Posts Tagged ‘World War Z’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2019

It’s been some time since I last shared some random thoughts.

Thoughts

There have many things I would have written about if I was still doing “Random Friday Thoughts” on a weekly basis, so here are just a few.

It’s also a reason to share a personal potentially embarrassing story! 🙂

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

THE MANSON MURDERS 

We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Charles Manson “family” murders on August 9-10, 1969.

As you may recall, a group of psychos led by the notorious Manson terrorized Los Angeles by slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Hollywood home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

Manson.jpg

The next night, the “family” randomly killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

A crazy new book by Tom O’Neill called “Chaos” claims much of what we know about the case is wrong and that prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lied in his book “Helter Skelter”.

I read that book and I’m interested to read O’Neill’s far-fetched (?) book and theories.

The thing that intrigues me the most is who O’Neill says knows more about the murders, but isn’t talking — actress Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame (pictured below)!

Candice Bergen

Bergen and record producer Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) actually lived in the house where the murders took place as late as early 1969!!!

O’Neill tells “Entertainment Weekly” that Bergen “knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said.”   

Creepy tidbit:  Before the Manson murders, the home was rented to these Hollywood actors: Lillian Gish, Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, and Olivia Hussey.

Murder House.JPG

And, the house’s owner, Rudolph Altobelli, moved back in just three weeks after the Manson bloodshed!!!  He lived there for the next 20 years before selling it in 1989 for the equivalent of $3.2 million today!

“OZARK” EMMY LOVE

After watching the second season of Netflix’s “Ozark”, in October 2018, I wrote, “I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.”

Netflix TCA 2018

Well, I was right!

“Ozark” picked up two more nominations this summer — one for “Outstanding Drama Series” and another for Jason Bateman.

“ARCTIC”

If you’d like something to distract you from the summer heat and humidity, definitely check out the thriller “Arctic”!

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since NBC’s “Hannibal”.

After seeing the survival story, I definitely hope there’s an Oscar “For Your Consideration” campaign for Mikkelsen for “Best Actor”.

“Arctic” is stunning, breathtaking, and heartbreaking — unlike Robert Redford’s alone on a boat and lost at sea 2013 movie “All Is Lost” (which was one of my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014)!

GRADE:  A

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

I love Armie Hammer and Dev Patel and when I watch movies, I tend to lean toward dramas and thrillers.

This one is based on a real-life terrorist attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

While very realistic, it wasn’t overly gory.  It’s a great movie that was never given a chance for box office success.

GRADE:  B+

“GRAND HOTEL”

I started watching this ABC soap opera with low expectation, but I’m still watching it!

Yes, it’s cheesy and some of the characters are silly caricatures of spoiled rich people.

But, the cast is beautiful — especially Australian actor Lincoln Younes, Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez!

GH.JPG

And, then there’s Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, the hotel manager!

Shalim Ortiz

Eva Longoria Baston (“Desperate Housewives”) is an executive producer on the series and guest stars as the late former hotel co-owner.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

I read Liane Moriarty’s book in early 2017 and absolutely loved the HBO mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgaard and Adam Scott.

After the eight Emmy Award wins (out of sixteen), I was thrilled when it was announced that there’d be a second season even though the first covered everything in the book!

I love Kidman and the thought of spending more time with the “Monterey Five” was fantastic.  Meryl Streep joining the cast as Kidman’s imposing, untrusting mother-in-law with a sharp tongue was just icing on the cake!

What I’ve seen of the second season is great, but not fantastic!.  However, Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep make it very worthwhile.

And, I’m loving Laura Dern’s angry Renata Klein this season.  Here’s an example why! 🙂

And, here is my favorite scene, so far, by far.

Two Oscar winners going at it and then the line, “What do we call that?  Foreplay?” followed by a sinister laugh off-camera are just too much! 🙂

Please give Streep her Emmy now and Kidman and Dern their second ones for this series!

“CLAWS”

I’m still loving this TNT series lead by Niesy Nash!

However, halfway through the third season, it’s definitely different than the first two seasons.

Sometimes, it feels a little lost.  However, I know the payoff will be great!

I mean really, it’s focused around a casino! 🙂

“WORLD WAR Z” SEQUEL CANCELLED

I really loved 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt and I’m bummed that the long-planned sequel has been nixed!

The reason?  A source tells “The Hollywood Reporter” that the Chinese government’s ban on movies with zombies or ghosts is the single biggest reason that Paramount cancelled the sequel!

The expensive $190 million movie was a box office smash bringing in more than $540 million worldwide.  This made it the highest-grossing zombie film of all time!

It was my second favorite movie of 2013.

OMG!

I think this is too funny not to share.  I’m downsizing my apartment before my next move — including my CDs and movies.

I’m watching movies over again that I may have watched once over the years.  Some I enjoyed, but they weren’t my favorites.  Others, I vaguely remember.

The other night after work, I was watching one of those movies while eating a salad and drinking my wine.  A sex scene comes on and I didn’t think anything about it.

I’m VERY open-minded and liberal! 🙂

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

All of sudden, the scene gets more and more graphic!  It went from soft core adult to pornographic.  I thought, “Wow, they can show that!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember that scene!”

Sitting in the dark with only the flicker of the large screen television, I looked over my shoulder and realized my neighbor directly across the way was out on his balcony!!! (Our balconies are only separated by two small patches of grass and a sidewalk.)

I quickly grab the remote to hit “stop” for the very graphic (but erotic) image to go away.  I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

So, not only did it not go away, but it was frozen for all the world (well, my neighbor) to see!

I didn’t go back to finish that movie for a few nights and when I did, it still wasn’t that good.  No wonder I didn’t remember it!

As for the neighbor, I now realize he had his back toward my apartment and was leaning on his ledge watching his own television! 🙂

So, that’s my funny, almost embarrassing story.

Don’t get me wrong!  I have nothing against adult scenes or material. I’d just discrete about it! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — May 16, 2014

Another weekend is upon us and I can’t believe that next weekend is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial kickoff to the summer season.

Have a fantastic weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  As always, let me know what you agree with and what you don’t.  I love feedback as long as you’re nice about it.

OKAY PEOPLE, OPEN YOUR MIND AND CLOSE YOUR MOUTH

There were basketball playoff games over the past week, but the big story is the National Football League (NFL) draft and Michael Sam.

Sam, the University of Missouri football first-team all-star player that publicly came out as gay three months ago, became a seventh round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams.

Michael Sam

If he plays this fall in a professional game, he’ll become the first active NFL player to have publicly come out.

When the announcement was made that he was drafted by the Rams, a very emotional Sam cried and then smashed cake into the face of his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, a former University of Missouri swimmer.

And, then, for the love of God, he kissed his boyfriend to celebrate!  OMG, clutch my pearls!

Michael Vito Kiss Cake

It was a monumental moment and the White House sent out this message from President Barack Obama, “The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

While Sam got encouraging and welcoming tweets from future Rams’ teammates, there was a big uproar over the kiss!

Former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward tweeted, “I’m sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv”.  He added:

Derrick Ward

And, Miami Dolphins safety Don Jones tweeted “horrible” and “OMG” about the kiss.  Those tweets were deleted and he was reprimanded by the team, given a fine, and ordered to attend sensitivity training.

jones_dolphins

He has since apologized to Michael Sam about the tweets.  However, I don’t know about Michael, but I don’t want Jones to apologize for speaking out about how he feels.  His disapproval and ignorance is real.  His apology is empty, condescending, and nothing more than damage control.

I have more to say about this whole reaction to Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend and people’s negative response.  But, I want to share a link about a previous blog I wrote back in June 2012 about public apologies after homophobic comments are made.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/your-apology-really-doesnt-mean-that-much-to-me/

Now, back to Michael Sam and his boyfriend, Vito.

Michael Vito Beach

They appear to be a happy couple and I’m glad that Sam is out now and the two of them can be public about the love they share for each other.

I’m also very happy that they can openly celebrate Sam’s accomplishment.  How many little boys and teenagers wish that one day they’ll be drafted into the NFL?  And, when that time comes, they should be able to share it with the one that they love!

People that were appalled by the public display of affection really need to get over it.  They find that kiss unacceptable, but they’ll accept bad and criminal behavior from their NFL stars?

Ray Rice

Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens is awaiting sentencing for dragging his fiancée out of an Atlantic City casino elevator.  He was found guilty of third-degree aggravated assault and could face a 3-5 year sentence and a fine for the spousal abuse.

Then there’s Daryl Washington of the Arizona Cardinals.  He pleaded guilty last month of choking his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child, and causing her to fall and break her collarbone.

daryl washington

And, Michael Boley of the Cincinnati Bengals was arrested for abusing his child.

Michael Boley

And, the list of bad behavior and criminal acts from NFL players goes on and one and people are bent out of shape over a same-sex kiss!  This is the 21st century people and love is love.

Michael, congratulations.  Michael and Vito, I wish you the very best in life and love!

Vito Michael Champagne

Cheers!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Pug FactoryEating  Laughing

KARL ROVE IS SUCH AN IDIOT

Karl Rove, the Senior Advisor for President George W. Bush is in news again and this time, in desperation, he stoops to an all-time low.

Rove Clinton

Rove is on the defensive after suggesting that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffered a brain injury in a fall she suffered back in 2012 that required hospitalization.  Rove made this sick insinuation based on the glasses Clinton wore during  testimony a month later!

Even people in his own party are speaking out against this tactic.

Former House Speaker and 2012 Republican Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says he is “deeply offended” by Rove’s comments.

newtngingrich

With Clinton, Gingrich sees a correlation to what people were saying about former President Ronald Reagan’s health when he was a candidate, “I was angry when people did this to Reagan in 1980 and I am angry when they do it to her today”.

Gingrich also added, ” I’ve have many policy disagreements with Hillary[,] but this kind of personal charge is exactly whats wrong with [A]merican politics.”

Karl Rove, go away — now!

2016 RUN FOR PRESIDENT

Earlier this month, before Rove’s comments, Zogby Analytics polled 893 likely voters and found that Hillary has a substantial lead over former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in a possible showdown for the 2016 race for President.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

With a +/-3% margin, Mrs. Clinton leads Bush 52%-36%.  Her lead over Paul was 52% to 35% and she was 16% ahead of Christie.

None of these candidates have thrown their hat into the ring yet.

PICK HIT

I’ve been a huge fan of the German dance band, Cascada, since I first heard “Everytime We Touch” back in late 2005.  That song went on to reach #10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2009, Cascada had another Top 40 American radio hit with “Evacuate The Dancefloor”.  It made it up to #25.

Those two songs and 2008’s remake of Rascal Flatts’ #1 country hit, “What Hurts The Most” all topped the Billboard Dance chart.

Cascada-Blink

Cascada is back with a new single, “Blink”.

MORE “HANNIBAL” ON NBC

NBC’s “Hannibal” is without a doubt one of the best shows on television.

I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.

Hannibal

There are only two episodes left this season (the season two finale is next Friday night, May 23rd) and we already know that the serial killer Hannibal could be going down in the finale.

In case you’re one of the millions that haven’t watched “Hannibal”, here’s how season two started before the episode flashed back twelve weeks to show us how this showdown came about.

How will it end now that Jack Crawford knows Hannibal is a killer?

ARE JOURNALISTS PSYCHOPATHS?

Since I work in the news business and I’m talking about “Hannibal”, I have to share a couple of funny lines from the May 2nd episode, “Naka-Choko”.

Hannibal - Season 2

Shady, sensationalist reporter Freddie Lounds (Lara Jean Chorostecki) confronts FBI profiler, Will Graham (Hugh Dancy).

Freddie Will Allegedly

And, then there’s this correspondence between Will and Hannibal.

Will Psychopath

PICK HIT BONUS

This week, the latest Michael Jackson album, “Xscape”, was released.  I featured the first single, “Love Never Felt So Good”, in my blog last week.

The official video is out now and it’s incredible!

The song debuted at #20 last week on Billboard’s Hot 100 and the album could debut at #1 on next week’s chart.

I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

The country band, Lonestar, from Texas, have hit the chart with six gold and platinum albums since their self-titled debut release in the fall of 1995.

Lonestar

Their first hit, “Tequila Talkin'”  peaked at #8 in 1995 and the follow-up, “No News”, topped the chart for three weeks in April 1996.

In all, Lonestar has charted 23 Top 40 songs on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 18 made the Top Ten, and nine have reached the top!

Also, their hit “Amazed” was number one on the Country charts for eight weeks in 1999 and it even made it to the top of the Hot 100 for two weeks the following year!

Back in 1997, I interviewed lead singer Richie McDonald and keyboardist/vocalist Dean Sams in Lubbock, Texas, and they were both great guys.

Lonestar Sara Evans

For those near the Quad Cities, Lonestar and Sara Evans will be playing at this year’s Rosefest Outdoor Concert Series at the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton, Iowa, on July 11th.

THAT’S IT

I think that’s enough this week.

We have a wedding to attend in Dubuque, Iowa, this weekend.  While the weather is going to be nice Sunday, I’m torn about whether to work outside to get the garden ready when we get home or go to the movie.

We’ve only been to the theater once this year.  Back in January, we saw the Oscar-nominated and amazing “August:  Osage County”.

godzilla_2014_poster

I really want to see “Godzilla (2014)” after seeing the trailer.  With the suspense and creepiness of the previews, I think it could be this year’s “World War Z”!

“Godzilla” opens Friday!

Anthony

My Ten Favorite Movies of 2013

Today marks the last day of 2013 and I’m ready for 2014.  With Oscar nominations coming out in a couple of weeks, there are still some movies I want to see.

These are my ten favorite movies that I saw in 2013 and here is a recap of #20 to #11 if you missed it yesterday.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/anthonys-favorite-movies-of-2013/

10

I Do

9

Behind The Candelabra

8

Scrooge and Marley

7

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $83 MILLION

savages

6

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $19.8 MILLION

Amour

 

5

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $125.7 MILLION

This Is The End

4

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $246,112

keep-the-lights-on

3

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $15.8 MILLION (STILL IN THEATERS)

Dallas Buyers Club

2

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $540 MILLION

world-war-z-poster-3

1

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE GROSS:  $26,966

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

Gag Me

My three least favorite movies I saw in 2013.

Silent Night

I have to include the trailer because it looked so promising!  The movie only grossed $14,567 in theaters.  Look again, that’s 14-thousand dollars and not millions!

Hansel & Gretel

Here’s what I wrote about the movie back in July:  “It was painful to watch Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner in “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.  If you love special effects, it was a great movie.  However, the story line was lacking and the violence was over the top.  Also, this is definitely not a movie for kids!”

GRADE:  D

D'Agostino

Bring the popcorn and let’s watch movies.

Happy 2014!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 5, 2013

The weekend is almost here and that means it’s Friday and I get to share some of my random thoughts!  When I do this, it’s my way of expressing some of the things that have crossed my mind.  Some are small, some are big, and some have little relevance to anything, but I love having this avenue.  I know you may not always agree with me or I may enlighten you on something you haven’t thought about, but I appreciate you checking out my blog and my random thoughts.  I always welcome your thoughts, too.

I hope you all had a great time celebrating our independence from England yesterday!

Happy Fourth

Oh, the Fourth of July.  A day to show off your pride and wear your finest red, white, and blue!  What a way to rock that fringe!!  (Thanks Stacia!)

Behind_the_Candelabra_poster

By the way, I pre-ordered “Behind the Candelabra”, the HBO Liberace movie with Michael Douglas as Liberace and Matt Damon as his much younger lover, Scott Thorson.  It covers the last ten years of the flamboyant singer’s life and his “secret” affair with Thorson.  “Secret”?  That’s right, people thought he was straight!  (Said no on ever — out loud!)

When “Candelabra” aired on HBO on May 26, 2013, 3.5 million people tuned in making it the highest rated TV film for the network since 2004.  It arrives on DVD on September 17, 2013.

HATERS DEFY THE RECORD NUMBER OF OPEN-MINDED

Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.  This now makes federal benefits available to people in same-sex marriages.

Earlier this week, a new USA Today poll shows that a record number of Americans (55%) support marriage equality.  That’s the highest level of support nationwide since Gallup first asked this question in 1996 when only 27% of Americans supported marriage equality.

Yet, while millions are rejoicing and are moving to the right side of history, there are still haters that can’t mind their own business and tend to their own lives, families, and marriages.  Of course, one of the first to speak out against this righting of a wrong in American history was Chick-fil-A COO and President Dan T. Cathy.

Here’s what he tweeted (and quickly deleted) on the day of the SCOTUS landmark decision.

Dan Cathy

Chick-fil-A spokesman Jerry Johnson quickly issued a statement saying, “He realized his views didn’t necessarily represent the views of all customers, restaurant owners and employees and didn’t want to distract them from providing a great restaurant experience” and that “Chick-fil-A is focused on providing great-tasting food and genuine hospitality to everyone.”  If you read between the lines, that basically says the company wants your money — regardless of who you love.

I’ve made it very clear in the past about how I feel about Chick-fil-A and Dan Cathy and the money they give to anti-gay groups, so I won’t go there today.  (You can type in Chick-fil-A in the search engine at the top of the blog to read the previous stories!)  However, I’ll just let three sassy “ladies” do the work for me.

Warning:  NSFW!

THE WEAKEST LINK IN EQUALITY

In that poll released this past Monday, “USA Today” also reports that the only other major demographic groups that a majority still opposes marriage equality are Republicans (68%) and seniors 65 and older (51%).

MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS — RAP WITH A HEART  ❤

I’ll be the first to tell you that I’m not a huge fan of rap or hip-hop music.  In 1986, I owned the Beastie Boys’ “Licensed to Ill” cassette and in 1990, I bought the cassette of “To The Extreme” by Vanilla Ice!  However, there’s a Seattle rapper and producer that I have to shout out to and say “thank you”.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Rapper Macklemore and producer Ryan Lewis are one of the hottest acts in pop music today.  Just this year alone, the duo topped the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks (and the R&B/Hip-Hop chart for 14 weeks) with “Thrift Store”.  Its already sold almost 5.6 million copies.  They followed that up with five more weeks at #1 on the Hot 100 and 7 weeks atop the R&B/Hip-Hop chart with “Can’t Hold Us”.  That song’s sales are up to 3.1 million copies.

Almost one year ago, on July 18, 2012, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis released “Same Love” with singer Mary Lambert.  The song was written to support legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington, which would be voting on “Washington Referendum 74” that fall.  It also tackled homophobia in hip-hop music.

“Same Love” is racing up the Billboard Hot 100 (up from #28 to #16 this week).  And, on the Billboard Rap Songs chart, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have three of the top songs (#1, #2, and #4)!  The video has already been viewed more than 54 million times!

Who better than Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, the hottest act on the chart, to get the word out about marriage equality and homophobia!  Even if you’re not a rap or hip hop fan, take seven minutes to watch this incredible video with a powerful message.  And, another thing that I love about the video is that there is a sparkler and champagne toast.  Ray and I did that at our wedding reception almost two years ago!  🙂

And, while it doesn’t matter, another thing that makes this even more amazing is that Macklemore is straight.

Macklemore

He says, “It’s a record I’ve wanted to write a long time.  I tried writing it from the perspective of a gay bullied kid… I grew up in the Catholic Church, I grew up with two gay uncles and a gay godfather, and I grew up in the hip hop community. So the Catholic Church and hip hop community are known as being very homophobic communities in a lot of ways.”

Gay Uncles

And, those are his gay uncles.

MORE Z IS ON THE WAY, BUT I’M NOT TALKING “ZZZZZ”, AS IN SLEEP

After months of speculation about how “World War Z” would perform at the box office, the verdict is in and it has Paramount very happy.

world-war-z-poster

The $190 million, zombie flick with Brad Pitt has already brought in $271.4 million in its first thirteen days ($136 million of that is from the United States).  Talk about the troubles the production encountered and a third act re-shoot gave Paramount cold feet about the movie becoming a trilogy.  However, after the box office success, last month Paramount announced that it was moving ahead with a sequel!

Now, we can see if the “camouflage” will really buy the survivors time!  That’s not really a spoiler because you’d have to know what the “camouflage” is and I’m not talking about what you see them wearing on “Duck Dynasty”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Carry On Elementary English Usage

TASTY, BLOODY DEXTER

The eighth and final season of my favorite show, “Dexter”, premiered last Sunday night and shattered records.  This season opener ranked as the series’ highest-rated premiere ever with 2.5 million viewers at 9 p.m., which is up 4% from the season seven premiere.  For the night, “Dexter” had 3.2 million viewers, up 5% from season seven.

Dexter S8

And, since I can’t have Dexter for my birthday, I’ll settle for the “Dexter” action figure or these bloody, incredible desserts created to coincide with the kick off to the final season and the last twelve episodes!

Dexter Cupcakes Dexter Cupcakes2

These sweet confections are from Magnolia Bakery in New York City.  The red velvet cupcakes are topped with a whipped vanilla icing dripping in blood (caramel) and sugar “glass” shards!

SERIOUSLY, GROW A PEAR!

If you remember back to last spring and summer, it was a very warm to hot one in the Quad Cities.  March 2012 was the warmest on record with an average temperature of 53.3°, which was more than 14° above average.  And, we only had 4″ of snow in March 2012 and that fell toward the beginning of the month.

Needless to say that flowers, shrubs, and trees got off to a quick start.  This picture was taken toward the end of June last year.  The pears were huge!

Pears 062412

It’s a much different story this year.

With 10.6″ of snow and temperatures almost 8° below average this March (about 22° colder than March 2012), the growing season is a little behind.   And, it isn’t being helped by more than 21″ of rain falling in April, May, and June.  We’ve only been at 90° or higher three times this year.  Last year, at this time, we had already been there 15 times!

This pear picture was taken this week!  As you can see, they are much smaller.

Pear July 2013

I THOUGHT ABOUT “MACHETE KILLS” AND GOT SIDETRACKED

When I hear the word “Latin”, I instantly think of sexy Enrique Iglesias and Sofia Vergara!   Be still my beating heart! 🙂  How could two people be any sexier???

Enrique Iglesias sofia-vergara

This really has nothing to do with them, it just gave me a reason to Google search images of Enrique and Sofia!  Okay, now that I’m sidetracked, I’ll talk about Sofia and her new movie.  I’ve gone to two movies lately, “World War Z” and “White House Down” and both showed previews of her action flick coming out this fall, “Machete Kills”.

Machete-Kills-Lady-Gaga MACHETE KILLS

It features the acting debut of Lady Gaga and Sofia is over the top cray cray in the previews.  I definitely won’t be seeing it in a theater, but I’ll check it out on DVD.  While it doesn’t appear to be my kind of movie, it’s crazy enough that I’m interested.

And, when listing the stars in the movie, the trailer boasts, “and introducing Carlos Estevez” as the President of the United States.  WTH??  Sorry, Charlie Sheen, you can’t sneak that past me.  I know it’s you.

OKAY, NOW THE HOT LATINA WITH A SHOT OF TEQUILA

Shakira - Paulina Rubio

Does the name Paulina Rubio ring a bell to you?  That’s her on the right in the white shirt.

The other woman is Colombian singer Shakira.  Of course, Shakira is the biggest star of the two selling more than 70 million records worldwide and she is one of the best-selling Latin artists of all time.  Shakira has had nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, four have reached the Top Ten, including her biggest hit, the #1 smash, “Hips Don’t Lie”.  You also know her as the substitute judge on “The Voice” this season for Christina Aguilera.  While Shakira is talented, I want to introduce you to my favorite Latina star.  Okay, that’s Selena, but she’s no longer with us!

PaulinaRubio

My favorite, for about a decade now, is Paulina Rubio.  The 42-year-old Mexico City native has sold about 20 million records worldwide and is regarded as the “most influential Latin celebrity in the world”.

Her first Latin album came out in 1992.  In 2002, she made a modest attempt at a crossover to English music with her album “Border Girl”.  It reached #11 on the Billboard Top 200 chart and #1 on the Latin album chart.  The closest she came to having a big hit on mainstream radio in America was with “Don’t Say Goodbye/Si Tú Te Vas”, which peaked at #41 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Rubio has scored 24 Billboard Latin chart hits.  Of those, 15 have reached the Top Ten and five of them have reached #1.  Here’s one of those #1 Latin Hits from 2004, “Dame Otro Tequila”.  She and her friends are too Caliente!  Hot!

You’ll see much more of Paulina Rubio this fall when she joins the third season of “The X Factor” as one of the two new judges replacing Britney Spears and L.A. Reid.  The other new judge is Kelly Rowland, formerly with Destiny’s Child.

INTRIGUED BY “LIFE”

I’ve don’t own a Rolling Stones album or CD.  I can only list a few of their songs without cheating and looking at Wikipedia:  “Start Me Up”, “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”, “Beast of Burden” (with Bette Midler), and “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”, thanks to Whoopi Goldberg.

But, I just read an excerpt of “Life”, the 2010 rock memoir from Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards, in a November 2010 “Rolling Stone” magazine (not to be confused with the Rolling Stones, the band) and it sounds intriguing.

Keith-Richards-book-cover-Life

The book deals with his strained relationship with Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger, how the Stones got started, and a lot of talk about drugs.

But, it was this quote that captured my attention and made me keep reading the article, “I think in a way your persona, your image, as it used to be known, is like a ball and chain. People think I’m still a goddamn junkie. It’s 30 years since I gave up the dope! Image is like a long shadow. Even when the sun goes down, you can see it…. It’s impossible not to end up being a parody of what you thought you were.”

“Image is like a long shadow” is so philosophical!

Keith Richards 1967 keithrichards

And, it doesn’t hurt either that in the 1960s and the 1970s, Richards was a hot, young lad!  Since I was never a big fan, it was interesting to looks back 40 or 50 years to see who he was back then.  I’m definitely getting the book and learning more about Richards and the Rolling Stones.

PEEP’S ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since I’m talking about Keith Richards, I’ll feature his band in this week’s ’80s Friday Flashback.  In the United States, from their first hit in 1964 (months before I was born) to their last radio hit in early 1990, the Rolling Stones hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 41 times.  Of that impressive feat, 23 of those songs reached the Top Ten, and seven made it all the way to #1.

My favorite Rolling Stones hit peaked at #2 in the fall of 1981, just as I was halfway through my senior year in high school.  “Start Me Up” was the first release from their #1 multi-platinum album, “Tattoo You”,  which moved more than 4 million copies sold in the U.S.

And, by the way, I remember “State of Shock” with the Jacksons, but that a Mick Jagger hit without the Stones.

‘WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

If you’re going to this movie for an Academy Award winning flick, you’re wasting your time and money.  If you’re going to see a great popcorn summer movie that’s full of action and destruction to American institutions that director Roland Emmerich likes to deliver (“Independence Day” and “The Day After Tomorrow”), you’re in the right place.

“People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” (Tatum) is trying to get a job as a Secret Service to protect the President of the United States, played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx.  Tatum’s John Cale is not having a good day with his 11-year-old daughter after he misses her recital.  He makes it up to her by getting her a tour of the White House.  Needless to say, terrorists take over the White House and then we have an action movie.

The movie was very entertaining, riveting, suspenseful, and enjoyable.  The biggest question on my mind as I went into the movie was not how many people would be killed or blown up, but how long would I have to wait to see Tatum lose the suit and parade around in the more comfortable and appealing white tank top. 🙂

GRADE:  B

WHD

This is a continuation of a running gag that started last summer when I had my picture taken by the poster of the very hunky Channing Tatum when “Magic Mike” was in theaters.

062912 Magic Mike

Now, there are three reasons that my body does not look like Tatum’s:  (1)  that popcorn for starters, (2) he has a trainer and the motivation to work out, and (3) he’s 33 and I’m in my late-40s!

SUMMER PICK HIT

I’ve had pretty good luck picking future hits.  You may have heard of “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen and “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke, but that one was already well on its way.  However, I’m still waiting for “Get It Tonight” by Erika Jayne with Flo Rida to take off.

Take note of the name Avicii, (pronounced “Uh-vee-che”).  The Swedish DJ will turn 24-years-old in early September just about a week before he releases his debut album, “#True”.

Avicii and Madonna

His career really took off last summer when he remixed “Girl Gone Wild” by Madonna and he became the first DJ to headline at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.  Two performances last September were sold out and the first show took less than a minute to sell out!

While he’s had a couple of moderate radio hits in the United States (“Levels” reached #33 last year on the radio airplay and “I Could Be The One” with Nicky Romero peaked at #34 on that same chart earlier this year), his biggest successes domestically has been on the Billboard Dance chart.  Avicii has hit the Top Five with his last four songs:  “Collide” with Leona Lewis and “Levels” both topped that chart, “Silhouettes” reached #4, and “I Could Be The One” was also a #1 Dance hit.

And, the song I’m featuring today made its debut all the way up at #12 this week on the Billboard Dance chart.  It’s at #81 on the Billboard Hot 100.

HAPPY WEEKEND

I hope you have a fun, safe weekend.  Ray and I are going to relax this weekend.  With the heat and Gretel still at her grandmother’s this weekend, we’ll be spending some time in the pool.  I’m sure the potent potable will be refreshing, even if it isn’t a “Skinny Girl white cranberry Cosmo”.  We drank that yesterday in the pool. 🙂

Pool Time

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 28, 2013

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

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

“UNDER THE DOME” WINS MONDAY NIGHT, BUT…

Under The Dome

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

Now, here are my random thoughts this Friday.

GOOD RIDDANCE DOMA

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

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

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

DOMA Justices

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

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

SIMPLY PUT, WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR RELIGION?

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

Love Knows No Limits

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

Let God judge.  Amen!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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

PAULA, STOP TALKING AND BE WITH YOUR FAMILY!

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

Paula Deen Happy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paula Deen Crying

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pig Showing Contest

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

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

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

BIG SCREEN SPECTACLE

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

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

WWZ

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

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

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

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

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

WWZ Israel

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

WWZ Airplane Scene

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

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

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

WEEKEND DOUBLE FEATURE

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

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

TOO EARLY TO THINK ABOUT MY BIRTHDAY?

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

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

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

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

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

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

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

CELEBRITY REACTION TO THE DEATH OF “DOMA”

DOMA Lady Gaga

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

BY THE WAY, WHO IS JACK MACKENROTH?

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

Jack Mackenroth

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

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

AND, WE OWE IT ALL TO EDIE

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

Thea and Edie

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

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

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

Edie Celebrating Decision

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

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

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

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 21

I’m very happy that the weekend is here and that I have no commitments!  Last weekend, we had some friends and co-workers over for appetizers and drinks and had a good time.  Next weekend, I have a couple of things going on, so nothing to do this weekend sounds incredible.  I may try to convince Ray to go to a few yard sales Saturday morning.  My sister talked about going to the casino for crab legs and a little gaming, so I might do that and leave the bank card at home!  And, since I’ve been craving pancakes, maybe that would be good Sunday morning.

Whatever you choose to do this weekend, have fun and drink plenty of water.  Summer is officially here and so is the summer heat and humidity!  Yuck!  The good news is that the days are getting shorter, but the bad news is that fall is still months away!  Now, sit tight and check out my random thoughts on this Friday.

I HOPE I DON’T GO TO JAIL!

In the past, I’ve purchased concert tickets, movies, books, and CDs from eBay.  My latest purchase is a first and I hope it doesn’t land me in jail!

I’ve always wanted a Jerusalem Cherry plant, but I was never able to have one because the fruit is poisonous and it resembles tomatoes.  And, we all know how Miss ABBA loved tomatoes.  She was a tomato thief that would walk by plants and snag the changing colored fruit.  She wouldn’t have known the difference between the edible ones and the toxic ones.

Jerusalem Cherry

Well, I haven’t had any luck finding one that’s already started, so I bought seeds online!  In addition to the Jerusalem Cherry seeds, I bought “Ice White Cherry Tomato” and “Pink Pampas Grass”.

I’m going to start the Jerusalem Cherry seeds soon and the Ice White Cherry Tomato and Pink Pampas Grass seeds in the winter, so they’ll be ready to transplant outdoors in the spring.  I think the Pampas Grass along the fence would be very fun and colorful.

Seeds

Now, what does that have to do with jail?  Wouldn’t it be crazy if the seeds were that of an illegal, medicinal plant? 🙂  Maybe I should Google and play FBI or DEA and see what those seeds look like!

“CHURCH” CULT DIRECTS HATE TOWARD KIDS, TOO

Sadly, for the open-minded of the Baptist faith, the cult bearing their religious name, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) in Topeka, Kansas, is well-known for hating just about everyone in the name of God.

Their latest target is 5-year-old Jayden Sink.

Jayden Sink Lemonade

Last weekend, Jayden and her dad, Jon, set up a “Pink Lemonade For Peace” stand to raise money for Planting Peace outside the Equality House.  Jon is the also the founder of FRESHCASSETTE – Creative Compassion, a “project to showcase music, art, and video…while bridging these creative outlets with humanitarian and philanthropic efforts”.

Equality House

The Equality House — a rainbow-colored home, is owned by Planting Peace, a nonprofit that campaigns for anti-bullying efforts, human rights, and gay rights.   It just so happens that it opened up three months ago right across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound.

The lemonade sale was a huge success raising around $400, with many active soldiers from the nearby Fort Riley Military Base stopping by on their motorcycles to support peace and have the refreshing lemonade.  Along with the drink sales, more than $11,000 was raised through the online site, Crowdrise!

Clearly, this did not set well with the WBC and they posted this nasty message on their marquee two days later.

WBC Lemonade

And, that was just the most recent nastiness displayed by the religious fanatics.  Following the deadly tornado in Moore, Oklahoma, that killed 24 people, including 10 children, the WBC tweeted this heartless boast.

WBC Oklahoma Protest

Thank God, the Patriot Guard Riders and other bikers surrounded little Nicolas McCabe’s funeral and the Westboro Baptist Church was a no-show!

Bikers Stop WBC

Serious, WBC, stay in your compound and have a party “drinking the Kool-Aid”!  I know that isn’t a very Christian thing to say, but …

MOVIES…

There are a couple of movies that I want to see that I’ve already decided that I’ll be waiting to see them on DVD instead of the movie theaters.  The first is “Man of Steel” with the incredibly dreamy Brit Henry Cavill playing Superman.

Henry Cavill

And, the other is “Now You See Me” with the always incredible Morgan Freeman, the quirky, sexy Jesse Eisenberg, and the other hot Franco, Dave.

Now You See Me

I say, the other hot Franco, because James is the first.  When I first read about his latest movie, “This Is The End”, I thought it sounded dumb.  But, then the trailer blew me away.  I really want to see a really funny comedy because the last one I saw disappointed me.  I’m talking about you, “Ted”!  “Silver Linings Playbook” was funny, but it was more of a dramedy.

WARNING:  This is “red band” trailer FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY for “This Is The End” — contains adult language, images, and situations!

Here is the edited “green band” version of the trailer.

So, I’m thinking a double feature of “This Is The End” and the new Brad Pitt zombie apocalypse thriller, “World War Z”, sounds like a good way to beat the heat this weekend. “World War Z” has been on my must see list since its release date was announced.  “Entertainment Weekly” gave it an “A-” and “This is the End” an “A”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Relax If You're Single Vokda

WHY SETTLE FOR “VODKA FLAVOR”?

I think someone in my house (the one that writes the blog) may have something of a OCD problem.  I just organized the vodkas and we have 46 bottles in 40 different flavors!

Vodkas

THANK YOU TO THREE BRAVE REPUBLICANS

I wish there were more politicians on both sides of the aisle like Lisa Murkowski.

AK Senator Lisa Murkowski

Earlier this week, the Republican U.S. Senator from Alaska announced her support for marriage equality.  After years of opposing the issue, she said that her views were “evolving” this past March.

Murkowski now says, “I am a life-long Republican because I believe in promoting freedom and limiting the reach of government.  I support the right of all Americans to marry the person they love and choose because I believe doing so promotes both values: it keeps politicians out of the most private and personal aspects of peoples’ lives – while also encouraging more families to form and more adults to make a lifetime commitment to one another.”

Murkowski becomes the third Republican U.S. Senator to throw their support behind marriage equality.

OH Senator Rob Portman

In March, Ohio U.S. Senator Rob Portman became the first sitting Republican U.S. Senator to support marriage equality.  His son, Will, came out as gay to the Senator and his wife in 2011.

Official Portrait

And, in April, Republican Illinois U.S. Senator Mark Kirk announced his support for marriage equality.

You can read Murkowski’s very personal op-ed here:  http://www.murkowski.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=OpEds&ContentRecord_id=8295b7c7-e504-4b32-bc25-354b3aef41dc

Lisa, Mark, and Rob, thank you!

MY SUMMER REPLACEMENT FOR “HANNIBAL”

Last night, “Hannibal” completed its first season and it was so delicious as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson) exclaims, “Controversial dish, veal”, while discussing the death of young Abigail Hobbs after the ultimate showdown between Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Mads Mikkelsen).

Hannibal Finale

The second season returns in 2014.

And, while I await the final season of “Dexter” (later this month on Showtime, but I’ll see it on DVD), the second season of “The Walking Dead” on DVD in late September, and the second season of “American Horror Story:  Asylum” (no DVD release date set), I’ve found what might be my new summer guilty pleasure.

Beginning Monday night, June 24th, the television adaptation of Stephen King’s 2009 science fiction novel, “Under The Dome” premieres on CBS, the most watched network for the ninth time in the past ten years!

Wikipedia:  “Set in the near future, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the small town of Chester’s Mill, who suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious, impenetrable barrier that surrounds the town. As the town begins to tear itself apart through panic, a small group of people attempt to maintain peace and order while also trying to uncover the truth behind the barrier and how to escape from it.”

And, here’s something totally freaky!  If you go to the website and type in your address and city, you will find your home placed “Under The Dome”.  It is an awesome feature, but it creeped me out!

Website:  http://underthedome.com/

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Greatest hits and compilation albums excluded, the last mediocre hit album by Tina Turner was 1999’s “Twenty Four Seven”, which only reached #21 in the United States, but it hit the Top Ten in Austria, Canada, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  It also hit #1 in Switzerland.  The album’s lead off single, “When The Heartache Is Over”, was one of Tina’s best songs since her hit making hey day in the 1980s.  Sadly, it didn’t even crack the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States!

Once Tina Turner left that abusing ex-husband, Ike, and scored her first solo hit in 1983, she had a total of 19 Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Of those, six reached the Top Ten with 1984’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” becoming her only solo #1 hit.

For my “Peeps’ ’80s Friday Flashback”, I wanted to feature her #2 hit from 1986, “Typical Male”, but there’s some copyright thing with the video on YouTube, so here’s another one of my favorite, sexy Tina videos.  “What You Get Is What You See” reached #13 in 1987.

SAME VIDEO CONCEPT, COUNTRY STYLE

Okay, Tina started something there with me in the 1980s and Reba continued it in the 2000s.  If you like your men hot in a desert backdrop with more of a country flavor, try this under appreciated country gem.  “I’m Gonna Take This Mountain” was the first single from Reba’s 2003 album, “Room To Breathe”.  The song only peaked at #14.  Boo to you, country radio!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

It’s Pride weekend in Chicago and since I won’t be there, here are some of my favorite Facebook pictures from this week three years ago when I last attended Pride.  That first picture is one of my favorites that I’ve even taken!

06282010 Gretel ABBA Returning Home

Looking at the second picture, do those guys work or just work out?  In the third picture, I love that the young man is showing support for his gay mother.

The fourth picture is of Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, who was running for President Obama’s vacant senate seat in Illinois.  He lost the 2010 general election to Mark Kirk by less than 2%.  He now works at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., where he works as Terry Diamond’s senior adviser.

And, the final picture is of Miss ABBA and Gretel all comfortable for the three-hour drive back to the Quad Cities after a long, Pride weekend.

THAT’S ENOUGH FOR ONE WEEK

I love doing this feature so much that I had to go back and edit out some thoughts and hold them for next week because it was getting too long.  I really do have a lot of random thoughts!  After you check mine out, let me know what you’re thinking.

By the way, after stating in last week’s random blog (June 14) that we’d probably not put up the backyard pool this year.  Well, we did and I know it’ll come in handy this weekend.  Stay cool and have a great one.

Anthony

Summer’s Coming, So Get the Popcorn Ready

I’m sure there aren’t too many people who would tell Ryan Gosling, Hugh Jackman, Sandra Bullock, James Franco, Amanda Seyfried, and Henry Cavill to wait.

Ryan GoslingHugh Jackmansandra_bullock_james franco imageamanda-seyfried-2Henry-Cavill-Shirtless-On-Superman-Set

As hot and talented as they are, I’ll likely be waiting for their new movies, “Only God Forgives” (Gosling, July 19), “The Wolverine” (Jackman, July 26), “The Heat” (Bullock, June 28), “This Is The End” (Franco, June 12), “Lovelace” (Seyfried, August 9), and “Man of Steel” (Cavill, June 14) to arrive on DVD in late 2013 or 2014, even though they all hit the movie theaters this summer.

Here are the movies that I’ve decided will send me into the theaters for my large popcorn and large Coke Zero (and free refills).

May 10, 2013

“THE GREAT GATSBY”

If the latest Buz Luhrmann movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Tobey Maguire is as magical as Luhrmann’s 2001 musical, “Moulin Rouge!”, it’ll be a masterpiece to me.  From all of the buzz I’m hearing, this 2013 version should easily surpass the 1974 adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald literary classic with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.

May 17, 2013

“STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”

I previewed this sequel to J.J. Abrams’ 2009 hit and re-boot, “Star Trek” last week in my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I can’t wait to see where this movie takes the USS Enterprise.  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana return and are joined by Benedict Cumberbatch (of the BBC hit series, “Sherlock”).

June 21, 2013

Since we’ll have Gretel one of these two weekends (June 21 or 28), we’ll have to make it a double feature weekend at the movies when she’s not with us.  It also saves money because you’re only buying one popcorn and two sodas and getting refills instead of doing it each weekend!

The last time we did that, Ray and I saw “Les Miserables” and “Zero Dark Thirty” on the same day.

Of the two new movies I want to see in late June, one features a fight to save the world from, you guessed it, zombies!  And, the other features “Magic Mike” Channing Tatum with his clothes on trying to save the President of the United States (Jamie Foxx).

“WORLD WAR Z”

This will be one of the most anticipated movies of the summer.  The Brad Pitt-action flick was pushed back from a December 2012 release date for re-shoots, which is sometimes seen in Hollywood as a sign that the movie is in trouble.  Plus, it’s not a cheap movie with a budget of  more than $170 million!  Pitt hopes that this feature will become a franchise.

All I can say is that these are not your “The Walking Dead” slow-moving flesh eaters.  They can move!

June 28, 2013

“WHITE HOUSE DOWN”

While I’ve never gone to the theater to see over-the-top movies by Roland Emmerich (the modern-day Irwin Allen), I’ve decided that it might be fun doing something I normally don’t do.  I enjoyed his “The Day After Tomorrow” on DVD.

And, with publicity pictures like this, I’d be a fool not to go!

Tatum Foxx

August 7, 2013

“ELYSIUM”

The Oscar-nominated 2009 action/thriller “District 9”  was incredible.  Director Neill Blomkamp is back with his latest thriller starring Matt Damon and a very stunning and sexy Jodie Foster.  I mean, check out that hair!  Did that sound too gay?  I’ve always been in love with Jodie!

Elysium-Jodie-Foster1

The movie takes place in 2154 and “the world has been divided into two classes”, says “Entertainment Weekly”:  the rich living aboard a high-tech orbital space station, “Elysium”, and everyone living on the suffering, dying Earth below.

Matt Damon plays an Earth resident that has to break into Elysium to cure himself of a medical condition that is available there, but not on Earth.  And, from what I’ve read, Jodie Foster is the villian in this movie.  She heads up the Elysium Corporate Authority.

The movie also stars Sharlto Copley, the star of “District 9”.

August 7, 2013

“PERCY JACKSON:  SEA OF MONSTERS”

Sometimes you do it for the kids.

Gretel is a huge fan of the Rick Riordan young-adult series, she loved the first movie, “Percy Jackson & the Olympians:  The Lightning Thief”, and she has a crush on “Percy Jackson” actor Logan Lerman.  (I have to admit that he is cute.)  Grown-ups will more likely know him as Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” from last year.

This movie will whet our appetites for “The Hunger Games:  Catching Fire” coming in November.

HONORABLE MENTION

And, while I’ll wait for the DVD, the new movie from Oscar winner Pedro Almodovar, “I’m So Excited” looks very funny.  His last movie, the horror/psychological drama, “The Skin I Live In”, was one of my favorite movies that I saw in 2012.

And, I’ll never think of the Pointer Sisters performing this song again after seeing this over-the-top, hilarious version of “I’m So Excited”.  Here’s the video.

In honor of the late movie critic Roger Ebert, I hope my choices that I’ll spend good money on get “two thumbs up”.

Anthony