Posts Tagged ‘violence’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 14 , 2017

The weekend is here and I hope you have a great one planned!  Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ACTION, NOT SUBMISSIVE REACTION

This thought is not about the Second Amendment, gun laws, gun control, bad cops, etc. It’s about the lack of respect for human life these days.

There’s so much going on in the U.S. and around the world.  It saddens me to think that it’s easier for people to shoot or kill someone rather than to talk things out or just mind their own business.

When these senseless acts of violence happen, with no justification, it’s heartbreaking.

Fence

When Matthew Shepard was beaten, tortured and left for dead on a fence in Wyoming in October 1998 and James Byrd Jr., was dragged behind a pickup truck for three miles on an asphalt road by three white supremacists four months earlier, we were horrified.

One was killed because he was gay and the other because he was black.  Yet, it took 11 years before the “Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act” was signed into law.

Still today, it’s a joke how many people commit hate crimes and don’t get charged with it.

When something like the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook school massacre, or the bombing outside the Manchester Ariana Grande concert happens, we’re shocked for a few days before the news cycle moves on to the next story.

People go crazy on Facebook sharing “Remember <insert city>” or “Pray for <insert city>. And, then we move on, too!

black_lives_matter

I commend the three ladies that started a movement in 2013 with just a hashtag —  #BlackLivesMatter — after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

Since then, it’s been directed at law enforcement in the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, and many more — unarmed black people — that died by the guns or hands of white police officers.

Card Cover

I know it’s wishful thinking, but I’d love it if we’d talk more instead of resorting to violence!  I wish we could “Give Peace a Chance”! 😦

GOODBYE LAYAFETTE

Nelsan Ellis, who played Lafayette Reynolds, on HBO’s “True Blood”, died last weekend of complications of heart failure.  He was 39.

“True Blood” creator, Alan Ball said, “Nelsan was a singular talent whose creativity never ceased to amaze me. Working with him was a privilege.”

While there was Sookie and the sexy men of “True Blood” (Jason, Eric, and Sam), Lafayette was my favorite character.  He was a proud, flamboyant, and out gay black man in the backwoods of Louisiana.

Here’s a compilation of some of Reynolds’ best scenes as Lafayette.  (Contains adult language and situations!)

LG(BISEXUAL)T

I’m always open to learning new things and thinking outside of the box.  I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexuality comes to mind.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

LGBT

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

“CHIPS” & HOMOPHOBIA ACCUSATIONS

The theatrical update of the NBC television hit series, “Chips” (1977-1983), starring Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox bombed at the box office.

Interestingly enough, while no one really went to see it (it broke even if you just compare the cost to make it and box office receipts), some accused the movie as being homophobic.  I didn’t see that.

In one scene, it shows non-sexual man-to-man contact in the locker room (a bro-hug).

In that same scene, “Ponch” asks Jon not to give him a welcome hug now that they’re partners since Jon is only wearing underwear.

As a matter of fact, there are discussions in the movie debating what is and what isn’t “homophobia”.

While I didn’t see anything in the movie as homophobic, I was wishing midway through the movie that it was like the television series — only an hour long!  However, at that point, it went off the rails and the second half was very entertaining. 🙂

Warning:  This is the “Red Band Trailer” and it’s for mature audiences only.  (Translation: very adult!)

I watched the innocent trailer and there was a scene that added clothes to Jon when he was naked in the movie. Lame!

So, proceed with caution with this trailer!

GRADE:  B

Honestly, it deserves a B-, but with Shepard’s lanky body on display out of uniform in a few scenes and Adam Brody looking so adorable in this movie with his porn star ‘stache, there was a grade curve! 🙂

Adam Brody

POWERFUL KESHA COMEBACK

In the past couple of years, when you heard Kesha’s name in the news, it wasn’t about chart-topping hits.

She was in a bitter lawsuit with her former producer, Dr. Luke.  She accused him of sexual assault and battery, sexual harassment, gender violence, emotional abuse, and more.

It looked like it might be years before we’d hear any new music from her, but last week, she released the powerful new single, “Praying”.

Kesha also announced “Rainbow”, the new album, would arrive August 11th!

Her last album, “Warrior”, was my favorite album of 2013!

WALKING JUST TO EAT

Since moving here with no friends and my family a thousand miles away, I’ve been walking and reading outdoors — a lot.

Back in the Midwest, I’d walk an hour on the treadmill.  Here, I’ve only gotten on the treadmill twice when it was pouring down rain, but I just wasn’t into it.

I’m still getting in more than 25,000 steps a day.  But, since I’m a little OCD, some days that number tops 30,000 and even 40,000!

Why?  Because it gives me less time to think about why I’m here and the future and because I like to eat and not worry about weight gain.

Diet

Here’s a test for you.  I could live off three of these, but I gave the other up years ago!  Do you know which one is no longer part of my “well-rounded diet”?

“THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE”

This must be the summer of Jessica Chastain for me.

Just last week, I featured her performance in “Miss Sloane” and gave the movie an “A”. While the movie was a box office bomb, it was spectacular and her icy performance was incredible.

“The Zookeeper’s Wife”, a movie that barely made its money back at the theaters, is powerful and heartbreaking.  It’s based on a true story.

It takes place in Poland just as the Germans invade at the start of World War 2.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

Chastain’s character and her husband run the Warsaw Zoo.  When the air strikes commence, many of the zoo’s animals are killed and the Germans take the most prized survivors for “protection”.

They learn of Hitler’s attacks and the treatment of Jews and decide to start a “human zoo” — hiding Jewish men, women, and children.

It’s hard to relive this dark chapter in world history, but the story is rewarding at the same time.

A must-see!

GRADE:  A-

“HOUSE OF VERSACE”

This weekend marks the 20th anniversary of the shooting death of Italian designer Gianni Versace outside his Miami Beach mansion on July 15, 1997, by spree killer Andrew Cunanan.

versace-mansion-casa-casuarina-bloody-steps.jpg

Last weekend, I caught the 2013 Lifetime movie, “House of Versace”.

It covered the relationship between Gianni and his sister Donatella before his murder and how she ran the company after his death.

Gina Gershon is intriguing to watch as Donatella and the soundtrack to the movie was fantastic with Snap, Technotronic, and Deee-Lite (“Groove is in the Heart”).

On 2013’s “Artpop”, Lady Gaga paid tribute to Donatella.

NEW GUILTY PLEASURE

I know Niecy Nash from her hilarious turn on the painful to watch Ryan Murphy rare misfire, “Scream Queens”.

But, she does dramedy (drama-comedy) very well on her new TNT series, “Claws”.

She owns a nail salon in Palmetto, Florida, and is laundering money for the local crime/drug king (or “queen”), “Uncle Daddy”, flamboyantly played by Dean Norris (“Breaking Bad” and “Under The Dome”).

It airs on Sunday nights and you still have time to catch up.  Only five episodes have aired and the season finale is August 13th.

Earlier this week, it was renewed for a second season to air in 2018!

LEFTOVER RED WINE?

I get several recipes emailed to me.

This one is from myrecipe.  Check out the story headline.

Leftover Wine

Excuse me, but leftover and wine in the same sentence???

I like telling the story of my single days when I had my golden retriever, ABBA, and I’d make shrimp scampi.

She’d always get the shrimp tails as a tasty, crunchy treat to compliment her dry dog food.

And, after using the one-quarter of a cup of white wine for the scampi, I always felt it’d be sacrilegious to the “grape Gods” to not finish the 750 ml bottle of wine with dinner!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 8, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying your week following the Fourth of July weekend.

I loved the cooler temperatures last weekend, but the heat and humidity definitely returned to the Midwest.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and many of you did last Friday, so thank you again.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.

Jimmy & Rosalynn.jpg

Thursday marked the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.

After the couple married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, they lived in several different parts of the country when President Carter was in the Navy.  After that, they returned to Plains to run the family’s peanut farm and business before moving on to Atlanta to become to Governor and First Lady of Georgia.

As I’ve written before, as a 12-year-old boy, I accompanied my grandmother, Helen, who was mostly illiterate into the voting booth in November 1976 in Mayfield, Kentucky, and placed my first presidential vote for the former Georgia governor.

I want to think that my vote was instrumental in him winning my state’s nine electoral votes.

CarterPres

I went with her again in 1980 and, again, voted for President Carter.

I’ll be visiting Atlanta in early September for the first time and I can’t wait to see the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  I’m so hoping that the former President and First Lady will be speaking at the Carter Center while I’m there.

So, President and Mrs. Carter, I’d love to treat you to an anniversary lunch or dinner if our path’s cross in Atlanta this September!  🙂

Happy Anniversary!

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

In case you missed it, here’s the blog from four years ago confessing my admiration for President and Mrs. Carter. (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

SAD STATE OF THE WORLD

I already had this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” ready to post when the bloodshed in Dallas, Texas, became the top story.

Dallas

A sniper (or snipers) opened fire on about 100 police officers at a demonstration of around 800 people in Dallas.  Eleven police officers were shot and, at least, five were dead.

The group gathered to protest two police-related deadly shootings this week — one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota.

At least three people were in custody after an exchange of gunfire with police at a parking garage downtown.

This story is changing by the minute and will continue to do so throughout the day and weekend.

the real world

America and the world, violence is and has always been a part of our existence.   But, the lack of empathy and the total disregard for life and our fellow man has to change.

I’m a realist and I know how this will play out, but I truly want society and mankind to prove me wrong!

STOP THE HATE

(This part of the blog was already written before the Dallas shooting spree.)

It’s been almost a month since the deadly shooting at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.

49 people were gunned down and another 53 were injured.

There have been many vigils and memorials in the past few weeks.

Now, heavyweight producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”, “American Crime Story”, “Scream Queens”, and “Glee”) is behind a very powerful and beautiful 18-minute video tribute featuring Hollywood stars sharing the stories of each of the 49 victims’ lives with their photographs.

The video may be long, but that time pales in comparison to the lifetime that each of those 49 people will never experience now.

I hope you take the time to watch it.

So touching and heartbreaking!

THOSE “DAMN EMAILS”

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Those words came from Senator Bernie Sanders on October 13, 2015 (my birthday)  in a Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive U.S. Presidential nominee, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clinton quickly replied with a chuckle, “Thank you. Me, too.  Me, too.”

DEM 2016 Debate

Now, almost nine months later, the debate is over with FBI Director James Comey stating in a press conference with his agency’s decision, “Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But, Comey did call Clinton’s handling of private emails “extremely careless.”

Yesterday, while being grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he basically said that none of the Clinton documents in the investigation had headers stating it was “classified”.

Now that precedence is set, hopefully every Secretary of State from John Kerry forward will learn from this and new guidelines will be instituted that can keep up with the always changing internet world.

BENGHAZI — FOUR YEARS LATER

If you asked Americans what country Benghazi is in or where to find it on the map, most would not know.  From a security standpoint four years ago, our own government didn’t seem to have it (and several other places) high on their radar either.

It didn’t seem like a priority until September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans there.

The U.S. government, the Obama administration, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted formal responsibility and she said this of the blame game, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Hearing were held and many studies were conducted (even independent ones).  Yet, in this presidential election year, people are still looking for the “silver bullet” to implicate Clinton for this tragedy.

The Stevens Family.jpg

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Stevens, is that family’s spokesperson and she says the latest reports added nothing new because it was already established that Benghazi was not secure.

Stevens adds, “I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

Clinton Stevens.jpg

And, when asked what Chris would have thought about this year’s upcoming presidential election, she says, “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”

Sadly, many people are keeping this tragedy alive, not because they are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other men, to make it another piece of this year’s election puzzle.

It’s time to make security changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and, most of all, it’s time to move on people.

“13 HOURS:  THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

When it was announced in late 2014 that director Michael Bay would be bringing a movie about the Benghazi tragedy to the big screen, I didn’t have any interest in seeing it.

He’s famous for making popcorn movies geared toward teenage fanboys and fangirls (“The Transformers” series and “Armageddon”).

However, once I heard that the movie wasn’t just propaganda (it was released two weeks before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, 2016, which is the kick-off to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election), I decided I would check it out on DVD.

It’s much better than I expected it to be.  From a Hollywood telling of real life events, it was definitely a great thriller.  It ended up making about $70 million in theaters with a $50 million budget.

Since we’re talking about the movie here, John Krasinski looks incredible with his newly buffed physique.

GRADE:  B

TICKETMASTER & FREE TICKETS

The concert movie giant is trying to make good after a losing a lawsuit over the crazy fees it charges.

Ticketmaster has already released two waves of tickets totaling almost $15 million, but it’s only for select concerts and venues.

It’s a nice gesture, but it’ll not likely benefit most of the customers it ripped off over the years, including myself.

Here’s a July 1st post from Ticketmaster:

tm

Ticketmaster, I have an idea if you really (and I stress, REALLY) want to make good on redemption from your shady activities that got you sued.

Since you’re only offering select number of tickets anyway, let us pick the general admission seats to the concerts we’d want to attend — if seats are available.

For instance, there are two shows that still have plenty of cheap seats open in Las Vegas when I’m there later this month.  Let me use my free vouchers there.

Just a thought!

SULLY

You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.

Flight 1549

This is US Airways Flight 1549 resting on the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Shortly after take-off, the plane hit a flock of Canadian geese, which caused engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

Director Clint Eastwood and Oscar winner Tom Hanks are bringing this amazing story to the big screen September 9th.

The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart as Skiles and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

FISH POND UPDATE

It appears that the anti-viral chemical we’re using in the fish pond is making a difference!

As I told you in last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, we had four larger koi to die in about a week’s time and then we quickly treated the pond with an agent to fight viruses in case the last fish we acquired were sick.

Sadly, Snowflake, another of the larger koi, died last weekend.  (She’s on the left here.  Pumpkin Pie, my favorite fish, on the right, died two weeks ago.)

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.

FIRST LADIES

For the past three weeks, I’ve been sharing tidbits from the book I read called “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.

I’m wrapping it up this week.

First Ladies

Eleanor Roosevelt:   She worked for the advancement of women and civil rights for black Americans.  Many saw her and FDR as a team in politics.  She loved press conferences — she had 348 in the three terms as First lady.  She also ended Prohibition by serving wine in the White House in 1934.

Elizabeth “Bess” Truman:  She and President Harry Truman made it no secret that they closely worked together for his policies.  She didn’t travel by air and mostly took the train.  Unlike her First Lady predecessor, she hated press conferences and only gave one!

Mamie Eisenhower:  Her favorite color was pink and she surrounded herself with it.  She saw her role as wife as secondary and supportive.  She made many “best dressed” lists, but often bought clothes off the rack.  While she exuded a “soft” side, White House staff saw her as militaristic.

Jacqueline Kennedy:  She worked hard to restore the White House (she didn’t like the word “redecorate”).  She was the first First Lady to hire her own press secretary and she was very into art and not just what was popular at the time.

Lady Bird Johnson:  Her first name was Claudia.  She borrowed against her inheritance, so her husband, LBJ, could run for Congress in Texas in 1937.  She also borrowed money to buy an Austin radio station in 1942 and when television took off in the 1950s, her broadcasting complex made her a very rich woman.  She’s best known for supporting the environment and for starting Highway Beautification projects.

Pat Nixon:  Thelma was her first name.  In her renovations of the White House, she made it more accessible for disabled and the sight-impaired.  She responded to her correspondences individually and she was also a well-traveled First Lady visiting 83 nations.

Betty Ford:  Her real name was Elizabeth.  She was widely lauded (and likely mocked) for her frankness — about her kids, health problems, and her life, including using Valium.  She wasn’t afraid to share her views even when they contradicted President Gerald Ford’s stances.

Rosalynn Carter:  Her first name is Eleanor and she gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation of eleven students in Plains, Georgia.  As First Lady of Georgia and the country, she worked very hard for mental health reforms.  She also fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified.  She also played a big role in the Middle East Peace Talks at Camp David by making many trips back to Washington D.C. during the lengthy process to stand in at events for President Jimmy Carter.

Nancy Reagan:  She wasn’t shy about asking for White House renovations and new china even as the country was in a major recession.  She was often criticized for influencing her husband, especially in his second term.  The “New York Times” even wrote about her “Associate Presidency”.

Barbara Bush:   She worked hard during her White House years for literacy and to bring attention to the fight against AIDS.  She was heavily into volunteerism before she became First Lady.

Hillary Rodham Clinton:  As First Lady, she was seen as highly ambitious because she was a strong woman that worked on policy for her husband.  To counter criticism, she lightened her hair, wore a more feminine wardrobe, and cut back on her public speaking.  To top it off, she even added her married name publicly to her already establish name of “Hillary Rodham”.

This book was updated in 1993 and it didn’t have chapters on Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

HIllary Flag

One last interesting comment that the author made was “By 1993, the credentials of First Lady Hillary Clinton looked very much like those of the President.”

Prophetic much???? 🙂

PICK HIT

I saw Cardiknox, the pop duo of Thomas Dutton and lead singer Lonnie Angle, open for Carly Rae Jepsen in New York City in March on the “Emotion Tour”.

They are full of energy and their debut album, “Portrait”, is fantastic.

Here’s their new video, “Wild Child”.

PICK HIT BONUS

I also want to share the first song and video from the album, “On My Way”, which is one of my favorite songs of 2016.

The video is amazing because it definitely looks like it done in one take with no edits.

THAT’S IT

With all that’s going on in the world, I hope you can make your little part of this f**ked up world a little brighter!

Anthony

Lady Gaga, Stick To Your “Guns”

Columbine (15 killed, 24 injured).  Virginia Tech (33 killed, 23 injured).  Northern Illinois University (6 killed, 21 injured).  Fort Hood, Texas (13 killed, 32 injured).  Tuscon, Arizona (6 killed, 14 injured).  Aurora, Colorado (12 killed, 58 injured).  Newtown, Connecticut (28 killed, 2 injured).  Before you call me out on it, there are discrepancies on the number of injuries  in several of these incidents — depending on the source.

That list of deadly mass shootings started before Columbine and there were many others before Newtown.  Sadly, this list will grow.

Gun Control

This blog isn’t about gun control, the Second Amendment, or who or what is to blame.

We live in a world that is consumed with violence.   We see it on television and at the movies, we hear about it in music, we read about it in books, magazines, and newspapers.  We hear about war and terrorist-related deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.  And, the Chicago Police Department reported 506 shooting deaths in 2012, which is up about 15% over the previous year.

I’ve touched on these subjects before:  “Why is My Chicago So Deadly This Year?” (July 6, 2012), “Another Senseless Tragedy in Colorado — Who’s To Blame?” (July 20, 2012), and “Entertainment Violence — When Is It Too Early For Business As Usual‏?” (July 23, 2012).  You can type in part of those title in the search at the top to read the original blogs.

Newtown CT

I’m revisiting this topic today because the blame game is still going on following the December 14, 2012, deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  And, some of it in the entertainment business is way off the mark and mean-spirited.

Sharon Osbourne, I’m talking to you.  You should be ashamed of yourself for bringing violence and entertainment into a cat fight between you, your daughter, Kelly, and Lady Gaga!

Sharon Kelly Osbourne- Lady Gaga

This entertainment feud erupted, as far as I’m concerned, when “Fashion Police” co-host Kelly Osbourne said, “I actually think she’s a good singer but she has the worst fans in the world” talking about Lady Gaga.

In an open letter to Kelly, Gaga responded, “I have empathy for you Kelly, but I feel it culturally important to note that you have chosen a less compassionate path.  Your work on E! with the Fashion Police is rooted in criticism, judgment, and rating people’s beauty against one another. ‘Appearance’ is the most used reason for bullying in the world. Your show breeds negativity, and over the years has even become comedic in nature. It glorifies you and Joan Rivers pointing in the camera, laughing, and making jokes about artists and celebrities as if we are zoo animals.”

And, then Mama Osbourne fired off this to Lady Gaga, “I am calling you a bully because you have 32 million followers hanging on your every word and you are criticizing Kelly in your open letter.  Are you so desperate that you needed to make this public?”

Sharon-Osbourne-The-Talk

If it had ended there, I wouldn’t be writing this today .  However, on Monday, on “The Talk”, Sharon spouted off about mean and hateful comments that a few Lady Gaga’s fans have posted on Gaga’s website and, sadly, Sharon even went so far as to say that one of Gaga’s “Little Monsters” could go on a shooting spree like the ones I addressed earlier!  Sharon said, “One person that wants attention, it takes nothing for this to happen.  Don’t let your fans be so hideously damaging, hurtful, violent.”

I’m truly appalled by that statement.  A viewer of “The Talk”, a reader of  my blog, or a fan of <insert actor or singer here> could go on a shooting spree.  How irresponsible of Sharon, just like her daughter saying that Gaga has the worst fans, to make that statement.  Yes, there are bad apples in every fan club.  And, with the internet, those bad apples can post mean-spirited things very easily.  But, to condemn a group based on a few, hateful people is wrong.

That is my personal opinion and I welcome yours, too.  You don’t have to agree with me, but do it with dignity.

And, then Sharon Osbourne addressed guns used as props and costumes in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Wall Ball Tour”.  The North American leg kicked off last Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Lady-Gaga-machine-gun-bra2Lady-Gaga-machine-gun-bra

Osbourne says, “However, everything is guns, guns, guns … Cut to her first performance on this new tour. She’s wearing two guns coming out of her breasts.”  And, “This is not right, and she should be stopped.”

Yes, that’s true.  And, she’s been wearing them since this tour kicked off in Asia in April 2012 and, even before that, for the “Alejandro” video that came out in June 2010.

Madonna faced the same backlash in 2012 on her “MDNA Tour” because of the violent nature of the first act and specifically the bloody, deadly song, “Gang Bang”.

Madonna Gang BangMadonna MDNA

Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” started in Israel in late May and there were many calls that she drop the guns from the show after the Aurora movie theater massacre in July 2012.    A representative for the singer said, “Madonna would rather cancel her show than censor her art. Her entire career, she has fought against people telling her what she can and cannot do. She’s not about to start listening to them now”.

I agreed with Madonna then and I stand behind Lady Gaga now.  She should continue the “Born This Way Ball Tour” just as it was conceived WITH the gun bra.

We cannot and should not censor every facet of entertainment industry that is violent.  We cannot blame Madonna, Lady Gaga, Quentin Tarantino, or anyone else in entertainment for the violence problem in the world.

Sadly, violence is a fact of life.  We don’t know when or where it’s going to happen, but it will happen.  Since violence was present in the Bible, it goes to show that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Anthony

Entertainment Violence — When Is It Too Early For Business As Usual‏?

We may never know why the alleged lone gunman ambushed the movie theater showing the latest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises” (“TDKR”) in Aurora, Colorado, last Friday morning shooting 70 people and killing 12 of them.  That shooting spree is now the largest mass shooting in U.S. history.

This blog is not about the Second Amendment.  I’ve already voiced my opinion about that in previous blogs.

The bottom line is that regardless of whatever laws we have in place in America, bad people or people suffering from mental illnesses can get weapons and go on shooting or murderous rampages that turn into tragedies like the one in Aurora, Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and the list goes on.

Last Friday, while families were still trying to find out if their loved ones were safe, at area hospitals, or if they were one of the victims, speculation began over what prompted the alleged mass murderer, James Holmes, to gun down so many people.

Some media outlets correlated the shootings with the 1986 “The Dark Knight Rises” comic book.  There will be other theories of how the world of entertainment, whether it’s violence in the songs we hear, the movies or television shows we watch, or the books that we read, played a role.

Following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, some movies were delayed several months because of story lines involving terrorist plots or bombs on planes and some movies were edited to remove the World Trade Center, acts that referenced terrorism, or planes flying near buildings.

We’re already feeling the effects from the Aurora, Colorado, shootings.  Some movie promos for “TDKR” have been pulled from television in some cities, and Warner Bros. asked that the trailer to “Gangster Squad” (due in theaters September 7, 2012) be dropped before “TDKR” because there is a scene of a mass shooting of a movie theater audience with automatic weapons.

I fully understand the decision about dropping the previews to “Gangster Squad” or, at least, editing that scene from the trailer.  But, how soon is too soon to write or sing songs about acts of gun violence, showing people being gunned down in movies or on television shows, or even writing books that detail that aggression?

While I don’t know the answer to that question, I know what I feel in my heart.  I honestly know that the families of those that were killed or injured and those that escaped the madness physically unhurt have more on their minds right now that what is happening in the world of entertainment.  They are dealing with shock, sadness, and fear.

I can’t imagine that the movie companies decision to withhold box office results Sunday “out of respect” for the families really gave them that much solace.  I don’t think knowing whether “TDKR” broke any box office records this weekend is on their mind.

When my mother died on November 7, 1990, the last thing I thought about was the advanced sneak preview of “Home Alone” that upcoming weekend and its box office release the next weekend.  As funny as the movie looked prior to my mother’s death, it didn’t matter to me afterwards and I didn’t see until it was released on video the following year.

I can’t tell you anything else that happened the week after Miss ABBA, my golden retriever, died this past February.

Please don’t take what I’m writing out of context.  I feel for the families in Colorado although I didn’t know them.  I can’t imagine the pain they’re feeling knowing that their loved ones were out for a night of fun and excitement and now some of them will never know how the Batman trilogy ended and their families are planning funerals and praying that their hospitalized loved ones will recover.

However, I don’t think that we should begin editing every thing that is being released in the next few months.  As I said before, the families of those injured and killed could probably care less about music, movies, books, and concerts at this time or for a long to time to come.

I’m writing this because the first thing in the entertainment world that came to mind was Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” that is currently playing in Europe.  It makes its North American debut in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 28, 2012.

In the “Transgression” segment of the concert, guns play a very integral part in the third and fourth songs in the show, “Revolver” and “Gang Bang”.  This show was developed well before the Colorado shootings and it debuted in Tel Aviv, Israel, on May 31, 2012.

Sunday night, on its homepage, msn.com had a headline to grab your attention, “Singer brings guns on stage for show” and then it asked in the story, “Was Madonna edgy or just plain insensitive?”  Remember, this exact show has been going on for months.  This wasn’t something that she did the night after the Colorado shootings in Scotland to garner attention.

In England, Mothers Against Guns told the Daily Record, “Madonna and her dancers using replica guns was always in bad taste but given what happened in Colorado it is even worse.  She should know better.”

While this could apply to any genre of entertainment, I’ll focus on Madonna since the tour is coming to United States and it will be in Denver, Colorado, on October 18, 2012, less than three months after the Aurora movie massacre.

So, while the “MDNA Tour” will have been visited 33 cities across Asia and Europe before its late August North American debut, should it be altered in the United States?

For those of you unfamiliar with the song “Gang Bang”, from the deluxe edition of Madonna’s latest album, “MDNA”, here’s a sample of the lyrics, “And Then I Discovered It Couldn’t Get Worse/You Were Building My Coffin/You Were Driving My Hearse/Bang Bang (Shot You Dead)/Bang Bang (In the Head)/Bang Bang, Shot You Dead/Shot My Lover In the Head/Bang Bang, Shot You Dead/Now I Have No Regret”.

It’s a very violent song, but definitely a stand out on the “MDNA” album.  In concert, the onstage dramatization is even more visual.

I can separate reality from entertainment.  I know when I see “Dexter” kill bad guys on the Showtime series that it’s not real and that I cannot go out and do the same thing.  I know when Madonna sings about killing an ex-lover and dramatizes it live on stage on tour that it’s not reality.  However, some people can’t do that.  Luckily, for us, that is a much smaller number.

I don’t want Madonna to drop “Gang Bang” her from highly choreographed show when it comes to North America.  I want to see the tour as it was developed and orchestrated despite the tragedy in Colorado.

But, even with that being said, I’m really torn about the Denver concert in October.  Hardcore Madonna fans that bought tickets already know about the gun play and the depicted violence.  Some of them, maybe a large number of them, may feel uneasy about it now.  Will three months be enough time for people to heal?  I’m not sure, but I’m thinking, no.

Should that show just be cancelled?  Should “Revolver” and “Gang Bang” be dropped from that one concert?  Or, should Madonna perform those songs in Denver and then likely be accused of being “insensitive”?

What are your thoughts?

Anthony

Another Senseless Tragedy in Colorado — Who’s To Blame?

Last night, I considered going to the theater in Moline, Illinois, to see “Batman Begins” and “The Dark Knight” on the big screen before the midnight premiere of  ‘The Dark Knight Rises”, the final Batman movie in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy, but I had too many things to do at home.

I was looking forward to checking out the midnight box office results of the movie that will likely be the biggest blockbuster this summer.  What I wasn’t prepared for today were the headlines:  “Gunman kills 12 at ‘Dark Knight Rises’ screening in Colorado”, “Gunman kills 12 in Colorado movie theater”, “Colorado shooting at ‘Dark Knight’ opening leaves 12 dead”, and the list goes on.

The alleged gunman, 24-year-old James Holmes, is reported to have entered an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater at the midnight showing of  “The Dark Knight Rises” with tear gas and opened fire with guns killing 12 people and injuring 59 others, including a three-month-old baby.

As you may or may not know, Aurora, is a suburb of Denver and is located just 13 miles from Littleton, Colorado, the scene of 1999’s Columbine High School massacre that left 15 dead and 21 hurt.

This is a very sad situation and I feel for all of the families of those killed, those that were injured, and for the people who luckily left the theater just scared and shaken.

Sadly, this event will have some people blaming movies, television, or music for corrupting the minds of kids that grow up to commit senseless and shocking crimes like this, Columbine, or the Tucson tragedy that I blogged about just 10 days ago:

GUNS DON’T KILL, PEOPLE DO

It’s been 18 months (January 2011) since the shooting spree in Tucson, Arizona, that lasted 15 seconds with 31 fired bullets and left six people dead and 13 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, injured.  Those killed were  Christina Green (age 9); Gabe Zimmerman (30); John Roll (63); Dorothy Morris (76); Dorwan Stoddard (76); and Phyllis Schneck (79).

I support people being able to own guns to protect themselves.  However, no one, except for the military or law enforcement, should have access to weapons like the Glock used in that Tucson tragedy that can fire so many bullets.  With this shooting and similar ones at Virginia Tech (33 dead and 23 injured) and Columbine (15 dead and 21 injured), what more do I need to say?

What about hunters?  They need guns to hunt.  New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg summed it up with this, “Guns kill people.  I’m not opposed to the Second Amendment.  I’m not opposed to hunters.  I don’t understand why we have to sell magazines with 33 bullets.  If it takes you 33 bullets to kill a deer, you’re not a sportsman.  And armor-piercing bullets — the last time I saw a deer with a bulletproof vest was a long time ago.”

Would the forefathers that wrote the amendments to the Constitution have the same logic about the right to bear arms today and offer the same freedoms?”

That was from my blog on July 10th:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/10/im-thinking-about-these-things-today-and-you-may-agree-or-disagree/

What we need to do now is pray for those in Colorado and not blame the violence in the Batman movies or any other movie, for that matter, for what transpired last night.

We need to watch others closely and be more proactive when we see people who may be struggling with life and make others aware of our concerns.  These people are not content with just hurting themselves, they want to hurt others.   There are usually signs that someone may be unbalanced and now it’s too late for the 12 people who were killed in Aurora, Colorado.

Anthony

The Cold War May Be Over, But The Rainbow War Is Just Beginning

UPDATE:  August 7, 2012

The United States government is sending out a warning to American citizens in Moscow and St. Petersburg where Madonna is scheduled to perform two concerts, one tonight and one Thursday.

It’s not known if Madonna has been directly threatened or if U.S. officials have contacted her.

Madonna has been very outspoken against a new law in St. Petersburg that prohibits people from making pro-gay comments.  My original story is below.

Here is the full warning from the U.S. Embassy:

U.S. Embassy Moscow and U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg

SECURITY MESSAGE FOR U.S. CITIZENS: MADONNA CONCERTS

August 7, 2012

“This is to alert U.S. citizens in Russia who are planning to attend the Madonna concerts in Moscow on Tuesday, August 7, or in St. Petersburg on Thursday, August 9, that the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg has received information regarding a threat of physical violence against spectators and performers at the St. Petersburg concert on August 9.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg have shared the information with appropriate Russian law enforcement authorities.

Russian authorities have indicated to the Embassy that they are taking appropriate measures in light of this information.

While we expect that enhanced security measures will be put in place at both concerts, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant regarding their personal security, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas.”

Earlier this summer, in June, political threats of violence and censorship forced Lady Gaga to cancel a 52,000-seat concert in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Madonna has six more European shows left, including the two in Russia, before bringing the “MDNA Tour” to the United States three weeks from today.  It kicks off in North American in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Madonna & Madonna fans, be safe.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  March 22, 2012

“I don’t run away from adversity.  I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”

Madonna plans on doing what she does best when she isn’t entertaining us with incredible dance confections — fighting oppression and inhumanity.

The pop icon will be taking on political leaders in the second largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg, when she performs a concert there on August 9th, after the governor signed legislation that compares being gay to pedophilia.

This law, which goes into effect this weekend, makes it illegal to engage in “the propaganda of male homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors,” defined as “intentional and unregulated distribution in a publicly accessible manner of information that can harm the health or the process of moral and spiritual development of minors, including forming among them the false perception that traditional and non-traditional relationships are socially equal.”   This would include Gay Pride parades and events.

Violators could face a stiff fine of 5,000-500,000 rubles ($170-$17,000).

Before 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia, those convicted of being gay faced jail time.  Twenty years later, the gay community is still underground because of widespread homophobia in the country.  And, not too long ago, Vitaly Milonov, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s local assembly, called homosexuals “perverts”.

Madonna posted this on her Facebook page Wednesday:

“I’m a freedom fighter.
My show
My songs
My work
My art
Is all about freedom of expression
Freedom to choose to speak to act
Always with humanity and compassion
I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed.
I don’t run away from adversity.
I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”

However, that’s not good enough for some that are calling for a boycott of St. Petersburg.

Gay activists are planning to protest Madonna’s concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg.  The leader of the city’s branch of Gay Russia movement, Yury Gavrikov says, “we intend to protest against the hypocrisy of pop stars.”

I wonder what these homophobic politicians will think when they see Madonna’s homoerotic video for her new international release, “Girl Gone Wild”.

It probably comes as no surprise that Madonna stands up to authority and close-minded or prudish attitudes.  In the summer of 1990 while on her “Blonde Ambition” tour in Toronto, Canada, police warned her that she might be arrested or detained if she touched herself provocatively during  “Like A Virgin”.  If you don’t remember how that turned out from her film, “Truth or Dare”, I have it here for you.

Madonna, let Russia know that just because the Cold War is over, that it can’t start a Rainbow War!

Anthony