Posts Tagged ‘Savannah’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 4, 2016

Happy November!

In just days, the country will elect a new president.  I’m excited for two reasons — a shattered glass ceiling and this nightmare of an election will be over.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be decking the halls, decorating our homes, visiting with families and friends for the holidays, and vowing to lose weight after eating and enjoying too much Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and delicious Christmas treats and cocktails.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to disagree, but do it diplomatically.

THIS IS HALLOWEEN!

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THIS IS NOT — AND I REPEAT — THIS IS NOT HALLOWEEN!

I’m very confident that many of you reading my blog today will find this image as disgusting, disturbing, and tasteless as I do.

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This is a “Halloween” display in Florida.

It just might be a coincidence that the homeowner is a supporter of one of the most outwardly racist presidential candidates in quite some time.

After the public outcry of seeing the effigy of two dark-skinned men hanging from a tree, supporters of the creative idiot behind this display replied, “it’s just Halloween”.

What?  What kind of person looks at this as entertainment?

You know the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Well, this is 32-year-old Rubin Stacy in Florida in 1935.

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Is this just “Halloween”?  White men and women coming around and gawking at the hanged body of a black man?

By the way, there were children on the right side of the picture witnessing this atrocity.  I took the liberty of cropping them out hoping that they became more open-minded in their adulthood than their family and friends in this picture.

This is real life folks!  This is what ignorance and intolerance looks like.  This is the hate that still thrives today and these people are teaching the same ignorance to their kids and grandchildren.

This is not just Halloween!  If that’s as creative as you can, then buy a lighted jack-o-lantern and put it on your porch!

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION DAY”

I’ve been a fan of “The Purge” movie series since the first one hit theaters in 2013.

The Purge Masks

That movie with a budget of $3 million earned $89 million at the box office and the sequel the following year earned even more, $111.9.

“The Purge: Election Year” this year has ended up being the most profitable in the franchise making $118.2 million.

I wrote this back in March before the movie came out this summer, “the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!”

If you’re unfamiliar with “The Purge”, it’s an annual, 12-hour period when all criminal activity, including murder, is legal.

While the original is still my favorite, I did enjoy this one and I’m looking forward to a fourth installment, which hasn’t been announced.

However, I did have a couple of issues with the sloppiness of the script.

It’s March in the movie, yet the trees are ablaze with fall colors (the movie was shot in New England in the fall).  Oops!

And, when the presidential election is held in May, one candidate reaches the 270 electoral votes needed to win.  Unless our election process changes in the next 24 years (since the movie is set in 2040), that countdown to 270 happens in November.

But, it’s Hollywood — and the future.

GRADE:  B-

REDBOX WEBSITE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  It’s very economical and I can take a chance on movies I might never watch and not break the bank.

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However, the most recent changes to its website frustrates me.

It used to be that I’d click on the location I wanted to rent from and it would list just the movies available in that kiosk.

Now, when you click on a location, it lists the movies, but when you click on a movie, it’ll either pop up if it’s in the kiosk or have you choose a nearby location.

Go back to the old way.  Just show me what’s available in the kiosk that I want to rent from!

TWEETERS CAN BE MEAN (AND FUNNY)!

We all know how miserable a lot of people are in life.  You know how I know that we know?  Look at the their posts on social media and the tweets they send celebrities.

Sadly, I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets”.  “Sadly” because, like the celebrities reading them, I’m laughing at them, while at the same time, I’m thinking, “f**k you and get a life” to the people that send those tweets!

In honor of ABC’s “CMA Awards 50” this week, Kimmel had some of country’s biggest and brightest stars read mean tweets about themselves.

As usual, Dolly Parton handles everything with so much grace and humor.  And, Cassadee Pope and Dan + Shay made me smile.

CALLING SAVANNAH HOME

A couple of months ago, we visited Charleston, South Carolina (during Hurricane Hermine) and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

While in Savannah, I finally watched “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, Clint Eastwood and Kevin Spacey’s 1997 movie about Savannah that didn’t make that big of a splash or its money back in theaters.

I even saw the Mercer House (now the Mercer-Williams House Museum), where Jim Williams lived, several times on my walks in the city.

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I just read the book and I enjoyed it as much as I did the movie.

As writer John Berendt proclaimed in the book, Savannah is the “hostess of the South” and the first question a Savannahian will ask you is “What would you like to drink?”

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In the few days that I was there, I could definitely see myself living there and enjoying the southern charm of the city.

Who knows?  Retirement is only years away!

PET SHOP BOYS THIS WEEKEND

I’m very excited to see my first Pet Shop Boys concert this weekend in Chicago.

Yes, the Pet Shop Boys, from the 1980s.  You know, “West End Girls”!

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In anticipation for “The Super Tour”, I went back and listened to every album they’ve released since “Please” in 1986 and ranked my 20 favorite songs from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

I know most of you didn’t check out my blog when I posted it earlier this week, so here it is again for you!

Just click on it and make my day.  I guarantee that you’ll find a Pet Shop Boys song that you’ve never heard and love it.  You can thank me later. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

If you click on that and listened to some of my picks, you now know they’re still producing amazing music thirty years later.

DAYA — “SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY”

It’s been an incredible 18 months for 18-year-old Grace Tandon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

We know her as Daya and it was in the spring of 2015 when she released her first single, “Hideaway”.

While it put her on the radio, this summer she topped radio airplay charts with “Don’t Let Me Down”, a collaboration with The Chainsmokers.   (Sadly, it’s not on her debut album that I’m blogging about today and I don’t download “singles”.)

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Daya’s first full length album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty”, came out in early October and it’s definitely one of my favorite albums of 2016!

If you turn on the radio, you’ll hear the title track, which is one of the ten most played songs in the country.

What I love about Daya, other than her voice, is her maturity and the material she choose for this album, as a teenager.

In addition to the two hits, my other favorite standout tracks are “Words”, “Back To Me”, “Cool”, “U12”, “Talk”, “Love of My Life” and “I.C.Y.M.I.”.

Several stations across the country are beginning to play “Words”, although it hasn’t been officially picked as the third single.

It has my approval!

HALLOWEEN & A PUBLIC SERVICE REMINDER!

My favorite Halloween costume this year comes from Brooklyn, New York.

This 8-year-old not only set out to get candy, but he’s also lining up votes for Hillary Clinton.

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And, one of his moms, Deb, says that’s not a wig.  Now, that’s a lot of hair!

Of course, homophobic idiots, internet trolls, and uneducated-Donald Trump supporters took this as an opportunity to bash the parents, the little boy, and Hillary, but all I can say about that is, “bless their hearts”.

Please vote Tuesday!

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We have to keep Trump away from the White House!  In doing so, we can send a strong message for him to get out of politics, too.

Good riddance Donald!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 16, 2016

It’s Friday and another weekend is almost here.  This one is the last weekend of summer 2016 as fall officially begins on September 22nd!

After enjoying my getaway to South Carolina and Georgia, it was back to work this week and it wasn’t bad.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically.

COUGHING, “OVERHEATED”, AND PNEUMONIA

Last Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left an event commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary of “9/11” because she felt “overheated”.  She went to her daughter’s apartment in New York City and came out a short time later looking much better and waving to the crowd.

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That evening, her doctor released a statement saying that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was finally going to take doctor’s order and rest a few days before carrying on with the presidential campaign.

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All of this comes at a critical time in the race when some started questioning whether she’s healthy enough to run the country.

My final thoughts:  I wish Clinton’s camp had just come out last Friday and said she had pneumonia instead of adding fire to the conspiracy theories.

However, pneumonia is very common with more than three million Americans getting it each year.  As Clinton said, she tried to work through it and it got the best of her and that’s why she didn’t reveal it.  I see the point.  Would you want to know if she had a yeast infection or if Donald Trump had a urinary track infection?

HEAT EXHAUSTION

While summer is winding down, we may still have some very warm days with humidity.  So, I’ll talk about getting “overheated”, particularly since Clinton’s health scare was front and center last week.

Here are the facts and these aren’t political party facts, it’s science.

While temperatures in Central Park were around 80° at the time Clinton felt “overheated” last Sunday, New York City and Central Park had been dealing with stifling heat and humidity.  Here are the actual high temperatures leading into last Sunday.

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Once you factor in the humidity, those highs around 90° felt more like 95°-102° to the human body.

If you’re even somewhat familiar with heat, humidity, and the human body (and you don’t have to be a doctor or meteorologist), you know that heat exhaustion cases really rise after days of excessive heat and humidity, which was encountered in New York City — not just on the first hot day.

It’s less relevant that it was only 80° at the time.

FAVORITE.AMERICAN.ENTREE.EVER.

As you know, I love food and writing about it.

My favorite restaurant is Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Their Flowering Colossal Onion and Dark Beer-Battered Cheese Sticks appetizers are so tasty.

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Their two-inch specialty pork chops are amazing and their desserts, especially the Sawdust Pie, make the seven-hour drive from the Quad Cities worth every bite.

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My favorite meal ever was in Tel Aviv, Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea, two years ago during my 50th birthday week at Benny the Fisherman.

This was just the “salad” part of the experience!

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Now, I have a favorite entree to add to the list.

Last week, we walked an hour from our downtown hotel to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit, which was phenomenal.

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I bought a Groupon for a four-course meal at Tavernpointe.  It was roughly another hour’s walk from the Botanical Garden through the Ansley Park neighborhood to the Sherwood Forest restaurant and it was worth every step!

From the incredible service from Joey, the bartender who doubled as our waiter, to each of the four courses and the beer and wine pairing for each course, it was the most perfect evening.

My sensational entree was Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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Thank you, Tavernpointe (and Groupon — otherwise, we would have missed out on this culinary experience)!

WHY EAT AT PAULA DEEN’S?

I know that food mogul Paula Deen would love to put the talk about using the “n-word” and the accusations of racism behind her.

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Two blogs ago, I wrote about Paula and shared my 2014 thoughts when her empire came crashing down.

Last week, I stated that I ate at her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and it was amazing for good southern cooking.

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Someone asked me on Facebook after reading the blog, “Can I ask why you went to Paula Deen’s restaurant after all the publicity about her racism and discrimination? Asked respectfully.”

Here’s my reply:  “Because I wanted to. I know about her use of the n-word and the circumstances around her usage of it. However, “racism” is a whole new can of worms.”

But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that I had more to say about the lawsuit, race, and the use of that ugly “n-word”.

I am appalled by that word and I don’t care what race is using it. As I’ve written before, if the woman [Deen] was a “racist” (and I don’t know her to know, but I suspect she is NOT), you can’t tell me that people would not have already come out of the wood works to back up Lisa Jackson’s claims.”

I concluded with this, “I was even thinking of this the day I was eating there. There were many African-Americans working that day, including our server. I cannot imagine that any one of them would value that job so much if they really thought that she felt that way about them. There are other restaurants in Savannah and I honestly don’t think they’d be there.

JIMMY CARTER

Ever since I was an 11-year-old boy that got to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election (with my grandmother), I’ve idolized the former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

While in Atlanta last week, I just missed seeing the Carters by mere days, but I did check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

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The tour at the museum started with a movie of his life from his childhood in Plains, Georgia, to joining the U.S. Navy, heading back to Plains, and then entering the political arena (from Georgia State Senator to Georgia’s Governor to becoming the 39th President of the United States).

The amount of memorabilia displayed in the museum is incredible.  It’s definitely a labor of love — not only to President Carter, but to his fans and the United States as a country.

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It’s also nice to see all the displays of what the Carters have accomplished in life after they left the White House in 1981.

What an amazing couple!

CALLING OUT THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

I’ve known of Canadian comedian Samantha Bee for some time.

She was on Comedy Central’s  “The Daily Show” before leaving to host her own satirical news show on TBS, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.

I finally caught her act criticizing the mainstream media for not calling out Donald Trump on his blatant lies.  Kudos to you, Samantha.

If you’ve never watched Bee, check this out and, by the way, shame on you Matt Lauer!

Warning: language!

I’ll definitely feature more of Bee in the future because she’s on to something.

Gallap reports thats only one in three Americans trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”.  This is the lowest level since tracking started in 1972.

DIXIE CHICKS

The Dixie Chicks put on an amazing show last night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

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This was the second time I’ve seen them perform.  The first was back in 2006, in Chicago, on the “Accidents and Accusations Tour”.

It was so great partying with Natalie, Martie, and Emily again!

“SULLY”

On the afternoon of January 15, 2009, if you had your television on, you were likely watching the incredible, real life events unfolding on a bitterly cold afternoon in New York City.

US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport.

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Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese causing engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

It’s now a #1 box office movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as “Sully” and Aaron Eckhart as Skiles.

As always, Hanks is incredible and while the movie covers the landing on the cold, icy waters, it focuses more on the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and whether Sully made the right decision on the water landing instead of trying to make it back to the airport.

In the conversation after the model, we debated and decided that while it was a strong and compelling role for Hanks, it probably won’t garner an Oscar nomination for Hanks.  However, the Academy does like actors playing real-life heroes.

GRADE: B+

PICK HIT

This summer, late-80s English pop star Rick Astley released his eighth studio album (his seventh was never released) conveniently called “50” since he turned 50 earlier this year.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and will be released here in the U.S. on October 7th.

Three singles have already been released in European markets and I’m featuring “Dance” as my pick hit today.

FLASHBACK!

I have to admit that I crushed on Rick when I was in my early-20s and I have to say that he’s aging rather well at almost 51. (I’m slightly older — I turn 52 in October.)

Rick topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart here in the U.S. with his first two songs, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (March 1988) and “Together Forever” (June 1988).

He went on to score three more Top Ten hits, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” (#10, 1988), “She Wants To Dance With Me” (#6, 1988), and “Cry For Help” (#7, 1991).

Here’s a little music trivia for you.  He also sang backing vocals on Elton John’s 1994 Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 9, 2016

Greetings from steamy Hotlanta, Georgia!

My whirlwind tour of South Carolina started with Tropical Storm Hermine blowing wind and rain across Charleston last Friday while we were there!  Other than bringing down some tree limbs, I’d say they missed the brunt of the storm.

We also visited Hilton Head, then it was off to Savannah, Georgia.

We loved its “Southern Charm”, the elegant mansions and colorful houses, and the tasty down home cooking at “The Lady and Sons”, Paula Deen’s restaurant.

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I loved having sweet tea again, but I’ll definitely give it up when I get home.  After Atlanta, we’re back home this weekend and I’ll be returning to work Monday.

I hope all is well in the Quad Cities or wherever in the world you’re checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

PARENTS OF TEENAGERS — PAY ATTENTION!

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies or books about real events.  Recently, I read books by or about Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, the Carpenters, and Paula Deen.

All were very enjoyable and reading books about real life events or people takes me more into a life I thought I already knew.

I just finished “A Mother’s Reckoning:  Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy” by Sue Klebold and I realized there was so much I didn’t remember about this story.

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If you’re thinking, “what is the tragedy?” or “where have I heard that name?”, maybe this will bring it all home.

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Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two students (along with Eric Harris) that stormed into their school, Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, on April 11, 1999, with guns and homemade bombs.

When their spree of violence ended, 14 students (including Klebold and Harris) and a teacher were dead, and 24 others were injured, some seriously.

