Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July weekend!

Happy Fourth

Oh, Liberace!

I hope you have an incredible time this weekend celebrating our country’s 239th birthday. 

Many things have happened recently that brings the thought of “United States” to the forefront.  But, is it really “United” or just “States”?

MARRIAGE EQUALITY

It’s been one week now since the Supreme Court of the United States ruled 5-4 to bring marriage equality to all 50 states.  While 57% of Americans, in a recent poll, agree with the justices, there will always be detractors.

marriage

I’ve always been proud to be an American and to live in a country that so many men and women have given their lives to give me freedom that I have today.

I’m even prouder now to live in the most populous country in the world that allows two people, whether it’s a man and a woman, two men, or two women to commit to each other in marriage.

I feel more “united” now with my fellow Americans knowing that everyone here at home has that right.  It makes me feel less of a “second-rate citizen”.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & RELIGION

One of the first arguments I heard when marriage equality was realized last week (and even before that when certain states allowed it) was about God and his condemnation of the union of two men or two women.

Let it go, people.

God

I pray every night to God.

I don’t fear that God is going to condemn me to the fires of hell because I’m gay and that I have a loving, sexual relationship with a man whom I’ve been with for going on seven years and married to for almost four years.

I also think that if you really believe in God, it’s said that he is the one that will “judge” us when the time comes and I’m okay with that.  Let God judge me.  When that day arrives, it’s a meeting that I’m comfortable with and I’m not afraid of the outcome.

Worry about your own relationship with God!

MARRIAGE EQUALITY AND “TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE”

It really becomes rather pathetic when you’re on your second, third (Donald Trump), fourth, fifth, etc. marriages and you’re still screaming about “traditional marriage” and how marriage equality will destroy the sanctity of your marriage.

gays_in_church

Also, you shouldn’t expend too much energy worrying about Adam and Steve’s marriage when you might have issues in your own household.

I can guarantee you that I don’t spend my family time worrying about what some other married couple is doing — if it doesn’t directly affect me.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & GAY BASHING

Sadly, last weekend, while those in the LGBT community and their friends were celebrating the marriage equality milestone, idiots and haters were out inflicting their ignorance on others through physical violence.

There were several reports of gay bashings including ones in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Seattle, Washington.

Pathetic!

People, live your lives and let others live their lives.  It’s sad when people are so insecure that it makes them feel better to inflict pain, mental or physical, on someone else.

MARRIAGE EQUALITY & THE STATES SHOULD DECIDE

We are the United States of America and I like the idea of a “United States”.

Does it really make sense before SCOTUS’ decision on marriage equality that you could be married in one state and not have that marriage recognized in another state?  Not at all!

Let’s be a “United States” and let all men and women be equal.

AND, SPEAKING OF A “UNITED STATES”

After the racially motivated killings of nine black church-goers in Charleston, South Carolina in June, the Confederate flag has been in the center of a national debate about its history and heritage.

This is a controversial topic that goes back to the Civil War in the early-1860s.

Then, and now, for some in the “American South”, it’s a symbol of pride.

However, the war ended 150 years ago and while some of the beliefs held then have gone away, there’s no denying that many Southerners still hold onto the thought-process that prompted the war in the first place.

Is there a correlation between that flag, those beliefs, and the shootings in South Carolina?  That’s up for debate.

Church Fire

But, in a very sad reflection of what being an American is, since those deadly shootings in South Carolina, there have been suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER BUTT…..

Many of you remember those words kicking off Sir Mix-a-Lot’s #1 1992 hit, “Baby Got Back”, that sold almost 2.4 million copies that year.

You know, “Oh, my God, Becky, look at her butt.  It is so big.  She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.  Who understands those rap guys?  They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute!”

That Becky and Sir Mix-a-Lot, I can sing along with and enjoy.

Becky-Wegner-Rommel

However, this Becky has me shaking my head and just saying “OH, MY GOD, BECKY, LOOK AT HER…..” for different reasons.

An Indiana woman, Becky Wegner Rommel, posted a 4-minute-plus rant on YouTube last Friday about SCOTUS’ ruling on marriage equality.

While defending Christians, she not only blasts the Supreme Court and gays, but President Obama and Islamic “extremeless”!

This video is NOT to be missed!  :)

Bless her heart!  I’m glad Becky has the freedom to say what she thinks, but seriously…

“MAGIC MIKE” AND HIS XXL RETURN

On to a much lighter topic…

When the box office smash, “Magic Mike” hit theaters in 2012, I went and saw it and enjoyed it.

APMagicMike

I’ve decided that I’ll be seeing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL”, when it arrives on DVD.

I mean if it’s really “XXL”, I’ll be able to see EVERYTHING on my big screen television at home. :)

Meanwhile, I’m so in awe at how comfortable star Channing Tatum is with his sexuality that he can admit (even if there’s some joking involved) a “man crush” and bromance with co-star Matt Bomer.

ChanningTatum

Recently, Tatum said that he “gets lost” in Bomer’s eyes (which are beautiful, by the way), adding “I don’t know what they are made of outside of dreams and rainbows and amazingness.”

Matt Bomer

Bomer replied, “I mean, obviously, I blushed.  Knowing Channing, and what a kind soul he is, I guess when you’re the most handsome man on the planet – and probably the most desired man on the planet – you have the security to give those kinds of compliments.”

He added, “It was great. It made my day, of course! I and the rest of the world feel the same way about him.”

Ahhhh!

EVEREST

It’s crazy to think that it’s early July and I haven’t been to the movie theater this year.

“Unbroken”, the Angelina Jolie-directed movie, was the last one I saw and that was in late December 2014.

I think I’ve found one that I want to see on the big screen.

“Everest” is a true story stemming from a 1996 disaster involving a group of climbers caught in a blizzard.  It’s based on the book “Into Thin Air” by Jon Krakauer, who also wrote the amazing “Into The Wild” (1996).

“Everest” stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”).

The $65 million adventure thriller opens September 18th.

“BITCH I’M MADONNA”

Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” kicks off in early September and I can’t wait to see her in Minneapolis the following month. Recently, she released the third single from “Rebel Heart” and of course, radio won’t play it.

Madonna Rebel Heart

But, the song is on track to become Madonna’s 46th number one song on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.  This week, it moves from #26 to #15 in only its second week on the chart.

Madonna now has more number one songs on a single Billboard chart than any artist.  Her closest competitor is George Strait who has 44 number one hits on the Billboard Country chart.

Here’s Madonna and her celebrity friends having a blast in one of the most exciting videos of 2015.

MID-YEAR UPDATE

Can you believe that it’s already July and that means that the first half of 2015 is already behind us?

Music fans, here are the top-selling albums for the first half of the 2015 posted by Billboard based on Nielsen Music.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)

And, if you have a great memory, this time last year the top-selling album was the “Frozen” soundtrack.

Frozen Soundtrack

At mid-year in 2014, it had sold 2.7 million copies.  However, by the end of the year, Taylor Swift’s “1989” would outsell it to become the top album of 2014.

The top-selling song so far this year is “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Digital Songs

1. Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars, “Uptown Funk!” (4,883,000 sold)
2. Ed Sheeran, “Thinking Out Loud” (3,450,000)
3. Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth, “See You Again” (3,073,000)
4. Maroon 5, “Sugar” (2,884,000)
5. Ellie Goulding, “Love Me Like You Do” (2,294,000)
6. Walk the Moon, “Shut Up and Dance” (2,155,000)
7. The Weeknd, “Earned It (Fifty Shades of Grey)” (1,966,000)
8. Hozier, “Take Me To Church” (1,925,000)
9. Rihanna & Kanye West & Paul McCartney, “FourFiveSeconds” (1,868,000)
10. Fetty Wap, “Trap Queen” (1,864,000)

Last year at this time, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams, was the top-selling song with 5.6 million copies sold.

“HANNIBAL” FUTURE LOOKING BLEAK\

In late June, NBC announced that the third season of the amazing “Hannibal” would be its last.

The show is one of the most intelligent, well-acted, and incredibly crafted and shot shows on television, but it’s seriously ratings challenged.

Hannibal

There is an online petition to save the show and even show creator Bryan Fuller has hinted that it was being shopped around for another network to pick up.

However, show stars Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal) and Hugh Dancy (Will) have now been released from their contracts, which means that they can now sign on to other shows.  Additionally, Fuller is now attached to another show.

Also, since “Hannibal” is available on Amazon, that means that services like Netflix and Hulu are probably not options.

Sadly, this is not the news I want to feast on.

Hannibal 3

Come on, Amazon, pick up this show NOW and I’m sure the one to two million people who watch it on NBC will come to the table for more servings of our favorite cannibal.

hannibal gillian

Yes, I know that Gillian Anderson will be appearing in the upcoming return of “The X-Files” in January 2016, but her Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier is so captivating and I can’t really think of just having eight more episodes of her!

“ZOO”

Did you check out the series premiere of “Zoo” on CBS earlier this week?

I’ll be checking it out this weekend and it looks very interesting.

I really hope that this is a hit for James Wolk.

The very attractive actor hasn’t had much success on television.  “The Crazy Ones” on CBS ran for one season and “Lone Star” lasted only five episodes.

He did have a 12-episode appearance on the hit, “Mad Men” in 2013-2014.

However, several of the shows that I’ve enjoyed (“Hannibal”, “The Following”, and “Stalker”) were recently cancelled, so maybe I shouldn’t get too invested in this new thriller.

“BEAUTIFUL NOW”

One of my favorite new songs at Top 40 radio the second single from Zedd’s latest album, “True Colors”.  “Beautiful Now” features singer Jon Bellion.

The first single from the album, “I Want You To Know”, with Selena Gomez reached the Hot 100 Top 20 earlier this spring.

True Colors Zedd

Other standout tracks on “True Colors”, in addition to the first two singles, are “Addicted To A Memory” with Bahari, “Bumble Bee” with Botnek, “Daisy”, Straight Into The Fire”, and “Papercut”.

GRADE:  B+

ELECTION 2016

The 2016 presidential election is still sixteen months away and there are already, at least, sixteen (!) Republicans vying for that party’s nomination and five Democrats.

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014″ blog, I wrote, “I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.”

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, that seems to holding true.

Real Clear Politics is reporting that a CNN/Opinion Research poll last weekend shows former Senator and Secretary of State Clinton with a 41% lead over her nearest opponent and former Florida Governor Bush with a 7% lead over Donald Trump.

In a match-up between Ms. Clinton and Bush for the November election, the CNN/Opinion Research poll shows Clinton a 13% winner.

“PRIDE” IN EVERY SENSE OF THE WORD

Many cities across the country celebrated Gay Pride last weekend.  I hope all of my friends in Chicago had a fantastic time without me.

I’m sure there were some fantabulous parties and outfits.

However, my hands down choice for best exhibition of “pride”, in both actions and costumes, goes to this 8-year-old boy at the New York City pride.

gay-pride NYC

While some are criticizing his mother (SHOCK!  NOT!), Wendylou Napoles, for letting the boy express himself in style and for dancing in the parade, she stands by her actions and parenting.

She says, “He has always been very gender fluid when it came to toys and his development.  He preferred fashion dolls to action figures. I looked at both in the store and figured that the action figure was as much a doll as a Barbie, so if he wanted the one marketed to girls that was fine with me.”

Kudos to Wendylou and to the brave child!

SUMMER 2015 PICK HIT

“Shut Up And Dance” is one of my favorite songs this year.  It’s the first mainstream hit for the Cincinnati, Ohio, band, Walk The Moon.

talkingIsHardBgImage

Their album, “Talking Is Hard” is fun and is one of the best albums I bought this year.

The album’s second single, “Different Colors”, was just released and is my pick hit today.  And, it’s a convenient song to end the blog — especially with the topics I’ve discussed today.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

It’s been fun sharing my random thoughts with you.  As always, let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with me.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and fun Fourth of July and fill every day with pride regardless of who or what you call yourself.

Anthony

When Facebook Really Isn’t Yours Anymore

There are about 1.44 billion Facebook pages worldwide.  The site was launched in early 2004 and was made public in late 2006.

My first social media involvement was with Myspace (RIP) and I didn’t join the world of Facebook until early 2009.

I have to say that, for the most part, my six-years-plus on the site has been enjoyable and I’ve met some amazing people.  On the other hand, I’ve encountered some that are certifiable!

While most on Facebook can pretty much post whatever they want, I have to walk a fine line.

Being a public figure as an on-air television meteorologist, I have to “filter” what I say.  It’s not to say that I won’t post my thoughts or share my life, but I have to think, “would that be unprofessional or offensive?”

On Facebook, some of you may only have family and friends that you “friend” and some will friend just about anyone, even spambots.

When I joined Facebook, I didn’t make a personal “Anthony Peoples” page and a professional page.  If someone knew me from television, I would “friend” them if they sent a request once I realized it wasn’t spam and they were real.

Most of the people who I’m friends with rarely comment on my posts.

As much as I enjoy expressing myself on Facebook and in my personal blog (“What Is Peeps Thinking About Now?), which rarely gets new posts from me because I don’t have the time, it’s becomes a little frustrating at times.

People think that if it’s on Facebook, they have the right to say whatever they want.  You can argue that either way.  Yes, it becomes public, so you have freedom of speech.

However, on the other hand, it’s still a personal page with a real person – a human with feelings (hopefully) – behind it.

Cherished Friends

As a Facebook friend, you’ve taken the time to watch me on television and to get to know me personally online and I appreciate that.

I make it a point to wish every one of you a “Happy Birthday” on your special day and I try to respond to every comment and question even if it’s just a “like” to show you that I read your comment.

But, I want to establish a couple of guidelines here.

Since you’re a Facebook friend or you read my blog, you definitely have a right to agree or, God forbid, disagree with me.

I’ve posted a “Hillary 2016″ picture, I said Governor Rick Perry was an idiot for calling the deadly shooting tragedy in South Carolina an “accident”, I shared a picture of blood on my finger when I cut myself on the sink, I probably post too many Madonna music updates and videos, and I’ve joked about the crazy weather causing me to work overtime.

Those are just some of the things that come to mind when I think of people overstepping the boundaries with their posts or hi-jacking of my page.

You can definitely disagree with me with a comment or two, but don’t write a manifesto.  Do that on your page or write a blog.  It’s free and simple!

If you post something on your own page that I really feel I have to respond to, I might say I disagree and move on.

And, finally, please don’t tell me what I should and should not say or post on my page.  It’s still my page.  I can and do separate work and personal thoughts.

For the record, I love my job.  I’m grateful for it and to be able to do what I’ve wanted since I was a kid.  But, I love my time off and I won’t sugar coat things and say what you want me to say.

I know others may not be as fortunate.  Some of you work multiple jobs, crazy hours, and have very little time off to make ends meet.

My mother worked in a hot, very physical demanding job until the day she died in 1990 making a depressing $3.80 an hour just to provide for me and my sister.

So, I know where I stand in life, professionally and personally.

I hope this clarifies my policy for being for friend on Facebook. I hope you can live with that.

If not, I won’t cry if you “unfriend” me.  We can have a professional relationship if you only watch me on television when I give you your forecast or we can share our lives together on Facebook, too, respectfully.

Anthony

P.S.  I’m not “Joan of Arc” either.  The words of this song basically says a lot of what I just wrote, just more eloquently and stunningly beautiful.  And, yes, it’s that damn Madonna again!

And, if you don’t watch the video, here’s the cliff notes:

“I’m not Joan of Arc, not yet
But I’m in the dark, yeah
I can’t be a superhero right now
Even hearts made out of steel can break down
I’m not Joan of Arc, not yet
I’m only human

Anything they did to me, said to me
Doesn’t mean a thing cause you’re here with me now
Even when the world turns its back on me
There could be a war but I’m not going down”

“Joan of Arc” — lyrics and music by Madonna, McDonald, Gad, and Griffin Jr. from “Rebel Heart”

Giorgio Moroder & The ’70s Magic – It’s Deja Vu!

The hottest music stars today are mostly in their teens, 20s, and 30s.  You can’t turn on the radio without hearing Taylor Swift, Calvin Harris, Nicki Minaj, Nick Jonas, Jason Derulo, Ariana Grande, Meghan Trainor, Sam Smith, Zedd, and Luke Bryan.

But, none of them can hold a candle to one of the hardest working international musicians that just turned 75-years-old this spring.  (Okay, maybe 88-year-old Tony Bennett, who topped the charts last fall with his duet album with Lady Gaga.)

I’m talking about legendary music producer Giorgio Moroder, who just released “Deja Vu”, his first album in almost 30 years.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

And, this new album isn’t just any album – it’s a masterpiece!

So far this year, Madonna released the incredible “Rebel Heart”, Reba returned with the amazing “Love Somebody”, and I fallen in love with Clean Bandit’s “New Eyes” and Walk The Moon’s “Talking Is Hard”, which has reached galactic heights.

Madonna Rebel HeartReba Love SomebodyClean_Bandit_New_Eyes talkingIsHardBgImage

However, with six months to go, “Deja Vu” may end up being my favorite album of 2015.  It’s that mesmerizing!

Moroder lined up pop music icons Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue, current pop stars Sia and Charlie XCX, and dance club chart toppers Foxes, Matthew Koma, and Kelis, and highlights the beautiful voices of Mikky Ekko and Marlene.

Giorgio Moroder DJ

For those that were not around 40 years ago when disco was ready to take over the world, here’s a quick introduction to the Italian producer who made the world fall in love with summer – Donna Summer.

He wrote and produced the 1975 classic “Love To Love You Baby” and was asked to make an extended remix for the dance clubs, one of the first songs to be released in that form.

It went on to become a number one club hit for Summer in early 1976 and was one of the most talked about and controversial songs because it featured more than 20 moans of ecstasy from Summer.

“Love To Love You Baby” was also named as one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!

Donna Summer Girogio Moroder

Moroder produced many other Donna Summer smashes including “Bad Girls”, “Hot Stuff”, “Last Dance”, and “Dim All The Lights”.

And, the four-time Grammy Award winner and three-time Oscar winner didn’t just work with Summer.

He’s also produced chart-toppers, classics, and award winners for Irene Cara (“Flashdance…What A Feeling”), Berlin (“Take My Breath Away” from “Top Gun”), Blondie (“Call Me” from “American Gigolo”), as well as songs for David Bowie, Janet Jackson, Pat Benatar, Bonnie Tyler, Freddie Mercury, and many more.

That’s the legend.

Now, let’s talk about the man, who decided after working with Daft Punk on the 2014 Grammy winning “Album of the Year”, that was ready to record new music with a fresh arsenal of current talent.

The first release from “Deja Vu”, “Right Here, Right Now”, featured international superstar Kylie Minogue.  The song topped the Billboard Dance charts earlier this year.

The follow-up single is the title track with pop superstar Sia, who has dominated radio with “Chandelier”, “Titanium”, and “Wild Ones” and has written songs for Britney, Kylie, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson, and many more.

I honestly couldn’t find a song on the album that is not pure pop heaven, but I can’t post all twelve songs here.  (Well, I guess I could!)

Some of you may remember Suzanne Vega as a one-hit wonder with 1987’s Top Five hit, “Luka”.  But, it’s the follow-up that never charted in the U.S., “Tom’s Diner”, that with Britney Spears’ sweet vocals and Moroder’s magic fingers and genius mind could become the most unlikely dance smash this year.

Britney’s “Tom’s Dinner” is the floor filler that the radio version of “Pretty Girls” (with Iggy Azalea) strives to be.

English singer Charli XCX, who has topped the charts here in the U.S. with “Boom Clap”, “Fancy” (with Iggy Azalea, again), and “I Love It” (with Icona Pop) in the past three years, sparkles on her hi-energy collaboration with Moroder, fusing disco with rap.

And, you can find samples of awesome contributions from Kelis, Foxes, and Marlene in the mega-mix from Moroder at the bottom of my blog.

And, Moroder doesn’t just make the music of his female partners sizzle.  He saves plenty of his musical wizardry for Mikky Ekko (“Don’t Let Go”) and Matthew Koma (“Tempted”).

Koma is working on his debut album and has already topped the Billboard Dance charts twice with dance wunderkid producer Zedd on “Spectrum” in 2012 and “Find You” from the “Divergent” soundtrack.

If you’d heard of Ekko, it was likely on Rihanna’s 2013 chart-topper, “Stay”.

Even when Moroder works without vocalists, the instrumentals “74 is the New 24″, “La Disco”, and “4 U with Love” are dazzling perfection.  If you close your eyes, you’d be transported to a disco in the late-1970s or a modern-day EDM festival or Las Vegas nightclub with lasers and pyrotechnics blowing your mind!

If I haven’t been convincing about how spectacular this album is (or you have no pulse or two left feet), here is a fun remix that Moroder put together to highlight “Deja Vu” before its worldwide release.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

“Deja Vu” gets a rare perfect score of A+ from me!

Anthony

You Can’t Spend All Summer Outdoors

Summer is a time when most people spend more time outdoors on the lake or river, lounging in the pools, or vacationing.

Pool Summer 2010

Whatever you do, it’s great to escape the cold, snowy months of winter.

11911Snow2

In the evenings, television networks are giving us fresh new shows so we don’t have to watch re-runs and pine for the return of our favorite shows.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Now that my favorites, “The Walking Dead”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Bates Motel”, “American Horror Story”, “Madam Secretary”, “American Crime” are on hiatus, and “The Following” and “Stalker” heading off to the television graveyard, here are the shows that excite me this summer.

I just have to include the trailers for the series finales of “The Following” and “Stalker”, both of which air Monday, May 18th!

R.I.P.

Now, my summer shows……

“Wayward Pines” kicked off on Fox, Thursday, May 14th, to rave reviews.

“Aquarius” with David Duchovny debuts on NBC on Thursday, May 28th.

Duchovny will play a detective who ends up on the hunt for a young serial killer, Charles Manson.

The third season of one of my favorite shows, “Hannibal”, returns on NBC Thursday, June 4th.

Ironically, that means Duchovny will be back-to-back on NBC Thursday night with his “The X-Files” television partner, Gillian Anderson, who plays Hannibal’s psychiatrist, Dr. Bedelia Du Maurie.

Gillian David The X-Files

Those ready for the six new episodes of “The X-Files” will have to wait until January 24, 2016!

On USA, I’m going to check out “Mr. Robot”.  It premiers Wednesday, June 24th.

I kept seeing the promotions for it during “Dig”, a ten-episode thriller that has already concluded.  However, if you have On Demand, I highly recommending binge watching it.

And, on Tuesday, June 30th, I plan on checking out “Zoo” on CBS.

There isn’t much in this trailer.  It’s a drama about a global pandemic that causes animals to launch violent, coordinated attacks against humans stars James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, and Billy Burke.

And, the six-episode accompanying series to “The Walking Dead”, “Fear The Walking Dead” debuts some time late this summer on AMC.

Okay, while I don’t want to rush summer, here is the ONLY show that has piqued my curiosity for the fall.

“Scream Queens” comes to Fox in September.

What shows are you excited about?

Anthony

Here I Come Vegas — Britney, Are You Ready? I Am!

As a television news personality, there are four months out of the year that we can’t take off because of the all important “sweeps ratings period”.  May is one of those months.

However, the May sweeps ends today and my 2015 vacation season officially kicks off this afternoon.  After a quick flight to Chicago, I’ll be boarding another plane to Las Vegas.

If both flights are on time (and I can get decent seats this close to show time), I’ll be one of the thousands screaming and singing along to Britney Spears at the last concert on this leg of her Vegas residency show, “Piece of Me”!

Britney Piece of Me

I saw Britney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2011 on her “Femme Fatale Tour” and she (and Nicki Minaj) were amazing.  I can’t get enough of Britney!

Britney July 2011

So, as I psyche myself up for the Memorial Day holiday weekend in Vegas eating plenty of food, checking all of the sites and hotel displays, and having a few tasty drinks, I’ve been singing along to all of my favorite Britney songs.

Allow me to be your jukebox today as I count down my favorite Britney Spears songs and I’ll share my five favorite Britney songs that were never released as singles (but should have been).

Let me say this was very tough since Britney has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide since her 1999 debut, “Baby One More Time” and is one of the best-selling artists of all time!

#20

“PERFUME” (2013)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #76

19

“ME AGAINST THE MUSIC” FEATURING MADONNA (2003) 

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #35

18

“GIMME MORE” (2007)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

#17

“RADAR” (2009)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #88

16

“CIRCUS” (2008)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

15

“I’M A SLAVE 4 U” (2001)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #27

14

“STRONGER” (2000)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #11

13

“PIECE OF ME” (2007)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #18

12

“…BABY ONE MORE TIME” (1998)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

11

“SCREAM & SHOUT” WITH WILL.I.AM (2012)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

10

“3” (2009)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

9

“HOLD IT AGAINST ME” (2011)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

8

“(YOU DRIVE ME) CRAZY” (1999)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #10

7

“OOPS!… I DID IT AGAIN” (2000)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #9

6

“SOMETIMES” (1999)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #21

5

“WOMANIZER” (2008)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #1

#4 MOVIE

“I WANNA GO” (2008)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #7

#3 CD

“TOXIC” (2004)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #9

#2 CD

“TILL THE WORLD ENDS” (2011)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #3

1

“EVERYTIME” (2004)

BILLBOARD HOT 100 PEAK:  #15

Britney Whip

And, here are the five songs that I think Britney should have cracked the whip to get released as singles in the United States!

#5 MOVIE

“TIK TIK BOOM” FEATURING T.I. (2013)

FROM THE ALBUM “BRITNEY JEAN”

red-number-4

“NOW THAT I FOUND YOU” (2013)

FROM THE ALBUM “BRITNEY JEAN” 

green 3

“BIG FAT BASS” FEATURING WILL.I.AM (2011)

FROM THE ALBUM “FEMME FATALE” 

#2 MOVIE

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (2002)

FROM THE ALBUM “BRITNEY” 

#1

“(DROP DEAD) BEAUTIFUL” FEATURING SABI (2011)

FROM THE ALBUM “FEMME FATALE” 

So, there’s my countdown of my favorite Britney songs and my five favorite Britney songs that only fans know because they weren’t radio releases.

If I’m lucky, tonight I’ll hear “It’s Britney, bitch” live from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino!

Anthony

Random Weekend Thoughts — May 9, 2015

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

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

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

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, DESSIE!

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

Dessie 1990

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

EATING HEALTHIER

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

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

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

RayCameraFridayVegas 161

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

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

LAS VEGAS, HERE WE COME!

Our annual pilgrimage to Vegas is getting closer.

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

Las-vegas-hotel-paris

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

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

Britney Las Vegas

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

FIORINA & CARSON, YOUR 15 MINUTES ARE ALMOST UP

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

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

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

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

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

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

president-hillary

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

A GAY OR EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN FOR PRESIDENT?

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

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

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

Way to go, America!

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

2014-2015 TELEVISION SEASON WINDING DOWN

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

Bates-Motel-Title

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

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

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

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

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

Shawn Ashmore

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

MORE “AMERICAN CRIME”

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

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

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

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

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

“HANNIBAL” RETURN IS JUST WEEKS AWAY

*WARNING:  GRAPHIC IMAGES*

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

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

“MAPS TO THE STARS”

2014 was a great year for Julianne Moore.

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“TALKING IS HARD” — WALK THE MOON

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

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

talkingIsHardBgImage

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

MADONNA & REBA ALBUM REVIEWS

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

MADONNA — “REBEL HEART”

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

REBA — “LOVE SOMEBODY”

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

USHER, WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?

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

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

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

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

JASON DERULO BOUNCES BACK

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

jason-derulo-album-cover

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

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

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

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

MADONNA’S “REBEL HEART TOUR”

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

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

Madonna Rebel Heart

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

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

WEEKEND PLANS

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

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

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

SHAWN ASHMORE — FOR ALL THE MOMS

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

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

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

Happy Mother’s Day!

Anthony

Reba’s Return To Country Music

When a singer is forty years into a musical career that has produced more top ten hits than any other woman on the country chart and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 singles by a woman, it’s hard for songs to sound original.

But, on her 27th studio album, “Love Somebody”, Reba McEntire sounds original and familiar at the same time.

