Posts Tagged ‘Showtime’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 27, 2021

August is coming to an end and next weekend is Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the summer season. (Sorry, Connie!)

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts! I’ll start out with a positive vibe. Well, positive unless you dread fall and winter!

BRING IT ON!

Other than those things, I’m looking forward to my birthday trip (if international travel isn’t halted or they tell us Americans to stay away!).

However, another thing I’m eagerly anticipating before the Christmas season is the return of my fantasy crush — serial killer Dexter Morgan!

“DEXTER: NEW BLOOD”

One of my favorite series of all time is coming back as a “limited series” this fall. (Yes, I’m a huge fan of the killer series!) 🙂

“Dexter” originally ended after eight seasons in September 2013. After 95 great episodes, the series finale was a DUD!

By the grace of God, we’re getting another season of ten episodes this fall and winter to make up for that finale!

Showtime’s president of entertainment Gary Levine earlier this week said, “For me, it’s a revisiting of Dexter and a proper finale for a brilliant season.”

The new season debuts on Showtime November 7, 2021.

Oh, Paramount, please make sure that when the season is finished that it’s released on DVD to complete my collection!

ONE MORE FALL TREAT!

Nabisco is making fall a little tastier with two new “limited edition” Oreo cookies.

“Salted Caramel Brownie Oreo” boasts two creme layers – caramel and brownie – between chocolate wafers with a sprinkling of salt on top.

While that sounds delicious, I’m really excited to try the “Apple Cider Donut Oreo”, which features an apple cider-flavored creme between two golden Oreo wafers.

And, my beautiful, wonderful sister, Tammy, bought me a bag of the Apple Cider Donut Oreos, so I’ll open them when she visits next!

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!

Last week, my sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend, took a little road trip to Metropolis, Illinois, for a short getaway and to try our hands at the slots.

We also got to hang out with our cousin, Steve, and my dear friend, Dennis, from back in the day when we were in our carefree 20s!!!

While at the casino the first night, I had lost almost all the money I brought to lose. I then played a game my sister had won over a hundred dollars on. As my money melted away, I got a bonus!

In that bonus round, I covered the board with snow leopards on the last spin and broke even for the night and cashed out!

Incredibly, the next night, I got another bonus on that game and filled the board again. With that $250 spin, I ended up one hundred dollars ahead and cashed out!

As we got back into Decatur the next afternoon, we heard a loud pop behind us and didn’t see anything. By the time I approached my sister’s street to drop her off, I had a flat tire.

So, that’s where my $100 profit went! 🙂

However, in the long wait for Roadside Assistance, I changed the tire myself since there a strange person lurking around and it wasn’t such a great neighborhood!

ARBY’S DISAPPOINTMENT

While driving back, we stopped at the Arby’s in Salem, Illinois. I was so excited to try the Market Fresh Southwest Chicken Avocado Wrap.

This restaurant’s version of the sandwich and the marketing department vision of the sandwich were much different.

That’s the advertisement.

The actual sandwich was mostly the wrap. There was very little filling (just a few thin slices of chicken and you really had to look hard to see any avocado).

Big disappointment! It’s no wonder I rarely eat fast food!

PFIZER APPROVED BY THE FDA

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.

Like the Moderna vaccination, it’s a two-shot regimen (the Johnson & Johnson vaccination is “one and done”).

Holdouts, now that it’s the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. government, let’s get those vaccinations numbers up and put this pandemic behind us!

WELCOME BACK, ELTON JOHN!

Elton John is a musical icon that’s been charting hits in the U.S. since his first hit, “Your Song” charted in 1970, and reached the Top Ten in 1971.

He’s now back on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since July 2000 with his latest song, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”, a duet with Dua Lipa.

The song features Elton singing part of his 1990 hit “Sacrifice” (one of his best and most underappreciated hits) and Lipa belting out his 1972 classic “Rocket Man”. The song is remixed by Australia’s Pnau (brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore and Peter Mayes).

While the song debuts at #81 on the Hot 100, it breaks onto the Adult Contemporary chart at #16 and #3 on the Hot Dance/Electronic chart!

“Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)” extends John’s lead on the AC chart with 74 entries. Barbra Streisand is in second with 64 and Neil Diamond is in third place with 59.

One more interesting note: Lipa becomes just the latest partner of Elton’s on the Hot 100.

He’s charted with Kiki Dee twice (first with the 1976 four-week #1 hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”). Elton also spent four weeks at the top in 1986 on “That’s What Friends Are For,” with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.

His other Hot 100 duet partners were Jennifer Rush (1987); Aretha Franklin (1989); George Michael on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” (No. 1, one week, 1992); Kiki Dee again (1993); RuPaul on the remake of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1994); and LeAnn Rimes (1999).

REMEMBERING TOM T. HALL

Kentucky-born country music singer and songwriter Tom T. Hall died last week at the age of 85.

During his decades of chart hits from 1967-1985, Hall scored 39 country hits. Of those, 21 reached the Top Ten with seven making it to #1, including “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” and “I Love”.

However, his biggest achievement is the one that impacted my life the most.

In 1968, he wrote, “Harper Valley P.T.A.”, which became an international hit for Jeannie C. Riley.

It topped both the country chart and the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Riley. It was also nominated for Song and Record of the Year.

The single sold more than six million copies and I had one of those records. However, as a 4-year-old, I played it constantly until an evil step-sister (a bratty teenager) broke it!!!

“Harper Valley P.T.A.” was my 5th favorite song of my first 35 years! Yes, I love compiling lists!

“BETTY FORD”

Here are the final thoughts from Lisa McCubbin’s amazing 2018 biography subtitled, “First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer” that I haven’t shared with you.

  • At a three-day conference in Cleveland, Ohio, for International Women’s Year, Betty wrapped up her speech about her support of the ERA with “I spoke out on this important issue because of my deep personal convictions. Why should my husband’s job, or yours, prevent us from being ourselves.” She paused and concluded, “Being ladylike does not require silence.” Amen sister!
  • On May 24, 1978, President and Mrs. Ford where back in their former home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the unveiling of their official White House portraits. This was Betty Ford’s first visit back at White House since they left in January 1977 and it was just a couple of weeks after she left her alcohol and drug program in Long Beach, California. President Jimmy Carter said, “Betty Ford has earned the admiration of our nation for her courage and complete candor. She is the most popular person in our country today.”
  • Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first celebrities to stand up in the fight against AIDS and when she asked Betty Ford to help her to remove the stigma with the deadly disease, Ms. Ford didn’t hesitate.
  • In 1985, Taylor awarded her the first “AIDS Project Commitment to Life Award” in Los Angeles. The 2,500 attendees gave Ms. Ford a standing ovation when she walked onstage to accept the award. She told the crowd, “Tonight is about conquering fear and saving lives” and added just like the country’s attitudes about cancer and alcoholism have changed, “attitudes toward AIDS can change as well.”

WHAT A TRAILBLAZER! I wish I could have met her!

MY THOUGHTS ON “DEXTER” SEASONS 1-8

So, which were your favorite or least favorite seasons?

I plan on watching the series again before the new season. I wonder if my original reviews on the first eight seasons will hold up?

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 Revelation 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!

When I originally posted my thoughts on the series in 2013, I only wrote about the first seven seasons. When I re-posted it in February 2014, I only gave the final season a grade because I didn’t want to spoil anything. Now I’ll elaborate!

Season 8:  (B) — If the finale hadn’t been so silly, I’d given it an A-.

I loved Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Evelyn Vogel, an expert on psychiatry and Sam Underwood was fantastic as Zach Hamilton, a budding serial killer. You can see more of Underwood in “The Following”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 5, 2021

Happy March!

Soon, we’ll start seeing budding trees and blooming flowers and bushes!

For much of the country, the weather is finally starting to warm up. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done with snow and cold yet, but it sure feels nice.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. The first two are a little heavy.

So, if you don’t agree with me and you want to comment, that’s fine. Just do it diplomatically!

KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS TO YOURSELF!

More sexual misconduct allegations are coming out against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Three women are now accusing him of inappropriate advances.

Sadly, we live in a country where men feel they can do whatever they want — even “grab ’em by the p***y”!

In a culture where the last president of the United States is accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than two dozen women, this needs to stop — now!!! Actually, it should never have started!

Men (and women), regardless of profession, unless you’re asked to touch or kiss someone, keep your damn hands and lips to yourself!

“No” means “No”!

And, if you don’t understand printed or verbal words, maybe a song will help you understand better. Here’s the one hit wonder, The Georgia Satellites’ #2 1986 hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”!

BUSINESS AS USUAL IN TEXAS!

Note to self: AVOID TEXAS until I get vaccinated!

Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week announced that the state is lifting its mask mandate.

Texas is now the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the state will no longer limit the number of diners that can be served indoors!

Even during the worst outbreak of the pandemic, over the past months, restrictions across the Lone Star state were only lightly enforced.

More than 45,000 Texans have been killed by the pandemic and only two states, California and New York, have had more COVID-19 deaths than Texas!

And, what makes this change even more shocking is that over the past two weeks, Texas has seen a 31% increase in the number of daily new cases!!!

After Texas made the announcement, it should come as a shock to no one that Mississippi got on the bandwagon, too, announcing it would be dropping mask restrictions and businesses opening to 100% again!

GOLDEN GLOBES HITS

Last month, I said that season four of the “The Crown”, the award-winning Netflix series, was my absolute favorite. I added, “Even if you haven’t watched the first three seasons, watch this one. You don’t need to see their first three to follow the storyline.”

I guess the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) agrees because “The Crown” was a smash hit at this year’s Golden Globes!

The series won for Best Television Series Drama and my girl crush, Gillian Anderson picked up the Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie award as Margaret Thatcher.

Also, sexy Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin both came away as winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Television Series Drama categories as Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Sadly, with Corrin’s win, that means Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, lost as Ozark’s Wendy Byrde.

DREAMING OF… DEXTER!

After an eight-year absence and that disappointing series finale, America’s favorite, sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan is coming back this fall.

As fans already know, production for the ten-episode, ninth season is underway in New England. While nothing is known about the storyline and what’s happened since they show wrapped in 2013, here’s the sexy new look Dexter is sporting!

Good riddance, 2013 lumberjack Dexter!

While I can’t wait for the new season to debut later this year, I did see Michael C. Hall off-Broadway in January 2015 in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. It was a fantastic show and he was so damn sexy as the genderqueer East German rocker!

“THE UNITED STATES vs. BILLIE HOLIDAY”

This Hulu original is very compelling, even at over two hours. I never realized how messed up legendary singer Billie Holiday was with her heroin addiction.

Also, just another reason to despise J. Edgar Hoover, it amazes me the lengths the FBI went through to trap and falsely imprison Holiday because she refused to stop singing the controversial song “Strange Fruit”.

Why was it controversial and scared the government so? It focused the spotlight on the lynching of Black people in the South!

Andra Day was amazing as Holiday and won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe last weekend.

GRADE: B+

“NOMADLAND”

This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2020 and will get many Oscar nominations later this month. Ahead of the Golden Globes, I watched it last weekend.

I can’t imagine living the life of a nomad (someone in a community without fixed habitation that regularly moves from place to place), but I can see the freedom of it.

Frances McDormand is excellent and heartbreaking as Fran, who loses her job and her husband. When the town, Empire, closes down, too, she hits the road.

I definitely feel that the movie deserves its Best Picture Drama win at last weekend’s Golden Globes.

While McDormand is excellent in everything she does and I think this role is definitely worthy of an acting nomination, I don’t feel that it deserves the top prize! (I guess the HFPA agrees. Oscar voters may disagree!)

So far, I’ve seen four of the five performances for the Best Actress Drama category for the Golden Globes and I think that Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) all deserved it more.

P.S. I wrote these last two paragraphs before last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony!

You can see it on Hulu.

GRADE: B+

MY NIGHT WITH MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Following 63 old white guys, she became the first woman Secretary of State (1997-2001) during President Bill Clinton’s second administration.)     

Albright was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report. It did!

However, I then flubbed a simple English word that followed Milošević’s name! 🙂

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Last summer, I finally got around to reading Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

What an incredible read! Here are a few things I learned:

She was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in May 1937. Her real name is Marie Jana Korbelová.

Her grandmother nicknamed her “Madla” and her mother modified it to “Madlen”, but most of the time she was called “Madlenka”. However, while learning French at the age of ten, she chose “Madeleine”.

Three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust.

One of her favorites treats and something I’d love to try is “Knedliky” — “Czechoslovak fruit dumplings swimming in melted butter, cover with sugar and ground nuts”.

At the age of 40, after earning her Ph.D., she began working in President Jimmy Carter’s office under his National Security Advisory.

Since Albright, there have been two more female Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

MISSING RIHANNA?

You might not have even thought about it, but I bet it crossed your mind now. 🙂

While her last album was 2016’s “Anti” and she says her new album is complete, there is no release date.

Earlier this week, I heard a new dance song that sounds a lot like Rihanna and I love the lyrics, “I got a bed, but I’d rather be in yours”!

Enjoy the new song from David Guetta with Joel Corry and RAYE! It’s my new favorite right now!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My (Interesting) First Month in Decatur

Boy, time sure does fly by as you get older!

With the Coronavirus and COVID-19, I know many of you, are under “stay at home” protocols with state governments, working from home, or unemployed because of restaurants being closed to diners, like my sister and her family!

As for me, I’ve been working since the media is considered “essential” in this crazy time across the United States and the world.

Snowy Duluth UHaul

It seems just like yesterday that I left snow-covered Duluth, Minnesota, and moved into my new apartment in Decatur, in central Illinois.

What a whirlwind month it’s been!  I moved into my apartment on Wednesday, April 1st, and started work the next day.    I’ve already been on the air at WAND-17, the NBC-affiliate, four weeks!

Except for hanging two pieces of wall art that’s rather heavy and needs to be done by someone that know what’s they’re doing, my apartment is set up and livable.

It’ll “do” for a year and I’ll find another place here that I’ll make my forever home.  I’m tired of moving, but this apartment is not that place!

Bedroom View

However, I do love the view out my bedroom window, which gave me a front row seat of deer frolicking and playing in the shallow end of this part of Lake Decatur one afternoon.

I’ll share more pictures when I’m totally done decorating.  But, with “social distancing”, I’m not sure when that’ll be!

Interesting

PASSING THE TIME

It’s bizarre and interesting to have lived here a month and not be able to experience life in Decatur, to invite my morning co-anchors over for dinner, or to meet new people for drinks.

I know that one day I’ll get to eat out and see what central Illinois has to offer.

Until then, to pass the time, I take regular four-mile walks from my complex and through the marina around one part of Lake Decatur.

Lake Decatur

Since I walk and read at the same time, I’ve already finished four books, all by my idol, former President Jimmy Carter.

I’m currently reading “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” by Maureen Orth.

The book is the basis for the Emmy-winning FX series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” with ALL of Emmy winner Darren Criss!

Criss

Criss 1

Oops, sorry for not warning you! 🙂

My connection to Cunanan and this story goes back to 1997 when it was happening and I was the weekend anchor in Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, this made it “on air” and we did get calls because of the eerie similarities! 🙂

Cunanan

Since I didn’t watch a lot of television in Duluth, I dropped cable this past January.

My new apartment complex offers “free” cable (I still pay for DVR service and internet), so I’ve been catching up on the shows I used to watch.

In April, I binge-watched 60-plus hours of television!

I watched the last season of “Homeland” (except for the series finale because Showtime and xfinity suck and aren’t making it “free” like it did for the first eleven episodes of the last season.

I’ve also watched the 2020 episodes of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “9-1-1” (the final two episodes of both series air in May — for “Murder”, it’s the series finale), along with “Prodigal Son”, “9-1-1 Lone Star”, “The Good Doctor”, and the third season of “The Sinner”!

Bad Netflix

In Duluth, for some reason, I got this message on my television while trying to watch Netflix.

What’s bizarre is that Netflix works on my television in Decatur!

Since discovering this, I’ve already binged the third season of “Ozark” and I’m almost done with the third season of “The Crown”.

Up next, seasons two of “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, and “You”, the first season of “The Politician”, and the fourth season of “Eastsiders”.

And, to make my bestie, Katie, happy, I can now binge-watch all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

Speaking of “Ozark”, season three is the best, so far!

Ozark Emmys

While nominations don’t come out until this summer, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy awards now!

BACK ON THE WAGON

The last four months in Duluth were very stressful for me.

While I’ve talked about the crazy stretches of work (days and nights for several days with just a couple of hours of sleep in between),  I never mentioned and I won’t elaborate here on a police-involved harassment ordeal that forced me to “fall off the wagon”.

Over the years I’ve been very open about being a recovering food addict.

Since 1995, I’ve pretty much successfully fought the daily battle by eating healthier with a great dose of exercise.

There were a few stumbles (most recently in early 2017 when I was going through a divorce).  But, with the stress of work, being stalked and harassed, job hunting, and relocating, I took a big step backwards and my weight dropped has dropped from 163 to 138 pounds.

My new schedule not only allows me more free time each afternoon, but it gives me the opportunity to cook more and eat at a reasonable hour!

April 7 Dinner

I’m back on track, “on the wagon”, and I have one month under my belt now!!!

I don’t know what I weigh now and I don’t need to know.  All I know is that I should gain a few more pounds to be healthier again.

I owe much of that success to Kroger!  Yes, the grocery chain.  There’s one located right by work and another one a couple of miles from my apartment.

On my first visit to each, I noticed they marked down all kinds of fun produce as it approaches the “sell by” or “best by” dates.

So, now instead of binging and purging on high caloric junk to satisfy an addiction, I’m now a little O-C-D about making very regular trips to the Kroger stores in Decatur and stocking up on greens and veggies!

April 17 Dinner

(For the record, I went to three Kroger stores a total of 17 times in April!) 🙂

I’ve also treated myself to fried chicken three times and three rotisserie chickens, along with the chicken that I cook at home.

Did I mention several bottles of wine, too?

FOND MEMORIES AND MAKING NEW ONES

I’ll fondly remember my two years in Duluth.

Lake Superior was beautiful and the almost 107″ of snow my first winter there was mind-blowing.

When I left Duluth at the end of March, we had already picked up almost 90″ this past winter!

I had the pleasure to work with some fun and entertaining people at Fox 21 in Duluth (and one that I hope I never, oh, never mind)!

Fun People

And, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my dear friends, Katie (who was my evening director at work), her mother Mary Kaye, and my neighbor, Kass.

Over the past two years, I shared many delicious meals (including Thanksgivings and Christmases) with these special ladies.

And, Kass and I regularly had “cocktail hour” at her place.  (Kass, I don’t have a drinking buddy here yet, but I did see your spiced rum at a liquor store and I smiled!) 🙂

Love Duluth Friends

While I miss my Northland Peeps, I know that when America is healthier again and it’s safe to socialize, I’ll find some dear friends and colleagues in central Illinois.

To all my friends reading this, stay safe and healthy!

And, while it’s not a “Random Friday Thoughts”, I’ll end it with my signature sign-off.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

 

Random Thoughts — April 5, 2019

It’s the first week of April and I hope you weren’t fooled too much earlier this week.

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

KUDOS CHICAGO!

Lori Lightfoot’s election win earlier this week to become Chicago’s new mayor is historical!

Lori Lightfoot

Not only will she become the city’s first African American woman mayor, but she’s also part of the LGBTQ community!  She and her wife, Amy Eshleman, have one daughter!

Best wishes Lori!!!!!!

CHICAGO’S OTHER WOMAN MAYOR

Jane Byrne was the first woman elected as Chicago’s mayor and she served four years — from April 1979 to April 1983.

Jane Byrne.JPG

“A MIGHTY HEART”

I remember the tragic story when it was developing back in early 2002 and when the Angelina Jolie movie came out in 2007.

However, reading “A Mighty Heart: The Inside Story of the Al Qaeda Kidnapping of Danny Pearl”, Mariane Pearl’s account of the abduction and beheading of her husband in Pakistan by Islamic and religious extremists, is harrowing and heartbreaking.

A Mighty Heart

If you don’t recall, Daniel worked for the “Wall Street Journal”.  He was reporting on the United States’ “War on Terrorism” following the 9/11 attacks just months earlier.

He disappeared on January 23, 2002, at a Karachi hotel where he was meeting a contact. A terrorist group claimed he was an American spy.  Once they found out he was Jewish, his fate was sealed.

He was beheaded nine days later in a video that surfaced three weeks later.  His body, cut into ten pieces, was found in a shallow grave in May.

Daniel Pearl

One very interesting note I learned from Mariane’s book is that for a 40-day training session at a Taliban camp to learn “how to terrify, torture, kill”, it only cost about $20/day ($50/day with weapons)!  😦

SYMPATHY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN — COUGH!

The last part of Mariane’s book, “A Mighty Heart”, featured comforting letters to the Pearl family from around the world from everyday people and politicians, including President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush and Laura Bush.

But, the one that struck me the wrong way all these years later was from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In light of all the atrocities he’s orchestrated (oops, I mean, that he’s accused of), this part of his letter didn’t set well with me, “We will do everything to root out this evil, eliminate the threat of terrorism, find and neutralize all those who bring death and destruction.”

Earlier in the letter, he was more honest — like he was looking in a mirror, “International terrorism knows no borders or nationality.”

Trump Putin

JOURNALISTS, MAINSTREAM MEDIA & HATRED

Many times while reading “A Mighty Heart”, I thought of 45’s constant attack on the “mainstream media” and his calling journalists that don’t pander to his rhetoric “the enemy of the people”!

No, Donald, jihadists like the ones that kidnapped Daniel Pearl because he was bringing news of their inhumane actions to the world stage are the enemies!

I know that past presidents of both parties have disliked the media.  It’s no secret that Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Bill Clinton, just to name a few, disliked reporters and the news outlets.

But, they never went so far as screaming “fake news” to any group that wasn’t Fox News!

We don’t need more blood on our hands with journalists, like Danny Pearl and countless others, being killed just because one man or one group dislikes what they report!

“HOMELAND”

I finally got caught up on the Emmy Award-winning Showtime series “Homeland” with the incredible Claire Danes.

I had watched up to season four, but now that I have premium cable, they’ve added seasons five, six, and seven.

claire-danes-hugh-dancy.jpg

And, in a casting note that I love, Hugh Dancy (NBC’s “Hannibal”), who’s also Danes’ real-life husband will have a multi-series arc!

The eighth and final season comes out later this year.  They’re currently shooting in Morocco, which is substituting for Afghanistan!

While I’m thrilled that Dancy will be joining the cast, I hope they bring back James D’Arcy and make him Carrie’s love interest.  He’s already mine!!! 🙂

Dunkirk Premiere - NYC

FUNNIEST “HOMELAND” LINE

In a series about homeland security, terrorists, shady politics and being bipolar, there usually aren’t a lot of laughs.

However, in season seven, I had to LOL at one of Carrie Mathison’s (Danes) lines.

She’s knows that her body has built up a tolerance to the lithium that’s keeping her sane.  Storming into her therapist’s office with her head bleeding after a fight with a man blackmailing her, a manic Carrie tells the doctor she wants to try new medication.

The doctor is freaked out about the surprise visit and Carrie’s head bleeding asks her repeatedly how it happened.

Carrie’s response:  “Can you focus?” 🙂

“HANNIBAL”

Speaking of “Hannibal”, the amazing NBC series that was probably too intelligent for television was cancelled after three seasons.

There’s still talk of bringing back the critically acclaimed show with a Clarice Starling story line!  Because of contractual blah blah blah, that wasn’t possible in its first run.

I want more Hugh Dancy (“Will Graham”), Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal Lecter”) and Gillian Anderson (“Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier)!

bedelia

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s 33rd studio album, “Stronger Than The Truth” is out now!

Reba Truth

If you’re planning on buying it, Target has an exclusive disc with two additional songs!

“THE FAVOURITE”

This Academy Award nominee for Best Picture is set in the early 18th century and is very quirky!

At the beginning of the movie, Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne makes a humorous comment about the war, thinking it’s over.

But, once you realize that she has very serious health issues that affect her ability to make decisions for the country, it becomes darker.

Best Supporting Actress nominees Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz were fantastic.

Now that I’ve seen all five Oscar nominees for Best Actress this year, I’m okay that Colman won.

Ideally, I would’ve been happier if it had been a tie between Colman and Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)

GRADE: B+

“IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK”

And, since I was talking about Best Supporting Actress nominees in “The Favourite”, Regina King won the Oscar this year in that category for this movie.

This is director Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to the Oscar-winning Best Picture “Moonlight” (2016).

“Tish” (KiKi Layne) and “Fonny” (Stephan James) have been friends all their lives and a romantic relationship develops when they’re a little older.

Fonny is falsely accused of raping a woman and his mother-in-law, Sharon Rivers (King), tries to track down the woman and convince her to recant her story and clear Fonny.

Layne’s performance, in a weaker Oscar race, could easily have been nominated!

GRADE:  B

“BRITNEY:  INSIDE THE DREAM”

If you’ve been following the news this week, Britney Spears checked herself in a mental health facility to relax and help her cope with her father’s failing health.

Recently, I recently read Steve Dennis’ 2009 biography on the pop princess and it was more entertaining than reading about Britney on Wikipedia.

However, the book ends after her meltdown more than a decade ago and before she reclaimed her pop throne with “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011.

Additionally, Dennis didn’t have access to Britney, so much of it was speculation and the parts of the book where he had a psychologist analyze Britney without talking to her were a little awkward.

MY THREE FAVORITE BRITNEY SONGS

#3 CD

2

#1

BONUS BRITNEY

Bonus

This song was never released as a single, but it should have been!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 10, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and to see what I’m thinking about this week.

Have a great weekend!

OFFENSIVE?

“Arrow” star Stephen Amell, a longtime ally of the LGBTQ community, enjoyed Vancouver Pride last weekend and his shirt caused quite a stir.

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Some find the shirt offensive saying he’s not really our ally to wear it!

However, a poll about whether the shirt is offensive says otherwise!

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What do you think???   By the way, I voted “Seriously?”

Let me know while I run to the ATM!  I know I have $20 in my checking account! 🙂

Now on to something really serious!

“CONVERSION THERAPY”

Conversion therapy is harmful and sad!

Kids that feel broken suffer even more and it doesn’t mend families, it destroys them.

Love Cure

If you’re not familiar with “conversion therapy”, it’s an ill-fated, sad program that preys on a family’s fear of their son or daughter being LGBTQ.  It claims that you can change if you have feelings for someone of the same sex.

It uses psychological, physical, and spiritual torture to make an LGBTQ child “straight”.

In the United States, before 1981, ice-pick lobotomies, chemical castration with hormones, and aversion treatments (applying electric shock to the hands and/or genitals) were used to “change” gay people.

Electric shock treatment is still used in some places today!

A couple of popular expressions in the field are “Fake it till you make it” and “Pray away the gay”.

conversion-therapy

In the United States, 12 states and the District of Columbia have outlawed conversion therapy for minors based on sexual orientation and gender identity of expression.  Those states are California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

Maryland (October 1, 2018) and New Hampshire (January 1, 2019) will soon be added to the list.

There are many other counties, municipalities, and communities in the U.S. that outlaw conversion therapy for minors, even though it’s not recognized on the state level in those states.

As of this summer, there are bills to ban conversion therapy on minors that have been introduced or are pending in Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico.

MICHELE & MARCUS BACHMANN

Minnesota’s own former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has a record of being very anti-LGBTQ, has a skeleton in her closet when it comes to “conversion therapy” or “reparative therapy”.

Bachmann

The procedure was notably performed at Bachmann & Associates, a Christian therapy clinic started by Bachmann’s husband, Marcus, based in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.

Marcus Bachmann

Ironic that I used the word “closet” when discussing the Bachmanns because of the “rumors”!

“BOY ERASED”

Two movies dealing with conversion therapy are coming out this year.

“Boy Erased”, based on the 2016 memoir of Garrard Conley, an Arkansas teenager outed in college to his fundamentalist parents.  His choice — be disowned or gay conversion therapy.

After seeing this powerful trailer, I’m convinced “Boy Erased” will be a strong Oscar contender.  It stars Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe and Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges.

I love Kidman and I’ve been a huge fan of 21-year-old Hedges since “Manchester By The Sea” and he was great in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

It also stars out pop star Troye Sivan.

“Boy Erased” hits theaters November 2, 2018.

“THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST”

The other “gay conversion” movie, The Miseducation of Cameron Post” starring Chloe Grace Moretz, debuted last weekend, in very limited release.

In just two theaters, it had an incredible box average of $26,500!

Chloe is a great actress and I can’t wait to see her stunning performance.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

As the fourth season ended in May, it was bittersweet.  I smiled, but I wanted to cry.

Madam Secretary Elizabeth McCord tells her husband Henry, that she wants to run for president.

He replies, “I’m with you!”

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MORE “MADAM SECRETARY” (BIG GUEST STARS!)

When the fifth season of kicks off Sunday, October 7th on CBS, the shows will have some heavy hitters making guest star appearances.

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Colin Powell, and Madeleine Albright will star.

This will be Albright’s second appearance on the show.  She guest starred in 2015.

P.S.  In 45’s revolving door of cabinet and staff, whoever is Secretary of State was probably not invited. 🙂

THEY SAID WHAT — ABOUT 45???

Madonna (to “Vogue Italia”):  “I felt like we needed a change, and I wanted to get out of America for a minute ― as you know, this is not America’s finest hour.”\

Hollywood show runner Ryan Murphy (on having a 1980s version of “that man” on his FX hit series “Pose” and then scrapping the idea):  “I just don’t want to see him. I do not want to see that face, didn’t want to hear that voice, didn’t want that presence to pollute something very pure and beautiful. We almost never say his name, it’s a Pavlovian cringe at this point. I think it was a right decision.”

Republican South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham:

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“WHO IS AMERICA”

If you haven’t seen this Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime series, you’re missing out on mind-boggling reality television!

I call it reality because, sadly, it shows how really f***ed up some are in this country!

The blatant racism is sad to watch and the things people say or do to show their blind love for 45 is just incredible.

After his ignorant and racist appearance on the show, Republican Georgia lawmaker Jason Spencer resigned his position.

Here’s what I tweeted to Cohen and Showtime about the show.

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Cohen also duped former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.  It’s unknown if that segment will air or not!

RETURN DATES ON MY FAVORITE SHOWS

Now that “Pose”, “Dietland”, “Claws”, and “Sharp Objects” are done or winding down and “The Sinner” is just getting started, I can’t wait for my next round of favorite series to return this fall.

Here are the return dates on those:

September 12 — “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” (FX)

ahs

The first trailer came out earlier this week!

September 23 & 24 — “9-1-1” (FOX) (2-night premiere)

September 24 — “The Good Doctor” (ABC)

September 27 — “How To Get Away With Murder” (ABC)

October 7 — “Madam Secretary’ (CBS)

November 2 — “House of Cards” (Netflix)

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Still no date on the return of season 4 of “Mr. Robot” (USA).

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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90s NOSTALGIA

In the late-1980s and 1990s (and beyond), I was obsessed with Taylor Dayne and her music.

I’ve seen her in concert twice (and almost a third time, but we won’t talk about that).

My favorite album is still “Can’t Fight Fate” from 1989.

That album produced Taylor’s only #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Love Will Lead You Back”, and two more Top Five hits, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, and this one, the album’s lead single, “With Every Beat of My Heart”.

This is such a stunning and sexy video!

“Heart of Stone”, the fourth single, peaked at #12 on the Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 20, 2018

July is moving right along and before you know it, it’ll be August!  I hope you’re having a great summer and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

DEAR CANADA

Will you please share Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with us here in the U.S.?  We’re heading into crisis mode!

JT

TRUMP-PUTIN LOVE AFFAIR

45 and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland earlier this week and 45 basically says he trusts his buddy more than American intelligence.  (Seriously, him debating anyone’s intelligence?)

Trump Putin.JPG

You know my thoughts without me expressing them.  So, I’ll let fellow Republicans speak their mind of the summit, or as Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) calls it, “a tragic mistake”.

McCain calls it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) says it was NOT “a good moment for our country. This was a very good day for President Putin” and that Trump made the U.S. “look like a pushover”.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says there’s “no question” that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and this about “that man” (45): “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

BREAKING NEWS… 24 HOURS LATER.  45 claims that he misspoke.  Whatev!

HeatherMooney

JUST A FEW THINGS RUSSIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF…

Interfering in the 2016 American presidential election, buying the right to host the World Cup soccer tournament, condemning and making the lives of the LGBTQ community miserable, and poisoning people with substandard street alcohol… for starters.

DAN QUAYLE, REST EASY…

You’ll likely not be remembered as the most useless Vice President in recent American history.

Quayle

Mike Pence is giving you one hell of a run for your money!

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This photo of just another old white man standing around gives credence to the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”!

What has he really done as vice president?  I can answer that with two comments:  (1) With his boss that wants, needs, and lives for the spotlight, nothing, and (2) with his hateful views, I’m glad he doesn’t have power to do anything!

I really don’t think that 45 will run again in 2020, although he says he will and is already setting the stage for it.

If he does run, I hope there’s a Republican that’ll pull a stunt like Ronald Reagan did in 1976 or Ted Kennedy in 1980 and be successful.  Both Reagan and Kennedy failed in their efforts in trying to steal the nominations from sitting presidents (Ford in 1976 and Carter in 1980).

Hopefully, a “sea of blue” in the 2018 midterm elections in November and the 2020 presidential election will end the current rhetoric of “Make America Hate Again”!

And, then Mike Pence can take his misguided interpretation that God stands for hate and fade away into obscurity.

“MAMMA MIA:  HERE WE GO AGAIN”

I absolutely love and adore the 2008 original starring Meryl Streep and the fabulous music of ABBA!

With that being said, I WILL NOT being seeing the sequel out in theaters now!  That’s all I’ll say since I don’t believe in spoilers.

Full disclosure:  I may break down and watch it on DVD one day!

CHER DOES ABBA

On a happier note, the iconic and legendary Cher will be releasing an album of ABBA covers in September!

Cher says, “It’s not what you would think of when you think of ABBA, ’cause I did it in a different way.”

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In “Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again”, Cher plays Sophie’s grandmother and Donna’s mother.

EMMY NOMINATIONS HITS & MISSES

Last week, the Emmy nominations were announced and I’m excited that FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story” picked up 18 nods, the most for a Limited Series!

Criss

As I predicted, Darren Criss was nominated for “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Andrew Cunanan in “Versace”.

Miglin

Also, I said that Judith Light would be pick up a nod for “Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Marilyn Maglin, the wife of one of Cunanan’s victims.

I’m happy that Finn Wittrock was nominated in the supporting actor category, but I was a little surprised that Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, and Ricky Martin were also nominated in supporting roles.

And, as I expected, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated in the “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for Patrick Melrose.

However, I’m disappointed that Jennifer Jason Leigh was snubbed as his mother, Eleanor.

JJL

Also, bummed that Evan Peters was overlooked for “American Horror Story: Cult”. But, there is some happy news — two of his castmates, Sarah Paulson and Adina Porter were nominated.

spoiler-alert

Beware a “Nasty Woman” and two Emmy nominees (Paulson and Porter)!

Contains strong language and violence!!!

Again, no nomination for Peters!!!!

Finally, no love for AMC’s “The Terror”.

KINDNESS

If you haven’t been watching “Pose”, you’re missing out on an incredible period of life in LGBTQ culture and a show that’s so damn heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time!

In a recent episode, Pray Tell (Billy Porter) doesn’t hold back when he retaliated against Blanca’s transphobic and homophobic siblings after their mother’s funeral.

Kindness.gif

“Kindness doesn’t cost you anything.”

Pray Tell, tell it!!!

“DIETLAND”

I first wrote about “Dietland” (the book) in January 2016 and I’ve become Twitter friends with the amazing author, Sarai Walker.

Sarai Walker

Dietland

Now, “Dietland” is a hit AMC series.

Not every woman is a size zero and trying to get there can kill you or get you killed if you’re one to degrade women or fat girls!

Okay, before you think I’m insensitive to use the word “fat”, instead of “full figured”, “large”, or “overweight”, you need to understand what Walker wants people to know about these beautiful women!

The series stars an incredible Joy Nash, as Plum, a mostly reclusive 300-pound-plus woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to young women.

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She works for a very demanding, gorgeous, piranha of a woman named Kitty Montgomery (Julianna Margulies).

Next year when Emmy nominations are announced, I hope that both Nash and Marguilies get a nod!

The 10-episode series concludes on July 30, 2018, so you still have time to binge watch it before the finale.

Here’s my original blog on Walker’s book (clicking on this link will open it in a new window)

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

FARMERS’ MARKETS

Since moving to Duluth, I haven’t been to a farmers’ market, yet peaches 🍑 and grapefruits are on my mind!

Maybe that has to do with “Call Me By Your Name” and “Girls Trip”.  If you’ve seen both of those movies, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t, I won’t tell! 🙂

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Grapefruiting.jpg

I’m still thinking of juicy peaches! 🍑 🙂

SPEAKING OF PEACHES! 🍑

Armie Hammer told Stephen Colbert recently that people are bringing him peaches 🍑 to autograph.

Wondering what people did with those peaches 🍑, Hammer says,  “Watch it wither like Donald Trump’s presidency.”  (and this was even before 45 spoke, misspoke in Helsinki!)

“GEORGE MICHAEL: FREEDOM”

There’s an incredible documentary on Showtime about music icon George Michael.

While I knew much of what was covered, it was heartbreaking to hear George talk about finally meeting the man of his dreams only to have his lover become ill and die of AIDS not long into the relationship.

It was very interesting to hear how George became a staple at black radio and then once he won awards in that genre over black artists, he became a pariah in that format.

Michael was found dead at his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day 2016. A coroner’s report attributed his death to natural causes.

I think he died of a broken heart and loneliness!

If you think you’ll never watch the documentary, this longer trailer gives you much more of the George Michael story.

MY FAVORITE GEORGE MICHAEL HITS

5

“FAITH” (1987)

So damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4

“FREEDOM ’90” (1987)

green 3

“ONE MORE TRY” (1988)

#2 CD

“I WANT YOUR SEX” (1987)

Again, so damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another number 1

“I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” featuring Aretha Franklin (1987)

Bonus

FAVORITE WHAM! SONG

As much as I love “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Last Christmas”, and “Everything She Wants”, “I’m Your Man” (1985) is my favorite Wham! song.

Bonus

“JESUS TO A CHILD” (1996)

I didn’t realize how emotional and touching this song was until I heard the story behind it — finally falling in love and coming out and then losing your lover without getting to spend much time together! 😦

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 6, 2018

I hope you had a great Fourth of July and you’re ready for the weekend.

In retrospective, my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week were a little bleak.  This week, it’s happier.  Well, once you get past the second one!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

HAPPY 72ND ANNIVERSARY

My favorite president and his wonderful wife are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary this weekend.

Autograph Carters

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were married on July 7, 1946, at the Plains Methodist Church.

He was 21 and just out of the Navy and she was 18.

Interesting tidbit:  Just months earlier, she said “no” when he first asked her to marry him. 🙂

THE “TRANSGENDER” STATE

In America, it’s pretty much a given that straight, white men run the country and most businesses.  That’s slowly changing.

Even in the LGBTQ community, it’s usually white, gay men at the forefront when it comes to being more privileged and in positions of power.  That’s slowly changing, too.

Sadly, it’s the “T” part of LGBTQ, our transgender brothers and sisters, that feel the brunt of hysteria and discrimination from not only straight America, but even from within our own community!  It’s shameful!

It’s bad enough that the government is trying to keep the trans community out of the military, but they also have to fight just for the right to use bathrooms without people thinking there are ulterior motives like child molestation.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  As of 2009 worldwide, at least one transgender person is murdered every three days on average!

Here in America, there’s been an increase in the number of transgender men and women killed and a large number of those are transgender women of color!

Brandy

In 2017, there were at least 28 trans people murdered!

So far this year in the U.S., there have been thirteen trans people killed, including three in Jacksonville, Florida, prompting some there to think a serial killer is targeting the trans community!

I have several transgender friends and one is a very dear friend.  She’s bright and she’s very vocal in pointing out all of the atrocities that she and the community go through in daily life.

I hope she remains safe and always WOKE!

“POSE”

Our trans friends are just like everyone else and they want the same things everyone else wants!  Some lead quiet lives and some want the glamour and fame!

That’s the focus of uber-producer and Hollywood heavyweight Ryan Murphy’s latest FX series, “Pose”.

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It’s set in New York City in the late-1980s and focuses on the underground world of “ball culture”.  (Oh, there’s also corporate greed and “white privilege” — compliments of those in Trump Tower!)

Most people are unfamiliar with “ball culture”.  It’s basically drag contests in the underground world where contestants compete for trophies to see which “house”, usually a group of outcasts seeking security from a family and a “mother”, the queen of that house.

“Ball culture” is the topic of Jenny Livingston’s landmark documentary, “Paris is Burning” and the inspiration for Madonna’s 1990 career-defining worldwide hit, “Vogue”, that made “posing” and “voguing” mainstream!

In “Pose”, we have the prominent “House of Abundance” led by Elektra (the amazing Dominique Jackson), which takes most of the trophies at the balls.  Elektra is like the Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan of “Dynasty”.

Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance.jpg

Yes, “Dynasty” is brought up — it’s the late-1980s.

The drama escalates when one of her “children”, Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), leaves and starts the “House of Evangelista”.  She becomes the Krystal Carrington,  if you will.

While I love Dominique Jackson’s evil (and she truly is) portrayal of Elektra, Mj Rodriguez’s Blanca is my favorite.  She’s loving, caring, hard-headed, and heartbreaking.

Blanca 1

Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) is fabulous as the emcee of the balls and Blanca’s friend.

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“Pose” features the largest transgender cast ever assembled on television.

What I love about “Pose” is the real story lines.  You’d think you were living right there with them — from the transphobia directed at them not only from straight America, but also the yuppie, white gay boys.

One of the characters is diagnosed with HIV early on and “Pose” does not hold back on showing how many in the medical field dealt with those dying of AIDS.

Ronald Reagan doesn’t get a “free pass” for his ignorance, denial, and handling of the AIDS plague either.

And, the music is fantabulous!

I hope “Pose” is renewed for a second season.  However, ratings for the series are really low. 😦

“DON’T JUST STAND THERE — STRIKE A POSE!”

In 1990, Madonna’s “Vogue” topped the charts in more than 30 counties and became the biggest selling single in the world that year with more than six million copies sold!

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR FOOD

Once I landed the job in Duluth, Minnesota, in early April, I stayed in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill my apartment lease and to get my old station through the May ratings period.

Now I wish I had moved here earlier to take time off to go to the Minnesota State Fair for the “Life Tour” —  Boy George and Culture Club, The B-52s, and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey — all on the same bill on Labor Day!

And, I’d love to sample some of the new food this year — Za-Waffle Sticks (waffles blended with pepperoni and mozzarella, topped with a parmesan herb blend and served with pepperoni-infused maple syrup or marinara sauce) and Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs (flaky phyllo dough filled with feta and ricotta cheese, deep-fried, drizzled with honey and topped with powdered sugar.).

But, my favorite new offering there is one I think I can make at home with a little experimenting — Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado!

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It’s Gulf white shrimp tossed with lime, onion, black beans, tomato and fire-roasted corn in a garlic aioli (mayonnaise seasoned with garlic), drizzled with cilantro-infused olive oil, stuffed in avocado halves and served open-face with flatbread!

That’s similar to one of my favorite appetizers to make — Shrimp Ceviche , which is pictured here!  (Yes, I made these!)Shrimp C

WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME

This Showtime documentary was incredible!

It didn’t shy away from Whitney’s drug use as a teenager, her fear of disappointing God, the rumors about whether she was a lesbian or bisexual, and her spiral out of control that ultimately cost her her life in early 2012.

It was mind-boggling hearing that people were more comfortable ignoring her abuses of drugs and alcohol than it was to accept that she might be a lesbian black woman!

A new “Whitney” documentary hits theaters this weekend.

If you’re a Whitney Houston fan, what are your favorite songs?

Here are my ten favorites.  Of course, it was hard making this list because she had so many amazing songs.

By clicking on this link, it’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/remembering-whitney-houston/

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth a month ago, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

When I visited Chicago over Memorial Day weekend 1994, I made my decision to move there and six weeks later I was living in the “Windy City”.

While there for Memorial Day, we partied at the Gentry on Rush and I heard “Dreams” by English singer Gabrielle and I fell in love with the song and, ultimately, the album.

While the song hit the Top Ten in more than a dozen countries in 1993 and 1994, it only reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, it did top the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart here in the U.S.

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 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.

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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

Random Friday Thoughts — February 7, 2014

After a very busy weekend last weekend, I’m happy that I only have one function this weekend.

On Sunday, I’ll be judging a chili cook-off and cookie contest.  Otherwise, it’s a movie watching two days of relaxation.  I hope you have a great weekend.

Thanks for checking out my random thoughts today.

SUPER BOWL — HAPPY THOUGHT

I’m not a football fan, but I know that Seattle blew Denver away, that Bruno Mars got rave reviews for his halftime performance, and that Super Bowl 48 was the most watched television event ever with 111.5 viewers.

And, since Madonna or Beyonce wasn’t performing, I didn’t watch.  However, leading up to the big game, I was touched by this commercial.  Although I only saw three commercials, I’m partial to this one.

It’s been viewed 44 million times on YouTube and, incredibly, about six thousand people gave it a “thumbs down” or “dislike”.  What kind of people are they?

SUPER BOWL — SAD THOUGHT

Probably the same kind of people who are appalled by Coca-Cola’s commercial, “It’s Beautiful”.

Coca Cola

The ad features “America The Beautiful” sung in seven different languages to show what the company calls our country’s “incredible diversity”.

Here’s what Fox News’ Todd Starnes had to say.

Todd Starnes

And, he wasn’t alone!

Anti Coke Tweets

How do these hateful Tweeters know that those featured in the commercials didn’t speak English and were just singing in their native language?  I admit that if I moved to a foreign country, I would learn that country’s language, but I’d also speak English, my first language.

But, there were also some very positive Tweets.

Coca Cola Tweet

I wish the haters could comprehend what Coast Life Guy had to say.

Diversity and tolerance, we’re not there yet and we may never be.  But, I hope that we continue to make strides in the right direction!  Maybe we need to just think back to this 1971 Coca-Cola commercial.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cat Lady Starter KitLet It Snow 5 Stages of Winter

MORE SNOW THIS WEEKEND?

A little clipper system dropping across the Midwest Saturday will bring 1-3″ of snow to the area with the heaviest falling across the north.

This has been a very cold and snowy winter, so far!

Temperatures are running about 10° below average this winter and we’ve had 25 mornings with below zero temperatures in the Quad Cities.

Even before this next snow, this ranks as the 27th snowiest winter on record in the Quad Cities. Only 5.2″ of snow would push us from#27 to #10, so we’ll be jumping up this list this weekend!  (The graphic below was updated Saturday with the new snowfall added, so we are higher than 27th now!)

Snowiest Quad City Winters

After more bitter cold early next week, a warming trend FINALLY kicks in by the middle and end of next week!

ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Now that I have your attention, this is serious and not a joke.  Ladies, listen up.  Yes, I said ladies.  Men can read it, too.

Did you know that erectile dysfunction is one of the first signs of cardiovascular disease?  While I’ve heard that before, I was glancing through the March 2013 “Family Circle” magazine and Dr. Lawrence Hakin at The Cleveland Clinic Florida added that “It can predate a heart attack by up to five years”.

And, I even took the high road in this public service announcement by not showing a picture!  🙂

MEANWHILE… THAT HIGH ROAD DIDN’T LAST LONG

I think Ben Affleck is hot.  I absolutely loved the ’70s look in “Argo”.

Argo-Ben-Affleck

I got a good laugh and had a few indecent thoughts over a joke CBS producer Chuck Lorre (“The Big Bang Theory”, “Two and a Half Men”, and many more) told at the Producer Guild Awards in late January when he was accepting a career achievement award.

Lorre joked with the crowd that he was standing next to Affleck in the bathroom, “Yes I peeked. And yes, Comic Con, he can play Batman.”

ben-affleck-batman-t-shirt

As you might know, the fanboy/fangirl world was turned upside down when it was announced that Affleck would play Batman in the new untitled Superman/Batman” movie in May 2016.

Affleck laughed at Lorre’s joke and followed it up onstage with this joke about his genitals, “Thank you very much.  Whoever you are, God bless you. I’m often confused with Matt Damon but rarely with Michael Fassbender, so it was a nice change.”

Chuck Lorre

There was so much uproar about Lorre’s joke that the producer issued this statement, “Not that it really matters, but the joke I made at the Producers Guild Awards regarding Ben Affleck’s genitals being of sufficient size to fill the caped crusader’s codpiece was just that, a joke. I’ve never met Mr. Affleck in or out of a men’s room. Nor am I in the habit of peeking at another guy’s junk while standing at a urinal.”

People, chill out.  It was funny.

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

It’s no secret that I absolutely adore Kylie Minogue and I hope that I get to see her in concert when she tours next.

Kylie has sold about 70 million records worldwide.  In the U.S., she’s had 5 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with two of them reaching the Top Ten.  However, in the U.K, Kylie has scored 49 Top 40 hits with 35 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 8 topped the charts!

I know I featured the lyric video to her new song last week, but here is the official video and she looks incredible!

Kiss Me Once

The new album, “Kiss Me Once” comes out March 18, 2014.

“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!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Olivia Newton-John just announced this week that she’ll be playing 45 shows from April through August in the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel and Casino!

Olivia

Earlier this year, I blogged that I want to see her in concert this year.  This might be my chance to see her and catch Shania Twain and Britney Spears, too.

The English-born, Australian-raised singer first charted in the United States in 1971 with the #25 pop hit, “If Not For You”.

However, she became an international superstar when she scored five consecutive top ten hits on both the pop and country charts at the same time beginning in 1973.

On the country chart, Olivia had 13 top 40 hits.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

“Let Me Be There” was her first Top Ten hit in America in 1973 reaching #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #7 on the Billboard Country chart.

That song won Olivia her first Grammy for “Best Female Country Vocal Performance”.  She also won numerous country music awards beginning in 1973 and in the years to come, too.

Olivia Physical

Olivia’s 1981 hit, “Physical” is one of the biggest songs of all-time.  It stayed at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for ten weeks.  This came after her huge success in the movie, “Grease”, which made $394.5 million in 1978 and the soundtrack spawned three top 5 hits.

Olivia would go on to hit the top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 27 times with 15 of those songs reaching the top ten.  She reached the #1 spot on the Hot 100 with “I Honestly Love You” in 1974, “Have You Never Been Mellow” in 1975, “You’re The One That I Want” with John Travolta from “Grease” in 1978, “Magic” in 1980, and “Physical”.

While I could not pick my favorite Olivia song because I love the country songs, the pop songs, and the dance songs, the one that always make me smile and sing along was the #8 title track from her 1980 movie, “Xanadu”.  The song featured the Electric Light Orchestra.

DON’T BLAME CANADA, YOU GOTTA LOVE IT

The 2014 Winter Olympics are underway in Sochi, Russia.  So far, there hasn’t been a lot of love for the hosting city or country from terror threats, poor accommodations for many attending the games, Russia’s anti-gay legislation, and the list goes on.

In full Olympics spirit, the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion has a message for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his cronies.

“Don’t You Want Me” by the Human League is still one of my favorite songs of all time and now I’ll smile even more when I hear it.

That’s it for this week.  Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about anything I had to say, whether you agree with me or not.

Anthony