Posts Tagged ‘marriage equality’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

Rolling Stone.JPG

Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

Duluth.jpg

I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

white_house_rainbow

Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

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 sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter.  He gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”.  His fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”.

But, that film and the money 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 open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was 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 their lifestyle.

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 Kock) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Larry+Kramer+in+Love+02.jpg

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 in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

Ap 1987.jpg

Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

silence death

Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — November 17, 2017

Can you believe Thanksgiving is now just days away?

Thanksgiving Forecast

I hope you have an incredible feast and enjoy everything about the holiday season.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!

Australians earlier this week overwhelmingly (62%) voted “yes” for marriage equality!

Thank you for seeing that “Love Is Love Is Love”.  And, thank you LeAnn Rimes for this incredible #1 U.S. Dance hit!

“COURT”ING CONTROVERSY”

75-year-old Australian tennis legend Margaret Court, who won 62 major titles in her career is a long-time opponent to marriage equality.

courttennis

In one of my first blogs ever back in January 2012, I wrote about Court when she said this (and much more) about being LGBT, “It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings.”

At the time, I wrote, “While I fully disagree with Court, I’m glad she stands by her views and I hope one day she can open her mind for equality.”  Clearly, she hasn’t.

So, ironically, I concluded my blog then with, “You old wind bag, feel free to speak your mind, but if you get on the “court” and make a lob, expect a return volley.”

No regrets!

NAVRATILOVA, MATCH & GAME POINT!

Openly gay tennis pro and LGBT rights activist Martina Navratilova posted this awesome tweet for Court.

Martina

“MR. ROBOT”

The third season of the USA Network hit series is moving right along and recently addressed #45!

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).

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!”

ON THAT NOTE

Putin

Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings in Russia hit a record level of 88% with the annexation of Crimea in March 2014!

Wonder what it now that he influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

“MINDHUNTER”

If crime procedurals and serial killers are your thing, you’ll love the Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany star as FBI agents in the late-1970s that start the FBI’s “Behavioral Science” division to study criminal psychology and criminal profiling.

They want to learn from serial killers and this criminal profiling can help them catch future killers.

Groff (“Glee”, “Hamilton”, and Kristoff in “Frozen”) is adorable in this series.  In life, his character, Holden Ford is socially awkward, but it’s his fascination with crime and killers that pushes this project forward.

It’s especially fun seeing the very sexy Groff, who’s gay in real life, play a very sexually active straight man in graphic sex scenes, much like Neil Patrick Harris did on “How I Met Your Mother” — without the graphic sex scenes.

Also, it’s great to see Anna Torv (“Fringe”) back in a series and I love the fact that she eats tuna out of the can!  She rocks!

I find it hilarious that since “behavioral science” is a new division within the FBI that it’s relegated to the basement!  Sounds like another FBI show that studied paranormal activity and was put in the basement!

GRADE:  A-

BEST “MINDHUNTER” LINE THIS SEASON

Holden: “How do you get to be the president of the United States if you’re a sociopath?”

Breathe Trumpsters!  He was talking about President Richard Nixon!

WHO LISTENS TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC?

Nielsen released data on Christmas music on the radio from last year and what groups do you think listen to holiday music the most?  The results may surprise you.

  • Millennials (Age 18-34): 36%
  • Gen X (Age 35-54): 31%
  • Boomers & Beyond (Age 55+): 25%
  • Gen Z (Age 13-17): 8%

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO ALL”

With that in mind, I put together my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, I mean my 12 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs.

MC Santa

If you missed the countdown earlier in the week, you have another chance.  What do you think is #1?  Are you right?

Just click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/oh-santa-the-holidays-have-a-new-face/

TAYLOR SWIFT — “reputation”

Last Friday, Taylor Swift released “reputation”, the follow-up to her megahit “1989”, that’s gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Taylor-Swift-reputation

“reputation” sold 1.05 million copies in just its first four days to become the biggest selling album of 2017.

That’s four consecutive first week million sellers for Swift!

One thing I can say about the new album is that “Tim McGraw”‘s Taylor Swift is DEAD!!!!

This album is definitely more grown up and angrier with jabs to the older men she’s dated and veiled slams to Kanye West and Katy Perry (or “drama queens”).

I love the first two singles, “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Ready For It”.

The video to the album’s first single is incredible.  Even if you’re not a Swift fan, at least click on the video and watch the last 30 seconds.  Amazing and funny!

My favorite songs on the album are “Delicate” and “Gorgeous”.

I also love “I Did Something Bad”, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, “Getaway Car”, “Dress”, and “Don’t Blame Me”.

“End Game” with Ed Sheeran and Future is great, too.

GRADE:  A-

“PATTI CAKE$”

I’ve heard really good things about the summer drama “Patti Cake$”.

As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.

Danielle Macdonald plays Patricia Dombrowski, who’s mockingly called “Dumbo” in her New Jersey neighborhood.

She’s down on her luck and her home life is appalling.  She lives with her mother and terminally ill grandmother.  They’re poor and behind on their bills and are constantly getting collection agency calls.

But, the hardship comes naturally for Patti.  Her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett) loves to get drunk and sing karaoke at the dive bar where Patti works.

Patti’s calling is writing rhymes and rapping with her best friend, Jheri, played by a very charming Siddharth Dhananjay, a YouTube star from India.

By the end of the movie, you’re rooting for Patti and being thankful that Barb isn’t your mother.

 

GRADE:  A-

Another interesting note about “Patti Cake$” is that while watching the movie, it had a very “Muriel’s Wedding” feel with rap music substituted for ABBA songs.

The reason could be that Macdonald is Australian, just like Muriel Heslop and actress Toni Collette.

“PATTI CAKE$” BONUS — “PBNJ”

“THE BEGUILED”

First off, the movie stars my “girl crush” Nicole Kidman and the very sexy Colin Farrell.

It’s set in 1864, near the end of the Civil War.

Martha Farnsworth (Kidman) runs a home for young girls in Virginia.  One day while out hunting mushrooms, one of the girls finds an injured Union soldier (Farrell).

Against their better judgement, they nurse him back to health instead of turning him over to the Confederate Army.

Well, being the only (hot) man in a house of two women (Kidman and Kirsten Dunst) and a sexually provocative teenage vixen (Elle Fanning), you can imagine there’s “tension” and things go bad.

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

It All Makes Sense Now!

You know I love to share with you and I use my blog and my writing as therapy.

Whether it’s humorous, about the entertainment world, politics, or equality, the topics are usually random.  You never know what I’ll write about next.

I started the blog in January 2012 and, before that, I joined Facebook in the spring of 2009.  It was right after Ray and I started seeing each other.

So, over the past eight years, our lives were played out in the public arena.  It’s given us the chance to meet some of you and to “friend” many others that we never met in person.  However, you’re still a part of our lives and we were a part of yours.

You saw everything from the fun meals and drinks we made, our holiday celebrations, our vacations, and our beautiful wedding reception (six years ago)!

Wedding4

As you know, I moved to Florida in early May and I haven’t been shy about it not being an enjoyable experience.  Part of that is the area, but the larger problem lies with me.

In a couple of blogs this spring (which I’m sharing again below), I said, “I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again” after the 2016 presidential election.

changes

In another blog, I wrote, “Change is stressful.  Change is exciting.  Change is different. Change is simply change!” and “In life, we go through it many times.  Whether it’s losing loved ones through death, break-ups or divorce, or just by spreading our wings to fly, change proves we’re alive.”

The reasons for the change and the move I expressed in the blogs were honest, but I didn’t share everything.  Some of you sensed there was more to the story and there is.

Curtain Call

In early February, Ray and I decided to go our separate ways after eight years together. We called it “a break”.  But, we knew then that we had drifted apart and the circumstances weren’t going to change.

When I said, Florida “hasn’t been an enjoyable experience”, now you know the real, larger issue.

Moving here was a quick fix solution to our problem, a “band-aid” to cover something that needed more attention, but was neglected.

In retrospective, Florida is/was a mistake.  If I had it to do over again, I probably would have stayed in the Quad Cities, even as we moved forward with our separation and divorce.

R &amp; A

After we started posting pictures of our trip to Scandinavia, we knew it was time to make it public based on comments of how happy we looked and it was good to see us together again.

That trip was already scheduled and paid for long before we made this life-altering decision.  The trip turned out to be our “swan song”!

Ray is moving on with his life and is experiencing things he was missing out on in the last years of our relationship.  Now, it’s up to me to do the same.

I wish him the very best in life and I hope he finds what we had for much of our time together and lost toward the end.

On Kygo’s 2016 CD, “Cloud Nine”, there’s a song, “Stole the Show” that sadly and perfectly sums things up.  Our relationship was on display thanks to social media and we didn’t mind.  But, now that the outcome is what it is, things playing out publicly is different.

If and when another relationship comes our way, we both might be more reserved to make it public and I hope, my friends, that you don’t take that the wrong way.

The End

Here are those blogs I referenced above:

“It All Starts With Me”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/it-all-starts-with-me/

“Change”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/change/

All of this has me thinking of the most charming public couple, Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, David Burtka.

In a 2014 “Rolling Stone” feature on Harris, Burtka said, “There is a lot of ‘Oh, you guys are role models’, I’m superhappy that people look to us.  If anything happened, God forbid, I wouldn’t want to let anyone down.  But nothing will!  After you get to, like, seven, eight years, it’s like, ‘No one’s going anywhere’.”

For Harris, Burtka, and their twins, I’m happy that it’s true for them!

Anthony

 

Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.

Advocate

The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.

LGBT

“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.

Stonewall_riots

That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.

Milk1

“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.

aidsquilt

Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.

RonaldReagan

“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.

marriage

“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)

SEXUAL RACISM

I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.

haring

Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexual

Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 30, 2017

The first half of the year is over now!  It’s incredible how fast time flies.

I hope you’ve enjoyed part one of 2017 and are looking forward to more of the same for the part two if it’s been a good one.  If it hasn’t been all that spectacular or if there’s room for improvement, here’s to a better summer, fall, and the kick-off to winter!

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

4 MORE YEARS, ANTHONY KENNEDY, PLEASE!

Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.

Anthony Kennedy

The Reagan-nominee has been a Justice for more than 29 years.

The court is currently split.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now 84, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer lean Democratic and Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito side Republican.

Kennedy is sometimes a tiebreaker or a swing voter.

My hope is that he holds out until 2021 before he retires since President Obama didn’t get to appoint a successor to conservative judge Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

TWO YEARS AND THE WORLD IS STILL HERE

It was two years ago this week (June 26, 2015) that Justice Kennedy authored SCOTUS’ decision making marriage equality the law of the land.

He concluded by saying, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

That night, the White House showed its true colors!

white_house_rainbow

Since that day, despite people like Kentucky’s “Wicked Witch” Kim Davis, the LGBT community learned more about what the expression “all men are created equal” means.

And, to this day, the Earth is still rotating on its axis, the sun still rises in the east, and settles in the west!  And, that won’t change with #45 either!

#Resistance

VERSACE LIVES AGAIN

Summer just started last week and I’m already looking forward to fall and winter.  And, now, early 2018 can’t get here soon enough. 🙂

The long awaited follow-up to the spectacular and award winning FX series “The People v O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story” was announced.

Originally, it was going to about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, but that’ll now be the third installment.

Katrina2005

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now being filmed at Casa Casuarina, Versace’s former Miami Beach home, and an early look at the series graced the cover of “Entertainment Weekly”.

EW verace

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man suspected of killing Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

ANDREW CUNANAN

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.  Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in that city.

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities. 🙂  See for yourself!

Cunanan

You can read my full blog on this story here.  Just click on this link and it’ll open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in today’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.

It also gives you the back history of the story.  It’s crazy to believe that it’s been twenty years already!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/cunanan-then-peeps-now-nicknames/

RYAN MURPHY ON TRUMP

Murphy’s new Versace series focuses not only on the designer’s murder, it also drives home how homophobia let Cunanan’s killing spree go one for so long and how that led to Versace’s death.

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

“GET OUT”

Racism is front and center of this psychological drama about a young, white woman taking her black boyfriend home to her little small New England town.

It’s the directorial debut from comedian Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele” and “MADtv”) and he masters it beautifully.  Peele knows the subject very well since he’s the son of an interracial couple.

As the movie is moving toward its climax, you might have to suspend disbelief, but the point is perfectly driven home.

While it’s a drama, the comedy provided by Chicago actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery is so funny.  He plays the main character’s best friend.

When he explained to his friend why he needed to “Get Out” of there, I’m glad I wasn’t taking a drink of something when he started talking about Jeffrey Dahmer, lobotomies, and penises!  It was so flipping hilarious!

GRADE:  A-

WARNING — CHRISTMAS TALK AHEAD!

I know it’s still about six months away, but I’m thinking about my first Christmas party — Florida-style.

While it won’t be as large as the ones Ray and I hosted back in the Quad Cities, I’m sure it’ll be festive.

Liquor is more expensive down here and as I’ve already vented in an earlier blog, boxed wine only comes in 3-liter boxes!  Instead of “I Want My MTV”, I want my 5-liter boxed wine!

Wine Ripe off

Well, thanks to returning my two Redbox movies and wanting to get salsa at WalMart last Sunday, I walked out with a gigantic start toward the Christmas party with a cart of discontinued, discount liquor with rebates!

All of this for just $4 to $12 a bottle!

Christmas Cheer

CHRISTMAS PARTY PUNCH????

I just came across the most interesting sounding cocktail that I’m considering making as a punch for my Christmas party.

It’s a staple at Latitude 29 in New Orleans called a “Paniolo”.

It’s a combination of fresh cranberry syrup, lime juice, bourbon, and a macadamia nut liqueur!

paniolo

Sounds tasty and festive!

The last really incredibly tasty and holiday-festive drink I had was on a Holland America cruise a few years back.

It was a Strawberry Basil Bellissimo (vodka, strawberries, basil infusion, and fresh basil)!

SBB

“BAD SANTA 2”

I didn’t see the original and I only wanted to give this one a try because of Kathy Bates.

She was very naughty and was the highlight of the movie.

“Bad Santa 2” is so crude.  I don’t think there’s a group that this movie didn’t set out to offend. 🙂  Yes, I did laugh at some of the absurd humor.

Warning:  contains adult language!  (You can check out the “red band trailer”, which is about four minutes long.  It’s really raunchy, so I didn’t share it, but it’ll save you 90 minutes of your life and a couple of bucks from not renting this movie at Redbox!)

GRADE:  C-

“3 GENERATIONS”

Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, and Elle Fanning headline this little seen summer movie about a trans teenage boy, Ray, played by Fanning wanting to transition from female to male.

Watts is stellar and Sarandon was very funny and likable as Watts’ mother and Fanning’s grandmother, who just happens to be a lesbian.

The subject matter is very relevant with today’s higher visibility of trans men and women and the fight for transgender equality, but this isn’t the movie to further the cause.

It’s just a step away from an after-school special or a Lifetime movie.  But, don’t take that the wrong way.  I’ve watched some Lifetime movies, especially at Christmas.

GRADE:  C

MORE OF MY PRIDE CLASSICS

LGBT Pride month is winding down, but I’m still sharing some of my favorite classics from my club days.  Actually, I had three different eras of club days.

In the 1980s, in Paducah, Kentucky, when I first started going out.  Then, in Chicago, from 1994-1996, and, again, from 2002-2004.

So, I’ll featured a couple more of my favorites!

OH L’AMOUR — ERASURE

This is still one of my favorite songs of all time.

I got to see Andy Bell and Vince Clark in concert in Chicago a couple of years ago and it was incredible.

Their new album, “World Be Gone”, their 17th, came out this May.

Dance diva Sylvester, who died from complications from AIDS in 1988, scored three Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late 1970s.

However, he had 18 hits on the Billboard Dance charts.  Three of them topped that chart.

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, from 1979, was one of those number one hits and it also was played on mainstream pop radio.

ANOTHER PARTING VERSACE SERIES NOTE

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is being written by Tom Rob Smith.

Smith, who created and wrote the incredible 2015 BBC Two five-part miniseries, “London Spy”, featuring my future fantasy husband Ben Whishaw.

Ben-Whishaw

If you haven’t seen, find it.  Not only is Whishaw captivating, it also stars a stellar Charlotte Rampling.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 30, 2016

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

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

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

THEY SAID WHAT??? — PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE VERSION

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

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

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

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

debate

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

Here are my favorite soundbites:

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

Hillary Debate.jpg

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

Donald:  “Why not?”

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

Donald Debate.jpg

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

hillary-debate

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

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

BEST TWEET ABOUT THE CANDIDATES

Springer.jpg

JUST IGNORE HIM — HE’S USED TO IT!

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

Vote this November!  It’s important!

CANCER SUCKS

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

cancer

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

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

Brett Kissel

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

What a powerful video!

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

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

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

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER!

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

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

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter

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

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

FIVE YEARS & COUNTING

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

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

Wedding2

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

Wedding 1

The first years!

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

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

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

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

IN SHOCKING POLITICAL NEWS…

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

santorum vest

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

Heather Mooney’s response to both of these shockers!

HeatherMooney

SERIES & SEASON FINALES

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

spoiler-alert

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

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

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

joanna

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

GRADE:  B  (Season one — GRADE:  A)

aquarius.jpg

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

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

Grey Damon

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+  (Season one — GRADE:  B)

WELCOME BACK “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

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

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

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

You can catch the show Thursday nights on ABC.

DO YOU KNOW HOW OLIVES ARE STUFFED?

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

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

This is an incredible short video showing the process.

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

PICK HIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

IT’S THAT TIME OF THE YEAR

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

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016

What an incredible week with 69° Monday and 77° Wednesday in the Quad Cities.  I know this has been a rather docile winter by Midwestern standards, but I’m ready for green grass, flowers, and leaves.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, feel free to comment on what I’m talking about and you can even contradict me — as long as it’s diplomatically.  (Oh, diplomatically doesn’t mean ranting at me with the same blah blah blah.  The dead horse is still dead!)

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

She died of congestive heart failure at her Bel-Air, California, home at the age of 94.

Her husband, Ronald Reagan, our nation’s 4oth president from 1981-1989, also died at their home, at the age of 93, in June 2004, of pneumonia after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mrs. Reagan’s classiness, her commitment to her husband, and their love was commendable and inspiring.

I was at odds with her husband’s mishandling and ignorance in the face of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s (by the end of his presidency, there were more than 82,362 reported AIDS cases leading to 61,816 deaths), but I always liked Nancy and would have loved to meet her.

While sorry that she passed, I’m glad the two of them are together again.

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

It’s an election year and I’m spending most of 2016 reading books written about or by political figures and their families.

Although she was the wife of a Republican president, Nancy Reagan is one of my five favorite First Ladies of the United States.

Hillary AP

There’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton, Rosalynn Carter, Laura Bush, and Jacqueline Kennedy.

I’m sure as I read more books this year, there will be some First Ladies that I’ll add to the list as I work back in time.

LAURA BUSH

Right now, I’m reading “Spoken From The Heart”, Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.  She seems so genuine and down to earth.

I’ll  share more of it when I’m finished, but I want to share a correspondence between her and Nancy Reagan.

Laura Bush

Clearly, as First Lady, Laura had to start dressing up since she preferred dressing comfortable.

Ms. Reagan once told Laura that when they were putting together a showing of her clothes at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, it became the most visited exhibit.  Nancy laughed and said, “You know, those clothes that I was always criticized for!”

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Rebecca Bradley, appointed by Governor Scott Walker, is apologizing for very crude and offensive remarks she shared in columns in her college newspaper more than two decades ago.

She wrote in one story, “One will be better off contracting AIDS than developing cancer, because those afflicted with the politically-correct disease will be getting all of the funding. How sad that the lives of degenerate drug addicts and queers are valued more than the innocent victims of more prevalent ailments.”

In another she stated, “The homosexuals and drug addicts who do essentially kill themselves and others through their own behavior deservedly receive none of my sympathy.”

Now that she’s campaigning to be elected to the position, she is apologizing, but calls the revelations “mudslinging”.

rebecca-bradley

Bradley now says, “To those offended by comments I made as a young college student, I apologize, and assure you that those comments are not reflective of my worldview.”

My thoughts:  I know people are young (and stupid).  I know people learn and evolve and maybe Bradley did.

However, it’s not like she called a gay man a “sissy” or something that she could easily say, “Sorry, I didn’t know.  I didn’t mean to offend you.”

We’re talking the use of the very derogatory word “queer” and we’re talking AIDS, a disease that had already killed half of the people that contracted it when she was a college student making those pathetic comments.

And, finally, if “those comments are not reflective” of her views now, why didn’t she apologize before — not when her political career is on the line!

I think it’s rather convenient now to say, “Oops, I really didn’t mean that!”

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

After he conceded defeat in the war against marriage equality, my dislike of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad softened some over the past couple of years.  Well, he and I are at odds again.

terry-branstad

Earlier this week, the long-running governor dismissed a Senate bill proposing a so-called “Death with Dignity” law, which some describe as “doctor-assisted suicide”.

Branstad stated, “I am pro-life and I think that bill is dead for this session.”

I’ve written on this topic, which I fully support, several times.  In November 2014, I talked about 29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, who took her own life in Oregon, after a long battle with terminal brain cancer.

Brittany Maynard

I also expressed my thoughts about Dr. Jack Kevorkian (“Dr. Death”).  If you want to see what all I said about Brittany and Dr. Kevorkian, here’s a link to that (it’ll open in another window, so you won’t lose your place here):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/11/07/random-friday-thoughts-november-7-2014/

But, back to Iowa, Democratic Senator Joe Bolkcom from Iowa City, a lead sponsor of the bill, says he hopes to reintroduce the proposal in the 2017 legislative session.

That’s the good news if you share my views.  The bad news is that Branstad can still veto it even if it is approved by the House and Senate.

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both seasons of this ABC hit with Emmy Award-winning actress Viola Davis.  Yes, the show puts the cray cray in crazy and the sex in sexy.

Sadly, viewers are moving on.  The show premiered to incredible numbers, 14 million viewers.  However, the TGIT-staple had already lost five million people by the end of the first season.

Now as we’re down to the season two finale next Thursday, viewership is down to just 4.5 million!!!

If this wasn’t a Shonda Rhimes show, I’d put my money on cancellation.  However, since Rhimes spins gold in Hollywood and, especially, at ABC, the network late last week renewed”HTGAWM” for a third season!

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

I’ve enjoyed both of the “Purge” movies.

The Purge Masks

While I liked the original more than the sequel, I did enjoy seeing Frank Grillo and Evanston, Illinois-born actor Zach Gilford (“Friday Night Lights”).

The “purge” is a 12-hour period that takes place once a year when the government allows all criminal activity, including murder.  The goal is to stay alive.

This summer, the third movie arrives and the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!

“The Purge:  Election Year” opens July 1st.

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

I’m happy that Caitlin Jenner is finally living in a world where she can be the person she always was inside.  Her transition, in the public eye, from Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn Jenner has raised awareness for our transgender men and women in the U.S. and around the world.

Caitlyn.jpg

However, as I’ve said before, my views don’t represent all gay men and Rosie O’Donnell’s views don’t represent all lesbians, so it should be clear that Caitlyn Jenner’s views, by no means, represents all in the transgender community.

Like the rest of people in the world, the LGBT community is very diversified.  With that being said, I wish Caitlyn would just disappear and live her life privately and take her clueless,  privileged views with her.

I’d much rather hear what people like Alexandra Billings (“Transparent”), whom I worked with briefly in a Chicago gay bar 20-plus years ago, has to say.

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

When I read the blockbuster book, “Room” by Emma Donough, I didn’t know what I’d think of the movie adaptation when it was announced.  Even after seeing the trailer last summer, I still was unsure.

However, after watching the potent movie that earned star Brie Larson this year’s Best Actress Oscar, my reservations were unfounded.

Because I had read the book, tears were streaming down my face after just the first ten minutes of the movie.  Tears continue to fall at different times in the movie.

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

This Steven Spielberg-directed, Tom Hanks-starring Cold War thriller that won Mark Rylance the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor is solid.

It’s a spy drama that has you rooting for the quirky man that may be a Russian spy living in New York City.

I’m just wondering how the movie would have if it were about 30 minutes shorter that the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is an Australian singer and actor making his big American debut with his first album, “Blue Neighbourhood”.

I fell in love with his radio smash, “Youth”, before I knew who he was and the fact that he’s openly gay.

If you listen to Top 40 radio, I’m sure you’ve heard the song — my pick hit of the week.

It’s also at #15 on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart.

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

I think Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an incredible actor and he’s so adorable.  Earlier this year, I saw “The Walk” and he was amazing.

Seth Rogen can be very funny and can be very annoying.  I loved him in “This Is The End” and “The Interview” and tolerated him in “Neighbors”.

When I first saw the trailer for the Christmas comedy, “The Night Before”, I hated it.  It looked so moronic and not funny.

Still, because of Leavitt and the Christmas theme, I gave it a chance.  For about the first 40 minutes or so, it was boring and painful.

I never thought that I’d say that a Miley Cyrus’s cameo would save a movie.  But, it made me laugh the hardest (intentionally) and James Franco’s bit part was highly rewarding.  I think Franco should be in every movie!

There’s also a drug-induced church scene that’s hilarious, too.

With that being said, just the appearance of Leavitt alone elevated this humbug comedy from getting an “F” and Cyrus and Franco raised the grade up almost a full letter!

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

I love John Travolta and Dan Stevens has turned into quite the hottie.  But, neither one of them could save “Criminal Activities” from being a disjointed, confusing mess.  How bad was it?  I won’t even waste space in the blog with the trailer.

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

Thanks for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  I greatly appreciate it and feel free to share your thoughts.

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony