Posts Tagged ‘Robin Wright’

Random Friday Thoughts — December 8, 2017

While I compile my “best of” lists of movies, songs, and albums of 2017 that people don’t look at other than me, I’m down to my last two “Random Friday Thoughts” of the year.

Thank you always for taking the time to check out what I’m thinking about weekly (or whenever I blog).

FORGIVENESS

What are your thoughts on forgiving people and moving on?

I just read the most amazing “Time” magazine article, “Murder, Race And Mercy: Stories from Charleston” by David Von Drehle with Jay Newton-Small and Maya Rhodan.

It introduced us to the nine people killed (ages 26 to 87) at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on a June night in 2015.

Charleston

We also got to know the other five people at the church that night (three in the room with the shooter) and two others in a different part of the church.

It’s a tragedy that not only ripped apart the lives of the families and loved ones of those in the church that night, but also the basic fabric of “love thy neighbor” in that community and across America.  It proved, once again, that hatred and ignorance is alive in this country.

In just about a minute-and-a-half, investigators say 77 bullets were fired, some at point blank.  The self-proclaimed white supremacist shooter went to the church that night with one purpose — to kill black church goers — even sitting through a Bible study lesson before opening fire when the group started praying!

Less than two days later, at the shooter’s first court appearance (via a television monitor), family members got to tell him what they were thinking.

One daughter of 70-year-old victim Ethel Lance told him, “I forgive you.  You took something very precious away from me.  I will never get to talk to her ever again — but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul… if God forgives you, I forgive you.”  

However, her sister, a reverend, says “I understand that forgiveness is a process.  Some people can automatically forgive, but I’m not there yet.  And I know that God is not going to look at me any differently because I haven’t forgiven *** yet.” (***She spoke the shooter’s name, which I refuse to use in the cases of mass shootings.  Many want fame and I’ll not give in to that by sharing their names!)

That disagreement drove the sisters apart.

So, what are you thoughts?  Could you forgive that person so easily?

I know it wasn’t my family that was killed, but it was my fellow man and it was done out of hatred.  It may not be Christian, but I hope he’s executed sooner rather than later.

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In January 2017, he was formally sentenced to death by lethal injection and in the spring of this year, he was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Indiana awaiting his execution.

Speaking of executions:  the most notable person to be executed at this prison (June 2011) was the man behind the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 that killed 168 people and hurt more than 600 others.

If you’d like to read the compelling, original “Time” article, here’s the link:

http://time.com/time-magazine-charleston-shooting-cover-story/

ORLANDO STRONG AND PULSE NIGHTCLUB

Ever since I first wrote about the Pulse Nightclub massacre in the summer of 2016, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims.

I especially remember 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

In June 2016, here’s what I wrote: “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.”

Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

Netflix’s hit series will return in 2018 for the sixth and final season with eight episodes.

Kevin Spacey is out and Robin Wright will lead the cast.

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Madam President Claire Underwood, we’re ready for you to lead in 2018!

GLUTTONS

Disclaimer:  I love buffets and I sample a lot of food when I indulge — especially desserts.  However, I’ve really cut back on how many I eat.

Second Disclaimer:  At the holidays, I love to sample finger foods and baked treats every chances I get!

However, it blows my mind when I see the atrocious food offerings that restaurants and sports venues offer on their menus or free to customers that can finish in a certain amount of time.

4 LB

In 2014, at Tampa Bay Rays Tropicana Stadium, you could get this four-pound, $30 heart attack waiting to happen — eight patties plus one-half pound of bacon (32 slices).  It’s also served with a pound of fries!

If you finished it, you won two free tickets to a future Rays game and a commemorative t-shirt!

Then there’s the Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, features a 6-pound “bruiser” burger.

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Or, what about the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, which features a 72-ounce steak — that’s almost a 5-pound steak!!!!!!!!

72ozSteaklarger

Seriously, am I the only one that thinks this is sad and gross?  And, to think those animals were partly raised and slaughtered just to make gluttons out of Americans!

I gave up beef years ago and I’m seriously thinking of making a few other animal groups safe, too!

Happier thoughts!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

MORE TURMOIL FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Oops!

Hillary Laughing.gif

Food for thought:  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in all five of her campaigns! Sadly, more votes doesn’t always equal win!

It never occurred to me or I didn’t remember that she even had more votes than Barack Obama in 2008.

WALMART PULLS T-SHIRTS

Walmart is now longer offering a hateful t-shirt that was popular during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The back of the shirt read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED”!

The Radio Television Digital News Director Association (RTDNA) convinced the retailer to drop the shirt you could order online through a third party.

Shirts

As you can see from the photo, it was popular among some of one candidate’s followers!

