Posts Tagged ‘The Great Gatsby’

Random Friday Thoughts — May 10

The weekend is almost here and on any given Friday, I’d be excited to have the next two days off .  However, I’ll be working Saturday night, so it’s a six-day work week for me and only one day off this weekend.  However, that extra work day will come in handy as a “comp day” this fall when I want to take a vacation.

Otherwise, it’s Mother’s Day weekend, so Happy Mother’s Day!  This picture is of my mother’s last spring celebration with us in 1990.

Dessie 1990

Ray and I were going to take my sister out to brunch Sunday, but Tammy has to work a double that day.  So, if you go see her at work, tip her well! 🙂  We’ll just take her out next weekend and since our schedule opened up Sunday, we’re going to see ‘The Great Gatsby”.  I sure hope it’s as dazzling as “Moulin Rouge!”

MY FRIEND WINS A NATIONAL AWARD

I’m very proud of a friend of mine who works as a counselor at Erie Elementary School in Erie, Illinois.  GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) awarded Matt Beck as the 2013 Educator of the Year!

Matt Beck

And, here’s what his very proud husband, Scott, tells me:  “Matt, a professional school counselor for the past 6 years, relentlessly is on the mission of teaching elementary school kids that it’s ok to be different, that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that respect for others is the common goal we can all share and strive for.  Matt epitomizes the strength that you do not give up and retreat when opposition rises, especially when it goes against your ethics and is harmful to kids.”

Matt will accept his award May 20th in New York City.

For those of you that may not remember the story, here are two blog links about it from last May and June.  That first story was my most viewed blog ever in one day.  And, needless to say, not all of the comments to me were positive.  But, it was a story that needed to be told!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/the-erie-school-district-illinois-needs-to-address-bullying/

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/erie-school-board-diversity-controversy-goes-national/

Congratulations Matt!  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your huge accomplishment last year when you shared the story with me to get the word out.  Keep up the good work!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You Look CrazyAcceptingNew Jersey, What Are You Waiting For

SLIMMING DOWN FOR 2016?

Speaking of the Garden State, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie secretly underwent a weight-loss surgical procedure in February and he revealed the details to the “New York Post” earlier this week.   The surgery will limit the amount of food he can take in, but it doesn’t affect his digestive process.  The lap band surgery involves the placement of a silicone band around his stomach to reduce its size.

chris-christie-weight-loss-surgery

Christie says, “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years.  For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”

I sincerely believe he did it for his family, but I don’t think that is the only reason.  I would venture to say it’s because he’s eying a run for the presidency in 2016 and weight has come up many times in the past when his future political ambitions are discussed.  He downplays this by stating,  “It’s so much more important than that.”

While Christie has never stated his weight, it’s been reported at between 300 and 350 pounds.

On this weighty topic, the last president to weigh over 250 pounds was William Taft, the 27th U.S. president from 1909-1913.  Taft weighed in at a reported 316 pounds and had  a BMI (body mass index) of 42.3, which is considered “very severely obese”.  He died of a heart attack.

That was 100 years ago and my personal opinion is that in today’s 24-hour media circus and the internet, weight does matter.

As much as I disagree with your politics, Governor Christie, I wish you good health.

GOODBYE “BIG”

A few weeks after Miss ABBA died in early February 2012, Panda, the blind shar-pei that we doggie sit for from Chicago came to stay with us in the Quad Cities with his live-in golden retriever companion, Big.  They stayed with us for about a week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just found out that “Big” died recently of cancer at the very young age of seven.  Poor baby!  Now, heaven is graced with another beautiful golden that I know Miss ABBA welcomed with a tail wag and a smile.

MICHAEL BUBLE — “TO BE LOVED” OR NOT?

I’m a huge fan of sexy, Canadian crooner Michael Bublé.  I own eleven of his CDs, including all of his studio albums beginning with the 2003 release “Michael Bublé”, along with “live” recordings and extended plays.  My favorites are “Christmas” (2011) and “Call Me Irresponsible” (2007).

Bublé recently released his latest album, “To Be Loved”, which sold 195,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.  It also debuted at #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom!  But, is it any good?

Michael Buble To Be Loved

I bought the “deluxe” version from Target with three additional songs.  If you’re a die-hard Bublé fan, get the deluxe version.  If you’re not all that familiar with his music or sound, the standard version that’s $3 cheaper (14 songs) would suffice.

The first four songs on the disc, including his new radio hit, “It’s a Beautiful Day”, are fantastic and perfect.  He gets your blood pumping with the disc opener, “You Make Me Feel So Young” and keeps you happy with “Who’s Lovin’ You” and  “To Love Somebody”.

But, then the album hits a brief road block to bliss.  As much I love actress Reese Witherspoon, her appearance on “Something Stupid” is boring and off-kilter.  It sounds like she just phoned in her vocals and I wish that Bublé had done the song solo.

The magic returns on the next three songs.  Fellow Canadian and 1980s pop superstar Bryan Adams even shows up on “After All” and shows us that he’s still the master of mid-tempo love songs.  The two singing together is a perfect combination.

Other than the title track, “To Be Loved”, which is song #10 on the disc, which is perfect, the album loses steam once we get to the tired classic “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” to the end of the standard disc.

Of the three “exclusive” songs on the “deluxe” version, only the “swing mix” of the current radio hit, “It’s A Beautiful Day”, excels.

GRADE:  B

Buble2

I’ve seen Bublé in concert twice.  Both times were in Moline, Illinois.  However, Quad Citians, if you want to see him, he’s moved up in the world.  The closest he’ll be playing to the Quad Cities will be at the United Center in Chicago on September 7, 2013.

WAY TO GO, DELAWARE!

Following Rhode Island last week, Delaware, earlier this week, became the 11th state in the United States (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage equality legal.  Minnesota may become #12 as early as next week after the House passed the measure yesterday with a vote of 75-59.  The bill is expected to move to the Democrat-controlled Senate Monday.

So, what about Illinois?  Movement in the House has been slow since the bill for full marriage equality passed out of a House committee in late February 2013.  The legislation needs at least 60 votes for passage in the House to land on the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who hopes to quickly sign it into law.

A group of country musicians, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, and “Big” Kenny Alphin, issued an open letter to Illinois lawmakers saying, “When two people are lucky enough to find each other and want to commit their lives to one another, it is nothing less than a blessing to us all.”

Open Letter

Even before I heard about this open letter last week, I had been listening to some of my old Mary Chapin Carpenter albums.

Since she scored her first country radio hit in 1989 until her last Top 40 appearance on the country chart, she’s charted with 22 hits.  Of those Top 40 hits, nine reached the Top Ten and one, 1994’s “Shut Up and Kiss Me”, topped the chart.  Her 1992 album Come On Come On” produced seven Top 40 country hits between 1992-1994 and sold more than four million copies.

My favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter song, “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”, reached #2 (Billboard) and #1 (Radio & Records) in 1994 and it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.  The song also featured some of the biggest names in country music:  Patty Loveless (one of my favorites), Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, and Aledo, Illinois’ own Suzy Bogguss.

Mary Chapin, Emmylou, Rodney, and “Big” Kenny, on behalf of all of us in Illinois wanting marriage equality, thank you!

BEATLES’ ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, GRASSHOPPERS ARE

70-year-old Sir Paul McCartney may want to think about playing outdoor concerts in the future.  Earlier this week, during his three-hour set, in Brazil, the former Beatles was invaded by grasshoppers!

Paul McCartney GrasshoppersBrazil Grasshoppers

At one point, the sky was filled with the creatures.  Nevertheless, Paul just kept right on performing and even introduced one of the insects as “Harold” during “Hey Jude.”

I guess sometimes you should just “Let It Be”!

WHY DO I LOVE FREAKS?

“Entertainment Weekly” is slowly winning me back with humor.  As you may recall, a few weeks ago, I was pretty miffed at the magazine for a major spoiler alert they blabbed with insufficient warning.  While I’m still working on totally forgiving my favorite magazine, it made some progress with this entry in its May 3, 2013, “Dan Snierson’s Hit List”, a look at ten things that really happened in the entertainment world, complete with a witty comeback:

After sleeping in glass case for MoMA exhibit, Tilda Swinton poses with centipedes on her face for fashion-mag shoot  As of press time, Swinton was being classified as 49 percent James Franco, 47 percent Lady Gaga, and 4 percent other/no clue”.  Too funny (and true)!

tilda-swinton-posing-for-w-magazine-with-centipede-eyebrows-and-mustaches

By the way, I love Tilda.  If you’ve never seen any of her movies, check out “We Need To Talk About Kevin” (my third favorite movie that I saw in 2012) and “The Deep End” (2001).

FUTURE HIT PICK — SONG OF THE SUMMER?

ErikaJayne1

Atlanta, Georgia, singer Erika Jayne is a beautiful singer that you likely haven’t heard of — yet.

That is unless you’ve been hanging out in dance clubs.  Since her first release, “Rollercoaster” soared to the top of the Billboard Dance charts in 2007, Erika has followed that up with five consecutive number one hits:  “Stars”, “Give You Everything”, “Pretty Mess”, “One Hot Pleasure”, and “Party People (Ignite The World)”.

ErikaJayne2

Her new song, “Get It Tonight”, is going to take her to the top of the dance charts again and out of the clubs for a crossover to Top 40 radio!

She teams up with rapper/musician Flo Rida, who’s no stranger to pop radio.  He’s already scored 14 hits since he topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his first hit, “Low” in 2007.  He’s also topped that chart with “Right Round” with Ke$ha in 2009, and with “Whistle” last year.

I have her first CD, 2009’s “Pretty Mess” and it’s fantastic.  Her new disc featuring “Get It Tonight” is titled “Glitz, Glamour, & Fun”, but there is no release date yet.

Remember the name, Erika Jayne.  She will have the summer song of 2013!

THE CLUBS WON’T BE THE SAME!

While not a household name, Peter Rauhofer is one of the most amazing DJ/remixers/producers.  Sadly, he died Tuesday at the age of 48 after discovering he had brain cancer just weeks ago!

Peter Rauhofer Madonna

Rauhofer worked with Madonna, Britney, Whitney, Lady Gaga, Cher, Janet, Kylie, Christina, Pink, Mariah, Depeche Mode, and countless others.

In 1999, he remixed “Nothing Really Matters” for Madonna.  That song would go on to hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart and win an ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Award in 2000 for “Award-Winning Dance Song”.  The video would be nominated for “Best Special Effects” for the MTV Video Music Awards.

R.I.P. Peter!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

This week, last May, I made mint and jalapeno-mint jelly and they both turned out fantastic and as you can see by this photo, the mint took over the herb garden!  This year, I transplanted it and much of it is struggling to survive.

May 11 2012 Jalapeno-Mint Jelly

And, last May, Ray had a conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I went with him.  I’d love to move to Indy!

On the way there, we stopped at what is now one of my favorite restaurants in Illinois, Destihl in Champaign.  The food, from the appetizers (shrimp ceviche and watermelon feta) to the homemade desserts were fantastic.  I think we need to make a road trip downstate for dinner soon!

May 16 2012 Destihl Shrimp Ceviche and Watermelon & Feta Champaign, IL

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

As new wave swept across the Atlantic in the 1980s, Kim Wilde scored the first of her two Top 40 hits in the U.S.  “Kids In American” hit #25 in 1982 and five years later, she hit #1 with a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

My friends, that’s enough random thoughts for one week.  Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

Anthony

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Summer’s Coming, So Get the Popcorn Ready

I’m sure there aren’t too many people who would tell Ryan Gosling, Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, James Franco, Amanda Seyfried, and Henry Cavill to wait.

Ryan GoslingHugh Jackmansandra_bullock_james franco imageamanda-seyfried-2Henry-Cavill-Shirtless-On-Superman-Set

As hot and talented as they are, I’ll likely be waiting for their new movies, “Only God Forgives” (Gosling, July 19), “The Wolverine” (Jackman, July 26), “The Heat” (Bullock, June 28), “This Is The End” (Franco, June 12), “Lovelace” (Seyfried, August 9), and “Man of Steel” (Cavill, June 14) to arrive on DVD in late 2013 or 2014, even though they all hit the movie theaters this summer.

Here are the movies that I’ve decided will send me into the theaters for my large popcorn and large Coke Zero (and free refills).

May 10, 2013

“THE GREAT GATSBY”

If the latest Buz Luhrmann movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire is as magical as Luhrmann’s 2001 musical, “Moulin Rouge!”, it’ll be a masterpiece to me.  From all of the buzz I’m hearing, this 2013 version should easily surpass the 1974 adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

May 17, 2013

“STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”

I previewed this sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 hit and re-boot, “Star Trek” last week in my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I can’t wait to see where this movie takes the USS Enterprise.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana return and are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (of the BBC hit series, “Sherlock”).

June 21, 2013

Since we’ll have Gretel one of these two weekends (June 21 or 28), we’ll have to make it a double feature weekend at the movies when she’s not with us.  It also saves money because you’re only buying one popcorn and two sodas and getting refills instead of doing it each weekend!

The last time we did that, Ray and I saw “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” on the same day.

Of the two new movies I want to see in late June, one features a fight to save the world from, you guessed it, zombies!  And, the other features “Magic Mike” Channing Tatum with his clothes on trying to save the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx).

“WORLD WAR Z”

This will be one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.  The Brad Pitt-action flick was pushed back from a December 2012 release date for re-shoots, which is sometimes seen in Hollywood as a sign that the movie is in trouble.  Plus, it’s not a cheap movie with a budget of  more than $170 million!  Pitt hopes that this feature will become a franchise.

All I can say is that these are not your “The Walking Dead” slow-moving flesh eaters.  They can move!

June 28, 2013

“WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

While I’ve never gone to the theater to see over-the-top movies by Roland Emmerich (the modern-day Irwin Allen), I’ve decided that it might be fun doing something I normally don’t do.  I enjoyed his “The Day After Tomorrow” on DVD.

And, with publicity pictures like this, I’d be a fool not to go!

Tatum Foxx

August 7, 2013

“ELYSIUM”

The Oscar-nominated 2009 action/thriller “District 9”  was incredible.  Director Neill Blomkamp is back with his latest thriller starring Matt Damon and a very stunning and sexy Jodie Foster.  I mean, check out that hair!  Did that sound too gay?  I’ve always been in love with Jodie!

Elysium-Jodie-Foster1

The movie takes place in 2154 and “the world has been divided into two classes”, says “Entertainment Weekly”:  the rich living aboard a high-tech orbital space station, “Elysium”, and everyone living on the suffering, dying Earth below.

Matt Damon plays an Earth resident that has to break into Elysium to cure himself of a medical condition that is available there, but not on Earth.  And, from what I’ve read, Jodie Foster is the villian in this movie.  She heads up the Elysium Corporate Authority.

The movie also stars Sharlto Copley, the star of “District 9”.

August 7, 2013

“PERCY JACKSON:  SEA OF MONSTERS”

Sometimes you do it for the kids.

Gretel is a huge fan of the Rick Riordan young-adult series, she loved the first movie, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief”, and she has a crush on “Percy Jackson” actor Logan Lerman.  (I have to admit that he is cute.)  Grown-ups will more likely know him as Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” from last year.

This movie will whet our appetites for “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” coming in November.

HONORABLE MENTION

And, while I’ll wait for the DVD, the new movie from Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar, “I’m So Excited” looks very funny.  His last movie, the horror/psychological drama, “The Skin I Live In”, was one of my favorite movies that I saw in 2012.

And, I’ll never think of the Pointer Sisters performing this song again after seeing this over-the-top, hilarious version of “I’m So Excited”.  Here’s the video.

In honor of the late movie critic Roger Ebert, I hope my choices that I’ll spend good money on get “two thumbs up”.

Anthony