Posts Tagged ‘President Joe Biden’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 10, 2021

The weekend is upon us and I’m happy to be sharing some of the thoughts on my mind this week.

And, I appreciate you taking the time to check them out.

As always, we don’t have to agree. But, if you choose to disagree, be intelligent and diplomatic about it!

RAMPING UP THE FIGHT TO END THE PANDEMIC

Here is a Thursday afternoon breaking news headline and story from the Associated Press in President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic and to make America safer!

MR. ED WANTS HIS MEDS BACK!

This ISN’T about those of you that refuse to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccinations available in the United States. (But, I wish you would!)

However, it just boggles my mind that there are an increasing number of people that don’t trust the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but will go to a store and buy a horse de-wormer as a treatment measure!!!

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says Ivermectin is causing “all kinds of issues” in people consuming it, including liver problems and nausea.

Arwady adds, “First and foremost, do not ever, please, take any medicine that is formulated for animals. It’s dangerous, and it can really be a problem.”

Wait, there’s a call for you, idiots!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that Ivermectin overdoses can bring on seizures, coma, and, even death!

WHILE I’M TALKING VET DRUGS

Another example of a drug veterinarians use that should not be in the hands (or bodies) of the public — ketamine (aka “Special K”).

This anesthetic, which is, in many cases, is used illegally by people to get high.

This dissociative drug produces auditory distortion and a detachment from reality. Like GHB, some use ketamine-based drugs as a “date-rape” drug because it causes memory loss.

So… NO! NO! NO! to using drugs and medications that should be left to veterinarians!

The COVID-19 vaccines make much more sense!

IN OTHER HAPPIER NEWS (IF YOU HAVEN’T DISOWNED ME)…

OH, DADDY!

In the “Oh, how I wish it was with me, but it isn’t” category, congratulations go out to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten on becoming the parents of two newborns!

Buttigieg posted on Instagram, “Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we’re becoming parents. We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”

NEW ELTON JOHN DUETS ALBUM

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the new Elton John/Dua Lipa hit, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”.

It features Elton singing part of his 1990 hit “Sacrifice” (one of his best and most underappreciated hits) and Lipa belting out his 1972 classic “Rocket Man”.

The song is remixed by Australia’s Pnau (brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore and Peter Mayes).

Now, I know it’s part of the new Elton John album, “The Lockdown Sessions”, and will feature sixteen duets.

Here’s the track listing:

The album drops October 22, 2021.

ABBA LIVES ON!

The iconic Swedish band ABBA shocked the world last week by announcing a new album later this fall and “tour dates” in the spring of 2022!

Fans already knew the legendary band had recorded some new music. However, the announcement that “Voyage”, the first new studio album since “The Visitors” forty years ago, will arrive November 5, 2021, was definitely earth-shattering!

The new album will feature ten new songs including the ballad “I Still Have Faith in You” and the upbeat pop song “Don’t Shut Me Down.”

Billboard magazine reports that ABBA “will be reborn as avatars that will take the stage with a live 10-piece band for the shows and “will perform a run of shows in a specially built arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London beginning on May 27, 2022”.

THE RYAN MURPHY UNIVERSE

While it may not be as well known or as lucrative as the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ryan Murphy’s domination of the television medium is probably the equivalent to Marvel’s box office domination.

I was intrigued with the seven episode, first season of “American Horror Stories” (not to be confused with the long-running anthology series, “American Horror Story”). “Stories” was renewed for a second season.

Instead of one theme running through an entire season, “Stories” was pretty much like “The X-Files” when it featured a different monster or case of the week!

Now, I’m watching then tenth season of “American Horror Story: Double Feature”, which is unique because this season will feature six episodes with the “Red Tide” (“by the sea”) theme and the four final episodes are “Death Valley” (“by the sand”).

And, watching “American Horror Stories” and “AHS: Double Feature” got me excited about two more Ryan Murphy series.

“AMERICAN CRIME STORY: IMPEACHMENT”

Those two were keeping me entertained until the higher prestige series, “American Crime Story: Impeachment”, dealing with Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and the fallout, arrived.

I loved the first two Emmy Award installments dealing with the O.J. Simpson trial and the shooting death of Gianni Versace and the manhunt for Andrew Cunanan. If you haven’t seen them, binge watch now!

In “Impeachment”, it was interesting seeing Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton, although she was only in one scene in the series debut. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched Falco in anything — not even “The Sopranos” or “Nurse Jackie”.

The first episode aired earlier this week. It was okay, but I know it was just setting up the drama. I can’t wait to see the next nine episodes!

“RATCHED”

The other series from Ryan Murphy I’m ready for is “Ratched”!

I’m ready for more Sarah Paulson and Finn Wittrock (yes, one of my fantasies) in season two of the incredible series from Murphy.

No information yet for the release date!

MORE CHERNOBYL

Here are a few more things I found interesting from the Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book “Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

I shared some last week.

Three years after the explosion, the “Moscow News” reported that parts of the Ukraine, just 40 kilometers west of the “Exclusion Zone” near Reactor Number Four were still radioactive hot spots. Farmers noticed a steep rise in the number of livestock with birth defects, such as “piglets with froglike eyes and malformed skulls, and calves born without legs, eyes, and heads.”

It was even reported that tons of pork and beef contaminated with radioactive cesium had been mixed in with sausages and sold to the unsuspected public. The government said this was not true and that Chernobyl sausage was safe to eat and it was processed “in strict accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of the USSR.”

While the first three reactors were supposed to be shut down within five years of the 1986 explosion, the last of the Chernobyl reactors didn’t go offline until 2000.

“THE CHINA SYNDROME”

I finally got around to watching the 1979 classic, “The China Syndrome”, with Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas.

The nuclear disaster meltdown flick earned $51.7 million on a $5.9 million budget and earned four Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Lemmon and Best Actress for Fonda.

After watching six seasons of “Grace and Frankie” with octogenarian Fonda (she’s 83 now), it was awesome seeing her as a very sexy 41-year-old! (She’s very sexy now at 83, too!)

GRADE: B+

“GERALD FORD”

Douglas Brinkley’s 2007 book is part of “The American Presidents” series.

What I really liked about this book is that while it’s comprehensive (not as much as a real biography or an autobiography), it was an easy read at just 160 pages!

One interesting thing about Gerard Ford is that isn’t his real name. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, as Leslie Lynch King Jr.

His mother, Dorothy, left her abusive husband and moved in with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and met and married Gerald R. Ford in 1917. He informally adopted her child and named him after himself. The child would officially change his name in 1935!

After two failed assassination attempts against him in September 1975 by women in California, Ford, in 2003, said he told Betty, “I’m going to have to review my support for the Equal Rights Amendment. These women are trying to kill me.”

On Inauguration Day 1977, President Ford was deeply touched and surprised when the new President Jimmy Carter opened him speech with “For myself and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”

Carter and Ford, after a bitter campaign in 1976, became good friends and each asked the other to give the eulogy at their funerals. As you know, President Ford died on December 26, 2006, and President Carter did just as he promised!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 26, 2021

Spring is here and it’s hard to believe we’re down to the last few days of March!

Make the most of your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

As we head into the second year of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m so excited that 14.1% of Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Illinois, that number is at 14.5%!

And, more than one in four (26.8%) Illinoisans have had at least one dose.

Earlier this week, I joined that group with the Moderna vaccine!!! (One shot down and one shot to go in April!)

Sadly, in the United States, there are more than 30 million reported cases of COVID-19 with 545-thousand-plus deaths!

REMEMBERING GARRY BOWIE

While that death toll rate is staggering and in any situation, one death is one death too many, I want to take a moment to remember Garry Bowie.

Like most of you, I didn’t know of the LGBTQ activist until he died in early April 2020 from COVID-19.

As the former executive director of Long Beach AIDS Foundation, Garry worked tirelessly helping people fight HIV and AIDS in the Greater Long Beach and Los Angeles areas.

What makes his death even more heartbreaking is that he was one of the longest living survivors of the AIDS epidemic. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1983, back when having HIV (and AIDS) was pretty much a death sentence!

Garry was 59.

“THE GREAT BELIEVERS”

I just read the most amazing book, 2018’s “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai and it fits in perfectly with the previous thought.

It tells the story of how the AIDS epidemic decimated Chicago’s gay community in the early-1980s. While fiction, it felt so real — especially if you or your friends lived through that era watching your friends die.

Makkai’s story is so well researched and touching. It had you rooting for characters that you knew were doomed by the “gay cancer” and President Ronald Reagan’s blind eye.

The book isn’t just about a group of friends dying and struggling to stay alive in 1985 Chicago. It also takes you to 2015 Paris and ties the two stories and timelines together!

As a former Chicago transplant (I lived there two years in the 1990s and two more years in the early-2000s), it was fun hearing the names of places I hadn’t thought about in years (Nookie’s and Ann Sather).

Amy Poehler is adapting the book into a television series. I can’t wait to see who is cast as Yale, my favorite character. As I was reading it, I could definitely see Yale in my younger self!

“The Great Believers” is the best fiction book I read in the past year!

SPRING & SUMMER BBQS

On a lighter note…

It’s time to start firing up those grills, so remember the rules for wine pairings.

While it’s recommended you serve white wine with chicken and fish and red with beef, here’s how it used to be! 🙂

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN”

What an incredible movie and it’s now at Redbox!

The dark comedy/drama is up for five Oscars: “Best Picture”, “Best Actress” (Carey Mulligan), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

Mulligan is fantastic in this compelling and heartbreaking movie with a very strong #MeToo message.

It features an all-star cast, including Connie Britton (her one scene is powerful).

GRADE: A

“9-1-1: LONE STAR”

After finding this season’s 16 episodes of “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” on my DVR, I binge watched all eight episodes of the new season of each show, which were amazing.

And, WOW, the last 3 minutes of the winter finale of “9-1-1: Lone Star” brought tears to my eyes and it ended on a shocking out-of-nowhere cliffhanger!

While diversity is a staple of series from Ryan Murphy, I have to hand it to “Lone Star” for probably being one of the most diverse.

There’s a Muslim woman, a transgender man (trans women make up most of the few transgender characters on television), a Cuban woman, two Hispanic men, and then there’s Rob Lowe! 🙂

Also, in the main cast, you have two gay men (one white and one Hispanic) and they’re beautiful together.

MORE JIMMY CARTER

Last week, I sang high praises for Jonathan Alter’s 2020 biography, “His Very Best, Jimmy Carter, A Life”. I also shared a few things I didn’t already know.

Today, I’m sharing a few more tidbits:

Freshman Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, then 33, was the first Senator to endorse Jimmy Carter in his presidential run in early 1976.

John Hinckley Jr., who was obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, planned to assassinate President Carter in the fall of 1980 to impress her.

In September, he followed the president to Dallas and even shook his hand in Dayton, Ohio! But, he had decided that he’d kill President Carter in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 9th. (For the record, but not from this book, Hinckley was arrested at the airport in Nashville for possession of three firearms hours after President Carter arrived there!)

But, the book says that Hinckley had already decided that Carter would lose the 1980 presidential election, so he changed his mind to kill future President Ronald Reagan. He attempted that in March 1981!

Finally, famous celebrity chef and TV star Ina Garten (“Barefoot Contessa”) was an analyst in the Office of Management and Budget in the Carter administration to study nuclear weapons!!!

ONE MORE THING ABOUT INA GARTEN

“Southern Living” says Garten always keeps these three things in her freezer: vodka, vanilla ice cream, and bread!

Those are definitely three of my favorites! (Well, I love flavored ice cream and flavored vodka!)

ONLY NINE MONTHS AWAY!

The countdown is on to Christmas!

It’s only nine months away and this spring, Reba McEntire is getting into the holiday spirit by shooting a Lifetime Christmas movie!

The movie is tentatively titled, “Christmas In Tune”, and will feature a new Reba song.

Here’s the plotline from the press release: Christmas In Tune tells the story of Belle, a marketing executive who is worried she may lose her job.  She decides to reunite a singing duo for a charity Christmas concert in order, but the problem is — the singers are actually her parents and they have not spoken to each other in years! Soon the at-odds couple is helping Belle get her life in order and she begins her own romantic duet with the new man in her life.”

“THIS IS JUST MY FACE: TRY NOT TO STARE”

This is the 2017 autobiography from Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”).

Things I learned from Gabourey:

False reports of her death started on Facebook and then spread to other outlets. About Facebook, she wrote, “You know, that social-media site you use to spy on your ex and find out at election time which of your family members are racist.”

She’s funny as hell and shares many hilarious stories!

At one point she talked about “a girl like me”. Whatever you do, don’t mistakenly think about her being fat or black. She won’t take fat-shaming sitting down or hesitate calling you a racist!

She responds, “Fat-shaming racists make me sick! Just kidding.” You know she’s kidding, right? (Well, personally, my ex used to tell me, “there’s a little bit of truth to your jokes!”)

Sidibe is very serious about calling it like it is, whether you can handle it or not!

At one point in the book, she told of the time she was having a “poor-off” with a really handsome guy that she didn’t know well and she made the comment, “Oh, yeah? Your family ever wait in line for government cheese?”

This really made me laugh!

My personal story: We were very poor growing up, but we didn’t have to wait in line for our government cheese. That’s because my aunt volunteered at the hand-outs and brought ours to us! 🙂

And, let me tell you, it was the best damn cheese I had until I tried international cheeses in my later adult life! 🙂

One other thing that Gabourey and I have in common: we’re both recovering bulimics.

SPEAKING OF…

March 31, 2021, marks my one-year anniversary of being back on the wagon after falling off in the 2019 holiday season through late March 2020!

One year later and one day at a time, it’s a struggle. But, I’m winning!

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN” SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack is phenomenal!

The first song in the movie, “Boys (DROELOE remix) by Charli XCX is so much fun!

It also features a very different remake of “It’s Raining Men” from DeathbyRomy and a very haunting instrumental version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”.

And, in a very cute romantic scene in a store, Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” is played. Am I one of the few that absolutely disliked Hilton, but loved that song???

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 26, 2021

The shortest month of the year is almost over and that means spring is right around the corner!

Thank you for taking time to check out what I’m thinking about this week!

I always value your opinions even if we disagree. Just do it diplomatically!

DOGNAPPING AND SHOOTING!

UPDATE: A woman brought the two missing dogs into the LAPD’s Olympic station in Koreatown Friday night UNHARMED!

Two of Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs were stolen and the other one, Asia, escaped after the dog walker was shot in West Hollywood early Wednesday night. 

The 30-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital and CNN reports that he is recovering well.

While they were missing, TMZ reported that Gaga was offering a “no questions” asked $500,000 reward for Koji and Gustav’s safe return!

FORGIVING STUDENT LOANS

Many in Congress want President Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt.student

Biden told a town hall group in mid-February that he was prepared to write off $10,000, but not $50,000.

He added that community colleges should be free and that “any family making under $125,000 whose kids go to a state university they get into, that should be free, as well.”

I’m totally against forgiving $50,000 of debt! Why?

When I went to college and earned my degree in 1989 and I went back to school for three more years in the early-2000s for another certification, I paid for my education both times all by myself. My parents didn’t assist me financially and the government definitely didn’t erase my debt.

And, once I got my degree, it took more than a year (fall 1990) before I was offered a job in my field of study (television news). I wasn’t even able to take that job, which would have only paid a measly $13,000 a year!

After that, it wouldn’t be until the summer of 1996 that I was finally able to start my career. The offer, again, was $13,000!

With that being said, you can see why I have a problem just forgiving student loan debt!

ONE MORE THING…

Did you know that only 1.25 million students were enrolled in college in 1938?

With the G.I. Bill following World War II, nearly 7.8 million of the 16 million veterans that served in the armed forces decided to take advantage of the bill and go to college!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD” IS FINALLY COMING!!!!!!

“Army of the Dead”, Zack Synder’s highly anticipated zombie heist movie, finally has a Netflix release date of May 21st and the first trailer dropped Thursday! I’m so excited because it takes place in my favorite U.S. city!

It follows a group of mercenaries plotting a Las Vegas casino heist during a zombie outbreak. 

The ensemble cast includes Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy” series), Garret Dillahunt (“Fear The Walking Dead” and “Justified”), and Raúl Castillo (“Looking”).

While I wouldn’t want it to happen with the real places, it’s fun seeing Planet Hollywood, Paris, and the iconic “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” sign crumble in a disaster flick!

“THE HUNT”

This is the movie that got Republicans and Donald Trump in an uproar — before any of them even saw it!

It’s a very sadistic and crazy survival story!

If you love “The Purge” series, you’ll enjoy it and Betty Gilpin (“Glow”) was amazing.

It was my #11 movie of 2020.

GRADE: B

“MRS. AMERICA”

This nine-episode FX on Hulu miniseries focused on the fight for women’s rights in the early-1970s with an all-star cast.

Uzo Aduba won an Emmy Award for her Shirley Chisholm, the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Cate Blanchett was incredible as the mean, close-minded Phyllis Schlafly. (Her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations are pending!)

I know it was the ’70s, but I still can’t understand how women (a lot of homemakers) could be against equal rights for women. And, about Schlafly again, it shocks me that she’d be opposed to gay rights with a gay soon. Sadly, she’s not alone. It still happens today!

One complaint I had about the series (unless I missed it somehow), how can you have a series about women’s rights and the ERA and not mention Helen Reddy and “I Am Woman”?

GRADE: B

THEY SAID WHAT???

Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S. President (in 1807): “The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor am I.”

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley (in 1873): “The paramount mission and destiny of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator.”

“GROCERY”

All month long, in February, I’ve been sharing fun things from Michael Ruhlman’s awesome 2017 book, “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”.

Here are the final mind boggling or interesting things I learned:

Sugar Crisps cereal was introduced in 1949 by Post. It was the first cereal to be covered in sugar and now some cereals are more than 50% sugar!

Frito-Lay started putting 5% fewer chips in the bag and this added as much as $80 million dollars to the company’s bottom line since chips are a $1.6 billion a year business.

Apples are held in vast warehouses filled with oxygen and carbon dioxide, which puts them “to sleep”. When needed, companies “break the room”, thus “if you’re buying a ‘fresh’ American apple in August, it was harvested late last year.”

Between December and May, as much as 90% of fresh domestic tomatoes come from south Florida.

Americans eat 10 billion pounds of cheese each year!

And, one more fun fact!!!!

A 200-pound man uses 30% of his calories to feed his three-pound brain!

STORMY DANIELS BARES IT ALL

“Full Disclosure”, Stormy Daniels’ autobiography, came out in the fall of 2018 to critical success.

What a compelling story!

I’m not talking just about the encounter with Donald Trump and the subsequent threats on her life after her involvement with 45 came out.

From her very painful childhood to working in a strip bar while still a teenager in high school, Daniels is an incredible story teller.

While the book is a great read, her Twitter account is even better and wittier!

And, speaking of that…. In November, I tweeted Stormy to let her know I enjoyed reading her story and she “liked” it!

(By the way, while thunder and lightning are weather terms, it’s also what she calls her boobs!)

“AFTER VISITING FRIENDS: A SON’S STORY”

I just read this 2013 book by “GQ” editor Michael Hainey’s, which tries to find answers about his father’s death.

As a six-year-old, Hainey always believed that his 35-year-old father died of a heart attack in 1970.

However, as an adult, reading the three Chicago newspapers obituaries of his journalist father didn’t add up, so he started inquiring about the mystery decades later.

Great book!

“THE WOMAN WHO LOST HER SOUL”

Bob Shacochis’ 2013 book is fiction, yet it covers five decades of tragedies based on real-life events — rape and murder in World War II Europe as the Germans invaded small countries, murder in the Middle East and Turkey in the 1980s, to destitution in war and hurricane-ravaged Haiti in the 1990s.

It was interesting to see how the story would be weaved together with Haitian voodoo.

The book is a lengthy one at 715 pages and it’s definitely not happy feely with only one semi-redeeming character!

And, I wouldn’t call it a “masterpiece” as is quoted on the cover!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony