Posts Tagged ‘Mister Rogers’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2020

Fall is here!

I hope as we head toward the holiday season, people are more caring and happier like Jack and his friends!

However, with the 2020 election ahead, that may have to wait until 2021. 😦

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. It’s okay if we disagree, just do it diplomatically!

“RBG”

Much of America is still reeling from the loss of 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday.

She was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed in 1993.

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, in 2018, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (about Mister Rogers) ($22.6 million) and “RBG” ($14.4 million) changed that!

This is a superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

It documents Ginsburg’s trailblazing career — from just being a woman and a mother who decides to become a lawyer in an unwelcoming field for females and to use her voice to make the world a better place for us all!

GRADE:  A

“The Notorious RBG” was an amazing woman and will be sorely missed!

ONE MORE THING…

My original scenario didn’t involve Ginsburg dying, but I hope the outcome is correct!

Back on October 18, 2019, I wrote, “In early 2021 when the Democratic 46th president takes office, I think Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down from the bench and Hillary [Clinton] will become the new Supreme Court Justice!”

ON A HAPPIER NOTE!

My idol, former President Jimmy Carter will celebrate his 96th birthday next Thursday, October 1st!

Meanwhile, back in August, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter turned 93, and this past summer, the couple celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary!

This makes them the longest married presidential couple!

For the record, President Carter is not only the oldest living president, he’s also the nation’s longest-lived president, and he’s had the longest post-presidency life — closing in on almost 40 years!

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, here’s to the holidays, more anniversaries, and more birthdays!

Four years ago this month, I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and here’s the message I left for the Carters.

Happy Birthday and I love you both!

AND, SPEAKING OF THESE TWO AMAZING PEOPLE

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT….

Many people are devouring pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. Some are in denial and trying to hang on to summer.

Well, it’s my duty to inform you that Christmas will be here before you know it! It’s only three months from today! 🙂

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This year on November 1st when I put up my trees and decorations, I’ll have a new musical entry to help me decorate alongside last year’s stellar Deluxe Anniversary Edition of “Mariah Carey Merry Christmas”!

Dolly Parton is releasing her first new Christmas album in 30 years, “A Holly Dolly Christmas”, on October 2nd.

And, she’s doing a remake of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey’s iconic Christmas standard!

The album also features one of my crushes, Michael Buble — also known as “Mr. Christmas” — on the single, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”!

Here’s the track listing:

Holly Jolly Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Is (featuring Miley Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas – Dolly Parton, Michael Bublé
Christmas On The Square – Dolly Parton
Circle Of Love – Dolly Parton
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Dolly Parton, Jimmy Fallon
Comin’ Home For Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Where We Are (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Pretty Paper – Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Dolly Parton
You Are My Christmas (feat. Randy Parton) – Dolly Parton
Mary, Did You Know? – Dolly Parton

Final note, Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” is still one of my all-time favorite holiday songs and now he’s doing it with Dolly!

“OBAMA’S WARS”

Bob Woodward, along with Carl Bernstein, are household names for basically single-handedly bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency.

Woodward is back in the news with his latest new book, “Rage”, about #45 and his presidency. This is a follow-up to his 2018 book, “Fear: Trump in the White House”.

However, I’m writing about his 2010 book, “Obama’s Wars” today.

It’s a great book that covers how President Barack Obama planned to exit from the two wars he acquired from President George W. Bush — Iraq and Afghanistan.

The downside to the book is that it came out in 2010 and while thorough, it would have been better to show how the exit from those wars and countries progressed.

There’s a quote from President Obama that I hope comes true in 2021 about his 2008 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama told his senior political aide and closest advisor David Axelrod, “Hillary and I were friends before this started. We had this very vituperative campaign, but, you know, she is smart and we ought to be able to do something with her.”

Before he offered her the position of “Secretary of State”, he stated she did her homework, fought hard, was relentless, and “she’d make a great Supreme Court justice”, according to Woodward.

By the way, I had not read the Woodward book when I made the comment last year about Hillary becoming a Supreme Court justice in 2021!

Personally, I’m ready for the next Hillary chapter!

“SPELL MY NAME”

I’ve been a huge fan of Toni Braxton since her 1993 self-titled debut. Her tenth studio album, “Spell My Name”, is perfect Toni Braxton!

The lead off single, “Do It”, is featured twice on the album and both version have charted this summer.

Both versions are amazing — the slower, original version topped the Adult R&B chart and the remix version with Missy Elliot made it to #11 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart.

However, the first song I heard from the album got my feet moving. “Dance” is racing up the Adult R&B chart now and is in the Top 25.

While I absolutely love the upbeat “Dance”, my favorite song on the album is “Happy Without Me”!

Other standout tracks are “Saturday Night” and “Nothin'”.

GRADE: B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — January 30, 2019

With the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills invading much of Canada and the middle part of the United States, I thought I’d share a few things with you.

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That’s how it looked on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.  Temperatures were around -18° and wind chills were -45°!

Cold, but gorgeous!  Stay warm!

HERE’S TO A SPEEDY RECOVERY JUSSIE!

While it’s not new, I’m disgusted by the hatred in this country (and world).

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago by two white men.  Police are treating it as a possible hate crime.

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The men allegedly yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

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Jussie, I pray for a quick recovery from the physical injuries.  I know emotionally, it’ll take time to heal.  My thoughts are with you!

RACISM

There’s another very pathetic part of the story that I won’t mention because it hasn’t been confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.  But, if it’s true, it’s so very sad!

We all know that racism and hate has always been a part of our country’s fabric. Even after the progress in the 1960s, it was still there.

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But, before 45, it was rightfully condemned to be publicly racist.

Sadly, people are “free” again to hate without regret! 😦

SUAVE, BUT CREEPY, (VIOLENT) MEN!

Dating at a more mature age sucks!  Well, it can suck at any age! 🙂

I finally got around to watching the Bravo series, “Dirty John”, which is based on a true story.  (I talk about it below.)

As I was watching the first episode, I couldn’t believe that the woman (Debra) didn’t pick up on the warning signs that the man she had just started dating was a loser and user.

But, by the second episode, it really clicked as to how this could happen.  It happened to me on my 30th birthday, in Chicago, in the fall of 1994!

I had just been living in the city for three months and went out to celebrate.  I met Richard, a very charming guy with a great smile.  He was 25.

We had a great time that night and the first few weeks were fun.  Before I knew it, he had “moved in” — actually, “would never leave” is more like it!

By Christmas, the relationship was strained by his jealousy, which led to domestic violence.

Yes, I became “that person” lying about the bruises and making excuses that it wouldn’t happened again.

Five months after we met, it culminated with a near death, stalking experience — an emergency room visit, an arrest, and a court appearance!

This was a few days after the attack.  You can still see the gash on the forehead from a brick and the bruises under the eye and on the lip.

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While the Chicago court system let him off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, karma and fate prevailed.

A few years ago, I heard that he died!

“DIRTY JOHN”

Sharing that personal story was clearly inspired by Bravo’s “Dirty John” with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

It’s based on a podcast about a very successful businesswoman and mother of three, Debra Newell.  She’s been unlucky at love after four failed marriages when she finally meets John Meehan, a man just too good to be true.

Well, guess what?  He is too good to be true, thus the show’s name, “Dirty John”!

After the first episode, I thought, “Seriously, you’re that lonely not to see the red flags?”  But, more pieces of the story come together and you’re sucked into it!

Britton looks amazing and her clothes scream elegance!  Bana looks great even as the louse John!  And, it’s always a treat seeing Julia Garner (“Ozark” and “The Americans”).

But, I was really blown away by Juno Temple, who plays Veronica, Debra’s oldest daughter. She’s incredible!  I remember her from 2010’s “Kaboom”!

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Okay, one more thing — I’m still crushing on Kevin Zegers!

If you missed it on Bravo, it hits Netflix on Valentine’s Day (how lovely and twisted!) and a second season is in the works.

GRADE:  A-

REMEMBERING JAMES INGRAM

Two-time Grammy Award winner (with 12 other Grammy nominations) and two-time Oscar nominee James Ingram’s death was announced Tuesday, just a few weeks shy of his birthday.

He was 66.

Ingram first hit the chart in 1981 with “Just Once” (with Quincy Jones), one my favorite songs of his.

He scored a total of eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including two chart-toppers, 1982’s “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and 1990’s “I Don’t Have The Heart”.

SAG AWARDS — DIVERSITY HUMOR! 🙂

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Host Megan Mullally : “Hollywood did manage to get a few things right: They cast black people in “Black Panther”, so that was good… Asian people in”Crazy Rich Asians”… And, a green book in “Green Book”.  You know there were some executives saying, ‘Um, could the book be white?”

OSCAR NOMINATION SNUBS

While I was hoping for nominations for Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman for “Boy Erased” and Julia Roberts for “Ben Is Back”, I didn’t expect them!

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I was surprised that Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Bradley Cooper (Best Director – “A Star is Born”) were overlooked.

Furthermore, I was shocked that Marina De Tavira (“Roma”) picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress!  However, with all of the awards season love for the movie, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But, the biggest snub for me was in the Documentary category.  I still can’t believe “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, my #3 movie of 2018, wasn’t nominated!

#3 CD

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on my return flight from Morocco last fall, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

As you’ll see below the trailer, I gave it a grade I rarely give anything in entertainment!

GRADE:  A+

“BEAUTIFUL BOY”

As for acting, Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell were fantastic in this true story about a father’s efforts to save his teenager from drug abuse and death.

Chalamet was nominated for many major acting awards for this movie, but he didn’t get the Oscar nod.

Last year, he did get an Academy Award nomination for “Call Me By Your Name”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2018.

So, about “Beautiful Boy” — the acting was superb, but the movie was just a few steps up from a Lifetime movie.

You can catch it on Amazon Prime.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

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Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 26, 2018

I’m back after a couple of weeks off for my trip to Morocco, so thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’m sure there are many Halloween parties this weekend, so have fun and be safe.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY CLINTON

I hope you have an incredible day and year ahead.  Meeting you in 2016 is still one of the highlights in my life!

Hillary AP

“HALLOWEEN”

Since I arrived back from my Africa trip on opening day and worked the next seven days, I’ve avoided the spoilers to the new “Halloween” movie.

But, I’m going to see it this weekend!

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The movie scared up an incredible $76.2 last weekend!

After just the opening weekend, it’s now the highest grossing movie * in the 11-movie franchise that started 40 years ago.

*  If you adjust the box office of all the movies to account for ticket price inflation, 1978’s $47 million box office for the original “Halloween” would be $183.6 million today, making it the biggest!

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on the return flight, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

GRADE:  A+

MORE “OZARK” TO COME 

A couple of weeks ago (10/10), Netflix renewed the Emmy Award nominated “Ozark” for a third season.

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I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.

Jason Bateman was nominated this year.

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, you now have time to do so now.  It’s an incredible drama!

“KENNEDY”

I’m reading an 800-plus page biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter.

Kennedy Sorensen

The book was first released in 1965 and is pretty much the autobiography that Kennedy never got to write.

I’m 400 pages into the book now and one of the most interesting non-political things I’ve learned about the nation’s 35th president is that he bathed three times a day!

His Attorney General, his brother Robert, didn’t like being called “Bobby”, even though that’s what JFK called him.  Robert Kennedy preferred “Bob”.

JFK ate many times a day — small portions at a time — and really liked soups!

And, I’m astounded that him being Catholic was a major issue for him in the 1960 election.  He broke that glass ceiling, just as Obama did in 2008 with race.

Now, if only the 2016 election hadn’t been stolen from Hillary Clinton, another glass ceiling would have been shattered!

Thanks Vladimir Putin and Russia!

“SEIZE THE MOMENT”

After reading Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s “All The President’s Men” and “The Final Days”, I realized I had one more Nixon book on my bookshelf, 1992’s “Seize The Moment: America’s Challenge in a One-Superpower World”.

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Reading most of it and skimming over some of the very outdated parts, here are a few takeaways.

Clearly, unlike Ronald Reagan who was in bed (metaphorically) with Mikhail Gorbachev, Nixon has nothing good to say about that Soviet leader.  He was on Team Boris Yeltsin.

While China, in 1979, implemented the “one-child policy” as a way to control population growth, Nixon talked about the aging population in Japan.  Because more than one-quarter of the population was expected to be over 65 in the year 2025, the government was giving women $6,700 grants to have a third child!

But, interestingly, while he praised Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush in the book, he never mentioned his vice president and successor Gerald Ford once!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty strange since Ford basically damned his 1976 re-election hopes by pardoning Nixon a month after he resigned the presidency in 1974!

NIXON BY NIXON:  IN HIS OWN WORDS

I was also talking about Nixon back in September and I wrote, “While I didn’t know him personally, I’ve concluded that he wasn’t a good man!  I’m not talking politically because he was a snake in the grass.”

I just came across the 2014 HBO documentary, “Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words” and it’s incredible.   And, it verifies my September statement.  He was a vile man!

Just as the name implies, it’s not transcripts of all of Nixon’s private recordings, it’s the actual audio, which makes it even more damning.

Check out these two comments!

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Nixon also said, “The press is the enemy!”

Fast forward more than four decades and it sounds like “that man” in the White House (45) now!

Nixon trashed talked everyone — women, hippies, Jews, and, of course, gays (back then it was “homosexuals”, “homo”, and “fags”)!

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There’s another longer Nixon rant that really blew me away.  I’m sharing it at the bottom of the blog, so you can see more random thoughts first.

If you want to see it, you can find it in its entirety on YouTube.

MARIAH CAREY

We’re just weeks away from the release of Mariah Carey’s fifteenth studio album, “Caution”, on November 16, 2018.

I’ve already bought it!  So far, three songs are available to hear.

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“With You” is the first single from the album and it’s already racing up the Adult Contemporary and the Urban Adult Contemporary chart.

Of course, Top 40 radio isn’t playing it!

And, I absolutely love the first song from “Caution”, “GTFO”.

Yes, it does stand for what you think it does and Mimi makes it sound so sexy telling someone that their company is no longer needed!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Former President Richard Nixon to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman:

“Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general, these are the enemies of strong societies.  Goddammit, we have got to stand up to these people.  I do not mind the homosexuality.  I understand it.  Nevertheless, the point that I want to make is that goddammit, I do not think you glorify homosexuality anymore than you glorify whores.  Now we all have weaknesses and so forth and so on.  But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids?”

Nixon rants on, “You knew what happened to the Greeks?  Homosexuality destroyed them.  Sure, Aristotle was a homo;  we all know that, so was Socrates.  You what happened to the Romans? Romans?  The last six Roman emperors were fags.  You know what happened to the Popes?  Po-Po-popes were laying the nuns.  That’s been going on for years, centuries.  But when the Popes – When the Catholic Church went to the hell, it was homosexual. And finally had to be cleaned out.”

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More Nixon (in a 1983 interview):  “We talk about the men reporters, the women reporters are more bitchy than the men.”

“THE MAN THAT INVENTED CHRISTMAS”

Since Christmas is now less than two months away, here’s my customary mention of my favorite holiday. 🙂

On my flight to Paris, I finally got to see this late 2017 film and I’d highly recommend it.

It was overlooked at the box office making only $8.1 million.

It tells the story of Charles Dickens and how he came up with the holiday staple, “The Christmas Story”!

GRADE:  B

MORE DAN STEVENS

I only have one complaint about Dan Stevens.  I know it’s acting, but in two of the three movies I’ve seen him in, his beauty is hidden!

I mean, in “Beauty and the Beast”, he was totally hidden as the Beast and don’t get me started on the Dickens hair in the Christmas movie! 🙂

So, from 2014’s “The Guest”, here goes!

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GRADE:  B

“I FEEL PRETTY”

This Amy Schumer comedy earned $88.4 million at the box office on a $32 million budget.

While the movie addresses body image, I wasn’t impressed.

Save yourself an hour-and-a-half of your life and watch the three minute trailer!

I guess I’m not alone with those thoughts.  It has a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony