Posts Tagged ‘Winter’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 23, 2021

Two weeks ago in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I jokingly posted about breaking up with winter because summer is hotter!

It snowed earlier this week here in Central Illinois!!! That’s what I get! 🙂

Oh, if winter looked like this in the real world, I’d be all for it twelve months a year!

Thanks Gus (Kenworthy) for making my day!

And, thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts this week! (Oh, apologies to the uninitiated to my blog about the pictures above, but my thoughts are really random!)

REMEMBERING WALTER MONDALE

Earlier this week, the world lost a great man when former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away at the age of 93.

Before become President Jimmy Carter’s vice president from 1977-1981 and running as the Democratic nominee for President in 1984, he served as the U.S. senator from Minnesota from 1964-1976.

Here are some interesting facts from Jonathan Alder’s 2020 book, “HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”:

President Carter changed the role of Vice President. Before Carter, it was basically a useless role — other than becoming the leader of the free world in the case of the president died or became incapacitated.

But, Carter made Vice President Walter Mondale’s role real. He invited him into meetings, gave him real responsibilities, and valued his opinions.

At a farewell dinner before President Carter left office in 1981, Mondale said, “Never once did you put me down. Never once did you fail to treat me with dignity.” He made a toast and added, “We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.”

AND, ON A MORE INFAMOUS NOTE

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., future serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and met Vice President Mondale!

AMERICA, GET ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!

Even though thousands are still being diagnosed with COVID-19 daily in America and the death toll continues to rise, more and more of us are fully vaccinated!

In the U.S., 26.7% of us are fully vaccinated! That’s slightly more than one-in-four!

In Illinois, we’re at 26.9% and up to 43.3% for those with at least one shot.

While this is great news, I personally feel that some are getting a little too comfortable a little too soon. However, I’m happy to see things moving toward the “new normal”.

With that being said, more and more artists are announcing fall 2021 tour dates.

In the past few weeks, Eric Church, Kane Brown, Andrea Bocelli, and Sammy Hagar announced new tour dates and Elton John and James Taylor posted new dates for their previously postponed tours.

Meanwhile, last week, Reba postponed her 2021 road concerts to 2022 and Michael Buble did the same for his 2021 U.K. dates.

I’m still waiting for Kylie Minogue to announce dates for her late 2020 critically acclaimed album, “Disco”. As I said before, she’s at the top of my concert “bucket list” and I want to see her in some foreign city!

Call it wanderlust!

How comfortable are you attending concerts with 100% capacity later this year?

I’m ready for us to safely travel again. However, it may still be a while for international travel.

At this point, only 2.8% of the world is fully vaccinated!

REBA ANNOUNCEMENT

Oh, back to Reba! When she announced the postponement of her summer arena tour, she also dropped something that made me very happy!

Yes, new music!!!!!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

My two most highly anticipated movies this year are “Halloween Kills” (October 15, 2021) and Netflix and Zack Snyder’s “Army of The Dead” (May 21, 2021).

I’m excited for two reasons: (1) it’s about zombies and (2) it’s set in Las Vegas!

Let’s just hope the excitement for me when I visit in June is winning big bucks (or breaking even) — no explosions or zombies, please!

The full trailer is now out and if you love Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”, take a look and listen!

RIP JIM STEINMAN

Earlier this week, the same day that Vice President Mondale died, the rock music world lost a legendary producer.

Jim Steinman produced some of the biggest hits in pop and rock music including Bonnie Tyler’s four week #1 smash “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in 1983 and Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) in 1993, that topped the charts in 28 countries, including five weeks in the U.S., and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, which hit #2 in 1996.

He also wrote and produced my favorite Air Supply song from 1983, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All”. It peaked at #2 for three weeks behind Bonnie Tyler’s “Eclipse”!

“ANOTHER ROUND”

Earlier this week, I checked out the 2020 Danish movie “Druk” (which means “binge drinking”) on Hulu.

While most of you haven’t heard of it, it’s actually nominated for two Oscars this year, including Thomas Vinterberg for Best Director.

My interest in the movie is that it stars Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal”).

It’s the story of four high school teachers in Denmark going through mid-life crises.

They decide to do an experiment with alcohol, since a leading psychiatrist believes that an alcohol blood content level of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed.

They test the theory and push it to the limits.

While a very interesting movie, I probably wouldn’t watch it again. However, the final scene is amazing!

Spoiler Alert: The captured image above is part of that incredible last scene.

GRADE: B

MORE MADS

If you love Mads Mikkelsen and you’re going through “Hannibal” withdrawals like me, check out “Arctic”, my #9 movie of 2019.

Awesome movie!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “There were thousands of complaints of sexual abuse at migrant shelters during the Trump years. Not to say what’s going on now is right, but we couldn’t find one instance of you complaining & calling that out when President Trump was president.”

“ME”

I’ve read several book about and from Elton John, but his 2019 autobiography, “Me”, is by far the best!

I absolutely loved this book and I’d highly recommend it.

I was very intrigued about what he had to say about Michael Jackson (“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”) and Tina Turner.

In 1997, he and Tina had planned to tour together but found her very difficult to work with. His band called her a “f**king nightmare” and Elton agreed!

Elton says she called him at home and told him, “She didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like the color of my piano – which for some reason had to be white – and she didn’t like my clothes.” And, then Elton says, she added, “You wear too much Versace, and it makes you look fat – you need to wear Armani.” 

I loved that he and Rod Stewart have female nicknames for each other.

And, I was so touched when he told the story of how he and his husband, David Furnish, met in October 1993. (Elton was feeling down, so he called a friend and said bring others over for a dinner party before they went out to celebrate Halloween. David was one of the people his friend brought along to dinner!)

He and David are now the dads of 10-year-old Zachary and 8-year-old Elijah.

Since I haven’t had a date in more than two years, I should try that when the “new normal” post-pandemic world begins!

Also, I was curious about what he’d have to say about Madonna.

If I recall correctly, Elton mentioned her four times and three were positive. The other time he spoke of Madonna was about his anger toward her and he said he apologized to her!

THE NIGHT I SPENT WITH ELTON JOHN

Ha! That’s just tease writing! I never spent the night with Elton John — just the evening! 🙂

For my birthday weekend in 2012, I had tickets to see Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas.

Earlier that year, Sir Elton John was forced to cancel nine shows due to health reasons and it was announced in the summer that he would make up those dates in October.  But, I didn’t have tickets.

As luck would have it, just hours after arriving in Las Vegas, I searched ebay one last time and found fantastic rear orchestra seats for a great price. And, just like that, two hours later I was sitting there waiting for the show to begin!

I’ve always been a fan of Elton’s from the days of my childhood and his poppy ’70s songs, the fun, yet sometimes, moody hits of the ’80s, the more mature themed music of the ’90s when radio began to move away from playing his new songs (except for “The Lion King” and his tribute to Princess Diana), to his recent adult contemporary fare.

Elton closed out his 19-song set with his award-winning “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.

It was two hours of pure gold entertainment!!! 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE ELTON

In January 2018, Elton announced his final “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour that would play more than 300 shows worldwide.

The North American leg kicked off that September and ran through March 2019 and then moved to Europe for the summer and then back to North America though November. The show moved “down under” to Australia and New Zealand from late 2019 to March 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the tour and the world!

Dates are now rescheduled and the tour is expected to resume in Europe on September 1, 2021, and return to the U.S. and Canada in January 2022 for 43 shows through April!

MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONGS

On the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., Elton has scored 58 Top 40 hits. Of those, 27 reached the Top 10 with 19 making it to the Top Five. Nine reached #1!

And, he’s had even more hits on the American Adult Contemporary charts. He’s scored 74 Top 40 hits with 40 of them making the Top 10 and 33 of those reaching the Top Five! Eighteen topped the charts!

So, it was so hard narrowing the list down….

“I’M STILL STANDING”

“THE LAST SONG”

“SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)”

“EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)”

“I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES”

What’s your favorite Elton song?

If you want to see the full blog and my other 15 favorite Elton John songs, here it is! (It should open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/04/20/finding-my-next-love-with-help-from-elton-john/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 9, 2021

Easter is now behind us, so there’s no doubt that spring is here! However, it’s still snowing across parts of country.

So, here’s my last thought on winter 2020-2021!

Don’t get me wrong. Summer is my least favorite season. I just thought it was funny.

With warmer weather settling in across the country, more and more activities will take us outdoors, so I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

BEING A LITTLE PERSONAL

My friends, thank you for the wonderful feedback and messages last week!

Instead of “Random Friday Thoughts”, I shared a rather personal blog about my life, some challenges and disappointments, and a look toward the future.

For those that took time to read it and share in my life, I appreciate it.

If you didn’t get a chance, here it is. (If you click on the link, it SHOULD open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog!)

If it doesn’t, you can always hit the back arrow once you read it and you’re back to today’s blog. (Word Press changed that. It used to be simpler!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/04/02/feelings-as-i-look-to-the-future/

SPIKE IN COVID-19 CASES

While better than it was earlier this year, we’re now seeing a spike in Covid-19 cases.

I guess that doesn’t really come as a surprise following spring break. But, I don’t think that is the only reason.

I know people are getting a little too comfortable or lazy!

Last week, I stopped at a convenient store in my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, and the store was very busy.

One employee was wearing a mask, but the others were not. The only three customers that were wearing masks were me, my sister, and her boyfriend!!!

You can’t tell me that everyone in there was fully vaccinated!

Come on people, let’s get most of the country (and the world) vaccinated before we become complacent and comfortable!

MY OSCAR PICK FOR “BEST ACTRESS”

The Academy Awards show is now just weeks away and the only category that I’ve seen all of the nominees is “Best Actress”. (Does that shock you with my affinity to women in entertainment?) 🙂

We’ve all heard the old saying about saving the best for last and in this case, it’s true.

I absolutely love Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”) and I’d watch her read a phone book and Vanessa Kirby (“The Crown”) deserved the nomination based on the first 24 minutes of her movie. These were the first two of the nominees I saw and I was leaning toward Davis.

Then, I saw Frances McDormand, who is just too amazing in everything she does, and Andra Day as Billie Holiday the same weekend. Day was my pick and it was a contest between her and Davis for my vote, until….

I saw Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman”. I was mesmerized by her performance and I loved the downer of a movie. I can’t wait to see it again!

So my pick for Best Actress is Carey Mulligan!

“Promising Young Woman” is up for four other Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

In a recent blog, I gave the movie an “A”!

“LIFE ITSELF: A MEMOIR”

I really enjoyed reading film critic Roger Ebert’s 2011 autobiography, “Life Itself: A Memoir”.

Some of things I learned is that he’s from Central Illinois (Urbana) and went to college at the University of Illinois (Champaign) before moving away to work at the “Chicago Sun-Times”.

While they often disagreed and would get into very heated debates, he was very close to his longtime work partner Gene Siskel. He says that Siskel was very private with his health condition when he became ill and then died.

After discovering cancer from the 1980s had come back in 2006, Ebert believed he had himself to blame for his three failed surgeries that disfigured his face causing him never to eat, drink, or talk again.

(I won’t say why in case you want to read the book. All I’ll say is that he didn’t take the medical advice he likely should have!)

Ebert died in April 2013.

I definitely want to see the 2014 documentary about Ebert’s life.

FRIDAY FLASHBACK

For some reason, “Forget Me Nots” popped into my head earlier this week.

It was Patrice Rushen’s only Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached #23 in the summer of 1982 and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

The song fared much better on the R&B (#5) and Dance charts (#2).

In her career, she accumulated eight hits on the dance charts and seven on the R&B charts.

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

More from the amazing 2020 biography by Jonathan Adler…

President Carter changed the role of Vice President. Before Carter, it was basically a useless role — other than becoming the leader of the free world in the case of the president died or became incapacitated.

But, President Carter made Vice President Walter Mondale’s role real. He invited him into meetings, gave him real responsibilities, and valued his opinions.

At a farewell dinner before President Carter left office in 1981, Mondale said, “Never once did you put me down. Never once did you fail to treat me with dignity.” He made a toast and added, “We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.”

And, once Carter visited Camp David in Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C., he spent almost one-quarter of his presidency there — basically every other weekend and prolonged holidays. (However, this was a working “White House”, unlike Mar-a-Lago!)

“TYRANT”

If you’re missing “Homeland” and want a new Middle Eastern drama, I enjoyed this three-season series.

I saw season one a few years ago and then real life got in the way. Recently, I found it on Hulu, so I decided to check watch it in its entirety.

It tells the story of Barry, who lives in the U.S. with his wife and two teenagers, as they return to his Middle East country for a wedding. This is his first time back since leaving as a teenager.

Adam Rayner (Bassam “Barry” Al-Fayeed) and Moran Atias (Leila Al-Fayeed) are my favorite characters in the series and they’re both DDG (drop dead gorgeous)!

I loved the addition of Melia Kreiling (Daliyah Al-Yazbek) in seasons two and three.

Warning: I got the feeling that the season 3 finale was shot as a season finale and not a series finale since it was not renewed for a fourth season.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 26, 2021

The shortest month of the year is almost over and that means spring is right around the corner!

Thank you for taking time to check out what I’m thinking about this week!

I always value your opinions even if we disagree. Just do it diplomatically!

DOGNAPPING AND SHOOTING!

UPDATE: A woman brought the two missing dogs into the LAPD’s Olympic station in Koreatown Friday night UNHARMED!

Two of Lady Gaga’s French Bulldogs were stolen and the other one, Asia, escaped after the dog walker was shot in West Hollywood early Wednesday night. 

The 30-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital and CNN reports that he is recovering well.

While they were missing, TMZ reported that Gaga was offering a “no questions” asked $500,000 reward for Koji and Gustav’s safe return!

FORGIVING STUDENT LOANS

Many in Congress want President Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student debt.student

Biden told a town hall group in mid-February that he was prepared to write off $10,000, but not $50,000.

He added that community colleges should be free and that “any family making under $125,000 whose kids go to a state university they get into, that should be free, as well.”

I’m totally against forgiving $50,000 of debt! Why?

When I went to college and earned my degree in 1989 and I went back to school for three more years in the early-2000s for another certification, I paid for my education both times all by myself. My parents didn’t assist me financially and the government definitely didn’t erase my debt.

And, once I got my degree, it took more than a year (fall 1990) before I was offered a job in my field of study (television news). I wasn’t even able to take that job, which would have only paid a measly $13,000 a year!

After that, it wouldn’t be until the summer of 1996 that I was finally able to start my career. The offer, again, was $13,000!

With that being said, you can see why I have a problem just forgiving student loan debt!

ONE MORE THING…

Did you know that only 1.25 million students were enrolled in college in 1938?

With the G.I. Bill following World War II, nearly 7.8 million of the 16 million veterans that served in the armed forces decided to take advantage of the bill and go to college!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD” IS FINALLY COMING!!!!!!

“Army of the Dead”, Zack Synder’s highly anticipated zombie heist movie, finally has a Netflix release date of May 21st and the first trailer dropped Thursday! I’m so excited because it takes place in my favorite U.S. city!

It follows a group of mercenaries plotting a Las Vegas casino heist during a zombie outbreak. 

The ensemble cast includes Dave Bautista (“Guardians of the Galaxy” series), Garret Dillahunt (“Fear The Walking Dead” and “Justified”), and Raúl Castillo (“Looking”).

While I wouldn’t want it to happen with the real places, it’s fun seeing Planet Hollywood, Paris, and the iconic “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas” sign crumble in a disaster flick!

“THE HUNT”

This is the movie that got Republicans and Donald Trump in an uproar — before any of them even saw it!

It’s a very sadistic and crazy survival story!

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

It was my #11 movie of 2020.

GRADE: B

“MRS. AMERICA”

This nine-episode FX on Hulu miniseries focused on the fight for women’s rights in the early-1970s with an all-star cast.

Uzo Aduba won an Emmy Award for her Shirley Chisholm, the first black candidate for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.

Cate Blanchett was incredible as the mean, close-minded Phyllis Schlafly. (Her Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations are pending!)

I know it was the ’70s, but I still can’t understand how women (a lot of homemakers) could be against equal rights for women. And, about Schlafly again, it shocks me that she’d be opposed to gay rights with a gay soon. Sadly, she’s not alone. It still happens today!

One complaint I had about the series (unless I missed it somehow), how can you have a series about women’s rights and the ERA and not mention Helen Reddy and “I Am Woman”?

GRADE: B

THEY SAID WHAT???

Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd U.S. President (in 1807): “The appointment of a woman to office is an innovation for which the public is not prepared, nor am I.”

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Bradley (in 1873): “The paramount mission and destiny of women are to fulfill the noble and benign offices of wife and mother. This is the law of the Creator.”

“GROCERY”

All month long, in February, I’ve been sharing fun things from Michael Ruhlman’s awesome 2017 book, “Grocery: The Buying and Selling of Food in America”.

Here are the final mind boggling or interesting things I learned:

Sugar Crisps cereal was introduced in 1949 by Post. It was the first cereal to be covered in sugar and now some cereals are more than 50% sugar!

Frito-Lay started putting 5% fewer chips in the bag and this added as much as $80 million dollars to the company’s bottom line since chips are a $1.6 billion a year business.

Apples are held in vast warehouses filled with oxygen and carbon dioxide, which puts them “to sleep”. When needed, companies “break the room”, thus “if you’re buying a ‘fresh’ American apple in August, it was harvested late last year.”

Between December and May, as much as 90% of fresh domestic tomatoes come from south Florida.

Americans eat 10 billion pounds of cheese each year!

And, one more fun fact!!!!

A 200-pound man uses 30% of his calories to feed his three-pound brain!

STORMY DANIELS BARES IT ALL

“Full Disclosure”, Stormy Daniels’ autobiography, came out in the fall of 2018 to critical success.

What a compelling story!

I’m not talking just about the encounter with Donald Trump and the subsequent threats on her life after her involvement with 45 came out.

From her very painful childhood to working in a strip bar while still a teenager in high school, Daniels is an incredible story teller.

While the book is a great read, her Twitter account is even better and wittier!

And, speaking of that…. In November, I tweeted Stormy to let her know I enjoyed reading her story and she “liked” it!

(By the way, while thunder and lightning are weather terms, it’s also what she calls her boobs!)

“AFTER VISITING FRIENDS: A SON’S STORY”

I just read this 2013 book by “GQ” editor Michael Hainey’s, which tries to find answers about his father’s death.

As a six-year-old, Hainey always believed that his 35-year-old father died of a heart attack in 1970.

However, as an adult, reading the three Chicago newspapers obituaries of his journalist father didn’t add up, so he started inquiring about the mystery decades later.

Great book!

“THE WOMAN WHO LOST HER SOUL”

Bob Shacochis’ 2013 book is fiction, yet it covers five decades of tragedies based on real-life events — rape and murder in World War II Europe as the Germans invaded small countries, murder in the Middle East and Turkey in the 1980s, to destitution in war and hurricane-ravaged Haiti in the 1990s.

It was interesting to see how the story would be weaved together with Haitian voodoo.

The book is a lengthy one at 715 pages and it’s definitely not happy feely with only one semi-redeeming character!

And, I wouldn’t call it a “masterpiece” as is quoted on the cover!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2020

I know many of you are taking advantage of the summer heat and humidity and enjoying outdoor activities.

Some may just be vegging out inside in the air conditioning.

Me, I’m just fantasizing! Oh, I mean, I’m dreaming of fall and winter! 🙂

Actually, we’re only five months from Christmas! I’ve already decided how I’m decorating my two trees this year! 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. If you’d like to comment (or disagree), do it diplomatically!

THE IRONY!

In the 2016 failed presidential election, there was all this talk about building “a wall”, the “wall”, that “wall”, the wall THAT.NEVER.HAPPENED.!

And, now this recent headline about Mexico shutting down the borders — to keep Americans out!

Again, the irony! 🙂

LESS IRONIC, BUT JUST AS TRUE!

“HALLOWEEN KILLS” …. DEAD FOR A YEAR!

While it comes as no surprise with the rampant spread of Covid-19 and rising death tolls, Michael Myers’ victims will live to see another day (well, actually 364 of them)!

The latest installment in the “Halloween” franchise, which was scheduled to hit theaters October 16, 2020, has been pushed back to October 15, 2021.

Here’s what director David Gordon Green and original “Halloween” director John Carpenter had to say about the delay.

TINA TURNER IS BACK!

Norwegian DJ/Producer Kygo is making the world a better place. Okay, he’s taking our mind off real life events for four minutes.

He talked Tina Turner into briefly coming out of retirement for a new remix to her 1984 hit, “What’s Love Got To Do With It”, her only #1 solo hit on the Billboard Hot 100!

And, since we won’t see a new season of “Younger” anytime soon, enjoy seeing sexy Charles Michael Davis in the video, which also stars Laura Harrier.

“THE CLINTON TAPES”

Taylor Branch’s 2009 book is subtitled, “Wrestling History with the President”.

This mammoth book (668 pages) was a very interesting read.

Branch, a long-time friend with President Clinton, met almost monthly with Clinton during his eight years in the White House.

They had one-on-one conversations (except when Hillary or Chelsea would drop in to say good night) about life and events he was dealing with as President. He’d use these recordings to vent, write his memoirs, and put the transcripts in his Presidential Library.

What I learned from the book:

In February 1999, Clinton told Branch that he thought George W. Bush would be the GOP candidate for the 2000 presidential race and that he thought Elizabeth Dole could be his running mate.

Also in that session, while he said he was behind Hillary running for the Senate in New York, it “would waste her unique strength across the country”. Clinton thought that a Gore-Hillary ticket would be their best chance to beat Bush in 2000, “but I don’t think Al would ever do it.”

As the 2000 race was getting underway, Clinton sized up the two leading Republican candidates. He thought George W. Bush was “unqualified to be president, but he had shrewd campaign instincts”. On the other hand, he thought John McCain “would make a good president, but he had no idea how to run”.

When they left the White House, the Clintons’ debt from having to hire personal lawyers during the seven-year-plus Whitewater investigation by special prosecutors Ken Starr and Robert Ray was $14 million! (That investigation led to the Paula Jones investigation and the Monica Lewinsky affair and testimony.)

All this starting from a failed land deal in which the Clintons lost more than $35,000 (about $135,000 today — adjusted for inflation)!

The Whitewater investigation that lasted through much of Clinton’s two terms ended with “no charges, required no admissions, made no adverse findings, and alleged no misstatements from Clinton in any sworn testimony”, which had been the whole basis for the impeachment!

Clinton said it was “irksome” that no major news outlets wanted the story, but he was glad it was over.

“THE POLITICIAN” SEASON 2

While there’s no Jessica Lange this time, I absolutely loved the second season of Netflix’s “The Politician” with Ben Platt.

Also, it’s incredible having Bette Midler and Judith Light in high profile roles. I expect Emmy nominations for both next week! 🙂

Definitely check it out.

UPDATE ON “BUBBLES”

No, I’m not talking about Michael Jackson’s chimpanzee (neither are no longer with us)!

I’m talking about Bubbles, the python that Britney Spears accessorized with at 2001 MTV Video Music Awards.

It’s still alive and has retired! 🙂

I had my own Britney moment in March 2019 when I visited the WHO Snake Farm in Bangkok, Thailand.

At the conclusion of the snake show, we not only got to see an Albino Burmese Python, which is white with patterns in butterscotch yellow or burnt orange (most Pythons are dark colored), but we could have it draped over our shoulders!

It was so cool, but Britney wore it better. And, no, I didn’t start lip-syncing “I’m A Slave 4 U”! 🙂

On a humorous side note, we were told not to worry about the snake being hungry since “it had a small child yesterday”! 🙂

FYI — snakes have poor eyesight and they don’t have ears, so they can’t hear you.  If you encounter one, let it crawl on by — or slowly move away and once you’re out of striking distance, run! 

That’s not my advice — that’s what we were told to do! (Thailand has a lot of snakes, so they should know!)

MY LOVE OF ABBA

It’s no secret I love the Swedish band ABBA.

Recently, I shared how I came to be a fan and what inspired me to name my golden retriever after the band.

It wasn’t just them or their music, it was actually something from Australia!

Also, I shared my ten favorite ABBA songs. (By the way, “Dancing Queen” barely made the Top Ten!)

If you missed it, just click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/07/17/abba-the-iconic-band-the-dog-the-six-degrees-of-separation/

Now, sing and dance around the room embarrassing your spouse, kids, grandkids, pets, or co-workers! 🙂

“WALK OF SHAME”

I just watched the 2014 box office bomb, “Walk of Shame” again and I laughed as much as I did six years ago! (The movie only made $59,209 — yes, that’s thousands and NOT millions!)

It doesn’t hurt that Elizabeth Banks is so adorable and funny and her co-star is my future ex-husband, James Marsden.

Here’s what I wrote about the movie the first time I saw it.

“Critics hated it and it was panned by the few movie goers that saw it… 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.

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

GRADE:  B

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And, if that wasn’t enough, it was my 10th favorite movie of 2014, so here’s a bonus!

“THE WEATHERMAN”

This 1995 creepy thriller by Steve Thayer is fiction, but it covers three things I know a bit about: the weather, television news, and serial killers. It also takes place in Minnesota!

As a major weather event occurs each season, a woman is murdered. As police zero in on the killer, you guessed it, the (television) “weatherman” becomes the prime suspect.

Horror novelist Stephen King loved the book!

“DIRTY JOHN: THE BETTY BRODERICK STORY”

The second season of was definitely NOT as exciting as season one of the series with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

“The Betty Broderick Story” stars Amanda Peet (“The X-Files”) and Christian Slater (“Mr. Robot”) in the true life story of a scorn woman pushed to murder her ex-husband and his new wife.

Both actors are great, but the story line was too simplistic, repetitive, and way too drawn out.

I was totally over it by the finale!

GRADE: C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

New Details On “The Next Chapter”

For eight months now, I’ve shared a few things here and there about changes that were being set into play.

A year ago, as I was preparing to head off to Bangkok, Thailand, I hoped the mysticism of the Far East would answer a few questions for me.

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In my June 2019 blog, “I Need to Write My Next Chapter”, I concluded with this, “I’ll take a gamble on life again!”

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At that time, I was very seriously thinking of giving up my career as a television meteorologist and moving to Las Vegas!

Later in June, I posted another subtle hint with this photo and the caption of “Future” — a new theme!!!

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Well, I guess that post wasn’t as subtle as I thought. 🙂  Some of my dear friends across the miles quickly caught on to the hint.

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And, Connie sent me this private message!

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Ha!  I even used cactus stamps for my cards this past Christmas! 🙂

Cactus Christmas Stamps

Well, I’m only telling you this now because I’ve changed course and moving to Las Vegas is no longer on the table — for now.

However, what I wrote in my November 2019 blog, “The ‘Next Chapter’ Is Still Being Written”, is still true and it’s getting closer:  “I can’t wait to find something fun to pay bills that’ll allow me more time to live, meet people (friends or that “someone special”), and be a great dad to #Pug2020!”

Here’s the link to that full blog:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/the-next-chapter-is-still-being-written/

And, the link for the first one from last June:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/i-need-to-write-my-next-chapter/

I hope you stick around for the details!

You know they’re coming soon because Spring 2020 is getting closer every day!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — January 30, 2019

With the brutal and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills invading much of Canada and the middle part of the United States, I thought I’d share a few things with you.

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That’s how it looked on Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota Tuesday afternoon.  Temperatures were around -18° and wind chills were -45°!

Cold, but gorgeous!  Stay warm!

HERE’S TO A SPEEDY RECOVERY JUSSIE!

While it’s not new, I’m disgusted by the hatred in this country (and world).

“Empire” star Jussie Smollett was assaulted early Tuesday morning in Chicago by two white men.  Police are treating it as a possible hate crime.

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The men allegedly yelled at him, “Aren’t you that faggot ‘Empire’ n*****?” before beating him, pouring bleach on him and putting a rope around his neck!

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Jussie, I pray for a quick recovery from the physical injuries.  I know emotionally, it’ll take time to heal.  My thoughts are with you!

RACISM

There’s another very pathetic part of the story that I won’t mention because it hasn’t been confirmed by the Chicago Police Department.  But, if it’s true, it’s so very sad!

We all know that racism and hate has always been a part of our country’s fabric. Even after the progress in the 1960s, it was still there.

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But, before 45, it was rightfully condemned to be publicly racist.

Sadly, people are “free” again to hate without regret! 😦

SUAVE, BUT CREEPY, (VIOLENT) MEN!

Dating at a more mature age sucks!  Well, it can suck at any age! 🙂

I finally got around to watching the Bravo series, “Dirty John”, which is based on a true story.  (I talk about it below.)

As I was watching the first episode, I couldn’t believe that the woman (Debra) didn’t pick up on the warning signs that the man she had just started dating was a loser and user.

But, by the second episode, it really clicked as to how this could happen.  It happened to me on my 30th birthday, in Chicago, in the fall of 1994!

I had just been living in the city for three months and went out to celebrate.  I met Richard, a very charming guy with a great smile.  He was 25.

We had a great time that night and the first few weeks were fun.  Before I knew it, he had “moved in” — actually, “would never leave” is more like it!

By Christmas, the relationship was strained by his jealousy, which led to domestic violence.

Yes, I became “that person” lying about the bruises and making excuses that it wouldn’t happened again.

Five months after we met, it culminated with a near death, stalking experience — an emergency room visit, an arrest, and a court appearance!

This was a few days after the attack.  You can still see the gash on the forehead from a brick and the bruises under the eye and on the lip.

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While the Chicago court system let him off with nothing more than a slap on the hand, karma and fate prevailed.

A few years ago, I heard that he died!

“DIRTY JOHN”

Sharing that personal story was clearly inspired by Bravo’s “Dirty John” with Connie Britton and Eric Bana.

It’s based on a podcast about a very successful businesswoman and mother of three, Debra Newell.  She’s been unlucky at love after four failed marriages when she finally meets John Meehan, a man just too good to be true.

Well, guess what?  He is too good to be true, thus the show’s name, “Dirty John”!

After the first episode, I thought, “Seriously, you’re that lonely not to see the red flags?”  But, more pieces of the story come together and you’re sucked into it!

Britton looks amazing and her clothes scream elegance!  Bana looks great even as the louse John!  And, it’s always a treat seeing Julia Garner (“Ozark” and “The Americans”).

But, I was really blown away by Juno Temple, who plays Veronica, Debra’s oldest daughter. She’s incredible!  I remember her from 2010’s “Kaboom”!

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Okay, one more thing — I’m still crushing on Kevin Zegers!

If you missed it on Bravo, it hits Netflix on Valentine’s Day (how lovely and twisted!) and a second season is in the works.

GRADE:  A-

REMEMBERING JAMES INGRAM

Two-time Grammy Award winner (with 12 other Grammy nominations) and two-time Oscar nominee James Ingram’s death was announced Tuesday, just a few weeks shy of his birthday.

He was 66.

Ingram first hit the chart in 1981 with “Just Once” (with Quincy Jones), one my favorite songs of his.

He scored a total of eight Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including two chart-toppers, 1982’s “Baby, Come To Me” with Patti Austin and 1990’s “I Don’t Have The Heart”.

SAG AWARDS — DIVERSITY HUMOR! 🙂

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Host Megan Mullally : “Hollywood did manage to get a few things right: They cast black people in “Black Panther”, so that was good… Asian people in”Crazy Rich Asians”… And, a green book in “Green Book”.  You know there were some executives saying, ‘Um, could the book be white?”

OSCAR NOMINATION SNUBS

While I was hoping for nominations for Lucas Hedges and Nicole Kidman for “Boy Erased” and Julia Roberts for “Ben Is Back”, I didn’t expect them!

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I was surprised that Timothee Chalamet (“Beautiful Boy”), Emily Blunt (“A Quiet Place” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and Bradley Cooper (Best Director – “A Star is Born”) were overlooked.

Furthermore, I was shocked that Marina De Tavira (“Roma”) picked up a nomination for Best Supporting Actress!  However, with all of the awards season love for the movie, it shouldn’t surprise me.

But, the biggest snub for me was in the Documentary category.  I still can’t believe “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”, my #3 movie of 2018, wasn’t nominated!

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“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on my return flight from Morocco last fall, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

As you’ll see below the trailer, I gave it a grade I rarely give anything in entertainment!

GRADE:  A+

“BEAUTIFUL BOY”

As for acting, Timothee Chalamet and Steve Carrell were fantastic in this true story about a father’s efforts to save his teenager from drug abuse and death.

Chalamet was nominated for many major acting awards for this movie, but he didn’t get the Oscar nod.

Last year, he did get an Academy Award nomination for “Call Me By Your Name”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2018.

So, about “Beautiful Boy” — the acting was superb, but the movie was just a few steps up from a Lifetime movie.

You can catch it on Amazon Prime.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

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Anthony

I’ll Let You In On A Secret!

“I’m tired of living day-to-day and hand-to-mouth/This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“I’m gonna climb that mountain high/I’m gonna see what’s on the other side/I’m gonna kiss this town good-bye/I’m gonna climb that mountain”

“How I arrived here, heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would’ve chose…I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”

“Climb That Mountain High” is from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”.  It was one of the first CDs I bought and my first from Reba!

That song has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.  It was there when I was looking to launch my television news career and every time I was awaiting my next move.

I’ve been listening to the song again daily for weeks now!

“CHANGE”

Almost a year ago (in “Change”), I shared details of some big changes in my life that would take me to Panama City, Florida, “So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!”

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What the hell was I thinking — giving up snow and four distinct seasons?

In my “Christmas Update” blog on December 18, 2017, I pontificated, “I’m miserable… life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.”

In a talk after the holidays with my fantastic news director Tom Lewis, he agreed that life’s too short to be unhappy.  I said I’d start looking to return to Midwest and if I didn’t find a job, I’d be gone by Halloween!

In February, I contacted some stations across Illinois to try to get back closer to my sister and my friends in the Quad Cities, where I spent 11.5 years before the ill-fated move to Florida.

Sadly, there were no openings and many “we’ll keep you in mind when we have a position available”.

“CHANGE 2.0”

Change

In television news, like most professions, talent and experience are major factors to be considered.  However, timing and luck also play huge roles.

I contacted a station about an opening that was posted just after Thanksgiving.  I wondered why, four months later, the position wasn’t filled.

It turns out they were not in any hurry to fill the position and were waiting for the right person.

And, now back to that “timing and luck”.

The news director was at the end of his search.  He and I started corresponding and eight days later, I was offered the job and I accepted it.

My friends, in June, I’ll be the Chief Meteorologist at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota, seven hours north of the Quad Cities.

I’m getting my four distinct seasons and my snow back!

From Wikipedia: “At 85″ per year, the port city of Duluth has the highest average snowfall total of any city in Minnesota”!

Two last weather notes:  I’ll have to get used to the bitter cold again.  The record low there is -41°, but it’s never reached 100° (97° is the record high).

I honestly feel like George Bailey in Bedford Falls at Christmas in “It’s A Wonderful Life”! Pottersville (Panama City, for me) was just an alternate universe!

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While some love it here and many love visiting the beaches (they think Panama City and Panama City Beach are the same), I just didn’t connect with the area.

At the beginning, from a dating standpoint, I wasn’t looking for anything since I was still reeling from the big changes in my personal life.

But, not one date in a year!!!

I’m now at the point where I’m ready to find my knight on a white horse like Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman”).

“I would pretend I was a princess, trapped in the tower by a wicked queen. And then suddenly, this knight, on a white horse, with these colors flying, would come charging up and draw his sword… and I would wave, and he would climb up the tower, and rescue me.”

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However, I did find two dear friends here — Cathy and Gerard Rifenburg.

Cathy founded the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter.

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A month after I moved here, they graciously invited me to a function they were hosting at their house.

Since then, we’ve enjoyed dinners and parties together, including Christmas Day.

Cathy and Gerard, I’ll miss you dearly.

Another highlight of my move to Florida was an early Sunday morning road trip last July to Plains, Georgia, to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter!

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One thing I definitely won’t miss — this mentality! (Disclaimer: I know not everyone fits into this category!)

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By the way (and this had no influence in my decision, but it makes me happy), Minnesota has only voted “red” once in my life time!

In 1972, it went along with 48 other states to re-elect Richard Nixon.  Yes, Reagan and Trump lost Minnesota!

So, I’ll proudly display my faded sticker on my car. (I did so in “red” Bay County, Florida, too!)

HCAnthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 23, 2018

It’s here!  Welcome to spring!

Spring Already

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

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

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

WEATHER’S “MARCH MADNESS”

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

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

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THE CALENDAR SAYS WINTER IS OVER, BUT…

Michael Myers Winter

LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME!

I know pet owners take care of their dogs differently.

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

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

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

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

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

GOVERNOR NIXON?

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

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

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

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

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

“THIS JUST IN” & “FACE THE NATION”

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

Bob Schieffer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Schieffer is such a great storyteller.

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

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

“LOVE, SIMON”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B+

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The full season is now on Netfix.

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

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

This drama was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR” TAKES ME BACK TO VEGAS

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

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 23, 2018

The shortest month of the year is coming to a close and spring arrives next month.

Here in the Florida Panhandle, summer has already arrived with more than a week of highs in the 70s and 80s!

I’m ready to return to the Midwest with four distinct seasons — and snow. 🙂

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts.

SADLY, JUST THE ONE BEFORE THE NEXT ONE

Last week, a lone gunman opened fire in a Parkland, Florida high school killing 17 people and injuring 15 others.

It was the deadliest school shootings since Sandy Hook in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012, where 27 died at the school (the shooter’s mother was killed at home, making it 28 dead).

This was also the deadliest mass shooting since another man killed 59 people (including himself) in Las Vegas, last October.

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The most recent shooting at the Florida high school was done with a legally obtained AR-15 style rifle.

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Just in those shootings above, 209 people died and about 611 others were hurt by gunfire (hundreds more were injured during and after the gunfire)!

SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS 

I’m all for the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution for “the right of the people to keep and bear arms”.

However, these AR-15-style weapons were designed for the military, not the public!

So, prayers alone are not the answer to all of these shootings.  God doesn’t have the money or the power over politicians like the National Rifle Association does!

STUPID KIDS

Sadly, four Florida Panhandle students are in trouble for making threats to shoot up their schools in just one day this week!

A couple of those students said it was “a joke”.

I’m sorry, but in today’s climate, what kind of stupid kid would think it’s “a joke”?

Throw the book at them!

“AN AMERICAN LIFE”

I just finished Ronald Reagan’s 1990 autobiography, “An American Life”, which wasn’t a short read at 723 pages!

An American Life

I wasn’t a fan and I voted against him twice even though I wasn’t old enough to vote (I accompanied my grandmother inside the voting booth and I chose Jimmy Carter each time).  However, I like to give people a chance and expand my mind.

It seems he was a likable guy and I hope one day to find a romance like the one he and Nancy shared.

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I’m happy that Reagan gave President Carter the due credit Carter deserved for getting the American hostages released from Iran after more than a year of captivity.  (Ironically, the Iranians boarded the hostages on a plane and held them on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as President.  Carter heard that they were out of Iran on his flight home to Plains, Georgia!)

CarterPresIt was interesting to read how hard and how long Reagan worked with the Russians to reduce the threat of nuclear war.

However, he did a poor job of convincing me (as he did the public) on his role (or lack thereof) in the Iran-Contra affair controversy.

Reagan only wrote two lines about his nine-year marriage to actress Jane Wyman.

Sadly, that was two lines more than he dedicated to his failures as president of getting out ahead of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s.

AIDS (“gay cancer”) first appeared in the summer of 1981, but it wasn’t until early 1987 that Reagan mentioned the disease publicly for the first time!

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I hated him for this for decades and “hate” is not a word I use too often…

RONALD REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

which leads me to this — my original Ronald Reagan blog from the summer of 2012.  Click on the link below and it’ll open in a new window.

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https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

THEY SAID WHAT???

SHONDA RHIMES (ABC “TGIT” MEGA-PRODUCER)

“Getting on a plane and discovering that your seat belt won’t fit around you was a moment of extreme horror.  It was hard to ignore.”

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MORE SHONDA RHIMES

“Accepting that losing weight was always going to suck:  I was always going to be hungry.  I was always going to want to eat fried chicken.  We work so hard in all areas of life to succeed, I don’t understand why we think this should be easy.”

SCANDALOUS “SCANDAL” QUOTES

While the men are sexy,

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the women of “Scandal” are strong.

I love Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington), Sally Langston (Kate Burton), Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young), and Abby “Red” Whelen (Darby Stanchfield).

Here are some of my favorite quotes through the first episode of season five.

First up… right-wing religious fanatic Republican Vice President Sally Langston

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First Lady Mellie Grant to Olivia Pope, who is the president’s mistress!

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Also, there’s Olivia and Queen Isabel of Caledonia…

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And, we can’t forget Gladiator Abby, who’s now the President’s Press Secretary.

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Remember, I’m just starting season five, so I know some of the descriptions of the characters change in upcoming seasons. 🙂

“A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS”

So, it’s ten months before Christmas or two months past last Christmas and I just watched this holiday movie since it’s new to DVD.

It was a smash bringing in $130.6 million on a $28 million budget.

Christine Baranski was my favorite of the three older moms (the mothers of the moms from the original 2016 “Bad Moms” movie).

I love her character’s idea of the perfect Christmas party (with the exception of Kenny G)!

Susan Sarandon and Cheryl Hines play the other two moms.

Kathyrn Hahn (“Transparent”) was my favorite of the three younger moms and I loved her foul mouth and thought process. 🙂

GRADE:  B

“MARSHALL”

This movie is the story of Thurgood Marshall, the country’s first African-American Supreme Court Justice years before he was appointed to that position.

At that time, Marshall was going around the country fighting for people of color in court cases they would have lost otherwise because of the racist views stacked against them.

Great acting, but it felt like a made-for-television movie rather than a big screen motion picture.

GRADE: B

REAGAN & GORBACHEV’S EFFECT ON ’80S POP

The threat of nuclear war made its way into the music world in the early-1980s.

“Two Tribes” was the follow-up to the international smash “Relax” by the English group Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

While the song hit #1 in seven countries and the Top Ten in many more, it only reached #43 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.

Maybe radio was afraid to play it since America was having a love fest with Ronald Reagan in 1984!

This song (and the English version, “99 Red Balloons”) by the German band Nena hit #1 in more than a dozen countries in 1983 and 1984.

In the U.S., it hit #2 on the Billboard Hot 100.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 24, 2017

I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving and had plenty to eat.

With many out shopping or visiting with family, I’m not sure how many will check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but here they are.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA

I’m still one of those people trying to keep the postal service in business by buying 49-cent stamps and mailing out Christmas cards!

While I personalize each card, I started sending out a Christmas letter to recap my year for those that don’t follow me on Facebook or read my blog! (The horror!)

Last year, at the end of my Christmas letter, I shared the photo with Hillary Clinton and I wrote that it was “the highlight of the year” for me.

Hillary AP

And, I added, “Sadly, we all know how that turned out in November!  Regardless of how you voted, I was very dismayed.  But, I hope for the best for the U.S. and the world over the next four years.”

I thought that was diplomatic and it expressed my sadness.

However, I was appalled by a response from, I guess, a former “friend” and co-worker.  On the outside of the envelope, she wrote:

Christmas Card Dilemma

Now, I spent my only Maryland Thanksgiving with her and her husband.  She was my drinking buddy and my confidant.  I still considered her a friend even though at some point in 2016, she unfriended me on Facebook!

So, I was torn.  Do I not send a card this year?  Do I send a card and ignore the comment?

Or, do I send a card and say, “I was already living in a stronger ISIS-free America prior to the election.  As for a “new found security”, I wasn’t insecure.  When I’m in a large crowd, I’m aware of my surroundings, but I’ve never felt threatened or insecure.  But, as one of your LGBT friends, I feel more insecure of my future now –with the current administration — than I did prior to the 2016 election!”

What would you do?  At the end of the blog, I’ll tell you what I did. 🙂

STAMPS

By the way, I chose these fun stamps this year.

Stamps 1

I’M NOT IN THE MIDWEST ANYMORE!

As the winter season moves closer, I know I’ll miss the Midwest snow.  However, I won’t miss the bitterly cold air!

I smiled the other day when I saw this on an area National Weather Service Twitter feed.

Here in northwestern Florida, it only takes 2″+ of snow and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) in a 12-hour period for a “Winter Storm Warning”!

Capture1

Back in the Quad Cities, it would take 6″ of snow in a 12-hour period or 8″ in 24 hours and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) for a “Winter Storm Warning” to be issued!

GOODBYE, “AHS: CULT”

This season of “American Horror Story: Cult” was incredible.

While the subject matter — the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election — brought back many painful memories, it was presented pretty realistically (although the violence was highly over exaggerated for dramatic effect!).  There were things as a Hillary or a Trump supporter that you may not have wanted to hear.

So, as I say “thank you” Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for a great season, I want to share two crazy late season scenes.

TV reporter and eventual cult member Beverly Hope tells cult leader Kai Anderson what she thinks of him and his cult as she tries to break away.

BH: “Your promises are sh*t.  You’re a fake.  You don’t stand for a goddamn thing.”

KA:  “I’m standing up for millions of people who are finally being heard.”

BH:  “Nothing is bigger than your ego.  You don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing from one minute to the next.  You’re an incompetent guy — just another media whore.”

And, for this next one, I won’t set up the scene because I don’t believe in complete spoilers.  But, it was my favorite line of the season!

spoiler-alert

Nasty Woman

And, how can I move on without sharing this hilarious one again from earlier in the season!

lesbians-were-under-attack-billy-eichner-ahs-cul-scared

WINTER FINALE — “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

With all of the craziness of the past 3.5 seasons, you know when you get a special warning beyond the typical “Viewer Discretion Advised” in the last 20 minutes that it’s going to be over-the-top!

Well, this winter finale had a W-T-F ending that you couldn’t tear yourself away from –even as you cringed!

Without giving it anything away, it was the most painful and heart-wrenching scene I’ve seen on television — maybe ever!

911

This scene made the accidental deadly gunshot to the head and the blood spatter earlier in the episode register only as a “wow”.

“How To Get Away With Murder” returns on January 18, 2018.

NOW THAT IT’S THANKSGIVING…

Maybe people will be a little less touchy about seeing Christmas decorations and hearing all Christmas, all the time on the radio, now that they’ve had some turkey.

However, if you’re decorating this weekend and you live in Florida or in a tropical area, be careful with palm trees and lights! 🙂

Palm Tree Lights

PRICIEST CHRISTMAS TREE

Last year, the Christmas tree at the Emirates Palace Hotel, a seven-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, was valued at $11.4 million!

The-Emirates-Palace-Hotel-Decorated-Christmas-tree

Emeralds, diamonds, and pearls enhanced the 43-feet high tree.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR KIDS

Since many of you will be heading out Christmas shopping, here’s an interesting tidbit:

“U.S. children make up just 3.1% of the global world population, but American families buy 40% of the world’s toys.”  (“Time” — March 23, 2015)

Cash Register

JON STEWART SAID WHAT???

Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart tells “Rolling Stone” in November 2014 about Fox News and Christmas:

“They truly feel the loss of absolute power is the same as persecution.  Like, watch them do their “War on Christmas” stuff.  It’s real, man.  There’s no bullsh*t.  They are in the middle of Rockefeller Center talking about “They won’t let us put up a Christmas tree!”  Meanwhile, they’re standing next to a 60-foot Christmas tree in a place with so much Christmas stuff up it looks like Santa’s balls just exploded.”

HOT JANUARY TELEVISION

Two highly anticipated television shows (at least for me) will be warming up my DVR in January.

Back in June, I wrote about the upcoming Ryan Murphy series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”.

EW verace

The 10-episode series will premiere on January 17, 2018.

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man that killed Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

Here’s the official trailer.

And, the 10-episode eleventh season of “The X-Files” returns even earlier on January 3, 2018, on Fox.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully!

“WIND RIVER”

Jeremy Renner plays a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent who stumbles upon the body of an a teenager in the cold, wintry Wyoming tundra on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The woman’s death isn’t a simple case of hypothermia and frostbite.  The FBI is called in and rookie special agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) has to determine if this is a murder case.

Olsen is incredible in this very intense and, at times, brutal movie.

“Wind River” cost $11 million, but it went on to gross $40 million at the box office.

GRADE:  A-

A DIFFERENT “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

I feature this very different version of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” every year because it’s so funny.

I hope you find it humorous, too.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA — MY SOLUTION

I took the high road and I didn’t send a card.  I decided to vent and share my disappointment here.

If she hadn’t unfriended me on Facebook, I would have addressed it to her privately.

My thought is that if that’s how she approached the subject — on the outside of an envelope last year — her friendship isn’t worth 49 cents!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony