Posts Tagged ‘Nate Silver’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 1, 2016

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us and that means the first half of the year is already behind us.  Time flies when you’re having fun or so they say.

Have a safe holiday weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts.

NO DOG IN MY FUTURE — MAYBE EVER!

ABBAAnthonyLD2009

It’s been almost four-and-a-half years since Miss ABBA went to puppy heaven and people understandably ask, “When are you getting another dog?”.  I always thought that we would one day.

However, over the past week, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t think I need one!

As you know, Ray and I built our first fish pond a few years back and last summer, we expanded it from a mere 200 gallons to 1,000 gallons.

Fish Pond

It’s so much fun to watch the 50-plus fish at feeding time and the sound of the waterfall is so relaxing.

Sadly, it’s likely that Blizzard, the largest and most recent fish we acquired, or one of the small koi we just bought was sick.

Without warning, Blizzard died early last week.  It came as a total shock and then the real trauma hit me.

Last Friday, my favorite fish, Pumpkin Pie, the one I saved from the mink last summer, died.

Pumpkin Pie is the orange one with black spots and Snowflake is the yellowish/white one.

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

I held her (or him) as it died.  It was heartbreaking and I cried.  At that point, I realized that I’ll not ready for the heartbreak of losing another pet.

After Blizzard and Pumpkin Pie, two days later, Strong, a koi that we adopted from our friends Nathan and Amanda died, followed by one more large fish, Norma Bates, the next day.  (Yes, we name the big ones and a few of the small ones.)

As hard as we work to keep the fish pond clean and happy, the fear quickly set in that this wasn’t just a coincidence and that a fish bacteria or virus was raging through the pond.

The pond is now being treated by a strong anti-virus treatment and we hope that the last of the five or so large fish survive.  So far, none of the 40-plus small fish (mostly goldfish) have been affected.

In memory of the four fish, we planted ornamental grasses around the pond.

Here’s a another look at a happier day not too long ago when Pumpkin Pie, Strong, and Norma Bates were alive and well!  (All three are in this video — the largest ones!)

PEOPLE NEED SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN

Many people choose the Bible when they need something to believe in.  However, others put their faith and money, money, money into self-help books and motivational speakers.

Look at 56-year-old infomercial star Tony Robbins.  He’s made so much money convincing people that they can do almost anything they set their minds to.

That trust and faith sent dozens to the hospital late last week in Texas.

About thirty people were burned and had to be treated after walking on hot coals in a fire walking event at a seminar in Dallas.  Several were hospitalized and others were transported to medical facilities that treat burns.

Coal Fire Burns

Jennifer Connelly, a spokesperson for Robbins says, “The fire walk portion of the event has been celebrated for 35 years.”

She adds that the goal of the exercise is to have guests to feel no discomfort afterwards, but it’s “not uncommon to have fewer than one percent of participants experience ‘hot spots’, which is similar to a sunburn, which can be treated with aloe.”

Um, I think she has this terribly wrong.  Burn treatment at a hospital sounds much different than hot spots and a sunburn.

Seriously people, believe in yourself and not some person that wants your money because they know you’re weak!

PRIDE HIGHLIGHTS

Pride parades were held all across the world this past weekend and earlier in June.

Years & Years, the English dance band, with openly gay lead singer Olly Alexander played the annual Glastonbury Festival in England last weekend.

IFDecked out in a rainbow flag outfit, he told the crowd, “As you might be able to tell by the way that I’m dressed, I’m gay. And in fact, I’m really, really, super gay.

And, then he got more serious about the recent tragedies like the Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.

“But what I keep thinking about in the last year, some crappy and messed up stuff has happened.  As a queer person, as queer people, we know what it’s like to be scared and we know what’s it like to live with fear as part of our every day. But tonight, at Glastonbury, I would like to ask you to join me on Pride weekend and say, ‘no thank you fear. Bye fear bye.  Shove a rainbow in fear’s face.  All I have to say to finish is, I am here and queer and sometimes I am afraid but I am never ashamed of who I am.”

Jessie-Eisenberg-London-Pride

Meanwhile, on Pride weekend in London, “Now You See Me 2” actor Jesse Eisenberg left a West End stage rehearsal of “The Spoils” and walked by an anti-Pride Christian group.

He was asked “Is your mind closed?” by a man offering a brochure.  Eisenberg responded, “That’s so f*cking sad.”

The man asked the same question again and Jesse scoffed and laughed adding, “Is my mind closed?  That’s so f*cked up” and walked away.

Hillary PrideBack in the the United States, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit and walked in New York City’s Pride parade.

NO PRIDE HERE, JUST SHAME!

As many of you know, Pride parades and celebrations started 46 years ago when the gay community took a stand and said we’re not hiding away in the shadows of society any longer.

We’ve made so much progress and there’s still so much more room for advancement.

Sadly, in the LGBT community as it is in society in general, there are those that do things that shine a really bad light on others.

Tennessee Violent Crimes

YouTuber Calum McSwiggan claims that three men attacked him outside a West Hollywood, California gay bar earlier this week.

But, police now say that he faked the report and actually injured himself inside the cell with a pay phone to cover up his arrest on vandalism charges!

I’m not sharing McSwiggan’s picture because if he lied (and police and a witness say he did), he’s just desperate for fame and attention and I’m not giving him face time.  Pulling a stunt like this makes him scum of the earth.

Pulse

As we saw at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and from all the hate talk that comes from politicians, the Westboro Baptist Church, and other haters, the LGBT community has to be vigilant enough already without having some media whore desperate for attention lying about an anti-gay attack!

McSwiggan is now being charged with filing a false police report.

THIS WEEK, THE POPE SAYS…

While I’m not Catholic, much of my family is.

I believe that Pope Francis, who began his papacy in March 2013, is good for Catholicism and is working to bridge the religious and real world divide between the Church and LGBT people.  However, he’s really hard to figure out.

This is what he said in the summer of 2013.

Pope Francis

While he opposes marriage equality and he thinks being a practicing homosexual is intrinsically immoral, he believes gay people should be treated with respect and love.

He’s making headlines again.  On a trip to Armenia last weekend, Pope Francis declared on the flight, “I think that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it offended, but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

He’s not the first Pope to apologize for Catholics and Christians, but he’s the first to ask for an apology to the LGBT people.  In 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II apologized to several groups including Jewish people, immigrants, women, and indigenous peoples.

It’s a step forward if he doesn’t contradict his statement the next time he speaks on the matter!

CLUELESS CAITLYN

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner for coming out as transgender, but I never had any faith in her advancing the cause for my transgender brothers and sisters.  So far, I’d say I’m correct.

Caitlyn

The more I see her name in the press and the more she opens her mouth, the more I cringe. Okay, that’s a polite way of expressing how I really feel about her views.

Jenner’s latest ignorant and misinformed statement:  “Trump seems to be very much for women.  He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”

Maybe she meant to say that Trump is “very much behind” on issues regarding the LGBT community!

I agree with the Huffington Post calling it a “WTF of the week”!

NATE SILVER PREDICTS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT

American statistician and writer Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com has spoken and he predicts that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.

HIllary Flag

If you don’t know him, you definitely don’t follow politics as closely as I do.

The baseball and politics analyst successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008’s U.S. Presidential Election.

In the next election cycle, in 2012, Silver successfully called all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this week, he made his first prediction for the 2016 presidential race and gave a big edge to Clinton.  Here’s how he made his prediction.

538 Predicts

PICK HIT

“Worth It” by Fifth Harmony was one of my favorite songs of last year.

Earlier this year, the band released the first single, “Work From Home”, from their new album “7/27”, that came out in late May.  It topped the airplay charts at Top 40 radio.

It’s an incredibly catchy song with a super hot, sexy video.  (I featured it last week, so just glance back one week to watch it.)

Their new song, “All In My Head (Flex)” is already racing up the charts and it’s catchy, too.  It features the hot ladies of Fifth Harmony, more sexy men, and rapper Fetty Wap.

By the way, what the hell is Fetty Wap singing?

ANOTHER PICK HIT

Michael Ray topped the country radio airplay chart last year with “Kiss You In the Morning”.  It ended being one of my favorite songs of last year and his self-titled album was my #9 album of 2015.

He’s back with a new video for the third single from the album, “Think A Little Less”.

If you’d like to know more about Michael Ray and his incredible album, here’s my blog review.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

FIRST LADIES

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing little known (or well known) tidbits about the wives of the presidents of the United States from the book I read by Betty Boyd Caroli called “First Ladies”.

I’ve covered Martha Washington to Frances Cleveland.  Here’s more trivia that may help you in “Jeopardy” or “Trivial Pursuit”.

First Ladies

Caroline Harrison:  She became ill in the last year of her husband’s presidency and died a few weeks before the 1892 election becoming only the second First Lady to die while in the White House.  She’s best remembered for having electricity added to the White House during 1891’s spring renovations and for starting the White House china collection.

Frances Cleveland:  She served two non-consecutive terms in the White House as First Lady.  In my last blog, here’s what I wrote about her:  “She was 21-years-old when she married the president, who was 28 years older than her!  Frances was the daughter of a former law partner to President Cleveland and he had known her since she was born.  He also bought her her first baby carriage!  Okay, that’s just downright creepy”.

Ida McKinley:  She was very sick and frail as First Lady.  In public, she was prone to seizures.  President McKinley would have a white handkerchief on hand and he’d place it over her face when she had a seizure and would remove it when it was over.  They would continue on in conversation as if nothing had happened.

Edith Roosevelt:  She controlled the information going out to social reporters very carefully and handle criticism well.  Once a famous woman was quoted in a national magazine that the First Lady “dresses on 300 dollars a year and looks it.”  She happily clipped the column and placed it in her scrapbook.

Helen Taft:  She was known to push her husband into positions that would align him to become president one day.  She was influenced by the years she spent in the Orient and as First Lady, she had thousands of Japanese cherry trees planted and the spring blossoms are now a major tourist attraction in Washington D.C.

Ellen Wilson:  She became the first First Lady to address Congress to improve housing conditions in Washington D.C., especially the slums, with “Ellen Wilson’s Bill”.

Edith Wilson:  President Woodrow Wilson’s second wife was highly criticized for “petticoat government” after he suffered a stroke in the fall of 1919.  She kept people away from him until he recovered enough to carry out his presidential responsibilities.  That’s why people didn’t really know who was running the government.  Meanwhile, she set a good example during World War I by having “meatless days” at the White House and she even brought in sheep to graze the lawn to save money and would auction off the wool to raise cash for the American Red Cross.

Florence Harding:  She was known to manipulate the White House press corp.  Because of that, the public never knew how sick she and the president really were and thus their deaths came as more of a shock.  Publicly, she blamed their extended illnesses on food poisoning and other things.

Grace Coolidge:  Her husband, President Calvin Coolidge, was very strict and never allowed her to give interviews.  While he often demeaned her, he spent a lot of money to buy her a lavish wardrobe.

Lou Hoover:  She was a geologist who moved to China with husband and then added Mandarin to the languages she spoke.  She embraced radio and gave many speeches with a feminist slant.

I’ll have the final installment next week.

THAT’S IT

I hope you found something interesting this week in my many random thoughts.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts with me, even if we disagree.  Just do it diplomatically.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.  Happy 240th Birthday America!

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — March 4, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to imagine that it’s already March.

Spring will be here in a couple of weeks and after the warmth last weekend and the snow earlier this week in the Midwest, I’m ready for it.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

SAD PARENTING!

I know this happens much more than people know — a kid tells their parents they’re gay or the parents find out and either kicks them out onto the streets or severs ties with them.

Promoting his autobiography, “Master of Ceremonies”, 83-year-old Oscar winning actor Joel Grey (“Cabaret”) tells “Entertainment Weekly” about telling his parents when he was a teenager that he’d had an affair with a man.

Grey says, “When I told my mother, I remember reaching out to her, and she said, ‘Don’t ever touch me again, you disgust me.’  It was one of the worst moments of my life.  Secrets became necessary.”

I know people have hang ups with LGBT people, but I’ll never understand, as a gay man and as a parent, how a mother or father (or grandparent) could say that to their child.  If you could or have done that and have no regrets, please “unfriend” me now!

“AMY” WINS AN OSCAR, BUT NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY

The documentary, “Amy”, by director Asif Kapadia walked away with an Academy Award Sunday night for “Best Documentary Feature”.

I saw it and it’s an insightful piece on the rise, fall, and death of five-time Grammy Award winning singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning.

At one point, the director had the support of the Winehouse family, but then they had a change of heart and spoke out publicly about how the documentary portrayed Amy and the family.

Amy’s father, Mitch, said this after the Sunday night win, “I am not changing my stance just because film won Oscar.  It’s a negative, spiteful, and misleading portrayal of Amy.  We will fix this.”

It’s been almost five years and it’s time for the Winehouse family to move on it.  The documentary is much nicer about Amy’s life and death than some of the things I’ve heard in the past few years.

SUPER TUESDAY AFTERMATH

If you follow politics, you already know that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the big winners from “Super Tuesday”, even as Bernie Sanders won four states, Ted Cruz three, and Marco Rubio eked out a win in Minnesota.

Here’s how Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief of the website FiveThirtyEight and considered the ultimate expert in politics and presidential election predictions, summed up the night.

Nate.jpg

After last Tuesday and the debate Thursday night, I don’t know what Trump could possible say to offend anyone he hasn’t already and not secure the Republican nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

As for Democratic race, Clinton is winning big states and in big numbers and is on track to secure her party’s nomination.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, sums up that race like this:

“Sanders, perhaps not surprisingly, has indicated that he’ll continue to fight for votes across the country. But for every win he may get in mostly white states, Clinton will be marching toward the nomination with likely victories in states such as Michigan and Florida. The math indicates that Clinton eventually will win the nomination with relative ease.”

SCRUFF APP USERS MAKE THEIR PICK

If you follow politics, you see all of the polling from different organizations on Real Clear Politics (RCP).  I can say I haven’t seen any results from Scruff, the gay app hook-up site listed on RCP.

But, a poll was conducted and 72% of guys who responded classified themselves as Democrats.  Only 9% claimed to be Republicans with 16% listed as Independents.

president-hillary

Of the more than 10-thousand Democratic respondents, 63% supported Hillary Clinton compared to 31% for Bernie Sanders.  6% were still undecided.

Trump

Of the smaller Republican group, 38% picked Donald Trump, 19% Marco Rubio, 9% John Kasich 6% Ted Cruz, and only 2% for Ben Carson, in last place.

And, just think, this poll came out before Trump made sure we know that his endowment is not small, in reference to Rubio making a small hands reference last week.  Ewwwww!

What

Another prime example to prove he’s not presidential material.

ELTON’S ON A RAMPAGE (AGAIN)

One of the greatest entertainers in music is back with a new album.  Okay, I should say “The Bitch Is Back”.

Elton John just released his 32nd studio album, “Wonderful Crazy Night”.  It debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and dropped precipitously the following week.

That happens with highly anticipated album.  It doesn’t reflect on how good or bad an album is, it’s more of an indication that Top 40 radio doesn’t play songs from the album.

So, with new music to promote, it’s time for Elton to ruffle some feathers.

Elton

It seems like a lifetime ago when he ripped on Madonna accusing her of lip-syncing in her concerts in 2004 and, in 2012, his husband, David Furnish, blasted Madonna after Elton lost to her at the Golden Globes.

Elton says now, “I probably went too far with Madonna and I got very personal and I wrote her – she was very gracious”.

MadonnaGoldenGlobe

Now, his venon is directed to “No, my first name ain’t baby.  It’s Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.”

JanetJackson_Standard-2

Elton tells “Rolling Stone”, “You know, f*cking music magazines writing a review of Janet Jackson saying, ‘This is the greatest show – four and a half stars.’  It’s f*cking lip-synced.  Hello!  That’s not a show!  I’d rather go and see a drag queen.  F*ck off!”

Elton LasVegas

Madonna

As for the feuds and the talent, Elton, I saw you in concert in Las Vegas in 2012 the night before I saw Madonna and both of you were incredible.

Chill out!

JANET JACKSON — MY DEFENSE

This past fall, I saw Janet on her “Unbreakable World Tour” in Omaha, Nebraska, and the show dazzled me.

You’d think if it was “lip-synced”, you wouldn’t have heard her cough at the end of one song!

JanetJackson

The European leg of that tour picks up again in late March and she returns to the United States this May for the North American leg.

She’ll be playing right here in the Quad Cities, in Moline, Illinois, at the iWireless Center, and I’d highly recommend you see the show.

Here’s a video from the Omaha show.

And, here’s what I have to say about the concert:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/janet-jacksons-unbreakable-world-tour-dazzles/

“BATES MOTEL” RETURNS & SO DOES “DAMIEN”

The fourth season of the incredible “Bates Motel” returns Monday night, March 7th, on A&E.

We’ll see Norman (Freddie Highmore) descend deeper into madness to take on the persona of his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), who’s also losing it.

After that, stick around for the premiere of “Damien”, the return of the evil child from the 1976 motion picture, “The Omen”.

Hot English actor Bradley James, plays Damien, now a 30-year-old photographer who has forgotten his Satanic past.

It’s from the creator of “The Walking Dead” and also stars Scott Wilson, who played Hershel Greene on “Dead”.

ADELE SAYS NO TO MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS

Adele is one of the biggest stars on the planet.

She’s won more Grammys than she can carry and she’ll likely cash in again early in 2017 when “25” sweeps the awards just as her as her last album, “21”, did.

adele

She’s already had two smash hits from her new album, “Hello” and “When We Were Young” and the third single will likely be announced soon.

But, thankfully, “she graciously passed” when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis asked her to lend vocals on “Growing Up” from their new album.

That song made my list of “worst songs” of 2015.  Sadly, Ed Sheeran stepped in for Adele.

PICK HIT

In May, we’ll be seeing Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, Illinois, on the “Delirium World Tour” to support Ellie’s latest album.

I’ve been a fan of hers since long before “Lights” became a huge hit in America in 2011.

Last year, the English trio, Years & Years released “Communion”, which was my second favorite album of 2015.

Ellie’s latest hit, “Something in the Way You Move” is one of my favorite songs out right now and is already one of the 20 most played songs on Top 40 radio.

And, if you’re not familiar with Years & Years, here’s more on “Communion”.  Check out the blog I featured last summer which features more songs from the album.

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

THAT’S IT

Have a great first weekend of March.

I’m going to enjoy the nice weather, have some great food and drinks, watch some movies, catch up on my television shows, and check out this weekend’s caucuses and primaries.

Feel free to comment on any of my topics today.

Anthony