Posts Tagged ‘race’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 3, 2017

The first month of 2017 is already behind us.  I hope the year is off to a good start for you.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours diplomatically and concisely!

WITH SADNESS & REGRETS

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” earlier this week.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy would have turned 14 at the end of March.

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

FIVE YEARS ALREADY!

The news of Mr. Panda crossing the “Rainbow Bridge” comes near the anniversary of us saying goodbye to my precious golden, ABBA.

I can’t believe it was five years ago today!

Here are the two of them on a spring walk when Miss ABBA decided she was going to be Mr. Panda’s “seeing eye dog”.

ABBAWalkingPanda

The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.

ABBAWalkingPandaArticle

Miss ABBA, I still think of you daily, but it’s with smiles now instead of tears.

Here’s a look back at her beautiful, golden life.

And, on we go…

BUILDING WALLS & BARRIERS

I’m going out on a limb here and say that most of us have been in relationships — successful ones and failed ones.

Lack of communication is probably to blame for a number of the failed relationships and it’s likely at the heart of the problems in the successful ones, too.

NOH8 Heart

We build walls around our heart and it causes friction, insecurity, miscommunication, and eventually, hate.

While those walls are emotional, the talk of building physical walls between people and countries is at all-time high.

Check out this incredible airlines commercial from Aeromexico driving home the message that ideological and physical barriers hurt people!

MURDER IN AMERICA

It’s a proven fact that most of the murders here in the United States are committed by people of the same race — white people are mostly killed at the hands of other white people, black people are mostly responsible for killing black people, etc.

The reasons for the senseless murders are many:  domestic problems, drugs, robbery, stupidity, etc.

KILLING SPREES CAUSED BY HATE AND IGNORANCE

quebec-city

Last Sunday, police say this white man walked into a Quebec City (Canada) mosque, opened fire, and killed six people and injured eight others.

When I heard this and the words “mosque” and Canada came up, the first thing that crossed my mind is that this wasn’t a “suicide bombing” by a Middle Eastern group attacking its own people.

Pulse

Last summer, when news broke about a gunman storming into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and hurting 53 others, I didn’t think it was an LGBT person going in with a vendetta.

And, when nine African Americans were massacred in a downtown Charleston, South Carolina, church, I didn’t think the shooter was another black person .

Roof.jpg

In all three of these incidents, I instantly thought the motivation was hate.  Today, I still feel certain it was.

The accused Quebec City shooter is reported to have “far-right, nationalist views” and publicly supported Donald Trump and the French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen.

Th man behind the Pulse shootings was disgusted by gay people and might even have been a self-hating gay man himself, and the Charleston shooter is a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Notice I didn’t use their names.  They don’t deserve any more publicity!  We know the hateful things they did or are accused of doing.

I’d love to say that people will be nicer and things will get better.  But, I’m a realist and I’m saddened and scared for our future — our intolerance of people that look or act different than us.

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

I’m thinking about this even more after listening to all of Mariah Carey’s albums again.

On her 1990 self-titled debut, she had a song called “There’s Got To Be A Way”.

It features the chilling lyrics, “In another land they still believe/color grants supremacy/I don’t understand how there can be/regulated bigotry”.

Sadly, in this day and age, you don’t even have to go to another country.  It’s alive here in America and now those people don’t even have to hide under sheets in the darkness of night or behind a computer screen.

Optimistically, Mariah sings on, “Some of us don’t even wonder/some of us don’t even care/couldn’t we accept each other/can’t we make ourselves aware”.

Let’s hope!

Hope

FINDING HOPE WHERE WE CAN!

On a much brighter note, we’re now only six weeks away from the live action version of Disney’s remake of “Beauty and the Beast”.

The final official trailer came out earlier this week.

It gives us a comprehensive look at the movie and we finally hear Ariana Grande and John Legend’s remake of the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s theme song.

I’m excited even more for the March 17, 2017 premiere.

The original “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 made $425 million and it was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  (It lost to “The Silence of the Lambs”.)

WHERE ARE THOU, SNOW?

Only 0.4″ of snow officially fell in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, for the month of January.

There have only been two other winters on record that date back to the 1870s where less snow accumulated in January.

lack-of-january-snow

Only a trace of snow fell in January 1989 and January 1944.

This January ties 1973 as the third least snowiest on record.

“GROUNDHOG DAY BLIZZARD”

While this winter is rather skimpy on snow, six years ago today we were digging out of the “Groundhog Day Blizzard”.

Snow started falling on January 31, 2011, and by the time the storm departed February 2, 2011, the Quad Cities tied the record for a single snowstorm with the one from January 11-13, 1979 at 18.4″!

Blizzard 2-2-2011

The bulk of the snow in 2011, 14.8″ fell on February 1st, with 1.7″ the day before that, and 1.9″ the day after the big snow.  If you look at those totals, the 16.7″ that fell on February 1st and 2nd set the record for the most snow in 24 hours in the Quad Cities!

Days later, Gretel and I took advantage of the snow by playing snow zombie attack and Ray helped us dig a tunnel, which ABBA loved.

February 5 2011February 6 2011

Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!

“THE HYPNOTIST”

As I’ve stated many times, I read books, mostly autobiographies, biographies, or real life events, while walking on the treadmill.

Occasionally, I check out some fiction.  I just finished Fiona Barton’s “The Widow” and a Swedish book translated into English, “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler.

After reading Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” in 2015, I’ve come to realize that Scandinavians love their violent novels.

“The Hypnotist” picks up after a vicious and savage attack on a family leaves the mom, dad, and their little girl dead and in pieces.  The only survivor was a teenage boy stabbed hundreds of times.

Detectives are in a race against time to talk to the boy because he is the only one that saw the killer(s).  They learn that he has an older sister not living at home and the killer could be after her next.

The only way they can reach the boy’s memories of the brutal attack is to use hypnosis by a discredited doctor.

The use of hypnosis opens up old wounds from ten years ago and brings forth a new crime spree as detectives race to catch the savage murderer and a newly discovered serial killer.

A great read!  Now, I need to find the hit 2012 movie based on the book.

“THE SNOWMAN”

Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!

Nesbo+Snowman

Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

the-snowman

Until there’s an official trailer, here’s what I wrote about the book in July 2015 if you want to check it out.

“Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train [Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”], I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.”

PICK HIT

LeAnn Rimes is back this week with “Remnants”, her 13th studio album!  While it’s just now coming out in the U.S., it was released last fall in the U.K.

Here at home, Rimes is best known for many huge country hits that kicked off with 1996’s “Blue”.  Those hits continued through 2004-2006 when she scored three Top Ten Country smashes from her “This Woman” album.

She also scored huge pop hits with “How Do I Live” and with tracks from the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack (“Can’t Stop the Moonlight”).

Rimes also had amazing, but less commercially successful, albums like “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I highly recommend both!

She’s currently in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart at #6 with “Long Live Love” from the new “Remnants” album.

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 — July 15, 2016

I don’t know about you, but this week seemed to drag on for me and I’m very happy the weekend is here.

I hope you have a great one and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours afterwards.

“YES, I STARVE MY KIDS”

We live in a country where it’s easier (and cheaper) to grab high caloric and fatty foods instead of healthier ones.  It’s no surprise that more than one in three Americans is obese (body mass index of over 30).

We’re not alone.  Worldwide, in 2014, nearly two BILLION people are overweight and more than 600 million adults were obese.

When it comes to children, in 2013, 42 million kids younger than five years old were overweight!

Kristin.jpgWith those sobering facts, it’s no surprise the Internet went crazy when actress and reality star Kristin Carvallari, the wife of the Chicago Bears’ Jay Cutler, posted this Fourth of July picture of two of her children.

People accused Carvallari of starving her children. Her sarcastic response, “Yes, I starve my kids”, was priceless!

I know some of you may think they’re too thin.  Could it be the angle of the camera or the fact that the little boy is in motion playing and not posing?

But, are we so accustomed to seeing people carrying around so many unwanted, unhealthy pounds that we attack a mother because her kids are thin?

Clearly, shaming is for everyone — thick or thin.

MY HEART BREAKS AGAIN FOR THE WORLD

Another senseless tragedy strikes France.

A large truck intentionally drove through a crowd of thousands Thursday night gathered to watch fireworks and celebrate the country’s biggest holiday, Bastille Days, in the southern city of Nice.

Officials say the truck was loaded with guns and explosives.

Nice France

At least 84 are dead and another 19 are in critical condition.

It’s been a devastating 18 months for France. 

In January 2015, ISIS and al-Qaeda gunmen murdered 17 people in Paris at the Charlie Hebdo satiric publication and at a grocery store.

Then, last November, 130 people were killed and another 368 were hurt when ISIS militants attacked six locations in France and its northern suburbs with assault rifles, hand grenades, and explosive belts worn by suicide bombers.

How much more grief can France and the world take?  Sadly, I think we’re going to find out. 😦

O.J. SIMPSON — MURDERER

Oops, strike that.  He was found “not guilty” by a California jury.

I don’t think you can find many people in the world that don’t know or have an opinion about Orenthal James Simpson.

OJ Gloves.pngPeople too young to know him from the infamous murder trial of his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman or the “white Bronco chase” in the mid-1990s  might have caught FX’s “American Crime Story:  The People v O.J.” this spring.

If you think you know all there is to know about the sports legend, ESPN begs to differ.  Its ten hour series, “OJ:  Made In America”, covers two big aspects of Simpson’s life in great detail — fame and race.

I’ve watched the first four hours of the five-part series and it’s incredible.  I can’t wait to see the rest of it.

So far, I learned that O.J.’s dad was gay and I hope to see more about his first wife, Marguerite, since they just skipped over the rest of that story!  I hope she took him to the cleaners once he met and married Nicole.

O.J. SIMPSON — SEX SYMBOL

As a kid, I wasn’t a football fan (I’m still not), so I didn’t know that Simpson was a standout football star with the University of Southern California Trojans or that he played professional football for the Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers.

Young OJ.jpg

I only remember two things about him:  running through airports in Hertz rental car commercials and the savage murder of his wife and Goldman, the televised Bronco chase, and the pathetic circus that was called a trial.

The first part of “OJ: Made in America” showed a more recent Simpson — an overweight, old man in prison.  However, much to my chagrin (and fascination), we met and fell for a very charming, sexy, and articulate star athlete that I would have had a major crush on if I had been old enough in the 1970s.

But, it only took a moment to snap back into reality:  infidelity, domestic violence, murder charges, and the list goes on…

RACE RELATIONS

O.J. Simpson aside, the ESPN series and the current book I’m reading “Jimmy Carter:  A Comprehensive Biography from Plains to Post-Presidency” by Peter Bourne has me thinking even more about race relations in the United States.

Both of those touch on race in the 1960s — the Watts Riots in 1965 in the television series and school integration in Georgia and the South in the 1960s in the book.

However, it’s disheartening to think that we’ve made so many advancements in the past fifty years, yet when you listen to the news today about the police shootings of black people on the streets, the protests that stem from that, and then a gunman executing officers in Dallas, you have to ask, “Is this still the 1860s or the 1960s?”.

Dallas

People have every right to be pissed off.  But, the bottom line is that there are good and bad police officers, just as there are good and bad people in society.

I wish there was more love and compassion in our world instead of the anger, hate, and violence.

ONE MONTH SINCE THE PULSE MASSACRE

It’s been a little over a month now since a lone gunman walked into the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, opening fire killing 49 people and injuring 53 others before police killed him.

Pulse

Last week, I featured a Ryan Murphy produced tribute to each of the victims from some of the biggest stars in entertainment.

This week, “Hands”, a new tribute song featuring Britney Spears, Selena Gomez, Jennifer Lopez, Pink, Meghan Trainor, Jason Derulo, Troye Sivan, and so many more was released.

The video even features Patience Carter, Tiara Parker and Angel Anthony Santiago, three of the survivors of the Pulse massacre.  It’s so touching.

Profits go to the Equality Florida Pulse Victims Fund, the GLBT Community Center of Central Florida, and GLAAD.

THIS SUMMER NEEDS (AND GOT) BRITNEY!

Okay, this part of the blog had to be rewritten and revamped this morning.  When I awoke for work just after midnight, I got the surprise of the summer — the much anticipated release of the new Britney Spears song, “Make Me”, featuring G-Eazy!

With her revamped residency, “Piece of Me”, at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas and her amazing seven-minute performance to open the Billboard Music Awards, this summer needs the much-anticipated return of Britney Spears.

Earlier this week, she teased us with new music in the commercial for her “Private Show” fragrance.  She is so freaking hot!

Excitement continues to build as Britney readies her ninth studio album expected this fall.  It’ll be her first since the under-performing “Britney Jean” in 2013.  It produced the Top 20 hit, “Work Bitch”, but it was the worst selling single of her three decade career.

Also, with “Make Me”, it’s time to put that hideous misfire, last summer’s “Pretty Girls”, with Iggy Azalea (is she still around?), behind us.

Welcome back, Brit Brit!

BITTER DAYS FOLLOW BREAK-UP

I enjoyed the fifteen months that Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris were together because they made a beautiful couple.

Taylor Calvin

I absolutely love “This Is What You Came For”, Harris’ current Top 5 Hot 100 and #1 Dance Club Songs smash with Rihanna.

Ever since I discovered Harris on his amazing “18 Months” album and since “Blank Space” was my favorite song of 2014, you know I love both Calvin and Taylor’s music.

It’s now been revealed there may be another reason I like the new song so much.  It appears that Taylor wrote the song under a pseudonym!

However, the aftermath of the revelation is getting nasty.  Calvin tweeted this one Wednesday:

“And she sings on a little bit of it too 🙃 .  Amazing lyric writer and she smashed it as usual. I wrote the music, produced the song, arranged it and cut the vocals though. And initially she wanted it kept secret, hence the pseudonym.”

“Hurtful to me at this point that her and her team would go so far out of their way to try and make ME look bad at this stage though 🤔.  I figure if you’re happy in your new relationship you should focus on that instead of trying to tear your ex bf down for something to do.  I know you’re off tour and you need someone new to try and bury like Katy ETC but I’m not that guy, sorry. I won’t allow it.”

Even with the bitterness of those tweets, I’m happy that Calvin took the high road and offered an olive branch in the final two tweets:  “Please focus on the positive aspects of YOUR life because you’ve earned a great one” and “God bless everyone have a beautiful day.”

Calvin, man, I really like you and I wish you success in life and love.  But, have fun and live it up because this is what we came for!

SUMMER TELEVISION

I’m so happy that “Mr. Robot”, the best new show on television last year, is back and it picked up a lot of Emmy nomination love yesterday!

MR. ROBOT

If you didn’t see the incredibly written, acted, and addictive first season, you need to set your DVR to record the second season and binge watch the first.

You’ll fall in love with the quirky, strange, and sad Elliot Alderson, played by Rami Malek.  I guess I should say Emmy-nominated Rami Malek.

The new season kicked off Wednesday night on the USA network.

Now, that “The Walking Dead, “Madam Secretary” and “Quantico” are on hiatus until the fall, “Mr. Robot” couldn’t have come at a better time.

While CBS renewed “Zoo” for a second season, it only took a hokey herd of wild animals on the rampage in the first few minutes of the second season premiere for me to finally give up on the show after an uneven first season.

The premise of the animal kingdom turning on man was great.  The execution became contrived over last season’s thirteen episodes.

Wolk Zoo S2.jpg

My only regret is saying goodbye to James Wolk.

Also, this summer, I gave “American Gothic” on CBS a try, but thirty minutes was all it took to delete it and take the series record off of the DVR.

TWO SHOWS WE’RE ENJOYING

However, we’ve started watching two other shows that are entertaining us in half the time!

Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”, a Tina Fey production, and Amazon Prime’s “Catastrophe” have both completed their second seasons, but are new to us.

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” has been renewed for a third season.  The show and the leads, Ellie Kemper and Tituss Burgess, were all nominated for Emmy Awards this week!

There’s no word on whether there’ll be more “Catastrophe”.

PICK HIT

18-year-old Swedish singer Zara Larsson is ready to follow-up her first American hit, the Top 5 smash “Never Forget You” with MNEK, with a song that was actually first released last summer.

“Lush Life” is a fun, peppy perfect summer song.

If you remember this song and the video last year, you notice that more money was spent on the new one.  Just for fun, here’s the original video.

In her native country, she’s already had eight hits, six of which reached the Top Ten, and three have topped the charts, including “Lush Life” and “Never Forget You”.

CONGRATULATIONS BRETT KISSEL

If you follow my blog, you know I’m a big supporter of Canadian country singer Brett Kissel, who now lives in Nashville with his wife and little girl.

I’m still waiting for American country radio to expand their horizons and play him.

I want to congratulate Brett on scoring his eighth consecutive Top Ten hit on the Canadian Country chart.

Brett Kissel

This week, “Cool With That”, the third single from his “Pick Me Up” album, moved from #11 to #8.

If you’d like to know more about him and I’d highly recommend it, here’s what I wrote back in February.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 29, 2015

I’m starting off with a quick thank you for taking the time to check out my blogs when I share new ones and for your comments.

I miss writing every day.  Since my new blogs are not regular, fewer people check them out.  But, I appreciate each and every one of you that reads them.

And, as always, feel free to share your thoughts — if you agree with me or disagree.  Just tell me why and do it diplomatically.

Here goes…

BIZARRE “KING OF POP” CASTING

A new British made-for-television movie, “Elizabeth, Michael, & Marlon”, focusing on a road trip that Michael Jackson allegedly took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 is getting a lot of buzz.  I say “allegedly” because this incredibly hard to believe story was disputed by “Vanity Fair” magazine in 2011.

“The Guardian”, a British daily newspaper, is reporting that Joseph Fiennes, who won praise and several awards for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love”, will be playing Michael Jackson!

Joseph-Fiennes-American-Horror-Story

Wouldn’t the Oscars just love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember him very, very well as the naughty Monsignor Timothy Howard on “American Horror Story: Asylum” in 2012-2013.

Stockard Channing is reportedly playing Liz Taylor.

WHAT WOULD MICHAEL THINK ABOUT THIS?

In a 23-year-old interview with Oprah Winfrey, she asked the legendary singer about rumors of him wanting a white kid play him in a Pepsi commercial.

http://www.michael-jackson-photos.com/

Michael replied, “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I am proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”

I guess he wouldn’t approve of Fiennes!

THIS “SNL” SCENE FITS PERFECTLY — #OSCARSSOWHITE

For two years in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy Awards) failed to nominate an actor of color in the acting awards — that’s 20 white people two years running.

I’m not a fan of “Saturday Night Live”, but they can get it right and when they do, it’s too funny.

IOWA CAUCUS

Like music and movie charts and stats, I love polls and numbers when it comes to big elections and this year’s presidential election will be a big one.

I’m excited about Monday’s Iowa Caucus, the first vote in the nation for the next president of the United States, for two reasons:  (1) to see who wins and if the polls were correct and (2) so we’ll hear and see less of the so-called candidates that never stood a snowball’s chance in hell of winning!

Earlier in the week, I posted a really interesting blog about why the race for president is much bigger than Iowa and New Hampshire and how diversity across the U.S. will have a bigger impact on the nominations.  The day after I shared it, “Real Clear Politics” had a similar story.

Lately when you say politics, people zone out.  So, if you didn’t read it, here it is again.  At least, glance at it.  (The link will open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/diversity-in-america-the-2016-presidential-election/

Now that you’ve read it, do you agree or disagree?

DONALD TRUMP CAN GET AWAY WITH MURDER?

Maybe he could get a show on ABC since NBC got rid of him!

And, technically, he didn’t say he could kill someone.

Last Saturday, in Sioux City, Iowa, the not-fit-for-president blowhard told an audience, “The polls say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that, that I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters? Okay, it’s like incredible.”

This isn’t Russia and he’s not Putin, it’s not Germany and he’s not Hitler.  Nevermind, I can’t prove who he is and who he isn’t!

I just know that even my Republican friends across the aisle can’t think that he’d be good for America no matter how much they hate President Obama and dislike the Democratic candidates and the Republicans running against Trump.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember this former Monday feature?

POP STAR KELLY CLARKSON (on Trump):  “I am legitimately frightened for our nation.”

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

POP MUSIC ICON CHER (tweeting about Trump backing out of this week’s Fox debate):

“Trump NOT Doing FOX Debate Cause Of MEGAN KELLY😂Some1 Get Him TOE SHOES,fkng PRIMA DONNA. HOW CAN HE FACE ISIS,HE CANT FACE A CHICK ON TV.🐈

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

REPUBLICAN MAINE GOVERNOR PAUL LePAGE (on drug traffickers):  “What I think we ought to do is bring the guillotine back. We could have public executions.”

Say what????

DANCE MIX TO GET YOU GOING THIS FRIDAY

Sometimes you just have to smile and make the best of the trainwreck that is Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

Her endorsement of the Republican front runner is rather entertaining!  Okay, this version is fun.

“CANCELLED” OR “CANCELED”

Thousands of flights were “cancelled” last weekend with the epic blizzard across the mid-Atlantic and the northeastern United States.  Even when school are delayed or “canceled” locally, you see the spelling both ways.

Which do you prefer, since both are correct?  I’m old school and I like “CANCELLED”.

PANDA IN SNOW — LOVE IT!

While I know the historic snowstorm wreaked havoc for millions and, sadly, killed people, you have to find the beautiful of it.

This video from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. made my weekend last weekend.

Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), the male giant panda, loved playing in the snow.  The zoo says “giant pandas have thick woolly coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountains of China”.

“FORCE MAJEURE”

Since we’re talking snow, I finally got to see a movie that I’ve been wanting to see for well over a year now.

“Force Majeure”, a 2014 Swedish film, that was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is funny and serious.

A family of four are vacationing for a week in the French Alps.  One day at a patio lunch, a controlled avalanche rolls down the mountain dangerously close to where they’re sitting blasting them with snow.

In the pandemonium, as vacationers run from the patio, the father, Tomas, rushes from the scene leaving his wife, Ebba, to get to two children to safety.

It’s only a false alarm and they go back to lunch with snow on the patio.  But, things have changed.

Did Tomas really run and leave his family and how will he and Ebba deal with the aftermath as a family?

After seeing the movie, I wish that Johannes Bah Kuhnke, who plays Tomas, would do some American movies.

GRADE:  A-

“THE 5TH WAVE”

Last Friday night, with Ray in New Orleans, Gretel, our 14-year-old daughter, and I had a dad and daughter weekend.

It started at the movies with a large popcorn and two large Coke Zeros with a splash of cherry!

She’s read “The 5th Wave” novel and was looking forward to the movie starring one of her favorite actresses, Chloe Grace Moretz, and one of her crushes, Nick Robinson (“Jurassic World”).

It’s a young-adult end-of-the-world movie about aliens taking over the world in a catastrophic waves.

While the U.S. box office results for opening weekend were weak at $11 million, part of that may have been due to historic snowstorm on the East Coast.  Foreign box office returns are stronger and the movie has, at least, made back its $38 million budget.

If you like doomsday movies, you can look past the teenage love story (triangle) and enjoy the movie.  I did.  (And, Gretel is right.  Both Robinson and Alex Roe are very cute young men!)

GRADE:  B

I CROSSED THE AISLE TO BE FAIR, BUT HE SURE ISN’T!

If you’ve read my blogs and thoughts on a regular basis, you know that I’m a Democrat and that I support Hillary Clinton.

However, this random thought is about being open-minded and crossing the aisle and reading books by a couple of Republicans.  I started with two-time failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee

I read his 2008 “New York Times” bestseller “Do The Right Thing” and here’s a quick summation of the 216-page book to prove that I actually read it. 🙂

I enjoyed the six-page Prologue, “I Love Iowa! January 3, 2008”, which focused on the Iowa Caucus that he won keeping him in the presidential race that year longer than expected.

After that, it was all downhill!  It was filled with his anti-Democrat, anti-gay rhetoric, and his holier than thou religious life.  I’m perfectly fine that people love God and want to talk about it.  I pray to God every night and thank him for all he’s blessed me with in life.

Huckabee starts one chapter about “all men are created equal” and later in the book, on protecting human life, he states, “I do pray that one day we will be clear as to the value and worth of each and every human life”.  What baffles me is the hate he then spews in the name of his love for God.  It fully contradicts those comments.

The book is not very cohesive — it’s all over the place.  In the middle of talking about abortions and being pro-life, there’s a couple of paragraphs about how repulsive slavery was.  It was!  However, that was awkward place for it.  Couldn’t it have its own chapter?

The biggest laugh I had (and there weren’t many in the book) was at the start of chapter 6 (page 83) when he declared, “On Saturday, January 28, 2007, I made history by becoming the first person both to announce his candidacy for president of the United States on “Meet the Press” and, moments later, to be seen on the same program wearing a Hawaiian shirt and playing “Born to Be Wild” with his band.”

Technically, it may have never happened before.  But, I’m sorry Mike, that’s not history-worthy and it won’t be remembered by anyone other than you and your family!

As I stated, the Prologue was interesting and then when he talked about FairTax, he got my attention.

It’s basically a system to tax goods we buy instead of taxing our salaries and doing away with the IRS and income taxes.  Huckabee made a good point, “Do you think that drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, or people in this country illegally are filling out the same IRS tax forms each year and reporting the money they illegally earned?”

I can say I gave him a chance and I was hoping to see where he developed so much hate for me and my family and the rest of the LGBT community.

Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.

ONE-HIT WONDER — I BET YOU DON’T REMEMBER THIS

I’m going through my movies and CDs and downsizing.

I came across the self-titled debut from Hanna-McEuen (cousins Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen) from the fall of 2005.

The first single from the album, “Something Like A Broken Heart” is a great song and Jaime’s voice is incredible.  Sadly, it only made a blip on country music radio peaking at #38.

I’m hoping Hanna’s good looks weren’t what prompted me to buy the CD.  Nevermind, I already said his voice is incredible.

By the way, he’s currently playing in Gary Allan’s band.

Gary is a great guy.  I had a chance to interview him in Lubbock, Texas, as we were both starting out in our respective professions, back in 1996.  He was enjoying his first hit, “Her Man”, which reached #7.

As charming and sexy as he is (and was), all he wanted to be was “her man”, not mine. 🙂

Gary has now scored 23 country hits, eleven have gone Top Ten, and four have hit #1.  His first was “Man To Man” from the 2001 “Alright Guy” album.

Gary Allan

Gary is coming to the area to Davenport, Iowa, August 3, 2016, to the Mississippi Valley Fair.

OR THIS ONE-HIT WONDER…

I also came across another self-titled, one-hit wonder, Katrina Elam of Oklahoma.

She reached #29 on the country charts with “No End in Sight”.

While that was her only Top 40 country hit as a singer, she’s written Top Ten hits for Rascal Flatts (“Easy”, #2, 2011) and Hunter Hayes (“Invisible”, #4, 2014), and songs for Carrie Underwood and the Eli Young Band.

Reba McEntire did a remake of Elam’s “I Want A Cowboy” on her 2009 “Keep on Loving You” album.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

I hope you found something interesting here.  If something got you thinking, share your thoughts with me and have a great weekend!

Anthony

Diversity in America & the 2016 Presidential Election

Politics and the 2016 presidential race is the hot topic during these cold winter months.

You can’t get away from hearing about it on television, the radio, and, especially, on social media.

Pretty much all of the attention has been focused on Iowa and New Hampshire because they are the first states to hold caucuses (Iowa, February 1) and primaries (New Hampshire, February 9).

As I write this, I want to throw out two things here to be fair — (1) I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter and I’ll be as objective as I can.

Hillary AP

And, (2) while many “candidates” are at odds with my marriage and my family, the amount of support for Donald Trump scares me.

You may have noticed that “candidates” is in quotation marks because Jim Gilmore, John Kasich, Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Ben Carson, and Martin O’Malley have no chance of winning.  You could probably safely add Jeb Bush and Chris Christie to this list, too.

Now, the points of the blog — the importance of Iowa and New Hampshire, why the faith in those two states may be overrated, the polls, and the media needing a story.

Another disclaimer here:  I work in the television news business as a meteorologist, so I have no control in what candidates or stories we cover.

Iowa NH

Iowa and New Hampshire are a thousand miles apart, but they gets plenty of national publicity in the long election campaigns because unknown national candidates can gain traction there (Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Bernie Sanders in 2016).

While Huckabee is DOA in Iowa this time around, the state is still important to Trump and Ted Cruz, who are battling it out on the Republican side and for Clinton and Sanders on the Democratic side for the same reason — bragging rights.

It can definitely boost national recognition and campaign contributions.

For us in the Illinois Quad Cities, bordering Iowa gives us a chance to see candidates that may be history by the March 15th Illinois primary.  (For those unfamiliar with the Quad Cities, it’s two larger cities in Iowa and two in Illinois on the Mississippi River separated by bridges — even though other communities feel they should be part of the “Quad” Cities.)

That’s why Iowa and New Hampshire are important.  Here’s why they really aren’t vital to the scheme of things on a national level.

Iowa has a population around 3.1 million people and New Hampshire 1.3 million. Combined, that’s 4.4 million people.

322.2 million people live in the United States, so those two states amount to 1.3% of the country’s population.

However, if you look closer at the population of those two states, you’ll find that Iowa is 91% white and Hampshire is 94% white.

diversity

I even saw a story refer to Iowa as “lily white” and New Hampshire as “lily whiter”.  It is what it is, but that’s not a true representation of America.

The demographics for our country are crudely broken down as:  63% White, 17% Hispanic, 13% African American, and 5% Asian.

For those reasons, I find it hard to put a lot of faith that Iowa and New Hampshire will decide the next election when you look at population and demographics.

And, then there are the polls!  I look at them, but I don’t cry over them.  It’s all about who is conducting them and how the questions are asked (or how you think they are asked).

RCP Sunday.jpg

For example, in Iowa, Clinton and Sanders are within points of each other in most polls, yet there are others that show Clinton with a commanding lead.

It’s a given that Sanders is easily winning New Hampshire (19-point lead).  The polls show it and the media is serving it to you on a platter!

Yet, you’re not hearing about Clinton’s 22-point lead in South Carolina, the 33-point lead in North Carolina, and the 36-point Florida lead.  It would deflate the underdog Sanders’ story and the media loves a good story.

We really won’t know the outcome and the accuracy of these polls until people get out to their caucuses and primaries.  It’s very important to make your vote count.

The campaigning process for the presidential election is getting longer and longer because there’s so much money to be made and wasted.

These are my thoughts.  If you agree or disagree, let me know.  Just do it diplomatically.

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