Posts Tagged ‘The Star’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 23, 2018

It’s here!  Welcome to spring!

Spring Already

I know there’s still plenty of winter and snow in the forecast for some of you.  Be careful out there across the Plains and Midwest (Quad Cities, I’m looking at you!).

6″-12″ of snow could fall under the “Winter Storm Warning”!

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Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WEATHER’S “MARCH MADNESS”

If you’re following NCAA college basketball, there’s plenty of shattered brackets — thanks, Virginia!  Actually, I didn’t fill out brackets this year, but I’d never pick Virginia to become the first #1 seed ever to lose to a #16 seed!

Here’s a funny weather forecasting bracket that’s perfect for the Midwest (or any region that has quickly changing weather conditions)!

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THE CALENDAR SAYS WINTER IS OVER, BUT…

Michael Myers Winter

LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME!

I know pet owners take care of their dogs differently.

ABBACANADA

When I had my golden retriever, most of my trips were by car so ABBA could go with me.  It never crossed my mind to take her on a plane.

United and Delta airlines are both under media and social media scrutiny over recent mishaps involving dogs — including one that died while being put in an overhead bin and three others sent to the wrong locations.

Okay, both airlines deserve criticism for not getting things right.  However, for as long as there have been airlines, there has been lost luggage.  So, why does misdirecting dogs seem so far-fetched?

The bottom line is that customers that put their pets on a flight know that something could go wrong and should take responsibility for mishaps, too!

A final note:  Earlier this week, United announced that it’s suspending the program of sending pets as cargo!

GOVERNOR NIXON?

While Oprah is pretty much shooting down gossip that she’ll run for president in 2020, “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon announced earlier this week that she’ll be running for Governor of New York!

cynthianixon2

She plans to run in the Democratic Primary against current Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon is the mother of three kids and she’s a strong advocate for LGBT rights and women’s rights.

While the bisexual Nixon is definitely vocal and an advocate and has every reason to run, I’m not entirely sold on the idea.

Plus, I don’t think she can beat Cuomo!

“THIS JUST IN” & “FACE THE NATION”

I just finished reading two Bob Schieffer books back to back, his memoir “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV” and “Face The Nation”, my seventh and eighth completed books of the year.  (Yes, six of them have been news people!  The other two were from Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.)

Bob Schieffer

The CBS newsman comes across in this book just as he does on television — very likable.

I really enjoyed Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” and Mike Wallace’s “Between You and Me: A Memoir”, but this was my favorite.

Schieffer talks about his start as a college radio newsman, his time as a Fort Worth newspaper reporter, and getting to go to Vietnam to find personal stories about Fort Worth locals fighting that war.

He shares fun and interesting stories about his career in television and how the news business changed at the network.

Working the God awful hours of a television morning show (going into work while others are sleeping or coming home from the bars) is tough. I know because I’ve done it for years.

About that, Schieffer writes that former “Morning Show” anchor Sally Quinn said “it was only place she has ever worked where people talked more about sleep than sex” and Diane Sawyer summed it up as “being on Moscow time when everyone else was on New York time.”

R JC AP

And, Schieffer shared this about former President Jimmy Carter and it proves that I may have one more thing in common with my idol, “Many of the reporters who covered him during the [1976 presidential] campaign were turned off by his blunt manner”.

I have been accused of having a “tone” and forgetting to sugar coat things for some people!

I highly recommend Schieffer’s “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV”!

face-the-nation

“Face The Nation”, subtitled “My Favorite Stories From The First 50 Years Of The Award-Winning News Broadcast”, was a very informative and easy read at 227 pages with many great vintage photographs.

The book covered the show’s creation and topics ranging from McCarthyism in the 1950s to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and Vietnam in the 1970s to 9/11 in 2001 and much more.

Schieffer is such a great storyteller.

Here’s an interesting tidbit:  At the end of the book, there is a list of the people that appeared on the show the most times up to the book’s publication (2004).

Many of the people including Robert Dole (62), John McCain (51), Joe Biden (35), Patrick Buchanan (28), Joseph Liberman (27), and others ran unsuccessfully for president, yet several served as vice president!

“LOVE, SIMON”

LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, “You gotta give them hope.”

The new romantic dramedy, “Love, Simon”, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

The movie gives us three possible students that could be “Blue” and all three are cute and sweet and would be a great match for Simon.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

I’m sick of “The Walking Dead”.  Season 8 will be it for me and I’m already counting down to the last four episodes.

I hate saying this because the first few seasons were amazing!

So, to get my zombie fix, last year I checked out the Netflix horror-comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet”.

One day, the lives of real estate agents Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) are turned upside down when, for reasons unknown, Sheila begins to crave human flesh.

And, what’s a loving husband to do — he helps “feed” his wife!

It gets even funnier when their teenage daughter, Abby, finds out about it.

Here’s the trailer for season two if you’ve already watched the first season.

And, if you haven’t started, here’s the season one trailer.

The full season is now on Netfix.

P.S.  Olyphant, who turns 50 in May, is aging beautifully.  I’ve had a crush on him since “The Broken Hearts Club:  A Romantic Comedy” from 2000.

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

This drama was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Frances MacDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell won for Best Supporting Actor.

Both performances were great!  Woody Harrelson was also up against Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor and he was fantastic, too.

Lucas Hedges (“Manchester By The Sea”) could equally have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  He’s always amazing.

The movie about a woman who buys three billboards criticizing police who haven’t solved the rape and murder of her daughter is powerful.

It deserved all of the acting gold, but after seeing it, it rightfully didn’t deserve Best Picture.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR”

Christmas is only nine months away now. 🙂  Too early to start celebrating?

christmascocktails

This animated movie from last fall that brought in $62.8 million is now out on DVD.

“The Star” is an enjoyable film that tells the story of the baby’s birth.  (You know what baby I’m talking about.)

But, it’s pretty scary when you find an animated character sexy and it’s even scarier when it’s Joseph (of Joseph and Mary Bible fame)!

My favorite characters though were the camels Deborah, Cyrus, and Felix voiced by Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Tracy Morgan.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR” TAKES ME BACK TO VEGAS

Watching that Christmas story took me back to one of my few highlights of a rather bleak 2017 — seeing Mariah Carey’s Christmas show in Las Vegas in early December.

She was gorgeous and sounded phenomenal and the show was 90 minutes of Christmas bliss with the music and the glamorous sets!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

“The Star” by Mariah Carey was my 20th favorite song of 2017 and when it played in the movie, I cried. 🙂

While Mariah’s “The Star” was nominated for a Golden Globe award, it didn’t get an Oscar nomination.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random (Christmas) Thoughts — December 22, 2017

Christmas is here in a few day!

Thank you for checking out my festive, holiday version of “Random Friday (Christmas) Thoughts” today.

“CHRISTMAS GHOSTS — LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT”

MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

I just saw the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Mariah Carey show in Las Vegas.  She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!

Here’s my Facebook album of the amazing show.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.gene.13/media_set?set=a.10155163332614849.1073742044.500579848&type=3

By the way, the title track to the new holiday movie, “The Star”, by Mariah has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award and is in contention for an Oscar nomination!

POINSETTIAS

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

Poinsettia 1

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

CANDY CANES

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

I wonder how many of those billions end up as garnishes in festive holiday drinks?

CHRISTMAS TREES

The National Christmas Tree Association reports that Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year.  And, of that number, one out of every four are from the country’s roughly 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

I did that back in 2000 and 2001 for Miss ABBA’s (my late golden retriever) first two Christmases.

In retrospective, I felt guilty for cutting down that big, gorgeous tree!

TURKEYS

The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century.

Our Turkey 2012

However, in rich households, it didn’t immediately replace the traditional goose, beef or boar’s head.

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

I chose these stamps this year to help out a very financially stressed United States Postal Service.  I sent out 136 cards and that’s really the only time I use the USPS except when I order things online.

Stamps 1

It’s ironic that the USPS is about to go under because as early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. wanted to limit the number of cards people could send at the holidays.

People were sending out so many homemade cards, since commercial cards weren’t available then, that an extra sixteen postmen had to be hired in the nation’s capital to handle the extra mail.

The Postmaster General would be ecstatic if that was the case today!

I guess this is my chance to say once again, stop Saturday mail service and save yourself a lot of money!

“SILENT NIGHT”

“Silent Night” was written in 1818, by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

On Christmas Eve, he was told that the church organ was broken and it would not be repaired for service that evening.

Saddened, he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music and he sat down and wrote three stanzas.  Later that night,  “Stille Nacht” was performed for the first time in that little Austrian church.

BABY JESUS & THE MANGER

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is Miss ABBA wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

“JINGLE BELLS”

And, finally, the Christmas classic, “Jingle Bells”, was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont.  It was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

Check out this version of the popular holiday carol at Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka.

It made me smile.

GLOWING TURTLE

Here’s a holiday bonus, “glowing turtles” were found a couple of years ago off the coast of the Solomon Islands (northeast of Australia).

Glowing Turtle

The biofluorescent species glow red and green!

“TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, while it isn’t one of my favorite holiday songs, crazy town’s Janice Dickinson’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” is over-the-top fun.

However, the song was written to help Catholic children, in England, remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs.

Now, I found this online and didn’t take the time to verify it, but it’s still interesting.

In the song:

The “partridge in a pear tree” = Christ.
2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity– the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

HOLIDAY BREAK

While I have a few year end “best of” or “favorites” blogs coming, I’m taking time off from “Random Friday Thoughts”.

If there’s something that I really want to talk about, I’ll write something just about that. 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 12 Favorite Mariah Carey Holiday Songs

Santa (and his jovial face) is synonymous with Christmas for kids from one to ninety-two.  But, he’s gotten some beautiful competition that builds each passing year.

When I think of Christmas, two modern singers come to mind:  Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

While Buble gave us the 2011 perennial favorite “Christmas” (and the 2003 EP, “Let It Snow”), it’s Mariah that dominates Christmas!

It all started with her now classic hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from the 1994 “Merry Christmas” album.

That album has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and the song alone has sold another 14 million around the world.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-TapeMariah released a second Christmas set in 2010, “Merry Christmas II You”.

There are other singers that have released more Christmas albums (Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Mathis to name a few), but Mariah has made herself as much a part of Christmas as egg nog, sleigh rides, and rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

In 2014, she began an annual Christmas concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

This year, while she’ll still do six shows at the Beacon, there are seven other North American dates, plus a five-night residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

I was lucky enough to see the Christmas show in Las Vegas in December 2017 and Mariah looked and sounded flawless and the sets were incredible!!!!!!!

It was the most magical 90 minutes I’ve enjoyed in the past couple of years!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

And, if that wasn’t enough, the Christmas show is going international with three dates in England and France!

MC ChristmasIn addition to the Christmas concerts, she has a direct-to-video animated feature called “Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You”, (November 14th), for which she recorded a new song called “Lil Snowman” for the soundtrack.

Mariah also has the title song from the upcoming holiday release “The Star” (November 17th), which also features new holiday music from Fifth Harmony and Kelsea Ballerini, which is available now!

MC Christmas Factory

And, if that’s not enough, there’s also the “Mariah Carey Christmas Factory”, a deal with the “Sugar Factory”, that’ll feature more than 100 Christmas-themed retail and candy items created by Mariah!

A Christmas Melody

Plus, you can also look for 2015’s holiday feature, “A Christmas Melody”, on The Hallmark Channel, in which Mariah starred and made her directorial debut.

CONCLUSION:  MARIAH CAREY = CHRISTMAS!

MC SantaI just booked a trip to Vegas to see Mariah’s December 14th show!  That means, I now have to quickly buy a ticket.

So, while I do that, let me be your jukebox as I share my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, oops, I mean my Lucky 13 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs!!

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“CHRISTMAS TIME IS IN THE AIR AGAIN”

12

“WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES”

11

“SILENT NIGHT”

10

“CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)”

9

“JESUS WHAT A WONDERFUL CHILD”

8

“THE STAR”

7

“MISS YOU MOST (AT CHRISTMAS TIME)”

6

“JOY TO THE WORLD”

5

“O HOLY NIGHT”

4

“HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS (RIGHT DOWN SANTA CLAUS LANE)”

3

“AULD LANG SYNE (THE NEW YEAR’S ANTHEM)”

2

“OH SANTA!”

1

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” 

 

Holiday Bonus 2

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Anthony