Posts Tagged ‘Julia Roberts’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 17, 2018

It’s hard to believe that we’re already into the middle of August.

After one of the hottest weekends of the summer last weekend in the Northland, I’m ready for a long, comfortable Duluth, Minnesota autumn!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“FAKE NEWS” — FOR SURE

It’s bad enough to have to look at 45 and listen to his ramblings with the traditional trite catch phrases, “witch hunt”, “crooked Hillary”, or “fake news”.

Well, last week, CNN ran a story comparing the approval rating of  “that man” vs. President Barack Obama.

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But, Junior, that’s Donald Jr. posted a fake image on his Instagram page with 45’s job approval rating at 50% instead of the actual 40%!

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After being called out numerous times, he finally deleted it last Friday.

FAKE NEWS in the 45 White House circle of hell is alive and well!

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

In January, I saw “Call Me By Your Name” and in March, I went to see “Love, Simon”.  I highly recommend both of them!

But, today, I’m indulging with a large popcorn, a Coke Zero, and “Crazy Rich Asians”!

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I first mentioned the movie in my blog last November when I was crushing on 31-year-old British-Malaysian actor Henry Golding, the lead in the movie.

Henry Golding

A couple of months ago, I wrote, “I think ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be the new ‘Pretty Woman’!  Well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles!

I’m so excited to see MUCH MORE of Henry Golding and the chemistry between his character, Nick Young and Rachel (Constance Wu).

Also, I hear that Goh Peik Lin (played by Awkwafina), Rachel’s Singaporean college best friend, is hilarious.”

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

The world lost music legend Aretha Franklin Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer.  She was 76.  Her family and friends were with her when she passed on.

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Franklin got her start singing in her father’s Detroit church.

She scored her first hit in 1960 on the Billboard R&B chart when “When I Sing The Blues” reached #10.

That was the first of 81 hits she charted on R&B charts.  Of those, 52 reached the Top Ten, with 37 making the Top 5!

On the R&B chart, she had 20 number one hits.

Meanwhile, on the Billboard Hot 100 (which combines all music), she scored 43 hits with 17 making it to the Top 5.

She had two #1 hits on the Hot 100:  1967’s “Respect” and 1987’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”, with George Michael.

My three favorite Aretha songs were “Chain of Fools” at #3, “Freeway of Love” at #2, and this one is my favorite.

Aretha’s duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” was also my favorite of all of Michael’s hits, too!

Franklin also picked up 17 Grammy Awards for her recordings and thee more Special Grammy Awards!

AUGUST 16TH

On this date, August 16, we lost the “King” Elvis Presley in 1977 and the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin in 2018.

On a happier note, the “Queen of Pop” Madonna was born in 1958!

Elvis Aretha Madonna

Happy 60th Madonna!

In her honor, here are my all-time favorite Madonna songs.  I’ll be your jukebox today!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/my-favorite-iconic-madonna-hits/

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

While I still haven’t seen two of the Best Actress performances from the 90th Academy Awards, I have to say that Annette Benning was robbed of an Oscar nomination in “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”.

Jamie Bell was equally deserving.

This romantic dramedy is about the love affair of an older woman and a younger man and is based on the true story of actress Gloria Grahame.

While Grahame won an Oscar in 1952 for “The Bad and the Beautiful”, many people probably know her best as Violet Bick from 1946’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  (Yes, the staple of Christmas television!)

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Bening was fantastic as Grahame and it’s great to see Jamie Bell all grown up and sexy!

I loved him, when barely a teenager, in his movie debut, 2000’s incredible “Billy Elliot”.

And, it was fun seeing him reunited with Julie Walters (“Mamma Mia”), who played his dance teacher in “Billy Elliot” and his mother in “Film Stars”.

GRADE: A

“SAFE”

If you’re looking for a new series to binge watch on Netflix, check out the latest from Michael C. Hall, who played adorable serial killer, “Dexter” on Showtime for eight seasons.

Dexter-michael-c-hall

I still have the biggest crush on Hall!  I was very fortunate to see him “off Broadway” in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in New York City in January 2015.

Hedwig

In “Safe”, an eight episode series, Hall plays an English doctor who goes on the search for his teenage daughter when she and her hot boyfriend go missing.

It’s filled with many twists and turns and the conclusion is a shocker!

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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MY 15 MINUTES OF FAME WITH JEFFREY DAHMER

Back in 1990, I spent the summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and unbeknownst then, a menacing serial killer was praying on young men in the city.

When the timeline of Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree, complete with cannibalism and lobotomies, came to light, I had been in Club 219 two nights before Dahmer picked up one of his victims!

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Who knows, he might have been creeping around in the corner of that seedy bar that night!

MY FRIEND DAHMER”

There have been several movies released about Dahmer.

“Dahmer” (2002) with Jeremy Renner playing the serial killer is a little bit better than this one, but it’s not great either.

“My Friend Dahmer” focuses on the high school years of Dahmer in Ohio, with Ross Lynch of Disney Channel fame, playing a teenage Dahmer.

While Lynch is convincing, Anne Heche’s performance as his unstable mother is a bit much to take — too comical.

GRADE:  C

CRAZY OCCURRENCES IN JIMMY CARTER’S TERM

Watching “My Friend Dahmer”, I did learn something that I didn’t know.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president.

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and even got to meet Vice President Walter Mondale.

MONDALE

That isn’t the only strange occurrence during the Carter White House years with a serial killer.

In a turn of events that’s much more widely known, First Lady Rosalynn Carter was photographed with John Wayne Gacy in May 1978 for his part in the annual Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago.

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Around Christmas 1978, Gacy was arrested and eventually convicted of killing 33 young men and boys outside Chicago.  He buried many in his house in the crawl space.

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He was also known for dressing up as a clown, thus earning the nickname “Killer Clown”.

“CHAPPAQUIDDICK”

We know the story of the Kennedy curse:  Joe was killed fighting in World War II and John and Bobby were assassinated, so it was up to Ted to get to the White House.

But, on a fateful summer night near Martha’s Vineyard, those dreams almost disappeared in an alcohol-induced accident that left Mary Jo Kopechne , who worked on Bobby’s 1968 campaign, dead.

If you liked Kennedy, this movie definitely won’t make you like him any more.  If you already disliked him, you’ll like him even less.

GRADE:  B-

TED KENNEDY

I’ll admit for all his faults, Ted Kennedy did a lot for us in his almost 47 years as Senator.

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However, I’ll never forgive him for making a run in 1980 for the Democratic nomination for president.

While dealing with the Iranian hostage situation and the faltering economy, this definitely hurt sitting President Jimmy Carter that spring and gave Ronald Reagan the advantage he needed.

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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I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

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

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

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

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

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

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

“CHANGE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“CHANGE 2.0”

Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But, not one date in a year!!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

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

Autograph Carters

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

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

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

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

HCAnthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 2, 2018

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

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

VACATIONS

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

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

AP Scand

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

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

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

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

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

RONALD REAGAN & THE QUAD CITIES  

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

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

An American Life

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

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

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

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

QUICK OSCAR NOTES

The Oscars are Sunday night on ABC.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best Picture:

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

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

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

“A REPORTER’S LIFE”

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

Walter Cronkite

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

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

“NIGHTLINE”

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

Excellent read!

Nightline Ted K

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

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

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

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

MORE ON TIANANMEN SQUARE

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

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

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

Tiananmen

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

GUESS WHO???  

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

Answer at the bottom!

“WONDER”

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

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

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

GRADE:  A-

“ROMAN J. ISREAL, ESQ.”

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

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

GRADE: B

“HAPPY DEATH DAY”

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

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

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

GRADE: D

STRONG WOMEN SCARE PEOPLE

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

More Random Panama City Thoughts

I guess it’s time to update my adventures after almost two weeks in Panama City, Florida.

I’m still finding beauty here and I haven’t even ventured outside of the city!  This is a reflection in a pond (swamp) in the complex!

Reflections

I’m still getting settled in and I promise once every box is emptied, put away, and extra stuff is re-packed, I’ll decorate my walls and post pictures.

STILL STUNNED WITH “NO RECYCLING”

As I empty those boxes and take all the newspaper and cardboard boxes to the trash compactor (or empty the last of the 2-liter bottles of soda I bought), much to my chagrin, I’m reminded of the lack of recycling!

Actually, the complex has two trash compactors and one has been broken since I arrived. Here’s a novel idea — start a recycling program and that’ll cut back on waste and the trash compactors won’t have to work as hard!

TOO MANY, I THINK SO!

I’ve decided that no matter how fun a shirt looks, I’m not buying another one!

What I think I’m going to do is not wash t-shirts until I wear every one of them!  Do you get into a rut of wearing your favorites?  I do.  Some of these have not even been worn.

TShirts

Also, look at the top left.  Most of my daily wear — pajama bottoms — are flannel! Houston, we have a problem for Florida heat and humidity !

I love my new pantry, but doesn’t it look a little too much like “Sleeping With The Enemy”?  Maybe I need to pull a Julia Roberts and knock something over just because I can!

Pantry

The other day, I wore flip flops on a walk and a kid laughed at me.  He said, “Old man, you don’t wear socks with flip flops”!  There’s so much for me to learn about Florida living!

Okay, for the record, I didn’t really wear socks with flip flops and no kid laughed at me! 🙂 However, I did get a blister on the top of my foot from wearing them on a walk, so I’ll be wearing tennis shoes now!

WTH?

As I was working in the kitchen, I looked down at the doors under the sink and this is what I saw.

Fire Ex

This is seriously on the outside on the door!  Couldn’t the complex tell me there’s a fire extinguisher under my sink instead of posting a sign on the door?  It doesn’t exactly match my decor!

I know every time I walk into the kitchen, I’ll stare down at it and say “WTF”!

COMCAST AND MEDIACOM

If I ever have Mediacom again, I promise not to complain because for the first week here, my Comcast cable sucked!

My cable and internet was turned on last Sunday (May 7th) around noon.  It worked some that evening and then it was off for much of the week.    Four technicians have been out now and it’s finally working now.

Comcast

I’ve spent more time on the phone with agents troubleshooting their crappy services than I have watching cable.

Absolutely horrible!  What makes it worse is that I’ve already gotten a bill for almost $200!

So far, I’ve only watched two episodes of “Madam Secretary” on it.  I hope I find something else to watch soon!

The good news is that the internet works much better than Mediacom!

 

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

As you know, I love Redbox and I finally rented a movie this past weekend.  I saw the last of nine Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars.

“Hidden Figures” was incredible.  It’s about the NASA’s space program and the contributions of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

While Spencer was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actress, I think that Henson should have been nominated, too.  Her post-drenched rain scene alone was award worthy and tear jerking!

What’s heartbreaking 50 years later is the racism of the 1960s and the whole “colored this” mentality.  Mind boggling!

And, what’s even sadder is that that BS still exists today.  People, open your mind and your heart and if that’s hard, don’t speak.  Just think a little more!

Monae’s character says it best, “It’s equal rights. I have the right to see fine in every color!”

I agree!  If I ever find myself single again, I’ll be open for fine in every color!!!!!!!!!!!

FINAL NOTE

I make my Panama City television debut Friday evening at 5, 6, and 10.  The chief has the night off.  I’m also working the evening shows this weekend and, again, next Tuesday!  A 12-day work stretch!  What a way to break in the new guy!

I’ll likely start my regular morning and midday routine in early June!

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 7, 2016

October is here and I’m excited that cooler days are in the forecast and the holiday seasons are right around the corner.  (Notice I said “seasons”?  While Christmas is my favorite, I do love my Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving feast!)

Now that the summer heat is giving way to fall temperatures, we’ll probably be eating fewer Popsicles.

Popsicle

But, it’s always the perfect time for ice cream!

As political as I get sometimes, I admit that I really want November 8th to get here and have this long, drawn out election cycle and 2016 presidential election behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random Friday thoughts and as always, if you disagree, do it diplomatically!

CREEPY CLOWN SIGHTINGS

I’m not sure what’s behind this sudden fascination with creepy clowns showing up and freaking people out.

I’d venture to guess that social media and 24-hour news cycles are huge factors for us hearing so much about it.  Aren’t those two always to blame? 🙂

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When it comes to creepy clowns, this is the creepiest by far!  On the brighter side, this particular “killer clown” in no longer a threat to anyone.

If you’re too young to know, that’s John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer and rapist that murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 inside his Chicago-area home.  Let me tell you, as a teenager when that killing spree was exposed, it creeped me out big time.

A decade or so later, I had a “too close for comfort” brush with Jeffrey Dahmer.  That’s a story for another time!

