Posts Tagged ‘W. Earl Brown’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 12, 2016

I can’t tell you how happy I am to be sharing my “Random Friday Thoughts” with you again on a regular basis and the feedback has been great.  Thank you for not only reading to see what I’m thinking about, but also commenting.

As always, you don’t have to agree with me, but be diplomatic about it if you disagree.

WARNING — THIS IS NOT DIPLOMATIC!!!

This is the response I got earlier this week to last week’s blog explaining why I support Hillary Clinton for president, which featured a photo of my beautiful family.

Rude Blog Comment.jpg

Pathetic!  But, we know there are many people out there like this!  Putting ignorance aside, let’s move on…

Here is the blog that brought out the hate:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/03/my-teenaged-daughter-a-damn-good-reason-i-support-hillary-clinton/

WHAT I REALLY WANT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY…

Candy is always nice and flowers are beautiful, but here’s how I plan on spending Valentine’s Day — a little snow storm, a few glasses of wine by the fireplace with Ray, and the return of the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” Sunday night!

Walking Dead VD

SNOWY VALENTINE’S DAY

If you live in the Midwest, especially across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, snow is in the forecast late Saturday night and Sunday.

In the Quad Cities, I’m still expecting 3″ or so of snow that’ll fall mostly on Valentine’s Day.

The snow diminishes to flurries Sunday night and Monday.

CHARLIE SHEEN’S SCARY DR. SAM

There are medications now to make living with HIV more manageable and it’s no longer a death sentence.   However, unless someone is hiding information from me and the 37 million people living with HIV and AIDS across the world, there is no (realistic) cure.

In my opinion, actor Charlie Sheen is a poor spokesperson for those living with HIV, even though the high visibility is a good thing.  Sheen’s antics since going public with his HIV-positive status has made me shake my head in surprise or shock more than once.

Now, the story is even more insane and bizarre when you find out that he’s associated with an Australian doctor who claims he injected himself with Sheen’s tainted blood and cured the infection with goat milk!  Goat milk???

This is how Dr. Sam Chachoua describes himself on Twitter!

Dr Sam

I’m not buying into any “effective way to treat” cancer or AIDS.  If it was that easy, he’d be winning every award there is for humanity and wouldn’t have to make his claim to fame through the troubled Sheen!

Sad!

ABC NEWS — BLATANTLY SEXIST MOVE

ABC News made a big blunder last Saturday night when hosting a New Hampshire presidential debate by not allowing candidate Carly Fiorina to participate.

While I’m not a fan of Fiorina and I can’t say she wasn’t invited because she is a woman, she had every right to be there.

In the Iowa Caucus last week, she beat Chris Christie in both votes and delegates and got just as many votes and delegates as John Kasich and had the same number of delegates as Jeb Bush.

So, it makes no sense that she wasn’t invited.  Jim Gilmore wasn’t invited either, but rightfully so.  He picked up only 12 votes in the Iowa Caucus last week and is polling at 0%!

After the New Hampshire Primary Tuesday, both Christie and Fiorina dropped out of the presidential race.  Dr. Ben Carson, we’re waiting on you (and Gilmore) next.

TRAIN WRECK INTRODUCTION OF CANDIDATES

Maybe it’s a good thing that Fiorina wasn’t there.  The introduction to the ABC News debate looked more like a skit from NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”.

This is hilarious — just as funny as seeing Marco Rubio falling on his face and getting agitated by Christie!

GLENDA JACKSON

Two-time Best Actress Oscar winner Glenda Jackson, now 79, was last seen in a Hollywood movie 24 years ago, but she’s been very busy.  She was a member of Parliament from 1992 through March 2015.

She’s gained a new fan in me with her openness.  Here are some of the things she recently told “Entertainment Weekly”.

glenda-jackson

On “12 Years a Slave” winning the Best Picture Oscar and social change:  “But how can you say that 12 Years a Slave or Selma has caused a fundamental cultural shift? And then you have these black guys being shot by policemen. Would that the Oscars could change the world but, I’m sorry, it just ain’t true.”

On the media making Donald Trump a viable Republican presidential candidate:  “It’s going to come down to what people are prepared to back with their votes, in terms of the status quo, and whether they’ll still go with that nutcase with the worst hair in the world. All that money and you think he could buy himself a decent wig.”

On her Oscar-nominated role in the bisexual love story, “Sunday Bloody Sunday”, in which she played a businesswoman in love with an artist (Murray Head), who loves a doctor (Peter Finch). “Best film script I’d ever read.”

“It was about relationships between people who wanted more than they could furnish. And, of course, United Artists was scared to death of it and didn’t know how to sell it. Apologies to Uncle Sam, but in America, they think homosexual affairs are about sex. But they are about love.”

“AMERICAN CRIME”

The first season of ABC’s Emmy-winning series “American Crime” was great and featured a college actor friend of mine, W. Earl Brown, in a major recurring role.

The second season of the drama, airing now, is phenomenal.

Felicity Huffman and Lili Taylor are both superb in their roles as the principal of an elite private school that’s facing a student sex scandal and as the mother of the young man that’s the victim in that scandal, respectively.

However, the standout this season is 21-year-old Canadian actor Connor Jessup.  Every moment he’s on camera trying to hold it together and make it through the day, your heart breaks for Taylor.

We’re a little past midway through the ten episode season, so it’s not too late to get caught up.  And, since season two is not a continuation of season one, you don’t have to know anything about the first season.

“BURNT”

Bradley Cooper stars in this movie as an acclaimed chef that lost everything because of a drug addiction.

He tries to make a comeback in London, but the road to redemption is not a smooth one.

The foodie in me loved the food porn.

But, while watching the movie, I was also hoping that my chef friend, Monika Sudakov, and the chef I most admire, Grant Achatz, are not like Cooper’s character, Adam Jones, when they’re in a high pressure kitchen making their culinary creations!

GRADE:  B

BRETT KISSEL

When you think of Canadian county music stars, I’m sure Shania Twain, Terri Clark, and Anne Murray come to mind.  However, the only Canadian male country singer I can think of off the top of my head is Paul Brandt.  I love his voice and have some of his earlier American releases.

Recently, I saw the nominations for the Juno Awards and Brett Kissel caught my eye –he’s up against Brandt this year.

So, I went to YouTube and started watching his videos and before I knew it, I bought his fall 2015 release, “Pick Me Up”.

Brett Kissel.jpg

It’s crazy how he’s already had seven Top Ten country hits on the Canadian chart, but is still an unknown here in America.  He now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, so I hope his American radio debut is coming soon.

“Pick Me Up” is a great country album with a slightly different feel than today’s American hit makers.  It’s a real feel that I think is missing from the current bro-country sounds you hear overplayed on U.S. country stations.

The album features the two Canadian hits, “Airwaves” (#1) and the title track (#6), which are both great country songs.  My other upbeat favorites are “I Hope It’s Me”, “Cool With That”, and “I Can Play Guitar” (with Hunter Hayes).

If you love ballads, “Why Won’t You” is amazing and “Feet Back on the Ground” is a beautiful tribute to those of us that love our mamas, even if they’re no longer with us!

After buying and loving “Pick Me Up”, I’ll now have to get Kissel’s 2013 album, “Started With a Song”.

Here’s hoping American audiences will get to hear Brett on the radio in 2016!

GRADE:  A-

“THE RIVER LIVE TOUR”

In his long career, Bruce Springsteen has done it all and he’s still doing it.  There’s a reason he’s called “The Boss”!

His current 42-show concert tour will play America through April and then Europe and Israel this May, June, and July.

It’s called “The River Live Tour” and it’s exactly that — his entire 1980 20-song double album, “The River”, played in sequential order!  In addition to that, he also does other songs — about 30 in all in a concert that runs about 3 1/2 hours!  The man must be a machine!

Here I’m featuring the first release from “The River” and my favorite Springsteen song, “Hungry Heart”.  It was his third Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and his first Top Ten.  It peaked at #5.

So, think about it.  If any of your favorite artists would perform a full-length album in addition to other hits, who would it be and what album?

Mine would be “Rumor Has It” (1990), “For My Broken Heart” (1991), and “Starting Over” (1995) by Reba McEntire, Madonna and her 1983 self-titled debut, and Toni Braxton’s 1993 self-titled debut.

MORE GLENDA JACKSON IN “ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY”

Margaret Thatcher

On her disdain of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher when South African President Nelson Mandela visited Parliament in 1996:  “I stood to watch Mandela and there was bloody Margaret Thatcher, the woman who had called him a terrorist, sitting in the front row in this big f*cking hat, obstructing the view. Acting like she was doing everybody a f*cking favor by coming there.”

hillary2016

On Hillary Clinton and her presidential run:  “I would like to see her become the first female president…  the Republicans don’t have anybody who can take her on politically. So it’ll be very ugly.”

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you enjoyed the read.  Please share your thoughts with me and have a great weekend.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Anthony

 

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Random Weekend Thoughts — May 9, 2015

It’s Mother’s Day weekend and to all of the moms out there, I hope you have a great one.

Gretel will be with her mother this weekend, so Ray and I are going to do our own thing and dodge the showers and thunderstorms.

Whatever you choose to do, have a great one.  Here are some random thoughts just because…

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, DESSIE!

My sister and I celebrated Mother’s Day with our mother, Dessie, in 1990.  It would be our last.  I can’t believe it’s been 25 years already.

Dessie 1990

While I miss my mother and being able to talk and share time with her, it’s nice to know she’s looking over me.

EATING HEALTHIER

Three years ago, Ray was gearing up for his 30th high school reunion and I was getting ready for my October birthday concert with Madonna in Las Vegas.

So, we ate healthy all summer, worked out, and walked constantly.  We ended up losing about 25 pounds or so each.

That gave us a chance to indulge and eat all that we wanted in Vegas that October.

RayCameraFridayVegas 161

Unfortunately, we didn’t eat very healthy in 2013 and 2014 and gained all the weight back.

So, we’re at it again and it’s already paying off.  Later this month, we can enjoy the Vegas buffets with little, if any, guilt.

LAS VEGAS, HERE WE COME!

Our annual pilgrimage to Vegas is getting closer.

Along with some gambling, plenty of fun food, champagne, people watching, and everything else you do in Vegas, I want to visit more of the hotels and check out the decor and fun displays.

Las-vegas-hotel-paris

Bellagio is always festive and there are fun things to take pictures of.

As for shows, I really want to see Britney Spears again.

Britney Las Vegas

I also want to see Mariah Carey, who made her Caesars Palace residency debut to rave reviews Wednesday night.  Mariah, choose me for front row seats May 23rd or 24th!  🙂

FIORINA & CARSON, YOUR 15 MINUTES ARE ALMOST UP

The 2016 presidential election is still 18 months away (yes, one-and-half years) and there are already six Republicans and two Democrats running for the job.

Of the six Republicans, two have never been elected to public office and both need to sit down and let the adults talk!

Real Clear Politics (RCP) is tracking fourteen potential Republicans for office and Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer at Hewlett-Packard, is in last place.

And, retired neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson is in the RCP rankings in eighth place.

In the RCP poll, the top vote-getter on the Republican side is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who hasn’t announced his candidacy.

Of the other four Republicans that are running for president, Marco Rubio is in second place, Rand Paul fourth, Ted Cruz fifth, and Mike Huckabee is sixth.

president-hillary

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads her only competitor Bernie Sanders, the U.S. Senator from Vermont, in the RCP poll averages 62% to 5%.

A GAY OR EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN FOR PRESIDENT?

The Wall Street Journal and NBC News surveyed a thousand Americans in April about their thoughts on a gay candidate and an evangelical Christian candidate running for the country’s top office.

61% would be enthusiastic about or comfortable with a gay or lesbian presidential candidate compared to 52% for the evangelical Christian running for president.

Just seven years ago, only 43% said they would support a gay or lesbian person running for president.

Way to go, America!

In 2008, around 50% surveyed said they’d support an evangelical Christian, which is pretty close to what it is now.

2014-2015 TELEVISION SEASON WINDING DOWN

I’m still waiting to hear if one of my favorite shows, “Bates Motel”, will be renewed.  I believe that it will.

Bates-Motel-Title

Meanwhile, I’m bummed that “Stalker” was cancelled because I love the actors and the creepy story lines.

On Friday, Fox announced it was cancelling another one of the shows that I’ve watched for the past three years.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

As much as I loved the first season of “The Following” and enjoyed the second season, I correctly predicted that after season three, it needed and would be axed!

Sadly, I’ll miss seeing Kevin Bacon and Shawn Ashmore each week!

Shawn Ashmore

For a more revealing look at Ashmore, one that you never saw on “The Following”, keep reading and check the bottom of the blog — just because. 🙂

MORE “AMERICAN CRIME”

Late this week, it was announced that another show I enjoy, “American Crime”, was renewed for a second season.

I hope my friend and former college buddy, W. Earl Brown, now a much in-demand actor, will be back for season two.

W. Earl (just Earl then) and I were in the Radio-Television program together at Murray State University in the early-1980s and I also acted in his one-act play that he had to direct for a class.  I hope he got an “A”!

However, I don’t know what story line the second season will follow.  Maybe it’ll be like “American Horror Story” and cast the same actors in different roles?  I’d love to see Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton (with a haircut) back, too.

“How To Get Away With Murder”, “Madam Secretary”, and “Empire” will be back for a second season, too.

“HANNIBAL” RETURN IS JUST WEEKS AWAY

*WARNING:  GRAPHIC IMAGES*

My favorite summer show that you’re likely not watching,”Hannibal” returns June 4th on NBC for its third season.

This summer, I’ll also check out the new David Duchovny thriller, “Aquarius” on NBC (premiers May 28th) and “Wayward Pines” on Fox (debuts May 14th).

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

She won rave reviews, her first Oscar, and a Golden Globes award for “Still Alice”.  She also won Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for another Golden Globes award for “Maps To The Stars”.

In this satirical drama (although Moore was nominated in the “comedy” category for the Golden Globes) from acclaimed director David Cronenberg, Moore plays an aging actress, who’s trying to win the dream role of playing her late mother (a famous actress) in a movie remake.

Needless to say, Moore’s Havana Segrand is messed up and out of touch with real life.  I’m not saying all in Hollywood are. 🙂

But, she’s calm and collected compared to Agatha Weiss, played with perfection by Mia Wasikowska (who also played Moore’s daughter in 2010’s “The Kids Are All Right”).  She has many issues, as does most everyone in this movie.

“Maps To The Stars” is a very strange, but riveting movie.

GRADE:  B

“TALKING IS HARD” — WALK THE MOON

It almost goes without saying, but I will anyway, that Madonna’s new album, “Rebel Heart” and Reba’s “Love Somebody” are amazing.  I’ve blogged about them recently and added the links for you just believe this album recommendation!

Another album I highly, highly recommend is “Talking Is Hard” by the Cincinnati, Ohio, rock band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their debut single, “Shut Up and Dance”, is so infectious and it’s already one of the ten most played songs in America and it’s been number one on Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart for several weeks.

Other standouts on this incredible debut are “Sidekick”, “Avalanche”, “Portugal”, “Work That Body”, “We Are The Kids”, and “Aquaman”.

It’s a throwback to ’80s music from a band of youngsters that weren’t likely even around in the 1980s.

GRADE:  A

MADONNA & REBA ALBUM REVIEWS

If you missed my review of Madonna and Reba’s new albums, you can read them here with just a simple click!

MADONNA — “REBEL HEART”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/still-a-rebel-heart-and-an-unapologetic-bitch-32-years-later/

REBA — “LOVE SOMEBODY”

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/rebas-return-to-country-music/

USHER, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

I like Usher’s music and he’s had many amazing hits (“Without You”, “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love”, and “OMG”).

However, “I Don’t Mind”, his new one featuring Juicy J, just irks me when I’m flipping through the radio and I hear it.

I’m happy that he doesn’t mind that his woman is a pole dancer and she’s making money because she’s coming home to him, but this song just feels dirty.

Don’t get me wrong.  Pole dancing doesn’t bother me because Madonna has a song on “Rebel Heart” called “Holy Water”, with the line “bitch get off my pole” and it’s fun and frisky.

JASON DERULO BOUNCES BACK

I saw Jason Derulo in concert in 2010 when he opened for Lady Gaga.

jason-derulo-album-cover

His self-titled debut album that year was amazing with many huge radio hits.

However, he lost me in 2014 with the insanely irritating, “Wiggle”!

What happened to songs like the incredible “Whatcha Say”, “In My Head”, “Ridin’ Solo” and “Talk Dirty”?

Well, Derulo answers that and is back in fine fashion with his mega-hit, “Want To Want Me”, from his upcoming June 2nd album, “Everything Is 4”.

MADONNA’S “REBEL HEART TOUR”

Earlier I mentioned that I saw Madonna on my birthday in Las Vegas in 2012.

I’m very excited that I’ll get to see my fourth consecutive Madonna concert tour this birthday week in October in Minneapolis and I actually have great seats this time — if the Ticketmaster floor plan is correct!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Madonna’s latest single from “Rebel Heart”, “Ghosttown” is moving closer and closer to #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

When it tops the chart, it’ll be her 45th #1 hit on that chart.  That’s more #1s on any Billboard chart than any other artist in music history — even George Strait on the Billboard Country singles chart!

WEEKEND PLANS

Since the weather is holding out Saturday morning, Ray, my sister, Tammy, and I will hit some yard sales to see if we can find some treasures or things we just can’t live without and we just didn’t know it.

After that, we’re going to treat ourselves to a “cheat” day on the healthy eating.  We’ve been craving the KFC buffet.  Crazy, I know.

And, Ray and I will catch up on some movie watching.  “Selma” is new to DVD and I want to see that, along with “Wild” with Reese Witherspoon.

SHAWN ASHMORE — FOR ALL THE MOMS

I teased you about this earlier and truly, it’s just for the moms. 🙂

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

After this, you’ll have to watch the last four episodes of “The Following”!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 18, 2013

It’s been a hectic week since I celebrated my birthday last weekend and this weekend is going to be another crazy one.

After work this morning, we’re off to Chicago for my annual physical and then this evening, we take off for Zurich, Switzerland.

We’ll be there for about 24 hours and then fly to Budapest, Hungary.  Originally, that’s where we were going to board our “Sound of Music” Danube River cruise of Europe to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday.  But, there is a mechanical problem at a dam and the cruise ship cannot get to Budapest.  We now have to take a two-hour bus ride and embark on the cruise in Bratislava, Slovakia!

Sound of Music Cruise

If you missed the details of the trip, here’s the blog I wrote about it back in August:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/plans-for-a-milestone-birthday/

Here are my random thoughts for the week!  Enjoy your weekend!

HOBBY LOBBY ISN’T VERY HOLLY JOLLY!

It’s not even Halloween yet, so many of you might not be thinking of decorating for Christmas.  But, if you are, you can find anything you want for the holidays at Hobby Lobby!

Hobby Lobby

That is, unless you celebrate Hanukkah!

The chain of more than 550 stores nationwide is owned by conservative billionaire Steve Green and it seems that Hobby Lobby refused to carry Hanukkah items like paper dreidels, menorah-making kits, or greeting cards because of Green’s “Christian values”.

hobby-lobby-jewish-hanukkah-goods

New Jersey blogger Ken Berwitz made this public in late September.  He even quoted a Hobby Lobby employee telling a woman asking about bar mitzvah cards, “We don’t cater to you people”.

The company then responded to Religion News Service, “Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. is currently working with our buyers over our merchandise selection. Our customers have brought this to our attention and we are currently evaluating our Holiday items and what we will carry in the future.”

Steve Green

After the uproar, it now appears that things will change at some Hobby Lobby stores.  Green issued this statement, “We do not have any problems selling items that celebrate Jewish holidays.  We have in the past and have decided we would try it again in some of the markets where we have Jewish population.”

A group that fights anti-Semitism, the Anti-Defamation League, accepts Green’s apology.  The group says, “We are satisfied with the apology of Hobby Lobby and appreciate the company’s efforts to investigate the incident and to ensure that it does not happen again.”

TORN ABOUT ELTON JOHN’S DECISION

Weeks ago, Cher declined an invitation to play at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, because of the country’s anti-gay laws it implemented this past summer.

Boycott Sochi 2014

However, Elton John refused to cancel his early December shows in Kazan and Moscow stating, “I’m aware of the situation and I will be diplomatic. I’m not going to go into Russia and tell [Vladimir Putin] to go to hell and things like that. That’s not the way things are done. You chip away at something, and you hope there will be dialogue and that the situation can get better. You don’t just go in there with guns blazing and say, ‘Well, to hell with you.’ Because they’re going to say, ‘To hell with you, and get out of the country.’ That’s not going to solve anything.”

las-vegas-shows-elton-john

I understand that Elton playing those two shows will raise awareness of the deplorable laws that are in place to target Russia’s LGBT community.  But, it’s an uphill battle since those laws and documented cases of violence toward gays are supported not only by Russian officials, but a large portion of the Russian population.

This Pew Research survey came out two months ago.

Anti-Gay Russia

When Madonna and Lady Gaga played shows in Russia, they spoke out against the country’s barbaric attitudes to Russia’s LGBT community and faced fines and jail time.

There’s a part of me that wants Elton to go there and speak up and say “screw you”!  However, I’ll be appalled if he performs and takes the money without making a stand for equality and progress.

…BUT SOME AREN’T TORN ABOUT ELTON PLAYING THERE

Seidzhagfar Lutfullin, a conservative imam from Russia’s predominantly Muslim Tartarstan region, wants the concerts cancelled.

He thinks by allowing Elton to play that God could rain destruction on Russia as act of revenge because “sodomy…is what the world famous homosexual Elton John, (sic) who recently wed a man in public, is promoting.”

Other conservative groups want Russian President Vladimir Putin to stop the concerts.

Vladimir Putin, Patriarch Kirill

And, a coordinator for the Christian group Union of Orthodox Brotherhoods says, “The statement by this gay guy – Elton John – about his support for gays and other perverts during the upcoming concert in Moscow is an insult to all Russian citizens.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Right

Confusing Wine SelectionHappy Hour

SERIOUSLY, LIGHTEN UP!

I admit that I’m a very strong supporter for equality and I’ll be the first to stand up to someone being anti-gay or derogatory.

However, I think that people can be a little oversensitive and try to find things to be upset about.

I love Britney Spears!  I did fifteen years ago when “…Baby One More Time” came out and topped the charts.  I was concerned when she had her breakdown and I thought her career was over, but she sure showed me and the rest of the world with “Femme Fatale” and that tour solidified “It’s Britney, Bitch”.

Britney July 2011

Some people think that her use of the word “bitch” is part of her catering to the “gay” audience.  Seriously?  People can’t just enjoy the music and not think that it’s “too gay”.  Do you think that Madonna, Lady Gaga, or Cher sits around and wonders if they cater to a certain demographic?  They know who still lines their pockets with gold!

Recently, Britney told a DJ, “A lot of my hair stylists and my beauty team that I work with are gay so I hang out with gays a lot and I just think they’re adorable and hilarious.”  And, then some gay bloggers took issue with her choice of words.

Let me say that if anyone ever want to call me “adorable and hilarious”, I’m okay with it!

Get a life, Mary!  Wait, maybe I shouldn’t refer to a man as “Mary”!  Well, here’s a little Britney with a “rock & roll” edge.  It doesn’t sound that “gay”, does it? 🙂

“THE MEANING OF MATTHEW”

It was 15 years ago last week that 21-year-old Matt Shepard died from injuries after being relentlessly beaten and tied to a wooden fence in Laramie, Wyoming.

After starting the Matthew Shepard Foundation with her husband, Dennis, and their son, Logan, Judy Shepard released her book, “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed”, in 2009.  I just got around to reading it and it’s fantastic.

The Meaning of Matthew

While we’ve read the tragic headlines and seen the pictures of Matthew and his killers splashed across the news, this book lets us know who Matt was from the people who knew him.

Judy said it best in the Author’s Note at the beginning of the book, “You know him as Matthew.  To us he was Matt.  I have tried to reconcile the two within these pages.  It would be unfair to Matt if only Matthew’s story was told.  Matt was so much more than “Matthew Shepard, the gay twenty-one-year-old University of Wyoming college student.”  He had a family and countless friends.  He had a life before the night he was tied to that fence.”

I only have one small complaint about the book —  no pictures of the Matt that the Shepard family remembers.  Judy talks about Matt dressing as Dolly Parton twice as a child and I would have loved to see that photo.

But, that’s minor!  Check out this book because it’s phenomenal.

“BATES MOTEL”

While we await the arrival of the final season of “Dexter” on DVD (November 12th), Ray and I checked out the first season of A&E’s “Bates Motel”.

The 10-episode thriller focuses on the lives of a young Normal Bates (“Psycho”) and his very alive mother as they start a new life in a small Oregon town and manage their new business, the infamous Bates Motel.

Bates-Motel-Title

Freddie Highmore (“Toast”, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, and “Five Children and It”) is creepy and enchanting as 17-year-old Norman Bates.

Max Thieriot and Mike Vogel (“Under The Dome” and “Cloverfield”) smolder on the screen as Norma Bates’ son, Dylan, and her lover, Deputy Shelby, respectively.

Max Thieriotbates-motel-trust-me-vera-farmiga

But, let’s talk about the real star of “Bates Motel”, Vera Farmiga, who was nominated for an Emmy for her performance of Norma Bates.  (She was also nominated for an Oscar for 2009’s “Up In The Air”.)

Farmiga is electrifying from the first moment we see her and she is totally captivating in every scene.  Regardless of the scene she’s in, whether it’s violent, sad, or happy, you can’t take your eyes away from her!

)Norma Norman

I want a one-way ticket to this crazy-town.

And, a final note.  The first episode of the series features W. Earl Brown, as Keith Summers, the former owner of the Bates Motel, known then as the Seafairer Motel.

W Earl Brown Keith Summers

Earl is from western Kentucky and we were in the Radio-Television department together at Murray State University and I was one of two actors in a one-act play he directed back in the early-1980s!

He’s also starred in “There’s Something About Mary”, “Scream”, and HBO’s “Deadwood”.

Way to go, Earl!

NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN

Except this….

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The world first became aware of Ke$ha when she sang back-up on Flo Rida’s #1 hit “Right Round” in 2009.  Later that year, she scored her first solo #1 on her first try with “Tik Tok”.

Kesha

Since then she’s tallied up a total of 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Ten of those reached the Top Ten, including another #1 hit, “We R Who We R”.

Pitbull

Pitbull has charted with 18 Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Of those, nine have reached the Top Ten.  He topped the chart with “Give Me Everything” with Ne-Yo, Afrojack, and Nayer in 2011.

pitbull-kesha

This summer, we drove to Tinley Park, just outside of Chicago, to see Ke$ha and Pitbull in concert.  While they didn’t perform a number together, they must have been working on something behind the scene!

“Timber”, which features Ke$ha, is the first single from Pitbull’s upcoming album.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Earlier I featured Britney Spears’ version of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”.

While Britney’s version hit the Top Ten in Germany and Ireland, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts spent seven weeks at the top of the chart with the song in 1982 here in the U.S.

Jett scored eight other hits on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40, but only two of them reached the Top Ten — “Crimson and Clover” (#7, 1982) and “I Hate Myself For Loving You” (#8, 1988).

That’s it for today.  Have a great weekend!

Anthony