Happy Friday! Can you believe that Halloween is behind us and we’re already into the first week of November? Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2015 will be here before you know it.
While I gave up writing a weekly “Random Friday Thoughts” this summer because of time constraints and I’m running out of free space to post images in the blog without paying, I enjoyed putting together the October 24th random thoughts, so I thought I’d do it again.
And, I’ll start this one with a big time, eat crow apology!
TAYLOR, I’M SORRY
Many times over the past couple of years, I’ve sort of bashed Taylor Swift.
While I saw her in concert in the Quad Cities opening for Keith Urban in the summer of 2009 and I bought her “Fearless” album, I quickly tired of the constant reports of “manizing” (my word for the opposite of womanizing) and her overexposure.
However, in her latest #1 hit, “Shake It Off”, the lead single from her new and hugely successful, record-setting album, “1989”, Taylor won me back with her “eff-off” to me and all of her haters!
“Shake It Off” is brilliant. It shows that Taylor is in on the joke and not the joke.
Taylor, I promise that I’ll never pass judgement on you again. And, if I do, I know you can come back with another “eff-you” song in the vain of “Shake It Off”.
“SHAKE IT OFF”
TAYLOR SWIFT RULES THE WORLD
With “1989”, Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, selling an incredible 1.287 million copies in the United States alone, that makes Taylor the only singer in music history to have three (and three consecutive) million selling-plus first week albums.
This is also her best-selling first week ever!
Her 2010 album, “Speak Now” sold 1.047 million in its first week and the follow-up, 2012’s “Red” sold 1.208 million in its first week.
AND, THAT’S NOT ALL FOR “1989” AND TAYLOR
Those first week sales make “1989” the biggest selling first-week album since 2002 (Eminem), the biggest-selling album released in 2014 (Sam Smith’s “In The Lonely Hour” is second with 746,000 copies sold since May), and it’s the second biggest selling album of the year behind the “Frozen” soundtrack, which has sold 3.2 million copies in 2014.
SHOUT-OUT TO BRITNEY
While Taylor’s first week sales of 1.287 million copies were astounding, “1989” now ranks in second place behind “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears for most albums sold in the first week by a woman.
In its first week, in 2000, that album had sales of 1.32 million. To date, “Oops!…” has sold 10.4 million copies in the United States and 24 million worldwide.
I absolutely love Britney. I plan on seeing her in concert again next year in Las Vegas with her “Britney: Piece of Me” show at Planet Hollywood.
So, here’s a shout-out to “It’s Britney, bitch” as she holds on to her record.
The lead single and title track,”Oops!… I Did It Again”, hit #1 on the radio airplay charts in 2000.
HOZIER – RUSSIA AND HOMOPHOBIA
24-year-old Irish singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne, professionally known as just Hozier, is enjoying his third Top Three hit back in his native Ireland.
But, it’s his first hit there that is now getting a lot of airplay here in the United States.
“Take Me To Church” reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Rock Songs and Adult Alternative Songs charts.
While a powerful song, it’s the video, that calls attention to Russia’s homophobia and homophobic laws, that is so riveting and sad.
Hozier, thank you for getting the message out there.
“DEATH WITH DIGNITY”
29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, took her own life in Portland, Oregon, last weekend, assisted by a physician.
Back on New Year’s Day 2014, Brittany was diagnosed with brain cancer. She had surgery, but the cancer came back in April and she was given six months to live.
She and her husband moved from California to Oregon so when the pain got to be too much, she could take own life with the help of a doctor because of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law that was passed by Oregon voters twenty years ago.
Oregon became the first state to allow this, but appeals kept Oregonians from using the law until 1997.
I’m a firm believer that every human should die with dignity and I applaud Brittany’s decision. I’m glad she and her family enjoyed a nice vacation to the Grand Canyon last month to cross it off her “bucket list”.
So far, about 750 people in Oregon have used the law since 1997.
REMEMBERING “DR. DEATH”
I’ve talked about “doctor-assisted suicide” before. Here is a re-post of what I had to say May 31, 2013, about Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
“While more Americans find doctor-assisted suicides less acceptable today than a decade ago, according to that recent Gallup poll, I’m taking a moment to remember the man whose name is synonymous with that subject. He died two years ago next week.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan born pathologist, gained national attention in late 1998 when he allowed CBS News’ “60 Minutes” to air a videotape he made two months earlier of the voluntary euthanasia of 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating disease that causes progressive weakness, muscle atrophy, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing.
After a two-day trial, a Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder. After serving time, he was paroled eight years later.
He may have been involved in more than 130 deaths and Kevorkian told “Time” magazine, “My specialty is death.”
So, what is your view on doctor-assisted suicides? Feel free to tell me, even if we disagree.
I’m all for it. I’ve seen people wither away to almost nothing in so much pain. I look at their lives and I see that some have no quality of life. My mother died of a sudden heart attack at age 47. While we were unable to say goodbye, I’m thankful that she never suffered for a long period like some people do.
If I’m ever in a terminal health situation where there is no chance of recovery (short of a miracle) and I’m in unimaginable pain, I’d welcome being euthanized. Why is it that we’re in a position in this country where we have to watch our loved ones suffer until they die naturally, but we can do the “humane” thing to keep our beloved pets from immense suffering when they reach that point of no return by euthanizing them?
On February 3, 2012, Miss ABBA, our golden retriever that was just like a child to us, took that final R-I-D-E in the car. I carried her to the car that morning and into the vet’s office. I sat on the floor holding her when the doctor administered the two shots and she peacefully crossed over the “rainbow bridge”.
Many of you already know that Miss ABBA lived ten fantastic months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was only given two to three months to live. She never got sick or down until the day before she died.
I’m blessed for the almost 12 years Miss ABBA and I had together. I’m so glad that she never had to suffer and that I had that option to ease her pain when her quality of life ended. I would want the same for myself or for my human counterparts.”
SPEAKING OF MY MOTHER
My sister and I lost that beautiful woman 24 years ago today!
Dessie, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you and wish that we could talk. But, I know that you’re looking over us now!
ELECTIONS ARE OVER, BUT WHAT ABOUT 2016?
I believe that former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and it won’t be a long vicious fight for that nomination like it was in 2008 against President Obama.
It’s going to be a much tougher fight for the Republican Party since there is no real front-runner. And, because of that, I think it’s going to be nasty for quite some time once there are people vying for that nomination.
That’s why I predict that the candidates will start throwing their hat in the ring in early 2015 (or even by the end of this year).
For weeks now, I’ve said that the first person that will announce their candidacy will be former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.
And, when all is said and done, here is my prediction of who we’ll be choosing from in the 2016 presidential election.
Clinton and Bush! Talk about dynasties in American politics!
“MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY 2”
There are many Christmas movies that I love, but one of my favorites came out in 2009.
It’s called “Make The Yuletide Gay”, a Rob Williams-directed movie about a college kid wanting to “come out” to his parents at Christmas, but he’s afraid to do it because of how he thinks they may react. A visit from his college boyfriend pushes the “coming out” to the forefront.
While the boys are definitely charming, Wisconsin’s own Kelly Keaton, who plays Anya Gunnunderson, the mother of boy coming out, is so sweet and she makes you laugh.
There’s been talk about a sequel for years and now that is falling into place. The director and producers have a script and just started a Kickstarter campaign through the end of December to raise the $175,000 needed to assist in the movie.
You can find out more about it here and make a small donation.
I love the original movie so much that if I had $2,500 lying around, I’d donate it so I could make my Hollywood debut in the movie!
Could you imagine me transitioning from a television meteorologist to actor?
As you may recall, I saw Olivia Newton-John in concert this past May in Las Vegas and she was fantastic. She sounded and looked great.
I recently read a biography about her life by Tim Ewbank.
It was a thorough book that covered her pre-career life in Australia and England, her career, both in music and movies, her marriage and divorce, and her fight with cancer.
I was glad that the book talked about how some of the biggest country music stars in the 1970s (Conway Twitty, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis, Dolly Parton, and more) formed the Association of Country Entertainers as a protest to “outsiders” that were not country purists or “Nashville”.
Dolly quickly withdrew from that group and embraced Olivia.
Also, the book covered her friendship with another Australian that I love, Helen Reddy. The book claims that it was Helen and he ex-husband that convinced Olivia to take the role of Sandy in “Grease”!
WATCHING MORE TELEVISION
When we had cable before, we never watched television. Now that we have it, we’ve caught up on season five of “The Walking Dead” and now we don’t have to avoid the spoilers until it arrives on DVD the following August!
We’re also watching “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.
Another show I really loved after seeing the first episode is “Stalker” on CBS. It’s creepy, but I love it.
Maggie Q is my new “girl I would switch for”! I’m kidding. 🙂
My favorite line in the pilot is when Dylan McDermott’s detective character, Jack Larsen, says “I get the feeling you don’t like me” and Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis replies, “Don’t be silly, I’m sporadically rude.”
I’m still loving “How To Get Away With Murder. It’s the best new show this fall and so scandalous and real that you’d never know that Disney is the parent company of ABC.
My two favorite characters are Annalise Keating, a criminal law professor, played by multiple Oscar nominee Viola Davis, and Connor Walsh, a gay law student, played by Jack Falahee.
It’s one thing for a television show to feature a gay character, but to allow him (or her) to be sexually active on-screen is groundbreaking.
Here’s a video tribute to Connor and it includes scenes from the October 16th episode that made me think I was watching a soft-core adult movie!
If you watched that to the end, you probably heard the most “did he just say that?” moment I’ve seen on television. EVER.
Yes, this is ABC and not premium cable!
In the same episode, Viola Davis’ character is sitting at her bureau and removes her wig, all of her make-up, and her eye lashes in one of the most emotionally naked scenes written for television.
And, if that wasn’t riveting enough, the scene ends when she holds up a cell phone to her cheating husband and asks the most mind-blowing question that no spouse ever wants to ask their husband!
HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER: A+
Way to go, Mouse House!
How do you top that? I won’t even try.
I’ve enjoyed sharing my random thoughts this week from the serious to the silly to the entertaining.
I hope you enjoyed them. Let me know what you think.
Until the next “Random Friday Thoughts”, happy holidays.