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.
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”.
The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.
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.
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
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.
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 .
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”.
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.
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″!
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.
Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!
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.
Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!
Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.
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.”
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.
With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!