Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

Gaga SB.jpg

While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

GagaLatest

That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

sarah-palin-going-rogue-book-cover.jpg

I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

CarterPres

My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

dishing.jpg

Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

BW.jpg

Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 27, 2017

It’s Friday again and the weekend is almost here.

I appreciate you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.  As always, if we disagree and you want to tell me so, do it diplomatically and concisely.

LGBT RIGHTS & CLIMATE CHANGE, GONE!

Moments after #44 became history and America moved on to #45, searching the White House website yielded no results for “LGBT” and “Climate Change”.

white-house-lgbt

In my heart I know what this means and anyone with a functioning brain knows, as well.

At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!

donald-lgbt

I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…

If you’ve never watched the U.S. version of the political drama, “House of Cards”, you’re missing one of the most intelligent television shows ever!

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are incredible in the lead roles.  Their characters’ determination, iciness, and conviction to get what they want in the political arena is mesmerizing.

The show gives us the backstory of what really goes on in Washington.  Things are not cut and dry.  While it’s a television show, you know that Beau Willimon, the man behind the American version, is serving you a slice of reality.

He also tweeted that slice of reality last Friday morning!

beau

We’re now at 1,454 days now!

Resist!

ONE LAST COMMENT

Facts:  “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Synonyms of “facts”:  reality, actuality, certainty

kc

So, Kellyanne Conway, “Alternative facts” are LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REBA HEADS INTO A NEW DIRECTION

Country music icon Reba McEntire is heading into a new musical direction with her latest release on February 3rd.

The deluxe version “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” will feature 22 gospel hymns.

Ever since “Sky Full of Angels” from 2003’s “Room To Breathe” album, I was hoping that Reba would record a gospel album.  And, since country radio airplay for her last album, 2015’s “Love Somebody” was pretty much non-existent, this is the perfect time for a change of genres.

The first single is “Back to God”.

Reba, how about a dance-oriented album next since you hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in 1996 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”?

JIMMY CARTER

In September, when visiting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library And Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, I left this message.

msg-jc-r

I’d love to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and leave a similar message!

Hope

I hope I have those feelings again for a future president!

HAVEN’T TALKED GAGA IN FOREVER

If you regularly read my blog, you know I love Lady Gaga.  I’ve see her in concert several times and her shows are amazing!

Gaga Las Vegas

However, I wasn’t fond of the musical direction she took on “Joanne”, her latest album, and it’s the first Gaga album I didn’t buy. 😦  (I wasn’t alone.  Sales and radio airplay have paled in comparison with her previous releases!)

She’ll be playing the Super Bowl halftime show next weekend.  While I’m not a football fan, I’ll be watching her performance.

Sources close to Gaga told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that Gaga was informed that she couldn’t mention the 2016 presidential election or the current president.

The NFL says otherwise, “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Ironically, that nameless “source” is quoting another “unsourced” person.  Seriously, grow a pair, face up, and speak up or shut up.

Unless Gaga has gone soft, you know she’ll say and do whatever she wants.

Did Beyonce make a statement last year with “Formation”?  You’re damn right, she did.

Did her career suffer?  One word:  “Lemonade”!

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

This comedy, based on a true story, was my #3 favorite movie of 2016.

It’s about a wealthy woman, Florence Foster Jenkins, who was determined to become a successful singer although she was horrible.

Meryl Streep, who some idiot called “overrated”, was amazing as Jenkins.

On Tuesday, she earned her 20th Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category.

GRADE:  A

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

Also, on Tuesday, I was ecstatic Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the “Best Actor” category for my #2 movie of 2016.

Here’s what I had to say about the movie in December.

“I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT

Calum Scott is best known for appearing on “Britian’s Got Talent” in 2015.

One of the songs he performed on the reality series was “Dancing On My Own”, a remake of Robyn’s 2010 hit.

Scott’s version has already topped the chart in Scotland and reached #2 in Australia and the U.K.

It’s recently just debuted on the American’s Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Scott’s debut album is expected this year.

ORIGINAL VERSION BY ROBYN

Swedish singer Robyn dominate the worldwide charts with this incredible song in 2010.

In America, it was a bigger hit on the Dance Club songs chart.

It reached #3 on both the U.S. and the U.K. dance charts.  But, it hit #1 in Sweden and #2 in Denmark.

“THE SHALLOWS”

It’s winter now, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water and thinking about sharks.

The last two Blake Lively (the beautiful wife of the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds) movies I saw were also on my favorites’ list in the respective years.

She was great in “Savages” (my #7 movie of 2013) and she was incredible in “The Age of Adaline” (my #7 movie of 2015).

I see a trend there.  Will “The Shallows” be my #7 movie of 2017?  Probably not.

However, it was a very enjoyable and realistic movie.

I got a little scared 72 minutes into the 87-minute movie because the plausibility took a little hit.  You realized that while what happened could take place, the stars would really have to align perfectly.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood.  Just go with it.

“Jaws” this isn’t, but it’s worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — Christmas 2016

BITTER COLD & SNOW

We all know that Santa lives at the North Pole and it’s pretty cold and snowy there.  Well, if you’re out doing Christmas shopping across the Midwest, the weather is rather Christmas-sy or very North Pole-ish.

We picked up 2.8″ of snow this weekend, officially, in the Quad Cities bringing us to 13.8″ for December.  But, more importantly, it’s bitterly and dangerously cold.

Sunday morning, I woke up to -9° at my house in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, was even colder at -13° .  We saw similar temperatures Monday morning.

cold

This is the coldest morning since late February 2015, almost two years ago, when we reached about -18° in the Quad Cities.

If those temperatures weren’t bad enough, the wind chill early Sunday morning was -35° in Davenport and Clinton.

Temperatures start to warm today and this warming will last through the rest of the week!

 

 

That’s my part of the blog to keep you safe.  Now let’s have fun since you’re already reading!

CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is only a week away now!  Where has this year gone?

White Red Christmas

I hope you and yours are having a festive holiday season.  I’ve only bought four Christmas presents so far.  What am I waiting for?

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

NOLA Christmas

THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO, HMMMM

Now that some stations are playing Christmas tunes twenty-four hours a day and others are sprinkling in a holiday song here and there, I have these questions for the writers of some of the classics.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” — So “a child shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.  Why not bring him a blanket or clothes?
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” — “Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”  Um, if he’s the most famous of all, of course we remember his name.  But, can we name the other eight without singing the song?
  • “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” — Wanting one this Christmas?  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER

WHAT SONGS MAKE YOU CRINGE?

“Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer” is without a doubt my least favorite Christmas song of all time!

Other songs that make me quickly change the radio station in the car are “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” and “Linus And Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

For Ray, it’s “Santa Baby”.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not there yet, but it’s definitely getting tired.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOK

It’s not secret that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president and after reading his book, “Christmas in Plains” a few years back, it’s one of my Christmas traditions to read it each holiday.

ChristmasInPlains

I’m finishing the political book I’m reading now and I’ll dive into the very touching, easy-to-read 155 page book.

President Carter shares stories of Christmases from his childhood, with Rosalynn and his children, in the White House, and more.

Merry Christmas President and Mrs. Carter!

MERRY X-MAS!

So, does seeing “Merry X-Mas” upset you at the holidays?

xmas

It doesn’t bother me.  However, “Christians” do!  Before you have a coronary thrombosis, click here to see what I’m talking about!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

So, every day, not just at Christmas, let’s put “Christ” back into “Christian”, too.

READY FOR AN “UNSILENT NIGHT”  *

VH1, the older people’s MTV, rang in the Christmas cheer earlier this month with “Unsilent Night”, the latest concert in its “Diva” concert series.

Mariah Carey was the headliner and opening act for this show.

And, before you watch it here, know that as a gay man, I can’t get enough of Mariah Carey’s divaness and her boobs!  (As you gasp,  you’ll know what I’m taking about from the video or just from the thumbnail image below.  There’s no doubt that she wanted those ornaments to be seen!)

I also love the back-up dancers.  Who knew Christmas could be so sexy?

The other divas this year included Vanessa Williams, Miss Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan.

A VERY MERRY ($$$) MARIAH CHRISTMAS  *

Mariah Carey’s holiday tradition of performing shows at the Beacon Theater x is something that I hope I can finally see.  Heck, this year, Beyonce and Shania Twain checked out the performance.

While she won’t be singing “All I Want For Christmas”, I’m planning on seeing Mariah and Lionel Richie on tour in the spring of 2017.

Along with her Christmas shows, her Las Vegas residency, her tour with Lionel Richie, and performing on this year’s “Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year Eve” to ring in 2017, Mariah kicked off the holiday season with a seven-minute performance in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).

Mariah Toronto.jpg

She performed “Here Comes Santa Claus” and her now iconic classic, “All I Want For Christmas” for a cool million bucks for Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window display unveiling!

SPEAKING OF DIVAS

This performance by Patti LaBelle (without her back-up singers and the words) is classic for all the wrong reasons.

But, Ms. LaBelle is a champion!

READY FOR A “CHRISTMAS PARTY”?

Derrick Barry is the most amazing Britney Spears!  Okay, other than the real Britney, bitch!

This Christmas version of “Slumber Party”, “Christmas Party” makes me want to deck the halls!

While this has nothing to do with Christmas, it gives me a chance to show the original “Slumber Party” by Britney Spears and Tinashe, which is now a Top 40 song at pop radio!

It’s already been viewed more than 38 million times in less than a month.

THIS CHRISTMAS IS SUCH A “DRAG”

And, that’s amazing!

One hundred or so Dutch drag queens got together to put together this Christmas medley and it’s amazing!

Ray was scared of some of them, but I loved it.  This is what drag is all about.

Warning:  This is a rather risque part about eight minutes in. 🙂

Thank you, Lady Galore!

THIS CHRISTMAS GIVE FRUITCAKE SOME LOVE

I’m one of those that absolutely loves fruitcake, but not everyone does.

funny_fruitcake

But, I know some celebrities that do!

Sir Paul McCartney orders a fruitcake from cake designer Fiona Cairns each Christmas and, in early 2011, Cairns was tapped to make the royal wedding cake for Prince William and his future bride, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Royal Wedding Fruit Cake

CONFESSION AT CHRISTMASTIME *

You probably know how very popular James Corden’s “Carpool Karoke” is.  If not, he’s joined by celebrties in a car and they sing, talk, laugh, and confess.

Okay, I’ll confess two things — (1) I think James is adorable and I have a tiny crush on the teddy bear and (2) I’ve always loved Mariah Carey and I just can’t get enough of her now!  And, I finally get to see her in concert in May in Nashville, Tennessee!

But, first things first, check out this all-star version of Mariah’s incredible Christmas hit (again).

Love it!

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA TO DAZZLE FRIENDS

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

Poinsettia 1

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is the late, great, golden retriever, Miss ABBA, wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

Again,I hope that Bible story and information is correct since I didn’t verify it.  The big man upstairs didn’t get back with me on that one.

CHARITY & CHRISTMAS

While we feast at Christmas, one of my favorite songs of the holiday season is, sadly, about not having enough to eat and starvation.

Can you believe that “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released more than 30 years ago?

Between the single’s release in December 1983 and 1989, it sold 11.7 million singles worldwide.

It was the best selling single in U.K. until “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John in 1997 following Priness Diana’s death.

FORGET THAT OLD “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

The Christmas classic is tired and so outdated.  Do we really care about “Lords a Leaping”, “Maids a Milking”, and all that stuff.

Why not infuse the song (and video) with botox, prancing gays, naked men, former husband, and giant breasts.

I bet I have your attention now!

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG

“O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional Christmas song, but my favorite of all-time is a song that was first released in 1970.

It was re-issued in 1974 and 1977.  It’s The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling” by my favorite vocalist of all-time, Karen Carpenter.

And, what song is now my second-favorite Christmas song?….

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS *

without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”.

What did we do before this now-classic, 1994 hit was released that’s had more than 226.7 million views?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S.  Did you figure out the what the * denoted in the blog?  Mariah “visions”, of course. 🙂  Leave the “visions of sugarplums” for ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”!

P.S. 2  

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.  I hope it’s fun of love and joy.  Most of all, I hope you’re not screaming “You Ruined My Christmas” to anyone this year.

Here are the Supreme Fabulettes, thanks to the one and only Boy George, who directed the video and co-wrote the song.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 11, 2016

On Wednesday, my “Random Friday Thoughts” went through a major re-write.

The script changed.

I had to delete the part of thanking God that more Americans and enough blue states “elected a proven leader as the 45th president of the United States and sent an egocentric, racist, and overall, scum bag packing.”

So, here’s the updated version.  Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

A HEARTFELT THANK YOU

Senator Hillary Clinton, I want to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope that all I’ve worked for in life would continue on through your presidency.

Thank you for being a forward-thinking First Lady.  My one vote made a difference in 1992 and, again, in 1996.

Thank you for all of the years fighting for those that needed a voice, a strong person and not just a strong woman.  You were there for children, mothers, the LGBTQ community, people of color, minorities, the environment, but most of all, the world.

We failed you!

Hillary AP

I’ll never forget that cold, January day in Davenport, Iowa, when I had a chance to tell you “good luck” and you placed your hand on my shoulder.

I hope that we meet again.  You’ve been an inspiration to me for 20-plus years and for that, I’m grateful and honored to have fought the fight with you.

We may have lost this battle, but I’m still with you.

(Editor’s note — that’s me, by the way:  As I’m sitting here Friday morning, proof reading and putting the finishing touches on today’s blog, I’m tearing up again reading back what I wrote a couple of days ago.  I was more invested in this election, more than any before it, and I’m devastated.  Laugh if you want because I fear that I won’t be the only one shedding tears over the next four years.)

REMEMBERING MY SWEET MOTHER

I think about my mother for one reason or another every day.

Dessie Birthday 1989

My mother, Dessie, died 26 years ago this week.  At times, it seems just like yesterday and at other times, it seems so long ago, which it was.

Dessie 1990

Mom, Tammy and I miss you greatly.  But, we both know that you are with us every step of the way in life.

Many of you checked out the blog I wrote about my mother last year on the 25th anniversary of her death.  If you didn’t, here it is again.

Mom — 25 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You

“A REMARKABLE MOTHER”

As I’ve stated before, I get much of my real reading done on the treadmill after work. Since I knew the anniversary of my mother’s death was coming up, I wanted to read about another incredible woman —  Lillian Carter, the mother of my favorite President Jimmy Carter.

“A Remarkable Mother” is from 2008 and was published twenty-five years after Miss Lillian’s death at the age of 85.

a-remarkable-mother

I’ve read many funny stories about Miss Lillian.  She definitely said what she wanted and she didn’t care what her son’s presidential handlers thought.

She was a strong advocate for racial equality back in southwestern Georgia during the turbulent period all the way through the 1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election.

If you didn’t know, she even joined the Peace Corps and traveled to India when she was almost 70-years-old.

There are many fun quotes and stories I remember reading over the years and President Carter shares many of them in the book.

This is my favorite.  When Jimmy Carter was running in the 1976 presidential race, a female reporter from “The Washington Post” met Miss Lillian in Plains, Georgia, and said, “Miss Lillian, your son claims that he will never tell a lie.  Do you believe him when he says that?”

Miss Lillian said Jimmy had always been truthful and she didn’t think that would change, but the reporter didn’t drop it.  Finally, Lillian said, “Well maybe a little white lie every now and then.

When the reporter said, “Aha!  Aha!  And what do you mean by a little white lie?

The always quick thinking Miss Lillian responded, “Well do you remember a few minutes ago when I met you at the door and said that you look very nice and that I was glad to see you?

I sure hope that my mother and Miss Lillian are friends in heaven.  They are just two of the remarkable mothers we’ve lost!

SAD MICHAEL BUBLE NEWS

Singer Michael Buble and his wife, Luisana Lopilato, are putting their careers on hold following the devastating news that their 3-year-old son, Noah, has been diagnosed with cancer.

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He’s being treated here in the United States.

A couple of weeks ago, I previewed Michael’s new album, “Nobody But Me”, which is incredible.

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In my random thoughts on October 21, 2016, here’s what I wrote: “My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.”

For Michael and his family, I’m featuring “God Only Knows” this week.

I’ll be saying an extra prayer for Noah, Michael, and his family !

Also, it’s that time of the year that his 2011 album,”Christmas”, goes into heavy rotation and it’s sensational.

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ANOTHER THANK YOU, BUT THIS ONE ISN’T SO NICE

I’m moving on from this week’s presidential election after these three parting thoughts.

I expected the race to be close and it was.  As of this writing, Hillary Clinton (60.3 million) got more votes than Donald Trump (60 million).  It’s incredible that with more than 126 million votes cast, there was only a difference of about 338-thousand votes.

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There are two camps I blame for Clinton’s loss.  One is the 38% of Americans that didn’t vote.

However, the people who I mostly blame for Trump winning the presidency are not just the people that voted for him.  While that’s vital, it’s the people that didn’t like either Clinton or Trump, the “protest voters”.

4.1 million people voted for Gary Johnson and 1.2 million for Jill Stein.  In toss-up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the margin of win was small enough that the “protest votes” for Johnson and Stein were enough to turn blue-leaning states red.

I’m all for having three or more viable parties that have a chance to win a presidency. However, I tried and tried to tell people who didn’t like either front-runner that a vote for Johnson or Stein was a vote for Donald Trump.

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Well, since we live in an “electoral college” voting world, thank you very much.  Your protests were successful in electing Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.  I hope you can live with it.  I’ll have to.

Thank you again!

MY ABSOLUTE FINAL THOUGHT

I’m going to highlight this, so there’s no confusion — I don’t believe that every person that voted for Trump is a racist, but there are those that are and you know who you are.

Trump

With that being said, if you deny that Trump didn’t do enough to distance himself from the love and flattery he was getting from David Duke AND if you don’t think that Trump also repeatedly made very racist remarks in his campaign, then you’re clearly (God, how do I say this with people being so sensitive) ignorant, misinformed, in denial, oblivious, or you just don’t care?

That kind of hate used to live in the darkness of night and hide under sheets.  That isn’t just a part of our sad history in the United States, it’s still very alive today.  The only difference now is that it doesn’t have to hide.

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If you believe in a higher spirit, say with me, “may God be with us”!

Tammy Faye 2

BETTE MIDLER GETS CANDID 

Okay, that’s not shocking at all.

Bette

But, for once, I’m not talking entirely about her no-holds-barred Twitter feed.  It’s about that and her own mortality.

She recently spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” and Twitter came up:  “I look at it as entertainment, but I don’t need that much entertainment in my life.  Then you feel like you’re missing out on your life.  I don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to spend it looking around and observing and thinking and memorizing poetry.” 

In the spring of 2017, Midler returns to Broadway as the widowed and brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly”

In honor of her upcoming 71st birthday (December 1st) and the holiday season, here’s Bette with “Cool Yule”, the title track of her 2006 Christmas album.

Bette, thank you for being the voice of reason in such a crazy world!

“CHRISTINE”

The most popular movie with the title, “Christine”, is based on Stephen King’s novel about a possessed vintage car.  But, now there’s another movie with that title that I can’t wait to check out.

It’s a true life story about a Florida news anchor in the 1970s that changed television news forever and shocked and scarred viewers.

It stars one of my favorite actors, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) and Rebecca Hall (no relation).

PET SHOP BOYS CONCERT

Last weekend, I finally got to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert on their “The Super Tour” in Chicago.

Here they are performing their Top Ten hit, “Always on My Mind”.

If that whetted your appetite to go back in time, here are my 20 favorite Pet Shop Boys songs.  And, since they only had six Top 40 hits in America, I bet you’ll find some fun ones you haven’t heard.  Just click below.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

I GUESS I HAVE O.C.D.

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With that being said, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now and here in the Quad Cities, Mix 96 has switched over to continuous holiday music!

BRETT ELDREDGE PUTS A “GLOW” IN CHRISTMAS

It’s early fall, but there are already several new Christmas albums on the market to fill your holidays.

The a cappella group Pentatonix just released their third Christmas set in less than four years (!).

Country acts Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year.

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“Glow” is the first Christmas album from Illinois native and relative country newcomer Brett Eldredge.

He’s already released two hit country albums and, since 2012, has scored five Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  His latest, “Wanna Be That Song” is at #12 and will likely be his sixth Top Ten.

But, we’re talking Christmas and “Glow” here.

The standard edition features eleven songs and the Target exclusive gives you three more.

The only original song on the album is the title track.  I’ll be forthright in saying that I love the classics and I have to warm to new originals and I did with “Glow”.

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Brett is not only an attractive young man, he also has a very strong voice.

If you only buy the standard edition, you’ll likely listen to the eleven songs (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, and many more) and think, “it doesn’t sound very country”.  It doesn’t.  The music is very much jazzed up.

It’s like he’s channeling Michael Buble and that’s a good thing.  But, comparing Eldredge’s voice to Buble’s is like comparing Mick Jagger’s voice to Paul McCartney’s.  Both strong, but very different in delivery.

Now, if you buy the Target exclusive, the three additional songs are the only ones on the album that lets you know that Eldredge in a country music star.

It’s like you changed discs in the player from a jazz artist to a country one.

“Glow” is an exceptional Christmas album and it solidifies the fact that pop star Meghan Trainor should be on every duet!

On this album, she sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eldredge and just last month, she appeared with Michael Buble on “Someday” from his “Nobody But Me” album.

GRADE:  A

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS”

Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards winner Kacey Musgraves also just delivered her first Christmas collection, “A Very Kacey Christmas”.

Although she’s a country music singer, like Brett Eldredge, you only have to start this album to know she’s true to the genre. It’s real country with real Texas twang and I mean that in the very best way.

kacey

This album features many popular Christmas classics such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”. But, Musgraves expands the cultural horizons with “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka”.

She’s not afraid to show what an amazing songwriter she is on the album with four original songs (out of the twelve featured).

My favorite original on the album is “Ribbons and Bows”, followed closely by “Present Without A Bow” with Leon Bridges, and “A Willie Nice Christmas”, which features country music outlaw and legend, Willie Nelson.

While you do hear songs about having too much to drink at Christmas (that spiked egg nog will get you every time), it’s very rare for an artist to sing about staying “higher than the angel on top of the tree”!

If you know anything about Musgraves, you know she boldly sings songs that she wants to and she doesn’t stick to the tired and safe guidelines of country music.

Her first country radio hit, the Top Ten smash “Merry Go ‘Round” featured her brother “hooked on Mary Jane”.

And, Musgraves other Top Ten hit, “Follow Your Arrow”, not only was about rolling joints, but she told you to “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into”, which is definitely not your parents or grandparents country music.  (Okay, there was Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free”, which told us we would be free “when we’re free to love anyone we choose.”)

The point I’m getting at here is she takes chances.  The biggest on this Christmas album is with the remake of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late”.  Yes, that one!  However, with Musgraves in control and without Alvin, Simon, and Theodore terrorizing Dave, it’s a bona fide true country Christmas song.

The only misfire on the album and this is strictly a personal thing for me is including “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.  It’s one of my least favorite holiday songs.  However, I’ll add that Musgraves’ performance is incredible, as it always is.  I just don’t like the song.

“A Very Kacey Christmas” is definitely a great addition to your growing list of Christmas albums.

GRADE:  B+ (Thanks Hippopotamus!)

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 14, 2016

The weekend is almost here.  You know I love my weekends and I start counting down to them when I walk into work Monday mornings.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  I think about a lot of things and writing not only gives me an avenue to express myself, but it gives me a chance to process all of the things that are happening in the world.

So, bear with me this week even if you’re over this year’s circus of a presidential election.

I also have random thoughts that are not about politics.  But, I feel it’s worth mentioning.

As always, if you disagree with me, just do it diplomatically.

SECOND DEBATE HIGHS AND LOWS

Here’s a shocker — I’ll say a nice thing about Donald Trump.

He did better in last Sunday’s debate. However, he also did a better job of showing he knows nothing about the job of president!

When asked repeatedly about what he’d do in Syria, he ranted and raved for minutes without ever answering the question.  I swear he thought they said, “cereal”.  It confused him and he didn’t know what to say — like most of what he said all night!

He did have one nice thing to say about Hillary before saying he didn’t agree with much of what she said.

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TELL HIM THE WAY IT IS!

My favorite celebrity tweet of the night came from Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and so many more ABC hits.

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Look on the bright side, it’s all over in just a little over three week!  Get out and vote!

SHE SAID WHAT(!) IN THE BEST QUOTE OF THE WEEK 

Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro made headlines last week in the wake of Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood” secret recording degrading women.

In 2005, he was recorded boasting that because he was a celebrity, he could kiss anyone he wanted and could even grab their p***y.

In this video, Navarro shocked television censors when she stood up to Trump bobble head Scottie Nell Hughes.

Warning:  This is not censored like my statement three lines up!

Kudos to you Ana.  Speak the truth.  Sometimes that’s harder to swallow for some!

EARLIER THIS WEEK, I HAD MUCH MORE TO SAY…

Since my thoughts here are random and I don’t want to write chapters, I posted a blog about the Donald Trump and Billy Bush scandal and what it meant to me earlier this week.

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If you missed it Wednesday, here it is (if you click on this link, it’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place here.)

Donald & Billy’s “Locker Room Talk”

Since I posted that blog on Wednesday, I’ve gotten great feedback.  Not everyone agrees with me, but we have that right.  As I said above, you can disagree, just do it diplomatically.

ANOTHER  BIRTHDAY 

On Thursday, I celebrated another birthday.

It was a low-key affair.  We’ll be celebrating with dinner and cake next week when my sister, Tammy, and Gretel are with us.

As I celebrate another year of life, I think back to my favorite birthdays.

Let’s see, there was my 50th, two years ago, sipping champagne at the Moulin Rogue after a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower after a dinner cruise on the Seine River.  Thanks Ray!

AP R Moulin

After that, it was on to Tel Aviv, Israel, one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited.

In 2012, we were in Vegas and I saw Madonna on the “MDNA Tour”.

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And, of course, I’ll always cherish my birthday in 2011.  It was the last one with my golden retriever, ABBA, my best friend.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

Finally, while I don’t remember it, here’s a photo of my first birthday celebration in 1965.

October 13 1965

Not bad for a premature baby born six weeks early weighing only four pounds before dropping down to three pounds and spending the first six weeks of his life in the hospital!

LOBSTERS 

No, I’m not talking about the movie, “The Lobster”, even though it was a great movie with Colin Farrell and Ben Whishaw.

This is about the lobsters that sadly find themselves one day swimming in the ocean and then on plates served with drawn butter.

lobster

I was reading an article in “Coastal Living” and I learned that regardless of their original color, lobsters turn red when cooked!  The exception is the albino (white) lobster that remains white.

By the way, some other lobsters colors include red, yellow, blue, and blue-green.  As you’ll see in this video, some of those are VERY RARE.

See, my thoughts are random!

“EMPIRE”

The cast of Fox’s “Empire” have something to say about the upcoming election.

But, where’s Terrence Howard????

COULD THE ELECTION BE RIGGED?

Donald Trump supporters definitely think so.

Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee sent two correspondents out to get to the bottom of the latest conspiracy!

As you see, this only applies if Hillary Clinton wins the election!

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL

Back in my “Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015” blog, here’s what I wrote about Paula Hawkins’ amazing debut novel, “The Girl on the Train”.

The Girl on the Train

“This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE

Last Friday, the movie adaptation of the book came out in theaters.  It debuted at #1 in the United States with $24.5 million.  It’s global opening weekend box office draw was $41.2 million.

From book to movie, the location was changed from London to New York City.  This also meant that Rachel’s drink of choice had to be changed.

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Sadly, there were no gin and tonics in a can on the train.  I won’t tell you what her movie drink is — spoilers. 🙂

I sure hope when the Oscar nominations are announced in early 2017 that Emily Blunt’s name is on the list.

Blunt, as Rachel, was so compelling, sad, and heartbreaking.  I teared up when she took her first sip on the train.

Haley Bennett (Megan) was also a strong force in the movie.

If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie.  For me, it started out a little slow.  That’s because I read the book.  However, the pace quickly picked up.

If you haven’t read the book, this is one psychological thriller/drama that you’ll definitely want to see.

GRADE – “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE:  A-

GRADE- “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL:   A

“TIMELESS”

Time travel as a premise for a television series is not a new idea.  The new NBC series, “Timeless” is the latest to take this on.

In the premiere episode, a time machine that the government was unaware of (shock!) was stolen by an evil man (Goran Visnjic).

A ragtag trio consisting of a college history professor, a soldier, and a scientist working for the company that created the time machine are brought together to track him down.

I admit that the promos and print ads featuring the very sexy Matt Lanter caught my attention first.  I took notice of the show and its premise.

After the premiere, which took us back to 1937 and the Hindenburg explosion, and the second episode (Lincoln’s assassination in 1865), I’m hooked on the show.

It’s still early in the run, so you have a chance to catch up.

“HOLDING THE MAN”

This Australian romantic drama film was released late last year and is based on a 1995 memoir by Timothy Conigrave, an Australian actor, writer, and activist.

It tells the story of his life with his partner, John, from the time they met in high school in the 1970s to John’s death in the early 1990s.

It’s not too often these days to see a gay movie with a central plot line centered around AIDS.  Today, it’s more about coming-of-age or marriage equality.

But, other than vital to their lives and the decades it covered, it’s important in 2016 to see this story line.  People are still getting infected daily from HIV and people die daily from AIDS.

Younger men and women, whether LGBTQ or not, are becoming less familiar with the AIDS epidemic that took so many of our loved ones and friends in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Holding The Man” is not just a AIDS movie.  It’s a love story and a touching one and the lead actors, Ryan Corr and Craig Stott, are adorable as a couple.

GRADE:  A-

PICK HIT

Kelsey Waldon is from Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, just down the road from where I grew up in Mayfield.

She was one of six artists that “Entertainment Weekly” featured as up-and-comers, ” The New Queens of Country” in a recent magazine article.  Last week, I featured Margo Price.

If you like real, traditional country music, then you’re going to love “I’ve Got A Way”.

Listening to Waldon, I couldn’t help but imagine this collection of songs sung by another of Kentucky’s icons, Loretta Lynn.

So, until my favorite Kentuckian Patty Loveless releases another album, I’ll enjoy Waldon’s debut and maybe check out the newly recorded Christmas collection from Loretta Lynn, “White Christmas Blue”.

FINAL BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS

To all of you that took the time out of your day to send me birthday wishes, thank you very much.  I appreciate each and every one and I hope I responded to all of you.

Here are a couple more that I got — one by mail and one by email.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen them! 🙂

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Hillary BD.jpg

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 30, 2016

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

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

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

THEY SAID WHAT??? — PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE VERSION

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

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

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

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

debate

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

Here are my favorite soundbites:

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

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

Donald:  “Why not?”

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

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

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

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

BEST TWEET ABOUT THE CANDIDATES

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JUST IGNORE HIM — HE’S USED TO IT!

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

Vote this November!  It’s important!

CANCER SUCKS

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

cancer

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

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

Brett Kissel

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

What a powerful video!

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER!

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

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

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter

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

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

FIVE YEARS & COUNTING

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

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

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

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The first years!

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

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

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

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

IN SHOCKING POLITICAL NEWS…

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

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

Heather Mooney’s response to both of these shockers!

HeatherMooney

SERIES & SEASON FINALES

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

spoiler-alert

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

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

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

joanna

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

GRADE:  B  (Season one — GRADE:  A)

aquarius.jpg

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

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

Grey Damon

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+  (Season one — GRADE:  B)

WELCOME BACK “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

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

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

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

You can catch the show Thursday nights on ABC.

DO YOU KNOW HOW OLIVES ARE STUFFED?

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

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

This is an incredible short video showing the process.

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

PICK HIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 16, 2016

It’s Friday and another weekend is almost here.  This one is the last weekend of summer 2016 as fall officially begins on September 22nd!

After enjoying my getaway to South Carolina and Georgia, it was back to work this week and it wasn’t bad.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically.

COUGHING, “OVERHEATED”, AND PNEUMONIA

Last Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left an event commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary of “9/11” because she felt “overheated”.  She went to her daughter’s apartment in New York City and came out a short time later looking much better and waving to the crowd.

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That evening, her doctor released a statement saying that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was finally going to take doctor’s order and rest a few days before carrying on with the presidential campaign.

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All of this comes at a critical time in the race when some started questioning whether she’s healthy enough to run the country.

My final thoughts:  I wish Clinton’s camp had just come out last Friday and said she had pneumonia instead of adding fire to the conspiracy theories.

However, pneumonia is very common with more than three million Americans getting it each year.  As Clinton said, she tried to work through it and it got the best of her and that’s why she didn’t reveal it.  I see the point.  Would you want to know if she had a yeast infection or if Donald Trump had a urinary track infection?

HEAT EXHAUSTION

While summer is winding down, we may still have some very warm days with humidity.  So, I’ll talk about getting “overheated”, particularly since Clinton’s health scare was front and center last week.

Here are the facts and these aren’t political party facts, it’s science.

While temperatures in Central Park were around 80° at the time Clinton felt “overheated” last Sunday, New York City and Central Park had been dealing with stifling heat and humidity.  Here are the actual high temperatures leading into last Sunday.

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Once you factor in the humidity, those highs around 90° felt more like 95°-102° to the human body.

If you’re even somewhat familiar with heat, humidity, and the human body (and you don’t have to be a doctor or meteorologist), you know that heat exhaustion cases really rise after days of excessive heat and humidity, which was encountered in New York City — not just on the first hot day.

It’s less relevant that it was only 80° at the time.

FAVORITE.AMERICAN.ENTREE.EVER.

As you know, I love food and writing about it.

My favorite restaurant is Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Their Flowering Colossal Onion and Dark Beer-Battered Cheese Sticks appetizers are so tasty.

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Their two-inch specialty pork chops are amazing and their desserts, especially the Sawdust Pie, make the seven-hour drive from the Quad Cities worth every bite.

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My favorite meal ever was in Tel Aviv, Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea, two years ago during my 50th birthday week at Benny the Fisherman.

This was just the “salad” part of the experience!

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Now, I have a favorite entree to add to the list.

Last week, we walked an hour from our downtown hotel to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit, which was phenomenal.

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I bought a Groupon for a four-course meal at Tavernpointe.  It was roughly another hour’s walk from the Botanical Garden through the Ansley Park neighborhood to the Sherwood Forest restaurant and it was worth every step!

From the incredible service from Joey, the bartender who doubled as our waiter, to each of the four courses and the beer and wine pairing for each course, it was the most perfect evening.

My sensational entree was Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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Thank you, Tavernpointe (and Groupon — otherwise, we would have missed out on this culinary experience)!

WHY EAT AT PAULA DEEN’S?

I know that food mogul Paula Deen would love to put the talk about using the “n-word” and the accusations of racism behind her.

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Two blogs ago, I wrote about Paula and shared my 2014 thoughts when her empire came crashing down.

Last week, I stated that I ate at her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and it was amazing for good southern cooking.

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Someone asked me on Facebook after reading the blog, “Can I ask why you went to Paula Deen’s restaurant after all the publicity about her racism and discrimination? Asked respectfully.”

Here’s my reply:  “Because I wanted to. I know about her use of the n-word and the circumstances around her usage of it. However, “racism” is a whole new can of worms.”

But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that I had more to say about the lawsuit, race, and the use of that ugly “n-word”.

I am appalled by that word and I don’t care what race is using it. As I’ve written before, if the woman [Deen] was a “racist” (and I don’t know her to know, but I suspect she is NOT), you can’t tell me that people would not have already come out of the wood works to back up Lisa Jackson’s claims.”

I concluded with this, “I was even thinking of this the day I was eating there. There were many African-Americans working that day, including our server. I cannot imagine that any one of them would value that job so much if they really thought that she felt that way about them. There are other restaurants in Savannah and I honestly don’t think they’d be there.

JIMMY CARTER

Ever since I was an 11-year-old boy that got to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election (with my grandmother), I’ve idolized the former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

While in Atlanta last week, I just missed seeing the Carters by mere days, but I did check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

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The tour at the museum started with a movie of his life from his childhood in Plains, Georgia, to joining the U.S. Navy, heading back to Plains, and then entering the political arena (from Georgia State Senator to Georgia’s Governor to becoming the 39th President of the United States).

The amount of memorabilia displayed in the museum is incredible.  It’s definitely a labor of love — not only to President Carter, but to his fans and the United States as a country.

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It’s also nice to see all the displays of what the Carters have accomplished in life after they left the White House in 1981.

What an amazing couple!

CALLING OUT THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

I’ve known of Canadian comedian Samantha Bee for some time.

She was on Comedy Central’s  “The Daily Show” before leaving to host her own satirical news show on TBS, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.

I finally caught her act criticizing the mainstream media for not calling out Donald Trump on his blatant lies.  Kudos to you, Samantha.

If you’ve never watched Bee, check this out and, by the way, shame on you Matt Lauer!

Warning: language!

I’ll definitely feature more of Bee in the future because she’s on to something.

Gallap reports thats only one in three Americans trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”.  This is the lowest level since tracking started in 1972.

DIXIE CHICKS

The Dixie Chicks put on an amazing show last night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

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This was the second time I’ve seen them perform.  The first was back in 2006, in Chicago, on the “Accidents and Accusations Tour”.

It was so great partying with Natalie, Martie, and Emily again!

“SULLY”

On the afternoon of January 15, 2009, if you had your television on, you were likely watching the incredible, real life events unfolding on a bitterly cold afternoon in New York City.

US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese causing engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

It’s now a #1 box office movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as “Sully” and Aaron Eckhart as Skiles.

As always, Hanks is incredible and while the movie covers the landing on the cold, icy waters, it focuses more on the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and whether Sully made the right decision on the water landing instead of trying to make it back to the airport.

In the conversation after the model, we debated and decided that while it was a strong and compelling role for Hanks, it probably won’t garner an Oscar nomination for Hanks.  However, the Academy does like actors playing real-life heroes.

GRADE: B+

PICK HIT

This summer, late-80s English pop star Rick Astley released his eighth studio album (his seventh was never released) conveniently called “50” since he turned 50 earlier this year.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and will be released here in the U.S. on October 7th.

Three singles have already been released in European markets and I’m featuring “Dance” as my pick hit today.

FLASHBACK!

I have to admit that I crushed on Rick when I was in my early-20s and I have to say that he’s aging rather well at almost 51. (I’m slightly older — I turn 52 in October.)

Rick topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart here in the U.S. with his first two songs, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (March 1988) and “Together Forever” (June 1988).

He went on to score three more Top Ten hits, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” (#10, 1988), “She Wants To Dance With Me” (#6, 1988), and “Cry For Help” (#7, 1991).

Here’s a little music trivia for you.  He also sang backing vocals on Elton John’s 1994 Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony