Archive for December, 2014

My Ten Favorite Movies of 2014

Yesterday, I started counting down my twenty favorite movies that I saw in 2014.

In case you missed it, click here to see what movies were ranked #20 to #11.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/my-20-favorites-movies-of-2014/

2014

Now, my ten favorites of 2014.

10

“WALK OF SHAME”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $59,209

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $59,209

*Yes, that is 59-thousand dollars and not millions!  I’m not sure what Focus World, the movie’s distributor, was thinking.  Yes, critics hated it.  But, I laughed my butt off each time I’ve watched it!

9 CD

“BLUE JASMINE”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $33.4 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $97.5 MILLION 

 

8 red

 

“AUGUST:  OSAGE COUNTY”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $37.7 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $74.2 MILLION 

 

#7 CD

 

“THE SKELETON TWINS”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $5.3 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $5.3 MILLION 

#6 CD

“PHILOMENA”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $37.7 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $100.1 MILLION 

GREEN 5

“MY STRAIGHT SON”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

red-number-4

“GONE GIRL”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $165.4 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $349.5 MILLION 

green 3

“THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $54.2 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $88.9 MILLION 

#2 CD

“THE NORMAL HEART”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

Before we get to my favorite movie of 2014, I want to thank you for checking out my countdowns.

2014

As a follower of my blog, you know I love sharing my thoughts and I love lists and countdowns.

One more bonus before the big reveal for this year.  A flashback to a year ago and my favorite movie that I saw in 2013.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

Now it’s time for my favorite movie of this year.  It’s actually a documentary and it’s a sad and heartbreaking true story of love that ends in tragedy and how hate in this country made a time of immense sadness even more painful.

If you haven’t seen this yet, stop what you’re doing and rent this now and also give the one you love a big hug and kiss.

1

“BRIDEGROOM”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

NETFLIX POSTER

Shane, through the pain and sadness of the past few years, I hope you’re finally finding some peace.  Hold on to the happy and loving times you and Tom had together.

Thank you for checking out my ten favorite movies.  Which ones have you seen?  Did you like them, love them, or hate them?  And, which ones on my list do you want to check out now?

Gag Me

Before I close out, I want to share my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014.

The worst was definitely “Lady Peacock”.  Most of you haven’t heard of it and just leave it at that.

Also, on the list, the Oscar and Golden Glove-nominated, “All is Lost” with Robert Redford.

The final two stinkers were “The Family” with Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer and “Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters” (sorry Gretel!)

Anthony

My 20 Favorites Movies of 2014

The movie with the most buzz in 2014 didn’t have anything to do with “Star Wars”, “Star Trek”, “The Hunger Games”, or hobbits.

Because of hacks at Sony and threats against movie goers, “The Interview”, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco playing a television show producer and host that are asked by the U.S. government to kill the leader of North Korea, was the most talked about movie of the year.

Sony cancelled the Christmas Day premiere and then after a huge backlash across the country and from the President of the United States, the movie was released in more than 300 theaters on Christmas Day and it was made available online for $5.99.

Sony is now calling “The Interview” its “top grossing online film of all time” after it made more than $15 million in digital rentals and purchases in its first four days.  It also made almost $3 million in limited release at theaters in its first four days.

I still want to see it and one year from now, we’ll see if it makes my 2015 list.

2014

Here are my favorite movies of 2014. Notice I said, “favorite”.  These may not be the “best” movies of the year that Oscar will shine on, but these are my favorites that I enjoyed and would watch again.

This is 20 to #11.  The top ten will be posted tomorrow.

#20

“PRIDE”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $1.4 MILLION

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $7.5 MILLION 

19

“THE FAULT IN OUR STARS”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $124.9 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $304.2 MILLION 

#18

“FLOATING SKYSCRAPERS”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  —

17

“JOAN RIVERS:  A PIECE OF WORK”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $2.9 MILLION 

#16

“OUT OF THE FURNACE”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $11.3 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $15.4 MILLION 

15

“BAGGAGE CLAIM”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $21.6 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $22.5 MILLION 

#14 Movie

“SNOWPIERCER”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $4.6 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $86.8 MILLION 

#13

“DIVERGENT”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $150.9 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $288.7 MILLION 

12

“UNBROKEN”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $47.3 MILLION 

TOTAL WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $47.3 MILLION 

11

“GLORIA”

U.S. BOX OFFICE:  $2.1 MILLION 

2014

Thank you for checking out #20 to #11.  Which ones have you watched and did you see any that you might want to check out now?

Check back tomorrow for my ten favorite movies of 2014.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/12/31/my-ten-favorite-movies-of-2014/

Anthony

My 14 Favorite Albums of 2014

2015 is almost upon us and I’m so excited for the new Madonna album, “Rebel Heart”, which is expected March 10th, and Reba McEntire’s new album, her first since “All The Women I Am”, which came out in November 2010.

As this year winds down and I start counting my down my favorite albums I bought this year, here’s a track from my favorite album last year, “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace.

Push Rewind

If you want to see the rest of last year’s Top Ten, here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/my-top-ten-favorite-albums-of-2013/

2014

Now, my favorite fourteen albums of 2014.

#14 Movie

CALVIN HARRIS — “MOTION”

MOTION CALVIN HARRIS

13

LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT — “CHEEK TO CHEEK”

Tony_Bennett_and_Lady_Gaga_-_Cheek_to_Cheek

12

DISCLOSURE — “SETTLE”

DISCLOSURE SETTLE

11

ARETHA FRANKLIN — “ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS”

aretha franklin

#10 MOVIE

KYLIE MINOGUE — “KISS ME ONCE”

Kiss Me Once

#9

LEANN RIMES — “DANCE LIKE YOU DON’T GIVE A … GREATEST HITS REMIXES”

LEANN RIMES DANCE LIKE YOU DON'T

#8 MOVIE

SETH MacFARLANE — “HOLIDAY FOR SWING”

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

#7 CD

AMY GRANT — “IN MOTION:  THE REMIXES”

Amy Grant

#6 CD

IDINA MENZEL — “HOLIDAY WISHES”

Idina Holiday Wishes

#5 MOVIE

RENEE FLEMING — “CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK”

renee-fleming

#4 MOVIE

TAYLOR SWIFT — “1989”

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

green 3

KIESZA — “SOUND OF A WOMAN”

Sound_of_a_Woman_cover

1-1-2

Folks, there is a statistical tie for my favorite album of the year.  These next two albums were flawless and pure pop perfection.

One of the acts has been charting across the world since the 1980s and the other since the 1990s.  And, what’s very interesting is that I saw them both in concert for the first time this past October in Chicago on the same weekend!

1

ERASURE — “THE VIOLET FLAME”

The Violet Flame

1

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS — “SEX AND LOVE”

Enrique SEX AND LOVE

X

I honestly could listen to both albums on repeat at any time.

So, those are my 14 favorites of this year.  What are your favorites?

Anthony

 

 

My Top 20 Songs of 2014

It’s time to share the songs that I loved this year and to share one that I couldn’t stand!

There are no country songs on the list since country radio pretty much doesn’t play the artists I want to hear (except their oldies), so I don’t listen to country.

However, I really liked Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song”, but I don’t know if it was for the cute video or the song, so here it is as an extra!

MADDIE & TAE — “GIRL IN A COUNTRY SONG”

20

HAILEY ROWE — “DON’T NEED YOUR APPROVAL”

19

CASH CASH (featuring BEBE REXHA) — “TAKE ME HOME”

18

ERASURE — “ELEVATION”

17

CASCADA  — “BLINK”

16

HOZIER — “TAKE ME TO CHURCH”

*The song is amazing, but the video is heart-breaking and poignant.  Why does this have to happen?*

15

RENEE FLEMING — “WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES”

14

WISIN (featuring JENNIFER LOPEZ & RICKY MARTIN)– “ADRENALINA”

13

THE CHAINSMOKERS — “#SELFIE”

12

MILKY CHANCE — “STOLEN DANCE”

11

KYLIE MINOGUE — “INTO THE BLUE”

10

DISCLOSURE (FEATURING SAM SMITH) — “LATCH”

9

ARIANA GRANDE & ZEDD — “BREAK FREE”

8

NICK JONAS — “JEALOUS”

7

MICHAEL JACKSON & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE — “LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD”

6

TAYLOR SWIFT — “SHAKE IT OFF”

5

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS & PITBULL

4

NICKI MINAJ — “ANACONDA”

3

ERASURE — “REASON”

2

MADONNA — “LIVING FOR LOVE”

Casey_Kasem

Since I’m counting down my favorite twenty songs of 2014, I want to take a moment to remember the man who got me interested in music charts and countdowns, Casey Kasem.

Kasem died this past summer at the age of 82 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia.

As Kasey told us each week on his “American Top 40” countdown, “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”.

Before we get to my favorite song this year, let’s take a look back to my favorite song of 2013.

HAILEY ROWE — “MY BOYFRIEND IS GAY”

Now, on with the countdown and my favorite song of 2014!

This is the second appearance from T-Swizzle from her “1989” album.

Another number 1

TAYLOR SWIFT — “BLANK SPACE”

Thank you for checking out my countdown.  Let me know what you liked or didn’t like.

Gag Me

Speaking of not liking, my least favorite song of 2014 was “Wiggle” by Jason DeRulo (which is sad because his first album in 2010 was one of my favorites of the year!

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

There was another song that I didn’t really care too much about on the radio, but once I saw the over-the-top, crazy, dirty video, then I liked it more.  But, not enough to be one of my twenty favorite songs of 2014.  But, here it is as an extra.

This video is sick!

DJ SNAKE & LIL JON — “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT”

As I look forward to 2015, I sure hope that Reba’s new song, “Going Out Like That”, that hits country radio on January 6th makes the list and gives me a reason to listen to country music again.  Also, let’s get some new Patty Loveless music, too.

Reba 2011

Happy New Year!

Anthony

Fortunate In 2014 & Looking Forward To 2015

Happy Holidays, my friends, it’s my favorite time of the year.  I love the sights and sounds, the music, and the fact that I get to catch up with my dear friends.

Christmas 2014

I hope 2014 was a great year for you, but more importantly, I hope 2015 is even better.  May you be blessed with good health, good fortunes, love, and happiness!

It was a fun year for us.  I’ll get to that, but first let me update you on our lives.

I’m nearing the end of my two-year contract as the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate here in the Quad Cities.  While I love what I do, I’m not sure how much longer I want to get up at 1 a.m. for work five days a week.

Ray is still the Planning and Economic Development Director for the city of Moline.  He’s been there nine years and loves what he does.  But, were both eyeing his semi-retirement and Gretel’s high school graduation in five years to move to a warmer climate.

Yes, Gretel is now an eighth grader and a teenager!  She wants to be a movie director when she grows up.

Anthony Gretel Ray

My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities.  She’s been here for three years and while she’s happy, I can definitely see her return to Tennessee to be closer to her two granddaughters one day.

Tammy

It’s been almost three years since we lost Miss ABBA and we still don’t have a dog.  However, I hope that changes in the next year or two — if we travel less.  We did quite a bit of traveling this year.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

We got away to Las Vegas for a few days this summer and saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in concert.

OliviaShania

While there, we also saw two Cirque du Soleil shows, “The Beatles LOVE” and “Michael Jackson ONE”.  Both were simply amazing with the theatrics, the acrobatics, and, of course, the fantastic music.  I’d highly recommend seeing one of these shows when you’re in Vegas.

Other concerts we enjoyed this year were Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cher 2014 311

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in Chicago, Illinois

Enrique

We also saw my favorite ’80s band, Erasure, in Chicago, the next night!

Erasure

We spent a few days in Branson, Missouri, on a summer vacation trip for Gretel and her friends, Zoe, in June, and I accompanied Ray on a conference to beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, in September.  I got to sight see while he worked.

Ottawa

And, then in October, we went on the big vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday!

Yes, the big 5-0!  I’ve always wanted to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, and when we were booking the trip, it took us through Paris to sit at the airport for a few hours.  We thought, “why not stay a few days since we’re already going to be there?”  So, we cut Tel Aviv to four nights and stayed in Paris three nights.

Paris Birthday

For my birthday, Ray bought a package deal that included a Seine River dinner cruise, a visit to the Eiffel Tower (the view from the top at night was incredible), and a cabaret show at the world-renowned “Moulin Rouge”.  Since we were on Paris time, I actally turned 50 sipping champagne as the show girls (and boys) performed at the “Moulin Rouge”!

Paris was incredible, but Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean Sea, was so beautiful and the religious history surrounding the city was mind-blowing.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

Old Jaffa, just miles away, is more than 4,000 years old.

And, we had a yard sale this summer and started saving change and a few dollars to go on a holiday cruise to the eastern Caribbean in early December with Tammy and Gretel.

Eastern Caribbean

Needless to say, we didn’t buy many presents for each other this Christmas.  The trip was the present.

It been an enjoyable year and we’re definitely looking forward to see what 2015 brings!

As you start to take down the holiday decorations and winter sets in, I hope that you’re looking to the new year for bright new adventures, good health, and much happiness.

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in 2015.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014

Winter begins this weekend and Christmas is now less than a week away!

I hope you and yours have a very merry holiday — whatever you celebrate this time of the year.

If you’re not caught up on “The Following” or “The Walking Dead”, this blog DOES, I repeat, DOES contain spoilers.

“RARE EXPORTS:  A CHRISTMAS TALE”

If you’re tired of the holiday classics this season and the Lifetime movies just don’t do it for you, check out this Finnish Christmas movie that was my fifth favorite movie in 2011.

This horror/fantasy/thriller will have you looking at Santa is a whole different light!  Now, when I say “horror”, I don’t mean silly slasher movie.

Sadly, “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” was only released in 21 American theaters and it made a whopping $236-thousand domestically!  However, its foreign box office pushed it up to $4 million.

“THE INTERVIEW”

Sony has scrapped its release of the $44 million budgeted, James Franco and Seth Rogen comedy, “The Interview” after cyber threats to moviegoers.

I have to say that I’m disappointed in this decision and I hope that the movie is quickly released to DVD or VOD (video on demand).  Yet, Sony adds that it has “no further release plans” for the movie at this time.

It seems that I’m not alone in the scary precedent Sony is setting regarding internet threats.

Actress Mia Farrow tweeted, “Sony is a disgrace. Sickening.”  And, here are some others:

The Interview Reaction 1 The Interview Reaction 2

In the movie, Rogen and Franco’s characters are asked by the United States government to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Here is the “red band trailer” that just cracks me up.

In case you’re not familiar with “red band trailer”, it means that it’s NOT SUITABLE FOR KIDS and NSFW!  As with any truly “R-rated” video on YouTube, you might not be able to view this video without verification that you are 18 years old!!!

Again, this trailer is truly adult in nature and may be too abrasive to some.

warning

I loved the duo’s last big screen collaboration, “This Is The End”, which was my fifth favorite movie of last year.

I just wonder if they had made the North Korean leader a fictional character if things would have gone down differently?

JEB BUSH IS CLOSER TO BEING THE FIRST!

While it’s not official just yet, in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on November 7, 2014, I predicted that Jeb Bush would be the first candidate to declare his run for the 2016 presidency.

Earlier this week, he said he will “actively explore” a run for the Republican nomination for President.

I’m sticking to my forecast that the 2016 presidential election will come down to former first lady and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the former Florida Governor Bush.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

And, just like the 1992 election, I think that Hillary will be back in the White House.  Only this time, she’ll be the President of the United States and former President Bill Clinton will become the country’s “First Gentleman”!

“THE FOLLOWING” RETURNS

The third season of the psychological thriller, “The Following”, returns to Fox on March 2, 2015.

The-Following-Season-2-Poster-2

spoiler-alert

Sadly, my favorite character, Emma, won’t be returning since she was killed off toward the end of the second season!

The Following Silence

It’ll be interesting to see how unstable Luke (Sam Underwood) will handle and avenge the death of his twin brother, Mark, and his mother, Lily.

following Mark

And, who was in the truck that picked him up as the season ended?

NEW REBA MUSIC COMING VERY SOON!

In just a little over two weeks, Reba McEntire will be making her return to country radio.

On January 6, 2015, her new song, “Going Out Like That”, an “upbeat”, sassy song is being released.

It’s the first single from her upcoming 2015 album.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women  I Am”, was released more than four years ago and it was my third favorite album of 2010.

It featured her last #1 hit on country radio, “Turn Up The Radio”.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD” SPINOFF

While I await the return for the second half of season five of “The Walking Dead” and see how the group handles Beth’s death at the end of the shocking mid-season finale, more details are surfacing about the spinoff to the hit AMC series.

The_Walking_Dead_TV_Series-285470099-large

Forget the east coast and Atlanta, the new pilot will take place in Los Angeles.

Can you just imagine “walkers” taking over Sunset Boulevard, the Malibu beaches, the deserts, and the Hollywood Hills?

ANY “LOVE ACTUALLY” FANS THAT WATCH “THE WALKING DEAD”?

This weekend, I plan on watching “Rare Exports:  A Christmas Tale” and “Love Actually” again just in time for the holidays.

If “Love Actually” is one of your Christmas favorites and you love “The Walking Dead”, you might find this parody entertaining.

Andrew Lincoln

If you recall, a much younger Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes in “The Walking Dead”) played Mark in “Love Actually”.

Now, while Lincoln is beautiful and flawless, sexy Charlie Farrell in the parody could definitely pass a double!

RENEE FLEMING

I just bought Renee Fleming’s “Christmas in New York” album and it’s quite delightful and very charming.

renee-fleming

For those of you that may not know her, Renee is world-renowed American opera singer, a soprano.

Beginning on New Year’s Eve, Renee will appear with Kelli O’Hara at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in a revival of the operetta, “The Merry Widow”, which was first performed in 1905.  Renee performed this role in 2010 in Germany.

NEW YORK CITY

Christmas is a magical time for many reasons and one place I’d love to visit around Christmastime is New York City.  In my fifty years, I’ve never visited the “Big Apple”.

If I was there now or over the next few weeks, I’d love to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree, check out my first opera with Renee Fleming at the Metropolitan Opera, get lost in the Christmas spirit with the iconic Mariah Carey’s holiday show at the Beacon Theater, and be blown away by Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”.

“MADAM SECRETARY”

In the absence of my favorite new network show this season, “How To Get Away With Murder”, which returns to ABC on January 29, 2015, I’ve had a chance to catch up on two other great shows on CBS.

Tea Leoni, who is nominated for a People’s Choice Award for her role as Secretary of State Elizabeth McCord, is incredible.  And, Tim Daly, who plays her husband, is incredibly handsome in his late-50s.

The show is very intelligent and thought-provoking.  It also makes me miss my favorite real life Secretary of States, Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright.

The show is doing rather well in the ratings and should easily be renewed.

Other than the awesome Leoni, my other two favorite characters are Nadine Tolliver (Bebe Neuwirth), Elizabeth’s Chief of Staff, and Blake Moran (Erich Bergen), Elizabeth’s quirky and sexy personal assistant.

“STALKER”

However, the other new show I’m enjoying, is not looking too promising for getting a second season if you trust the website, zap2it.

“Stalker” is a very creepy and sadistic thriller starring Maggie Q and Dylan McDermott.

Other than Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis character, my other favorite is Janice (Mariana Klaveno), who’s on Beth’s Threat Assessment Unit team.  Klaveno also played Lorena, Bill’s maker on the hit HBO series, “True Blood”.

“HANNIBAL”

Sadly, there is no return date scheduled for the most under appreciated, least watched, best written and acted series, “Hannibal”, on NBC.

Hannibal Jack Showdown

Come on, schedule the return!  There was so much blood shed in the season two finale with four main characters lying there dying!  Who will survive?

Obviously, Hannibal and Dr. Bedelia du Maurier as they jetted off to Italy!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  FREAK SHOW”

I have to say that the fourth season of “American Horror Story:  Freak Show” has been my least favorite season, so far.  (We have “Coven”, season three, but haven’t gotten around to watching it.)

I’m not alone since the ratings this season have dropped almost 50% since the October 8th premiere.

However, I’m not giving up on it because two of the last episodes, “Blood Bath” and “Tupperware Party Massacre”, were very entertaining and intense.

While the mid-season finale focusing on Pepper and showing us a connection between the seasons was touching, my favorite character was missing — psychotic man-boy Dandy Mott.

Actor Finn Wittrock is incredible and mesmerizing.  And, it doesn’t hurt that in recent episodes we were treated to several full posterior naked shots of him and others in his tighty whities!

american-horror-story-freak-show

Okay, Dandy does have a thing for blood!

‘UNBROKEN”

While “The Interview” has been pulled from theater release on Christmas Day, there are still a couple of movies that I want to see during the holiday season.

One is the Angelina Jolie-directed true story, “Unbroken”.

“THE IMITATION GAME”

And, the other is another true life story also centering around World War 2, “The Imitation Game”, with Oscar-buzz front-runner Benedict Cumberbatch.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW…

for my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Up next, my favorite (and least favorites) movies and songs of 2014 and my favorite albums of 2014.

I want to leave you with a beautiful version of “Blue Christmas” from my idol, Reba McEntire, with Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli from his 2009 album, “My Christmas”, which was the top-selling holiday album of that year.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you agree or disagree with or what your random thoughts are.

Anthony

When I Get To Heaven

Heaven.

It’s something we think about and many of us almost instinctively think of hell.  Well, to hell with that, I want to talk about heaven today.

There’s Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” (which was re-made by DJ Sammy), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “Heaven’s Just A Sin Away”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “One Night In Heaven”, “Tears In Heaven” and many more songs with “heaven” in the title.

Yes, I’m getting older, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about mortality.  My parents died early — my mother was 47 and my father was 55.  I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t cross my mind.  However, my latest physical showed that I was healthy and I feel good for my age.

Heaven

But, I know one day I’ll come to those pearly gates and I’ll be welcomed in with open arms.  Since we really don’t know what heaven is like, how we see it is subjective.

When the time comes, I’ll miss those that I leave behind here on Earth.  However, I already know what I’ll do when I get there.

Animals Heaven

It brings me such joy almost four years after my beloved golden retriever, ABBA, left us on Earth to know she’ll be there smiling and happily greeting me.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

October 2011

October 2011

04012011 ABBA Anthony
If she’s napping when I make my entrance, I wonder what her thumping tail on the clouds will sound like when she knows I’ve entered heaven.  I hope it still sounds like her tail thumping on the hardwood floors in life.  That brought me such joy to come home and hear that welcoming sound.  Upon hearing that, any problems I had that day just melted away.

Since heaven is peaceful, I know that Miss ABBA and my chow chow, Keshia, (1986-1998), are friends.

Keshia 001 Keshia 002

Their demeanor was very different.  ABBA loved everyone (she was a golden) and Keshia was very much a one-person dog.  She showered me with love, but was slow to warm to others.

And, it would be great to see our family dog, Cricket, again.  We had her through much of my childhood in the 1970s.  She died in 1982, my senior year in high school.

After I shower Miss ABBA with love and reacquaint myself with Keshia and Cricket, I can’t wait to see my mother and let all the years, tears, and sadness since November 1990 just fade away.

Dessie Birthday 1989

I won’t have to give her all of the details of my successes and failures and the ups and downs in my life.  She already knows all of that because she’s been looking over me and my sister, Tammy, now for 25 years.

Dessie 1990

It’ll be so nice to see my grandparents, John Henry and Helen Peoples, again.

HelenJohn Henry

I was lucky to have my grandmother Helen around until I turned 29, but my grandfather, John Henry, was taken away from us in early 1978, when I was only 13.

While I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage will remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer too much.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me lick the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them.  Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to champagne, wine, and vodka as an adult. 🙂

I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry”!

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Since heaven is a perfect place, it’ll be nice to be friends with my father, Hollie.  We weren’t friends in life.

I’d be able to forgive him for his hateful, homophobic, sexist, and racist attitudes, and his total disregard for anyone else’s feelings.  In heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with his alcoholism and all of the times he aimed guns at me and my mother and sister forcing us to hide outside until he passed out.  All would be forgotten.

In life, I was not sad when he died.  I was only saddened because of my mother’s broken heart.  Whatever good she saw in him, maybe I’d be able to see in heaven.

The-Carpenters

Once I caught up with my cherished pets and my family, the first person I want to befriend in heaven is Karen Carpenter.

While chasing fame in life, Karen was obsessed with her weight and she starved herself to death.

In heaven, Karen would never have to hear the words anorexia nervosa and I wouldn’t know anything about bulimia, the eating disorder that I struggled with for nine years from 1986 through 1995.

In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat.  While I’m not a practicing bulimic today, I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.

On Earth, Karen had the voice of an angel.  In heaven, I would be blessed to have a front row seat to hear my new friend sing.

Until then, her music lives on.

And, since it’s Christmas time and that friendship and concert with Karen will have to wait, I can enjoy this classic.

John Lennon

I’d also like to meet John Lennon and just sit and listen to his wisdom of his words.  People on Earth would still be able to strive for the peace found in “Let It Be” and”Imagine”, my two favorite songs of all time.

I’d also want to hang out with Jessica Savitch and let her know that she inspired me go into television news.

Jessica

And, finally, in heaven, I’d be able to witness former President Ronald Reagan hanging out with the more than 650,000 Americans that have died of AIDS.  A majority of those have been gay men.

RonaldReagan

It took President Reagan almost six years after taking office to publicly mention AIDS for the first time.   In the spring of 1987, he called it “public enemy number one”.

From the summer of 1981 when “The New York Times” published an article about “gay cancer” to end of the year that Reagan first publicly mentioned AIDS, a reported 50-thousand-plus Americans were diagnosed with the disease and more than 40-thousand of them died!

I hated the man for decades for his ignorance in handling the AIDS crisis.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all of those that succumbed to AIDS in the 25 years after he left office.

I can envision haters like Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant (if she goes before me), and their close-minded friends on Earth partying with Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, and every other LGBT person that died at the hands of anti-gay violence brought on by bigotry and ignorance.

In heaven, we’re all God’s children like we should be on Earth.

In heaven, there’s only love.

I’m not ready to go to heaven just yet, but I sure would have so much fun catching up and living the life.

Anthony