Archive for August, 2013

Random Friday Thoughts — August 30

The weekend is almost here.  I’m not in Cancun and I’m not back from there for one day before heading to Chicagoland to see Depeche Mode like last weekend.   Don’t get me wrong.  Both were awesome.

However, this weekend, with the intense summer heat, I’m vegging out with Ray and my sister, Tammy.  Maybe we’ll spend some time floating in the pool, grilling out, and devouring humans and taking part in the bloodshed of the undead.  Simply put, we’ll be watching season three of “The Walking Dead”!!!  It arrived Thursday.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3

Whatever you do this weekend, be safe outdoors.  Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and take some air conditioning breaks!  For now, check out my random thoughts this week!

WINTER IS COMING!

I believe in forecasting several days in advance with a decent degree of accuracy.  I refrain from giving forecasts for an entire season, yet people love to hear outlooks for the upcoming winter.  So, here goes…

The “Farmers’ Almanac”, which has been forecasting weather since 1818, just released its winter forecast and it looks pretty cold (biting or piercing) for us in the Quad Cities.  Whatever you do, don’t cross the Mississippi River from Iowa into Illinois unless you want a “snowy” winter!!! 🙂

Farmers' Almanac

However, NOAA is not forecasting  “piercing” or “biting” cold this winter.  It’s calling for above average temperatures this winter!

NOAA Winter Temp Forecast

On that note, there’s a local television meteorologist in the Quad Cities that’s probably already calling for 20″ with every snow event that develops this winter!

If you really want me to go out on a limb, I expect many days with really cold temperatures, several round of light snow, a few heavier snowstorms, and many people dreaming of a “White Christmas”.  Since the “Farmers’ Almanac” and “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” both boast a high degree of accuracy with their vague forecast, I bet my vague prediction there is pretty accurate, too. 🙂

March Snow

WHERE DOES PAULA DEEN GO FROM HERE?

A few weeks ago, I talked about the “racial discrimination” lawsuit against Paula Deen being dismissed.  Last Friday afternoon, Judge William T. Moore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia signed an order of dismissal in the case of Jackson vs. Deen.

What this means is that Lisa Jackson, the woman who filed the lawsuit against the celebrity chef that brought down her culinary empire after Deen admitted using the “n-word” many years ago, reached an undisclosed settlement with Paula and her brother, Bubba Hiers.

PaulaDeen2012

While Deen said she was happy and was looking to put this all behind her, I’m agitated with the money-hungry accuser Jackson.  Here is what she (or her lawyers) released after the settlement:

“I assumed that all of my complaints about the workplace environment were getting to Paula Deen, but I learned during this matter that this was not the case. The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years, is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone. I now know that the workplace environment issues that I raised are being reviewed and will in the future no longer be at issue. I wish Ms. Deen and her family all the best in all of their future endeavors and I am very pleased that this matter has been now been resolved and can now be put behind us.”

Wait, let me read this again, The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years, is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone.”

That doesn’t sound like the kind of woman I’d file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against, but maybe I’m wrong!

Despicable!

SPEAKING OF DESPICABLE

Two words:  Pat Robertson.

Pat Robertson

Just when I think the man might have just an ounce of humanity, clarity, or compassion, he proves me wrong and solidifies my belief that he’s a moron!  I will not even apologize or sugar coat it for people who like him or listen to his drivel.

Earlier this week, a question was posed from a woman who drove a man dying of AIDS to church on Sundays.  She did this more than twenty times.  However, she wasn’t told he had AIDS and she feels deceived and is going to another church until she “sorts this out.”

In response, Robertson starts out with a moment of sanity before it goes south.

Pat Robertson response

His co-host Terry Meeuwsen is compassionate about the situation adding, “I think you were doing a good thing by transporting this man.  I have known people in AIDS and have never felt fearful even if you had had a car accident.”

And, now, here’s where it goes to hell.  Robertson says, “You know what they do in San Francisco? Some in the gay community there, they want to get people. So if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” he said. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”

Seriously????

CNN’s Anderson Cooper had the best response to Robertson’s hateful, hurtful, and stupid comment, along with some of the best of the worst of Robertson’s God-loving “advice”.  (For the uninitiated, that was sarcasm!)

I’m glad I have God in my life and I’m glad I don’t have to find him through some vile little man like Robertson.

Oh, by the way, even “The 700 Club” or The Christian Broadcasting Network obviously knew that Robertson was so far off his rocker that it edited that segment out of the show before posting it to their website later that day!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Syria MileyCow CliffHappy Hour

MEMORIES OF CANCUN

Since our trip to Cancun was all-inclusive for food and drinks, here are a few pictures of my favorite drink there.

Green Drinks

Anthony Green Drink

Ray Green Drink

It was a heavy pour of Smirnoff Vodka, melon liquor, a splash of sour mix topped off with a little blended (not frozen) pina colada.  It was incredible!  Maybe I’ll have to make some at home by the pool this weekend!

OKAY, I’VE GOT TO MEET THIS WOMAN AND HANG WITH HER!

While I’d love to meet Madonna, Gaga, Britney, Kylie, Olivia, Reba (again), and Gillian (Anderson of “The X-Files” and “Hannibal”), I just read an article in “Out” that made me fall in love with Angela Raiola!

If that name doesn’t ring a bell, try “Big Ang”, from the second season of VH1’s “Mob Wives” and the one season of “Big Ang”, the spin-off.

??????????????????????????????? Toasted Big Ang

She just opened her second bar, “Miami Monkey” in South Beach and that’s where she’s enjoying that big orange fruity drink.

I don’t watch reality television, so I don’t know anything more about her than what I read and she sound like a hoot!!!   I think she and Divine would have made an awesome team.

And, she told “Out” that she’s an incredible cook and her favorite hot-weather dish:  tangerine zest linguine (minced garlic, olive oil, Parmigiano, fresh linguine with tangerine zest, salt, and pepper).

She seems like a down-to-earth gal that also knows how to have a good time.  Big Ang, let’s hang some time!  It might even be fun attending one of her Botox parties!  She loves them and she’s not shy about it. 🙂

DEPECHE MODE CONCERT

Last Saturday night, we saw Depeche Mode in concert at First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Tinley Park, outside of Chicago.

I have to admit that I was really scared that we’d miss the opening of the show because traffic was such a cluster (you know the rest of the word).  It took us more than an hour to travel one-quarter of mile once we were within 1.5 miles of the venue.  Needless to say, we missed the opening act, Bat For Lashes, and I was seated for only about ten minutes before Depeche Mode took the stage.

Tinley Park, EPIC FAIL!

However, Depeche Mode was great and it was well worth the 30-year wait to see them in concert.

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MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

The big winner (and loser) was Miley Cyrus at last Sunday’s ceremony in New York City.  More on that in a moment.

I never thought it would excite me so much for Mother Monster to be booed and have people say “I hate her”.  However, that was part of the act as Lady Gaga kicked off the awards show in a triumphant return to performing after having to cancel much of the North American leg of the “Born This Wall Ball” tour for hip surgery earlier this year.

vma-mtv-2013-lady-gaga-performance-4-red-carpet-getty__oPt

“ARTPOP”, Gaga’s new album featuring “Applause” comes out November 11th!

The biggest reaction from the show was Miley Cyrus’ over-the-top sexual performance of “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke.

Miley Robin Thicke

After watching the performance, the dirty dancing and sexcapades with Thicke didn’t bother me since you see that kind of action in music videos and movies all the time.  I think the thing that was most creepy to me was Cyrus sticking out her tongue like an animal and the hideous bear costume she was wearing.

Love it or hate it, the performance got Cyrus what she wanted:  free publicity for her album “Bangerz” which comes out in early October.  The first single and song she performed Sunday night, “We Can’t Stop” is a Top Ten radio airplay hit after reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s already sold two million copies, and the video has been viewed on Vevo almost 166 million times!   And, if you saw this video, you should have known that “Hannah Montana” would not be at the VMAs!

If you didn’t like Cryus’ performance and you wonder what happened to little Hannah Montana, just remember that Miley’s birth name is Destiny Hope Cyrus.  Maybe this was her “Destiny” and there’s still “Hope”. 🙂

Earlier this week, I blogged my in-depth thoughts about the performance and the Miley-bashing that took place for days afterwards.  Here is that much-viewed blog if you didn’t a chance to read it:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/she-blurred-lines-but-mileys-not-the-antichrist/

ONE CHILD STAR TO ANOTHER

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Former Disney Channel star Selena Gomez,  who is scoring hits at pop radio and won a Moonman at the VMAs Sunday night has this to say of Miley’s sex-driven performance, “Amazing. I thought it was awesome.  I love Robin Thicke, too, so I like that they collab’d.”

Before becoming a Disney star herself, Gomez appeared on three episodes of “Hannah Montana” with Miley.

TAYLOR SWIFT, GO AWAY!

Full disclaimer:  I own an early Taylor Swift CD and I saw her in concert with Keith Urban several years ago and, at that time, she was enjoyable.  Now, enjoyable, for me, has turned into annoying.

At the MTV VMAs, while One Direction was accepting the award for “Song of the Summer”, Swift is caught on an “audience cam” apparently mouthing the words “Shut the F&*k Up”.

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

Was she talking about her ex-boyfriend, Harry Styles’ band onstage or did Selena comment on how cute the boys are?

Whatever the reason and I don’t really care if we’re misunderstanding the lip-reading or not, just go away Taylor.  Please.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since sex was mentioned early in the blog (hello Miley and Robin), why not flashback to the 1980s with a song that doesn’t even beat around the bush with the sex in the title?

“Sex (I’m A…) was the second single from “The Pleasure Victim” album by new wave band, Berlin in 1982.  Imagine how scandalous this was to a 17-year-old Kentucky boy.

pleasurevictim

However, this one was a little to hot to handle for American pop radio where it peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It did, however, reach the top ten on the American Mainstream Rock and the Dance charts.  Canada wasn’t so shy.  It peaked at #5 on the Canadian Hot 100.

The band would go on to score huge hits with “Take My Breath Away”  (#1) from the “Top Gun” soundtrack and “No More Words” (#23).

PICK HIT RE-DUEX

While I was in Cancun last week, it was interesting listening to the radio.  We found a station that was a mix of ’70s, ’80s, 90’s, ’00s, and today in both English and Spanish.  One song that I really liked was “Take A Picture” by Carly Rae Jepsen.  And, they were also playing was a song I picked as a future pick hit back in May.  I chose it as a potential song of the summer.  Maybe next summer!

Here’s Erika Jayne, featuring Flo Rida with “Get It Tonight”.

FINAL THOUGHT ON MILEY CYRUS

Okay, I know personally that my Facebook page blew up with negative comments about Miley Cyrus following her VMA performance Sunday night.

And, then you started seeing reactions from celebrities in the audience and the one that caught my attention was Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and their two kids, Willow and Jaden. For the record, this shot of the Smith family was during the Lady Gaga performance and Willow was in mid-chew with her gum and Jada was rubbing her nose.  It had nothing to do with Miley as some believe or have posted.

Smith-family

Now, about Jada. She is a beautiful woman. However, in that photo, I don’t know if the look of horror is from seeing the performance on stage or that she just realized, for the first time, her poor rip-off of Tina Turner’s amazing “Auntie Entity” look from 1985’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. 🙂

Jada

Ripped Off From Thunderdome

Tina Turner as “Auntie Entity”

tina_aunty_entity

Here’s a “Peeps’ ’80s Friday Flashback” bonus — Tina Turner’s #2 smash from the summer of 1985, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”.

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

Anthony

She “Blurred Lines”, But Miley’s Not the Antichrist

Lady Gaga opened the MTV VMAs singing “Applause” in an incredible comeback performance.

Lady Gaga VMA

Justin Timberlake reunited with ‘N Sync.

N Sync

Mackelmore and Ryan Lewis, along with Mary Lambert and Jennifer Hudson, performed “Same Love” to let everyone know that love is love regardless if you’re gay, straight, or something in between and to raise awareness of marriage equality and homophobia in rap music.

Mackelmore Ryan Lewis

Lockhart Brownlie -- Katy Perry

But, by the time Katy Perry closed the show with a performance of “Roar” with a sexy back-up dancer named Lockhart Brownlie, no one probably noticed because they were too busy commenting on Facebook, Twitter, or blogging about the twerk of the century.

Miley Robin

Yes, I’m talking about Miley Cyrus’ worldwide television audition for a new career as a Vegas showgirl or an adult movie star.

After her four-minute performance of her hit, “We Can’t Stop” segued into a duet with Robin Thicke and the biggest song of 2013, “Blurred Lines”, the lines were no longer blurred. Two things were established and set in stone from the social network chatter:  Miley was a skank and she ruined Robin’s big moment.

I didn’t see this live Sunday night, but as soon as MTV posted it, I had to watch to see what all the fuss was about.  While I commented on it with my status updates on Facebook, I wanted to write a few more lines here and expand on my thoughts.

Whether you thought it was disgusting or entertaining, that’s your prerogative and I’m not writing this to change your mind.  I just want to point out some obvious things based on some of the comments I’ve read.

Comment: “How am I going to explain this to my 8-year-old daughter or son watching?”

This awards show was on MTV.  These shows are known for pushing the envelopes when it comes to sex!

Comment:  “But I didn’t know it was going to be that nasty.”

Have you not seen the video to Miley’s “We Can’t Stop” complete with drug references and blatant sexuality? 

How about Robin’s unrated “Blurred Lines” video complete with naked women! I’m not talking about scantily clad women, but naked women parading around showing their boobies, feeling him up while he smiles and goes along with it, and boasting that he has a big, well, let’s just say that he’s “blessed”.

WARNING: Both of these videos are for adults only and NSFW!!!!!

hannah-montana

Comment:  “My little girl loves Hannah Montana”.

Well, Miley Cyrus hasn’t been Hannah Montana since January 2011 and she’s worked very hard, especially lately, to shed that wholesome Disney image.  This performance was not billed as “Hannah Montana Does MTV”!

Comment:  “If I was Robin’s wife, I would have bitch-slapped her, kicked her ass, etc.”

Whether you liked the performance or not, it falls under the heading of “entertainment”.  That’s what music and television are for and that’s what MTV was providing that night.  What, you don’t think it was entertainment?  You’re wrong. 

When I see Michael C. Hall kill people as “Dexter”, I know it’s a performance. It’s entertainment. I don’t think he’s really killing people and I didn’t think Miley and Robin were getting aroused from the act on stage.

There are many musical acts, television shows, movies, and books that I don’t listen to, watch, or read, but that is my personal choice and just because I don’t care to take part in something or like it, it doesn’t mean it’s not entertainment.

Comment:  “She a tramp, a whore, a slut” (and many other names being thrown out there) “and she ruined his performance”.

I agree that Miley didn’t sound great singing “Blurred Lines”.  However, why is she the one that’s catching most of the flack?  Robin is just as guilty for this gratuitous act of sexuality.  He was thoroughly enjoying himself and the attention from Miley and the MTV cameras.

Miley-Cyrus-and-Robin-Thicke-VMAs

And, for the record, Robin is being degraded and blasted big time on his own Facebook page for the performance.  However, even there, Miley is being criticized the most!

I don’t know who, if anyone, Miley has slept with so calling her those abrasive names seems a little crass.  Maybe saying she was acting “like a tramp”, “like a whore”, or “like a slut” would be more appropriate.  She should have just acted “like a virgin touched for the very first time.”  Oh wait, even that was controversial back in mid-1980s!

Madonna-MTV-VMA-Like-a-Virgin

The bottom line is that whether we liked the performance or not, it worked.

All people have talked about since Sunday night is Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke on the VMAs. And, on iTunes, Miley has two of the top five downloaded songs and Robin Thicke is at #4 with “Blurred Lines”.  His album is one of the top sellers and the pre-sale for Miley’s new album coming out in early October is already one of the Top Five pre-sales in the country.

