Posts Tagged ‘John F. Kennedy’

Random Thoughts — February 22, 2019

Will the snow ever end?  🙂

Two more snow events are on the way to the Northland of Minnesota, Wisconsin and upper Michigan this weekend.

With almost three feet of snow this month, by Friday night, this will be the snowiest February on record in Duluth, Minnesota, breaking the record set back in 1939!

I hope you have a great weekend whatever you do and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

JUSSIE SMOLLETT DEVELOPMENTS

I’ll preface this by saying that I want “Empire” star Jussie Smollett to be innocent and that this media circus has been one big misunderstanding.

Okay, that was my feeble attempt at thinking the best.

You’ve heard a lot about the case this week, but I first blogged about it three weeks ago.

In late January, the 36-year-old actor reported to Chicago police that two men yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

jussie-smollett

The story has taken a strange turn and now it seems that Smollett MAY have orchestrated the whole ordeal for the publicity and to get more money from “Empire”!

He turned himself into police late this week for allegedly filing a false police report about the racist and homophobic attack!  A judge set his bond at $100,000 and Smollett had to turn over his passport.

IF HE’S GUILTY, I hope he goes to jail and that he NEVER works again!

IF HE’S GUILTY, in the mind of people that don’t like people of color and the LGBTQ community, this stunt will call into doubt every hate crime and every gay bashing reported to police in the future!

And, it’ll also make the LGBTQ community and people of color more reluctant to even report hate crimes!

Again, I hope that this turns out to be a huge misunderstanding.  Sadly, it’s not looking that way!

Here’s why I’m thinking that:  Our country has a nasty history of hate crimes against people based on race and sexual orientation.

Many times, when LGBTQ people and people of color are attacked, it’s not just a punch to the face and name calling!  These attacks are usually very violent and sometimes lead to death!

Two names quickly come to mind:  Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

Freaking Stupid

MY OSCAR PICKS

It’s Academy Awards weekend!  I’ve never been to an Oscars party, but I think it’s be fun.  Well, the food spread and drinking sounds fun!

Here are the movies and actors that I think will take Oscar home!

I predict “Roma” will win Best Picture, but I don’t think it should!

While I haven’t seen all of the nominees yet, I saw “Roma” and it didn’t even make my Top 20 list of favorite movies of 2018!

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While I pick Christian Bale to win, I really, really hope that Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”) wins!

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“AT ETERNITY’S GATE”

This movie tells the story of the final years of artist Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Willem Dafoe earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination this year for his portrayal of the tormented, alcoholic van Gogh.

It’s a decent movie and Dafoe is great, but I’m not sure that he deserves an Academy Award nomination for this performance.

He was also was nominated for an Oscar last year for the fantastic “The Florida Project” (my #14 movie of 2018).

Last year, I even wrote that he didn’t deserve that nomination!  Clearly, the Academy and his peers love him.

Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s fantastic, and if I had to choose, his van Gogh was more Oscar worthy of the two roles.

Here are a couple of interesting facts about “At Eternity’s Gate” and the van Gogh brothers:

Defoe, who played Vincent, is 63 and van Gogh died at the age of 37!

Vincent van Gogh was four years older than his brother, Theo, but Rupert Friend (“Homeland”), who played Theo, is only 37 in real life! 🙂

And, finally, Theo van Gogh died at the age of 33 just six months after Vincent died!

GRADE:  B-

“THE FRONT RUNNER”

This movie is about Colorado U.S. Senator Gary Hart’s 1988 run for the Democratic nomination for president.

His campaigned ended after news broke of an extramarital affair.  His argument was that it was his private life and it shouldn’t affect his job as president.

Remember, this was a time before reporters ran with stories like this.  Back in the 1950s and 1960s, reporters knew about John F. Kennedy’s affairs, but didn’t make them public.

I love Hugh Jackman and Vera Farmiga, who play Hart and his long suffering wife, Lee.

They both had some powerful scenes, but it seemed like the movie dragged on longer than his 1984 and 1988 presidential runs!

GRADE:  C+

“ANTARCTICA”

As I mentioned last week, I’m going through my movie collection and watching old movies to either get rid of or save.

One gem that made the save list was “Angels of Sex” which I talked about in my last blog.  Another one that I enjoyed much more the second time around was the 2008 Israeli film, “Antarctica”.

Director Yair Hochner’s love story follows a group of very sexy men and women around Tel Aviv searching for that special one (or just a good time)!

It’s a very sensual movie with nudity and graphic sex scenes.  Israelis definitely know how to make a movie sexy and erotic without it automatically being seen as soft porn!

Yiftach Mizrahi (Danny) was stunning and he can act and dance beautifully!

P.S.  This trailer may be a little risque for some!

GRADE:  A-

“ROBERT KENNEDY”

I just finished reading Evan Thomas’ 2000 biography, “Robert Kennedy:  His Life”.

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It paints a very interesting look at RFK 32 years after he was gunned down in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic California Primary in his 1968 presidential run.

The book touches on RFK’s neglected childhood following in the shadows of his two older, golden brothers.

Thomas doesn’t shy away from showing the nasty, dark side of RFK and what he did to make his brother, John F. Kennedy, president and a very successful one.

It also shows how he became a fighter for the disenfranchised — blacks, poor and other minorities.

I’ve written before about how much I love Bobby Kennedy and how great it would have been if he had become our 37th president.

However, there’s still something about him (and the other Kennedys) that I still have a problem with today.

Recently, I wrote this while talking about Jackie Kennedy, “By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.”

I also said, “Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.”

Thomas also touches on RFK’s fear of gay people.  Like Jackie and John, I hope that Bobby would have “evolved”.  Remember, this was the 1950s and 1960s and there was no such thing as “gay rights” or openly and accepted people in the LGBTQ community.

Bobby Kennedy

So, I’ll still crush on the image of the youthful and charming Bobby Kennedy with reservations about the homophobia.

And, I learned from Thomas that RFK hated popping corks of champagne bottles!

Come on RFK, what’s up with that?  I love champagne and there’s only so much I can overlook! 🙂

While the book was interesting, I recommend this more…

“BOBBY KENNEDY FOR PRESIDENT”

While technically “Bobby Kennedy For President” wasn’t a movie, I ranked this excellent Netflix documentary as my #11 movie of 2018.

If you get a chance, check it out.

“THE DAY JOHN DIED”

Before reading the book on RFK, I read Ted Sorensen’s 800-plus page biography of John F. Kennedy and Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack” and Andersen’s “The Day John Died”.

JOHN DIED

While I did learn things about JFK, Jr., a lot of the book was a rehash of “Jackie After Jack”, especially when he talked of Jackie and how she dominated her son’s life and the Kennedy Camelot legacy.

Also, I didn’t care much for Andersen’s highly speculative dramatization of events in the minutes before John John’s plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, just 7.5 miles west of Martha’s Vineyard, in 1999.

That crashed not only killed JFK, Jr., but also his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren.

Skip it!

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 Thoughts — February 8, 2019

We’re snowed in again here in the Northland of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin with  almost a foot of new snow!

Here’s hoping that we all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’M TAKING THE PLUNGE!!!!!!!

I’ve always wanted to do a Polar Plunge, but I’ve never had the opportunity.

Now, I get to do it for a great cause — Special Olympics Minnesota!

On February 16th in Duluth, Minnesota, a group of co-workers and I are raising money and are jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Polar Plunge

Any donation, large or small, will add up!

Once you go to the page and if you want to make a smaller donation that what’s listed, just type it into the box!

Thank you in advance and here’s the link:

https://reg.plungemn.org/participant/anthonypeoples

OUT AND PROUD & CLOSETED AND OUTING

I’ve always been out.  For me, the closets are for clothes.  But, that’s not the case for many others.

In the mid-1980s, as Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and his management team was giving lame excuses for his sickness, one of my favorite authors and a leading LGBTQ activist Armistead Maupin outed him as being gay.

While it was an “open secret”, Maupin confirmed to mainstream news agencies that Hudson was gay.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

Maupin also came down hard on lesbian actress Lily Tomlin in the 1990s for waiting so long to come out.

Personally, I think the LGBTQ community needs visibility.  Kids need role models to look up to when they feel alone in some small town or in a family that doesn’t accept gay people.

While I’d love for rumored LGBTQ celebrities and politicians to come out and be proud, it’s their choice.  I would not out them.

However, for politicians that are anti-LGBTQ or support anti-LGBTQ legislation, I’m all for outing them without any remorse at the first hint of them being deceptive and closeted!

Even for those “straight” celebrities that support religions (or cults pretending to be religion, TC/JT, I’m looking at you) that are anti-LGBTQ, I’m all for someone outing them when there’s proof!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  

Was Maupin right or wrong with outing Hudson as a gay man or saying Tomlin shouldn’t have waited so long to come out?

What do you think?

“THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN”

While I’ve read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the Cities” novels many times (there are nine of them), the series was first written for a California newspaper.

The story begins in San Francisco in the 1970s and follows a core group of friends that become “family” over time.

If you’ve never heard of it, go to the library and get them or buy the first one on Amazon and you’ll be hooked!

“The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”, a 2017 documentary, follows Maupin from his conservative upbringing in North Carolina (where he even worked for racist, homophobic Senator Jesse Helms) to becoming a writer in San Francisco and coming out.

It’s also an incredible love story!

GRADE:  A

So far, the “Tales of the City” novels have been made into three amazing miniseries with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.

A fourth arrives on Netflix this year!

“THE WIFE”

“And, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Glenn Close in ‘The Wife’!”

That’s what I predict we’ll be hearing Sunday, February 24th, at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

After six previous nominations and six losses, I think this is Close’s year.  Sorry, Lady Gaga, you may have more chances.

Close plays Joan, the wife of Jonathan Pryce’s Joseph Castleman, who’s awaiting a call from the Nobel Prize committee to see if he’ll earn one for his literary work.

Spoiler, not Spoiler: he does!

As the story unfolds, we see how Joseph and Joan meet and how their lives have played out over the decades — professionally and personally.

Close plays the perfect wife standing by her famous writer husband, but also feels the sting of disappointment over how her husband depends on her and takes her for granted — professionally and personally!

GRADE:  A

“BOY ERASED”

The main point I want to stress here is that “gay conversion therapy” is still going on across the U.S. and it’s sad, pathetic, and damaging!

This movie, with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges, is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 “Boy Erased:  A Memoir” about his time in an Arkansas facility.

Pop singer Troye Sivan, director/actor Xavier Dolan, and Joe Alwyn (Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) also turn in amazing performances.

Since I hadn’t read Conley’s book when the movie was announced, I decided to wait to do so and now I’m ready to read it.

“Boy Erased” will be more powerful to people who are not all that familiar with gay conversion therapy.

While the movie was very touching, it was a bit sanitized.  For those of us that have heard the horror stories of conversion therapy, I felt it was too Hollywood-ized and needed a rougher edge!

It’s still a must see!

GRADE:  B

LAST TWO BOOKS READ IN 2018

It’s a tradition for me to read “Christmas in Plains” by my idol President Jimmy Carter every year at the holidays!

Christmas In Plains

“JACKIE AFTER JACK”

After finishing Ted Sorensen’s 800+ page biography of John F. Kennedy and “Christmas in Plains”, I jumped right into Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack”.

Anderson Jackie after Jack

Sorensen’s book on President Kennedy was more about Kennedy as “President” rather than Kennedy as a husband, father, brother, and friend.

I was shocked into reality with the abrasive tone difference at beginning of Andersen’s book, which pretty much talks about Kennedy’s assassination in graphic detail.

Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.

But, if only a fraction of the book is true, Jackie certainly loved her children and she was definitely what we’d call a “gold digger” today!

By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.

Andersen mentions several times about Jackie wanting to toughen her son, John John, up because she was didn’t want him to “grow up to be a fruit”.

I’m not giving a free pass on that, but I’m putting it in the context of the 1960s and 1970s and how most people have evolved when it comes to being gay.  I know the Kennedys would have been much more accepting in today’s world!

Thank God “homosexuality” (a truly clinical term that had implications of mental illness prior to 1973 in the United States) has now progressed to being “gay” and part of the acronym LGBTQ!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — November 9, 2018

We’re only a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping rush!

I hope you survived the midterm elections without losing too many “friends” on Facebook!

Thank you for taking time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts!

HAPPY SEASON!

Normally, I start my blog with heavier and more hard-hitting thoughts, but it’s that time of the year again! 🙂

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LEANN RIMES CHRISTMAS

“It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes makes its Hallmark Channel debut this weekend and the soundtrack is incredible!

Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!

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There are three original songs on the soundtrack — two ballads and the upbeat “You and Me and Christmas”.

LeAnn doesn’t just sing the classics.  The arrangements of “Carol of the Bells” (Ring Out Remix) and “White Christmas” are stunning.

The North Pole Remix of “I Still Believe in Santa Claus” gives the song new life and there are two medleys that make the album an instant classic.

The Jolly Remix of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/”Hark the Herald Angels Sing”/”Angels We Have Heard on High” has a dance club sound to it.

And, “Christmas Jam on Snow” is funky, upbeat fun with “Jingle Bell Rock”/”Here Comes Santa Claus”/”I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”/”Last Christmas”.

Radio programmers gearing up for holiday music through Christmas need to add each of these songs to their playlists, especially “White Christmas” and the medleys!

LeAnn is becoming the new voice and face of Christmas!

GRADE:  A

WHY WE SHOULD ALWAYS VOTE!

As you likely know, I’m reading Ted Sorensen’s biography of President John F. Kennedy.  Sorensen was Kennedy’s adviser and speechwriter.

I came across an amazing quote from President Kennedy that he gave in a June 1963 speech on civil rights.

It still rings clear today and I shared it before the midterm elections and I think we should remember it daily until the 2020 presidential election.

JFK JUNE 1963

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Now that the midterm elections are over, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election is unofficially underway.

Ironically, John F. Kennedy didn’t announce his presidential run until January 2, 1960!  Wouldn’t it be nice again if the political season was only 10 months long!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyways, in late October, Hillary Clinton was asked by journalist Kara Swisher, with Recode, a technology news web site, if she wanted to run again?

Clinton replied “no” twice, but Swisher pressed her about it and the Former Secretary of State said, “Well, I’d like to be president!”

HIllary Flag

There you have it folks.  The first woman to ever gain a major party’s nomination and the woman who won the popular vote in 2016 is unofficially in the race!

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I know it’s early, but I was having this conversation the other day and I still believe she is the only person that can beat 45!

“HOUSE OF CARDS” FINAL SEASON

This comes as no shock, but Robin Wright was phenomenal as President Claire Underwood, oops President Claire Hale in the final season of “House of Cards”.  It dropped on Netflix last week.

While I enjoyed the final eight episodes, the first and the last ones were my favorites.

I loved the way the series wrote out Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood and was appalled at how vicious people were with the threats against Claire as president.

But, Claire’s iciness at the threats and comments directed toward her made it more human and made her more powerful as Commander-in-Chief.

When told there were “Lots of threats involving the c-word, ma’am. Lots and lots of the c-word, unfortunately especially with the ‘c-word’.”

She responds, “You mean ‘Claire’!” 🙂

I loved the final scene even though many on the internet and in blogs didn’t care for it.

SEASON GRADE:  B

SERIES FINALE GRADE: A

SERIES GRADE: B+

“HALLOWEEN”

“Halloween (2018)” was the #1 movie in America for two straight weekends and was the top movie for 14 consecutive days!

It’s already made $156.8 million in the U.S. and another $88.7 million in foreign markets for a total of $245.5 million!  That’s incredible for a movie with a budget around $15 million!

I avoided all spoilers and saw it in its second weekend in theaters.

It was very entertaining and I loved the winks back to all of the other movies in the franchise that this one pretended didn’t exist.

I loved that the movie was very violent (Micheal Myers as a practicing dentist!).  It could be because he’s psychotic and has been locked up and drugged for 40 years!

However, there were a couple of murders that made you go, “um, okay”!

While the movie was great, it didn’t scare me since nothing can compare to the 1978 original!

GRADE:  B

FINAL “HALLOWEEN” THOUGHT

Halloween

Although it didn’t scare me, it scared someone that saw the movie in the theater where I saw it.

I put my jacket in the next seat next to me and when I went to leave, it reeked of urine!!! 😠

“GAME CHANGERS”

If you love game shows or you grew up on them, you have to check out this 2018 documentary hosted by Alex Trebek, which I caught on my return flight from Morocco.

It traces the history of games shows and catches up with some of the trailblazers in the genre.

GRADE:  B

“THE FIRST PURGE”

I really enjoy “The Purge” movies and I even watched the television series.

However, I didn’t see the latest movie, “The First Purge”, in theaters, but I just caught it on DVD.

I fully understand what the movie was going for —  low-income people’s lives don’t matter, so they’re expendable, thus perfect subjects for the first purge.

However, it was so jokey and silly that I was mostly bored.  Pretty sad because I really liked the first three movies in the series.

Skip this movie if you haven’t already seen it and if you need a “purge” fix, check out the 10-episode USA Network event.  It wrapped up this week and it was better than this movie!

GRADE:  D

THAT’S IT

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

Random Friday Thoughts — November 2, 2018

It’s November now and I urge you to get out and vote!

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

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

There are many uneducated and misinformed people here in America that believe terrorists are from other cultures.

Yes, there are terrorists from other cultures, but we should open our eyes because we live in glass houses here in the U.S.!

Last weekend, eleven people were murdered at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue.

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Look at the ages of these people.  They were someone’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, family and friends.  And, they were killed out of ignorance!

Also, in October, many high profile Democrats and CNN were targeted with terrorism and fear from a 56-year-old fitness obsessed, Donald Trump supporter in Florida!

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Just look at his van!

Hate Van

Needless to say, it wasn’t a proud couple of weeks to say America is the best country in the world!

MEGHAN McCAIN APOLOGY

In wake of the suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats and news agencies, including CNN, President Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meghan McCain made an apology on “The View”.

McCain says, I really try every day, I really try to come into work thinking about what rhetoric I’m going to put out in the world and what my father would’ve done if he was still here,” McCain began. “Last year on this show I said, ‘I hate Hillary Clinton’ and I called her Crooked Hillary, and it is one of the things I regret doing.

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She goes on to say, “This is not saying I agree with her. I have many vast difference of opinion on philosophy and ideology, and I didn’t think she was a great candidate. But ‘hate’ is not a word that should be coming out of my mouth on television about someone of a different political persuasion.”

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“BLUE WAVE”

As winter nears, people talk of cold snaps or “cold waves”, all I’m envisioning on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is an Election Day “blue wave”!

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CAITLYN JENNER’S ADMISSION

Caitlyn Jenner now admits that she was wrong about Donald Trump and his anti-LGBTQ stances.

Caitlyn

Well, Caitlyn, it’s a little too late for that now — until midterms and 2020!

Make it right!

This also goes for people that voted for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson and for those that didn’t vote just to take a stance against 45 and Hillary Clinton!

MORE KENNEDY

As I stated last week, I’m reading a biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter, which is 800-plus pages.

Kennedy Sorensen

With the mid-term elections coming up and the stench of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign and election reeking every day, I was blown away by a statement made by Sorensen midway through the book.

Talking about the 1960 presidential run, Sorensen writes, “The campaign had illuminated many a dark corner of intolerance and ignorance.”

What would Sorensen (who died Halloween 2010) think of the the political climate since 2016 if he were alive today???

Another thing to note:  Kennedy and I are very much alike in many ways, especially this one, “Forgive but never forget.”

DIWALI

The holiday season is here and Christmas is now just weeks away.

While I’m not converting from being Christian, I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  It’s celebrated across most of India on Wednesday, November 7th in 2018 (November 6th in some places).

Why does it touch my sensibilities other than the beautiful display?

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It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.

We could really use that in the world these days!!!!!!!!

HALLOWEEN

I hope you had a very spooky, fun Halloween!

Here’s a blast from the past — me trying to duplicate Lady Gaga’s VMA look from 2009.  I can say “A Star Is Born”, but it wasn’t me. 🙂

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“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE”

The sixth episode of the new season of “American Horror Story:  Apocalypse” called “Return to Murder House” takes us back to the first season of the anthology series.

There were many funny lines in the creepy episode including this exchange between “Coven” witches Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (Billy Porter), “Calm down skinny witch!”

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Jessica Lange also made her triumphant return for one episode to reprise her role from the first season with the classic line:

“I’m Constance Langdon and this is my f**king house!”

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INTERESTING JESSICA LANGE FACT

Lange is from Cloquet, Minnesota, which is about 20 minutes outside Duluth!

NOVEMBER IS HERE!

I love my turkey and dressing and I give thanks daily for what I have, but this is so me!!!!!!!!!!

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“IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON”

And, don’t be like this sheep! 🙂

Bah Humbug

I baaa-ught (I couldn’t resist) — I bought my first new Christmas CD of the season, the latest from Martina McBride.

