Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

Move Forward & Stop Looking Back

Birthdays are interesting annual events.  Some people count down to the big day and some would rather it pass unnoticed.

As life goes on, the way we celebrate the natal day changes.  As a kid, we’re excited for a cake, a party, and gifts.

That’s me celebrating my first birthday with a cake that ISN’T chocolate! 😦

October 13 1965

In retrospective, I’m grateful I got to celebrate that birthday.  When I arrived six weeks early, in the fall of 1964, I weighed about three pounds and I wasn’t expected to make it.  The survival rate for preemies back then was only 28%!

For many, becoming a teenager is exciting and to others, it’s a terrifying time. Then, there’s 16, 18, and 21.

After that the pressure settles in as 25 nears and you become frantic at 30 feeling as though your youth is gone.  It’s time to evaluate where you’re at in life and where you’re heading.

Anthony2

I survived college, partying, and finding myself in my teens and 20s, starting my career in my 30s, finding love in my 40s, and losing it in my 50s.

There are days of bitterness and anger, but many more are now filled with uncertainty — not only of what lies ahead down this road of life we travel, but mortality!   Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

While the average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.7 years, my beautiful mother, Dessie, didn’t get anywhere near that.

She died at 47 (in 1990).  My father died three years earlier at 55.

Time

I’m optimistic that I have many years left since I’m physically and mentally healthy.  I just have to work on becoming emotionally and mentally happy!

My next birthday is right around the corner (October 13).

If you send birthday wishes to me via Facebook, I’ll get around to responding to them when I can since I’ll be out of the country!

I’m marking another continent off my travel list!

travel.jpg

This will be the fourth continent I’ve visited — following North America, Europe, and Asia!

To help you narrow it down, I don’t think I need to visit Antarctica and going to South America isn’t high on my travel “bucket list”.

Final clues before you see the pictures on Facebook when I have internet:  It’s north of the Equator (never been south of it), 99% Muslim, and it’s ruled by a King.

Birthday Trip 2

And, in August, Madonna spent her 60th birthday there.  I’m sure that her arrangements were on a grander scale! 🙂

Madonna.JPG

P.S. I share my birthday with Sacha Baron Cohen (47), Nancy Kerrigan (49), Fox Mulder (57), and Marie Osmond (59).  Oh, I can’t forget my dear friend, Crystal Craddock-Posey!

With that being said, I want to share some of my favorites birthdays of the past with you.

BIRTHDAY 2016

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hillary-bd

BIRTHDAY 2014

For my 50th birthday, I wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel.

When booking the trip, the connecting flight was through Paris, so it was decided to spend three nights in Paris and four in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday, I was treated to a Seine River dinner cruise, a view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, and sitting stage side at the historic Moulin Rogue sipping champagne at midnight as I turned 50!

Anthony 50

Days later, in Tel Aviv, I had the best meal ever at Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea!

Benny The Fisherman

BIRTHDAY 2012

The day started with an incredible brunch at the Stratosphere (back when it was good) in Las Vegas and ended with seeing Madonna and the incredible “MDNA Tour”.

Champagne

Madonna MDNA

BIRTHDAY 2011

This would be the last one with my best buddy in the world, my beautiful golden retriever, Miss ABBA.  It was a warm fall day in the Quad Cities and we spent it outside playing.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

BIRTHDAY 2009

2009 Gifts

As I head into my 55th year and beyond, I’ll live by the words of Kylie Minogue and her life affirming hit “Golden” (which chronicles her turning 50 earlier this year)!

Kylie Golden 1

Kylie

Kylie Golden 2

My one goal for 2019 — seeing Kylie’s “Golden Tour” here in the U.S.!

Here’s to future!

Claire

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 31, 2018

Where does time go?

It’s Labor Day weekend, which, to some, marks the “unofficial” end of summer!

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

BAD THINGS FOLLOW ME???

I know it’s only coincidence, but I’m beginning to think that bad things follow me!

In January 2017, I was at The Jacksonsville Landing Mall.

Jacksonville.jpg

Just last Sunday, a gunman opened fire there killing three (including himself) and injuring 11 others (ten by gunfire).

There are others places I’ve visited that were followed by mass shootings and the time frame was closer!

I was in Ottawa, Ontario, in September 2014.

AP Ottawa.jpg

One month later, a gunman opened fire on Parliament Hill and the Canadian National War Museum.  He killed one and injured three others.

AP Paris

I was in Paris, France, in October 2014.

Less than three months later, two French Muslim extremists attacked the “Charlie Hebdo” headquarters killing 13 people and two days later, another terrorist killed four others in a grocery story.

And, then on November 13, 2015, coordinated attacks across the city killed 137 (89 of those were at the Bataclan Theatre), including seven perpetrators.

Vegas

And, I was in Las Vegas in March 2017, and October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert killing 58 and injuring another 851 (422 by gunfire).

LV

And, I’ll end this craziness with a couple of bittersweet photos.

When I was in Las Vegas two months after this massacre, a gorgeous “Vegas Strong”
Remembrance Garden was built for the victims.

Vegas Strong.JPG

OH DONNIE, KEEP YOUR TWEETS STRAIGHT!

The top one is from this week and the bottom one is from six years ago!

FYI, Donnie, “extremely credible source” is just another term for “anonymous source”!

Oh Trump.JPG

KAREN CARPENTER’S WEDDING

This weekend in 1980 (Sunday, August 31), Karen Carpenter got married.

KC Wedding

The wedding to real-estate developer Thomas James Burris took place in the Crystal Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard.

The menu included Karen’s favorites, shrimp salad, a main course of chicken chasseur with broccoli polonaise, rise pilaf, strawberries Romanoff, and Parducci Chablis wine.

Five-tiered chocolate and mocha creme cake was served for dessert.

Sadly, while hospitalized, Karen filed for divorce on October 28, 1982, (just fourteen months later) because their relationship was built on lies that Burris told her.

Three months later Karen was dead!

If you’d like to read a great book about Karen and The Carpenters, check out “Little Girl Blue:  The Life of Karen Carpenter” by Randy L. Schmidt.

MY FAVORITE CARPENTERS’ SONGS

The Carpenters are still one of my favorite musical acts of all time.  Here are my five favorite songs!

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU”

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING”

#1 “TOP OF THE WORLD”

“INSATIABLE”

This Netflix series was trashed before it even premiered based on the trailer.

It was accused of fat-shaming and homophobia.

After watching the 12-episode series, while it was borderline, at times, on both of those subjects, I didn’t find it offensive.

Yes, Patty (Debby Ryan) thought that by being thin would change everything in her life.  She comes to realize that’s not true.

One character even tells her, “Being skinny don’t mean shit if you’re ugly on the inside.”

As for homophobia, there’s some name-calling that’s offensive.  However, I’ve known effeminate straight men, so I find Bob Armstrong’s (Dallas Roberts) character realistic.

Alyssa Milano is incredible as Coralee, Bob’s wife.

Milano did get some bad press over a story line involving her husband being accused of inappropriate behavior with a minor and her character didn’t believe the victim.

In real life, that’s bad.  But, this is a dramedy and Milano’s character and her real life involvement with the #MeToo movement are not the same!

By the way, Christopher Gorham is super hot in this series!

Christopher Gorham.jpg

GRADE:  B+

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD”

If you’re looking something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:

“I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.”

GRADE:  B

“AMERICAN GIGOLO”

I know this movie came out in 1980 and I’m just getting around to watch it.  The $5 million blockbuster brought in almost $53 million and introduced the world to Richard Gere!  Let me tell you, he’s damn hot!

Gere plays an escort in Los Angeles and gets wrapped up in situation where a trick takes a bad turn.

But, what I find most interesting watching the movie almost forty years after its release was the very homophobic tones, which fit perfectly into the early-1980s of the Reagan years.

Also, Gere used a phrase that I’ll write as “R F” (politically incorrect term for a mentally challenged gay person).  It floored me at just how gross the term sounded today and that it was okay to use either of the derogatory terms even then!

GRADE:  B

ALCAZAR

The Swedish dance group Alcazar has scored ten Top Ten hits in their native country since their first single was released in 1999.

Worldwide, between 2001-2004, they sold more than 12 million records.

In the U.S., they gained notoriety when their club hit “Crying at the Discotheque” was featured on the first season of “Queer As Folk” and it made the soundtrack.

The song also featured the line, “He wore a tie like Richard Gere”! 🙂

They also had another hit in 2002 with a remake of The Human League’s #1 hit from 1982, “Don’t You Want Me”.

“THE BELKO EXPERIENCE”

I took a chance of this movie which is more of a psychological thriller rather than a “horror” movie as it’s billed in this trailer.  And, it’s actually a decent movie that didn’t make much money!

As workers arrive at a South American company, some notice the usual guards are not at the gates.

Shortly into the work day, a menacing message comes across the intercom telling them that in order to survive, they must kill other employees!

Talk about a rough day on the job!

Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) is the biggest star and when the movie reaches its climax, another “Scandal” regular makes an appearance!  SPOILER! 🙂

GRADE:  B

“THE STEPFORD WIVES” REMAKE

I finally got around to seeing the 2004 remake of “The Stepford Wives” and even Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler couldn’t save this mess.

However, there was this funny exchange between Bobbie Markowitz (Midler) and Joanna Eberhardt (Kidman) that cracked me up!

SW

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 25, 2018

May is almost over and it’s Memorial Day weekend, which is the “unofficial” start to the summer season.

After today’s blog, I’ll be going on “hiatus” to get moved to Duluth, Minnesota.

When I make new friends up north, I hope that some of them grill out!

kEBOB

In addition to missing companionship, my friends and family, and my koi pond, grilling out is another thing I’ve really missed since leaving the Quad Cities!

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How are you doing on those “New Year’s Resolutions”?

I’m sure many are history and some of you are still paying for those unused gym memberships! 🙂

I decided to look back at my first two blogs of the year, “2018: Looking Ahead, Not Back”  and “Random Friday (2018) Thoughts”, to see how I’m doing on my resolutions and predictions.

If you want to see the pictures, videos, and read the complete blogs, both links are here and they’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/01/2018-looking-ahead-not-back/

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/05/random-friday-2018-thoughts/

In the January 1st blog, I wrote, “The highlight of my Christmas season was the 90-minutes-plus I spent in Mariah Carey’s Christmas wonderland for her “All I Want For Christmas” show in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.”

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

It’s now almost summer and that night still crosses my mind.  It was truly magical!

I also talked about battling bulimia and how I used to be so spontaneous.

While visiting Chicago over Memorial Day weekend in 1994, I had a “Come to Jesus” moment.  A little over a month later, I left Kentucky and moved to third largest city in the U.S.!

But, that was then, this is now.   Somewhere along the way, I became a “planner” and lost my spontaneity and I want to find it again!

As last year ended and 2018 began, I needed change and the words of my favorite song of 2017, “Silence” by Marshmello featuring Khalid, hit me hard while I was reflecting on my life:

“I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors/My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden/I THINK TOO MUCH, I HATE IT/I’m so used to being in the wrong, I’m tired of caring/Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silence”

I do think too much.

I wrote that it was time to “shake it off” and leave Panama City if I wasn’t happy, “I have four cities in mind for a fresh start. Two of them, I’d move to with or without a television job…”

The two I would have moved to without a television job were Palm Springs, California, and Las Vegas.

Vegas

Well, it’s funny how you make plans and set a timeline and then God sits back and laughs.

I said if I didn’t have a television job by Halloween 2018, I’d be out of here anyways.

Well, I’m leaving Florida next week and I’ll be moving into my new apartment in Duluth, Minnesota, on June 2nd, to call the “Northland” home!

Duluth at Christmas

I’m so thrilled to not only start the next chapter in my life, but to start living again!  Cheers!

Claire

In “Random Friday (2018) Thoughts”, (posted 1/5/18), I stated that after seeing five concerts in Las Vegas in 2017 (The Australian Bee Gees, Britney Spears, Tanya Tucker, Lionel Richie, and Mariah Carey), I’d like to see Rod Stewart, Ricky Martin, and Jennifer Lopez this year.

Those shows aren’t going to happen for me now, but I’m still holding out that if I only see one concert this year that it’s Kylie Minogue.

Kylie

Come on Kylie, add Saint Paul, Minnesota, to your North American tour dates when you announce the “Golden Tour”.

As for movies, I’ve already seen the first two on my list, “Call Me By Your Name” and “Love, Simon”.

I can forget “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” (7/20) now — unless I find out for sure that Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep) is alive in more than a couple of scenes!

I’ve replaced it “Crazy Rich Asians”, which could be the new “Pretty Woman” — well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles.

Also, I’m excited about “Halloween” (10/19) with Jamie Lee Curtis returning as Laurie Strode.

jamie-lee-curtis-halloween

“Bohemian Rhapsody” about Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury has been moved up to November 2nd from Christmas Day 2018.  It stars the incredible Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot”.

Here’s the new trailer!

And, finally, on Christmas Day 2018, there’s Emily Blunt and Ben Whishaw in “Mary Poppins Returns” (12/25).

Mary-Poppins-Returns-EW-Exclusive-2

So, it looks like I’m doing okay on my resolutions and my prospects of being a happy person again!

And, I’m looking forward to snow and a “White Christmas” again!

White Red Christmas

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Celine Dion Saves Two Little Ducks!

Okay, the headline might be a little misleading and be construed by some as “fake news”! 🙂

Let me clarify that the words of Celine Dion in the hardback version, “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”, saved two little ducks!

Celine

While I have many of Celine’s CDs and I’ve had this 2000 autobiography forever, I just now got around to reading it and it’s a good thing I was reading it on a recent walk.

As I was making my way around the pond, I heard a commotion.

A mama duck chased one of those creepy turtles (them again) into the water.

Creepy Turtle

As she flew away, it came charging back out of the water at two small ducks.

I raced down the embankment and the turtle didn’t slow down even with me approaching it.  Finally, I swatted at it with the Celine book!!!

Here’s the dirt and mud to prove it. 🙂

Celine Book

The ticked off turtle went back into the water and I got the ducklings back with the mother.

So, thank you Celine for being there! 🙂

Celine 2

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

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

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

Celine wedding

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

Early Celine

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

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

Celine House

She talked about building and furnishing her dream home (the Jupiter, Florida, estate sold for $28 million last year), her lavish wedding to Angelil, and the renewal of her vows in a January 2000 ceremony at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

SINGER CELINE DION AND RENE ANGELIL RENEW WEDDING VOWS IN EASTERN ORTHODOX CEREMONY.

The couple’s son René-Charles is now 17-years-old and fraternal twins, Eddy and Nelson, were born in October 2010.

Celine & family

Sadly, Rene passed away from throat cancer in January 2016 at the age of 73.  Two days later, Celine suffered another heartbreak when her brother Daniel died, also of cancer.  He was 59.

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

Now, let’s talk about her music.

Celine Dion 1st single

Celine released her first single in 1981 at the age of 13.

While many of her singles throughout the 1980s charted well in Quebec, it wouldn’t be until 1989 before she would see her name on the mainstream Canadian charts. (There was an exception — a Top 5 hit in France in 1982.)

Celine’s American debut came in early 1990 with the “Unison” album and her breakthrough American single, “(If There Was) Any Other Way”, which reached #35 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, she’s had 18 hits with 11 reaching the Top 10, and 4 topping the charts.

She’s also won five Grammy Awards.

Celine has released over 150 singles worldwide and I’m going to share my 10 favorite songs of her.

Since five is her lucky number, I was going to choose five.  But, she’s had so many amazing songs, I’m going with ten, which is five times two! 🙂

However, I’m only going to choose from the songs that have charted in the U.S.!

#10 MOVIE

“THAT’S THE WAY IT IS” (1999)

#9 MOVIE

“MY HEART WILL GO ON” (1997)

8

“I DROVE ALL NIGHT” (2003)

7

“THE POWER OF LOVE” (1993)

#6 CD

“ALL BY MYSELF” (1996)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU ASKED ME TO” (1992)

4

“IT’S ALL COMING BACK TO ME NOW” (1996)

3

“LOVE CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS” (1992)

2

“WHERE DOES MY HEART BEAT NOW” (1990)

Holiday Bonus

Since this one didn’t chart (why, I don’t know?), it’s still one of my favorites, so it’s a bonus!

“HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)” (2013)

#1

“BECAUSE YOU LOVED ME” (1996)

Here’s hoping that I finally get to see Celine’s Las Vegas show!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 30, 2018

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

HAPPY EASTER!

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

ABBAEaster2001

KRISPY KREME CELEBRATES EASTER 

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

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

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

SIX MONTHS NOW

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

LV

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

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

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

Amen!

“AMARILLO SKY”

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

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

REMEMBRANCE GARDEN 

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

Remembrance Garden

HOMOPHOBIA — THEN AND NOW

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

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

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

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

His final victim (besides himself) was Versace.

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

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

Sadly, this excellent series is over.

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

Miglin

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A+

“WATCHDOGS OF DEMOCRACY?”

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

watchdogs

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

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

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

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

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

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

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

WHAT NOW?

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

DONNA SHERIDAN:  DEAD OR ALIVE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE END OF “THE X-FILES”

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

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

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

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

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

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

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

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

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

The cinematography is incredible!

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 23, 2018

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

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

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

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

SADLY, JUST THE ONE BEFORE THE NEXT ONE

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

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

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

LV

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

AR 15

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

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS 

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

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

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

STUPID KIDS

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

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

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

Throw the book at them!

“AN AMERICAN LIFE”

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

An American Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

reagan aids

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

RONALD REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

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

Ronald Reagan murderer

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

THEY SAID WHAT???

SHONDA RHIMES (ABC “TGIT” MEGA-PRODUCER)

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

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MORE SHONDA RHIMES

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

SCANDALOUS “SCANDAL” QUOTES

While the men are sexy,

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the women of “Scandal” are strong.

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

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

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

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Sally 2

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

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

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

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

“A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS”

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

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

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

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

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines play the other two moms.

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

GRADE:  B

“MARSHALL”

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

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

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

GRADE: B

REAGAN & GORBACHEV’S EFFECT ON ’80S POP

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

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

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

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 9, 2018

It’s time for another one of my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I want to thank all of you for the beautiful words about Miss ABBA and Mr. Panda last  week on the anniversaries of their crossing over the “Rainbow Bridge”.

I’ll tell you that the first few days of February have not been kind to me over the years with the passing of ABBA, Panda, the end of my relationship, and the death of Karen Carpenter.

However, I promise you, my friends, at this time next year, I’ll still remember those beautiful pets, but I’ll have an exit plan in place for getting out of this misery I’m in and God-willing, I’ll have an exit date!

With that in mind, here’s what I’m thinking this week!

CHILD VACCINATIONS

While not totally related, this year’s high rate of the flu has me thinking about vaccinations, specifically childhood vaccinations.

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I know there are parents out there that don’t vaccinate their children for religious reasons and some because they fear that childhood shots may cause autism.

I’m one of those that firmly believes that every child in school should have all of the doctor-recommended shots.

Children are susceptible to so many viruses and diseases anyways, why not give them every chance to be as healthy as possible?

Your thoughts on mandatory childhood vaccinations?

RICKY MARTIN IS NOW A MARRIED MAN

Ricky Martin is off the market, guys (and gals).

The sexy Latin pop star and star of the current FX series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” married his Syrian-Swedish painter boyfriend of three years, Jwan Yosef.

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Martin, the father of two, wants people to see him, Jwan, and the kids as normal.

He tells “Out” magazine, “I want people to look at me and see a family and say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with that.’ It’s part of my mission.  It’s part of my kids’ mission as well.  My kids ask me about having two daddies and I tell them we are a part of a modern family.  This is a beautiful sense of freedom.”

After reading Martin’s autobiography, “Me”, here’s what I had to say if you want to learn more about him.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/me-personifies-ricky-martins-compassionate-life/

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Donut Mania, a specialty shop, in Las Vegas is offering the ultimate dessert through Valentine’s Day — gold-decorated donuts.

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The treats are made with edible 24-karat gold leaf and dust.  If that wasn’t decadent enough, the fabulosity factor goes higher since the deep-fried dough is infused with sparkling Perrier-Jouët Champagne!

If you’re heading to Vegas soon, these shiny donuts will set you back $15 each and they have to be pre-ordered.

Too extravagant for you?  They have countless others available, too!

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FINISHED READING BOOKS 1 & 2

As I blogged before, now that I’m finished with boxes of old “Rolling Stone” and “Time” magazines, I read “Front Row At The White House” by UPI news correspondent Helen Thomas.

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It was a great read with her stories of the eight presidents (and First Ladies) she covered through 1999 from John & Jacqueline Kennedy to Bill & Hillary Clinton.

Christmas In Plains

I also read “Christmas In Plains” by my idol, Former President Jimmy Carter.  I read this small, but inspiring book every holiday season.

LAUGHTER TO KEEP FROM CRYING (OR CUSSING)

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, I was pretty vocal about the candidates and since that fateful night, I’ve worked very hard to say as little as possible about “that man”.  It is what it is and what can I do until the mid-term elections in 2018 and the next election in 2020.

But, with the amazing Oscar-nominated Jessica Chastain as Vernoica Elders, I’m still laughing and watching this “Saturday Night Live” skit again and again.

Really, “What Even Matters Anymore!”  While sad that this is true, Chastain is freaking funny!

ENTERTAINMENT TAKES ON 45

Many television shows are taking on Donald Trump.

There’s the incredible third season of USA’s “Mr. Robot” where this interaction played out…

Zhang (who’s also “Whiterose”), China’s Minster of State Security, tells the right wing TV host Frank Cody: “I may have a potential candidate for president I want you to back.” (with “that man” on the television).

mr-robot-whiterose-trump

Cody:  <nervous laugh> “Look, the country’s desperate right now, but you can’t be serious.  I mean the guy’s a buffoon.  He’s completely divorced from reality.  How would you even control him?” 

Zhang (Whiterose):  “If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance anyway you desire!”

And, then there’s “The X-Files”.

In the eleventh season, actions and comments of #45 have been mentioned (without calling him by name) several times, especially “fake news”.

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In a recent comical episode, Mulder meets with the mysterious “Dr. They”, who tells the FBI agent that his time has passed.  He adds that these days, we don’t even know what the truth means and that no one really cares if it gets out.

A more potent, yet much less subtle, bash is when a spaceship landed and the alien leader told Mulder and Scully that they were cutting ties with Earth.

They were going to build a wall around the solar system because our race is made up of liars and we accuse them of bringing in drugs and crime.  But, the alien did say that not all of us are bad!

And, #45, every time you bring up the expression “Crooked Hillary”, think of this:

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That replaced “The Truth Is Out There” opening earlier this season.

ANOTHER MR. ROBOT THOUGHT

After the season three finale, I got a tweet back from the show’s mastermind and creator Sam Esmail.Mr Robot

ELTON IS READY TO SAY GOODBYE

The “Rocket Man” Elton John is saying “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, but not before sharing the love with his fans one last time.

Elton

A couple of weeks ago, the 70-year-old music icon announced his massive farewell tour — 300 cities over three years!

Elton promises an over-the-top production with dates in the U.S., Europe (May 2019), South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Comically, he added that when he’s done, he’s done, “I’m not Cher, even though I like wearing her clothes — this is the end.”

Elton LasVegas

I saw him in Las Vegas on my birthday weekend in 2012 and he was incredible.

OH, KEN, YOU SCARE ME!

34-year-old Rodrigo Alves is a Brazilian born social media celebrity.  However, he’s known as the “Human Ken Doll”.

FLYNET - Exclusive: Rodrigo Alves On A Shopping Spree In London

Holy hell, I don’t think so!

I had many fantasies as a kid of a human version of the Mattel “Ken” doll, but he didn’t look like that.

He looked more like this!

ken doll

Okay, back to Alves.  He finally found a doctor to reduce his waistline from 26″ to 20″ by removing four “floating ribs”!

This is a creepy and shocking television interview with him.

Okay, I’m not a mental health expert.   But, when it comes to finding plastic surgeons to perform these elaborate works of human body massacre, how does he pass psychological evaluations or do they even do them?

As a recovery food addict, I fought body image issues for much of my 20s.  However, I never once thought of doing anything like this!

No wonder Barbie is more independent!

SPEAKING OF BARBIE…

1959 — Barbie hit stores and pundits said the toy would fail.  Mattel sold 300,000 of the $3 dolls within a year.

1963 — The Barbie Baby-Sits debuted with a book titled “How to Lose Weight”.  It recommended, “Don’t eat.”  Nice going, Mattel!

1970 — National Organization for Women stage the “Women’s Strike for Equality” with signs reading, “I Am Not a Barbie Doll”.

1980 — Multi-cultural versions of Barbie are introduced, but critics blasted them because their features were Caucasian.

1992 — A new talking Barbie declares “Math class is tough!”.  This didn’t go over well.

2004 — Barbie and Ken break-up.  They had been companions since 1961.  However, they reunited seven years later.

“BARBIE GIRL”

In 1997, if you listened to pop radio, you couldn’t escape “Barbie Girl” by the Danish group Aqua.

The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it topped the charts in more than a dozen countries.

With lyrics like “I’m a blond bimbo girl, in a fantasy world” and “Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please/I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees”, Mattel wasn’t pleased.  It unsuccessfully sued the group.

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is racing up the chart with his latest hit, “My My My”, the first single from his new album.  The name of the disc and the release date are still unknown.

Two years ago, Sivan had my #2 song of 2016 with “Youth” and last year, he made my year-end Top 20 list with Martin Garrix on “There For You”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony