Random Friday Thoughts — January 17, 2020

Happy 2020!

2020

I hope the new year is off to a great start for you.  Even though we’re only a few weeks into 2020, I already feel overwhelmed with some of the things I’m working off that I’ll share one day!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  If you want to comment, feel free.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

MOVE ALONG, YOU’VE PROVED YOUR POINT!

We’re now just a few weeks away from the beginning of the voting process for the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

After a few more suspended campaigns, we’re down to twelve “active major” candidates, which is still several too many!  (It’s a stretch that Bennet, Delaney, Gabbard, and Patrick are still in the race!)

I’m sure the Iowa caucus (February 3), the New Hampshire primary (February 11), the Nevada caucus (February 22), and the South Carolina primary (February 29) will weed out several more of those running.

However, it’ll likely be Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, that will narrow the field to just the front runners.  Fourteen states have their primaries on that day.

So, Hillary Clinton, it’s time to jump into the race!

Still

Say what you want — diplomatically!

WE CAN CHANGE THE FACE OF INAUGURATION DAY 2020!

JFK JUNE 1963

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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EERIE, SAD COINCIDENCE

Melanie Panayiotou, the sister of pop legend George Michael, died on Christmas Day.  She was in her 50s!

What’s eerie is that Michael also died on Christmas Day in 2016!  He was 53.

George Michael.gif

They are survived by their father and an older sister.

MILLIONAIRE “LOVER”

My favorite CD of 2019 was also the ONLY album to sell more than a million copies last year!

It’s astounding that the music landscape has changed so much with streaming, downloading singles, etc.!

Taylor Swift Lover

Taylor Swift’s “Lover” sold 1.085 million copies.  Of that, 699,000 were physical units (including mine) and the other 386,000 were digital copies.

Now I’m getting excited to see what the fourth single will be from the album.  I hope it’s either “I Forgot That You Existed” or “The Man”.

I would have added “Cornelia Street”, too, but it’s a ballad and her last single, “Lover”, was a ballad!

“FAST FOOD NATION:  THE DARK SIDE OF THE ALL-AMERICAN MEAL”

This incredible, eye-opening, and mind-boggling book by Eric Schlosser came out in 2001.

Fast_food_nation

While I know there have been improvements and advancements in raising animals for human consumption and in food processing and distribution, something tells me there are still so many horror stories today that threaten our health and our lives.

Even before reading this book, I was already considering giving up eating meat.  The first step will be to stop buying it for home (except when I’m hosting) and only eating meat when I’m out.

I’m sure I can do it since I gave up beef more than a decade ago!

While I know the research in the book is reliable, if only a fraction was true and our lives weren’t dictated by huge corporations and shady politicians, we Americans would change our eating habits.

Not just because it’d be healthier, but the production of meat, from raising livestock to slaughtering them for food, is so cruel and unsanitary!

A very compelling documentary to watch from 2009 is called “Food, Inc.”, which was nominated for Oscar!

In 2012, I wrote a very interesting blog called “Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us.”

Here’s the link if you want to read it and see some of the monstrosities we serve in our restaurants, including this:

6pound_000

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

“UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS: A STORY OF LOSS AND AGAIN”

I can’t believe that it took me so long to read Portia De Rossi’s 2010 heartbreaking book about her fight with food addiction and the obsession with weight loss!

Portia

I also didn’t expect that reading it would trigger me to fall off the food addiction wagon!

For a recovering bulimic or anorexic, eating is a nightmare.

Once you fall, it’s hard to get back on track.  The scale entices you with weight loss that you can’t do easily just by eating right and exercising.

Every pound that disappears is not just one step closer to a goal.  Sadly, it’s only more encouragement for the physically destructive behavior to continue!

After nine years as a practicing bulimic (1986-1995), I spent the next two decades “on the wagon”.  A separation (and ultimate divorce) caused a relapse for a few months, in 2017, but I overcame it.

And, I know I’ll overcome this recent relapse, too.  I just hope it’s sooner rather than later!

SKIP THIS BOOK!

“Call Me By Your Name” was my favorite movie I saw in 2018.  Afterwards, I read the book by Andre Aciman.

I was so excited when it was announced in 2019 that a sequel, “Find Me”, was on the way.

andre-aciman-call-me-by-your-name-find-me

I was thoroughly disappointed!

I was so excited that I’d see where Elio and Oliver were in life and if they ended up together!  However, most of the book (the first part) was about Elio’s father!

When we finally caught up Elio and in a fleeting moment, Oliver, it was too little, too late.

As for “Find Me”, don’t even look for it!

Pretend that this sequel doesn’t exist and just enjoy the beauty of “Call Me By Your Name” again!

It’s peachy!  🍑🍑🍑

peach 1

MORE BOOKS I READ LATELY

“Dispatches From The Edge:  A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper (2006)

What a riveting book about what Cooper saw in 2005 from the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami, various wars, and Hurricane Katrina.

Anderson also talked quite a bit about his brother’s suicide.

I sure hope that he sought therapy after 2005 because he sounded very depressed and down.

Or, like me, writing is therapy and maybe authoring the book was therapeutic for him!

“Vice:  Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of The American Presidency” (2006) by Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein

I knew from living through the George W. Bush presidency that Dick Cheney was a despicable man.  However, I didn’t know that his wife, Lynne, was also a mean, snake of a woman, too.

But, then again, why should that shock me???

“Christmas in the Old West” (2003) by Sam Travers

A very informative and fun look at Christmases when the West was truly wild.  How people survived back then (1800s and early 1900s) still amazes me!

“The Words Lincoln Lived By:  52 Timeless Principles To Light Your Path” (1997) by Gene Griessman

A great quote from the book, which is perfect for the new year!

Lincoln (1858):  “By all means, don’t say ‘if I can’; say ‘I will'”. 

“THE FAREWELL”

“The Farewell” was my favorite movie of 2019!

Its star was also in my #5 movie of 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians”, in a much different role.

In “Asians”, Awkwafina was comedic relief and in “The Farewell”, she shows off her dramatic acting chops.

She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical this month, but was snubbed and didn’t get an Oscar nomination!

It’s a the story of a Chinese family going back to their homeland from the U.S. to visit a loved one who’s dying of cancer.  However, the family chooses not to let her know!

GRADE:  A

“JUDY”

What an incredible movie!

If you’re a Judy Garland fan, you’re already familiar with what is covered in the movie.

If you just know Garland as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and maybe as Liza Minnelli’s mother, then definitely check out this movie.  It’s on DVD!

Renee Zellweger won the Golden Globe Award earlier this month in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama category and will be the one to beat when the Academy Awards are handed out.

“Judy” was my #5 movie of 2019!

GRADE:  A

“BOMBSHELL”

Even after seeing “The Loudest Voice” on Showtime last year, watching “Bombshell” was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!

“Bombshell” ended up being my #13 movie I saw in 2019.

GRADE:  B

A WARM YOU UP THIS WINTER FLASHBACK!

Since we’re into the “dead of winter”, here’s something to warm you up!

It still astounds me that Kim Wilde only scored two Top 40 hits in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Kids in America” reached #25 in 1981 and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” topped the chart in 1987.

She came close to scoring two more hits with “You Came” in 1988 (#41) and this one, “Say You Really Want Me” (#44), in 1987.

This video is so sexy and hot, but it was deemed “raunchy” in the U.K.!

SUPERBOWL TEASE

And, ahead of her Super Bowl halftime performance, a 2020 megamix of the sexiest woman alive — Jennifer Lopez!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

My Favorite Movies of 2019

It’s hard to believe that the first two decades of the 2000s are behind us!

Now that it’s 2020, here are my favorite movies that I saw in 2019.  The list was held off because I was seeing one of the movies that made the list on New Year’s Eve!

Some of them were in the Oscar race last year since critics and those living in large metropolitan cities get to see movies before most of America!

Before I kick off my countdown, here’s my favorite movie I saw in 2018!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.9 MILLION

Just missing out on the countdown:  #40 “The Old Man and the Gun”; #39 “Beautiful Boy”; #38 “The Front Runner”; #37 “Hotel Artemis”; #36 “Gloria Bell”; #35 “Widows”; #34 “22 July”; #33 “At Eternity’s Gate”; #32 “The First Man”; and #31 “The Mule”.

At #30 “On The Basis of Sex”; #29 “Green Book”; #28 “Rocketman”; #27 “Boy Erased”; #26 “Us”; #25 “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; #24 “Yesterday”; #23 “Mary Poppins Returns”; #22 “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and #21 “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

Now, my favorite 20 movies I saw in 2019.

#20

“THE FAVOURITE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $96.0 MILLION

19

“A STAR IS BORN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $434.9 MILLION

#18

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $97.6 MILLION

#17

“MIDSOMMAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $42.3 MILLION

#16

“MA”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $60.6 MILLION

15

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.5 MILLION

#14 Movie

“SECOND ACT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $72.3 MILLION

13

“BOMBSHELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.3 MILLION

12

“THE HATE U GIVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

11

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $21.3 MILLION

Bonus

We’re halfway through the countdown of my favorite movies I saw in 2019.

As a bonus, here’s a look at one of my favorites movies of not only 1995, but one of my favorite movies of all time! I can’t believe it turned 25 this year!

(While the movie premiered in 1994 in its native Australia, it debuted in the United States in 1995!)

It also launched the careers of Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.

Muriel.gif

10

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $31.9 MILLION

#9

“ARCTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4.1 MILLION

8

“ALADDIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.05 BILLION!!!

#7 MOVIE

“A PRIVATE WAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.8 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“HUSTLERS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $157.1 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JUDY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $37.9 MILLION

#4 CD

“THE WIFE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.2 MILLION

3

“BEN IN BACK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $10.1 MILLION

Holiday Bonus

Before I reveal my two favorite movies I saw last year, I want to celebrate another one of my favorite movies that turned 25 in 2019!

I had just moved to Chicago in the summer of 1994 and I remember feeling so metropolitan seeing a LGBTQ movie on the big screen that fall!

Ironically, I featured another Australian movie earlier with “Muriel’s Wedding” and now it’s “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert.gif

Guy Pearce was so beautiful as Adam Whitely/Felicia Jollygoodfellow!

The movie won an Oscar for “Best Costume Design”!

#2 CD

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $12.4 MILLION

Before I reveal my favorite movie that I saw in 2019, the two least favorite movies I saw this year were:  “Vice” (great acting, cheesy movie about evil people) and “Good Boys” (just the worst — I laughed once)!

For “Good Boys”, watch the funnier trailer instead and don’t waste 90 minutes of your life!

Now back to the countdown!

1

“THE FAREWELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $19.6 MILLION

Now, on to the new year!

2020

Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, January 13, 2020.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

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MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

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In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

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and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

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Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 2019 Holiday Greetings to You

My favorite months of the year are upon us!

While most were carving jack-o-lanterns 🎃 and wanting to feast on turkey, I was impatiently waiting for the first weekend of November to arrive to put up my Christmas tree 🎄!

Christmas Tree 2019.jpg

I hope 2019 is a year that you’ll remember fondly.  If not, there’s hope for us in 2020! 🙂

I’ve now been in Duluth, Minnesota, for a year-and-a-half and I’m still the Chief Meteorologist at Fox 21 News.

My first winter in the Northland lasted from October 2018 through May 2019 and brought over 106” of snow – the most I’ve seen in my lifetime!!!

Snow Car 1

Ironically, that didn’t even rank as one of the ten snowiest winters on record!

The bitter cold was relentless, too, with a few consecutive nights with -30° low temperatures!  Wind chills were even lower at -50°!

Oh, in February, I did a “Polar Plunge” into the icy waters of Lake Superior to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota!

Polar Plunge.JPG

In March 2019, I escaped the “winter wonderland” for a week in Bangkok, Thailand, and it was very hot & humid.

Night Cruise

The temples were beautiful,

Koi Buddha

the food was amazing and I got to hold a large, gorgeous yellow and white albino Burmese python – my Britney Spears flashback moment!

AP Britney Snake

I saw my sister, Tammy, a few times this year.  She visited me in April and I saw her in the Quad Cities (an eight hour drive) in June, August, and October.

That August visit was for a trip to Las Vegas.

Anthony Tammy Las Vegas

It was her first time there and she wasn’t impressed! 🙂

It was my first time back to Vegas since December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

I also saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie in concert and I got to meet him before the show!

Tanya

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As strange as it may sound, I’m looking forward to another long winter in the Northland.

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Yes, I love snow.  But, I’m more excited for the “next chapter” in my life in 2020.  I know I said that last year, but there’s actually a plan in place this time! 🙂

As Belle sings in “Beauty and the Beast”, ♪ “I want much more than this provincial life… I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell!” ♪

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Maybe it’ll be “Xanadu” – ♪ “a place where nobody dared to go” where “a million lights are dancing and there you are – a shooting star”!

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Here’s wishing you a bright and beautiful holiday season and an incredible year ahead!

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“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Anthony

30 Years Later, You’re Forever Our Girl!

It’s only taken three decades, but I’m finally getting to see one of my favorite entertainers in concert this week in Las Vegas!

She’ll join the list of those I’ve seen in concert (some many times) that are known worldwide by just one name!

Madonna. Reba. Britney. Taylor. Janet. Cher. Olivia. Gaga. Bette. Elton.

I’m still hoping to add Kylie (Minogue) to the that list, but Thursday night, it’s Paula (Abdul)!

PA.jpg

I’ve been such a huge fan of hers even before I bought the 12″ dance single for “Knocked Out” in the summer of 1988.

Yes, before she even released her first record!

My best friend and I spent all of 1986 reciting the monologue at the beginning of Janet Jackson’s first Top 40 pop hit, the #4 smash, “What Have You Done For Me Lately”!

This will ring a bell if you were part of the 1980s MTV generation! 🙂

“What’s up girl?”  

“He stood me up again!”  

“Again?”

“Mmmhmm”  

“Well, what’s up with this guy?  Do you really like him that much?”  

“Yes, honey, I love him.  He is fine, he does a lot of nice things for me.” 

Paula Janet

“I know he used to do nice stuff for you, but what has he done for you lately?”

Paula has released three studio album and several remix and greatest hits albums.  Worldwide, her record sales are over 53 million!

In anticipation of finally getting to see Paula in concert, I listened to every song she’s recorded and today I’m sharing my 20 favorites and a bonus!

20

“SEXY THOUGHTS”

19

“I’M JUST HERE FOR THE MUSIC”

18

“OPPOSITES ATTRACT”

17

“DANCE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW”

16

“ALRIGHT TONIGHT”

15

“BEND TIME BACK ROUND”

#14 Movie

“ROCK HOUSE”

#13

“STATE OF ATTRACTION”

12

“AIN’T NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP”

#11 Movie

“U”

#10 MOVIE

“BLOWING KISSES IN THE WIND”

9 CD

“VIBEOLOGY”

#8 MOVIE

“(IT’S JUST) THE WAY THAT YOU LOVE ME”

#7 CD

“THE PROMISE OF A NEW DAY”

#6 CD

“MY LOVE IS FOR REAL”

#5 CD

“KNOCKED OUT”

4

“RUSH RUSH”

#3 CD

“STRAIGHT UP”

#2 MOVIE

“FOREVER YOUR GIRL”

Holiday Bonus

“PAULA ABDUL MEDLEY MIX 1990”

#1

“COLD HEARTED”

Here’s to dancing the night away at the Flamingo Las Vegas with Paula!

Anthony

The “Next Chapter” Is Still Being Written

The holidays and winter are quickly approaching.

While I love the feast of Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for all that I have, Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Christmas Tree 2019

I celebrate it with decorations from early November through late January and I start listening to Christmas music on October 1st (earlier if I’m stressed)!

Back in early June, I shared “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” to let you know about my life — where I’m at and where I want to be!  That’s why you take the time to keep you with me, right? 🙂

I wrote that I’m “Alive, but not living!” and I said, “In life, I’ve only made two real spontaneous decisions.  As it turned out, both were the best decisions I’ve ever made!”

Both times involved moving to Chicago — in 1994 for two years and, again in 2002 for two more years.

I concluded with, “So, I’ll have to be spontaneous again and start living!  As this summer turns into a long Minnesota winter, I’ll enjoy every snowflake.  And, come spring 2020, I’ll proudly take to heart the words of my favorite Robert Frost poem, ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening’. 

Those words “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”!

I concluded with “I’ll take a gamble on life again!”

That’s the Cliff Notes or the “soundbite” version of the June blog.  If you want to read the entire personal entry (my most viewed blog of 2019), click here and it’ll open in a separate window:

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

Well, almost six months later, it’s time for an update and a clarification.

I know the intent was well-meaning, but I had someone basically tell me to stop waiting for this “next chapter” to happen and start living now!

Each time that correspondence crossed my mind, I’d stop, breathe, and count to ten!

Countdown.gif

Since I’m no longer in my 20s, 30s, or even my 40s, this is not a decision that I can make foolhardily.

For starters, I have two contracts to fulfill — work and my apartment.

But, this “spontaneous” decision that I’m working toward actually came to me in early 2019.  And, while visiting Bangkok, Thailand, in March, I decided with 99% certainty that I needed to write “the next chapter”!

Temples

Because I’ve gained ten pounds since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, in June 2018, my fall physical also showed that I had higher cholesterol.

Plugging my blood results into a formula, my doctor told me, “With this cholesterol, your 10-year heart disease risk is 4.2% — well below the level to start a medicine.”

Dr. C. also told me that I was in great shape!

With that being said, I’m moving forward with the “Next Chapter” and I can share this without alarming anyone! 🙂

Dying Regrets

I actually posted this before in an April 2013 blog!  Back then I said, “if I were to die tomorrow… the only regret that I have is #2 — working too hard in life.”

Let’s “time jump” more than six years, I now realize that I need to work on #2 (“I Wish I Hadn’t Worked So Hard”) and #5 (“I Wish That I Had Let Myself Be Happier”)!

No matter how independent we are or how strong we are, part of our happiness is tied to others.

That’s especially true in my life since 2017.  In the first year after my marriage ended, I didn’t go on one date and only two dates in the second year!  One of those led to a friendship.

It’s tough when you work strange hours and you don’t get to meet people.  It drastically diminishes opportunities of meeting friends or that “someone special”.

And, I’m way past the “hook up” stage in life of having meaningless sex just for the sake of feeling intimacy!

I’ve vented about this before, but it seems the world is so obsessed with apps designed for quick hook-ups — whether they’re single or in relationships!  No thanks!

Dexter.gif

Okay, that’s totally the wrong seductive GIF to use because I’d so retract everything I just said for Michael C. Hall (or Dexter Morgan)! 🙂

With the new year drawing closer, I’m excited about going fishing in a bigger pond!

2020.gif

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!

Cheers to the future — “the next chapter”!!!

Champagne GiF.gif

Spring 2020 is getting closer each day!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8, 2019

I still have a few blogs to share before the end of the year, but this is the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019.

If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

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

“LOCK HIM UP”

So, at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington D.C. last week, when Donald Trump was introduced, he was booed and “Lock Him Up” was chanted.

Donald Trump Lock Him Up.jpg

Less than a week later, he was booed at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Some say it was disrespectful.

I didn’t think that because it all goes back to what I was taught at a young age — you have to earn respect.

It’s no secret that 45 not only called Hillary Clinton “Crooked”, but he also went along with his cult, oops, his supporters, in saying “Lock Her Up”!

So then, why is it disrespectful now?

APOLOGIZE OR NOT?

A couple of weeks ago, Sevier County (Tennessee) Commissioner Warren Hurst unleashed a rant about 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and current South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (without mentioning him by name).

Hurst Comment

GLAAD, an LGBTQ media monitoring group, asked for an apology.

GLAAD 1.JPG

Pete Buttigieg.jpg

Mayor Pete, a Navy veteran, responded, “Well, he was right about one thing.  He’s right that there is a gay man running for president. He doesn’t seem to be right about much else.”

If GLAAD gets an apology from Hurst, that’s great.  But, sadly, if he does apology, it’d be an empty apology, so why bother!

In the early months of my blog in 2012, I wrote about public figures saying hateful things and then apologizing.

I said, “I’m sure if someone watching the news when I’m doing the weather makes a derogatory comment to their buddy about me, and not my performance, I’d bet that he or she really means it.”

So, if you say it and that’s what you think, saying “sorry” isn’t going to change the hurt behind your ignorance!

You can read the full blog here:

Your Apology Really Doesn’t Mean That Much to Me

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

“MR. ROBOT”

The fourth and final season of the incredible FX series, “Mr. Robot” is airing and we’re down the last eight episodes.

I love the series and I’m so glad the final showdown between Elliot and fsociety and White Rose and the Dark Army is taking place at Christmas, my favorite time of the year!

And, I still cherish this Twitter response from the show’s genius creator, Sam Esmail, after the season three finale!

Mr Robot

“BOMBSHELL”

I absolutely love Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron is incredible!

Throw in John Lithgow as creepy Roger Ailes (played by Russell Crowe on Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice”) and you have a sure fire winner when “Bombshell” opens December 20, 2019.

It’s the story of the sexual harassment lawsuit that threatened to topple Ailes and Fox News!

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than seven weeks away, but next Tuesday night my dear friend, Katie, and I are heading to the movies to see “Last Christmas”, which opens this weekend.

It stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh, both from “Crazy Rich Asians”, alongside Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”).

The romantic comedy/drama is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“COMPOSED”

I just came across Rosanne Cash’s 2010 autobiography, “Composed”, and I have to say it was very enjoyable.

Rosanne Cash Composed.jpg

It was nice reading about her early years in California, the ups and down of her life, her parents’ life, and how she handled the deaths of her mother and her father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash.

I was especially touched by the eulogy she gave at June Carter Cash’s funeral.

It was fun hearing her honest thoughts about her music career and her albums.  Interestingly enough, my favorite album of Rosanne’s was her least favorite! 🙂

Recording “Rhythm and Romance” was a very long process — they started in April 1984 and it wasn’t mastered until April 1985!

Rosanne says, “I still cannot stand to listen to ‘Rhythm and Romance’, even though I think that some of its songs — “Second to No One” and “Halfway House” especially – are among my best to date.”

As Rosanne started charting on the country music charts, I still listened to country.  But, I was moving quickly away from the genre for pop music and dance.

And, because of the pop sound, I admit that “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”, a song that hit #1 and won Rosanne her first Grammy Award, is still my favorite.

Coming in a close second is “Seven Year Ache”.  In 1981, Rosanne reached the top of the country music charts with that song and it became her only crossover hit.  It hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I still love hearing the lines, “The boys say, ‘when is he gonna give us some room’ / The girls say, ‘God I hope he comes back soon'”! 

Classic!

Rosanne scored 22 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Eleven went all the way to #1!

Thank you for the music and the wonderful book, “Composed”!   And, Rosanne, thank you for your activism and not straying away from being political!

I’M (STILL) WITH HER

It’s so hard to think that the 2016 presidential election was ONLY three years ago today!  It seems like an eternity!

Hillary AP

And, it makes me happy, regardless of the outcome, that Rosanne Cash and I were on the same team! 🙂

Rosanne Hillary Clinton.JPG

SCREAMING WOMAN & CAT MEMES

Here’s proof that I don’t always write and think about heavy topics!

For some reason, just the image of the “woman yelling at cat” cracks me up.  And, it’s usually funnier once it’s a meme!

Some are very naughty.  But, this one, by far, is my favorite!

Cat Woman

If you’re not familiar with this (where have you been?), it’s a screenshot of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards from 2011 next to a white cat enjoying a fancy meal.

NEW COCA-COLA FLAVORS!

Just in time for the holidays, Coca-Cola is rolling out two limited edition flavors:  Cinnamon Coca-Cola and Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite.

Cinnamon Coke Winter Spiced Sprite

These will be available through New Year’s Day or while supplies last!

Would you try it?

“THE HATE U GIVE”

I finally got around to seeing this 2018 movie about a young lady witnessing the shooting of her unarmed best friend, who’s black, by a white police officer.

Amandla Stenberg is amazing as 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in a crime-ridden, poor area, but attends a mostly white private prep school.

She’s at a party where a fight breaks out and shots are fired.  People quickly leave before police arrive.  Starr is given a ride home from her childhood friend, Khalil.

They pull over away from the party and talk about their childhood, Harry Potter, his sick grandmother, and the path he’s taken in life.  As they pull back onto the street, they’re stopped by a white police officer.

Khalil is shot dead in front of her.

Now, Starr has to bottle up her feelings about the tragedy and hide her identity at her private school — even as she decides to go public in a television interview about the incident with police.

My favorite scene was between Starr and her uncle, a black policeman (Common).

Ironically, this same topic (white police officers pulling over an unarmed black family) was highlighted recently on Fox’s “9-1-1”.

GRADE:  B+

“YESTERDAY”

This is a cute musical about struggling musician Jack Malik who wakes up after being injured in an accident caused by a global blackout.  He also learns that it’s now a world where no one has heard of The Beatles!

As he tries to remember all the Beatles lyrics and songs to recreate them, he becomes an international superstar.  He’s right up there with Ed Sheeran, who stars in the movie.

Himesh Patel is great as Malik in this Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) directed movie!

GRADE:  B

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD” 

Believe it or not, this is not about “that man”! 🙂

Trump

The second season of the critically acclaimed British dark comedy series, “The End of the F***ing World” premiered on Netflix earlier this week.

If you didn’t see the first season, here’s what I said about it in August 2018, “If you’re looking for something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:  ‘I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.’

Here’s the trailer for the first season.

GRADE:  B

“STAND BY YOUR MAN”

I just read Tammy Wynette’s 1979 autobiography in an original paperback that was discolored and falling apart.

Tammy Wynette.JPG

What an interesting life she lead!

The book ended in the late-1970s after the height of her popularity, on her fifth and final husband, and many hospital stays — and she was on in her 30s!

If you’re not a country music fan, you probably don’t know that she had 44 solo hits on the Billboard Country charts with 31 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Seventeen topped the chart!

And, with former husband George Jones, she scored 13 more hits with eight of them making the Top Ten and three reaching #1.

However, she also hit #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1991 with the British duo, the KLF on “Justified and Ancient”.

“REACHING FOR GLORY:  LYNDON JOHNSON’S SECRET WHITE HOUSE TAPES, 1964-1965”

This 2001 book by Michael Beschloss actually starts in December 1963 with a Prologue called “Jackie, I Love You”.

It’s a series of privately recorded telephone conversations between President Johnson (by Johnson) and Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of his predecessor John F. Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson Beschloss.JPG

The book mostly covered Johnson’s 1964 campaign against Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona and his first two years in office (1964 and 1965).

While there were many interesting conversations, the ones about a scandal weeks before the 1964 presidential election intrigued me the most.

Walter Jenkins, Special Assistant to the President, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct with another man (oral sex) in a public restroom in Washington, D.C. just weeks before the 1964 election.

Back then, it was thought that gays were a security risk knowing highly sensitive government information. Incorrectly, it was believed they were more likely to be blackmailed and spill the U.S. government’s secrets!

Hoover Johnson.jpg

What I found humorous is a chat between President Johnson and closet case FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Johnson:  “They raised the question of the way he combed his hair…”

Hoover:  “It’s just… that his mannerisms… were suspicious.”

And, Johnson, knowing the rumors of Hoover being a “secret homosexual”, wins with this line to Hoover:  “I guess you are going to have to teach me something about this stuff… I swear I can’t recognize them.  I don’t know anything about them.”

To which Hoover replies:  “It’s that you just can’t tell sometimes.”

I guess “gaydar” wasn’t perfected back in the 1960s!

Another interesting tidbit:  Analyzing the results of his landslide victory in 1964, but losing five states in the South because of his support for the Civil Rights legislation, Johnson said in a conversation, “Louisiana’s a bunch of crooks, and Mississippi’s too ignorant to know any better, and Alabama’s the same way.  But Georgia knows better.”

X-RATED LBJ

Another story this book touches on is rather infamous in President Johnson’s circle.

Lyndon Johnson.jpg

Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations, told of the time that someone asked the President why America was in Vietnam, Johnson “unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, ‘This is why!'”

Could you just imagine????????

A FINAL JOHNSON THOUGHT

Johnson Johnson.JPG

It’s very interesting that two vice presidents named Johnson — Lyndon and Andrew — became President of the United States after their Commander in Chiefs, Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and John F. Kennedy in 1963, were assassinated!

Lincoln Kennedy.JPG

And, civil rights for blacks were a major part of Lincoln, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s presidencies about a century apart with the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), the Civil Rights Act (1964), and the Voting Rights Act (1965)!

“ROCKETMAN”

The acting in “Rocketman” was incredible.  Taron Egerton was amazing as Elton John and I love Elton’s music, but I thought this movie was a mess!

Unlike the far more superior “Bohemian Rhapsody”, this movie seems very thrown together.

But, people went to see it.  The $40 million movie brought in $193.4 million at the box office!

GRADE: C+

“9 to 5”

It’s hard to believe that it took almost forty years, but I finally watched the comedy classic, “9 to 5”.

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, the December 1980 movie brought in $103.3 million on a $10 million budget.

Parton and Fonda both confirmed in 2018 that a sequel featuring them (and Tomlin) was in the works.

By the way, Dolly Parton’s #1 Billboard Hot 100 and Country single was nominated for a Best Song Oscar and she won two Grammy awards!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony