Posts Tagged ‘The Crown’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 9, 2021

Easter is now behind us, so there’s no doubt that spring is here! However, it’s still snowing across parts of country.

So, here’s my last thought on winter 2020-2021!

Don’t get me wrong. Summer is my least favorite season. I just thought it was funny.

With warmer weather settling in across the country, more and more activities will take us outdoors, so I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

BEING A LITTLE PERSONAL

My friends, thank you for the wonderful feedback and messages last week!

Instead of “Random Friday Thoughts”, I shared a rather personal blog about my life, some challenges and disappointments, and a look toward the future.

For those that took time to read it and share in my life, I appreciate it.

If you didn’t get a chance, here it is. (If you click on the link, it SHOULD open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog!)

If it doesn’t, you can always hit the back arrow once you read it and you’re back to today’s blog. (Word Press changed that. It used to be simpler!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/04/02/feelings-as-i-look-to-the-future/

SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES

While better than it was earlier this year, we’re now seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases.

I guess that doesn’t really come as a surprise following spring break. But, I don’t think that is the only reason.

I know people are getting a little too comfortable or lazy!

Last week, I stopped at a convenient store in my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, and the store was very busy.

One employee was wearing a mask, but the others were not. The only three customers that were wearing masks were me, my sister, and her boyfriend!!!

You can’t tell me that everyone in there was fully vaccinated!

Come on people, let’s get most of the country (and the world) vaccinated before we become complacent and comfortable!

MY OSCAR PICK FOR “BEST ACTRESS”

The Academy Awards show is now just weeks away and the only category that I’ve seen all of the nominees is “Best Actress”. (Does that shock you with my affinity to women in entertainment?) 🙂

We’ve all heard the old saying about saving the best for last and in this case, it’s true.

I absolutely love Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”) and I’d watch her read a phone book and Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”) deserved the nomination based on the first 24 minutes of her movie. These were the first two of the nominees I saw and I was leaning toward Davis.

Then, I saw Frances McDormand, who is just too amazing in everything she does, and Andra Day as Billie Holiday the same weekend. Day was my pick and it was a contest between her and Davis for my vote, until….

I saw Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman”. I was mesmerized by her performance and I loved the downer of a movie. I can’t wait to see it again!

So my pick for Best Actress is Carey Mulligan!

“Promising Young Woman” is up for four other Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

In a recent blog, I gave the movie an “A”!

“LIFE ITSELF: A MEMOIR”

I really enjoyed reading film critic Roger Ebert’s 2011 autobiography, “Life Itself: A Memoir”.

Some of things I learned is that he’s from Central Illinois (Urbana) and went to college at the University of Illinois (Champaign) before moving away to work at the “Chicago Sun-Times”.

While they often disagreed and would get into very heated debates, he was very close to his longtime work partner Gene Siskel. He says that Siskel was very private with his health condition when he became ill and then died.

After discovering cancer from the 1980s had come back in 2006, Ebert believed he had himself to blame for his three failed surgeries that disfigured his face causing him never to eat, drink, or talk again.

(I won’t say why in case you want to read the book. All I’ll say is that he didn’t take the medical advice he likely should have!)

Ebert died in April 2013.

I definitely want to see the 2014 documentary about Ebert’s life.

FRIDAY FLASHBACK

For some reason, “Forget Me Nots” popped into my head earlier this week.

It was Patrice Rushen’s only Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached #23 in the summer of 1982 and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

The song fared much better on the R&B (#5) and Dance charts (#2).

In her career, she accumulated eight hits on the dance charts and seven on the R&B charts.

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

More from the amazing 2020 biography by Jonathan Adler…

President Carter changed the role of Vice President. Before Carter, it was basically a useless role — other than becoming the leader of the free world in the case of the president died or became incapacitated.

But, President Carter made Vice President Walter Mondale’s role real. He invited him into meetings, gave him real responsibilities, and valued his opinions.

At a farewell dinner before President Carter left office in 1981, Mondale said, “Never once did you put me down. Never once did you fail to treat me with dignity.” He made a toast and added, “We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.”

And, once Carter visited Camp David in Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C., he spent almost one-quarter of his presidency there — basically every other weekend and prolonged holidays. (However, this was a working “White House”, unlike Mar-a-Lago!)

“TYRANT”

If you’re missing “Homeland” and want a new Middle Eastern drama, I enjoyed this three-season series.

I saw season one a few years ago and then real life got in the way. Recently, I found it on Hulu, so I decided to check watch it in its entirety.

It tells the story of Barry, who lives in the U.S. with his wife and two teenagers, as they return to his Middle East country for a wedding. This is his first time back since leaving as a teenager.

Adam Rayner (Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed) and Moran Atias (Leila Al-Fayeed) are my favorite characters in the series and they’re both DDG (drop dead gorgeous)!

I loved the addition of Melia Kreiling (Daliyah Al-Yazbek) in seasons two and three.

Warning: I got the feeling that the season 3 finale was shot as a season finale and not a series finale since it was not renewed for a fourth season.

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 12, 2021

Spring is inching closer and next week, the Irish and those just wanting to eat corned beef and cabbage and drink green beer will be celebrating.

Since beer isn’t really my thing, here’s a flashback picture from my August 2013 Cancun trip of my favorite drink (green).

Not sure if it had a name, but it was a heavy pour of Smirnoff Vodka, melon liquor, a splash of sour mix topped off with a little blended (not frozen) pina colada.  It was incredible! 

Thank you for taking the time check out my random thoughts. Feel free to share yours, too!

Oh, back to that picture — how did get so old in the past eight years? That’s rhetorical. Don’t answer!

TIRED, LAZY MORNING NETWORK NEWS

For morning network news shows, “Breaking News” is so five minutes ago! (CNN still uses it in overkill!)

The new tired cliché is “Bombshell”! Stop now! (Unless, of course, you’re talking about the movie about Megyn Kelly, Roger Ailes, and Fox News!)

Let’s get beyond this. If you have an interview and someone says something you didn’t know, while newsworthy, that’s called “reporting”!

Case in point — earlier this week, all three morning shows, “Today”, “Good Morning America”, and “CBS This Morning” were all talking about the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah Winfrey. And, all three had a chyron with the word “Bombshell” in it at the same time!

I’m not a fan of the Royal family (except on “The Crown”), nor do I care about Meghan Markle’s life. (I agree that some of the things she discussed bears further discussion. Otherwise, I could care less about her life in that family!)

It’s NOT a “BOMBSHELL in the 2020s to learn that British Royal Family is mean. Google “royal family”+”Lady Diana”!

To quote Ariana Grande, “thank u, next”!

AND, THE CATEGORY IS “SADNESS”!

One of my favorite shows is coming to an end! 😦

The upcoming third season of the critically acclaimed and fan favorite FX series, “Pose”, will be its last!

The cutting edge drama’s final season premieres May 2, 2021.

The networks says this season will take place in 1994.

“Entertainment Weekly” reports that Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) is struggling a balancing act of being a mother, being in love, and being a nurse’s aide.

Also, from “EW”, “the AIDS crisis becomes the leading cause of death for Americans aged 25-44, and Pray Tell [Emmy winner Billy Porter] grapples with his related health burdens — all while the rise of a fresh, new house forces the Evangelistas to consider their own legacy.”

As Pray Tell says, “THE CATEGORY IS LIVE.WORK.POSE.

“I CARE A LOT”

This Netflix black comedy is incredible!

It’s the story of Marla Grayson, a con artist who makes a living by convincing judges that many of her “clients” are not competent enough to take care of themselves and she’s awarded guardianship.

It freaked me out a bit because this can happen even without YOU being present in court!

Anyway, I thought, how can this con be sustained over two hours? Well, that happens when they choose a “cherry”, an older person with a lot of money and no family interference, that really isn’t who they think she is.

Rosamund Pike is incredible as the icy, conniving Marla. She won the Golden Globe this year in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical category. It’s a well-deserved win!

Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) was incredible, too, but I really didn’t need to see him naked! (Oops, spoiler alert!)

GRADE: B+

CISSY HOUSTON

Last month, I talked about Cissy Houston and her 2013 book, “Remembering Whitney: My Story of Love, Loss, and the Night the Music Stopped”.

I had no desire to read the book because of her reaction to Oprah Winfrey while she was promoting it.

In the interview, Oprah read an excerpt that implied Whitney may have had a relationship with her assistance, Robyn Crawford, and she asked Cissy, “Would it have bothered you if your daughter, Whitney, was gay?” and she replied,  “Absolutely.”

I avoided the book for eight years because of her close-minded response, but in February, I wrote, “After reading Robyn’s book [“A Song For You: My Life With Whitney Houston”], I’m going to read Cissy’s book, even if I cringe through it — to see if she mentions the gay rumors!”

Well, I read it and she didn’t spend much time talking about Robyn and Whitney and the details of their intimate (or not) relationship. She made no bones about disliking Robyn.

Actually, she spent most of the book talking about herself! It was basically a Cissy Houston biography with details about her daughter.

Yes, she felt she didn’t do enough to help Whitney, but the book was empty and I spent much of the time reading it and wishing I hadn’t. I didn’t care for Cissy Houston before reading the book and I definitely care for her less after it!

I’ll stop now because I’m keeping my honest, unkind thoughts to myself. If you haven’t read it, DON’T!

“A SONG FOR YOU: MY LIFE WITH WHITNEY HOUSTON”

Crawford’s book was much better, more honest, much more in touch. If you want to know the real Whitney, read this one instead of Cissy’s book!

MY THIRD FAVORITE WHITNEY HOUSTON SONG

MY SECOND FAVORITE WHITNEY HOUSTON SONG

MY FAVORITE WHITNEY HOUSTON SONG

NEED TO BUY A HOUSE AND INSTALL THIS

“YEAH, I SAID IT”

Comedian Wanda Sykes’ 2004 book, “Yeah, I Said It”, is so hilarious.

She definitely needs to follow it with another one just like it!

While she takes many shots at then-President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War, she also ranted about his predecessor, Bill Clinton.

I won’t quote all that she said about Clinton (whom she supported, but still called him an “idiot” and that she was “disappointed by him”) because it’s a few pages long and very adult in nature. 🙂

About Clinton lying and then recanting his story about his sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky once they pulled out the blue dress, Sykes says, “A little DNA. Bill’s not smart. They had DNA, blood, a glove, two dead bodies, a limo driver, a barking dog, and O.J. still said, ‘I’m one hundred percent not guilty.’ Stick with the lie.”

And, Lewinsky didn’t escape unscathed. Sykes said the judge should have thrown the case out of court because she kept the dress.

Sykes: “I should throw you in jail for being nasty, Miss Nasty Ass! What else you keep, some old Q-tips and some tissue? How old are those drawers you wearing, Miss Nasty Ass? Bailiff, wipe all this off where she was sitting, too.”

Also included in the 247 pages of hilarity, she also listed the thirteen things you’ll never hear her say!

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

Random Friday Thoughts — February 19, 2021

The weekend is almost here and while we’re still shivering, relief is on the way.

Thank you for taking the time to check out what’s on my mind!

LOVE SNOW, BUT NOT THE COLD!

When I started putting this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” together, I was going to share a humorous joke about the cold and snow.

However, after two powerful ice and snow storms across Texas that has left millions without power and heat, I put it at the bottom of the blog.

I know we experience power outages across the country when we have severe weather (ice storms, heavy wet snow, tornadoes, and severe thunderstorms), but to this magnitude is mind-blowing.

Come on Texas Governor Greg Abbott, get your act together and help these people.

Stop blaming the failure of renewable energy sources (wind and solar power).

Leave politics out of it for now!

COUNTRY WITH A RAINBOW TWIST

Last week I talked about a racist (or just a drunken, closet racist) country music star that people still want to support financially by buying more of his music than he was selling before his racist slip-up. Well, enough about him!

At basically the same time as this story was blowing up, another country music star was sharing his personal truth in a beautiful way.

While his family and personal friends already knew, 36-year-old T.J. Osborne, the lead singer and rhythm guitarist for the country duo Brothers Osborne came out as a proud, gay man.

Big deal, you think, because people are gay! However, in a very ageist, sexist, racist, and homophobic genre, J.T. is the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label!  

Brothers Osborne have charted nine country radio hits, two of which have hit the Top 5 — their 2015 hit, “Stay a Little Longer” reached #2 on the Country Airplay chart and they were featured on Dierks Bentley’s #2 2018 Country Airplay hit, “Burning Man”.

Other than the fact that I thought T.J. was so dreamy and hot, I never thought he might be gay.

However, my gaydar went off with the “Stay a Little Longer” video, which featured same-sex couples kissing! Of course, it caused controversy! 🙂

And, here’s a little fun trivia about Brothers Osborne. T.J.’s name is Thomas John and his older brother and band mate is John Thomas!

“THE CROWN” — SEASON 4

The latest season of this incredible, award-winning Netflix series was my absolute favorite.

I loved the first two seasons with Claire Foy and Olivia Colman and Josh O’Connor are great in season three, but season three just seemed so disjointed to me.

However, season four with my girl crush Gillian Anderson as tyrant (oops, Prime Minister) Margaret Thatcher took the series to a whole new level.

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.

Anderson (Thatcher), O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana), Colman (Queen Elizabeth II), and Helena Bonham Carter (Princess Margaret) all got Golden Globe nominations.

The series was also nominated.

“THE WHITE TIGER”

This incredible Netflix drama is set in India and drives home the stark difference in lives of the haves and the have nots!

Adarsh Gourav is amazing as Balram, a dirt poor stone crusher in a small village, who dreams of becoming a chauffeur.

As an intelligent kid that had to drop out of school, he was told her was a “white tiger”, one person that’s born to each generation.

Once he lands a job as a driver, all goes well until a tragic turn of events one night leaves Balram having to make a life-changing decision.

The biggest English speaking star in the movie is Priyanka Chopra Jonas (“Quantico”).

GRADE: A

“THE WEST WING”

As much as I love politics (politicians, not so much), believe it or not, I never watched “The West Wing” during its seven-year run on NBC from 1999-2006.

It’s one of my dear friend, Katie’s favorite shows. She was always on me in Duluth to watch it, so I started. I got through season three, but was always finding other things to watch.

And, in November, she dropped the bombshell that it was leaving Netflix Christmas Eve! Guess what I did in all of my free time in those five weeks? Yes, I binge watched and finished the series.

Final thoughts: I loved the Christmas episodes, you definitely saw a quality change in the show after creator and writer Aaron Sorkin left, and while I still enjoyed them, seasons six and seven were my least favorites.

Oh, Donna, Josh, and C.J. were my favorite characters!

IF YOU MISS SORKIN’s INTELLIGENCE…

Definitely check out his latest, his directorial debut, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”, on Netflix!

It was my #3 movie of 2020 and it’ll rack up several Oscar nominations this year! Here’s what I said about it in November:

“The Whole World Is Watching!”

It’s sad that a movie about the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago resonates so strongly in the United States in 2020!

The movie and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and directing are definite shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.

While there are many compelling performances, I think Yahya Abdul-Mateer II, as Bobby Seale, National Chairman of the Black Panther Party, has the best chance of getting a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Seale was the eighth defendant and not part of the “Chicago 7”.

The Whole World Is STILL Watching!

GRADE: A

KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON “

David Grann’s 2017 book subtitled “The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” is so compelling and it was one of the best books I read in the past year.

It tells the story of the Osage Indians and how they had to continually move from place to place so the white man could expand on their land.

Finally, they were given rocky, useless land in Oklahoma. When oil was discovered there, they became the richest people in the world per capita. Then, one by one, they ended up dead — murdered!

The book also tracks the up and coming career of the young FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover.

When Mollie Burkhart’s sister Anna was murdered in the 1920s, it was common to charge the Osage close to $6,000 for a funeral. That’s equivalent to about $80,000 today! It was because the white man knew the Osage had all the oil money!

How pathetic!

While the murders continued, one Osage member replied, “It is a question in my mind whether this jury is considering a murder case of not. The question for them to decide is whether a white man killing an Osage is murder — or merely cruelty to animals.”

The book is currently planned for production as a film directed by Martin Scorsese with Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro set to star.

MORE FROM “GROCERY”

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a few interesting tidbits from an incredible book I read last year, Michael Ruhlman’s 2017’s “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”! I’d definitely recommend it!

Who would think to write an entire book on just how groceries came to be, the changes grocery stores have to make to accommodate how quickly we change our eating habits, and just how small the profit margins are in the grocery business?

While I gave up eating beef more than a decade ago, Ruhlman shares some very interesting information about cattle and what would happen to them if we stopped eating beef. Intriguing!

Here are a few more things I learned:

Beef makes up about 40% of a grocery’s meat section (almost half of that is ground), chicken makes up 20%, pork 11%, and lamb 2.5%.

Before cows were fed corn (89% of it genetically modified which eventually makes the animal sick), it took them about four years to grow to the weight needed to slaughter. Now it only takes fourteen to seventeen months to attain that weight!!! Disgusting. I’m so glad I gave up beef!

If we didn’t use pigs, chicken, and cows for meat, eggs, and milk, the author claims they would only exist in the wild and “We would likely get rid of them for being a nuisance, scarcely different than rats and mice, the lives of which most seem to have moral qualms about extinguishing.”

And, a decade after World War II, the 1950s, frozen foods would become a $50 billion industry in the U.S. ($300 billion worldwide). This is all thanks to Clarence Birdseye: “Birdseye discovered in the 1920s that peas quickly blanched before being frozen result in a vividly green pea.”

GROUNDHOG HUMOR

After two bitterly cold weekends across Central Illinois and the Midwest, I’ll state it again, “I love the snow, but not the bitter cold!

Thanks Punxsutawney Phil, you damn rodent!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 5, 2021

Happy 2021! Yes, I know it’s the first weekend of February (where did January go?)!

However, other than my Christmas wishes in December and my favorite movies of 2020 in January, I haven’t had a “Random Friday Thoughts” blog since November 20, 2020!

So, here goes and thank you for checking it out!

SUPER BOWL WEEKEND

Who cares? While I don’t care, I know there are many that do.

The only time I’m even remotely interested in the big game is when there’s someone on the halftime show I want to see (J Lo in 2020, Lady Gaga in 2017, Madonna in 2012, and Janet Jackson (and her boobie) in 2004!

Again, it was NOT planned — it was a “wardrobe malfunction”! (I actually typed that with a straight face without laughing out loud!)

This year, it’s The Weeknd!

So, here’s my favorite The Weeknd song — my #9 song of 2015.

GUACAMOLE

While I’m talking about the Super Bowl, this weekend is the biggest selling weekend of the year for avocados!

It’s estimated that the United States alone eats enough guacamole this weekend to fill the Super Bowl stadium!

Meanwhile, the biggest selling food for other holidays: corn (Fourth of July), turkeys (Thanksgiving, duh!), and strawberries (Valentine’s Day).

Those interesting facts are from one of the most intriguing books I read last year — Michael Ruhlman’s 2017’s “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”!

A few fun other things from that book…

In the 1930s, inland Americans only ate about 10 pounds of chicken per person per year compared to about 50 pounds of beef and pork.

Two of the biggest changes in the way we shop came in 1988 thanks to Walmart Supercenters and Whole Foods Market!

While the grocery section accounts for a large portion of a store’s sales, produce (second in sales) is the most profitable.

It’s hard to educate ourselves to eat better because while there 535 lawmakers in Congress, there are more than 10,000 lobbyists in Washington to persuade (con) them — 20 lobbyists to each politicians!

“MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM”

The Golden Globes nominations were announced earlier this week and it comes as no surprise to me that Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman were nominated. I expect them to get Oscar nominations, too.

This was my #5 movie of 2020. As I wrote in January when I posted my 20 favorite movies I saw in 2020, “I could watch Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis act her way through a phone book.”

When I started hearing all the Oscar buzz about Boseman, I was hoping it wasn’t because he had just died in late August. Well, give that man his posthumous Golden Globe and Oscar now. Incredible performance!

You can see it on Netflix.

GRADE: A-

“PIECES OF A WOMAN”

And, speaking of the Golden Globes and the Oscars, Viola Davis will have some stiff competition from Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”).

This movie is downer, but Kirby’s performance in the opening 24 minutes of this drama is amazing!

It’s on Netflix.

GRADE: B+

KYLIE & DUA LIPA

While we look forward to see what the “new normal” will be in 2021 as the world tries to get a grasp on the Covid-19 pandemic, it’ll be interesting to see what awaits us in the world of entertainment.

For me, I want Kylie Minogue to announce a “Disco 2021 Tour” to support her critically acclaimed album (and my favorite of 2020), “Disco”.

The third single, “Real Groove”, features a fantastic version with chart-topper Dua Lipa!

And, the Studio 2054 remix is incredible!

WALKING AND READING

I spend a lot of time walking and reading (12-plus miles daily) — yes, both at the same time. So, I get a lot of books read.

Although they weren’t new books (within the last few years), a disturbing trend I noticed was the lack of quotation marks with dialogue. It was so offsetting and hard to follow! Please stop this! 🙂

The first time I noticed it was in “LaRose”.

“LaROSE”

Over the years, when “Entertainment Weekly” gives a stellar review for a book that sounds interesting and I jot it down to read.

Over the years, that’s how I found Sarai Walker’s “Dietland”, “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins, and “Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler.

This summer, I read three more from that old list.

Louise Erdrich’s 2016 “LaRose” was a very informative fictional book about the Ojibwe tribe.

It tells the story of a hunting accident that leaves a little boy dead and it’s heartbreaking what the hunter’s family has to do to make things right with the family that lost the child.

“THE IMMORTALISTS”

Chloe Benjamin’s 2018 best seller “The Immortalists” was a great book.

Four brothers and sisters in 1969 New York City go to see a fortune teller that specializes in telling people the day they’ll die.

The book follows the youngsters as they maneuver through life trying to deal with the fact that she might be right and how it shapes the decisions they make and how they live their lives.

I have to hand it to Benjamin on her amazing description of gay love and sex with one of the characters!

“THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR”

And, another book on that “EW” list was Canadian author Shari Lapena’s 2016 crime caper, “The Couple Next Door”.

Marco and Anne are heading to dinner at their duplex neighbor’s townhouse when their baby sitter cancels on them at the last minute.

Since they live in a nice, safe neighborhood, they decide to leave their baby Cora at home with a baby monitor and they take turns checking on her every 30 minutes.

When they finally get home after midnight, Cora is missing! Was she kidnapped for ransom? Was she taken and murdered?

Of these three, it was the best.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 20, 2020

Happy Holidays and thank you for taking the time to check out what’s on my mind this week.

While I have a couple of more blogs to posts in December, I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts” until January!

Happy Thanksgiving and Season’s Greetings!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

THANKSGIVING FORECAST

COVID DINING FOR ONE

In these unsettling times, we just need something adorable and cute to make us forget everything else for a few monents.

This is how Atlanta-based writer Angela Hansberger deals with things. She arranged a pop-up restaurant for this cute little chipmunk she named “Thelonious Munk”.

She says it arrives daily to feast on “fun-sized sushi, almond crust pizza, and intricately-prepared micro tacos.”

“THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7”

“The Whole World Is Watching!”

It’s sad that a movie about the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago resonates so strongly in the United States in 2020!

The movie and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and directing are definite shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.

While there are many compelling performances, I think Yahya Abdul-Mateer II, as Bobby Seale, National Chairman of the Black Panther Party, has the best chance of getting a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Seale was the eighth defendant and not part of the “Chicago 7”.

The Whole World Is STILL Watching!

GRADE: A

“DISCO” UPDATE

Last week, I raved on how awesome the new Kylie Minogue album, “Disco”, is and I guess I’m not alone.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and is the biggest selling album of 2020 in its opening week.

By topping the chart, it’s now Kylie’s eighth #1 album there. She rules supreme as the artist with the most chart toppers — more than Elton John, George Michael, and Cliff Richard!

And, she becomes the first female artist in the U.K. to top the Official Charts in five consecutive decades!!! Kylie’s had a #1 album in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s, and the ’20s!

This is one of my favorite songs from the album, “Where Does the DJ Go?”!

“I AM WOMAN”

I finally got around to watching the Helen Reddy biopic based on her life and her signature hit.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey was amazing as Helen and Danielle MacDonald was great in a limited role.

Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”) was also great as Helen’s manager and loser of a husband, Jeff Wald. (And, I’ll add “loser” in relation to Helen’s life and career. He may be in a much better place these days!)

I only have one complaint about the movie and it’s a small one.

The movie moves along so quickly that it made it sound like the anthemic song, “I Am Woman” was a smash out of the gates at Top 40 radio in America.

That wasn’t the case. The album version was released and it flopped. The song was re-recorded and then it became iconic.

But, that’s just nitpicking!

GRADE: B+

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Since this is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2020, I’ll include a few early thoughts about Christmas.

Now that I’m much older I don’t want or need Christmas gifts (unless it’s homemade desserts). But, I have four Christmas presents that still stand out as my favorites in my life.

As a child, the first toy I can remember asking for and getting was a red cash register like this one.

I’m sure playing with money as a youngster helped me excel in math and money management today!

My favorite Christmas present growing up was a Panasonic tape recorder that I got in 1976.

I spent hours listening to the radio recording songs, making montages, and I remembering making a “Hurricane Allen” tape as the storm hit Texas in 1980.

The first song I ever recorded was “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)”, which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it won a Grammy for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

And, while Christmas 1990 was a sad one since my mother, Dessie, died in early November of that year, I’ll always remember my presents.

My mother had already put our Christmas presents in layaway.  I had chosen a $30 stone-washed denim jacket at Wal-Mart and the VHS (yes, VHS!) copy of “Pretty Woman”.

After my mother died, my lovely sister, Tammy, got those things out of layaway for me.

I still have that jacket and I’ll cherish it forever!

JAPANESE CHRISTMAS DRINK

Here are a couple of fun looking Japanese holiday drinks.

The first one (from 2019) is a Christmas Tree Latte from the Italian Coffee chain Segafredo.

It was light on the coffee and cream based and sweet like eggnog. On top of a mound of whipped cream were colorful, fruity balls that popped in your mouth!

And, here’s a Japanese Starbucks drink this year. Yum!

It’s red raspberry-flavored meringue/cheesecake pieces and white chocolate shavings topped with lots of whipped cream to create a classic red-and-white Christmas color palette.

AND, THANKS ALDI!

For this Christmas, we’ll be enjoying this Eggnog Wine treat that I picked up at Aldi.

It’s marketed as “a blend of white wine, egg yolk, festive spices, and finest cream!

“THIS IS HOW WE JEW IT”

If you loved “Chow Down (At Chick-Fil-A)” I shared a few weeks ago, let’s celebrate Hanukkah early!

This is from the 2015 holiday album, “Christmas Queens”.

Detox Icunt is amazing and so is this adorably cute Jewish boy!

Oh, how I’d love to be back in Tel Aviv, Israel again!

“FULL SERVICE”

This 2012 book by Scotty Bowers was subtitled, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars”.

Some of the gay people that Bowers wrote about were Vincent Price, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Randolph Scott. He also shared very dirty stories about composer Cole Porter.

Since all of the big stars that Bowers dished on are dead, I’m just a little skeptical on how much of his stories are true. All of them could be!

Bowers died in the fall of 2019 at the age of 96.

A very toned down version of the book was the premise of Ryan Murphy’s amazing Netflix series, “Hollywood”.

Back in June, here’s what I said of the series, “It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about ‘homophobia’ and ‘racism’ in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!) Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.”

ROYAL NAUGHTINESS

Bowers shared some naughty secrets about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward and American divorcee Wallis Simpson, in his book.

All I know is that Queen Elizabeth II can keep her corgis. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor loved pugs!

He owned at least eleven of them and most were bred in the United States.

Some of their names were “Imp”, “Disraeli”, “Trooper”, “Mr. Chu”, “Rufus”, “Winston”, “Davy Crockett”, “Minoru”, “Ginseng” and “Diamond”.

And, no, my #Pug2021’s name is not on that list! 🙂

AND, SPEAKING OF THE ROYALS…

The new season (four) of “The Crown” is now on Netflix.

While I haven’t watched it yet, I can’t wait to see more of Josh O’Connor (“God’s Own Country”) as Prince Charles.

And, of course, there’s the “chick I’d switch for” — Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher.

P.S. If you haven’t seen “God’s Own Country”, it’s incredible!

It was my #8 movie of 2018.

LEE HARVEY OSWALD IS HOT!

Okay, let me quickly clarify.

Australian actor Daniel Webber, who plays Oswald in “11.22.63”, is hot! 🙂

This 2016 Hulu series is based on a Stephen King novel. In it, James Franco’s character time travels back to 1960 to try and stop the assassination of President Kennedy.

If he does, it’ll change the future.

While this would be great for Kennedy (and America), how would that change everything else in the next 50-plus years?

GRADE: B+

TAKING A BREAK

Happy Holidays, my friends!

AND… LAST CALL… ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD!

This one from 2018 slays and is probably the best “Little Drummer Boy” version ever!

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 21, 2020

I don’t know about you, but I’m just so ready for 2020 to be over with and to see a ray of brightness to ring in 2021!

As we near September, I hope all is well with you.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

LAS VEGAS — FANTASY & REALITY

As you know from reading my blog, Las Vegas is my favorite American city.

It offers so much and a lot of it is fantasy. Take a look at this new promotion to entice people to visit. (Click on the arrow in the posted tweet to see the 15-second video!)

The reality of the situation is that this is fantasy, too!

Many people in Las Vegas and in so many other cities across America are not taking Covid-19 seriously enough.

Why should wearing a mask for public safety be such a polarizing act? Don’t answer that — it’s rhetorical!!!

Recently on Lake Decatur, I saw a group of adults (at least ten) boating with no worries in the world. Literally, no worries — NO social distancing and NO masks! 😦

In the U.S., we’re approaching the 5.5 million mark in Covid-19 cases since January with a death toll over 171-thousand!

THE RACE IS ON!

The November 3, 2020 match-up is set!

I’ve tried three times to put a woman in the White House. In 1984, it was Geraldine Ferraro as Walter Mondale’s running mate…

Hillary Clinton in 2016…

and now, in 2020, Kamala Harris as Joe Biden’s Vice President!

May the third time be the charm!!!

“SAY SOMETHING”

While I’m practicing social distancing and wearing a mask, I need an escape from the real world.

And, thanks to Kylie Minogue, I found it.

Her new song, “Say Something” is amazing and I can’t wait for the album, “Disco”, to come out November 6, 2020.

This is the weekend that the “lyric” video dropped. This is me proving I’m ready for Kylie and “Disco”!

The official video is out now. Even if don’t normally watch videos in my blogs or even if you aren’t a Kylie fan (I guess we can still be friends!), take three minutes to watch this.

If it doesn’t make you smile or help you escape reality, don’t worry — it might be too late for you! 🙂

I’m so obsessed with the video that I made this dazzling, galactic montage!

LIVING IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

So, I’m still binge-watching “The West Wing” (I’m on season three) and I just got caught up on “The Handmaid’s Tale” and I’m freaking out!

On “The West Wing”, Bradley Whitford is sexy as Josh Lymon and Elisabeth Moss is very young as the president’s daughter, Zoe. This season aired in 2001.

At the same time, on season 3 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” (2019), both of them are back together almost two decades later!

MORE ABOUT “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” (S3)

While watching the first two seasons, I felt more anger and revulsion that something like Gilead could happen — and the similarities to real life today in 2020 America!

But, there have already been several times in season three that tears welled up in my eyes!

And, to think that some critics say the quality of the third season has dropped from the first two seasons. I disagree!

Episode 28, “Unknown Caller” (Season 3, Episode 5), is my favorite episode of the series, so far.

A little hope and a little heart are not bad qualities!!!

And, toward the end of a very compelling, loving, heartbreaking episode, I cracked up when Aunt Lydia says to Offred (Ofjoseph, June): “Well, aren’t you a nosey nellie!” 🙂

By the way, after crushing on Max Minghella and Joseph Fiennes in seasons one and two, sexy O. T. Fagbenle (Luke) stole my heart away in season three!

And, other than June, my favorite character in the series is “Martha” Rita! Look at the amazing transformation Amanda Brugel goes through to be Rita!

ALINEA

In my last blog, I talked about visiting the legendary Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City if I ever get back there.

Another restaurant that’s on my bucket list is Alinea in Chicago. It’s the brain child of famed chef Grant Achatz (voted “Best Chef in the United States” in 1998)!

I read his 2011 book, “life, on the line:  A Chef’s Story of Chasing Greatness, Facing Death, and Redefining the Way We Eat” and it’s one of the most incredible heart-tugging stories.

At Alinea, tickets have to be bought months in advance to experience the 12 to 22-course multi-sensory, molecular gastronomical experience.

In the restaurant’s pop-up in Miami while the Chicago location was undergoing renovations, a “Gold Wine Pairing” is about $495 a person and that’s on top of the tasting menu that’s about $300!

Chris Churter described this next photo as “an abstract painting for those with a sweet tooth.” Yes, this is a chocolate creation!

If you’d like to know more about Grant’s amazing story, here’s the link to my 2014 blog. (It’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/chicago-chefs-courageous-fight-makes-me-fear-cancer-less/

“HANNIBAL”

Speaking of eating dishes that are not common…

Although I watched the three seasons of “Hannibal” on NBC in its original run, I want to watch the series again now that it’s on Netflix.

I’m thinking it’ll be a winter viewing now, along with re-watching the eight seasons of “Dexter”.

In case, you’ve never seen the TV series, this helps to explain that funny. 🙂

I won’t make this a spoiler other than to say that isn’t a “leg of lamb”! 🙂

And, speaking of Gillian Anderson…

“THE CROWN” — SEASON FOUR

Netflix announced this week that the fourth season of “The Crown” arrives November 15, 2020.

It’ll cover the late-1970s and early-1980s and the marriage of Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor) and Lady Diana (Emma Corrin).

While I can’t wait to see the charming O’Connor (check him out in “God’s Own Country” — with an open mind!), what really excites me about the new season is Gillian Anderson as Margaret “The Iron Lady” Thatcher!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MADONNA!

Madonna celebrated her 62nd birthday in Jamaica this week.

Along for festivities, with a fantastic food spread and awesome looking drinks, were her boyfriend, Ahlamalik Williams, her 23-year-old daughter Lourdes, plus four of her other five kids!

And, yes, I noticed the lack of masks in the larger group photos! 😦

TONI BRAXTON

Toni Braxton has new exciting new music and a hot video called “Dance”!

The album, “Spell My Name”, is out August 28th!

Toni is one of only five artists still left on my concert bucket list!

The others are Kylie Minogue, Vanessa Williams (a Christmas concert), Daryl Hall & John Oates, and Culture Club.

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 Friday Thoughts — March 13, 2020

Two weeks in a row with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy!

Feel free to comment on any of my thoughts, but, as always, do it diplomatically!

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

Don’t zone out from fatigue over the Coronavirus.  I’ll keep this part short!

You’re hearing a lot on the news about the virus, which is now a pandemic.

Basically the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is that an epidemic is an illness affecting a specific region and a pandemic has global impacts!

Here is the U.S., sports seasons and playoffs are basically done, concerts are being cancelled or postponed, schools are extending spring break and going to online classes when they return, restaurants are closing, and the list goes on.

And, on Wednesday, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, in Australia, announced they they tested positive for Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

Yet, there are those that are blaming the media (of course) for hyping up something that’s no worse than the flu, which kills people each year.

However, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the Coronavirus is ten times (that’s 10 times) deadlier than the seasonal flu!

Coronavirus

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust the government!  (I’m not just talking about the Trump administration — yet that speaks for itself!)  I’m talking about trust on a daily basis and not specifically with Coronavirus.

This mistrust of the U.S. government is a product of past administrations (Republican and Democrats) of telling us just what we “need” to know, when it deems the time is right.

Well, here’s the thing.  I think Coronavirus is a real public threat and I think we’re going to see the number of cases (and deaths) in the U.S. and Canada shoot up drastically over the next month or so.

As for me, I pray that I don’t get sick.  However, I’m doing nothing more to prevent it than I normally do in a typical day. 

I always wash my hands.  I love using hand sanitizer (even before it was chic).  I cover my mouth when I cough and I move away from people hacking like they’re coughing up a lung.

And, no I didn’t raid the store for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water!

Watermelon Mint Vodka

However, I did buy a bottle of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Zero Sugar Infusions vodka.  It sounded fun!  And, I do have a decent supply of wine and liquor!

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

Hello, Wicked Spoon!  These were my four plates and truly UNLIMITED champagne and mimosas this past December from there!

Wicked Spoon

Because of Coronavirus, my life as I know it is (temporarily?) disrupted — if I was in Vegas now.

MGM Resorts (which doesn’t own Wicked Spoon) issued this statement earlier in the week:

“MGM Resorts will temporarily close buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday March 15. These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

It what could be called “joy” and “madness”, I found out this week that I joined Facebook more than a decade ago.

So, if you don’t follow me there, here were my thoughts on my eleventh anniversary!

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

Primaries and caucuses are taking places across the nation ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, which I think will be Joe Biden and 45.

I love looking at polls and I trust them — for the most part.

Vote

However, I also know that polls mean nothing if people don’t get out and vote!

And, come November 3, 2020, if you want to make “that man” a one-term president (or if you support him), you have to VOTE!

“OZARK” 

Season three of one of the best shows on television is coming back later this month.

“Ozark” returns March 27th on Netflix and from the new trailer, it looks like this could be Laura Linney’s year for an Emmy win!

She was incredible in season two and I was hoping that she and Julia Garner would take home trophies.  Garner won in the Emmy’s supporting actress category.

THANKS NETFLIX!

But, before I can check out the new season of “Ozark” with the incredible Linney, season three of “The Crown”, season two of “Sex Education”, season two of “Mindhunter”, and the first season of “The Politician”, I now have to buy a new television!

Thanks a lot Netflix!

Last month, I was going to start binge-watching “The West Wing” and this is what greeted me!

Bad Netflix

On December 1, 2019, Netflix deemed my Samsung television, which I got in 2014, obsolete for its streaming service!

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

Last week, I talked about the new Lady Gaga single, “Stupid Love” (it debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), from her upcoming April 10th album, “Chromatica”.

Now, I’m excited to know what my second album that I’ll buy in 2020 will be and when.

“Gaslighter” is the new single and the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ new album that’ll drop May 1, 2020!

“Gaslighter” is actually getting country music airplay!  It debuted on the Billboard Country chart at #31 and moved to #20 in its second week!

That’s their biggest hit at country radio since “Travelin’ Soldier” hit #1 in early 2003, about the time that Natalie Maines’ comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War got the Chicks banned from country radio!

Their last album, “Taking The Long Way”, came out in May 2006, and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

The Dixie Chicks’ last hit song was 2006’s “Not Ready To Make Nice”, which reached #4 on the Hot 100.

It went on to win three Grammy Awards — “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”, in 2007!

“KNIVES OUT”

If you like whodunit movies, you’ll like this mystery comedy.

The all-star cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson.

The first half of the movie features some very humorous scenes as the story was set up.  Collette was especially funny.

I figured out early on who was likely the killer.  From that point on, the movie started to drag.  (Oh, I was correct!).

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

For months now, I’ve been purging my CD and movie collection.

I started listening to CDs that I liked at one time in my life, but I’d never say, “I want to listen to <insert album title here>.  I had about one thousand CDs and now it’s down to about 425 essentials that I don’t want to part with.

With my movies, I’m watching older ones, some of which didn’t become one of “my favorites”, and I’m getting rid of them.

Until recently, only three of them made the cut and I put them back on the shelf.

I kept the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”), the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”, and the 2010 American romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?”.

“LEMON TREE”

This past week, I added three more “keepers”.

The first is the 2008 Israeli drama, “Lemon Tree”.

Hiam Abbass is heartbreaking and stunning!  She plays Salma, a widowed Palestinian woman fighting to keep the Israeli government from cutting down her lemon grove, which was planted by her late father decades ago.

It becomes a security risk when the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife, Mira, (a moving performance by Rona Lipaz-Michael) move next door.

“PATRIK 1.5”

Another was the very touching 2008 Swedish film, “Patrik 1.5”.

It stars one of the sexy Skarsgard brothers (no, not Alexander from “True Blood” and “Big Little Lies” and not creepy Bill (Pennywise in the new “It” movie series).

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

His Göran Skoogh in “Patrik 1.5” would make the perfect husband! 🙂

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

Even though this Argentinean movie came out in 2013, it speaks volumes about today’s dating and app hook-up scene!

You never really know who you’re meeting or hooking up with and what could happen!

Manuel (Patrico Ramos) and Julio (Mario Veron) finally decide to meet after chatting online for a while.

Once they meet, Julio tells Manuel, “There are really bad people round there. They say one thing and they mean another. You never know who you’re dealing with. You don’t even know who you’re bringing into your home.”

“TRANSAMERICA”

I also watched the incredible “Transamerica” with Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman and the adorably sexy Kevin Zegers.

While still a very fulfilling movie, so much has changed since it came out in 2005.

After the groundbreaking television series “Pose” and “Transparent”, I couldn’t imagine a movie made today about a trans woman that WOULD NOT be played by a real trans actress!

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

Debbie Gibson, one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, is back with a huge club hit!

“Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young Radio Remix) is currently at #4 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In 2019, Tracy Young scored back-to-back chart toppers on the the Dance Club Songs chart with Madonna’s “I Rise” and “Crave”.  (Young won a Grammy Award for the “I Rise” remix!)

From 1986 to early 1991, Gibson scored nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, five reached the Top Ten, including the #1 hits, “Foolish Beat” (1988) and “Lost in Your Eyes” (1989, three weeks at #1).

When “Foolish Beat” topped the chart in the summer of 1988, Debbie became youngest person to write, produce, and perform a number-one single entirely on her own, at age 17!!!

“Only In My Dreams”, Debbie’s first hit in 1987 that reached #4, is still one of my all-time favorites!

“ICE BOUND:  A DOCTOR’S INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE”

Ice Bound

This 2001 book is about Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an Ohio doctor that took a year off from medicine to find herself by “wintering” in Antarctica with 40 others.

Just a few months into her one-year stay, she found a lump in her breast.

This book is the story of how she and her new friends, “winterovers”, worked via satellite and computers in the harsh -100° weather and months of complete darkness to keep her alive.

This lasted for eight months before the weather finally broke and she could be rescued and brought back to the U.S. for surgery in the fall of 1998.

In 2000, while I was an anchor and reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, I interviewed Dr. Nielsen.  Twenty years later, I have no clue what about!  Maybe it was about her recovery?

Dr. Nielsen was a cancer survivor for over a decade before she died in the summer of 2009.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 18, 2019

While I’ll still post a few new blogs before the end of the year, this is the next to last the “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019!

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and have a great weekend!

HILLARY CLINTON’S NEXT ROLE

While I’d love for Hillary Clinton to make an “eleventh hour” entry into 2020 Democratic race for president, I don’t think that’ll happen.

STILL. HOPING.

Still

Before you even say it, Ronald Reagan ran for president three times before winning in 1980!

However, I think I’ve already figured out her next role in the history of U.S. politics.

In early 2021 when the Democratic 46th president * takes office, I think Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down from the bench and Hillary will become the new Supreme Court Justice!

* Oh, a technically — it might the 47th president of the U.S. if 45 is impeached or forced to resign and that despicable Mike Pence becomes #46 for a few months!

Or, maybe Hillary could be Vice President and then ascend to Commander in Chief!

“MADAM SECRETARY” “MADAM PRESIDENT”

Spoiler Alert:  As the sixth and final season of the CBS hit, “Madam Secretary” kicked off earlier this month, it’s now “Madam President (sort of)”!

Capture.JPG

The show has never been subtle that Secretary of State (now president) Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) is based heavily on real life Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Capture.JPG

The final season premiere was a very powerful and pointed episode.  It made no effort to mask “real life” in America today with these lines about Elizabeth’s opponent:

“…his disgusting attacks on immigrants, the media.  He’s not fit to be president.”

“He won the nomination, but that doesn’t mean honorable people should get behind him and validate his worst impulses.”

“His politics WILL divide the country even further!”

ONE BIG DEVIATION FROM REAL LIFE

President McCord realizes near 100 days into her presidency that Iran COLLUDED to release information on her competitor, which may have led to her winning the election!

This would make her an “illegitimate president”!

WHERE DO THEY COME UP WITH THESE STORY IDEAS???? 

Trump Putin

However, unlike Donald Trump, President McCord tries to find out how this happened and not make a love nest with a Vladmir Putin!

FINAL THOUGHT ON “THAT MAN”

Here’s a tweet that I responded to when I read his tweet about his “great and unmatched wisdom”!

DT wisdom

CLUTCH YOUR PEARLS OVER ELLEN DeGENERES & PRESIDENT BUSH!

Weeks later, people are still talking about comedian/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game.

Ellen Bush

Many in the LGBTQ community blasted her for being friends with such a devil.  A couple of days after the game, I tweeted Ellen:

Ellen.JPG

Elton John is now defending her.

While I agreed with a few things that George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

One of the things I’m most proud of came early in his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Laura Bush

By the way, I love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d enjoy meeting President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

“ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA”

This quirky ten-episode Showtime series wraps up its first season this weekend.

It stars Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Kirsten Dunst as Krystal Stubbs, a struggling minimum-wage-earning water park employee near Orlando, Florida.

She schemes her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM), a cultish, flag waving, multi-billion dollar organization that made her family lose all of its money.  It also indirectly caused her husband’s death (a very interesting one at that)!

22-year-old Canadian actor Theodore Pelleren co-stars as pyramid scheme victim Cody Bonar.  He’s incredible and I’m calling it now — he’ll get an Emmy nomination in 2020!

In late-September, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” was renewed for a second season!

As much as I enjoyed season one, I don’t think I’ll return for season two!

GRADE:  B

“OUR BOYS”

I was really intrigued with the gut-wrenching HBO Israeli series, “Our Boys”, since I have an indirect connection to it.

The events it dramatizes were happening in the months leading up to my trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, in October 2014, to celebrate my 50th birthday.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Tensions were still running rather high on my visit and we were advised not to visit Jerusalem for safety reasons.

This series focuses on the murder investigation of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burnt alive in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.

While the entire series is compelling, “Chapter 7: Judging by its End” is so tense and heartbreaking.

The series features standout performances from Shlomi Elkabetz (Simon), Adam Gabay (Avishay), Jony Arbid (Hussein, Mohammed’s father) and Ruba Blal-Asfour (Suha, Mohammed’s mother).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a boycott of the series because it portrays Israelis in a bad light.   Um, okay!!!!!!

GRADE:  A-

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

I can’t wait until November 17th for the return of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, “The Crown”!

Olivia Colman succeeds Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip, replacing Matt Smith.

The third season covers the years 1964-1976, including Harold Wilson’s terms as prime minister until 1976.

Sexy Josh O’Connor (“God’s Own Country”) will play Prince Charles.

This trailer is so clever in how it prepares us for the transition from a younger Queen Elizabeth in seasons one and two to a more mature Queen (Oscar winner Colman in seasons three and four)!

The fourth season will include Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”) as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and it’ll introduce Lady Diana Spencer.

“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

If you want to get a taste of O’Connor before the new season of “The Crown” arrives, check out “God’s Own Country” on Netflix.  It was my 8th favorite movie of 2018.

Along with O’Connor, this stunning English drama stars Romanian actor Alec Secareanu.

O’Connor plays Johnny, a young man living with his father and grandmother on the family farm in northern England.  Johnny now has more responsibility after his father’s stroke.

He leads a lonely existence and drowns his sorrows in alcohol and cheap, meaningless sex.

The family hires Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, for the upcoming lambing season and sparks begin to fly between the two young men.

But, can Johnny admit his feelings for Gheorghe and come out to his family that may or may not be accepting?

O’Connor won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor beating out his co-star for the honor.

GRADE: B+

“PURE GOLDWATER”

This book by John Dean and Barry Goldwater, Jr. covers the Arizona Senator’s life and his 1964 Republican Presidential campaign.  He lost to President Lyndon Johnson.

Pure Goldwater

While Goldwater was very conservative, in the 1980s when he was in his 80s, he turned against the close-minded values of the Republican party and was supportive of his gay grandson, Ty Ross.

Ty Ross 1

Ross, a former Zoli model turned interior decorator, says this about his grandfather, he “knew I was gay since I was a teen. He was fine with it, and it was never an issue. He wasn’t terribly religious. It was all kind of a non-issue in the family.  In the early 1990s, I went to go protest in support of a local ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity into the city charter, and there was this raucous debate.  My grandfather happened to be at our house when I got back. ‘I heard you went downtown. Good job, standing up for what you believe in.'”

Ty Ross 2

Ross adds, “He was aware I was in POZ. I was never dealt any shame about it or met with adulation. It was neither, which was good for me because I didn’t have to feel any guilt. We never really talked about me being HIV positive. Without a doubt, he knew I was positive and was supportive of me more in that I was involving myself in standing up for gay rights.”

Additionally, in June 1993, after consulting with military experts, Goldwater realized that gays posed no security risk and declared that the military should lift its ban on gays.

He was quoted as saying, “you don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country; you just need to shoot straight.”

Two months later, he told the LGBTQ magazine, “The Advocate” that people being worked up over gays in the military was “pointless” and “stupid”.  He added that the GOP’s stance on gays was “dumb”.

“GOLDWATER GIRL”

As a 17-year-old in Chicago, you’ll never guess who was a “Goldwater Girl”, campaigning for the Republican in the 1964 presidential election!

Hillary Clinton Goldwater

Appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in November 1993, Goldwater told the story of Hillary campaigning for him, “I remember her going around in a gingham dress trying to get people to vote for me.  Trouble is, she didn’t get around to enough of them.”

In October 1996, less than two years before Goldwater died, Hillary made a surprise visit to Goldwater at his Paradise Valley home!

Goldwater Hillary

And, if you didn’t know, Hillary was raised in a very conservative household in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge.

I’m just glad Hillary was much quicker to get away from the Republican party than Goldwater. 🙂

MY PICK HIT IS CATCHING ON!

Whitney Houston is back on Top 40 radio!

“Higher Love” with Kygo is at #27 on Mediabase today!

The reworked song is from the Japanese version of Houston’s third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The video is so sexy and cute and the song will sound familiar — it’s a remake of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, which is one of my all-time favorite songs!

NEW CHRISTMAS STAMPS

The new holiday offering from the United States Postal Service this year is artsy, but I’ll be looking for an alternative for my Christmas cards this year.

Wreaths

I may go with the same ones I used last year!

Diwali.jpg

As I stated in my blog last November, “I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights… It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.  We could really use that in the world these days!!!!!!!!”

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  This year, it’ll be on Sunday, October 27th in the U.S.

“CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY”

Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be releasing her first holiday album, “Christmas in the City” on October 25th.

Lea Michele Christmas

It’ll feature duets with two very sexy men!

Jonathan Groff (“Glee” and “Mindhunter”) joins her on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and Darren Criss (“Glee” and “American Crime Story:  The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) sings “White Christmas” with Lea.

Broadway star Cynthia Erivo, who was amazing in “Bad Times at the El Royale” and will star in the upcoming “Harriet”, joins Lea on “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

Other classics included on the album will be “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “Silver Bells” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

“Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from “Frozen” is also featured.  (By the way, Groff is also the voice of Kristoff in the “Frozen” movie franchise!)

“ALL TOO HUMAN”

I also read George Stephanopoulos’ 1999 book subtitled “A Political Education” this fall.

All Too Human George Stephanopoulous

It covered the years 1992, when he worked to get Bill Clinton elected president, through 1996, when he resigned from being Clinton’s Senior Advisor shortly after Clinton was re-elected in November 1996.

Stephanopoulos talked openly about his abrasive relationship with Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony