Posts Tagged ‘President Reagan’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 23, 2017

It’s officially summer now and the “spring of discontent” is over!  Yes, I changed the season from the popular “summer” or “winter”.  But, this was probably the worst (or very close to it) spring of my lifetime!

I’m glad summer is here and I’m ready to get through those hot and insufferably humid Florida months because I’m told it’s gorgeous here from October through March. 🙂

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

CAITLYN, PLEASE GO AWAY — ANYWHERE!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Caitlyn Jenner.

There are several reasons for that.  I have transgender friends and they would make much better spokespeople for the LGBT community.

For the record, I have said a few nice things about her.

Caitlyn

Typically when I don’t like someone, I’ll choose one of the worst pictures I can find to post.  But, I’ll be a true southern gentleman here and post a nice one.

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

Last week, in the wake of the baseball field shooting spree outside of Washington D.C., in which Republican Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, Jenner did what she and her family (the Kardashians and the Jenners) do best, she opened her mouth!

Jenner joked to a group, “Liberals can’t even shoot straight.”

Seriously???  I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll repeat myself, Caitlyn, please go away!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM!

Bachmann

No, not her this time!

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

Not, him either.  But, as zany as it was, I do miss “The Following” and I’ll likely watch all three seasons again on Netflix one day.

I had a cherry popsicle the other night and laid the plastic wrapping on the counter and forgot to throw it away.  The next day, I noticed a big red stain on the Formica counter and Windex didn’t take it off.

But, Uncle Google told me, “Mix baking soda with just enough water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and lay a wet paper towel over the paste to keep it moist.”

Presto!  It worked!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM! (PART TWO)

Aren’t you glad that I reminded you of that #4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1991?  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

This also got me to thinking about another weighty C+C Music Factory controversy that I’ll share next week.  That’s a great tease! 🙂

I’LL CALL HER “BRENDA”

I was at Walmart last Sunday picking up a couple of movies from Redbox and another rotisserie chicken.

The chicken has become a weekly tradition for me since moving here. The first weekend, it was out of necessity since I hadn’t unpacked the kitchen.  Now, it’s just tasty and convenient!

While checking out the wine selection, a nicely dressed, older woman (I’ll call her “Brenda”) asked if I was the new morning meteorologist.  We got to talking about the Panhandle and “climate change” came up.  She was appalled that people don’t think it’s happening.  I agreed with her.

Then she says, “I don’t know if you’re religious or not” and I replied, “I don’t believe in organized religion, but I pray each night”.

lake_of_fire

“Brenda” proceeds to tell me that in Revelation it says those that destroy the Earth will be destroyed by God and that she feels it’ll be sooner than we think.

I stood and politely listened.

She ended the conversation by telling me I look much younger in person and that maybe I should wear my shorts and tank top on air. 🙂

MY HISTORY WITH THE “BOOK OF REVELATION”

“Brenda” got me to thinking about the “Book of Revelation” again how it tormented me as a child.  It may have scared me away from church, but it didn’t scare me away from God.

Now that I live deep in the “Bible Belt”, I’ll share it again for my new friends or for those that may have missed it the first time.  Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD”

Shania Twain is back and she’s ready to take over from she left off fifteen years ago.

Her new album, “Now”, the first since “Up!” in 2002, will be released September 29th!

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good”, the first single, is being played some at country radio!

I saw Shania in concert in 2014 in Las Vegas and she looked and sounded amazing.

Shania 2014

Too bad I had just gotten my camera at that time and wasn’t a master at selfies when she walked right up to me! 🙂

AP Shania

IT’S JUST SIX MONTHS AWAY

Christmas is now just six months away.

I’ve thought about it a few times and I already know I’ll miss my beautifully decorated house back in the Quad Cities.  This was last year.

Last Christmas

I’ve been wanting to see the Will Smith movie “Collateral Beauty” and it takes place at Christmas.

“COLLATERAL BEAUTY”

In the opening scene, Smith’s character, Howard Inlet, a successful advertising executive, tells an audience that “We long for LOVE, we wish we had more TIME, and we fear DEATH.”

He then suffers a major loss and becomes reclusive to the point that he’s bringing down the company almost to the point of it going under.  His business partners devise a plan to prove that he’s losing it since he’s the majority shareholder.

That plan consists of a having a private investigator follow Inlet and three actors are hired to portray love, time, and death.

Along with Smith, an Oscar nominee, the movie also stars three other Academy Award nominees, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and two Oscar winners, Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet.

However, all that star power and the gold pedigree couldn’t save the movie from being panned by movie critics and some fans.

On the “Rotten Tomatoes” movie website, it only has a 12% approval rating! However, movie goers on CinemaScore gave it an “A-“.

The $36 million movie grossed $88.2 million.

GRADE:  B

DAVID LYNCH SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I never saw “Twin Peaks”, but the sequel is back on Showtime.

Director David Lynch is known to be a little out there.  If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know that.

But, what he told “Entertainment Weekly” recently shows that the man know what he’s talking about.

“People are people, and we are the way we are.  We’re all supposed to get along, and diversity should be appreciated fully in the light of unity.  That’s peace on Earth and there should be room for everyone.”

David, thank you for being an ally!

PRIDE — THE MUSIC LIVES ON

June is national LGBT Pride month.

LGBT

Two weeks ago, I highlighted the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and last week, I talked about meeting the founder of the Panama City PFLAG chapter at a meet and greet.

I also meet some great people there and had some tasty appetizers.

P FOOD

PRIDE IN MY EARLY CLUB DAYS

Last week, I also shared two songs that’ll always stay with me and remind me of my early club days in the 1980s.

Today, I’m featuring two more.  Both were huge hits in the early-to-mid-1980s as AIDS was ravaging the gay community and President Reagan and the federal government kept its eyes, ears, mouth, and minds closed.

Ironically, both of these songs are from HIV-positive artists and the songs couldn’t be as different — one was about quick sex without any commitment and the other was about taking it slow — talking, dancing, and having cherry wine.

PrideFlag

Greek-American model and dancer Paul Lekakis was discovered in an Italian nightclub.

He never scored a Top 40 American hit on the Billboard 100, but his first release that only peaked at #43 is one of my favorite songs from back in my club days.

“Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room”) hit #6 on the Billboard Dance charts and it topped the charts in Austria for five weeks and it hit #1 in South Africa and Japan.

In 1990, he released his debut album, “Tattoo It”, which generated several big dance hits, but he was too hot (read: gay) to market commercially.

Singer Jermaine Stewart was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957 and his family moved to Chicago in 1972.

He became a regular dancer on “Soul Train”, which was filmed in Chicago.  He moved to Los Angeles with fellow Chicagoans Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel and just missed out on becoming the lead singer of Shalamar, a dance and R&B band.

Stewart met Mikey Craig of Culture Club and sang back-up on the demo for “Miss Me Blind” and he was signed to Arista Records.  His first single, “The Word Is Out” just missed the Billboard Top 40 in 1983, peaking at #41.

However, Stewart hit it big in 1986 when “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” reached #5 on the Hot 100.

The follow-up single about his friend, Jody Watley of Shalamar and “Looking For A New Love” fame, “Jody”, went as high as #42 on the Hot 100, but it reached the top twenty on the R & B chart.

He died at the age of 39 in 1997 of AIDS-related liver cancer.

BOOM BOOM BONUS

Lekakis is living healthy now and working as an actor (he had a leading role in a club movie called “Circuit” and he starred in one of my favorite horror movies, “Hellbent”). Meanwhile, he still tours with his music.

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 — December 27, 2013

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa was good to you.  This is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” blog of 2013, so “Happy New Year” early!

“LIFESTYLE” OR “CHOICE”

Last week, a can of worms about the First Amendment was opened when “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson made anti-gay comments to “GQ” magazine.  It caused A&E to indefinitely suspend Robertson.

phil-robertson-p11

My comments today are not about that ordeal, but I’ll re-post the link if you want to read what I wrote about “Duck Dynasty”, being gay, and God last Friday.  It was one of my most viewed blogs of the year!

In the dialogue following my blog and the fallout about the suspension, one woman started badgering me about the “gay lifestyle”.

I responded that being gay is not a “choice” or a “lifestyle”.  As for “choice”, LGBT people don’t normally go around asking straight people when they “chose” to be straight.

And, being gay is just one facet of who I am.  It’s my life and not a “lifestyle”, but she wouldn’t drop it and even posted a dictionary definition of “lifestyle” for me!

So, if you insist that being gay is a lifestyle, this pretty much sums it up.

gay-lifestyle

Sound familiar?

Last Friday’s blog about the “Duck Dynasty” uproar:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/eventually-all-dynasties-fall/

BRISTOL PALIN ON ROBERTSON & THE LGBT COMMUNITY

Since I’ve blogged about Bristol Palin and her views before, here’s what she’s saying about “Duck Dynasty” and the LGBT community in her blog post, “Leave Phil Robertson Alone”.

Bristol Palin Crying

“I think it’s so hypocritical how the LGBT community expects every single flippen person to agree with their life style. This flies in the face of what makes America great – people can have their own beliefs and own opinions and their own ways of life. Everyone needs to treat others like God would, with love. It goes both ways. I hate how the LGBT community says it’s all about ‘love’ and ‘equality.’ However, if you don’t agree with their lifestyle, they spread the most hate. It is so hypocritical it makes my stomach turn.”

ONE MORE PALIN RESPONSE

Another Robertson defender was Bristol’s mother, failed Alaska Governor and Vice President wannabe Sarah Palin.

sarah palin

Last week, Palin was defending Robertson on her Facebook page, “Free speech is an endangered species. Those ‘intolerants’ hatin and taking on the ‘Duck Dynasty’ patriarch for voicing his personal opinion are taking on all of us.”  However, now she admits that she didn’t even read his comments to “GQ” magazine to even know what he said!

On Fox News Channel’s “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren”, when pressed about the graphic nature of Robertson’s comments, Palin admits, “I haven’t read the article … I don’t know exactly how he said it.”

I have one thing to say:  read first before you spout off in his (or anyone’s) defense!  But, then again, consider the source….

SURPRISE “GLEE”FUL WEDDING

A couple of months ago, I blogged that 49-year-old actress Dot-Marie Jones, who plays Coach Shannon Beiste on “Glee”, proposed to her girlfriend of three years, Bridgett Casteen.

Bridgett and Dot-Marie

The couple invited family and friends to their Los Angeles home last Saturday for a holiday party.  When the guests arrived, they were then told it was a secret wedding ceremony!

Congratulations Dot-Marie and Bridgett!

IPOD BOY

While it’s a few years old, Preston Leatherman still makes me smile and hit “replay” with his dancing with an ipod in public version of Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”.  Watch and tell me you’re not smiling!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT  — WINTER VERSION

Snowman Eats KidSnow Cone Stand  Snowman Life in Prison

BEYONCE

Beyonce has been struggling to find that next big hit on pop radio following many misfires.  That may have changed with her new single, “XO”, which is already racing up the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Bey did something unheard of recently when she released her new self-titled album, “Beyonce”.  There was advance notice, no hype, and she released it exclusively to iTunes.

Beyonce-Album-Cover-750x400

It paid off in a big way.  In just the first three days, the album was downloaded 617,000 times and it debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.  (Worldwide, it sold more than 800,000 copies in those first three days.)

In its second week with a full week of sales, it sold an additional 374,000 copies in the U.S.  That’s a total of almost a million copies in just ten days!

However, the exclusivity to iTunes in those first few days ticked off other music retailers.  Target and amazon.com are refusing to carry the album, but something tells me that Beyonce isn’t losing any sleep over it.

THE BIBLE

I recently saw the movie, “C.O.G.”, which stands for “Children of God”, starring Jonathan Groff, who will be appearing in the new HBO series, “Looking” next month.

C.O.G.

It’s based on the life of writer David Sedaris.  While there were many funny lines in the drama, here is the scene that made me fall over with laughter.

“The Bible says”… “I know what the Bible says”… “Then what’s your problem with it?”… “It’s poorly written!”

SINCE WE’RE TALKING RELIGION AND HUMOR

Christian

PICK HIT

17-year-old Dutch DJ/producer Martin Garrix is on the verge of scoring his first Top 40 hit in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100 (#51).

Martin Garrix

His hit, “Animals, has already reached #1 in Belgium, Hungary, Ireland, Scotland, the U.K., and on the Billboard Dance chart here in the States.  The song is already a Top Ten hit in, at least, ten other countries.

FOUR BOOKS THIS YEAR

I am proud to say that as 2013 winds down, I just finished reading my fourth book.  In 2014, I plan on making a dent in the more than 160 books I own now that I’m caught up on my magazines.

Christmas In Plains

Just in time for the holidays, I read “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter, our nation’s 39th president and my favorite President.

Jimmy Carter

In the 155-page, easy-to-read book, he shares stories of  his Christmases growing up, serving in the Navy, as Governor of Georgia, as President of the United States, and after leaving office.

President Carter talks about growing up in Georgia during the Great Depression and his close-knit friendships with the black kids that lived on his father’s land in a time when there was much more racial divide in the South than there is today.

The book reminded me of growing up poor in Kentucky in the 1970s and Christmases being skimpy and how Santa brought some kids much more than others.

I enjoyed the stories about the traditions that he and his family started and how they progressed in life.  However, my favorite story that he told was from one of the darkest times in American history.

Iranian Hostage

On November 4, 1979, a group of Iranian students/terrorists took over the U.S. Embassy in Teheran with 66 original hostages.  Thirteen of those were released two weeks later and another man, who was becoming seriously ill, was released in July 1980.

The other 52 Americans hostages were held for 444 days.

During the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House in December 1979, President Carter and his daughter, Amy, surprised America when she flipped the switch for the tree.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

President Carter writes, ” Amy and I planned a big surprised for the ceremony.  When the television cameras focused on her at the crucial moment, she threw the switch but no lights lit up on the tree except the single Star of Hope on top — a symbolic acknowledgement that we were not celebrating while our hostages were being held, but were confident that all of them would return safely and to freedom.”

In Christmas 1980, the lights on the tree were turned on for 417 seconds, one second for each day that the hostages were being held.  After that, only the Star of Light was lit up that holiday season.

In the final hours of his presidency on January 20, 1981, President Carter secured the hostages’ release.  Right as President Ronald Reagan completed his inaugural address after being sworn in, the 52 hostages were released into U.S. custody after 444 days.

Hostages Freed

And, one more funny story from the book became answers to Trivia Pursuit questions.

While President Carter was happy that he was the answer to the first American president born in a hospital, he was less thrilled with the answer about a quote from his mother, Lillian.  She said, “Sometimes when I look at my children, I wish I had remained a virgin.”

President Carter and Lillian Carter

BEST & WORST OF CHRISTMAS SONGS

Now that Christmas is over and radio is returning to playing the same tired twenty pop songs over and over, I have to say that I now have two Christmas songs that I despise.

“Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” has always been on that list.  However, I just realized this season how much I dislike “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”!

On the other hand, I could listen to my two favorite Christmas songs year around.  My second favorite is “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Band Aid.

And, my favorite Christmas song of all time is “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters!  Karen’s sweet, angelic voice still melts me to this day!

FINAL CHRISTMAS 2013 WISH

I know the holidays can be stressful and crazy, so to honor of the best season of “American Horror Story” so far, “Asylum”, since I haven’t seen “Coven” yet…

American-Horror-Story-Asylum-Happy-Holidays-1024x892

Happy New Year early!

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

Most Popular Blog Entries In My First Year — Part One

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one.  Monday marks my blog’s first birthday.  In the past year, I’ve covered highs and lows in many topics about love, hate, politics, death, entertainment, the future, and countless others.

WordPress sent me an email on New Year’s Eve telling me that my blog has been viewed in 180 countries around the world.  As we approach my blog’s anniversary, I want to recap the stories that have been viewed the most.  And, let me tell you now that the #1 viewed blog was viewed more than 25,000 times!  I’m not sure what sites shared it to get that many views, but it’s pretty cool.  What’s even funnier is that it’s one that I didn’t put much time in when writing it.

Today, I’m featuring #20 to #11 and tomorrow, you’ll see the Top Ten most viewed blogs.

If you missed them the first time, here’s your chance to see which blog entries were the most popular.  All you have to do is click on the link.

#20

President Reagan, I No Longer Hate You

Posted:  July 5, 2012

Views: 556

#19

Have Your Reception Here Unless You’re Gay

Posted:  June 22, 2012

Views:  582

#18

New Kitchen = Endless Culinary Possibilities — Bon Appétit!

Posted:  July 1, 2012

Views:  614

#17

Marriage Equality: Is It Simply Black & White?

Posted:  May 24, 2012

Views:  615

#16

Marriage Expert Bristol Palin Weighs in on Marriage Equality

Posted:  May 10, 2012

Views:  659

#15 Movie

ABBA: My Best Friend

Posted:  February 3, 2012

Views:  783

#14 Movie

Gay Rumors — A Humorous Look

Posted:  May 11, 2012

Views:  910

#13

Hot Shorts & Push-up Bras — It Must Be Summer

Posted:  June 20, 2012

Views:  952

#12 Movie

Advice To Chris Brown, (Yes, That One)

Posted:  July 3, 2012

Views:  979

#11 Movie

Hard Bodies Need Only Apply!

Posted:  June 29, 2012

Views:  1,239

Thanks for checking out #20 to #11.  Have a great Saturday and I’ll have the Top Ten tomorrow.

Anthony