Archive for October, 2014

Random Friday Thoughts — October 24, 2014

The weekend is almost here and I hope you have fun plans.

The nice thing is that temperatures will be near 70° for Iowa and Illinois.  If you recall by this time last year, the Quad Cities had already had its first measurable snow of the season! (0.4″ fell on October 22, 2013, in Moline, Illinois.)

Snow

Yes, I have a few random thoughts to share and I hope you enjoy reading them.

EBOLA FEARS & BLAME

As of now, one person has died here in the United States from Ebola, a disease that has killed close to 5,000 people in Africa.  However, the World Health Organization says that the true number may be three times that official number.

Twice recently, while traveling, I had the unfortunate experience of watching Fox News in the hotel room and I was disgusted that the talking heads were blaming President Obama for not doing enough.

Maybe they need to step back for a moment and look at this fact!

EBOLA - AIDS

If you think that’s just some Democratic, liberal slant of the facts, read a full article that I blogged about that in July 2012.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

REBA IS READY FOR A COMEBACK

It’s sad to say that when you have more Top Ten hits on the country chart than any other woman in history and you’re tied with Dolly Parton with the most #1 country songs by a woman that you’re staging a comeback, but that’s what Reba McEntire, my idol, is doing.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women I Am” was released almost four years ago and it featured her last #1 song, Turn On The Radio”, which topped the chart on New Year’s Day in 2011.

Here’s Reba performing that song in Moline in October 2011.

Since then, the next three singles faltered at country radio peaking at #22 (the remake of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”), #40, and #44.  Thanks country radio!

Nevertheless, she’s back with a new label and she’s making new music.

Earlier this week, Reba announced that she signed with Nash ICON Music, a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift’s label) and Cumulus Media, the broadcasting giant that owns 460 AM and FM stations in the United States.

Reba

Reba is working with her longtime friend and producer Tony Brown, who’s behind her biggest hits albums from the early-to-mid-1990s including my favorites, “Rumor Has It” (1990) and “Read My Mind” (1994).  James Stroud is also co-producing the album.   Stroud has produced some of  Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence’s biggest hits.

Reba has already cut 11 songs for the new album and six are finished.  She adds, “I’ve got three more to record that I have found.  I’m always trying to beat out what I have already, so we just keep looking.”

While there’s no date set for the new single and new album, Reba promises it will be “soon”!

“GONE GIRL”

The latest David Fincher masterpiece, “Gone Girl”, is amazing.

The movie is based on the New York Times best seller and critically acclaimed novel of the same name by former “Entertainment Weekly” writer Gillian Flynn.

In just three weeks, the movie starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris has grossed more than $216 million worldwide with more than one-half of that domestically.

While I plan on reading the book in early December, the movie was incredible.  It really helped that Flynn also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

Here’s the trailer, which tells you what you really need to know about the movie.

Affleck was very solid just as he was in “Argo” and Pike definitely has a future in Hollywood.

Harris is so versatile as an actor and this is one of his most revealing and vulnerable, naked performances he’s given.

Let’s just say that he was definitely acting on Broadway in his critically acclaimed role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, because there is much more there!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Okay, that’s my way of saying you see more of Harris in this movie than you’ve ever seen before! 🙂

GRADE:  A

WE’RE HEADING TO THE CHAPEL AND WE’RE GOING TO GET MARRIED…

Marriage equality is sweeping the nation as court challenges and the Supreme Court of the United States are giving more Americans the freedom to get married.

Marraige Equality

Yet, that idiot and Fox News mouthpiece Mike Huckabee, the failed Presidential candidate, will not let it drop.

Check out this tweet and a Twitter response to his assessment of what Jesus probably thought.

Huckabee

While that might have offended some, that wasn’t my intent.  However, it made me smile and I couldn’t have said it any better.

PARIS AND TEL AVIV HIGHLIGHTS

Last week, I turned the big 5-0 and we saved our pennies and dollars and celebrated the milestone birthday with a trip to Europe (Paris, France) and the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Israel).

Here are some of the interesting things we experienced on the trip.

My birthday present from Ray was dinner cruise on the Seine River, followed by a trip to the Eiffel Tower at night.  We paid the extra 12 Euros to go to top and it was amazing to see the sprawled out city of Paris twinkling in the distance.

And, the night didn’t end there.  It was then off to the historic Moulin Rouge for a show and champagne.  I actually turned 50 during the show.

AP R Moulin

Thanks Ray!!!!!!!  You’re incredible.

We also had duck and goose a couple of times and while I’ll not make it a regular part of my eating habits, it was rather tasty.

The oddest thing I saw in Paris was a Chinese buffet near our hotel that we kept eyeing on our walks.  We finally gave it a try and you actually had to microwave your food that was sitting out on the buffet!  I wasn’t a fan of that.  Osaka Buffet in Moline, you have nothing to worry about!

But, then again, who goes to Paris and has a Chinese buffet?

It’s a small world after all.  As we were waiting in the line to go through customs at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, all of a sudden I heard “Hey Moline” and it was a sweet little, older couple that was coming back from a European River Cruise.  You never know who or where you’ll see your peeps! 🙂

TLV Sunset

Then it was off to Tel Aviv for three days.

It’s absolutely gorgeous there and from our hotel room, we could see the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea!

We were amazed at how beautiful, healthy, and in shape most Israeli men are.  Note to self:  eat better and work out more!

The morning Israeli breakfast our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.  However, our favorite meal was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Sea.

Starter

That was just the salads and “starters” that they brought out.  Yes, fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

Incredible!  I wanted to go back again, but we didn’t.

TEL AVIV SCARE

Sadly, we didn’t get our a stamp on our passport from Israel.

The customs agent was so flustered from ranting a woman in front of us for sticking her passport in her mouth that he forgot.  He refused to let her go through his line because he wasn’t going to touch her passport.  And, I really don’t blame him.  However, his approach was a little abrasive.

As for us, our only scare was when we happened upon the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the way to dinner.  It was dusk and we decided to take a picture of it for our photo album.

However, three guards came out (one with a large weapon) and told us not to take pictures and took my driver’s license and called it in since we weren’t carrying our passports.  After a very long five minutes or so, they let us go and told us not to take pictures.

It’s very interesting because last month in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, the guards there had no issue with photo-taking tourists.

And, on our return flight home, the snow-covered Alps were beautiful!

Alps

PICK HIT

While in Tel Aviv, Israel, I was delighted that VH-1 showed music videos all the time.  There was no filler programming or reality crap, just real videos like in the old days of MTV and VH-1.

I fell in love with the song, “Stolen Dance”  by the German pop/rock/folk duo, Milky Chance, made up of singer Clemens Rehbein and DJ Philipp Dausch.

What I was surprised to learn is that the song is #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart (six weeks) and #1 on the Rock Airplay chart (four weeks) in the United States.

And, it’s already topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Switzerland, and it peaked at #2 or #3 in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, and Sweden.

So far, it isn’t a Top 40 hit on mainstream radio in the U.S., but it’s catching on.

THE CALENDAR SAYS HALLOWEEN, BUT…

I’m already in the Christmas spirit.

However, I plan on watching “Hellbent”, a gay horror movie, from the people who brought us “Halloween” and “The Nightmare on Elm Street”.  It’s a movie that I watch every October.

Now, back to Christmas.  There are many upcoming holiday releases coming out including LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

But, I’ve already bought two new CDs.

Idina Holiday Wishes

I just got Idina Menzel’s “Holiday Wishes” this week.

While I believe that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a tired Christmas song and it’s becoming one of my least favorites, Idina’s version with sexy crooner Michael Buble, is fun and enjoyable.

Other standouts on the disc are “Silent Night”, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, her remake of the Joni Mitchell classic, “River”, and the aforementioned duet with Buble.

I admit that it did take several listens to her version of the Mariah Carey classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, before I could like and appreciate it.   Carey’s version is perfect!

It wasn’t Menzel’s voice that threw me for a loop.  The arrangement is all over the place and the song is over five minutes long.  Once I “got it”, the song was more enjoyable.

GRADE:  B+

And, another one you definitely need to add to your Christmas music collection is actor, singer, producer, writer, and Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, “Holiday For Swing”.

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

He has an amazing voice and brings an old-time Rat Pack feel to Christmas on “Holiday For Swing”.  If you love jazz and Christmas music, you’ll love it.

Sadly, there are no snippets that I can find online to share with you.  What’s up with that, Seth?

I’ve listened to the album countless times and it could definitely become a standard!

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT FOR NOW!

It was nice to share my random thoughts with you again.

As I promised when I stopped doing it weekly, I’d do one every once in a while.

I really miss writing, but I just can’t find the time to do with my crazy work schedule.  Work just seems to get in the way, but I do need that small paycheck.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

The Soundtrack Of My Life – 50 Years of Music

I like most genres of music, but I pass over hardcore rap and heavy metal.

In Kentucky, in the 1970s, I grew up on country music.  In the 1980s, British new wave, dance music, and Madonna became my music of choice.

In the 1990s, I found country music again when I moved to Chicago.  (Thanks, Charlie’s).

After much thought and deliberation, I put together a list of my favorite songs of all time — the soundtrack of my life.

These may not be the best songs ever, but they are the ones that will make me stop what I’m doing and listen when they come on.

20

 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” — CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN

19

“DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” — DONNA SUMMER

18

“NO FRILLS LOVE”JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

#17

“ON MY OWN” — PATTI LABELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD

16

“I LOVE MY RADIO” — TAFFY

15

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE”  — REBA

#14 Movie

“DELTA DAWN”  — HELEN REDDY

13

“AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” — JOHN COUGAR

 

12

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q

11

 

“MISSING YOU” — JOHN WAITE

10

“FASCINATED” — COMPANY B

#9

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” — JEANNIE C. RILEY

8

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” — JERMAINE STEWART

#7 CD

“TAINTED LOVE” — SOFT CELL

6

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” — THE HUMAN LEAGUE

#5 MOVIE

“OH L’AMOUR” — ERASURE

4

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

3

GREATEST HITS MEDLEY — THE CARPENTERS

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

“IMAGINE” —  JOHN LENNON

1

THE BEATLES — “LET IT BE”

So, there you have it.

Let me know what you think and what your favorite song is.

Anthony

Fall Television & New Movies That Excite Me

When I was younger, I always looked forward to the fall television season.  It was fun seeing my favorite shows return and to check out some new ones.  Now that the television landscape has changed and shows return at different times throughout the year, it’s more exciting.

Usually, I don’t get too excited about new shows.  The ones I like usually get cancelled (“Commander In Chief”, “Invasion”, and “Eli Stone” to name a few.)

However, last weekend, we checked out the series premiere to “Red Band Society” (Fox), “Getting Away With Murder” (ABC), and “Madam Secretary” (CBS).

After just a couple of episodes, I gave up on “Red Band Society” and I don’t think I’m alone.  It might be the first cancellation of the fall season and all shows haven’t even debuted!

Tea Leoni was great in “Madam Secretary” and it is well written and acted.  But, Oscar nominee Viola Davis is incredible in “How To Get Away With Murder” and it’s my early favorite — so intelligent and sexy.

I’m still waiting to see “Gotham” (Fox), “Transparent (Amazon), “Stalker” (CBS), and “Gracepoint”(Fox).

Of course, I can’t wait for the new seasons of “The Walking Dead”, “American Horror Story”, “The Following” and “Hannibal”.

Hannibal

Whether it’s cancelled or renewed for a third season, I’m done with “Under The Dome” after the season two finale.  Sorry, Chesters Mill!

under-the-dome

With summer behind us and the days getting shorter, I’m making a list of the movies and the Oscar contenders that I want to see this fall and winter.

Here are the ones that I plan on seeing on the big screen with a large popcorn!

popcorn

“Gone Girl” (October 3)

“Unbroken”

“Exodus:  Gods And Kings”

“Into The Woods”

I’m really intrigued by this Nicole Kidman thriller, but I haven’t decided if it’s a theater movie or one that I’ll wait to see at home.

“Before I Go To Sleep”

And, here are the ones that I’ll likely be curled up on the couch and popping my own popcorn to watch when they come out on DVD.

“This Is Where I Leave You”

“Left Behind”

“Pride”

“The Guest”

“Maps To The Stars”

“The Best of Me”

“Horrible Bosses 2”

“Foxcatcher”

“The Imitation Game”

“The Interview”

“Wild”

Which ones are you interested in seeing and what new shows are you excited about this fall?

Anthony