Posts Tagged ‘Sochi 2014 Olympics’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 14, 2014

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

champagne

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

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

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

BEST WISHES TO MICHAEL SAM

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

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

Michael Sam

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

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

Bette Midler

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

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

Sam Wheeler Kent State Wrestler

ZOMBIES SLAY OLYMPIANS

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

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

The Walking Dead

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

RACIST SOCHI TWEET?

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

Rodnina

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

Racist Sochi Tweet

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

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

Your thoughts?

THIS “ARROW” HITS THE BULLS EYE

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

Stephen Amell

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHTS

Weather ChannelSnow

Davenport Cold

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

SO LONG, MULDER & SCULLY

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

the_x_files_i_want_to_believe-wallpaper

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

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

HELLO FISHER FAMILY OF FREAKS

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

six feet under

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

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

PICK HIT

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

Hailey Rowe

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

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

“CAPTAIN PHILLIPS”

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

Captain Phillips

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“RUNNER RUNNER”

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

Runner Runner

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

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

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

GRADE:  C

NEW TWITTER FOLLOWER

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

Andy Bell

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

Andy 2

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

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

“BABYCAKES” & “SIGNIFICANT OTHERS”

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

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

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

babycakes

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

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

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

SIGNIFICANT OTHERS

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

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

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

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

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

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

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

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

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

Anthony

Advertisements

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

Random Friday Thoughts — January 31, 2014

Another weekend is here.  Do you have big plans?  I’m emceeing a fashion show tonight and tomorrow is my company’s Christmas party.  ‘Tis the season.

As always, on Friday, I share some of my random thoughts and I welcome your feedback.

SNOW AND MORE SNOW

This January, the Quad Cities is already the record book as one of the ten snowiest Januarys on record at #7.  So far, 17.7″ of snow has accumulated this month and more could be added before midnight.  However, the heavier snow will come late Friday night and Saturday.

A “Winter Weather Advisory” and a “Winter Storm Warning” covers the area and goes into effect Friday evening into Saturday evening.

Warnings Advisories

(Editor’s note:  Only the “Advisories” map was updated.  The snow projections are still looking good.)

Here is how much snow I’m forecasting today, tonight, and Saturday.

Snow Today & Tomorrow

KEEP UP ON THE LATEST FORECAST BECAUSE THIS COULD CHANGE!

The bottom line is that I don’t mind the snow.  I just wish we could keep the bitter cold away!

GRAMMY LOVE & HATE

This is not about Taylor Swift going home empty-handed after she thought she won “Album of the Year”.

Taylor Didn't Win

At the 56th annual Grammy Awards last Sunday night, the big winners were the French electronic duo Daft Punk taking home five trophies and Paul McCartney and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis each winning four awards.

Grammy’s Best New Artist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their same-sex marriage anthem “Same Love” with Mary Lambert and Madonna.   Toward the end of the song, rapper and talk show host, Queen Latifah married 33 straight and gay couples.  Latifah was sworn in as a commissioner by the state of California to perform the ceremony and her powers ended that night at midnight.

Macklemore, Mary Lambert, Madonna, Ryan Lewis, Queen Latifah

It was a happy time for those on stage and for many celebrities.

Happy about Same Love

Meanwhile, others were not happy and definitely didn’t share any love on Twitter.

Anti Same Love 1 Anti Same Love 2

What do you think?

GRIMM NEEDS TO RESIGN!

New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who’s been under a two-year investigation about his 2010 campaign fundraising, needs to resign after threatening  a reporter Tuesday night.

Grimm

After the interview that Grimm walked away on, Capitol Hill reporter Michael Scotto closed by saying, “Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances … but as you saw he refused to talk about that”.  At that point, Grimm comes back and allegedly tells the reporter, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”

Grimm issued this statement after the altercation, “I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”

I’m sorry Congressman Grimm, but telling a reporter off and threatening to break him in half and throwing him off a balcony is not just telling someone off!

As a reporter that was thrown against a car in Lubbock, Texas, by someone who didn’t want a story done about them, I find your comments belligerent and unprofessional.  Go away!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Spring Already

Snowman HostageHuman Interaction

SOCHI IS A HARD SALE

One week from today, the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, Russia.

Whether it’s the economy, the terrorist threats, or the fact that the games are being held in Russia, which has displayed so much encompassing love to all people in the past year (sarcasm), tickets are not selling like in past games.

SOC_Olympic logoRGB

Around the middle of January, Sochi organizers say that 70% of tickets have been sold for the games.  These tickets went on sale in February 2013 and ranged in price from 500 rubles ($15) to 40,000 rubles ($1,200).

Four years ago, 97% of the 1.54 million tickets available for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada were sold.  And, 97% of the 8.5 million tickets for the 2012 Summer Games in London were snatched up.

SOCHI HAS NONE OF THEM!

Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of Sochi, Russia, is certain that his city has no gay people!  He told the BBC, “We do not have them in our city.”

Anatoly Pakhomov

When the journalist told him that he was in the city’s gay bar the night before, the mayor added, “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”

So, if you’re keeping count, there are no gays in Sochi or Iran!

AND, RUSSIA IS CONCERNED WITH GAYS?

In the February/March 2014 issue of “The Advocate”, it’s reported that the HIV infection rate in Russia is twice as high as the United States.  In the numbers that were released last month, 58% of cases result from intravenous drug use, 40% from heterosexual sex, and 2% from “other”, which includes gay sex.

HIV AIDS

Russia should not be focused on gay people as the root of all evil.  If the HIV/AIDS rates were not bad enough, the country has the world’s highest abortion rate.  One reason, the magazine reports, is there is such a stigma when it comes to buying condoms that abortion is most prevalent form of contraception.  Insane!

I really do feel for the people of Russia, even though as I blogged last fall, a Pew Research Center survey shows that 74% of Russians think that gay people should not be accepted by society!

Anti-Gay Russia

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

“I’ve got chills and they’re multiplying” and it has nothing to do with a young John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John.

If you love “Grease”, check out these Swedish Marines in Afghanistan and their rendition of “Greased Lightning.”

UNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE

Does William Shakespeare’s style of writing confuse you when you read it?

If you’re never read Shakespeare or it’s been a long time, have no fear.  I have a short “Hamlet” monologue by Tom Sandoval from the Bravo show, “Vanderpump Rules” for you to enjoy.

Don’t worry because there won’t be a quiz afterwards.  You’ll likely be distracted and not comprehend a thing!

“BLUE JASMINE”

The latest Woody Allen movie, “Blue Jasmine” is up for two Oscar acting awards:  Cate Blanchett for Best Actress and Sally Hawkins for Best Supporting Actress.

blue_jasmine

Blanchett is Jasmine, a New York City socialite who loses everything because of her husband’s shady business dealing.  Broke, she heads to San Fransisco to live with her sister, Ginger, and her two children in a poorer part of town in a small, confining apartment.

This is Blanchett’s sixth Oscar nomination.  She won for Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for “The Aviator”.  In “Blue Jasmine”, she’s incredible as the pill-popping and boozing woman who has to start over and even learn how to hold down a job.

It’s heartbreaking when you learn that pills, alcohol, and having no money may not be the worst of Jasmine’s problems.

It’s going to be a close Oscar race between Blanchett and Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”.

GRADE:  B+

PICK HIT

International superstar and one of my favorite entertainers, Kylie Minogue is back with a new song, “Into The Blue”, the first single from her latest album, “Kiss Me Once” that comes out March 18, 2014.

Kiss Me Once

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 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 really hope that she tours in 2014 and that I get to see her!

“MORE TALES OF THE CITY”

I’m on a roll with my reading.  It really helps that I’ve been spending a lot of time on the treadmill.  Since January 2nd, I’ve lost 6.6 pounds.  I’ve hit brick wall now and the weight loss from here on out is going to more difficult and slower.

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

More Tales of The City

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

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

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

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

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

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Missouri-born country singer Sara Evans will release her seventh studio album, “Slow Me Down” in March.  The title track is her new single and it became her 19th Top 40 hit on the Billboard Country chart.

Sara Evans

Her first four singles generated buzz for Sara, but they failed to reach the Top 40.  The second single from her second album was the one to do it.  “No Place That Far” not only became her first Top 40 hit, it was also her first #1 song in 1999.

Of her 19 Top 40 country hits, nine have hit the Top Ten, and five, including, “No Place That Far” have topped the chart:  “Born To Fly” (2001), “Suds In The Bucket” (2004), “A Real Fine Place To Start” (2005), and “A Little Bit Stronger” (2011).

I saw Sara in concert in August 2001 in Buffalo, New York, as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” tour that also featured Martina McBride, Jamie O’Neal, and Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

Be safe out there and enjoy your weekend.  I know some of you read my random thoughts each Friday and some may have seen them for the first time today because of the snow forecast included in today’s blog.  I appreciate it.  Feel free to check back and see what I have to say.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 24, 2014

Friday is here and that means the weekend gets underway soon!  This evening, I’ll be saying a few words in front of a crowd of thousands for the rodeo that’s in town.  This will be interesting because I’ve never even been to a rodeo!  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“THE BACHELOR” SAYS WHAT?

This is a case of having the right to believe what you want, but not having the intelligence to filter your words.

Juan Pablo

Juan Carlos Galavis, the hunky star of ABC’s  “The Bachelor”, may have shown his true colors last Friday night and then used the lame of excuse of claiming English is not his first language.

When asked whether there would ever be a bisexual or gay “bachelor”, he replied that he didn’t and “honestly, I don’t think it’s a good example for kids”.  I can deal with that because, even though I disagree, that’s his opinion.

However, the media hungry reality star kept talking and this is what ticked me off.  He added, “there’s this thing about gay people… it seems to me, and I don’t know if I’m mistaken or not… but they’re more ‘pervert’ in a sense.  And to me the show would be too strong… too hard to watch.”

Excuse me, did you say “pervert”?

bachelor-juan-pablo34

Well, it didn’t take long for Galavis to be contacted by ABC, the show’s producers, or his manager, because he issued this apology, “My vocabulary is not as broad as it is in Spanish and, because of this, sometimes I use the wrong words to express myself.  What I meant to say was that gay people are more affectionate and intense and for a segment of the TV audience this would be too racy to accept…  Once again, I’m sorry for how my words were taken. I would never disrespect anyone.”

Please don’t use language as your excuse for being close-minded!

Yelena Isinbayeva

Last August, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva made anti-gay comments and apologized by saying, “English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday.”

Just as I said back then, I don’t speak foreign languages as a second language, so if I’m going to make derogatory comments, “I’ll do it in English, a language I can fluently speak” to avoid “misunderstanding”!

SALLY KERN IS THE “HUMAN WRONG”

And, why I’m talking about people who tick me off, I can’t leave out habitual anti-gay Oklahoma Republican state representative Sally Kern.

Sally Kern

Recently, when a Oklahoma judge ruled the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, Kern replied, “Homosexuality is not a civil right. “It’s a human wrong. Homosexuals are saying this is who we are. This is how we’re born. You tell a lie long enough, people begin to believe it.”

Obviously, you’ve believed the lie that you’re not a bigot long enough that you believe it!

BAD FEELING ABOUT SOCHI GAMES

Months ago, I blogged my support for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi (Russia).

boycott-sochi-2014

Now, with more and more talk about the threat of terrorism and the recent bombings in Russia, I feel more uneasy.

Of course, the reason for my initial call for a boycott was over Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government’s anti-gay laws and his empty assurances that gay people will not be mistreated during the Games.

I guess this teenager, Pavel Lebedev, getting tackled and detained for holding up a rainbow flag doesn’t count because the Olympics haven’t started yet!

Seriously, it’s a flag, not a weapon!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Winter

SpringSmile

SNAP, SNAP, MISS LABELLE

“All these little heifers who can’t sing are called divas.”

patti-labelle

Whatever you do, don’t call R&B and pop legend Patti LaBelle a “diva”!

“That word is used so loosely that I don’t even consider myself a diva.  I always considered myself a woman who sings her heart out and who gives 120 percent. ‘Diva’ is a word that I wouldn’t wanna call myself because it’s so loosely used. It’s not cute anymore.”

Ms. LaBelle went on to call today’s pop stars “a hot mess”.

hotmess

LaBelle:  “Well, for opera singers, and for ladies who earned it, but that was way, way back when. Now you can look up to them, but you might not see what you wanna see. A hot mess! People who are doing it and doing it with about 40 people on stage with them to hide their pitifulness—that’s not a word, but you know what I mean.”

For the record, Patti LaBelle has scored 24 Billboard R&B hits as a solo artist and 10 more with Labelle.  However, on the Billboard Hot 100, she only had 3 solo Top 40 hits:  “New Attitude” (#17, 1985), “On My Own” (#1, 1986, with Michael McDonald), and “Oh People” (#29, 1986).

“THE FOLLOWING” SEASON 2 PREMIERE

Fox’s “The Following” kicked off its second season last Sunday night and it was incredible.  It also scored the highest ratings ever coming after the NFC Championship football game.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

Creepy, murderous “followers” of serial killer Joe Carroll are still out to honor him and kill for him.  However, now his loyal group has to contend with copycat groups hellbent on violence and they even have Carroll masks.

Carroll Masks

Emma, one of the Carroll’s followers and lovers from season one, is back and was rather subdued in the season two premiere.  And, while I love the character, her punk look has to go!

The Following - Sam Underwood

My favorite new character in season two is Luke played by English actor Sam Underwood.  You might remember him as the protegé of “Dexter” in the Showtime series’ final season.

Sam Underwood -- Dexter

Without giving away any real spoilers, Underwood was amazing and made creepy, sadistic, and sick look sexy.  I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot of Underwood in “The Following”.  However, because no one is safe on this show, except maybe Kevin Bacon’s “Ryan Hardy”, I can’t say how long Underwood will be on the show.  But, Emma survived all of last season!

And, what makes Underwood, the actor, even cooler is that he “favorited” one of my tweets earlier this week!

Sam Underwood Tweet

If you missed the season two premiere, Fox is airing it again Monday night (January 27, 8 p.m. ET) before an all new episode.

KE$HA HEALTH UPDATE

As I blogged two weeks ago, pop star Ke$ha checked herself into rehab for 30 days for an eating disorder.  She’s being treated at a facility outside of Chicago.

Kesha and Mom

Ke$ha’s mom, songwriter Pebe Sebert, tells “People” magazine, “I’ve watched my beautiful, self-confident, brilliant daughter be berated and ridiculed for her looks and weight to the point that she almost died.”

Sebert goes on to add, “The doctors told me her blood pressure and sodium levels were so low, they’d never seen it that low except with someone who’d had a heart attack or stroke. They said it was a miracle she hadn’t already dropped dead on stage.”

If you or someone you know is fighting anorexia and/or bulimia, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association at 1-800-931-2237 or check out their website, http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

OBESITY MORE OF A PROBLEM THAN MALNUTRITION

As I was reading an old issue of “Eating Well” magazine (June 2013), I learned that in 1990, malnutrition ranked as the top health risk around the world and being overweight was down at #11.

Obesity

A report by the Global Burden of Disease, made up of 500 scientists in 50 countries, now states that for the first time, being overweight is now up to 6th place and malnutrition has dropped to 8th place!

HEALTHY EATING UPDATE

We’re still doing well on our healthy eating choices and walking.  I’ve now lost 5.6 pounds , so far, in January and Ray is down 4 pounds.  We’re still treating ourselves one cheat meal (i.e. buffet) each week and we’ve cut back on the potent potables.

By spending more time on the treadmill, I’m keeping up on my magazines and I just completed my third book of 2014!

ARMISTEAD MAUPIN’S “TALES OF THE CITY”

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

Tales of the City Book

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

Armistead

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

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

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

Tales Miniseries

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

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

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

“THE X-FILES”

I’m getting all melancholy again as I near the end of “The X-Files”.  What?  Yes, I know that the series ended its nine-year run in 2002, but I’m watching it again.

The X-Files Season 9

While I’ve seen the entire series, Ray never saw it.  So, we’re binge-watching all 202 episodes and the two feature films.

We’re down to the last 13 episodes.  SPOILER ALERT, Ray!  I hope that I find the series finale more exciting this time than I did the first time!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Dave & Sugar, a country trio, racked up 16 hits on the Billboard Country charts from 1975-1981.  Eleven of those songs made the top ten and three topped the chart.

I don’t know if I moved on from them after their first hit because I don’t remember the other 15 songs.  However, I loved “Queen of the Silver Dollar”, their debut song that only reached #25.

THAT’S ALL

While I have many more random thoughts, I don’t want to exhaust you.  Have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking our my blog.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 25. 2013

Greetings this Friday morning from Germany!

In the past week, we’ve been to Zurich (Switzerland), the airport in Budapest (Hungary), Bratislava (Slovakia), Vienna (Austria), and Durnstein and Melk in Germany.

Yesterday, we toured Passau, Germany, a city that was ravaged by flood waters this summer as the Danube River inundated many cities along its path.

Passau Flooding 2

This is what it looked like Thursday and you can still see the marks of how high the flood waters were back in the summer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We have two more days left on our amazing Danube River cruise on the “Sound of Music”.  On Sunday, we’ll begin our international journey back to the Quad Cities just in time for me to be at work bright and early Monday morning at 2 a.m. with jet lag.

Have a great weekend and here are my random thoughts this Friday.

REPUBLICANS, FIND ANOTHER CANDIDATE FOR 2016

The name that tops most people’s list of leading Republican candidates for the 2016 presidential bid is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

chris-christie

Please find another candidate to run against Hillary Clinton (or whoever it is if she doesn’t run)!  I cannot imagine waking up each day with him as President in a worse case scenario!

And, yes, it’s personal.  It’s over marriage equality and marriage equality alone!

After the New Jersey Senate and the New Jersey Assembly approved marriage equality in early 2012, Christie vetoed it.  And, now that a high-ranking judge says that same-sex marriages will start in the Garden State this week, he’s still opposed.

Luckily, earlier this week, he gave up his fight to marriage equality in New Jersey.  It’s about time since the the numbers were against Christie.

A few weeks ago, a new Quinnipiac University poll showed that 61% of those polled in New Jersey opposed Christie’s decision to stand in the way of marriage equality, while only 31% agreed with him.

I’m glad that Christie wised up!

OH, IT GETS BETTER!

Last Tuesday, Christie said that if one of his four children told him that they were gay, he would “grab them and hug them and tell them I love them.” and then say “that Dad believes that marriage is between one man and one woman.”

Chris Christie Family
FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Haunted HouseClown Margaritas Laugh it Up

HALLOWEEN IS JUST DAYS AWAY

Gretel is ready to go trick-or-treating one more time before she gets too old.  Yes, I encouraged her to go this year for the candy! 🙂

Have you gotten your fill of watching horror movies yet?  I’m hoping next week that I get a chance to see “Hellbent” again.  It’s become a staple for me since I first saw it in 2006.

If you haven’t seen it, check it out.  It’s from the co-creator of “Halloween” and the executive producer of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

BODE, KEEP TALKING!

Russia and the International Olympic Committee, listen up.

Bode Miller

35-year-old American Olympic Gold Medalist Bode Miller recently spoke out about the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games and Russia’s anti-gay laws that were implemented this past summer.

Miller says, “I think it’s absolutely embarrassing that there’s countries and there’s people who are that intolerant and that ignorant.  But it’s not the first time.  We’ve been dealing with human-rights issues probably since there were humans.”

While some think that politics, sports, and the Olympics should not be seen as one, Miller disagrees.

He says, “I think it’s unfortunate when they get stuffed together because there are politics in sports and athletics.  They always are intertwined, even though people try to keep them separate or try to act like they’re separate. Asking an athlete to go somewhere and compete and be a representative of a philosophy and … then tell them they can’t express their views or they can’t say what they believe, I think is pretty hypocritical or unfair.”

Here’s to Bode making the team and winning more Gold for America and a big thank you for his stance on equality!

TOO MUCH SKIN?

When you think of Britney Spears’ music, you think of a pounding dance beat and when you think of the accompanying video, you probably expect to see plenty of skin.

Her latest hit, “Work Bitch”, the first single from her upcoming December album, “Britney Jean”, doesn’t disappoint on both of those requirements.

Britney Las Vegas

Britney says, “Oh my god, we showed way more skin and did way more stuff for the video than what is actually there.  Like, I cut out half the video because I am a mother and because, you know, I have children, and it’s just hard to play sexy mom while you’re being a pop star as well. I just have to be true to myself and feel it out when I do stuff.”

About her sexy videos, she adds, “A lot of sex goes into what I do.  But sometimes I would like to bring it back to the old days when there was, like, one outfit through the whole video, and you’re dancing the whole video, and there’s like not that much sex stuff going on.”

workbitch_2

This led some to believe that Britney was coerced into being more revealing than she wanted to be, but the “Work Bitch” director Ben Mor disputes that.

He says, “I don’t know if it’s being misinterpreted or not, but Britney’s in control of every aspect of the video, from the concepts to the setups to everything.  There’s nothing that we shot that she didn’t approve of. As far as the edit, you can always make it a little more racy, because we had scantily clad people on set. It’s just an editorial choice, and I always tend to go sexy anyway, so that was my choice. I think she just wanted it to be more dance-centric.”

Britney Whip

Mor adds, “My cut was a lot racier for sure, but it didn’t necessarily involve Britney.  It was really just cutaways. An artist knows how they perceive themselves. I promise you 100 percent:  All of these artists are in charge of their content. No one is forcing anyone to do anything that they don’t want to do, and they’re very well aware of that. They might change their mind after the fact, but Rihanna, Miley Cyrus, and Britney Spears are all very much in control of their image. Things don’t just happen. Everything is scrutinized.”

BLOOMBERG EATS WHAT?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the 13th wealthiest person in the world and is worth $31 billion.

Michael Bloomberg

He gives billions to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, and millions to the arts,  for education and the environment, and for politicians that believe as he does.

He owns homes in the Upper East Side of New York City; upstate New York; Vail, Colorado; London; and Bermuda.

And, his favorite meal is … “White-bread toast, Skippy peanut butter and bacon”!

Peanut_butter_and_bacon_sandwich

RADIO MISFIRE — THIS SHOULD HAVE BEEN A BIGGER HIT

While you’re putting the final touches on your Halloween costume, Kelly Clarkson will be celebrating Christmas Vegas-style.

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

She’ll be taping her December holiday special, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale on NBC” at the Venetian singing songs from “Wrapped in Red”, her first Christmas album that comes out October 29th and features Reba and Trisha Yearwood on “Silent Night”.

Instead of tormenting you with another Christmas song this week since it’s six days before Halloween, here’s one of my favorite new songs from Kelly’s “Greatest Hits — Volume One” album that came out last November.

“People Like Us” only reached #28 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts, but it topped the Billboard Dance Club chart.

I love the lyrics, “People like us we’ve gotta stick together/Keep your head up, nothing lasts forever/Here’s to the damned, to the lost and forgotten/It’s hard to get high when you’re living on the bottom” and “We are all misfits living in a world on fire”.

“TIME”, THEN NO MORE “TIME”

I just renewed my subscription to “Time” magazine after not getting it for a couple of years.  However, after two issues, I cancelled it.  It just didn’t do anything me other than the articles by my favorite “Time” writers Joel Stein (because of his warped sense of humor) and Joe Klein (because of his political leanings).

Joe Klein  Time

In the issue I just read, Klein didn’t hold back on his thoughts of the Tea Party.   He calls them “the radical nihilist minority of the Republican Party and the GOP’s craven leadership.” 

Tea Party Illionis

Klein continues, “These radicals — it is wildly inaccurate to call them conservatives — are a pestilence feeding on ignorance and cynicism, preying on fear as a period of unprecedented prosperity wanes.  They are not the apocalypse but represent the desperate last gasp of the white majority and of an era.  My generation’s era.”

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

“You’ve got to have a J-O-B if you want to be with me/No romance without finance” sounds materialistic and if you’re saying it to a man, some might find that controversial.

Gwen Guthrie

That’s exactly what people thought back in 1986 when R & B singer Gwen Guthrie sang those lyrics in her #1 R&B and Billboard Dance Club hit, “Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent”.  It also hit #1 in New Zealand and #5 in the U.K.  Sadly, it only hit #42 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While Guthrie, who was born in Oklahoma and raised in New Jersey, never scored a Top 40 hit on the Hot 100, she did have four Top 40 hits on the R&B charts.  But, “Rent” would become her trademark song.

Before venturing out on her own, she sang back-up for Aretha Franklin, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, and Madonna.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK BONUS!

As a ’80s bonus, here’s Gwen singing backup on “Lucky Star”, Madonna’s first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.  It peaked at #4 on that chart and reached #1 on the Dance Chart.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW!

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back in States Sunday night!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 27, 2013

It’s Friday and this is my first blog of the fall season.  Happy Autumn!

Fall

Miss Betty was here last weekend and this weekend, it’s just me and Ray.  I really wanted to go to Chicago to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert, but that didn’t work out.  So, we’re planning on going to a few yard sales before the rain Saturday and then do a double feature at the movies!

I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

SUMMER’S LAST HURRAH –SORTA!

Last Friday, the second to last full day of summer, I was shocked to see this weather observation from Monticello, Iowa, which is about 80 miles northwest of the Quad Cities.

Monticello Weather

While that 129° reading would have beat the old Iowa state record of 118°, what is even more incredible is the dew point of 127°, which is not even achievable on Earth.  The combination of the temperature and the dew point produced a heat index of 459°!!!!!

The weather sensor at the airport there is now corrected!

THIS MAKES ME SMILE

Former First Lady Laura Bush and her daughter, Barbara, are supporters of marriage equality.  However, that support ends with her husband, George W. Bush, the 43rd U.S. President.  At least that was his opinion in 2004 since he won’t comment on the subject today.

However, this past weekend, his father, George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was an official witness at the same-sex wedding of two longtime friends, Bonnie Clement and Helen Thorgalsen in Kennebunk, Maine.

George H.W. Bush

I love how he rocks the one red and one blue sock!  And, Barbara looks very happy at the ceremony.

George Barbara

This gives me hope!

Sadly, the next two thoughts are more about despair!

NOT EVERYONE THINKS RUSSIA IS WRONG

Six American organizations have joined a worldwide coalition of more than 100 conservative groups that are behind Russia’s anti-gay legislation.  One of those groups, World Congress of Families, is located right here in northern Illinois, in Rockford.

Larry Jacobs, the managing editor of the organization, says, “Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has shown that sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and suicide rates are significantly higher among what it discreetly calls a ‘sexual minority.’  CDC data also demonstrates that there is much greater health risks among teenagers who practice homosexuality than those who do not engage in homosexual behavior.”

Jacobs_Family_Christmas

Jacobs adds, “All the law does is to prohibit advocacy aimed at involving minors in a lifestyle that would imperil their physical and moral health.”

Sadly, I’m more concerned with the lies, the close-minded attitudes, and the “family values” he’s teaching his own children!

WHO OWNS THE RAINBOW?

Scott Lively, who runs Abiding Truth Ministries, a church dedicated to combating “the homosexual agenda” in Springfield, Massachusetts, is a staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s calling him “the defender of Christian civilization”.  (Maybe Lively should move to Russia to show his love!)

Scott Lively

Recently, Lively made a recommendation to Russian Olympic officials to fly a rainbow banner over the games to steal the thunder of gay activists that plan on rainbow-bombing the games.  His reasoning?  To show “the global homosexual movement” that “the rainbow belongs to God”!

Rainbow Unicorn

Really?  What is he going to tell me next?  That God doesn’t want to share unicorns with the LGBT community either?

ROSIE HAS A VALID POINT

And, I have one more thought in this arena before I move on to happier topics.

Over the years, I’ve been indifferent about out lesbian actress and former talk show host, Rosie O’Donnell.  While I loved her on “Nip/Tuck” as Dawn Budge, she definitely could get under my skin with some of her comments.

I’ve never thought of her as a spokesperson for the entire gay community, just as my comments are likely not supported by all in the LGBT community,.  However, I admire the fact that she speaks out.

Rosie O'Donnell

O’Donnell recently said this about the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and it got me to rethinking my thoughts about supporting a boycott.

She says, “I have really mixed feelings about it. Part of me feels yes, we should boycott it. And part of me feels trepidation about all those athletes, some of whom are gay, who have spent their entire lives waiting for this moment that only comes once every four years. Would it be better if America went there and everyone wore a rainbow flag on their arms? I don’t know. It’s a very tough decision. You know, when I hear those stories about what’s going on in Russia, you know, we have to remind ourselves of the amount of gay bashing that happens in our country. Although ours is not sanctioned by the president — you know, Putin seems to be very pro-gay-bashing — it still occurs in our country at a rate that is shameful.

Great point about the gay bashing that takes place here at home!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Heaven Earth Hell

GagaHold It

CHER FINALLY MAKES BIG ANNOUNCEMENT

This has been a very big week for Cher.  Yes, that Cher!

Cher Closer To The Truth

The 67-year-old entertainment icon released “Closer To The Truth”, her first new studio album in almost twelve years (“Living Proof” came out in late 2001) and she announced the dates of her “Dressed To Kill” tour that kicks off in the spring.

Cher

Her last road trip, the “Farewell Tour” ended in 2005 after playing 325 dates in twenty countries over three years.

The “Dressed To Kill” tour kicks off in March 2014 in Phoenix, Arizona, and will hit 49 cities wrapping up about four months later in San Diego, California.

Earlier in the week, she performed on the “Today” show and said, “The road is horrible, but the concerts are great.  I understand why guys in bands tear up hotel rooms and throw TVs out the windows, because it’s a very lonely place. The only time you have fun is at the concerts.”

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

If you live in the Midwest, she’ll be playing in St. Louis, MO (June 4), Milwaukee, WI (June 6), Chicago, IL (June 7), Des Moines, IA (June 9), and Minneapolis, MN (June 11).

The first single from the new album, “Woman’s World” didn’t get mainstream radio airplay, but it became her latest #1 hit on the Billboard Dance chart.

Des Moines, here we come!

“BEHIND THE CANDELABRA”

This past Sunday night, “Behind The Candelabra”, Stephen Soderbergh’s HBO movie based on the life of flamboyant pianist Liberace won an incredible, record-tying eleven awards for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie at the Primetime Emmys.  “Eleanor and Franklin”, in 1976, also won eleven Emmys.

Behind The Candelabra

Oscar winner Michael Douglas also picked up the award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie playing Liberace beating out his co-star, Matt Damon, who played Liberace’s much younger lover, Scott Thorson.

The movie covers the last ten years of Liberace’s life and the ups-and-downs of the couple’s relationship.  The movie is based on Thorson’s book, “Behind The Candelabra:  My Life With Liberace”, which was published after the entertainer’s death in 1987 of AIDS-related complications.

With that being said, it does paint Liberace in more of a negative light and Thorson as an innocent teenager that was taken in and controlled by the entertainer, who was in his 50s when their relationship started.

I mentioned “innocent”, when talking about Thorson, because he’s had many run-ins with the law including an arrest earlier this year in Reno, Nevada, for burglary and using a credit card without consent.

As I watched the movie, I kept that in mind and told myself that Liberace (“Lee”) probably wasn’t as mean as he was portrayed in the movie.  Instead, I marveled at how Douglas disappeared in the role as the over-the-top piano man.

matt-damon-behind_the_candelabra-02rob-lowe-behind_the_candelabra-01

“Behind The Candelabra” also picked up Emmys for Outstanding Costumes, Hairstyling, Makeup (Non-Prosthetic), and Prosthetic Makeup.

It was incredible how the makeup artists made Damon, who’s in his early-40s, look like a teenager when he met Liberace.  Also, sexy Rob Lowe was almost unrecognizable as Liberace and Scott’s plastic surgeon.

Everything was lavish and over-the-top.  The $23 million movie that was finally picked up by HBO Films because Hollywood movie companies said it was “too gay” to gamble on was a fabulous two hours of entertainment.

GRADE:  A

It just saddens me that Liberace lived in an era (not so much different from today for some lead actors) where he had to pretend to be straight and that he just hadn’t found the right woman for him to settle down and marry.

liberace

Gay?  No way!  Who would have even imagined such a thought?  But, seriously, showmanship and acting can only get you so far.  🙂

VEGAS REGRET

When I was in Las Vegas in 1993, the Liberace Museum was still opened.  I wanted to visit it, but my friend that I was traveling with, Dennis, did not want to see it.  Now, I regret not venturing out on my own to check it out.  The museum, which opened in 1979, closed in the fall of 2010.

Liberace Museum

I’m hoping with the success of the HBO movie that someone will re-open it in 2014 when we’re there to see Britney “It’s Britney, bitch” Spears!

WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?

We’re just days away from our two-year wedding anniversary.

While Ray and I have been together going on five years, we made it official on September 30, 2011, in Davenport, Iowa, in a small ceremony attended by Gretel, our now 12-year-old daughter, my sister, Tammy, Ray’s sister, Cindy, and Betty, the woman I call “Mom”.

Wedding Park Fountain

Here is the video I put together of our first three years together.  I posted this the day we made the announcement that we had gotten married.

The song is “So Good Together” by Reba.

Reception 2011

The following day, October 1, 2011, we created the most beautiful majestic, magical reception in our backyard.

The song in this reception video is “In This Life” by Bette Midler.  The photographer was Jenny Butler Hipskind.

Happy Anniversary Ray!  Here’s to many more years together!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

While the duo, Quadron, has only charted in their native country of Denmark, I love their recent song, “Hey Love”.

Quadron

Singer Coco O (Coco Maja Hastrup Karshøj) and musician/producer Robin Hannibal released their self-titled debut album in 2009 and it made “New York” magazine’s top ten album list that year.

They’ve had a big summer.  Coco O recorded “Where The Wind Blows” for “The Great Gatsby” soundtrack and the duo’s second album, “Avalanche”, reached #3 after its May release in Denmark.  The album also peaked at #16 on the Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop album chart in the U.S.

The first  single, “Hey Love”, peaked at #8 on the Danish Charts.

MOVIE DOUBLE FEATURE THIS WEEKEND

This weekend, we plan on seeing “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.

Prisoners

Don Jon

You gotta love Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhall, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

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

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

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

I love Hall & Oates and one of my favorite songs from the duo is from the “Voices” album.  “You Make My Dreams” reached #5 in 1981.

That’s enough random thoughts, insanity, and fun for one week.  I should stop before my head starts hurting.  Here’s to the weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2013

Another weekend is upon us and I hope you’re excited about whatever you have planned to do.  I know some of my friends are going to take it easy this weekend after partying at Market Days last weekend.  Since I worked 11 of past 12 days, I think I deserve a break today and I’m not talking McDonald’s.  🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy my random thoughts this Friday!  And, please know that I always welcome your feedback on my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and I’d like to know what you’re thinking about whatever.

VACATION

In less than 24 hours from now, we’ll be boarding a plane from the Quad Cities to Dallas and then to Cancun and by tomorrow afternoon, God-willing, we’ll have our feet buried in the sand sipping on a cold potent drink.

It’s been an interesting week of watching the tropics.  If you recall last week, the Caribbean was quiet.  And, then by Wednesday, there was a 60-70% chance of a tropical storm forming and bringing heavy rain and wind to the Yucatan Peninsula, e.g. Cancun!

Atlantic

Fun times!  Luckily, for us, development into a tropical storm (if it happens) will not occur until it gets into the Gulf of Mexico and the rainy, wet weather should be gone by Saturday!

Here’s to margaritas, tequila, beautiful sunsets, and hot bodies!  So, here’s my favorite Latina hottie, Pauline Rubio.  (Don’t worry, Enrique (Iglesias), you’re my favorite Latin hottie!)

PAULA DEEN GETS VINDICATION, BUT…

The lawsuit against celebrity chef Paula Deen that caused her to lose her Food Network television show and many sponsorships has been thrown of out of court.

Lisa Jackson, a former manager at one of Deen’s Savannah restaurants, is suing her former bosses, Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, for millions of dollars for racial and sexual discrimination.

However, earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that Jackson, who is white, cannot sue them for race discrimination because she was not one of the victims — even though others may have allegedly faced discrimination.

Paula Deen Happy

A spokesperson for Paula Deen says, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed.  As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”

There is still the issue of sexual harassment that Jackson is alleging.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday Dear Madonna!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Madonna3

Today, the “Material Girl” turns 55!

In honor of the woman who had the most successful tour of 2012 (the “MDNA Tour” made $305.2 million), has had more Hot 100 Top Ten Billboard hits than the Beatles (38), and leads with the most #1 Billboard Dance chart hits (43), here’s my favorite Madonna song.

“Borderline” became her first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.

madonna1983

And, here’s my favorite Madonna video.

“Open Your Heart” became Madonna’s 11th Top Ten hit and fifth #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1987.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ozzy Mouth ShutAuto Correct

FINALLY, I GET TO READ A BOOK!

I just finished the April 28, 2011 “Rolling Stone”, the last of my stockpiled magazines that also included “Time”, “Details”, “Men’s Fitness”, and “Boston”.  Now that all of those subscriptions have expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, “Instinct”, and “The Advocate”.

This means that I’ll be able to keep up with the new magazines as they arrive and I can finally read a book!  I haven’t read a book in about five years — right before Ray and I met.

Golden Days The Art of Racing in the Rain

I already have the first four picked out, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein (yes, Vickie, I’m finally going to read it and get it back to you), “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed” by Judy Shepard, and “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter.

meaning_of_matthew_l

Those four should take me up to the end of the year.  The Matthew Shepard book will be timely since the 15th anniversary of his death is October 12th and the book by President Carter should coincide with Christmas this year!

ChristmasInPlains

WHAT I LEARNED FROM “ROLLING STONE” MAGAZINE

I always thought of “Rolling Stone” as a rock music magazine.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how it excels in hard news and investigative reporting.  It expands on stories that mainstream news media outlets shy away from by playing it safe.  “Rolling Stone” doesn’t hold back!

Here are some of the highlights from the last few issues that I just finished reading from 2011 as my subscription expired.  I told you I was behind on reading!

Witty TV commentator Bill Maher was profiled in the March 17, 2011 issue and the article quoted the comedian talking about a shamed Texas politician, “Tom DeLay has done only two things since leaving politics, “Dancing With The Stars” and now prison — somebody must tell him there are easier ways to have sex with men.”  Good stuff!

Image: ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" Season Nine - Week Three

It also had an interesting cover story on talk show host Howard Stern, who still like to shock people.

In the March 31, 2011 issue, it basically made Stern seem much more human and flawed.  The article touched on the fact that Stern currently makes $80 million dollars a year for his SiriusXM talk show, but he’s still very unhappy in his life and fighting demons.  However, it stated that he is now happily remarried.

Since the article is over two years old, Stern now makes another $15 million for being a judge on “America’s Got Talent”!

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

And, while she went though hell at the hands of ex-boyfriend/singer Chris Brown and she gets some bad press because of her actions, I really enjoyed learning more about Rihanna in the April 14, 2011 issue.

Rihanna Rolling Stone

For the record, she’s already scored 39 Top 40 hits in America on the Billboard Hot 100 since her first hit in 2005 and twelve of those songs topped that chart.  She became only the seventh artist in music history to accomplish that.

Her longest charting #1 song on the Hot 100 (ten weeks) was “We Found Love” with Calvin Harris.  And, her latest single with David Guetta, “Right Now” just became her 20th number one song on the Billboard dance chart.  She’s now in second place as the artist with the most #1 dance hits behind Queen Madonna, with 43 chart toppers.

However, I didn’t learn any of that from the “Rolling Stone” article.  Here’s what I learned from the magazine that made RiRi so much more down to earth:  She doesn’t like vegetables because they taste “like bush”, but she loves french fries, Cheetos, and KFC.  She loves going to grocery store and cooking for herself and enjoys a nice chardonnay at the end of the day.

Rihanna loves true-crime reality, she’s chronically late and she’s also a compulsive boob-grabber!

And, finally, her name is Arabic for “sweet basil”.

ALBUM SALES IN DISTRESS…

Earlier this month, Billboard magazine reported “U.S. album sales have hit new historic lows over the last five weeks marking the longest consecutive stretch in the SoundScan era that the industry has gone without scanning more than 5 million units.  And, over the last two weeks, album sales hit consecutive record lows.”

4.68 million albums were sold for the week ending July 28, 2013.   That’s the lowest weekly total since Nielsen SoundScan started in May 1991.

The top-selling album for the first half of this year, through June 30th, is “The 20/20 Experience” by Justin Timberlake.  Sales are right around two million.

THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LIST REVEALED!

And, the top-selling single during that same time period is “Thrift Store” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with U.S. sales of 5.6 million.  The song sold an additional 1.2 million copies in the U.S. in late 2012 when it was released.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

However, by the end of 2013, I expect that “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (with Pharrell and T.I.) will be the biggest selling single of the year.  As of August 7th, it was up to 4.27 million in U.S. sales!

But, we can’t forget “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Roar” from Katy Perry.  Both were rush-released this week because the songs were leaked on the internet.

Lady Gaga-Katy Perry

“Applause” is the first single from the “ARTPOP” album due November 11th.  Gaga will be performing the song live on the MTV VMA show August 25th marking her first real performance since a hip injury and surgery caused her to cancel the remainder of her “Born This Way Ball” tour earlier this year.

This is the lyric video for “Applause”.  The “official” video for the song debuts Monday, August 19th.

And, “Roar” is the first single from Katy Perry’s album “Prism”, which comes out October 22th.

Gretel, my 12-year-old daughter, likes “Roar” more than “Applause”, which she thinks is “weird”.

As for me:

Katy Perry — “Roar” —  I love the catchy chorus of “Roar”, but the rest of the sound is too slow of a build for me.   GRADE:  B

Lady Gaga — “Applause” —  The energy is incredible, the vocals are captivating, and it sounds a little rougher than her previous club hits, but it’ll still make you gravitate to the dance floor.  GRADE:  A

The winner!

Applause

YET, VINYL IS HOT AGAIN

While album sales are suffering, vinyl record albums are making a comeback.  In 2012, 4.55 million were sold in the U.S. compared to just less than a million (990,000) five years ago.  Many record companies are beginning to offer free downloads of an album when vinyl is purchased.

Albums

Last Christmas, I asked Santa Ray & Santa Tammy for a turntable because I missed vinyl records.  Since Santa delivered, I’ve been hitting a few yard sales and my neighbor’s store, Readmore Book World & Rock Shop, in Moline, for albums and Tammy has picked up a few for me at Goodwill.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Go-Go’s first album, “Beauty and the Beat”, in 1981,  hit #1 and sold more than two million copies.  It also gave the group its first two hits and its biggest hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20) and “We Got The Beat” (#2).

They followed that album up the next year with “Vacation”.  The biggest hit off that release was the #8 title track (the album also peaked at #8).  The group did have two other smaller hits from that album and that was it for them.  A total of five Top 40 Hot 100 hits.

Since we’re heading to Cancun tomorrow, this song is very fitting.

“ELYSIUM”

We saw “Elysium” last weekend.  Matt Damon was incredible (and majorly buff) and Jodie Foster, who wasn’t in the movie as much as Damon, was icily perfect.

Elysium Matt Damon Jodie Elysium

Also, Sharlto Copely, who starred in director Neill Blomkamp’s more superior, Oscar-nominated film, “District 9”, was scary and fantastic as the villain, Kruger.

Sharlto Copley

The premise of the movie is that it’s 2154 and Earth (especially Los Angeles) is in ruins.  The wealthy 1% live above the Earth, literally, in space looking down on the ravaged world, the 99%.  On “Elysium”, where the rich live, there is no poverty and no disease.  Life is perfect.

Damon, plays Max, a former car thief, who has a work place accident that exposes him to high levels of radiation.  He’s informed that he only has five days to live and his only chance for survival is to get to Elysium and be treated for the disease.

The movie was action filled and fun.  However, if you saw “District 9”, which was amazing, this movie may not thrill you as much.  It’s still an exciting two hours.

GRADE: B

MY THOUGHTS THIS WEEK ON RUSSIA’S HOMOPHOBIA

boycott-sochi-2014 Madonna Defend Human Rights

THAT’S IT FOR A FEW DAYS

While I might post something on Facebook while in Mexico, my next blog will be next Friday’s random thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony