Posts Tagged ‘San Francisco’

Random Thoughts — February 8, 2019

We’re snowed in again here in the Northland of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin with  almost a foot of new snow!

Here’s hoping that we all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’M TAKING THE PLUNGE!!!!!!!

I’ve always wanted to do a Polar Plunge, but I’ve never had the opportunity.

Now, I get to do it for a great cause — Special Olympics Minnesota!

On February 16th in Duluth, Minnesota, a group of co-workers and I are raising money and are jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Polar Plunge

Any donation, large or small, will add up!

Once you go to the page and if you want to make a smaller donation that what’s listed, just type it into the box!

Thank you in advance and here’s the link:

https://reg.plungemn.org/participant/anthonypeoples

OUT AND PROUD & CLOSETED AND OUTING

I’ve always been out.  For me, the closets are for clothes.  But, that’s not the case for many others.

In the mid-1980s, as Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and his management team was giving lame excuses for his sickness, one of my favorite authors and a leading LGBTQ activist Armistead Maupin outed him as being gay.

While it was an “open secret”, Maupin confirmed to mainstream news agencies that Hudson was gay.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

Maupin also came down hard on lesbian actress Lily Tomlin in the 1990s for waiting so long to come out.

Personally, I think the LGBTQ community needs visibility.  Kids need role models to look up to when they feel alone in some small town or in a family that doesn’t accept gay people.

While I’d love for rumored LGBTQ celebrities and politicians to come out and be proud, it’s their choice.  I would not out them.

However, for politicians that are anti-LGBTQ or support anti-LGBTQ legislation, I’m all for outing them without any remorse at the first hint of them being deceptive and closeted!

Even for those “straight” celebrities that support religions (or cults pretending to be religion, TC/JT, I’m looking at you) that are anti-LGBTQ, I’m all for someone outing them when there’s proof!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  

Was Maupin right or wrong with outing Hudson as a gay man or saying Tomlin shouldn’t have waited so long to come out?

What do you think?

“THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN”

While I’ve read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the Cities” novels many times (there are nine of them), the series was first written for a California newspaper.

The story begins in San Francisco in the 1970s and follows a core group of friends that become “family” over time.

If you’ve never heard of it, go to the library and get them or buy the first one on Amazon and you’ll be hooked!

“The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”, a 2017 documentary, follows Maupin from his conservative upbringing in North Carolina (where he even worked for racist, homophobic Senator Jesse Helms) to becoming a writer in San Francisco and coming out.

It’s also an incredible love story!

GRADE:  A

So far, the “Tales of the City” novels have been made into three amazing miniseries with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.

A fourth arrives on Netflix this year!

“THE WIFE”

“And, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Glenn Close in ‘The Wife’!”

That’s what I predict we’ll be hearing Sunday, February 24th, at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

After six previous nominations and six losses, I think this is Close’s year.  Sorry, Lady Gaga, you may have more chances.

Close plays Joan, the wife of Jonathan Pryce’s Joseph Castleman, who’s awaiting a call from the Nobel Prize committee to see if he’ll earn one for his literary work.

Spoiler, not Spoiler: he does!

As the story unfolds, we see how Joseph and Joan meet and how their lives have played out over the decades — professionally and personally.

Close plays the perfect wife standing by her famous writer husband, but also feels the sting of disappointment over how her husband depends on her and takes her for granted — professionally and personally!

GRADE:  A

“BOY ERASED”

The main point I want to stress here is that “gay conversion therapy” is still going on across the U.S. and it’s sad, pathetic, and damaging!

This movie, with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges, is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 “Boy Erased:  A Memoir” about his time in an Arkansas facility.

Pop singer Troye Sivan, director/actor Xavier Dolan, and Joe Alwyn (Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) also turn in amazing performances.

Since I hadn’t read Conley’s book when the movie was announced, I decided to wait to do so and now I’m ready to read it.

“Boy Erased” will be more powerful to people who are not all that familiar with gay conversion therapy.

While the movie was very touching, it was a bit sanitized.  For those of us that have heard the horror stories of conversion therapy, I felt it was too Hollywood-ized and needed a rougher edge!

It’s still a must see!

GRADE:  B

LAST TWO BOOKS READ IN 2018

It’s a tradition for me to read “Christmas in Plains” by my idol President Jimmy Carter every year at the holidays!

Christmas In Plains

“JACKIE AFTER JACK”

After finishing Ted Sorensen’s 800+ page biography of John F. Kennedy and “Christmas in Plains”, I jumped right into Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack”.

Anderson Jackie after Jack

Sorensen’s book on President Kennedy was more about Kennedy as “President” rather than Kennedy as a husband, father, brother, and friend.

I was shocked into reality with the abrasive tone difference at beginning of Andersen’s book, which pretty much talks about Kennedy’s assassination in graphic detail.

Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.

But, if only a fraction of the book is true, Jackie certainly loved her children and she was definitely what we’d call a “gold digger” today!

By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.

Andersen mentions several times about Jackie wanting to toughen her son, John John, up because she was didn’t want him to “grow up to be a fruit”.

I’m not giving a free pass on that, but I’m putting it in the context of the 1960s and 1970s and how most people have evolved when it comes to being gay.  I know the Kennedys would have been much more accepting in today’s world!

Thank God “homosexuality” (a truly clinical term that had implications of mental illness prior to 1973 in the United States) has now progressed to being “gay” and part of the acronym LGBTQ!

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 5, 2016

It looks like I might be back into the routine of writing and sharing my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  This is the third straight week of it. 🙂

So, grab your coffee or your mimosa and check out today’s thoughts and be sure to share yours, too.  If you disagree, that’s fine as long as it’s diplomatically.

DISGRACED POLITICIAN OFFERED A MILLION DOLLARS!

It’s been some time since disgraced and former Illinois Republican politician Aaron Schock of Peoria has been in the news.

The super sexy 34-year-old stud resigned from Congress last March after controversy about his use of federal funds made headlines.

Aaron Schock 2

It wasn’t only social media photos of his lavish trips, but also the interior decorating of his office in “Downton Abbey” motiff that raised eyes on his spending.

Well, now it appears he’s been offered help with his mounting legal fees, which are reported at about $750-thousand!

TitanMen, a powerhouse adult entertainment company, has offered to pay off his lawyers up to a million dollars if he’ll star in a gay porn film!

However, his dad says, “Aaron wears stylish clothing and yet he’s not gay.”

aaron-schock-1

If you don’t know much about Schock’s time in the political arena, he opposed marriage equality, opposed the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”, and voted against adding sexual orientation to federal hate crimes statutes.

CANCELLED CONCERT OVER CHAMPAGNE?

It appears that Timbaland likes champagne, but not just any champagne.

Last week, he was booked at a fundraiser at Club Bleu in Detroit to raise money to buy bottles of water and filters for Flint residents that have contaminated drinking water.

He was to DJ for half an hour and perform five to eight songs.  It’s reported that he took the stage and only nodded his head to the beats another DJ performed.  Why?  Because he wasn’t happy to be served Dom Perignon instead of Jay Z’s Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”), which costs about $300 a bottle.

Jay Z Champagne

The owner, Mitchell Jaworski, claims that the music maestro and his entourage “had about 15 bottles of liquor and champagne, which is extremely excessive especially for a charity event”.

Timbaland’s rep says the story “is simply not true” and that the producer/rapper is an “extremely generous person who agreed to a much lower fee for this event to raise money for the Flint, Michigan’s water crisis”.

The fundraiser raised about $3,000.

MY LOVE OF CHAMPAGNE

While I love Moscato and I love vodkas, champagne is right up there at the top of my list.

I mentioned mimosas in the intro and with the talk of champagne, those sound good about right now.  I’d be ecstatic if it was served with a piece of carrot cake just like my 2012 birthday in Vegas!

Champagne

I prefer sweeter brands of champagne.

GREAT NEW DANCE ALBUM

While we’re just now getting underway in 2016, I found my new favorite CD of the year.

Actually, listening to “Matter” by the Brooklyn-based singer, St. Lucia, will have you checking to make sure we’re not enjoying the most fantastic music of the 1980s.

st-lucia-matter-new-album

St. Lucia is South African-born Jean-Philip Grobler and his band.  Their sound is heavily influenced by Grobler’s 1980s childhood influences: Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, and Fleetwood Mac.

Most of the eleven songs on his second album are very upbeat and very synth-heavily.

My favorites are “Dancing on Glass” (which I’m sharing with you),”Home”, “Rescue Me”, and “Physical”, which is very energetic, but ends very chill.  “The Winds of Change” is very similar in composition — higher beats-per-minute, but ends chill.

“Help Me Run Away” is so retro in feeling that it makes me giddy every time I hear it.

And, the ballad, “Love Somebody”, with the finger snaps and St. Lucia’s vocals, is mesmerizing.

While the album takes me back to the romanticism of the second British invasion of my teenage years in the 1980s, several songs vocally remind me of another New York-based band that’s on hiatus — the Scissor Sisters.

I know singers and artists may not like comparisons, but I mean that as a compliment.

In today’s sad state of Top 40 radio, I’m not holding my breath that “Matter” or St. Lucia will be burning up the airwaves this spring and summer and that’s a tragedy!

GRADE:  A

“AN AMERICAN SON” BY MARCO RUBIO

In my last blog, in an effort be more diversified, I crossed the aisle and read Mike Huckabee’s “Do The Right Thing”.  After the Prologue, his close-mindedness bored me.

I also said “Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.”  While I can’t take credit for it, his abysmal showing in the Iowa Caucus earlier this week prompted him to suspend his run for president that never really a “run”.  It was more like a limp.

Up next, Marco Rubio’s “An American Son”.

Marco Rubio

It was a much better book and story than Huckabee’s.  In an alternate universe (where Rubio liked gay families and didn’t use the word “conservative” like it was dirty), I could see liking the man.

Just based on the book, I would love to sit down and have dinner with him and his wife Jeanette to show them that I pray to God every night and I’m a kind and loving person that just happens not to fit into the “conservative values” circle.

I enjoyed hearing about his wonderful parents and their struggles leaving Cuba and working all their lives to give their kids a life they didn’t have.

Rubio told a very touching story about a struggling woman looking into the eyes of her newborn child, just your parents did to you.  His “people” (inner political handlers) didn’t want him to tell the story even though it was very heartfelt.  The reason?  It’d make sound like a Democrat!  If human = Democrat, I have two things going for me.

By the way, his wife, Jeanette was touched by it and wanted him to tell that story.  That’s another reason I think I’d like her.

Rubio also spoke about the 2008 election when Barack Obama won.  He became teary-eyed because of the significance of an African American being elected to the highest office in the most powerful country in the world.  That night he “was so proud to be an American”.  He knew he’d have plenty of time to fight the president to turn the country around because it was heading in the “wrong direction”.

CarterPres

I disagree with Rubio on his anti-Jimmy Carter sentiments he learned his grandfather.  Jimmy Carter is still my favorite president that was dealt a bad hand while in office.

Also, we’re at odds when he stated that the way Bill Clinton’s administration handled the Elian Gonzales case “arguably, it cost Al Gore the election” in 2000.

Arguably is right.  We know how that election was lost — Republican shadiness in Florida — “arguably”!

NOW, WHY RUBIO SCARES ME…

Overall, I enjoyed getting to know Rubio over 307 pages.  However, I have a couple of issues with his own trustworthiness.

In a recent Republican debate, in his commercials, and in his speech earlier this week after the Iowa Caucus, Rubio bashed Hillary Clinton over honesty.

Yet, nowhere in the book did he mention that he was arrested in a Florida park after hours in 1990 on a misdemeanor charge, yet he shared getting sick on vodka shots on a plane and vomiting on a high-ranking person in the Republican party, talked about going to “foam party” in clubs, and other things he did when he was younger.  Yet, no mention of the arrest?

And, then there’s the issue that his parents were Cuban exiles that immigrated to the United States in 1956 instead of 1959, when the guerrilla war reached its peak and Fidel Castro took office as prime minister.

He only “learned” of this when newspapers reported the inaccuracies???  As detailed as the book was, I find it hard to believe this only surfaced once it went public!

So, who has trust issues, Mr. Rubio?

CHER ON REPUBLICAN FRONT RUNNERS

Cher 

“THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL”

This coming-of-age dramedy didn’t burn up the box office (actually it’s a $2 million movie that only made $1.8 million), but it has a 94% positive on the film site, Rotten Tomatoes.

One reason it didn’t make money is probably because it was so hard to market and that’s sad.  The movie is hilarious, thought-provoking, and scandalous.

Bel Powley stars as 15-year-old Minnie, in 1976 San Francisco, who’s aspiring to be an artist. She loses her virginity to an older man (Alexander Skarsgard of “True Blood”) who’s very close to her and her mother (Kristen Wiig).

As the parent of a teenage girl that turns 15 this summer, the movie’s premise is frightening. 🙂  However, as a movie lover, it’s fantastic.

GRADE:  A-

IOWA CAUCUS AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s cool that Iowa still kicks off the official presidential election voting season with its caucus.  However, I’m not fond of the caucus process, but Iowa is not the only state that does it.

Ted Cruz upset Donald Trump on the Republican side, but the true winner in that race was Marco Rubio with his strong third place showing.

I’ve comment before that the Trump-Cruz circus would make it very easy for Rubio to secure the Republican nomination.  We’ll have to see if his momentum can carry on into New Hampshire and Super Tuesday on March 1, 2016.

AP Hillary Iowa

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton officially won the caucus becoming the first woman ever and she won it with the slimmest margin ever.

I’m happy, as a Clinton supporter, that the race was close.  With all of the momentum that Sanders had going into the caucus, it could of a had a much different outcome!

To be honest, they were both winners!  (And, trust me when I say that, I’m not one of those people that think everyone that participates deserves a ribbon or trophy!)

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

How successful are Iowans and the Iowa Caucus in picking the candidate for president.

Since 1972, the success rate for predicting the a Democratic candidate is 43% and it’s 50% on the Republican side.

More importantly, the Iowa Caucus predicts which candidates are likely to drop out because of the lack of support.  And, that’s true — goodbye Martin O’Malley and good riddance Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum.

COMEDIC LOOK AT THE IOWA CAUCUS — AND IT’S REALLY FUNNY!

If reading about politics bores or you, let comedian and talk show host Stephen Colbert tell you the story in a much more humorous way.

This makes me laugh my butt off every time!

Iowa NH

NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY

A thousand miles away from Iowa, the country’s first primary takes place Tuesday, February 9th in Hew Hampshire.  If you believe polls (and I do to a certain extent), it’s pretty much a certainty that Sanders will win and Trump has a pretty good chance.

For Hillary supporters, here’s some good news.  The last three presidents, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, all finished second in New Hampshire.

It looks like there’ll be other causalities after the votes are counted in New Hampshire.

After his loss in Iowa, Ben Carson cut his campaign operations “a little more” than half, which was mostly people that worked on the Iowa campaign.

I also predict that Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Carly Fiorina will seriously have to re-think their future in the race — the one they don’t really have!  I didn’t mention Jim Gilmore because considering him a real candidate is a joke.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK 

As always, I appreciate you taking the time check out my random thoughts.  I always welcome your feedback, whether you agree or disagree.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

 

2016: My (Not So) Lofty Expectations

It’s hard to believe not just that another year has passed, but that it seems to have gone by so quickly!  I think that comes with getting older.  There’s just not enough hours in a day.

Now that 2016 is here, I’ll share the same wish to you that I shared a few days ago when I looked back on my 2015 in a blog, “I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.”

Time

So, what do I want to accomplish and do with my time in the new year?

I want to nap more.  My work schedule is a strange one and I always feel sleep-deprived.  Part of that is my fault because I always find things I could or should be doing in the afternoons when I should be snoozing for a couple of hours.

I’ll strive to be a better person.  In 2016,  I hope not to let other people’s actions or incompetence agitate me.  Yes, I’m human and so many people disappoint me with their inaction.

I plan on sticking close to my budget.  This will allow me the opportunity to travel as much as I can in the new year.

In 2015, I was fortunate to go to New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anchorage, and to Mexico twice, Riviera Maya in the summer and to Puerto Vallarta in December.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in 2015 from home and afar from some of these amazing places I visited.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10153326556919849.1073741954.500579848&type=3

I saw some great concerts and shows last year (Madonna, Janet  Jackson, Bette Midler, Michael C. Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and Renee Fleming in “The Merry Widow”).

This year, I’d love to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas.  I saw her a few years back on the “Femme Fatale Tour” and she was incredible.  And, I hear she has new music dropping this year.

Britney Las Vegas

We already have two trips planned for the new year.  One, we booked in the spring of last year and paid for it in monthly payments for the remainder of 2015.  There’s there budget thing again!  I’m sure we’ll announce when and where before we go. 🙂

Also, for Christmas, we gave Gretel a trip to New York City for her spring break.  She’s always wanted to go and she loved the pictures of our trip there last New Year’s Eve, my first time.

AP Ray NYC

She wants to see Madame Tussauds and probably visit a museum.  Ray hasn’t said what he wants to do and I’ve already bought tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen at Terminal 5!

If you haven’t checked out her 2015 album, “Emotion”, you’re missing out on a pop masterpiece!  It was my #3 favorite album of last year and if you only know her from “Call Me Maybe”, this set of songs is more mature and just as catchy!

And, in May, Ray and I are going to see Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, outside Chicago.

I love Ellie Goulding’s music, but I chose this concert to see the opening act.  Years & Years released “Communion” last summer and it’s incredible.

Lead singer Olly Alexander’s voice is so soulful and powerful.  If you love Adele, you have to check out “Communion”.  And, it was my #2 album of last year.

Click here and another window will open and you can see my favorite albums of 2015 and hear more selections from Years & Years to see what I’m talking about.  You’ll also see what album was my favorite since I mentioned #3 (Carly Rae) and #2 (Years & Years)!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/my-favorite-albums-of-2015/

While I already mentioned Britney, 2016 also promises new music from Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue and if I’m really lucky, new albums from Erasure, Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Enrique Iglesias!

However, my most anticipated album of 2016 is by Matthew Koma.  I loved his song “Tempted” with Giorgio Moroder and his work with Zedd.  But, it’s his solo album that I want.

Here’s a fun song from Matthew, but you may want to check the title before you click on it — if there are kids in the room. 🙂

So, that’s it for me and a few of the things I look forward to in 2016:  sleep more, smile more, not let people tick me off as much, travel more, and see some fantastic shows.

Those expectations aren’t all that lofty, right?

Happy New Year!

Anthony

 

My Enjoyable 2015 — The Year in Review

It’s my favorite time of the year.  I look forward to the new year and take time to reflect back on the past year and share the highlights with my friends.  I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for –not just at the holidays, but every day.

For me, there is so much to love about the holidays — the twinkling lights, the sounds of Christmas music, the amazing feasts, and the beautiful snow (it’s still early in the season).

Snow Saturday Morning

My family is doing well.  I’m still the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities.  I’ve been there almost three years.

Ray is the Economic Development and Planning Director for the city of Moline, a job that he excels at and still loves after ten years.  Miss Gretel, a high school freshman, aspires to be a movie director.  (Hopefully, a very successful one, so we can have a mansion somewhere near Hollywood where there’s warmth all year around and we can have avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Okay, that’s really long-term planning!)

My sister, Tammy, is still in Moline and her two sons and two granddaughters now live in the Quad Cities.  It makes her very happy to have them here and not several states away.

As you know, we love to travel and try to get in a few concerts throughout the year. Paying bills isn’t the only reason we work! J

In early December of last year, we took Gretel and Tammy on an eastern Caribbean cruise.  It was a nice way to put off winter longer.

Anthony Gretel Ray

Tammy

Ray and I started 2015 in New York City.  We flew there on New Year’s Eve, but got into town too late to get anywhere near the televised festivities and Taylor Swift rocking in 2015.

It was my first visit to the “Big Apple” and we did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I loved the beautiful window displays decked out for Christmas, Rockefeller Center, and the gigantic Christmas tree.  We also saw the new World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Along with the great food, we saw Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) off Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and we attended “The Merry Widow” at the Metropolitan Opera.

Hedwig

We made our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas in May, where we ate some amazing food (buffets, of course!)  We discovered a new brunch this year that you have to check out when you’re there next – Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  On a future visit, I’m determined to visit the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.

In June, we took Gretel to Riviera Maya (Cancun) and she got to use her passport for the first time.

In late September and early October, I accompanied Ray to his two back-to-back work conferences – the first was in San Francisco, California.

Wine Country

On his one free day, we took a bus trip for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  While he worked, I went sightseeing and saw Chinatown, Golden Gate Park and the National AIDS Memorial Grove.  I also walked to the Castro District and was so touched to see the house where Harvey Milk diligently worked to plant the seeds for the LGBT movement.  While I was only a teenager when he was murdered, I was overwhelmed just being there where it all happened four decades ago.

While I would never want to live in downtown San Francisco (very dirty and expensive), I was blown away by the funkiness of Haight-Ashbury.  I’d move there in a heartbeat.  The “Summer of Love” was still very much alive!

To celebrate our four year wedding anniversary, we took a scenic boat tour on San Francisco Bay, which took us around Alcatraz, Sausalito, and under and around the majestic Golden Gate Bridge.

From there, it was off to the second leg of the two-week getaway and his next conference in Anchorage, Alaska.  If you’re ever going to visit, do it before October.  Most of the tours are over by this time as the Frontier State settles in for a long northern winter.

AP Ray AK

We did get to visit an animal sanctuary where we saw bear, moose, deer, bison, eagles, and other animals.  On the drive there, we saw snow-covered mountains and glaciers, tasted natural Alaskan spring water, and saw a few salmon swimming.  Also, we got to visit Prince William Sound, now fully recovered from 1989’s Valdez Exxon oil spill.

This year, we saw five concerts.  On our trip to Vegas in May, we saw the divine Miss M, Bette Midler.

Bette

She’s still incredible.  In August, I saw Reba McEntire in the Quad Cities.  I’ve now seen Reba 13 times.

In October, we saw three shows in three different cities:  In Anchorage, we saw Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.  If you’ve never heard of them, Google them because they are amazing.  Days later, we saw Madonna in Saint Paul, Minnesota (my fourth Madonna concert), and then in late October, we took an overnight road trip to Omaha, Nebraska, and saw Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty!  She is so beautiful and talented.

20151030_204005

That’s what we did in 2015. I’m already looking forward to what adventures lie ahead in 2016. I guess I should wrap this up so I can start planning trips and concerts for next year so I’ll have things to share with you next Christmas.

I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2015

Fall is here and I hope it’s off to a great start for you.  In the Midwest, it’s starting out very warm and dry — just as summer ended.

I feel inspired to write about a few things that crossed my mind, so here’s a guest appearance of Random Friday Thoughts!

HOLY STAMPEDE

I’m really baffled by the stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  It’s reported that at least 700 were crushed to death and about 900 were hurt!

I know that about two million people take part in this, but what happened to orderly fashion?

Hundreds were also killed in stampedes in the past and in 1990, 1,426 people died in Mina, which leads to the holy sites.

While I love attending Christmas mass, I’m not going to trample over people to get there!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

I’m guilty of it and I bet you are, too.  How many times have you started snacking while waiting for dinner just because you’re hungry?

Pastries

I’m doing that with “Fear The Walking Dead”.  While I’m enjoying the show, it’s so slow and the fourth episode was so uneventful until the very end of the hour.

I actually got excited when the previews of the next show came on at the end and it said something like “only two episodes left”.

I know the final two shows will likely be great and move faster, but I’m really ready for dinner to be served — the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead” on October 11th.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-1

SUMMER IS OVER

While we enjoyed the pool this summer, we took it down last weekend.

Pool

But, that doesn’t mean we’re ready for winter and snow.  We dived into the biggest project ever and it turned out fantastic.

MOVING UP TO THE EAST SIDE!

You’ve heard me talk many times about the fish pond we built back in May 2012.  It held about 250 gallons of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recently, some of our friends gave us three of their goldfish and koi and this fall, we were going to acquire a dozen more that our friends decided not to keep.

So, we expanded the pond last weekend.  It’s now three feet deep and holds almost a thousand gallons of water!

Fish Pond

We now have 33 gorgeous fish and because of my recent mink encounter, the pond has added security!  (If you missed that mink predator ordeal, click here).

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

SINCE WE’RE TALKING FISH….

Fish Be You

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

Whether it’s pizza, wedding cakes, or marriage licenses, controversy arises when two sides see things differently when God (or one’s perception of God being judgmental) is involved.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBT community since I’m part of that subculture of humanity.

But, when we advocates raise awareness about people who deny others equal rights, there’s also a backlash.

MarriageEquality-711906

When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, there were many reports of gay bashings the weekend after the Supreme Court of the United States made its ruling.

When a small Indiana pizza joint spoke out against marriage equality and when bakeries refused to make wedding cakes for gay ceremonies, the LGBT community spoke out and the media extensively covered the stories.

Rainbow Cake

The restaurant and some of the cake makers started getting donations in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking a stand against the LGBT community.

And, when a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became a martyr for standing up for her religious rights.  (No, I’m not posting a picture of her or saying her name.  She’s had enough celebrity and hopefully her fifteen minutes are up soon!)

Now, just in time for Christmas, I read that she’s penning a religious book with an advance of seven figures.  Becoming a millionaire for refusing rights to the LGBT community and standing on the wrong side of history?

A Christmas Carol

I sure hope that when she is confronted with the ghost of Christmas past, it’s less haunting for her than for Scrooge!

gays_in_church

But, I’ll still raise awareness for LGBT equality.  I just wish the price wasn’t making celebrities out of people who use God and religion to hate!

AM I A “BELIEBER”?

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is a superstar.

Justin

While I’ve never declared myself a member of either camp, I have to admit he is a beautiful (and slightly troubled) young man.

Now, I’m beginning to think I may be a psuedo-Belieber (defined as a HUGE Justin Bieber fan)!

I loved his last song, “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo, which hit the Top Ten in America (and #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart).

And, “What Do You Mean?”, the lead single from his upcoming album has already topped the charts and is one of the biggest songs of the year just weeks after its release.

COUNTRY RADIO, SEXISM OR CUMULUS MEDIA?

I’ve written several times before that I think that country music radio is ageist and sexist.

There are many women’s new music in country that I’d love to hear in heavy rotation on the radio other than Reba, but she ignites that fire for me.

Now, I think it’s more than just sexism and ageism.  I seriously think those elements are still there.  But, I’m now convinced it’s Reba’s affiliation with Cumulus Media, which is a part of her new label, Nash Icon, that is the major problem.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Case in point is the second single from her #1 country album, “Love Somebody”, “Until They Don’t Love You”.  It’s an incredible song and sounds great live.

It was released to country radio August 7, 2015, and now seven weeks later, it only being played on 61 stations (out of more than 260 reporting country stations) with 879 plays.  (To put that into perspective, the #1 song on the chart was played 13,901 times.)

George Strait

Earlier this week, country legend George Strait released “Cold Beer Conversation”.  It’s now being played on 163 stations and got 830 plays in just two days!.

Yes, George is country music’s “king” to Reba’s “queen”, but obviously royalty isn’t being treated equal.

So, yes, there’s still the sexism thing.  But, moreso, I think Reba made a big mistake by allowing Cumulus Media to play and promote her music, thus shutting out the larger radio groups.

I guess we can listen to “Until They Don’t Love You” and her new music at home because we won’t find a home at country radio or high on the country music charts.

PICK HIT

“Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

“Desire” is the new release here in the U.S. and I hope it gets more airplay than their first American hit, “King”.

The band will be in San Francisco at the Fillmore Monday night.  I’ll be there, too, but sadly the concert is sold out and I don’t have tickets. 😦

If you missed my album review of “Communion” and you want to know more about the album, here it is again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

One of the best movies I seen lately is out on DVD.  I mention DVD only because it’s late September and I still have not been to the theater this year to see a movie.

Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl” and “Savages”) and Michiel Huisman (“The Game of Thrones” and “Nashville”) star as a couple that falls in love.

The problem is that Adaline is 107 years old, but doesn’t age due to a freak accident.  So, while everyone else in her life, including her daughter, played by Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, ages and dies, she stays the same.

GRADE:  A

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

A movie I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Austrian psychological thriller, “Goodnight Mommy”.  The trailer definitely creeps me out.

“DEXTER”

Although it’s been a couple of years now since my favorite sexy serial killer signed off Showtime after eight seasons, he’s still alive for me through books.

dexter-season-6

I’m reading Jeff Lindsay’s eight-book series that the television show was originally based on.  I’m on book six now.

I’ve decided in January, in the heart of winter, that I’m going back and watching all 96 episodes again!

It so interesting to see how much different the television show and the books are with characters that died in one format and are still alive in the other.  Also, the differences in the cases between the book and the show.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my Friday Random Thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — what you agree with and what you don’t.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Armistead Maupin, Thank You For Motivating Me

Armistead

Although Armistead Maupin has been writing his “Tales of the City” stories for forty years, I just discovered them twenty years ago this spring when PBS aired the first “Tales of the City” miniseries.

It’s very strange to see Michael in his 60s and Anna in her 90s.  But, then again, I’m no longer watching the last months of my 20s escape me!  Before I know it, 50 will be here.

But, if my 50s and my golden years are half as much fun and exciting as the lives of the “Tales” gang and Armistead Maupin’s life, it’ll be “fantabulous”.

Armistead, thank you for giving this small-town Kentucky boy the motivation and the courage to move to Chicago just four months shy of my 30th birthday, just as you allowed Mary Ann Singleton to leave Cleveland, Ohio,  for San Francisco.

Tales-5

And, just like Mary Ann becoming an on-air personality, I fulfilled my dream of becoming a television newscaster and meteorologist!

further+tales+of+the+city+sandra+oh+laura+linney

Anthony CBS4

Thank you for the memories of 28 Barbary Lane and beyond.

For the past few weeks in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I’ve been sharing details of the “Tales of the City” books once I read them to introduce them to a wider audience.  Today, since I’m finished with the series, I want to share them in one blog entry.

ARMISTEAD MAUPIN’S “TALES OF THE CITY”

Although I read “Tales of the City” twenty years ago, I’m re-reading it again, along with the following eight books in Armistead Maupin’s series.

Tales of the City Book

Maupin started the series in the “San Francisco Chronicle” in 1976, after moving to the city in 1971 for a job at the Associated Press.

Armistead

“Tales of the City” is about a group of young people living at 28 Barbary Lane, a complex of apartments owned by Anna Madrigal, an older, eccentric landlady, who loves her marijuana and is harboring her own secrets.

The series focuses on the funky culture and “alternative lifestyles” of San Francisco, starting out in the 1970s.  The tenants are straight (Mary Ann and Brian), gay (Michael), bisexual (Mona), and asexual (Mrs. Madrigal).

This month marks the 20th anniversary of the miniseries that debuted on PBS in the United States giving them their highest ratings ever (at the time) for a dramatic series.  It stars Olympia Dukakis as Mrs. Madrigal and introduces us to future star Laura Linney.

Tales Miniseries

It’s still one of my favorite miniseries of all time.  I watched it for the first time as, in early 1994, as I was getting ready to make my big move to Chicago from small town Kentucky, just like Mary Ann Singleton did in the series from Cleveland to San Francisco!  And, I was just as naive as Mary Ann, too, twenty years ago!

If you lived through or if you love the groovy 1970s, you’ll love this series.

The final book in the series, “The Days of Anna Madrigal” was just released.

“MORE TALES OF THE CITY”

I just finished my fourth book this year, which matches what I read in all of last year!

More Tales of The City

“More Tales of the City” is the 1980 follow-up to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City”.  “More Tales” is the second in the nine-book series.  I reviewed the first book last week and talked about it and the PBS television miniseries based on it that debuted in the U.S. twenty years ago this month.

In this book, we still follow all of the comings and goings of Anna Madrigal and her “children” at 28 Barbary Lane on Russian Hill in San Francisco.  It’s still the 1970s.

Mary Ann and Michael go on a cruise and both meet the men of their dreams, but Mary Ann’s is a man of mystery.  He just can’t remember it.  Mona escapes to a Nevada brothel (even though the book uses the w-house word) and learns a big secret.  Also, a major character dies, one has a health issue, and another is almost attacked!

After reading the first book, I started watching the first miniseries again.  Now that I’m two books in, I’ll continue on to the second installment miniseries that aired on Showtime in 1998.  Here’s that trailer and it does contain adult language and images.  (The first miniseries’ trailer is in last week’s random blog.)

Now, it’s on to book three in the series.

“FURTHER TALES OF THE CITY”

If you’ve been reading my blog over the past two years, you know that I often talk about music, movies, and television.  Lately, I’ve been including books, too.  My friend, Kelly Hager, would be so proud of me.

Over the past week, I just finished my fifth book of 2014!  That obviously means I’ve been spending a lot of time on the treadmill and it’s working.  I’m down 8.2 pounds since the start of the year!  Only 12 more pounds to go before this summer.

I just finished “Further Tales of the City”, the third book in Armistead Maupin’s nine-book “Tales of the City” series.

Further Tales

If you recall from my last two “Random Friday Thoughts” blogs, the series is about a “family” of friends at 28 Barbary Lane in San Fransisco in the 1970s.

In this book, it’s now 1981, President Reagan is just beginning his years in office and the Jim Jones’ Jonestown Masscare plays an integral role in the mystery and intrigue.

One character moves away from Barbary Lane, two residents begin a relationship with each other after years of avoiding it, and one couple re-unites only to break up again.

Someone strives to become a television reporter and another ends up dead and you’ll never guess who killed the character and what happened to the body!

Sadly, this was the last of the books to be made into a miniseries.  It aired on Showtime in 1998.  Here’s the trailer and it contains some adult situations and language!

Many moons ago, I read the first three books in the series that I just re-read.  Now, it’s on to book four and I have no idea what happens, so this is exciting!

“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!

“SURE OF YOU”

I finished reading my eighth book of 2014 this week, “Sure of You”, which is the sixth book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series.

Sure of You

While you may not have read them, you’ve likely been following along with me about the book series in my blog.

It’s now 1988, twelve years after the first book and three years after the last book, “Significant Others”.   While the book had some fun parts, this was my least favorite of the series, so far, because there wasn’t much happiness to be found.

Like real life, friends drift apart over the years and that takes place here with some of Barbary Lane’s favorite tenants.

One chance meeting in the last book leads to love in this book and that is a happy point.  However, one person becomes very successful and leaves San Fransisco and their family for fame in the “Big Apple”.

“MICHAEL TOLLIVER LIVES”

I’m almost done with Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” nine-book series.  Over the past week, I read books seven and eight, “Michael Tolliver Lives” and “Mary Ann in Autumn”, respectively.

If you’re familiar with the series, Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”) is one of the original tenants of Mrs. Madrigal’s 28 Barbary Lane.

Michael Tolliver Lives

It’s now 2005, almost thirty years since the first book.  Michael is no longer a youngster from Orlando, Florida, living in San Francisco’s Castro.  He’s now married to a younger man about 20 years his junior.  It’s a very happy union.

The bleakness from the sixth book in the series, “Sure of You”, is gone, even when we learn of an original “Tales” character’s death to cancer and the death of a loved one closer to Michael.

Also, the book is told in first person from Michael, which is a departure from the third person story telling of the previous six books.

“Michael Tolliver Lives” is one of my favorite books of the “Tales” series.

At the end of “Michael Tolliver Lives”, Mary Ann Singleton, now a married woman on the East Coast, returned briefly to visit an elderly friend that may not recover from a stroke.

Mary Ann

In “Mary Ann in Autumn”, it’s a couple of years later and Mary Ann and “Mouse” are back together again in San Francisco almost thirty years after they first met in 1970s.

A couple of secrets brings Mary Ann back to cry on Michael’s shoulder.  All of the years and the tears of twenty years apart are forgotten when they examine their friendship and what they’ve been missing.  It brought me so much joy to see them together poking fun at each other and pushing each other’s buttons as they head toward their golden years — both are in their late fifties and early sixties now!

And, boy, does Maupin have a few shockers up his sleeve that go all the way back to the original “Tales” book.

As much as I loved “Michael Tolliver Lives”, “Mary Ann In Autumn” is my new favorite after the first book.

“THE DAYS OF ANNA MADRIGAL”

I just finished the ninth and final book in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series.  If you haven’t been following my blog over the past few weeks when I talked about each book that I read, take notice.

The books follow the lives of a group living at 28 Barbary Lane in San Francisco in 1976 through current day.  The apartment complex is headed up by self-proclaimed matriarch Anna Madrigal and the final book is dedicated to Anna, who’s now 92-years-old.

The Days of Anna Madrigal

Needless to say when I started the book, I was bracing myself for the worse thinking this might be Mrs. Madrigal’s swan song.

I loved the flash backs in the book about Anna’s childhood at the Blue Moon Lodge, the Nevada whorehouse where she was raised by her mother, the madam, “Mother Mucca”.

While the book moves forward from Mrs. Madrigal’s childhood to the teenaged years and escaping Nevada, it was a pleasant ride.  It was also amazing to see her get to take one more trip back home to Winnamucca, even though most of what she remembered was already gone.

The book also updates us the lives of Michael Tolliver (“Mouse”), Mary Ann, and Brian, from the original “Tales” book.

THANK YOU

Armistead, thank you again for the stories and the memories.

Anthony

More “Looking” Coming Our Way

Great news!  “Looking” has been renewed for a second season.

Ratings have improved from 338,000 viewers for the premiere to 519,000, according to Winq Magazine.

Here’s what I had to say about it in my random blog last Friday.

“LOOKING”

The eight episode, HBO series, “Looking”, is about three gay friends in San Francisco looking to find themselves and love.

Looking

It stars Jonathan Groff, who is best known for his Tony Award-nominated and Grammy Award winning role on Broadway in “Spring Awakening” and on “Glee” as Jesse St. James.

He also voices the character of Kristoff in the worldwide Disney smash, “Frozen”.

Frozen

“Looking” has been criticized as “boring” and lacking diversity, even with one of the leads and a major recurring character being Hispanic.

I love the show.  It’s funny and it’s sexy.  My only gripe is that there’s only eight episodes and they’re only 30 minutes long!

Here’s the trailer and remember that it’s HBO, so there are so are some adult themes.

I have to admit that I have a crush on Patrick, Groff’s character.  Or, maybe I just have a crush on Groff?

Looking

“Looking” season one is airing now.  Season two will begin shooting this fall.

Anthony

Re-posted from  “Random Friday Thoughts — February 21, 2014

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/random-friday-thoughts-february-21-2014/