The bottom line is that if my 12-year-old daughter wants to see Miley’s performance, I would allow her to see it. Just like any other television show or movie we watch with adult-oriented language or material, I’m there to answer any questions and give her my opinion of what I think is right or wrong.

Miley, you’re young and your adult entertainment career is just taking off. Make the right choices and think a little more about future performances.

Publicity, good or bad, is the name of the game in entertainment.

We need to get over it even though it’s fun to talk about right now.  There are more important matters in the world.  Google “Syria” and “Egypt” for starters.

But, I have to confess that I’ve already written a small piece about the VMAs and Miley for a blog later in the week, but then I’ll move on after that!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 23

Getting up at 1 a.m., drinking caffeinated soda by 2 a.m. and having a rabbit cross your path on the way to work instead of sleeping in and having iguanas and sting rays dart across in front of you on walks along the beach are sure signs that I’m no longer in paradise.

Just 24 hours ago, I was waking up for one more stroll in Cancun.  We just got back late last night and four hours later I’m back to work.  Luckily, I only have one shift before I try to catch up on rest from the vacation this weekend.  I hope you’ve all had a good week.

CANCUN

Our getaway to the Yucatan Peninsula was awesome.  We ate plenty of fresh fruit and breakfast was my favorite meal.  A green-colored orange/pineapple/carrot/spinach juice combo was my favorite way to start the day.  The unlimited adult beverages were fantastic, too.  I’ll post a picture of my favorite potent potable next week.  And, I learned that Dos Equis beer is pretty tasty on tap and I’m not even a beer drinker.

Here are a few photos from the trip.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to posting the rest of the vacation pictures on Facebook early next week.

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RAY TURNS 50 NEXT WEEK!

He turns how old?  I’m just giving him a hard time.  Age is just a number.

Little Ray Teen Ray

For his golden, milestone birthday, he chose a cruise on the Danube River, which is coming up in mid-October, with stops in several European cities for his present.  While a little pricey, you only turn 50 once!

I recently blogged about it and if you missed it, here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/plans-for-a-milestone-birthday/

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY WEATHER IDOL

While my fascination with weather started when I was a four-year-old cutting weather maps out of the “Mayfield Messenger” and “The Paducah Sun-Democrat” in the late-1960s, I knew that I wanted to be a television meteorologist after seeing Tom Skilling on WGN.

Vintage Tom Skilling

61-year-old Skilling joined WGN back in 1978.  Tom is the chief meteorologist covering the weather weekdays for the two-hour midday news from 11 am – 1 pm, the 5 pm, and the 9 pm shows.  In addition to the long hours he puts in on television, he also writes a weather page for the Chicago Tribune and a weather blog.  It’s reported that Tom has a weather staff of twelve.

Tom Skilling

Just last year, Tom signed a multi-million dollar, ten-year contract that will keep him on the air until 2022.

When Tom signed the contract, he told Robert Feder of “Time Out Chicago”, “I have marveled at the support I’ve received from my viewers all these years — at their loyalty and kindness. We are nothing in our line of work without those who offer us the gift of taking time out of their busy days to grace us with the honor of checking out what we do and what we have to say. I’m beyond words over the whole thing.”

While I’ve never met him, from a meteorologist standpoint, I’ve never seen anyone with the commitment to weather that I see in Tom.  His lengthy weathercasts are incredible and you can just feel the passion when he talks about the weather, whether there’s a snowstorm on the way or just more tranquil weather — he sells it and he owns it.

As I said earlier, I’ve never met Tom, but I’ve celebrated Chicago Pride with him and his colleagues at WGN on their Pride float.  He’s always happy and you can tell he loves weather and he loves people.  (This is from the 2010 Chicago Pride parade.)

Pride 2010

While some people have bobbleheads (no thank you), I cherish this autographed publicity photo from Tom in 2003.

Tom Skilling

Tom, my colleague and my weather idol, congratulations on 35 years and here’s to next nine (or more) at WGN.  Thank you for inspiring me to follow my weather dreams.

And, I have to feature these hilarious videoes of Tom to show he’s not all weather maps and computer models.

“Tom Freakin’ Skilling!”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

BoyfriendsAutoCorrectShirtHate

PATHETIC, ANGRY IOWA WOMAN

A Des Moines, Iowa, woman is getting off easy for a disgusting act of violence she committed last spring.

Sheena Ann Cornwell

Police say that 28-year-old Sheena Ann Cornwell showed no remorse when she was arrested for hanging her boyfriend’s senior dog, Lillie, in an intoxicated rage because the dog was barking.

While he believes what Cornwell did was cruel, Judge Joe Smith doesn’t think she is a danger to society.  The Des Moines Register reports that Cornwell is now on probation for two years and she cannot own a pet during that same period of time.

But, the judge’s decision is raising concern and some think it sends out the wrong message.  Tom Colvin of the Animal Rights League says,  “I’m very afraid that that’s what it’s saying – is that someone can torture an animal with no consequences.  So, what are the consequences here for Lillie? For Lillie’s death?”

So sad!

WAS IT HOMOPHOBIC, A MISUNDERSTANDING, OR DAMAGE CONTROL?

In my quest to keep the anti-gay laws of Russia front and center until people realize the antics and hate the government there is spewing, here’s someone who agrees with the way things are headed there.  Or, does she?

Yelena Isinbayeva

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, a two-time Olympic champion, is strongly anti-gay (or is she?).

Last week, after winning the World Championship title in Russia, “USA Today” reports that she said, “If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people.”

She added, “We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys.  Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.”

Yelena 2
After widespread criticism, Isinbayeva “clarified” her comments, “English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday.”
She added, “But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality [which is against the Olympic charter].”
boycott-sochi-2014
Isinbayeva, I really don’t know what your views are or if this clarification is just damage control?  However, let this American offer you some advice.  I don’t speak Russian and if I’m going to criticize your country’s pathetic views toward the LGBT community (and I will), I’ll do it in English, a language I can fluently speak.  I won’t condemn your leaders in a poor attempt by speaking Russian because there may be some misunderstanding!
Russia
MILLER COMES OUT AND COMES OUT AGAINST RUSSIA
Two days ago, while I was away, 41-year-old “Prison Break” actor Wentworth Miller officially came out as a gay man.
wentworth
Miller came out in a letter to the St. Petersburg International Film Fest.  The actor refused to take part in the festival because of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
Miller GLAAD
Miller writes, “I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government.  The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”
For years, there’s been speculation about Miller being gay with Perez Hilton reporting that Miller was dating former “Brothers & Sisters” actor Luke MacFarlane.
Luke MacFarlane
Congratulations Wentworth on standing up to the bullies in Russia and I hope by coming out that you can live your life openly and happily.  And, if you’re dating Luke, you two make a beautiful couple!
Luke Wentworth
PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK
Depeche Mode

While it’s not Ray’s birthday present, we’re heading to Chicago Saturday night to see the 1980s English band, Depeche Mode, in concert.  The band is still putting out amazing music thirty years later.  As you might remember, their first American hit on radio was “People Are People”, which reached #13 in 1984 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The band went to score five more Top 40 hits on the Hot 100:  “Personal Jesus” (#28, 1989), “Enjoy The Silence” (#8, 1990), “Policy of Truth” (#15, 1990), “I Feel You” (#37, 1993), and “It’s No Good” (#38, 1997).

And, just this year, they hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart with “Heaven” and #10 with “Soothe My Soul”, both from their latest album, “Delta Machine”.

And, speaking of Depeche Mode, here’s the blog I wrote about the band and how excited I was to get tickets for their concert:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/finding-my-own-personal-jesus-in-chicago-this-summer/

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

While it’s shorter today week because I was away until last night, I hope you enjoyed or learning something from my random thoughts.  Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16

Another weekend is upon us and I hope you’re excited about whatever you have planned to do.  I know some of my friends are going to take it easy this weekend after partying at Market Days last weekend.  Since I worked 11 of past 12 days, I think I deserve a break today and I’m not talking McDonald’s.  🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy my random thoughts this Friday!  And, please know that I always welcome your feedback on my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and I’d like to know what you’re thinking about whatever.

VACATION

In less than 24 hours from now, we’ll be boarding a plane from the Quad Cities to Dallas and then to Cancun and by tomorrow afternoon, God-willing, we’ll have our feet buried in the sand sipping on a cold potent drink.

It’s been an interesting week of watching the tropics.  If you recall last week, the Caribbean was quiet.  And, then by Wednesday, there was a 60-70% chance of a tropical storm forming and bringing heavy rain and wind to the Yucatan Peninsula, e.g. Cancun!

Atlantic

Fun times!  Luckily, for us, development into a tropical storm (if it happens) will not occur until it gets into the Gulf of Mexico and the rainy, wet weather should be gone by Saturday!

Here’s to margaritas, tequila, beautiful sunsets, and hot bodies!  So, here’s my favorite Latina hottie, Pauline Rubio.  (Don’t worry, Enrique (Iglesias), you’re my favorite Latin hottie!)

PAULA DEEN GETS VINDICATION, BUT…

The lawsuit against celebrity chef Paula Deen that caused her to lose her Food Network television show and many sponsorships has been thrown of out of court.

Lisa Jackson, a former manager at one of Deen’s Savannah restaurants, is suing her former bosses, Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, for millions of dollars for racial and sexual discrimination.

However, earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that Jackson, who is white, cannot sue them for race discrimination because she was not one of the victims — even though others may have allegedly faced discrimination.

Paula Deen Happy

A spokesperson for Paula Deen says, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed.  As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”

There is still the issue of sexual harassment that Jackson is alleging.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday Dear Madonna!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Madonna3

Today, the “Material Girl” turns 55!

In honor of the woman who had the most successful tour of 2012 (the “MDNA Tour” made $305.2 million), has had more Hot 100 Top Ten Billboard hits than the Beatles (38), and leads with the most #1 Billboard Dance chart hits (43), here’s my favorite Madonna song.

“Borderline” became her first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.

madonna1983

And, here’s my favorite Madonna video.

“Open Your Heart” became Madonna’s 11th Top Ten hit and fifth #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1987.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ozzy Mouth ShutAuto Correct

FINALLY, I GET TO READ A BOOK!

I just finished the April 28, 2011 “Rolling Stone”, the last of my stockpiled magazines that also included “Time”, “Details”, “Men’s Fitness”, and “Boston”.  Now that all of those subscriptions have expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, “Instinct”, and “The Advocate”.

This means that I’ll be able to keep up with the new magazines as they arrive and I can finally read a book!  I haven’t read a book in about five years — right before Ray and I met.

Golden Days The Art of Racing in the Rain

I already have the first four picked out, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein (yes, Vickie, I’m finally going to read it and get it back to you), “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed” by Judy Shepard, and “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter.

meaning_of_matthew_l

Those four should take me up to the end of the year.  The Matthew Shepard book will be timely since the 15th anniversary of his death is October 12th and the book by President Carter should coincide with Christmas this year!

ChristmasInPlains

WHAT I LEARNED FROM “ROLLING STONE” MAGAZINE

I always thought of “Rolling Stone” as a rock music magazine.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how it excels in hard news and investigative reporting.  It expands on stories that mainstream news media outlets shy away from by playing it safe.  “Rolling Stone” doesn’t hold back!

Here are some of the highlights from the last few issues that I just finished reading from 2011 as my subscription expired.  I told you I was behind on reading!

Witty TV commentator Bill Maher was profiled in the March 17, 2011 issue and the article quoted the comedian talking about a shamed Texas politician, “Tom DeLay has done only two things since leaving politics, “Dancing With The Stars” and now prison — somebody must tell him there are easier ways to have sex with men.”  Good stuff!

Image: ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" Season Nine - Week Three

It also had an interesting cover story on talk show host Howard Stern, who still like to shock people.

In the March 31, 2011 issue, it basically made Stern seem much more human and flawed.  The article touched on the fact that Stern currently makes $80 million dollars a year for his SiriusXM talk show, but he’s still very unhappy in his life and fighting demons.  However, it stated that he is now happily remarried.

Since the article is over two years old, Stern now makes another $15 million for being a judge on “America’s Got Talent”!

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

And, while she went though hell at the hands of ex-boyfriend/singer Chris Brown and she gets some bad press because of her actions, I really enjoyed learning more about Rihanna in the April 14, 2011 issue.

Rihanna Rolling Stone

For the record, she’s already scored 39 Top 40 hits in America on the Billboard Hot 100 since her first hit in 2005 and twelve of those songs topped that chart.  She became only the seventh artist in music history to accomplish that.

Her longest charting #1 song on the Hot 100 (ten weeks) was “We Found Love” with Calvin Harris.  And, her latest single with David Guetta, “Right Now” just became her 20th number one song on the Billboard dance chart.  She’s now in second place as the artist with the most #1 dance hits behind Queen Madonna, with 43 chart toppers.

However, I didn’t learn any of that from the “Rolling Stone” article.  Here’s what I learned from the magazine that made RiRi so much more down to earth:  She doesn’t like vegetables because they taste “like bush”, but she loves french fries, Cheetos, and KFC.  She loves going to grocery store and cooking for herself and enjoys a nice chardonnay at the end of the day.

Rihanna loves true-crime reality, she’s chronically late and she’s also a compulsive boob-grabber!

And, finally, her name is Arabic for “sweet basil”.

ALBUM SALES IN DISTRESS…

Earlier this month, Billboard magazine reported “U.S. album sales have hit new historic lows over the last five weeks marking the longest consecutive stretch in the SoundScan era that the industry has gone without scanning more than 5 million units.  And, over the last two weeks, album sales hit consecutive record lows.”

4.68 million albums were sold for the week ending July 28, 2013.   That’s the lowest weekly total since Nielsen SoundScan started in May 1991.

The top-selling album for the first half of this year, through June 30th, is “The 20/20 Experience” by Justin Timberlake.  Sales are right around two million.

THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LIST REVEALED!

And, the top-selling single during that same time period is “Thrift Store” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with U.S. sales of 5.6 million.  The song sold an additional 1.2 million copies in the U.S. in late 2012 when it was released.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

However, by the end of 2013, I expect that “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (with Pharrell and T.I.) will be the biggest selling single of the year.  As of August 7th, it was up to 4.27 million in U.S. sales!

But, we can’t forget “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Roar” from Katy Perry.  Both were rush-released this week because the songs were leaked on the internet.

Lady Gaga-Katy Perry

“Applause” is the first single from the “ARTPOP” album due November 11th.  Gaga will be performing the song live on the MTV VMA show August 25th marking her first real performance since a hip injury and surgery caused her to cancel the remainder of her “Born This Way Ball” tour earlier this year.

This is the lyric video for “Applause”.  The “official” video for the song debuts Monday, August 19th.

And, “Roar” is the first single from Katy Perry’s album “Prism”, which comes out October 22th.

Gretel, my 12-year-old daughter, likes “Roar” more than “Applause”, which she thinks is “weird”.

As for me:

Katy Perry — “Roar” —  I love the catchy chorus of “Roar”, but the rest of the sound is too slow of a build for me.   GRADE:  B

Lady Gaga — “Applause” —  The energy is incredible, the vocals are captivating, and it sounds a little rougher than her previous club hits, but it’ll still make you gravitate to the dance floor.  GRADE:  A

The winner!

Applause

YET, VINYL IS HOT AGAIN

While album sales are suffering, vinyl record albums are making a comeback.  In 2012, 4.55 million were sold in the U.S. compared to just less than a million (990,000) five years ago.  Many record companies are beginning to offer free downloads of an album when vinyl is purchased.

Albums

Last Christmas, I asked Santa Ray & Santa Tammy for a turntable because I missed vinyl records.  Since Santa delivered, I’ve been hitting a few yard sales and my neighbor’s store, Readmore Book World & Rock Shop, in Moline, for albums and Tammy has picked up a few for me at Goodwill.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Go-Go’s first album, “Beauty and the Beat”, in 1981,  hit #1 and sold more than two million copies.  It also gave the group its first two hits and its biggest hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20) and “We Got The Beat” (#2).

They followed that album up the next year with “Vacation”.  The biggest hit off that release was the #8 title track (the album also peaked at #8).  The group did have two other smaller hits from that album and that was it for them.  A total of five Top 40 Hot 100 hits.

Since we’re heading to Cancun tomorrow, this song is very fitting.

“ELYSIUM”

We saw “Elysium” last weekend.  Matt Damon was incredible (and majorly buff) and Jodie Foster, who wasn’t in the movie as much as Damon, was icily perfect.

Elysium Matt Damon Jodie Elysium

Also, Sharlto Copely, who starred in director Neill Blomkamp’s more superior, Oscar-nominated film, “District 9”, was scary and fantastic as the villain, Kruger.

Sharlto Copley

The premise of the movie is that it’s 2154 and Earth (especially Los Angeles) is in ruins.  The wealthy 1% live above the Earth, literally, in space looking down on the ravaged world, the 99%.  On “Elysium”, where the rich live, there is no poverty and no disease.  Life is perfect.

Damon, plays Max, a former car thief, who has a work place accident that exposes him to high levels of radiation.  He’s informed that he only has five days to live and his only chance for survival is to get to Elysium and be treated for the disease.

The movie was action filled and fun.  However, if you saw “District 9”, which was amazing, this movie may not thrill you as much.  It’s still an exciting two hours.

GRADE: B

MY THOUGHTS THIS WEEK ON RUSSIA’S HOMOPHOBIA

boycott-sochi-2014 Madonna Defend Human Rights

THAT’S IT FOR A FEW DAYS

While I might post something on Facebook while in Mexico, my next blog will be next Friday’s random thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Glad I’m Not In Cancun Yet… Well, Sorta

My work day is almost over for today and I have eight hours to go tomorrow before I head to the sunny beaches of Cancun, Mexico Saturday.

Wait, did I say “sunny” beaches?  Okay, that’s the travel industry description because it’s a different story there today.

Webcam Cancun

That’s a webcam shot of Cancun Thursday morning as the Yucatan Peninsula waits for a disorganized tropical system to move through today and tomorrow on its way to the Gulf of Mexico bringing heavy rain and wind.

Caribbean

Notice that cluster of yellows, reds, and dark purples toward the left side of that satellite photo.  That’s the Yucatan Peninsula where Cancun is located.

All week, I’ve been watching the National Hurricane Center’s forecast with the possibility of a tropical system developing increasing.  Would that cluster become Tropical Storm Erin?

It didn’t because Erin developed around the Cape Verde Islands, just off the western coast of Africa.

While it’ll be a stormy day around Cancun today (and possibly tomorrow), the chances of it becoming a named storm is not likely before it makes landfall in that part of Mexico.

Cancun Close-Up

However, it has a decent chance to become Tropical Storm Fernand over the Gulf of Mexico over the next five days.

By that time, I should be safely in Cancun.

Anthony

P.S.  I have to admit that, as a meteorologist, the thought of a minor tropical system passing over the Yucatan Peninsula while on I’m vacation would be a little exciting!

Plans For A Milestone Birthday

When it comes to birthdays, turning 13, 16, 21, 25, and 30 are the birthdays that seem to get the most glory.  Once you reach a certain age, many people stop making a big deal out of them.

I remember, as a teenager, thinking people who were 30-years-old were over-the-hill.  Once I hit 30, and then 40, I began to think much differently about those ages being ancient.  While I’m one of those people who don’t make a big deal out of each successive birthday, this year, it’ll be different for Ray.  Later this month, he turns 50 and we’re planning on celebrating it in style this fall.

Turning 50 is a big deal to me.  Think of all of the great people who never made it to 50:  my mother and her mother (47 and 48, respectively), Whitney Houston (48), Judy Garland (47), President John F. Kennedy (46), Elvis Presley (42), John Lennon (40), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (39), Princess Diana (36), Marilyn Monroe (36), Jim Morrison (of the Doors) (27), Janis Joplin (27), Jimi Hendrix (27), James Dean (24), and Ryan White (18).

Ray Youth 002

Raymond Patrick Forsythe was born at Mercy Hospital in Fort Dodge, Iowa, on August 25, 1963.

Ray at 2Little Ray Ray 1969

He remained a little cutie growing up and even in those awkward teenage years.

Teen RayCollege Ray

While I always wanted dirty blonde hair when I was younger, these days I wish I was a ginger.  And, looking at Ray’s curly hair, I’m envious that I’ve always had boring straight, brown hair.  But, then again, I’m just thankful that I’m in my 40s and I still have hair!

So, when thinking of his upcoming 50th birthday, I thought about a surprise trip to Cancun, Mexico.  I was there in 1993 and I loved it.   I’ve been wanting to go back and I know that Ray’s never been there.  It’s a good thing I asked him before buying the package.  While he said it would be fun, he had other ideas and he’s the one turning 50!!!

However, I didn’t give up on Cancun.  Since I had some vacation time left over, we got a great deal and we’re going to Cancun for five days this weekend.  This is a picture I took of Cancun 20 years ago.

Cancun 1993 001

So, Ray thought about it, did his research, and he made a decision.  While both of us have been to Mexico and Canada (before passports were required), this trip was international and it required a passport.  This map is from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and luckily, the trip he planned is “green”, which stands for “take normal safety precautions”!  Red is danger!

Safe Travel

So, obviously since the green locations on this map are in Europe, that must be the destination for his golden birthday celebration.  If you guessed that, you’d be correct.  Ray decided he wanted to take a cruise on the Danube River!  However, the timing for the trip didn’t work out for his birthday.  So, we’ll be taking it in October.

The cruise on the Danube River is on the “MS Sound of Music”.  Could the name be any gayer? 🙂

In October, we’ll drive from the Quad Cities and take an overnight flight from Chicago to Europe.  The original trip itinerary had us on an overnight flight from Chicago to Budapest, Hungary, and boarding the cruise.  However, I didn’t feel comfortable leaving the U.S. and arriving in Budapest to board the cruise on the same day.

While this is Ray’s trip, I’ve always been fascinated by Switzerland and it didn’t cost us anything extra for the flight changes to make it part of our vacation.  For the same price, we now fly from Chicago to Zurich, Switzerland, a global city and one of the world’s largest financial centers, and arrive Saturday morning!

Zürich

We get to spend almost 24 hours there!   We then fly from Zurich to Budapest and board the “Sound of Music Cruise Tour” on Sunday, where we’ll travel the Danube River from Hungary to Germany with several stops in between in Slovakia, Austria, and Germany.

Sound of Music Cruise

The cruise departs Budapest Sunday night and after sailing all night and in the morning, we’ll arrive in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, for an afternoon tour.  It’s one of the youngest capital cities of Europe, yet its history dates back more than 2,000 years.

From there, another night of sailing will be followed by an all day visit to Vienna, Austria, known for musicians Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Falco (“Rock Me Amadeus”).

After another night of cruising the Danube, we arrive in Durnstein (wine country in lower Austria) and another short cruise will take us to Melk (in lower Austria), where the historic Benedictine Abbey is located.

The next day, we arrive in Passau, Germany, which is also known as Dreiflüssestadt, the “City of Three Rivers”.  And, being a city of so many rivers posed a major problem earlier this summer when central Europe experienced some of the worst flooding in decades.  These pictures are from Passau in early June.

Passau Flooding 1 Passau Flooding 2

Since our cruise is more than four months after the flooding, it’ll be interesting to see how fast Germany responds to a natural disaster and how much of the city is flood ravaged and damaged.

The next two days will feature stops in Regensburg and Nuremberg, Germany.

When we awake after the last night of  the cruise, we’re driven two hours to the Munich (Germany) airport for our flight back to Chicago.  Once we get through customs, we’ll drive the three hours back to Moline just in time for me to go back to work — jet lag and all.  Crazy!!!!!!!

While Ray’s milestone birthday trip of a lifetime is still two months away, I’m already planning the trip for my 50th birthday in the fall of 2014!!!!

Happy Birthday early Ray!

Anthony

They Said What??? President Obama, Pink, & Billie Jean King

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

(talking about the anti-gay laws Russia recently adopted):  “I have no patience for countries that try to treat gays, or lesbians, or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION’S BRYAN FISHER

(about Russia’s anti-gay laws):  “Isn’t this wonderful what Russia is doing? Let’s celebrate diversity and let’s support this tradition in the nation of Russia.”

SINGER PINK

(tweeting after negative Twitter comments attacking her for performing with a rainbow flag in Melbourne, Australia):  “Fun fact: when you twitter me and say ‘you’re a lesbian’ it really doesn’t bother me at all,” P!nk tweeted. “It’s a compliment. Most of my fav ppl are, so…I’m sure all of you hate filled humans can come up with something a little worse than that?!? Come on – be creative. You have 140 characters!”

ACTOR & FORMER POP STAR MARK WAHLBERG

(to troubled pop star Justin Bieber):  “Justin, are you listening? Don’t be so naughty.  Be a nice boy, pull your trousers up, make your mom proud and stop smoking weed, you little bastard.”

TENNIS LEGEND & CHAMP BILLIE JEAN KING

“It’s very, very difficult to come out when you’re still actively participating in a sport. It’s starting to get better, and it depends on the sport, too. In tennis we’ve been pretty lucky, but we still don’t have a gay guy coming out.”

MORE KING

(who was outed in 1981 when the media found out about the “galimony” suit filed by her former girlfriend Marilyn Barnett):  “They seem to think that [for] women, it’s been easier.  It was a long, arduous, very difficult process for me.”

FORMER TALK SHOW HOST SALLY JESSY RAPHAEL

“I wasn’t smart like Oprah. I didn’t at the very beginning tell them I wanted to own [the talk show]. That’s my stupidity and it’s stupid because I had to do what they called me in and told me to do.”

“DEXTER” STAR MICHAEL C. HALL

(about the series finale coming up in September, after eight seasons):  “I think the ‘Dexter’ finale will probably land somewhere in between. There will definitely be some grey areas — the show has always operated in that way. I don’t think it will be neat and tidy and wrapped up in a bow, but at the same time, there are some pretty decisive and bold storytelling choices that have been made, and hopefully, [they] will give people a dynamic experience. Whether all questions will be answered, I don’t know if this is a show that ever intended to do that.”

Dexter

Anthony