Posts Tagged ‘Paris France’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 16, 2020

Here’s wishing you a great weekend and thank you for checking out what’s on my mind this week.

I’ll go ahead and get the heavy stuff out the way and move on to happier thoughts!

“SEXUAL PREFERENCE” & “CHOICE”

Those two terms, when talking about people in the LGBTQ community, are outdated and if you use them, it shows you’re misinformed and out of touch!

It’s especially alarming when an unqualified candidate to become a Supreme Court justice uses them!

I never made a “choice” and “preferred” to be discriminated against as a gay man and to be a “second class citizen”!

When did you choose to be straight?  You don’t remember? 

Of course not, it wasn’t a choice!  You were “born this way”, just as I was “born this way”!

WHY ARE PEOPLE SO DISGUSTING?

What kind of world do we live in?

It saddens and angers me when some in the “basket of deplorables” (yes, I said and I own it!) plotted to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer!

Just look at this disgusting group!

I agree with Governor Whitmer that “words matter” and they are domestic terrorists!

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam was also targeted.

Ironically (???), both are Democratic governors!

I know there have been assassination attempts and plots in my lifetime against American presidents and politicians.

However, this insanity has to stop. I hope the first step is taken November 3, 2020!

“THE BOYS IN THE BAND”

The latest Ryan Murphy television event debuted a couple of weeks ago on Netflix and it’s fantastic, caustic, and catty!

It’s a remake of the 1968 Off-Broadway play by Mart Crowley, which was made into a 1970 movie directed by William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”).

Before adapting this into a movie, Murphy brought a revival of the play to Broadway in 2018 with the same cast members — Jim Parsons, Matt Bomer, Zachary Quinto, Andrew Rannells, Robin De Jesus, Michael Benjamin Washington, Charlie Carver, Tuc Watkins, and Brian Hutchinson.

Jim Parsons deserves an Emmy nomination in 2021 and my favorite character in the movie was the flamboyant and effeminate Emory, played by Robin De Jesus.

My best friend asked me which characters were us in our younger days. For me, I’d say a combination of Bomer’s (chill, but not depressed) and Carver’s (naive, but not an escort) characters.

However, in my 20s, I didn’t have the sexiness of either! 🙂

GRADE: A

RAINBOW OREOS

There’s a new Oreo cookie, but you won’t be able to buy it in stores!

OREO and PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) are releasing the limited edition rainbow cookie in celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month.

The cookies will be given away to fans as a “reward acts of allyship for the LGBTQ+ community”.

The cookies are part of the new Proud Parent platform, “a long-term campaign shining light on the importance of a supportive family in fostering greater LGBTQ+ acceptance.”

“LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE”

This eight-episode Hulu original series is based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 critically acclaimed novel. It’s great!

While Reese Witherspoon (Mia Warren) and Kerry Washington (Elena Richardson) are amazing in this series, it’s the young stars that carry much of the weight in this drama that takes place outside Cleveland, Ohio.

Lexi Underwood, Mia’s teenager daughter Pearl, Gavin Lewis (Moody), and Megan Stott (Izzy), two of Elena’s kids, are incredible young actors.

You’re captivated by them in every one of their scenes.

And, your heart breaks whenever Huang Lu, who plays Bebe Chow, a co-worker of Mia’s in Shaker Heights, is on screen.

Not to be outdone by the female leads and the younger cast, Joshua Jackson’s tighty whities got a lot of press from that one scene! 🙂

Jackson handled the attention like a star, “Who knew that all these years what was missing from my career was parading around in my tighty-whities… I’m in my 40s now. I enjoy getting objectified!”

Now, I’m going to read the critically acclaimed book.

GRADE: A-

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month!

UNTIL #PUG2021, THIS WILL DO!

With Covid-19 and things, I’ve pushed back getting my pug until the spring or summer of 2021.

So, #Pug2020 is now #Pug2021. Until then, this will have to do! 🙂

CHICAGO CURIOSITIES

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

It was autographed by McNamee to Ann and Bill and a gift from Doug! I guess they didn’t want it anymore! 🙂 I picked it up at a yard sale.

Anyway, here are some of the more interesting factoids I learned. *Keep in mind that this is a 29-year-old book and the stats may be outdated. I didn’t check for their current validity — that’s another benefit of Google if you choose to check!* 🙂

  • The suburbs once had a Romeo and Juliet in the pioneer days! In 1845, “Juliet” became Joliet and “Romeo” was renamed Romeoville in 1895.
  • One of the nicknames of Mayor Jane Byrne, the first woman elected to the office, was “the Snow Queen”.
  • After the “Chicago Blizzard of 1979”, Byrne used the ineffectiveness of Mayor Michael Bilandic to clear away the snow and it helped her beat Mayor Daley’s “Democratic Machine”!
  • In that 1979 election, Byrne received more than 700,000 votes (82% of the votes cast). No other mayoral candidates have gotten that many votes in an election since!
  • While it was costlier, “The Great Chicago Fire” (1871) was not the deadliest fire in the city. On December 30, 1903, 602 people were killed in the Iroquois Theater Fire.
  • In its 105 years of operation, more than a billion (that’s with a “B”) creatures were slaughtered at The Union Stockyards. Its busiest year was 1924 — it received 18.65 million head of livestock! This help earn Chicago the nickname, “Hog Butcher for the World”! (Now, I’m going to read Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, “The Jungle”.)
  • The Hostess Twinkie was invented in Schiller Park in 1930 by James Dewar. Dewar ate two Twinkies each day and lived to be 88!
  • Other foods that got their start in Chicago: Cracker Jack (19 tons a day made at the plant in Northbrook), Tootsie Roll and Tootsie Roll Pops (20 to 30 million pieces made daily at the Cicero plant), and Vienna hot dogs (104 million made in 1991 on Damen)!

MY FAVORITE BIRTHDAYS

While I had a birthday earlier this week, it was just another day of work, walking, and reading. My sister is making a birthday dinner for me this weekend! 🙂

As I reflect back, my four most recent favorites were in 2011 — my last with my golden retriever, Miss ABBA.

In 2012, I enjoyed an endless mimosa brunch topped off with carrot cake at the Stratosphere in Las Vegas.

That night, I partied with Madonna! Actually, she was on stage and I was hanging out with 13,000 of her friends!

My most memorable birthday ever (and I doubt this will ever be topped) was in 2014, when I turned 50.

At midnight, I was sipping champagne sitting at a stage table at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, France after a dinner cruise on the Seine River and looking out at a foggy city from atop the Eiffel Tower!

The next day, it was off to my dream birthday destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

And, in 2018, while in Morocco, my tour guide and my group surprised me with a birthday cake!

While this birthday was uneventful, here’s to many more healthy and more exciting ones in the future — like, seeing Kylie Minogue in concert in some fun foreign city in 2021 for the “Disco Tour”!

If you haven’t seen the two new Kylie videos from the upcoming “Disco” album (November 6, 2020), here they are!

If you love disco or dance music, these will make you happy! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

The Way to a Man’s Heart…

It’s no secret that I love food — whether it’s eating out or entertaining at home.

When it comes to entertaining, I think cheesecakes are my specialty!

Why cheesecakes specifically and not just cakes? Because just the thought of decorating a cake with frosting is a nightmare for me — I wouldn’t even attempt it for guests!

Here are some of my favorite cheesecakes I’ve made over the years!

Anthony's Cheesecakes

Once it’s safe again to eat out and socialize, I can’t wait to embark on a new beginning in a familiar state. 

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite dining experiences (so far) and I’ll conclude with the most magical meal ever!!!

Since I’m now living in central Illinois, I’ll start off with a beautiful and tasty appetizer I had in May 2012 at Destihl in Champaign, Illinois, as I was passing through on my way to Indianapolis, Indiana.

At the time, I wrote, “Not only was it very tasty and refreshing… I was so mesmerized by the presentation.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was “Watermelon & Feta” (cubed watermelon, house olives, feta, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, and micro greens) and “Shrimp Ceviche” (shrimp, cilantro, lime, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado mousse).

The meal was so delightful that I dedicated a whole blog entry to it!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/destihl-my-beating-heart/

But, back to the beginning! 

Growing up poor in western Kentucky, we really didn’t get to eat out much. Our Aunt Norma would occasionally treat us to burgers, chili pies, and cold mug root beer at K & N Drive-In in Mayfield.

On the rare occasions our father did take us out, there was a roadside joint just outside Mayfield called Jack’s Drive-In. Basically, it was a carry out place with some picnic tables.

While it had the best cheeseburgers, my favorite sandwich was the fried veal patty!  Who knows what it really was!!!  And, I wouldn’t eat either of them now since I don’t eat beef anymore! 

My first server job was at the Happy House Restaurant in Mayfield in the 1980s.  One of the specialties was the “House Tea”, which was very sweet tea with special touches — a combination of fruit juices!  Delicious!

They also had the best desserts (Kentucky Derby Pie was my favorite), prime rib at night on the weekends, and the Copenhagen.

It’s an open-face turkey sandwich with a spinach mayo dressing!

But, my favorite restaurant in western Kentucky is Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, located in the Land Between The Lakes area.

It’s the only reason I go back to Kentucky!

They’re well-known for the amazing thick pork chops and appetizers like the beer-battered cheese sticks and the blooming onion!

Their homemade desserts are incredible — the meringue on the pies is whipped a mile high and the Sawdust Pie is just out of this world! 

Luckily, they’ve shared that recipe and I make it on special occasions!

My favorite meal ever, from a fresh, flavorful experience, was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

This was brought out as our “salad” before the entrees — and this was just for two people!

I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since I love lists, I’ll highlight a couple of other dining experiences and restaurants.

My favorite entree was in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016, at Tavernpointe in Midtown.

It was a Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, and pico).

And, my favorite brunch or buffet is Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas!

Can you say, “Bottomless Mimosas”?

That was my brunch on my last visit in December 2019.

It was a 4.5-hour meal. I outlasted the lunch server and the evening server kept the mimosas flowing!

And, yes, I savored every bite of all four courses! I don’t waste food. 🙂

In addition to the great restaurants and meals I’ve highlighted, there was also a dinner cruise on the Seine River in Paris, France, that ended with a visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a stage-side seat at the historic Moulin Rouge sipping champagne as I turned 50!

As I wrap this up, I now want to share details of the most magical dining experience in my life (so far)!!!

It was on my first solo international trip to Morocco for my birthday in 2018. Marrakesh was my favorite city I visited in this northwestern African country.

My own “Crazy” (rich?) “Asians” (Pom, Sheila, Po Po, and Izzy) made the evening and my time in Morocco so memorable and fun.  

I met these wonderful ladies at the beginning of the trip and I shared a lot of time with them — an incredible group of friends!

Our evening started off with with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakesh at sunset and a jaunt through the crowded souk (an Arab marketplace or bazaar) in the Medina (the old quarter of town) on the way to dinner.

Once we were dropped off from the carriage ride, we made our way through a series of alleys that looked like a deserted, bombed out part of town!

But, at the end of the maze was the incredible and gorgeous Lotus Privilege Restaurant!

Once we stepped inside, per custom, we washed our hands with warm water from a elegant silver tea pot.  We were then handed a tasty drink and took in the spectacular scenery.

I’m not being vain here.  I just couldn’t choose which beautiful backdrop to share!

Our three-course meal started with a tasting menu of incredibly colorful and tasty Moroccan salads.

This was followed by entrees of either cockerel (chicken), veal, or fish Tagine (my pick), and three choices for dessert. 

I chose the pastilla with light cream and crushed almonds with fresh mint!

And, we were treated to live, energetic African music and an elegant, gorgeous belly dancer!

What a memorable evening!

And, while there are still many places I still want to visit (Greece, Cambodia, and Vietnam), I’d love to go back to Morocco!

As we head into the summer and life returns to the “new normal”, I can’t wait to find delicious food and fun experiences in central Illinois!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 31, 2018

Where does time go?

It’s Labor Day weekend, which, to some, marks the “unofficial” end of summer!

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

BAD THINGS FOLLOW ME???

I know it’s only coincidence, but I’m beginning to think that bad things follow me!

In January 2017, I was at The Jacksonsville Landing Mall.

Jacksonville.jpg

Just last Sunday, a gunman opened fire there killing three (including himself) and injuring 11 others (ten by gunfire).

There are others places I’ve visited that were followed by mass shootings and the time frame was closer!

I was in Ottawa, Ontario, in September 2014.

AP Ottawa.jpg

One month later, a gunman opened fire on Parliament Hill and the Canadian National War Museum.  He killed one and injured three others.

AP Paris

I was in Paris, France, in October 2014.

Less than three months later, two French Muslim extremists attacked the “Charlie Hebdo” headquarters killing 13 people and two days later, another terrorist killed four others in a grocery story.

And, then on November 13, 2015, coordinated attacks across the city killed 137 (89 of those were at the Bataclan Theatre), including seven perpetrators.

Vegas

And, I was in Las Vegas in March 2017, and October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert killing 58 and injuring another 851 (422 by gunfire).

LV

And, I’ll end this craziness with a couple of bittersweet photos.

When I was in Las Vegas two months after this massacre, a gorgeous “Vegas Strong”
Remembrance Garden was built for the victims.

Vegas Strong.JPG

OH DONNIE, KEEP YOUR TWEETS STRAIGHT!

The top one is from this week and the bottom one is from six years ago!

FYI, Donnie, “extremely credible source” is just another term for “anonymous source”!

Oh Trump.JPG

KAREN CARPENTER’S WEDDING

This weekend in 1980 (Sunday, August 31), Karen Carpenter got married.

KC Wedding

The wedding to real-estate developer Thomas James Burris took place in the Crystal Room at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Sunset Boulevard.

The menu included Karen’s favorites, shrimp salad, a main course of chicken chasseur with broccoli polonaise, rise pilaf, strawberries Romanoff, and Parducci Chablis wine.

Five-tiered chocolate and mocha creme cake was served for dessert.

Sadly, while hospitalized, Karen filed for divorce on October 28, 1982, (just fourteen months later) because their relationship was built on lies that Burris told her.

Three months later Karen was dead!

If you’d like to read a great book about Karen and The Carpenters, check out “Little Girl Blue:  The Life of Karen Carpenter” by Randy L. Schmidt.

MY FAVORITE CARPENTERS’ SONGS

The Carpenters are still one of my favorite musical acts of all time.  Here are my five favorite songs!

#5 “RAINY DAYS & MONDAYS”

#4 “WE’VE ONLY JUST BEGUN”

#3 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU”

#2 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING”

#1 “TOP OF THE WORLD”

“INSATIABLE”

This Netflix series was trashed before it even premiered based on the trailer.

It was accused of fat-shaming and homophobia.

After watching the 12-episode series, while it was borderline, at times, on both of those subjects, I didn’t find it offensive.

Yes, Patty (Debby Ryan) thought that by being thin would change everything in her life.  She comes to realize that’s not true.

One character even tells her, “Being skinny don’t mean shit if you’re ugly on the inside.”

As for homophobia, there’s some name-calling that’s offensive.  However, I’ve known effeminate straight men, so I find Bob Armstrong’s (Dallas Roberts) character realistic.

Alyssa Milano is incredible as Coralee, Bob’s wife.

Milano did get some bad press over a story line involving her husband being accused of inappropriate behavior with a minor and her character didn’t believe the victim.

In real life, that’s bad.  But, this is a dramedy and Milano’s character and her real life involvement with the #MeToo movement are not the same!

By the way, Christopher Gorham is super hot in this series!

Christopher Gorham.jpg

GRADE:  B+

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD”

If you’re looking for something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:

“I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.”

GRADE:  B

“AMERICAN GIGOLO”

I know this movie came out in 1980 and I’m just getting around to watch it.  The $5 million blockbuster brought in almost $53 million and introduced the world to Richard Gere!  Let me tell you, he’s damn hot!

Gere plays an escort in Los Angeles and gets wrapped up in situation where a trick takes a bad turn.

But, what I find most interesting watching the movie almost forty years after its release was the very homophobic tones, which fit perfectly into the early-1980s of the Reagan years.

Also, Gere used a phrase that I’ll write as “R F” (politically incorrect term for a mentally challenged gay person).  It floored me at just how gross the term sounded today and that it was okay to use either of the derogatory terms even then!

GRADE:  B

ALCAZAR

The Swedish dance group Alcazar has scored ten Top Ten hits in their native country since their first single was released in 1999.

Worldwide, between 2001-2004, they sold more than 12 million records.

In the U.S., they gained notoriety when their club hit “Crying at the Discotheque” was featured on the first season of “Queer As Folk” and it made the soundtrack.

The song also featured the line, “He wore a tie like Richard Gere”! 🙂

They also had another hit in 2002 with a remake of The Human League’s #1 hit from 1982, “Don’t You Want Me”.

“THE BELKO EXPERIENCE”

I took a chance of this movie which is more of a psychological thriller rather than a “horror” movie as it’s billed in this trailer.  And, it’s actually a decent movie that didn’t make much money!

As workers arrive at a South American company, some notice the usual guards are not at the gates.

Shortly into the work day, a menacing message comes across the intercom telling them that in order to survive, they must kill other employees!

Talk about a rough day on the job!

Tony Goldwyn (“Scandal”) is the biggest star and when the movie reaches its climax, another “Scandal” regular makes an appearance!  SPOILER! 🙂

GRADE:  B

“THE STEPFORD WIVES” REMAKE

I finally got around to seeing the 2004 remake of “The Stepford Wives” and even Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler couldn’t save this mess.

However, there was this funny exchange between Bobbie Markowitz (Midler) and Joanna Eberhardt (Kidman) that cracked me up!

SW

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony