The weekend is almost here and on any given Friday, I’d be excited to have the next two days off . However, I’ll be working Saturday night, so it’s a six-day work week for me and only one day off this weekend. However, that extra work day will come in handy as a “comp day” this fall when I want to take a vacation.
Otherwise, it’s Mother’s Day weekend, so Happy Mother’s Day! This picture is of my mother’s last spring celebration with us in 1990.
Ray and I were going to take my sister out to brunch Sunday, but Tammy has to work a double that day. So, if you go see her at work, tip her well! 🙂 We’ll just take her out next weekend and since our schedule opened up Sunday, we’re going to see ‘The Great Gatsby”. I sure hope it’s as dazzling as “Moulin Rouge!”
MY FRIEND WINS A NATIONAL AWARD
I’m very proud of a friend of mine who works as a counselor at Erie Elementary School in Erie, Illinois. GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) awarded Matt Beck as the 2013 Educator of the Year!
And, here’s what his very proud husband, Scott, tells me: “Matt, a professional school counselor for the past 6 years, relentlessly is on the mission of teaching elementary school kids that it’s ok to be different, that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that respect for others is the common goal we can all share and strive for. Matt epitomizes the strength that you do not give up and retreat when opposition rises, especially when it goes against your ethics and is harmful to kids.”
Matt will accept his award May 20th in New York City.
For those of you that may not remember the story, here are two blog links about it from last May and June. That first story was my most viewed blog ever in one day. And, needless to say, not all of the comments to me were positive. But, it was a story that needed to be told!
Congratulations Matt! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your huge accomplishment last year when you shared the story with me to get the word out. Keep up the good work!
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
SLIMMING DOWN FOR 2016?
Speaking of the Garden State, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie secretly underwent a weight-loss surgical procedure in February and he revealed the details to the “New York Post” earlier this week. The surgery will limit the amount of food he can take in, but it doesn’t affect his digestive process. The lap band surgery involves the placement of a silicone band around his stomach to reduce its size.
Christie says, “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years. For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”
I sincerely believe he did it for his family, but I don’t think that is the only reason. I would venture to say it’s because he’s eying a run for the presidency in 2016 and weight has come up many times in the past when his future political ambitions are discussed. He downplays this by stating, “It’s so much more important than that.”
While Christie has never stated his weight, it’s been reported at between 300 and 350 pounds.
On this weighty topic, the last president to weigh over 250 pounds was William Taft, the 27th U.S. president from 1909-1913. Taft weighed in at a reported 316 pounds and had a BMI (body mass index) of 42.3, which is considered “very severely obese”. He died of a heart attack.
That was 100 years ago and my personal opinion is that in today’s 24-hour media circus and the internet, weight does matter.
As much as I disagree with your politics, Governor Christie, I wish you good health.
A few weeks after Miss ABBA died in early February 2012, Panda, the blind shar-pei that we doggie sit for from Chicago came to stay with us in the Quad Cities with his live-in golden retriever companion, Big. They stayed with us for about a week.
I just found out that “Big” died recently of cancer at the very young age of seven. Poor baby! Now, heaven is graced with another beautiful golden that I know Miss ABBA welcomed with a tail wag and a smile.
MICHAEL BUBLE — “TO BE LOVED” OR NOT?
I’m a huge fan of sexy, Canadian crooner Michael Bublé. I own eleven of his CDs, including all of his studio albums beginning with the 2003 release “Michael Bublé”, along with “live” recordings and extended plays. My favorites are “Christmas” (2011) and “Call Me Irresponsible” (2007).
Bublé recently released his latest album, “To Be Loved”, which sold 195,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. It also debuted at #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom! But, is it any good?
I bought the “deluxe” version from Target with three additional songs. If you’re a die-hard Bublé fan, get the deluxe version. If you’re not all that familiar with his music or sound, the standard version that’s $3 cheaper (14 songs) would suffice.
The first four songs on the disc, including his new radio hit, “It’s a Beautiful Day”, are fantastic and perfect. He gets your blood pumping with the disc opener, “You Make Me Feel So Young” and keeps you happy with “Who’s Lovin’ You” and “To Love Somebody”.
But, then the album hits a brief road block to bliss. As much I love actress Reese Witherspoon, her appearance on “Something Stupid” is boring and off-kilter. It sounds like she just phoned in her vocals and I wish that Bublé had done the song solo.
The magic returns on the next three songs. Fellow Canadian and 1980s pop superstar Bryan Adams even shows up on “After All” and shows us that he’s still the master of mid-tempo love songs. The two singing together is a perfect combination.
Other than the title track, “To Be Loved”, which is song #10 on the disc, which is perfect, the album loses steam once we get to the tired classic “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” to the end of the standard disc.
Of the three “exclusive” songs on the “deluxe” version, only the “swing mix” of the current radio hit, “It’s A Beautiful Day”, excels.
I’ve seen Bublé in concert twice. Both times were in Moline, Illinois. However, Quad Citians, if you want to see him, he’s moved up in the world. The closest he’ll be playing to the Quad Cities will be at the United Center in Chicago on September 7, 2013.
WAY TO GO, DELAWARE!
Following Rhode Island last week, Delaware, earlier this week, became the 11th state in the United States (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage equality legal. Minnesota may become #12 as early as next week after the House passed the measure yesterday with a vote of 75-59. The bill is expected to move to the Democrat-controlled Senate Monday.
So, what about Illinois? Movement in the House has been slow since the bill for full marriage equality passed out of a House committee in late February 2013. The legislation needs at least 60 votes for passage in the House to land on the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who hopes to quickly sign it into law.
A group of country musicians, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, and “Big” Kenny Alphin, issued an open letter to Illinois lawmakers saying, “When two people are lucky enough to find each other and want to commit their lives to one another, it is nothing less than a blessing to us all.”
Even before I heard about this open letter last week, I had been listening to some of my old Mary Chapin Carpenter albums.
Since she scored her first country radio hit in 1989 until her last Top 40 appearance on the country chart, she’s charted with 22 hits. Of those Top 40 hits, nine reached the Top Ten and one, 1994’s “Shut Up and Kiss Me”, topped the chart. Her 1992 album Come On Come On” produced seven Top 40 country hits between 1992-1994 and sold more than four million copies.
My favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter song, “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”, reached #2 (Billboard) and #1 (Radio & Records) in 1994 and it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. The song also featured some of the biggest names in country music: Patty Loveless (one of my favorites), Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, and Aledo, Illinois’ own Suzy Bogguss.
Mary Chapin, Emmylou, Rodney, and “Big” Kenny, on behalf of all of us in Illinois wanting marriage equality, thank you!
BEATLES’ ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, GRASSHOPPERS ARE
70-year-old Sir Paul McCartney may want to think about playing outdoor concerts in the future. Earlier this week, during his three-hour set, in Brazil, the former Beatles was invaded by grasshoppers!
At one point, the sky was filled with the creatures. Nevertheless, Paul just kept right on performing and even introduced one of the insects as “Harold” during “Hey Jude.”
I guess sometimes you should just “Let It Be”!
“Entertainment Weekly” is slowly winning me back with humor. As you may recall, a few weeks ago, I was pretty miffed at the magazine for a major spoiler alert they blabbed with insufficient warning. While I’m still working on totally forgiving my favorite magazine, it made some progress with this entry in its May 3, 2013, “Dan Snierson’s Hit List”, a look at ten things that really happened in the entertainment world, complete with a witty comeback:
“After sleeping in glass case for MoMA exhibit, Tilda Swinton poses with centipedes on her face for fashion-mag shoot As of press time, Swinton was being classified as 49 percent James Franco, 47 percent Lady Gaga, and 4 percent other/no clue”. Too funny (and true)!
By the way, I love Tilda. If you’ve never seen any of her movies, check out “We Need To Talk About Kevin” (my third favorite movie that I saw in 2012) and “The Deep End” (2001).
FUTURE HIT PICK — SONG OF THE SUMMER?
Atlanta, Georgia, singer Erika Jayne is a beautiful singer that you likely haven’t heard of — yet.
That is unless you’ve been hanging out in dance clubs. Since her first release, “Rollercoaster” soared to the top of the Billboard Dance charts in 2007, Erika has followed that up with five consecutive number one hits: “Stars”, “Give You Everything”, “Pretty Mess”, “One Hot Pleasure”, and “Party People (Ignite The World)”.
Her new song, “Get It Tonight”, is going to take her to the top of the dance charts again and out of the clubs for a crossover to Top 40 radio!
She teams up with rapper/musician Flo Rida, who’s no stranger to pop radio. He’s already scored 14 hits since he topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his first hit, “Low” in 2007. He’s also topped that chart with “Right Round” with Ke$ha in 2009, and with “Whistle” last year.
I have her first CD, 2009’s “Pretty Mess” and it’s fantastic. Her new disc featuring “Get It Tonight” is titled “Glitz, Glamour, & Fun”, but there is no release date yet.
Remember the name, Erika Jayne. She will have the summer song of 2013!
THE CLUBS WON’T BE THE SAME!
While not a household name, Peter Rauhofer is one of the most amazing DJ/remixers/producers. Sadly, he died Tuesday at the age of 48 after discovering he had brain cancer just weeks ago!
Rauhofer worked with Madonna, Britney, Whitney, Lady Gaga, Cher, Janet, Kylie, Christina, Pink, Mariah, Depeche Mode, and countless others.
In 1999, he remixed “Nothing Really Matters” for Madonna. That song would go on to hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart and win an ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Award in 2000 for “Award-Winning Dance Song”. The video would be nominated for “Best Special Effects” for the MTV Video Music Awards.
FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES
This week, last May, I made mint and jalapeno-mint jelly and they both turned out fantastic and as you can see by this photo, the mint took over the herb garden! This year, I transplanted it and much of it is struggling to survive.
And, last May, Ray had a conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I went with him. I’d love to move to Indy!
On the way there, we stopped at what is now one of my favorite restaurants in Illinois, Destihl in Champaign. The food, from the appetizers (shrimp ceviche and watermelon feta) to the homemade desserts were fantastic. I think we need to make a road trip downstate for dinner soon!
PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK
As new wave swept across the Atlantic in the 1980s, Kim Wilde scored the first of her two Top 40 hits in the U.S. “Kids In American” hit #25 in 1982 and five years later, she hit #1 with a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.
My friends, that’s enough random thoughts for one week. Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!