Martina

It’s a nine-song collection with a big band sound.

While I love Martina McBride, her country roots gets lost in her voice throughout the collection.

I know the sound is more universal, but there are times on the album that you wouldn’t know it’s Martina.  It could be any generic female singer.

Overall, a great new addition to Christmas recordings.

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 — October 26, 2018

I’m back after a couple of weeks off for my trip to Morocco, so thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’m sure there are many Halloween parties this weekend, so have fun and be safe.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY CLINTON

I hope you have an incredible day and year ahead.  Meeting you in 2016 is still one of the highlights in my life!

Hillary AP

“HALLOWEEN”

Since I arrived back from my Africa trip on opening day and worked the next seven days, I’ve avoided the spoilers to the new “Halloween” movie.

But, I’m going to see it this weekend!

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The movie scared up an incredible $76.2 last weekend!

After just the opening weekend, it’s now the highest grossing movie * in the 11-movie franchise that started 40 years ago.

*  If you adjust the box office of all the movies to account for ticket price inflation, 1978’s $47 million box office for the original “Halloween” would be $183.6 million today, making it the biggest!

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on the return flight, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

GRADE:  A+

MORE “OZARK” TO COME 

A couple of weeks ago (10/10), Netflix renewed the Emmy Award nominated “Ozark” for a third season.

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I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.

Jason Bateman was nominated this year.

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, you now have time to do so now.  It’s an incredible drama!

“KENNEDY”

I’m reading an 800-plus page biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter.

Kennedy Sorensen

The book was first released in 1965 and is pretty much the autobiography that Kennedy never got to write.

I’m 400 pages into the book now and one of the most interesting non-political things I’ve learned about the nation’s 35th president is that he bathed three times a day!

His Attorney General, his brother Robert, didn’t like being called “Bobby”, even though that’s what JFK called him.  Robert Kennedy preferred “Bob”.

JFK ate many times a day — small portions at a time — and really liked soups!

And, I’m astounded that him being Catholic was a major issue for him in the 1960 election.  He broke that glass ceiling, just as Obama did in 2008 with race.

Now, if only the 2016 election hadn’t been stolen from Hillary Clinton, another glass ceiling would have been shattered!

Thanks Vladimir Putin and Russia!

“SEIZE THE MOMENT”

After reading Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s “All The President’s Men” and “The Final Days”, I realized I had one more Nixon book on my bookshelf, 1992’s “Seize The Moment: America’s Challenge in a One-Superpower World”.

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Reading most of it and skimming over some of the very outdated parts, here are a few takeaways.

Clearly, unlike Ronald Reagan who was in bed (metaphorically) with Mikhail Gorbachev, Nixon has nothing good to say about that Soviet leader.  He was on Team Boris Yeltsin.

While China, in 1979, implemented the “one-child policy” as a way to control population growth, Nixon talked about the aging population in Japan.  Because more than one-quarter of the population was expected to be over 65 in the year 2025, the government was giving women $6,700 grants to have a third child!

But, interestingly, while he praised Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush in the book, he never mentioned his vice president and successor Gerald Ford once!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty strange since Ford basically damned his 1976 re-election hopes by pardoning Nixon a month after he resigned the presidency in 1974!

NIXON BY NIXON:  IN HIS OWN WORDS

I was also talking about Nixon back in September and I wrote, “While I didn’t know him personally, I’ve concluded that he wasn’t a good man!  I’m not talking politically because he was a snake in the grass.”

I just came across the 2014 HBO documentary, “Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words” and it’s incredible.   And, it verifies my September statement.  He was a vile man!

Just as the name implies, it’s not transcripts of all of Nixon’s private recordings, it’s the actual audio, which makes it even more damning.

Check out these two comments!

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Nixon also said, “The press is the enemy!”

Fast forward more than four decades and it sounds like “that man” in the White House (45) now!

Nixon trashed talked everyone — women, hippies, Jews, and, of course, gays (back then it was “homosexuals”, “homo”, and “fags”)!

Nixon 1.JPG

There’s another longer Nixon rant that really blew me away.  I’m sharing it at the bottom of the blog, so you can see more random thoughts first.

If you want to see it, you can find it in its entirety on YouTube.

MARIAH CAREY

We’re just weeks away from the release of Mariah Carey’s fifteenth studio album, “Caution”, on November 16, 2018.

I’ve already bought it!  So far, three songs are available to hear.

MC Caution.JPG

“With You” is the first single from the album and it’s already racing up the Adult Contemporary and the Urban Adult Contemporary chart.

Of course, Top 40 radio isn’t playing it!

And, I absolutely love the first song from “Caution”, “GTFO”.

Yes, it does stand for what you think it does and Mimi makes it sound so sexy telling someone that their company is no longer needed!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Former President Richard Nixon to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman:

“Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general, these are the enemies of strong societies.  Goddammit, we have got to stand up to these people.  I do not mind the homosexuality.  I understand it.  Nevertheless, the point that I want to make is that goddammit, I do not think you glorify homosexuality anymore than you glorify whores.  Now we all have weaknesses and so forth and so on.  But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids?”

Nixon rants on, “You knew what happened to the Greeks?  Homosexuality destroyed them.  Sure, Aristotle was a homo;  we all know that, so was Socrates.  You what happened to the Romans? Romans?  The last six Roman emperors were fags.  You know what happened to the Popes?  Po-Po-popes were laying the nuns.  That’s been going on for years, centuries.  But when the Popes – When the Catholic Church went to the hell, it was homosexual. And finally had to be cleaned out.”

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More Nixon (in a 1983 interview):  “We talk about the men reporters, the women reporters are more bitchy than the men.”

“THE MAN THAT INVENTED CHRISTMAS”

Since Christmas is now less than two months away, here’s my customary mention of my favorite holiday. 🙂

On my flight to Paris, I finally got to see this late 2017 film and I’d highly recommend it.

It was overlooked at the box office making only $8.1 million.

It tells the story of Charles Dickens and how he came up with the holiday staple, “The Christmas Story”!

GRADE:  B

MORE DAN STEVENS

I only have one complaint about Dan Stevens.  I know it’s acting, but in two of the three movies I’ve seen him in, his beauty is hidden!

I mean, in “Beauty and the Beast”, he was totally hidden as the Beast and don’t get me started on the Dickens hair in the Christmas movie! 🙂

So, from 2014’s “The Guest”, here goes!

Dan s.jpg

GRADE:  B

“I FEEL PRETTY”

This Amy Schumer comedy earned $88.4 million at the box office on a $32 million budget.

While the movie addresses body image, I wasn’t impressed.

Save yourself an hour-and-a-half of your life and watch the three minute trailer!

I guess I’m not alone with those thoughts.  It has a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

GRADE:  C

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 28, 2018

September is coming to a close and it’s time to get those pumpkins and think about carving jack-o-lanterns.

PumpkinTurkey

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.   I’ll start off on a happy note, vent a little, and then share more positive things. 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

It’s a few days early, but I’d like to wish a “Happy Birthday” to my idol, President Jimmy Carter!

Autograph Carters

On October 1st, our nation’s 39th president turns 94!

This makes him the second longest-lived president and the president that’s lived the longest after leaving office (almost 37 years and 8 months and counting)!

What’s amazing about this wonderful man is that he and his incredible wife, Rosalynn, are still both very active writing, touring, and building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Since leaving office in 1981, with The Carter Center, he’s done more for world peace and a healthy planet than any U.S.  president — living or dead!

Here’s to many more happy, loving years, President Carter!

A QUICK MOMENT TO VENT

Full disclosure here:  I think 45 is a joke, I hope America votes him out of office in 2020, and I can’t understand why people still support him — even if they voted for him.

Facebook is a wonderful thing (?) because some “friends” on there make strange bedfellows.

The other day, I defended “that man” (45) for drinking Diet Coke from a wine glass and then I made a critical comment about him.  Well, it was a meme.

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Of course, one of his supporters came to his defense.  That’s fine, if you can coherently debate the topic and defend the man.

However, when she posted this comment, it crossed the line with me:  “but you supported a [sic] anti American Muslim who wanted to take America down?

At this point, I jumped into melee with this post:

“Christine, I’m really glad that Neil blocked you. Why? Your comment on his thread about the American Muslim that tried to take down America! Let me clarify something with you as diplomatically as I can. The Muslims that tried to bring America down on 9/11 were Islamic extremists! They killed thousands, but they failed miserably when you look at the big picture. Whether you’re an American Muslim, a Middle Eastern Muslim, or wherever you’re from, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist. The Islamic faith is not based on those extreme actions from the extremists! Look at all the white terrorists that have made it their ill-fated mission with the killing sprees here in the U.S. I know your life will go on and mine will, too, if I chose to delete you, too. It’s one thing to support that man and his beliefs, but when you demean the #MeToo movement and make sexual misconduct jokes (yes, I looked at your page), I really don’t know what we even have in common and why we’re “friends”!”

People (who really test my tolerance)!

“RBG”

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, this year alone, “Won’t You Be My Friend” ($22.6 million) and”RBG” ($14 million) changed that!

This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She started her trailblazing from just being a woman and using her voice when women didn’t really have a place or a voice in the world of law.

What an amazing woman!

GRADE:  A

MORE GINSBURG

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Earlier this summer, Ginsburg announced that she has no plans to give up her seat anytime soon, “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

And, if you can’t get enough of Ginsburg, you’ll get another chance in select theaters on Christmas Day with “On The Basis of Sex”.

Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Ginsburg and Golden Globe Award nominee Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband Martin.

THEY SAID WHAT???

CHER (on “Ellen” when asked what three celebrities she’d like to record a duet with): “Oh, Adele, Pink, and, uh, um, not Madonna!”

JACQUELINE KENNEDY (born and raised Republican, in 1960, the year her Democratic husband would be elected the 35th president of the U.S.: “But you have to be a Republican to realize how nice it is to be a Democrat.”

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

The final season (eight episodes) of House of Cards” with Robin Wright as President Claire Underwood debuts on Netflix November 2nd!

A new revealing trailer came out this week and “the reign of the middle-aged white man” is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNDERWEAR

Why not take a few minutes for something sexy and lighter?

Here’s a look at the the changes in men’s underwear over the past century!

“YOU”

I shamelessly (sorry, not sorry) admit two things — occasionally watching “Lifetime” and actually enjoying the creepy stalker series, “You”.

It’s based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel about a bookstore owner, Joe (Penn Badgley) who becomes obsessed with a college graduate student, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who comes into the store.

I know many of us has had psychotic exes or stalkers, but what’s more disturbing is that even though you know that what Joe is doing is bad, bad, bad, you still feel for him.  He does have a thin thread of humanity in him!

I guess I’m not alone.  Before the first episode aired, Lifetime renewed it for a second season.

“THE PURGE” TELEVISION SERIES

I love “The Purge” movie series and I thought I’d give the USA Network’s 10-episode television event a chance.

After four episodes, I’m still with it.  However, I don’t know if it’ll hold my interest to see it through to the end.

There are some exciting things in the series and some lame filler, too.

GRADE:  B-

One last note:  The latest movie in the series, “The First Purge”, came out in theaters this summer and made $135.6 million.

I can’t wait to see it when it arrives on DVD October 2nd!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE” 

As I approach my birthday and since I’m in my 50s, I had to laugh out loud at one of Joan Collins’ line from the second episode of “Apocalypse”.

JCollins

By the way, Collins is 85.

Another “Apocalypse” note:   Very little on television or in movies shocks me (language, violence, or sex), but I have to say there was a very graphic sex scene in the second episode that probably made conservatives choke — if they watch “American Horror Story”.

It made Joan Collins’s character blush and run away! 🙂

“BLOODLINE”

This three-season, 33-episode Netflix series aired from 2015-2017.

The drama is about the Rayburn family who own a beach side inn, the Rayburn House, in the Florida Keys.

Three of the Rayburn children still live in Monroe County.  John is a detective for the Sheriff’s Office, Meg is a lawyer, and hot-headed Kevin is a mechanic.

The drama comes in when the black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home.

Kyle Chandler plays John and I had the biggest crush on him back in the late-1990s when he starred on the CBS series “Early Edition”.

My recommendation is to watch season one and the last five episodes of season two.  Just read the episode summary for the first five episodes of season two online and skip season three altogether!

I had a major crush on Enrique Murciano, who played John’s work partner, Marco Diaz, who also dated Meg.

Enrique Murciano

The series also stars Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard.

Season 1 GRADE:  B+

Season 2 (FIRST FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  D+

Season 2 (SECOND FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  A-

Season 3 GRADE:  D+

SISSY SPACEK

One of the great pleasures of watching “Bloodline” was seeing Sissy Spacek.

Sissy Spacek

I remember seeing her as a teenager as Carrie White in 1976’s “Carrie” (which earned Spacek an Oscar nomination) and as Loretta Lynn in 1980’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, for which Spacak won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

What did surprise me is that the Texas-born actress, who’ll turn 69 on Christmas Day, has been nominated for an Oscar four other times!

The other Best Actress nominations were for “Missing” (1982), “The River ” (1984), “Crimes of the Heart” (1986), and “In The Bedroom” (2001)!

Spacek has upcoming roles in the movie “The Old Man & the Gun” with Robert Redford and in Amazon’s “Homecoming” (November 2, 2018) starring Julia Roberts and directed and executive produced by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”).

“BREAKING IN”

This movie will likely have a mention in my year end blog of my 20 favorites movies of the year.

But, it’ll be on a different list — the worst movies of the year!

It’s basically the story of four bad guys who take a woman’s two children hostage inside her father’s fortified home.  She has to break into the house to save her children.

The $6 million movie brought in almost $51 million at the box office, but it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!

However, Gabrielle Union is a fine actress and I also enjoyed seeing Billy Burke (“Zoo”) as a bad guy.

It was also great to see Richard Cabral again.   He was phenomenal in seasons one and three of ABC’s “American Crime”.

GRADE:  D+

SPEAKING OF THOSE 20 FAVORITES MOVIES OF THE YEAR…

Now that I’ve seen more than 30 movies in 2017, here are the ones that I liked, but have been pushed out of my Top 20 list for this year (the “honorable mentions”):

“The Star”, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, “Molly’s Game”, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, “It”, “The Mountain Between Us”, “All the Money in the World”, “Darkest Hour”, “Marshall”, “Chappaquiddick”.

“My Friend Dahmer” almost made the list of the three worst movies I saw in 2017, but there were three other stinkers!

“SAY YOU REALLY WANT ME”

English singer Kim Wilde first hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 with “Kids in America”.  Even though it only reached #25, it’s still one of my favorites.

Her biggest hit in the U.S. was a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.  It reached #1 in 1987.

The follow-up was “Say You Really Want Me”, a very sultry song that barely missed the Top 40 on the Hot 100, but I still love it to this day!

Sexy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

A Buffet of Thoughts — A Little of This & That

It feels like one of those days where I’d love to have a buffet!  But, I’m determined to eat healthy through Saturday when I leave for Houston.  So, I’ll have a blog buffet — where I talk a little about this and a little about that.

SO GOES OHIO, SO GOES THE COUNTRY

Watch out, Mitt Romney!!!  If the great people of the Buckeye State are correct and they have been since 1972, you’re in trouble.  Since Ohio is considered a “battleground” state that will be key in deciding the 2012 election, you’d better be spending much of your time, money, and efforts there.

Since 1972, Ohio has picked the winning candidate in the presidential election.  As a matter of fact, since 1944, the state has only picked the wrong candidate in the race for the White House one time!  Back in 1960, Ohio picked Republican Richard Nixon over Democratic winner John F. Kennedy by 6.6%.

In the latest CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters posted on Real Clear Politics, President Barack Obama leads Romney by 10%!

And, speaking of President Obama, I entered a contest the other day and the winner gets to have dinner with the President before the election.  While a long shot, Gretel is very excited.

IS THAT A DINOSAUR?

While the Quad Cities will enjoy more “Indian Summer-like” weather (NOAA: “Indian Summer” is generally associated with a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions ushered in on a south or southwesterly breeze”), from this weather map you’d think that a storm would be bringing a dinosaur into the middle of the country!  I saw this a while back and saved it.  Too funny!

Sadly, the forecast for Houston Saturday when we arrive doesn’t look too great and will likely keep us from seeing the “Balloon Glow” of hot air balloons at the Johnson Space Center!   Bummer!  😦

OUR FISH SHOULD BE VERY AFRAID

Overnight, I was awakened around 2 a.m. by a noise down on the patio, which is located right below our bedroom window.  One of the cats heard it, too, and she was in the window peering outside.  As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw it.  A raccoon was scurrying around trying to get the can of fish food open after it knocked the container off the patio table.  I ran downstairs and turned on the patio light and it ran up the steps into the backyard away from me.  Like a warrior, I grabbed the water hose and started spraying it into the direction that it ran.

Those are pictures of the fish earlier in the week.  I think we need to find something to keep the raccoons away from them this week while we’re gone.  We definitely didn’t  fatten them up to be a meal for a nocturnal beast!

RANDOM PICTURES I REALLY LIKE

REMEMBERING MY GRANDMOTHER

On Monday, my sister, Tammy, turned 46.  We celebrated by Ray making her dinner and we had pumpkin cake roll for dessert.  Tammy is not the only family member that would have been celebrating a birthday Monday.  She was born on my grandmother Helen’s birthday.

Had my grandmother been alive, she would have been 99 years old!!!

FALL MOVIES & OSCAR CONTENDERS ARE COMING

I’m so excited to see the new Ben Affleck movie, “Argo” when it’s released on October 12th.  I’ll be in Las Vegas and I plan on finding a movie theater.  I’ve already expressed interest in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “The Paperboy”, “Lincoln”, and “Zero Dark Thirty”.  Now, I’ve added another one to the list.

“Entertainment Weekly” calls “The Impossible”, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, a “shocking tsunami drama” based on one family’s experience of the Indian Ocean tsunami that hit on Christmas Day (our time) 2004.  The trailer looks incredible.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

I know that I just blogged two days ago about the new Mattel Barbie coming out and that I still didn’t get my Reba doll from last year, but here are a few nice places you can shop this year and know that some of your money goes toward marriage equality.

FALL TELEVISION

While I wait for the new ABC Reba McEntire comedy, “Malibu Country” (November 2nd), the only new television show I’ve checked out this fall is “The New Normal”, from Ryan Murphy (“Glee”, “American Horror Story”, and “Nip/Tuck”).  It focuses on a gay Los Angeles couple (Bryan and David) wanting to have a baby.  Goldie, who just moved to LA from Ohio agrees to be their surrogate mother for $35,000 to go back to law school and to make a better life for her daughter, Shania.

It’s funny and enjoyable.  The premiere episode has been the best.  The ensemble cast is great and the standouts are Ellen Barkin (Goldie’s grandmother), NeNe Leakes (Bryan’s personal assistant), and Bebe Wood (Shania, Goldie’s pre-teen daughter).

Sadly, the ratings for the NBC show have already started slipping from almost 7 million viewers for the first two episodes to around 5 million for Tuesday night’s politically-charged episode, “Obama Mama”.  Check out this extended preview if you haven’t already watched the show.

Tonight (Thursday night), I want to check out CBS’ new take on Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary”.  It’s not because I’m a fan of the detective.  It’s because I’ve had the hots for Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband, Jonny Lee Miller, ever since he played “Eli Stone” on ABC (thanks for cancelling that ABC, bad call!).

Speaking of hots, Miller’s version of Holmes is even tattooed! 🙂

And, finally, Sunday night is the seventh season premiere of “Dexter”.  And, we’re only two weeks away from the new season “The Walking Dead”!  I love this post to thank the show’s 10 million Facebook fans!

And, the new season of “American Horror Story” is coming, along with the final season of “Fringe”.

FLOWERS

With the trees beginning to turn and mums opening up, colors are beginning to pop.  Did you know that in the winter of 1636, tulip mania hit Holland and for some time, bulbs traded for the price of houses? Crazy!  Although I’d never pay that much for anything, other than a house, the sight is majestic!

MY NEW MUSIC GUILTY PLEASURE

While I await the new Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, “On This Winter’s Night” and  Blake Shelton’s Christmas album (because it features Reba), the album I’m really excited about is Calvin Harris’ “18 Months” (October 29, 2012).

For those that don’t know him, he’s a Scottish DJ and producer.  He also spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Rihanna on “We Found Love”.  He’s also had other hits like, “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.  His new song, “Sweet Nothing”, features Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.

And, FYI, I still cringe when I hear the current Taylor Swift song, “We Are Never Blah Blah Blah”!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

I’ll leave with you this amazing quote from Chinese journalist Hu Shuli, “Believe in what you do, do it smartly, and never give up.”

Have a great day and thanks for checking out my buffet blog.

Anthony