Posts Tagged ‘Santa’

Random Friday Thoughts — December 8, 2017

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

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

FORGIVENESS

What are your thoughts on forgiving people and moving on?

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

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

Charleston

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

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

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

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

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

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

That disagreement drove the sisters apart.

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

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

roof

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

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

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

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

ORLANDO STRONG AND PULSE NIGHTCLUB

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

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

Christmas Was Perfect

In June 2016, here’s what I wrote: “Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.”

Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

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

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

Claire.gif

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

GLUTTONS

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

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

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

4 LB

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

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

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

6pound_000

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

72ozSteaklarger

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

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

Happier thoughts!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

MORE TURMOIL FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Oops!

Hillary Laughing.gif

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

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

WALMART PULLS T-SHIRTS

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

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

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

Shirts

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

BRITNEY SPEARS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

BS Tree

“A DOG’S PURPOSE”

DREADFUL & DEPRESSING!

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

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

spoiler-alert

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

Capture1

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

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

No thanks!

GRADE:  D

PERFECT TIME TO REMEMBER MY GOLDEN!

ABBA Santa Christmas 2001

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

ABBA Panda Christmas 2008 001

“GOOD TIME”

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

GRADE:  B

‘THE WALKING DEAD”

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

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

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

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

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

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

spoiler_alert_300_w2

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

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

Capture2

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

SHANIA LOOKED AMAZING!

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

 

 

OXYMORON

def oxymoron

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

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

Oxymoron

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — November 17, 2017

Can you believe Thanksgiving is now just days away?

Thanksgiving Forecast

I hope you have an incredible feast and enjoy everything about the holiday season.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!

Australians earlier this week overwhelmingly (62%) voted “yes” for marriage equality!

Thank you for seeing that “Love Is Love Is Love”.  And, thank you LeAnn Rimes for this incredible #1 U.S. Dance hit!

“COURT”ING CONTROVERSY”

75-year-old Australian tennis legend Margaret Court, who won 62 major titles in her career is a long-time opponent to marriage equality.

courttennis

In one of my first blogs ever back in January 2012, I wrote about Court when she said this (and much more) about being LGBT, “It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings.”

At the time, I wrote, “While I fully disagree with Court, I’m glad she stands by her views and I hope one day she can open her mind for equality.”  Clearly, she hasn’t.

So, ironically, I concluded my blog then with, “You old wind bag, feel free to speak your mind, but if you get on the “court” and make a lob, expect a return volley.”

No regrets!

NAVRATILOVA, MATCH & GAME POINT!

Openly gay tennis pro and LGBT rights activist Martina Navratilova posted this awesome tweet for Court.

Martina

“MR. ROBOT”

The third season of the USA Network hit series is moving right along and recently addressed #45!

Zhang (who’s also “Whiterose”), China’s Minster of State Security, tells the right wing TV host Frank Cody: “I may have a potential candidate for president I want you to back.” (with “that man” on the television).

Cody:  <nervous laugh> “Look, the country’s desperate right now, but you can’t be serious.  I mean the guy’s a buffoon.  He’s completely divorced from reality.  How would you even control him?”   

Zhang (Whiterose):  “If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance anyway you desire!”

ON THAT NOTE

Putin

Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings in Russia hit a record level of 88% with the annexation of Crimea in March 2014!

Wonder what it now that he influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

“MINDHUNTER”

If crime procedurals and serial killers are your thing, you’ll love the Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany star as FBI agents in the late-1970s that start the FBI’s “Behavioral Science” division to study criminal psychology and criminal profiling.

They want to learn from serial killers and this criminal profiling can help them catch future killers.

Groff (“Glee”, “Hamilton”, and Kristoff in “Frozen”) is adorable in this series.  In life, his character, Holden Ford is socially awkward, but it’s his fascination with crime and killers that pushes this project forward.

It’s especially fun seeing the very sexy Groff, who’s gay in real life, play a very sexually active straight man in graphic sex scenes, much like Neil Patrick Harris did on “How I Met Your Mother” — without the graphic sex scenes.

Also, it’s great to see Anna Torv (“Fringe”) back in a series and I love the fact that she eats tuna out of the can!  She rocks!

I find it hilarious that since “behavioral science” is a new division within the FBI that it’s relegated to the basement!  Sounds like another FBI show that studied paranormal activity and was put in the basement!

GRADE:  A-

BEST “MINDHUNTER” LINE THIS SEASON

Holden: “How do you get to be the president of the United States if you’re a sociopath?”

Breathe Trumpsters!  He was talking about President Richard Nixon!

WHO LISTENS TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC?

Nielsen released data on Christmas music on the radio from last year and what groups do you think listen to holiday music the most?  The results may surprise you.

  • Millennials (Age 18-34): 36%
  • Gen X (Age 35-54): 31%
  • Boomers & Beyond (Age 55+): 25%
  • Gen Z (Age 13-17): 8%

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO ALL”

With that in mind, I put together my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, I mean my 12 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs.

MC Santa

If you missed the countdown earlier in the week, you have another chance.  What do you think is #1?  Are you right?

Just click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/oh-santa-the-holidays-have-a-new-face/

TAYLOR SWIFT — “reputation”

Last Friday, Taylor Swift released “reputation”, the follow-up to her megahit “1989”, that’s gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Taylor-Swift-reputation

“reputation” sold 1.05 million copies in just its first four days to become the biggest selling album of 2017.

That’s four consecutive first week million sellers for Swift!

One thing I can say about the new album is that “Tim McGraw”‘s Taylor Swift is DEAD!!!!

This album is definitely more grown up and angrier with jabs to the older men she’s dated and veiled slams to Kanye West and Katy Perry (or “drama queens”).

I love the first two singles, “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Ready For It”.

The video to the album’s first single is incredible.  Even if you’re not a Swift fan, at least click on the video and watch the last 30 seconds.  Amazing and funny!

My favorite songs on the album are “Delicate” and “Gorgeous”.

I also love “I Did Something Bad”, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, “Getaway Car”, “Dress”, and “Don’t Blame Me”.

“End Game” with Ed Sheeran and Future is great, too.

GRADE:  A-

“PATTI CAKE$”

I’ve heard really good things about the summer drama “Patti Cake$”.

As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.

Danielle Macdonald plays Patricia Dombrowski, who’s mockingly called “Dumbo” in her New Jersey neighborhood.

She’s down on her luck and her home life is appalling.  She lives with her mother and terminally ill grandmother.  They’re poor and behind on their bills and are constantly getting collection agency calls.

But, the hardship comes naturally for Patti.  Her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett) loves to get drunk and sing karaoke at the dive bar where Patti works.

Patti’s calling is writing rhymes and rapping with her best friend, Jheri, played by a very charming Siddharth Dhananjay, a YouTube star from India.

By the end of the movie, you’re rooting for Patti and being thankful that Barb isn’t your mother.

 

GRADE:  A-

Another interesting note about “Patti Cake$” is that while watching the movie, it had a very “Muriel’s Wedding” feel with rap music substituted for ABBA songs.

The reason could be that Macdonald is Australian, just like Muriel Heslop and actress Toni Collette.

“PATTI CAKE$” BONUS — “PBNJ”

“THE BEGUILED”

First off, the movie stars my “girl crush” Nicole Kidman and the very sexy Colin Farrell.

It’s set in 1864, near the end of the Civil War.

Martha Farnsworth (Kidman) runs a home for young girls in Virginia.  One day while out hunting mushrooms, one of the girls finds an injured Union soldier (Farrell).

Against their better judgement, they nurse him back to health instead of turning him over to the Confederate Army.

Well, being the only (hot) man in a house of two women (Kidman and Kirsten Dunst) and a sexually provocative teenage vixen (Elle Fanning), you can imagine there’s “tension” and things go bad.

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 12 Favorite Mariah Carey Holiday Songs

Santa (and his jovial face) is synonymous with Christmas for kids from one to ninety-two.  But, he’s gotten some beautiful competition that builds each passing year.

When I think of Christmas, two modern singers come to mind:  Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

While Buble gave us the 2011 perennial favorite “Christmas” (and the 2003 EP, “Let It Snow”), it’s Mariah that dominates Christmas!

It all started with her now classic hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from the 1994 “Merry Christmas” album.

That album has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and the song alone has sold another 14 million around the world.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-TapeMariah released a second Christmas set in 2010, “Merry Christmas II You”.

There are other singers that have released more Christmas albums (Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Mathis to name a few), but Mariah has made herself as much a part of Christmas as egg nog, sleigh rides, and rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

In 2014, she began an annual Christmas concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

This year, while she’ll still do six shows at the Beacon, there are seven other North American dates, plus a five-night residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

And, if that wasn’t enough, the Christmas show is going international with three dates in England and France!

MC ChristmasIn addition to the Christmas concerts, she has a direct-to-video animated feature called “Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You”, (November 14th), for which she recorded a new song called “Lil Snowman” for the soundtrack.

Mariah also has the title song from the upcoming holiday release “The Star” (November 17th), which also features new holiday music from Fifth Harmony and Kelsea Ballerini, which is available now!

MC Christmas Factory

And, if that’s not enough, there’s also the “Mariah Carey Christmas Factory”, a deal with the “Sugar Factory”, that’ll feature more than 100 Christmas-themed retail and candy items created by Mariah!

A Christmas Melody

Plus, you can also look for 2015’s holiday feature, “A Christmas Melody”, on The Hallmark Channel, in which Mariah starred and made her directorial debut.

CONCLUSION:  MARIAH CAREY = CHRISTMAS!

MC SantaI just booked a trip to Vegas to see Mariah’s December 14th show!  That means, I now have to quickly buy a ticket.

So, while I do that, let me be your jukebox as I share my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, oops, I mean my 12 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs!!

12

“CHRISTMAS TIME IS IN THE AIR AGAIN”

11

“WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES”

10

“SILENT NIGHT”

9

“CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)”

8

“JESUS WHAT A WONDERFUL CHILD”

7

“MISS YOU MOST (AT CHRISTMAS TIME)”

6

“JOY TO THE WORLD”

5

“O HOLY NIGHT”

4

“HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS (RIGHT DOWN SANTA CLAUS LANE)”

3

“AULD LANG SYNE (THE NEW YEAR’S ANTHEM)”

2

“OH SANTA!”

1

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” 

 

Holiday Bonus 2

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 20, 2013

It’s hard to believe that this is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” blog before Christmas and the next to last one of 2013.  Where has this year gone?

Before I share my thoughts this week, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Happy Kwanzaa.  And, if you’re Jewish, I hope you had a nice Hanukkah!  Regardless of what you celebrate, Happy New Year early!

“FRUITY” IS DEROGATORY!  

“Homeland” actor Damien Lewis is making nice after his derogatory comments about why he dropped out of theater early in his career.

Lewis didn’t want to become “one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

Damien Lewis

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who he might have been talking about.

Sir Ian

Out actor Sir Ian McKellen, who’s had a long career in theatre and has found movie success in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies shot back at Lewis.

McKellen says, “I wouldn’t like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn’t particularly like just to keep the income up.”

He went on to say, “As for a fruity voice? Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space. It is unnatural. Actors have to be heard and their voice may therefore develop a sonorous quality that they can’t quite get rid of, so you think actors are as pompous as their voice is large. I suppose Damian was thinking of that a little bit, too.”

Sir Ian McKellen

Lewis apologized to Sir Ian saying, “I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen. I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s.  He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor.  My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999 – it was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career. I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”

And, this is how gracefully Sir Ian responded to the apology.

McKellen 1 McKellen 2

My final thoughts to Damien and to anyone reading this.  I remember being a young gay man back in 1980s Kentucky and my cousin took my aunt to see The Judds in concert.  She commented to my cousin that one of the band members was “a little fruity”.

That word was offensive then and it is now.  I can excuse a woman who had not been around many gay people more than I can excuse an actor that is around fellow actors who are gay and use the word “fruity”.

Lewis claims that he’s used that soundbite since 1999!  He should have been called out on it then.  Now that it is public, just know that “fruity” is vulgar and offensive!

RUPAUL TACKLES RACISM & PAULA DEEN

RuPaul

In the December 2013/January 2014 issue of “Instinct”, glamour maven RuPaul says, “Everybody uses their mind to discern who is who, what is what.  In that respect, we look at a person’s race, sex, how short they are, whatever, and we decide in our minds who they are and whether we should get to now them and like them.  In that respect, everybody on the face of the earth is by definition a racist.  Everybody.”

Paula Deen Happy

“We all do it.  Nobody talks about it.  The thing is, you just can’t get caught.  And for everybody to point their finger and pooh-pooh her [Paula Deen], it’s f*cked up.  And that’s the kind of stuff I’ve hated my whole life — that we’re such hypocrites.  She’s a lovely person, and I think it was unfortunate that she got caught.”

Sashay! Shantay!

DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT SANTA?

With Christmas just days away and Santa on his way back to the North Pole to check his list twice, here are some interesting tidbits from “Boston” magazine:

93% of Santas have their beards yanked — almost half the time by skeptical moms; 44% of Santas are sneezed on up to 15 times a day; and that 28% of Santas are peed on at least once a season.

Santa

The maximum time a Santa wants to spend with a child is 60 seconds and the best answer to tough requests for presents is “Santa will see what he can do”.

CHRISTMAS DECORATING

This might fall under “fail”!  But, then again, depending on your sense of humor, maybe not. 🙂

Palm Tree Lights

FORGET VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS….

Santa Clauses   Christmas Women

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

Back in 1998, Australian singer Sherrie Austin scored her first country hit with “Lucky in Love”.  It reached #37 on the Billboard Country chart.  Since then, she’s scored three more hits with the biggest, “Streets of Heaven reaching #18 in 2003.

Shane Stevens, one of her best friends, is a singer songwriter from South Carolina, that penned Lady Antebellum’s #1 hit, “American Honey”.

Sherrie and Shane

Sherrie and Shane are BFFs on the Sundance Channel’s “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys”.

Stevens, who is a self-proclaimed “full-on Jesus freak”, doesn’t have a problem being a gay Christian, but being “out” in Nashville and on the show can be a little difficult, “What’s interesting about it being in Nashville…it’s such a rub to be gay in the Bible Belt. In New York City, there’s not really a rub. I can walk down the street and hold hands with my partner. There I’ve had a bottle thrown at me. It’s hard. But it’s a beautiful place and it’s one of the fastest growing cities in America and I love it.”

Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys

He goes on to add, “The most problem you find is just in church and the religious people and I’ve learned over the past few months doing this show that God doesn’t like to be put in a box. Even I’ve been guilty of trying to put him in a box. I was saying the other day that I wish I was raised an atheist so I didn’t have to un-learn everything that I’ve learned. But God loves his so much he’ll just get in your box with you and love you and hang out with you. ”

I’ll choose naughty!

SAD TO SAY GOODBYE TO DEXTER

If you watch your television shows as they air, you said goodbye to Showtime’s “Dexter” on September 22, 2013.  The 9 p.m. broadcast brought in the largest overall audience in Showtime’s history.

Dexter S8

I’m one of those that try to avoid the spoilers and watch “Dexter”, “American Horror Story” and “Bates Motel” on DVD.

So, now that I’ve watched the final season and I don’t give away spoilers, it was a satisfying season, but it wasn’t my favorite.

I loved the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  The “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

My problem with the season was Dexter spending so little time doing what he does best — getting rid of bad people who slip through the cracks of the criminal justice system!  With my sexy man Dexter, I want more blood!

Dexter

If you’ve never seen “Dexter”, you have to start watching it.  It’s one of the best shows ever on television.  Yes, sadistic and gory at times, but intelligent, sexy, and fun.  My last comment before I grade this last season, the last scene should have been left out and left to our imagination!

I ranked my favorite “Dexter” seasons back in my June 7, 2013 blog, and here is what I said then and I’ll add season 8 to the list.

Season 1: (A+)   — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  –   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) –  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) –  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  –  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

It’s been just over a year since Chris Wallace, the former lead singer of the Chicago-based band, The White Tie Affair, released his debut solo album, “Push Rewind”.  It’s an incredible album that should not have been overlooked.

The first single, “Remember When (Push Rewind)” made it up to #24 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts and the follow-up, “Keep Me Crazy” just recently cracked the Top 40 radio airplay charts.  The video came out this past weekend.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Idiots

Snowflakes

Reindeer Rain Dear

WINTER STORM THIS WEEKEND

UPDATE:  Friday, December 20, 2013, 4:05 p.m.

It is looking more and more likely that we’ll be seeing a major winter storm Saturday afternoon into Sunday afternoon.

With the storm less than 24 hours away now, our “Winter Storm Watch” has been upgraded to a “Winter Storm Warning” (fuchsia-colored shading) from 6 p.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday.

 

Those snow totals look pretty good at this point based on this updated map of available moisture.

 

ORIGINAL WEATHER POST:  Friday, December 20, 2013, 6:24 a.m.

For days now, meteorologists have been working feverishly to pin down the winter storm for this weekend.  While there’s still room for error since temperatures will be right on the borderline for snow, freezing rain, sleet, and snow, here goes…

There will be some slippery driving conditions Friday and early Saturday from the light freezing rain that fell across parts of the area Thursday night and Friday.  Be careful!

 

A “Winter Storm Watch” goes into effect Saturday evening through Sunday evening.

A mix of rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain will develop south to north across the area Saturday with the heaviest snow expected Saturday night and Sunday morning.  There will be about nine hours of moderate snow.  The snow will start winding down by midday Sunday.

 

I gave you early snow projections Thursday night and as of Friday morning, I’m sticking to them.  The map above from NOAA shows that there’s about a 70% chance in the blue-shaded area seeing more than 4″ of snow.

I’m thinking 6-9″ of snow may fall from Freeport, Illinois, to the Quad Cities, to Burlington, Iowa, to the northwest to Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Southeast of the Quad Cities, 3-6″ of snow could accumulate.

Again, there will be some changes to the forecast as we get closer to Saturday, but this is a good place to start.  As with any snow, there could be isolated higher totals and some totals in that range may be on the lower end and some on the higher end.

SIMPLY INCREDIBLE

Some people actually sing!

After Katy Perry recent lip-synching debacle in France (she was “singing” along to a backing track of “Roar” and her lip sync was off so bad that the show was stopped and she started over sounding shaken and scared), it was incredible to see Lady Gaga perform her current Top Ten hit, “Do What U Want” with Christina Aguilera on “The Voice”.

What amazing vocals and incredibly sexy!

*Video deleted on YouTube.

‘THE HUNGER GAMES:  CATCHING FIRE”

I have not read “The Hunger Games” books and I plan on holding off until “Mockingjay” Part 1 and 2 arrive in theaters in November 2014 and November 2015, respectively.

While I really enjoyed “The Hunger Games”, I liked the sequel, “Catching Fire” more.  Without having read the book, I feel the story lines were fleshed out more, especially the love between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

Also, Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) was much more human and less robotic in the sequel and her feelings toward Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) were very touching.  And, her over-the-top costumes were amazing.  (With that being said, Katniss and Peeta’s clothing rocked in this movie, too!)

hunger-games-catching-fire-burning-outfitKatniss Effie Peeta

I liked the more violent approach to the competition once “The Hunger Games” started.  The tributes are fighting for their lives and it felt like kid’s play in the first movie.  Granted, the kids that saw the first movie are about one-and-a-half year older and that may be part of the ramped up realism.

Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are great additions to “Catching Fire”.

GRADE:  B

JOSH IS SO ADORABLE

21-year-old Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark, in the “The Hunger Games” franchise is such an adorable Kentucky boy.  When I say “adorable”, I’m not talking about being cute (which he is, but I’m old enough to be his father), I’m talking about his open-minded, intelligent logic.

Josh

In a very honest article in the November 2013 “Out” magazine, Josh melted my heart when he said, “I have this dream that one day, my kid’s gonna come home from school and be like, ‘Dad, there’s this girl I like, and there’s this guy that I live, and I don’t know which one I like more, and I don’t know what to do.’  And it’d just be a non-issue.”

Josh-Hutcherson-Out-Cover

When the magazine came out, much of the worldwide press that picked up on the interview focused on his thoughts of his sexuality (“mostly straight”) and when he jokingly said that the three lead characters in “The Hunger Games” series should have a threesome, a “triad” relationship.  I’m just mentioning it because it was in the article.  While awesome, dwelling on it would be reductive!

We need more people in this world that think (and look) like Josh.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Daryl Hall & John Oates, Kiss, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  The 29th annual induction ceremony will take place April 10, 2014 in Brooklyn.

hall-and-oates

Hall & Oates met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in 1967 and released their first album in 1972, but it didn’t make the Billboard charts.

Their first single, “She’s Gone” peaked at #60 in 1974.  However, from their first Top 40 hit, “Sara Smile” (#4, 1976) to their last, “So Close (#11, 1990), they scored 29 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, 16 reached the Top Ten, 11 made the Top Five, and 6 topped the chart:  “Rich Girl” (1977), “Kiss On My List” (1981), “Private Eyes” (1981), “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” (1982), “Maneater” (1982), and “Out Of Touch” (1984).

FINAL NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CLASSIC

Director John Waters (“Hairspray”) set out to make “the trashiest motion pictures in cinema history” and I would say that he succeeded with such camp classics as “Pink Flamingos” and “Female Trouble”, both starring Divine.

Female Trouble

I absolutely love “Female Trouble”, a very twisted, dark, and hilarious movie.  Here’s a Christmas scene from the movie and it does contain “adult language”, enough to get an R-rating in this two-minute clip alone! 🙂

Merry Christmas, my friends, and don’t forget those cha cha heels.

Anthony

I’m Having More Random December Thoughts

There are times when I find several things that I want to share, but I don’t want to devote an entire blog entry to the topic.  That’s when I do my random blogs, which is like a buffet with a little of this and a little of that.  This is my tenth one this year.  At the end of the year, I’ll make it easy for you to check them out in case you missed them earlier in the year.

CHRISTMAS IS JUST TEN DAYS AWAY

I hope you’re making progress on your shopping and getting those Christmas cookies, cakes, and breads baked.  I did some baking earlier this week and that will be the topic of tomorrow’s blog.  Are you curious now what it is?  All I’ll say is that it might just be fit for a king!  (Hint!  Hint!)

Two of my dear friends, Jim & Sue Williams, dropped by Thursday and brought us some delicious baked goodies and an antique Christmas ornament that belonged to her grandmother!

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Sue did this last year, too, and treated Miss ABBA to her own homemade puppy cookies.

ABBA Treats From Sue

Sue & Jim, thank you.  It was a pleasure finally meeting you!  The treats were just icing on the cookies! 🙂

CHRISTMAS HUMOR

When you’re on Facebook, you see some really crazy things and some of them are really funny.  Here are some that made me smile or laugh.  And, with Sue’s treats and the cruise coming up, I’ll pretend that this first one is true. 🙂

I WishSanta FacebookMaxine Wise Men

CHEERS TO THE HAPPY COUPLES

Voters in Maine, Maryland, and Washington made marriage equality a reality in the November elections.  Now, their states are the seventh, eighth, and ninth (along with the District of Columbia) in the country to allow same-sex marriage.  Those are the first three states to actually vote marriage equality into law.  The tide is turning!

Jane Pete-e

Pete-e Peterson, 85, and Jane Abbott Lighty, 77, became the first couple in Washington state to pick up marriage licenses December 6, 2012.  They were married three days later (there is a three-day waiting period).  The couple have been together for 35 years after meeting on a blind date back in 1977.

Washington Couple

56-year-old Larry Duncan (left) and 48-year-old Randy Shepherd, who have been together for 11 years, also got married last Sunday in Washington.

Congratulations!  I wish you many more years of  happiness.

Same-sex couples in Maine will be able to get married on December 29th and in Maryland on January 1, 2013.

While marriage equality is not recognized federally, more and more people now oppose the “Defense of Marriage Act” and hopefully that will go the way of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and be history soon!

WHY CAN’T HUMANS LOVE SO FREELY?

Dogs Love Freely

WHO NEEDS A FLASH MOB WHEN YOU HAVE THIS YOUNG MAN?

IF YOU MISSED THE CHRISTMAS EPISODE OF “THE NEW NORMAL”

David New Normal

I agree with the networks for altering programming around Halloween because of  Hurricane Sandy on the East Coast.  However, I really want NBC to air the Halloween episode of “The New Normal” that was preempted.  I don’t care if it’s in January.  The images I’ve seen look funny.

THIS REALLY TICKS ME OFF

CAMEL

I came across this picture in an October 2011 “Time” magazine.

I admit that I don’t understand or know a lot about some customs around the world.  But, this picture shows Tripoli residents gathering around a camel that will be slaughtered to honor Libyan rebels who died in the struggle against former leader Muammar Gaddafi.  Seriously, that poor creature had to die as a form of celebration?

I know we sacrifice turkeys at Thanksgiving, but we eat them!

Why can’t they just have a service or a wake????

A “WHITE CHRISTMAS” THIS YEAR  SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!

White Red Christmas

YOU THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO TALK WEATHER… OKAY, I WILL

I hope you’re enjoying the rainy weather today.  We’re expecting about .50″ -.75″ of rain.  If you used the 10:1 ratio, if it had been cold enough today for this to be snow, we’d be talking about 5-8″ of snow!  But, that isn’t the case.

As of yesterday, we’ve gone 285 days with no measurable snow in the Quad Cities.  Our last measurable snow (0.9″) was March 4, 2012.  This marks the second longest stretch between measurable snows on record.  The record in the Quad Cities is 290 days and that was back in 1908!

Additionally, the winter of 2012-2013 is now in the Top Ten for the latest first measurable snow of the season.   Right now, we’re in eighth place.  This means that there have only been seven other winters since records have been kept (beginning in the 1870s) that it was later in winter before we saw the first measurable snow.  The record is January 7, 1940.

December 21-27

This is the Climate Prediction Center’s temperature forecast for December 21-27, 2012.  It shows much of the central United States experiencing above average temperatures.  Remember, this is just a forecast and sometimes it changes.

If you’re really wanting snow, there is an interesting storm coming in late Wednesday and Thursday that, depending on the track and intensity, could bring an accumulating snow to the Midwest, including the Quad Cities.  This is the forecast map for 9 a.m. Thursday, 12/20/12, and this would be snow if it happens this way!

THURSDAY 122012 9AM

If this doesn’t pan out, the long term computer models do show the potential for another big snowstorm AFTER Christmas.

COLD WEATHER & OUR FISH POND

Back on November 27th, it dropped to 13° in the Quad Cities and Tuesday morning, we were down to 19° for the low temperature.  So far, it appears the de-icer that we bought for the fish pond appears to be working.

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While there was a little ice on the water lettuce, the fountain was still pumping water and the water temperatures was around 47°.  Below the de-icer (the black circular device), you could see the fish close to the bottom of the pond.

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So, I guess they can handle the frosty mornings.

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“DEXTER” CHRISTMAS HUMOR

Dexter Elf

HUMOR FOR THOSE WITH A DIRTY MIND — CHRISTMAS SHOPPING MADE EASY

Bottom Top

A DIFFERENT “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

Janice Dickinson’s take on the holiday classics is a must-see for me each holiday season!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Who needs five golden rings when you can have her version???

SANTA BABIES!

And, finally “Twas The Night Before Christmas” needs to be rewritten!  I know there are more obese people in the U.S. than even before, but after seeing this, the whole thing about Santa being “chubby and plump” doesn’t exactly work for me! 🙂

Santa Clauses

Merry Christmas!

Anthony

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

Seriously?   While I love the candy and scariness of Halloween and the aromas of turkey and desserts baking at Thanksgiving, nothing compares to the music, the movies, and the decorations with the biggest holiday of the year.  Christmas is my favorite, so it’s not too early to think that.

Some people get upset when they see Christmas decorations and displays in the stores before Halloween (or fall, for that matter), but if you wouldn’t call me a “redneck woman” (or man), I’d leave “my Christmas lights on, on my front porch all year-long”.

I believe that Christmas music is the best stress release there is and it doesn’t leave you with a hangover!

This is a picture of  “Santa’s Helper Martini”: 5 ounces vanilla vodka, 2 ounces white creme de menthe, and a half ounce of peppermint schnapps!  I will be making these this Christmas (or before)!

Even if I’m not stressed, I usually start listening to holiday music at the end of  September.  However, this year, it’ll have to wait until mid-October because I know I’ll be listening to pretty much Madonna all the time leading up to the October 13th Las Vegas concert.  (It’s hard to believe that the Material Girl hasn’t recorded a full length Christmas album in her 30-year career, although she did a version of “Santa Baby” for a charity Christmas album.)

This Christmas will be different for us since Miss ABBA will only be with us in our hearts and in our memories and we’re going on a Caribbean on the days leading up to Christmas Eve.

But, it’s not too early to think about decorating the house and deciding what new Christmas music I want to listen to after my season openers, “Merry Christmas To You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) by Reba.  Those two are always first.

While there will be new holiday offerings this season from Rod Stewart, Cee Lo Green, Chicago, Scotty McCreery, Christina Perri, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kenny Rogers, and The Beach Boys just to name a few, only three selections are making my Christmas shopping list and I’ve checked it twice.

The first to arrive is “Now That’s What I Call Today’s Christmas” (September 25) featuring Lady Gaga, Carly Rae Jepsen, One Republic, Coldplay, Demi Lovato, Carrie Underwood, and many others.  Yes, even Justin Bieber!

I’m really surprised that last year’s television special, “A Very Gaga Holiday”, is not available.  I know you can download the music, but I’m a traditionalist.  I like the physical copies since I don’t download. 🙂

When it was announced this summer that country singer and “The Voice” judge Blake Shelton was releasing his first Christmas album this fall, I didn’t have much interest.  He’s a good singer and I have a couple of his earlier albums.  But, I didn’t add it to my Amazon wishlist.

However, once I found out that Reba is a duet partner on a song called, “Oklahoma Christmas”, I was sold.

In addition to Reba, Blake’s wife Miranda Lambert makes an appearance, as does Kelly Clarkson and Michael Buble.  Most of the songs on “Cheers It’s Christmas” (October 2) are traditional holiday classics.

And, my final purchase of the season will be “On This Winter’s Night” by Lady Antebellum, which is released on October 22, 2012.

While this will be the trio’s first full length Christmas album, it’s not their first Christmas disc.  Two years ago, they released the six-song EP, “A Merry Little Christmas”, which was a  Target-exclusive.  That one ended up being my seventh favorite album of 2010!

The six songs on “A Merry Little Christmas” will also be on the new release.  “On This Winter’s Night” will feature a total of 12 songs.

Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!

If it’s too early for you and you’re saying “Bah, humbug” to me, go back to preparing your Halloween costume and eating your Halloween candy that you bought early and have a great day.  I’ll remember to say “Merry Christmas” to you in December. 🙂

Anthony