BRITNEY SPEARS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

BS Tree

“A DOG’S PURPOSE”

DREADFUL & DEPRESSING!

I was given this movie back in May, but didn’t feel inclined to watch it until this past weekend.

The premise is that a dog comes into our lives for a reason and then they die and come back into someone’s else’s life.

spoiler-alert

After a puppy is euthanized, a golden retriever dies, and then a dog is adopted and abandoned in a white trash front yard on a chain, I had all I could take.  73 minutes into the movie, I ejected it and didn’t finish it.

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The only highlight in the movie was discovering the sexy KJ Apa, the 20-year-old New Zealand actor (Archie on the CW’s “Riverdale”).

Interesting enough, it was a box office smash bringing in about $196 million in the U.S. alone and a sequel is planned!

No thanks!

GRADE:  D

PERFECT TIME TO REMEMBER MY GOLDEN!

ABBA Santa Christmas 2001

And, how about Miss ABBA and Mr. Panda with Ms. Santa!

ABBA Panda Christmas 2008 001

“GOOD TIME”

I never saw any of the “Twilight” movies or any of Robert Pattinson’s movies.

I took a chance on the crime drama “Good Time” and I was very impressed with his acting.

He plays “Connie”, a man who takes care of his mentally challenged, younger adult brother.

Connie decides they’re going to rob a bank of $65,000, and it appears they get away with it.  However, a dye pack is slipped into the money bag, which explodes in the getaway car.

That’s when police start catch up with them.  One is taken to jail and the other tries to spring his brother for the rest of the movie.

It’s nominated for five Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Pattison), Best Supporting Male (Benny Safdie), Best Supporting Female (Taliah Lennice Webster), Best Director (Benny & Josh Safdie), Best Editing, and Best Cinematography.

 

GRADE:  B

‘THE WALKING DEAD”

I made it to the 90-minute winter finale, which airs Sunday, December 10th.

The eighth season of “The Walking Dead” is still on life support with me — I’m watching it episode by episode and I keep saying that the next one will be my last.

The series is now down to its lowest ratings since the end of season two, when ratings were still climbing!

Only 7.47 million people watched last week’s episode compared to the 17.03 million that watched the season seven premiere!

I’ll admit after a dismal season, I did like episode five that focused mostly on Negan and Father Gabriel trapped in a trailer surrounded by walkers!

Also, for years now, I’ve been hoping that a certain youngster would meet an untimely death.

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In episode six, it almost happened and I was freaking out.  I’ve changed my mind now since he’s become more human and mature!

And, I hope to see more of Siddiq (Avi Nash), the man that Rick shot at and Carl befriended with food and water.

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Also, Callan McAuliffe, who plays Dillon, a Savior, is a nice, cute addition.

SHANIA LOOKED AMAZING!

Shania Twain made a wintry entrance and looked and sounded amazing at her last performance of 2017 — the Grey Cup halftime show.

 

 

OXYMORON

def oxymoron

This was parked outside my apartment building.  So, is this an “oxymoron” or just a moron?

Strike that!  It’s the holidays.  It’s an oxymoron!

Oxymoron

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 — October 6, 2017

It’s been a heartbreaking week with the mass shooting in Las Vegas (more on that below).  While sad and tragic, there are some happy things going on in the world and I hope some of that is happening in your life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WHAT AN HONOR!

If you’ve followed me on Facebook since 2009 or read my blog since 2012, you know that I’m a strong believer in equality — LGBT, marriage, women’s rights, for people of color, and more.

While some of you may disagree with my views, that’s fine.  I do have to walk a fine line when I state my opinions and in my responses to people who don’t think like me (especially now, considering where I live and the climate we live in)!

With that being said, I got a big surprise when I started reading the October/November 2017 issue of “The Advocate”.

Advocate WG

The magazine had a feature on the “50 Most Influential LGBT People In Media” and I absolutely love lists and countdowns.  I had a thought on who might be number one, so I was curious.

Since I always read magazines from the front to back and I don’t skip ahead, I got to page seven and Editorial Director Diane Anderson-Minshall’s “Editor’s Letter”.

Below that was this segment.  As I was reading it and walking, I was shocked and surprised!!!!!!!!!!!

LGBT Media Arrow

A shout-out in the nation’s biggest and longest-running LGBT magazine in the country, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

What an honor!  Diane, I’ll keep up the fight for equality and visibility in these very trying, dark post-November 8, 2016 days!!!

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

A dear friend from back in the Quad Cities, Clayton, posted a message on my blog a couple of weeks ago that touched my heart just as much as the name check in “The Advocate”.

Clayton said, “I hope that you realize the lasting effects you have had on the many people who feared going public”.

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

On October 1st, President Jimmy Carter turned 93 years old.

It’s no secret that I love President Carter and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, and I had the pleasure to meet them in July at their Plains, Georgia church.

While there, I had my picture taken with them.  I sent them a copy inside an anniversary card celebrating their 71 years of marriage on July 7th.

I just hoped that with all of the fan mail they still get that they would see the card.

Weeks passed and I opened the mail recently to find an envelope from the “Office of Jimmy Carter”!  I gingerly opened it.

Not only did the Carters see my anniversary card and the picture, but they took the time to autograph it and send it back to me!

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

I’ve now met three of my four living idols.  I wrote about them this summer and if you missed that blog, here it is.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

Jimmy Carter

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (PRESIDENT CARTER & MS. ROSALYNN)

What a perfect time to share one of my favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

This is from her show at Terminal 5 in New York City in March 2016.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.

It’s also from one of the most underrated pop albums ever, “Emotion”.

It was my third favorite album of 2015 and I still listen to it today and marvel at its excellence.

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

Sadly, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the summer of 2016, is no longer the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!

That heartbreaking title is now bestowed on Las Vegas, Nevada, after a man opened fire on a country music festival near Mandalay Bay on the Strip Sunday night.

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

The senseless violence in the United States and the world saddens me.  While we still don’t know the motive of the shooting, the man is purely evil or suffered from a mental illness.  I’m only speculating, but I think he was just evil and filled with hate!

Mental illness is something that we, as Americans, are still uncomfortable discussing.  It comes up after each mass shooting, but then we’re on to the next “breaking news” and nothing is accomplished.

Enough!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and I’m still considering moving there.

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

On the morning of this senseless tragedy, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico, tweeted this to the people of Las Vegas!

Her compassion is incredible!

To take the time to think of Las Vegas even as her people try to put their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma!

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

Except for “Batman Returns” and the Christian Bale-Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy, superhero movies bore me.

They’re so unrealistic.  I know, I know, they’re “superheroes” with super strength and powers, blah blah blah!

I was huge fan of the “Wonder Woman” television series in the 1970s with Lynda Carter, so I wanted to see this movie.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is stunning as Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta on the hidden island of Themyscira, a land of Amazonian warriors.

She rescues an American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and is intrigued by his worldliness and the fact that he’s a man! 🙂  Okay, as beautiful as Gadot is, it’s Chris Pine! I’m intrigued, too.

Diana heads off with him to stop World War II and Ares’.

The fight scenes were typical superhero-fakery, but when the movie dives into storytelling and drama, it does it well.

Plus, the always incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood on “House of Cards”) plays Diana’s aunt, General Antiope, who trains her to fight.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Canadian country music hottie Brett Kissel, with just two hit albums under his cowboy belt buckle, has already scored nine Top Ten hits on the Canadian country charts.

Sadly, American radio hasn’t taken a chance on him yet.  As Julia Roberts’ Vivard Ward says to the snooty women on Rodeo Drive, “big mistake, big, huge!”

Brett is back with a brand new single that’s burning up the country charts in his native country.

“We Were That Song” is already at #22!

Back in February 2016, I wrote about Brett and his fantastic album, “Pick Me Up”, which was my #7 album of that year!

Here’s that blog again so you learn more about Brett.  And, by the way, he’s fantastic with being personable with his fans on social media!

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

Brett, I can’t wait for the new album!  You have a lot of American fans, too!

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

The Gainesville, Florida rocker died Monday night after being found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home the night before.

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Petty scored 16 Top 40 hits.

Three of them reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1980), “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3, 1981, from Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna” album), and “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1990).

While it wasn’t one of his Top Ten Hot 100 hits, “The Waiting” (#19, 1981) was one of my favorite Petty songs. (It did spend six consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart!)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

Now that October is here, so is the holiday SEASON! 🙂

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

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 7, 2017

I hope you had a nice Fourth of July with some good food, great friends, and celebrating the country’s birthday.

I worked, so it was just another day for me.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts and enjoy your weekend!

FACE LIFTS & DECENCY

I’ve been very good at saying little about the state of nation since January 20th.

I expressed my feelings of how my life has shattered since the night of November 8th and not being able to deal with the anger in “It Starts With Me”:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/it-all-starts-with-me/

And, the “Change” it’s brought to my life:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/change/

So, I’ll still stick to saying very little about #45.

However, I’m going to comment on the disgusting Twitter tirade of Donald Trump toward Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

 

Psycho 1

I don’t watch their show, so I’m have no loyalty for them in that sense.

However, there are so many things going on in this country and the world that needs the undivided attention of a leader and this isn’t one of them.

Neither is Twitter.  I know it’s the electronic age and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever social media you use gives you access to express your feelings with immediacy. But, maybe some just need to think before they speak.

The bottom line is that there isn’t a politician in this country EVER that hasn’t been criticized by the news media.

Jimmy Carter

Look at all that was said about Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s.  Did you see them personally attack news anchors or reporters with such vile?

RonaldReagan

No, they were gentlemen.

This is a disgrace!

#Resistance

FOURTH OF JULYS

I worked until noon this Fourth of July and chilled out the rest of the day in the Florida heat and humidity.

For those of you that have followed me for years, you may already know this.

My favorite Independence Day was 1976 when America celebrated its 200th birthday, our bicentennial.

This is what I wrote on July 4, 2012:  “As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of hundreds of boats from the U.S. and other countries filling New York Harbor and with the sound of “Fernando” by ABBA blasting on the radio.  (It’s hard to believe that just one month later, ABBA would release “Dancing Queen”!)”

Meanwhile, July 4, 2007, will go down as the worst Fourth of July ever for me (hopefully).

I was working the morning show and I went in at 1:45 a.m.  Rain was coming down in buckets.  As I was running toward the door, my keys went flying out of my hand and were submerged underwater.  By the time I found my spare keys in my bag, I was soaked from head to toe.

I told the producer that I had to go home and get another suit.  On the three-minute drive to my house, the torrential rains continued to fall and all of a sudden, a wall of water flooded into the intersection.

In a matter of seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and the motor died as water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate that mine did!

FloodingBSticker3flat

I quickly thought about the power locks in the car and if it shorted out, I’d be locked inside with no way out.  I’d drown getting trapped in my car on a busy street in town!

I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment.  For those of you that don’t know who her, she is/was one of my idols.  She was a news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of  NBC news, back in the late 1970s.  She drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Jessica-Savitch

As I took off my shoes and socks and opened the door, I stepped out into the raging waters as three intoxicated teenagers came running over and helped me push my car into an alley.

At this time, I was soaked and water had already risen into the intersection up to my knees.  I went back and helped the kids push the other three cars to safety.

I walked the fifteen blocks to my house dressed in a suit, soaking wet, and bare-footed.

The car’s engine was hydro-locked and had to be replaced!

That was ten years ago and I hope that goes down as the worst Fourth of July in my lifetime!

“MASTER OF NONE”

While a little “Netflix and chill” soundS good, it’s just “Netflix” for me this summer. 🙂

I finished season five of “House of Cards” and just started watching “Master of None”.

The Emmy Award-winning show features comedian Aziz Ansari in the lead role.

He plays a 30-year-old actor working toward his big break while navigating single life in New York City.

My favorite episodes of season one:  “Indians on TV”, “Old People”, and “Hot Ticket” .

While Ansari is funny and I love the conversations he has with his three best friends, my favorite character on the show is his lesbian friend Denise.

Her dry, dead-pan delivery just cracks me up.  Denise is played by out Chicago-born actress Lena Waithe.

Denise Lena

FELL IN LOVE WITH FATHER JOHN MISTY

After seeing the “Hot Ticket” episode of “Master of None”, which partly took place at a private Father John Misty show, I fell in love with the song “Chateau Lobby #5 (in C for Two Virgins)” from his “I Love You, Honeybear” album (and he’s cute, too).

The scene gets rather raunchy so I’ll share this BBC Two performance.

By the way, Father John Misty is 36-year-old Josh Tillman, the drummer for the rock folk band, Fleet Foxes.

His new solo album is “Pure Comedy”.

“I LOVE DICK”

Okay, I bet that got your attention! 🙂  It’s a bold statement that probably comes only as a surprise to you that I typed it.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter!  If you have Amazon Prime, you might not have gasped out loud seeing that headline.

It’s a new series co-created by Jill Soloway (“Transparent”).  I haven’t seen it and I’m only writing about it to share a line of the funny review by “Entertainment Weekly” (June 23, 2017): “She becomes obsessed with Kevin Bacon’s Dick, a fine artist whose withering judgement and sex-cowboy cool threatens to unravel her.”

Seriously, I read the first seven words and smiled, laughed, and saw “blah blah blah” after that.

Creative writing is so much better than angry, immature, and insensitive tweets in the middle of the night!

#Resistance

MISSING “HOUSE OF CARDS”?

Are you like me and you’ve already binge-watched the fifth season of “House of Cards” and you already miss the iciness of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)?

Then you have to check out “Miss Sloane” with two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Jesssica Chastain!

She’s incredible as always!

GRADE:  A

DONUT DELIGHT!

Once I moved to Panama City, Florida, two months ago, I got to shop at Piggly Wiggly again.  If you’re from the South (or you’ve seen “Steel Magnolias”), you know it’s a staple here.

One my first visit, I found a bag of “Peach Cobbler” limited edition mini donuts from Tastykake.  They were so good.

I then tried the “Key Lime”, which were just okay.

But, I just found my new favorite (so far) — Birthday Kake!

Birthday Kake

I can’t wait to see what seasonal flavors arrive this fall and winter!

However, a quick Google search shows they’ve sold Pumpkin Spice, Karrot Kake, Caramel Apple, Gingerbread, Salted Caramel, and Red Velvet in the past! 🙂

‘Tis the season!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

I’ve only been to the theater once this year to see “Beauty and the Beast”. I’m still thinking of going to see “Wonder Woman”.

Otherwise, there’s only three other movies that I want to see this year:  “The Beguiled” with my girl crush Nicole Kidman, “The Snowman” with my boy crush Michael Fassbender (no official trailer yet — in theaters October 20th), and this interesting remake of the Agatha Christie classic, “Murder on the Orient Express”.

It opens November 10th.

FLASHBACK TO KICK OFF WEEKEND

As crazy as it may seem, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” was my #3 song of 2013.

Since its release, the video has been viewed almost 680 million times on YouTube!

So, here’s to the weekend.  Enjoy. 🙂

By the way, the song hit #1 in the duo’s native Norway.

It also hit the Top Ten here in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, along with Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Scotland, and Sweden!

 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 16, 2017

It’s the last weekend of the spring of 2017, but with the heat and humidity we’re already experiencing, it feels like summer.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

DIVIDED EVEN AFTER A TRAGEDY

“Liberal intolerant people!”

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

In the wake of the shooting of Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and several others earlier this week at a Washington D.C.-area baseball field, that’s what someone said to me about the reasoning behind it.

While it’s still being investigated, it appears that the shooter may have targeted the group because they were Republicans.

Who knows if that was the only or real reason?  It’s too early to write anything off.

As I said many times and it’s worth repeating again now, there are good and bad Democrats and there are good and bad Republicans.

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You can love or loathe Donald Trump and you can love or loathe Hillary Clinton, but you can’t go around threatening violence or being violent.

The words liberal and conservative are used as dirty words.

I’m not perfect. I’ve been guilty at jumping at conclusions that those people are close-minded.  Well, I was right and I was wrong.  Some are and some are not!

I’m always trying to educate myself .  The bottom line is that being “liberal” or “conservative” really just means we have many differences and that we need to work on them for a common good.

Those are truly only bad words when you add ignorance to the mix!

WILD KINGDOM!

Since moving to Panama City, Florida, more than a month-and-a half ago, I’ve enjoyed seeing all the wildlife around my apartment complex.  No, I still haven’t seen an alligator or a snake and I’d like to leave it that way.

I’ve seen a few fish and many turtles and ducks.

But, as I blogged before, my fascination with the ducks is turning more to tragedy.  At first, it was like “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” — the ducks being killed by inattentive drivers or turtles.

Now, it’s more like the duck version of Agatha Christie’s 1939 novel, “And Then There Were None”.

And then there were none

Take this little duck family.  I’ve seen then waddling along and swimming the pond together. This was taken one morning.

On a walk that evening, I saw Mom and two ducklings.  The next morning, it was Mom and just one duckling and then later that day, Mom was alone!

Now, hypothetically, they could have been at “ducky day care”, visiting “duck relatives”, or the three could have been adopted by one of the other “duck families”!

But, the reality is that they were probably grabbed by a turtle and that’s all she wrote. 😦

BREAKING NEWS…. I wrote that part early Wednesday.  However, later that afternoon, I think I saw the same duck above with FOUR ducklings.  So, maybe they were visiting their “cousins”!

I think I need to make human friends!

Carp Tail

And, then there’s the case of this carp that mysteriously just appeared one day.  For days, it swam at the top of the pond looking like a small shark with just the top fin showing.

As I watched it slowly swim, I noticed a turtle following close behind.  I thought, ” you’d better swim a little faster”, but then I got a good look at its tail.

It looks like a turtle (or turtles) already had a few bites!

After witnessing it floating upside down a few times and then flipping over and swimming away, I haven’t seen it now for four days.

Wildlife, I’m over you!  I think I’ll just look at plants!

PRIDE IN THE PANHANDLE

While June is national LGBT Pride Month, Pride celebrations are held on different weekends throughout the month across the country and the world.

Last weekend, I was cordially invited to a gathering by the founder of the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, Cathy Rifenburg.

AP G C

She started the chapter here more than a decade ago because her two sons (one gay and one straight) did not have the same rights in the Panhandle and in the United States.

The meet & greet cocktail party was to introduce Equality Florida’s Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan.

AP Gina

Gina spoke to us about how she’s protected in Orlando, where she lives, for being transgender, but how she could be fired from her job for being transgender here in Panama City and Bay County.

Also, how, in many Florida counties, an LGBT couple could get married on the weekend because of “marriage equality” is legal in the U.S., yet they could still be fired on Monday for placing a picture of their spouse on their desk!

So much progress in this country, yet we still have a long road to travel.

PrideFlag

I also met with organizers of Pride of the Panhandle, too.

It was a great time and a wonderful chance to meet some members of the Panama City LGBT community, but a real opportunity to introduce myself  to the community’s “straight but not narrow” friends.

Cathy and Jerry, thank you for the invitation.

PERFECT SCENE FOR PRIDE MONTH

I’ll talk about “House of Cards” in a bit, but this Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) scene is stunning and appropriate for Pride month.

It makes up for some of the devious things that Claire has done. 🙂

“BREAKING BAD”

After watching the first two seasons of what many call “one of the greatest series ever”, “Breaking Bad”, last summer, I recently binge-watched the last three seasons of the series.

The series finale was phenomenal and 35 minutes into it, I was crying!!!!!

Warning:  contains spoilers!

I also loved the “Hannibal” (NBC) finale.

Dexter The Final Season

While I loved “Dexter” and “The X-Files”, the finales didn’t blow me away — even though there were explosions in both finales. 🙂

Slight detour there, but I loved seasons one, two, three, and five of “Breaking Bad”.  I didn’t really care for season four, except for the nursing home scene toward the end of the season.

While I done with Walter White and company, I don’t see myself dialing up “Better Call Saul”.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

I just wrapped up season five of the hit Netflix series, “House of Cards” with the incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood) and Kevin Spacey (Francis Underwood).

Wright’s icy portrayal is spellbinding to watch.  I could watch her as Claire Underwood all day.

I was blown away by Donald’s (the vice president) comment to Claire regarding her initials and the two that were missing! 🙂

And, what about these four choice lines!

Television commentator:  “in the end as we all know… it comes down to the Electoral College.

Campaign manager: “you lost, but more than half the country sees you as their president.

And, this one from “House of Cards” Secretary of State Catherine Durant:  “I’ve been at this for 30 years, so I think I can survive… I’m not alarmed.

FBI agent: “it’s unthinkable to assume the FBI would involve itself in an election.”

Where does Hollywood come up with this sh**?  Oops, stuff!    🙂

debate

Unreal!!!!!!!!

Oh, sadly, it isn’t!

PRIDE MUSICAL MEMORY

Since it’s Pride month, I’ll share a couple of songs that still take me back to the days when I first started clubbing.

“Fascinated” by Company B is still one of my all-time favorite dance club songs.  While the band had four Billboard Dance hits, this is the only one that hit #1 and, in 1987, it actually crossed over to Top 40 radio and reached #21 on the Hot 100.

Another one of my all-time favorites filled the dance floors every time it played.

Just listening to the words of the song today, Miquel Brown’s “So Many Men, So Little Time” personifies the 1980s mood of excessive living and the “me” mindset — just as AIDS was becoming rampant in the gay community.

The song reached #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1983.

Of course, with the option of choosing a shorter live performance or the very sensual and scandalous extended version, you know which one I chose!

Proceed with caution!! 🙂

MOVING SECRETS

After being on the road for 19 hours, I stopped over in Dothan, Alabama, for a few hours of sleep in a dump of a hotel.  While I locked up the U-Haul, I left my car door unlocked.  It was packed front and back with everything from wall art and plants, and yes, my computer!

Thank you party people at the hotel for leaving all my stuff for me!

Also, at two different gas fill-ups, I left the lid off the U-Haul gas tank.  Luckily, it had such deep tanks that there was no spillage.

Woops!

That expression was just an excuse to use this hilarious scene from the incredible “Torch Song Trilogy” and end the blog on a happy note.

Have a great weekend!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 17, 2017

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re part of the 55% of Americans that celebrate the day.

Roses

If you’re in a relationship, I hope you got chocolates, flowers, or whatever makes you happy.  And, if you’re not seeing anyone, I hope you treated yourself to something nice.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

We just finished binge-watching the first four seasons of “House of Cards”.

I absolutely love Robin Wright as First Lady Claire Underwood and Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood.

Season five debuts on Netflix May 30, 2017.

If you haven’t watched the show and you love politics, you have to start!

Check out this amazing scene from season three.  Claire has to tell the world that an American citizen jailed in Russia for being openly gay and protesting the country’s anti-LGBT laws committed suicide.

To Russia and the rest of the world that still think this way (Americans, #45, and his cabinet members, some of you could use some educating, too), wake up, open your eyes and your heart, and let’s start more of a dialogue!

A NEGRO TRAVEL GUIDE?

It’s sad to think this is reality, but it’s definitely not hard to believe in our country with all the hatred — then and now.

I was reading an “Out” magazine article that mentioned “The Negro Motorist Green Book”.

TNMGB.gif

It was a resource travel guide that started publication in 1933.

Its purpose was to keep black motorists safe and to let them know what places refused to serve non-whites, provide information on “sundown towns”, predominately or all-white towns that practiced segregation, and much more.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there must have been enough security (or hope) in the United States that it ceased publication in 1966.

Sadly, with the open hatred of people that aren’t white in the “post-January 20, 2017th world”, it might need to come back.

And, while we’re at it, maybe a rainbow version is needed, too, to keep the LGBT community safe from the haters, too!

PICK HIT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Last fall, as Michael Buble was ready to launch his latest album, “Nobody But Me”, he and his wife, model Luisana Lopilato, dropped out of the public eye when his 3-year-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with cancer.

buble-family

Two weeks ago, Buble released this encouraging update:

MB.jpg

Last Friday, the video to “I Believe in You” was released and if you don’t smile or shed a tear after seeing this video, hopefully you got a heart for Valentine’s Day because you need one. 🙂

Oh, if that didn’t encourage you to watch it, Derek Hough of “Dancing With The Stars” fame is absolutely drop dead gorgeous (and shirtless) in the video!!!!!!

REMEMBERING EMMANUELLE RIVA

With so many celebrity deaths already this year, the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva was pretty much overlooked in America.  She died of cancer January 27, 2017, in Paris.

In 2012, she became the oldest woman to earn an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for her heartbreaking turn in “Amour”. (She was 85 at the time.)

“Amour” was my #6 movie of 2013.

“REMNANTS”

Whether country music stations play her new songs or not, LeAnn Rimes’ albums usually debut in the Top Ten on the Country Albums charts.

Her last Top Ten album on the Billboard 200, which includes all genres, was 2007’s “Family”.

LeAnn Rimes is back with her latest album, “Remnants” and it’s flawless.

remnants

I definitely love LeAnn’s country music.  My favorites in that genre are “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Some People”,”One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”, and “Big Deal”.

I met LeAnn in Salisbury, Maryland, in the fall of 2005.  She was a sweetheart.

AnthonyLeAnn

LeAnn has released many pop-oriented albums in her career and “Twisted Angel” (2002) is still one of my all-time favorites of hers.

Her new album, “Remnants” is the latest pop effort.  It was released last fall in the U.K. and just came out last week here in the U.S.

The highest charting single from the new album is “Long Live Love”.  The Dave Aude remix is currently #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

Twelve of the thirteen songs on “Remnants” are absolutely perfect!

My favorites are the soulful “Do It Wrong”, the religious-tinted “I Couldn’t Do That To Me”, “Love Is Love Is Love” (which LeAnn sings about not wanting to start an argument, just a conversation about tyrants, politics, religion, and love), the torch song-sounding “Outrageous Love”, and “The Story”.

Just because radio is missing out this amazing voice and music doesn’t mean you have to!

GRADE:  A

“SING IT NOW: SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE”

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is Reba McEntire’s 29th studio album, but it’s her first Christian album.

Reba faith.jpg

It debuted at #1 on this week’s Billboard County Albums chart and at the top of the Christian Albums chart, too.  On the Billboard 200 Albums chart, which includes all music, it debuted all the way up at #4.

It sold 52,000 copies in its first week!

I’ve always wanted Reba to do a full gospel album after she recorded “Sky Full of Angels” for her 2003 “Room To Breathe” album.

The deluxe version of the new album features 22 songs.

“Back To God” is the first single.

On the gospel classics, Reba’s voice and musicianship are simple and stunning!

There are many songs that, if you didn’t know more about this album, you’d think they were just more Reba country songs.

But, as Reba once joked around the 1995 release of “Starting Over” album, whatever genre of music she sings becomes country when the words come out of her mouth.

The song I love the most on the album is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.  The album version is four minutes of pure bliss!

My favorite “country” gospel numbers on this album are “I’ll Fly Away”, Hallelujah Amen”, “I Got The Lord on My Side”, “How Sweet Thou Art”, “Sing It Now”, “Oh Happy Day”, and “God And My Girlfriends”.

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is almost perfect.  I think when an artist stretches an album out to 22 songs, there are ultimately a couple that wouldn’t have made the cut on a shorter album.  But, I’ll take those songs here just to have more new Reba music.

With the divisive election last November and the circus of the past few weeks, this album does soothe the soul.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church that preached all about fire, brimstone, and damnation and I still find solace in gospel music!

Reba, if you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!

GRADE: A-

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 27, 2017

It’s Friday again and the weekend is almost here.

I appreciate you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.  As always, if we disagree and you want to tell me so, do it diplomatically and concisely.

LGBT RIGHTS & CLIMATE CHANGE, GONE!

Moments after #44 became history and America moved on to #45, searching the White House website yielded no results for “LGBT” and “Climate Change”.

white-house-lgbt

In my heart I know what this means and anyone with a functioning brain knows, as well.

At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!

donald-lgbt

I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…

If you’ve never watched the U.S. version of the political drama, “House of Cards”, you’re missing one of the most intelligent television shows ever!

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are incredible in the lead roles.  Their characters’ determination, iciness, and conviction to get what they want in the political arena is mesmerizing.

The show gives us the backstory of what really goes on in Washington.  Things are not cut and dry.  While it’s a television show, you know that Beau Willimon, the man behind the American version, is serving you a slice of reality.

He also tweeted that slice of reality last Friday morning!

beau

We’re now at 1,454 days now!

Resist!

ONE LAST COMMENT

Facts:  “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Synonyms of “facts”:  reality, actuality, certainty

kc

So, Kellyanne Conway, “Alternative facts” are LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REBA HEADS INTO A NEW DIRECTION

Country music icon Reba McEntire is heading into a new musical direction with her latest release on February 3rd.

The deluxe version “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” will feature 22 gospel hymns.

Ever since “Sky Full of Angels” from 2003’s “Room To Breathe” album, I was hoping that Reba would record a gospel album.  And, since country radio airplay for her last album, 2015’s “Love Somebody” was pretty much non-existent, this is the perfect time for a change of genres.

The first single is “Back to God”.

Reba, how about a dance-oriented album next since you hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in 1996 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”?

JIMMY CARTER

In September, when visiting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library And Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, I left this message.

msg-jc-r

I’d love to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and leave a similar message!

Hope

I hope I have those feelings again for a future president!

HAVEN’T TALKED GAGA IN FOREVER

If you regularly read my blog, you know I love Lady Gaga.  I’ve see her in concert several times and her shows are amazing!

Gaga Las Vegas

However, I wasn’t fond of the musical direction she took on “Joanne”, her latest album, and it’s the first Gaga album I didn’t buy. 😦  (I wasn’t alone.  Sales and radio airplay have paled in comparison with her previous releases!)

She’ll be playing the Super Bowl halftime show next weekend.  While I’m not a football fan, I’ll be watching her performance.

Sources close to Gaga told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that Gaga was informed that she couldn’t mention the 2016 presidential election or the current president.

The NFL says otherwise, “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Ironically, that nameless “source” is quoting another “unsourced” person.  Seriously, grow a pair, face up, and speak up or shut up.

Unless Gaga has gone soft, you know she’ll say and do whatever she wants.

Did Beyonce make a statement last year with “Formation”?  You’re damn right, she did.

Did her career suffer?  One word:  “Lemonade”!

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

This comedy, based on a true story, was my #3 favorite movie of 2016.

It’s about a wealthy woman, Florence Foster Jenkins, who was determined to become a successful singer although she was horrible.

Meryl Streep, who some idiot called “overrated”, was amazing as Jenkins.

On Tuesday, she earned her 20th Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category.

GRADE:  A

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

Also, on Tuesday, I was ecstatic Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the “Best Actor” category for my #2 movie of 2016.

Here’s what I had to say about the movie in December.

“I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT

Calum Scott is best known for appearing on “Britian’s Got Talent” in 2015.

One of the songs he performed on the reality series was “Dancing On My Own”, a remake of Robyn’s 2010 hit.

Scott’s version has already topped the chart in Scotland and reached #2 in Australia and the U.K.

It’s recently just debuted on the American’s Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Scott’s debut album is expected this year.

ORIGINAL VERSION BY ROBYN

Swedish singer Robyn dominate the worldwide charts with this incredible song in 2010.

In America, it was a bigger hit on the Dance Club songs chart.

It reached #3 on both the U.S. and the U.K. dance charts.  But, it hit #1 in Sweden and #2 in Denmark.

“THE SHALLOWS”

It’s winter now, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water and thinking about sharks.

The last two Blake Lively (the beautiful wife of the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds) movies I saw were also on my favorites’ list in the respective years.

She was great in “Savages” (my #7 movie of 2013) and she was incredible in “The Age of Adaline” (my #7 movie of 2015).

I see a trend there.  Will “The Shallows” be my #7 movie of 2017?  Probably not.

However, it was a very enjoyable and realistic movie.

I got a little scared 72 minutes into the 87-minute movie because the plausibility took a little hit.  You realized that while what happened could take place, the stars would really have to align perfectly.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood.  Just go with it.

“Jaws” this isn’t, but it’s worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony