Posts Tagged ‘Lady Gaga’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 16, 2020

Here’s wishing you a great weekend and thank you for checking out what’s on my mind this week.

I’ll go ahead and get the heavy stuff out the way and move on to happier thoughts!

“SEXUAL PREFERENCE” & “CHOICE”

Those two terms, when talking about people in the LGBTQ community, are outdated and if you use them, it shows you’re misinformed and out of touch!

It’s especially alarming when an unqualified candidate to become a Supreme Court justice uses them!

I never made a “choice” and “preferred” to be discriminated against as a gay man and to be a “second class citizen”!

When did you choose to be straight?  You don’t remember? 

Of course not, it wasn’t a choice!  You were “born this way”, just as I was “born this way”!

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DISGUSTING?

What kind of world do we live in?

It saddens and angers me when some in the “basket of deplorables” (yes, I said and I own it!) plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer!

Just look at this disgusting group!

I agree with Governor Whitmer that “words matter” and they are domestic terrorists!

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was also targeted.

Ironically (???), both are Democratic governors!

I know there have been assassination attempts and plots in my lifetime against American presidents and politicians.

However, this insanity has to stop. I hope the first step is taken November 3, 2020!

“THE BOYS IN THE BAND”

The latest Ryan Murphy television event debuted a couple of weeks ago on Netflix and it’s fantastic, caustic, and catty!

It’s a remake of the 1968 Off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley, which was made into a 1970 movie directed by William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”).

Before adapting this into a movie, Murphy brought a revival of the play to Broadway in 2018 with the same cast members — Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Robin De Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington, Charlie Carver, Tuc Watkins, and Brian Hutchinson.

Jim Parsons deserves an Emmy nomination in 2021 and my favorite character in the movie was the flamboyant and effeminate Emory, played by Robin De Jesus.

My best friend asked me which characters were us in our younger days. For me, I’d say a combination of Bomer’s (chill, but not depressed) and Carver’s (naive, but not an escort) characters.

However, in my 20s, I didn’t have the sexiness of either! 🙂

GRADE: A

RAINBOW OREOS

There’s a new Oreo cookie, but you won’t be able to buy it in stores!

OREO and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) are releasing the limited edition rainbow cookie in celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month.

The cookies will be given away to fans as a “reward acts of allyship for the LGBTQ+ community”.

The cookies are part of the new Proud Parent platform, “a long-term campaign shining light on the importance of a supportive family in fostering greater LGBTQ+ acceptance.”

“LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE”

This eight-episode Hulu original series is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 critically acclaimed novel. It’s great!

While Reese Witherspoon (Mia Warren) and Kerry Washington (Elena Richardson) are amazing in this series, it’s the young stars that carry much of the weight in this drama that takes place outside Cleveland, Ohio.

Lexi Underwood, Mia’s teenager daughter Pearl, Gavin Lewis (Moody), and Megan Stott (Izzy), two of Elena’s kids, are incredible young actors.

You’re captivated by them in every one of their scenes.

And, your heart breaks whenever Huang Lu, who plays Bebe Chow, a co-worker of Mia’s in Shaker Heights, is on screen.

Not to be outdone by the female leads and the younger cast, Joshua Jackson’s tighty whities got a lot of press from that one scene! 🙂

Jackson handled the attention like a star, “Who knew that all these years what was missing from my career was parading around in my tighty-whities… I’m in my 40s now. I enjoy getting objectified!”

Now, I’m going to read the critically acclaimed book.

GRADE: A-

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month!

UNTIL #PUG2021, THIS WILL DO!

With Covid-19 and things, I’ve pushed back getting my pug until the spring or summer of 2021.

So, #Pug2020 is now #Pug2021. Until then, this will have to do! 🙂

CHICAGO CURIOSITIES

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

It was autographed by McNamee to Ann and Bill and a gift from Doug! I guess they didn’t want it anymore! 🙂 I picked it up at a yard sale.

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting factoids I learned. *Keep in mind that this is a 29-year-old book and the stats may be outdated. I didn’t check for their current validity — that’s another benefit of Google if you choose to check!* 🙂

  • The suburbs once had a Romeo and Juliet in the pioneer days! In 1845, “Juliet” became Joliet and “Romeo” was renamed Romeoville in 1895.
  • One of the nicknames of Mayor Jane Byrne, the first woman elected to the office, was “the Snow Queen”.
  • After the “Chicago Blizzard of 1979”, Byrne used the ineffectiveness of Mayor Michael Bilandic to clear away the snow and it helped her beat Mayor Daley’s “Democratic Machine”!
  • In that 1979 election, Byrne received more than 700,000 votes (82% of the votes cast). No other mayoral candidates have gotten that many votes in an election since!
  • While it was costlier, “The Great Chicago Fire” (1871) was not the deadliest fire in the city. On December 30, 1903, 602 people were killed in the Iroquois Theater Fire.
  • In its 105 years of operation, more than a billion (that’s with a “B”) creatures were slaughtered at The Union Stockyards. Its busiest year was 1924 — it received 18.65 million head of livestock! This help earn Chicago the nickname, “Hog Butcher for the World”! (Now, I’m going to read Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, “The Jungle”.)
  • The Hostess Twinkie was invented in Schiller Park in 1930 by James Dewar. Dewar ate two Twinkies each day and lived to be 88!
  • Other foods that got their start in Chicago: Cracker Jack (19 tons a day made at the plant in Northbrook), Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Roll Pops (20 to 30 million pieces made daily at the Cicero plant), and Vienna hot dogs (104 million made in 1991 on Damen)!

MY FAVORITE BIRTHDAYS

While I had a birthday earlier this week, it was just another day of work, walking, and reading. My sister is making a birthday dinner for me this weekend! 🙂

As I reflect back, my four most recent favorites were in 2011 — my last with my golden retriever, Miss ABBA.

In 2012, I enjoyed an endless mimosa brunch topped off with carrot cake at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

That night, I partied with Madonna! Actually, she was on stage and I was hanging out with 13,000 of her friends!

My most memorable birthday ever (and I doubt this will ever be topped) was in 2014, when I turned 50.

