plane.

United and Delta airlines are both under media and social media scrutiny over recent mishaps involving dogs — including one that died while being put in an overhead bin and three others sent to the wrong locations.

Okay, both airlines deserve criticism for not getting things right.  However, for as long as there have been airlines, there has been lost luggage.  So, why does misdirecting dogs seem so far-fetched?

The bottom line is that customers that put their pets on a flight know that something could go wrong and should take responsibility for mishaps, too!

A final note:  Earlier this week, United announced that it’s suspending the program of sending pets as cargo!

GOVERNOR NIXON?

While Oprah is pretty much shooting down gossip that she’ll run for president in 2020, “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon announced earlier this week that she’ll be running for Governor of New York!

cynthianixon2

She plans to run in the Democratic Primary against current Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon is the mother of three kids and she’s a strong advocate for LGBT rights and women’s rights.

While the bisexual Nixon is definitely vocal and an advocate and has every reason to run, I’m not entirely sold on the idea.

Plus, I don’t think she can beat Cuomo!

“THIS JUST IN” & “FACE THE NATION”

I just finished reading two Bob Schieffer books back to back, his memoir “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV” and “Face The Nation”, my seventh and eighth completed books of the year.  (Yes, six of them have been news people!  The other two were from Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.)

Bob Schieffer

The CBS newsman comes across in this book just as he does on television — very likable.

I really enjoyed Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” and Mike Wallace’s “Between You and Me: A Memoir”, but this was my favorite.

Schieffer talks about his start as a college radio newsman, his time as a Fort Worth newspaper reporter, and getting to go to Vietnam to find personal stories about Fort Worth locals fighting that war.

He shares fun and interesting stories about his career in television and how the news business changed at the network.

Working the God awful hours of a television morning show (going into work while others are sleeping or coming home from the bars) is tough. I know because I’ve done it for years.

About that, Schieffer writes that former “Morning Show” anchor Sally Quinn said “it was only place she has ever worked where people talked more about sleep than sex” and Diane Sawyer summed it up as “being on Moscow time when everyone else was on New York time.”

R JC AP

And, Schieffer shared this about former President Jimmy Carter and it proves that I may have one more thing in common with my idol, “Many of the reporters who covered him during the [1976 presidential] campaign were turned off by his blunt manner”.

I have been accused of having a “tone” and forgetting to sugar coat things for some people!

I highly recommend Schieffer’s “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV”!

face-the-nation

“Face The Nation”, subtitled “My Favorite Stories From The First 50 Years Of The Award-Winning News Broadcast”, was a very informative and easy read at 227 pages with many great vintage photographs.

The book covered the show’s creation and topics ranging from McCarthyism in the 1950s to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and Vietnam in the 1970s to 9/11 in 2001 and much more.

Schieffer is such a great storyteller.

Here’s an interesting tidbit:  At the end of the book, there is a list of the people that appeared on the show the most times up to the book’s publication (2004).

Many of the people including Robert Dole (62), John McCain (51), Joe Biden (35), Patrick Buchanan (28), Joseph Liberman (27), and others ran unsuccessfully for president, yet several served as vice president!

“LOVE, SIMON”

LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, “You gotta give them hope.”

The new romantic dramedy, “Love, Simon”, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

The movie gives us three possible students that could be “Blue” and all three are cute and sweet and would be a great match for Simon.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

I’m sick of “The Walking Dead”.  Season 8 will be it for me and I’m already counting down to the last four episodes.

I hate saying this because the first few seasons were amazing!

So, to get my zombie fix, last year I checked out the Netflix horror-comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet”.

One day, the lives of real estate agents Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) are turned upside down when, for reasons unknown, Sheila begins to crave human flesh.

And, what’s a loving husband to do — he helps “feed” his wife!

It gets even funnier when their teenage daughter, Abby, finds out about it.

Here’s the trailer for season two if you’ve already watched the first season.

And, if you haven’t started, here’s the season one trailer.

The full season is now on Netfix.

P.S.  Olyphant, who turns 50 in May, is aging beautifully.  I’ve had a crush on him since “The Broken Hearts Club:  A Romantic Comedy” from 2000.

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

This drama was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Frances MacDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell won for Best Supporting Actor.

Both performances were great!  Woody Harrelson was also up against Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor and he was fantastic, too.

Lucas Hedges (“Manchester By The Sea”) could equally have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  He’s always amazing.

The movie about a woman who buys three billboards criticizing police who haven’t solved the rape and murder of her daughter is powerful.

It deserved all of the acting gold, but after seeing it, it rightfully didn’t deserve Best Picture.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR”

Christmas is only nine months away now. 🙂  Too early to start celebrating?

christmascocktails

This animated movie from last fall that brought in $62.8 million is now out on DVD.

“The Star” is an enjoyable film that tells the story of the baby’s birth.  (You know what baby I’m talking about.)

But, it’s pretty scary when you find an animated character sexy and it’s even scarier when it’s Joseph (of Joseph and Mary Bible fame)!

My favorite characters though were the camels Deborah, Cyrus, and Felix voiced by Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Tracy Morgan.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR” TAKES ME BACK TO VEGAS

Watching that Christmas story took me back to one of my few highlights of a rather bleak 2017 — seeing Mariah Carey’s Christmas show in Las Vegas in early December.

She was gorgeous and sounded phenomenal and the show was 90 minutes of Christmas bliss with the music and the glamorous sets!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

“The Star” by Mariah Carey was my 20th favorite song of 2017 and when it played in the movie, I cried. 🙂

While Mariah’s “The Star” was nominated for a Golden Globe award, it didn’t get an Oscar nomination.

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 2, 2018

I know February is a short month, but it’s hard to believe that the first two months of 2018 are already behind us.

I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

VACATIONS

It’s no secret that I love taking vacations.  I’ve often joked that I work for two reasons — to pay the bills and to travel.  Actually, it’s no joke!

Last year, my big trip was to Scandinavia — Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.

AP Scand

However, some Americans are afraid to take their earned time off.

One poll shows that 22% skip vacations because they don’t want to be seen as replaceable and 28% want to show dedication to work by not taking vacations.

F(orget) that!!!!!!!!!!  If I don’t prove myself when I’m on the clock, I’m not going to worry about it when it comes to taking time off!

Finally, here are a couple of interesting facts:  In 2013, the average number of unused vacation days was 4.9.

Also, in the early-1980s, the average number of paid vacation days was around 21.  By, 2014, that number had dropped to 16 days!

RONALD REAGAN & THE QUAD CITIES  

In his book, “An American Life”, President Ronald Reagan talked about landing his first radio job at WOC in Davenport, Iowa.

After an interview in Chicago, with no radio experience, he was told to try a smaller market.

An American Life

Reagan wrote, “the suggestion from the woman at NBC that I try for a job in the sticks”.

He went on to write, “Radio was so new that many Midwestern towns still didn’t have a commercial station, but I only knew of two or three in the tri-cities area of Davenport, Moline, and Rock Island along the Illinois-Iowa border.”

Sorry, Bettendorf!  You’ll have to let it slide this time since it was the early-1930s.

But, it still cracks me up to think of the Quad Cities as “the sticks” back in the day!

QUICK OSCAR NOTES

The Oscars are Sunday night on ABC.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Here are the nominees for Best Actor and I’ve seen four of the performances.

Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

I think that Gary Oldman will win the Oscar for his portrayal of Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour”.  He was great and so was the make-up.

CMBYN 2

However, I think that Timothee Chalamet acted more and with more heart and truly deserves to win “Best Actor”.

I even enjoyed Denzel Washington’s performance more than Oldman’s!

I haven’t seen Daniel Day-Lewis in “Phantom Thread”.

Final Oscar tidbits:  I’ve seen four of the nine “Best Picture” nominees and it’s the first four in alphabetical order. 🙂

Best Picture:

“Call Me by Your Name”
“Darkest Hour”
“Dunkirk”
“Get Out”
“Lady Bird”
“Phantom Thread”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

And, strangely enough, I haven’t seen any of the five Best Actress performances, yet I’m picking Frances McDormand (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) to win.

I’m also picking that movie to win “Best Picture”.

“A REPORTER’S LIFE”

The fourth book I read in 2018 was Walter Cronkite’s “A Reporter’s Life.

Walter Cronkite

Although the book did drag a bit after he talked about his childhood and before he talked more about being on the cutting edge of television news, it was a decent book.

He was definitely a liberal and that’s a good thing. 🙂

“NIGHTLINE”

I also just finished my fifth book — “Nightline” by Ted Koppel and Kyle Anderson.

Excellent read!

Nightline Ted K

It’s about the ABC late night news show that’s still on the air.  Koppel anchored it from 1980 until he retired in 2005.

The book provided incredible insight on some of the biggest stories of the past three decades without a lot of rambling.

Koppel and Anderson touch on AIDS, Russia, South African Apartheid, and the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, China, along with the television news business.

Interesting tidbit:  The show started as a continuation of “America Held Hostage” — about the American hostages held in Iran for 444 days from late 1979 until January 1981.

MORE ON TIANANMEN SQUARE

Tiananmen Square was one of the stops on my visit to China in the spring of 2016.

What was very interesting is that our tour guide referred to the Tiananmen Square massacre that killed hundreds to thousands (China disputes that number) as an “incident”.

He was also very uncomfortable even talking about it (and I don’t blame him — China eavesdrops!).

Tiananmen

While there, I noticed fire extinguishers located around the square.  We were told that people occasionally bring gasoline to the Square and set themselves on fire in protest!

GUESS WHO???  

“This woman is a political force of enormous ambitions.  I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to the truth, vain, and cynical — all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.” 

Answer at the bottom!

“WONDER”

It’s always great to see Julia Roberts in a movie.

And, in “Wonder”, Jacob Tremblay (“Room”) is great as Auggie, a fifth grader with a rare medical facial deformity.

Tremblay definitely has a great future in Hollywood.  He was fantastic in 2015’s “Room”, that earned Brie Larson a Best Actress Oscar.

GRADE:  A-

“ROMAN J. ISREAL, ESQ.”

This crime thriller is a very slow burn for the first hour, but the second hour redeems the slow start.

Washington earned a well-deserved Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

GRADE: B

“HAPPY DEATH DAY”

“The Snowman” is no longer my least favorite movie I’ve seen in 2018.

This horror movie is atrocious!  It’s definitely geared to a younger demographic.

Sadly, for me, this horror movie made a lot of money and there’s talk of a sequel!

GRADE: D

STRONG WOMEN SCARE PEOPLE

“This woman is a political force of enormous ambitions.  I believe she is a menace, unscrupulous as to the truth, vain, and cynical — all with a pretense of exaggerated kindness and human feeling which deceives millions of gullible persons.” 

This was written by columnist Westbrook Pegler in the 1950s about Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt!

EleanorRoosevelt_640x400

Sounds like something some have been said over recent years about another incredibly strong former First Lady!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 23, 2018

The shortest month of the year is coming to a close and spring arrives next month.

Here in the Florida Panhandle, summer has already arrived with more than a week of highs in the 70s and 80s!

I’m ready to return to the Midwest with four distinct seasons — and snow. 🙂

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

SADLY, JUST THE ONE BEFORE THE NEXT ONE

Last week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Florida high school killing 17 people and injuring 15 others.

It was the deadliest school shootings since Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, where 27 died at the school (the shooter’s mother was killed at home, making it 28 dead).

This was also the deadliest mass shooting since another man killed 59 people (including himself) in Las Vegas, last October.

LV

The most recent shooting at the Florida high school was done with a legally obtained AR-15 style rifle.

AR 15

Just in those shootings above, 209 people died and about 611 others were hurt by gunfire (hundreds more were injured during and after the gunfire)!

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS 

I’m all for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”.

However, these AR-15-style weapons were designed for the military, not the public!

So, prayers alone are not the answer to all of these shootings.  God doesn’t have the money or the power over politicians like the National Rifle Association does!

STUPID KIDS

Sadly, four Florida Panhandle students are in trouble for making threats to shoot up their schools in just one day this week!

A couple of those students said it was “a joke”.

I’m sorry, but in today’s climate, what kind of stupid kid would think it’s “a joke”?

Throw the book at them!

“AN AMERICAN LIFE”

I just finished Ronald Reagan’s 1990 autobiography, “An American Life”, which wasn’t a short read at 723 pages!

An American Life

I wasn’t a fan and I voted against him twice even though I wasn’t old enough to vote (I accompanied my grandmother inside the voting booth and I chose Jimmy Carter each time).  However, I like to give people a chance and expand my mind.

It seems he was a likable guy and I hope one day to find a romance like the one he and Nancy shared.

ronald-reagan-nancy-reagan-presidential-marriage-r

I’m happy that Reagan gave President Carter the due credit Carter deserved for getting the American hostages released from Iran after more than a year of captivity.  (Ironically, the Iranians boarded the hostages on a plane and held them on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as President.  Carter heard that they were out of Iran on his flight home to Plains, Georgia!)

CarterPresIt was interesting to read how hard and how long Reagan worked with the Russians to reduce the threat of nuclear war.

However, he did a poor job of convincing me (as he did the public) on his role (or lack thereof) in the Iran-Contra affair controversy.

Reagan only wrote two lines about his nine-year marriage to actress Jane Wyman.

Sadly, that was two lines more than he dedicated to his failures as president of getting out ahead of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

AIDS (“gay cancer”) first appeared in the summer of 1981, but it wasn’t until early 1987 that Reagan mentioned the disease publicly for the first time!

reagan aids

I hated him for this for decades and “hate” is not a word I use too often…

RONALD REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

which leads me to this — my original Ronald Reagan blog from the summer of 2012.  Click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window.

Ronald Reagan murderer

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

THEY SAID WHAT???

SHONDA RHIMES (ABC “TGIT” MEGA-PRODUCER)

“Getting on a plane and discovering that your seat belt won’t fit around you was a moment of extreme horror.  It was hard to ignore.”

shonda-rhimes

MORE SHONDA RHIMES

“Accepting that losing weight was always going to suck:  I was always going to be hungry.  I was always going to want to eat fried chicken.  We work so hard in all areas of life to succeed, I don’t understand why we think this should be easy.”

SCANDALOUS “SCANDAL” QUOTES

While the men are sexy,

SF

the women of “Scandal” are strong.

I love Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Sally Langston (Kate Burton), Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), and Abby “Red” Whelen (Darby Stanchfield).

Here are some of my favorite quotes through the first episode of season five.

First up… right-wing religious fanatic Republican Vice President Sally Langston

Sally 1.gif

Sally 2

Sally 3

First Lady Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope, who is the president’s mistress!

Mellie

Mellie 1

Also, there’s Olivia and Queen Isabel of Caledonia…

Olivia Queen.gif

Olivia 1

And, we can’t forget Gladiator Abby, who’s now the President’s Press Secretary.

Abby 1Abby 2.gif

Remember, I’m just starting season five, so I know some of the descriptions of the characters change in upcoming seasons. 🙂

“A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS”

So, it’s ten months before Christmas or two months past last Christmas and I just watched this holiday movie since it’s new to DVD.

It was a smash bringing in $130.6 million on a $28 million budget.

Christine Baranski was my favorite of the three older moms (the mothers of the moms from the original 2016 “Bad Moms” movie).

I love her character’s idea of the perfect Christmas party (with the exception of Kenny G)!

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines play the other two moms.

Kathyrn Hahn (“Transparent”) was my favorite of the three younger moms and I loved her foul mouth and thought process. 🙂

GRADE:  B

“MARSHALL”

This movie is the story of Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice years before he was appointed to that position.

At that time, Marshall was going around the country fighting for people of color in court cases they would have lost otherwise because of the racist views stacked against them.

Great acting, but it felt like a made-for-television movie rather than a big screen motion picture.

GRADE: B

REAGAN & GORBACHEV’S EFFECT ON ’80S POP

The threat of nuclear war made its way into the music world in the early-1980s.

“Two Tribes” was the follow-up to the international smash “Relax” by the English group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

While the song hit #1 in seven countries and the Top Ten in many more, it only reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Maybe radio was afraid to play it since America was having a love fest with Ronald Reagan in 1984!

This song (and the English version, “99 Red Balloons”) by the German band Nena hit #1 in more than a dozen countries in 1983 and 1984.

In the U.S., it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony