Posts Tagged ‘marriage equality’

Random Friday Thoughts — January 22, 2016

While I’ve blogged about various topics lately, I haven’t done a “Random Friday Thoughts” blog in some time, so here goes.

SHE’S BACK…..

Former Alaska Governor and 2008 Vice President nominee Sarah Palin endorses Donald Trump.

sarah palin

In news that’s even more shocking, right around that announcement, her 26-year-old son, Track, was arrested after a fight with girlfriend, in which he allegedly punched and kicked her.  She was also concerned he would take his own life with a rifle.

Track faces three misdemeanor charges:  assault, interfering with the reporting of domestic violence, and possessing a gun while intoxicated.

Mama Palin says the anger her son displayed may be the result of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder).  While that may be true, in her twisted logic, she basically says President Obama is to blame because of the lack of respect for returning veterans.

Palin says, “That comes from our own President.  Where they have to look at him and wonder, ‘Do you know what we go through? Do you know what we’re trying to do to secure America?'”

Incredible.

Even the head of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Paul Rieckhoff disagrees with that.  He says, “It’s not President Obama’s fault that Sarah Palin’s son has PTSD.  PTSD is a very serious problem, a complicated mental health injury and I would be extremely reluctant to blame any one person in particular.”

ICE(LAND) ICE(LAND) BABY

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama says that gays wanting to marry should go to Iceland and stay.

Rek-Iceland

Really?  Looking at this beautiful view above, how could that be a bad thing?

Burn! 😏

CELEBRITY DEATHS KEEP COMING!

We’re only three weeks into 2016 and, sadly, more and more celebrities are dying.

The actors include Alan Rickman (“Harry Potter” series), Dan Haggerty (“Grizzly Adams”) and Pat Harrington, Jr. (“One Day at a Time”).  Then there’s Celine Dion’s husband and brother (within two days of each other) and music legend David Bowie.

David Bowie  Again

And, earlier this week, Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey died.

While “The Heat is On” and “You Belong To The City” were bigger solo hits, this is one my favorite Frey hits.

REBA’S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER

Last spring, Reba released her latest album, “Love Somebody” and it spent two weeks at #1 on the country album chart.

Sadly, country radio pretty much turned its back on the two singles.  “Going Out Like That”, one of my ten favorite songs of 2015, only made it to #23 on the Billboard Country Airplay chart and “Until They Don’t Love You” didn’t even make it onto the chart!

I’m not holding my breath that “Just Like Them Horses” will even be released to country radio.

It was one of my favorites songs on the album and Reba just put out a video to the song in memory of her father Clark McEntire that died in October 2014.

“WORLD WAR Z 2”

The sequel to 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt is still scheduled to hit theaters June 9, 2017.  However, the movie is now without a director.

J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”) was attached to direct the zombie film, but backed out saying he was too involved with other commitments.

The movie is still scheduled to shoot this year.

world-war-z-poster

If you recall, there were many setbacks in getting the first film to theaters.  Typically, that means there’s trouble and it suffers at the box office.  That didn’t happen to “World War Z”.  It grossed $540 million.

It was also my second favorite movie of 2013.

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

If you have Amazon Prime, check out the highly acclaimed series, “The Man In the High Castle”.  It’s a great show and the premise is far-fetched and thought-provoking.

It’s 1962 and it appears that America lost World War II.  The western United States in under Japanese rule and the much of the rest of United States is under Germany’s control.

Between the two, there’s a “Neutral Zone”.  It’s there where the story is getting interesting because there’s a resistance underway after film reels surface with news-style footage showing that the Allies did win the war and Japan and Germany lost.

Very intriguing and the three stars are beautiful!

“DIETLAND”

Since it’s an election year, I’ve moved on to reading about political figures.  I started out with “It Takes a Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.  While informative, it seemed a little too clinical, but I loved the tidbits I learned about Hillary and her early life.

I’ve now moved on to Mike Huckabee and Marco Rubio will be next.  By that time, I’m 100% sure that it’ll be back to Hillary and “Living History”.

But, before I got all serious, I read Sarai Walker’s “Dietland” and I highly, highly recommend it.

Dietland

The book is about Plum, an overweight woman, that has failed at diets and is considering gastric bypass surgery.  She then realizes she’s being followed and it leads to meeting a woman connected to her past diet failures.  Also, a series of high profile murders of scummy men lead to a revolt about the exploitation of women.

Read my complete review of “Dietland” here.  If you click on the link, it’ll open in a new page.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“THE WALK”

I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt and he’s intense, funny, and incredible in “The Walk” from last fall, which is now out on DVD.

He plays French high-wire artist Philipe Petit, who stunned the world in August 1974, staging the unthinkable — high-wire walking between the newly constructed World Trade Center’s Twin Towers 1,350 feet above the ground

The 45-minute aerial show kept the crowd below holding their breath and police on the roofs of both towers distressed on how to get Petit off the wires alive.

GRADE:  A

“SICARIO”

This was one of my most anticipated movies that I wanted to see on DVD since I never got around to seeing it in theaters.

While it brought home the losing battle we’re fighting in the drug war in Mexico and the United States and the viciousness of the drug lords, it didn’t excite me as much watching it.

Don’t get me wrong.  It is a great movie with superb acting.  I just think I waited too long to see it and my expectations were too high.

One thing I did notice that stood out like a lead character was the haunting score.  While I’ve never paid any attention to that category at the Academy Awards, I mentioned to Ray when we were watching the movie, “that score deserves to be nominated for an Oscar”. And, it was nominated!

You can hear the sounds that caught my attention and made the movie creepier right at the beginning of the trailer here.

GRADE:  B

“FIFTY SHADES OF GREY”

I finally got around to seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey” and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

I don’t think it deserves the “Razzie Award” nomination, but I don’t think that Dakota Johnson should have won a People’s Choice Award either!

It was more entertaining than I expected.  However, there was no chemistry between Johnson and gorgeous stud Jamie Dornan, who plays billionaire Christian Grey.

I’ll definitely see the second movie when it comes to DVD and I have a casting suggestion for “Mrs. Robinson” — Gillian Anderson.

“The X-Files” and “Hannibal” star is the lead in the incredible and mind-blowing series “The Fall” with Dornan!  Season three of that superb series should be out in 2016!

When I think of Dornan as Grey, it’s still “Fifty Shades of ‘Heyyyy'”!

GRADE:  B

LOVE CAKE, BUT NEVER HAD IT BY THE OCEAN

DNCE, Joe Jonas’ current musical project, is scoring its first pop hit, “Cake By The Ocean”.

I latched on to this one early on and it was my #6 favorite song of 2015.  If you listen to Top 40 radio, you hear it all the time now.

It’s still so much fun and it makes me think of summer during these cold months.

Okay, I could keep going.  But, I’ll stop now before I go on a political rant and endorsement.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you’re thinking.

Anthony

Advertisements

Equality is Not “Establishment”

The fight for equal rights is a tough one and it’s one that will not end today or tomorrow.

LGBT and straight people have fought very hard for decades — from the Stonewall riots in the summer of 1969 to Harvey Milk’s fight against Anita Bryant and her crusade in the late- 1970s to Act Up in the 1980s and for every marriage equality battle won before the Supreme Court Of The United States granted that right to every American last summer –for equal rights for everyone.

LoveEqualityFormula

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is a leader in that fight.

human_rights_campaign

My respect for Bernie Sanders dimmed after he lashed out at the HRC by calling it an “establishment organization” after its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.

HRC.png

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group in the United States.  It has been fighting the establishment and the system for equality since its founding in 1980.

The HRC is not the only organization that endorsed Clinton and was called “establishment” by Sanders.  He said the same thing about Planned Parenthood.

That organization calls Sanders’ comments, “regrettable”.

PP

 

Every fight the HRC and Planned Parenthood takes on are difficult ones and Sanders needs to be held accountable for his comments.

Hillary establishment

 

With the Iowa Caucus a little over a week away, I hope people see that while he may seem like a nice grandfatherly type that speaks his mind, he’s also the “establishment” and is just as “Washington” as the next candidate.

These endorsements don’t give Sanders the right to play nasty with the fights both of these organizations are taking on where we all win — straight, gay, men, women, children, elderly, rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, and on and on!

We humans all win when there’s equality and when there’s someone there fighting for us.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2015

Fall is here and I hope it’s off to a great start for you.  In the Midwest, it’s starting out very warm and dry — just as summer ended.

I feel inspired to write about a few things that crossed my mind, so here’s a guest appearance of Random Friday Thoughts!

HOLY STAMPEDE

I’m really baffled by the stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  It’s reported that at least 700 were crushed to death and about 900 were hurt!

I know that about two million people take part in this, but what happened to orderly fashion?

Hundreds were also killed in stampedes in the past and in 1990, 1,426 people died in Mina, which leads to the holy sites.

While I love attending Christmas mass, I’m not going to trample over people to get there!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

I’m guilty of it and I bet you are, too.  How many times have you started snacking while waiting for dinner just because you’re hungry?

Pastries

I’m doing that with “Fear The Walking Dead”.  While I’m enjoying the show, it’s so slow and the fourth episode was so uneventful until the very end of the hour.

I actually got excited when the previews of the next show came on at the end and it said something like “only two episodes left”.

I know the final two shows will likely be great and move faster, but I’m really ready for dinner to be served — the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead” on October 11th.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-1

SUMMER IS OVER

While we enjoyed the pool this summer, we took it down last weekend.

Pool

But, that doesn’t mean we’re ready for winter and snow.  We dived into the biggest project ever and it turned out fantastic.

MOVING UP TO THE EAST SIDE!

You’ve heard me talk many times about the fish pond we built back in May 2012.  It held about 250 gallons of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recently, some of our friends gave us three of their goldfish and koi and this fall, we were going to acquire a dozen more that our friends decided not to keep.

So, we expanded the pond last weekend.  It’s now three feet deep and holds almost a thousand gallons of water!

Fish Pond

We now have 33 gorgeous fish and because of my recent mink encounter, the pond has added security!  (If you missed that mink predator ordeal, click here).

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

SINCE WE’RE TALKING FISH….

Fish Be You

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

Whether it’s pizza, wedding cakes, or marriage licenses, controversy arises when two sides see things differently when God (or one’s perception of God being judgmental) is involved.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBT community since I’m part of that subculture of humanity.

But, when we advocates raise awareness about people who deny others equal rights, there’s also a backlash.

MarriageEquality-711906

When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, there were many reports of gay bashings the weekend after the Supreme Court of the United States made its ruling.

When a small Indiana pizza joint spoke out against marriage equality and when bakeries refused to make wedding cakes for gay ceremonies, the LGBT community spoke out and the media extensively covered the stories.

Rainbow Cake

The restaurant and some of the cake makers started getting donations in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking a stand against the LGBT community.

And, when a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became a martyr for standing up for her religious rights.  (No, I’m not posting a picture of her or saying her name.  She’s had enough celebrity and hopefully her fifteen minutes are up soon!)

Now, just in time for Christmas, I read that she’s penning a religious book with an advance of seven figures.  Becoming a millionaire for refusing rights to the LGBT community and standing on the wrong side of history?

A Christmas Carol

I sure hope that when she is confronted with the ghost of Christmas past, it’s less haunting for her than for Scrooge!

gays_in_church

But, I’ll still raise awareness for LGBT equality.  I just wish the price wasn’t making celebrities out of people who use God and religion to hate!

AM I A “BELIEBER”?

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is a superstar.

Justin

While I’ve never declared myself a member of either camp, I have to admit he is a beautiful (and slightly troubled) young man.

Now, I’m beginning to think I may be a psuedo-Belieber (defined as a HUGE Justin Bieber fan)!

I loved his last song, “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo, which hit the Top Ten in America (and #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart).

And, “What Do You Mean?”, the lead single from his upcoming album has already topped the charts and is one of the biggest songs of the year just weeks after its release.

COUNTRY RADIO, SEXISM OR CUMULUS MEDIA?

I’ve written several times before that I think that country music radio is ageist and sexist.

There are many women’s new music in country that I’d love to hear in heavy rotation on the radio other than Reba, but she ignites that fire for me.

Now, I think it’s more than just sexism and ageism.  I seriously think those elements are still there.  But, I’m now convinced it’s Reba’s affiliation with Cumulus Media, which is a part of her new label, Nash Icon, that is the major problem.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Case in point is the second single from her #1 country album, “Love Somebody”, “Until They Don’t Love You”.  It’s an incredible song and sounds great live.

It was released to country radio August 7, 2015, and now seven weeks later, it only being played on 61 stations (out of more than 260 reporting country stations) with 879 plays.  (To put that into perspective, the #1 song on the chart was played 13,901 times.)

George Strait

Earlier this week, country legend George Strait released “Cold Beer Conversation”.  It’s now being played on 163 stations and got 830 plays in just two days!.

Yes, George is country music’s “king” to Reba’s “queen”, but obviously royalty isn’t being treated equal.

So, yes, there’s still the sexism thing.  But, moreso, I think Reba made a big mistake by allowing Cumulus Media to play and promote her music, thus shutting out the larger radio groups.

I guess we can listen to “Until They Don’t Love You” and her new music at home because we won’t find a home at country radio or high on the country music charts.

PICK HIT

“Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

“Desire” is the new release here in the U.S. and I hope it gets more airplay than their first American hit, “King”.

The band will be in San Francisco at the Fillmore Monday night.  I’ll be there, too, but sadly the concert is sold out and I don’t have tickets. 😦

If you missed my album review of “Communion” and you want to know more about the album, here it is again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

One of the best movies I seen lately is out on DVD.  I mention DVD only because it’s late September and I still have not been to the theater this year to see a movie.

Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl” and “Savages”) and Michiel Huisman (“The Game of Thrones” and “Nashville”) star as a couple that falls in love.

The problem is that Adaline is 107 years old, but doesn’t age due to a freak accident.  So, while everyone else in her life, including her daughter, played by Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, ages and dies, she stays the same.

GRADE:  A

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

A movie I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Austrian psychological thriller, “Goodnight Mommy”.  The trailer definitely creeps me out.

“DEXTER”

Although it’s been a couple of years now since my favorite sexy serial killer signed off Showtime after eight seasons, he’s still alive for me through books.

dexter-season-6

I’m reading Jeff Lindsay’s eight-book series that the television show was originally based on.  I’m on book six now.

I’ve decided in January, in the heart of winter, that I’m going back and watching all 96 episodes again!

It so interesting to see how much different the television show and the books are with characters that died in one format and are still alive in the other.  Also, the differences in the cases between the book and the show.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my Friday Random Thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — what you agree with and what you don’t.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015

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

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

BLAKE & MIRANDA GETTING DIVORCED

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

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

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

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

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

CY

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

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

SPEAKING OF FAIRY TALES

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

pretty-woman

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

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

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

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

The Girl on the Train

This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!

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

Emily Blunt

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

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

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

Michael FassbenderDexterHugh DancyJames MarsdenAndrew Lincoln

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

Grey DamonShawn Ashmore

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

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

Elisabeth RohmJennifer AnistonEvanRachelWood

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

Manish DayalEnrique Iglesias

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

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

Paula, your thoughts on the casting?

And, in honor of Rachel! 🙂

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

“THE SNOWMAN”

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

Nesbo+Snowman

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

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

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

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

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

THEY SAID WHAT???

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

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABEE LINDSEY GRAHAM

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

Pitbull

POP SINGER PITBULL

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

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

DIRECTOR/ACTOR TYLER PERRY

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

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

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

Kim KW Rolling Stone

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

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

Berg

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

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

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

DJ/PRODUCER SKRILLEX

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

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

DONUTGATE

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

Donuts

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

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

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

SUMMER 2016 PROJECT

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

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

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

So, next year, pickles and pickled veggies!

ACCEPTANCE OF THOSE IN LOVE

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

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

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

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

TILDA SWINTON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HER

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

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

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

tilda-transformation

Incredible!  What a chameleon.

SKIP “IT FOLLOWS” AND RENT “THE BABADOOK”

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

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

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

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

GRADE: C

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

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

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

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

And, how cool is the word “Babadook”?

GRADE:  B

MID-YEAR CANADIAN MUSIC LEADERS

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

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

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Top Selling Canadian Albums (through June 30, 2015)

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

Top Selling Singles (through June 30, 2015)

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

“SHOW ME YOURS”

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

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

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

BETTE MIDLER & DIVINE INTERVENTION

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

Bette

We saw the amazing Las Vegas show in May!

GUESS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW

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

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

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Happy Fourth

Oh, Liberace!

I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. 

Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront.  But, is it really “United” or just “States”?

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states.  While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.

marriage

I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.

I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.

I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right.  It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION

One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.

Let it go, people.

God

I pray every night to God.

I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.

I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that.  Let God judge me.  When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.

Worry about your own relationship with God!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”

It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.

gays_in_church

Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.

I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING

Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.

There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.

Pathetic!

People, live your lives and let others live their lives.  It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE

We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.

Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state?  Not at all!

Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.

AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”

After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.

This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.

Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.

However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.

Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina?  That’s up for debate.

Church Fire

But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..

Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.

You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt.  It is so big.  She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.  Who understands those rap guys?  They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”

That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.

Becky-Wegner-Rommel

However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.

An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.

While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!

This video is NOT to be missed!  🙂

Bless her heart!  I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…

“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN

On to a much lighter topic…

When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.

APMagicMike

I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.

I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.

ChanningTatum

Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”

Matt Bomer

Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed.  Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”

He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”

Ahhhh!

EVEREST

It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.

“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.

I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.

“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard.  It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).

“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.

“BITCH I’M MADONNA”

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.

Madonna Rebel Heart

But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.  This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.

Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist.  Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.

Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.

MID-YEAR UPDATE

Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?

Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)

And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.

Frozen Soundtrack

At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies.  However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.

The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs

1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)

Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.

“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK\

In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.

The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.

Hannibal

There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.

However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows.  Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.

Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.

Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.

Hannibal 3

Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.

hannibal gillian

Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!

“ZOO”

Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?

I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.

I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.

The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television.  “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.

He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.

However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.

“BEAUTIFUL NOW”

One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”.  “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.

The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.

True Colors Zedd

Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.

GRADE:  B+

ELECTION 2016

The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014” blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, that seems to holding true.

Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.

In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.

“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD

Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend.  I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.

I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.

However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.

gay-pride NYC

While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK!  NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.

She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development.  He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”

Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!

SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT

“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year.  It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.

The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today.  And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you.  As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 24, 2014

The weekend is almost here and I hope you have fun plans.

The nice thing is that temperatures will be near 70° for Iowa and Illinois.  If you recall by this time last year, the Quad Cities had already had its first measurable snow of the season! (0.4″ fell on October 22, 2013, in Moline, Illinois.)

Snow

Yes, I have a few random thoughts to share and I hope you enjoy reading them.

EBOLA FEARS & BLAME

As of now, one person has died here in the United States from Ebola, a disease that has killed close to 5,000 people in Africa.  However, the World Health Organization says that the true number may be three times that official number.

Twice recently, while traveling, I had the unfortunate experience of watching Fox News in the hotel room and I was disgusted that the talking heads were blaming President Obama for not doing enough.

Maybe they need to step back for a moment and look at this fact!

EBOLA - AIDS

If you think that’s just some Democratic, liberal slant of the facts, read a full article that I blogged about that in July 2012.

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

REBA IS READY FOR A COMEBACK

It’s sad to say that when you have more Top Ten hits on the country chart than any other woman in history and you’re tied with Dolly Parton with the most #1 country songs by a woman that you’re staging a comeback, but that’s what Reba McEntire, my idol, is doing.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women I Am” was released almost four years ago and it featured her last #1 song, Turn On The Radio”, which topped the chart on New Year’s Day in 2011.

Here’s Reba performing that song in Moline in October 2011.

Since then, the next three singles faltered at country radio peaking at #22 (the remake of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”), #40, and #44.  Thanks country radio!

Nevertheless, she’s back with a new label and she’s making new music.

Earlier this week, Reba announced that she signed with Nash ICON Music, a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift’s label) and Cumulus Media, the broadcasting giant that owns 460 AM and FM stations in the United States.

Reba

Reba is working with her longtime friend and producer Tony Brown, who’s behind her biggest hits albums from the early-to-mid-1990s including my favorites, “Rumor Has It” (1990) and “Read My Mind” (1994).  James Stroud is also co-producing the album.   Stroud has produced some of  Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence’s biggest hits.

Reba has already cut 11 songs for the new album and six are finished.  She adds, “I’ve got three more to record that I have found.  I’m always trying to beat out what I have already, so we just keep looking.”

While there’s no date set for the new single and new album, Reba promises it will be “soon”!

“GONE GIRL”

The latest David Fincher masterpiece, “Gone Girl”, is amazing.

The movie is based on the New York Times best seller and critically acclaimed novel of the same name by former “Entertainment Weekly” writer Gillian Flynn.

In just three weeks, the movie starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris has grossed more than $216 million worldwide with more than one-half of that domestically.

While I plan on reading the book in early December, the movie was incredible.  It really helped that Flynn also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

Here’s the trailer, which tells you what you really need to know about the movie.

Affleck was very solid just as he was in “Argo” and Pike definitely has a future in Hollywood.

Harris is so versatile as an actor and this is one of his most revealing and vulnerable, naked performances he’s given.

Let’s just say that he was definitely acting on Broadway in his critically acclaimed role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, because there is much more there!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Okay, that’s my way of saying you see more of Harris in this movie than you’ve ever seen before! 🙂

GRADE:  A

WE’RE HEADING TO THE CHAPEL AND WE’RE GOING TO GET MARRIED…

Marriage equality is sweeping the nation as court challenges and the Supreme Court of the United States are giving more Americans the freedom to get married.

Marraige Equality

Yet, that idiot and Fox News mouthpiece Mike Huckabee, the failed Presidential candidate, will not let it drop.

Check out this tweet and a Twitter response to his assessment of what Jesus probably thought.

Huckabee

While that might have offended some, that wasn’t my intent.  However, it made me smile and I couldn’t have said it any better.

PARIS AND TEL AVIV HIGHLIGHTS

Last week, I turned the big 5-0 and we saved our pennies and dollars and celebrated the milestone birthday with a trip to Europe (Paris, France) and the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Israel).

Here are some of the interesting things we experienced on the trip.

My birthday present from Ray was dinner cruise on the Seine River, followed by a trip to the Eiffel Tower at night.  We paid the extra 12 Euros to go to top and it was amazing to see the sprawled out city of Paris twinkling in the distance.

And, the night didn’t end there.  It was then off to the historic Moulin Rouge for a show and champagne.  I actually turned 50 during the show.

AP R Moulin

Thanks Ray!!!!!!!  You’re incredible.

We also had duck and goose a couple of times and while I’ll not make it a regular part of my eating habits, it was rather tasty.

The oddest thing I saw in Paris was a Chinese buffet near our hotel that we kept eyeing on our walks.  We finally gave it a try and you actually had to microwave your food that was sitting out on the buffet!  I wasn’t a fan of that.  Osaka Buffet in Moline, you have nothing to worry about!

But, then again, who goes to Paris and has a Chinese buffet?

It’s a small world after all.  As we were waiting in the line to go through customs at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, all of a sudden I heard “Hey Moline” and it was a sweet little, older couple that was coming back from a European River Cruise.  You never know who or where you’ll see your peeps! 🙂

TLV Sunset

Then it was off to Tel Aviv for three days.

It’s absolutely gorgeous there and from our hotel room, we could see the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea!

We were amazed at how beautiful, healthy, and in shape most Israeli men are.  Note to self:  eat better and work out more!

The morning Israeli breakfast our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.  However, our favorite meal was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Sea.

Starter

That was just the salads and “starters” that they brought out.  Yes, fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

Incredible!  I wanted to go back again, but we didn’t.

TEL AVIV SCARE

Sadly, we didn’t get our a stamp on our passport from Israel.

The customs agent was so flustered from ranting a woman in front of us for sticking her passport in her mouth that he forgot.  He refused to let her go through his line because he wasn’t going to touch her passport.  And, I really don’t blame him.  However, his approach was a little abrasive.

As for us, our only scare was when we happened upon the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the way to dinner.  It was dusk and we decided to take a picture of it for our photo album.

However, three guards came out (one with a large weapon) and told us not to take pictures and took my driver’s license and called it in since we weren’t carrying our passports.  After a very long five minutes or so, they let us go and told us not to take pictures.

It’s very interesting because last month in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, the guards there had no issue with photo-taking tourists.

And, on our return flight home, the snow-covered Alps were beautiful!

Alps

PICK HIT

While in Tel Aviv, Israel, I was delighted that VH-1 showed music videos all the time.  There was no filler programming or reality crap, just real videos like in the old days of MTV and VH-1.

I fell in love with the song, “Stolen Dance”  by the German pop/rock/folk duo, Milky Chance, made up of singer Clemens Rehbein and DJ Philipp Dausch.

What I was surprised to learn is that the song is #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart (six weeks) and #1 on the Rock Airplay chart (four weeks) in the United States.

And, it’s already topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Switzerland, and it peaked at #2 or #3 in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, and Sweden.

So far, it isn’t a Top 40 hit on mainstream radio in the U.S., but it’s catching on.

THE CALENDAR SAYS HALLOWEEN, BUT…

I’m already in the Christmas spirit.

However, I plan on watching “Hellbent”, a gay horror movie, from the people who brought us “Halloween” and “The Nightmare on Elm Street”.  It’s a movie that I watch every October.

Now, back to Christmas.  There are many upcoming holiday releases coming out including LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

But, I’ve already bought two new CDs.

Idina Holiday Wishes

I just got Idina Menzel’s “Holiday Wishes” this week.

While I believe that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a tired Christmas song and it’s becoming one of my least favorites, Idina’s version with sexy crooner Michael Buble, is fun and enjoyable.

Other standouts on the disc are “Silent Night”, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, her remake of the Joni Mitchell classic, “River”, and the aforementioned duet with Buble.

I admit that it did take several listens to her version of the Mariah Carey classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, before I could like and appreciate it.   Carey’s version is perfect!

It wasn’t Menzel’s voice that threw me for a loop.  The arrangement is all over the place and the song is over five minutes long.  Once I “got it”, the song was more enjoyable.

GRADE:  B+

And, another one you definitely need to add to your Christmas music collection is actor, singer, producer, writer, and Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, “Holiday For Swing”.

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

He has an amazing voice and brings an old-time Rat Pack feel to Christmas on “Holiday For Swing”.  If you love jazz and Christmas music, you’ll love it.

Sadly, there are no snippets that I can find online to share with you.  What’s up with that, Seth?

I’ve listened to the album countless times and it could definitely become a standard!

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT FOR NOW!

It was nice to share my random thoughts with you again.

As I promised when I stopped doing it weekly, I’d do one every once in a while.

I really miss writing, but I just can’t find the time to do with my crazy work schedule.  Work just seems to get in the way, but I do need that small paycheck.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 9, 2014

If you read my blog on a regular basis or if you’re new to it, I love my weekends and I always start counting down to them when I head into work on Monday morning at 2 a.m.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the ladies out there, whether it’s a child, a pet, a fish, or a plant to which you show your love.

TammyDessie

This is my sister, Tammy, and our late mother, Dessie, from the 1980s.

Here are my random thoughts for this Friday.  As always, let me know if you agree of disagree with any of them.

MORE SEX ALLEGATIONS & “THE X-MEN” SERIES

Just as the seventh movie in the successful “X-Men” series hits theaters in two weeks, another sexual assault lawsuit is filed against director Bryan Singer.

Bryan Singer

The director is distancing himself from the promotion of the $225 million “X-Men:  Days of Future Past” starring Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and many more.

x-men-days-of-future-past-poster

Singer says, “I do not want these fictitious claims to divert ANY attention” from the film.  He goes on to say, “I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shakedown it is.”

This all started back in mid-April when failed actor Michael P. Egan III, now 31, filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Singer and two other entertainment heavyweights claiming they involved him in a Hollywood sex ring back in the 1990s when he was a teenager and an aspiring actor.

Bryan Singer - Mike Egan III

Now, Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, is representing a British man, now in his 20s, known as “John Doe No. 117”, who claims that Singer sexually assaulted him back in 2006 when the director was in the U.K. promoting “Superman Returns”.

I’m really torn about this.  I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if anything inappropriate happened.

However, I find it really hard to believe that Egan is just now coming forward with these allegations for something that happened back in the 1990s.  And, this wasn’t a one-time thing.  It allegedly happened multiple times in California and Hawaii!

If these allegations are true, I hope Singer and the other two men named in the lawsuit pay dearly.  If they’re innocent and this is character assassination, I hope it doesn’t affect their careers in the long-term and the accusers get help with their problems!

CAMPAIGN ROAD BUMP FOR GOP CANDIDATE

Steve Wiles

34-year-old Republican Steve Wiles supports North Carolina’s constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and he’s running for a state Senate seat there. 

And, he’s also running from his past.

Steve Wiles - Mona Sinclair

It appears that in his early-20s, he was gay and worked at the Winston-Salem gay bar, Club Odyssey, as “Mona Sinclair”!

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Wiles first stated, “That’s not me” and “no” when asked if was gay.

In another interview, Wiles says, “I have already apologized to the people who matter most to me for the things I did when I was young.”

Before his campaign website, Twitter account, and Facebook page were taken offline, Wiles posted this on Facebook:

Facebook Steve Wiles

Sorry, Steve, but you say that “equality doesn’t mean infringing on someone else’s right”.  Plain and simple, marriage equality is a “right” that every human should have in their lifetime.  It’s your problem that you’re using religion as a litmus test to define “marriage”.

And, another thing that’s more appalling than your self-righteous views and denial of your past is that picture of Mona Sinclair!  If this story was going public, at least get a more flattering picture out there.  Didn’t you learn anything from RuPaul?

TOMMY LASORDA DOESN’T MINCE WORDS

Tommy Lasorda, who managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976-1996, is a long time friend of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

As you know, Sterling was fined $2.5 million, banned for life from the NBA, and may be forced to sell the team for making racially insensitive comments to his girlfriend, Vivian  Stiviano.

tommy-lasorda-donald-sterling-and-v-stiviano

Lasorda was in West Palm Beach, Florida, to pick up an honorary doctorate from Northwood University. 

He told the local ABC affiliate, WPBF, that he’s known Sterling for more than thirty years and Sterling said things he shouldn’t have said.

However,  it’s what he said about Stiviano that surprised me!

He just said it so nonchalantly.  I just hope Stiviano doesn’t cross any streets any time soon!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Brunei Crazy Bitter Tiger

I KNOW THAT CAT!

That last cartoon is definitely Gretel’s mean orange cat, Tiger.

Tiger from Hell

She’ll love on me and just when she earns my trust and I consider her my “friend”, she attacks me with teeth and back claws drawing blood!

That’s why I want to trade her in for two dogs.

I just need to convince Gretel to take the cats to her mother’s house and to make Ray see that we need two loving dogs!

“PRAYERS FOR BOBBY”

We’ve heard so much over the past few years of teenagers being bullied and taking their own lives.

Suicide is hard for survivors to handle regardless of the age of the person who dies.

For me, it’s especially hard to think of young people killing themselves because someone is using God and “The Bible” to bully someone over something they don’t understand.

Bobby Griffith

This happened to Bobby Griffith in 1983.  I just read the book about his life and death and how his mother learned to unconditionally love her gay son after it was too late.

Here’s the blog I posted earlier this week if you missed it.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/dont-just-pray-for-the-bobbys-of-the-world-love-them/

ZACHARY QUINTO

“Star Trek” actor Zachary Quinto is looking better than ever.  He’s currently shooting “Agent 47”, the sequel to “Hitman” that was released in 2007.

He posted this selfie recently on Instagram.

Zachary Quinto

While I’ve seen both “Star Trek” movies he’s been in, along his creepy performance as Dr. Oliver Thredson in “American Horror Story:  Asylum” and as Chad Warwick in the first season of “American Horror Story”, he captured my attention back in 2006 as Sasan in Tori Spelling’s “So NoTORIous”.

Zachary Tori

Sadly, that 10-episode series on VH1 only lasted one season.

But, a few years ago, the station I was working at was doing a satellite interview with Tori and I got to chime in and ask her a question.  I complimented her on her performances in “Trick” and “So NoTORIous” and she was flattered that I had seen them.  She told me that she would have loved to have done another season of  “So NoTORIous”.

If “The Comeback” can come back, let’s bring “So NoTORIous” back for season two on VH1 or any network!

PICK HIT

Legendary music icon Michael Jackson has been dead for almost five years now, but he makes his debut on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 at #20 with his highest charting single since “Butterflies” went to #14 in 2002.

Michael Jackson Xscape

“Love Never Felt So Good”, a duet with Justin Timberlake, is the first single from the new Michael Jackson album, “Xscape”, that comes out Tuesday, May 13th.   It was downloaded 80,000 times in just the first three days of release last Friday!

With his solo hits, feature hits with other artists, and adding in the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons hits, “Love” becomes Michael’s 66th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40.

Of those, 42 have reached the Top Ten with 18 topping the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, for Justin, with his solo hits, feature hits with other artists, and ‘N Sync hits, “Love” marks his 35th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 chart.

21 of those hits have reached the Top Ten and give have topped that chart.

HYDRANGEAS FOR MOTHER’S DAY?

Sorry, Madonna, I’m talking about hydrangeas this Mother’s Day.

We have several in our front yard, including some called “Limelight Green”.

Here’s something that I didn’t know.  You can actually influence the color of your hydrangeas, whether they are pink or blue, by changing the acidity of the soil!

Hydrangea pH Levels

In its May 2014 email newsletter, Wallace’s Garden Center states, “in general, more acidity makes hydrangeas turn blue, less acidity (or more alkaline soil) promotes pink-that is, unless we’re talking about white hydrangeas, which, alas, are limited to white.”

It does says that this doesn’t happen overnight!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Texas-born singer Johnny Lee enjoyed several years of hit-making on country radio from 1976-1985.

In that time period, he scored 19 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 12 of those reaching the Top Ten.

LFL Johnny Lee

In 1980, his song, “Looking For Love” was featured in the movie, “Urban Cowboy”.

It topped the country chart for three weeks and even reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song went on to sell more than a million copies.

Lee would pick up four more #1 country hits.

From 1982-1984, Lee was married to Charlene Tilton, who played Lucy Ewing on the hit CBS series, “Dallas”.

THAT’S IT

I think this is a good stopping point.  As always, thank you for reading my blog.  I appreciate it.

Have a great weekend whatever you do.  I think we’ll hit a few yard sales and work out in the yard some to enjoy the warmer weather.

Anthony