Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

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

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Random Friday Thoughts — December 2, 2016

The weekend is almost here and can you believe in just three weekends, it’s Christmas already.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Since I took a break last week on my “Random Friday Thoughts” since people were shopping and eating leftovers, here’s a short version for this week.

HELLO DECEMBER AND WINTER!

UPDATED POST:  early Saturday, December 3, 2016

If you follow my forecast on “Local 4 News This Morning” or my blogs for winter weather updates, you know I always tell you to keep up on the changing forecast when snow is coming.  There’s a good reason.  Small changes in the forecast can have big implications.

Here’s an update on the three weather systems that I first told you about Friday morning in my blog and on-air:

Saturday Night:  Rain and snow will develop late and change over to snow.

Sunday:  Moderate snow in the morning changing to rain in the afternoon.

Since the ground is still relatively warm and part of the precipitation will come down as a mix or rain, accumulations will mainly be on grassy and elevated surfaces.

We could anywhere for 1-3″ of slushy snow.  It’ll start to melt away during the afternoon.

Monday Night & Tuesday:  Wintry mix still possible.  It’s not looking too impressive this morning.

Wednesday and Wednesday Night bigger snow:  This may very well not happen!  Stay tuned.  The cold air will definitely be coming in late week!

However, since we may not get a blanket of snow Wednesday night and Thursday, lows later in the week may only drop into the teens and not the single digits.

If we get a blanket of snow Wednesday and Wednesday night, then lows in the single digits are still possible.

Stay up on the latest forecast.  This is a developing and changing weather pattern.

March Snow

ORIGINAL POST:  early Friday, December 2, 2016

After the third warmest November on record in the Quad Cities, winter will be making its return to Iowa and Illinois to welcome December.

Over the next week, we have three chances of seeing some snow accumulation.

Late Saturday night and early Sunday, snow may accumulate on grassy and elevated surfaces.  Early indications show an inch or two possible.  That will melt away Sunday.

winter

Another system could bring some grassy accumulation Monday night and early Tuesday.

However, we could be seeing a winter storm Wednesday and Wednesday night.  As of this writing, there is low confidence in the details and the models are not very consistent.

This will have to monitored closely because depending on how this develops, we could be talking little or no snow or a lot of snow.

One thing is certain.  Late next week, we’ll see the coldest blast of air this season with highs only in the lower half of 20s and lows could drop to the single digits!

Brrrrr!!!!!!

“LOVE IS THE CURE”

If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s (and through “The Lion King” and “Candle in the Wind”, the 1990s), you have been touched by the genius of Elton John’s music.

During that same time period, you also heard a lot about Elton’s personal life since he was a pop music superstar.  That’s an understatement — he’s an icon.

He’s also a great humanitarian.  His 2012 book, “Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, he shares the struggles he went through to give more of himself to fight HIV and AIDS.

Love is the Cure.jpg

If you missed my thoughts on Elton, the book, and “World AIDS Day”, here’s the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/love-is-the-cure-to-end-aids/

After you read the touching stories in that blog, check out the book.  It’s an incredible read.

A MONSTER BEHIND THAT PRETTY SMILE

Since we’re talking about AIDS, Donald Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser pick, Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland is a monster behind that pretty smile.

kt

In 2006, when the New York Times Magazine was writing an article on McFarland, they found a 1992 letter she wrote to her parents shortly after finding out her brother, Michael Troia, had AIDS.

She reportedly wrote, “Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other?”  She added, “He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.

Michael died of AIDS in 1995.

McFarland goes on to elaborate and say that her father was an abusive parent, who beat them with belts and waved guns in their faces.

Responding to the allegations, her father denied them and offered to take a lie detector test.  Her other brother, Tom, living in Janesville, Wisconsin, at the time of the magazine article replied, “If I had one word to describe my sister, it would be ‘evil.’ ”

Not surprising, the people Trump has chosen for his cabinet are all anti-LGBT.

It’s going to be a fun four years!  (Note: sarcasm.)

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

Since I opened Pandora’s box by mentioning his name…

Pre-election, Donald Trump talked about a “rigged” election.  When he won the electoral vote, there was no big proclamations from Trump about the rigged elections.

Now that there’s talk of recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump has plenty to say, especially in incoherent tweets and rants.

He’s even saying that millions of California votes are illegal.

Even in victory, he’s such a “sore loser”.  It might have something to do with the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than two million votes and that number is still climbing as votes are still being counted.  Little man!

Hey, Donald, why don’t we just have a total recount or better yet, why don’t we have another election before the holidays and monitor the voting process even closer.

DT Masks

One final note and I actually agree with Trump on this one:  Burning an American flag is just wrong (but allowed by the freedom of free speech).

flag

However, here’s where I disagree with him.

Being threatened with losing citizenship or being imprisoned for burning the American flag sounds a lot like Russia — but, then again, Donald and Russia are friends, so I hear!

ARETHA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM

“The Queen of Soul” is earning mixed reviews for her Thanksgiving Day performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Vikings-Lions football game.

The gospel-tinged song clocked in at 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

Comments on the performance have ranged from “stirring” and “memorable” to “punishingly long”.

YouTube “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” are two to one positive.

What do you think?

LOSING FAITH IN “THE WALKING DEAD”

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” started off strong with the second highest ratings in the series history with 17 million viewers.

Last weekend’s episode dropped to the lowest ratings (10.4 million viewers) since season three when the ratings were still rising.

The fifth and sixth episodes this season were two of my least favorites.  Maybe I should look at it as a baseball game.  Those two episodes were strikes, so either this weekend, I need a base hit or I’m out.  I’m not interested in a foul or a ball.

