Posts Tagged ‘Ronald Reagan’

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

Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.

Advocate

The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.

LGBT

“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.

Stonewall_riots

That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.

Milk1

“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.

aidsquilt

Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.

RonaldReagan

“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.

marriage

“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)

SEXUAL RACISM

I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.

haring

Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexual

Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.

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 — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

Gaga SB.jpg

While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

GagaLatest

That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

sarah-palin-going-rogue-book-cover.jpg

I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

CarterPres

My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

dishing.jpg

Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

BW.jpg

Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 19, 2016

We made it through another week, but for me it’s a six-day work week since I work Saturday night.  I hope you have some great weekend plans.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.

BREAKING NEWS….

It’s been a long time coming, but Lady Gaga announces her new single. “Perfect Illusion” is coming in September!

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She was last on pop radio in 2014 with “G.U.Y.”, the third single from the “Artpop” album, which peaked at a dismal #29 on the Top 40 airplay charts.

The first two hits from “Artpop” charted higher at Top 40 radio.  “Applause” reached #4 on the airplay chart and “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly peaked at #7.

Welcome back Lady Gaga!

I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

REBA, HOW COULD YOU?

I know that Reba McEntire, one of my musical idols, is very LGBT friendly.

Reba 2011

However, her new business venture with the anti-gay Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has me scratching my head.  I know it’s just business.

Since country radio doesn’t support her new music, Reba’s album sales have dropped off significantly and are pretty non-existent the past few years.  But, her residency at Caesars Palace and her concerts on the road are still bringing in big crowds and she still has her fashion line at Dillard’s.

So, it distresses me for her to associate herself with the hateful chain, especially when she has a new Christmas album coming out that is exclusive to them.  It features five new recordings and six previous releases.  But, I won’t be buying it.  I can’t give my money to a business that supports hate.

Reba, I wish you could make it available from other outlets!

Let’s make a deal!  Send me a copy and I’ll donate the cost of the CD at Cracker Barrel to a LGBT charity in your name!

WINTER’S COMING!

While we’re still experiencing above average temperatures, some kids are still on summer break, and we’re not even to Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer season, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is already scaring people with its 2016-2017 winter forecast.

ap_winter_weather_new_york_snow_ss_101227_ssh

For the “Heartland” (including the Quad Cities, all of Iowa, western Illinois, much of Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas), the forecast is shocking!!!!!!!!!  (Note: sarcasm)

Its winter forecast — “the coldest periods will be in early-to-mid and mid-to-late January and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-to-late November, mid-January, and early February.”

Okay, seriously, you live in the Midwest.  Of course, those are the coldest and snowiest times of the winter climatologically speaking!  You don’t need an almanac or even a meteorologist to tell you that.

I wonder what Heather Mooney would think of that winter forecast being so generic?

HeatherMooney

Next!

GOOD RIDDANCE, CAIT

“I Am Cait” is officially cancelled by E! after two seasons.

Caitlyn

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as transgender in the spring of 2015.  I was hoping that she’d bring much to the table in America’s (and the world’s) LGBT discussions and help demystify and educate on transgender issues.

The problem is she’s learning herself and is not in touch with most transgender men and women.  She’s never really had a clue as to what their lives are really like.  Their lives are not Hollywood parties and open checkbooks.  Many face discriminatory practices and the fear for losing their jobs and their lives daily on the streets due to hate and ignorance.

And, then there’s the whole thing about her thinking the Republican party really cares about her plight and the LGBT community.

We need strong advocates in the transgender (and LGBT) community, but Caitlyn Jenner is not that advocate.

JIMMY CARTER & ELECTION SPENDING

It’s no secret that I think President Jimmy Carter is an amazing man.

Jimmy Carter 90.jpg

I just finished his “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety” — incredible stories of his life and an easy read.

One story that boggled my mind in this presidential election year is how much money is spent by politicians to get elected (or lose) compared to when he was running for office.

Back in the 1976 and 1980 elections, he and his competitors Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan spent $26 million.  People were allowed to donate a dollar each on their income tax payments.

Today, with super-PACs (political action committees), the amount of money is astronomical.  In 2012, President Obama and Mitt Romney both spent over one billion dollars — that’s billion with a “B”!

In this summer 2015 book, Carter writes that the Koch brothers and their associates had already devoted $889 million to get Republicans elected.  What’s scary is that that number continues to rise and that’s just on one side of the aisle!

Incredible!  Could you imagine what we could do with that money to better the U.S. and the world?

PATTI DAVIS BLASTS DONALD TRUMP

The daughter of President Ronald Reagan took to Facebook to rip into GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump after his “second amendment” comments that many thought advocated gun violence against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Patti Davis Donald Trump.jpg

Your thoughts?

Some say liberals read too much into Trump’s off-hand remarks.  Others say he meant exactly what he hinted at with the comments.

FOX NEWS, PAY UP OR SHUT UP

Devastating flooding is hitting Louisiana.  Baton Rouge, one of the hardest hit areas, picked up more than twenty inches of rain since last week.  At least thirteen people have died.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has donated one million dollars for Louisiana flood relief.

This prompted Fox News to run a story with the headline “Taylor Swift fixing her image or just being nice?”

Seriously?  Hey Fox News, work on fixing your own image and donate a million dollars, too!  Louisiana could use the money more than your insults.

Taylor and I have something else to say to you!

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The horror anthology series returns to FX for the sixth season on September 14th.

Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, and Leslie Jordan are returning.

They’ll be joined by newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred in Ryan Murphy’s “The People v O.J. Simpson, as O.J. Simpson.

Several short promos have been released for the sixth season including this awesome campy one.

While details of the sixth season are still secret, it’s rumored to focus on children and Murphy has called this season “more rogue” and “dark”.

This is also the first of the “American Horror Story” seasons that doesn’t have a subtitle before the premiere since the debut.

So, if you’ve watched all five seasons, what is your favorite and least favorite?

Here are mine (and even the incredible Wittrock as Dandy Mott couldn’t save “Freak Show”, as a whole, for me.)

american-horror-story-freak-show

#5  “Freak Show” (season four); #4 “Hotel” (season five); “Coven” (season three); #2 “Murder House” (season one); and my favorite was season two, “Asylum”.

American Horror Story Asylum

CHER RECORDING NEW MUSIC!

Pop music icon Cher is ready to get to work on her new album.

This would be the follow-up to 2013’s amazing and underappreciated “Closer To The Truth”, which was my second favorite album of that year.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Cher tweeted that she’s already recorded two songs and when she’s done with her current campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she’ll be back to work on her 26th studio album.

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It’s hard to believe that her first album came out more than 50 years ago in the fall of 1965!

“THE LOBSTER”

If you’ve seen the trailer for the movie, “The Lobster”, it screams “quirky”.

When you watch the movie, you’ll laugh and then realize that while it’s a comedy-drama, you feel a little awkward laughing at the sensitive material.

 Colin Farrell stars as a divorced man, in a dystopian society, where single people have 45 days to find a mate or they’ll be transformed into an animal of their choosing.

The dramedy also stars Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and the ever charming Ben Whishaw.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

My pick hit this week is the first American release for French DJ and record producer Kungs and Australian funk trio Cookin’ on 3 Burners with vocalist Kylie Auldist.

“This Girl” is already a chart-topper in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Scotland, Slovakia, and on the UK Dance chart.

“This Girl” is now racing up the American Top 40 radio airplay charts.  It’s at #21.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  It’s the unofficial kick-off to the summer season.  I hope you have a great one.  It’ll be especially nice for those with a three-day weekend (Ray!).

I wasn’t planning on an installment of Random Friday Thoughts, but here it is.  Surprise!

Pool

We’re running behind schedule this year, but we’re putting up our pool this weekend.

We closed it down in late September, but I’m ready to float the weekends and afternoons away — especially now that we’re enjoying summer-like, above average temperatures in the Quad Cities.

R.I.P. BETH HOWLAND

Beth Howland, who played ditzy waitress Vera, on the long running 1970s-1980s CBS sitcom, “Alice”, has died of lung cancer. She was 74.

Vera

Howland actually died December 31, 2015, but her actor husband, Charles Kimbrough, told The Associated Press that it “her choice” not to have a memorial service or funeral.  That’s why the news is just now coming out.

As a kid, I loved her character and comedic timing.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

For whatever reason, the 2014 Austrian psychological thriller/horror movie, “Goodnight Mommy”, just hit Redbox and I highly recommend it!

Susanne Wuest is incredible in the role as “The Mother” and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz, are mesmerizing.

The movie was Austria’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, but it wasn’t picked as a nominee.  Oscar fail!

Before I saw the movie, I wrote, “the trailer definitely creeps me out”.  Wait until you see the movie!

I don’t give too many movies this grade, but “Goodnight Mommy” gets….

GRADE:  A+

LET’S CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS!!!

I know Earth Day is in April.  But, there’s something that we can do to cut back on pollution and some communities are working hard to make it happen.

As I travel across the country (and the world), I see more and more businesses charging for those paper-thin, flimsy plastic bags that Walmart and other stores use.

They’re cheap to produce and many aren’t used again because they rip open before you even get home!  Many end up blowing in the wind or floating in area lakes and rivers.

Ban Bags

More businesses are selling cloth reusable bags and I think that’s fantastic.

Aldi stores sell the reusable bags, but they also have plastic bags.  However, if you want one (whether you throw it away or reuse it), you pay for it.

I know it’d get expensive if you’re paying for the plastic bags at big stores like Walmart, but it’d probably prompt you to buy quality, reusable bags.  And, the environment would love you for it.

Many communities are even banning or proposing bans on the plastic bags.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY (AND EVERYDAY)

Fish Be You

POLITICS TIDBITS

I was wrong!

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014”, I predicted that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would be the two candidates on November’s ballot for U.S. president.

Hillary AP

Well, it looks like I’ll be right with the Democratic nominee come June 7th once New Jersey and California vote, but who would have thought the presumptive nominee out of seventeen candidates on the Republican side would be Donald Trump!

DT Masks

Scary, right?  Yes!  I don’t need to wait for an answer!

NEXT VEGAS PLAN CHANGES 

Going to Las Vegas is an annual pilgrimage for me and Ray.

We love to eat, gamble, catch a couple of shows, walk, walk, walk, and see the sights.

Las Vegas

We love checking out the beautiful hotels and casinos — especially the displays made of flowers at the Bellagio.  I really want to visit one December when the glitzy city is decorated for Christmas.

However, our next trip in late July will not include a visit to the gorgeous The Venetian and The Palazzo.

The CEO is donating $100 million (yes, million) to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign! I’m sorry, but I will not help fund in any way that sorry excuse of a man that wants to be president!

There are plenty of other places there to try my luck at the slots — and eat desserts!

We’ll be visiting the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.  It’s a tradition for us to eat there and have the weekend champagne brunch at the Stratosphere.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

Have I mentioned how much I love buffets, slot machines, and Las Vegas?

FOR THE LOVE OF NANCY REAGAN

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died earlier this year of congestive heart failure at the age of 94.  Her husband, Ronald, our country’s 40th president, died back in June 2004 at the age of 93.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

Since it’s an election year, I’ve mostly been reading biographies and autobiographies of political figures.  I’ve read books from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jimmy Carter, plus books on presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee.

I just finished Nancy Reagan’s “My Turn” and Kitty Kelley’s “Nancy:  The Unauthorized Biography”.

What I concluded from Nancy’s book is that she definitely heavily influenced Ronald Reagan in his two terms as California’s governor (1967-1975) and his two terms as president (1981-1989).

Even in her own words, I don’t think she was probably a very nice person (outwardly).  However, I don’t think she was the evil pariah that Kelley made her out to be.

But, reading some of the accusations made by Kelley — including an affair with Frank Sinatra, date rape, and unplanned pregnancies — it definitely makes one wonder what was really going on in the lives of one of the most conservative political families.

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To restore some of my faith in Ms. Reagan, I read Michael Deaver’s “Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan”.

Although it’s a short book, don’t waste your time.  It’s basically the “CliffsNotes” version of Nancy’s “My Turn”.

He told the same stories she did with very little new insight.  The book only one earned its worth when in the last thirty or so pages, he addressed Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

RonaldReagan

There’s one thing that I would never dispute about the Reagans — their love for each other in their 50+ years of marriage.  It’s very admirable.

I still have a few more books to read about them — about their love and President Reagan’s autobiography.

PRESIDENT REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

I didn’t personally know or like the Reagans (especially the President).

There’s one big reason that I used to despise Reagan and it was much deeper than him defeating my favorite President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.  Here’s a blog from the summer of 2012 to explain.  (Clicking on this blog link will open a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s reading.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

TWO WEEKS IN CHINA

Since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”, Ray and I spent two weeks in China.  We met some really nice people in our tour group from all over the world, including New Zealand.

We climbed the Great Wall of China, cruised on the Yangtze River (when we weren’t fogged in and unable to move), saw the stunning Gorges, endured the worst smog I’ve ever seen in Beijing where our trip started and ended, and witnessed the lights and glamour of Shanghai, the reason we went to China!

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Maybe because it was for a tour group, the food was pretty bland and too Westernized.  I’m ready to enjoy my favorite Asian food in the Quad Cities, Osaka Buffet, in Moline, for some “real” tasty cuisine.

Would I ever go back to China?  Probably not.  Would I recommend seeing it once in your lifetime?  Definitely!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The first time I heard “Faded” by 18-year-old British-born Norwegian record producer Alan Walker (with vocals by Iselin Solheim), I fell in love with the song.

Instantly, I searched out more songs from Walker and much to my chagrin, I found there isn’t an album — yet.

The ethereal, very moody, and captivating song is already a chart-topping smash in Austria, Belgium,  France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vietnam, and eight other counties!

Here is the United States, the song is racing up the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart jumping from #26 to #17 this week and it’s already in the Top Ten on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

It’s getting some airplay at Top 40 radio here, but I hope it really catches on soon.  If you haven’t heard it, here it is.

Call B100 and 101.3 KISSFM here in the Quad Cities and request it.  Just tell them that Anthony from Local 4 requests that you play it. 🙂

“LONDON SPY”

If you’re looking for an intelligent television series to add to your summer viewing, you have to check out this five-part BBC America series. (You can catch it on Netflix.)

“London Spy” stars one of the best English actors working today, Ben Whishaw, who’s also appearing on Broadway in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw

It doesn’t hurt that Whishaw is charming and adorable, too!  But, I’m recommending this thriller because he’s incredible and the story is very suspenseful.

It also stars Jim Broadbent (“Moulin Rouge!”) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT 

Since I don’t write as much as I used to or as much as I’d like, I appreciate you checking out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.  As always, feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree — just do it diplomatically.

Have a great holiday weekend and remember the great men and women that made this Memorial Day weekend a holiday.

Anthony

Kent State Shootings — 46 Years Later

 

[The text of this blog was written four years ago in 2012.]

Kent State University is located in northeastern Ohio and if not for what happened there 46 years ago today, many of you would have no clue where it is located.

Kent State Univ Shootings-4May70

Four students were shot to death by the Ohio National Guard and 9 others were injured at an anti-Vietnam War protest.

Four of the wounded students are asking for a new investigation.  They asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to look at digitally enhanced audio evidence they claim shows that an officer ordered the Guard to fire on the unarmed students.

When I worked in Mansfield, Ohio, I got to attend the 30th anniversary of the shootings.  Being on Campus that in 2000, it felt so real like it was still 1970.

Here is the story that I posted for WMFD.  Please forgive the less than HD quality since I recorded it off my digital camera from a VHS tape!  VHS, really?:)

Anthony