Posts Tagged ‘Nancy Reagan’

Random Friday Thoughts — May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  It’s the unofficial kick-off to the summer season.  I hope you have a great one.  It’ll be especially nice for those with a three-day weekend (Ray!).

I wasn’t planning on an installment of Random Friday Thoughts, but here it is.  Surprise!

Pool

We’re running behind schedule this year, but we’re putting up our pool this weekend.

We closed it down in late September, but I’m ready to float the weekends and afternoons away — especially now that we’re enjoying summer-like, above average temperatures in the Quad Cities.

R.I.P. BETH HOWLAND

Beth Howland, who played ditzy waitress Vera, on the long running 1970s-1980s CBS sitcom, “Alice”, has died of lung cancer. She was 74.

Vera

Howland actually died December 31, 2015, but her actor husband, Charles Kimbrough, told The Associated Press that it “her choice” not to have a memorial service or funeral.  That’s why the news is just now coming out.

As a kid, I loved her character and comedic timing.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

For whatever reason, the 2014 Austrian psychological thriller/horror movie, “Goodnight Mommy”, just hit Redbox and I highly recommend it!

Susanne Wuest is incredible in the role as “The Mother” and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz, are mesmerizing.

The movie was Austria’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, but it wasn’t picked as a nominee.  Oscar fail!

Before I saw the movie, I wrote, “the trailer definitely creeps me out”.  Wait until you see the movie!

I don’t give too many movies this grade, but “Goodnight Mommy” gets….

GRADE:  A+

LET’S CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS!!!

I know Earth Day is in April.  But, there’s something that we can do to cut back on pollution and some communities are working hard to make it happen.

As I travel across the country (and the world), I see more and more businesses charging for those paper-thin, flimsy plastic bags that Walmart and other stores use.

They’re cheap to produce and many aren’t used again because they rip open before you even get home!  Many end up blowing in the wind or floating in area lakes and rivers.

Ban Bags

More businesses are selling cloth reusable bags and I think that’s fantastic.

Aldi stores sell the reusable bags, but they also have plastic bags.  However, if you want one (whether you throw it away or reuse it), you pay for it.

I know it’d get expensive if you’re paying for the plastic bags at big stores like Walmart, but it’d probably prompt you to buy quality, reusable bags.  And, the environment would love you for it.

Many communities are even banning or proposing bans on the plastic bags.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY (AND EVERYDAY)

Fish Be You

POLITICS TIDBITS

I was wrong!

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014”, I predicted that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would be the two candidates on November’s ballot for U.S. president.

Hillary AP

Well, it looks like I’ll be right with the Democratic nominee come June 7th once New Jersey and California vote, but who would have thought the presumptive nominee out of seventeen candidates on the Republican side would be Donald Trump!

DT Masks

Scary, right?  Yes!  I don’t need to wait for an answer!

NEXT VEGAS PLAN CHANGES 

Going to Las Vegas is an annual pilgrimage for me and Ray.

We love to eat, gamble, catch a couple of shows, walk, walk, walk, and see the sights.

Las Vegas

We love checking out the beautiful hotels and casinos — especially the displays made of flowers at the Bellagio.  I really want to visit one December when the glitzy city is decorated for Christmas.

However, our next trip in late July will not include a visit to the gorgeous The Venetian and The Palazzo.

The CEO is donating $100 million (yes, million) to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign! I’m sorry, but I will not help fund in any way that sorry excuse of a man that wants to be president!

There are plenty of other places there to try my luck at the slots — and eat desserts!

We’ll be visiting the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.  It’s a tradition for us to eat there and have the weekend champagne brunch at the Stratosphere.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

Have I mentioned how much I love buffets, slot machines, and Las Vegas?

FOR THE LOVE OF NANCY REAGAN

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died earlier this year of congestive heart failure at the age of 94.  Her husband, Ronald, our country’s 40th president, died back in June 2004 at the age of 93.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

Since it’s an election year, I’ve mostly been reading biographies and autobiographies of political figures.  I’ve read books from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jimmy Carter, plus books on presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee.

I just finished Nancy Reagan’s “My Turn” and Kitty Kelley’s “Nancy:  The Unauthorized Biography”.

What I concluded from Nancy’s book is that she definitely heavily influenced Ronald Reagan in his two terms as California’s governor (1967-1975) and his two terms as president (1981-1989).

Even in her own words, I don’t think she was probably a very nice person (outwardly).  However, I don’t think she was the evil pariah that Kelley made her out to be.

But, reading some of the accusations made by Kelley — including an affair with Frank Sinatra, date rape, and unplanned pregnancies — it definitely makes one wonder what was really going on in the lives of one of the most conservative political families.

nancy.jpg

To restore some of my faith in Ms. Reagan, I read Michael Deaver’s “Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan”.

Although it’s a short book, don’t waste your time.  It’s basically the “CliffsNotes” version of Nancy’s “My Turn”.

He told the same stories she did with very little new insight.  The book only one earned its worth when in the last thirty or so pages, he addressed Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

RonaldReagan

There’s one thing that I would never dispute about the Reagans — their love for each other in their 50+ years of marriage.  It’s very admirable.

I still have a few more books to read about them — about their love and President Reagan’s autobiography.

PRESIDENT REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

I didn’t personally know or like the Reagans (especially the President).

There’s one big reason that I used to despise Reagan and it was much deeper than him defeating my favorite President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.  Here’s a blog from the summer of 2012 to explain.  (Clicking on this blog link will open a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s reading.)

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

TWO WEEKS IN CHINA

Since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”, Ray and I spent two weeks in China.  We met some really nice people in our tour group from all over the world, including New Zealand.

We climbed the Great Wall of China, cruised on the Yangtze River (when we weren’t fogged in and unable to move), saw the stunning Gorges, endured the worst smog I’ve ever seen in Beijing where our trip started and ended, and witnessed the lights and glamour of Shanghai, the reason we went to China!

AP Ray Shanghai.jpg

Maybe because it was for a tour group, the food was pretty bland and too Westernized.  I’m ready to enjoy my favorite Asian food in the Quad Cities, Osaka Buffet, in Moline, for some “real” tasty cuisine.

Would I ever go back to China?  Probably not.  Would I recommend seeing it once in your lifetime?  Definitely!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The first time I heard “Faded” by 18-year-old British-born Norwegian record producer Alan Walker (with vocals by Iselin Solheim), I fell in love with the song.

Instantly, I searched out more songs from Walker and much to my chagrin, I found there isn’t an album — yet.

The ethereal, very moody, and captivating song is already a chart-topping smash in Austria, Belgium,  France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vietnam, and eight other counties!

Here is the United States, the song is racing up the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart jumping from #26 to #17 this week and it’s already in the Top Ten on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

It’s getting some airplay at Top 40 radio here, but I hope it really catches on soon.  If you haven’t heard it, here it is.

Call B100 and 101.3 KISSFM here in the Quad Cities and request it.  Just tell them that Anthony from Local 4 requests that you play it. 🙂

“LONDON SPY”

If you’re looking for an intelligent television series to add to your summer viewing, you have to check out this five-part BBC America series. (You can catch it on Netflix.)

“London Spy” stars one of the best English actors working today, Ben Whishaw, who’s also appearing on Broadway in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw

It doesn’t hurt that Whishaw is charming and adorable, too!  But, I’m recommending this thriller because he’s incredible and the story is very suspenseful.

It also stars Jim Broadbent (“Moulin Rouge!”) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT 

Since I don’t write as much as I used to or as much as I’d like, I appreciate you checking out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.  As always, feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree — just do it diplomatically.

Have a great holiday weekend and remember the great men and women that made this Memorial Day weekend a holiday.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — March 18, 2016

It’s almost the weekend and, as always, I’m ready for it.

Got any big plans?  Whatever you do, or don’t do, enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

SPRING STORMS THIS WEEK

Our first round of severe storms in 2016 brought five tornadoes to northern Illinois and eastern Iowa Tuesday evening.  This required me to go back into work for several hours.  It saddens me to see the widespread devastation, but I’m happy to report there were no casualties!

Of course, the two-plus hours of continuous coverage ticked some people off because watching their regular programs was more important than keeping people safe.

Oh well, people get over it.  We’ll do the same thing the next time there are tornadoes in the area!

PATTI DAVIS & HER FATHER’S AIDS FAILURE

Patti Davis, the daughter of former President Ronald Reagan & First Lady Nancy Reagan is promoting her new book, “The Earth Breaks In Colors” and she’s not holding back on her father’s failure in handling the AIDS crisis.

Nancy+Reagan+Patti+Davis

She says, “I’m not gonna make excuses for, um, the failure of his administration to address the AIDS crisis when it was going on.”   She adds, “I mean, it was a failure. It hurts my heart that that happened, on so many levels.”

RonaldReagan

Davis:  “Presidents get briefings every morning, um, they’re busy, so their time watching CNN is limited, so they do rely on people to bring them information on what was going on. There were people around him who did not want him dealing with the AIDS crisis, and I’m not making excuses for him, I’m saying that’s a flaw of his, and in this case it turned out to be a really tragic flaw because he didn’t really know the extent of what was going on until Rock Hudson died.”

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

AIDS wasn’t the only topic Davis talked on when reflecting on her father.

Trump

She also implied that President Reagan would not be behind Donald Trump’s bid for the White House because he supported immigration.

Davis says, “He would certainly not be saying that Muslims should register and let’s build a huge wall and let Mexico pay for it and send them all back.”

A PICTURE SPEAKS A THOUSAND WORDS

Even politicians can put their differences aside!

George W Hillary

This picture was taken at Nancy Reagan’s funeral last week.

“SPOKEN FROM THE HEART” — LAURA BUSH

I just finished reading Laura Bush’s 2010 autobiography, “Spoken From The Heart” and it solidified my fondness of the former First Lady.  As I stated last week, she’s one of my five favorite First Ladies.

Laura Spoken.jpg

When deciding to read the book, I was afraid.  What if she wasn’t as charming as I perceived her to be?  What if she didn’t like Hillary Clinton?  (That’s important to me when both are one my list of five favorite First Ladies!)

My concerns and fears were unfounded and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Laura Welch better.  I would so honored to meet her one day.

In the book, she described Hillary as “gracious and forthcoming” when the outgoing First Lady was giving the future First Lady a tour of the White House.

I loved the touching story of Hillary and her daughter, Chelsea, showing Ms. Bush tomato plants that they had growing on the parapet off the third floor because “you just can’t get good tomatoes.”

President and Ms. Bush would go on to grow pots of tomatoes there, too.

ABBAtomatoes

I love this story so much because I used to grow tomatoes and peppers in pots for Miss ABBA, the golden retriever, before I lived in a house where I could have a garden!

In the book, Ms. Bush says very few bad things about people.  Even when she took people to task for their words or actions, she was cordial about it.

President Obama

Laura Bush on Barack Obama and the 2008 Presidential race:  “And I wondered if Barack Obama, who spent far more time attacking George than he did his opponent, John McCain, would want to amend his words once he discovered the reality of the White House and was himself confronted by the challenges and crises that hit a president every day, all day.”

DONALD TRUMP, THIS COULD BE YOU!

While Laura Bush had just talked about former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Nevada Senator and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and their constant name calling of her husband, President George W. Bush, she stated that the president was always polite and didn’t resort to name calling.

She said, “The president doesn’t have the luxury of behaving like a smart-aleck kid on a school playground; he has to work not just with Congress but with leaders around the world.”

Hey, Donald Trump, listen up.  This could apply to you, too!

FOR THE LOVE OF GEORGE W. BUSH

One thing very clear and so sweet in Ms. Bush’s book is the love between her and her husband.

Bush_mission_accomplished

I know that she’s his wife and I expect her to say nice and flattering things about him. However, after reading about their love and their life together, I’ll still disagree with him on certain policies, but I’d break bread with him and maybe even find him pleasant!

DISAGREED WITH LAURA JUST ONCE

As I’ve always told people, you can disagree with me as long as you do it diplomatically.  As much I admire Ms. Bush, I disagree with her view on the last presidential debate in 2004 between President Bush and his Democratic rival, John Kerry.

Debate moderate Bob Schieffer asked the men if homosexuality was a choice.

Kerry replied, “We’re all God’s children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney’s daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she’s being who she was. She’s being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it’s not a choice.”

Mary Cheney, Heather Poe

I agree with Senator (and now Secretary of State) Kerry.  It’s not a choice.

Was it inappropriate to mention Mary Cheney?  Absolutely not.  Ms. Bush and both Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, blasted Kerry for the comments.

Mary Cheney was an “out” lesbian in a long-term relationship with a woman (they married in the summer of 2012).  LGBT issues were a big talking point in the 2000 election when President Bush was elected and still an an issue in 2004.

Even if we disagree on that, I value Ms. Bush’s opinion and I still think she’d make a great friend!

I’M NOT FEELING “THE BERN”

Five states went to the polls this past Tuesday night and with close wins in Illinois and Missouri and easier wins in the other three states, Hillary Clinton went five-for-five.

On the rival side, a win in Ohio kept John Kasich in the race.  However, a big loss in Florida prompted Marco Rubio to drop out of the race for president.

Marco Rubio

Good riddance!