Andrew Lincoln

Bring Rick (Andrew Lincoln) back and you’ll, at least, have my attention!

I’m not saying I want the show to be cancelled, but if it doesn’t come to life soon, maybe an end date should be set!

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

As the days get shorter and winter settles in, we find ourselves watching more television and movies.

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

“HELL OR HIGH WATER”

Since I just mentioned the “Critics’ Choice Award” nominations, “Hell Or High Water” was nominated for six — “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Original Screenplay”, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster for “Best Supporting Actor”, and “Best Acting Ensemble”.

Chris Pine, Bridges, and Foster are incredible in this crime caper about a couple of brothers (Pine and Foster) on a bank robbing spree across west Texas.

Bridges plays a Texas Rangers nearing retirement when he gets the assignment of catching these small town crooks.

What makes this story compelling is learning the motivation of why the brothers need the money.

What’s also thrilling is that you know things will probably turn out badly for some or all of the characters.  It’s a crime drama, so don’t expect a truly happy ending.

GRADE:  B

BASHING “CHRISTIANS”

I love Christmas and I always smile when I hear people get bent out of shape about those who write “Merry Xmas”.  That takes “Christ” out of “Christmas”.

christ-in-chrismas

But, what about the “Christians”, who conveniently leave “Christ” our of their life.  Those are the ones I have issues with in this blog I shared last week.

Many have checked it out and here’s that link if you didn’t get a chance to read it.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you can continue reading today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

Happy  whatever you celebrate this holiday season!

ANOTHER CHANCE “THIS CHRISTMAS” FOR OLIVIA & JOHN

Each Christmas, I buy some of the new holiday offerings.  This year, I got “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and “A Very Kacey Christmas” by Kacey Musgraves and would recommend both of them.

I also bought the latest Straight No Chaser album, “I’ll Have Another…Christmas Album” and I really wish I had said, “No thanks.”

Don’t waste your time or money on it. Instead, pick up their other two Christmas albums, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition”.

Earlier this week, I also decided to give “This Christmas” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John from 2012 another listen.

I’ve avoided this album for four years now!

John Olivia Christmas

This is what I wrote about it at the time:  “I’ll get the bad news out of the way first and then focus on the good.  The opening song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, is probably the worst version I’ve ever heard.  As much as I love Olivia, she couldn’t get “Physical” enough to save this disaster!  Three songs later, “This Christmas” would have been better without John’s vocals.”

On the listen four years later, their version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is still painful and the worst version I’ve ever heard.

However, while Travolta is definitely the weak link and Olivia soars as usual, I enjoyed it a lot more this time and Travolta actually does a decent job on “Silent Night” and a few others.

What I wrote four years ago about “I Think You Might Like It” still holds true today, “It’s a very fun song and if I close my eyes while listening to it, I see Danny & Sandy in “Grease” dancing to it around the Christmas tree.

2012  GRADE:  C+

2016 GRADE:  B

ANOTHER TAKE ON OLIVIA’S “PHYSICAL”

I’ve never watched “The Real O’Neals” on ABC Tuesday nights, but this scene looks pretty funny and that so would have been me as a teenager if I had gone to a gym.

16-year-old Kenny (Noah Galvin) wants to check out the fitness center after seeing a sexy guy on the cover of a brochure.

This seems like the perfect time for the original again.

Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” was the biggest song of the 1980s.  It spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from November 1981 to January 1982!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 7, 2014

Happy Friday!  Can you believe that Halloween is behind us and we’re already into the first week of November?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2015 will be here before you know it.

While I gave up writing a weekly “Random Friday Thoughts” this summer because of time constraints and I’m running out of free space to post images in the blog without paying, I enjoyed putting together the October 24th random thoughts, so I thought I’d do it again.

And, I’ll start this one with a big time, eat crow apology!

TAYLOR, I’M SORRY

Many times over the past couple of years, I’ve sort of bashed Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift

While I saw her in concert in the Quad Cities opening for Keith Urban in the summer of 2009 and I bought her “Fearless” album, I quickly tired of the constant reports of “manizing” (my word for the opposite of womanizing) and her overexposure.

However, in her latest #1 hit, “Shake It Off”, the lead single from her new and hugely successful, record-setting album, “1989”, Taylor won me back with her “eff-off” to me and all of her haters!

“Shake It Off” is brilliant.  It shows that Taylor is in on the joke and not the joke.

Taylor, I promise that I’ll never pass judgement on you again.  And, if I do, I know you can come back with another “eff-you” song in the vain of “Shake It Off”.

“SHAKE IT OFF”

TAYLOR SWIFT RULES THE WORLD

With “1989”, Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, selling an incredible 1.287 million copies in the United States alone, that makes Taylor the only singer in music history to have three (and three consecutive) million selling-plus first week albums.

This is also her best-selling first week ever!

Her 2010 album, “Speak Now” sold 1.047 million in its first week and the follow-up, 2012’s “Red” sold 1.208 million in its first week.

AND, THAT’S NOT ALL FOR “1989” AND TAYLOR

Those first week sales make “1989” the biggest selling first-week album since 2002 (Eminem), the biggest-selling album released in 2014 (Sam Smith’s “In The Lonely Hour” is second with 746,000 copies sold since May), and it’s the second biggest selling album of the year behind the “Frozen” soundtrack, which has sold 3.2 million copies in 2014.

SHOUT-OUT TO BRITNEY

While Taylor’s first week sales of 1.287 million copies were astounding, “1989” now ranks in second place behind “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears for most albums sold in the first week by a woman.

In its first week, in 2000, that album had sales of 1.32 million.  To date, “Oops!…” has sold 10.4 million copies in the United States and 24 million worldwide.

I absolutely love Britney.  I plan on seeing her in concert again next year in Las Vegas with her “Britney:  Piece of Me” show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney

So, here’s a shout-out to “It’s Britney, bitch” as she holds on to her record.

The lead single and title track,”Oops!… I Did It Again”, hit #1 on the radio airplay charts in 2000.

HOZIER – RUSSIA AND HOMOPHOBIA

24-year-old Irish singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne, professionally known as just Hozier, is enjoying his third Top Three hit back in his native Ireland.

But, it’s his first hit there that is now getting a lot of airplay here in the United States.

“Take Me To Church” reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Rock Songs and Adult Alternative Songs charts.

While a powerful song, it’s the video, that calls attention to Russia’s homophobia and homophobic laws, that is so riveting and sad.

Hozier, thank you for getting the message out there.

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY”

29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, took her own life in Portland, Oregon, last weekend, assisted by a physician.

Back on New Year’s Day 2014, Brittany was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She had surgery, but the cancer came back in April and she was given six months to live.

She and her husband moved from California to Oregon so when the pain got to be too much, she could take own life with the help of a doctor because of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law that was passed by Oregon voters twenty years ago.

Oregon became the first state to allow this, but appeals kept Oregonians from using the law until 1997.

Brittany Maynard

I’m a firm believer that every human should die with dignity and I applaud Brittany’s decision.  I’m glad she and her family enjoyed a nice vacation to the Grand Canyon last month to cross it off her “bucket list”.

So far, about 750 people in Oregon have used the law since 1997.

REMEMBERING “DR. DEATH”

I’ve talked about “doctor-assisted suicide” before.  Here is a re-post of what I had to say May 31, 2013, about Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

“While more Americans find doctor-assisted suicides less acceptable today than a decade ago, according to that recent Gallup poll, I’m taking a moment to remember the man whose name is synonymous with that subject.  He died two years ago next week.

Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan born pathologist, gained national attention in late 1998 when he allowed CBS News’ “60 Minutes” to air a videotape he made two months earlier of the voluntary euthanasia of 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating disease that causes progressive weakness, muscle atrophy, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing.

After a two-day trial, a Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder.  After serving time, he was paroled eight years later.

He may have been involved in more than 130 deaths and Kevorkian told “Time” magazine, “My specialty is death.”

So, what is your view on doctor-assisted suicides?  Feel free to tell me, even if we disagree.

I’m all for it.  I’ve seen people wither away to almost nothing in so much pain. I look at their lives and I see that some have no quality of life.  My mother died of a sudden heart attack at age 47.  While we were unable to say goodbye, I’m thankful that she never suffered for a long period like some people do.

If I’m ever in a terminal health situation where there is no chance of recovery (short of a miracle) and I’m in unimaginable pain, I’d welcome being euthanized.  Why is it that we’re in a position in this country where we have to watch our loved ones suffer until they die naturally, but we can do the “humane” thing to keep our beloved pets from immense suffering when they reach that point of no return by euthanizing them?

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

On February 3, 2012, Miss ABBA, our golden retriever that was just like a child to us, took that final R-I-D-E in the car.  I carried her to the car that morning and into the vet’s office.  I sat on the floor holding her when the doctor administered the two shots and she peacefully crossed over the “rainbow bridge”.

Many of you already know that Miss ABBA lived ten fantastic months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was only given two to three months to live.  She never got sick or down until the day before she died.

I’m blessed for the almost 12 years Miss ABBA and I had together.  I’m so glad that she never had to suffer and that I had that option to ease her pain when her quality of life ended.  I would want the same for myself or for my human counterparts.”

SPEAKING OF MY MOTHER

My sister and I lost that beautiful woman 24 years ago today!

Dessie

Dessie, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you and wish that we could talk.  But, I know that you’re looking over us now!

ELECTIONS ARE OVER, BUT WHAT ABOUT 2016?

I believe that former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and it won’t be a long vicious fight for that nomination like it was in 2008 against President Obama.

hillary2016

It’s going to be a much tougher fight for the Republican Party since there is no real front-runner.  And, because of that, I think it’s going to be nasty for quite some time once there are people vying for that nomination.

That’s why I predict that the candidates will start throwing their hat in the ring in early 2015 (or even by the end of this year).

For weeks now, I’ve said that the first person that will announce their candidacy will be former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

And, when all is said and done, here is my prediction of who we’ll be choosing from in the 2016 presidential election.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

Clinton and Bush!  Talk about dynasties in American politics!

“MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY 2”

There are many Christmas movies that I love, but one of my favorites came out in 2009.

It’s called “Make The Yuletide Gay”, a Rob Williams-directed movie about a college kid wanting to “come out” to his parents at Christmas, but he’s afraid to do it because of how he thinks they may react.  A visit from his college boyfriend pushes the “coming out” to the forefront.

While the boys are definitely charming, Wisconsin’s own Kelly Keaton, who plays Anya Gunnunderson, the mother of boy coming out, is so sweet and she makes you laugh.

There’s been talk about a sequel for years and now that is falling into place.  The director and producers have a script and just started a Kickstarter campaign through the end of December to raise the $175,000 needed to assist in the movie.

You can find out more about it here and make a small donation.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robwilliams/make-the-yuletide-gay-2-a-sequel-to-the-hit-comedy

I love the original movie so much that if I had $2,500 lying around, I’d donate it so I could make my Hollywood debut in the movie!

Could you imagine me transitioning from a television meteorologist to actor?

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

As you may recall, I saw Olivia Newton-John in concert this past May in Las Vegas and she was fantastic.  She sounded and looked great.

Olivia

I recently read a biography about her life by Tim Ewbank.

It was a thorough book that covered her pre-career life in Australia and England, her career, both in music and movies, her marriage and divorce, and her fight with cancer.

I was glad that the book talked about how some of the biggest country music stars in the 1970s (Conway Twitty, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis, Dolly Parton, and more) formed the Association of Country Entertainers as a protest to “outsiders” that were not country purists or “Nashville”.

Dolly quickly withdrew from that group and embraced Olivia.

Also, the book covered her friendship with another Australian that I love, Helen Reddy.  The book claims that it was Helen and he ex-husband that convinced Olivia to take the role of Sandy in “Grease”!

WATCHING MORE TELEVISION

When we had cable before, we never watched television.  Now that we have it, we’ve caught up on season five of  “The Walking Dead” and now we don’t have to avoid the spoilers until it arrives on DVD the following August!

We’re also watching “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.

Another show I really loved after seeing the first episode is “Stalker” on CBS.  It’s creepy, but I love it.

Maggie Q is my new “girl I would switch for”!  I’m kidding. 🙂

My favorite line in the pilot is when Dylan McDermott’s detective character, Jack Larsen, says “I get the feeling you don’t like me” and Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis replies, “Don’t be silly, I’m sporadically rude.”

Murder

I’m still loving “How To Get Away With Murder.  It’s the best new show this fall and so scandalous and real that you’d never know that Disney is the parent company of ABC.

My two favorite characters are Annalise Keating, a criminal law professor, played by multiple Oscar nominee Viola Davis, and Connor Walsh, a gay law student, played by Jack Falahee.

It’s one thing for a television show to feature a gay character, but to allow him (or her) to be sexually active on-screen is groundbreaking.

Here’s a video tribute to Connor and it includes scenes from the October 16th episode that made me think I was watching a soft-core adult movie!

If you watched that to the end, you probably heard the most “did he just say that?” moment I’ve seen on television.  EVER.

Yes, this is ABC and not premium cable!

In the same episode, Viola Davis’ character is sitting at her bureau and removes her wig, all of her make-up, and her eye lashes in one of the most emotionally naked scenes written for television.

And, if that wasn’t riveting enough, the scene ends when she holds up a cell phone to her cheating husband and asks the most mind-blowing question that no spouse ever wants to ask their husband!

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER:  A+

Way to go, Mouse House!

THAT’S IT

How do you top that?  I won’t even try.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my random thoughts this week from the serious to the silly to the entertaining.

I hope you enjoyed them.  Let me know what you think.

Until the next “Random Friday Thoughts”, happy holidays.

Peace!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 11, 2014

The weekend is upon us!  While I have a couple of work-related events to take part in this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday, I plan on taking full advantage of my down time.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

GIVE YOUR LOVED ONES AN EXTRA HUG

We all get overwhelmed and sometimes we forget to do simple things like show others how much we care.

alexhribelshackles

You just never know what will happen that day.

Who would have thought this innocent-looking 16-year-old boy is now suspected of stabbing 21 students and a security guard earlier this week in a Pennsylvania school?

To my friends, I appreciate you.  To my loved one, I’m thankful you’re in my life!

RE-WRITING THE BIBLE

Failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wants you to know he is not homophobic.

Huckabee

That’s what he told a crowd earlier this week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring fundraiser.

Huckabee says, “I’m not against anybody. I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic. I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives…but… when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand.”

I admit that Huckabee knows more about the Bible than I do, but I really don’t think that God put his signature on the first one, much less rewriting it, signing it, and sending it down now!

HIT THE ROAD, JACK

After thirty years of marriage, it’s over for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila.

Putin

Unless she’s like him, I wonder why it took thirty years?  Who knows (or cares)?  Maybe his hateful, ignorant attitude is something relatively new.

They have two daughters.

COUNTRY MUSIC SHINES ON CBS

Last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards show on CBS brought in some big numbers with 14.2 million people watching.

While I had no desire to watch it, I did flip over from “Crisis” on NBC during a couple of commercial breaks and I have three observations to make.

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Show

In her performance with husband Tim McGraw, Faith Hill looked amazing.  I didn’t really care for the song they performed and I really wish that she’d release an incredible album that country radio would have to embrace.

Meanwhile, show co-host Luke Bryan (left, below) looked incredibly hot.  Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.  As for Blake Shelton, not so much.

Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton

I didn’t watch the opening monologue and I know that the point is to poke fun at pop culture.

I thought Blake’s comment about marriage equality was funny, “A year ago, same-sex marriage just meant once you got married, you had the same sex over and over and over again.”  From what I’ve read, his wife, Miranda Lambert, in the audience, mouthed, “Thank you” to him!  It might have been a cold night in Las Vegas in their suite that night!

But, I didn’t care for one of his other “jokes” that I’m sure others thought was funny.

When the hosts were talking about the upcoming live performances on the show, Shelton added, “And if you don’t like live music, you have to go down the block and see Britney Spears”.

Britney Las Vegas

Stop!  I’m laughing out loud.  Not really.

I know it was a joke and they have writers, so I’m saying this in fun.  Blake, when you get own residency in Vegas and can ask for $800 a ticket and $2,500 for a VIP/Meet & Greet ticket, give me a call!

HERE’S THE KICKER TO BLAKE’S JOKE

Rascal Flatts, performing their new single, “Rewind”, on the ACMs now admit to lip-syncing (badly)!

Rascal Flatts

The band says, “After having performed several shows earlier in the week, Gary lost his voice.  So instead of canceling our commitment to do the show, we made a last-minute decision to lip-synch. We’ve never done it before, and we’re obviously not very good at it. We look forward to singing live again in the very near future!”

“WTH” FASHION STATEMENT

And, my last ACM Awards comment is about Miranda Lambert.  She is a beautiful woman and she looks amazing in the right and left pictures from Sunday night.

Miranda Lambert

However, in the middle picture, from the braided hair to the demin shirt and the belt, the whole ensemble had me censoring myself and just saying, “WTH”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Freaking StupidDog Social MediaPeas and Hominy

WAY TO GO, NOTRE DAME

In life, there are good and bad Democrats and Republicans.  There are good and bad straight people and LGBT people.  There are good and bad <insert group here>.

The University of Notre Dame, a Catholic college, in South Bend, Indiana, is making strides to be on the right side of history.

Matt Dooley

Watch this amazing video the University released after tennis play Matt Dooley came out as gay.  It’s incredible and touching.

REMEMBERING RYAN WHITE

It was 24 years ago this week that 18-year-old Ryan White died of complications of AIDS.

Ryan White

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.  We have come so far in the fight against AIDS and today, with proper medication, it’s no longer a death sentence and people can now live a full and long life.

That wasn’t the case back in the 1980s.  Ryan, a hemophiliac, was infected with HIV from contaminated blood in December 1984 and was given only six months to live.  He surprised doctors and the world by living for another five years.

While he posed no threat to other students, he was expelled from middle school because of his diagnosis.  Many parents and teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, fought against him returning to school and the family left Kokomo after bullets were fired into their house.

elton_John_ryan_white MIchael Jackson Ryan White

In life, Ryan became good friends with Elton John and Michael Jackson, along with John Cougar Mellencamp, and former President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Before he died, Ryan became a national spokesperson for bringing AIDS discrimination to the forefront in America.  Sadly, he died a month before graduating from high school.

Ryan, your memory is still alive.  And, to all of the Ryan Whites in the world today, live life to the fullest.

Here’s Elton John performing “Skyline Pigeon” at Ryan’s funeral.

DID YOU KNOW?

On a lighter note, now that it’s warming up, ice cream sounds like a great treat to enjoy outdoors.

In the July 2013 issue, “Better Homes and Gardens” reported that the average American eats 24 pounds of ice cream a year!

rocky road ice cream

While I love many flavors of ice cream, if I had to choose only one, it’d be Rocky Road.  And, if I could add one ingredient, it’d be coconut.

Now, there are many ranking of favorite flavors.  My favorite, Rocky Road, barely makes the Top 15.

Most rankings have Strawberry at #4, Butter Pecan at #3, and Chocolate comes in second place.

What’s shocking to me is that Vanilla is the favorite by a three-to-one margin!  Maybe because of its versatility?

PICK HIT

Pharrell Williams is hot right now.

As a solo artist, he’s at #1 with his song, “Happy”, and last year, he was featured in two of the biggest songs of the year, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “Blurred Line” with Robin Thicke.

I don’t really care for “Happy”, but I love him accompanying other artists.  I first became aware of him when appeared on Madonna’s album “Hard Candy” and on her 2008’s #1 dance smash, “Give It 2 Me”.

Pharrell is featured on one of my favorite songs from Kylie Minogue’s latest album, “Kiss Me Once”.

kylie_pharrell

“I Was Gonna Cancel” is the album’s second single and the follow-up to the #1 Billboard Dance hit, “Into The Blue”.

Radio programmers, add this to your playlist now!

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The-Best-Man-Holiday-Poster

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends —  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Earlier I talked about Luke Bryan, so I’ll feature him in my segment of some of my favorite country songs.

In just seven short years, the 37-year-old Georgia native and married father of two boys has racked up an incredible 15 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 11 of  have reached the Top Three with seven making it to the #1 spot!

His latest, “Play It Again”, is at #3 this week and it could top the chart, too.  However, he’d have to knock himself out of the top spot since he’s featured on Florida Georgia Line ‘s “This Is How We Roll”, at #1.

luke-bryan-nbc-today-show-650-430

I really like many of his hits like “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “Rain Is A Good Thing”, but his first hit, “All My Friends Say”, which reached #5 in 2007, is my still my favorite.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with any of them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 14, 2014

It’s no surprise that I love my weekends.  It’s going to be relatively mild this weekend and I hope to take a few walks in the neighborhood and get some fresh air. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Here are my random thoughts for this week.

MICHELE BACHMANN, THE WORLD HAS CHANGED!

Minnesota Representative and failed Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is still behind the times and she thinks that President Obama, liberal judges, and gay people are out to “take away” her religious rights.

Bachmann

I guess that’s better than her thinking we want to take her husband away from her!

Marcus Bachmann

Okay, let me get back on track.  She’s upset with not only the LGBT community, but also Arizona Governor Jan Brewer because she vetoed the very bad SB 1062 last month.

Bachmann says, “There’s nothing about gays in there. But the gay community decided to make this their measure.  I think the thing that is getting a little tiresome, the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they’ve so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.”

ELECTION 2016

Since 2014 is just getting underway and the next presidential election is still about two years away, who are Iowa voters most excited about?

For Democrats, former Secretary of State, former First Lady, and 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has incredible support with Democrats with 88% saying it’s a good idea for her to run for President and 11% saying it’s a bad idea.

president-hillary

Current Vice President Joe Biden only has 58% of the polled saying it’s a good idea for him to run in 2016.

Potential Iowa Voters

On the Republican side, of the candidates that were asked about, 2012 Vice President wannabe Paul Ryan has the support of 67% of Republicans with only 16% thinking it’s a bad idea.

Right behind him with 65% thinking it’s a good idea is former Arkansas Governor and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“GAYEST PRESIDENT YET”

Kudos to Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

Last summer, she could have been arrested for holding up this rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

Tilda Swinton Moscow

Recently, at  SXSW  in Austin, Texas, she topped herself by saying this about Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Well, Russia has the gayest president ever. No, that’s an offensive thing to say—not to him, but to the gay community.”

Putin

Tilda, if I didn’t already love you for your amazing work and, especially, your performance in “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, I’d love you even more now.

WINTER, GO AWAY!

As much as I love snow, a few days of 50° or higher this week and I’m now in “spring” mode!

When it comes to farmers’ almanacs and long-term forecasts, it’s fun to looked at the books’ generalized forecasts for the upcoming winter season.  But, there’s definitely no scientific validity to the daily forecasts for each month.  It’s definitely guess-work.

But, check out this “Farmers’ Almanac” forecast from last fall that I blogged about on August 30, 2013.

Farmers' Almanac

With temperatures from December 2013 through March 2014 running more than nine degrees below average in the Quad Cities and 62.4″ of snow this winter, almost twice the average winter’s snowfall, I say “kudos” to the “Farmers’ Almanac” for nailing this winter’s outlook.

“BAGGAGE CLAIM”

The romantic comedy, “Baggage Claim”, was the funniest movie I’ve seen since “We’re The Millers” last year.

Baggage Claim

Paula Patton stars a Montana Moore, a flight attendant who finds out that her younger sister who’s still in college is engaged.  She begins to feel the pressure from her mother who’s been married five times.

When her boyfriend, Graham, invites her, by letter, to spend Thanksgiving with him in Chicago, Montana is convinced that he’s going to pop the question.  Wait, he sends a letter inviting her????  What year is this?

Well, things don’t go as planned.

That’s when her two flight attendant friends, Gail and Sam, devise a master plan to get her married or engaged before her sister’s wedding in thirty days!

Gail and Sam Baggage Claim

Jill Scott is hilarious as the promiscuous Gail and Adam Brody is adorably cute and funny as Montana gay best friend, Sam.

With the help from others that work within the airline industry, the trio tracks down Montana’s exes that are flying over the holidays to see if any of them have changed and if they could now be the “one”.

While predictable, it’s funny, sexy, and cute.  Dare I say this, but it’s a modern-day “Pretty Woman” without Julia Roberts and prostitutes.

“Baggage Claim” is a definite must-see and I’m even considering buying the DVD!

GRADE:  A-

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Spring Forward Yelling

CONGRATULATIONS BELINDA CARLISLE

Today marks a very special anniversary in former Go-Go’s lead singer, Belinda Carlisle’s life.

It was nine years ago today that she stopped using drugs after almost 30 years of abuse!

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

She made those revelations in her memoir, “Lips Unsealed”, which I blogged about earlier this week.

Here’s an excerpt from my blog:  “In March 2005, Belinda was in London rehearsing for some tour dates and having talks about a new venture for her, an album of French pop songs.   In heartbreaking detail in the book, she went on a cocaine frenzy in her hotel room and envisioned herself dead of an overdose.  It gave her the strength to do something she had never been able to do.  She was going to finish the last of the cocaine sitting on the table and quit cold turkey.”

Belinda

Belinda, congratulations on nine years.  I know that overcoming an addiction is a daily fight and I wish you and your family the very best.

Here’s Belinda from last year with “Sun”.

If you missed my blog about Belinda, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/belinda-carlisle-from-the-germs-the-go-gos-to-beating-demons/

AMERICANS BECOMING MORE OPEN-MINDED

There will always be prejudiced against <insert minority group here>.  Otherwise, what would close-minded people have to talk about?

I want to comment and focus on the LGBT community and marriage equality.

“USA Today” reported in late February that a study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that the number of Americans supporting marriage equality has risen from 32% in 2003 to 53% last year!

LoveMarriageEquality

In that same time period, 17 states and the District of Columbia have allowed same-sex marriages.

The PRRI study also shows that in the past ten years, the number of people who say same-sex marriages are against their religious beliefs dropped from 62% to 51%.

The top three religions that were deemed most “unfriendly” to the LGBT community were the Catholic Church (58%), the Mormon Church (53%) and Evangelical Christian churches (51%).

gays_in_church

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI, says that 24% of those polled left their childhood religion and now have no religious identity.  One of the main reasons given was their church’s negative teachings or treatment of LGBT people.

In younger people, ages 18 to 33, that number jumps to 31%!

MILEY-KATY CAT FIGHT

There’s a pop music cat fight going on now and Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Elton John are not involved!

Recently, at Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz Tour” stop in Los Angeles, Katy leaned in to give Miley an innocent kiss during the song, “Adore You”.

Miley Katy Kiss

So, here’s Katy’s side of the story.

Katy on Miley's Tongue

Well, Miley didn’t take kindly to Katy’s comment and Tweeted this.

Miley Response

Ladies, since we never really know where other people’s tongues have been, let’s just use Scope, kiss, and make up!

“ROMEO & JULIET”

We all know the story of the dreaded feud between the Montagues and the Capulets that doomed the love affair of their children, Romeo and Juliet.

In the latest box office bomb, Romeo is played by the stunningly drop-dead gorgeous English actor Douglas Booth and Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) portrays Juliet.

romeojuliet1

The movie is definitely getting a bad rap.  If it wasn’t bad enough that the $24 million dollar movie only made $1.2 million in theaters, it was mostly panned by critics, and has an approval rating of only 21% on the website, “Rotten Tomatoes”!

I didn’t think the movie lacked energy as many have stated.  If you want to see a new version of the classic story, you won’t be thoroughly disappointed.

And, look on the bright side, if you start watching it and you think I’m wrong about the movie being okay, just stare at the beautiful Douglas Booth and make the best of it.

romeo-douglas-booth

GRADE:  B

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Texan Clay Walker first appeared on the country music scene in 1993 when his debut single, “What’s It To You” and its follow-up, “Live Until I Die”, both topped the Billboard Country chart.

He was so dreamy and quickly became my favorite male country singer.

Clay Walker

I finally saw him in concert in Merrillville, Indiana, in early 1996.

Clay charted with 29 country hits with 17 of them reaching the Top Ten.

Of those, six topped the chart!  Including the two I previously mentioned, “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” (1994), “If I Could Make A Living” (1994), “This Woman And This Man” (1995), and “Rumor Has It” (1997) were also chart toppers.

I have many favorites of Clay’s, but I think this is my absolute favorite.

THAT’S IT

Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend to you.  If you have a lot of green beer, make sure you have a designated driver!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

Israelis Take A Stand Against Russia

As you know from reading my blog, I’ve been very outspoken against Russia’s homophobic laws and the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

There’s now a new Israeli campaign speaking out about the bloodshed and violence against the LGBT community in Russia.

Red Flag

“Red Flag”, similar to the American NOH8 campaign, was started by David and Jonathan, the publisher of the international lifestyle magazine, “F.O.D.”, for the Tel-Aviv gay man community.

Actors, singers, activists, drag queens, and the LGBT community were encouraged to take part in the photo shoot wearing Russian army uniforms with blood coming out of their mouths to bring attention to the violence brought against Russian and Ukrainian LGBT people.

Red Flag2

Organizers say, “Russia 2013 is a death trap for the LGBT community. This discriminating law is backed up with aggressive enforcement by the army and the police. Arresting activists in the LGBT community or any person suspected of being involved in “propaganda” has become a normal routine. This law refers to tourists from out-of-state and even athletes participating in the winter Olympics.”

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — December 6, 2013

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/06/random-friday-thoughts-december-6/

Random Friday Thoughts — February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine’s Day!  It’s going to be a snowy one in Iowa and Illinois, but it’ll make it more romantic! 🙂

champagne

I hope you and yours have a great weekend.  If there’s no “yours”, you still have every reason to enjoy the day and make the most of it.

I had many single years and I still treated myself to champagne and chocolates whenever I wanted them!  Indulge.  Life is too short.

Here are my random thoughts this Friday.  As always, thank you for checking them out.  If you agree with me, let me know.  If you disagree, let me know nicely. 🙂

BEST WISHES TO MICHAEL SAM

Michael Sam, the Associated Press defensive football player of the year in the Southeast Conference, came out last Sunday telling the public something that his teammates have known since last fall.

Sam told ESPN, “I came to tell the world I’m an openly proud gay man.”

Michael Sam

Sam is expected to be drafted into the National Football League and that would make him the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL.

Michael, I wish you the very best in football and in life and I’m not alone.

Bette Midler

And, here is an incredible commentary from Dale Hansen, a sportscaster with WFAA, the ABC affiliate in Dallas, Texas.  This is so true!

However, we still have a long way to go.  This is a series of tweets from Kent State University wrestler Sam Wheeler.  He’s been suspended indefinitely until the athletic department decides on how to handle the situation.

Sam Wheeler Kent State Wrestler

ZOMBIES SLAY OLYMPIANS

While the ratings for the 2014 Winter Olympics for NBC are off slightly from four years ago, people were watching this past weekend.

However, last Sunday night, in the key television viewing demographics, 18-49-year-olds, the season four mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” killed the rush for the gold, silver, and bronze.

The Walking Dead

In that demo group, “The Walking Dead” scored a rating of 8.2 beating the 6.9 for NBC’s Sochi Winter Olympics.  Overall, 15.8 million people tuned in for “The Walking Dead”.

RACIST SOCHI TWEET?

Former Russian gold medalist figure skater Irina Rodnina, who lit the Olympic torch for the opening ceremonies of the Sochi games, is now at the center of a controversy that screams of racism.

Rodnina

Rodnina, who is now a member of Parliament in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party, tweeted this doctored picture of President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama from last September.

Racist Sochi Tweet

Pro-Kremlin television personality Vladimir Soloviev says this is not a big scandal and that Rodnina is free to post whatever she wants.  He went on to say the Tweet was not racist and that the reaction is too sensitive, “I advise everyone who attacked her that the next time they go out for a coffee, they should not call it a black coffee but an African-American coffee.”

I think this is racist whether it’s posted by a Russian politician or someone in the United States who feels as Rodnina does!

Your thoughts?

THIS “ARROW” HITS THE BULLS EYE

“Arrow” actor Stephen Amell wishes the athletes that have been training all their lives the very best in Sochi, Russia, but he holds nothing back on this thoughts about the country’s anti-gay laws.

Stephen Amell

On Facebook, Amell posted, “For everyone asking, we’re taking a mini hiatus so people can grit their teeth and suffer through an Olympic games marred by homophobia and mediocre public interest.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHTS

Weather ChannelSnow

Davenport Cold

That was in Davenport, Iowa, the other morning.  Luckily, it was actually only -23°!

SO LONG, MULDER & SCULLY

We just finished watching all 202 episodes of “The X-Files” and the two movies.  While enjoyable, I still feel that the series finale was rushed and not very rewarding for such a stellar nine-year series that changed television.

the_x_files_i_want_to_believe-wallpaper

After watching “The X-Files:  I Want T0 Believe” again, the 2008 big screen movie is incredible and greatly under appreciated.  While it did have the feel of a more adult (language, violence, and gore) expanded television monster-of-the-week episode, it is very powerful.

Mulder, Scully, Skinner, Doggett, Reyes, Krycek, The Smoking Man, the Lone Gunman, aliens, and Chris Carter, thank you for the memories.

HELLO FISHER FAMILY OF FREAKS

Before we move on to “Fringe” to wrap up the last two seasons, we’re going back to “Six Feet Under”.  We’re now on season three (of five).

six feet under

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dysfunctional family like the Fishers and their crazy friends and loved ones.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that I love Michael C. Hall.  And, to see him as a very tormented David Fisher, who’s also gay, is very interesting.

PICK HIT

Singer Hailey Rowe is back with a very inspiring song and video.

Hailey Rowe

While she isn’t a household name, she scored my favorite song and video of 2013 with “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.

Her latest release is “Don’t Need Your Approval”.

“CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”

“Captain Phillips” is nominated for six Oscars this year, including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Barkhad Abdi.  It also gained attention when Tom Hanks was snubbed for a Best Actor nomination.

Captain Phillips

The $55 million movie earned $215.3 million at the box office.  It’s based on real life events when Somali hijackers took over the “MV Maersic Alabama” in April 2009 and kidnapped the cargo ship’s captain, Richard Phillips, for ransom.

It’s a well crafted movie by director Paul Greengrass (“United 93”) and Oscar winner Hanks does a great job playing Phillips as a strong leader in the face of terror and possible death.  Even Adbi and the other three first-time Somali actors hold their own in the movie.

If you didn’t follow the story when it was news almost five years ago, you’ll enjoy the movie more.  As I was watching it, I kept wondering if Hollywood would change something in the outcome for dramatization since it’s “based on a true story”.

After seeing the movie, was Hanks snubbed?  I don’t think so based on the two Oscar-nominated performances I’ve seen so far (Matthew McConaughey in “Dallas Buyers Club” and Christian Bale in “American Hustle”).  Will Abdi win the Supporting Actor award?  No.

If you like an action packed thriller, you’ll definitely like “Captain Phillips”.  If you want to see Greengrass at his best, watch “United 93”.

GRADE:  B

“RUNNER RUNNER”

This thriller starring Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck is entertaining enough with a few twists.

Runner Runner

Timberlake plays Richie Furst, who used to work on Wall Street and is now getting his Master’s Degree.  Since he isn’t eligible to get help with his tuition, he recruits college students to gamble online and he get a kick back.  When he’s reported, the school’s dean tells him he must quit or he won’t get his degree.

He takes a chance gambling on the site knowing the odds and loses all his money.  He then flies to Costa Rica to try to get his money back from Ivan Block (Affleck), who is the online gaming king.

It’s a cat and mouse game, but you don’t know who’s playing who.

GRADE:  C

NEW TWITTER FOLLOWER

I’m still relatively new to Twitter and I find it interesting.  I only have 142 followers, but one of my new followers is someone I’ve been a fan of for almost 30 years — Andy Bell of Erasure.

Andy Bell

Since the follow, we’ve corresponded a couple of times.  If you’re an Erasure fan, check out this encouraging and fun tweet from Andy.

Andy 2

“Make It Wonderful” is the second single from last fall’s “Snow Globe” album and the remixes will be available February 24th.  Here is the amazing “Morlando Club Mix”.

Some of the “many” things that Andy may have been talking about is the anticipated new album and tour this fall!

“BABYCAKES” & “SIGNIFICANT OTHERS”

If you read my “Random Friday Thoughts” each week, you know that I’ve been spending a lot of time on the treadmill walking and reading.  I’ve lost 8.8 pounds since the beginning of the year, but it’s getting harder now.

I’m also reading Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of The City” series.  I just finished the fourth and fifth books in the nine-book series.

“Babycakes”, the fourth book, takes place around 1983, seven years after the first book.

babycakes

The AIDS pandemic claims the life of a recurring character and a main character is dealing with the loss of his best friend and lover.  He takes a trip to England and runs into a major character that was absent in the third book.

One character becomes a television reporter after breaking the story of the survivors of the Jonestown Massacre.  Another story line involved a favorite couple trying to have a baby with sterility and infidelity playing a major role.  As the book ended, one life started and another ended.

This was my least favorite of the four books, so far, and part of it might have been the fact that it was new to me since it wasn’t made into a miniseries like the first three books.

SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

The series found its mojo with the fifth book, “Significant Others”.

Two different retreats, one for a women’s festival (lesbians) and one for older men (rich Republicans), take place on Russian River north of San Francisco in 1985.  We meet three new characters that play a big role in some of the lives of the original “Tales of The City” group.

One character faces the unknown when he takes the HIV test and what he’ll tell his wife and another is still dealing with the loss of his friend/lover from AIDS in the third fourth.  He meets a new friend that could be something long-term, but they live on opposite coasts!

I can’t wait to see what happens in the sixth book!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Kentucky-born singer John Conlee had a long, successful string of 27 hits on the Billboard Country charts from 1978-1987.  Of those 27 hits, 22 reached the Top Ten, and 7 topped the charts.

My two favorites are “Backside of Thirty”, his third hit and second number one from 1979, and his first country hit, “Rose Colored Glasses” that peaked at #5 in 1978.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

Have a great weekend.  I think we’re having heart-shaped pizza and a heart-shaped strawberry ice cream cake this weekend with Gretel and my sister, Tammy.

Anthony