KIM KARDASHIAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was reportedly robbed at gunpoint earlier this week at her Paris hotel residence by five men dressed as police officers.

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While she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, it had to be a scary ordeal!

At least $11 million in jewelry was taken including a jewelry box worth about $6.7 million and a ring valued at $4.5 million.

Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never know what it’s like to have that kind of money and anything of that much value in my house.

The thing that baffles me most about the ordeal is that if someone had that much money or jewelry, wouldn’t you keep it at a safer location like a bank or a vault?

In Kardashian West’s case, if she wanted any particular piece of her collection that was safely tucked away, she could have someone fetch it for her!

MAGIC MIKE MISFIRE

I really enjoyed “Magic Mike”, but I hated the sequel.

Now, James Marsden reveals that he regrets not signing on for the movie.

Well, that makes two of us.  Okay, three if you count Ray and I know the number doesn’t stop there!

With that in mind, if Marsden is still up to strip down, this might actually excite me for a third installment!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON FINALE

The second season of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” wrapped up last Sunday night with back-to-back episodes for a two-hour finale.

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While the first season’s six episodes were slow, it was still enjoyable.  However, the second season was stronger and much more powerful.

The finale featured one of the most intense “walker” deaths of the series.  It was a wrenching scene that lasted beyond the comfort level and that’s a good thing.

We also saw one of the show’s original cast members die.  While the death may not have come as a surprise, how it was executed was a shocker to me.  I tweeted the actor about his amazing two seasons and he liked the tweet.

While I gave the season and the finale a high grade (see below), I have a complaint.

It’s becoming monotonous when the characters disembowel a walker and smear the blood on themselves now that they’ve learned they can walk freely among the walking dead by doing that.

This is much more believable and is done with more intensity on “The Walking Dead”.  And, it isn’t overused as a gimmick.

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If “Fear The Walking Dead” is going to keep doing this, why not make it a “chore” and each day for several hours, people can go out, get exercise, and rid themselves of the walker population in their area.  But, this would be boring.

That’s my only complaint and I can’t wait for season three in 2017.

GRADE:  A-

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

After what seems like an eternal wait since I read the book, “The Girl on the Train” finally hits theaters this weekend.

I’ve highly recommended the Paula Hawkins book several times in my blog and I can’t wait to see the movie, which I think will easily debut at #1 in the U.S. and at worldwide box office.

“WILL & GRACE” TAKE ON VOTING

If you miss the NBC hit comedy, “Will & Grace”, you got a treat around the time of the first presidential debate.

The cast gathered ten years after the comedy left television to raise awareness on the importance of voting in this November’s election.

This is hilarious (and even borderline offensive to some).

Disclaimer:  it’s definitely not made for NBC’s “standards and practices”!

A LESS “BRAGGADOCIOUS” LOOK BACK

Comedian Randy Rainbow takes a much different approach to last week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think this is the best skit I’ve seen him perform.

“MONEY MONSTER”

This Jodie Foster-directed suspense thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Donnell (“Unbroken”) was high on my list to see this summer when it hit theaters.

Life got in the way, so I caught it on DVD.

I’m glad it worked out that way because I wouldn’t have been too happy if I had spent $35-plus for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d watch Julia Roberts read the newspaper.

The story was intense and the way it ended was fulfilling, but I had higher expectations.

I guess most of all, I want to see Foster back in front of the camera!

GRADE:  B

“RISEN”

This movie about the search for a risen Jewish messiah (yes, Jesus) was a modest box office hit earlier this year.

The $20 million movie grossed $46.1 million and most of that was here in the United States.

It was an entertaining movie without being too preachy for those that proceed with caution with religious-based movies.

The very sexy Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman tribute, assigned to investigate the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  By the way, Jesus is played by Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis on “Fear The Walking Dead”.

One thing that cracked me up was the silly MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie.

For this one, it warned viewers of “Biblical Violence”.

Okay, while implied more than glorified with blood and gore, the movie was rather savage, at times, and violence is violence.  Putting the word “biblical” in front of it doesn’t make it less painful or deadly, right? 🙂

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

I admit that since I don’t hear any new music from my country favorites on the radio these days and I’m not a fan of “bro-country”, I don’t make it a point to listen to the genre.

However, Canadian country music star Brett Kissel is one of my new favorites even though he doesn’t get airplay on American country radio.

Recently, “Entertainment Weekly” showcased several women making inroads in the country music field.  Two of them stood out to me.

Margo Price, who was born in Aledo, Illinois, in Mercer County, just down the road from the Quad Cities, is one of them.

Her debut album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”, which hit #10 on the Billboard Country Album chart earlier this year, features some great country music.

“4 Years of Chances” is a favorite of mine.

Next week, I’ll feature another standout and if you like traditional country music, you’ll love it.

ANOTHER PICK HIT

As I’ve stated before, “7/27”, the latest CD from Fifth Harmony is a great album.

It’s already produced the #1 hit “Work From Home” and the smash “All In My Head (Flex)”.

“That’s My Girl” is their latest release.

Right now, it’s at #36 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Ready For Popcorn & These Fall Movies

I’m craving movie popcorn and I finally have the motivation to head to the theater soon and eat some.

popcorn

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of September, nine months into year, and I haven’t been to the movies yet in 2015.  The last movie I saw in a theater, “Unbroken”, was back on December 28, 2014.

With fall approaching, here are the movies tickling my fancy and will likely encourage me to cash in the two free movie passes and two generous theater gifts cards that I’ve been waiting to use.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

And, many of them will likely get some Oscar love when nominations are announced in early 2016.

Among the movies I want to see, last year’s Best Actress and Best Actor winners, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, will possibly be nominated again, along with the Best Actress winner from two years ago, Cate Blanchett.

Also, there’s Best Actress winners Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts.  Yes, Julia’s back!

So, enjoy these trailers of the movies I want to see before the end of the year.  Chances are that I’ll be seeing some of them when they are released on DVD.

Who knows, you may be sitting right next to me in the theater if you like what you see here.

SEPTEMBER 11

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

SEPTEMBER 18  

“EVEREST”

SEPTEMBER 18

“SICARIO”

SEPTEMBER 25

“STONEWALL”

OCTOBER 2

“THE MARTIAN”

OCTOBER 2

“FREEHELD”

OCTOBER 23

“SUFFRAGETTE”

OCTOBER 30

“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS”

NOVEMBER 6

“TRUMBO”

NOVEMBER 20

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

NOVEMBER 20

“CAROL”

 NOVEMBER 25

“VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN”

NOVEMBER 27

“THE DANISH GIRL”

Any of these look good to you?

Enjoy your fall, your movies, and your popcorn.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over and that means we’re getting closer to fall, my new favorite season.  Sorry winter!

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

BLAKE & MIRANDA GETTING DIVORCED

Marriages and relationships take a lot of work and when both people are celebrities, it’s much harder.  So, I’m a little surprised at people’s shock about the impending divorce of country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert after four years of marriage.

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Yes, I’m bummed about it.  But, I’m not shocked.

Country singer Chris Young, who has toured with Miranda and considers himself a friend of the couple, is speaking out that he had nothing to do with the couple’s marriage problems.

CY

That response was prompted after the gossip-mongers at TMZ reported what they learned from “multiple sources familiar with the situation”!  Have I ever mentioned that I can’t stand TMZ and its bitterness?

I always hope that love is real for everyone and I hope Blake and Miranda find it again.  I’m definitely a romantic that wants the fairy tale.

SPEAKING OF FAIRY TALES

Can you believe this year marks the 25th anniversary of “Pretty Woman”?

pretty-woman

The romantic comedy that skyrocketed Oscar winner Julia Roberts to fame made $463 million dollars at theaters after its spring 1990 release.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

Okay, this one is far from the fairy tale or a romantic comedy!

I just finished reading Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”.   I walked so much on the treadmill just to finish the book because I didn’t want to put it down!

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!

It’s been reported that Emily Blunt (“Into The Woods” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is set to star as Rachel (and also reported that she’ll play Jess/Megan).

Emily Blunt

Since I’m a real-life television meteorologist and not a Hollywood casting agent, as a fan of the book, here’s my dream cast. And, in case you haven’t read the book, I’m only giving character names and not how they play into the story.

I know actors and projects have to line up, so I’ll offer several people for each role.

Tom — Michael Fassbender, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), James Marsden, and Andrew Lincoln (“The Walking Dead”)

Michael FassbenderDexterHugh DancyJames MarsdenAndrew Lincoln

Scott — Grey Damon (“Aquarius”) and Shawn Ashmore (“The Following”)

Grey DamonShawn Ashmore

Let’s go with it that Emily will take the role of either Rachel or Jess/Megan.

Jess/Megan and Anna —  Elisabeth Rohm (“Stalker), Jennifer Aniston, and Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”)

Elisabeth RohmJennifer AnistonEvanRachelWood

And, finally, Dr. Kamal Abdic — Manish Dayal (“The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Enrique Iglesias

Manish DayalEnrique Iglesias

Okay, I’ve enjoyed my fantasy casting enough.  One more “reported” claim about the movie is that the locale will move from London to the United States.

Tate Taylor (“The Help”) has signed on to direct.

Paula, your thoughts on the casting?

And, in honor of Rachel! 🙂

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

“THE SNOWMAN”

Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember on Mondays back when I blogged all the time, I had the feature, “They Said What???”  Why not revisit it with these fun ones!

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABEE LINDSEY GRAHAM

(on “CBS This Morning” about Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans): “Run for president but don’t be the world’s biggest jackass.”

Pitbull

POP SINGER PITBULL

“I want to tell Marco Rubio, step it up!  Jeb Bush, step it up!  Hillary Clinton, step it up!  Because Donald Trump can’t be president.”

(More Pitbull to Trump):  “I want him to know I’m not a politician. I’m a musician. I’m a Latino first. I support our people.”

DIRECTOR/ACTOR TYLER PERRY

(speaking of the media reporting on Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown):  “It makes me sad to know that everybody wants to be the first to report something awful. So much so, that they find it OK to speak death onto those who are still alive. May I ask you all to please show some decency and respect?”

IRRELEVANT “ONE-HIT WONDER” SINGER SINEAD O’CONNOR

(on Facebook blasting “Rolling Stone” for its Kim Kardashian West cover):  “What is this c**t doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died.  Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it? Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be f**king horrified. #BoycottRollingStone”

Kim KW Rolling Stone

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(responding to “North Dakota Today” news co-host Chris Berg.  When talking about Stern’s salary of a reported $95 million, Berg asked how Stern could be making that much money.)

Berg

“Douche, you can do the same thing. Leave Fargo, get a show and work on your comedy chops and work on being interesting.”

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

(MORE STERN):  “The reason I worked so hard is so I wouldn’t have to live in Fargo, North Dakota, honestly. No offense if you live there. I’m pretty sure if you’re living there, you’re trying to get out … Gee whiz … I didn’t know Fargo still existed … Good lord. Well, anyway.”

DJ/PRODUCER SKRILLEX

(on Justin Bieber):  “Justin is a f**king virtuoso.  He’ll school you at every-thing: Ping-Pong, basketball, freestyle rapping.  The kid is so competitive.  Whatever he does he’s super good at, so you don’t stand a chance.  It’s not even fair.”

And, here’s Justin’s latest with Skrillex and Diplo.  I love this song and the video is so cool.  It’s takes me back to the fun days of music videos on MTV.

DONUTGATE

I like donuts and I cannot lie!  (You can sing that along to “Baby Got Back” if you want.)

Donuts

And, while they’re so delicious, the unhealthy treat was thrust into the national spotlight recently when pop tart Ariana Grande was busted “allegedly” licking a donut in a California shop without paying for it.

I’m glad that charges will not be filed against her for the silliness.  Yes, it’s gross if she actually Frenched the pastry for someone else to buy, but there are more pressing matters for us to deal with here in America.

Here’s another perspective on the matter.  When you were young, could you see yourself doing that if you were dared by a friend?  I can’t say that my young self would have done it, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t have!

SUMMER 2016 PROJECT

While there’s still several weeks left in summer 2015, I’m already making plans for next summer and setting my goals high.

Back in the summer of 2012, I ventured into making jelly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made 44 jars of mint, jalapeno-mint, apple mint, lemon balm-basil, and rosemary-lavender-lemon-mint jellies in many festive colors. While rainbow-colored, I didn’t call it “gay jelly”.

I just came across a recipe for pickling vegetables and it looks simple and tasty.

So, next year, pickles and pickled veggies!

ACCEPTANCE OF THOSE IN LOVE

As I’ve talked about in the past, my relationship with my alcoholic father was strained at best.  When sober, he was more tolerable.  However, overall, he didn’t like people, including his own family.

I know if he was alive today he would likely not be a part of his gay son’s life.  But, who knows, he could have softened in his golden years and surprised me.

I usually don’t think of him (he died in 1987), but I did think of him again when Jennifer Hudson’s “I Still Love You” was nominated earlier this week for an MTV VMA “Moonmen” award for “Video With a Social Message”.

The album (and song) didn’t catch on with radio or music buyers, but the video and the song are incredible.

TILDA SWINTON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HER

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is all for looking bad for a great role.

She’s hardly recognizable in “Snowpiercer” as Deputy-Minister Mason or as Madame D. in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, a very old woman.

But, check out the 54-year-old actress in the new movie, “Trainwreck”!  (It’s the picture on the left.)

tilda-transformation

Incredible!  What a chameleon.

SKIP “IT FOLLOWS” AND RENT “THE BABADOOK”

“It Follows” was critically acclaimed and made enough money that a sequel is being discussed.

The premise is cool — a supernatural “it” stalks people after they’ve had sex.  The only way for it to leave you alone is if you pass it along to someone else.

After watching the very SLOOOOOOOW movie, I realized that if “It Follows”, it’d definitely catch them!

Watch the trailer, which is better than the movie and save a couple of dollars renting it.

GRADE: C

However, if you want something supernatural that’s scary, check out the Australian-Canadian psychological thriller, “The Babadook”.

“Mister Babadook” is a pop-up storybook that mysteriously appears and re-appears in the home of a mother and her 6-year-old troubled son.

The supernatural entity starts tormenting people when they are made aware of its existence.

Essie Davis are Noah Wiseman excellently portray the fear and horror of being tormented by the “Babadook”.

And, how cool is the word “Babadook”?

GRADE:  B

MID-YEAR CANADIAN MUSIC LEADERS

In my last “Random Friday Thoughts” back on July 3rd, I reported that at the halfway point of 2015 that Taylor Swift leads in album sales and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have the top-selling single in the U.S. with “1989” and “Uptown Funk”, respectively.

I guess our friends to the north in Canada have the same taste.  Here are the sales there through mid-year and T-Swizzle has now surpassed Ed Sheeran in album sales and Ronson and Mars lead there, too.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Top Selling Canadian Albums (through June 30, 2015)

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 — 172,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, X — 170,000
3. Fifty Shades Of Grey, soundtrack — 134,000
4. Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour — 132,000
5. Yoan, Yoan — 101,000
6. Hozier, Hozier — 101,000
7. Drake, If You’re Reading This… — 101,000
8. Maroon 5, V — 92,000
9. Meghan Trainor, Title — 86,000
10. Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind — 84,000

Top Selling Singles (through June 30, 2015)

1. Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk! — 526,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud — 346,000
3. Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again — 315,000
4. Maroon 5, Sugar — 289,000
5. Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney, FourFiveSeconds — 289,000
6. Hozier, Take Me To Church — 279,000
7. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do — 245,000
8. Omi, Cheerleader — 242,000
9. Andy Grammar, Honey, I’m Good — 204,000
10. Walk The Moon, Shut Up & Dance — 200,000

“SHOW ME YOURS”

A couple of years ago, singer Hailey Rowe released “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.  It was a fun song and the video was incredible frisky and sexy.  It ended up being my favorite song of 2013.

Now, Canadian singer and internet sensation Scotty Dynamo has released the next big gay thing.

His “Show Me Yours” video reminds me of a modern-day version of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, which was very scandalous and controversial back in 1981.  Maybe that’s why the song ended up spending ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and was the biggest-selling single of the 1980s in the U.S.

BETTE MIDLER & DIVINE INTERVENTION

Congratulations to Bette Midler on the 32 sellouts shows on the “Divine Intervention Tour”!  It made an incredible $36 million!

Bette

We saw the amazing Las Vegas show in May!

GUESS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW

As I’ve said many times, I wish I was wealthy enough to just write all the time.  But, I must pay the bills and find time to get a few hours of sleep, pay the bills, and go on vacation.

Thank you very much for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about them.  If you agree with something, let me know.  If not, tell me that, too.

I value your thoughts as much as I appreciate you checking out mine.

Anthony