Posts Tagged ‘Under The Dome’

Fall Television & New Movies That Excite Me

When I was younger, I always looked forward to the fall television season.  It was fun seeing my favorite shows return and to check out some new ones.  Now that the television landscape has changed and shows return at different times throughout the year, it’s more exciting.

Usually, I don’t get too excited about new shows.  The ones I like usually get cancelled (“Commander In Chief”, “Invasion”, and “Eli Stone” to name a few.)

However, last weekend, we checked out the series premiere to “Red Band Society” (Fox), “Getting Away With Murder” (ABC), and “Madam Secretary” (CBS).

After just a couple of episodes, I gave up on “Red Band Society” and I don’t think I’m alone.  It might be the first cancellation of the fall season and all shows haven’t even debuted!

Tea Leoni was great in “Madam Secretary” and it is well written and acted.  But, Oscar nominee Viola Davis is incredible in “How To Get Away With Murder” and it’s my early favorite — so intelligent and sexy.

I’m still waiting to see “Gotham” (Fox), “Transparent (Amazon), “Stalker” (CBS), and “Gracepoint”(Fox).

Of course, I can’t wait for the new seasons of “The Walking Dead”, “American Horror Story”, “The Following” and “Hannibal”.

Hannibal

Whether it’s cancelled or renewed for a third season, I’m done with “Under The Dome” after the season two finale.  Sorry, Chesters Mill!

under-the-dome

With summer behind us and the days getting shorter, I’m making a list of the movies and the Oscar contenders that I want to see this fall and winter.

Here are the ones that I plan on seeing on the big screen with a large popcorn!

popcorn

“Gone Girl” (October 3)

“Unbroken”

“Exodus:  Gods And Kings”

“Into The Woods”

I’m really intrigued by this Nicole Kidman thriller, but I haven’t decided if it’s a theater movie or one that I’ll wait to see at home.

“Before I Go To Sleep”

And, here are the ones that I’ll likely be curled up on the couch and popping my own popcorn to watch when they come out on DVD.

“This Is Where I Leave You”

“Left Behind”

“Pride”

“The Guest”

“Maps To The Stars”

“The Best of Me”

“Horrible Bosses 2”

“Foxcatcher”

“The Imitation Game”

“The Interview”

“Wild”

Which ones are you interested in seeing and what new shows are you excited about this fall?

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — June 27, 2014

Happy Friday!  This is the kickoff to the last weekend of June.  I cannot believe that one-half of 2014 is already behind us and the Fourth of July is next week!

We have nothing planned this weekend and that’s perfectly fine with me.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I hope you have a great one.

CELEBRATING 90TH BIRTHDAY

A couple of weeks ago, former President George H. W. Bush celebrated his 90th birthday by jumping out of a plane.

Before the jump, he tweeted, “It’s a wonderful day in Maine — in fact, nice enough for a parachute jump.”

Bush Jumping on 90th

I commend him for doing something that I’d never do.  He also took parachute jumps on his 80th and 85th birthdays.

George H.W. Bush becomes the fifth U.S. President to reach 90-years-old and he’s the fifth longest living President.  He joins the ranks of Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, John Adams, and Herbert Hoover.

Jimmy CarterJimmy Carter

God-willing, on October 1st of this year, my favorite President, Jimmy Carter, will become the sixth President to live to 90!

WAS THERE FOUL PLAY INVOLVED IN TAMMY WYNETTE’S DEATH?

I recently read “Tammy Wynette:  A Daughter Recalls Her Mother’s Tragic Life and Death” by Jackie Daly, the country legend’s second oldest daughter.

A Daughter Recalls

Tammy Wynette died in April of 1998 at the age of 55.  While she had health issues, numerous major surgeries, and an addiction to painkillers over the course of her life, the circumstances surrounding her death were very questionable.

This book is pretty one-sided since it’s told by a daughter that went to great lengths to prove that there was a cover-up in her mother’s death.  However, it definitely makes you realize that celebrity deaths are handled much differently than the deaths of average people.  And, even moreso, when there are millions of dollars at stake.

Jackie Daly (with Tom Carter) makes a good argument that it’s very suspicious that Wynette’s husband, George Richey, called his wife’s personal physician in Pennsylvania, hundreds of miles away, to inform him of the singer’s death before the local medical examiner was contacted.

Tammy’s four daughters would go on to file a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Wallis Marsh of Pittsburgh, who had prescribed the drug, Versed, to Wynette.  That drug has been proven that it could cause death if not administered by professionals and under supervision.

Richey was also named in the lawsuit for administering the drug, but he was later dropped.  The pharmacy, Care Solutions of Nashville, was also named in the lawsuit for delivering the painkiller.

Four years after Wynette’s death, a confidential out-of-court settlement was reached between Marsh and the four daughters.

ENOUGH ALREADY

I could care less about Chris Brown’s court appearances and Justin Bieber’s latest run-ins with the law.  Also, “Entertainment Weekly”, move on from “Game of Thrones” and “Mad Men”.  There are other things happening in the world of television, movies, music, and books!

WHAT’S NEXT?

Now that Ray and I are wrapping up the fifth and final season of “Fringe”, (R.I.P. Walter, Olivia, and Peter), we’re debating what series to watch next.  It’s between “Breaking Bad” and “True Blood”.

fringe-show

I think we’re leaning toward “Breaking Bad” since the seventh and final season of “True Blood” is now underway.

Also, the second season of “Under The Dome” starts Monday night, June 30th, on CBS!

Under The Dome

PICK HIT

Christian pop singer Amy Grant is ready to make a comeback on the pop charts and in the dance clubs.

Amy Grant

On August 19th, “In Motion: The Remixes” is released and it’ll feature remixes of some of her biggest hits by some of today’s hottest DJs, including Chris Cox, Tony Moran, Moto Blanco, Ralph Rosario, and Hex Hector.

“Baby Baby”, remixed by Dave Aude, is ready to blast its way into the dance clubs.

Since her first Christian hit in 1977, she’s hit the top of that chart 16 times and she’s also crossed over to the pop chart.

Amy has a total of ten Top 40 hits of the Billboard Hot 100, including five from her 1991 album, “Heart in Motion”, that sold more than five million copies in the U.S.

Of those pop hits, two have topped the Hot 100, “The Next Time I Fall”, a duet with Peter Cetera in 1986, and a solo hit, “Baby Baby”, for two weeks in the spring of 1991.

This is one release I’m looking forward to this fall.

“WALK OF SHAME”

The last comedy that really made me laugh out loud was “This Is The End” last year and that ended up being my fifth favorite movie I saw in 2013.

Now, I can add the box office bomb, “Walk of Shame” to that list of funny movies.  Yes, critics hated it and it was panned by the few movie goers that saw it.  For whatever reason, it was only released in 51 theaters for a week!  Nevertheless, Ray and I thought it was funny.

Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan Miles, a Los Angeles television news anchor, who is dumped by her fiance.  Her two friends force her to go on the town.  After getting drunk and hooking up with the very hunky Gordon, played by James Marsden, she leaves his place when he falls asleep and checks her messages.  The network is coming to see her show for a promotion to do the national news.

When she leaves Gordon’s place, her car is being towed away with her purse in it.  In her quest to get the car back, she runs into altercations with local drug dealer, prostitutes, the police, and that’s only part of the drama and the chaos.

So, it may not be Oscar-worthy material, but I laughed many times and I plan on buying the DVD.

Many of us have done the “walk of shame” and this is one I’d definitely do again!

GRADE:  B

I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY

Since I talked about Tammy Wynette earlier in the blog, I’ll feature her in this weekly segment.

In her long career, Tammy scored 44 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 31 reached the Top Ten and 25 of them made the Top 5.

Tammy topped the country music chart 17 times and for a stretch from 1967 to 1969, she had seven consecutive number one songs.  Some of her number ones include “I Don’t Want To Play House”, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”, and “Stand By Your Man”

“‘Til I Can Make It on My Own” is one of my favorite Tammy Wynette songs.  It hit #1 in the spring of 1976.

In addition to her solo hits (and a #1 duet with David Houston in 1967), Tammy also scored 13 Top 40 hits with George Jones.  Of those, eight reached the Top Ten and three topped the Country charts including “Golden Ring” and “We’re Gonna Hold On”.

tammy-wynette

With all the country success, only “Stand By Your Man”, her #1 1968 country hit crossed over to the Billboard Hot 100.  It peaked at #19.

However, that would not be her last appearance.  In late 1991, the British duo, KLF, called up the “Queen of Country Music” to lend her vocals to their hit, “Justified & Ancient (Stand by the JAMs)”.

That song made it all the way up to #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached #2 on the Billboard Dance charts.

But, it hit #1 in Austria for five weeks and #1 in Sweden for three weeks.  It also topped the charts in Finland and New Zealand and almost hit the top in the U.K. peaking at #2.

R.I.P. TAMMY WYNETTE

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.   Here’s hoping that we all have a great weekend.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 2, 2014

It’s hard to believe that one-third of 2014 is already behind us.  Getting older is for the birds!

I hope you have great weekend plans.  We’re having some friends over for dinner Saturday night and I plan on taking it easy Sunday.  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

DONALD STERLING’S STUPID COMMENT

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has handed down a stiff penalty to 80-year-old Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers after it confirmed that it was Sterling’s voice making racist comments to a girlfriend on tape.

donald-sterling-clippers

Sterling was fined $2.5 million and was banned for life from the NBA, which means he cannot attend any NBA games, enter any Clippers facility, or take part in any business decisions for the Clippers.  He may also be forced to sell the team, which is worth about $575 million.

This latest controversy started after a recording of Sterling telling his girlfriend, Vivian Stiviano, “It bothers me a lot that you want to broadcast that you’re associating with black people”, after Stiviano, who is bi-racial, posted a picture of herself with former NBA star Magic Johnson.

Vivian Stiviano-Donald-Sterling

But, what gets me is not the fact that Sterling is a racist (he’s proven that many times in the past) is that his wife, Rochelle (Shelley), says he’s not a racist.

Donald Shelly Sterling

Wait, his wife?  Sterling has been married to her since 1955, almost 50 years, yet he has this young girlfriend and in 2003, he was sued by another girlfriend, that he summed up as just a “prostitute” and that their relationship was “purely sex for money”.  Needless to say, that woman, Alexandra Castro, won the lawsuit and kept the house.

I don’t want to judge Sterling and his wife and their relationship if it’s open, that’s their business.  But, for these other women to think they have something real with him.  Seriously!

SADLY, IN KENTUCKY…

I was born and raised in Kentucky and just like any other place, I know there are good people there and we have our own fair share of close-minded idiots.

For instance, there’s Herald Embroidery in Oak Grove, Kentucky, which is just minutes away from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, where the 101st Airborne Division is located.

Kentucky No Gays

This is the door to the business.  Obviously, if you’re religious or carry a gun, you’re welcome in the store.  However, don’t cuss or be gay.  If so, you’re not welcome.

After a lesbian couple posted a review on the company’s Google page about them not being welcomed there, “Instinct”, a gay magazine contacted the owner of the shop, Matthew Lombard, and he stood by the stickers on the door.

However, on the print shop’s website, there’s a “clarification”.  (If you have to click on this picture insert, just hit the back arrow when you’re done reading it to return to the blog.)

Herald Embroidery Website

Now, at the bottom of the home page of their website is this, “Due to overwhelming media attention we will not be accepting phone calls at this time.”

My sister, Tammy, used to live in Oak Grove, which is just outside of Clarksville, Tennessee, too, where she spent many years.

Waffle House

While we enjoyed the Waffle House in Oak Grove last December, it’s a good thing that I didn’t have a reason to do business with Herald Embroidery!

JAPAN’S AWESOME FIRST LADY

Kudos to Akie Abe for taking part in Tokyo’s gay pride parade last weekend along with a crowd of about 3,000 people.

JAPAN-SOCIETY-GAY-PARADE-PEOPLE-ABE

On her Facebook page, along with fun pictures of the parade, the First Lady of Japan stated, “I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination.  I had the pleasure of spending fun time filled with smiles.”

I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination – See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/japan%E2%80%99s-first-lady-joins-crowds-tokyo-gay-pride-parade270414#sthash.WnjzcF4P.dpuf
I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination – See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/japan%E2%80%99s-first-lady-joins-crowds-tokyo-gay-pride-parade270414#sthash.WnjzcF4P.dpuf
I want to help build a society where anyone can conduct happy, enriched lives without facing discrimination – See more at: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/japan%E2%80%99s-first-lady-joins-crowds-tokyo-gay-pride-parade270414#sthash.WnjzcF4P.dpuf

Her husband, conservative Prime Minister Shinzo Abo, did not attend the parade.  He visited victims of 2011’s tsunami.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

WinePsycho Radiologist Selfie

“PHILOMENA”

I finally got around to seeing the Oscar-nominated British film, “Philomena”, last weekend and it was incredible.

PHILOMENA

The movie is based on a real-life story of Philomena Lee, a teenager who becomes pregnant and is sent off to an Abbey in Ireland by her father to have the child.  After bonding with the little boy, Anthony, for a few years, he is adopted by an American family.

judi-dench-steve-coogan-philomena-600

Lee, played with perfection by Judi Dench, who earned a Best Actress nomination at this year’s Oscars, waits 50 years before sharing her daily torment with her grown daughter.  The daughter just happens to meet a reporter who helps Philomena find her son.

“Philomena” will make you laugh and cry.  It’s a must see.

GRADE:  A+

And, here is the real Philomena Lee with her daughter, Jane, in 2013.

Philomena Lee

RICKY MARTIN SHARES ALL

In  2010, Ricky Martin released his autobiography, “Me”.

ricky-martin-me

It was a great read with Ricky taking us on a ride of his life from Menudo to “General Hospital” to selling out arenas around the world.

He also talks about coming out and starting his family.

I blogged about it earlier this week, so here’s the link if you’d like to know more about the sexy, Latin sensation and how he works to make the world a better place when he’s not singing.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/me-personifies-ricky-martins-compassionate-life/

“THE FOLLOWING” SEASON FINALE

My Monday nights are free again until the end of June when the second season of “Under The Dome” returns on CBS.

under-the-dome

This past Monday night was the exciting second season finale of “The Following” on Fox.  It was definitely one of the better episodes this season, which was uneven, at times.

I’m still in shock of the death of a major character in the episode before the finale.

The Following Silence

About the finale, it kept me on the edge of the couch trying to figure out how it would end with each new plot twist.  Here’s a mild “spoiler alert”.  I’m going to mention an overall scene, but I won’t mention any names.

spoiler-alert

My biggest complaint about the last few minutes of the season finale is that you had seven major characters in the room with several guns drawn and, at least, two knives AND the casualty count is ONLY one!!!

season 2 finale The Following

However, I was sitting there screaming “shoot him”, “shoot him”, repeatedly in the final moments of that big scene.

Ryan Joe Gun Shoot Him

Overall, a great ending to the season.  Season three returns in early 2015!

“UNDER THE DOME”

Since I mentioned “Under The Dome”, I want to share this new trailer for season two that came out this week.

While the promo tells us that two lead characters will die in the season premiere, executive director Neal Baer does go on to say that Barbie and Big Jim will survive  —  for a few more episodes, at least.

Season two, written and directed by Stephen King, returns Monday, June 30th, on CBS.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

In my weekly flashback this year, I’m focusing on my favorite country songs and the artists that I grew listening to or that I love now.

I met LeAnn Rimes in Salisbury, Maryland, in the fall of 2005.  She was very sweet.

AnthonyLeAnn

While she has been performing since she was a little girl, she blasted onto the country music scene with her Top Ten hit, “Blue”, in the summer of 1996.  The follow-up single, “One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”, topped the chart and would become her only number one song on the Billboard Country chart.

