Posts Tagged ‘Pride’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 5, 2020

It’s been a couple of months since I last shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”!

I’ve been busy with the move, transitioning into a new job and schedule, and just walking, reading, and binge watching television.

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

While I always say that, I’m stressing it today because of recent events across the country!

VIOLENCE AND RACISM

If the unprecedented COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough to depress America, the outward racism and violence across the country is pathetically sad!

Here are my thoughts in a tweet last Sunday. Let me clear: protests SHOULD BE peaceful ☮️ and looters and rioters SHOULD BE ARRESTED!

There is a difference between protesting and being a criminal!

And, he’s worried about being fact-checked on Twitter?

NO “GLEE” FOR LEA MICHELE

The word “glee” means “great delight”, but when it comes to “Glee” star Lea Michele, it’s more of nightmare.

Well, I guess she is more of a nightmare!

On May 29th, Michele tweeted about the death of George Floyd.

Lea

This opened the gates of hell for her.  

A guest actor from the “Glee” series called Michele out for her rude behavior to her when she was on the show.  Then many other guests and co-stars came out to share their horror stories!

While her “Glee” co-star Amber Riley didn’t address the social media stir with words, this GIF pretty much says it all!

Ouch!

Glee Rachel Slushie

COVID-19 — YESTERDAY’S NEWS???

My friends, please be vigilant and be safe!

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has now topped 1.9 million and the death toll has surpassed 109-thousand!

With the murder of George Floyd and the unruly riots that are burning U.S. cities, Coronavirus has taken the backseat on television news coverage.

But, as America reopens, please be sanitary and keep yourself (and me and my family) as healthy as possible so we can move on to the “new normal”!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE — COVID-19 RELATED

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

While there won’t be amazing parades with music divas performing and scantily clad men and women, the LGBTQ community is still proud!

This is still one of my favorite Pride pictures of all time when I was in Chicago!

So, in honor of pride, cheers…

And, dance like you just don’t care!

ON A SADDER NOTE OF PRIDE — THANK YOU LARRY KRAMER!

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifices this man went through to give them chances that many of his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, many people living with HIV and AIDS are alive today and owe much of it to Kramer!

Sadly, the 84-year-old advocate died in late May.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter and gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”. 

But, his fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”. That film gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do —  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and openly gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS, was very controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed its seedy secrets.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Koch) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie by Ryan Murphy in 2014.

There’s an amazing HBO documentary called “Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” that you must see to learn more about this incredible man.

“THE CELLULOID CLOSET”

This 1981 book by Vito Russo covered the representation of the LGBTQ community in entertainment through the early years into the 1980s!

What an eye-opening read!

It’s appalling to know that gays and lesbians, when they were shown in movies in the early days of film, were only there to be made fun of, even though they weren’t even referenced as “homosexuals”.

Once movies in the 1960s and 1970s moved beyond using gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers as sight gags and to be made fun of, they became either the victims of heinous crimes or they would commit suicide because of “being that way”!

Even critics, from reputable publications like “Time”, “Newsweek”, “The New York Times”, and others perpetuated this appalling stereotype, even after gay liberation started at the beginning of the 1970s.

No wonder it took America until the 2000s to really make progress in LGBTQ rights!

Even one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1991 Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs” made the serial killer a transvestite that killed to be more like a woman! 

And, it starred a lesbian, Jodie Foster, one of my favorite actresses!

The late actor Richard Burton, who played a gay character, summed it up best to gossip columnist Liz Smith talking about homophobic theater critics, “Are they even vaguely aware that some of the greatest voices in the theater belong to homosexuals? They frighten me. Because they’re supposed to be the intellectuals, and I suddenly realize that they’re the audience for this film. I have never known anyone who took great exception to homosexuals that there wasn’t something very wrong with that person himself. “

And, “Abuse” director Arthur J. Bressan was asked by the mother of a teenage boy auditioning for his movie if her son would turn out gay by acting in the film. He replied, “No, and if he plays Hamlet he won’t inherit Denmark, either!”

One final interesting note from this book: director Herbert Ross made some of the most homophobic movies to come of out of Hollywood!

He was also the director of such major films such as “Funny Lady”, “The Turning Point”, “Goodbye Girl”, and “Footloose”.

And, here’s the irony, his biggest hit was 1989’s “Steel Magnolias”, one of the gayest (non-gay) movies ever made!

come sit by me!”

TV VIEWING & BINGE WATCHING

After binge-watching 60-plus hours of television in April, I got caught up on “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star” “Prodigal Son”, “The Good Doctor”, and “The Sinner”!

I also watched season three of “Ozark” and it was incredible! WOW!

While the nominations aren’t out yet, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy Awards now!

I’ve loved Linney since I saw her as Mary Ann Singleton in “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” in 1994 and I feel this is her year to collect another Emmy!

In May, I watched the series finales of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Homeland”. Both were perfect!

Thank you Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, and Peter Nowalk for six amazing, crazy years of “Murder”!

And, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, these eight years of “Homeland” were so intense and rewarding!

These A+ finales join “The Americans”, “Breaking Bad”, and “Six Feet Under” as my favorites series I’ve watched from beginning to end!

Sorry “Dexter”! Loved the entire series except that finale! Really???

OTHER MAY TELEVISION BINGEING

I’m also now caught up on “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, “You”, and “Eastsiders”.

“Eastsiders” is a funny, touching LGBTQ series on Netflix.

Check it out since the fourth and final season was just nominated for eight Daytime Emmy Awards!

Congrats to creators Kit Williamson and John Halbach and the incredible cast! Hi Willam!

If you’ve never seen it, live a little and start with the six episode final season and you’ll be hooked and want to see it from the beginning!

The finale was so touching, beautiful, and funny!

LADY GAGA “CHROMATICA”

The sixth studio album from Lady Gaga, “Chromatica”, came out in late May.

The second single, “Rain on Me”, with Ariana Grande, debuted last week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It follows “Stupid Love”, which reached #5 on the Hot 100.

“JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC”

Earlier this year, I read the 1997 picture book about the making of the “Titanic” movie.

Titanic

With text by Ed Marsh and photographs by Douglas Kirkland, it was very enlightening to see what all went into Cameron’s masterpiece.

ALSO READ…

Earlier this year, I also read “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger (1997), Tatum O’Neal’s “A Paper Life” (2004) and Dame Judi Dench’s “and furthermore” (2010).

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 29, 2018

It’s hard for me to believe that July is almost here.  Summer just started and it seems like it’s quickly passing by!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’ve done well not talking about “that man” too much lately, but I am today.  If you disagree and want to tell me, that’s fine as long as you do it diplomatically.  I feel that I’m voicing my thoughts that way!

45’S DULUTH RALLY 

Last week, 45 visited Duluth, Minnesota, and I was teased by friends about the visit.

Hey, there’s no wall here in Minnesota to keep him out!  There was nothing I could do about it! 🙂

45 was heckled by a couple of protesters that made it inside and he quickly had them thrown out.  They still intimidate him!

45’S SPIN ON WINNING MINNESOTA

Since I was forced to listen to some of his speech, I’ll comment on something he said and I’ll clarify it for DJT.

During the pep rally, 45 mentioned that he almost won Minnesota in the 2016 election.  Other than Illinois, it was the only blue state in the Midwest.

What he selectively forget to say was that he lost Minnesota by 44,765 votes.  He said, he was “this close” to winning.

However, our bordering state, Wisconsin, separated from Duluth by just a bridge, was much closer to going to Hillary Clinton!  She only lost Wisconsin by 22,748 votes.

So, he was much closer on “this close” to losing Wisconsin than actually winning Minnesota!

Hillary Laughing

Sounds like he’s guilty of “fake news”, too!  You’re shocked, right?

But, it is what it is!  The results are the same. 😦

“ROLLING STONE” DULUTH DISS

Let me reel it in — I got sidetracked!

The point of talking about “that man” is an online “Rolling Stone” article about 45’s visit by Ana Marie Cox.

Rolling Stone.JPG

Cox really had nothing nice to say about Duluth or even neighboring Wisconsin with its “greasy…imports”!

She stressed, “Duluth is a struggling post-manufacturing cipher with the highest drug overdose rate in the state” and talked about the city’s “poverty rate (21 percent) that would rank it among the most desperate counties in West Virginia and per capita income just below that of Wheeling”.

And, if that wasn’t brutal enough, she described the area around Lake Superior as “stolid, brutalist mid-century relics and precarious-seeming industrial shipping contraptions, rusty and mostly silent” and the downtown area where “every surface is covered with a thin layer of grime.”

She summed it all up, “in other words, potential Trump Country.”

Duluth.jpg

I’ve only lived in Duluth for four weeks now.  I feel very welcome and comfortable here –much more than I did in Panama City in the Panhandle of Florida.  Ana Marie Cox, let me tell you, that is true “Trump Country”.

And, the statistics she used, which were likely Googled, may be true.  I can’t and won’t say that Duluth is perfect city or utopia, but look around at many other cities in the country!  Take a visit to Youngstown, Ohio!

The issue with the article that fired me up the most was referring to Duluth and the Northland as “potential Trump Country”.

45 talked to a near capacity crowd of less than 9,000 people in the Amsoil Arena with more turned away outside.

I know there are fervent 45 supporters in Minnesota and Wisconsin and many of them drove for hours to see him.

Cox referred to Duluth as “the small city of 80,000”.  I can work with that number for the point I’m going to make.

It’s needs to be stressed that the Duluth MSA (metropolitan statistical area — grossly simplified as adjacent counties to an urban core with commuters) has a population of roughly 279,771.  That’s the second-largest in Minnesota!

So, when you’re taking about 10-thousand people at the arena for his visit out of “80,000” in Duluth or more than one-quarter million in the Duluth MSA — this is not “Trump Country” or “potential Trump Country”.

Hundreds of thousands living here could have cared less about him visiting!

NEXT!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

This week, in 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States made “marriage equality” the law of the land.

“Gay marriage” and “same sex marriage” simply became marriage.

On the night of the ruling, Barack Obama’s and the people’s White House was aglow in rainbow colors.

white_house_rainbow

Boy, that iconic institution stands for much different things today than it did three years ago! 😦

AN END OF PRIDE MONTH DOWNER!

Earlier this week, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced he was retiring.

Ironically, it was one year ago this week that I wrote this about Kennedy:  “Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.”

Anthony Kennedy

This is a major blow to the LGBTQ community and for women!

Three years ago, Kennedy authored the SCOTUS decision to make “marriage equality” a reality.

He eloquently stated: “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

What all this means now is “that man” will get another conservative justice to solidify the divisiveness not only in the country, but at the highest court in America, too!

A “GOLDEN” PICK ME UP!

Damn, this blog is a downer and there’s still more below! 😦  Here’s a pick me up, even if just for me. 🙂

International and gay icon Kylie Minogue closed out this year’s New York City Pride.

If I only see one concert this year, I want it to be Kylie.  However, that probably won’t happen until 2019 when she’ll likely tour the U.S.

Here’s her latest hit and title track from her new country-tinged dance album is “Golden”.

“We’re golden/Burn like the stars/ Stay golden/
Straight from the heart/We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again/We’re golden/That’s who we are/”

“LARRY KRAMER: IN LOVE & ANGER”

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifice this man went through to give them chances that he and his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter and gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”. 

But, his fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”. That film gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do:  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and open gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS was controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed their lifestyle.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Koch) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Larry+Kramer+in+Love+02.jpg

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie in 2014.

Kramer turned 83 earlier this week.  He’s still writing and is still a major force in the LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS communities.

“THE NORMAL HEART”

If you didn’t catch this Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild, and Critics Choice Television Award winner, please do so now!

It stars Mark Ruffalo, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch, and Julia Roberts.  It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

RETROSPECTIVE REGRETS

As many of you know from my blog and social media, I’m outspoken on matters of LGBTQ equality and for HIV/AIDS.

We all have a voice and with the platform I’ve been given, I feel it’s only right that I use it to educate people and spread the word that LGBTQ people are just like everyone else — we work, we pay taxes, we hurt, we love, and we want happiness.

It’s probably the fact that we love and want physical intimacy that alarms many people on the “right” (in other words, in the “wrong”).

So, if I educate one person at a time and maybe that person sees things more openly, then I’ve succeeded.

However, watching the Larry Kramer documentary brought a feeling of regret for me of wasted years.

Ap 1987.jpg

Back in the early-1980s when gay men in San Francisco and New York City started dying at an alarming rate, I was in small town Kentucky.  It felt like a world away from this unnamed “gay cancer” killing “homosexuals”.

It wasn’t until the late-1980s that I knew a person that died of AIDS.

In the early-1990s, I started reading “The Advocate” and I learned about the big gay world and all of the hideous things LGBT people were fighting for and against (AIDS, funding for AIDS medication, homophobia, gay bashing, etc.).

Even then, in my 20s, I lived my life without the worries of the real world — other than the occasional hurled slurs, “faggots” or “queers”, toward me and my friends if we were leaving or going into the gay bar or hanging out at the Paducah Riverfront.

We can’t go back and change things.

But, if I could, Larry Kramer, I’d be with you in New York City and Washington D.C. fighting the system.  I’d be at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue chaining myself to the fence in a “die-in” or I’d be yelling at Reagan to fight for the lives of all Americans and pleading with Nancy to make him listen!

silence death

Larry, thank you for your sacrifices and I want to thank you for me just being here today!

“PATRICK MELROSE”

Some of you may only know Benedict Cumberbatch as “Sherlock” from television or as “Doctor Strange” in the Marvel Universe!

I’ve never seen either of those roles, but I was blown away by his Oscar-nominated performance as Alan Turing in 2014’s “The Imitation Game”.

I think that Cumberbatch now needs to clear some space on his mantle for his second Emmy Award!

He rightfully earned it in the first episode of Showtime’s five-part drama series, “Patrick Melrose” from this spring!

It’s 1982 and Patrick (Cumberbatch) heads off to New York City to retrieve the ashes of his father, David.

The episode shows Melrose strung out on almost every drug imaginable and in an alcohol-fueled insanity!

Also, the incredible Jennifer Jason Leigh will likely be getting some Emmy love herself, playing Melrose’s drunk and lousy mother, Eleanor.

Hugo Weaving plays Melrose’s father and earns every bit of hate directed toward him.

An excellent “Tour de force” for every actor in the series!

However, I’m now very torn because this will likely pit Cumberbatch and Jason Leigh against Darren Criss and Judith Light (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) in the Emmy race for Limited Series or Movie categories!

GRADE:  A

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

After moving to Milwaukee for the summer of 1990 and then back home to Kentucky, this song became popular in 1992.  Remember it?

While the song only reached #36 on the Billboard Hot 100, it was one of the first techno hits to make the chart.

However, “Love U More” topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart for two weeks in early 1993.

It was the first of four #1 Billboard Dance songs in America for the British band.  They also had two others to reach #2 on that chart!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 22, 2018

It’s officially summer now and that can only mean one thing!

SBSangria

Yes, this Moscato Sangria will work just fine, thank you! 🙂

I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

PRIDE EVERYDAY — ESPECIALLY IN JUNE

As many of you know, June is “Pride Month”.  Yet, Pride festivities happen at different times of the year depending on where you are.

The Duluth Superior GLBTAQI Pride Festival will be held Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 2) this year.

I plan on attending, but I can guarantee it won’t be Chicago! 🙂

Speaking of my “second home”, here are two of my favorite Pride photos that I took in Chicago back in 2010.

Pride3

Pride4

So, cheers queers and to all of our “straight, but not narrow friends”!

pride-martini-collection

THANK YOU BRETT KISSEL

I’m a very liberal thinking person, but there are still things that I learn everyday — even about being more inclusive.

There are good people and bad people in every walk of life — regardless of demographics or whatever group they belong.

Country music is one of those genres that typically gets a bad rap (oh wait, rap is another) for not being very inclusive when it comes to the LGBTQ community.

Yes, there are exceptions:  Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, and others.

Now, add sexy Canadian country music singer Brett Kissel to that growing list!

Brett Kissel Pride.JPG

For years now, since I discovered his “Pick Me Up” album, I’ve written about Kissel and his amazing voice and stage presence.

Yes, he’s sexy, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to drop $10 for a CD!  But, he has what it takes to warrant buying his music — not just good looks!

He’s incredible with a beautiful wife, Cecilia, and two daughters, Mila and Aria.

Kissel Family.jpg

I like him even more knowing he supports all people, including me and my LGBTQ brothers, sisters, and they.

Here’s his latest single, “Guitars & Gasoline”.

Come on America, start playing Kissel!  He’s already had eleven Top Ten hits on the Canadian Country music chart.

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

If you didn’t catch this amazing FX series during its winter run earlier this year, watch it now!

I’ve written several times about the series and I’m bringing it up again as we near the Emmy nominations in July because it popped up in a recent issue of “Entertainment Weekly”.

Here’s what I wrote on March 30, 2018:

“Sadly, this excellent series is over.  I think when Emmy nominations are announced in July that Darren Criss and Judith Light will get acting nods for their roles of Andrew Cunanan and Marilyn Miglin.”

CrissMiglin

In the new “Entertainment Weekly”, critic Kristen Baldwin chose “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story” as her #1 best TV show of 2018, so far.

Baldwin adds, “And if Darren Criss (who played Cunanan) and Judith Light (as the wife of one of his victims) do not win big come Emmy season, it will be (ahem) a crime.”

DIANA ROSS “MEMOIRS”

Since moving to Duluth, I haven’t had a chance to read a book and I’m starting to fall behind on magazines.

But, before moving, I read Diana Ross’s “Memoirs:  Secrets of a Sparrow”.

Diana Ross.jpg

It was interesting hearing her version of how she became the face and name of The Supremes and how that and other behind the scene dramas ended the successful trio.

She talked extensively about the racial tensions in the South in the 1950s and 1960s and how it made touring there scary.

Ross also talked about AIDS and her gay fans and friends.

An interesting story she told was going on her second honeymoon.  Since her husband owned the Tahitian island, they ran around naked! 🙂

At times, she sounded a little out there, but she comes across as a genuine woman and entertainer.

It was a little gossipy when she talked about her working relationship with Lionel Richie when they recorded the iconic ballad “Endless Love”.

Ross says, “the working relationship between us was difficult.”  She added, “I am a perfectionist.  I like to be on time always.  Lionel was not always on time.”

LIONEL THEN (?) AND NOW

I don’t doubt Diana Ross’ story of working with Lionel.  He was young and coming off huge success with the Commodores and was launching his solo career.

I know him as a gentle, fun man that I met in Las Vegas last December.  When I went to shake hands with him, he grabbed me and said, “I’m a hugger”.

Capture2

Earlier this week, Lionel turned 69!  To honor that, here’s my favorite Lionel Richie song.

If you want to know what my other 19 favorites are since you know I love countdowns, click here.  It’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/my-20-favorite-lionel-richie-songs/

90s NOSTALGIA

Living in Duluth, my television market covers parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and two counties in Upper Michigan.

My part of the state is called the “Northland”, which is not to be confused with the “Northwoods” of northern Wisconsin!

My first Wisconsin experience was in the late-1980s visiting a friend’s family in Merrill.  In the summer of 1990, I moved to Milwaukee for four months before moving back to Kentucky.

In July 1996, I took my first network affiliate television job in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  I was there for just about five months.

However, moving back to the upper Midwest makes me nostalgic about those times even though they were short.

So, over the new few weeks, I’ll share some of the songs that were impressionable to me during those times!

Remember this one from 1990?

That was Taylor Dayne’s seventh consecutive Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 hit.  It was the third release from the “Can’t Fight Fate” album.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 30, 2017

The first half of the year is over now!  It’s incredible how fast time flies.

I hope you’ve enjoyed part one of 2017 and are looking forward to more of the same for the part two if it’s been a good one.  If it hasn’t been all that spectacular or if there’s room for improvement, here’s to a better summer, fall, and the kick-off to winter!

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

4 MORE YEARS, ANTHONY KENNEDY, PLEASE!

Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.

Anthony Kennedy

The Reagan-nominee has been a Justice for more than 29 years.

The court is currently split.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now 84, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer lean Democratic and Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito side Republican.

Kennedy is sometimes a tiebreaker or a swing voter.

My hope is that he holds out until 2021 before he retires since President Obama didn’t get to appoint a successor to conservative judge Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

TWO YEARS AND THE WORLD IS STILL HERE

It was two years ago this week (June 26, 2015) that Justice Kennedy authored SCOTUS’ decision making marriage equality the law of the land.

He concluded by saying, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

That night, the White House showed its true colors!

white_house_rainbow

Since that day, despite people like Kentucky’s “Wicked Witch” Kim Davis, the LGBT community learned more about what the expression “all men are created equal” means.

And, to this day, the Earth is still rotating on its axis, the sun still rises in the east, and settles in the west!  And, that won’t change with #45 either!

#Resistance

VERSACE LIVES AGAIN

Summer just started last week and I’m already looking forward to fall and winter.  And, now, early 2018 can’t get here soon enough. 🙂

The long awaited follow-up to the spectacular and award winning FX series “The People v O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story” was announced.

Originally, it was going to about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, but that’ll now be the third installment.

Katrina2005

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now being filmed at Casa Casuarina, Versace’s former Miami Beach home, and an early look at the series graced the cover of “Entertainment Weekly”.

EW verace

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man suspected of killing Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

ANDREW CUNANAN

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.  Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in that city.

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities. 🙂  See for yourself!

Cunanan

You can read my full blog on this story here.  Just click on this link and it’ll open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in today’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.

It also gives you the back history of the story.  It’s crazy to believe that it’s been twenty years already!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/cunanan-then-peeps-now-nicknames/

RYAN MURPHY ON TRUMP

Murphy’s new Versace series focuses not only on the designer’s murder, it also drives home how homophobia let Cunanan’s killing spree go one for so long and how that led to Versace’s death.

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

“GET OUT”

Racism is front and center of this psychological drama about a young, white woman taking her black boyfriend home to her little small New England town.

It’s the directorial debut from comedian Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele” and “MADtv”) and he masters it beautifully.  Peele knows the subject very well since he’s the son of an interracial couple.

As the movie is moving toward its climax, you might have to suspend disbelief, but the point is perfectly driven home.

While it’s a drama, the comedy provided by Chicago actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery is so funny.  He plays the main character’s best friend.

When he explained to his friend why he needed to “Get Out” of there, I’m glad I wasn’t taking a drink of something when he started talking about Jeffrey Dahmer, lobotomies, and penises!  It was so flipping hilarious!

GRADE:  A-

WARNING — CHRISTMAS TALK AHEAD!

I know it’s still about six months away, but I’m thinking about my first Christmas party — Florida-style.

While it won’t be as large as the ones Ray and I hosted back in the Quad Cities, I’m sure it’ll be festive.

Liquor is more expensive down here and as I’ve already vented in an earlier blog, boxed wine only comes in 3-liter boxes!  Instead of “I Want My MTV”, I want my 5-liter boxed wine!

Wine Ripe off

Well, thanks to returning my two Redbox movies and wanting to get salsa at WalMart last Sunday, I walked out with a gigantic start toward the Christmas party with a cart of discontinued, discount liquor with rebates!

All of this for just $4 to $12 a bottle!

Christmas Cheer

CHRISTMAS PARTY PUNCH????

I just came across the most interesting sounding cocktail that I’m considering making as a punch for my Christmas party.

It’s a staple at Latitude 29 in New Orleans called a “Paniolo”.

It’s a combination of fresh cranberry syrup, lime juice, bourbon, and a macadamia nut liqueur!

paniolo

Sounds tasty and festive!

The last really incredibly tasty and holiday-festive drink I had was on a Holland America cruise a few years back.

It was a Strawberry Basil Bellissimo (vodka, strawberries, basil infusion, and fresh basil)!

SBB

“BAD SANTA 2”

I didn’t see the original and I only wanted to give this one a try because of Kathy Bates.

She was very naughty and was the highlight of the movie.

“Bad Santa 2” is so crude.  I don’t think there’s a group that this movie didn’t set out to offend. 🙂  Yes, I did laugh at some of the absurd humor.

Warning:  contains adult language!  (You can check out the “red band trailer”, which is about four minutes long.  It’s really raunchy, so I didn’t share it, but it’ll save you 90 minutes of your life and a couple of bucks from not renting this movie at Redbox!)

GRADE:  C-

“3 GENERATIONS”

Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, and Elle Fanning headline this little seen summer movie about a trans teenage boy, Ray, played by Fanning wanting to transition from female to male.

Watts is stellar and Sarandon was very funny and likable as Watts’ mother and Fanning’s grandmother, who just happens to be a lesbian.

The subject matter is very relevant with today’s higher visibility of trans men and women and the fight for transgender equality, but this isn’t the movie to further the cause.

It’s just a step away from an after-school special or a Lifetime movie.  But, don’t take that the wrong way.  I’ve watched some Lifetime movies, especially at Christmas.

GRADE:  C

MORE OF MY PRIDE CLASSICS

LGBT Pride month is winding down, but I’m still sharing some of my favorite classics from my club days.  Actually, I had three different eras of club days.

In the 1980s, in Paducah, Kentucky, when I first started going out.  Then, in Chicago, from 1994-1996, and, again, from 2002-2004.

So, I’ll featured a couple more of my favorites!

OH L’AMOUR — ERASURE

This is still one of my favorite songs of all time.

I got to see Andy Bell and Vince Clark in concert in Chicago a couple of years ago and it was incredible.

Their new album, “World Be Gone”, their 17th, came out this May.

Dance diva Sylvester, who died from complications from AIDS in 1988, scored three Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late 1970s.

However, he had 18 hits on the Billboard Dance charts.  Three of them topped that chart.

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, from 1979, was one of those number one hits and it also was played on mainstream pop radio.

ANOTHER PARTING VERSACE SERIES NOTE

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is being written by Tom Rob Smith.

Smith, who created and wrote the incredible 2015 BBC Two five-part miniseries, “London Spy”, featuring my future fantasy husband Ben Whishaw.

Ben-Whishaw

If you haven’t seen, find it.  Not only is Whishaw captivating, it also stars a stellar Charlotte Rampling.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 9, 2017

I hope you have a great late spring or summer weekend.  That all depends on whether you call seasons by the calendar or like us meteorologists, where “meteorological summer” starts June 1st.

Have a fun one and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

PULSE SHOOTING ANNIVERSARY

Sadly, it’s been almost a year since the worst mass shooting in American history.

It took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, in the Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub, “Pulse”.

Pulse

49 people were murdered (plus the shooter) and another 58 were hurt.

Here’s what I wrote about this tragedy afterwards, “We’re human just like you — we love and we want to find love, we work and pay taxes, we’re someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, or co-worker.

And, when some coward charges into a nightclub armed with “an assault-type weapon, a handgun” and “some type of (other) device”, we bleed and die just like the rest of America and the world.

All we want is peace, love, and understanding.

peace_love_understanding

If you want to read the rest of my original blog, this link will open in a new window:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

REMEMBERING A COUPLE AT CHRISTMAS

It’s easy to remember tragedies as the anniversaries approach.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims of the Pulse shooting.  They planned on getting married, but the couple were buried together.

As you can see here, they loved Christmas.

Christmas Was Perfect

This is what I wrote in my June 24th blog last year:

“Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.”

I did think of them and their love during the holidays last year and I’ll remember them again this Christmas!

LGBT PRIDE MONTH

Happy Pride month to my LGBT brothers and sisters and to all my “straight but not narrow” friends!

PrideFlag

Most recently, I’ve celebrated Pride in Chicago and the Quad Cities.  Actually, my golden retriever, ABBA, and I had a great time in Davenport, Iowa, meeting some wonderful new friends in 2010.

ABBAPride2010

BE PROUD, BE LOUD!

Chicago Pride is so much fun and very festive.

It’d be easy to say this is what pride means to me.

Pride4

Hot boys and drag queens are amazing and I’d be the first to look — okay, gawk!

But, this is what Pride means to me — it’s one of my favorite Pride memory and photos.

This is loud, this is proud, and this is being who you are!!!!!!!!!

Pride3

Cheers!

pride-martini-collection

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

What a compelling two-hour season three premiere of “Fear The Walking Dead”!

spoiler-alert

When you see the stop sign “spoiler alert” below, scroll past it if you don’t want to know the spoiler!!!!!

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

 

If you follow the news, then you know that “45” last week made a huge public statement regarding the environment by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.

In late July, the sequel to 2006’s Oscar winning Best Documentary Feature, “An Inconvenient Truth”, hits theaters.

It’s called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”.

Promoting the documentary, here’s what former Vice President Al Gore told “Entertainment Weekly”: “Every night on the television news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.  And some of these carbon polluters say, “Oh, there’s no problem.” Ridiculous!”

pb

Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need To Wake Up” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006.

FLORIDA WINE RIP-OFF!

I’m really getting ripped off with my favorite boxed wines here in the Sunshine State.

I’ve heard that it’s some law in Florida that they can only sell 3-liter boxed wines.

Wine Ripe off

I really miss the 5-liter boxes I enjoyed in the Quad Cities.

I guess since there’s only one drinking it here now, it’s not such a bad thing.  However, I’m paying the same price for 3-liters here that I paid for 5-liters there!

I can’t say “cheers” to that!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SPOILER!

Just minutes into second hour, a major character — one of the original stars — died!!!

Fear

It was very shocking, dramatic, and well acted.  Sadly, I liked the character.

It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

But, it also makes me wonder if season three will be the last season of the AMC series?

PICTURES ARE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS….

It’s no secret that I’m now living deep in the “Bible Belt” in a conservative part of Florida.

I know there are open-minded people here, just as there people with closed minds.

However, it did give me great joy when I came upon this street sign in Panama City.

Fairy

Then, moments later, at the Piggly Wiggly, I smiled when I saw this advertisement! 🙂

Fruity Day

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Have a great weekend everyone!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 1, 2016

The Fourth of July weekend is upon us and that means the first half of the year is already behind us.  Time flies when you’re having fun or so they say.

Have a safe holiday weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts.

NO DOG IN MY FUTURE — MAYBE EVER!

ABBAAnthonyLD2009

It’s been almost four-and-a-half years since Miss ABBA went to puppy heaven and people understandably ask, “When are you getting another dog?”.  I always thought that we would one day.

However, over the past week, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t think I need one!

As you know, Ray and I built our first fish pond a few years back and last summer, we expanded it from a mere 200 gallons to 1,000 gallons.

Fish Pond

It’s so much fun to watch the 50-plus fish at feeding time and the sound of the waterfall is so relaxing.

Sadly, it’s likely that Blizzard, the largest and most recent fish we acquired, or one of the small koi we just bought was sick.

Without warning, Blizzard died early last week.  It came as a total shock and then the real trauma hit me.

Last Friday, my favorite fish, Pumpkin Pie, the one I saved from the mink last summer, died.

Pumpkin Pie is the orange one with black spots and Snowflake is the yellowish/white one.

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

I held her (or him) as it died.  It was heartbreaking and I cried.  At that point, I realized that I’ll not ready for the heartbreak of losing another pet.

After Blizzard and Pumpkin Pie, two days later, Strong, a koi that we adopted from our friends Nathan and Amanda died, followed by one more large fish, Norma Bates, the next day.  (Yes, we name the big ones and a few of the small ones.)

As hard as we work to keep the fish pond clean and happy, the fear quickly set in that this wasn’t just a coincidence and that a fish bacteria or virus was raging through the pond.

The pond is now being treated by a strong anti-virus treatment and we hope that the last of the five or so large fish survive.  So far, none of the 40-plus small fish (mostly goldfish) have been affected.

In memory of the four fish, we planted ornamental grasses around the pond.

Here’s a another look at a happier day not too long ago when Pumpkin Pie, Strong, and Norma Bates were alive and well!  (All three are in this video — the largest ones!)

PEOPLE NEED SOMETHING TO BELIEVE IN

Many people choose the Bible when they need something to believe in.  However, others put their faith and money, money, money into self-help books and motivational speakers.

Look at 56-year-old infomercial star Tony Robbins.  He’s made so much money convincing people that they can do almost anything they set their minds to.

That trust and faith sent dozens to the hospital late last week in Texas.

About thirty people were burned and had to be treated after walking on hot coals in a fire walking event at a seminar in Dallas.  Several were hospitalized and others were transported to medical facilities that treat burns.

Coal Fire Burns

Jennifer Connelly, a spokesperson for Robbins says, “The fire walk portion of the event has been celebrated for 35 years.”

She adds that the goal of the exercise is to have guests to feel no discomfort afterwards, but it’s “not uncommon to have fewer than one percent of participants experience ‘hot spots’, which is similar to a sunburn, which can be treated with aloe.”

Um, I think she has this terribly wrong.  Burn treatment at a hospital sounds much different than hot spots and a sunburn.

Seriously people, believe in yourself and not some person that wants your money because they know you’re weak!

PRIDE HIGHLIGHTS

Pride parades were held all across the world this past weekend and earlier in June.

Years & Years, the English dance band, with openly gay lead singer Olly Alexander played the annual Glastonbury Festival in England last weekend.

IFDecked out in a rainbow flag outfit, he told the crowd, “As you might be able to tell by the way that I’m dressed, I’m gay. And in fact, I’m really, really, super gay.

And, then he got more serious about the recent tragedies like the Pulse massacre in Orlando, Florida earlier this month.

“But what I keep thinking about in the last year, some crappy and messed up stuff has happened.  As a queer person, as queer people, we know what it’s like to be scared and we know what’s it like to live with fear as part of our every day. But tonight, at Glastonbury, I would like to ask you to join me on Pride weekend and say, ‘no thank you fear. Bye fear bye.  Shove a rainbow in fear’s face.  All I have to say to finish is, I am here and queer and sometimes I am afraid but I am never ashamed of who I am.”

Jessie-Eisenberg-London-Pride

Meanwhile, on Pride weekend in London, “Now You See Me 2” actor Jesse Eisenberg left a West End stage rehearsal of “The Spoils” and walked by an anti-Pride Christian group.

He was asked “Is your mind closed?” by a man offering a brochure.  Eisenberg responded, “That’s so f*cking sad.”

The man asked the same question again and Jesse scoffed and laughed adding, “Is my mind closed?  That’s so f*cked up” and walked away.

Hillary PrideBack in the the United States, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton made a surprise visit and walked in New York City’s Pride parade.

NO PRIDE HERE, JUST SHAME!

As many of you know, Pride parades and celebrations started 46 years ago when the gay community took a stand and said we’re not hiding away in the shadows of society any longer.

We’ve made so much progress and there’s still so much more room for advancement.

Sadly, in the LGBT community as it is in society in general, there are those that do things that shine a really bad light on others.

Tennessee Violent Crimes

YouTuber Calum McSwiggan claims that three men attacked him outside a West Hollywood, California gay bar earlier this week.

But, police now say that he faked the report and actually injured himself inside the cell with a pay phone to cover up his arrest on vandalism charges!

I’m not sharing McSwiggan’s picture because if he lied (and police and a witness say he did), he’s just desperate for fame and attention and I’m not giving him face time.  Pulling a stunt like this makes him scum of the earth.

Pulse

As we saw at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and from all the hate talk that comes from politicians, the Westboro Baptist Church, and other haters, the LGBT community has to be vigilant enough already without having some media whore desperate for attention lying about an anti-gay attack!

McSwiggan is now being charged with filing a false police report.

THIS WEEK, THE POPE SAYS…

While I’m not Catholic, much of my family is.

I believe that Pope Francis, who began his papacy in March 2013, is good for Catholicism and is working to bridge the religious and real world divide between the Church and LGBT people.  However, he’s really hard to figure out.

This is what he said in the summer of 2013.

Pope Francis

While he opposes marriage equality and he thinks being a practicing homosexual is intrinsically immoral, he believes gay people should be treated with respect and love.

He’s making headlines again.  On a trip to Armenia last weekend, Pope Francis declared on the flight, “I think that the church not only should apologize to the person who is gay whom it offended, but it must also apologize to the poor as well, to the women who have been exploited, to children who have been exploited by (being forced to) work. It must apologize for having blessed so many weapons.”

He’s not the first Pope to apologize for Catholics and Christians, but he’s the first to ask for an apology to the LGBT people.  In 2000, Pope Saint John Paul II apologized to several groups including Jewish people, immigrants, women, and indigenous peoples.

It’s a step forward if he doesn’t contradict his statement the next time he speaks on the matter!

CLUELESS CAITLYN

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner for coming out as transgender, but I never had any faith in her advancing the cause for my transgender brothers and sisters.  So far, I’d say I’m correct.

Caitlyn

The more I see her name in the press and the more she opens her mouth, the more I cringe. Okay, that’s a polite way of expressing how I really feel about her views.

Jenner’s latest ignorant and misinformed statement:  “Trump seems to be very much for women.  He seems very much behind the LGBT community because of what happened in North Carolina with the bathroom issue. He backed the LGBT community. But in Trump’s case, there’s a lot more unknowns. With Hillary, you pretty much know what you’re gonna get with the LGBT community.”

Maybe she meant to say that Trump is “very much behind” on issues regarding the LGBT community!

I agree with the Huffington Post calling it a “WTF of the week”!

NATE SILVER PREDICTS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT

American statistician and writer Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com has spoken and he predicts that Hillary Clinton will be the next president of the United States.

HIllary Flag

If you don’t know him, you definitely don’t follow politics as closely as I do.

The baseball and politics analyst successfully predicted the outcomes in 49 of the 50 states in the 2008’s U.S. Presidential Election.

In the next election cycle, in 2012, Silver successfully called all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Earlier this week, he made his first prediction for the 2016 presidential race and gave a big edge to Clinton.  Here’s how he made his prediction.

538 Predicts

PICK HIT

“Worth It” by Fifth Harmony was one of my favorite songs of last year.

Earlier this year, the band released the first single, “Work From Home”, from their new album “7/27”, that came out in late May.  It topped the airplay charts at Top 40 radio.

It’s an incredibly catchy song with a super hot, sexy video.  (I featured it last week, so just glance back one week to watch it.)

Their new song, “All In My Head (Flex)” is already racing up the charts and it’s catchy, too.  It features the hot ladies of Fifth Harmony, more sexy men, and rapper Fetty Wap.

By the way, what the hell is Fetty Wap singing?

ANOTHER PICK HIT

Michael Ray topped the country radio airplay chart last year with “Kiss You In the Morning”.  It ended being one of my favorite songs of last year and his self-titled album was my #9 album of 2015.

He’s back with a new video for the third single from the album, “Think A Little Less”.

If you’d like to know more about Michael Ray and his incredible album, here’s my blog review.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

FIRST LADIES

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been sharing little known (or well known) tidbits about the wives of the presidents of the United States from the book I read by Betty Boyd Caroli called “First Ladies”.

I’ve covered Martha Washington to Frances Cleveland.  Here’s more trivia that may help you in “Jeopardy” or “Trivial Pursuit”.

First Ladies

Caroline Harrison:  She became ill in the last year of her husband’s presidency and died a few weeks before the 1892 election becoming only the second First Lady to die while in the White House.  She’s best remembered for having electricity added to the White House during 1891’s spring renovations and for starting the White House china collection.

Frances Cleveland:  She served two non-consecutive terms in the White House as First Lady.  In my last blog, here’s what I wrote about her:  “She was 21-years-old when she married the president, who was 28 years older than her!  Frances was the daughter of a former law partner to President Cleveland and he had known her since she was born.  He also bought her her first baby carriage!  Okay, that’s just downright creepy”.

Ida McKinley:  She was very sick and frail as First Lady.  In public, she was prone to seizures.  President McKinley would have a white handkerchief on hand and he’d place it over her face when she had a seizure and would remove it when it was over.  They would continue on in conversation as if nothing had happened.

Edith Roosevelt:  She controlled the information going out to social reporters very carefully and handle criticism well.  Once a famous woman was quoted in a national magazine that the First Lady “dresses on 300 dollars a year and looks it.”  She happily clipped the column and placed it in her scrapbook.

Helen Taft:  She was known to push her husband into positions that would align him to become president one day.  She was influenced by the years she spent in the Orient and as First Lady, she had thousands of Japanese cherry trees planted and the spring blossoms are now a major tourist attraction in Washington D.C.

Ellen Wilson:  She became the first First Lady to address Congress to improve housing conditions in Washington D.C., especially the slums, with “Ellen Wilson’s Bill”.

Edith Wilson:  President Woodrow Wilson’s second wife was highly criticized for “petticoat government” after he suffered a stroke in the fall of 1919.  She kept people away from him until he recovered enough to carry out his presidential responsibilities.  That’s why people didn’t really know who was running the government.  Meanwhile, she set a good example during World War I by having “meatless days” at the White House and she even brought in sheep to graze the lawn to save money and would auction off the wool to raise cash for the American Red Cross.

Florence Harding:  She was known to manipulate the White House press corp.  Because of that, the public never knew how sick she and the president really were and thus their deaths came as more of a shock.  Publicly, she blamed their extended illnesses on food poisoning and other things.

Grace Coolidge:  Her husband, President Calvin Coolidge, was very strict and never allowed her to give interviews.  While he often demeaned her, he spent a lot of money to buy her a lavish wardrobe.

Lou Hoover:  She was a geologist who moved to China with husband and then added Mandarin to the languages she spoke.  She embraced radio and gave many speeches with a feminist slant.

I’ll have the final installment next week.

THAT’S IT

I hope you found something interesting this week in my many random thoughts.  As always, feel free to share your thoughts with me, even if we disagree.  Just do it diplomatically.

Have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend.  Happy 240th Birthday America!

Anthony

Deadly Gay Nightclub Attack — We’re all “One”

The worst mass shooting in American history took place Saturday night in an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub called “Pulse”.

In a story that’s still developing as I write this Sunday, Orlando’s mayor says 50 people are dead and another 53 are hurt. (Monday, the total was updated to 49 victims inside the club, plus the shooter.)

Pulse.jpg

This is deadlier than the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 or Sandy Hook five years later.

I pray for each and every person — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or straight — in that nightclub.  I pray for their families and their friends that someone took it upon himself to come into that nightclub to destroy the lives of everyone there and for the people who love them.

This is a disgusting act of cowardliness and it’s a sad expression of where some in humanity stand in life.  It’s pathetic and heartbreaking!

The motive is still unknown as I write this.

If this shooting and mass murder took place because it was a gay nightclub, that compounds an already inhumane act.

Hate is hate!  No one has the right to inflict emotional or physical pain or death upon another person because they think being gay is a sin.

Let God decide that when the time comes.

Learn to be human and talk about your differences or move along down the road in a different walk of life.

PrideFlag

June is the month for Americans to celebrate “Gay Pride”.

It’s a time to celebrate diversity and everything that we in the LGBTQ community has had to fight for in life — from being discriminated against for who we are, to having others neglect them and kick them out of their homes for being different, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Stonewall_Inn_1969

“Gay Pride” was established in 1970 after the Stonewall Riots in New York City in the summer of 1969.

Bar patrons, who already had to hide in the shadows to meet, said to police who came in harassing them on a regular basis, “enough is enough”.

They fought back with bottles, rocks, and whatever they could find to protect themselves. Harassment, even at the hands of police, who demeaned and mocked gay people at the bar, is harassment and is wrong.  (You read can more about the “Stonewall Riots” at the bottom of this blog.  I re-posted my blog from four years ago.)

Stonewall_riots

The “Stonewall Riots” started a revolution!  Gay people could be themselves anywhere in America — whether it be Mayfield, Kentucky,  Pocatello, Idaho, or San Francisco, California.

When America is faced with an act of terrorism, such as the 9/11 attacks in September 2001 or terrorist attacks on a smaller scale, we stand strong in the face of sadness, tears, and blood.

As Gay Pride events take place this month, I hope all our friends embrace the LGBTQ community and look out for us, just as we would do for you — we are one!

I’m thinking of the U2 song, “One” right now and I think it’s appropriate.

I hope America and the world come together at this sad time to open their arms and open their hearts to their brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.

We’re human just like you — we love and we want to find love, we work and pay taxes, we’re someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, or co-worker.

And, when some coward charges into a nightclub armed with “an assault-type weapon, a handgun” and “some type of (other) device”, we bleed and die just like the rest of America and the world.

All we want is peace, love, and understanding.

peace_love_understanding

That starts at home, at schools, and at work.  That starts with each one of us.

Please pray for those hurt and killed, their families and friends, and the world.  We all need that prayer now.

Anthony

If you want to read more about the “Stonewall Riots”, I posted this in 2012, so it’s now been 47 years, not 43.

Click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/

My 20 Favorites Movies of 2014

The movie with the most buzz in 2014 didn’t have anything to do with “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, “The Hunger Games”, or hobbits.

Because of hacks at Sony and threats against movie goers, “The Interview”, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco playing a television show producer and host that are asked by the U.S. government to kill the leader of North Korea, was the most talked about movie of the year.

Sony cancelled the Christmas Day premiere and then after a huge backlash across the country and from the President of the United States, the movie was released in more than 300 theaters on Christmas Day and it was made available online for $5.99.

Sony is now calling “The Interview” its “top grossing online film of all time” after it made more than $15 million in digital rentals and purchases in its first four days.  It also made almost $3 million in limited release at theaters in its first four days.

I still want to see it and one year from now, we’ll see if it makes my 2015 list.

2014

Here are my favorite movies of 2014. Notice I said, “favorite”.  These may not be the “best” movies of the year that Oscar will shine on, but these are my favorites that I enjoyed and would watch again.

This is 20 to #11.  The top ten will be posted tomorrow.

#20

“PRIDE”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $1.4 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $7.5 MILLION 

19

“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $124.9 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $304.2 MILLION 

#18

“FLOATING SKYSCRAPERS”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

17

“JOAN RIVERS:  A PIECE OF WORK”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $2.9 MILLION 

#16

“OUT OF THE FURNACE”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $11.3 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $15.4 MILLION 

15

“BAGGAGE CLAIM”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $21.6 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $22.5 MILLION 

#14 Movie

“SNOWPIERCER”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $4.6 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $86.8 MILLION 

#13

“DIVERGENT”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $150.9 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $288.7 MILLION 

12

“UNBROKEN”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $47.3 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $47.3 MILLION 

11

“GLORIA”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $2.1 MILLION 

2014

Thank you for checking out #20 to #11.  Which ones have you watched and did you see any that you might want to check out now?

Check back tomorrow for my ten favorite movies of 2014.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/my-ten-favorite-movies-of-2014/

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 7

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one.  In the Quad Cities, Gumbo Ya-Ya is taking place in the District of Rock Island.  While I’ve broadcasted weather live from the event, I’ve never actually gone to it.  So, this evening, I’ll be there an hour or so for work and then I may sample some of the culture and the food.

On Sunday,we’re heading to Chicagoland to celebrate Gretel’s birthday a month early.  Two years ago, we took her to the “Glee Live” concert.  This time it’s Ke$ha and Pitbull.  While I was the one that really wanted to go, Gretel was very excited about getting to see the show, too.

KE$HA & PITBULL IN CONCERT

Ke$ha Pitbull

While I know that Ke$ha is strange and her songs are auto-tuned to the max, she’s still fun to listen to and who doesn’t love someone that’s not afraid to let their freak flag fly.  Her current album, “Warrior” is amazing.

The reviews of the concert are really good.  From what I’ve read, Ke$ha comes out first and performs about 55 minutes and then Pitbull brings his Latin magic to the stage for about 75 minutes.

Ke$ha’s new song, “Crazy Kids” featuring will.i.am is currently racing up the chart and is already Top 30 at pop radio.

KAISER’S LAST  WALK

In a heartwarming show of respect last Friday in Massachusetts, several Plymouth Police Department personnel gathered outside an animal hospital to salute Kaiser, their 2.5-year-old K-9 companion, as he walked into the veterinarian clinic to be put down.
Remembering Kaiser

The German Shepherd was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure this March, but his health problems became too severe early last week for him to work and the decision was made to end his pain.

Kaiser was one of the youngest dogs to ever attend the training academy – at just 10 months old.  After finishing the four-month Patrol Dog Academy, he was certified in human tracking, criminal apprehension and evidence recovery and was assigned to Plymouth Police Officer Jamie LeBretton.

LeBretton posted this on the Plymouth Police K-9 unit’s Facebook page, “I feel privileged to have had a front row seat to witness his bravery and heroic actions while serving the people of Plymouth and my brothers and sisters in blue.”

Rest in peace, Kaiser!

TRAIN WRECK AMANDA BYNES HAS CROSSED THE LINE

Troubled actress Amanda Bynes is giving people plenty to talk about and it has nothing to do with her acting!

Following her last arrest on May 23, 2013, she tweeted, “Don’t believe the reports about me being arrested. It’s all lies.  I was sexually harassed by one of the cops the night before last which is who then arrested me. He lied and said I threw a bong out the window when I opened the window for fresh air. Hilarious. He slapped my vagina.  Sexual harassment…The cops were creepy.”  Um, okay.

Amanda Bynes

And, then last weekend, she was upset with “People” magazine and posted this on Twitter with a gay slur.

Amanda Bynes

Before it was deleted, RuPaul got wind of it and had this come back.

RuPaul

Amanda, you need help, but let me give you some advice.  You should really watch your mouth, especially dropping that f-bomb because one thing you don’t want in your twisted little life is for the LGBT community to come down on you, especially a 7-foot tall drag queen (with heels and wig)!

RuPaul

You better work!

YUM!

I finally had the new Bud Light Lime Straw-Ber-Rita and it was pretty tasty.  And, the nice thing is that it’s only 199 calories.  While it has more calories than a glass of wine or a vodka/diet tonic, I would not want to have more than one or two of them at a time anyways.  It seems more like a cordial or a dessert drink to me.  Also, I bet it would fun to make my own variation of the drink for a party!

strawberrita

As many of you know, I love making fun drinks or having a vodka tonic or a glass or two of wine, so this cartoon is rather fitting for me. 🙂

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Forecast  Know it allHuman

PRIDE PROTEST SHAME

Last weekend was 6th annual Pride weekend in the Quad Cities.  I’ve attended three of them now.  Two with Miss ABBA and this one with Ray and Gretel.  I hear the turnout on Saturday was phenomenal!  Thank you, Quad Cities!

We went on Sunday and it wasn’t as busy during the afternoon.  As many of you know, I’m very outspoken about matters that are true to my heart.  I believe in equality for all and I stand behind my convictions and I don’t hide.  What you get is what you see!

As we were leaving Pride, Ray pointed out the two protestors standing by the entrance/exit.  While thousands attended the Quad Cities Pride, two people took it upon themselves to let us know that we were sinners in God’s eyes.

Pride Protestor

If this is a relative of yours, I offer my apologies on several levels.  But, most of all, if you have the nerve to condemn people on God’s behalf, please have “pride” in yourself that you don’t hang your head in shame when someone takes your picture.  I know there are many people who believe as this man does.  On the other hand, I know there are many more people who are proud to stand up for the rights of their LGBT brothers and sisters.

Gretel, who turns 12 next month, asked, “What is he protesting?”  I told her, “he thinks God doesn’t want your two dads married”.  And, her response was priceless, “Why?”  I ♥ my little girl!

I can hear the angel Whitney Houston singing in my head, “I believe that children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way”.  So, I’ll share it with you now.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

It’s been almost 16 months since the incredibly talented and beautiful Whitney Houston left us.  Her music still sounds as good today as it did when she blasted onto the music scene in 1985 with her first hit, “You Give Good Love”.  From that first Billboard Hot 100 hit that peaked at #3 to her last Top 40 appearance in 2001 (“The Star-Spangled Banner, #6), Whitney scored 30 Top 40 hits.  Of those, 24 reached the Top Ten, and eleven made it all the way to the top of the chart!

As a matter of fact, from 1985-1988, Whitney topped the Billboard Hot 100 with seven consecutive songs:  “Saving All My Love For You”, “How Will I Know”, “Greatest Love of All”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “So Emotional”, and “Where Do Broken Hearts Go”.

In addition to those seven consecutive chart toppers, Whitney also reached the top with “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, “All The Man I Need”, I Will Always Love You”, and “Exhale (Shoop Shoop)”.

She also topped the Billboard Dance Chart fourteen times.

DONUT VODKA LAST YEAR AND NOW WHAT?

Last year at this time, I was anxiously awaiting the “Glazed Donut” vodka from 360 Vodka, which the company called the “irresistible taste of America’s most-popular donut.”  I wasn’t impressed when I bought it, so I need to try it again to see if I was wrong last summer.

Today, on National Donut Day, Dunkin’ Donuts is offering not only a free donut with the purchase of a beverage, but it’s also offering a new, relatively healthy breakfast (or I guess, anytime) treat, the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich!

donut-sandwich

The company describes the 360 calorie, 20 fat grams sandwich this way, “The glazed donut is light and fluffy and gives you just the right amount of sweetness. Combined with the lightly salted, smoked bacon, the texture and flavors marry together in a wonderful way. It’s a delicious bite of the perfect harmonization of sweet and savory flavors.”

So, would it be overkill to have this new Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich and a 360 Vokda Glazed Donut cocktail for dinner tonight??? 🙂

Speaking of Dunkin’ Donuts, the chain’s Moline, Illinois, store on Avenue of the Cities that was struck by a hit and run stolen pickup truck almost three months ago is still closed.  And, it will remain that way indefinitely.  While I’m not a regular customer there, I thought it was rather odd that it has taken so long to re-open.  So, I did some investigating and no building permit has been requested from the Moline Building Division for the repair work.  Interesting!

I guess if I really want my free donut and to try this sandwich today, I’ll have to go to Davenport!

“THE WALKING DEAD”

While we’re still months away from the start of the fourth season of “The Walking Dead”, I got excited earlier this week when it was announced that season three arrives on DVD on August 27th!  Yes, I’m one of those people who don’t watch enough television to pay Mediacom’s outrageous prices for cable.

I can’t wait to see the third season because I hear it was fantastic.  And, yes, I’m aware that some of the main characters die since you can’t avoid spoilers these days, especially if you wait for shows to arrive on DVD.

The season 3 finale was watched by 12.4 million people making it the most-watched drama series telecast in basic cable history.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll see you in less than three months!

“DEXTER”

While I love “The Walking Dead”, my favorite show is “Dexter”.  The final season begins June 30th on Showtime!

Dexter The Final Season

And, guess who graces the cover of my favorite magazine, “Entertainment Weekly’?

Dexter -EW-COVER

While my issue will arrive in the mail today, I already know part of what it says about season 8.  Since I don’t believe in spoiling things for others, in case you’re not caught up, here’s what I’ll let out of the bag.  According to “EW”, the final season picks up six months after the shocking season seven finale.  Debra has a new job and Dexter is desperate to get close to his sister again after the all of the turmoil she faced last season after she found out what Dexter is!

And, this sounds like an awesome new storyline:  “Enter Dr. Evelyn Vogel (Charlotte Rampling), a psychiatrist with a secret: Decades ago she helped Dexter’s father write the Code that he’s used to manage his psychotic impulses. Now she’s being stalked by a mysterious killer and wants Dex’s help.”

Ray and I just watched Season 7 and I have to say that it was my favorite season so far, but season one is very close!

Since I love ranking and grading pop culture, here goes:

Season 1: (A+)   — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

And, the icing on the cake, I finally got a Christmas “Dexter” episode!

RENT THIS!

If you’re looking for a movie to rent this weekend, I suggest “Silver Linings Playbooks” (A-), “The Life of Pi” (A), and “The Impossible” (A).

the-impossible

“The Impossible” is about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that struck many southeast Asia countries on December 26, 2004.  Indonesia was hardest hit with the most damage and casualties.  Around a quarter of a million people died.

This movie follows a British couple played by Naomi Watts (who was nominated for an Oscar for her performance) and Ewan McGregor and their three sons on a holiday vacation to Thailand.  After enjoying opening presents for Christmas, the movie moves on to their fight for survival during and after the waves hit their resort.

Watts’ performance was subtle, but very touching.  In a weaker Oscar race year, Tom Holland, who played the couple’s 12-year-old son, Lucas, would have have nominated.

The special effects of the tsunami and the aftermath of the raging water that turned land into an extension of the Indian Ocean were so realistic.

A must-see!

AND, TAKE A CHANCE ON THIS!

K-11

This was one of the craziest, but entertaining, movies I’ve seen in some time.

It’s the directorial debut of Hollywood veteran script supervisor Jules Stewart, the mother of the “Twilight” series star Kristin Stewart.  At one point, K-Stew was attached to the movie, but had to drop out because of a scheduling conflict.  Her brother, Cameron Stewart makes his acting debut as a prisoner.

The movie stars Goran Visnjic, of “ER” fame, as hard partying, boozer, and druggie music producer Raymond Saxx, Jr.  He ends up in jail one night after a blackout and then mistakenly (one guard bribing another is more accurate) gets taken to K-11, a part of the Los Angeles County Jail, that houses gay or transsexual inmates to keep them “safe” from the general jail population.

K-11 is a cesspool of drugs and bad behavior and is controlled by Mousey, a street wise transsexual inmate played by actress Kate De Castillo.  De Castillo is incredible.  It’s a case of Julie Andrew’s “Victor Victoria” gone bad.  A woman playing a man dressing as a woman.  I seriously thought that De Castillo was a man playing a woman or a transsexual.

The movie is violent and does have drug and rape scenes, so it may not be for the faint of heart.

GRADE:  B

OBSESSED WITH THIS VIDEO!

I love the latest song and video from singer and songwriter Hailey Rowe.  When I first saw the video, I loved it because it was fun and both Hailey and video “boyfriend”, actor Blake Peyrot, are so damn cute.  Now, I just can’t stop watching it.  And, the song was added to the playlists at stations in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Palm Springs, California.  I think it would be so awesome for this song to take off at Top 40 radio this summer!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

A mini-vacation sounds nice right now, but we don’t have any planned.

However, last year at this time, Ray, Gretel, Betty (“Mom”) and I spent the weekend at “Four Mounds”, a little getaway in Dubuque, Iowa, overlooking the Mississippi River.  They have a little cabin that we’ve rented several times.  We just relaxed, played cards, walked in the woods and along the River, and ate some good food like my favorite meal that Ray makes — chicken piccata.  That’s also the first meal he cooked for me and Miss ABBA in early 2009 when we met.

June 8 2012 Betty AP Ray Ray AP June 9 2012 Ray Gretel June 8 2012Chicken Piccata June 8 2012

Okay, that’s enough random thoughts.  You know I always welcome your thoughts on anything that I’m talking about or something totally off the subject.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony