Archive for September, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Ray!

It’s been almost four years  (February 22, 2009) that Ray walked into our lives.  Miss ABBA and I were ready to leave the Quad Cities and were just waiting for the right job offer.  The one in Idaho Falls, Idaho was not the one.

As fate would have it, if you believe in fate, I stayed for another reason.  If you don’t believe in fate, then God had different plans for us.

I am so thrilled with the joy and happiness that Ray and Gretel brought to Miss ABBA’s final three years and I hope that Ray, Gretel, and I have many more years of bliss and happiness.

Wedding 9-30-2011

Wedding 9-30-2011

One year ago today, in the presence of Gretel, my sister, Tammy, my “Mom”, Betty, and Ray’s sister, Cindy, we said, “I do” and were married.

GroupWeddingPicture

Here is a video of our life together leading up to that big day.  And, you know what, we really are “so good together.”

And, if you’re still reading, here are the vows that I helped write for the ceremony:

“Loved ones, Ray and Anthony are honored with your presence to take part in this ceremony.  We’re here to witness the close relationship of these two friends — who are already one.

Love is more than the thrill of romance and of being deeply in love.  True love is looking in the same direction together and caring about your partner’s happiness as much as your own.

There is love at first sight, but happiness is not something that just happens.  It must be created.  It is remembering to say I love you.  It is at no time taking the other for granted.  It is standing together facing the world as one.  It is speaking words of appreciation.  This union is to appreciate the imperfections in each other and being patient and understanding and having the capacity to forgive and forget.

Ray, do you take Anthony to be your lawfully wedded life partner?  Will you promise to  love, honor and respect him?  Share the good times and achievements as well as the hard times?  Keep him in sickness and in sorrow and to be faithful to him always:  If so, answer “I do.”

Anthony, do you take Ray to be your lawfully wedded life partner?  Will you promise to  love, honor and respect him?  Share the good times and achievements as well as the hard times?  Keep him in sickness and in sorrow and to be faithful to him always:  If so, answer “I do.”

Ray, please repeat after me:

I, Raymond Patrick Forsythe, pledge to you, Anthony Gene Peoples, as my friend, my love, and my companion / to love, honor, and cherish / as long as we both shall live.

Anthony, please repeat after me:

I, Anthony Gene Peoples, pledge to you, Raymond Patrick Forsythe, as my friend, my love, and my companion / to love, honor, and cherish / as long as we both shall live.

Let these rings symbolize the devotion and commitment each holds for the other.  These rings, given in love, are a testimony to all that bear witness that Ray and Anthony are truly joined together as life partners.

Ray, please place this ring on Anthony’s finger and repeat after me: Take this ring as a sign of my love / and as a symbol of all that we share / of my constant faith and abiding love.

Anthony, please place this ring on Ray’s finger and repeat after me: Take this ring as a sign of my love / and as a symbol of all that we share / of my constant faith and abiding love.

While you are two persons, there is only one life before you.  A life not only for Ray & Anthony, but also for Gretel, ABBA, Jackie, & Tiger.

May beauty surround you both in the journey ahead and through all the years and may happiness be your companion and may you be “so good together”.

Inasmuch as you have consented together in marriage, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the laws of the State of Iowa, I now pronounce you life partners.  You may now kiss.”

Rings

Those were the words we said to each other one year ago.

Ray, happy anniversary.  I love you!

Anthony

Houston, It’s Been 20 Years

Houston, we have a problem!  Actually, we have two problems.

One is being taken care of today.  I can’t believe it’s been twenty years since I last visited “Space City”.  Ray is attending a conference and I get to tag along and be a tourist this time and I know that I’ll be much more subdued than I was on my last visit.

The other problem is the weather this weekend.  While you’ll have spectacular weather in the Quad Cities with highs near 80° today and in the 70s tomorrow, check out this craziness in Houston.

This afternoon, when we arrive in Houston, we plan on driving over to Galveston Bay, walk along the Kemah Boardwalk and have dinner, and then drive back to the NASA/Johnson Space Center for the Ballunar Liftoff to see the Balloon Glow against the Texas evening sky tonight.

Earlier Saturday, there was a “Flash Flood Watch” for Houston and much of southeastern Texas.  As of mid-morning, while waiting in Chicago for our flight, that “Watch” for Houston has been cancelled!  Heavy rain is still possible today and tonight and the Balloon Glow is still in jeopardy to be cancelled tonight.  However, we’re still going to do the Boardwalk.  I’ve always wanted to walk in Paris in the rain.  Southeast Texas will be my Paris tonight!

When Ray isn’t at his conference, we plan on checking out the culinary delights of Houston, walk around and admire the architecture, go to a few of the clubs, and just live it up in the big city this week.

Ray has been to Texas, but not Houston.  My only time here was for Halloween in 1992 and it was also the very first time that I had been on a plane and it was awesome.

Although I’ve lived in the Quad Cities for almost seven years, I’ve never flown out of the airport here.  So, this will be another first for me.  I’ve been on three trips that required air travel since moving here, but I’ve always flown out of Chicago so that Mr. Panda could doggie sit for Miss ABBA.

My first trip to Houston was with my best friends, Steve and Dennis, from Kentucky.

While those are rather innocent pictures, prepare yourself for some scandalous flashback pictures from the Halloween party in the Montrose District!

Here are some of the better costumes that I saw that Halloween at JR’s.

At the time of my Houston visit, I had partied in Chicago, but not at Halloween.  So, we decided to go all out since no one knew us!!!

So there, you’ve been warned and it even scared Kevin!

Dennis and Hank, a longtime friend of Dennis’ that lived in Houston, decided to go in drag.  They put a lot of effort in their costumes and Dennis didn’t like it that we thought he looked like Suzanne Sugarbaker from “Designing Women”.

As you look at the wild pictures, remember I was in my carefree 20s, pre-Facebook!  However, don’t expect any pictures like this from Houston this time.

What’s interesting is that while dressed like this, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that’s a good thing!  And, on this trip, there will be no boob admiration going on!

However, my last night in town, we went bar-hopping without costumes!

In 1992, I was still infatuated with Edward Lewis, Richard Gere’s character in “Pretty Woman” and yes, that is what I wore out that night to JR’s, Montrose Mining Company, and the Ripcord.

Dennis was too scared to stay at the Ripcord, but I stayed and had a great time.  While I didn’t pay for many drinks that night, I paid the price the next day with a major hangover on the flight back to Kentucky.

All and all, it was a fantastic first visit to Houston and I expect this one to surpass that one.  Here’s the icing on the cake.  The day after we got home from Houston, Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States!

Have a great weekend.  I hope you weren’t too startled with the Halloween pictures!  Oh, those wild days twenty years ago!

Anthony

Hits & Misses — What Is The Key To Succeed?

I think I have good taste.  I also think I have a good ear for music and can pick out great movies.  But, that doesn’t always translate into mainstream success.  Maybe I’m just not mainstream???

In 1990, I loved “Pretty Women” and it was huge at the box office ($463.4 million) and it made that stunning Julia Roberts a star and showed how sexy Richard Gere was with gray hair.

Okay, women, gay friends, and jealous straight men, you have to admit that young Richard Gere was breathless.

On the other hand, in 1991, I absolutely loved “For The Boys” with Bette Midler.  I’m still enthralled with it today, but it bombed at the box office.  The $40 million movie only made back $23.2 million.

This weekend, I predicted that “Looper” would be huge and for the weekend of October 12, 2012, “Argo” will rule the box office and I’ll be checking that one out in Las Vegas.  I can’t wait.

However, before I get totally sidetracked about movies, this blog is really about picking music.  And, if you stay with me to the end, a very sexy, naughty new video that should be big.  If not, I don’t know what to say. 🙂

In 1983, I fell in love with a dancer and singer that specialized in club music before she was mainstream.

When Madonna charted with her first few radio hits, “Holiday”, “Lucky Star”, and “Borderline”, music industry skeptics said that her career would be over soon and that Cyndi Lauper was the real star.  I loved Cyndi’s music and I still do.  I appreciate all that she’s done for the LGBT community, but let’s face it, Madonna is the biggest star.

On the other hand, I thought that Kim Wilde would be big in the U.S.  She scored 21 Top 40 hits in her native England.  However, in America, she only hit #25 with “Kids In America” in 1982, and she topped the chart in 1987 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

In 2005, I loved Cascada and they scored a few big radio hits in the U.S. (“Everytime We Touch” and “Evacuate The Dancefloor”).  And, in early 2008, I fell in love with another blonde dance artist named Lady Gaga before she went mainstream and she’s doing pretty good!

Last spring, I predicted that Carly Rae Jepsen would be huge this summer and I think you may have heard her song “Call Me Maybe” a few times.  Okay, a few thousand times.

Recently, my pick hits have been Chris Wallace, Calvin Harris, and Martina and the Diamonds.

So far, Chris had some modest airplay with Remember When (Push Rewind) and Calvin Harris sent Rihanna to the top of the chart with “We Found Love” and scored big hits with “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.

The act that I really expected to do much better in America was Marina and the Diamonds.  The new album, “Electra Heart” is great.  It sounds like 1980s new wave combined with 2012 angst.  Marina even  sounds like Katy Perry.  That should be enough for U.S. radio success.  However, the first single, Primadonna” didn’t even chart of the Billboard Hot 100 despite modest radio airplay.

Her new song, “How To Be A Heartbreaker” may receive the same cool reception at radio, but the video is nothing short of HOT!!!!  Prepare yourself ladies and gay men!

Okay, before I post it, there is some drama associated with it.  After the video was finished, here’s what Marina tweeted, “So, someone at my record label wont let me release the video bc I look ugly in it apparently + we need more $ / time to paint out ugly parts'”.

There’s that whole freaking image thing again and how young woman in entertainment are supposed to look.  Let the woman sing and do her thing!!

“HOW TO BE A HEARTBREAKER”

As a bonus (if you’re still reading), here’s Marina’s video to “Primadonna” and Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind).  Both are amazing and under appreciated.

“PRIMADONNA”

“REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND)”

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Peeps’ Friday ’80s Flashbacks

It’s Friday and the traditional weekend is approaching.  I say that because my weekend, and vacation, started Wednesday.  Let’s flashback to the 1980s with three of my favorites.  One, you’ll definitely know, one will jog your memory, and one, you probably missed back then.

“Forever Your Girl” — Paula Abdul

Before she was a reality show loony bird, Paula Abdul was a choreographer for Janet Jackson and chart-topping pop star.  I remember buying her first 12″ dance single in 1988.  “Knocked Out” only made it #41 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it was a club hit.  The follow-up single only reached #88.  However, she became a household name with her third release from the album, “Forever Your Girl”.

“Straight Up” reached #1 on the Hot 100 and that started a run of eight consecutive Top Ten songs.  Of those eight, six reached #1 (In addition to “Straight Up”, there was “Forever Your Girl”, “Cold Hearted”, “Opposites Attract”, “Rush Rush”, and “The Promise of A New Day”.

Abdul’s last Top 40 hit on the Hot 100 was “My Love Is For Real” in 1995.  It reached #28.  Paula would go one to have 11 Top 40 hits with 8 of those hitting the Top Ten.

My selection today is the title track for her first album that reached the top of the charts in 1989.  It spent two weeks at #1 and the video was directed by David Fincher and starred a very young Elijah Wood and Trevor Wright, who went on to star in one of my favorite movies, “Shelter”.

 

“Ain’t Even Done With The Night” — John Cougar

This Indiana rocker hit the music scene with the name John Cougar and Johnny Cougar, but as he became a star, he changed it to John Cougar Mellencamp, and eventually, in 1991, he took back his real name and dropped the Cougar from his act.

I saw him in concert in the 1980s in Carbondale, Illinois, and he was fantastic.

John, as a I’ll call him today, had a total of 22 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  His first hit, “I Need A Lover” peaked at #28 in 1979 and he scored his last hit in 1996 with “Key West Intermezzo” and I admit by that time I was only listening to dance and country, so I don’t remember that one.

However, he hit it big in 1982 with his album, “American Fool” and the first two releases, the #2 “Hurts So Good” and the #1 smash, “Jack & Diane”.  That would be his only #1 song.

My selection today is a song that only reached #17 in 1981, but I still love “Ain’t Even Done With the Night” and it helped me transition over to pop music from country.  The album title, “Nothin’ Matters and What If It Did” is awesome!  (And, look at that baby face and he was 28!)

“Chain Reaction”  — Diana Ross

Diana Ross is one of the most successful artists in the history of music.  As a solo artist and as a member of  The Supremes, she hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 a total of 52 times.  Of those hits, 30 hit the Top Ten, and she has a total of 18 #1 songs.

Her first hit with The Supremes was in 1963 and the last #1 was “Someday We’ll Be Together”.  As a solo artist, her first release reached #20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, her second solo hit, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” would become the first of six solo #1 songs.  That would be followed by “Touch Me In The Morning”, “Theme from Mahogany”, “Love Hangover”, “Upside Down”, and Endless Love” with Lionel Richie.

As a solo artist, Diana had 27  Top 40 songs and 12 of those reached the Top Ten.

My selection today, “Chain Reaction” is my favorite Diana Ross song.  It was a huge failure in the U.S.  It only reached #66 in two chart tries on the Billboard Hot 100, although it did reach #7 on the Billboard Dance Chart.  Bit, it did top the charts in the U.K. and Australia.

Have a great weekend!

Peeps

A Buffet of Thoughts — A Little of This & That

It feels like one of those days where I’d love to have a buffet!  But, I’m determined to eat healthy through Saturday when I leave for Houston.  So, I’ll have a blog buffet — where I talk a little about this and a little about that.

SO GOES OHIO, SO GOES THE COUNTRY

Watch out, Mitt Romney!!!  If the great people of the Buckeye State are correct and they have been since 1972, you’re in trouble.  Since Ohio is considered a “battleground” state that will be key in deciding the 2012 election, you’d better be spending much of your time, money, and efforts there.

Since 1972, Ohio has picked the winning candidate in the presidential election.  As a matter of fact, since 1944, the state has only picked the wrong candidate in the race for the White House one time!  Back in 1960, Ohio picked Republican Richard Nixon over Democratic winner John F. Kennedy by 6.6%.

In the latest CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac poll of Ohio voters posted on Real Clear Politics, President Barack Obama leads Romney by 10%!

And, speaking of President Obama, I entered a contest the other day and the winner gets to have dinner with the President before the election.  While a long shot, Gretel is very excited.

IS THAT A DINOSAUR?

While the Quad Cities will enjoy more “Indian Summer-like” weather (NOAA: “Indian Summer” is generally associated with a period of considerably above normal temperatures, accompanied by dry and hazy conditions ushered in on a south or southwesterly breeze”), from this weather map you’d think that a storm would be bringing a dinosaur into the middle of the country!  I saw this a while back and saved it.  Too funny!

Sadly, the forecast for Houston Saturday when we arrive doesn’t look too great and will likely keep us from seeing the “Balloon Glow” of hot air balloons at the Johnson Space Center!   Bummer!  😦

OUR FISH SHOULD BE VERY AFRAID

Overnight, I was awakened around 2 a.m. by a noise down on the patio, which is located right below our bedroom window.  One of the cats heard it, too, and she was in the window peering outside.  As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw it.  A raccoon was scurrying around trying to get the can of fish food open after it knocked the container off the patio table.  I ran downstairs and turned on the patio light and it ran up the steps into the backyard away from me.  Like a warrior, I grabbed the water hose and started spraying it into the direction that it ran.

Those are pictures of the fish earlier in the week.  I think we need to find something to keep the raccoons away from them this week while we’re gone.  We definitely didn’t  fatten them up to be a meal for a nocturnal beast!

RANDOM PICTURES I REALLY LIKE

REMEMBERING MY GRANDMOTHER

On Monday, my sister, Tammy, turned 46.  We celebrated by Ray making her dinner and we had pumpkin cake roll for dessert.  Tammy is not the only family member that would have been celebrating a birthday Monday.  She was born on my grandmother Helen’s birthday.

Had my grandmother been alive, she would have been 99 years old!!!

FALL MOVIES & OSCAR CONTENDERS ARE COMING

I’m so excited to see the new Ben Affleck movie, “Argo” when it’s released on October 12th.  I’ll be in Las Vegas and I plan on finding a movie theater.  I’ve already expressed interest in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”, “The Paperboy”, “Lincoln”, and “Zero Dark Thirty”.  Now, I’ve added another one to the list.

“Entertainment Weekly” calls “The Impossible”, starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, a “shocking tsunami drama” based on one family’s experience of the Indian Ocean tsunami that hit on Christmas Day (our time) 2004.  The trailer looks incredible.

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

I know that I just blogged two days ago about the new Mattel Barbie coming out and that I still didn’t get my Reba doll from last year, but here are a few nice places you can shop this year and know that some of your money goes toward marriage equality.

FALL TELEVISION

While I wait for the new ABC Reba McEntire comedy, “Malibu Country” (November 2nd), the only new television show I’ve checked out this fall is “The New Normal”, from Ryan Murphy (“Glee”, “American Horror Story”, and “Nip/Tuck”).  It focuses on a gay Los Angeles couple (Bryan and David) wanting to have a baby.  Goldie, who just moved to LA from Ohio agrees to be their surrogate mother for $35,000 to go back to law school and to make a better life for her daughter, Shania.

It’s funny and enjoyable.  The premiere episode has been the best.  The ensemble cast is great and the standouts are Ellen Barkin (Goldie’s grandmother), NeNe Leakes (Bryan’s personal assistant), and Bebe Wood (Shania, Goldie’s pre-teen daughter).

Sadly, the ratings for the NBC show have already started slipping from almost 7 million viewers for the first two episodes to around 5 million for Tuesday night’s politically-charged episode, “Obama Mama”.  Check out this extended preview if you haven’t already watched the show.

Tonight (Thursday night), I want to check out CBS’ new take on Sherlock Holmes, “Elementary”.  It’s not because I’m a fan of the detective.  It’s because I’ve had the hots for Angelina Jolie’s ex-husband, Jonny Lee Miller, ever since he played “Eli Stone” on ABC (thanks for cancelling that ABC, bad call!).

Speaking of hots, Miller’s version of Holmes is even tattooed! 🙂

And, finally, Sunday night is the seventh season premiere of “Dexter”.  And, we’re only two weeks away from the new season “The Walking Dead”!  I love this post to thank the show’s 10 million Facebook fans!

And, the new season of “American Horror Story” is coming, along with the final season of “Fringe”.

FLOWERS

With the trees beginning to turn and mums opening up, colors are beginning to pop.  Did you know that in the winter of 1636, tulip mania hit Holland and for some time, bulbs traded for the price of houses? Crazy!  Although I’d never pay that much for anything, other than a house, the sight is majestic!

MY NEW MUSIC GUILTY PLEASURE

While I await the new Lady Antebellum Christmas CD, “On This Winter’s Night” and  Blake Shelton’s Christmas album (because it features Reba), the album I’m really excited about is Calvin Harris’ “18 Months” (October 29, 2012).

For those that don’t know him, he’s a Scottish DJ and producer.  He also spent 10 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with Rihanna on “We Found Love”.  He’s also had other hits like, “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.  His new song, “Sweet Nothing”, features Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.

And, FYI, I still cringe when I hear the current Taylor Swift song, “We Are Never Blah Blah Blah”!

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY

I’ll leave with you this amazing quote from Chinese journalist Hu Shuli, “Believe in what you do, do it smartly, and never give up.”

Have a great day and thanks for checking out my buffet blog.

Anthony

You Need To Shut Your “Fat” Mouth

It’s no surprise in this country that we have young girls and boys starving themselves or sticking their fingers or other objects down their throats to make themselves throw up their dinner to maintain some unrealistic body image or keep from being called “fat”.

I’ve been very open in the past about my nine-year battle with bulimia from 1986-1995.  Honestly, I’ll always have an eating disorder and although I’m not a practicing bulimic, it’s something that I think about every day.  I blogged about this back in February when fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld made a comment that singer Adele was “too fat”.  You can find that link at the bottom of this blog.

Yes, Adele is definitely a full-figured woman, but the name calling has to stop.

Guess who the latest “fat” celebrity is?  Guess who’s getting plenty of press now and it’s not for her new music or her recently announced North American tour dates?

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in LondonLady Gaga 1

It’s Lady Gaga and all of the publicity is because of her weight gain.  Those are pictures from her past tours.  Here is a picture of Lady Gaga last week.

Lady Gaga is an Animal in Paris [USA ONLY]

And, Mother Monster posted this one on her Facebook page this week.

How many women and men across this increasingly obese country of ours would love to be this “fat”?

In the past, Gaga admitted that she’s battled anorexia and bulimia since she was 15 years old.  And, she’s not denying that she’s gained weight.

While dispelling rumors that she’s pregnant, she said, “I love eating pasta and pizza.  I’m a New York Italian girl. That’s why I have been staying out of New York. My father opened a restaurant. It’s so amazing. It’s so freaking delicious, but I’m telling you I gain five pounds every time I go in. So my dad wants me to eat there and I’m, like, I’ve got to go where I can drink green juice.”

And, on her Facebook page, Gaga posted this perfect quote by another legendary performer who also faced criticism because of her voluptuous figure.

GagaMarilyn

Lady Gaga may have indirectly addressed body image and how people talk in “Dance in the Dark” from her “The Fame Monster” album.  Here are some of the lyrics:  “Silicon, saline, poison inject me/Baby, I’m a free bitch” and “Some girls won’t dance to the beat of the tribe/She won’t walk away/But she won’t look back/She looks good/But her boyfriend says she’s a mess”.

As a father of an 11-year-old daughter that loves pasta and desserts, I’m going to do everything that I can to let her enjoy the foods that she loves.  At the same time, I’ll be monitoring her weight without bringing it front and center with her.  I don’t want her to deal with what Lady Gaga and many others have to deal with.  People can be cruel.

I remember coming back home from college, in the mid-1980s, and having a friend of my mother’s make a comment about the amount of weight that I had gained after my first two years at college.  Yes, the “freshman 15” and “sophomore 15” caught up with me and I did have a little bit of stomach from the daily endless cafeteria buffet at Murray State.

Those words, regardless of whether it was meant as a light-hearted comment or not, weighed heavily on my mind and, in part, led to my eating disorder.

Karen

Back in 1983, the death of legendary singer Karen Carpenter from a heart attack brought on by anorexia nervosa, raised awareness for eating disorders and propelled it into the nation’s spotlight.  She began dieting in the 1960s when she weighed about 145 pounds.  By the fall of 1975, she was down to 91 pounds!

Prior to her death, after a two-week stay in New York, the singer had gained 30 pounds and was eating healthy.  However, the disease had already taken its toll on her body and she died on February 3, 1983.

karen carpenterpeople

We should be remembering Karen Carpenter only by her beautiful voice and not the ugly desire to be thin that killed her.  I want us all to be healthier.  Being a little thin or a little thick is fine.  However, being pencil thin or obese is not good.

The bottom line is that when we speak of someone’s weight, we should be tactful about it.  There’s a person with feelings behind that body, regardless of what size it is.

Here is the link to my February 12, 2012 blog about Adele being “too fat”:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/do-we-really-need-to-tell-adele-shes-too-fat/

And, since we’re talking about our eating habits, you might find my March 3, 2012 blog informative:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

Anthony

P.S.  While I was writing this, I considered adding a very inspirational song for me from the early-1990s.  It’s from a stunningly gorgeous and very slim woman that I had the pleasure of meeting in 1996.  I’m adding Faith Hill’s “Take Me As I Am” because this song gave me hope almost 20 years ago that, one day, I would find an amazing man that would “Take Me As I Am”.  And, I did.  Faith, thank you for this song.

Call Her Maybe, But Don’t Call Her A Drag Queen

After waking up to frosty conditions this weekend and 30° Monday morning in the Quad Cities, temperatures rebounded nicely by afternoon into the 70s and we could be close to 80° today.  Could this be “Indian Summer”?  While there’s no uniform rule for that, it’s usually a period of warm, sunny days that follow a killing frost or freeze.  Regardless of whether you call it “Indian Summer” or not, it’s going to be toasty the next few days.

This is how we used ABBA’s harvested tomatoes before the freeze and it looks very fall-ish.

Ray’s yummy brushetta was just one thing we devoured as we celebrated my sister’s birthday yesterday.  That means today is September 25th and that also means that Christmas is only three months from today!

When Ray went to Wal-Mart Sunday evening, he said the elves (Moline’s version) were busy putting up Christmas trees and decorations in the garden section — just another sign that the summer is over and Christmas is closer than you think or choose to think.

I’m always checking out the pictures that people post on their Facebook pages and some I don’t give a second glance and some I stop and stare at and some I save.  My friend, Rose, posted this gorgeous picture the other day and I thought, “that is too beautiful not to share”, so here it is and welcome to the countdown to Christmas (and winter).

We always go all out decorating for Christmas each year with a live Christmas tree in the living room and many other smaller trees in the other rooms just to use up the Christmas decorations.  In a few weeks, I’ll climb up on the house and put up the outdoor lights.  We love Christmas decorations.

However, this year, because we’re going on the cruise in the days leading up to Christmas, it may change the way we do Christmas this year.  We may or may not have a live tree and we’re not really going to buy presents this year.  Betty (Mom) suggested that we buy one nice gift and have a mystery exchange, which sounds fun.  The cruise is our Christmas present.  (I’ll continue to donate time and money to charity like I do each year for Christmas.)

So, as you make your list and check it twice this year, just like Santa, to figure out who’s been naughty and nice, here’s a suggestion for the good little girls (and boys).  Yes, some boys would like them and enjoy them.  It’s 2012, for Christ sakes.

Meet “Blond Diamond Barbie”!

Mattel will be shipping her to stores and Santa will be delivering many of these new barbies this Christmas.  However, don’t make the mistake of calling her “drag queen” Barbie.  Barbie has been many things (all good, of course), but the creators Phillipe and David Blond, who designed “The Blonds Blond Diamond Barbie” says that’s wrong.

A spokesperson for the Blonds’ says, “It is incorrect to label the doll ‘Drag Queen Barbie.’ She is the Blond Diamond Barbie.  She is female. She is the same Barbie that has been a doctor, a teacher and an astronaut, and now she is glamorized in The Blonds creations.”

Seriously, just because Phillipe Blond, one of the creators is a drag enthusiast, you really can’t see any of those influences.  Can you?  I mean everyday women wear sparkly little dresses, have perfect hair, and show legs for days.

Let’s do a quick comparison:  look at “Blond Diamond Barbie” (above) and see if there’s any similarities to Frank Marino of Las Vegas’ “Diva Las Vegas” for any “drag” similarities.

Really, people, you don’t need Mulder and Scully or the FBI to note the similarities (or if you live in fantasy land, the lack of similarities).

If people need to call this Barbie, “Blond Diamond Barbie”, that’s cool.  But, if others want to let Barbie be “Drag Queen Barbie”, let it be.  Who says that DQ Barbie can’t earn dollars lip-synching Madonna, Britney, Cher, Bette, Celine, Reba, or Rihanna in bars across the country if Ken can take off his clothes gyrating around in clubs for dollars like “Magic Mike”!

Dear Santa,

I know you’re too busy to get into social issue debates.  You just make the toys and deliver them.  However, if a little girl wants a dump truck this Christmas and her little brother wants a Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven, don’t think about what others will think.  Just make that kid happy.

As for me, last Christmas, you forgot to bring me the Reba McEntire “Fancy” Barbie.

I’ll continue to look for it online and eBay for a good price.  But, if you have one lying around, you know my address.  And, since I have an 11-year-old daughter, you can pretend it’s for her.

Thank you,

Anthony