Posts Tagged ‘Martin Scorsese’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 3, 2017

The first month of 2017 is already behind us.  I hope the year is off to a good start for you.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours diplomatically and concisely!

WITH SADNESS & REGRETS

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” earlier this week.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy would have turned 14 at the end of March.

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

FIVE YEARS ALREADY!

The news of Mr. Panda crossing the “Rainbow Bridge” comes near the anniversary of us saying goodbye to my precious golden, ABBA.

I can’t believe it was five years ago today!

Here are the two of them on a spring walk when Miss ABBA decided she was going to be Mr. Panda’s “seeing eye dog”.

ABBAWalkingPanda

The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.

ABBAWalkingPandaArticle

Miss ABBA, I still think of you daily, but it’s with smiles now instead of tears.

Here’s a look back at her beautiful, golden life.

And, on we go…

BUILDING WALLS & BARRIERS

I’m going out on a limb here and say that most of us have been in relationships — successful ones and failed ones.

Lack of communication is probably to blame for a number of the failed relationships and it’s likely at the heart of the problems in the successful ones, too.

NOH8 Heart

We build walls around our heart and it causes friction, insecurity, miscommunication, and eventually, hate.

While those walls are emotional, the talk of building physical walls between people and countries is at all-time high.

Check out this incredible airlines commercial from Aeromexico driving home the message that ideological and physical barriers hurt people!

MURDER IN AMERICA

It’s a proven fact that most of the murders here in the United States are committed by people of the same race — white people are mostly killed at the hands of other white people, black people are mostly responsible for killing black people, etc.

The reasons for the senseless murders are many:  domestic problems, drugs, robbery, stupidity, etc.

KILLING SPREES CAUSED BY HATE AND IGNORANCE

quebec-city

Last Sunday, police say this white man walked into a Quebec City (Canada) mosque, opened fire, and killed six people and injured eight others.

When I heard this and the words “mosque” and Canada came up, the first thing that crossed my mind is that this wasn’t a “suicide bombing” by a Middle Eastern group attacking its own people.

Pulse

Last summer, when news broke about a gunman storming into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and hurting 53 others, I didn’t think it was an LGBT person going in with a vendetta.

And, when nine African Americans were massacred in a downtown Charleston, South Carolina, church, I didn’t think the shooter was another black person .

Roof.jpg

In all three of these incidents, I instantly thought the motivation was hate.  Today, I still feel certain it was.

The accused Quebec City shooter is reported to have “far-right, nationalist views” and publicly supported Donald Trump and the French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen.

Th man behind the Pulse shootings was disgusted by gay people and might even have been a self-hating gay man himself, and the Charleston shooter is a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Notice I didn’t use their names.  They don’t deserve any more publicity!  We know the hateful things they did or are accused of doing.

I’d love to say that people will be nicer and things will get better.  But, I’m a realist and I’m saddened and scared for our future — our intolerance of people that look or act different than us.

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

I’m thinking about this even more after listening to all of Mariah Carey’s albums again.

On her 1990 self-titled debut, she had a song called “There’s Got To Be A Way”.

It features the chilling lyrics, “In another land they still believe/color grants supremacy/I don’t understand how there can be/regulated bigotry”.

Sadly, in this day and age, you don’t even have to go to another country.  It’s alive here in America and now those people don’t even have to hide under sheets in the darkness of night or behind a computer screen.

Optimistically, Mariah sings on, “Some of us don’t even wonder/some of us don’t even care/couldn’t we accept each other/can’t we make ourselves aware”.

Let’s hope!

Hope

FINDING HOPE WHERE WE CAN!

On a much brighter note, we’re now only six weeks away from the live action version of Disney’s remake of “Beauty and the Beast”.

The final official trailer came out earlier this week.

It gives us a comprehensive look at the movie and we finally hear Ariana Grande and John Legend’s remake of the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s theme song.

I’m excited even more for the March 17, 2017 premiere.

The original “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 made $425 million and it was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  (It lost to “The Silence of the Lambs”.)

WHERE ARE THOU, SNOW?

Only 0.4″ of snow officially fell in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, for the month of January.

There have only been two other winters on record that date back to the 1870s where less snow accumulated in January.

lack-of-january-snow

Only a trace of snow fell in January 1989 and January 1944.

This January ties 1973 as the third least snowiest on record.

“GROUNDHOG DAY BLIZZARD”

While this winter is rather skimpy on snow, six years ago today we were digging out of the “Groundhog Day Blizzard”.

Snow started falling on January 31, 2011, and by the time the storm departed February 2, 2011, the Quad Cities tied the record for a single snowstorm with the one from January 11-13, 1979 at 18.4″!

Blizzard 2-2-2011

The bulk of the snow in 2011, 14.8″ fell on February 1st, with 1.7″ the day before that, and 1.9″ the day after the big snow.  If you look at those totals, the 16.7″ that fell on February 1st and 2nd set the record for the most snow in 24 hours in the Quad Cities!

Days later, Gretel and I took advantage of the snow by playing snow zombie attack and Ray helped us dig a tunnel, which ABBA loved.

February 5 2011February 6 2011

Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!

“THE HYPNOTIST”

As I’ve stated many times, I read books, mostly autobiographies, biographies, or real life events, while walking on the treadmill.

Occasionally, I check out some fiction.  I just finished Fiona Barton’s “The Widow” and a Swedish book translated into English, “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler.

After reading Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” in 2015, I’ve come to realize that Scandinavians love their violent novels.

“The Hypnotist” picks up after a vicious and savage attack on a family leaves the mom, dad, and their little girl dead and in pieces.  The only survivor was a teenage boy stabbed hundreds of times.

Detectives are in a race against time to talk to the boy because he is the only one that saw the killer(s).  They learn that he has an older sister not living at home and the killer could be after her next.

The only way they can reach the boy’s memories of the brutal attack is to use hypnosis by a discredited doctor.

The use of hypnosis opens up old wounds from ten years ago and brings forth a new crime spree as detectives race to catch the savage murderer and a newly discovered serial killer.

A great read!  Now, I need to find the hit 2012 movie based on the book.

“THE SNOWMAN”

Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!

Nesbo+Snowman

Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

the-snowman

Until there’s an official trailer, here’s what I wrote about the book in July 2015 if you want to check it out.

“Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train [Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl 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.

“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.”

PICK HIT

LeAnn Rimes is back this week with “Remnants”, her 13th studio album!  While it’s just now coming out in the U.S., it was released last fall in the U.K.

Here at home, Rimes is best known for many huge country hits that kicked off with 1996’s “Blue”.  Those hits continued through 2004-2006 when she scored three Top Ten Country smashes from her “This Woman” album.

She also scored huge pop hits with “How Do I Live” and with tracks from the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack (“Can’t Stop the Moonlight”).

Rimes also had amazing, but less commercially successful, albums like “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I highly recommend both!

She’s currently in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart at #6 with “Long Live Love” from the new “Remnants” album.

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 — January 17, 2014

I definitely look forward to my weekends and I start counting down to them when I walk into the door at work at 2 a.m. on Mondays!

I hope you have a great weekend and that you have some fun or relaxing things to do.  My plans are to watch movies, go out to lunch Saturday, and attend the Red Ribbon Dinner, which is a local AIDS fundraiser, Saturday night.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

THRILL KILL ON AUCTION

I know there are people who go into grocery stores or seafood restaurants and choose their lobster dinner from a tank of live crustaceans.

Lobster Tank

I would never do that since I don’t want to look at my dinner eye-to-eye.  However, I can understand that more (sorry, lobster) than going to a charity auction and bidding hundreds of thousands of dollars to stalk and kill an endangered animal for fun.

This past weekend, in Texas, at the Dallas Safari Club’s fundraiser, the winning bidder paid $350,000 to hunt down and execute an endangered African black rhino in the African nation of Namibia.

Black Rhino

The executive director of the club, Ben Carter, claims that the money from the auction will actually go toward protecting the species.

Carter adds that the doomed rhino “is old, male and non-breeding” and it would likely be targeted for execution because it’s “becoming aggressive and threatening other wildlife.”

rhino-hunt-auction

Protestors are not buying that and see the thrill kill as sadistic and I agree.

However, I disagree with “death threats” that are allegedly being made against Carter, his family, and the Safari Club.  One of them states, “For every rhino you kill, we will kill a member of the club.”

In the 1960s, there were about 70,000 black rhinos in the wild and now there about 5,000.

“BORN ROUND”

I just finished reading my second book of 2014 and well on my way of surpassing the four that I read last year.  I’ve been wanting to read “Born Round: The Secret History of a Full-Time Eater” by Frank Bruni for some time now.

Born Round

The book traces Bruni’s New York upbringing in a close-knit large Italian family where the women loved to cook and made it an art.

Describing all of the delicacies his mother, grandmother, and aunts created, it was like reading a “food porn” book.

The main focus of the book was that while Frank was a swimmer and athletic, he was compulsive when it came to food.

He was always fighting being overweight with one fad diet after another.  This lead to periods of fasting, binge eating and bulimia, and ballooning up to 268 pounds before he finally took charge of his life and took exercise seriously to responsibly lose the weight .

Frank Bruni Born Round

Once he slimmed down and became fit, Bruni became a restaurant critic for the New York Times.

For five years (2004-2009), he would eat out seven nights a week.  On some of those nights, he would have two or three dinners at some of the most talked about and higher class restaurants in New York.  Those meals consisted of multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts, and some of the feasts would consists of 20 courses or more!

The book also covers his relationships and during the period of his heaviest weight, the lack of having a boyfriend.

These days, Bruni still works for the Times and he looks amazing.

GRADE:  A-

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Sweet DreamsButt DialBakery

OSCAR NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCED

While the next few entries are Oscar-related, there are other topics in this blog, so keep reading.

“American Hustle” and “”Gravity” lead this year’s Oscar race with 10 nominations each.  “12 Years a Slave” picked up 9 nominations.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I accurately predicted that all four main actors in “American Hustle” would get nominated.  I also picked Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts to get acting nominations.  I correctly thought that “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and Oprah Winfrey would be snubbed, along with Robert Redford for “All Is Lost”.

“AUGUST:  OSAGE COUNTY”

My apologies go out to Amy Adams (five time Oscar nominee with no wins, so far) and Jennifer Lawrence (three Oscar nominations and one win, so far).  Both blew me away in “American Hustle”.

I was pledging my support for them to win until yesterday when I saw “August:  Osage County” with fellow Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep and Best Supporting Actress nominee Julia Roberts.

august_osage_county

Watching this downer of a movie, I can fully understand how Streep picked up her 18th nomination (three wins, so far) and Roberts got her fourth nomination (one win for “Erin Brockovich”).

The material in this movie adapted from the Tracy Letts’ play is heavy:  suicide, oral cancer, infidelity, incest, and inappropriate sexual misconduct with a minor.  However, the acting was incredible.  In addition to Oscar nominees Streep and Roberts, it also stars past Oscar nominees and winners, Sam Shepard, Chris Cooper, Juliette Lewis, and Abigail Breslin.

You have to see this movie!  You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and most of all, you’ll want to scream, “Eat the fish, bitch”!  (If you haven’t seen the movie, that’s dialogue from a pivotal scene.)

GRADE:  A

CONGRATULATIONS MATTHEW & JARED

I’m happy that Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto were nominated for Oscars after both won much-deserved acting awards at last weekend’s Golden Globes for their incredible performances in the AIDS-themed, “Dallas Buyers Club”.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

I’ve blogged about the incredible movie many times and it was #3 favorite movie of 2013.  It’s also nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.

Just in case you haven’t seen the trailer, here it is.

“LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER”

While I was hoping for Oprah Winfrey to get an Academy Award nomination for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”, once I saw the movie a couple of days ago, she had only one scene that screamed Oscar.

When this $30 million movie came out late last summer (it grossed $167.5 million), I wanted to go see in the theaters.  But, I waited for it to arrive on DVD and I’m glad I did.

Lee-Daniels-The-Butler

The movie covers the life of Cecil Gaines, an African-American, who left the South as a cotton picker and then worked 34 years as a butler in the White House under eight presidents.

Oscar winner Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland”) gives an solid performance as Cecil and Academy Award-nominee Oprah Winfrey (“The Color Purple”) is amazing as Cecil’s boozy wife, Gloria.

While the movie is intense at the beginning on the cotton field where Cecil worked as a child with his parents, the rest of the movie over the next two hours moved along like a “best of” countdown of historical events and the presidents that handled them during Gaines’ year of working at the White House.

The most moving scenes were of disgusts at how white people treated black people and the whites that supported their fight for civil rights back in the 1960s.

And, as a final note, Jane Fonda was an incredible Nancy Reagan.

Jane Fonda Nancy Reagan

When the movie was in theaters, the controversies surrounded Fonda, a liberal playing one of the most beloved conservative first wives in history, and Fonda’s days that go back to the Vietnam when she was referred to as “Hanoi Jane”.  There was even a movie theater in Kentucky that refused to the play “The Butler” because of Fonda. (Go figure!  I can say that because I’m from there.)

GRADE:  B-

HOLY F*#K SCORSESE

Martin Scorsese’s latest, “The Wolf of Wall Street”, received major Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Director, Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), and Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill).  While the movie isn’t exactly setting box office records, it does hold one motion picture record.

The Wolf of Wall Street

The $100 million dollar movie about excess is also excessive on the use of the f-word.

There are 506 uses of the f-word or variations of it.  That easily beats out Spike Lee’s 1999 thriller, “Summer of Sam” with 435 f-bombs.

Only a documentary called “F*ck”, which is about the f-word, is higher in count at 857 times.

F Documentary

Scorsese also has two other movies in the top twenty on the list:  “Casino” at 422 and “Goodfellas” with 300.

And, I thought I used the word a lot!  Either it’s a popular word (my theory) or Hollywood writers are not very creative.  No comment about the number of remakes and sequels when it comes to creativity!

SO FAR, SO GOOD

We’re now halfway through the month of January and I’m happy to report that Ray and I are doing well on our healthy eating and exercise regiment to shed those 15-20 unwanted pounds.

And, we’re treating ourselves one cheat brunch or buffet each week including this one last Sunday with unlimited mimosas and a piece of cheesecake that I decorated myself!

Cheesecake

During my first week of being healthy, I lost 3.2 pounds!  It’s taken a lot of self-control of cutting back on wine and vodka (and food), making fun, tempting salads and veggies, and walking a lot on the treadmill.  At least, I’m getting some reading done!

INTERESTING TIDBITS

Better Homes & Gardens (July 2013):  The average American will walk 35,000 miles in a lifetime and will watch nine years of television!

Watching TV

And, speaking of television, I only watch three network shows, “The Following”, “Hannibal”, and “Under The Dome”, and one of them returns this weekend.

“THE FOLLOWING” SEASON 2 PREMIERE

I guess I’ll be tired Monday morning at work because the second season of “The Following” kicks off this Sunday night (January 19) after the football game on Fox.

The Following S 2

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music from our AM radio station, WNGO, 1320 AM in Mayfield.

One of my favorite songs as a kid was the first hit from the St. Louis, Missouri, father-daughter duo, The Kendalls, Royce and Jeannie.

“Heaven’s Just A Sin Away” not only became the Kendalls first hit in 1977, it also became the biggest hit of their career topping the country chart for four weeks and reaching #69 on the Billboard Hot 100.

TheKendalls

It also won the 1978 Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal by a Duo or Group.

From 1977 to 1985, the Kendalls scored 22 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 11 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts:  “Heaven;s Just A Sin Away”, “Sweet Desire” in 1978, and “Thank God For the Radio” in 1984, which Alan Jackson also recorded for his 1994 album, “Who I Am”.

Royce Kendall died of stroke in 1998 at the age of 62.  Jeannie still occasionally records music and tours.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my blog.  It was nice sleeping in.  I was just dreaming that we moved to a different house and that Gretel and I got to meet international superstar DJ, Avicii.

So, at the last minute, I’m including his current Top 40 American hit, “Hey Brother”, the follow-up to the top five smash, “Wake Me Up”.

Anthony