Posts Tagged ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’

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

My (Stay at Home) Favorite Movies of 2020

The deadly Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on every aspect of our lives in 2020.

The movie industry was especially hard hit. Movie production stopped, motion pictures were delayed, and theaters closed down changing the way we viewed first run movies.

With that being said, I only saw 26 movies last year.

I barely had enough to rank my Top 20 of 2020 without adding in a Lifetime and a Hallmark Christmas movie! 🙂 Kidding aside, I wanted to see them because of the LGBTQ storylines.

However, after seeing one of them, I regretted it. More on that one later!

A parting thought: While I love seeing movies on the big screen, the thing I missed most was getting my large popcorn (without that nasty butter on top) and a large Coke Zero with a splash of cherry and my refills on both before leaving the theater! 🙂

So, before I share my Top 20 movies I saw in 2020, here was my favorite movie I saw in 2019!

“THE FAREWELL

Oh, let me know many you saw and your favorite movie you saw in 2020!

“HARRIET

I absolutely love Cynthia Erivo! Check her out in “Bad Times At The El Royale”, my #10 movie of 2019.

“HILLBILLY ELEGY

This made the list mainly because of the Oscar nomination-worthy performances of Amy Adams and Glenn Close!

“SHIRLEY

Two words: Elisabeth.Moss. Okay, two more words: Logan.Lerman.

“KNIVES OUT

Fun, snarky, all-star cast whodunnit!

“1917

Oscar winner with the great George MacKay and an acting Harry Styles!

“MANK

I expect a BEST PICTURE Oscar nomination for this one — very Hollywood. You can see it on Netflix!

“HAPPIEST SEASON

Hulu LGBTQ Christmas movie with the incredible Kristen Stewart.

“THE CHRISTMAS SETUP

Yes, it’s a Lifetime Christmas movie. However, it was very touching and I teared up twice (for the right reasons).

It stars real life, charming couple Blake Lee and Ben Lewis. Oh, Fran Drescher, too!

“PALM SPRINGS

Hilariously funny Hulu original with many awesome f-bombs!

“THE HUNT

Sadistic and crazy! If you love “The Purge” series, you’ll enjoy it and Betty Gilpin (“Glow”) was amazing.

“FORD V. FERRARI

Awesome movie, acting, and story telling!

“RICHARD JEWELL

True story based on the 1996 Summer Olympics bombing in Atlanta, Georgia, with the fantastic Kathy Bates.

“THE JOKER

Twisted and fun and Joaquin Phoenix was great!

“I AM WOMAN

Biopic honoring the late great iconic feminist singing legend Helen Reddy!

“THE INVISIBLE MAN

Elisabeth Moss again! 🙂 I can’t wait for season 4 of “The Handmaid’s Tale”!

“MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM

I could watch Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis act her way through a phone book. I expect Oscar nominates for Davis and the late Chadwick Boseman. It’s on Netflix.

“JOJO RABBIT”

Who knew a movie about Adolf Hitler could be funny?!

“THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7

If you’re missing the beautiful writing of “The West Wing” creator Aaron Sorkin, check out this all-star Netflix film that will rack up several Oscar nominations this year!

WORST MOVIE OF THE YEAR!!!

“The Christmas House” — this Hallmark Channel movie was so painful, I stopped watching halfway through it. LGBTQ storyline or not, no thanks!

Movies missing out on the Top 20:

#25 “Dashing in December”

#24 “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” (Fantastic acting, but I seriously felt like I was on an LSD trip for two hours!)

#23 “Jingle Jangle”

#22 “Little”

#21 “The Prom” (Even my girl crush Nicole Kidman and Queen Meryl Streep couldn’t propel this to the level that I’d want to watch it again. However, it was enjoyable one time!)

“THE BOYS IN THE BAND

Catty New York City queens definitely NOT enjoying a birthday dinner party in the late-1960s. Amazing performances! So, one Ryan Murphy Netflix movie made the countdown! 🙂

Before I reveal my favorite movie I saw in 2020, here’s a bonus!

MOVIES I’M LOOKING FORWARD THIS YEAR

“THE WHITE TIGER” (January 22, 2021)

“A QUIET PLACE PART II” (April 23, 2021)

“DEATH ON THE NILE” (September 17, 2021)

“HALLOWEEN KILLS” (October 15, 2021)

“ARMY OF THE DEAD” (Summer 2021??? on Netflix)

Zombies! Las Vegas! Zack Snyder! Sign me up NOW!

And, now my favorite!

“PARASITE

So worthy of winning the Academy Award for Best Picture! WOW!

Wishing and hoping for a much better year for us in 2021.

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