At midnight, I was sipping champagne sitting at a stage table at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France after a dinner cruise on the Seine River and looking out at a foggy city from atop the Eiffel Tower!

The next day, it was off to my dream birthday destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

And, in 2018, while in Morocco, my tour guide and my group surprised me with a birthday cake!

While this birthday was uneventful, here’s to many more healthy and more exciting ones in the future — like, seeing Kylie Minogue in concert in some fun foreign city in 2021 for the “Disco Tour”!

If you haven’t seen the two new Kylie videos from the upcoming “Disco” album (November 6, 2020), here they are!

If you love disco or dance music, these will make you happy! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 12, 2020

It was so nice sharing some of my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week. It was even better that it was read and well received. For those of you that took the time to check it out, thank you!

As I always say, if you disagree with me, that’s fine. Do it diplomatically!

With that being said, my first thought today may not sit well with some. Don’t take it out of context, so read it all before you comment! 🙂 And, don’t take it personally!

Have a fantastic weekend!

STIMULUS CHECKS & UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

While I’m expressing my displeasure of how misaligned the pandemic unemployment compensation program is, I’ll cut it short in light of what’s going on now in America.

There have been a couple of times in my life that I collected unemployment and let me tell you, the checks are NOT enough!

Since unemployment benefits are only a fraction of what you’d make by working, people living on unemployment alone find it hard to make ends meet.

But, now, with the pandemic unemployment compensation program, it’s become a joke and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t tick me off!

With an additional $600 a week on top of the unemployment checks, there are people not working that are making more money than essential workers working through this pandemic!

I know people that are benefiting from this financial windfall, so please use the money wisely!

I’ve worked through this entire pandemic and it’s a little upsetting that I’m clearing less on payday than some of those out of work!

People should NOT be making more money by staying at home than they would be making if this had never happened and they were working!

If this ever happens again, the pandemic unemployment compensation program needs to regulated better! On the positive side, I’m happy taxpaying Americans got a stimulus check!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox!

“HANNIBAL” IS NOW ON NETFLIX!

There are several topics that I’ve written about extensively over the past eight years: Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christmas, food, travel, and “Hannibal”.

What? Yes, I mean Hannibal Lecter and the NBC television series that ran for three season!

Well, after all this time, it’s now on Netflix! So, please, binge watch and see what you (and America) missed during its original run.

So, why should you watch it? Here’s what I’ve said about the show in the past:

April 3, 2013: “From the trailers, I feel that NBC is definitely pushing the envelope with the network’s standards and practices department with the gore and violence.  But, then again, this is a story about serial killers and a cannibal.  This isn’t Disney!”

April 5, 2013: (after seeing the premiere episode): ” it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.”

February 28, 2014: “If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.” 

I’m not alone! This is what “Entertainment Weekly” wrote about the season 2 premiere. (By the way, it gave the season two finale an “A-” also!)

May 16, 2014: NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.”

August 14, 2015: “This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television. Maybe it was too intelligent!”

“THE POLITICIAN”

I loved season one of Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” and I can’t wait to see season two, which premieres June 19, 2020, on Netflix.

Jessica Lange is mesmerizing as white trash conniver Dusty Jackson!

(Here’s the trailer to season one, so I don’t spoil anything for season two!)

And, I’ve said it before that in “another place and time”, I could see being married to star Ben Platt! 🙂

Here’s a Ben Platt extra — “The Rain” — check out that voice and those moves! 🙂

“HOLLYWOOD”

After watching season one of “The Politician”, I thoroughly enjoyed the seven episode series, “Hollywood” (also from Ryan Murphy).

It’s based on Scotty Bowers’ book, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” and the documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood”.

It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about “homophobia” and “racism” in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!)

Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.

She plays the wife of a studio head that ignores her at home — in every way — so she hires a young, hot escort!

Their small talk on their first tryst definitely gets “three snaps in a z-formation”! (Quickly scroll past the LuPone GIF if you’re easily offended!)

JACK (David Corenswet): “You want an honest answer?”
AVIS (LuPone):

Now, I’m finally watching all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

STILL WATCHING…

I had free HULU for a week this spring, so I watched 20 of the 36 episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd are amazing and even though he’s not a nice guy, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) is so hot!

And, Max Minghella (Nick) is so beautiful in the f***ed up dystopian world of “Handmaid’s”!

“CHROMATICA”

If you’re ready for some fun dance (and disco) music to brighten your days with all of the unrest across the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic, Lady Gaga’s new “Chromatica” fits the bill!

My favorite songs on the album are “Free Woman”, “Fun Tonight”, and “911” (makes me think of Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok”)!

My other favorites are “Alice”, “Sour Candy” (with the South Korean group Blackpink) and “1000 Doves” — in addition to the first two hits, “Stupid Love” (#5) and “Rain On Me” (#1) with Ariana Grande.

And, I hate to admit that the duet with Elton John doesn’t do much for me, which is shocking since I love both artists! (It was a good song until the last 15 seconds — epic fail to an otherwise decent song!)

Please tell me that when “Enigma” comes on that it sounds like she’s saying “I’ll be your enema” instead of “enigma” if you’re not really paying attention! Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

GRADE: B

However, if the album only consisted of the first ten songs, I’d give it an “A”. But. the last part of the CD brings the grade down!

LADY GAGA JOINS AN ELITE GROUP OF WOMEN

With “Chromatica” debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, it becomes her sixth chart topper!

This places her in a five-way tie for fourth place among women with Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift.

Janet Jackson is in third place with seven #1 albums, Madonna is second with nine, and the leader is Barbra Streisand with eleven!!!

Jay-Z leads men with 14 chart toppers and the Beatles lead all artists with 19 #1 albums.

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY “LOVERS”

One of my favorite Kylie Minogue songs turns 10 years old this week. It’s definitely one of the sexiest, button-pushing videos ever!

Due to its erotic nature, the video was banned or censored in many Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!

Kylie says, “I think, yes, it’s sexy but I also think it’s very touching and sensual and the message is love.”

While the song reached the Top 5 in many countries, it only hit #1 on one chart — the American Dance Club Songs chart! Go U.S.A. deviates! 🙂

The video has been viewed more than 24 million times! 🙂

ALSO READ…

Three books I’ve read this spring on my walks around Lake Decatur are 2004’s “Chasing The Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer” by David Reichert.

It covers the notorious serial killer that targeted young prostitutes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also, there was 2009’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — a parody novel/mash-up of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic, “Pride and Prejudice”.

My favorite line in the book was from an annoying character that I prayed would be devoured by zombies! No such luck! 😦

I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in – and I am sure my dinners are good enough for her, since she is an unmarried woman of seven-and-twenty, and as such should expect little more than a crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness.”

So catty! Meow!

And, I read “Julie & Julia” (2005) by Julie Powell, which is based on real life.

Many of you know of this book from the 2009 movie starring Oscar Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell.

“TALKING TO GIRLS ABOUT DURAN DURAN”

I also finished Rob Sheffield’s humorous look of growing up in the 1980s and how the music ( “best.music.ever” — my description of the 1980s) shaped his life.

DURAN DURAN

Since the book is more about the music and the decade rather than Duran Duran, here are a couple of pictures I took when I saw them on the “Paper Gods Tour” in Las Vegas in 2016.

Here’s a snippet of my 4th favorite Duran Duran song, “The Wild Boys”, live from that concert!

And, here are my three favorite Duran Duran songs!

“HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

“THE REFLEX”

“IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?

DURANNIES, YOUR FAVORITE?

Let’s hope this doesn’t start World War 3, but who was/is your favorite?

For me, it’s Roger Taylor!

He’s followed by Simon, John, and Nick. Sorry, Andy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 5, 2020

It’s been a couple of months since I last shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”!

I’ve been busy with the move, transitioning into a new job and schedule, and just walking, reading, and binge watching television.

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

While I always say that, I’m stressing it today because of recent events across the country!

VIOLENCE AND RACISM

If the unprecedented COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough to depress America, the outward racism and violence across the country is pathetically sad!

Here are my thoughts in a tweet last Sunday. Let me clear: protests SHOULD BE peaceful ☮️ and looters and rioters SHOULD BE ARRESTED!

There is a difference between protesting and being a criminal!

And, he’s worried about being fact-checked on Twitter?

NO “GLEE” FOR LEA MICHELE

The word “glee” means “great delight”, but when it comes to “Glee” star Lea Michele, it’s more of nightmare.

Well, I guess she is more of a nightmare!

On May 29th, Michele tweeted about the death of George Floyd.

Lea

This opened the gates of hell for her.  

A guest actor from the “Glee” series called Michele out for her rude behavior to her when she was on the show.  Then many other guests and co-stars came out to share their horror stories!

While her “Glee” co-star Amber Riley didn’t address the social media stir with words, this GIF pretty much says it all!

Ouch!

Glee Rachel Slushie

COVID-19 — YESTERDAY’S NEWS???

My friends, please be vigilant and be safe!

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has now topped 1.9 million and the death toll has surpassed 109-thousand!

With the murder of George Floyd and the unruly riots that are burning U.S. cities, Coronavirus has taken the backseat on television news coverage.

But, as America reopens, please be sanitary and keep yourself (and me and my family) as healthy as possible so we can move on to the “new normal”!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE — COVID-19 RELATED

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

While there won’t be amazing parades with music divas performing and scantily clad men and women, the LGBTQ community is still proud!

This is still one of my favorite Pride pictures of all time when I was in Chicago!

So, in honor of pride, cheers…

And, dance like you just don’t care!

ON A SADDER NOTE OF PRIDE — THANK YOU LARRY KRAMER!

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifices this man went through to give them chances that many of his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, many people living with HIV and AIDS are alive today and owe much of it to Kramer!

Sadly, the 84-year-old advocate died in late May.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter and gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”. 

But, his fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”. That film gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do —  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and openly gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS, was very controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed its seedy secrets.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Koch) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie by Ryan Murphy in 2014.

There’s an amazing HBO documentary called “Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” that you must see to learn more about this incredible man.

“THE CELLULOID CLOSET”

This 1981 book by Vito Russo covered the representation of the LGBTQ community in entertainment through the early years into the 1980s!

What an eye-opening read!

It’s appalling to know that gays and lesbians, when they were shown in movies in the early days of film, were only there to be made fun of, even though they weren’t even referenced as “homosexuals”.

Once movies in the 1960s and 1970s moved beyond using gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers as sight gags and to be made fun of, they became either the victims of heinous crimes or they would commit suicide because of “being that way”!

Even critics, from reputable publications like “Time”, “Newsweek”, “The New York Times”, and others perpetuated this appalling stereotype, even after gay liberation started at the beginning of the 1970s.

No wonder it took America until the 2000s to really make progress in LGBTQ rights!

Even one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1991 Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs” made the serial killer a transvestite that killed to be more like a woman! 

And, it starred a lesbian, Jodie Foster, one of my favorite actresses!

The late actor Richard Burton, who played a gay character, summed it up best to gossip columnist Liz Smith talking about homophobic theater critics, “Are they even vaguely aware that some of the greatest voices in the theater belong to homosexuals? They frighten me. Because they’re supposed to be the intellectuals, and I suddenly realize that they’re the audience for this film. I have never known anyone who took great exception to homosexuals that there wasn’t something very wrong with that person himself. “

And, “Abuse” director Arthur J. Bressan was asked by the mother of a teenage boy auditioning for his movie if her son would turn out gay by acting in the film. He replied, “No, and if he plays Hamlet he won’t inherit Denmark, either!”

One final interesting note from this book: director Herbert Ross made some of the most homophobic movies to come of out of Hollywood!

He was also the director of such major films such as “Funny Lady”, “The Turning Point”, “Goodbye Girl”, and “Footloose”.

And, here’s the irony, his biggest hit was 1989’s “Steel Magnolias”, one of the gayest (non-gay) movies ever made!

come sit by me!”

TV VIEWING & BINGE WATCHING

After binge-watching 60-plus hours of television in April, I got caught up on “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star” “Prodigal Son”, “The Good Doctor”, and “The Sinner”!

I also watched season three of “Ozark” and it was incredible! WOW!

While the nominations aren’t out yet, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy Awards now!

I’ve loved Linney since I saw her as Mary Ann Singleton in “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” in 1994 and I feel this is her year to collect another Emmy!

In May, I watched the series finales of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Homeland”. Both were perfect!

Thank you Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, and Peter Nowalk for six amazing, crazy years of “Murder”!

And, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, these eight years of “Homeland” were so intense and rewarding!

These A+ finales join “The Americans”, “Breaking Bad”, and “Six Feet Under” as my favorites series I’ve watched from beginning to end!

Sorry “Dexter”! Loved the entire series except that finale! Really???

OTHER MAY TELEVISION BINGEING

I’m also now caught up on “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, “You”, and “Eastsiders”.

“Eastsiders” is a funny, touching LGBTQ series on Netflix.

Check it out since the fourth and final season was just nominated for eight Daytime Emmy Awards!

Congrats to creators Kit Williamson and John Halbach and the incredible cast! Hi Willam!

If you’ve never seen it, live a little and start with the six episode final season and you’ll be hooked and want to see it from the beginning!

The finale was so touching, beautiful, and funny!

LADY GAGA “CHROMATICA”

The sixth studio album from Lady Gaga, “Chromatica”, came out in late May.

The second single, “Rain on Me”, with Ariana Grande, debuted last week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It follows “Stupid Love”, which reached #5 on the Hot 100.

“JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC”

Earlier this year, I read the 1997 picture book about the making of the “Titanic” movie.

Titanic

With text by Ed Marsh and photographs by Douglas Kirkland, it was very enlightening to see what all went into Cameron’s masterpiece.

ALSO READ…

Earlier this year, I also read “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger (1997), Tatum O’Neal’s “A Paper Life” (2004) and Dame Judi Dench’s “and furthermore” (2010).

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 13, 2020

Two weeks in a row with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy!

Feel free to comment on any of my thoughts, but, as always, do it diplomatically!

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

Don’t zone out from fatigue over the Coronavirus.  I’ll keep this part short!

You’re hearing a lot on the news about the virus, which is now a pandemic.

Basically the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is that an epidemic is an illness affecting a specific region and a pandemic has global impacts!

Here is the U.S., sports seasons and playoffs are basically done, concerts are being cancelled or postponed, schools are extending spring break and going to online classes when they return, restaurants are closing, and the list goes on.

And, on Wednesday, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, in Australia, announced they they tested positive for Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

Yet, there are those that are blaming the media (of course) for hyping up something that’s no worse than the flu, which kills people each year.

However, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the Coronavirus is ten times (that’s 10 times) deadlier than the seasonal flu!

Coronavirus

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust the government!  (I’m not just talking about the Trump administration — yet that speaks for itself!)  I’m talking about trust on a daily basis and not specifically with Coronavirus.

This mistrust of the U.S. government is a product of past administrations (Republican and Democrats) of telling us just what we “need” to know, when it deems the time is right.

Well, here’s the thing.  I think Coronavirus is a real public threat and I think we’re going to see the number of cases (and deaths) in the U.S. and Canada shoot up drastically over the next month or so.

As for me, I pray that I don’t get sick.  However, I’m doing nothing more to prevent it than I normally do in a typical day. 

I always wash my hands.  I love using hand sanitizer (even before it was chic).  I cover my mouth when I cough and I move away from people hacking like they’re coughing up a lung.

And, no I didn’t raid the store for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water!

Watermelon Mint Vodka

However, I did buy a bottle of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Zero Sugar Infusions vodka.  It sounded fun!  And, I do have a decent supply of wine and liquor!

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

Hello, Wicked Spoon!  These were my four plates and truly UNLIMITED champagne and mimosas this past December from there!

Wicked Spoon

Because of Coronavirus, my life as I know it is (temporarily?) disrupted — if I was in Vegas now.

MGM Resorts (which doesn’t own Wicked Spoon) issued this statement earlier in the week:

“MGM Resorts will temporarily close buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday March 15. These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

It what could be called “joy” and “madness”, I found out this week that I joined Facebook more than a decade ago.

So, if you don’t follow me there, here were my thoughts on my eleventh anniversary!

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

Primaries and caucuses are taking places across the nation ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, which I think will be Joe Biden and 45.

I love looking at polls and I trust them — for the most part.

Vote

However, I also know that polls mean nothing if people don’t get out and vote!

And, come November 3, 2020, if you want to make “that man” a one-term president (or if you support him), you have to VOTE!

“OZARK” 

Season three of one of the best shows on television is coming back later this month.

“Ozark” returns March 27th on Netflix and from the new trailer, it looks like this could be Laura Linney’s year for an Emmy win!

She was incredible in season two and I was hoping that she and Julia Garner would take home trophies.  Garner won in the Emmy’s supporting actress category.

THANKS NETFLIX!

But, before I can check out the new season of “Ozark” with the incredible Linney, season three of “The Crown”, season two of “Sex Education”, season two of “Mindhunter”, and the first season of “The Politician”, I now have to buy a new television!

Thanks a lot Netflix!

Last month, I was going to start binge-watching “The West Wing” and this is what greeted me!

Bad Netflix

On December 1, 2019, Netflix deemed my Samsung television, which I got in 2014, obsolete for its streaming service!

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

Last week, I talked about the new Lady Gaga single, “Stupid Love” (it debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), from her upcoming April 10th album, “Chromatica”.

Now, I’m excited to know what my second album that I’ll buy in 2020 will be and when.

“Gaslighter” is the new single and the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ new album that’ll drop May 1, 2020!

“Gaslighter” is actually getting country music airplay!  It debuted on the Billboard Country chart at #31 and moved to #20 in its second week!

That’s their biggest hit at country radio since “Travelin’ Soldier” hit #1 in early 2003, about the time that Natalie Maines’ comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War got the Chicks banned from country radio!

Their last album, “Taking The Long Way”, came out in May 2006, and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

The Dixie Chicks’ last hit song was 2006’s “Not Ready To Make Nice”, which reached #4 on the Hot 100.

It went on to win three Grammy Awards — “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”, in 2007!

“KNIVES OUT”

If you like whodunit movies, you’ll like this mystery comedy.

The all-star cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson.

The first half of the movie features some very humorous scenes as the story was set up.  Collette was especially funny.

I figured out early on who was likely the killer.  From that point on, the movie started to drag.  (Oh, I was correct!).

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

For months now, I’ve been purging my CD and movie collection.

I started listening to CDs that I liked at one time in my life, but I’d never say, “I want to listen to <insert album title here>.  I had about one thousand CDs and now it’s down to about 425 essentials that I don’t want to part with.

With my movies, I’m watching older ones, some of which didn’t become one of “my favorites”, and I’m getting rid of them.

Until recently, only three of them made the cut and I put them back on the shelf.

I kept the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”), the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”, and the 2010 American romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?”.

“LEMON TREE”

This past week, I added three more “keepers”.

The first is the 2008 Israeli drama, “Lemon Tree”.

Hiam Abbass is heartbreaking and stunning!  She plays Salma, a widowed Palestinian woman fighting to keep the Israeli government from cutting down her lemon grove, which was planted by her late father decades ago.

It becomes a security risk when the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife, Mira, (a moving performance by Rona Lipaz-Michael) move next door.

“PATRIK 1.5”

Another was the very touching 2008 Swedish film, “Patrik 1.5”.

It stars one of the sexy Skarsgard brothers (no, not Alexander from “True Blood” and “Big Little Lies” and not creepy Bill (Pennywise in the new “It” movie series).

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

His Göran Skoogh in “Patrik 1.5” would make the perfect husband! 🙂

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

Even though this Argentinean movie came out in 2013, it speaks volumes about today’s dating and app hook-up scene!

You never really know who you’re meeting or hooking up with and what could happen!

Manuel (Patrico Ramos) and Julio (Mario Veron) finally decide to meet after chatting online for a while.

Once they meet, Julio tells Manuel, “There are really bad people round there. They say one thing and they mean another. You never know who you’re dealing with. You don’t even know who you’re bringing into your home.”

“TRANSAMERICA”

I also watched the incredible “Transamerica” with Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman and the adorably sexy Kevin Zegers.

While still a very fulfilling movie, so much has changed since it came out in 2005.

After the groundbreaking television series “Pose” and “Transparent”, I couldn’t imagine a movie made today about a trans woman that WOULD NOT be played by a real trans actress!

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

Debbie Gibson, one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, is back with a huge club hit!

“Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young Radio Remix) is currently at #4 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In 2019, Tracy Young scored back-to-back chart toppers on the the Dance Club Songs chart with Madonna’s “I Rise” and “Crave”.  (Young won a Grammy Award for the “I Rise” remix!)

From 1986 to early 1991, Gibson scored nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, five reached the Top Ten, including the #1 hits, “Foolish Beat” (1988) and “Lost in Your Eyes” (1989, three weeks at #1).

When “Foolish Beat” topped the chart in the summer of 1988, Debbie became youngest person to write, produce, and perform a number-one single entirely on her own, at age 17!!!

“Only In My Dreams”, Debbie’s first hit in 1987 that reached #4, is still one of my all-time favorites!

“ICE BOUND:  A DOCTOR’S INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE”

Ice Bound

This 2001 book is about Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an Ohio doctor that took a year off from medicine to find herself by “wintering” in Antarctica with 40 others.

Just a few months into her one-year stay, she found a lump in her breast.

This book is the story of how she and her new friends, “winterovers”, worked via satellite and computers in the harsh -100° weather and months of complete darkness to keep her alive.

This lasted for eight months before the weather finally broke and she could be rescued and brought back to the U.S. for surgery in the fall of 1998.

In 2000, while I was an anchor and reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, I interviewed Dr. Nielsen.  Twenty years later, I have no clue what about!  Maybe it was about her recovery?

Dr. Nielsen was a cancer survivor for over a decade before she died in the summer of 2009.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 6, 2020

Surprise!  I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Thank you for taking the time to check it out.

CORONAVIRUS & VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE

As fears rise and the death toll climbs around the world, I’m even more alarmed (but, totally not shocked) that 45 appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead his Coronavirus response team.

Coronavirus Pence Trump

I hope the U.S. response is swift and adequate and that it prevents a widespread outbreak here.

Pence IS NOT a medical expert and his previous judgement is poor!

In a December 1, 2016, blog on “World AIDS Day”, I wrote, “And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

Yes, Indiana — while Vice-President elect Mike Pence was governor and before he was picked to be second in command in the U.S.”

PETS, TOO!

Last week, a pet dog, a Pomeranian, of a Coronavirus patient, was placed in quarantine after testing “weak positive” for the virus in Hong Kong!

Hong Kong dog Coronavirus

This week, that was upgraded to a “low-level infection”.  It’s the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission.

By Friday, the number of those infected worldwide is approaching 104,000 with more than 3,500 deaths.  (Most are in China.) 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. reports 164 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in nineteen states.

The CDC is also confirming eleven deaths!

EDUCATE YOURSELF!

With that being said, educate yourself!

Corona

I saw a survey last week that showed because of the Coronavirus, 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beer “under any circumstances”!

Seriously, stop drinking altogether if you’re that brilliant!!!

IT WON’T HAPPEN BEFORE ELECTION DAY 2020, BUT…

JFK Meme Diversity Mortal June 10 1963.JPG

That is from President John F. Kennedy’s June 1963 commencement speech at American University.

“THE MAN”

In 2019, “Lover”, Taylor Swift’s seventh studio release, was my favorite album of the year!

Taylor Swift Lover

It’s already produced the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans, and the title track, which reached #10 on the Hot 100.

Her latest single is “The Man”, one of my absolute favorites from “Lover”.  And, I can’t watch the new video enough!

Yes, that’s Taylor playing “The Man”, Tyler Swift!

My other favorites from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed” or “Cornelia Street”!

CHRISTMAS CARDS — BY THE NUMBERS

Okay, I know that Christmas was more than two months ago (or less than ten months from now), but I didn’t take my trees and decorations down until the last day of January.  Yes, I enjoy them for three months!

As I was putting away my Christmas cards, I analyzed them and here’s what I found out.

I heard back from 78% of the people I sent a card.

Do you think most people used Christmas stamps?  They did!

28% used Santa stamps and 20% used the new wreath stamps!

Wreaths

However, a high number (21%) used flag stamps.  Either they’re patriotic or just using up the stamps they had on hand?

By the way, this past Christmas when I was planning a summer 2020 move to Las Vegas (aborted mission), I actually used cactus stamps.

Cactus Christmas Stamps

I wonder how many of my friends noticed and wondered why I wasn’t using holiday stamps? 🙂

“STUPID LOVE”

Lady Gaga is back with new music!

“Stupid Love”, the first single, from her upcoming album, “Chromatica”, which will arrive April 10th, was released last week!!!

While I love the upbeat dance hit, it does borrow from “Born This Way”, probably unintentionally!

I’m very excited about the new music since I didn’t buy her last album, “Joanne”, which dropped in October 2016.

Do I lose gay points for that???

“JOJO RABBIT”

This Oscar nominated comedy-drama was hilarious and well acted.

While mostly a comedy,  when a kid has Adolf Hitler (director and screenwriter Taika Waititi) as an “imaginary friend”, it does feature a few dark scenes.

Roman Griffin Davis was fantastic as Jojo, Waititi was great, and Rebel Wilson cracked me up.

This is not a spoiler, but two of her best lines were “I’ve had 18 kids for Germany — such a great year to be a girl!”

And, in another scene, instead of saying “O-M-G”, she replies, “O-M-God”, which made me laugh so much!

GRADE:  A-

MADONNA CONTINUES TO MAKE MUSIC HERSTORY (HISTORY)!

“I Don’t Search I Find” recently became Madonna’s 50th #1 hit on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

She extended her record of having the most #1 songs on any one Billboard chart!  Her closest competitor is George Strait, who has 44 number one songs on the Billboard Country charts.

“I Don’t Search I Find” is also the fourth chart topper from her 2019 album, “Madame X”!  (“Madame X” is also Madonna’s ninth #1 album!)

Madonna is also the only act to score a #1 hit on the Dance Club Songs chart in five decades!

She hit the top of that chart 9 times in the 1980s, 13 times in the 1990s, 18 times in the 2000s, 9 times in the 2010s, and, now, once (so far) in the 2020s!

It’s also Madonna’s 10th consecutive #1 on the Dance chart and every one of her singles since 2012 have topped the chart!

GIVE IT A LISTEN! 🎶

“JOKER”

I’m no longer a fan of super hero movies, but I still have an affinity to the Batman series after growing up with the cheesy television Batman series of the 1960s.

I still absolutely love 1992’s “Batman Returns” with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin!

I waited for last fall’s “Joker” to arrive on DVD and it was great.

The movie grossed over a billion dollars worldwide and garnered eleven Academy Award nominations!

Joaquin Phoenix deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar for his manic performance as aspiring comedian and loser Arthur Fleck.

How he became the Joker is tragic, sadistic, and compelling!

GRADE:  B+

“PRISONER OF TEHRAN”

In “Prisoner of Tehran”, Marina Nemat, who now lives in Canada, writes of her early life in Iran during the “Islamic Revolution”.

It was the late-1970s and early-1980s when the Ayatollah Khomeini was taking control of the country from the Shah of Iran.

If you were even thought to be a Shah supporter or you weren’t all for Khomeini’s way of rule (less freedom for women, very anti-Western, and anti-American), you could be imprisoned, raped, and killed.

Nemat Prisoner of Tehran.JPG

By telling her story, it’s clear that Nemat escaped Iran.  However, her story before then is heartbreaking!

“CHILDREN OF JIHAD”

Subtitled “A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East”, this 2007 book from American Jewish writer Jared Cohen talks about his time spent in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Syria.

Cohen Children of Jihad

In his secret talks with Muslim youth, Cohen learned that they didn’t hate America or Jews, but despised the American and Israeli governments because they were anti-Islam.

Cohen went on to work for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.

“THE KITE RUNNER”

While the book, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini came out in 2003, it’s taken me this long to come across it and read it!

And, wow, what a powerful book!

I had to go back to check and make sure it was fiction and not a true story.  While it’s fiction, I know tragedies like this are also reality.

If you’re not familiar, it’s the story of two childhood friends raised together without mothers in Afghanistan, one’s rich and the other is poor.

Events unfold that separate them as teenagers and something brings their lives back into the same orbit again as adults.

The Kite Runner

Here is a powerful quote from the book!

The Kite Runner Quote

Now, I need to watch the movie!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

MM.gif

And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

When I was last in Las Vegas this past December, not only did I get to see Paula Abdul’s great “Forever Your Girl” residency, I got a hug from her as she passed through the crowd during that song! 🙂

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

Capture2

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

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

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

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

Martha Layne Collins.jpg

LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

Lonestar.JPG

BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Tim McGraw.jpg

PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

AP TL.jpg

NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

McCoy Emilio.JPG

TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

David Kersh.jpg

TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

Tara Dawn Holland.jpg

CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Carol Channing.jpg

DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

Dee Dee Myers.jpg

C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

220px-c._everett_koop,_1980s

KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

Hutchinson Gramm.JPG

ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

Rendell.jpg

DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

Denise-Brown.jpg

JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

tressel

MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

 
Molly Sims.jpg
 

Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 29, 2019

Spring is here and this is my first random thoughts blog since returning from Bangkok, Thailand.

This is my favorite picture that I took there!  I love koi!

Koi Buddha

If you missed the pictures or the details of that enlightening trip (even with the rat and the snakes), here’s the link.  It’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/my-one-night-in-bangkok-okay-actually-five-nights/

It’s always nice to get away, but it’s nice to come home.  Now I’m ready to enjoy the nicer weather heading our way.

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

“LEAVING NEVERLAND”

This is the four-hour documentary on HBO that’s everybody’s been talking about regarding Michael Jackson and child sexual abuse allegations.

Choreographer Wade Robson and former child actor James Safechuck, now adults, talk extensively and graphically about the sexual abuse they suffered when spending time with Michael Jackson.

I’m going to make some comments and I’m going to keep the sentences short, so there’s no misunderstanding or taking things out of context.

  • I believe Robson and Safechuck!
  • As a parent, I’d NEVER allow my child to spend nights with a man in his 30s.
  • Where was the parental supervision and let’s talk about the lapse of judgement there — I don’t care if Jackson was the biggest star on the planet!
  • If Jackson was alive today, I’m not sure he’d give details of what did and didn’t happen with those boys, who were around 7 and 10-years-old when the alleged abuse started.
  • I do wish that the director had reached out to a Jackson family member since Michael is dead and couldn’t speak for himself.  But, we know they’d just say it didn’t happen and the two men are out for just money.
  • By the way, Robson is a multi-millionaire!

“Leaving Neverland” is definitely worth seeing — if you can handle the graphic content!

And, yes I’ll listen to Michael Jackson’s music today.  He’s a musical genius!

However, I have no desire now to watch his videos again!!!!!!!!

GRADE:  B+

“BEN IN BACK”

I absolutely love Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges is one of my favorite current young actors.  He was fantastic in “Manchester by the Sea” and “Boy Erased”.  And, he’s so adorable!

I’ve really been wanting to see this movie, but I don’t recall it playing in Duluth, Minnesota, where I live.  If it did, it was brief and I missed it.

The movie is about Ben returning home for the holidays after a stay in drug rehab and trying to stay clean.

The trailer is compelling, but the movie is so much better and more intense!

Now I don’t believe in spoilers, so I won’t say if it happens or not.  But, Ben, I know you’ve watched horror movies and you should know never to say anything like “I’ll be right back”!

As you’ll see in the trailer, Ben says, “I’m not going to die”!

GRADE:  A-

“FREEDOM”

Reba McEntire is back and I really think that country radio is finally going to give her another chance.

Her new single, “Freedom”, makes its debut on the Billboard Country Airplay chart this week at #52!

reba 52.JPG

Sadly, Reba’s last Top 10 hit at country radio was “Turn on the Radio”, which topped the chart in January 2011!  What?  That’s eight years ago!

Reba Freedom.JPG

“Freedom” is being called “euphoric” and a “fist-pumping anthem”!

It’s the first official release to country radio from her new album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, which comes out April 5, 2019.

“9-1-1” ON  FOX

If you don’t watch “9-1-1” on Fox, what are you waiting for?  You’re missing a great show that’s really entertaining.

And, two recent episodes — the winter finale and first episode back from the holidays — were the series’ best!

nightmare

Earlier this week, Fox renewed “9-1-1” for a third season!

“GREEN BOOK”

Spoiler alert, “Green Book” won the Oscar for Best Picture!

I’ve seen five of the eight nominations from this year (I still need to see “The Favourite” and “Vice” and I won’t watch “Black Panther”.  I’m not a Marvel fan and if I can’t get through the Captain America movies with my future ex-boyfriend Chris Evans, I won’t be seeing “Black Panther”!  Bummer because I love Angela Bassett!).

I enjoyed “Green Book” and the acting was superb.  However, I wouldn’t watch it again unless I was in a group and they wanted to see it.

I think the talk of the movie’s racism was overblown.  I didn’t see it as a movie where the white man saves the black man.  I think it was a movie of two people becoming friends and enlightening each other.

Yes, it had racial stereotypes in it, but it was set in the early-1960s South!

Best Picture, no!  Of the five I’ve seen, so far, I would have voted for “Bohemian Rhapsody”!

GRADE: B

“FIRST MAN”

I love Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy is incredible (“The Crown” seasons one and two)!  And, director Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” was awesome, so what is this?

I almost stopped the movie within the first 30 minutes!

While it does have some great drama (at times) and it has some great special effects, it seems so disjointed.

Bon Jovi sings, “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “First Man” gives space exploration a bad name!

GRADE: C+

MY FAVORITE CURRENT SONG!

Ava Max is a musical newcomer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

But, her song, “Sweet but Psycho” has already topped the charts in at least 22 countries.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Club Songs chart in the U.S.!

The song has a very European sound to it, which is probably why it’s my favorite current song.

In the U.S., it’s currently one of the five most played songs on Top 40 radio and the video is pretty sexy (but psycho), too! 🙂

Ava Max is definitely channeling one of her idols, Lady Gaga in this video and with her voice!

“Sweet but Psycho” has been viewed almost 234 million times!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Celebrations for Three of My Favorite Ladies – 2019

If today is your birthday or anniversary, I hope you have a happy one and that the next years are incredible.

Rainbow Cake

It’s March 28th.  Today is the 87th day of the year and there are 278 days left in 2019.

On this day back in 1920, there was a major Palm Sunday tornado outbreak in the Great Lakes and the Deep South;  in 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania partially melted down; and in 2005, an earthquake rocked Indonesia with a magnitude of 8.7.

But, let’s get back to birthdays and celebrations!

64 years ago today, one of my idols, Reba McEntire, was born in Kiowa, Oklahoma.

Reba Anthony 2005

While she’s been very busy over the past years, she hasn’t had a new country album out since early 2015 and it was pretty much ignored by country radio!

That changes soon!

Her new album, “Stronger Than The Truth”, comes out on April 5th, and it features her new single, “Freedom”, which is starting to get country airplay.

“Freedom” is being called “euphoric” and a “fist-pumping anthem”!

Take a listen!

Lady Gaga is also celebrating her birthday today, number 33!

Gaga3

And, back in 1964, 55 years ago today, my parents married.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Later that year, she’d give birth to a baby boy six weeks premature.  Yes, it’s yours truly.

Happy birthday Reba and Lady Gaga, and Mom, happy anniversary.

cake-and-ice-cream-5

Anthony

Random Thoughts — March 5, 2019

Wait, it’s not Friday!  But, I’m still sharing some random thoughts with you.

Thank you for checking them out and I hope you have a great week ahead!

LUKE PERRY

After suffering a massive stroke last week, actor Luke Perry died Monday at the age of 52.

Luke Perry.jpg

Perry rocketed to fame in the early 1990s playing Dylan McKay on the first six seasons of Fox’s “Beverly Hills 90210”.  (While he became a series regular in the show’s last two seasons in 1999 and 2000, he was billed as a “special guest”.)

And, in Perry, the LGBTQ community lost an ally!

Luke Perry 1.JPG

R.I.P. LUKE

“MELROSE PLACE”

I was familiar with “90210” and thought Jason Priestley (“Brandon Walsh”) was cute, but I was obsessed with the 1992 spin-off, “Melrose Place”.

Even though I was almost the same age as the “90210” actors playing teenagers, I felt I had more in common with the “Melrose Place” characters and I would have loved to live in that complex!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

Well, before crazy Kimberly blew it up!

I had a major crush on Grant Show (“Jake Hanson”) and I loved Amy Locane (“Sandy”), even though she was only on the first eleven or so episodes.

Grant Amy.jpg

BERNIE SANDERS & 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION

We’re still about 20 months away from the 2020 Presidential Election.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I’ve been pretty quiet overall about the “national emergency” the country is experiencing and I’m not talking about a damn wall!

If you recall in 2016, there were more than a dozen Republicans vying for the nomination.  Well, in 2020, that’s the Democrats looking to earn the right to run against that man.

Bernie Sanders has thrown his hat into the race.  That’s all I’ll say about him since my feelings toward him haven’t changed in the past four years. (Well, they have but not for the better.)

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows some interesting thoughts going through potential voters’ minds.

NBC News Poll

A couple of highlights:

68% of those surveyed would be comfortable with a gay or lesbian candidate — that’s up from 43% in 2006!

And, 62% are very uncomfortable with someone over 75!

Ages at the 2020 election:  Sanders (79), Michael Bloomberg (78) and Joe Biden (77).

Hillary AP

If you’re still reading, Hillary Clinton said Monday night, “I’m not running, but I’m going to keep on working and speaking and standing up for what I believe” and added, “I want to be sure that people understand I’m going to keep speaking out. I’m not going anywhere”.

Translation:  Vice President under Joe Biden! 🙂

But, in the words of Benita Buttrell…

but-i-aint-one-to-gossip-so-you-aint-heard-that-from-me.jpg

POST OSCARS THOUGHTS

I’m so happy that Rami Malek won the Best Actor Oscar for his Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

I still haven’t seen “Green Book”, but it’s definitely on my list.

While social media (and Spike Lee) is upset that it won Best Picture, I’m just happy that “Roma” didn’t win!  As I’ve said before, I wasn’t blown away by “Roma”!

Glenn Close

Going into the Academy Awards, I was certain that seven-time nominee Glenn Close would finally win an Oscar.  Well, she didn’t!

I still haven’t seen “The Favourite”, but once I do, I may agree with the Academy that Olivia Colman deserves it.

After the Oscars, I saw another of Close’s competitors.  In retrospective, Close would have been my second choice!

I would have given the Best Actress Oscar to…. MELISSA McCARTHY!!!!!!!!!!!

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

She blew me away in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, a real-life story of author Lee Israel, who became a forger of celebrity letters.

While McCarthy is mostly known for her comedic roles, I saw a hint at her dramatic acting in 2014’s “St. Vincent”.

McCarthy’s co-star, Richard E. Grant was excellent in the movie and picked up a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination.

“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” wasn’t a box office smash, but in addition to the two acting Oscar nominations, it was also up for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I don’t give too many movies this grade!

GRADE:  A+

“A STAR IS BORN”

I finally saw the Academy Award Best Picture-nominated movie.  (It was nominated for a total of eight Oscars and won for Best Original Song for “Shallow”.)

It was enjoyable enough.  I thought Lady Gaga held her own with dramatic acting.  The brutal bathtub scene proved that!

If you haven’t seen it, this really isn’t a spoiler.  I had a hard time buying into one of the first scenes in the movie.

I know if you’re an alcoholic and you need liquor, you might go into a drag bar.  But, to become best buddies?

Even so, I still found Willam’s comment later in the movie, “I wore my Jackson titties!” hilarious! 🙂

Would I watch it again?  Yes, if I was with someone that wanted to see it.

Would I watch it again on my own?  No.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” 

The third season of the hilarious zombie comedy premieres March 29th on Netflix.

I can’t believe how much I still crush on Timothy Olyphant!  That’s not true, I can believe it!

I absolutely loved him in “The Broken Hearts Club: A Romantic Comedy” (2000) and the critically panned “Catch and Release” (2006).

I have the first three seasons of “Justified” on DVD that I should binge and I need to check Netflix to see if seasons 4-6 are there!

Here’s a sample of “Santa Clarita Diet” and it contains language and violence (and humor)!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

spoiler-alert

The fifth (and final?) season of the fantastic ABC drama wrapped up with a few shocks and cliffhangers!

Two characters went missing, which explains why Annalise is screaming like a mad woman on the street!  And, another was poisoned and left gasping for air!

Capture

The bigger question is not who kidnapped them or will the <poisoned person> die, it’s will ABC renew the low-rated series for us to find out the answers?

With Viola Davis on board, I’d say yes!

I’m still one of those people that can’t wait to see what Annalise and the “Keating 5” (oops, “Keating 4”) get into and out of each week!

Another reason I want the show to come back is to see more of Gerardo Celasco (Xavier Castillo, Laurel’s brother)!

gerardo.jpeg

“THE OLD MAN & THE GUN”

This movie was sold as Robert Redford’s last acting role.  We’ll see!

If it is, then he put in a nice performance and I absolutely love Sissy Spacek.

But, there’s really no need to see this movie based on a real-life elderly (and charming) bank robber.

With that being said, I’m not even posting the trailer!

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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