Posts Tagged ‘Orlando’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 3, 2017

The first month of 2017 is already behind us.  I hope the year is off to a good start for you.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours diplomatically and concisely!

WITH SADNESS & REGRETS

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” earlier this week.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy would have turned 14 at the end of March.

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

FIVE YEARS ALREADY!

The news of Mr. Panda crossing the “Rainbow Bridge” comes near the anniversary of us saying goodbye to my precious golden, ABBA.

I can’t believe it was five years ago today!

Here are the two of them on a spring walk when Miss ABBA decided she was going to be Mr. Panda’s “seeing eye dog”.

ABBAWalkingPanda

The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.

ABBAWalkingPandaArticle

Miss ABBA, I still think of you daily, but it’s with smiles now instead of tears.

Here’s a look back at her beautiful, golden life.

And, on we go…

BUILDING WALLS & BARRIERS

I’m going out on a limb here and say that most of us have been in relationships — successful ones and failed ones.

Lack of communication is probably to blame for a number of the failed relationships and it’s likely at the heart of the problems in the successful ones, too.

NOH8 Heart

We build walls around our heart and it causes friction, insecurity, miscommunication, and eventually, hate.

While those walls are emotional, the talk of building physical walls between people and countries is at all-time high.

Check out this incredible airlines commercial from Aeromexico driving home the message that ideological and physical barriers hurt people!

MURDER IN AMERICA

It’s a proven fact that most of the murders here in the United States are committed by people of the same race — white people are mostly killed at the hands of other white people, black people are mostly responsible for killing black people, etc.

The reasons for the senseless murders are many:  domestic problems, drugs, robbery, stupidity, etc.

KILLING SPREES CAUSED BY HATE AND IGNORANCE

quebec-city

Last Sunday, police say this white man walked into a Quebec City (Canada) mosque, opened fire, and killed six people and injured eight others.

When I heard this and the words “mosque” and Canada came up, the first thing that crossed my mind is that this wasn’t a “suicide bombing” by a Middle Eastern group attacking its own people.

Pulse

Last summer, when news broke about a gunman storming into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and hurting 53 others, I didn’t think it was an LGBT person going in with a vendetta.

And, when nine African Americans were massacred in a downtown Charleston, South Carolina, church, I didn’t think the shooter was another black person .

Roof.jpg

In all three of these incidents, I instantly thought the motivation was hate.  Today, I still feel certain it was.

The accused Quebec City shooter is reported to have “far-right, nationalist views” and publicly supported Donald Trump and the French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen.

Th man behind the Pulse shootings was disgusted by gay people and might even have been a self-hating gay man himself, and the Charleston shooter is a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Notice I didn’t use their names.  They don’t deserve any more publicity!  We know the hateful things they did or are accused of doing.

I’d love to say that people will be nicer and things will get better.  But, I’m a realist and I’m saddened and scared for our future — our intolerance of people that look or act different than us.

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

I’m thinking about this even more after listening to all of Mariah Carey’s albums again.

On her 1990 self-titled debut, she had a song called “There’s Got To Be A Way”.

It features the chilling lyrics, “In another land they still believe/color grants supremacy/I don’t understand how there can be/regulated bigotry”.

Sadly, in this day and age, you don’t even have to go to another country.  It’s alive here in America and now those people don’t even have to hide under sheets in the darkness of night or behind a computer screen.

Optimistically, Mariah sings on, “Some of us don’t even wonder/some of us don’t even care/couldn’t we accept each other/can’t we make ourselves aware”.

Let’s hope!

Hope

FINDING HOPE WHERE WE CAN!

On a much brighter note, we’re now only six weeks away from the live action version of Disney’s remake of “Beauty and the Beast”.

The final official trailer came out earlier this week.

It gives us a comprehensive look at the movie and we finally hear Ariana Grande and John Legend’s remake of the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s theme song.

I’m excited even more for the March 17, 2017 premiere.

The original “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 made $425 million and it was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  (It lost to “The Silence of the Lambs”.)

WHERE ARE THOU, SNOW?

Only 0.4″ of snow officially fell in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, for the month of January.

There have only been two other winters on record that date back to the 1870s where less snow accumulated in January.

lack-of-january-snow

Only a trace of snow fell in January 1989 and January 1944.

This January ties 1973 as the third least snowiest on record.

“GROUNDHOG DAY BLIZZARD”

While this winter is rather skimpy on snow, six years ago today we were digging out of the “Groundhog Day Blizzard”.

Snow started falling on January 31, 2011, and by the time the storm departed February 2, 2011, the Quad Cities tied the record for a single snowstorm with the one from January 11-13, 1979 at 18.4″!

Blizzard 2-2-2011

The bulk of the snow in 2011, 14.8″ fell on February 1st, with 1.7″ the day before that, and 1.9″ the day after the big snow.  If you look at those totals, the 16.7″ that fell on February 1st and 2nd set the record for the most snow in 24 hours in the Quad Cities!

Days later, Gretel and I took advantage of the snow by playing snow zombie attack and Ray helped us dig a tunnel, which ABBA loved.

February 5 2011February 6 2011

Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!

“THE HYPNOTIST”

As I’ve stated many times, I read books, mostly autobiographies, biographies, or real life events, while walking on the treadmill.

Occasionally, I check out some fiction.  I just finished Fiona Barton’s “The Widow” and a Swedish book translated into English, “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler.

After reading Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” in 2015, I’ve come to realize that Scandinavians love their violent novels.

“The Hypnotist” picks up after a vicious and savage attack on a family leaves the mom, dad, and their little girl dead and in pieces.  The only survivor was a teenage boy stabbed hundreds of times.

Detectives are in a race against time to talk to the boy because he is the only one that saw the killer(s).  They learn that he has an older sister not living at home and the killer could be after her next.

The only way they can reach the boy’s memories of the brutal attack is to use hypnosis by a discredited doctor.

The use of hypnosis opens up old wounds from ten years ago and brings forth a new crime spree as detectives race to catch the savage murderer and a newly discovered serial killer.

A great read!  Now, I need to find the hit 2012 movie based on the book.

“THE SNOWMAN”

Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!

Nesbo+Snowman

Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

the-snowman

Until there’s an official trailer, here’s what I wrote about the book in July 2015 if you want to check it out.

“Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train [Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”], I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.”

PICK HIT

LeAnn Rimes is back this week with “Remnants”, her 13th studio album!  While it’s just now coming out in the U.S., it was released last fall in the U.K.

Here at home, Rimes is best known for many huge country hits that kicked off with 1996’s “Blue”.  Those hits continued through 2004-2006 when she scored three Top Ten Country smashes from her “This Woman” album.

She also scored huge pop hits with “How Do I Live” and with tracks from the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack (“Can’t Stop the Moonlight”).

Rimes also had amazing, but less commercially successful, albums like “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I highly recommend both!

She’s currently in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart at #6 with “Long Live Love” from the new “Remnants” album.

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 — July 15, 2016

I don’t know about you, but this week seemed to drag on for me and I’m very happy the weekend is here.

I hope you have a great one and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours afterwards.

“YES, I STARVE MY KIDS”

We live in a country where it’s easier (and cheaper) to grab high caloric and fatty foods instead of healthier ones.  It’s no surprise that more than one in three Americans is obese (body mass index of over 30).

We’re not alone.  Worldwide, in 2014, nearly two BILLION people are overweight and more than 600 million adults were obese.

When it comes to children, in 2013, 42 million kids younger than five years old were overweight!

Kristin.jpgWith those sobering facts, it’s no surprise the Internet went crazy when actress and reality star Kristin Carvallari, the wife of the Chicago Bears’ Jay Cutler, posted this Fourth of July picture of two of her children.

People accused Carvallari of starving her children. Her sarcastic response, “Yes, I starve my kids”, was priceless!

I know some of you may think they’re too thin.  Could it be the angle of the camera or the fact that the little boy is in motion playing and not posing?

But, are we so accustomed to seeing people carrying around so many unwanted, unhealthy pounds that we attack a mother because her kids are thin?

Clearly, shaming is for everyone — thick or thin.

MY HEART BREAKS AGAIN FOR THE WORLD

Another senseless tragedy strikes France.

A large truck intentionally drove through a crowd of thousands Thursday night gathered to watch fireworks and celebrate the country’s biggest holiday, Bastille Days, in the southern city of Nice.

Officials say the truck was loaded with guns and explosives.

Nice France

At least 84 are dead and another 19 are in critical condition.

It’s been a devastating 18 months for France. 

In January 2015, ISIS and al-Qaeda gunmen murdered 17 people in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo satiric publication and at a grocery store.

Then, last November, 130 people were killed and another 368 were hurt when ISIS militants attacked six locations in France and its northern suburbs with assault rifles, hand grenades, and explosive belts worn by suicide bombers.

How much more grief can France and the world take?  Sadly, I think we’re going to find out. 😦

O.J. SIMPSON — MURDERER

Oops, strike that.  He was found “not guilty” by a California jury.

I don’t think you can find many people in the world that don’t know or have an opinion about Orenthal James Simpson.

OJ Gloves.pngPeople too young to know him from the infamous murder trial of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman or the “white Bronco chase” in the mid-1990s  might have caught FX’s “American Crime Story:  The People v O.J.” this spring.

If you think you know all there is to know about the sports legend, ESPN begs to differ.  Its ten hour series, “OJ:  Made In America”, covers two big aspects of Simpson’s life in great detail — fame and race.

I’ve watched the first four hours of the five-part series and it’s incredible.  I can’t wait to see the rest of it.

So far, I learned that O.J.’s dad was gay and I hope to see more about his first wife, Marguerite, since they just skipped over the rest of that story!  I hope she took him to the cleaners once he met and married Nicole.

O.J. SIMPSON — SEX SYMBOL

As a kid, I wasn’t a football fan (I’m still not), so I didn’t know that Simpson was a standout football star with the University of Southern California Trojans or that he played professional football for the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers.

Young OJ.jpg

I only remember two things about him:  running through airports in Hertz rental car commercials and the savage murder of his wife and Goldman, the televised Bronco chase, and the pathetic circus that was called a trial.

The first part of “OJ: Made in America” showed a more recent Simpson — an overweight, old man in prison.  However, much to my chagrin (and fascination), we met and fell for a very charming, sexy, and articulate star athlete that I would have had a major crush on if I had been old enough in the 1970s.

But, it only took a moment to snap back into reality:  infidelity, domestic violence, murder charges, and the list goes on…

RACE RELATIONS

O.J. Simpson aside, the ESPN series and the current book I’m reading “Jimmy Carter:  A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency” by Peter Bourne has me thinking even more about race relations in the United States.

Both of those touch on race in the 1960s — the Watts Riots in 1965 in the television series and school integration in Georgia and the South in the 1960s in the book.

However, it’s disheartening to think that we’ve made so many advancements in the past fifty years, yet when you listen to the news today about the police shootings of black people on the streets, the protests that stem from that, and then a gunman executing officers in Dallas, you have to ask, “Is this still the 1860s or the 1960s?”.

Dallas

People have every right to be pissed off.  But, the bottom line is that there are good and bad police officers, just as there are good and bad people in society.

I wish there was more love and compassion in our world instead of the anger, hate, and violence.

ONE MONTH SINCE THE PULSE MASSACRE

It’s been a little over a month now since a lone gunman walked into the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, opening fire killing 49 people and injuring 53 others before police killed him.

Pulse

Last week, I featured a Ryan Murphy produced tribute to each of the victims from some of the biggest stars in entertainment.

This week, “Hands”, a new tribute song featuring Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Pink, Meghan Trainor, Jason Derulo, Troye Sivan, and so many more was released.

The video even features Patience Carter, Tiara Parker and Angel Anthony Santiago, three of the survivors of the Pulse massacre.  It’s so touching.

Profits go to the Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, and GLAAD.

THIS SUMMER NEEDS (AND GOT) BRITNEY!

Okay, this part of the blog had to be rewritten and revamped this morning.  When I awoke for work just after midnight, I got the surprise of the summer — the much anticipated release of the new Britney Spears song, “Make Me”, featuring G-Eazy!

With her revamped residency, “Piece of Me”, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and her amazing seven-minute performance to open the Billboard Music Awards, this summer needs the much-anticipated return of Britney Spears.

Earlier this week, she teased us with new music in the commercial for her “Private Show” fragrance.  She is so freaking hot!

Excitement continues to build as Britney readies her ninth studio album expected this fall.  It’ll be her first since the under-performing “Britney Jean” in 2013.  It produced the Top 20 hit, “Work Bitch”, but it was the worst selling single of her three decade career.

Also, with “Make Me”, it’s time to put that hideous misfire, last summer’s “Pretty Girls”, with Iggy Azalea (is she still around?), behind us.

Welcome back, Brit Brit!

BITTER DAYS FOLLOW BREAK-UP

I enjoyed the fifteen months that Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris were together because they made a beautiful couple.

Taylor Calvin

I absolutely love “This Is What You Came For”, Harris’ current Top 5 Hot 100 and #1 Dance Club Songs smash with Rihanna.

Ever since I discovered Harris on his amazing “18 Months” album and since “Blank Space” was my favorite song of 2014, you know I love both Calvin and Taylor’s music.

It’s now been revealed there may be another reason I like the new song so much.  It appears that Taylor wrote the song under a pseudonym!

However, the aftermath of the revelation is getting nasty.  Calvin tweeted this one Wednesday:

“And she sings on a little bit of it too 🙃 .  Amazing lyric writer and she smashed it as usual. I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym.”

“Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though 🤔.  I figure if you’re happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do.  I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it.”

Even with the bitterness of those tweets, I’m happy that Calvin took the high road and offered an olive branch in the final two tweets:  “Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you’ve earned a great one” and “God bless everyone have a beautiful day.”

Calvin, man, I really like you and I wish you success in life and love.  But, have fun and live it up because this is what we came for!

SUMMER TELEVISION

I’m so happy that “Mr. Robot”, the best new show on television last year, is back and it picked up a lot of Emmy nomination love yesterday!

MR. ROBOT

If you didn’t see the incredibly written, acted, and addictive first season, you need to set your DVR to record the second season and binge watch the first.

You’ll fall in love with the quirky, strange, and sad Elliot Alderson, played by Rami Malek.  I guess I should say Emmy-nominated Rami Malek.

The new season kicked off Wednesday night on the USA network.

Now, that “The Walking Dead, “Madam Secretary” and “Quantico” are on hiatus until the fall, “Mr. Robot” couldn’t have come at a better time.

While CBS renewed “Zoo” for a second season, it only took a hokey herd of wild animals on the rampage in the first few minutes of the second season premiere for me to finally give up on the show after an uneven first season.

The premise of the animal kingdom turning on man was great.  The execution became contrived over last season’s thirteen episodes.

Wolk Zoo S2.jpg

My only regret is saying goodbye to James Wolk.

Also, this summer, I gave “American Gothic” on CBS a try, but thirty minutes was all it took to delete it and take the series record off of the DVR.

TWO SHOWS WE’RE ENJOYING

However, we’ve started watching two other shows that are entertaining us in half the time!

Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, a Tina Fey production, and Amazon Prime’s “Catastrophe” have both completed their second seasons, but are new to us.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has been renewed for a third season.  The show and the leads, Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess, were all nominated for Emmy Awards this week!

There’s no word on whether there’ll be more “Catastrophe”.

PICK HIT

18-year-old Swedish singer Zara Larsson is ready to follow-up her first American hit, the Top 5 smash “Never Forget You” with MNEK, with a song that was actually first released last summer.

“Lush Life” is a fun, peppy perfect summer song.

If you remember this song and the video last year, you notice that more money was spent on the new one.  Just for fun, here’s the original video.

In her native country, she’s already had eight hits, six of which reached the Top Ten, and three have topped the charts, including “Lush Life” and “Never Forget You”.

CONGRATULATIONS BRETT KISSEL

If you follow my blog, you know I’m a big supporter of Canadian country singer Brett Kissel, who now lives in Nashville with his wife and little girl.

I’m still waiting for American country radio to expand their horizons and play him.

I want to congratulate Brett on scoring his eighth consecutive Top Ten hit on the Canadian Country chart.

Brett Kissel

This week, “Cool With That”, the third single from his “Pick Me Up” album, moved from #11 to #8.

If you’d like to know more about him and I’d highly recommend it, here’s what I wrote back in February.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 8, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying your week following the Fourth of July weekend.

I loved the cooler temperatures last weekend, but the heat and humidity definitely returned to the Midwest.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and many of you did last Friday, so thank you again.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.

Jimmy & Rosalynn.jpg

Thursday marked the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.

After the couple married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, they lived in several different parts of the country when President Carter was in the Navy.  After that, they returned to Plains to run the family’s peanut farm and business before moving on to Atlanta to become to Governor and First Lady of Georgia.

As I’ve written before, as a 12-year-old boy, I accompanied my grandmother, Helen, who was mostly illiterate into the voting booth in November 1976 in Mayfield, Kentucky, and placed my first presidential vote for the former Georgia governor.

I want to think that my vote was instrumental in him winning my state’s nine electoral votes.

CarterPres

I went with her again in 1980 and, again, voted for President Carter.

I’ll be visiting Atlanta in early September for the first time and I can’t wait to see the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  I’m so hoping that the former President and First Lady will be speaking at the Carter Center while I’m there.

So, President and Mrs. Carter, I’d love to treat you to an anniversary lunch or dinner if our path’s cross in Atlanta this September!  🙂

Happy Anniversary!

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

In case you missed it, here’s the blog from four years ago confessing my admiration for President and Mrs. Carter. (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

SAD STATE OF THE WORLD

I already had this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” ready to post when the bloodshed in Dallas, Texas, became the top story.

Dallas

A sniper (or snipers) opened fire on about 100 police officers at a demonstration of around 800 people in Dallas.  Eleven police officers were shot and, at least, five were dead.

The group gathered to protest two police-related deadly shootings this week — one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota.

At least three people were in custody after an exchange of gunfire with police at a parking garage downtown.

This story is changing by the minute and will continue to do so throughout the day and weekend.

the real world

America and the world, violence is and has always been a part of our existence.   But, the lack of empathy and the total disregard for life and our fellow man has to change.

I’m a realist and I know how this will play out, but I truly want society and mankind to prove me wrong!

STOP THE HATE

(This part of the blog was already written before the Dallas shooting spree.)

It’s been almost a month since the deadly shooting at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.

49 people were gunned down and another 53 were injured.

There have been many vigils and memorials in the past few weeks.

Now, heavyweight producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”, “American Crime Story”, “Scream Queens”, and “Glee”) is behind a very powerful and beautiful 18-minute video tribute featuring Hollywood stars sharing the stories of each of the 49 victims’ lives with their photographs.

The video may be long, but that time pales in comparison to the lifetime that each of those 49 people will never experience now.

I hope you take the time to watch it.

So touching and heartbreaking!

THOSE “DAMN EMAILS”

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Those words came from Senator Bernie Sanders on October 13, 2015 (my birthday)  in a Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive U.S. Presidential nominee, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clinton quickly replied with a chuckle, “Thank you. Me, too.  Me, too.”

DEM 2016 Debate

Now, almost nine months later, the debate is over with FBI Director James Comey stating in a press conference with his agency’s decision, “Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But, Comey did call Clinton’s handling of private emails “extremely careless.”

Yesterday, while being grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he basically said that none of the Clinton documents in the investigation had headers stating it was “classified”.

Now that precedence is set, hopefully every Secretary of State from John Kerry forward will learn from this and new guidelines will be instituted that can keep up with the always changing internet world.

BENGHAZI — FOUR YEARS LATER

If you asked Americans what country Benghazi is in or where to find it on the map, most would not know.  From a security standpoint four years ago, our own government didn’t seem to have it (and several other places) high on their radar either.

It didn’t seem like a priority until September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans there.

The U.S. government, the Obama administration, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted formal responsibility and she said this of the blame game, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Hearing were held and many studies were conducted (even independent ones).  Yet, in this presidential election year, people are still looking for the “silver bullet” to implicate Clinton for this tragedy.

The Stevens Family.jpg

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Stevens, is that family’s spokesperson and she says the latest reports added nothing new because it was already established that Benghazi was not secure.

Stevens adds, “I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

Clinton Stevens.jpg

And, when asked what Chris would have thought about this year’s upcoming presidential election, she says, “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”

Sadly, many people are keeping this tragedy alive, not because they are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other men, to make it another piece of this year’s election puzzle.

It’s time to make security changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and, most of all, it’s time to move on people.

“13 HOURS:  THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

When it was announced in late 2014 that director Michael Bay would be bringing a movie about the Benghazi tragedy to the big screen, I didn’t have any interest in seeing it.

He’s famous for making popcorn movies geared toward teenage fanboys and fangirls (“The Transformers” series and “Armageddon”).

However, once I heard that the movie wasn’t just propaganda (it was released two weeks before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, 2016, which is the kick-off to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election), I decided I would check it out on DVD.

It’s much better than I expected it to be.  From a Hollywood telling of real life events, it was definitely a great thriller.  It ended up making about $70 million in theaters with a $50 million budget.

Since we’re talking about the movie here, John Krasinski looks incredible with his newly buffed physique.

GRADE:  B

TICKETMASTER & FREE TICKETS

The concert movie giant is trying to make good after a losing a lawsuit over the crazy fees it charges.

Ticketmaster has already released two waves of tickets totaling almost $15 million, but it’s only for select concerts and venues.

It’s a nice gesture, but it’ll not likely benefit most of the customers it ripped off over the years, including myself.

Here’s a July 1st post from Ticketmaster:

tm

Ticketmaster, I have an idea if you really (and I stress, REALLY) want to make good on redemption from your shady activities that got you sued.

Since you’re only offering select number of tickets anyway, let us pick the general admission seats to the concerts we’d want to attend — if seats are available.

For instance, there are two shows that still have plenty of cheap seats open in Las Vegas when I’m there later this month.  Let me use my free vouchers there.

Just a thought!

SULLY

You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.

Flight 1549

This is US Airways Flight 1549 resting on the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Shortly after take-off, the plane hit a flock of Canadian geese, which caused engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

Director Clint Eastwood and Oscar winner Tom Hanks are bringing this amazing story to the big screen September 9th.

The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart as Skiles and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

FISH POND UPDATE

It appears that the anti-viral chemical we’re using in the fish pond is making a difference!

As I told you in last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, we had four larger koi to die in about a week’s time and then we quickly treated the pond with an agent to fight viruses in case the last fish we acquired were sick.

Sadly, Snowflake, another of the larger koi, died last weekend.  (She’s on the left here.  Pumpkin Pie, my favorite fish, on the right, died two weeks ago.)

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.

FIRST LADIES

For the past three weeks, I’ve been sharing tidbits from the book I read called “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.

I’m wrapping it up this week.

First Ladies

Eleanor Roosevelt:   She worked for the advancement of women and civil rights for black Americans.  Many saw her and FDR as a team in politics.  She loved press conferences — she had 348 in the three terms as First lady.  She also ended Prohibition by serving wine in the White House in 1934.

Elizabeth “Bess” Truman:  She and President Harry Truman made it no secret that they closely worked together for his policies.  She didn’t travel by air and mostly took the train.  Unlike her First Lady predecessor, she hated press conferences and only gave one!

Mamie Eisenhower:  Her favorite color was pink and she surrounded herself with it.  She saw her role as wife as secondary and supportive.  She made many “best dressed” lists, but often bought clothes off the rack.  While she exuded a “soft” side, White House staff saw her as militaristic.

Jacqueline Kennedy:  She worked hard to restore the White House (she didn’t like the word “redecorate”).  She was the first First Lady to hire her own press secretary and she was very into art and not just what was popular at the time.

Lady Bird Johnson:  Her first name was Claudia.  She borrowed against her inheritance, so her husband, LBJ, could run for Congress in Texas in 1937.  She also borrowed money to buy an Austin radio station in 1942 and when television took off in the 1950s, her broadcasting complex made her a very rich woman.  She’s best known for supporting the environment and for starting Highway Beautification projects.

Pat Nixon:  Thelma was her first name.  In her renovations of the White House, she made it more accessible for disabled and the sight-impaired.  She responded to her correspondences individually and she was also a well-traveled First Lady visiting 83 nations.

Betty Ford:  Her real name was Elizabeth.  She was widely lauded (and likely mocked) for her frankness — about her kids, health problems, and her life, including using Valium.  She wasn’t afraid to share her views even when they contradicted President Gerald Ford’s stances.

Rosalynn Carter:  Her first name is Eleanor and she gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation of eleven students in Plains, Georgia.  As First Lady of Georgia and the country, she worked very hard for mental health reforms.  She also fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified.  She also played a big role in the Middle East Peace Talks at Camp David by making many trips back to Washington D.C. during the lengthy process to stand in at events for President Jimmy Carter.

Nancy Reagan:  She wasn’t shy about asking for White House renovations and new china even as the country was in a major recession.  She was often criticized for influencing her husband, especially in his second term.  The “New York Times” even wrote about her “Associate Presidency”.

Barbara Bush:   She worked hard during her White House years for literacy and to bring attention to the fight against AIDS.  She was heavily into volunteerism before she became First Lady.

Hillary Rodham Clinton:  As First Lady, she was seen as highly ambitious because she was a strong woman that worked on policy for her husband.  To counter criticism, she lightened her hair, wore a more feminine wardrobe, and cut back on her public speaking.  To top it off, she even added her married name publicly to her already establish name of “Hillary Rodham”.

This book was updated in 1993 and it didn’t have chapters on Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

HIllary Flag

One last interesting comment that the author made was “By 1993, the credentials of First Lady Hillary Clinton looked very much like those of the President.”

Prophetic much???? 🙂

PICK HIT

I saw Cardiknox, the pop duo of Thomas Dutton and lead singer Lonnie Angle, open for Carly Rae Jepsen in New York City in March on the “Emotion Tour”.

They are full of energy and their debut album, “Portrait”, is fantastic.

Here’s their new video, “Wild Child”.

PICK HIT BONUS

I also want to share the first song and video from the album, “On My Way”, which is one of my favorite songs of 2016.

The video is amazing because it definitely looks like it done in one take with no edits.

THAT’S IT

With all that’s going on in the world, I hope you can make your little part of this f**ked up world a little brighter!

Anthony

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

Random Friday Thoughts — June 24, 2016

Summer is officially here.  It’s been feeling like it for weeks now in the Quad Cities.

Last weekend, we were in Fort Dodge, Iowa, for Papa Ray’s (Ray’s dad) 80th birthday party and are ready to chill out at home this weekend.

Have a great one and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

STAY COOL THIS SUMMER

Popsicle.jpg

ALLIGATOR ATTACK

It was a very sad week in Orlando, Florida, last week following the previous weekend’s shooting death of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie of “The Voice” fame and the Pulse nightclub massacre that left 49 dead and 53 injured.

Then, last Tuesday night, a two-year-old boy visiting Walt Disney World from Nebraska, was wading in the water at a Grand Floridian Resort and Spa beach when he was dragged away by an alligator.

His body was found the next day and an autopsy showed he died from drowning and traumatic injuries.

Alligators 2010

My heart breaks for Luke and his family.  What was supposed to be a fun trip to Disney will now be a nightmare for the rest of their lives.

While there were “no swimming” signs posted at the beach, there were no warnings posted about alligators.

I’m sorry, but I don’t need a sign to warn me about alligators in waters in Florida and Louisiana (where I took picture above).  If you’re the least bit familiar with those states, you know there are alligators.

And, there’s no way I’d be wading in water when it’s dark and I can’t see what’s around me!

When it comes to blame, there’s enough to go around.  I just hope we don’t see another tragedy like this (or the other two I mentioned).

What are you thoughts?  How much of the blame is on Disney?

HE’S ALIVE AND STILL FULL OF VILE

Twisted “Christian” mouthpiece (note “quotation marks” and mockery) Pat Robertson of “The 700 Club” shares these words of advice to haters

“Christians need to just let Muslims and homosexuals kill each other off.”

Pat Robertson

I guess now Florida will probably see a hurricane this summer to punish them for their sins.

HurricaneGloria09241985

That’s not my forecast.  That just how Robertson thinks.

If you think I’m kidding, check out this blog I wrote about him and his forecasting skills about four years ago.  (This will open in a new window for you.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/and-now-your-weather-forecast-with-reverend-pat-robertson/

I hope you smiled through the insanity.

ISRAELI SHOOTINGS & DAILY CHICAGO GUN VIOLENCE

In last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, I was going to talk about the gunmen that fired upon a Tel Aviv, Israel open-air market in early June killing four people.

However, the mind-boggling massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, stunned the nation where more than one hundred people were shot — 49 of them died.

Now, I want to revisit that.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

I visited Tel Aviv in the fall of 2014 for my 50th birthday and it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  I’d go back there in a heartbeat!

Before we went, there was heightened tensions around Jerusalem, so we didn’t visit the holy city.  People kept asking, “aren’t you scared to go the Middle East”?  Of course, you think about it, but I wasn’t afraid.

In early June, four Israelis were killed and five others were injured in a shooting by two attackers, identified as Palestinians, at a popular food and shopping market.

I want to comment about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and how many Americans fear visiting Israel because of the the violence and put it into perspective.  (And, this was before the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando.)

Chicago Police murder investigation

Over the past few years, shooting deaths and injuries have gotten out of hand in Chicago.

So far this year, 1,819 people have been shot in Chicago (through June 23rd).  Of those, more than 200 have died!  (Last year, there were 2,988 shooting victims in the “Windy City”.)

Last weekend alone, the “Chicago Tribune” reported 59 people shot and 13 of those people died.  That was in a 60-hour period from Friday afternoon through early Monday morning over Father’s Day weekend.

I lived in Chicago for four years (1994-1996 and 2002-2004) and I never felt unsafe.  I can’t say that now when I do make it back to the city.

As a matter of fact, I would feel much safer in Tel Aviv, Israel!

TRAGIC ENDING FOR PROMISING ACTOR

Anton Yelchin was a charismatic, attractive young actor that I thoroughly enjoyed watching on screen and listening to talk (yes, he has a very sexy voice).

The 27-year-old died tragically last weekend in a freak accident when his Jeep pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar attached to a security fence outside his home.

TMZ.com reports that his death certificate shows he died from “blunt traumatic asphyxia” and he didn’t suffer — he was dead within a minute of impact.

It’ll be interesting to see how, if any, a spring recall on his Jeep’s year and model will play into the death investigation and if the accident could have been avoided.

Anton

I loved Yelchin in “Alpha Dogs”, “Odd Thomas”, and his two “Star Trek” movie in 2009 and 2013.  The latest, “Star Trek Beyond” arrives in theaters July 22, 2016.

Also, I’m really looking forward to seeing Anton and co-star Patrick Stewart’s critically acclaimed movie, “Green Room”.  It comes out on DVD on July 12th.

This is “red band” trailer (adult language and situations).

R.I.P. Anton

IT’S SUMMER — TOO SOON TO THINK CHRISTMAS?

Summer officially began here in the Midwest this past Monday evening.  While we have three months of hot weather to look forward to, is it too soon to think winter?

colored-trees

Maybe not since Christmas is only six months from this weekend!

“ALMOST CHRISTMAS”

I’ve already found my first holiday movie that I want to see.

It’s directed by David E. Talbert, who was behind “Baggage Claim”, one of my twenty favorite movies of 2014.

“Almost Christmas” features an all-star cast including Oscar winner Mo’Nique, in a much different role than her Academy Award turn in “Precious”.

It arrives in theaters on November 11th.

PICK HIT

This week’s pick hit, “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris and Rihanna, is already a Top Ten hit in America at pop radio and in dance clubs and it’s an international smash.  I’m featuring it because the video is new.

Calvin Harris is one of the world’s highest paid club DJs.  He’s also placed 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with four of them reaching the Top Ten.

Meanwhile, Rihanna has charted an amazing 48 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 since her debut in 2005.  Of those, 29 have made the Top Ten and 14 have hit number one!

Will lightning strike twice for Harris and Rihanna?  Their last collaboration, “We Found Love”, spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011.

Okay, I know they’re just friends, but I have to throw this out there.

Rihanna is so beautiful and stunning and Calvin is so gorgeous and hot, I just want to ship them like my teenager daughter does with “Star Wars”.  Could you imagine how beautiful their children would be?

In case you’re less familiar with Calvin and didn’t see what I’m talking about in his fifteen second cameo in the video…

Calvin Underwear

MORE FIRST LADIES

Last week, I started sharing a few tidbits about president’s wives after reading “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  I covered Martha Washington to Letitia Tyler.

And, now on with a few more.  We all need a little bit of useless (or useful) trivia. 🙂

First Ladies

Julia Tyler:  She married President John Tyler 18 months after his first wife Letitia became the first First Lady to die in the White House.  She’s remembered for starting the “Hail To The Chief” tradition and she hired a press agent to promote herself.

Sarah Polk:  She became the most outspoken and politically involved First Lady since Abigail Adams.

Margaret Taylor:  Delegated First Lady duties to her daughter.  She was so obscure that no authentic likeness of her exists.  In her obituary, “The New York Times” just referred to her as “Mrs. General Taylor”.

Abigail Fillmore:  She established the White House library and she died about a month after President Millard Fillmore died.  She caught a cold during the inauguration of her husband’s replacement, President Franklin Pierce.

Jane Pierce:  She wasn’t very happy being in Washington and was regularly depressed after the death of her son, Bennie. (Their other two sons died in childhood, too.).   From the public’s perspective, it was acceptable for her to grieve, but not her husband for they saw it as a weakness for the president.

Mary Todd Lincoln:  She was known for freely spending money and received plenty of criticism.  She was also institutionalized by her son to a private mental hospital near Chicago.  Ms. Lincoln was thought to be insane because of her erratic behavior.

Eliza Johnson:  She mostly remained out of sight as First Lady unlike her predecessor.

YOU MIGHT AS WELL SWEAT — IT’S SUMMER!

I don’t know what floats your boat, but the video to “Work From Home”, the recent #1 song from Fifth Harmony, is too freaking hot!

It’s an equal opportunity crowd pleaser.

I can’t believe I’ve listened to the song thousands of times, but never watched the video.  Big Mistake! Big!  Huge!

Fifth Harmony’s second album, “7/27”, came out in late May and debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

EVEN MORE FIRST LADIES

Julia Grant:  She was the first First Lady to write her autobiography once out of the White House.  It wasn’t published until 1975, almost one hundred years later.

Lucy Hayes:  Unlike fun-loving Julia Grant, Ms. Hayes was known as a “tight-lipped moralizer” because of attending daily prayer meetings each morning and singing hymns Sunday evening.  Also, for refusing to serve alcohol in the White House.

Lucretia Garfield:  She continued her teaching job in New York during her first years in the White House.  After her husband’s assassination, she became the first presidential widow to participate in her husband’s public memorial service.

Ellen Arthur:  She died before her husband became the 21st president.

Rose Cleveland:  She was the sister of bachelor President Grover Cleveland.  As a hostess, she was often bored and was happy when he married and his young wife became First Lady.

Frances Cleveland:  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!

220px-Home_alone

Okay, that’s just downright creepy and a perfect place to end this week’s blog.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking it out and feel free to share your thoughts on any of my random thoughts.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 17, 2016

I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”.  We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.

There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.

The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages.  He was killed by police.

Pulse

I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.

First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people.  But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!

Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.

If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man.  He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay.  Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change!  However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).

After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.

hate

Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:

Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”

Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”

Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered.  It was because of who they were!

Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies.  The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”

In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners.  The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.

Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.

Church Fire

In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country.  We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution.  This means all of us.

GUN CONTROL

There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control.  Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.

Gun Control

I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun.  I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.

I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting.  But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15!  None!!!

But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.

AR-15

Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.

They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47.  He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!

The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again.  (This will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones.  This one really breaks my heart.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.

Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other.  It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

Christmas Was Perfect

Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.

The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.

LOVE IS LOVE

Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile.  I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.

Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.

Make sure the person you love knows it everyday!  Life is too short.

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub.  Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.

The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”

She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)

If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember.  I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.

We might have been born at night, but not last night!

Donald LGBT.jpg

Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.

Fish Pond

Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!

Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”

He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer.  You can read about that harrowing experience here.  (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!

Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.

Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.

FIRST LADIES

As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year.  I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.

I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.

Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.

First Ladies.jpg

Martha Washington:  A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.

Abigail Adams:  Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.

Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.

Dolley Madison:  Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.

Elizabeth Monroe:  Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.

Louisa Adams:  Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.

Rachel Jackson:  She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.

Hannah Van Buren:  She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.

Anna Harrison:  She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.  While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.

Letitia Tyler:  She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).

I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.

His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.

He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

THAT’S IT

Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.  More gets resolved that way.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Deadly Gay Nightclub Attack — We’re all “One”

The worst mass shooting in American history took place Saturday night in an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub called “Pulse”.

In a story that’s still developing as I write this Sunday, Orlando’s mayor says 50 people are dead and another 53 are hurt. (Monday, the total was updated to 49 victims inside the club, plus the shooter.)

Pulse.jpg

This is deadlier than the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 or Sandy Hook five years later.

I pray for each and every person — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or straight — in that nightclub.  I pray for their families and their friends that someone took it upon himself to come into that nightclub to destroy the lives of everyone there and for the people who love them.

This is a disgusting act of cowardliness and it’s a sad expression of where some in humanity stand in life.  It’s pathetic and heartbreaking!

The motive is still unknown as I write this.

If this shooting and mass murder took place because it was a gay nightclub, that compounds an already inhumane act.

Hate is hate!  No one has the right to inflict emotional or physical pain or death upon another person because they think being gay is a sin.

Let God decide that when the time comes.

Learn to be human and talk about your differences or move along down the road in a different walk of life.

PrideFlag

June is the month for Americans to celebrate “Gay Pride”.

It’s a time to celebrate diversity and everything that we in the LGBTQ community has had to fight for in life — from being discriminated against for who we are, to having others neglect them and kick them out of their homes for being different, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Stonewall_Inn_1969

“Gay Pride” was established in 1970 after the Stonewall Riots in New York City in the summer of 1969.

Bar patrons, who already had to hide in the shadows to meet, said to police who came in harassing them on a regular basis, “enough is enough”.

They fought back with bottles, rocks, and whatever they could find to protect themselves. Harassment, even at the hands of police, who demeaned and mocked gay people at the bar, is harassment and is wrong.  (You read can more about the “Stonewall Riots” at the bottom of this blog.  I re-posted my blog from four years ago.)

Stonewall_riots

The “Stonewall Riots” started a revolution!  Gay people could be themselves anywhere in America — whether it be Mayfield, Kentucky,  Pocatello, Idaho, or San Francisco, California.

When America is faced with an act of terrorism, such as the 9/11 attacks in September 2001 or terrorist attacks on a smaller scale, we stand strong in the face of sadness, tears, and blood.

As Gay Pride events take place this month, I hope all our friends embrace the LGBTQ community and look out for us, just as we would do for you — we are one!

I’m thinking of the U2 song, “One” right now and I think it’s appropriate.

I hope America and the world come together at this sad time to open their arms and open their hearts to their brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.

We’re human just like you — we love and we want to find love, we work and pay taxes, we’re someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, or co-worker.

And, when some coward charges into a nightclub armed with “an assault-type weapon, a handgun” and “some type of (other) device”, we bleed and die just like the rest of America and the world.

All we want is peace, love, and understanding.

peace_love_understanding

That starts at home, at schools, and at work.  That starts with each one of us.

Please pray for those hurt and killed, their families and friends, and the world.  We all need that prayer now.

Anthony

If you want to read more about the “Stonewall Riots”, I posted this in 2012, so it’s now been 47 years, not 43.

Click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/