Posts Tagged ‘NBC’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 14 , 2017

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one planned!  Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ACTION, NOT SUBMISSIVE REACTION

This thought is not about the Second Amendment, gun laws, gun control, bad cops, etc. It’s about the lack of respect for human life these days.

There’s so much going on in the U.S. and around the world.  It saddens me to think that it’s easier for people to shoot or kill someone rather than to talk things out or just mind their own business.

When these senseless acts of violence happen, with no justification, it’s heartbreaking.

Fence

When Matthew Shepard was beaten, tortured and left for dead on a fence in Wyoming in October 1998 and James Byrd Jr., was dragged behind a pickup truck for three miles on an asphalt road by three white supremacists four months earlier, we were horrified.

One was killed because he was gay and the other because he was black.  Yet, it took 11 years before the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” was signed into law.

Still today, it’s a joke how many people commit hate crimes and don’t get charged with it.

When something like the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook school massacre, or the bombing outside the Manchester Ariana Grande concert happens, we’re shocked for a few days before the news cycle moves on to the next story.

People go crazy on Facebook sharing “Remember <insert city>” or “Pray for <insert city>. And, then we move on, too!

black_lives_matter

I commend the three ladies that started a movement in 2013 with just a hashtag —  #BlackLivesMatter — after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Since then, it’s been directed at law enforcement in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and many more — unarmed black people — that died by the guns or hands of white police officers.

Card Cover

I know it’s wishful thinking, but I’d love it if we’d talk more instead of resorting to violence!  I wish we could “Give Peace a Chance”! 😦

GOODBYE LAYAFETTE

Nelsan Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds, on HBO’s “True Blood”, died last weekend of complications of heart failure.  He was 39.

“True Blood” creator, Alan Ball said, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”

While there was Sookie and the sexy men of “True Blood” (Jason, Eric, and Sam), Lafayette was my favorite character.  He was a proud, flamboyant, and out gay black man in the backwoods of Louisiana.

Here’s a compilation of some of Reynolds’ best scenes as Lafayette.  (Contains adult language and situations!)

LG(BISEXUAL)T

I’m always open to learning new things and thinking outside of the box.  I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexuality comes to mind.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

LGBT

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

“CHIPS” & HOMOPHOBIA ACCUSATIONS

The theatrical update of the NBC television hit series, “Chips” (1977-1983), starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox bombed at the box office.

Interestingly enough, while no one really went to see it (it broke even if you just compare the cost to make it and box office receipts), some accused the movie as being homophobic.  I didn’t see that.

In one scene, it shows non-sexual man-to-man contact in the locker room (a bro-hug).

In that same scene, “Ponch” asks Jon not to give him a welcome hug now that they’re partners since Jon is only wearing underwear.

As a matter of fact, there are discussions in the movie debating what is and what isn’t “homophobia”.

While I didn’t see anything in the movie as homophobic, I was wishing midway through the movie that it was like the television series — only an hour long!  However, at that point, it went off the rails and the second half was very entertaining. 🙂

Warning:  This is the “Red Band Trailer” and it’s for mature audiences only.  (Translation: very adult!)

I watched the innocent trailer and there was a scene that added clothes to Jon when he was naked in the movie. Lame!

So, proceed with caution with this trailer!

GRADE:  B

Honestly, it deserves a B-, but with Shepard’s lanky body on display out of uniform in a few scenes and Adam Brody looking so adorable in this movie with his porn star ‘stache, there was a grade curve! 🙂

Adam Brody

POWERFUL KESHA COMEBACK

In the past couple of years, when you heard Kesha’s name in the news, it wasn’t about chart-topping hits.

She was in a bitter lawsuit with her former producer, Dr. Luke.  She accused him of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and more.

It looked like it might be years before we’d hear any new music from her, but last week, she released the powerful new single, “Praying”.

Kesha also announced “Rainbow”, the new album, would arrive August 11th!

Her last album, “Warrior”, was my favorite album of 2013!

WALKING JUST TO EAT

Since moving here with no friends and my family a thousand miles away, I’ve been walking and reading outdoors — a lot.

Back in the Midwest, I’d walk an hour on the treadmill.  Here, I’ve only gotten on the treadmill twice when it was pouring down rain, but I just wasn’t into it.

I’m still getting in more than 25,000 steps a day.  But, since I’m a little OCD, some days that number tops 30,000 and even 40,000!

Why?  Because it gives me less time to think about why I’m here and the future and because I like to eat and not worry about weight gain.

Diet

Here’s a test for you.  I could live off three of these, but I gave the other up years ago!  Do you know which one is no longer part of my “well-rounded diet”?

“THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE”

This must be the summer of Jessica Chastain for me.

Just last week, I featured her performance in “Miss Sloane” and gave the movie an “A”. While the movie was a box office bomb, it was spectacular and her icy performance was incredible.

“The Zookeeper’s Wife”, a movie that barely made its money back at the theaters, is powerful and heartbreaking.  It’s based on a true story.

It takes place in Poland just as the Germans invade at the start of World War 2.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

Chastain’s character and her husband run the Warsaw Zoo.  When the air strikes commence, many of the zoo’s animals are killed and the Germans take the most prized survivors for “protection”.

They learn of Hitler’s attacks and the treatment of Jews and decide to start a “human zoo” — hiding Jewish men, women, and children.

It’s hard to relive this dark chapter in world history, but the story is rewarding at the same time.

A must-see!

GRADE:  A-

“HOUSE OF VERSACE”

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the shooting death of Italian designer Gianni Versace outside his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997, by spree killer Andrew Cunanan.

versace-mansion-casa-casuarina-bloody-steps.jpg

Last weekend, I caught the 2013 Lifetime movie, “House of Versace”.

It covered the relationship between Gianni and his sister Donatella before his murder and how she ran the company after his death.

Gina Gershon is intriguing to watch as Donatella and the soundtrack to the movie was fantastic with Snap, Technotronic, and Deee-Lite (“Groove is in the Heart”).

On 2013’s “Artpop”, Lady Gaga paid tribute to Donatella.

NEW GUILTY PLEASURE

I know Niecy Nash from her hilarious turn on the painful to watch Ryan Murphy rare misfire, “Scream Queens”.

But, she does dramedy (drama-comedy) very well on her new TNT series, “Claws”.

She owns a nail salon in Palmetto, Florida, and is laundering money for the local crime/drug king (or “queen”), “Uncle Daddy”, flamboyantly played by Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad” and “Under The Dome”).

It airs on Sunday nights and you still have time to catch up.  Only five episodes have aired and the season finale is August 13th.

Earlier this week, it was renewed for a second season to air in 2018!

LEFTOVER RED WINE?

I get several recipes emailed to me.

This one is from myrecipe.  Check out the story headline.

Leftover Wine

Excuse me, but leftover and wine in the same sentence???

I like telling the story of my single days when I had my golden retriever, ABBA, and I’d make shrimp scampi.

She’d always get the shrimp tails as a tasty, crunchy treat to compliment her dry dog food.

And, after using the one-quarter of a cup of white wine for the scampi, I always felt it’d be sacrilegious to the “grape Gods” to not finish the 750 ml bottle of wine with dinner!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — October 14, 2016

The weekend is almost here.  You know I love my weekends and I start counting down to them when I walk into work Monday mornings.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  I think about a lot of things and writing not only gives me an avenue to express myself, but it gives me a chance to process all of the things that are happening in the world.

So, bear with me this week even if you’re over this year’s circus of a presidential election.

I also have random thoughts that are not about politics.  But, I feel it’s worth mentioning.

As always, if you disagree with me, just do it diplomatically.

SECOND DEBATE HIGHS AND LOWS

Here’s a shocker — I’ll say a nice thing about Donald Trump.

He did better in last Sunday’s debate. However, he also did a better job of showing he knows nothing about the job of president!

When asked repeatedly about what he’d do in Syria, he ranted and raved for minutes without ever answering the question.  I swear he thought they said, “cereal”.  It confused him and he didn’t know what to say — like most of what he said all night!

He did have one nice thing to say about Hillary before saying he didn’t agree with much of what she said.

dt-hillary-fighter

TELL HIM THE WAY IT IS!

My favorite celebrity tweet of the night came from Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and so many more ABC hits.

shonda

Look on the bright side, it’s all over in just a little over three week!  Get out and vote!

SHE SAID WHAT(!) IN THE BEST QUOTE OF THE WEEK 

Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro made headlines last week in the wake of Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood” secret recording degrading women.

In 2005, he was recorded boasting that because he was a celebrity, he could kiss anyone he wanted and could even grab their p***y.

In this video, Navarro shocked television censors when she stood up to Trump bobble head Scottie Nell Hughes.

Warning:  This is not censored like my statement three lines up!

Kudos to you Ana.  Speak the truth.  Sometimes that’s harder to swallow for some!

EARLIER THIS WEEK, I HAD MUCH MORE TO SAY…

Since my thoughts here are random and I don’t want to write chapters, I posted a blog about the Donald Trump and Billy Bush scandal and what it meant to me earlier this week.

bush-trump

If you missed it Wednesday, here it is (if you click on this link, it’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place here.)

Donald & Billy’s “Locker Room Talk”

Since I posted that blog on Wednesday, I’ve gotten great feedback.  Not everyone agrees with me, but we have that right.  As I said above, you can disagree, just do it diplomatically.

ANOTHER  BIRTHDAY 

On Thursday, I celebrated another birthday.

It was a low-key affair.  We’ll be celebrating with dinner and cake next week when my sister, Tammy, and Gretel are with us.

As I celebrate another year of life, I think back to my favorite birthdays.

Let’s see, there was my 50th, two years ago, sipping champagne at the Moulin Rogue after a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower after a dinner cruise on the Seine River.  Thanks Ray!

AP R Moulin

After that, it was on to Tel Aviv, Israel, one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited.

In 2012, we were in Vegas and I saw Madonna on the “MDNA Tour”.

AnthonyMadonna

And, of course, I’ll always cherish my birthday in 2011.  It was the last one with my golden retriever, ABBA, my best friend.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

Finally, while I don’t remember it, here’s a photo of my first birthday celebration in 1965.

October 13 1965

Not bad for a premature baby born six weeks early weighing only four pounds before dropping down to three pounds and spending the first six weeks of his life in the hospital!

LOBSTERS 

No, I’m not talking about the movie, “The Lobster”, even though it was a great movie with Colin Farrell and Ben Whishaw.

This is about the lobsters that sadly find themselves one day swimming in the ocean and then on plates served with drawn butter.

lobster

I was reading an article in “Coastal Living” and I learned that regardless of their original color, lobsters turn red when cooked!  The exception is the albino (white) lobster that remains white.

By the way, some other lobsters colors include red, yellow, blue, and blue-green.  As you’ll see in this video, some of those are VERY RARE.

See, my thoughts are random!

“EMPIRE”

The cast of Fox’s “Empire” have something to say about the upcoming election.

But, where’s Terrence Howard????

COULD THE ELECTION BE RIGGED?

Donald Trump supporters definitely think so.

Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee sent two correspondents out to get to the bottom of the latest conspiracy!

As you see, this only applies if Hillary Clinton wins the election!

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL

Back in my “Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015” blog, here’s what I wrote about Paula Hawkins’ amazing debut novel, “The Girl on the Train”.

The Girl on the Train

“This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE

Last Friday, the movie adaptation of the book came out in theaters.  It debuted at #1 in the United States with $24.5 million.  It’s global opening weekend box office draw was $41.2 million.

From book to movie, the location was changed from London to New York City.  This also meant that Rachel’s drink of choice had to be changed.

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

Sadly, there were no gin and tonics in a can on the train.  I won’t tell you what her movie drink is — spoilers. 🙂

I sure hope when the Oscar nominations are announced in early 2017 that Emily Blunt’s name is on the list.

Blunt, as Rachel, was so compelling, sad, and heartbreaking.  I teared up when she took her first sip on the train.

Haley Bennett (Megan) was also a strong force in the movie.

If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie.  For me, it started out a little slow.  That’s because I read the book.  However, the pace quickly picked up.

If you haven’t read the book, this is one psychological thriller/drama that you’ll definitely want to see.

GRADE – “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE:  A-

GRADE- “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL:   A

“TIMELESS”

Time travel as a premise for a television series is not a new idea.  The new NBC series, “Timeless” is the latest to take this on.

In the premiere episode, a time machine that the government was unaware of (shock!) was stolen by an evil man (Goran Visnjic).

A ragtag trio consisting of a college history professor, a soldier, and a scientist working for the company that created the time machine are brought together to track him down.

I admit that the promos and print ads featuring the very sexy Matt Lanter caught my attention first.  I took notice of the show and its premise.

After the premiere, which took us back to 1937 and the Hindenburg explosion, and the second episode (Lincoln’s assassination in 1865), I’m hooked on the show.

It’s still early in the run, so you have a chance to catch up.

“HOLDING THE MAN”

This Australian romantic drama film was released late last year and is based on a 1995 memoir by Timothy Conigrave, an Australian actor, writer, and activist.

It tells the story of his life with his partner, John, from the time they met in high school in the 1970s to John’s death in the early 1990s.

It’s not too often these days to see a gay movie with a central plot line centered around AIDS.  Today, it’s more about coming-of-age or marriage equality.

But, other than vital to their lives and the decades it covered, it’s important in 2016 to see this story line.  People are still getting infected daily from HIV and people die daily from AIDS.

Younger men and women, whether LGBTQ or not, are becoming less familiar with the AIDS epidemic that took so many of our loved ones and friends in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Holding The Man” is not just a AIDS movie.  It’s a love story and a touching one and the lead actors, Ryan Corr and Craig Stott, are adorable as a couple.

GRADE:  A-

PICK HIT

Kelsey Waldon is from Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, just down the road from where I grew up in Mayfield.

She was one of six artists that “Entertainment Weekly” featured as up-and-comers, ” The New Queens of Country” in a recent magazine article.  Last week, I featured Margo Price.

If you like real, traditional country music, then you’re going to love “I’ve Got A Way”.

Listening to Waldon, I couldn’t help but imagine this collection of songs sung by another of Kentucky’s icons, Loretta Lynn.

So, until my favorite Kentuckian Patty Loveless releases another album, I’ll enjoy Waldon’s debut and maybe check out the newly recorded Christmas collection from Loretta Lynn, “White Christmas Blue”.

FINAL BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS

To all of you that took the time out of your day to send me birthday wishes, thank you very much.  I appreciate each and every one and I hope I responded to all of you.

Here are a couple more that I got — one by mail and one by email.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen them! 🙂

jc bd

Hillary BD.jpg

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Donald & Billy’s “Locker Room Talk”

Politics is a dirty game and getting dirtier.

As a presidential election draws closer, people wonder, especially candidates, what skeletons will come out of the closet and those skeletons have nothing to do with Halloween.

Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign started imploding last Friday afternoon when TMZ released an audio recording from eleven years ago when Trump was talking to Billy Bush for “Access Hollywood”.

In the very damning recording, Trump made crude comments about Bush’s colleague, the show’s anchor Nancy O’Dell.

nancy-odell

Trump said, “I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and f**k her. I moved on her very heavily… I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look.”

So presidential!  And, don’t even start to respond, “that was eleven years ago and he wasn’t running for president”.  You really think that the then 59-year-old man has grown up and now respects women?

bush-trump

That was just the beginning!  Trump went on to say that because he was a celebrity, he could kiss anyone he wanted and could even grab their p***y.

It’s a sign of the times that after last weekend, that crude word for female genitalia is now mainstream and I could have just spelled it out with the ***.

BILLY BUSH SHOULD BE FIRED!

In full damage control mode, here’s what Bush had to say about the leaked audio conversation, “Obviously I’m embarrassed and ashamed. It’s no excuse, but this happened eleven years ago—I was younger, less mature, and acted foolishly in playing along. I’m very sorry.”

I’m sorry.  What was that?  At the age of 33, being “younger, less mature” is an excuse?  You should have the developmental skills as a man and professionalism as a journalist to know this was wrong way before 33!

At first, NBC didn’t feel the same way I do about punishment for Bush.

He wasn’t even going to be reprimanded.  However, Sunday night, NBC suspended Bush from the “Today Show”.  It’s now unsure if and when he’ll return!

As Donald would say on his old show, “You’re fired!”

NOW, WHAT TO DO ABOUT TRUMP?

If you’re a Donald Trump supporter, did that “Access Hollywood” recording bother you?

Trump made matters worse during Sunday night’s presidential debate when he apologized, but quickly dismissed those comments as “locker room talk”!

I guess I didn’t spend enough time in locker rooms to know that.

All I know is that having money or being a celebrity gives no man entitlement to grab someone’s daughter, granddaughter, niece, or neighbor’s p***y!

Every damn one of us is related to a woman and they should not be subjected to Trump’s version of “locker room talk”!

DT Masks

It’s scary!

THIS STORY GOES ON AND ON…

Many people are still defending Trump.

However, two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro isn’t one of those people and he didn’t hold back on how he feels about Trump.

On Saturday, Oscar winner Jon Voight, a staunch Republican and Donald Trump supporter lashed out at De Niro in a series of tweets, especially about De Niro wanting to punch Trump in the face.

Here’s the one I have issues with and I tweeted back at him.

Voight.jpg

If you followed the time line, that recording of Trump and Bush took place in September 2005.

Nancy had just gotten married that summer to her current husband, Keith Zubchevich.

keith-nancy

How do you think Nancy and Keith and their children feel today about having to hear this crass and crude “locker room talk”?

Jon Voight, how do you think a rape victim, woman or man, feels?

Yes, Trump’s words do hurt people!

Trump

Donald Trump, politics aside, you’re a disgusting, narcissistic, creep that should learn to respect people — not just women.

That respect could start with self-respect and loving yourself.

And, Billy, you were already married at the time when you were laughing along with Trump.

I hope your wife forgives you and I hope you work very hard to make it up to your three daughters.

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — October 7, 2016

October is here and I’m excited that cooler days are in the forecast and the holiday seasons are right around the corner.  (Notice I said “seasons”?  While Christmas is my favorite, I do love my Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving feast!)

Now that the summer heat is giving way to fall temperatures, we’ll probably be eating fewer Popsicles.

Popsicle

But, it’s always the perfect time for ice cream!

As political as I get sometimes, I admit that I really want November 8th to get here and have this long, drawn out election cycle and 2016 presidential election behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random Friday thoughts and as always, if you disagree, do it diplomatically!

CREEPY CLOWN SIGHTINGS

I’m not sure what’s behind this sudden fascination with creepy clowns showing up and freaking people out.

I’d venture to guess that social media and 24-hour news cycles are huge factors for us hearing so much about it.  Aren’t those two always to blame? 🙂

john-wayne-gacy-killer-clown

When it comes to creepy clowns, this is the creepiest by far!  On the brighter side, this particular “killer clown” in no longer a threat to anyone.

If you’re too young to know, that’s John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer and rapist that murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 inside his Chicago-area home.  Let me tell you, as a teenager when that killing spree was exposed, it creeped me out big time.

A decade or so later, I had a “too close for comfort” brush with Jeffrey Dahmer.  That’s a story for another time!

KIM KARDASHIAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was reportedly robbed at gunpoint earlier this week at her Paris hotel residence by five men dressed as police officers.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

While she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, it had to be a scary ordeal!

At least $11 million in jewelry was taken including a jewelry box worth about $6.7 million and a ring valued at $4.5 million.

Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never know what it’s like to have that kind of money and anything of that much value in my house.

The thing that baffles me most about the ordeal is that if someone had that much money or jewelry, wouldn’t you keep it at a safer location like a bank or a vault?

In Kardashian West’s case, if she wanted any particular piece of her collection that was safely tucked away, she could have someone fetch it for her!

MAGIC MIKE MISFIRE

I really enjoyed “Magic Mike”, but I hated the sequel.

Now, James Marsden reveals that he regrets not signing on for the movie.

Well, that makes two of us.  Okay, three if you count Ray and I know the number doesn’t stop there!

With that in mind, if Marsden is still up to strip down, this might actually excite me for a third installment!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON FINALE

The second season of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” wrapped up last Sunday night with back-to-back episodes for a two-hour finale.

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While the first season’s six episodes were slow, it was still enjoyable.  However, the second season was stronger and much more powerful.

The finale featured one of the most intense “walker” deaths of the series.  It was a wrenching scene that lasted beyond the comfort level and that’s a good thing.

We also saw one of the show’s original cast members die.  While the death may not have come as a surprise, how it was executed was a shocker to me.  I tweeted the actor about his amazing two seasons and he liked the tweet.

While I gave the season and the finale a high grade (see below), I have a complaint.

It’s becoming monotonous when the characters disembowel a walker and smear the blood on themselves now that they’ve learned they can walk freely among the walking dead by doing that.

This is much more believable and is done with more intensity on “The Walking Dead”.  And, it isn’t overused as a gimmick.

rick

If “Fear The Walking Dead” is going to keep doing this, why not make it a “chore” and each day for several hours, people can go out, get exercise, and rid themselves of the walker population in their area.  But, this would be boring.

That’s my only complaint and I can’t wait for season three in 2017.

GRADE:  A-

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

After what seems like an eternal wait since I read the book, “The Girl on the Train” finally hits theaters this weekend.

I’ve highly recommended the Paula Hawkins book several times in my blog and I can’t wait to see the movie, which I think will easily debut at #1 in the U.S. and at worldwide box office.

“WILL & GRACE” TAKE ON VOTING

If you miss the NBC hit comedy, “Will & Grace”, you got a treat around the time of the first presidential debate.

The cast gathered ten years after the comedy left television to raise awareness on the importance of voting in this November’s election.

This is hilarious (and even borderline offensive to some).

Disclaimer:  it’s definitely not made for NBC’s “standards and practices”!

A LESS “BRAGGADOCIOUS” LOOK BACK

Comedian Randy Rainbow takes a much different approach to last week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think this is the best skit I’ve seen him perform.

“MONEY MONSTER”

This Jodie Foster-directed suspense thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Donnell (“Unbroken”) was high on my list to see this summer when it hit theaters.

Life got in the way, so I caught it on DVD.

I’m glad it worked out that way because I wouldn’t have been too happy if I had spent $35-plus for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d watch Julia Roberts read the newspaper.

The story was intense and the way it ended was fulfilling, but I had higher expectations.

I guess most of all, I want to see Foster back in front of the camera!

GRADE:  B

“RISEN”

This movie about the search for a risen Jewish messiah (yes, Jesus) was a modest box office hit earlier this year.

The $20 million movie grossed $46.1 million and most of that was here in the United States.

It was an entertaining movie without being too preachy for those that proceed with caution with religious-based movies.

The very sexy Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman tribute, assigned to investigate the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  By the way, Jesus is played by Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis on “Fear The Walking Dead”.

One thing that cracked me up was the silly MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie.

For this one, it warned viewers of “Biblical Violence”.

Okay, while implied more than glorified with blood and gore, the movie was rather savage, at times, and violence is violence.  Putting the word “biblical” in front of it doesn’t make it less painful or deadly, right? 🙂

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

I admit that since I don’t hear any new music from my country favorites on the radio these days and I’m not a fan of “bro-country”, I don’t make it a point to listen to the genre.

However, Canadian country music star Brett Kissel is one of my new favorites even though he doesn’t get airplay on American country radio.

Recently, “Entertainment Weekly” showcased several women making inroads in the country music field.  Two of them stood out to me.

Margo Price, who was born in Aledo, Illinois, in Mercer County, just down the road from the Quad Cities, is one of them.

Her debut album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”, which hit #10 on the Billboard Country Album chart earlier this year, features some great country music.

“4 Years of Chances” is a favorite of mine.

Next week, I’ll feature another standout and if you like traditional country music, you’ll love it.

ANOTHER PICK HIT

As I’ve stated before, “7/27”, the latest CD from Fifth Harmony is a great album.

It’s already produced the #1 hit “Work From Home” and the smash “All In My Head (Flex)”.

“That’s My Girl” is their latest release.

Right now, it’s at #36 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

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 12, 2016

The weekend is here!  While I love what I do, I love my weekends even more.  Okay, I love vacations, desserts, and buffets even more than just weekends. 🙂

Whatever you have planned this weekend, enjoy it.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  As always, we don’t have to agree on everything, we just have to disagree diplomatically.

2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS WOES

When it was announced that Rio de Janeiro won the bid to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, I thought it was a bad idea.  My first thought was crime.

But, now that the games are underway, many stories coming out of Brazil are about the dirty, unhealthy waters polluted with trash, dead animals, and God only knows what else!

Rio Water.jpg

This is Guanabara Bay on the coastal Atlantic.  It’s also where the Olympic sailing events take place.  It’s not only polluted with trash, but also with raw sewage.

Eeew, no thanks!

SOME OLYMPICS FANS CAN BE DISGUSTING, TOO!

While I wish the American athletes the very best in bringing home plenty of gold, silver, and bronze, I’m dismayed and disgusted with the abuse being directed toward LGBT athletes.

Megan Rapinoe, the midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National Soccer team, is one of 44 openly LGBT athletes at the games.

Megan

Last week, many people heard the word “bicha” (roughly translates to the derogatory f-word used to describe a gay man) chanted at both the U.S vs. New Zealand and the Australia vs. Canada  women’s soccer games.

Rapinoe says it was “personally hurtful”.  She adds, “They need to understand if all of you are willing to do that, what does that say to a gay player? Especially in the men’s game. What does that say to players who are struggling to come out?”

She goes on to say, “I don’t think that all Brazilians fans or everyone that was there last night is homophobic.  But I think that they are complicit in it as long as they’re doing it.”

AND, LET’S NOT FORGET NBC SPORTS!

When Brazilian beach volleyball player Larissa Franca and her sports partner beat Team USA in a match, Larissa went into the crowd and hugged her wife.

NBC Sports

However, NBC Sports commentator Chris Marlowe stated, “That is her husband.  She married Lili in 2013.”

“Husband?”  How offensive!

When two women are married, the other partner is referred to as a “wife”.  When you talk of Ray, you would refer to him as my “husband”.  Is that so difficult?

Marlowe did issue a half-assed apology, “I’m sorry for the mistake today.  Clearly, Liliane is Larissa’s wife.”

RACISM AND LACK OF HARMONY

After comedian and “Ghostbusters” star Leslie Jones suspended her Twitter account last month because of ignorant, racist comments and rants, Normani Kordei of the all-female group Fifth Harmony is following suit.

Normani

This past weekend, she posted on her account, “Over the course of this last week and especially over the last 48 hours I’ve not just been cyber bullied, I’ve been racially cyber bullied with tweets and pictures so horrific and racially charged that I can’t subject myself any longer to hate.”

She went on to say, “I’m not the first black female celebrity to deal with this and I’m sure I won’t be the last.”

Haters, wake the hell up!  This is not the 1800s or, even, the 1960s.  People need to expand their minds and not just open their mouths!

Normani, I’m with you and all of your sisters in harmony!  I can’t wait for your return.

Meanwhile, I’m loving “7/27”, the latest Fifth Harmony album and their current Top Ten hit, “All In My Head (Flex)”.

LESS POLITICAL — FOR NOW

Now that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are the two major party candidates for this year’s presidential election, I’m going to TRY to refrain from political talk — for now.

Anthony NOH8

The reason is that I don’t have one good thing to say about Trump and his vile attitude toward <insert group here>.

I know it’s going to be really hard especially when crazy stuff just comes out of Trump’s mouth daily — the second amendment/assassination off-the-cuff comment earlier this week comes to mind!

I live in the real world and I know there are many that don’t like Hillary.

HIllary Flag

With that being said, elections shouldn’t be about the lesser of two evils.  However, we don’t have a political system where there are three or four parties that have a real chance of winning.

Yes, I know that Gary Johnson and Jill Stein are running, but they really only serve as vote stealers from Clinton and Trump.

“FIGHT SONG 2.0”

So, with those comments, I’m sharing this video.  Originally, it was just an inspiring song by Rachel Platten that hit the Top Ten at radio last summer.

Now, in the hands of Platten and Hillary supporter and “Pitch Perfect” director/actress Elizabeth Banks, it has a much different sound and meaning.

Even if you’re not a Hillary supporter, it’s still a very cool Hollywood production if you like a cappella.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Psycho

READY FOR FALL?

While I’ve enjoyed the pool time and having a nice tan, I’m ready for fall and winter.  I’m so ready to catch up on movies and to binge watch several television series.

Also, speaking of fall, are you ready for this year’s seasonal M&M’s?

Boo Scotch

 

“White BOO-terscotch” will be a combination of “the scary good flavors of butterscotch and white chocolate for the perfect seasonal treat”.  It’ll be found exclusively at Target.

Pecan Pie M&amp;M

Pecan Pie and Candy Corn flavors will also return along with a harvest blend version of Crispy S’mores!

AND, HERE’S SOMETHING A LITTLE FISHY!

The new Oreo flavor this fall at Kroger:  Swedish Fish!

SF Oreos

I’ve never been a big fan of the candies, but Ray loves them.  So, if we buy them, he can have the whole bag, minus one or two, of course.  I’ll have to try them!

PICK HIT

It’s hard to believe that Usher exploded onto the music scene almost twenty years ago with his #1 hit, “You Make Me Wanna…” in 1997.

He’s now topped the charts 22 times!

I love Usher’s “Yeah”, “Love in This Club”,  “OMG”, “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”, and “Without You”, but I didn’t like “I Don’t Mind”, his song with Juicy J in 2014, at all.

His latest, “Crash”, is already one of my favorite songs of 2016.

This is the second release from his upcoming album, “Flawed”, which has no solid release date yet.

REBA FLASHBACK #1

Reba is currently performing with Brooks & Dunn is Las Vegas in a very successful residency at Caesars Palace.

20160731_145128.jpg

That’s where you’ll have to catch her since country radio pretty much ignored her last studio album, 2015’s “Love Somebody”.

Reba Love Somebody

Twelve years ago this week, Reba scored her 23rd #1 song on the Billboard Country charts with “Somebody”, one of my favorite Reba videos.  I’m such a romantic!

Since then, she’s topped the Country charts two more times:  “Consider Me Gone” (four weeks, 2010) and “Turn on the Radio” (one week, 2011).

REBA FLASHBACK #2

And, it was 29 years ago this week that Reba topped the country chart with my absolute favorite of all of her hits,  “One Promise Too Late”.

Country radio, play the new country that Reba releases and I’ll gladly start listening to the genre again!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts –February 19, 2016

I hope you enjoyed the week and are ready for the weekend.

It’s been an interesting week since my last “Random Friday Thoughts” — Valentine’s Day, a snowstorm for Iowa and Illinois, the return of “The Walking Dead”, and warmer temperatures!

Have a fun weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today.

YOUR COMPASSION IS HEARTWARMING

Last Friday, I shared with you a vile response to a blog I posted on why I support Hillary Clinton for president.  It was one of my most viewed blogs on the day it was posted since  I started writing my blog four years ago.

MrazLoveAlbumCover

The feedback and compassion you extended to me was incredible and greatly appreciated.  I know there are so many more great people in this world than the jerks — they just spew their hate openly and loudly.

As I told many of you in my responses, rude comments like that tick me off.  However, it doesn’t hurt my feelings because being in the public eye, I’ve developed a tough skin.

Something it proves is that as much progress as we’ve made in this country, there’s still so much more work to be done before we reach equality — not just for the LGBT community, but for women, race, pay, and the list goes on and on.

Again, thank you!

LoveEqualityFormula

SUPREME COURT JUSTICE DEAD

Speaking of equality, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, a man that made a career of voting against it, died at a Texas resort last weekend at the age of 79.

Since I was just talking about compassion, I’ll just say that I feel for his wife and their nine children.

Since the word “hate” is such a vile word, I didn’t “hate” Scalia, but I disliked him with strong convictions because of his long history of being anti-gay in his court decisions.

NATALIE COLE’S FAMILY UPSET ABOUT THE GRAMMYS

The family of singer Natalie Cole, who died on December 31, 2015, at the age of 65, is upset with the “shameless” tribute she received at Monday night’s Grammys compared to other musicians that were memorialized.

Cole’s son, Robert Adam Yancy told “Entertainment Weekly”, “Here is a woman who has been in the business for four decades, had 21 Grammy nominations and won nine Grammys. She deserves more than a minute-and-a-half tribute.”

Cole was remembered in a photo montage, while Lady Gaga performed a seven-minute musical tribute to David Bowie, who won two Grammys in his career.  (I’m torn writing this because Gaga was incredible.  It’s the principle I’m addressing here!)

There were also tributes to Maurice White (of Earth, Wind, & Fire), winner of seven Grammys, Glenn Frey of the Eagles (six Grammys) and Lemmy Kilmister (of Motorhead) with only one Grammy win.

One one other music tribute was to a musician who won more Grammys than Cole, B. B. King  (15 Grammys).

So, there’s my tribute video to Cole and not the others!

OKAY, I COULDN’T RESIST

Here’s Lady Gaga’s amazing tribute to David Bowie from the Grammys.

STARS READING “MEAN TWEETS”

These always crack me up because the entertainers make the best of a bad situation.  On the other hand, mean people really do suck!

What troopers — to read what idiots say about them!

“THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON”

We all know the story — a savage double murder in the posh Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1994 involving the wife of a famed football star.

A botched (?) criminal case that allowed a murderer (?) to walk free!

Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk (“American Horror Story”) are behind the new Fox series “American Crime Story:  The People v. O.J. Simpson” (notice the similar title).

This 10-episode series event is going behind the story to share details that we may not remember from the headlines or the circus that was the murder trail against Simpson.

After watching the first two episodes, I’m intrigued with the detailed story telling and the acting of Sarah Paulson (Marcia Clark), John Travolta (Robert Shapiro), and Courtney B. Vance (Johnnie Cochran).

However, Oscar-winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. as O.J. Simpson is a hard sell for me.  One, Gooding doesn’t remind me that much of Simpson and, two, the constant whining and ranting is annoying.  I’m totally not buying him as O.J.!

Overall, a great show and it hasn’t even gotten to the trail yet!

YES, BEYONCE IS BLACK!

I’m sure you already know that Beyonce is black.  If not, she is!  And, remember that expression from the 1960s that “Black is Beautiful” and Bey is definitely beautiful.

Bey1

The most recent controversy with Beyonce started on February 6th when she released the “Formation” video, which features references to New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina black culture, racism, and police.

She performed the song the next day at “Super Bowl 50” and more controversy ensued from conservatives thinking she was promoting too much black — power, the Black Panthers, and Black Lives Matter.

Former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani vented, “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

While “Formation” won’t have the same radio success as “Crazy in Love”, “Irreplaceable”, and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)”, pop and R&B/Hip Hop stations are already playing it!

For the record, Beyonce has had huge success on the pop chart (Billboard Hot 100) with 26 hits, fifteen of which hit the Top Ten, and five of those went all the way to #1.

However, she’s had more success on the R&B/Hip Hop charts — 38 hits, 23 of which made the Top Ten, and 8 topped the chart.

And, this is not even counting her hits with Destiny’s Child!

“SNL” NAILS IT AGAIN!

“ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY” IS BECOMING GREEDY

I’m a huge fan of “Entertainment Weekly” and I look forward to my magazine each week even though I can find much of the same information online from their website and tweets.

It used to be that they’d have a feature series with several cover photos and present them all in the issue.  You’d just flip the cover and there’d be the next one.

That would have been perfect for this week’s “The Walking Dead” feature with six different collector edition covers.  However, they randomly picked which cover you’d get.  But, you could purchase the other five covers!

Seriously?

Rick EW.jpg

While I wanted Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I got Daryl Dixon.  As much as I love the show, there’s no way I’d buy the other five!

Greedy!

29 AND ANCHORING IN NEW YORK CITY?  NO WAY!

If you’re familiar with how the television news business works, you know you start out at small market stations and work there for a couple of years before moving on to a larger market.

You work there for a couple of years and then move on again.  You continue this process until you get to the big markets (New York City is the largest TV market followed by Los Angeles and Chicago).

If you’re very talented and you luck out, you might skip one of these ladder jumping moves.  Or, maybe there’s other factors.

I’m not saying that 29-year-old Stefan Holt, the son of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt, isn’t talented, but…

The younger Holt graduated college and interned at KABC in Los Angeles and with NBC News in London before joining the ABC affiliate in West Palm Beach, Florida, as a reporter and fill-in anchor.  This is market  #38 out of 210 (the smallest).  It’s unusual to get your first job in a market that size.

After just two years there, he moved on to NBC5 in Chicago (market #3) as a reporter and weekend morning anchor.  Holt was promoted to weekday mornings just months later where he worked for five years.

Again, 29 and anchoring in the biggest television market in the country!  What’s next? Filling in for his dad on “NBC Nightly News”?

JUSTIN BIEBER

Okay, first things first about Justin Bieber.

I bought his “Purpose” album last fall and it’s a great album and has already produced four huge hits, including three #1s, “What Do You Mean”, “Sorry”, and “Love Yourself”, and my favorite 2015 Bieber hit, the Grammy Award-winning “Where Are U Now”  with Skrillex and Diplo.

And, if you haven’t noticed, Justin is gorgeous and I feel more comfortable saying that now that he’s a man — over 18 years old!

Bieber

However, I was a little freaked out by music executive and producer L.A.Reid’s description of Bieber in his new book, “Sing To Me”.

Reid says, “this kid was beautiful, like a woman can be beautiful and men rarely are, and he turned it on as soon as he stepped into the room.”.

This one sounds more innocent and I totally agree, “Justin was simply beautiful.  His superpower was his face.”

PICK HIT

Zayn Malik, another sexy and beautiful man, who left the boy band One Direction for a solo career, is off to a great start.

“Pillowtalk” debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100 and is burning up the radio airwaves.  It’s already on the short list of my favorite songs of 2016.  I know, it’s only February!

The video is pretty erotic and steamy, too!

Malik’s debut album, “Mind of Mine”, comes out March 25, 2016.

“THE MARTIAN”

I finally got around to see this $614.2 million dollar blockbuster that’s nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor for star, Matt Damon.

Everyone (and their mother) has already seen this, so I won’t write a long review.  I loved this movie much better than “Gravity”, which I didn’t like, and I haven’t seen “Interstellar”.

Damon does a great job in the role, but Oscar winning-worthy?  No.

My biggest complaint — the 2 hour, 21 minute running time was excessive and I think the movie could have been just as entertaining 30 minutes shorter.

GRADE:  A-

“THE OVERNIGHT”

In stark contrast to “The Martian” in running time, “The Overnight” is one hour, 18 minutes long and it works in a lot in that short time.

A couple with a small son move from Seattle to Los Angeles where they meet another father and son playing in the park one day.  Since they don’t know anyone and the boys get along, they’re invited to a pizza party.

At the party, after much alcohol and the boys go to bed, the foursome talk about everything, including sex.  Inhibitions are lowered and tempers flare when insecurities surface.

The question becomes will they or won’t they and how will that change the course of the relationships — between each couple and the two couples’ friendship.

GRADE:  B

“FREEHELD”

This movie is an expansion of the Oscar-winning “Best Short Documentary” in 2007 with the same name.

This 2015 film stars Oscar winner Julianne Moore as Laurel Hester, a 23-year veteran of the police force in Orange County, New Jersey.

She sues after finding out she has lung cancer and her request to have her domestic partner receive her benefits is denied.  Oscar nominee Ellen Page (“Juno”) plays her love interest, Stacie.

The acting is superb not only from the female leads, but also from Michael Shannon, Hester’s partner on the police force, and Luke Grimes, a closeted police colleague.

However, watching the movie, it did feel like a Lifetime movie.  And, that’s not a bad thing.

This is based on a true story.

GRADE:  B

“TRUTH”

This movie focuses on the authenticity of documents reported by “60 Minutes” on CBS from iconic news anchor Dan Rather during George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential re-election campaign.

The controversy called into question if Bush received preferential treatment while he served in the Texas Air National Guard in the early-1970s.

Robert Redford stars as Rather in the last days of his career at CBS, but the focus of the movie is on Mary Mapes, Rather’s producer on the investigative piece.

Mapes is played by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett.  As expected, she is flawless.  Yet, even she couldn’t save this movie and make it a thriller.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough thoughts for one week.  As always, thank you for taking the time to check out my randomness!  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — as long as you’re diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Happy Fourth

Oh, Liberace!

I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. 

Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront.  But, is it really “United” or just “States”?

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states.  While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.

marriage

I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.

I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.

I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right.  It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION

One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.

Let it go, people.

God

I pray every night to God.

I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.

I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that.  Let God judge me.  When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.

Worry about your own relationship with God!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”

It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.

gays_in_church

Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.

I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING

Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.

There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.

Pathetic!

People, live your lives and let others live their lives.  It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE

We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.

Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state?  Not at all!

Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.

AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”

After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.

This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.

Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.

However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.

Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina?  That’s up for debate.

Church Fire

But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..

Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.

You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt.  It is so big.  She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.  Who understands those rap guys?  They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”

That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.

Becky-Wegner-Rommel

However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.

An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.

While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!

This video is NOT to be missed!  🙂

Bless her heart!  I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…

“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN

On to a much lighter topic…

When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.

APMagicMike

I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.

I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. 🙂

Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.

ChanningTatum

Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”

Matt Bomer

Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed.  Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”

He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”

Ahhhh!

EVEREST

It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.

“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.

I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.

“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard.  It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).

“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.

“BITCH I’M MADONNA”

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.

Madonna Rebel Heart

But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.  This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.

Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist.  Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.

Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.

MID-YEAR UPDATE

Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?

Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)

And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.

Frozen Soundtrack

At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies.  However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.

The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs

1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)

Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.

“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK\

In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.

The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.

Hannibal

There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.

However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows.  Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.

Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.

Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.

Hannibal 3

Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.

hannibal gillian

Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!

“ZOO”

Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?

I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.

I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.

The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television.  “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.

He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.

However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.

“BEAUTIFUL NOW”

One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”.  “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.

The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.

True Colors Zedd

Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.

GRADE:  B+

ELECTION 2016

The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014” blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, that seems to holding true.

Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.

In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.

“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD

Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend.  I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.

I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.

However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.

gay-pride NYC

While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK!  NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.

She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development.  He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”

Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!

SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT

“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year.  It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.

The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today.  And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you.  As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.

Anthony