Archive for September, 2015

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2015

Fall is here and I hope it’s off to a great start for you.  In the Midwest, it’s starting out very warm and dry — just as summer ended.

I feel inspired to write about a few things that crossed my mind, so here’s a guest appearance of Random Friday Thoughts!

HOLY STAMPEDE

I’m really baffled by the stampede at the annual Hajj pilgrimage outside the Muslim holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia.  It’s reported that at least 700 were crushed to death and about 900 were hurt!

I know that about two million people take part in this, but what happened to orderly fashion?

Hundreds were also killed in stampedes in the past and in 1990, 1,426 people died in Mina, which leads to the holy sites.

While I love attending Christmas mass, I’m not going to trample over people to get there!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

I’m guilty of it and I bet you are, too.  How many times have you started snacking while waiting for dinner just because you’re hungry?

Pastries

I’m doing that with “Fear The Walking Dead”.  While I’m enjoying the show, it’s so slow and the fourth episode was so uneventful until the very end of the hour.

I actually got excited when the previews of the next show came on at the end and it said something like “only two episodes left”.

I know the final two shows will likely be great and move faster, but I’m really ready for dinner to be served — the season six premiere of “The Walking Dead” on October 11th.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-1

SUMMER IS OVER

While we enjoyed the pool this summer, we took it down last weekend.

Pool

But, that doesn’t mean we’re ready for winter and snow.  We dived into the biggest project ever and it turned out fantastic.

MOVING UP TO THE EAST SIDE!

You’ve heard me talk many times about the fish pond we built back in May 2012.  It held about 250 gallons of water.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Recently, some of our friends gave us three of their goldfish and koi and this fall, we were going to acquire a dozen more that our friends decided not to keep.

So, we expanded the pond last weekend.  It’s now three feet deep and holds almost a thousand gallons of water!

Fish Pond

We now have 33 gorgeous fish and because of my recent mink encounter, the pond has added security!  (If you missed that mink predator ordeal, click here).

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

SINCE WE’RE TALKING FISH….

Fish Be You

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

Whether it’s pizza, wedding cakes, or marriage licenses, controversy arises when two sides see things differently when God (or one’s perception of God being judgmental) is involved.

I’ve always been a strong advocate of equal rights for everyone, especially the LGBT community since I’m part of that subculture of humanity.

But, when we advocates raise awareness about people who deny others equal rights, there’s also a backlash.

MarriageEquality-711906

When marriage equality became the law of the land in the United States, there were many reports of gay bashings the weekend after the Supreme Court of the United States made its ruling.

When a small Indiana pizza joint spoke out against marriage equality and when bakeries refused to make wedding cakes for gay ceremonies, the LGBT community spoke out and the media extensively covered the stories.

Rainbow Cake

The restaurant and some of the cake makers started getting donations in the tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars for taking a stand against the LGBT community.

And, when a county clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, refused to do her job and issue marriage licenses to gay couples, she became a martyr for standing up for her religious rights.  (No, I’m not posting a picture of her or saying her name.  She’s had enough celebrity and hopefully her fifteen minutes are up soon!)

Now, just in time for Christmas, I read that she’s penning a religious book with an advance of seven figures.  Becoming a millionaire for refusing rights to the LGBT community and standing on the wrong side of history?

A Christmas Carol

I sure hope that when she is confronted with the ghost of Christmas past, it’s less haunting for her than for Scrooge!

gays_in_church

But, I’ll still raise awareness for LGBT equality.  I just wish the price wasn’t making celebrities out of people who use God and religion to hate!

AM I A “BELIEBER”?

Love him or hate him, Justin Bieber is a superstar.

Justin

While I’ve never declared myself a member of either camp, I have to admit he is a beautiful (and slightly troubled) young man.

Now, I’m beginning to think I may be a psuedo-Belieber (defined as a HUGE Justin Bieber fan)!

I loved his last song, “Where Are U Now” with Skrillex and Diplo, which hit the Top Ten in America (and #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart).

And, “What Do You Mean?”, the lead single from his upcoming album has already topped the charts and is one of the biggest songs of the year just weeks after its release.

COUNTRY RADIO, SEXISM OR CUMULUS MEDIA?

I’ve written several times before that I think that country music radio is ageist and sexist.

There are many women’s new music in country that I’d love to hear in heavy rotation on the radio other than Reba, but she ignites that fire for me.

Now, I think it’s more than just sexism and ageism.  I seriously think those elements are still there.  But, I’m now convinced it’s Reba’s affiliation with Cumulus Media, which is a part of her new label, Nash Icon, that is the major problem.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Case in point is the second single from her #1 country album, “Love Somebody”, “Until They Don’t Love You”.  It’s an incredible song and sounds great live.

It was released to country radio August 7, 2015, and now seven weeks later, it only being played on 61 stations (out of more than 260 reporting country stations) with 879 plays.  (To put that into perspective, the #1 song on the chart was played 13,901 times.)

George Strait

Earlier this week, country legend George Strait released “Cold Beer Conversation”.  It’s now being played on 163 stations and got 830 plays in just two days!.

Yes, George is country music’s “king” to Reba’s “queen”, but obviously royalty isn’t being treated equal.

So, yes, there’s still the sexism thing.  But, moreso, I think Reba made a big mistake by allowing Cumulus Media to play and promote her music, thus shutting out the larger radio groups.

I guess we can listen to “Until They Don’t Love You” and her new music at home because we won’t find a home at country radio or high on the country music charts.

PICK HIT

“Communion” by the English trio, Years & Years, is one of my favorite albums of the year.

“Desire” is the new release here in the U.S. and I hope it gets more airplay than their first American hit, “King”.

The band will be in San Francisco at the Fillmore Monday night.  I’ll be there, too, but sadly the concert is sold out and I don’t have tickets. 😦

If you missed my album review of “Communion” and you want to know more about the album, here it is again.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

“THE AGE OF ADALINE”

One of the best movies I seen lately is out on DVD.  I mention DVD only because it’s late September and I still have not been to the theater this year to see a movie.

Blake Lively (“Gossip Girl” and “Savages”) and Michiel Huisman (“The Game of Thrones” and “Nashville”) star as a couple that falls in love.

The problem is that Adaline is 107 years old, but doesn’t age due to a freak accident.  So, while everyone else in her life, including her daughter, played by Oscar-winning actress Ellen Burstyn, ages and dies, she stays the same.

GRADE:  A

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

A movie I’m really looking forward to seeing is the Austrian psychological thriller, “Goodnight Mommy”.  The trailer definitely creeps me out.

“DEXTER”

Although it’s been a couple of years now since my favorite sexy serial killer signed off Showtime after eight seasons, he’s still alive for me through books.

dexter-season-6

I’m reading Jeff Lindsay’s eight-book series that the television show was originally based on.  I’m on book six now.

I’ve decided in January, in the heart of winter, that I’m going back and watching all 96 episodes again!

It so interesting to see how much different the television show and the books are with characters that died in one format and are still alive in the other.  Also, the differences in the cases between the book and the show.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my Friday Random Thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts with me — what you agree with and what you don’t.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Ready For Popcorn & These Fall Movies

I’m craving movie popcorn and I finally have the motivation to head to the theater soon and eat some.

popcorn

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of September, nine months into year, and I haven’t been to the movies yet in 2015.  The last movie I saw in a theater, “Unbroken”, was back on December 28, 2014.

With fall approaching, here are the movies tickling my fancy and will likely encourage me to cash in the two free movie passes and two generous theater gifts cards that I’ve been waiting to use.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

And, many of them will likely get some Oscar love when nominations are announced in early 2016.

Among the movies I want to see, last year’s Best Actress and Best Actor winners, Julianne Moore and Eddie Redmayne, will possibly be nominated again, along with the Best Actress winner from two years ago, Cate Blanchett.

Also, there’s Best Actress winners Meryl Streep, Sandra Bullock, Nicole Kidman, and Julia Roberts.  Yes, Julia’s back!

So, enjoy these trailers of the movies I want to see before the end of the year.  Chances are that I’ll be seeing some of them when they are released on DVD.

Who knows, you may be sitting right next to me in the theater if you like what you see here.

SEPTEMBER 11

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

SEPTEMBER 18  

“EVEREST”

SEPTEMBER 18

“SICARIO”

SEPTEMBER 25

“STONEWALL”

OCTOBER 2

“THE MARTIAN”

OCTOBER 2

“FREEHELD”

OCTOBER 23

“SUFFRAGETTE”

OCTOBER 30

“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS”

NOVEMBER 6

“TRUMBO”

NOVEMBER 20

“THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES”

NOVEMBER 20

“CAROL”

 NOVEMBER 25

“VICTOR FRANKENSTEIN”

NOVEMBER 27

“THE DANISH GIRL”

Any of these look good to you?

Enjoy your fall, your movies, and your popcorn.

Anthony

Reba’s Obstacles To Another #1 Country Song

It’s no secret that I love Reba McEntire.  I own every album she’s ever released, I’ve seen her in concert thirteen times, and I even got to meet her back in 2005.

Reba Anthony 2005

However, much to my chagrin, she’ll likely never have another #1 song on the Billboard Country charts (unless she duets with a chart-dominating, younger star)!

Reba

Reba’s place in country music history is cemented as iconic.  She’s the “Queen of Country Music” and she’s a member of the “Country Music Hall of Fame”.

Reba has more Top Ten hits than any other woman in country music and she’s tied with Dolly Parton for the most #1 songs on the Billboard Country charts by a woman at 25.

Dolly+Parton+Reba+McEntire

So, why did the lead single from her latest #1 album, “Love Somebody”, “Going Out Like That” only peak at #23 on the Billboard Country chart (and #28 on the Country Airplay chart) and why did it take six months to rise and fall at country radio?

Reba Love Somebody

And, why is Reba’s latest single, “Until They Don’t Love You”, only being played at 60-something country stations?  It’s just now cracking the Top 50 country radio airplay list at #48.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

Here are my thoughts and I know this might not set well with some Reba fans.  But, being one myself, I’m being objective.

At this point in her career, Reba may not be concerned about #1 hits at country radio.  As an avid chart watcher and huge Reba fan, the fault might be mine — I care, but Reba may not.

While Reba released her first album in 1977, it wasn’t until she switched labels to MCA that she had her first gold album with 500,000 copies shipped (“My Kind of Country”, 1984).

Her first platinum album (one million copies shipped), “Whoever’s In New England” came out in 1986, and her first multi-platinum album was “Greatest Hits”, which dropped in early 1987 and has sold more than three million copies.

Reba Albums

Reba’s biggest selling album, “Greatest Hits, Volume 2”, has moved more than five million copies and that one came out in 1993.

Since then, her album sales have been dropping.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Her 2010 release, “All The Women I Am”, has not even been certified gold and it featured her last #1 song at country radio, “Turn On The Radio”.

As I mentioned earlier, Reba may not be concerned with how high her singles go on the chart.  She may not lose sleep over how many album she sells because she knows that her concerts are huge draws and they always will be.  Concerts are where artists make their money.

Reba 2011

Reba is not alone.  It’s the same for pop music.  Madonna has dominated pop music for as long as Reba has country music and her tours are some of the biggest money makers and she sells out every show.Madonna MDNA

However, Madonna’s hit singles at Top 40 radio are as infrequent as Reba is at country radio lately.

When Reba followed up the chart topper “Turn On The Radio” with her remake of the Beyonce song, “If I Were A Boy”, that song stalled at #22 and the two other singles released from the album peaked at #40 and #44.

Shortly thereafter I questioned a friend in the radio industry about the cool reception for the final three singles from “All The Women I Am”.  He said he wasn’t surprised “after having ‘If I Were a Boy’ shoved down our throats.”

After that album’s release, Reba devoted more time to her family, her Reba brand at Dillard’s department stores, acting one season on ABC’s “Malibu Country” and touring.

Now that she has a residency in Las Vegas with Brooks & Dunn and she’s touring again supporting the new album, “Love Somebody”, why aren’t the first two singles burning up the charts?

Reba Love Somebody

In one of my first blogs, I brought up the topic of ageism and sexism in the entertainment world.  You can read that blog here:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/todays-country-radio-wheres-reba/

While that is still blatant, I think the real problem for Reba now is her association with the Nash Icon record label, which is focused on the “biggest country artists of the last two decades, who are still recording and touring but not getting enough exposure today”.

If that wasn’t limiting enough, it’s affiliated with Cumulus Media, the third largest radio group in the business.  And, that is reflecting in the number of stations that played “Going Out Like That” and the new song.

Reba Until They Don't Love You

As of yesterday, “Until They Don’t Love You” is being played on 67 of 262 stations that report to Mediabase.  Of those, many are Cumulus stations.

This is purely speculation, but I feel that other radio groups, such as Clear Channel (#1) and Infinity (#2) don’t want to get into the business of promoting singles that another radio group, Cumulus, is making money off of.

Another example to prove this point is Ronnie Dunn, who is on the Nash Icon label.  His new single, “Ain’t No Trucks In Texas” is faltering at country radio.

When I saw Reba live in early August, she performed both singles from the “Love Somebody” album and they sound great.

I hope that I’m wrong about Reba never topping the country singles charts again without the support of say someone like Luke Bryan or Carrie Underwood.

Country radio, prove me wrong!

Show me that you still love Reba and that there’s room on your playlist for new songs in heavy rotation and not just the occasional classics.

Anthony