Archive for November, 2016

Merry Xmas (Christmas) To All

ORIGINAL POST:  November 23, 2016

UPDATED:  November 28, 2017

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and we’ve already enjoyed our Thanksgiving feasts.

Our Turkey 2012

People are decorating their homes, writing out Christmas cards, and making holiday gift lists and checking them twice.

Meanwhile, radio stations are transitioning from their tired playlists to treat us with holiday standards while sprinkling in a few new offerings of Christmas musical cheer.

I added one Christmas CD to my collection, “My Kind of Christmas” by Reba McEntire.

REBA

Yet, I know I’ll resort to listening to The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” (1978) , Michael Buble “Christmas” (2011), Mariah Carey “Merry Christmas” (1994), and Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas to You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) over and over again.

I love Christmas music so much that I could listen to it year around.

Christmas is just so magical.  I’m mesmerized by the twinkling of the lights and I love holidays parties. I can’t get enough of the appetizers and the baked goodies — the cookies, fudge and divinity, and even the fruitcake!

funny_fruitcake

Each year, my Christmas cards are mailed the day before Thanksgiving to begin the trek across the country.

Xmas.jpg

I’m smiling now because I’m sure someone has already commented on Facebook where the link to this blog was first posted because I put Xmas in the title line.

I know that many people get their tinsel all twisted (that’s a Christmas way of saying “get their panties in a wad”) when they see “Merry Xmas”!

christ-in-chrismas

They say that writing Xmas takes Christ out of “Christmas”.  After all, he’s the reason for the season!

The whole Christ, Christmas, and Xmas debate got me to thinking.

People get so up in arms about leaving “Christ” in “Christmas”, yet many of those same people claiming to be Christians and living for the Lord can be so hateful and judgmental.

All of a sudden it hit me.  Maybe these same people should take a moment to put Christ back into Christian”! At that point, I decided to write about it and I really thought I was on to something.

As Indiana’s governor, we had Vice President Mike Pence doing all he could do to be discriminatory to LGBT people in his state until businesses started moving out (or threatening to) and it cost Indiana money.

Pence

He’s one of those people — “Christians”.  Note there that “Christians” is in quotation marks. They are the ones that use religion to hate or discriminate — “Christians”.

Then there are those that love and live for the Lord that also love their fellow man for who they are.  They are the true Christians!

As someone who doesn’t believe in “organized religion”, but prays to God and believes in a higher power, I’m all about loving the Lord and trying to live the best life I can.

However, when you “religious freedom” to hate, I don’t think my Lord would like that very much.

pence-gay-marriage

So, when I started putting this together, I did a quick Google image search to add a fun and colorful graphic to the story.

It was then that I found that my whole thought process of putting “Christ” back in “Christian” to off set “Christ” in “Christmas” wasn’t such an original idea!

Christ in Christian.jpg

Here’s the bottom line for me. I never write Xmas in a Christmas card, nor do I type it online (except in today’s blog to drive home a point!).

It has nothing to do with keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

In the same line of thinking, when you go to talk about “Christ” this Christmas, live up to what he was preaching.  Love your fellow man (or woman) whether they live the same way of life as you.

It’s something that I try to do every day and not just at Xmas.  (Ha, I was just seeing if you were still reading.)  I fail and then I just try harder the next time.

Christmas will always be Christmas to me and not Xmas.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Krampusnacht!  Happy Yule!  Happy Chalica!

Whatever you celebrate, have a great December and an even better 2017!

christmascocktails

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 18, 2016

It’s Friday and the weekend is almost here.

In the Quad Cities, the Christmas holiday season officially kicks off with the “Festival of Trees” in Davenport, complete with a parade, and “Lighting on the Commons” in downtown Moline.

It’s been a trying period post-election for winners and losers.  I hope that we all find some peace and common ground soon.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  I welcome yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

“HALLELUJAH” 

This touching performance from “Saturday Night Live” and Kate McKinnon made me smile a little more this week.

HOLLY DUNN PASSES ON

Back in September, I wrote about country music singer Holly Dunn and her fight against a “rare and aggressive” ovarian cancer and that her chances of survival were bleak.

Earlier this week, Holly succumbed to the disease at the age of 59.

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard her music.  Dunn’s breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” topped the chart in 1989 and in memory of Holly, here’s her other #1 hit from 1990, “You Really Had Me Going”.

Thinking of you, Holly.

I’M READY FOR A “SLUMBER PARTY”

The latest singles from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears received only lukewarm responses from Top 40 radio.

To be honest, while “Perfect Illusion” (Gaga), “Rise” (Perry), and “Make Me (Ooh)” were okay songs, none of them represented the best or what was expected of the superstars that released them.

As Christmas songs start popping up on radio, I’m really hoping radio takes a chance on the second single from Britney Spears’ “Glory” album, “Slumber Party”, a new remix featuring Tinashe, a 23-year-old Kentucky-born singer and songwriter.  Go Wildcats!

Glory BS

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I love Britney.

She’s had some moderate success at radio over the past five years, but most of the songs were misses rather than hits.

“Femme Fatale” from 2011 was my favorite album of that year and featured some of the biggest songs of Brit’s career, “Hold It Against Me”, “Till The World Ends”, and “I Wanna Go”.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

“Glory”, the new album, is equally phenomenal and the remix version of “Slumber Party” is different from the album and inviting Tinashe to the party was an excellent idea.

Let’s just say the new video is so hot and sexy, it’ll smolder long after you finish watching it.  It’ll fuel many fantasies — even with gay men (and maybe even a few open-minded straight women)!

American Top 40 radio, add this song now!

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

In just four months, Disney’s live-action remake of its classic, “Beauty and the Beast”, hits theaters.

After a very secretive first trailer last March, a new trailer was released earlier this week.

It was viewed by 127.6 million people in just the first 24 hours breaking the previous record of 114 views in the first 24 hours set by “Fifty Shades Darker”!

“Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters March 17, 2017.

A BEAUTY WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

When Todrick Hall’s “Britney and the Beast” came out last June, I can’t tell you how many times I watched it.

I guess I wasn’t alone. It’s now been viewed almost 1.8 million times.

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

I said I would accept the fact that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton (actually, more people vote for Hillary than for any white president in the history of the U.S.), but Donald Trump won the electoral college vote and the presidency.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t mention interesting developments in the week of Trump!

DT Masks

He’s now accepting of marriage equality (?), wants his kids to have access to “Top Secret” information (? — Trump denies this), Vice President Mike Pence is going to court to keep his emails hidden (wait, wasn’t emails the biggest part of Hillary’s undoing in the public eye?), and Rudy Giuliani ws rumored to be a front runner for Secretary of State (sorry Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell).  Now, it seems that Mitt Romney’s name is floating around for that position.

Stay tuned!

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

The television buzz last year was all about “Mr. Robot”, which was phenomenal in its first season.

However, my favorite new show last year was Amazon Prime’s “The Man in the High Castle”.

The second season is now less than a month away.

Its premieres December 16th.

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

I’m sure there are some great gay movies on the festival scene snow.  However, this year, there weren’t too many that I saw on DVD that really stood out.

“Beautiful Something” was a good one.

Last weekend, I finally got around to watching “People You May Know”, which features a LGBT regular and one of my favorites, Mark Cirillo — a Twitter buddy of mine.

In the movie, Herbert (Cirillo), Joe (Sean Maher) and Delia (Andrea Grano) are BFFs and get together to hang out one Friday night with dinner, wine, and cocaine.

When one of the friends goes to bed, the other two continue to party and that leads to a major plot in the movie.  (And, just because it’s a LGBT film, you might be wrong on which two hook-up).

While I would have liked to have seen more of Herbert as he got to know Nicholas, watching Delia and Joe work through some very complicated circumstances was rewarding.

The cast is amazing and the movie makes you realize just how important friends are in life through the ups and downs.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

“Water Under The Bridge” is Adele’s fourth hit release from her “25” album, which has sold 20 million-plus copies worldwide since its release one year ago this week!

Two of the singles, “Hello” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” reached #1 on the Billboard Top 40 radio airplay charts and “When We Were Young” just missed out on the Top Ten.

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

How Will This Blizzard Affect Us?

It’s been a very warm November, but some big changes are on the way.

Before that happens, we’ll likely reach a record high of 75° in the Quad Cities Thursday.

While we start out warm Friday morning in the low-60s, a strong cold front will pass through the area bringing wind, crashing temperatures, and the coldest air of the season this weekend.

This front is associated with the season’s first powerful storm that will bring moderate to heavy snow to parts of the Plains and upper Midwest.

winter-storm-midwest

Blizzard conditions are expected across parts of Minnesota and South Dakota.  A foot of snow and 60 mile-per-hour winds are possible there Friday.

For us, we could see a few showers later Friday.

As the cold air and wind comes in, some wrap around moisture may bring a few snowflakes Friday night and early Saturday.

However, it’ll be nothing like the snowstorm that hit us just before Thanksgiving last year (November 20th and 21st). You didn’t forget that record 9.9″ of snow that broke the 1974 record of 9.8″?

Record Snow Nov

Snow Saturday Morning

If you’re heading out to the Festival of Trees parade in Davenport Saturday, it’ll be breezy and chilly.

By afternoon, for Moline’s “Lighting on the Commons”, it’ll still be very cold, but the winds will start to subside.

Sunday look nice, but chilly.  Highs will be aorund 43°.

Meteorologist Anthony Peoples

Kacey Musgraves & Her Very Kacey Christmas

Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards winner Kacey Musgraves also just delivered her first Christmas collection, “A Very Kacey Christmas”.

Although she’s a country music singer, like Brett Eldredge, you only have to start this album to know she’s true to the genre. It’s real country with real Texas twang and I mean that in the very best way.

kacey

This album features many popular Christmas classics such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”. But, Musgraves expands the cultural horizons with “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka”.

She’s not afraid to show what an amazing songwriter she is on the album with four original songs (out of the twelve featured).

My favorite original on the album is “Ribbons and Bows”, followed closely by “Present Without A Bow” with Leon Bridges, and “A Willie Nice Christmas”, which features country music outlaw and legend, Willie Nelson.

While you do hear songs about having too much to drink at Christmas (that spiked egg nog will get you every time), it’s very rare for an artist to sing about staying “higher than the angel on top of the tree”!

If you know anything about Musgraves, you know she boldly sings songs that she wants to and she doesn’t stick to the tired and safe guidelines of country music.

Her first country radio hit, the Top Ten smash “Merry Go ‘Round” featured her brother “hooked on Mary Jane”.

And, Musgraves other Top Ten hit, “Follow Your Arrow”, not only was about rolling joints, but she told you to “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into”, which is definitely not your parents or grandparents country music.  (Okay, there was Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free”, which told us we would be free “when we’re free to love anyone we choose.”)

The point I’m getting at here is she takes chances.  The biggest on this Christmas album is with the remake of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late”.  Yes, that one!  However, with Musgraves in control and without Alvin, Simon, and Theodore terrorizing Dave, it’s a bona fide true country Christmas song.

The only misfire on the album and this is strictly a personal thing for me is including “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.  It’s one of my least favorite holiday songs.  However, I’ll add that Musgraves’ performance is incredible, as it always is.  I just don’t like the song.

“A Very Kacey Christmas” is definitely a great addition to your growing list of Christmas albums.

GRADE:  B+ (Thanks Hippopotamus!)

Brett Eldredge Puts a “Glow” in Christmas

It’s early fall, but there are already several new Christmas albums on the market to fill your holidays.

The a cappella group Pentatonix just released their third Christmas set in less than four years (!).

Country acts Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year and just today, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood released “Christmas Together”, which I just bought.

glow

“Glow” is the first Christmas album from Illinois native and relative country newcomer Brett Eldredge.

He’s already released two hit country albums and, since 2012, has scored five Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  His latest, “Wanna Be That Song” is at #12 and will likely be his sixth Top Ten.

But, we’re talking Christmas and “Glow” here.

The standard edition features eleven songs and the Target exclusive gives you three more.

The only original song on the album is the title track.  I’ll be forthright in saying that I love the classics and I have to warm to new originals and I did with “Glow”.

be

Brett is not only an attractive young man, he also has a very strong voice.

If you only buy the standard edition, you’ll likely listen to the eleven songs (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, and many more) and think, “it doesn’t sound very country”.  It doesn’t.  The music is very much jazzed up.

It’s like he’s channeling Michael Buble and that’s a good thing.  But, comparing Eldredge’s voice to Buble’s is like comparing Mick Jagger’s voice to Paul McCartney’s.  Both strong, but very different in delivery.

Now, if you buy the Target exclusive, the three additional songs are the only ones on the album that lets you know that Eldredge in a country music star.

It’s like you changed discs in the player from a jazz artist to a country one.

“Glow” is an exceptional Christmas album and it solidifies the fact that pop star Meghan Trainor should be on every duet!

On this album, she sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eldredge and just last month, she appeared with Michael Buble on “Someday” from his “Nobody But Me” album.

GRADE:  A

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 11, 2016

On Wednesday, my “Random Friday Thoughts” went through a major re-write.

The script changed.

I had to delete the part of thanking God that more Americans and enough blue states “elected a proven leader as the 45th president of the United States and sent an egocentric, racist, and overall, scum bag packing.”

So, here’s the updated version.  Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

A HEARTFELT THANK YOU

Senator Hillary Clinton, I want to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope that all I’ve worked for in life would continue on through your presidency.

Thank you for being a forward-thinking First Lady.  My one vote made a difference in 1992 and, again, in 1996.

Thank you for all of the years fighting for those that needed a voice, a strong person and not just a strong woman.  You were there for children, mothers, the LGBTQ community, people of color, minorities, the environment, but most of all, the world.

We failed you!

Hillary AP

I’ll never forget that cold, January day in Davenport, Iowa, when I had a chance to tell you “good luck” and you placed your hand on my shoulder.

I hope that we meet again.  You’ve been an inspiration to me for 20-plus years and for that, I’m grateful and honored to have fought the fight with you.

We may have lost this battle, but I’m still with you.

(Editor’s note — that’s me, by the way:  As I’m sitting here Friday morning, proof reading and putting the finishing touches on today’s blog, I’m tearing up again reading back what I wrote a couple of days ago.  I was more invested in this election, more than any before it, and I’m devastated.  Laugh if you want because I fear that I won’t be the only one shedding tears over the next four years.)

REMEMBERING MY SWEET MOTHER

I think about my mother for one reason or another every day.

Dessie Birthday 1989

My mother, Dessie, died 26 years ago this week.  At times, it seems just like yesterday and at other times, it seems so long ago, which it was.

Dessie 1990

Mom, Tammy and I miss you greatly.  But, we both know that you are with us every step of the way in life.

Many of you checked out the blog I wrote about my mother last year on the 25th anniversary of her death.  If you didn’t, here it is again.

Mom — 25 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You

“A REMARKABLE MOTHER”

As I’ve stated before, I get much of my real reading done on the treadmill after work. Since I knew the anniversary of my mother’s death was coming up, I wanted to read about another incredible woman —  Lillian Carter, the mother of my favorite President Jimmy Carter.

“A Remarkable Mother” is from 2008 and was published twenty-five years after Miss Lillian’s death at the age of 85.

a-remarkable-mother

I’ve read many funny stories about Miss Lillian.  She definitely said what she wanted and she didn’t care what her son’s presidential handlers thought.

She was a strong advocate for racial equality back in southwestern Georgia during the turbulent period all the way through the 1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election.

If you didn’t know, she even joined the Peace Corps and traveled to India when she was almost 70-years-old.

There are many fun quotes and stories I remember reading over the years and President Carter shares many of them in the book.

This is my favorite.  When Jimmy Carter was running in the 1976 presidential race, a female reporter from “The Washington Post” met Miss Lillian in Plains, Georgia, and said, “Miss Lillian, your son claims that he will never tell a lie.  Do you believe him when he says that?”

Miss Lillian said Jimmy had always been truthful and she didn’t think that would change, but the reporter didn’t drop it.  Finally, Lillian said, “Well maybe a little white lie every now and then.

When the reporter said, “Aha!  Aha!  And what do you mean by a little white lie?

The always quick thinking Miss Lillian responded, “Well do you remember a few minutes ago when I met you at the door and said that you look very nice and that I was glad to see you?

I sure hope that my mother and Miss Lillian are friends in heaven.  They are just two of the remarkable mothers we’ve lost!

SAD MICHAEL BUBLE NEWS

Singer Michael Buble and his wife, Luisana Lopilato, are putting their careers on hold following the devastating news that their 3-year-old son, Noah, has been diagnosed with cancer.

buble-family

He’s being treated here in the United States.

A couple of weeks ago, I previewed Michael’s new album, “Nobody But Me”, which is incredible.

mb

In my random thoughts on October 21, 2016, here’s what I wrote: “My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.”

For Michael and his family, I’m featuring “God Only Knows” this week.

I’ll be saying an extra prayer for Noah, Michael, and his family !

Also, it’s that time of the year that his 2011 album,”Christmas”, goes into heavy rotation and it’s sensational.

MichaelBubleChristmas

ANOTHER THANK YOU, BUT THIS ONE ISN’T SO NICE

I’m moving on from this week’s presidential election after these three parting thoughts.

I expected the race to be close and it was.  As of this writing, Hillary Clinton (60.3 million) got more votes than Donald Trump (60 million).  It’s incredible that with more than 126 million votes cast, there was only a difference of about 338-thousand votes.

debate

There are two camps I blame for Clinton’s loss.  One is the 38% of Americans that didn’t vote.

However, the people who I mostly blame for Trump winning the presidency are not just the people that voted for him.  While that’s vital, it’s the people that didn’t like either Clinton or Trump, the “protest voters”.

4.1 million people voted for Gary Johnson and 1.2 million for Jill Stein.  In toss-up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the margin of win was small enough that the “protest votes” for Johnson and Stein were enough to turn blue-leaning states red.

I’m all for having three or more viable parties that have a chance to win a presidency. However, I tried and tried to tell people who didn’t like either front-runner that a vote for Johnson or Stein was a vote for Donald Trump.

ss

Well, since we live in an “electoral college” voting world, thank you very much.  Your protests were successful in electing Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.  I hope you can live with it.  I’ll have to.

Thank you again!

MY ABSOLUTE FINAL THOUGHT

I’m going to highlight this, so there’s no confusion — I don’t believe that every person that voted for Trump is a racist, but there are those that are and you know who you are.

Trump

With that being said, if you deny that Trump didn’t do enough to distance himself from the love and flattery he was getting from David Duke AND if you don’t think that Trump also repeatedly made very racist remarks in his campaign, then you’re clearly (God, how do I say this with people being so sensitive) ignorant, misinformed, in denial, oblivious, or you just don’t care?

That kind of hate used to live in the darkness of night and hide under sheets.  That isn’t just a part of our sad history in the United States, it’s still very alive today.  The only difference now is that it doesn’t have to hide.

kkk-tweet

davidduke kkk

If you believe in a higher spirit, say with me, “may God be with us”!

Tammy Faye 2

BETTE MIDLER GETS CANDID 

Okay, that’s not shocking at all.

Bette

But, for once, I’m not talking entirely about her no-holds-barred Twitter feed.  It’s about that and her own mortality.

She recently spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” and Twitter came up:  “I look at it as entertainment, but I don’t need that much entertainment in my life.  Then you feel like you’re missing out on your life.  I don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to spend it looking around and observing and thinking and memorizing poetry.” 

In the spring of 2017, Midler returns to Broadway as the widowed and brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly”

In honor of her upcoming 71st birthday (December 1st) and the holiday season, here’s Bette with “Cool Yule”, the title track of her 2006 Christmas album.

Bette, thank you for being the voice of reason in such a crazy world!

“CHRISTINE”

The most popular movie with the title, “Christine”, is based on Stephen King’s novel about a possessed vintage car.  But, now there’s another movie with that title that I can’t wait to check out.

It’s a true life story about a Florida news anchor in the 1970s that changed television news forever and shocked and scarred viewers.

It stars one of my favorite actors, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) and Rebecca Hall (no relation).

PET SHOP BOYS CONCERT

Last weekend, I finally got to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert on their “The Super Tour” in Chicago.

Here they are performing their Top Ten hit, “Always on My Mind”.

If that whetted your appetite to go back in time, here are my 20 favorite Pet Shop Boys songs.  And, since they only had six Top 40 hits in America, I bet you’ll find some fun ones you haven’t heard.  Just click below.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

I GUESS I HAVE O.C.D.

ocd

With that being said, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now and here in the Quad Cities, Mix 96 has switched over to continuous holiday music!

BRETT ELDREDGE PUTS A “GLOW” IN CHRISTMAS

It’s early fall, but there are already several new Christmas albums on the market to fill your holidays.

The a cappella group Pentatonix just released their third Christmas set in less than four years (!).

Country acts Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year.

glow

“Glow” is the first Christmas album from Illinois native and relative country newcomer Brett Eldredge.

He’s already released two hit country albums and, since 2012, has scored five Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  His latest, “Wanna Be That Song” is at #12 and will likely be his sixth Top Ten.

But, we’re talking Christmas and “Glow” here.

The standard edition features eleven songs and the Target exclusive gives you three more.

The only original song on the album is the title track.  I’ll be forthright in saying that I love the classics and I have to warm to new originals and I did with “Glow”.

be

Brett is not only an attractive young man, he also has a very strong voice.

If you only buy the standard edition, you’ll likely listen to the eleven songs (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, and many more) and think, “it doesn’t sound very country”.  It doesn’t.  The music is very much jazzed up.

It’s like he’s channeling Michael Buble and that’s a good thing.  But, comparing Eldredge’s voice to Buble’s is like comparing Mick Jagger’s voice to Paul McCartney’s.  Both strong, but very different in delivery.

Now, if you buy the Target exclusive, the three additional songs are the only ones on the album that lets you know that Eldredge in a country music star.

It’s like you changed discs in the player from a jazz artist to a country one.

“Glow” is an exceptional Christmas album and it solidifies the fact that pop star Meghan Trainor should be on every duet!

On this album, she sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eldredge and just last month, she appeared with Michael Buble on “Someday” from his “Nobody But Me” album.

GRADE:  A

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS”

Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards winner Kacey Musgraves also just delivered her first Christmas collection, “A Very Kacey Christmas”.

Although she’s a country music singer, like Brett Eldredge, you only have to start this album to know she’s true to the genre. It’s real country with real Texas twang and I mean that in the very best way.

kacey

This album features many popular Christmas classics such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”. But, Musgraves expands the cultural horizons with “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka”.

She’s not afraid to show what an amazing songwriter she is on the album with four original songs (out of the twelve featured).

My favorite original on the album is “Ribbons and Bows”, followed closely by “Present Without A Bow” with Leon Bridges, and “A Willie Nice Christmas”, which features country music outlaw and legend, Willie Nelson.

While you do hear songs about having too much to drink at Christmas (that spiked egg nog will get you every time), it’s very rare for an artist to sing about staying “higher than the angel on top of the tree”!

If you know anything about Musgraves, you know she boldly sings songs that she wants to and she doesn’t stick to the tired and safe guidelines of country music.

Her first country radio hit, the Top Ten smash “Merry Go ‘Round” featured her brother “hooked on Mary Jane”.

And, Musgraves other Top Ten hit, “Follow Your Arrow”, not only was about rolling joints, but she told you to “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into”, which is definitely not your parents or grandparents country music.  (Okay, there was Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free”, which told us we would be free “when we’re free to love anyone we choose.”)

The point I’m getting at here is she takes chances.  The biggest on this Christmas album is with the remake of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late”.  Yes, that one!  However, with Musgraves in control and without Alvin, Simon, and Theodore terrorizing Dave, it’s a bona fide true country Christmas song.

The only misfire on the album and this is strictly a personal thing for me is including “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.  It’s one of my least favorite holiday songs.  However, I’ll add that Musgraves’ performance is incredible, as it always is.  I just don’t like the song.

“A Very Kacey Christmas” is definitely a great addition to your growing list of Christmas albums.

GRADE:  B+ (Thanks Hippopotamus!)

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Election Day Weather Extremes

A cold front moving through the Mississippi and Illinois River Valleys today will bring some light showers or sprinkles this morning.

Sunshine quickly returns later this morning and for the rest of Election Day 2016.

High temperatures will reach around 60°, which is above average for this time of the year.

Election Day Extremes.png

The warmest presidential Election Day in the Quad Cities was 76° back in 1916 and 1964.  However, in 1892, the high was 31°.

77% of presidential election days had no measurable rain and snow is even more scarce.

98.4% of presidential election days have had no measurable snow.

Get out and vote!

Your Vote Counts

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 4, 2016

Happy November!

In just days, the country will elect a new president.  I’m excited for two reasons — a shattered glass ceiling and this nightmare of an election will be over.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll also be decking the halls, decorating our homes, visiting with families and friends for the holidays, and vowing to lose weight after eating and enjoying too much Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts, and delicious Christmas treats and cocktails.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  As always, feel free to disagree, but do it diplomatically.

THIS IS HALLOWEEN!

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THIS IS NOT — AND I REPEAT — THIS IS NOT HALLOWEEN!

I’m very confident that many of you reading my blog today will find this image as disgusting, disturbing, and tasteless as I do.

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This is a “Halloween” display in Florida.

It just might be a coincidence that the homeowner is a supporter of one of the most outwardly racist presidential candidates in quite some time.

After the public outcry of seeing the effigy of two dark-skinned men hanging from a tree, supporters of the creative idiot behind this display replied, “it’s just Halloween”.

What?  What kind of person looks at this as entertainment?

You know the expression, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.  Well, this is 32-year-old Rubin Stacy in Florida in 1935.

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Is this just “Halloween”?  White men and women coming around and gawking at the hanged body of a black man?

By the way, there were children on the right side of the picture witnessing this atrocity.  I took the liberty of cropping them out hoping that they became more open-minded in their adulthood than their family and friends in this picture.

This is real life folks!  This is what ignorance and intolerance looks like.  This is the hate that still thrives today and these people are teaching the same ignorance to their kids and grandchildren.

This is not just Halloween!  If that’s as creative as you can, then buy a lighted jack-o-lantern and put it on your porch!

“THE PURGE:  ELECTION DAY”

I’ve been a fan of “The Purge” movie series since the first one hit theaters in 2013.

The Purge Masks

That movie with a budget of $3 million earned $89 million at the box office and the sequel the following year earned even more, $111.9.

“The Purge: Election Year” this year has ended up being the most profitable in the franchise making $118.2 million.

I wrote this back in March before the movie came out this summer, “the similarities to our real life election is ironic (and scary) — a blonde (although much younger) female U.S. Senator is running for president!”

If you’re unfamiliar with “The Purge”, it’s an annual, 12-hour period when all criminal activity, including murder, is legal.

While the original is still my favorite, I did enjoy this one and I’m looking forward to a fourth installment, which hasn’t been announced.

However, I did have a couple of issues with the sloppiness of the script.

It’s March in the movie, yet the trees are ablaze with fall colors (the movie was shot in New England in the fall).  Oops!

And, when the presidential election is held in May, one candidate reaches the 270 electoral votes needed to win.  Unless our election process changes in the next 24 years (since the movie is set in 2040), that countdown to 270 happens in November.

But, it’s Hollywood — and the future.

GRADE:  B-

REDBOX WEBSITE

I love renting movies from Redbox.  It’s very economical and I can take a chance on movies I might never watch and not break the bank.

REDBOX

However, the most recent changes to its website frustrates me.

It used to be that I’d click on the location I wanted to rent from and it would list just the movies available in that kiosk.

Now, when you click on a location, it lists the movies, but when you click on a movie, it’ll either pop up if it’s in the kiosk or have you choose a nearby location.

Go back to the old way.  Just show me what’s available in the kiosk that I want to rent from!

TWEETERS CAN BE MEAN (AND FUNNY)!

We all know how miserable a lot of people are in life.  You know how I know that we know?  Look at the their posts on social media and the tweets they send celebrities.

Sadly, I’m a huge fan of Jimmy Kimmel’s “Mean Tweets”.  “Sadly” because, like the celebrities reading them, I’m laughing at them, while at the same time, I’m thinking, “f**k you and get a life” to the people that send those tweets!

In honor of ABC’s “CMA Awards 50” this week, Kimmel had some of country’s biggest and brightest stars read mean tweets about themselves.

As usual, Dolly Parton handles everything with so much grace and humor.  And, Cassadee Pope and Dan + Shay made me smile.

CALLING SAVANNAH HOME

A couple of months ago, we visited Charleston, South Carolina (during Hurricane Hermine) and Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia.

While in Savannah, I finally watched “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, Clint Eastwood and Kevin Spacey’s 1997 movie about Savannah that didn’t make that big of a splash or its money back in theaters.

I even saw the Mercer House (now the Mercer-Williams House Museum), where Jim Williams lived, several times on my walks in the city.

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I just read the book and I enjoyed it as much as I did the movie.

As writer John Berendt proclaimed in the book, Savannah is the “hostess of the South” and the first question a Savannahian will ask you is “What would you like to drink?”

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In the few days that I was there, I could definitely see myself living there and enjoying the southern charm of the city.

Who knows?  Retirement is only years away!

PET SHOP BOYS THIS WEEKEND

I’m very excited to see my first Pet Shop Boys concert this weekend in Chicago.

Yes, the Pet Shop Boys, from the 1980s.  You know, “West End Girls”!

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In anticipation for “The Super Tour”, I went back and listened to every album they’ve released since “Please” in 1986 and ranked my 20 favorite songs from Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe.

I know most of you didn’t check out my blog when I posted it earlier this week, so here it is again for you!

Just click on it and make my day.  I guarantee that you’ll find a Pet Shop Boys song that you’ve never heard and love it.  You can thank me later. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

If you click on that and listened to some of my picks, you now know they’re still producing amazing music thirty years later.

DAYA — “SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY”

It’s been an incredible 18 months for 18-year-old Grace Tandon of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

We know her as Daya and it was in the spring of 2015 when she released her first single, “Hideaway”.

While it put her on the radio, this summer she topped radio airplay charts with “Don’t Let Me Down”, a collaboration with The Chainsmokers.   (Sadly, it’s not on her debut album that I’m blogging about today and I don’t download “singles”.)

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Daya’s first full length album, “Sit Still, Look Pretty”, came out in early October and it’s definitely one of my favorite albums of 2016!

If you turn on the radio, you’ll hear the title track, which is one of the ten most played songs in the country.

What I love about Daya, other than her voice, is her maturity and the material she choose for this album, as a teenager.

In addition to the two hits, my other favorite standout tracks are “Words”, “Back To Me”, “Cool”, “U12”, “Talk”, “Love of My Life” and “I.C.Y.M.I.”.

Several stations across the country are beginning to play “Words”, although it hasn’t been officially picked as the third single.

It has my approval!

HALLOWEEN & A PUBLIC SERVICE REMINDER!

My favorite Halloween costume this year comes from Brooklyn, New York.

This 8-year-old not only set out to get candy, but he’s also lining up votes for Hillary Clinton.

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And, one of his moms, Deb, says that’s not a wig.  Now, that’s a lot of hair!

Of course, homophobic idiots, internet trolls, and uneducated-Donald Trump supporters took this as an opportunity to bash the parents, the little boy, and Hillary, but all I can say about that is, “bless their hearts”.

Please vote Tuesday!

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We have to keep Trump away from the White House!  In doing so, we can send a strong message for him to get out of politics, too.

Good riddance Donald!

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

My 20 Favorites From the Brilliant Pet Shop Boys

UPDATE:  TONIGHT!

I’m just days away from seeing my first Pet Shop Boys concert and I’m so excited.  I’ve only waited thirty years for this.

Pet Shop Boys, Electric

Saturday night, I’ll be seeing Neil and Chris from the second row in Chicago, Illinois.  I’ve never had concert tickets this close!

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The “Super Tour” kicked off on my birthday (October 13) in Chile and the North American leg started in Las Vegas about a week later.  It’ll continue through the end of November before moving to Europe.

Sadly, American radio audiences only got a sample of the brilliance of the Pet Shop Boys.  The duo only charted six Top 40 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, but five hit the Top Ten.

Their chart run started with the #1 hit “West End Girls” in May 1986 and ended with the #18 smash “Domino Dancing” in December 1988.

That’s really sad because the Pet Shop Boys have consistently released incredible music in the past twenty-five years.

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“Electric, which came out in 2013 was one of my favorite albums of the year.

Here’s what I wrote at the time:  “Unless you’re a die-hard fan, many people think that when an act releases their twelfth studio album of original songs that the music may be stale.  It’s also true that many artists play things safe and produce the same music they did when they released their first album.  That is definitely not the case with “Electric”, the latest Pet Shop Boys album.”

And, this year’s “Super” is that and more.

In honor of Neil and Chris, here are my twenty favorites Pet Shop Boys songs (not just hits) so far.  I say “so far” because I know there’s more incredible music to come.

20

“IT’S ALRIGHT”

19

“YOU ONLY TELL ME YOU LOVE ME WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK”

#18

“RENT”

17

“HAPPINESS”

16

“I WANT A LOVER”

#15 Movie

“WAS IT WORTH IT?”

#14 Movie

“PAZZO!”

13

“NEW YORK CITY BOY”

12

“I WOULDN’T NORMALLY DO THIS KIND OF THING”

11

“AXIS”

10

“LOVE COMES QUICKLY”

9 CD

“WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAMES”

#8 CD

“THE POP KIDS”

#7 CD

“VOCAL”

#6 CD

“THURSDAY”

#5 MOVIE

“HEART”

4

“IT’S A SIN”

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“WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?”

#2 MOVIE

“ALWAYS ON MY MIND”

#1

“WEST END GIRLS”

I’m ready to party with the Pet Shop Boys this weekend and “burn this disco down before the morning comes”!

Anthony

 

Big Weather Changes Occur In November

October 2016 is history now and it goes down in the record books with temperatures over five degrees above average and as one of the fifteen warmest Octobers on record.

Now that November is here, we typically see big temperature drops from the beginning of the month to the end of the month.

We start the month with an average high of 57° and a low of 38°.  By the end of the month, we lose about fifteen degrees.

The average highs and lows at the end of the month are 41° and 24°.

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If you like extremes, the warmest November temperature in the Quad Cities is 80°, back on November 1st of 2000 and 1933.

The coldest November temperature for the metro area is -10°.  That was set back on November 29, 1891.

In a typical November, we pick up 2.56″ of rain and melted snow.  We’ve had as much as 6.77″ in November 1992 and as little as 0.18″ in November 1904.

As for snow, the average for November is 1.2″.  We’ve had as much as 15.6″ in November 1974 and there were five years on record with not a flake of snow.

If you think back to last winter, it was an interesting one.

We picked up 9.9″ of snow on November 20th (2.9″) and 21st (7″).

Snow Saturday Morning

That broke the record for the biggest two-day November snowfall in the Quad Cities.

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However, after that, we only picked up 14.2″ of snow for the rest of the winter for a 24.1″ winter total in the Quad Cities.

The average snow for a winter in the metro area is 31.6″.

Anthony