Archive for March, 2012

“Miss ABBA” Memorial Tree

The unseasonably warm temperatures we’ve been enjoying over the past couple of weeks are really making me want to do some planting in the yard.  However, I know its way too early in the Midwest to plant tomatoes, peppers, and other tender vegetation.  We know how crazy Mother Nature is this time of the year.

So, we took a safer route.  Today, we went tree and shrub shopping.  The main purpose was to buy a “memorial” tree for Miss ABBA.  As you can see here, when we planted our two Hawthorn Winter King trees in two springs ago, Miss ABBA was very willing to help dig a hole without being yelled at. 🙂

We even chose a tree with “golden” in the title.  It’s a Golden Honey Locust.  It’s a fast grower that could reach 60 feet tall.  Initially the leaves are green, but turn yellowish gold by fall. This is the time when they are at the height of maturity. The HoneyLocust tree is one of the first trees to shed its leaves in fall.  This tree also bears thorns. These thorns grow on the branches and along the lower bark.

And, while I was doing my public meet & greet at the Flower & Garden Show in Rock Island today, Ray bought a golden retriever decorative yard flag for the tree.

Gretel chose two Emerald Green Arborvitae trees and Ray chose a White Pine.

So, until we can plant our garden and more flowers, this will have to do for now.


An Exciting Week to Dance (Even, on the Ceiling)

Some people collect stuffed animals, baseball cards, dolls, and husbands.  As for me, I buy movies and CDs.   I have close to 1,000 CDs in my collection, but over the past few years, I’ve really cut back on how many I buy since I’m not a disc jockey anymore.

This year, I’ve only bought five CDs:  Kylie Minogue (Aphrodite Les Folies:  Live in London), David Guetta (Nothing but the Beat), Rihanna (Good Girl Gone Bad:  The Remixes), Adele (19), and Ellie Goulding (Lights).

I’m very excited that three new CDs that I want  come out tomorrow and Tuesday.  Without a doubt, the one I’m most excited about is “MDNA” by Madonna.  I’m sure you’ve heard me mention it a few times over the past couple of months.  It comes out Monday!

On Tuesday, Katy Perry’s releases “Teenage Dream:  The Complete Confection”, which is more than just a reissue of her 2010 smash album, “Teenage Dream”.  This one features the 12 original songs, along three new songs, three re-worked versions of her hits, and Tommie Sunshine’s Mega-mix Smash-Up of some of Perry’s biggest radio hits.

And, the third album I’m excited about and buying this week is “Tuskegee”, the tenth solo album by 62-year-old Grammy winner Lionel Richie.  While he’s not as popular now as he was back in the 1980s, I still love his music.

With the Commodores, Richie scored ten top 10 hits and topped the charts with “Three Times A Lady” in 1978 and “Still” in 1979.

Lionel Richie went solo in the early 1980s and has serenaded us with that silky smooth voice and  commanded us onto the dance floor with 12 top ten hits in the best decade of music, the 1980s.

Of those, Richie has topped the charts with four of them:  “Endless Love” with Diana Ross (1981), “Truly” (1982), “Hello” (1984), and the Oscar-winning, “Say You, Say Me”, from the movie, “White Nights” (1985), which is one of three favorite Lionel Richie songs.  As you read on, I’ll post my the videos of three favorite Lionel Richie songs.

For his new release, “Tuskegee”,  Richie has gone country (!) singing with many of country music’s most popular performers:  Kenny Chesney, Blake Shelton, Darius Rucker, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldean, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Rascal Flatts, and Shania Twain on the first release from the CD, “Endless Love”, which is already a Top 20 Adult Contemporary hit in the U.S.

Should country radio take a chance and start playing one of the Lionel Richie duets and it becomes popular, this will not be Richie’s first appearance on the country chart.  He hit #10 in 1987 with the group Alabama on “Deep River Woman”!

Here are the original videos of my three favorite Lionel Richie songs.  On the new CD, Blake Shelton joins him on “You Are”, Jason Aldean duets on “Say You, Say Me”, and Rascal Flatts parties with Richie on “Dancing on the Ceiling”.

Party On!!


A New Way To Exercise & Lose Weight

I’ve added a new weapon to my arsenal to be healthier in 2012 and to lose the weight I’ve gained in the past three years.  It sure is easier to put it on than to take it off, especially at my age.

After feasting on ham, turkey, and many tempting side dishes at Christmas, my Ambrosia Pecan Pie (pecan pie with orange zest and orange juice) and many appetizers (and wine) for parties between Christmas and New Year’s Day, I peaked at 168 pounds.

After Miss ABBA went to puppy heaven seven weeks ago (February 3), I started eating healthier, eating less, and hitting the treadmill.  It’s also giving me a chance to read some magazines since I’m so far behind.  I always read “Entertainment Weekly” when it arrives and “The Advocate”, “Instinct”, and “Out” soon after getting them.

However, I’ve been carrying around an August 2010 “Time” magazine in my bag.  Yes, that’s 2010!  Now, I’m up to November 22, 2010, and I just learned that the mid-term elections weren’t good for the Democrats and the Tea Party is really out there– crazy!  Okay, I already knew both of those things, but I’m reading about it  now.

Back to the weight, eating, and exercise.   I’ve dropped from 168 to 157 pounds!  Now, I’ve hit a brick wall since  I can’t get past that number and I’ve started fluctuating between 157 and 159.

Today, I took a gift certificate that I got from Mom (Betty) for Christmas and bought a bike and a helmet.  Now, I can go riding with Ray and Gretel.  I hope it helps with the weight loss.  If not, I’ll have great muscles in my legs.

I went on my first real bike ride before work from our house to my sister’s house and back.  It was a little scary with traffic, but I survived!

Ray, on the other hand, wasn’t as fortunate.  He hit either a broken piece of pavement or a plastic bottle since they were both there in front of Culver’s and took a hard spill.  Luckily, he was wearing a helmet.  However, his five scraped knuckles, scraped hand, scraped arm, and knee weren’t as lucky.  He was a trooper and walked it off and we made it home without any further accidents.

Don’t tell him I told you this!

The main thing I noticed from my bike ride today, and thirty-plus years ago when I was a kid riding a bike, was the seat.  I remember my bike seat as a kid being much more comfortable.  Either seats aren’t the same for adults and kids, they make them differently now, or my butt is much bigger.  However, the bike seat discomfort is something that will take some getting used to!

Peace ☮


Parodies For a Saturday Laugh

The weekend is here and I want to share a few laughs with you this morning.  These videos parody some of the biggest names in pop music and highlight the feud between Madonna and Lady Gaga.  No, it’s not really “reductive”, but funny.

*Some could be viewed as slightly offensive, so no kiddies!!!*

Happy Saturday and enjoy!











New Hate Groups & Some Are As Scary-Looking As Their Message

The message of hate is always detrimental and scary.  And, here’s proof that some of the people spouting that hate are also scary looking!

The Southern Poverty Law Center recently added 11 organizations to its growing list of anti-gay “hate groups” and “The Advocate” made the list possible.  If you hear any of these names in the news, you know it isn’t good!

* Windsor Hills Baptist Church | Oklahoma City, Oklahoma  (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)

Pastor Tom Vineyard claims that half of all murders are committed by LGBT people!!!!

* Mission America (Columbus, Ohio)

The group has a radio show hosted by Linda Harvey.  She has said gays “hate Jesus Christ,” and that LGBT people should not be hired because they supposedly have too high a risk for diseases, domestic violence and premature death.

* Parents Action League (Champlin, Minnesota)

There have been a string of suicides in the Anoka-Hennepin school district after anti-gay bullying.  Barn Anderson of the group wanted the school curriculum’s to include “ex-homosexual therapy.”  Just to prove how up-to-date the group is, they want school to teach about “GRID”, a term given to AIDS that hasn’t been used by the medical establishment since 1984!

* Sons of Thunder (Luthersville, Georgia)

The Faith Baptist Church and its pastor go by the name “Sons of Thunder.”  Its website claims that “All homos are: sick, brain damaged, perverts!” and there’s a page on the website called “Sodomites can be Saved.”

* Repent of Burn in Hell Ministry (Loxley, Alabama)

A smaller group than the Westboro Baptist Church, this husband and wife travel around the United States the country with their three teenage daughters in a “Hell Van” with messages like “whore-mongers” on the side.  And, they love homemade T-shirts and check out the demonic-looking eyes!

* Jewish Political Action Committee (Brooklyn, New York)

Right before marriage equality came to New York, one protest included two life-size stuffed canines and a warning that marriage equality would lead to unions between men and dogs.

* Save California (Sacramento, California)

Promoting that gays are “NOT Born This Way” on its website, this group is opposed to California’s Fair Education Act, which requires inclusion of LGBT history in school lessons.  This wonderful, informed group says that “the clock is ticking for dads and moms to rescue their children from unnatural and unhealthy homosexual-bisexual-cross-dressing role models.”

* True Light Pentecost Church (Spartanburg, South Carolina)

Bishop Prophet H. Walker’s church says that “the Sodomite/Lesbian movement” is a sign of the end times.

* Public Advocate of the United States (Falls Church, Virginia)

This group sent an inappropriate ad warning of a gay conspiracy to “create a new America” to “The Weekly Standard”.  This group claims that “radical homosexuals” such as Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado are planning to “indoctrinate an entire generation of American children with pro-homosexual propaganda and eliminate traditional values from American society.”

The Tom Brown Ministries (El Paso, Texas), United Families International (Gilbert, Arizona), and You Can Run, But You Cannot Hide (Annandale, Minnesota) also made the list.


“Peeps’ Flashback ’80s Fridays”‏

It’s that time again.  Time to get motivated to get through Friday and then the weekend starts.  And, it’s time for my flashback to the ’80s and some of my favorite songs.

While Annie Lennon and Dave Stewart, collectively known as the Eurythmics, had bigger hits, this is one of my favorite songs of theirs and the video is amazing.  There’s just something about “this” Annie.

“I Need A Man” only peaked at #46 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it did reach #6 on the Dance/Club Play chart in 1987.

Eurythmics —  “I Need A Man”

Oh, he’s so dreamy.  Australian Rick Springfield topped the charts with “Jessie’s Girl” in 1981.  This song hit #2 in 1982.

Rick Springfield — “Don’t Talk to Strangers”

I guess I’ve always been a fan of the underdogs.  I featured “I Need A Man” by the Eurythmics and it failed to crack the top 40 in the United States.  And, this song by the English band, Haircut 100, didn’t do much better.

“Love Plus One” only reached #37 in 1982, so I guess that makes them a “one hit wonder”.  The song did reach #8 on the Dance/Club Play chart.

Haircut 100 – “Love Plus One”

Have a great weekend.


The Cold War May Be Over, But The Rainbow War Is Just Beginning

UPDATE:  August 7, 2012

The United States government is sending out a warning to American citizens in Moscow and St. Petersburg where Madonna is scheduled to perform two concerts, one tonight and one Thursday.

It’s not known if Madonna has been directly threatened or if U.S. officials have contacted her.

Madonna has been very outspoken against a new law in St. Petersburg that prohibits people from making pro-gay comments.  My original story is below.

Here is the full warning from the U.S. Embassy:

U.S. Embassy Moscow and U.S. Consulate General St. Petersburg


August 7, 2012

“This is to alert U.S. citizens in Russia who are planning to attend the Madonna concerts in Moscow on Tuesday, August 7, or in St. Petersburg on Thursday, August 9, that the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg has received information regarding a threat of physical violence against spectators and performers at the St. Petersburg concert on August 9.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the U.S. Consulate General in St. Petersburg have shared the information with appropriate Russian law enforcement authorities.

Russian authorities have indicated to the Embassy that they are taking appropriate measures in light of this information.

While we expect that enhanced security measures will be put in place at both concerts, U.S. citizens are reminded to remain vigilant regarding their personal security, and to be aware of their surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas.”

Earlier this summer, in June, political threats of violence and censorship forced Lady Gaga to cancel a 52,000-seat concert in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Madonna has six more European shows left, including the two in Russia, before bringing the “MDNA Tour” to the United States three weeks from today.  It kicks off in North American in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Madonna & Madonna fans, be safe.


ORIGINAL POST:  March 22, 2012

“I don’t run away from adversity.  I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”

Madonna plans on doing what she does best when she isn’t entertaining us with incredible dance confections — fighting oppression and inhumanity.

The pop icon will be taking on political leaders in the second largest city in Russia, St. Petersburg, when she performs a concert there on August 9th, after the governor signed legislation that compares being gay to pedophilia.

This law, which goes into effect this weekend, makes it illegal to engage in “the propaganda of male homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality, and transgenderism among minors,” defined as “intentional and unregulated distribution in a publicly accessible manner of information that can harm the health or the process of moral and spiritual development of minors, including forming among them the false perception that traditional and non-traditional relationships are socially equal.”   This would include Gay Pride parades and events.

Violators could face a stiff fine of 5,000-500,000 rubles ($170-$17,000).

Before 1993 when homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia, those convicted of being gay faced jail time.  Twenty years later, the gay community is still underground because of widespread homophobia in the country.  And, not too long ago, Vitaly Milonov, a deputy in St. Petersburg’s local assembly, called homosexuals “perverts”.

Madonna posted this on her Facebook page Wednesday:

“I’m a freedom fighter.
My show
My songs
My work
My art
Is all about freedom of expression
Freedom to choose to speak to act
Always with humanity and compassion
I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed.
I don’t run away from adversity.
I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”

However, that’s not good enough for some that are calling for a boycott of St. Petersburg.

Gay activists are planning to protest Madonna’s concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg.  The leader of the city’s branch of Gay Russia movement, Yury Gavrikov says, “we intend to protest against the hypocrisy of pop stars.”

I wonder what these homophobic politicians will think when they see Madonna’s homoerotic video for her new international release, “Girl Gone Wild”.

It probably comes as no surprise that Madonna stands up to authority and close-minded or prudish attitudes.  In the summer of 1990 while on her “Blonde Ambition” tour in Toronto, Canada, police warned her that she might be arrested or detained if she touched herself provocatively during  “Like A Virgin”.  If you don’t remember how that turned out from her film, “Truth or Dare”, I have it here for you.

Madonna, let Russia know that just because the Cold War is over, that it can’t start a Rainbow War!