Reba Love Somebody

In its first week, “Love Somebody”, Reba’s first new album since late 2010’s “All The Women I Am”, debut at the top of the Country Album chart and at #3 on the Billboard 200 (a ranking of all musical genres) selling 62,000 copies.

This is her 12th number one country album and her ninth Top Ten album on the Billboard 200.

The first single, “Going Out Like That”, is now up to #25 on the Billboard Country Singles chart.

“Love Somebody” comes in two versions:  a standard 12-song album and a deluxe Target exclusive that features two additional songs.

Hopefully when you bought the album or you buy it, you give yourself time to listen to it without interruptions.

When I listened to it for the first time, I was driving and got only two or three songs into the album before real life forced me to start listening to it again later.

That was a disservice to Reba’s efforts on the album and for my listening pleasure.  Because of that, at first listen, I thought the album felt disjointed.  That is far from the truth.

Upon devoting proper time to my idol’s heartfelt gift to her fans, I realized how much the album is classic Reba and how much I’ve missed hearing new music from her.

While the first single, “Going Out Like That”, which kicks off the album, was released four months ago and is slowly gaining traction at country radio, there’s no talk publicly of the second single.

As you explore the album for possibilities, the clear cut winner would be, “Enough”, the second cut on the album, which is a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland.

This song tells the story of a married woman hoping her man finds enough about her to stay while “the other woman” is hoping for the same thing.

Earlier when I said the album sounds original and “familiar” at the same time, “Enough” will have you flashing back to Reba’s Grammy Award-winning, #1 smash duet, “Does He Love You”, with Linda Davis, from 1994.

Reba has always had her finger on the pulse of people (mostly women) going through breakups and dealing with heartbreak, people hoping to find love, and for people finding that love.

“She Got Drunk Last Night” and “I’ll Go On” both satisfy the breakup and moving on theme.  “I’ll Go On” reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Reba songs that was never released as a single, “He Wants To Get Married” from 1992’s “It’s Your Call”.

In 1991, following a very dark time for Reba, she released a very personal album, “For My Broken Heart”.  The title track and first single and the last song on the album, “If I Had Only Known” are alive in this album’s “Just Like Them Horses”.

The beautiful song is stunning.  It’s about one person facing the reality that their time on Earth is over and they convince a survivor that they’re ready to go and that have to say goodbye.  They do it with grace, dignity, and respect.

When Reba got the song, she thought of her father, Clark, who wasn’t doing well.  When he passed away last October, Reba sang it at his funeral.

Reba 2011

Finding love against all odds is a strong point for Reba and through my 25 years of being a fan, she’s given me hope when I didn’t think there was any.

On this album, “That’s When I Knew” would give any man or woman faith that love is right around the corner and it’s my favorite song on “Love Somebody”.

Reba excels at upbeat anthems, too, and there are many on “Love Somebody”.

“Livin’ Ain’t Killed Me Yet” and “Until They Don’t Love You” are great, and then there’s the simplistic beauty of the mid-tempo, “Promise Me Love”.

When there’s a new Reba album, I admit that I’d be disappointed if there wasn’t a song that doesn’t truly rip your heart out and bring you to tears.

On her recent efforts, “Moving Oleta” (from “Room To Breathe”) and “Roses” (from “So Good Together”) come to mind.

On “Love Somebody”, that song is “Love Land”.  After I got over the mindset that the mother didn’t want her daughter to have a child outside of marriage, the message song brought me to tears — first, of sadness and then, happiness.

Reba Love Somebody

“Love Somebody” is a solid album and it makes you realize how much Reba has brought to country music over the past forty years.  It also makes it clear how much she could offer country music radio if it looked beyond ageism.

This is Reba’s best album since 2004’s “Room To Breathe”.

GRADE:  B+

My favorite tracks:  “That’s When I Knew”, “Just Like Them Horses”, “Promise Me Love”, “Until They Don’t Love You”, “Going Out Like That”, and  “Enough”.

Here’s a Reba bonus.

Last summer, before it was announced that Reba was working on “Love Somebody”, she released “Pray For Peace”, featuring her good friend, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, and her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson.

It’s featured on the new album.

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