It’s taken Klebold seventeen years to share her thoughts on the massacre:  how did the little boy that she raised do something this monstrous, how did she and her husband, Tom, miss the warning signs (how did they not see that the throes of depression wasn’t just teenager moodiness), and how could they continue living in Littleton when many people there saw them an accessories to murder in a school tragedy that started a nationwide copycat trend?

It’s a very compelling book by a woman that has suffered deeply living in the aftermath of such a horrendous crime.  She walks a fine line trying to reach out to the 39 families ripped apart by her son’s (and Eric’s) violent fantasies that became reality, while also trying to grieve the loss of Dylan, who became a monster, but was also her son, her baby.

She talks quite a bit about “brain illness” and “brain health” in this country (instead of using the terms “mental illness” and “mental health”).  It’s a strong message.

I know (and you likely know) that in the wake of every tragedy in this country, we ask how can this keep happening.  Mental illness is usually a contributing factor, but we keep sweeping it (mental health issues and reform) under the rug!

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Sue says we should not ask “Why?” when a tragedy occurs because it leaves us hopeless.  We should ask “How?” because that shows us a way forward to do what we must do.

When she speaks publicly, she now introduces herself by saying, “My son died by suicide.  He was one of the shooters in the Columbine tragedy.”

I feel for Sue, her family, Dylan, the 40 other families damaged by this tragedy, the town of Littleton, and the families and friends and communities of every shooting brought on by mental illness.

It’s a tough subject that needs to be addressed today or we’ll be talking about more tragedies tomorrow.

And, a final note about this tragedy, it could have been much worse.  The two teenagers had intended to blow up the school and kill everyone!  However, some of the bombs didn’t go off!

A must read for everyone, especially parents of teenagers.

LADY GAGA IS BACK!

“Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her new album dropped this morning at Top 40 radio.

MORE ON MY READING HABITS

After talking about my reading habits, I’ll say, on occasion, I’ll read some fiction.

The Girl on the Train

The last three fantastic ones were “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins (I can’t wait for the movie October 7th), “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz, and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker, which is being developed as a television series.

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If you’ve ever been the “fat” girl (or boy) and felt like the world was just for thin people or if you’re a woman just fed up with a degrading society, you need to read this book!

Here’s my blog about it from earlier this year:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“THE WALKING DEAD” — PRESIDENTIAL STYLE

We’re still six weeks away from the season seven premiere of “The Walking Dead” to see who dies at the hand of Negan and his trusty barbed wire-baseball bat Lucille.

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And, we’re still about two months away from the 2016 presidential election.

Whether you’re on Team Hillary or Team Trump (sorry, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) of “The Walking Dead” has these comparisons of Clinton and Trump to the hit drama’s hero and villain.

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“I think we’re probably looking at that right now, I think Trump would be more like Negan, and Clinton would be more like Rick — kind of go with the political when you can, but not afraid to kill everybody if they had to.”

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Ahh, “Killary” Clinton in “The Walking Dead” circles!

Cudlitz continues, “But Negan’s a little bit of a loose cannon and Trump is a little bit of a loose cannon.”

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He quickly adds, “And that’s not me being political.  That’s by his own description.  So yeah, I think we actually have our Negan and our Rick.  And, neither one is perfect.”

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While I may not be objective (to some), I’d definitely feel safe living in country with  President Hillary Clinton and surviving in a zombie apocalypse with Rick Grimes in control!

TODAY’S YOUTH… SMH!

Full disclosure here, as a parent, I’m partially guilty in perpetuating a less than desirable future for our children.  Our daughter is 15 now.  She’s a great kid that makes good grades at school, isn’t boy crazy (yet), and doesn’t cause us any trouble.

Those are the good things.  She’s also 15, likes to just sit in her room and binge watch television shows and YouTube videos, have very little interaction with us, and is constantly having to be reminded to do the few chores she’s assigned.

I know there are many other things I could be complaining about, but I just have to shake my head because I can only say so much.

One thing I truly don’t believe in is that every kid deserves a ribbon or a trophy for participating and that’s the society we’re living in.

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Actress and pop singer Selena Gomez, after performing 56 shows on her “Revival Tour”, cancelled the fall and winter leg for the shows in Europe and South America, due to anxiety and panic attacks.  But, I understand Selena’s dilemma.  She confirmed last year that she has the auto-immune disease, lupus.

However, just recently, Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony left the stage in St. Louis, Missouri, because of a panic attack.  She didn’t return to the show, but was at the next concert in Dallas.

And, Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction has dropped out of concerts because of panic attacks.

Okay, I get it, we all get stressed.  I get anxious, but I’ve never dropped out of an event or called into sick at work because of it.  I guess it might have a lot to do with the fact that it’s the next generation and we weren’t raised that way.

So, if Whitney Houston was right in “The Greatest Love of All” and “I believe the children are our future” and they continue with this work ethic, God help us all. 🙂

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

I have the book and I’ve heard of Clint Eastwood’s movie, but while we were in Savannah, the carriage house we stayed at had the DVD in the player, so we watched it.

I’m glad I did.  It touched perfectly on southern living (wealth, closeted gay lifestyle, gossip, and intrigue) and when you throw in a little murder, you have a scandal.

And, the house used in the movie of the socialite that threw amazing Christmas parties was right in the neighborhood we were staying.

If you’ve never seen this 2007 movie, I highly recommend it this fall or winter.

GRADE:  A-

R.I.P. THE LADY CHABLIS

If you were already familiar with the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” movie or book, you know that The Lady Chablis was the standout star.

Now, just days after discovering her and the movie, it saddens me to report that the 59-year-old transgender star died at a Savannah hospital Thursday.

Now, I have to read her 1997 autobiography, “Hiding My Candy”.

Here she is in a 1996 performance.

PICK HIT 

I have very versatile taste when it comes to music, movies, and television.

Some of my choices are rather risque, including today’s choice by Manila Luzon.

Warning:  Contains adult language and situations!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 2, 2016

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina!

As a meteorologist, I’ve never been interested in chasing tornadoes. But, I’m stoked that Tropical Storm Hermine (formerly a hurricane before hitting Florida) is bearing down on South Carolina and it’ll be soaking us with heavy, wind blown rains today!

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That red outlined area is where we are and it indicates a “Tropical Storm Warning”!

WHY ARE WE HERE?

Ray has a conference in Atlanta, so we took off a few days early to explore the southern charm of Charleston and Savannah, Georgia, and the beaches at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

In the weeks leading up to this last hooray of summer, we ate healthy and exercised like crazy.  We wanted to indulge in good ol’ Southern cooking with no calorie counting.

So, here are my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  As always, if we disagree, just do it diplomatically.

GET WELL WISHES FOR HOLLY DUNN

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard Holly Dunn.  Her breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” in 1989 and this one, “You Really Had Me Going” in 1990, topped the charts.

After her last album in 2003, Holly left country music to focus on another love — art.

Now, at 59, she’s fighting for her life.

In March, she was diagnosed with a “rare and aggressive” form of ovarian cancer.  She had surgery and she’s now undergoing chemotherapy, but the statistics are bleak.

Holly says, “Good thing I don’t believe in statistics!”

She has faith, but is still asking for prayers, “I have since grown more tumors and it is going to be more of a battle than I anticipated, but I have a huge faith in the healing power of God and the healing power within me that originates from my God. I look towards a future when I am completely healed and cancer free. I ask for prayers of strength and courage as this journey continues.”

My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Holly.

PAULA DEEN IS ONE CRAZY WOMAN

Before heading off to the southeastern United States, I read Paula Deen’s “It Ain’t All About the Cookin'”.

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It was a very brutally honest book that shared all of the downs Paula endured in her life before she because a famous restaurateur and television cooking star.

I won’t give too much away, but I’ll share a quick story from the book of her being single and lonely for a long time and wanting to find love.  She even makes that story funny!

Paula writes, “Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the furnace.  No one knew how I felt — even my children, who could no more imagine their momma’s feet pointed up to Jesus than they could imagine me deserting them!”

Paula!

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME BISCUITS WITH THAT GRAVY?

Paula learned her craft by watching her grandmother, just as I learned much of the cooking basics I’ve built upon in my lifetime from my grandmother Helen.

Helen

I’ve always regretted not paying close attention to my grandmother when she was making southern biscuits.

However, at the end of the one of Paula’s chapters, she has a recipe for biscuits that sounds just like my grandmother’s.  So, this fall or winter, I’m making breakfast from scratch — including homemade biscuits!

THE EMPIRE CRASHES…

Paula’s television culinary empire came crashing down in the summer of 2013 when she was accused of being racist by a former employee.

If you don’t remember the details, I’m sharing it again because that problem and that word is still very much part of today’s landscape.

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 28, 2013:

“Food Network star Paula Deen is all over the television these days.  She’s the talk of radio, her face is all over the magazines, and blogger are feasting on a buffet talking about her.  There are many things being said about her — some say give her a break because she hasn’t said anything you probably haven’t said and some say she’s a racist.

Paula Deen Happy

Paula’s whirlwind downfall started recently after she was called to testify last month in a 2012 $1.2 million sexual and racial workplace discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers by former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, who is white, claims that Deen said this when asked about a theme for a wedding, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.  Jackson says that Deen laughed and said, “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

In that deposition last month, Deen admitted to using the “n-word” in the past.  However, she maintains that she hasn’t used it in years and when she did, it was because a black man held a gun to her head at her former place of employment.   Earlier this week on “Today”, Matt Lauer asked Deen , “Are you a racist?” and the 66-year-old grandmother responded, “No, I am not.” and “The day I used that word it was a world ago.  It was 30 years ago.”

This week, Deen was fired from the Food Network and she lost sponsorships with Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, and Target.  QVC is still deciding on Deen’s fate.

Domestic Diva Martha Stewart says, “”I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She’s a public figure and I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure.”  And, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton adds, “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago” and “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”

So, with that being said, I want to know what you think.  Here’s what I think.

IF (and notice that’s a big IF) Paula made that joke about the wedding idea in any era, then or now, it’s not funny.  It’s stupid.  If Paula responded with the n-word after a man held a gun to her head as she stated, while not still acceptable, it’s more likely a case of forgiveness given the circumstances.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s South and that awful word was a commonly used word.  Sadly, my late father was one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist, and the list goes on, man I think I’ve ever met.  And, even my late grandmother, who was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, uttered that word in my childhood, but she wasn’t using it to be ugly.  As I grew from a child to a teenager, I educated her that although people use that word, it’s not right.

And, as Paula stated in the interview with Lauer, that word is used too freely in today’s society in movies and music.  I agree and that has to stop, too.  I don’t care if you are an African-American or you identify as a black man or woman, that word has to stop in all circles.  While I’m a gay man, I don’t refer to myself as the derogatory “f-word” and I’d be truly offended if someone else did.

In this country, you’re supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”.  How do we know that Lisa Jackson is telling the truth?  I’d really be saddened to know that Paula Deen was not a racist and these allegations ruined her life and career.

Paula Deen Crying

My only advice to Paula is stay off television, avoid interviews, and stop posting internet apologies.  I know you’re hurt and scared, but the tears and the pleas make you seem too apologetic.  As you’ve stated, people who know you know the truth — whatever that truth is.

The bottom line is that if Paula Deen is a racist and she freely used the n-word as Jackson claims, more people would be coming out of the woodwork to make other allegations.  They haven’t!

And, I have to say that I commend Paula for the heartfelt and seemingly genuine comments in the interview, “I believe every creature on this Earth … was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with [and] no matter what church you go to pray.”  And, “There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like that I am prejudiced against, Matt, and that’s thieves and liars.”

Lisa Jackson, if you’re a liar, I hope you get yours.”

…BUT THE PHOENIX RISES

After losing sponsors and her “Food Network” show, Paula took time to be with her family.

She now has a web television show on http://www.pauladeen.com she still has her “The Lady and Sons” restaurant in  Savannah, Georgia, and I’ll be eating there on Labor Day!

POOR MTV AND THE “VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS”

Remember when MTV actually played music videos on television.  Just as youngsters today waste hours at a time online, I did the same watching the same music videos on television.

Back in the day, the Video Music Awards (VMAs) was a fun show with all of the best stars.  Now, for the most part, it’s painful to watch.

This year, when I’d flip over to the VMAs during commercials (I was watching AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead”), comedians Key & Peele’s alter-ego psuedo-hosts were painful to watch.  It didn’t get much better when Olympics-gold medalist Michael Phelps struggled to read the prompter and introduce a boring Future performance.

If this is the “future” of the VMAs, may the show sign off and rest in peace!

IT’S BRITNEY BITCH! (G-EAZY)

My first thoughts when seeing Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV VMAs was how hot she was and the amazing color and outfit she was wearing!  (And, I don’t even watch fashion shows!)

Then, I had to laugh Tuesday when I read that the Parents Television Council (PTC) blasted MTV and its parent company stating, “Sadly, last night’s program contained concerning levels of sexualization throughout the night.”

A spokesperson specifically mentioned Britney’s outfit to “Entertainment Weekly” stating that G-Eazy, who performed with her, was “totally covered up”.

Yes, it would have been interesting to see Eazy wearing a similar outfit, but I thought what he wore made him look sexier than ever.

As a Britney fan, I admit the two had very little chemistry together.  But, I loved the performance and, yes, I know she was lip-syncing. 🙂

“GLORY” — BRITNEY SPEARS

Last Friday, Britney released her ninth studio album, “Glory”.

Glory BS

It’s a very different, more mature sound for her.  While there’s still a dance vibe, the beat-per-minutes are not as dance club driven, but more sensual in a slow-groove kind of way.

As any music fan knows, the sequence of the songs is a well thought out process and it shows here.

The first four songs, “Invitation”, “Do You Wanna Come Over?”, the current single, “Make Me…” and “Private Show” are incredible.

The album features some standout ballads such as “Just Luv Me”.

And, Britney gets very naughty on “Slumber Party” .  I guess living and working in Vegas does affect your song selection and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While I liked her last album, “Britney Jean”, which many saw as a commercial flop, this album is much better.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

It’s no “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011 and my favorite Britney album.

“Glory” is highly recommended!

My goal in 2017 is to see Britney again in concert!

GRADE:  B+

“STAR TREK BEYOND” DUBSTEP

“Star Trek Beyond” is now up to a $242.9 million for its worldwide box office budget.  It’s the third most highest grossing in the film series.

It was released a few weeks after one of its stars, Anton Yelchin, died in a freak accident this summer.

In this dub smash video, you can tell the stars of the movie (and Anton) were have a good time off-camera.

PICK HIT

Australian record producer and musician Flume (Harley Streten) and Canadian singer Kai are enjoying huge success in the U.S. with “Never Be Like You”, the first single from Flume’s Top Ten summer album, “Skin”.

It’s already a Top Ten Billboard Dance hit and it’s at #11 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

It’s an incredible song and I’m bummed that Flume will be playing two shows in Atlanta at the Tabernacle while I’m there next week and both shows are SOLD OUT!

“Rolling Stone” listed “Never Be like You” as one of the 30 best songs of the first half of 2016 and I totally agree.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony