Posts Tagged ‘Oscar’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2019

It’s been some time since I last shared some random thoughts.

Thoughts

There have many things I would have written about if I was still doing “Random Friday Thoughts” on a weekly basis, so here are just a few.

It’s also a reason to share a personal potentially embarrassing story! 🙂

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today!

THE MANSON MURDERS 

We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Charles Manson “family” murders on August 9-10, 1969.

As you may recall, a group of psychos led by the notorious Manson terrorized Los Angeles by slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Hollywood home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

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The next night, the “family” randomly killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

A crazy new book by Tom O’Neill called “Chaos” claims much of what we know about the case is wrong and that prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lied in his book “Helter Skelter”.

I read that book and I’m interested to read O’Neill’s far-fetched (?) book and theories.

The thing that intrigues me the most is who O’Neill says knows more about the murders, but isn’t talking — actress Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame (pictured below)!

Candice Bergen

Bergen and record producer Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) actually lived in the house where the murders took place as late as early 1969!!!

O’Neill tells “Entertainment Weekly” that Bergen “knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said.”   

Creepy tidbit:  Before the Manson murders, the home was rented to these Hollywood actors: Lillian Gish, Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, and Olivia Hussey.

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And, the house’s owner, Rudolph Altobelli, moved back in just three weeks after the Manson bloodshed!!!  He lived there for the next 20 years before selling it in 1989 for the equivalent of $3.2 million today!

“OZARK” EMMY LOVE

After watching the second season of Netflix’s “Ozark”, in October 2018, I wrote, “I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.”

Netflix TCA 2018

Well, I was right!

“Ozark” picked up two more nominations this summer — one for “Outstanding Drama Series” and another for Jason Bateman.

“ARCTIC”

If you’d like something to distract you from the summer heat and humidity, definitely check out the thriller “Arctic”!

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since NBC’s “Hannibal”.

After seeing the survival story, I definitely hope there’s an Oscar “For Your Consideration” campaign for Mikkelsen for “Best Actor”.

“Arctic” is stunning, breathtaking, and heartbreaking — unlike Robert Redford’s alone on a boat and lost at sea 2013 movie “All Is Lost” (which was one of my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014)!

GRADE:  A

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

I love Armie Hammer and Dev Patel and when I watch movies, I tend to lean toward dramas and thrillers.

This one is based on a real-life terrorist attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

While very realistic, it wasn’t overly gory.  It’s a great movie that was never given a chance for box office success.

GRADE:  B+

“GRAND HOTEL”

I started watching this ABC soap opera with low expectation, but I’m still watching it!

Yes, it’s cheesy and some of the characters are silly caricatures of spoiled rich people.

But, the cast is beautiful — especially Australian actor Lincoln Younes, Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez!

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And, then there’s Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, the hotel manager!

Shalim Ortiz

Eva Longoria Baston (“Desperate Housewives”) is an executive producer on the series and guest stars as the late former hotel co-owner.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

I read Liane Moriarty’s book in early 2017 and absolutely loved the HBO mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgaard and Adam Scott.

After the eight Emmy Award wins (out of sixteen), I was thrilled when it was announced that there’d be a second season even though the first covered everything in the book!

I love Kidman and the thought of spending more time with the “Monterey Five” was fantastic.  Meryl Streep joining the cast as Kidman’s imposing, untrusting mother-in-law with a sharp tongue was just icing on the cake!

What I’ve seen of the second season is great, but not fantastic!.  However, Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep make it very worthwhile.

And, I’m loving Laura Dern’s angry Renata Klein this season.  Here’s an example why! 🙂

And, here is my favorite scene, so far, by far.

Two Oscar winners going at it and then the line, “What do we call that?  Foreplay?” followed by a sinister laugh off-camera are just too much! 🙂

Please give Streep her Emmy now and Kidman and Dern their second ones for this series!

“CLAWS”

I’m still loving this TNT series lead by Niesy Nash!

However, halfway through the third season, it’s definitely different than the first two seasons.

Sometimes, it feels a little lost.  However, I know the payoff will be great!

I mean really, it’s focused around a casino! 🙂

“WORLD WAR Z” SEQUEL CANCELLED

I really loved 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt and I’m bummed that the long-planned sequel has been nixed!

The reason?  A source tells “The Hollywood Reporter” that the Chinese government’s ban on movies with zombies or ghosts is the single biggest reason that Paramount cancelled the sequel!

The expensive $190 million movie was a box office smash bringing in more than $540 million worldwide.  This made it the highest-grossing zombie film of all time!

It was my second favorite movie of 2013.

OMG!

I think this is too funny not to share.  I’m downsizing my apartment before my next move — including my CDs and movies.

I’m watching movies over again that I may have watched once over the years.  Some I enjoyed, but they weren’t my favorites.  Others, I vaguely remember.

The other night after work, I was watching one of those movies while eating a salad and drinking my wine.  A sex scene comes on and I didn’t think anything about it.

I’m VERY open-minded and liberal! 🙂

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

All of sudden, the scene gets more and more graphic!  It went from soft core adult to pornographic.  I thought, “Wow, they can show that!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember that scene!”

Sitting in the dark with only the flicker of the large screen television, I looked over my shoulder and realized my neighbor directly across the way was out on his balcony!!! (Our balconies are only separated by two small patches of grass and a sidewalk.)

I quickly grab the remote to hit “stop” for the very graphic (but erotic) image to go away.  I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

So, not only did it not go away, but it was frozen for all the world (well, my neighbor) to see!

I didn’t go back to finish that movie for a few nights and when I did, it still wasn’t that good.  No wonder I didn’t remember it!

As for the neighbor, I now realize he had his back toward my apartment and was leaning on his ledge watching his own television! 🙂

So, that’s my funny, almost embarrassing story.

Don’t get me wrong!  I have nothing against adult scenes or material. I’d just discrete about it! 🙂

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 — August 10, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and to see what I’m thinking about this week.

Have a great weekend!

OFFENSIVE?

“Arrow” star Stephen Amell, a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, enjoyed Vancouver Pride last weekend and his shirt caused quite a stir.

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Some find the shirt offensive saying he’s not really our ally to wear it!

However, a poll about whether the shirt is offensive says otherwise!

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What do you think???   By the way, I voted “Seriously?”

Let me know while I run to the ATM!  I know I have $20 in my checking account! 🙂

Now on to something really serious!

“CONVERSION THERAPY”

Conversion therapy is harmful and sad!

Kids that feel broken suffer even more and it doesn’t mend families, it destroys them.

Love Cure

If you’re not familiar with “conversion therapy”, it’s an ill-fated, sad program that preys on a family’s fear of their son or daughter being LGBTQ.  It claims that you can change if you have feelings for someone of the same sex.

It uses psychological, physical, and spiritual torture to make an LGBTQ child “straight”.

In the United States, before 1981, ice-pick lobotomies, chemical castration with hormones, and aversion treatments (applying electric shock to the hands and/or genitals) were used to “change” gay people.

Electric shock treatment is still used in some places today!

A couple of popular expressions in the field are “Fake it till you make it” and “Pray away the gay”.

conversion-therapy

In the United States, 12 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy for minors based on sexual orientation and gender identity of expression.  Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Maryland (October 1, 2018) and New Hampshire (January 1, 2019) will soon be added to the list.

There are many other counties, municipalities, and communities in the U.S. that outlaw conversion therapy for minors, even though it’s not recognized on the state level in those states.

As of this summer, there are bills to ban conversion therapy on minors that have been introduced or are pending in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

MICHELE & MARCUS BACHMANN

Minnesota’s own former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has a record of being very anti-LGBTQ, has a skeleton in her closet when it comes to “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”.

Bachmann

The procedure was notably performed at Bachmann & Associates, a Christian therapy clinic started by Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, based in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

Marcus Bachmann

Ironic that I used the word “closet” when discussing the Bachmanns because of the “rumors”!

“BOY ERASED”

Two movies dealing with conversion therapy are coming out this year.

“Boy Erased”, based on the 2016 memoir of Garrard Conley, an Arkansas teenager outed in college to his fundamentalist parents.  His choice — be disowned or gay conversion therapy.

After seeing this powerful trailer, I’m convinced “Boy Erased” will be a strong Oscar contender.  It stars Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe and Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges.

I love Kidman and I’ve been a huge fan of 21-year-old Hedges since “Manchester By The Sea” and he was great in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

It also stars out pop star Troye Sivan.

“Boy Erased” hits theaters November 2, 2018.

“THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST”

The other “gay conversion” movie, The Miseducation of Cameron Post” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, debuted last weekend, in very limited release.

In just two theaters, it had an incredible box average of $26,500!

Chloe is a great actress and I can’t wait to see her stunning performance.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

As the fourth season ended in May, it was bittersweet.  I smiled, but I wanted to cry.

Madam Secretary Elizabeth McCord tells her husband Henry, that she wants to run for president.

He replies, “I’m with you!”

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MORE “MADAM SECRETARY” (BIG GUEST STARS!)

When the fifth season of kicks off Sunday, October 7th on CBS, the shows will have some heavy hitters making guest star appearances.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright will star.

This will be Albright’s second appearance on the show.  She guest starred in 2015.

P.S.  In 45’s revolving door of cabinet and staff, whoever is Secretary of State was probably not invited. 🙂

THEY SAID WHAT — ABOUT 45???

Madonna (to “Vogue Italia”):  “I felt like we needed a change, and I wanted to get out of America for a minute ― as you know, this is not America’s finest hour.”\

Hollywood show runner Ryan Murphy (on having a 1980s version of “that man” on his FX hit series “Pose” and then scrapping the idea):  “I just don’t want to see him. I do not want to see that face, didn’t want to hear that voice, didn’t want that presence to pollute something very pure and beautiful. We almost never say his name, it’s a Pavlovian cringe at this point. I think it was a right decision.”

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham:

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“WHO IS AMERICA”

If you haven’t seen this Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime series, you’re missing out on mind-boggling reality television!

I call it reality because, sadly, it shows how really f***ed up some are in this country!

The blatant racism is sad to watch and the things people say or do to show their blind love for 45 is just incredible.

After his ignorant and racist appearance on the show, Republican Georgia lawmaker Jason Spencer resigned his position.

Here’s what I tweeted to Cohen and Showtime about the show.

Who is.JPG

Cohen also duped former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  It’s unknown if that segment will air or not!

RETURN DATES ON MY FAVORITE SHOWS

Now that “Pose”, “Dietland”, “Claws”, and “Sharp Objects” are done or winding down and “The Sinner” is just getting started, I can’t wait for my next round of favorite series to return this fall.

Here are the return dates on those:

September 12 — “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” (FX)

ahs

The first trailer came out earlier this week!

September 23 & 24 — “9-1-1” (FOX) (2-night premiere)

September 24 — “The Good Doctor” (ABC)

September 27 — “How To Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

October 7 — “Madam Secretary’ (CBS)

November 2 — “House of Cards” (Netflix)

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Still no date on the return of season 4 of “Mr. Robot” (USA).

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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90s NOSTALGIA

In the late-1980s and 1990s (and beyond), I was obsessed with Taylor Dayne and her music.

I’ve seen her in concert twice (and almost a third time, but we won’t talk about that).

My favorite album is still “Can’t Fight Fate” from 1989.

That album produced Taylor’s only #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Love Will Lead You Back”, and two more Top Five hits, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, and this one, the album’s lead single, “With Every Beat of My Heart”.

This is such a stunning and sexy video!

“Heart of Stone”, the fourth single, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 26, 2018

The weekend is here and can you believe that January is almost over!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

SPANKING YOUR KIDS

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson went on the defensive after saying she’s “not above” spanking her kids.

Clarkson says, “My parents spanked me and I did fine in life. I feel fine about it, and I do that as well.”

KELLY c

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages spanking and “other physical punishments”.

A recent survey showed that 78% of people believe spanking is okay “sometimes”, while 20% said “never”.

I’m fully on Clarkson’s side.  This whole “time out” or putting a child in the corner is silly to me.   I’ve been around children that could have used a few spankings in their lives.

I had my fair share as a youngster and I deserved every one them.  But, I also had a few beatings from my father that easily went over that threshold of spanking.  A beating and a spanking are much different!

Your thoughts on spanking?  Did you spank your children and how were you disciplined as a kid?

#TIMESUP MEGAN!

Who needs men to set women back 100 years when you have Megyn Kelly of “Megyn Kelly Today”?

Megan

Yes, I defended her against the attacks from “that man”.

But, to go after 80-year-old actress Jane Fonda about plastic surgery and then drag up a mistake she made during the Vietnam War!  Tacky!

Jane

When you want to use “Hanoi Jane” against her, Megyn and Fonda-haters, think of how welcoming America was to Vietnam War veterans when they returned home.  Even today, Vietnam War veterans get little respect!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Companies are always trying to come up with new variations on classics to increase their revenue.  Some work and some don’t.  Would you try these?

Food for Thought

A couple of years ago, McDonald’s in Japan marketed McChoco Potato.  It’s basically chocolate drizzle over their fries.  (YES, just to try it!)

Around that same time, Kellogg Company offered hot dog-flavored Pringles. (Again, yes, just to try it.)

And, in late 2014, PepsiCo tested a Doritos Nacho Cheese-flavored Mountain Dew with college students!  (NO THANK YOU!)

FINALLY SAW “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”!

Earlier this week, “Call Me By Your Name” was nominated for four Oscars — Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song (“Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens).

It was a year ago this week that the movie debuted at the Sundance film festival and it’s been gaining immense buzz ever since then.  The movie has been in limited release, but is now going wide.

I finally got to see it this week and it’s fantastic. 22-year-old Chalamet deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner for Best Actor.

It’s not only a coming-of-age love story between Elio (Chalamet) and a slightly older American graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) visiting northern Italy, but it’s a beautiful bond of love between a teenager and his parents.

“Call Me By Your Name” is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking!

GRADE:  A

By the way, there’s talk that director Luca Guadagnino is working on a sequel and both Charlamet and Hammer have expressed interest in continuing the story of Elio and Oliver.

“THE SNOWMAN” (DISASTER)

Nesbo+Snowman

After reading Jo Nesbo’s incredible Norwegian crime thriller, “The Snowman”, I was so excited to hear it was being made into a movie starring sexy Michael Fassbender!

the-snowman

Well, when it arrived in the fall of 2017, critics hated it, the movie only made $6.7 million in the U.S. ($43 million worldwide), and “Entertainment Weekly” named it as one of the five worst movies of the year.

However, movie critics are known to be wrong.  But, not this time!

I watched the movie and it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.  (The director said they did run of time shooting the movie!)

I visited Norway late last summer.  You know the movie is bad when you spend most of it picking out all of locales that you saw while there: the Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo City Hall, the gorgeous Holmenkollen Hotel and Jump Tower, the amazing city of Bergen, and the view from Floyen Mountain — all covered in snow in “The Snowman”.

The only real highlight of the movie was a gratuitous, but pointless to the plot, shot of Fassbender standing by the window in tight blue briefs!

Read the amazing book instead!

GRADE:  D+

READING MILESTONE

Back in the Quad Cities, I read many books while walking on the treadmill.  Since moving to Panama City, I do all my walking outside (only twice have I walked on the treadmill).

It’s given me a chance to read through the two boxes of “Rolling Stone” and “Time” magazines that I brought with me dating back to 2014.

With those now finished, I’ll read my “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, and “The Advocate” magazines when they arrive and start clearing out books from my bookshelf and visit the library!

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I’m currently reading “Front Row At The White House” by the late United Press International journalist Helen Thomas.

“THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US”

Oscar winner Kate Winslet and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba star in this movie from last fall that made $61.1 million at the box office.

Both stars give excellent performances in a very predictable movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

The amazing and incredible Kylie Minogue is back with new music following “Kylie Christmas” in 2016.

While the new single, “Dancing”, may have been recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s definitely got the Kylie dance groove going on after the acoustic-sounding start!

The new album, “Golden”, arrives in April 2018.

And, since I’m excited about new Kylie music and I’m honoring the Queen, I had to share this hilarious commercial, which features Kylie!

It’s too funny!

REMEMBERING LARI WHITE

Country singer Lari White died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer.

She was moved to a Nashville hospice last week after being diagnosed with advanced peritoneal cancer in September 2017.

Lari hit it big in 1994 and 1995 with her phenomenal gold album “Wishes”.

It produced three Top Ten country hits:  “That’s My Baby” (#10), “Now I Know” (#5), and “That’s How You Know (You’re In Love)” (#10).

On “That’s My Baby”, she channeled her best Pam Tillis.

Lari leaves behind a husband and three children.  She was 52.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

“American Hustle”

Last week, you learned that the Israeli drama/love story, “Out in The Dark”, was my favorite movie of 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I’m already starting to compile my best of 2014 list and the first theatrical movie I checked out was “American Hustle”.

American Hustle

The movie, directed by David O. Russell, stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams, who Russell directed in “The Fighter” and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence of “Silver Linings Playbook”, which was also directed by Russell.

“American Hustle” is loosely based on a FBI undercover operation back in the  late-1970s and early-1980s involving crooked politicians.

All four stars were incredible in the movie and gave Oscar worthy performances.

I think Adams has a Best Actress nomination secured and Lawrence could very well be nominated in the Supporting Actress category.  Her nutty character was funny and heartbreaking.

GRADE:  A-

HOLLYWOOD, LISTEN TO ME!

I’ve now seen Jennifer Lawrence in five movies and she’s been captivating in every one of them.

jennifer-lawrence

I believe every movie should star Lawrence and Melissa Leo, who I hope Oscar remembers in mid-January when the nominations are announced.  She was phenomenal in “Prisoners”.

Melissa Leo Prisoners

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — January 3, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/random-friday-thoughts-january-3/

Random Friday Thoughts — December 6, 2013

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope you’re having a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Here are my random Friday thoughts.

GREETINGS FROM “MUSIC CITY USA”!

When we left the Quad Cities Wednesday, it was 47° and we drove seven hours to Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to check out the Christmas lights and have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s and the temperature there was 72°.

Lights at Patti'sAnthony's Dinner

That’s my dinner.  It’s called “Ella Mae’s Chicken”:  freshly grilled asparagus over grilled chicken breast topped with black forest ham and sautéed mushrooms covered in homemade cheese sauce.  This was after appetizers of homemade cheese sticks and a blossoming onion and before we ate dessert!

On Thursday, we drove the final two hours to Nashville, Tennessee, dropping my sister off in Clarksville, about an hour northwest of Nashville, so she could spend the weekend with her kids and two granddaughters.

REBA EXHIBIT

Our first stop in Nashville before checking into the Opryland Hotel was a visit to the Reba McEntire exhibit, “All The Women I Am”, at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Anthony Reba

These are various “Fancy” performance dresses.

Reba Fancy Dresses

IT LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS AT OUR HOTEL

Opryland Hotel

THE ROCKETTES’

Last night, we saw the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes”.  The sets were incredible and the dancing was festive and fun.  Sadly, no pictures were allowed!

REST OF THE WEEKEND PLANS

Tonight, in a major ice storm, we’ll see “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas & Dinner Show”.  Tomorrow, it’s a lunch cruise on the Cumberland River on the General Jackson and tomorrow night, Opry at the Ryman, with Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Chris Carmack (who plays Will Lexington on ABC’s “Nashville”) and many others.

Chris Carmack

SINGER BECOMES BIG TIME SONG WRITER

Shane McAnally

25-year-old Texan Shane McAnally was signed to Curb Records and released his first single, “Say Anything” in 1999, which peaked at #41.  The follow-up single, “Are Your Eyes Still Blue” was his only Top 40 country hit, peaking at #31.

I loved both of those songs and I was probably one of the few people who took a chance on the newcomer and bought his debut and only album. After that, Shane dropped off the radar and moved to West Hollywood, California, and started bartending and performing as “Shane Mack”.

Shane Mack

In California, Shane was able to be openly gay.  Since he started living his life openly, he married his partner of six years, Michael Baum, in September 2012, and the couple welcomed a daughter and a son in December of last year.

I was pleasantly surprised this fall to see “Entertainment Weekly” give Shane the much overdue recognition that he deserves.

Shane returned to Nashville in a big way in 2008 as a co-writer of LeAnn Womack’s Top 15 hit, “Last Call”.  Since then, he has written #1 songs for Kenny Chesney, Jake Owens, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert.  He also penned three songs for Reba McEntire’s 2010 album, “All The Women I Am” album.

Music Review Kacey Musgraves

And, this year, he co-produced my favorite country album 0f 2013, the #1 “Same Trailer Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves.

Shane, I wish you, Michael, and your children much happiness in 2014 and here’s to continued success in country music.  I hope to hear more of your singing in the future, too.

MEANWHILE, NOT SO GOOD TENNESSEE NEWS

While we’re having a good time in Nashville, a recent report from “24/7 Wall Street” doesn’t paint a rosy picture of Tennessee, ranking it as “the most dangerous state” in the United States.

It’s followed by Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, and Oklahoma!

Tennessee Violent Crimes

The site ranks Tennessee #1 for aggravated assaults and in the top ten for murders and robbery.  In 2012, there were 388 murders, which is up for the second straight year.

Across the nation, Memphis ranks fifth and Nashville is at #18 for violent crimes.

Take this ranking and the information from “24/7 Wall Street” with a grain of salt, since the “Crime in Chicago” website reported 537 murders in the “Windy City” in 2012.  (As of December 1st, the site reports there have been 422 murders in Chicago in 2013.)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ice Hole Deer  squirrelSnow's a comin'

ICE STORM SOUTH, SNOW IN THE QUAD CITIES

Two rounds of ice will be heavily glazing the Nashville, Tennessee, area tonight and, again, Saturday night.  It’s going to get scary down here.  Meanwhile, on Sunday, several inches of snow are expected in the Quad Cities.  It looks like, at least, two inches are likely.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow to keep you ahead of the snow in Illinois and Iowa.

FRESH VENDING MACHINE SALAD

I know it’s easy to grab fast food or something out a vending machine when you’re working and eat it at your desk.  However, if you had the option, would you choose a fresh salad from a vending machine for a healthy alternative?

That is the option for people living or working near the Loop in Chicago near Clark and Lake.

Farmers Fridge Chicago

Farmer’s Fridge has installed its first vending machine salad, fruits, and vegetables prepared fresh daily and packaged in recyclable plastic jar.

The $8 salads are available at 10 a.m. and come in seven varieties including North Napa, Mediterranean, Crunchy Thai, The Cheater, and three other flavors.  The dressings include lemon tahini, spicy soy peanut, red wine vinaigrette, and four other flavors.

ISRAELIS TAKE A STAND AGAINST RUSSIA

As you know from reading my blog, I’ve been very outspoken against Russia’s homophobic laws and the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which are two months away.  There’s now a new Israeli campaign speaking out about the bloodshed and violence against the LGBT community in Russia.

Red Flag

“Red Flag”, similar to the American NOH8 campaign, was started by David and Jonathan, the publisher of the international lifestyle magazine, “F.O.D.”, for the Tel-Aviv gay man community.

Actors, singers, activists, drag queens, and the LGBT community were encouraged to take part in the photo shoot wearing Russian army uniforms with blood coming out of their mouths to bring attention to the violence brought against Russian and Ukrainian LGBT people.

Red Flag2

Organizers say, “Russia 2013 is a death trap for the LGBT community. This discriminating law is backed up with aggressive enforcement by the army and the police. Arresting activists in the LGBT community or any person suspected of being involved in “propaganda” has become a normal routine. This law refers to tourists from out-of-state and even athletes participating in the winter Olympics.”

PICK HIT

Earlier in the blog, I profiled Shane McAnally and mentioned that he co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ debut album.

He also co-wrote nine of the album’s twelve songs, including the first three singles:  “Merry Go Round” (#14), “Blowin’ Smoke” (#31 peak), and her current single, “Follow Your Arrow”,which is at #28.

“Follow Your Arrow” is witty and poignant.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics:  “You’re damned if you do/and you’re damned if you don’t/so you might as well do whatever you want, so make lots of noise/kiss lots of boys/kiss lots of girls/if that’s something you’re into”

Cheers, Kacey & Shane!

DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB

“And, the Academy Award for Best Actor Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Dallas Buyers Club

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

GRADE:  A

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

I just added “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige and “Christmas, With Love” by British singer Leona Lewis to my holiday collection this week.

Leona Lewis  Christmas With Love

Leona’s fourth album and her first Christmas colelction featured seven classics and three new songs, including the first single, “One More Sleep”.

Many of you probably remember Leona from her debut #1 single in 2008, “Bleeding Love” and its followup, “Better In Time”.

“SHELTER”

While I love “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story”, love stories are at the top of my list, too.  “Pretty Woman” (1990), “Latter Days” (2003), “Shelter” (2007), “Weekend” (2011), and “Out in the Dark” (2012) are the ones that I can watch over and over and over.

Shane Mack (Shane McAnally) performed five songs on the “Shelter” soundtrack and since I’m in Nashville and I’m a strong advocate for being out and proud, here’s another one from Shane.

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND

Have a fantastic weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts this week.  Let me know what you think.

Bundle up if you live across the eastern part of the country.  It’s going to be cold.

Anthony

World AIDS Day

Sadly, there are more than 1.1 million people in the United States that are HIV-positive and what’s scary is that 18% don’t even know that they are infected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus infection), which can lead to AIDS.  That’s almost one-in-five people who don’t know they are HIV-positive!

Today, December 1, 2013, marks the 25th anniversary of “World AIDS Day”, which was started in 1988 to raise awareness to the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

world aids day

Here’s some sobering numbers for you:  AIDS is still a problem, even if it’s now treatable.  There were still 15,529 deaths in the U.S. from AIDS in the U.S. in 2010.

us-statistics-1

White gay and bisexual men are the groups with the highest new infection rates and black gay and bisexual men follow right behind.

THE BLACK AIDS INSTITUTE ANNOUNCE NEW TV CAMPAIGN

However, here’s something that needs to be addressed and people need to wake up.  While African-Americans make up 12% of the U.S. population, they account for 44% of new HIV cases in 2010/living with HIV.  And, Hispanics account for 16% of the U.S. population, but make up 21% of the new HIV cases/people living with HIV.

We’ve come a long way in the past 32 years, but we have a long way to go.

Flashback to the spring and early summer of 1981.  Doctors in New York and California started noticing that some of their young, gay patients were coming in with weakened immune systems and were developing pneumonia and cancer.

NYT

“The New York Times” published one of the first articles on this new disease that didn’t even have a name and was incorrectly labeled “GRID” (gay-related immune deficiency) in 1982.  It was changed to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome) once doctors realized that it didn’t only affect gay men.

The early 1980s was a scary time because there was so much that doctors didn’t know about this “gay cancer”, as it was also called.  This led to fear and many misconceptions about who or how people could catch it.

Princess Diana

Ryan White Pic

Ryan White, an Indiana hemophiliac, contracted AIDS from a contaminated blood transfusion and he was diagnosed with the disease shortly after his 13th birthday during a partial-lung removal procedure.

His school refused to let him come back and the family was subjected to threats and a bullet was even fired into their living room forcing the family to leave Kokomo, Indiana.

Ryan White

Ryan died in April 1990 at the age of 18.

Jerry Falwell

Before Ryan White was diagnosed with AIDS in late 1984, Reverend Jerry Falwell in the summer of 1983 called AIDS, the “gay plague”.  He also made other ignorant and hateful comments about AIDS and gay people.

Falwell

Sept 1986, Ken Died 3 Days Later

In the early-and-mid-1980s, a diagnosis of AIDS was an almost certain death sentence.  Outside of large metropolitan cities, many in America still thought it was a strictly a disease that affected gay men.

Ronald Reagan and Jerry Falwell

In retrospective, that doesn’t seem illogical because President Ronald Reagan didn’t even mention AIDS publicly until 1987, six years after he began his presidency and AIDS went public!

corbis_rm_photo_of_ACT_UP_protest_banner

While the President chose to or just remained silent on the topic, the nation’s started talking in the summer of 1985 when one of America’s biggest movie stars of the 1950s and 1960s startled the world when he admitted that he had AIDS.

Roy Scherer, Jr., who was born outside of Chicago, moved to Los Angeles in 1946 to become an actor after serving in the U.S. Navy in Philippines during World War II.  His name was changed to Rock Hudson and he became a matinée idol and made several romantic-comedies, including a few with his dear friend, actress Doris Day.

Doris Day Rock Hudson

Hudson was a heartthrob — a tall drink of water at 6’5″ — and the magazines loved him.

Rock Hudson 1951

However, rumors that he was gay dogged him.  When “Confidential” magazine threatened to out him in 1955, he got married that same year and then divorced in 1958.

In 1956, Hudson was nominated for an Oscar for his role in “Giant” that also starred Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean.  He worked steadily in movies and television through 1985 and his last role was on “Dynasty” as Daniel Reece, the love interest of Linda Evan’s character, Krystle Carrington.

Rock Hudson Dynasty

While Hudson’s character was killed off in the spring of 1985, the gasp that could be heard around the world came months later, in July.  Hudson appeared in a promo to promote his friend, Doris Day’s new television show.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

The actor appeared thin and unhealthy.  He spoke incoherently during the press event.  This led to widespread speculation about his health.  Days later he collapsed at a hotel in Paris, France, and his publicist, Dale Olson, denied that Hudson had AIDS and that he was suffering from inoperable liver cancer.

Four days later, on July 25, 1985, Olson admitted that Hudson had AIDS and that he had been diagnosed one year earlier and had been flying to Paris for treatments.

People Headline

Hollywood freaked out over this revelation, including some on the set of “Dynasty”.  However, it’s been reported that Linda Evans was not one of those people even though they shared intimate love scenes together.

At the time, some erroneously thought that you could contract AIDS through kissing.  YOU CANNOT GET AIDS FROM KISSING!  This is a perfect time for the facts about HIV and AIDS.

HIV HIV Prevention

On October 2, 1985, Rock Hudson died at home in his sleep in Beverly Hills, California.  He was 59.

Rock Hudson 1950s

Shortly before he died, Hudson sent a telegram to Commitment to Life, a Hollywood AIDS benefit, saying “I am not happy that I am sick. I am not happy that I have AIDS. But if that is helping others, I can at least know that my own misfortune has had some positive worth.”

Comedian Joan Rivers added, “Two years ago, when I hosted a benefit for AIDS, I couldn’t get one major star to turn out. … Rock’s admission is a horrendous way to bring AIDS to the attention of the American public, but by doing so, Rock, in his life, has helped millions in the process. What Rock has done takes true courage.”  And, actress Morgan Fairchild said that “Rock Hudson’s death gave AIDS a face.”

HOLLYWOOD EDUCATING AMERICA THROUGH MOVIES

While health officials worked tirelessly in the 1980s and 1990s to educate the public about HIV/AIDS, activists staged protests at government offices to work harder to fund research and to find a cure.

Slowly, Hollywood came around and “An Early Frost” on NBC in November 1985 was the first movie to address AIDS.

An Early Frost

34 million people tuned to see Aidan Quinn as a Chicago lawyer, who not only became ill with AIDS, but he also had to tell his parents (Ben Gazzara and Gena Rowlands) that he was gay.  The movie earned 14 Emmy nominations, winning three.

While it was the most watched show of the night beating out football and “Cagney & Lacey”, NBC lost $500,000 in commercial revenue because some clients were scared away by the subject matter.

Here are some other incredible Hollywood movies and television movies or series that excel at telling the HIV/AIDS story.

“Longtime Companion” (1989) is one of my all-time favorite movies.

While it was the first wide-release theatrical movie to address AIDS,  it only earned $4.6 million at the box office.  It stars Campbell Scott, Mary-Louise Parker, and Bruce Davison, who earned a Best Supporting Oscar nomination.

It follows a group of New York City friends from the 1981 beginning of the AIDS pandemic and shows how they learned to live, fight, and die from the disease.

Longtime Companion

“And The Band Played On”, a 1993 HBO movie, is probably the best historical movie for you to learn about the history of AIDS without it sounding like a boring history lesson.  The Emmy Award winning movie (it won three out of its 14 nominations) stars Matthew Modine, Alan Alda, Lily Tomlin, Richard Gere, and Phil Collins.

And, the book was written by Randy Shilts, who was born in Davenport, Iowa.

And-the-Band-Played-On

In 1993, “Philadelphia” became the most profitable AIDS movie in Hollywood history earning $206.7 million (almost $77 million of that was from the U.S.).

Tom Hanks won an Oscar playing a closeted lawyer at a big law firm, who is given the company’s biggest case only to have them fire him when a partner sees a lesion on his forehead and he is hospitalized.  He hires a homophobic, personal injury lawyer played by Denzel Washington.

Philadelphia

Another touching small theatrical movie, “The Cure”, tells the story of Dexter, a Midwestern boy who befriends his latch-key neighbor, Erik, who’s a little older.  Initially, Erik is afraid of Dexter and his disease.  But, the boys form a close friendship when they decide to travel down the Mississippi River to New Orleans to find a rumored cure for AIDS.

The Cure

Not all AIDS-related movie are dramas.  “Jeffrey”, a 1995 film by funny man Paul Rudnick, made about $3.5 million at the box office and stars Steven Weber and Michael T. Weiss.

Weber is Jeffrey, a New York City man who is scared of catching AIDS, so he gives up sex and then he meets Steve, the man of his dreams only to find out that Steve is HIV-positive.

The movie features an all-star cast including Patrick Stewart, Olympia Dukakis, Sigourney Weaver, Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, and Kathy Najimy.

Jeffrey

The play, “Angels in America” blasted onto HBO in 2003 with a cast that included Al Pacino, Meryl Streep (playing four characters), Emma Thompson, Jeffrey Wright (also playing four characters), Mary-Louise Parker and Patrick Wilson.  The almost six-hour series earned 21 Emmy nominations and 11 wins, including acting awards for Pacino, Streep, Parker, and Wright.

Angels in America

And, in 2014, Ryan Murphy, the man behind the award-winning series, “American Horror Story” and “Glee”, will be directing the Larry Kramer-penned, Tony Award-winning play, “The Normal Heart”.

TheNormalHeart

The HBO movie stars Julia Roberts, Mark Ruffalo, Jim Parsons. Matt Bomer, and Taylor Kitsch, and focuses on the AIDS crisis in New York City in the early-1980s.

For those of you that don’t know him, Larry Kramer is and was one of the biggest health advocates in the history of HIV/AIDS and helped start the protest organization, ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), in early 1987.

“AND, THE ACADEMY AWARD FOR BEST ACTOR SHOULD GO TO…”

dallas_buyers_club

Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”!

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

GRADE:  A

MUSICIAN LEND A VOICE, TOO

Madonna, George Michael, Cyndi Lauper, the Pet Shop Boys, and many other musicians have recorded songs about HIV and AIDS and losing friends or lovers to the disease.

In 1986, Elton John was joined by Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder on “That’s What Friends Are For”.  That Grammy Award-winning song reached #1 and raised over $3 million dollars for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, a nonprofit organization founded by some leading AIDS specialist and actress Elizabeth Taylor.

Six years later, Elton John founded the nonprofit organization, the Elton John AIDS Foundation.  His 1992 hit, “The Last Song”, about a father and son reuniting before the son died of AIDS, was the first of Elton’s American singles to benefit his AIDS foundation.

While pop music embraced the fight against HIV/AIDS and lent a voice, it took the biggest name in country music almost twenty years ago to release a song that was controversial in that musical genre to put a heterosexual face to AIDS.

Reba She Thinks His Name Was John

Typically, summer radio is filled with bubbly, fun songs.  However, in 1994, Reba McEntire serviced “She Thinks His Name Was John” to country radio as the second single from “Read My Mind”.   The song tells the story of a woman, who is dying alone of AIDS after an alcohol-fueled one night stand a few years earlier.

The song only reached #14 on the Billboard County charts.  But, it opened eyes in a genre that was used to drinking songs, but not one with the horrors of a disease that affected a large number of gay men.

While things are changing, there’s still a long way to go in the fight against HIV and AIDS.  And, we still need to educate people.

Annie Lennox

Back in 2010, Annie Lennon of the Eurythimics wore a “HIV Positive” shirt on “Idol Gives Back”.  This prompted many to think that she was ill.

She replied, “I can tell you the good news is actually I am not. However, many people are. In fact, 22 million in sub-Saharan Africa are currently HIV positive.  And I am wearing this in solidarity with them because it’s very hard when you are HIV positive to be open about your status and to be able to tell your family and your friends.”

Annie Lennox

Red Ribbon

You may not see many people these days wearing red ribbons to raise awareness, but more people than ever are getting infected with HIV.  Last year, around the world, 2.3 million people were newly affected!

hiv_013

Since 1981, more than 636,000 people have died from AIDS in the United States.  If those numbers don’t wake you up, try these:

AmFAR Stats

On this “World AIDS Day”, remember those who have lost the battle with AIDS.  Whether you know it or not, I can almost guarantee that you know someone who is HIV-positive or that you will in the future.

STOP AIDS

Abstaining from sex is what some tell you to do.  That works.  However, if you’re going to be sexually active, protect yourself.  Use condoms!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that “Latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are highly effective in preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.”

HIV and AIDS are preventable.  Be safe.  It’s not just a slogan!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 6

The weekend is almost here, but it’s going to be a short one for me since I work Sunday evening.  However, I’m going to make the most of it.  We’re having a yard sale with the rest of the neighborhood today and tomorrow and we’ve already decided that the money we make will go toward Las Vegas in the spring of 2014!

Riverfront Pops

Saturday night, we’re going to the Riverfront Pops concert at LeClaire Park in Davenport, Iowa, featuring the music of Michael Jackson and then fireworks!  As you can see from this picture, it was the music of ABBA last year!

ABBA Riverfront Pops

Have a great weekend and make the most of it.  I hope you enjoy my random thoughts this week.  If so, let me know.  If not, let me know why.

SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS IN ARIZONA

No, I’m not talking about Governor Jan Brewer this time, but that, too, is a sad state of affairs!

This is about Daniel Hernandez, Jr., the intern who helped save then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ life by applying first-aid assistance in the January 2011 deadly shooting rampage near Tucson, Arizona, where six people died and twenty others were hurt.

Tucson-shooting-vitims-007

Later that year, Hernandez was elected to the Sunnyside Unified School District, which covers southern Tucson and adjacent areas in Pima County.  Now, he and three other board members (out of five) are facing a recall campaign.

However, for Hernandez, it’s more personal and it’s a smear campaign.

Hernandez Slam

Seriously, he’s being attacked because he’s gay!  And, that means he’s not a “real man”???  People in that school district need to wake up and smell the orange juice.  Did the country not learn anything from Anita Bryant and John Briggs’ anti-gay discrimination from the 1970s?

Hernandez has the support from Gabby from this Tweet she sent out.

Gabrielle Giffords

Good luck, Daniel!

If you want to read more about those idiots (Bryant & Briggs), here’s my blog from last October about their 1970s hatred:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/sour-orange-juice-fruit-pies/

ILLINOIS HOUSE, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

To the Illinois House, it’s time for you to move forward and make marriage equality a reality in the “Land of Lincoln”.

By doing so, Illinois would join 13 other states, the District of Columbia, seven counties in New Mexico (next week), and five Native American tribes in the United States that offer same-sex marriage.

Here in Illinois, the Senate approved a marriage equality bill in early 2013, but it stalled in the House this past May before it adjourned.  Proponents say they were just a few votes shy.

Politicians no longer can use the excuse that the general public does not support marriage equality.  More people than ever are saying “yes” to equality and in last November’s election, voters in Maine, Maryland, and Minnesota said “yes” to marriage equality.  And, this summer, the U.S. Supreme Court did away with parts of the Defense of Marriage Act.

Supporters are ready this time.  The American Civil Liberties Union has hired former state Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady, who supports marriage equality, to lobby Republicans.

Illinois Unites For Marriage

And, “Illinois Unites for Marriage” put together that amazing video from the Bud Billiken Parade in Chicago to reach out to the city’s black community, which has people like Reverend James Meeks condemning marriage equality.  Meeks says, “Men should not be marrying men, and women should not be marrying women.  God does not support homosexuality, and neither do I.”

forum-CST-1215-11.JPG

Illinois, it’s time to make marriage available for all in the state.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Losing WeightRetiringRain

MIDWESTERN DROUGHT INTENSIFIES

I really wish I could make the clouds cry over the Quad Cities without being a bully.  It’s now been 32 days since we saw measurable rain in the Quad Cities.  This is now the 5th longest period without rainfall, officially, at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.

Dry Days

That photo, showing how dry it is, was taken by my friend, Cindy Farmer, near Kewanee, Illinois, about 30 minutes from the Quad Cities.

It’s hard to believe that we had more than 20″ of rain back in April, May, and June, and now we’re seeing a “moderate” to “severe” drought.

Let’s all do a rain dance or pretend that we’re Lizzie Cooper and call the Rainman.

Tanya Tucker, who I idolized as a kid, hit #1 in 1975  with that song, “Lizzie and the Rainman”.  It was her eighth Top 40 country hit and her fourth to hit #1.  It also peaked at #37 on the Billboard Hot 100, her first, and only, crossover hit.

CONGRATULATIONS LANCE & MICHAEL

Former ‘N Sync band member, Lance Bass, is now engaged.

Lance Bass - Michael Turchin

The 34-year-old proposed to his boyfriend, Michael Turchin, in New Orleans.

Lance says, “New Orleans is my favorite city in the world, it really is. I’ve been coming here my whole life.  I was born just across the border here (in Laurel, Mississippi). …I got down on one knee and I proposed, right in front of Jackson Square, my favorite place.  I was pretty nervous.”

Of course, Michael said, “yes”.

The two have been seeing each other since December 2011.

Congratulations Lance and Michael!

Lance’s former band, ‘N Sync, had many hits.  “Tearin’ Up My Heart” is from 1997 and it was their second release, a Top Ten radio airplay hit.

TWO MOVIES TO CHECK OUT

Last weekend, in our quest not to binge watch season three of “The Walking Dead”, we rented three movie.  All three were enjoyable, but I highly recommend two of them.

Amour

“Amour” took home the Academy Award this year for Best Foreign Language Film and was up for three other Oscars including Best Actress (Emmanuelle Riva), Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director.

It tells the story of an aging married couple that has to deal with the onset of failing health and memory and not wanting to resort to life in a nursing home or a hospice.  Both Riva and her on-screen husband, Jean-Louis Trintignant won Cesar Awards, the French equivalent to the American Oscar, for their performances.

GRADE:  A

“Olympus Has Fallen”

This terrorists take over the White House movie came out a couple of months before Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx’s very, very similar movie, “White House Down”.  While I enjoyed Channing in his white tank top and his movie, “Olympus” was far more superior in its story line and acting.

olympus-has-fallen

“Olympus Has Fallen” stars Gerard Butler, Oscar winners Morgan Freeman and Melissa Leo, Oscar nominee Angela Bassett, Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott, and Golden Globe nominees Aaron Eckhart and Ashley Judd.

Since it was directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”), you know it’s a very violent movie.  But, it’s also very entertaining and definitely worth seeing.

GRADE:  B+

The third movie we watched was “Mud” starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon (in a much smaller role).

mud

The movie is about love and redemption.  It also focuses on the bond between McConaughey’s  on-the run criminal character and 14-year-old Ellis, an Arkansas boy helping “Mud” get back with the woman he loves.

GRADE:  B-

While enjoyable in “Mud”, I’m more impressed with McConaughey’s recent performances in “The Paperboy”, “Killer Joe”, and “Magic Mike”.  However, it’s his upcoming role in “Dallas Buyers Club” that has people really take him serious as an actor and there’s pre-season buzz that he could get his first Oscar nomination!

dallas_buyers_club

In the movie, out November 1, 2013, McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic, straight man from Texas who is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and is told that he has 30 days to live.  He begins smuggling alternative medication into the U.S. from Mexico.  For the role, McConaughey reportedly lost 40 pounds.

Jared Leto

“Dallas Buyers Club” also stars Jared Leto as a HIV-positive transgendered woman, Rayon, and Jennifer Garner as Ron’s doctor.

FUTURE PICK HIT

26-year-old Scottish singer Emeli Sande is releasing her second single, “My Kind Of Love”, here in America next week.

This is the follow-up to “Next To Me”, which was a Top 20 radio airplay song here in the States.  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Club chart and reached the Top Ten on the Adult Contemporary and R&B/Hip-Hop charts.

YOU HAVE TO GET THIS ALBUM!

“Our Version of Events” has already produced three #1 songs in the U.K. and spent seven weeks at the top of the albums charts there.  It was also the best-selling album of 2012 in the U.K.

Emeli Sande

Sadly, Emeli and the album have not made it big in the United States and that’s a shame.  While the first single, “Next To You” was a modest radio hit here, it topped the charts in Ireland and Scotland and reached the Top 5 in Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, and the U.K.

If you love Adele and Beyonce, you’ll love this album.  It’s one of my favorites that I bought this year.

The album kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Heaven” followed by the new single, “My Kind of Love”, which has a catchy hook and sounds like a hit that Beyonce wishes she had recorded.

If you like more upbeat songs, you’ll love “Daddy” featuring Naughty Boy and “Next To Me”.

If slower songs really grab your attention, you’ll love “Suitcase” and “Breaking The Law”, both amazing songs with aching vocals.

But, my favorite song on the album is “Clown”, which reached the Top Ten in a few countries across Europe.

“Our Version of Events” is an album you need to add to your collection!  It spent 63 consecutive weeks in the Top Ten on the U.K. charts breaking the record established by the Beatles almost 50 years ago when “Please Please Me” stayed in the Top Ten for 62 straight weeks.

GRADE:  B+

STOP FIGHTING, YOU’RE BOTH PRETTY

The “Boy” is in a feud with the boys of One Direction and their fans, which is scarier.

Boy George One Direction

Recently, at the BRIT Awards, Boy George asked the boy band for an autograph for his niece and Harry obliged,  but Liam Payne didn’t.  Boy George, always the one to speak his mind, got One Direction’s fans riled up.   He said, “”Top marks to Harry Styles for stopping for a picture with my niece and Bollox’s to Liam and the disrespectful wanker of a minder!”

Liam Boy George

But, Liam didn’t take it lying down.

He fired back in a Tweet, “@BoyGeorge now now boy lets not tell porkies. Firstly thanks for getting my name wrong three times secondly then asking me where is liam?…awkward. Then when you finally got it right saying you wanted Niall instead.  If you would have asked me for a picture i would have stopped bro i just did what you said and pointed niall out for you so u just keep wearing ur strange hats and enjoy yourself my little Georgie pie… It’s still not cool you just look weird.”

Boy told the “Daily Star” that the band is not as straight as their fans think, “The odds are one of One Direction must be gay.  I think everyone is a bit bisexual deep down, so the odds are they are probably all bisexual. They’re rock stars so it’s what you’d expect, isn’t it? I’d be disappointed if they weren’t. Tattoos don’t make you butch. Look at me.”

And, then the One Direction fans started in on Boy George.  He claims, “One tweeted me saying:  ‘My mum says you’re a horrible old has-been.’ I tweeted back saying: ‘Your mum’s probably an old, fat ugly b***h.'”

George adds,  “I was having such a laugh, fighting with One Dir­ection’s fans all night. I did say some vile things, I had too much sugar. But I really enjoyed it.”

Nothing like a little Twitter Twitting!

One Direction hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 this summer with “Best Song Ever” and it’s currently of the 20 most played songs on pop radio.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

From 1982 through 1986, Boy George and Culture Club scored ten Top 40 hits in America.

Their first six singles reached the Top Ten.  Of those, only “Karma Chameleon” reached #1 (in 1984).  Their introduction in America was “Do You Really Want To Hurt Me”, which spent three weeks at #2 in the spring of 1983.

Nothing makes me feel better than listening to 1980s music and boy bands and I featured two today!  Enjoy your weekend and stay cool!

Anthony