She charted 17 hits on the Country chart with 12 of them reaching the Top Ten, including this one from 2005.  “Something’s Gotta Give” reached #2.

Along with her country albums, LeAnn also released two great pop albums, “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I love both of them, but, sadly, they didn’t do much for her crossover to pop domination.

However, she did chart nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with “How Do I Live” spending 69 weeks on that chart, which was a record, at the time, in the late-1990s.  That song sold more than three million copies.

This Woman LeAnn Rimes

Another one of my favorite LeAnn Rimes’ songs is the last single released from “This Woman” in late 2005.  Sadly, “Some People” only reached #34 on the Country charts.

Although this long winter is just now ending and Christmas is a still about eight months away, it’s never too early to start thinking about it!

These decorations are in the studio where LeAnn is recording her second Christmas album!  Her first, “What A Wonderful Life”, came out in October 2004.

Christmas Presents LeAnn Rimes

LeAnn Christmas Tweet

‘Tis the season, early!

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.  As always, I appreciate hearing your thoughts, whether you agree with some of my thoughts or not.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 20, 2013

The weekend is almost here.  I hope you have a great one since the weather in the Quad Cities is going to be ideal — plenty of sunshine and highs in the 70s!

Here are my random thoughts for this week.

ONE ICON SAYS “NO”, ONE SAYS “YES” TO RUSSIA

As you’ve probably heard in the news and from reading my blogs, there is increasing pressure for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, because of the country’s homophobia and recent anti-gay laws.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Pop and gay icon, Cher recently declined an invitation to open the Olympics show.

Cher, whose new album, “Closer To The Truth” comes out next week says, “I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show.  I immediately said no. I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there.  He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does.”

EltonJohn2

Meanwhile, Elton John says he has to think of the LGBT people living in Russia and that his December concert in Moscow must go on.

Elton says, “I’ve got to go.  And I’ve got to think about what I’m going to say very carefully. There’s two avenues of thought:  Do you stop everyone going, ban all the artists coming in from Russia? But then you’re really leaving the men and women who are gay and suffering under the anti-gay laws in an isolated situation.  As a gay man, I can’t leave those people on their own without going over there and supporting them. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’ve got to go.”

MARRIAGE EQUALITY, THE BIBLE, & RELIGION

Kevin Rudd, the Former Prime Minister of Australia, had an interesting debate with a pastor during his re-election campaign.  While Rudd lost the election, he would definitely have gotten my vote.  This is priceless!

SAYING GOODBYE IS NEVER EASY

This weekend, millions will say goodbye to one of America’s favorite vigilante serial killers!  For me, that goodbye will come in early November when the eighth and final season of “Dexter” arrives on DVD.

Dexter

As the series wraps up, star Michael C. Hall gives this hint as to what to expect, “Dexter, at different points over the life of the show, found himself entertaining the idea that he could be rehabilitated, that he could live a life that isn’t primarily in service of his Dark Passenger. … But things have happened that have taught him at least temporarily, and maybe more permanently, that that’s not a possibility.”

So, my friends, please don’t share with me any details of the finale.  I still have to wait another month or so!

And, sadly, I’ll have to say goodbye to one of my biggest television crushes — Dexter and Michael C. Hall!

Dexter-michael-c-hall

On a brighter note, I’ll always have Paris, I mean, all eight seasons of “Dexter” on DVD! 🙂

“UNDER THE DOME” SEASON FINALE — UNDERWHELMED ME

After an incredible season, the summer’s most watched new series, “Under The Dome” limped through the final minutes of the first season’s finale.

While a few answers were provided, there was no “OMG” gasp to keep me hanging on until next summer.  What happened!!!!!!!

under-the-dome

“The pink stars are falling; the pink stars are falling in line” until next summer!

A QUIET FALL

The new fall season is rolling out on network television.  While I’ll have to wait until next year to see the new seasons of “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story:  Coven” on DVD, I won’t be investing too much time on new shows.

Last fall, I didn’t watch too many debut shows.  I started “Nashville” and “Elementary”, but I missed a few episodes here and there.  I plan on going back and catching up on those two.

I also watched “Malibu Country” with Reba on ABC, but it was cancelled after the first season.  As much as I love Reba, it was not as funny as her WB/CW series, “Reba” from 2001-2007, outside of Reba and Lily Tomlin, who played her mother.

malibu-country

While it wasn’t the fall season, I loved “The Following” and “Hannibal” earlier this year.

This season, there are only three shows that I’m trying out.

Tuesday night, I watched “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (ABC) with Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher and it was enjoyable and kept me entertained.   I’ll definitely be watching the second episode.

kinopoisk.ru

However, watching the last few minutes of its lead-in, “Dads”, the new Seth MacFarlane show, was painful.  I don’t want to call it a comedy because it wasn’t funny!

On Thursday, September 26th, I plan on checking out “The Crazy Ones” (CBS).  This will mark Robin Williams’ first series-regular role on television since 1982!  It also stars Sarah Michelle Gellar.  Even if turns out to be a painful 30 minutes, James Wolk will be good eye candy!

The Crazy Ones

But, the show that excites me the most is “Hostages” (CBS).

It stars Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning actress Toni Collette, who’ll always be Muriel Heslop (“You’re terrible Muriel”) from “Muriel’s Wedding” to me.  Golden Globe winner Dylan McDermott also stars.

Hostages

McDermott plays Duncan Carlisle, a rogue FBI agent that takes Ellen Sanders, a doctor who will be performing surgery on the President of the United States, and her family hostage.  She’s told that she has to assassinate the President or her family dies!

“Hostages” debuts on CBS Monday night, September 23rd.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Egg ChickenOffendedExpert

SPRING BREAK 2014

While I still have Ray’s big 50th birthday European cruise on the Danube River coming up in October and maybe a trip back home in early December to eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s, it’s not too early to be thinking of 2014.

Gretel want to go to Las Vegas and after an announcement this past Tuesday, I’m all for it.

Britney Spears just announced a two-year, $30 million deal to play 50 shows a year at Planet Hollywood!

Britney Piece of Me

So far, only the first 16 dates have been announced and it doesn’t cover Gretel’s spring break yet.

The 90-minute show makes its debut on December 27th and Britney says it’ll be a combination of club meeting theater.  I saw Britney in concert in the summer of 2011 on the “Femme Fatale” tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and she was fantastic.

Britney Las Vegas

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Okay, this is a no-brainer.  “Work Bitch” is the first single from the upcoming unnamed Britney Spears album coming December 3rd.

The song was released earlier this week.

Britney Tweet

“You wanna live fancy?  Live in a big mansion?  Party in France?  You better work, bitch.”

DARREN CRISS IS NOT ONLY CUTE, BUT WISE!

So, does my love of Britney mean that Darren Criss (Blaine Anderson on “Glee”) is a wise man?

Darren Criss

Recently, in “Out” magazine, he commented about his fan base, “The funny thing is that—I’d say that older gay men are basically the same as 16-year-old girls. It all gets lost in the wash. Neither one is any crazier than the other.”

Have I reminded you lately that Darren touched my hand at the “Glee” concert a couple of years ago in Rosemont, Illinois?  He’s so adorable, but remember I’m crazy and crazy about Britney.  “Work Bitch”!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, TAMMY

Next week, my sister, Tammy, celebrates her birthday on September 24th.

She moved here two years ago and we got to celebrate her birthday together for the first time in about twenty years.

Tammy 45

She’s already picked Olive Garden for her birthday meal this year!

Happy Birthday, little sister!

BETTY IS VISITING

Betty, otherwise known as “Mom” arrived yesterday from Ohio to visit us until Monday.

Betty Last September

However, it wasn’t as simple as driving to the airport in Cleveland (90 minutes for Betty), flying to Chicago, and then to Moline.

Chicago Storms -- Flight Disaster

Because of early morning storms in Chicago, flights heading to O’Hare were grounded until early afternoon.  She sat at the airport in Cleveland from 6 a.m. until noon and they finally took off and arrived at 1 p.m.  Since she was flying no-revenue, standby, it was a long shot that there would be an open seat for her to Moline.

It’s a good thing that I drove the three hours to Chicago to pick her up Thursday afternoon, because all afternoon flights to the Quad Cities from Chicago were cancelled.  While she made here safely at 7 p.m. Thursday, her luggage is still M.I.A.

We’ll likely get it today when flights resume.  On a happier note, since she celebrated her 70th birthday late last month, we’ll be taking her to Osaka Buffet for lunch this weekend, since it’s one of her favorite places in the Quad Cities.  For the record, it’s one of my favorites and Gretel.

We’ll also hit the casinos for her to win a fortune and I hope the machines are loose for me, too.  I plan on giving up on the casinos after this weekend!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since I talked about Cher earlier in the blog, why not flashback to the 1980s with her.

Cher had 11 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1964-1972 as part of the duo, Sonny & Cher, with her ex-husband, Sonny including the 1965 #1 smash, “I Got You Babe”.

However, she had more success as a solo artist.  From her first Top 40 hit in 1965 to her last Top 40 entry on the Hot 100 in 1999 with “Believe”, Cher scored 22 solo Top 40 hits with 12 of them reaching the Top Ten, and four making it all the way to the top of the charts:  “Gypsys, Tramps, & Thieves”, “Half-Breed”, and “Dark Lady” all in the early-1970s and then “Believe” in 1999.

Today, I’m featuring one of my favorite Cher songs (there’s so many to choose from!).  “We All Sleep Alone” reached #14 on the Hot 100 in 1988.

It’s a “Woman’s World” according to Cher’s recent #1 Billboard Dance chart hit and I’m happy to be a part of it.

SUPERMODEL (YOU BETTER WORK)

Since I featured Britney’s new song, “Work Bitch” earlier in my blog, I’ll close out my blog on a happy, fun note from 1993 with a song that may have inspired Brit Brit.

RuPaul Andre Charles was a struggling musician and filmmaker in Atlanta in the 1980s, but gained national attention as a dancer in the B-52’s “Love Shack” video.  You couldn’t miss him unless you were looking for a very tall bald black man.

Love Shack RuPaul

RuPaul stormed onto the pop culture scene in the summer of 1993 when “Supermodel (You Better Work) reached #2 on the Billboard Dance chart and #45 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While it wasn’t a huge radio hit, the song was played prominently in MTV’s video rotation back when they played videos!  And, it was one of Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain’s favorite songs that year and the two of them (with his family) hung out together at the MTV Video Music Awards!

RuPaul Kurt Cobain

Sashay!  Shantay!  Shantay!  Shantay!  You better work and have a great weekend.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 2

Happy weekend!  I’m ready to enjoy it since I have a six-day work week next week and off only one day next weekend.  I hope you have fun plans since the weather is going to be closer to average for summer.  Maybe we’ll brave the recent chill and jump in the pool even if it’s cool!!!!  Here are my random thoughts for this Friday.

THERE IS HOPE!

While I’m taking this response by Pope Francis with a grain of salt, it’s encouraging.  This is huge because the Catholic Church still considers homosexuality a sin.

Pope Francis

What a far cry from his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.  In 2005, Benedict XVI wrote that being gay was “a strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil” and that men with “deep-seated homosexual tendencies” should not become priests.

And, I admit that while I was writing this, I read several different accounts of what the Pope said and what commentators thought it meant, including one from Fox News!  OMG, I’m mentioning Fox News and I’m not going to make a snarky comment about it!

Father Jonathan Morris, a Fox News contributor, writes, “When Pope Francis says “who am I to judge” he is saying—and I think we need to hear more of this from religious leaders—that active homosexuals deserve the same kindness, love, and mercy that all of us sinners would hope to receive from God and from others.”

What I take away from that is that we’re all sinners and we all deserve to treated with love and respect.  It starts with you, it starts with me, and it starts with our enemies!

POLITICIAN OR JUST BUTT-HEAD’s FRIEND?

Is it just me or is there a strong resemblance between former New York Congressman Anthony Weiner and Beavis, one of the stars of the late-1990s MTV smash, “Beavis and Butt-Head”?

InStyle Golden Globe After Party

It seems that the disgraced politician that was forced to resign from office two years ago this summer after sending sexually suggestive pictures and tweets has more than looks in common with Beavis.

The trio (with Butt-Head) are obsessed with sex and they don’t care who knows.  It appears that Weiner is up to his old tricks and sending out explicit pictures under the alias “Carlos Danger”, which is now diminishing his chances of becoming the next mayor of New York City.

Here’s a funny flashback in honor of Weiner’s similar physical similarities with Beavis.  NSFW (not suitable/safe for work for those scratching their heads)!

RUSSIA’S ANTI-GAY STANCE IS TURNING MORE VIOLENT

The situation in Russia is getting out of hand and becoming more dangerous.

Two weeks ago, in my “Random Friday Thoughts — July 19” blog, I wrote, “The new law that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and went into effect June 30th allows the government to arrest or detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners for up to two weeks before expelling them from the country.”

Russian Extremists Attacks

Now, Russian extremists are creating fake profiles on social media outlets and gay personal ads to attract unsuspecting people and then brutally beating, humiliating, sexually violating them and posting the disgusting pictures online!

The new law and the violence are prompting some groups to ask for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics Games in Sochi, Russia.

Boycott Sochi 2014

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been talking with the Russian government about how the new law will affect LGBT athletes and sports fans coming to Russia and it says, “To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

However, that doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

Vitaly-Valentinovich-Milonov

Vitaly Valentinovich Milonov, a member of the legislative assembly of the city and region around St. Petersburg, Russia, who co-authored the law that Putin signed into effect, says that the President must “refrain from selective enforcement”.

He added, “I haven’t heard any comments from the government of the Russian Federation, but I know that it is acting in accordance with Russian law.  And if a law has been approved by the federal legislature and signed by the president, then the government has no right to suspend it. It doesn’t have the authority.”

AVOIDING RUSSIAN VODKA

While no decision will be made about the Winter Olympics any time soon, several gay bars around the country, including Sidetrack in Chicago, have stopped serving the Russian vodka, Stolichnaya.   Some of London’s biggest gay bars have pulled Stoli from their shelves, too.

Stoli

From West Hollywood, California, to New York City, politicians, bar owners, and bartenders are having ceremonies where they are pouring out their Stoli supply.

Stoli Boycott

This isn’t making the CEO of Stoli, Val Mendeleev, very happy.    He says, “Stoli has been a friend of the LGBT community and has been an opponent of the Russian government.  Stoli was singled out by the community with which we associated in a way that we don’t believe was appropriate. If you look at our relationship with the Russian government, we’ve been boycotted by the Russian government for the past 10 years. We’ve been threatened, raided. And now we are being boycotted by the LGBT community.”

Vodkas

On a vodka note closer to home (my house), I checked the 40 different vodkas we have and none of them are Russian vodkas!

ACTRESS TILDA SWINTON WANTS YOUR HELP

Academy Award winning actress Tilda Swinton  wants everyone to share this picture of her holding up a rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

Tilda Swinton Moscow

She risked being arrested by doing this and she says, “In solidarity. From Russia with love”.

BEST COMEDY I’VE SEEN IN YEARS!

Last Sunday, Ray and I walked to the cheap theater down the road and saw “This Is The End” and I’m so glad I didn’t wait until October 1st for it to come out on DVD.

The $32 million comedy has already grossed more than $107 million!  In the movie, many of Hollywood’s hottest stars (and some singers, Rihanna) play altered versions of themselves.  It totally skewers actors and Hollywood.

This Is The End

I love James Franco and I love him even more after this movie.  Just from the roles he takes, I gather he’s a very intelligent freak in real life.  And, in the movie, he plays the self-centered, often rumored to be gay, role to the max.

While rated “R”, I’m very surprised that the movie was not released as “unrated”.  I can’t wait until it comes out on DVD to see if there is a “Director’s Cut”.  But, then again, I can’t imagine what could have been cut out since it was so raunchy and over-the-top.

Oh, what’s it about?  James Franco is throwing a fun Hollywood party complete with stars, drugs, alcohol, and sex.  Armageddon begins and Hollywood is basically destroyed by wildfires, an earthquake, an alien invasion, and a very promiscuous and well-endowed demon!  And, in the final scene, there’s a performance in heaven that will take you back to the late-1990s.  It’ll either make you smile (I did) or cringe.

This is the movie that “Ted” could have been.  There is talk of a sequel, but I think that “This is the End” is perfect enough to watch over and over without having a part two.  However, I’d definitely see if it James Franco is in it.  If you’ve seen the movie, it’s possible.  It’s Hollywood!

I rarely laugh out loud in movie theaters, but this one had me in stitches.

GRADE:  A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wine CupcakesNagging

 NEW MUSIC FROM THE JONAS BROTHERS

The Jonas Brothers are back on the radio with their latest hit, “First Time”.

Nick Jonas

The youngest Jo Bro, Nick, posted this sexy snapshot on Instagram earlier this week.  The 20-year-old singer added, “I never do this, but …  Healthy living and fitness update. Post workout picture. #diabeticinshape #2.0.”

What was I saying about the Jonas Brothers?  Who cares!
Dream

THE WOMAN OF MY DREAMS

In my lifetime, only two female celebrities have made me cry because of their real-life situations.  I must have been a sensitive boy because the first occurred on July 23, 1984 when Miss America Vanessa Williams was pressured into giving up her crown because of some racy pictures that had surfaced of her.

Vanessa-Williams-Crowned-Miss-America

It turned out okay because she went on to become an award-winning singer and actress.

Vanessa-Williams---The-Right-Stuff-single-cover

The other tears fell on Madonna’s 27th birthday on August 16, 1985, when she married Sean Penn.

Madonna Sean Wedding

Thirty years ago this fall, yes that’s 3-0, I started my freshman year at Murray State University and became a television weather man for the first time.  It doesn’t matter that the college campus television station was only broadcast on the cable systems in Murray and Mayfield, Kentucky.   Mayfield, my hometown, is only 22 miles from Murray.

That fall, I met my first pseudo-boyfriend (“pseudo” because we never said we were dating, only hanging out), enjoyed Pagliai’s Pizza (the best pizza I had ever eaten — at the time.  Now, it’s Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport, Iowa), and I met the girl of my dreams at Sunset Boulevard Music, the local record store.

It’s hard to believe that it was 30 years ago this week that Madonna’s first album, simply titled “Madonna” came out.

Madonna 1983 Album

She had already had two dance hits that reached #3 before her first radio hit, “Holiday” peaked #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January 1984.  However, I bought the album before most of mainstream America knew who she was.  And, now she’s one of the most iconic singers and entertainers on the planet!

Madonna, thank you for the 30 years of music and fun.  And, thank you for spending my last birthday with me in Las Vegas!

“UNDER THE DOME”

Under The Dome

If you haven’t started watching this incredible show on CBS, you have to get on board.  Last Monday’s episode was the best of the six that have aired.  And, here’s a spoiler — it can rain inside the dome!

Now is the time to catch up if you’re not watching because it was just renewed for a second season!

MORE MOTHER MONSTER NEWS — ARTWORK & SINGLE REVEALED

I’m sure between now and the August 19th premiere of the new Lady Gaga single AND video from her forthcoming “ARTPOP” album in November, there will be new things revealed weekly to get Little Monsters excited.  This week Lady Gaga released the single artwork and the name of her new single — “Applause”.

Applause

Lady Gaga says it’s going to be a happy song.  However, it hasn’t been revealed whether it’s a fast or mid-tempo dance number or a slow song.  I’m thinking it’ll be mid-tempo.  This other revealing promotional picture of Gaga also came out this week!

Lady Gaga

EXCITEMENT BUILDING FOR FALL

In addition to the new music from Gaga, I’m also excited that the new Britney Spears CD comes out in the next few months, too.  Also, Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” that I saw in Las Vegas last October on my birthday comes out on DVD in early September.

And, that isn’t the only Madonna news.  She’s being very secretive about a new project with fashion photographer Steven Klein simply called “Secret Project”.  What is it about?  It sounds controversial and will likely push buttons.  But, it is Madonna!

THIS ONE COULDN’T WAIT FOR MONDAY’S “THEY SAID WHAT???”

Last week, I blogged about adorable Harry Styles of One Direction standing up to the Westboro Baptist Cult (oops, Church).  Now, in the new British “GQ”, the singer answers a question about his sexuality.

Harry British GQ

When told that there were rumours (it’s English, remember!) that he was dating British DJ Nick Grimshaw, Harry said, “Oh, really? I didn’t even know.  We’re not dating, no. We’re just friends.”

Harry was then asked if he was bisexual and he replied, “Bisexual? Me? I don’t think so. I’m pretty sure I’m not.”

Sweet!  Play it for what it’s worth.

PICK HIT

Latin heart-throb Enrique Iglesias is back and looking and sounding hotter than ever!  His latest song, “Turn The Night Up”, the first single from his upcoming November album is already a smash in the U.S.

Enrique Iglesias

You might not really know how big of a star the 38-year-old singer is.  I didn’t.

Since his first Latin hit in 1995, Enrique has sold more than 60 million albums and he holds the record for the most #1 singles on the Billboard Latin Tracks chart with 22 (his first eight releases all hit #1).

On the Billboard Hot 100, he’s already scored 12 Top 40 hits.  Of those, five have reached the Top 5, including his two #1 smashes, 1999’s “Bailamos” and 2000’s “Be With You”.

While an official video is expected in early August, Enrique released this fun fan video to promote the song.  I love it — the song, the video, and Enrique!

PEEPS’ ’80s FLASHBACK

Here’s something about Madonna again.  Wait, don’t stop reading!  Usually, on Friday, I feature one of my favorite ’80s songs.

Madonna1985

However, since it is Madonna’s 30th anniversary in the music industry, here is a video countdown of her biggest hits, as ranked by Billboard magazine.  And, yes, she’s had more Top Ten songs on the Billboard Hot 100 than the Beatles!!!!!

Check out the countdown in this link of her 20 biggest hits.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/whos-that-girl-thats-had-more-top-10-hits-than-the-beatles/

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 12

How’s your week going?  This week, I’ve been nursing a sunburn to just my face and stomach from spending too many hours in the pool last Sunday with Ray.  It’s been several years since I had a sunburn and that was from a tanning bed!

Otherwise, the John Deere Classic is going on the Quad Cities.  While I’m not a golf fan, it was nice getting four invitations to parties (three at the Classic) focusing around the tournament.  It’s fun to eat and drink and socialize even if you’re not watching the play!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts today.

BREAKING NEWS

“Rah rah ah ah ah”.  While I had already planned a controversial Lady Gaga mention in today’s blog (you’ll see it below), Mother Monster made a very big (HUGE!) announcement in the very early hours Friday morning while you were sleeping!

ARTPOP

“ARTPOP”, her third full length studio album and the follow-up to the multi-platinum, “Born This Way” disc, will be released on November 11, 2013, and the new Lady Gaga single comes out August 19th.  I’m so excited.  I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I’D LIKE TO VOMIT, TOO, BUT I’M ON THE WAGON!

As I’ve blogged and shared before, I’m a recovering food addict.  I was bulimic from 1986-1995 and I’ve been on the wagon ever since.  Yes, I think of how much easier it would be if I was still a practicing bulimic rather than having to eat healthy and exercise, but that would be very unhealthy!  But, this blog has nothing to do with that.  It’s just a metaphor.

However, Pat Robertson, the religious zealot and host of “The 700 Club” basically says that I make him want to vomit and I guess in all fairness, that’s okay because he makes me want to vomit, too!

Pat, here’s something for you.

Vomit

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Profile PicLoved and lost

IS THAT WHY I LOVE DOUGHNUTS?

In the past I’ve talked about how much I love doughnuts and donut-flavored vodka.  (I’ll spell it both ways to cover all bases).  Now, I find that there might be a reason! 🙂

Donuts

Years ago, I subscribed to the website realage.com to do some survey on life expectancy.  Occasionally, the site will send me an email for new quizzes.  Interestingly enough, a couple of weeks ago, I got an email with the subject line, “Tasty tips for your love life”.  Of course, it got my attention and I clicked on it instead of just deleting it.

And, this is what I found:  “Aphrodisiac Foods  — We’ve got a food list that’ll spice up your sex life. These natural aphrodisiacs will get both of you in the mood for love.”  So, I kept reading and if it’s true, a trip to grocery store might be all you need, my friends!

The article claims, “Men, a sniff of lemons, doughnuts, or licorice can increase blood flow to your genitals. For women, licorice and cucumbers often do it.”  WTH???

twizzlers

Now that I have your curiosity aroused, forget the B-52s and the “Love Shack”, here are the “love snacks” that Real Age recommends!

Love Snacks

Bon appetit, you sexy devil!

COUNTRY WITH A HINT OF PINK

Quickly, name an African-American pop star.  Of course you’re thinking Whitney Houston, Aretha Franklin, Prince, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and the list goes on and on.

Now, name a black country music star.  If you’re on top of your game, Darius Rucker and Charley Pride come to mind.  After those two, you’d have to think very hard and you’d likely come up empty-handed.  Big & Rich fans might say Cowboy Troy. While he hit #2 on the country album chart in 2005, he never scored a Top 40 country solo hit.  I also remember Rissi Palmer and while she released three singles in 2007-2008, none of them cracked the Top 40 at country radio either.

Let’s try another.  Name a gay pop singer.  This is another easy one:  Elton John, George Michael, Tegan & Sara, Ricky Martin, Boy George, Melissa Etheridge, and many more.

Now, name an out country music singer.  You might say k.d. lang.  She did have two hit country albums that reached #9 and #12 on the chart in the late-1980s and two modest hit songs at country radio during the late-1980s, reaching #21 and #22.  However, that was before she came out as a lesbian in 1992.

There’s also Chely Wright.  She scored nine Top 40 country hits between 1997 and 2005.  One of them, “Single White Female” made it to the Top Ten peaking at #1 in 1999.

However, she didn’t come out as a lesbian until 2007.

Now, there’s a Chicago singer that’s gaining national attention. Could 22-year-old Steve Grand be the first openly gay country singer?  The video to “All-American Boy” has now been viewed more than  462-thousand times.

Steve-Grand-All-American-Boy

Earlier this month, Steve said, “I fought with who I was for most of my life. In every way a young person can fight with himself.  But starting today, I’m laying it out there. I’m done playing it safe.”  He added, “I feel like most music industry people wouldn’t like the idea of me “pigeonholing” myself by telling this story as I have. But I don’t believe the world sees change until it sees honesty.”

Steve, good luck!

SWEDISH FEAR OF WOLVES

I just read an article about the late author Stieg Larsson, who wrote the “Millennium” series (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”) and I found out something very interesting about Swedish culture.

When he grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, there was an old Swedish law, written about 100 years ago, that was still on the books that prohibited children from attending school until they were seven.

Swedish Wolves

It was to protect little kids from being devoured by wolves as they were coming and going to school when walking through the woods and forests.

GET WELL SOON, ELTON

Sir Elton John has been forced to “postpone all forthcoming shows from his current European tour.”

The 66-year-old rocket fell ill while on tour and his medical team ordered a number of exploratory scans and blood tests.  He was diagnosed with appendicitis and is currently taking intensive antibiotics to reduce toxins within the inflamed appendicitis site and he’ll undergo surgery in the next few weeks.

Summer tour dates in London, Italy, Germany, Russia, France, Spain, and Monaco were cancelled.  While Elton will not return to touring until he’s fully recovered, he hopes to play his September and October dates, which include 14 shows at The Colosseum At Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Elton LasVegas

We saw him there last October for my birthday weekend (Elton on Friday night and Madonna on Saturday night).  He was flawless and fantastic.  Elton, I wish you a speedy recovery.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

For today’s ’80s flashback, who better to feature than Elton John.

From his first hit, “Your Song” (#8, 1970) to his last radio hit, “Written In the Stars” (#29, 1999) with LeAnn Rimes, Elton made 60 Top 40 appearances on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those 60 songs, 29 reached the Top Ten, 20 of them climbed into the Top 5, and nine made it all the way to number one!

There are so many of his hits that I absolutely love, but today I’ll share a song that only reached #13 in 1989, but with his upcoming surgery, you couldn’t find a more convenient hit song than “Healing Hands”.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

As you probably know, I love taking pictures and sharing them on Facebook.  However, unless I’m on vacation or on a getaway, I don’t take as many pictures now that Miss ABBA is in “puppy heaven”.  Looking back this week in 2010, we were at Ray’s parent’s old house on Spirit Lake, Iowa.  Yes, it was a challenge keeping both of our girls out of the water!

ABBA Fish 07172010  Gretel ABBA 07172010Anthony Ray 07182010

And, two years ago, as Gretel celebrated her birthday with a little cookout with cake and ice cream with her neighborhood friends, I drove to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to spend the evening with Britney.  Yes, Britney “It’s Britney, Bitch” Spears.

Anthony Britney 07092011 Britney 07092011

ANTICIPATION IS BUILDING AND I’M NOT ALONE!

billboard.com recently held its Mid-Year Music Awards and while I didn’t take part in the voting, I definitely agree with the top two choices of what online readers were excited about in the music industry this fall.

Most Anticipated Event of 2013’s Second Half: 


1. New Music From Britney Spears (23%)
2. New Music From Lady Gaga (19%)
3. Beyonce’s ‘Mrs. Carter’ Tour… And Album? (17%)

In all fairness, I’m curious to hear Beyonce’s new music and I’d definitely see her in concert.  But, my loyalty lies with Britney and Gaga.

While Britney is currently in the studio working with will.i.am on her eighth studio album due this fall, her new song, “Ooh La La”, from the soundtrack to this summer’s “The Smurfs 2” is currently at #23 on Mediabase’s radio airplay chart.

Britney claims that she “always loved the Smurfs as a kid and now my boys are the biggest Smurfs fans EVER. I wanted to surprise them with a song in the movie. I know they’ll think it’s Smurftastic!”.

The video to “Ooh La La” was just released yesterday and features not only Britney, but her sons, Sean Preston and Jayden James.

britney-spears-ooh-la-la-video-still

About the new album, expected this fall, Britney says, “I want to definitely take this album and have a new approach with it and make it a little different than anything I’ve ever done.  Will has a lot of really interesting different tracks that I’ve listened to that are really cool that I haven’t actually written on yet, but there’s a lot of guitar and I think people will be surprised with this album. It’s gong to be really different.”

Earlier this year, will.i.am & Britney scored a Top Five hit (and #1 on the Billboard Dance chart) with “Scream & Shout”.

Britney is also “really, really excited” to be working with William Orbit on the new album.  He’s co-produced Madonna’s Grammy-winning 1998 “Ray of Light” album.  Orbit is also excited about the venture.  He posted this on his Facebook page, “Going to cut vocals in LA with Britney in a few weeks.  We’ve songs to die for.”

PUT YOUR PAWS UP!

After being forced to cancel the rest of her highly successful and profitable, “Born This Wall Ball” Tour earlier this year because of a labral tear of the right hip that required surgery, Lady Gaga has been rather quiet.  She even shut down her Twitter account recently.  Obviously, it was for some big news (“ARTPOP” comes out in November and her new single arrives in August!)

Many were already speculating that there was going to be a big announcement since billboard.com posted this story recently, “On two recent Interscope Records industry email blasts (its “Top 40 Fact Sheet”), a simple closing line has shown at the end, after the label has filled in radio/records/trades on other current releases. Four words:  “COMING SOON: LADY GAGA!”

I’m so excited that we’re on “The Edge of Glory” to hear new music from Mother Monster!  Her last hit at Top 40 radio was “Marry The Night” and that was released in November 2011!

Gaga Las Vegas

I was so lucky to see Gaga in Las Vegas, Nevada, in late January, just nine shows before she had to cancel the rest of the tour!

A few weeks ago, Gaga came out for one of her first live performances since February, when she sang “The Star Spangled Banner” at New York City’s Gay Pride parade.

And, of course, that performance has become controversial because she changed the last line from “home of the brave” to “home for the gays”.

Allen West Tweet

Allen West - Lady Gaga

Former U.S. Congressman, Tea Party advocate, and current Fox News contributor (enough said, but I’ll carry on) Allen West posted this on his Facebook page, “I find Lady Gaga’s defiling of our National Anthem reprehensible… This young lady should be taken to Ft. McHenry and given a history lesson as to why Francis Scott Key wrote those words incredible words… She and all those who cheered her abomination should be ashamed and apologize to every serving and retired member of our Armed Services. But perhaps I ask too much…”

But, Gaga isn’t his only target lately.

More West RantsEven More West Rants

I’m glad we live in the land of the free where West has a right to say whatever he wants, even if I think he’s a blowhard.  Some may think the same of me!

And, one last Anthem comment, conservatives also criticized Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, and Steven Tyler for changing the words to the National Anthem.

So, what are your thoughts?  Was Gaga wrong to change the words to the National Anthem?

SEARING A THOUGHT INTO YOUR BRAIN

“Under the Dome”, the new hit CBS drama based on a Stephen King novel, is one my favorite shows on television. It’s debut episode was the highest drama summer premiere on any network since 1992 with 16.7 million viewers.

If you haven’t seen the three episodes that have aired, you have to catch up!  A mysterious dome appears over Chester’s Mill, Maine, cutting part of the town off from the world around it.  No one knows how or why it appeared or how to make it go away.  People have died and I’m sure more will before the 13-episode first season ends September 16, 2013.

I warned you earlier that you might want to skip this part, but the most incredible special effect in the premiere was when the dome came down on a cow pasture and one unfortunate bovine was cut in half.  This is the aftermath, but the effects were incredible watching it happen.  Way to go to the producers and CBS for being clever (and gross)!

COW UNDER THE DOME

Okay, I can’t leave you on that note.  My apologies.  “Under The Dome” is not all gore and sadness.

Under The Dome Shirtless

Peace!  Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

Anthony

You can watch all of the episode for free here:  http://www.cbs.com/shows/under-the-dome/

Random Friday Thoughts — June 28, 2013

I don’t think that I’ve looked so forward to the weekend as I am to this weekend.  With the deadly tornadoes and severe thunderstorms Monday that caused tens of thousands of Quad Citians to lose power (ours was out 44 hours Monday through Wednesday), I’m ready to just chill some.

We’re going out to dinner with four of our friends Friday night in Port Byron, Illinois, and then Saturday, there’s a work picnic.  On Sunday, we’re planning on a movie double feature.  And, I still didn’t get my pancakes last weekend, so that may be this weekend!

“UNDER THE DOME” WINS MONDAY NIGHT, BUT…

Under The Dome

While “Under The Dome” was the most watched show Monday night (13.1 million viewers), I didn’t get a chance to watch it with the power outage.  However, you can find the full episode on cbs.com or on television.  CBS will re-air Monday night’s premiere episode this Sunday night (June 30) at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. Central.   I wish that I was watching the season eight premiere of “Dexter” Sunday night, but we don’t have Showtime.  So, I’ll avoid the spoilers and wait for the DVD. 😦

Now, here are my random thoughts this Friday.

GOOD RIDDANCE DOMA

The Supreme Court of the United States made a landmark ruling Wednesday calling DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, unconstitutional.  For those of you that may not be very familiar with it, DOMA is a 1996 federal law that would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

That may sound simple to some, but it also denied federal benefits, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns for married same-sex couples.  So, while a gay couple could be married in one of twelve states or the District of Columbia, it would not be recognized by the federal government.

Thank you Justices Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elana Kagan for your votes to strike down DOMA, 5-4.

DOMA Justices

And, Justices John Roberts, Antonin Scalia, Clarence “Anita Hill” Thomas, and Samuel Alito, I hope you evolve.  President Obama did it and America is doing it.  I think it’s time that you do, too!

In the majority opinion, Justice Kennedy wrote, “Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways.  DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.”

SIMPLY PUT, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RELIGION?

Nothing!  You can still pray to God each night and attend church when it’s open.  While you may get married in a church, the official document is issued by the government, not the church.  It’s that document from the government that makes marriages legal and it’s also that government that’s based on the notion that “all men are created equal”.  After Wednesday, I feel more equal and less like a second-rate citizen.

Love Knows No Limits

What does this mean to your marriage if you’re in an opposite-sex “traditional” marriage?  Nothing at all — because you should be spending your time making each other happy and worrying less if  two men or two women can now share the same government benefits as you and love each other in a committed marriage bond, too.

Let God judge.  Amen!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ding Dong Dead DOMA   Live Your Life WBCFood Is A DrugLaughing Inside

PAULA, STOP TALKING AND BE WITH YOUR FAMILY!

Food Network star Paula Deen is all over the television these days.  She’s the talk of radio, her face is all over the magazines, and blogger are feasting on a buffet talking about her.  There are many things being said about her — some say give her a break because she hasn’t said anything you probably haven’t said and some say she’s a racist.

Paula Deen Happy

Paula’s whirlwind downfall started recently after she was called to testify last month in a 2012 $1.2 million sexual and racial workplace discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers by former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, who is white, claims that Deen said this when asked about a theme for a wedding, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.  Jackson says that Deen laughed and said, “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

In that deposition last month, Deen admitted to using the “n-word” in the past.  However, she maintains that she hasn’t used it in years and when she did, it was because a black man held a gun to her head at her former place of employment.   Earlier this week on “Today”, Matt Lauer asked Deen , “Are you a racist?” and the 66-year-old grandmother responded, “No, I am not.” and “The day I used that word it was a world ago.  It was 30 years ago.”

This week, Deen was fired from the Food Network and she lost sponsorships with Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, and Target.  QVC is still deciding on Deen’s fate.

Domestic Diva Martha Stewart says, “”I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She’s a public figure and I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure.”  And, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton adds, “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago” and “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”

So, with that being said, I want to know what you think.  Here’s what I think.

IF (and notice that’s a big IF) Paula made that joke about the wedding idea in any era, then or now, it’s not funny.  It’s stupid.  If Paula responded with the n-word after a man held a gun to her head as she stated, while not still acceptable, it’s more likely a case of forgiveness given the circumstances.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s South and that awful word was a commonly used word.  Sadly, my late father, was one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist, and the list goes on, man I think I’ve ever met.  And, even my late grandmother, who was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, uttered that word in my childhood, but she wasn’t using it to be ugly.  As I grew from a child to a teenager, I educated her that although people use that word, it’s not right.

And, as Paula stated in the interview with Lauer, that word is used too freely in today’s society in movies and music.  I agree and that has to stop, too.  I don’t care if you are an African-American or you identify as a black man or woman, that word has to stop in all circles.  While I’m a gay man, I don’t refer to myself as the derogatory “f-word” and I’d be truly offended if someone else did.

In this country, you’re supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”.  How do we know that Lisa Jackson is telling the truth?  I’d really be saddened to know that Paula Deen was not a racist and these allegations ruined her life and career.

Paula Deen Crying

My only advice to Paula is stay off television, avoid interviews, and stop posting internet apologies.  I know you’re hurt and scared, but the tears and the pleas make you seem too apologetic.  As you’ve stated, people who know you know the truth — whatever that truth is.

The bottom line is that if Paula Deen is a racist and she freely used the n-word as Jackson claims, more people would be coming out of the woodwork to make other allegations.  They haven’t!

And, I have to say that I commend Paula for the heartfelt and seemingly genuine comments in the interview, “I believe every creature on this Earth … was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with [and] no matter what church you go to pray.”  And, “There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like that I am prejudiced against, Matt, and that’s thieves and liars.”

Lisa Jackson, if you’re a liar, I hope you get yours.

THE SAD LIFE OF A PIG (AND OTHER FARM ANIMALS)

Oh, how I wish that every pig was like Hollywood’s “Babe”.

This past Tuesday, I took part in the “Celebrity Showmanship” contest at the Rock Island County Fair.  In less than an hour, I had to learn as much as I could about pigs and about showing one from my 4-H member, Grace.  I aced my quiz from the judges and answered all of my questions correctly.

However, when it came time to show my pig, I learned that “my” pig has been competing all day in the summer heat and it was exhausted.  The judge told me “if he lays down, just let him”.  Well, the poor creature did and I think it cost me a ranking in the Top Seven!  I did get a special “honorable mention” for my knowledge of pig farming, so I’m telling myself that I came in 8th place out of 15 people.  I also won $50 for my charity, the Quad City Animal Welfare Center in Milan, Illinois.

As you look at this picture, you’ll see that the pig was exhausted.  But, once he was sprayed with water and cooled off, after the competition, he walked away happily to his barn to sleep.

Pig Showing Contest

(Photo courtesy:  Thomas Geyer of the Quad City Times.)

The whole learning process made me think even more about the lives of pigs and cows.  While I don’t condemn people for eating steak or hamburger, I haven’t eaten either in a very long time and I will not.  As for pork, I’ve been on the fence the past few months.  After Tuesday and learning that the pigs “go to market” in about five to six months, I decided that pork is another meat that I’ll have to decline eating in the future.  What a short little life for the creatures!

Again, I don’t condemn others for eating beef or pork, but I’ll have to stick to chicken, turkey, and seafood for now.  I don’t have the same guilt toward them –yet.

BIG SCREEN SPECTACLE

I love “The Walking Dead” and I love George Romero’s “Night of The Living Dead” and all of its sequels and remakes.

When Brad Pitt announced that he would be starring in “World War Z”, a zombie epic, I got excited.  Then when I saw the trailer for the first time, it looks intriguing, but I got a little concerned about the trailer not showing much of the zombies.  And, then the stories about the problematic shoot started surfacing:  it was going way over budget and the entire third act went through a reshoot.

WWZ

The movie opened last weekend to $66.4 million in U.S. ticket sales alone, which is the biggest open for a Brad Pitt movie.

“World War Z” wasted no time getting right into the action.  Pitt plays Gerry Lane, who used to work for the United Nations.  He gave it up to be a stay at home dad to two girls.  As the family is heading out-of-town (Philadelphia), they encounter an unprecedented traffic jam that turns into chaos with planes flying overhead and then it happens — the undead come alive and start attacking the living.  City after city across the world fall to the zombies.

After spending the night holed up hiding out with a family, they make it out just in time to be taken to a fleet of ships out in the ocean off New York City safely away from living hell on land.  There’s only one catch.  They want Lane to go back to work for the U.N. to try to find what started this epidemic that has killed millions and if he agrees, his wife and two children can stay on the vessel.

Lane agrees and heads off to South Korea where he’s told by a hot-shot young doctor from Harvard that “Mother Nature is a serial killer” and that she leaves little clues to get caught.  While there, Lane and most of his crew barely escape, but he learns that the zombies are attracted by noise.

From there, he’s off to Jerusalem, where he finds out how the Israelis learned about the zombies and how they’ve managed to keep the zombies and the plague from wiping them out.

WWZ Israel

The scene turns deadly as the zombies attack and Lane once again barely escapes to Wales on the most exciting and slightly unrealistic airplane ride ever!

WWZ Airplane Scene

As the massive real-world destruction continues, Lane figures out a couple of more things that might stop the deadly zombie apocalypse.  Let me just say that I’m glad that the trailer did not feature the zombies prominently.  They were amazing, but not your typical zombies.

If you want a thrilling psychological drama, a “Contagion” with action, this is the movie.  It accomplishes the excitement and fear without the blood and gore of “The Walking Dead”.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the gory AMC series, but it was fun to see this thriller dominated by the shock of fear and not guts!

GRADE:  A+ (And, I rarely give a movie an A+!)

WEEKEND DOUBLE FEATURE

In last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, I mentioned that we might go see a double feature at the movie.  We only got in “World War Z”.  So, this weekend, it’s going to be “This Is The End” (you can see the trailer in last week’s blog), and the new Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx action thriller, “White House Down”.

For all you women and men (openly gay, closeted, or just secretly jealous), I think we need to get crazy like Precious and Miley Cyrus and check out and sing along to the humorous “(I Wanna) Channing All Over Your Tatum”.  Thanks, Jimmy Kimmel.

TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY?

While my birthday is still more than three months away, I don’t think it’s too early to think about it.  I mean, last year, we bought tickets to see Madonna in Las Vegas in February for my birthday, October 13th, which was still eight months away.

This year, I think I’ll hint to Ray that I want to see the Pet Shop Boys in Chicago in late September.  While the 1980s new wave duo of Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe may be absent from American radio, they’ve been recording new music for the past thirty years and their new album, “Electric” comes out in mid-July and the single, “Axis” is fantastic!!!!!  Check it out

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

It’s very interesting how the music scene works on each side of the Atlantic.  Since exploding on to the music scene in the mid-1980 with their #1 international hit, “West End Girls”, the Pet Shop Boys have only scored five more hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

Four of the other five hits made the top ten:  “Opportunities (Let’s Make Lots of Money) (#10, 1986), “It’s A Sin” (#9, 1987), “What Have I Done To Deserve This” with Dusty Springfield (#2, 1987), and “Always on My Mind” (#4, 1987).  They also reached #18 with “Domino Dancing”.  Since then, the duo has scored many Billboard Dance hit.

However, in England, the Pet Shop Boys have scored 42 Top 40 hits with 22 of those reaching the Top Ten and 4 reached #1.

Here’s the song that kicked it all off around the world, “West End Girls”.

CELEBRITY REACTION TO THE DEATH OF “DOMA”

DOMA Lady Gaga

Dan Savage DOMA DOMA Ben Affleck DOMA Piers Morgan  DOMA Neil Patrick HarrisDOMA Jack

BY THE WAY, WHO IS JACK MACKENROTH?

His tweet about DOMA was funny, so who is he?  Well, he’s a 44-year-old American swimmer (winning medals in the Gay Games), model, and was a contestant on the fourth season of the reality show, “Project Runway”.

Jack Mackenroth

Mackenroth is also a HIV/AIDS activist.  He was diagnosed as HIV-positive in August 1990 and has lived openly about his status to combat the stigma of  having HIV.

He says, “I am most proud of the fact that I was open about my positive HIV status on the show and exemplified that a person can manage HIV and live a successful life.  Every time a person with HIV is open about his or her status it helps everyone who is living with the disease…. I am a living testament to what you can accomplish by letting go of shame and being your own advocate.”

AND, WE OWE IT ALL TO EDIE

And, as I conclude my blog this week, I dedicate it to Edie and to the memory of Thea.

Thea and Edie

Thea Clara Spyer and Edith “Edie” Windsor were together for 40 years when they got married in Canada in 2007.  It was two years later that New York state began recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states..  And, it was also the year that Thea Spyer died.

After Thea’s death, Edie, now 84, was required to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance of her wife’s estate.   However, if Thea had been a man and the two were married, or if DOMA was not a federal law, Windsor would have qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction, and paid no federal estate taxes.

Edie got the ball rolling toward the Supreme Court in the summer of 2012 and now the rest is history.

Edie Celebrating Decision

After the ruling, Edie replied, “One of the things I felt did not have to do with the money but had to do with…with my country is not giving dignity to this beautiful person I lived with.  And today, my country gave dignity and appreciated who she was.”

Edie, I’m so proud of you and the fight you fought for your wife and your rights.  Thank you for all you’ve done for every one us that will now benefit from your determination.

Now, we have 38 more states to win over for every American to have the same rights.  The fight is far from over.

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about any or all of it and have a great weekend!

Anthony