Posts Tagged ‘Orlando’

Randomness — Holidays, Movies & More

Since I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I still wanted to share some recommendations on things I watched and enjoyed lately.

If you saw these, too, let me know what you thoughts.  If you didn’t, you have some things to check out!

A QUEEN BRINGS LIFE TO THE NEWBORN KING!

Leave it to a queen, BeBe Zahara Benet, to bring life to the newborn king holiday ballad, “The Little Drummer Boy” !

This is an incredible, fun version of the song and I love the video. 🙂

BABY, BRING THE BUBBLY INSIDE!

Fun Mimosas.jpg

CHRISTMAS SONG THOUGHTS

I’m not even going to get into the whole “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” debate.  It was already one of my least favorite holiday songs even before this year!

But, here are a few things to think about when listening to Christmas music this year!

In “Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, it lists the other reindeer and then asks a very silly question, “but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all”!

hermey-rudolph01

Seriously, if he’s the most famous reindeer of all, of course we remember him!

From “Do You Hear What I Hear”, “a child, a child, shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.

While silver and gold would be nice to have, why not a damn blanket since the baby is cold!!!

Wise-Men-Baby-Jesus-Manger.png

And, I love the Carpenters!  But, in “Home For The Holidays”, I shake my head when Karen sings of going home and “Geez, the traffic is terrific!”

Traffic is terrific????  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER.

It’s more like…

gtfo

… of my way!

“IT’S CHRISTMAS, EVE”

I finally got around to watching “It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes, which made debuted on the Hallmark Channel in November.

Rimes stars as Eve Morgan, who goes back home as Interim school superintendent to get the district out of financial trouble.  The easiest way to do it is to cut the arts program.

And, who does she meet living across the street from her mother and stepfather?  You probably guessed it — a very handsome music teacher, Liam (Tyler Hynes), at one of the schools on the chopping block!

While predictable, it’s still a cute movie.

The only thing I cringed about was the use of my least favorite (and widely overused) term these days:  “meet cute”.   It wasn’t used once or twice, but three times, if I’m not mistaken! 🙂

GRADE:  B

Before the show premiered, I wrote, “the soundtrack is incredible!  Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave it an “A” grade!

REMEMBERING DREW & JUAN

After the summer 2016 Pulse Nightclub massacre, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims — especially 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

While that Christmas was perfect for the young men and their families, I know the following ones have been difficult for the grieving families.

To their families. Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

This past November marked the 40th anniversary of the Jonestown massacre.  Some called it “mass murder” and others, a “mass suicide”.

I’m in the “mass murder” camp, since the Reverend Jim Jones was deranged and pretty much forced those people to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid at gunpoint!

More than 900 people died.

This SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life from Indiana to the jungles of Guyana was incredible.

GRADE:  A

“PADDINGTON 2”

2014’s “Paddington” was fun.  The little bear is adorable and especially so, voiced by my big-time crush, Ben Whishaw!

Ben Whishaw

Plus, Nicole Kidman as a villain was icing on the cake.

This year’s $40 million sequel was box office gold.  It made $226.9 million.

Paddington is living in London and wants to buy his aunt a picture book.  But, this movie’s villain (played by Hugh Grant) wants the book because it holds clues to a treasure that no one knows about, except him.

The movie is very cute and heartwarming.  With just minutes before the end credits, Iit brought tears to my eyes!  🙂

Also, at one point near the end of the movie, a scene with two-time Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins made me feel like I was watching “The Shape of Water 2”! 🙂

GRADE: A-

“SEARCHING”

This incredible movie was made for just a million dollars and brought in an astounding $70.6 million in theaters.

It was shot mostly on smartphones and computer screens and is eerie and creepy.

John Cho stars as a dad that learns he knows very little about his 15-year-old daughter when she goes missing.

Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”) is a detective that’s helping solve the case.

Cho is nominated for the “Independent Spirit Award for Best Male Lead”.

GRADE: A-

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” WINTER FINALE

While I still like “The Good Doctor” on ABC, I recently wrote that I’ve cooled on the show.  Well, that all changed with the winter finale, “Quarantine”!

If you’ve never watched the show or you don’t watch it religiously, watch this episode “On Demand”!!!

And, if you’ve never watched it, all you need to know is that Dr. Shaun Murphy (Freddie Highmore) is autistic and is considered a savant!

It was intense and scary to think that this could really happen!  And, which major characters will die?

“The Good Doctor” returns on ABC Monday, January 14, 2019.

“JANE FONDA IN FIVE ACTS”

Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda, who turns 81 next week, is still turning out award nominated work both on the big screen and on television (“Grace and Frankie”).

There are still people in the U.S. that dislike (okay, hate) Fonda for a mistake she made back in the Vietnam conflict.

But, this HBO documentary is amazing.

It shows Fonda in five acts:  from Henry Fonda’s daughter and her first years as an actress through the men that try to define her (three ex-husbands) to her current work.

GRADE: A-

“BLACKkKLANSMAN”

This Spike Lee picture was made for $15 million and made $88.2 million in theaters.

It’s based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American to join the Colorado Springs Police Department in Colorado in the early-1970s.

John David Washington (Denzel’s son) plays Stallworth, who contacts the Ku Klux Klan and then has to coach a white officer (Adam Driver) to pose as Stallworth to meet the hooded haters!

While this story took place in the ’70s, there were subtle and not so subtle references to “that man”, 45!

The nominations are coming in for BLACKkKLANSMAN”!  It’s up for five Critics Choice Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

It’s also nominated for four Golden Globes including Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Director, Best Actor – Drama (Washington) and Best Supporting Actor (Driver).

While this movie was very enjoyable and entertaining, my favorite Spike Lee movie is still 1999’s underappreciated “Summer of Sam”.

GRADE: B+

“SORRY TO BOTHER YOU”

Lakeith Stanfield will be a name you’ll hear more of in the future.

He leads this movie about a telemarketer who learns that using a “white voice” helps his sales and will move him up the corporate ladder at WorryFree faster.

But, it comes with a price.

This comedy is crazy and definitely goes off the rails with well-endowed horse people (you’ll have to watch the movie)! 🙂

Sexy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) stars as the CEO of the company.

It made $17.6 million in theaters and is nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards.

GRADE: B

“HEREDITARY”

I like horror movies and I love Toni Collette (“Muriel’s Wedding”), but I wasn’t drawn to the theaters to see “Hereditary”.

I finally saw it on DVD and I made the right decision to avoid it.

Supernatural movies have less appeal to me than horror movies with deranged serial killers!  Hello Michael Myers!

Halloween

“Hereditary” does have a very surprising and shocking death scene that I didn’t see coming.

While Collette and Alex Wolff, who plays her 16-year-old son, are great, the movie was too long and convoluted.

Yet, it was a box office hit earning $79.3 million.

GRADE:  B-

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 — June 15, 2018

It’s been a few weeks without a new “Random Friday Thoughts” as I moved across the country to Duluth, Minnesota.

This now marks my third weekend in the “Northland” and I’m looking forward to making it my home.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts.

TWO YEARS LATER

Earlier this week, we marked the two year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Pulse

49 people were massacred while out having a good time with their family and friends.  At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in modern American history.  That distinction now goes to the Las Vegas shooting last October.

Pulse

Former President Barack Obama, in 2016, said, “This is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American — regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation — is an attack on all of us and on the fundamental values of equality and dignity that define us as a country.  And no act of hate or terror will ever change who we are or the values that make us Americans.”.

No comment from #45 this year on the anniversary.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT BUSH

On a happier note, earlier this week, the nation’s 41st President George Herbert Walker Bush turned 94-years-old.

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

He’s now the oldest living president and the first former president to live to age 94.

It’s been a tough year for him with numerous health issues and hospitalizations on top of losing his wife of 73 years, Barbara, back in April.

Jimmy Carter

My favorite president, Jimmy Carter, is now the second oldest living president.  He’ll turn 94 on October 1, 2018.

“HALLOWEEN” IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK!

Excitement is building for Halloween and it has nothing to do with what costumes will be popular and how much candy you’ll get.

The reboot of the “Halloween” series hits theaters Friday, October 19, 2018, and it’ll pick up as the sequel to 1978’s original.

In this movie universe, none of the other sequels even happened!  After Rob Zombie’s very rancid and painful to watch “Halloween II” (2009), it’s time for a fresh start!

The trailer was released last Friday and had almost a million view in just four days!

“TAB HUNTER CONFIDENTIAL”

Movie icon Tab Hunter was the hottest sex symbol is the 1950s and was usually seen in public with beautiful ingenues.

It was all a front to hide his sexuality and maintain his matinee idol status.

Tab Hunter Confidential

In his book, the 19th that I’ve read this year, Hunter doesn’t go into any sordid details about his sexual escapades, but he did talk a lot about his relationship with “Psycho” star Anthony Perkins.

tab_hunter_anthony_perkins.jpg

One interesting story that Hunter shared was when an ex-lover tried to blackmail him.  The man, desperate for money, threatened to sell all the letters Hunter had sent him to the “Enquirer” in the late-1970s.

Hunter paid him off ($10,000) and the man asked to keep them because they meant something to him!!!! Um, yeah, blackmail material.  However, the man died a few years later.

Hunter is almost 87-years-old now and is still with his partner of more than 35 years, film producer Allan Glaser.

CELINE DION GOES ON AND ON

The 18th book I read this year and shared a blog about was “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”.

Celine

I really enjoyed reading about Celine’s life story and I don’t want to give too much away in case you want to read it.

I was surprised to hear that she’s the youngest of fourteen (yes 14!) children!

I became aware of Celine in the early-1990s at the same time as most Americans.  We also learned around that time that she was in a relationship with her manager and future husband, Rene Angelil.  (They married December 17, 1994 in Montreal, Quebec.)

Celine wedding

It was still a little weird reading about the love affair — with the 26-year age difference.  She was the one that fell in love first and pursued him!  But, knowing that the love was real made me smile.  We all want that!

I love how Celine was upfront and honest about the nastiness of the press about things such as her love life and her weight (calling her anorexic).  Being a recovering food addict, I feel for her having endured that.

Celine House

While Celine has been a multi-millionaire for much of career (after hitting it big worldwide), I’m glad she didn’t sugarcoat her love of spending money.  She earned it!

Celine is definitely a survivor and one of the greatest entertainers of all time!  Definitely check out “Celine Dion:  My Story, My Dream”!

And, I shared my ten favorite Celine Dion songs.  Here’s my all-time Celine favorite!

You can read about how the book saved two ducks from a turtle and see my other nine favorites by clicking here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/celine-dion-saves-two-little-ducks/

“THE GREATEST SHOWMAN”

Before beginning my journey north, I did get a chance to check out the musical “The Greatest Showman”.

It was very entertaining and Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron looked and sounded amazing.

Many people know Jackman as Wolverine from the “X-Men” series, but he does have a background in musical theater and musicals (“Les Miserables” in 2012).

He gained worldwide attention playing flamboyant Australian entertainer Peter Allen on Broadway in “The Boy From Oz” in 2003, which earned Jackman a Tony Award for “Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical”.

In “The Greatest Showman”, he plays P.T. Barnum, a down on his luck showman and entrepreneur that started the world famous circus.

The song, “This Is Me”, won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Original Song” and it was also nominated for an Oscar.

It’s an incredible life affirming number!

My other favorite was from Jenny Lind, the “Swedish Nightingale” (Rebecca Ferguson), “Never Enough”, with real vocals by Loren Allred.

GRADE:  B

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

If you’ve never watched this Netflix zombie comedy, what are you waiting for?

Season one was funny and season two was outstanding — even funnier and more crisp and cutting.

It’s the story of a typical California family that wakes up one day and the wife/mom begins violently vomiting and then starts craving human flesh.

The main cast, Drew Barrymore (Sheila Hammond), Timothy Olyphant (Joel Hammond), and Liv Hewson (Abby, their daughter), are incredible.

However, the one that cracks me up the most is Eric Bemis (Skyler Gisondo), the Hammond’s teenage neighbor and friend/love interest for Abby.

Small spoiler_alert_300_w2ahead!

In one scene, Eric is about to lose his virginity to Ramona, a Rite-Aid employee, and tries to sound more experienced than he really is. 🙂

Eric Ramona

Ramona : There are a million things I wanna do to you.”

Eric Bemis : There’s a million things I’ve had done to me. But I did all of them myself. Actually, it’s just one thing a million times.”

“Santa Clarita Diet” will be back for a third season in 2019.

HUGH GRANT & BEN WHISHAW MOVIE

Hugh Grant goes gay again (“Maurice” in 1987 and “Our Sons” in 1991) and this time with my major crush Ben Whishaw.

Ben Whishaw

In “A Very English Scandal”, a three-part series, Grant plays former British Liberal political party leader Jeremy Thorpe, who went on trial for the attempted murder of his ex-lover, Norman Scott (Whishaw) in 1979.

Spoiler! 🙂

The limited series was written by Russell T. Davies (“Queer as Folk”) and directed by Stephen Frears (“Florence Foster Jenkins” and “The Queen”).

Ben_Whishaw

If you’re not familiar with my major crush Whishaw (other than as the voice of Paddington, the bear), check out “London Spy”…

and my favorite movie of 2015, “Lilting”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 8, 2017

While I compile my “best of” lists of movies, songs, and albums of 2017 that people don’t look at other than me, I’m down to my last two “Random Friday Thoughts” of the year.

Thank you always for taking the time to check out what I’m thinking about weekly (or whenever I blog).

FORGIVENESS

What are your thoughts on forgiving people and moving on?

I just read the most amazing “Time” magazine article, “Murder, Race And Mercy: Stories from Charleston” by David Von Drehle with Jay Newton-Small and Maya Rhodan.

It introduced us to the nine people killed (ages 26 to 87) at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on a June night in 2015.

Charleston

We also got to know the other five people at the church that night (three in the room with the shooter) and two others in a different part of the church.

It’s a tragedy that not only ripped apart the lives of the families and loved ones of those in the church that night, but also the basic fabric of “love thy neighbor” in that community and across America.  It proved, once again, that hatred and ignorance is alive in this country.

In just about a minute-and-a-half, investigators say 77 bullets were fired, some at point blank.  The self-proclaimed white supremacist shooter went to the church that night with one purpose — to kill black church goers — even sitting through a Bible study lesson before opening fire when the group started praying!

Less than two days later, at the shooter’s first court appearance (via a television monitor), family members got to tell him what they were thinking.

One daughter of 70-year-old victim Ethel Lance told him, “I forgive you.  You took something very precious away from me.  I will never get to talk to her ever again — but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul… if God forgives you, I forgive you.”  

However, her sister, a reverend, says “I understand that forgiveness is a process.  Some people can automatically forgive, but I’m not there yet.  And I know that God is not going to look at me any differently because I haven’t forgiven *** yet.” (***She spoke the shooter’s name, which I refuse to use in the cases of mass shootings.  Many want fame and I’ll not give in to that by sharing their names!)

That disagreement drove the sisters apart.

So, what are you thoughts?  Could you forgive that person so easily?

I know it wasn’t my family that was killed, but it was my fellow man and it was done out of hatred.  It may not be Christian, but I hope he’s executed sooner rather than later.

roof

In January 2017, he was formally sentenced to death by lethal injection and in the spring of this year, he was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Indiana awaiting his execution.

Speaking of executions:  the most notable person to be executed at this prison (June 2011) was the man behind the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 that killed 168 people and hurt more than 600 others.

If you’d like to read the compelling, original “Time” article, here’s the link:

http://time.com/time-magazine-charleston-shooting-cover-story/

ORLANDO STRONG AND PULSE NIGHTCLUB

Ever since I first wrote about the Pulse Nightclub massacre in the summer of 2016, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims.

I especially remember 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

In June 2016, here’s what I wrote: “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.”

Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

Netflix’s hit series will return in 2018 for the sixth and final season with eight episodes.

Kevin Spacey is out and Robin Wright will lead the cast.

Claire.gif

Madam President Claire Underwood, we’re ready for you to lead in 2018!

GLUTTONS

Disclaimer:  I love buffets and I sample a lot of food when I indulge — especially desserts.  However, I’ve really cut back on how many I eat.

Second Disclaimer:  At the holidays, I love to sample finger foods and baked treats every chances I get!

However, it blows my mind when I see the atrocious food offerings that restaurants and sports venues offer on their menus or free to customers that can finish in a certain amount of time.

4 LB

In 2014, at Tampa Bay Rays Tropicana Stadium, you could get this four-pound, $30 heart attack waiting to happen — eight patties plus one-half pound of bacon (32 slices).  It’s also served with a pound of fries!

If you finished it, you won two free tickets to a future Rays game and a commemorative t-shirt!

Then there’s the Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, features a 6-pound “bruiser” burger.

6pound_000

Or, what about the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, which features a 72-ounce steak — that’s almost a 5-pound steak!!!!!!!!

72ozSteaklarger

Seriously, am I the only one that thinks this is sad and gross?  And, to think those animals were partly raised and slaughtered just to make gluttons out of Americans!

I gave up beef years ago and I’m seriously thinking of making a few other animal groups safe, too!

Happier thoughts!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

MORE TURMOIL FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Oops!

Hillary Laughing.gif

Food for thought:  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in all five of her campaigns! Sadly, more votes doesn’t always equal win!

It never occurred to me or I didn’t remember that she even had more votes than Barack Obama in 2008.

WALMART PULLS T-SHIRTS

Walmart is now longer offering a hateful t-shirt that was popular during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The back of the shirt read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED”!

The Radio Television Digital News Director Association (RTDNA) convinced the retailer to drop the shirt you could order online through a third party.

Shirts

As you can see from the photo, it was popular among some of one candidate’s followers!

BRITNEY SPEARS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

BS Tree

“A DOG’S PURPOSE”

DREADFUL & DEPRESSING!

I was given this movie back in May, but didn’t feel inclined to watch it until this past weekend.

The premise is that a dog comes into our lives for a reason and then they die and come back into someone’s else’s life.

spoiler-alert

After a puppy is euthanized, a golden retriever dies, and then a dog is adopted and abandoned in a white trash front yard on a chain, I had all I could take.  73 minutes into the movie, I ejected it and didn’t finish it.

Capture1

The only highlight in the movie was discovering the sexy KJ Apa, the 20-year-old New Zealand actor (Archie on the CW’s “Riverdale”).

Interesting enough, it was a box office smash bringing in about $196 million in the U.S. alone and a sequel is planned!

No thanks!

GRADE:  D

PERFECT TIME TO REMEMBER MY GOLDEN!

ABBA Santa Christmas 2001

And, how about Miss ABBA and Mr. Panda with Ms. Santa!

ABBA Panda Christmas 2008 001

“GOOD TIME”

I never saw any of the “Twilight” movies or any of Robert Pattinson’s movies.

I took a chance on the crime drama “Good Time” and I was very impressed with his acting.

He plays “Connie”, a man who takes care of his mentally challenged, younger adult brother.

Connie decides they’re going to rob a bank of $65,000, and it appears they get away with it.  However, a dye pack is slipped into the money bag, which explodes in the getaway car.

That’s when police start catch up with them.  One is taken to jail and the other tries to spring his brother for the rest of the movie.

It’s nominated for five Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Pattison), Best Supporting Male (Benny Safdie), Best Supporting Female (Taliah Lennice Webster), Best Director (Benny & Josh Safdie), Best Editing, and Best Cinematography.

 

GRADE:  B

‘THE WALKING DEAD”

I made it to the 90-minute winter finale, which airs Sunday, December 10th.

The eighth season of “The Walking Dead” is still on life support with me — I’m watching it episode by episode and I keep saying that the next one will be my last.

The series is now down to its lowest ratings since the end of season two, when ratings were still climbing!

Only 7.47 million people watched last week’s episode compared to the 17.03 million that watched the season seven premiere!

I’ll admit after a dismal season, I did like episode five that focused mostly on Negan and Father Gabriel trapped in a trailer surrounded by walkers!

Also, for years now, I’ve been hoping that a certain youngster would meet an untimely death.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

In episode six, it almost happened and I was freaking out.  I’ve changed my mind now since he’s become more human and mature!

And, I hope to see more of Siddiq (Avi Nash), the man that Rick shot at and Carl befriended with food and water.

Capture2

Also, Callan McAuliffe, who plays Dillon, a Savior, is a nice, cute addition.

SHANIA LOOKED AMAZING!

Shania Twain made a wintry entrance and looked and sounded amazing at her last performance of 2017 — the Grey Cup halftime show.

 

 

OXYMORON

def oxymoron

This was parked outside my apartment building.  So, is this an “oxymoron” or just a moron?

Strike that!  It’s the holidays.  It’s an oxymoron!

Oxymoron

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 6, 2017

It’s been a heartbreaking week with the mass shooting in Las Vegas (more on that below).  While sad and tragic, there are some happy things going on in the world and I hope some of that is happening in your life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WHAT AN HONOR!

If you’ve followed me on Facebook since 2009 or read my blog since 2012, you know that I’m a strong believer in equality — LGBT, marriage, women’s rights, for people of color, and more.

While some of you may disagree with my views, that’s fine.  I do have to walk a fine line when I state my opinions and in my responses to people who don’t think like me (especially now, considering where I live and the climate we live in)!

With that being said, I got a big surprise when I started reading the October/November 2017 issue of “The Advocate”.

Advocate WG

The magazine had a feature on the “50 Most Influential LGBT People In Media” and I absolutely love lists and countdowns.  I had a thought on who might be number one, so I was curious.

Since I always read magazines from the front to back and I don’t skip ahead, I got to page seven and Editorial Director Diane Anderson-Minshall’s “Editor’s Letter”.

Below that was this segment.  As I was reading it and walking, I was shocked and surprised!!!!!!!!!!!

LGBT Media Arrow

A shout-out in the nation’s biggest and longest-running LGBT magazine in the country, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

What an honor!  Diane, I’ll keep up the fight for equality and visibility in these very trying, dark post-November 8, 2016 days!!!

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

A dear friend from back in the Quad Cities, Clayton, posted a message on my blog a couple of weeks ago that touched my heart just as much as the name check in “The Advocate”.

Clayton said, “I hope that you realize the lasting effects you have had on the many people who feared going public”.

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

On October 1st, President Jimmy Carter turned 93 years old.

It’s no secret that I love President Carter and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, and I had the pleasure to meet them in July at their Plains, Georgia church.

While there, I had my picture taken with them.  I sent them a copy inside an anniversary card celebrating their 71 years of marriage on July 7th.

I just hoped that with all of the fan mail they still get that they would see the card.

Weeks passed and I opened the mail recently to find an envelope from the “Office of Jimmy Carter”!  I gingerly opened it.

Not only did the Carters see my anniversary card and the picture, but they took the time to autograph it and send it back to me!

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

I’ve now met three of my four living idols.  I wrote about them this summer and if you missed that blog, here it is.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

Jimmy Carter

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (PRESIDENT CARTER & MS. ROSALYNN)

What a perfect time to share one of my favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

This is from her show at Terminal 5 in New York City in March 2016.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.

It’s also from one of the most underrated pop albums ever, “Emotion”.

It was my third favorite album of 2015 and I still listen to it today and marvel at its excellence.

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

Sadly, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the summer of 2016, is no longer the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!

That heartbreaking title is now bestowed on Las Vegas, Nevada, after a man opened fire on a country music festival near Mandalay Bay on the Strip Sunday night.

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

The senseless violence in the United States and the world saddens me.  While we still don’t know the motive of the shooting, the man is purely evil or suffered from a mental illness.  I’m only speculating, but I think he was just evil and filled with hate!

Mental illness is something that we, as Americans, are still uncomfortable discussing.  It comes up after each mass shooting, but then we’re on to the next “breaking news” and nothing is accomplished.

Enough!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and I’m still considering moving there.

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

On the morning of this senseless tragedy, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico, tweeted this to the people of Las Vegas!

Her compassion is incredible!

To take the time to think of Las Vegas even as her people try to put their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma!

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

Except for “Batman Returns” and the Christian Bale-Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy, superhero movies bore me.

They’re so unrealistic.  I know, I know, they’re “superheroes” with super strength and powers, blah blah blah!

I was huge fan of the “Wonder Woman” television series in the 1970s with Lynda Carter, so I wanted to see this movie.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is stunning as Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta on the hidden island of Themyscira, a land of Amazonian warriors.

She rescues an American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and is intrigued by his worldliness and the fact that he’s a man! 🙂  Okay, as beautiful as Gadot is, it’s Chris Pine! I’m intrigued, too.

Diana heads off with him to stop World War II and Ares’.

The fight scenes were typical superhero-fakery, but when the movie dives into storytelling and drama, it does it well.

Plus, the always incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood on “House of Cards”) plays Diana’s aunt, General Antiope, who trains her to fight.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Canadian country music hottie Brett Kissel, with just two hit albums under his cowboy belt buckle, has already scored nine Top Ten hits on the Canadian country charts.

Sadly, American radio hasn’t taken a chance on him yet.  As Julia Roberts’ Vivard Ward says to the snooty women on Rodeo Drive, “big mistake, big, huge!”

Brett is back with a brand new single that’s burning up the country charts in his native country.

“We Were That Song” is already at #22!

Back in February 2016, I wrote about Brett and his fantastic album, “Pick Me Up”, which was my #7 album of that year!

Here’s that blog again so you learn more about Brett.  And, by the way, he’s fantastic with being personable with his fans on social media!

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

Brett, I can’t wait for the new album!  You have a lot of American fans, too!

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

The Gainesville, Florida rocker died Monday night after being found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home the night before.

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Petty scored 16 Top 40 hits.

Three of them reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1980), “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3, 1981, from Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna” album), and “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1990).

While it wasn’t one of his Top Ten Hot 100 hits, “The Waiting” (#19, 1981) was one of my favorite Petty songs. (It did spend six consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart!)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

Now that October is here, so is the holiday SEASON! 🙂

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

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 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

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