As I’ve said before, I will not personally attack Bernie Sanders the way I’ve seen him and his “Feel The Bern” followers attack Clinton.

With that being said, I’m rather dismayed by Senator Sanders’ nasty tone toward the Democratic front-runner in recent week.  I know it has a lot to do with the fact that with each primary and caucus, she’s moving closer and closer to the delegate count needed to secure the party’s nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

But, really?  Be tough and if you’re going to lose, know you fought a good fight with dignity.  Don’t resort to Trump tactics!

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

I’ve never had a desire to visit any of the biggest studio attractions.

But, let me tell you after seeing this new permanent “The Walking Dead” attraction coming this summer at Universal Studios Hollywood, I might change my mind!

Boo!  Walkers and survival, I’m game!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

As the sixth season winds down (the finale is Sunday, April 3rd), the second and longer season of “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts one week later.

The six episodes of the first season were enjoyable, but it started out really slow.  But, then again, in the early days of the virus apocalypse, I’m sure the process of walkers taking over and turning was slower. 🙂

However, the trailer for the new season looks incredible and out of this world!

“RECOUNT”

I finally got around to watching the award-winning, HBO movie, “Recount”, about the 2000 presidential election where Democrat Al Gore won the popular vote, but the presidency went to George W. Bush because of Florida’s 25 electoral vote.

If you lived through it, but got bored with it by early December, the battles that both sides went through to get the win for their candidate in the court system were entertaining and frustrating in movie form.

Many in the cast were nominated for Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards including Kevin Spacey, Tom Wilkinson, Denis Leary, Bob Balaban, and Laura Dern.

Dern was the only winner for acting.  She snagged the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television.

She was insanely entertaining (crazy !) as Florida’s Secretary of State Katherine Harris.

GRADE:  B

One day, I hope to run across “Game Change” with Emmy winner Julianne Moore as Sarah Palin in the 2008 presidential election.

“DAMIEN”

The new television series on A&E following “Bates Motel” is a sequel to “The Omen”.  Damien is now grown and just beginning to piece together his violent childhood as the “antichrist”.

The premiere was decent, but it definitely has room for improvement. (I haven’t watched the second episode yet.)

I liked actor Bradley James, who plays Damien, but I want to see more of Barbara Hershey and learn more about her evil connection to Damien.

“BATES MOTEL”

Despite my hopes for “Damien”, ratings may be the killer for the show.  It’s debut only attracted 75o-thousand viewers and by the second episode, the ratings dropped even more to just a little over one-half million people.

It lost about one-half of the viewers that tuned in to see the season 4 opener of “Bates Motel”, which itself was at a series low in ratings!

Norman and Norma were amazing and I can’t wait to see more of their zaniness this season.

You can catch “Bates Motel” and “Damien on A&E Monday nights.

PICK HIT

I’ve blogged many times about my love for the incredible English trio Years & Years.  Their debut album last summer, “Communion” was perfect and ended up being my second favorite album of the year.

I wanted to see them in concert last fall when I was in San Francisco, California, but the show was sold out.  Luckily, I’ll be seeing them in early May in Rosemont, Illinois, when they open for Ellie Goulding on the “Delirium World Tour”.

They just re-released one of their earlier English hits, “Desire”.  It now features Tove Lo, who scored big hits with the #1 airplay smash, “Habits (Stay High)”, and the Top 5 airplay sonh, “Talking Body”.

Here’s the new “Desire” video and trust me, the second half gets rather risque and will shock many people in the U.S.  Maybe that’s why I love it so!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 11, 2016

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

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

REMEMBERING NANCY REAGAN

Last Sunday, we lost former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

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

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

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

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

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

FAMOUS FIRST LADIES

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

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

Hillary AP

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

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

LAURA BUSH

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

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

Laura Bush

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

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

ANGRY SUPREME COURT JUSTICE

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

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

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

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

rebecca-bradley

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

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

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

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

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

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

Go away!

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY” & IOWA’S GOVERNOR

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

terry-branstad

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

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

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

Brittany Maynard

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

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

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

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

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” KILLED OFF?

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

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

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

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

THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

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

The Purge Masks

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

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

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

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

CAITLYN JENNER — GO AWAY!

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

Caitlyn.jpg

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

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

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

She was real and not the product of reality television!

“ROOM”

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

“BRIDGE OF SPIES”

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

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

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

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

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

“THE NIGHT BEFORE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  D

FINALLY, AVOID THIS MOVIE AT ALL COST

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

GRADE:  F

THAT’S IT

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

Enjoy your weekend.

Anthony