Posts Tagged ‘Moderna’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 10, 2021

The weekend is upon us and I’m happy to be sharing some of the thoughts on my mind this week.

And, I appreciate you taking the time to check them out.

As always, we don’t have to agree. But, if you choose to disagree, be intelligent and diplomatic about it!

RAMPING UP THE FIGHT TO END THE PANDEMIC

Here is a Thursday afternoon breaking news headline and story from the Associated Press in President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic and to make America safer!

MR. ED WANTS HIS MEDS BACK!

This ISN’T about those of you that refuse to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccinations available in the United States. (But, I wish you would!)

However, it just boggles my mind that there are an increasing number of people that don’t trust the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but will go to a store and buy a horse de-wormer as a treatment measure!!!

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says Ivermectin is causing “all kinds of issues” in people consuming it, including liver problems and nausea.

Arwady adds, “First and foremost, do not ever, please, take any medicine that is formulated for animals. It’s dangerous, and it can really be a problem.”

Wait, there’s a call for you, idiots!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that Ivermectin overdoses can bring on seizures, coma, and, even death!

WHILE I’M TALKING VET DRUGS

Another example of a drug veterinarians use that should not be in the hands (or bodies) of the public — ketamine (aka “Special K”).

This anesthetic, which is, in many cases, is used illegally by people to get high.

This dissociative drug produces auditory distortion and a detachment from reality. Like GHB, some use ketamine-based drugs as a “date-rape” drug because it causes memory loss.

So… NO! NO! NO! to using drugs and medications that should be left to veterinarians!

The COVID-19 vaccines make much more sense!

IN OTHER HAPPIER NEWS (IF YOU HAVEN’T DISOWNED ME)…

OH, DADDY!

In the “Oh, how I wish it was with me, but it isn’t” category, congratulations go out to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten on becoming the parents of two newborns!

Buttigieg posted on Instagram, “Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we’re becoming parents. We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”

NEW ELTON JOHN DUETS ALBUM

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the new Elton John/Dua Lipa hit, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”.

It features Elton singing part of his 1990 hit “Sacrifice” (one of his best and most underappreciated hits) and Lipa belting out his 1972 classic “Rocket Man”.

The song is remixed by Australia’s Pnau (brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore and Peter Mayes).

Now, I know it’s part of the new Elton John album, “The Lockdown Sessions”, and will feature sixteen duets.

Here’s the track listing:

The album drops October 22, 2021.

ABBA LIVES ON!

The iconic Swedish band ABBA shocked the world last week by announcing a new album later this fall and “tour dates” in the spring of 2022!

Fans already knew the legendary band had recorded some new music. However, the announcement that “Voyage”, the first new studio album since “The Visitors” forty years ago, will arrive November 5, 2021, was definitely earth-shattering!

The new album will feature ten new songs including the ballad “I Still Have Faith in You” and the upbeat pop song “Don’t Shut Me Down.”

Billboard magazine reports that ABBA “will be reborn as avatars that will take the stage with a live 10-piece band for the shows and “will perform a run of shows in a specially built arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London beginning on May 27, 2022”.

THE RYAN MURPHY UNIVERSE

While it may not be as well known or as lucrative as the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ryan Murphy’s domination of the television medium is probably the equivalent to Marvel’s box office domination.

I was intrigued with the seven episode, first season of “American Horror Stories” (not to be confused with the long-running anthology series, “American Horror Story”). “Stories” was renewed for a second season.

Instead of one theme running through an entire season, “Stories” was pretty much like “The X-Files” when it featured a different monster or case of the week!

Now, I’m watching then tenth season of “American Horror Story: Double Feature”, which is unique because this season will feature six episodes with the “Red Tide” (“by the sea”) theme and the four final episodes are “Death Valley” (“by the sand”).

And, watching “American Horror Stories” and “AHS: Double Feature” got me excited about two more Ryan Murphy series.

“AMERICAN CRIME STORY: IMPEACHMENT”

Those two were keeping me entertained until the higher prestige series, “American Crime Story: Impeachment”, dealing with Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and the fallout, arrived.

I loved the first two Emmy Award installments dealing with the O.J. Simpson trial and the shooting death of Gianni Versace and the manhunt for Andrew Cunanan. If you haven’t seen them, binge watch now!

In “Impeachment”, it was interesting seeing Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton, although she was only in one scene in the series debut. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched Falco in anything — not even “The Sopranos” or “Nurse Jackie”.

The first episode aired earlier this week. It was okay, but I know it was just setting up the drama. I can’t wait to see the next nine episodes!

“RATCHED”

The other series from Ryan Murphy I’m ready for is “Ratched”!

I’m ready for more Sarah Paulson and Finn Wittrock (yes, one of my fantasies) in season two of the incredible series from Murphy.

No information yet for the release date!

MORE CHERNOBYL

Here are a few more things I found interesting from the Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book “Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

I shared some last week.

Three years after the explosion, the “Moscow News” reported that parts of the Ukraine, just 40 kilometers west of the “Exclusion Zone” near Reactor Number Four were still radioactive hot spots. Farmers noticed a steep rise in the number of livestock with birth defects, such as “piglets with froglike eyes and malformed skulls, and calves born without legs, eyes, and heads.”

It was even reported that tons of pork and beef contaminated with radioactive cesium had been mixed in with sausages and sold to the unsuspected public. The government said this was not true and that Chernobyl sausage was safe to eat and it was processed “in strict accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of the USSR.”

While the first three reactors were supposed to be shut down within five years of the 1986 explosion, the last of the Chernobyl reactors didn’t go offline until 2000.

“THE CHINA SYNDROME”

I finally got around to watching the 1979 classic, “The China Syndrome”, with Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas.

The nuclear disaster meltdown flick earned $51.7 million on a $5.9 million budget and earned four Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Lemmon and Best Actress for Fonda.

After watching six seasons of “Grace and Frankie” with octogenarian Fonda (she’s 83 now), it was awesome seeing her as a very sexy 41-year-old! (She’s very sexy now at 83, too!)

GRADE: B+

“GERALD FORD”

Douglas Brinkley’s 2007 book is part of “The American Presidents” series.

What I really liked about this book is that while it’s comprehensive (not as much as a real biography or an autobiography), it was an easy read at just 160 pages!

One interesting thing about Gerard Ford is that isn’t his real name. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, as Leslie Lynch King Jr.

His mother, Dorothy, left her abusive husband and moved in with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and met and married Gerald R. Ford in 1917. He informally adopted her child and named him after himself. The child would officially change his name in 1935!

After two failed assassination attempts against him in September 1975 by women in California, Ford, in 2003, said he told Betty, “I’m going to have to review my support for the Equal Rights Amendment. These women are trying to kill me.”

On Inauguration Day 1977, President Ford was deeply touched and surprised when the new President Jimmy Carter opened him speech with “For myself and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”

Carter and Ford, after a bitter campaign in 1976, became good friends and each asked the other to give the eulogy at their funerals. As you know, President Ford died on December 26, 2006, and President Carter did just as he promised!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 27, 2021

August is coming to an end and next weekend is Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the summer season. (Sorry, Connie!)

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts! I’ll start out with a positive vibe. Well, positive unless you dread fall and winter!

BRING IT ON!

Other than those things, I’m looking forward to my birthday trip (if international travel isn’t halted or they tell us Americans to stay away!).

However, another thing I’m eagerly anticipating before the Christmas season is the return of my fantasy crush — serial killer Dexter Morgan!

“DEXTER: NEW BLOOD”

One of my favorite series of all time is coming back as a “limited series” this fall. (Yes, I’m a huge fan of the killer series!) 🙂

“Dexter” originally ended after eight seasons in September 2013. After 95 great episodes, the series finale was a DUD!

By the grace of God, we’re getting another season of ten episodes this fall and winter to make up for that finale!

Showtime’s president of entertainment Gary Levine earlier this week said, “For me, it’s a revisiting of Dexter and a proper finale for a brilliant season.”

The new season debuts on Showtime November 7, 2021.

Oh, Paramount, please make sure that when the season is finished that it’s released on DVD to complete my collection!

ONE MORE FALL TREAT!

Nabisco is making fall a little tastier with two new “limited edition” Oreo cookies.

“Salted Caramel Brownie Oreo” boasts two creme layers – caramel and brownie – between chocolate wafers with a sprinkling of salt on top.

While that sounds delicious, I’m really excited to try the “Apple Cider Donut Oreo”, which features an apple cider-flavored creme between two golden Oreo wafers.

And, my beautiful, wonderful sister, Tammy, bought me a bag of the Apple Cider Donut Oreos, so I’ll open them when she visits next!

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!

Last week, my sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend, took a little road trip to Metropolis, Illinois, for a short getaway and to try our hands at the slots.

We also got to hang out with our cousin, Steve, and my dear friend, Dennis, from back in the day when we were in our carefree 20s!!!

While at the casino the first night, I had lost almost all the money I brought to lose. I then played a game my sister had won over a hundred dollars on. As my money melted away, I got a bonus!

In that bonus round, I covered the board with snow leopards on the last spin and broke even for the night and cashed out!

Incredibly, the next night, I got another bonus on that game and filled the board again. With that $250 spin, I ended up one hundred dollars ahead and cashed out!

As we got back into Decatur the next afternoon, we heard a loud pop behind us and didn’t see anything. By the time I approached my sister’s street to drop her off, I had a flat tire.

So, that’s where my $100 profit went! 🙂

However, in the long wait for Roadside Assistance, I changed the tire myself since there a strange person lurking around and it wasn’t such a great neighborhood!

ARBY’S DISAPPOINTMENT

While driving back, we stopped at the Arby’s in Salem, Illinois. I was so excited to try the Market Fresh Southwest Chicken Avocado Wrap.

This restaurant’s version of the sandwich and the marketing department vision of the sandwich were much different.

That’s the advertisement.

The actual sandwich was mostly the wrap. There was very little filling (just a few thin slices of chicken and you really had to look hard to see any avocado).

Big disappointment! It’s no wonder I rarely eat fast food!

PFIZER APPROVED BY THE FDA

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.

Like the Moderna vaccination, it’s a two-shot regimen (the Johnson & Johnson vaccination is “one and done”).

Holdouts, now that it’s the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. government, let’s get those vaccinations numbers up and put this pandemic behind us!

WELCOME BACK, ELTON JOHN!

Elton John is a musical icon that’s been charting hits in the U.S. since his first hit, “Your Song” charted in 1970, and reached the Top Ten in 1971.

He’s now back on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since July 2000 with his latest song, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”, a duet with Dua Lipa.

The song features Elton singing part of his 1990 hit “Sacrifice” (one of his best and most underappreciated hits) and Lipa belting out his 1972 classic “Rocket Man”. The song is remixed by Australia’s Pnau (brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore and Peter Mayes).

While the song debuts at #81 on the Hot 100, it breaks onto the Adult Contemporary chart at #16 and #3 on the Hot Dance/Electronic chart!

“Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)” extends John’s lead on the AC chart with 74 entries. Barbra Streisand is in second with 64 and Neil Diamond is in third place with 59.

One more interesting note: Lipa becomes just the latest partner of Elton’s on the Hot 100.

He’s charted with Kiki Dee twice (first with the 1976 four-week #1 hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”). Elton also spent four weeks at the top in 1986 on “That’s What Friends Are For,” with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.

His other Hot 100 duet partners were Jennifer Rush (1987); Aretha Franklin (1989); George Michael on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” (No. 1, one week, 1992); Kiki Dee again (1993); RuPaul on the remake of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1994); and LeAnn Rimes (1999).

REMEMBERING TOM T. HALL

Kentucky-born country music singer and songwriter Tom T. Hall died last week at the age of 85.

During his decades of chart hits from 1967-1985, Hall scored 39 country hits. Of those, 21 reached the Top Ten with seven making it to #1, including “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” and “I Love”.

However, his biggest achievement is the one that impacted my life the most.

In 1968, he wrote, “Harper Valley P.T.A.”, which became an international hit for Jeannie C. Riley.

It topped both the country chart and the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Riley. It was also nominated for Song and Record of the Year.

The single sold more than six million copies and I had one of those records. However, as a 4-year-old, I played it constantly until an evil step-sister (a bratty teenager) broke it!!!

“Harper Valley P.T.A.” was my 5th favorite song of my first 35 years! Yes, I love compiling lists!

“BETTY FORD”

Here are the final thoughts from Lisa McCubbin’s amazing 2018 biography subtitled, “First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer” that I haven’t shared with you.

  • At a three-day conference in Cleveland, Ohio, for International Women’s Year, Betty wrapped up her speech about her support of the ERA with “I spoke out on this important issue because of my deep personal convictions. Why should my husband’s job, or yours, prevent us from being ourselves.” She paused and concluded, “Being ladylike does not require silence.” Amen sister!
  • On May 24, 1978, President and Mrs. Ford where back in their former home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the unveiling of their official White House portraits. This was Betty Ford’s first visit back at White House since they left in January 1977 and it was just a couple of weeks after she left her alcohol and drug program in Long Beach, California. President Jimmy Carter said, “Betty Ford has earned the admiration of our nation for her courage and complete candor. She is the most popular person in our country today.”
  • Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first celebrities to stand up in the fight against AIDS and when she asked Betty Ford to help her to remove the stigma with the deadly disease, Ms. Ford didn’t hesitate.
  • In 1985, Taylor awarded her the first “AIDS Project Commitment to Life Award” in Los Angeles. The 2,500 attendees gave Ms. Ford a standing ovation when she walked onstage to accept the award. She told the crowd, “Tonight is about conquering fear and saving lives” and added just like the country’s attitudes about cancer and alcoholism have changed, “attitudes toward AIDS can change as well.”

WHAT A TRAILBLAZER! I wish I could have met her!

MY THOUGHTS ON “DEXTER” SEASONS 1-8

So, which were your favorite or least favorite seasons?

I plan on watching the series again before the new season. I wonder if my original reviews on the first eight seasons will hold up?

Season 1: (A+)  — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelation killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

When I originally posted my thoughts on the series in 2013, I only wrote about the first seven seasons. When I re-posted it in February 2014, I only gave the final season a grade because I didn’t want to spoil anything. Now I’ll elaborate!

Season 8:  (B) — If the finale hadn’t been so silly, I’d given it an A-.

I loved Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Evelyn Vogel, an expert on psychiatry and Sam Underwood was fantastic as Zach Hamilton, a budding serial killer. You can see more of Underwood in “The Following”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

The 4 Fs of Our Future — Fantasy, Frustration, Fear, & F***!

Earlier this year, even as people were dying at an alarming rate from the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw a glimmer of hope.

Vaccinations were showing promise of success and would be made available free of charge to Americans. In March, I got my first Moderna shot.

A month later, I got my second shot and two weeks after that, I was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

What does that mean? Well, it means that the vaccination is not 100% effective. Nothing is — except death! How morbid, but true.

However, it meant that while I could still get COVID-19, I’d probably not die from it or end up in the hospital. I loved that sense of security.

So, back in March, four months ago, I started thinking about all that I’ve missed since the pandemic brought life to a standstill in 2020.

The “new normal” meant that I’d finally get to meet people across Central Illinois, go on dates, and maybe fall in love again.

I’d get to have people over for dinner, host holiday parties, socialize, and enjoy the nightlife (if I chose to do so)!

Professionally, I could emcee and attend fundraisers and bid in silent auctions!

That vaccination turning point also opened up the world again for domestic and international travel.

Concerts also started being announced, which meant that I might finally get to see Kylie Minogue live on tour.

All of that optimism, all of that excitement, all of that, just a figment of my imagination — a fantasy???

Well, it could be!!!

In mid-May, here in the U.S., about 36% of American adults were fully vaccinated and 47% had gotten at least one shot. It was so encouraging.

Now, more than two months later, the number of those getting vaccinated have hit a roadblock!

Fully vaccinated adults has stalled at 60% (those with one shot stands at 68%).

COVID-19 cases are now on the rise in all 50 states.

In just the past two weeks, the number of new COVID-19 cases has tripled and restrictions are going back in place!

That’s from earlier this week from Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, a new COVID-19 hot spot!!!

Officials in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hawaii are warning people NOT to travel to Las Vegas!

Well, I’m now thoroughly disappointed and I hope I don’t upset your sensitivities and sensibilities!

For those that refuse to get vaccinated and take precautions, Debra Morgan of “Dexter” says it best!

That may sound harsh, but I want a life again! And, I’m sure you do, too!

My thoughts this summer of turning the corner with the COVID-19 pandemic was like the final scene of “Longtime Companion”, one of the first critically acclaimed and awarded movies dealing with the AIDS epidemic.

Three of the main characters were pontificating (I love that word) about wanting to be there when they found a cure for AIDS. They got lost in the moment and fantasized about seeing their friends again that they’d lost to AIDS.

Like Willy, Fuzzy, and Lisa, I just want to be there and have a life again after COVID-19!

GET VACCINATED PEOPLE!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 30, 2021

I find it hard to believe that the first four months of 2021 are now behind us. I’m hoping the next eight brings us happiness and joy.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts this weekend!

PEOPLE, PLEASE GO BACK!!!

As with any situation in life, one death is one death too many!

With that being said, I’m dismayed to hear that about 8% of Americans are reportedly not going back to get their second COVID-19 shot! (That translates into millions of people!)

I know people are concerned about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a few deaths were reported from the millions of shots administered.

Also, I know people are a little freaked out when they hear how some are feeling after their second Moderna and Pfizer shot.

I had no side effects from either my first or second shot! And, I’m almost through with the two-week waiting period after my second shot.

With that being said, people please go back and get your second shot!!!

I want America vaccinated and safe, so we can turn the corner on this pandemic and start the “new normal” way of life!

(RELIGIOUS) CULTS

If you regularly read my blog, you’ve probably realized I’m truly intrigued by serial killers and cults (and many other less creepy things)!

Now, let’s talk cults. Oh, hello Scientology!

You’re not alone when it comes to religious institutions (for legal purposes, I’ll add a word) ALLEGEDLY brain-washing people under the guise of Godliness. While there are many, today I’m talking about Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple.

As a child in 1940s small town Indiana, Jones idolized Adolf Hitler! (If this wasn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is!)

While Jones would eventually convince (and force) 900-plus people to gruesomely commit suicide by poison, he, like his coward idol Hitler, died of a gunshot wound to the head — most likely, self-inflicted!

“THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE”

Jeff Guinn’s 2017 book was a concise and compelling read.

Here are some things Guinn shared that you might not remember or have known:

Jones moved Indiana to California (Redwood Valley in Mendocino County and was associated with churches in Los Angeles and San Francisco) before heading to the jungles of Guyana in South America to a community he named after himself, Jonestown.

Even as early as 1975, Jones preached “I love socialism, and I’d die to bring it about. But, if I did, I’d take a thousand with me.”

On several occasions, Jones told his followers about Masada, an Israeli fortress in the mountains “where almost one thousand Jewish revolutionaries, women, and children committed suicide rather than surrender to a Roman army about to breach the walls.”

On Memorial Day 1977, before abruptly leaving San Francisco for Guyana, Jones took part in an anti-suicide rally at the Golden Gate Bridge, where he stated to the audience that for the first time in his life, he was suicidal.

ON A MUCH LIGHTER & TASTIER NOTE

Lately, I’ve been craving a donut shop that isn’t a chain store.

I haven’t found one in Decatur, but check this out — exclusively at Sam’s Club, there’s Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut Smartfood Popcorn!

From now until the end of May, you can get an 18-ounce bag with the retail price of $4.96.

Well, I’d never pay $5 for almost a pound of popcorn, but it sounds delicious! (Okay, I would pay that for a large popcorn at the movie theater and get my free refill!)

Also, at Sam’s Club, there’s Popcornopolis’ Fried Pickle and Ranch (same price for just 12 ounces) and Herr’s Fire-Roasted Sweet Corn Popcorn (about $4 for an 11-ounce bag)!

“THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE”

I totally enjoyed reading Clive Davis’ 2013 autobiography, “The Soundtrack Of My Life” and I can’t believe it took me almost a decade to get around to it!

What a walk down memory lane!

I loved reading how he brought Columbia Records out of the easy listening days of Andy Williams and Barbra Streisand in the 1950s and 1960s into the world of rock & roll with Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.

His next major chapter in music was founding Arista Records and launching the careers of Barry Manilow in the 1970s and Whitney Houston in the 1980s.

While at Arista, he also revived the careers of Santana, Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin.

While there, he was instrumental in expanding pop music at Arista to launch Laface Records with L.A. Reid and Babyface and Bad Boy Records with Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Puffy/Piddy (or whatever the hell he wants to be call on a given day!)

I also loved hearing his story about how he clashed with certain artists — Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Dayne, Melissa Manchester, and Manilow to name a few.

And, after Arista, he started J Records and brought the world Alicia Keys.

What an incredible book to read about his almost 60-year career in the music business. This spring, the legendary Clive Davis turned 89!

I also learned that “How Will I Know”, which Whitney Houston took to #1 in 1986 was originally written for Janet Jackson.

And, my favorite Taylor Dayne song, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, her #1 song from 1990, was pitched to and rejected by Tina Turner.

DOCUMENTARY — “THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES”

I highly recommend the 608 page book!

But, if that’s not your thing, there’s an amazing music-filled documentary about Clive Davis and the book on Netflix!

NEW REBA MUSIC

Just last week, I hinted at new Reba McEntire music.

Her video, “Somehow You Do”, a ballad written by 12-time Oscar nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Diane Warren, dropped last Friday. (She’s also won a Grammy Award!)

It’s from new Glenn Close and Mila Kunis movie, “Four Good Days”, out now.

Warren also wrote Reba’s “What If” Red Cross charity single, from 1997, that went on to reach #23 on the country chart and her #4 country hit “I’ll Be” in 2000 from the “So Good Together” album.

A LITTLE WEEKEND HUMOR

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Back in March, I shared some interesting tidbits from reading former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

I also shared the story of interviewing her in Youngstown, Ohio, back in 1999.

Here are a few parting notes from that great book:

Once Bill Clinton offered Albright “Secretary of State, upon Hillary’s recommendation, making her the first woman “Secretary of State”, she called every one of her predecessors in the position.

Henry Kissinger congratulated her and teased her that she took one of the interesting things about him away — his foreign birth. (He was born in Germany and Albright in Czechoslovakia.)

Albright wrote: “I chided him back by saying he would still be the only secretary who spoke with an accent.”

After Albright, two other women became Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Obviously we know Hillary’s connection to Albright (Bill Clinton). Rice has a connection to Albright, too. While a student of the University of Denver in the 1970s, Rice was mentored by Albright’s father, Josef Korbel!

And, in honor of one of my favorite shots (when I do them), Madeleine Albright’s nickname is “Fireball”!

Cheers!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 26, 2021

Spring is here and it’s hard to believe we’re down to the last few days of March!

Make the most of your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

As we head into the second year of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m so excited that 14.1% of Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Illinois, that number is at 14.5%!

And, more than one in four (26.8%) Illinoisans have had at least one dose.

Earlier this week, I joined that group with the Moderna vaccine!!! (One shot down and one shot to go in April!)

Sadly, in the United States, there are more than 30 million reported cases of COVID-19 with 545-thousand-plus deaths!

REMEMBERING GARRY BOWIE

While that death toll rate is staggering and in any situation, one death is one death too many, I want to take a moment to remember Garry Bowie.

Like most of you, I didn’t know of the LGBTQ activist until he died in early April 2020 from COVID-19.

As the former executive director of Long Beach AIDS Foundation, Garry worked tirelessly helping people fight HIV and AIDS in the Greater Long Beach and Los Angeles areas.

What makes his death even more heartbreaking is that he was one of the longest living survivors of the AIDS epidemic. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1983, back when having HIV (and AIDS) was pretty much a death sentence!

Garry was 59.

“THE GREAT BELIEVERS”

I just read the most amazing book, 2018’s “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai and it fits in perfectly with the previous thought.

It tells the story of how the AIDS epidemic decimated Chicago’s gay community in the early-1980s. While fiction, it felt so real — especially if you or your friends lived through that era watching your friends die.

Makkai’s story is so well researched and touching. It had you rooting for characters that you knew were doomed by the “gay cancer” and President Ronald Reagan’s blind eye.

The book isn’t just about a group of friends dying and struggling to stay alive in 1985 Chicago. It also takes you to 2015 Paris and ties the two stories and timelines together!

As a former Chicago transplant (I lived there two years in the 1990s and two more years in the early-2000s), it was fun hearing the names of places I hadn’t thought about in years (Nookie’s and Ann Sather).

Amy Poehler is adapting the book into a television series. I can’t wait to see who is cast as Yale, my favorite character. As I was reading it, I could definitely see Yale in my younger self!

“The Great Believers” is the best fiction book I read in the past year!

SPRING & SUMMER BBQS

On a lighter note…

It’s time to start firing up those grills, so remember the rules for wine pairings.

While it’s recommended you serve white wine with chicken and fish and red with beef, here’s how it used to be! 🙂

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN”

What an incredible movie and it’s now at Redbox!

The dark comedy/drama is up for five Oscars: “Best Picture”, “Best Actress” (Carey Mulligan), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

Mulligan is fantastic in this compelling and heartbreaking movie with a very strong #MeToo message.

It features an all-star cast, including Connie Britton (her one scene is powerful).

GRADE: A

“9-1-1: LONE STAR”

After finding this season’s 16 episodes of “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” on my DVR, I binge watched all eight episodes of the new season of each show, which were amazing.

And, WOW, the last 3 minutes of the winter finale of “9-1-1: Lone Star” brought tears to my eyes and it ended on a shocking out-of-nowhere cliffhanger!

While diversity is a staple of series from Ryan Murphy, I have to hand it to “Lone Star” for probably being one of the most diverse.

There’s a Muslim woman, a transgender man (trans women make up most of the few transgender characters on television), a Cuban woman, two Hispanic men, and then there’s Rob Lowe! 🙂

Also, in the main cast, you have two gay men (one white and one Hispanic) and they’re beautiful together.

MORE JIMMY CARTER

Last week, I sang high praises for Jonathan Alter’s 2020 biography, “His Very Best, Jimmy Carter, A Life”. I also shared a few things I didn’t already know.

Today, I’m sharing a few more tidbits:

Freshman Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, then 33, was the first Senator to endorse Jimmy Carter in his presidential run in early 1976.

John Hinckley Jr., who was obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, planned to assassinate President Carter in the fall of 1980 to impress her.

In September, he followed the president to Dallas and even shook his hand in Dayton, Ohio! But, he had decided that he’d kill President Carter in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 9th. (For the record, but not from this book, Hinckley was arrested at the airport in Nashville for possession of three firearms hours after President Carter arrived there!)

But, the book says that Hinckley had already decided that Carter would lose the 1980 presidential election, so he changed his mind to kill future President Ronald Reagan. He attempted that in March 1981!

Finally, famous celebrity chef and TV star Ina Garten (“Barefoot Contessa”) was an analyst in the Office of Management and Budget in the Carter administration to study nuclear weapons!!!

ONE MORE THING ABOUT INA GARTEN

“Southern Living” says Garten always keeps these three things in her freezer: vodka, vanilla ice cream, and bread!

Those are definitely three of my favorites! (Well, I love flavored ice cream and flavored vodka!)

ONLY NINE MONTHS AWAY!

The countdown is on to Christmas!

It’s only nine months away and this spring, Reba McEntire is getting into the holiday spirit by shooting a Lifetime Christmas movie!

The movie is tentatively titled, “Christmas In Tune”, and will feature a new Reba song.

Here’s the plotline from the press release: Christmas In Tune tells the story of Belle, a marketing executive who is worried she may lose her job.  She decides to reunite a singing duo for a charity Christmas concert in order, but the problem is — the singers are actually her parents and they have not spoken to each other in years! Soon the at-odds couple is helping Belle get her life in order and she begins her own romantic duet with the new man in her life.”

“THIS IS JUST MY FACE: TRY NOT TO STARE”

This is the 2017 autobiography from Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”).

Things I learned from Gabourey:

False reports of her death started on Facebook and then spread to other outlets. About Facebook, she wrote, “You know, that social-media site you use to spy on your ex and find out at election time which of your family members are racist.”

She’s funny as hell and shares many hilarious stories!

At one point she talked about “a girl like me”. Whatever you do, don’t mistakenly think about her being fat or black. She won’t take fat-shaming sitting down or hesitate calling you a racist!

She responds, “Fat-shaming racists make me sick! Just kidding.” You know she’s kidding, right? (Well, personally, my ex used to tell me, “there’s a little bit of truth to your jokes!”)

Sidibe is very serious about calling it like it is, whether you can handle it or not!

At one point in the book, she told of the time she was having a “poor-off” with a really handsome guy that she didn’t know well and she made the comment, “Oh, yeah? Your family ever wait in line for government cheese?”

This really made me laugh!

My personal story: We were very poor growing up, but we didn’t have to wait in line for our government cheese. That’s because my aunt volunteered at the hand-outs and brought ours to us! 🙂

And, let me tell you, it was the best damn cheese I had until I tried international cheeses in my later adult life! 🙂

One other thing that Gabourey and I have in common: we’re both recovering bulimics.

SPEAKING OF…

March 31, 2021, marks my one-year anniversary of being back on the wagon after falling off in the 2019 holiday season through late March 2020!

One year later and one day at a time, it’s a struggle. But, I’m winning!

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN” SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack is phenomenal!

The first song in the movie, “Boys (DROELOE remix) by Charli XCX is so much fun!

It also features a very different remake of “It’s Raining Men” from DeathbyRomy and a very haunting instrumental version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”.

And, in a very cute romantic scene in a store, Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” is played. Am I one of the few that absolutely disliked Hilton, but loved that song???

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony