Archive for October, 2017

Reba “My Kind of Christmas”

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

Also, be sure to catch Reba hosting “CMA Country Christmas” on ABC on November 27th!

Anthony

Advertisements

Random Friday Thoughts — October 27, 2017

The holiday season is officially here with Halloween next week.

I hope you have fun shopping this weekend for costumes and candy.  Will there be any left over for trick-or-treaters? 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for taking time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S DOWNFALL

Harvey Weinstein

As more and more sexual harassment allegations surface and multi-million dollar lawsuits are filed against Harvey Weinstein, the former head of The Weinstein Company, I’m just shocked at how long it took all of this to come to light.

One person that’s probably the least bit surprised is actor-comedian-writer-director Seth Rogen.

Rogen

In a December 2014 “Rolling Stone” magazine article, Rogen was quoted as calling Weinstein “a well-documented psychopath” and “a real motherf**ker”!

“HALLOWEEN” (2018)

Since John Carpenter’s “Halloween” movie came out in 1978, there have been nine sequels.

Well, guess what?  For the 40th anniversary of the original, the 11th movie in the franchise hits theaters October 19, 2018.

Halloween-2019-sequel-Jamie-Lee-CurtisJamie Lee Curtis will return as Laurie Strode.

But, wait, didn’t Michael Myers kill Laurie in 2002’s “Halloween: Resurrection”?  Oops….spoiler-alert

The 2018 film will be a direct sequel to the 1978 original and will ignore all of the previous sequels!!!

Here’s the original trailer.

“It was the boogeyman!”

“As a matter of fact, it was!”

HALLOWEEN CANDY — BY STATE

My favorite candy bars are Snickers and Zero and I also love Twizzlers.

Here’s what candystore.com reports as the most popular Halloween candy by state!

CANDY

So, I was born and raised in a “Tootsie Pops” state (Kentucky) and lived in two “Starburst” (Wisconsin and Texas) states.  I’ve also lived in “Sour Patch Kids” (Illinois), “Milky Way” (Maryland), “Blow Pops” (Ohio) and “Skittles” (Florida) states.

I also love Candy Corn and it’s the most popular Halloween candy in Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, Alabama, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

I’M NOT AS POPULAR AS “SNL”, BUT… 🙂

It seems we think alike.

A couple of weeks ago, I was ticked off at one of Kellyanne Conway’s ignorant tweets and sent her one.

AP Clown

Well, I guess the writers of “Saturday Night Live” have the same thought process as me.

snl kellyanne

In a skit, Kellyanne is “Kellywise” and tries to lure Anderson Cooper into the sewers.  She’s already got two other famous victims in her clutches!

ARE YOU “READY FOR IT”?

“Ready For It”, the new video and second single from the upcoming Taylor Swift album, “Reputation”, is incredible, creepy, and sexy!

“MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN!”

A few months ago, I excitedly told you about the sequel to “Mamma Mia!”, the 2008 box office smash, based on ABBA songs.

Here’s an update — Cher is joining the cast alongside returning stars Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, and Amanda Seyfried. (Oh, Dominic Cooper is back, too) 🙂

While the details are limited, Cher was recently in the U.K..  She tweeted, “Just went through two dance numbers, everyone’s great.” and this:

Cher

The “Mamma Mia!” sequel hits theaters July 20, 2018, which will be ten years to the weekend of the original!  It made almost $610 million worldwide.

“TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY”

I’m four episodes into the new ABC thriller starring Kyra Sedgwick, who plays a Hollywood television and documentary producer whose child goes missing.

Each episode covers one day in the investigation to find the little girl. And, each episode casts characters as suspects and clears others.

In the trailer, Sedgwick says “People say there’s some truth in every lie.”

That’s funny because I’ve been told there’s a little truth to all my jokes! 🙂

I highly recommend it, although it’s the least watched new series on the major networks this fall!

“BABY DRIVER”

In this summer action caper, Ansel Elgort plays “Baby”, a getaway driver for a group of criminals who rob banks and businesses for a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) .

I saw Elgort in his first three movies, “Carrie”, “Divergent”, and “The Fault in Our Stars” and I thought he was cute, but that was it.  However, in “Baby Driver”, he’s downright adorable.

The movie plays out like a two-hour music video.  It has a lot of heart, but you have to suspend disbelief very early on (less than five minutes into the movie) and quite often.

Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Lily James costar.

GRADE:  B

“MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS” REVIEW

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Last week, I shared with you the two news USPS Christmas stamps and asked which ones you’d choose?

Although I liked them both, I’m buying these this year.

Stamps 1

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I wish you the scariest Halloween ever!

DT MasksWait, many of us feel as if we’ve been living it since last Halloween!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 20, 2017

I’m done celebrating my birthday and my sister is now back to real life in Midwest.  It was a nice visit.  Now, we just need to plan our next get together!

Random Thoughts

I hope this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” comes across a little happier.  Last week, I had some things I needed to get off my chest.  If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here’s that link again.  It’ll open in a new window. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/random-friday-thoughts-october-13-2017/

BACK TO REALITY

I had my first company in Panama City, Florida, over the past week with my sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend, Gerald, visiting.

It was great going out to eat (Granny Cantrell’s country cooking was amazing and Captain D’s fish was delicious and not as greasy as I remembered back in Kentucky), hanging out and talking, and hitting Panama City Beach for the first time!

ATG

Tammy got back to the Midwest just in time.  Her twin grandsons arrived a week early and were born Thursday morning!

GIRLFRIEND, THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM!

Tutti Frutti Little Richard…

LR 2

Oops, let me start over.

“Tutti Frutti” singer Little Richard in the 1980s told “Penthouse”, “I’ve been gay all my life and I know God is a God of love, not of hate.”

Well, I guess he “prayed the gay away” (note the quotation marks that screams of sarcasm).

LR 1

The 84-year-old now tells a Christian broadcasting show that homosexuality is “unnatural”.

Little Richard states, “When I first come in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself.  He added, “And, anybody that comes in show business they going say you’re gay… God made men, men and women, women, you know.”

Yeah, we know!

Hmmmm

WINTER FORECAST

As a meteorologist in the Midwest, I always had people asking me, “what’s this winter going to be like?”  It was one of my least favorite questions.

I don’t believe in long-term forecasting and I think the forecasts from the “almanacs”, Accuweather, the Weather Channel, etc. are fun to look at it.  But, I don’t put any faith in them.

For example, look at the highlights here from Accuweather for this winter.

AccuWeather Winter

Unless this is a very bizarre winter, “Arctic Cold Blasts” in the Dakotas and the Midwest, “Snow, Ice” in the Great Lakes and the Northeast, “Warm, Dry” in the Southwest, “Rain” in the Southeast, and “Warm At Times” in Florida?

Seriously?  With those generalities, I can tell you now that Accuweather will be 100% accurate and you don’t need a meteorologist to forecast that for you.

Next!

HAMILTON TAKES ON #45 OVER PUERTO RICO

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the brains behind the successful “Hamilton” doesn’t like #45’s handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico.  Well, he’s not alone.

While Miranda was born in upper Manhattan, he is of Puerto Rican descent.

I’m sure by now, you’ve heard about this bold tweet.

Lin DT

He composed a new charity recording for Puerto Rico with some of the biggest stars in Latin music including Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan.

“Almost Like Praying” sold 111,000 digital downloads in its first week and debuted at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At this time, three million people (about 80%) still have no electricity and a million are without running water in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria hit a month ago!

OH, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY! 🙂

In the October 20/27 double issue’s “What to Watch” section, this is what it said of the new episode of “Scandal”:

“POTUS Mellie preps for the nuclear summit.  Any joke we make would hit too close to home, assuming there is a home by the time you’re reading this.”

T NK

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”/”THE WALKING DEAD”

I know I swore off “The Walking Dead” after the dismal seventh season, but I’ve decided to give it a few episodes in season 8 before I abandon it.

As for its spin off, “Fear The Walking Dead”, the third season just wrapped up a great installment.

If you gave it up on after the slow-burning first season or the hit and miss second season, give it another try.  The third season was strong and the second half of the season was incredible.

FTWD Christmas

And, I finally got a “Dead” Christmas and it was twisted and insane!

ANTICIPATION FOR “THE SNOWMAN” MELTED AWAY

Ever since I read Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” and it was announced that my future ex-boyfriend Michael Fassbender would star in the movie, I was very excited.

the-snowman

Last week, Norwegian reviews started coming in and they were not encouraging.  American movie critics are echoing those sentiments.

snowman

My blizzard of anticipation melted away faster than several feet on Rocky Mountain snow with a Chinook wind!

I’ll now wait for “The Snowman” on DVD! 😦

“REBEL HEART TOUR DVD”

This new concert DVD is from Madonna’s last international tour supporting her 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart”.

I saw the show in October 2015 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, my fourth Madonna concert.  (I saw the “Confessions Tour” (2006) and the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” (2008) in Chicago and “The MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas (2012).

After the angry, dark, and fantastic “The MDNA Tour”, this one was fun and personable.  However, Madonna still delivered a strong message, including this opening sequence before she opens the show with “Iconic”.

“FIVE FOOT TWO”

This new Netflix series chronicles Lady Gaga’s making of her latest album, “Joanne”.

It also shows us the behind the scenes pain (fibromyalgia) that Lady Gaga experienced leading to the postponement of the European leg of the “Joanne Tour”.

What I liked about the show was her honesty about the beef Madonna has with her and calling Gaga “reductive”.

And, then there was this zinger that “Entertainment Weekly” featured in its soundbite of the week segment. 🙂

Gaga Madonna EW

“Bad Romance” is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs and this stripped down live version is incredible.

Here’s the original and its amazing video.

In the documentary, Gaga is distraught over the “Joanne” album.  For her, it’s very personal and she’s afraid the change in musical style for the collection would not be something her fans would embrace.

Sadly, that turned out to be the case.  It was her least successful album in terms of album sales and radio airplay.

And, as much as I love Lady Gaga, I was part of that resistance.  “Joanne” was the first Lady Gaga album I didn’t buy and after seeing “Five Foot Two”, I still didn’t want the album.  But, I do love “A Million Reasons” and “The Cure”.

GRADE:  B

“STRANGER THINGS”

Now that the second season of the Netflix hit series is set to premiere next Friday (October 27), I need to binge watch the award winning and critically acclaimed smash.

I know many of you were blown away by the series last summer, so I don’t want to spoil things for newbies like me by showing the season 2 trailer.

I learned enough spoilers by reading the “Entertainment Weekly” article on the show’s return.

Psyche!

For those that have already seen the first season, here’s the second season trailer.  FYI, I didn’t watch it. 🙂

2017 CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Christmas is now just about two months away and it’s time to start addressing my cards. 🙂

Here are the new stamps this season.

Stamps 1

Stamps 2

Which ones would you choose?

PICK HIT

EDM (electronic dance music) producer and DJ Marshmello, who’s identity is unknown (but may be American DJ Christian Comstock), has scored seven hits in the U.S. on the Billboard Dance charts since 2015.

Two have reached the Top Ten.  “Alone” reached #9 in 2016 and his current hit featuring Khalid, “Silence” is currently climbing the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.  It’s also #45 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart.

“Silence” already topped the Australian Dance chart and hit the Top 5 in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and on the UK Dance chart.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 13, 2017

Another weekend is upon us and I hope it’s a great one for you.

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts.  Please feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

WHAT A CLOWN!

It seems that Kellyanne Conway is still around and still Kellyanne.

In the wake of all of the inappropriate sexual allegations coming out against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, I’d call him a pig, but I don’t want to insult the swine community!

Earlier this week, Conway lashed out on Twitter about Hillary Clinton’s slow response on condemning Weinstein, who donated to many Democratic candidates.

Kellyanne

I thought about it and it infuriated me even more, so I decided to reach out to her.

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

Today, I’m starting and ending my blog with it.  We need it!

I woke up a couple of weeks ago to this series of tweets from #45.  I pondered the callousness of the tweets.

DT

Seriously? Puerto Ricans are natural-born citizens of the United States!

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

CarmenThis same mayor that he’s criticizing has been wading through floodwaters helping her people while some “leaders” golf the weekends away.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of #45, but there comes a time when little boys need to grow up or shut up!

This saddens me as much as much as it angers me!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

While being bashed by #45, Carmen Yulin Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, was thinking of Las Vegas and the victims of the massacre there, while working to get aid from the U.S. government for her people.

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s been almost two weeks since a lone, white terrorist gunned down 58 people in a shooting spree at a country music concert outside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas that left more than 500 others injured.

LV

While police sort through the facts of the case to learn “why”, the debate quickly turned to gun control.  Sadly, this is a long-standing debate that falls on deaf ears after every mass shooting in America.

Geez, we have more than any other country in the world, yet we have a gridlocked political system that will not work to find a solution to make both side happy. But, I’m not even getting into that debate in this blog.

I love Vegas and I’m going there in December.  While there, I’ll drop money at the casinos, I’ll eat in the restaurants, and I’ll tip the cocktail and food servers well.

My biggest problem in the hours following this massacre was with the thing that was needed the most.  Although a “Go Fund Me” page was set up and quickly raised several million dollars for the victims’ medical costs, I didn’t donate.  Why?  Because blood was needed more than money as the victims were rushed to the hospitals.

Blood

I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m a gay or bisexual man that’s had sex with another man in the past year.   This excludes me from donating, yet it’s okay for a man or woman that hasn’t had same-sex relations to donate.  Yet, they may have slept with half of the free world (and even without protection), but it’s okay for them to donate.

I understood the hysteria in the 1980s and early 1990s when so much was unknown about HIV and AIDS, but three decades later?

Every blood donation is so thoroughly screened and tested before it enters the blood bank and HIV tests can be done in 15 minutes these days!

I have beautiful veins and in the late-1980s, I donated blood every chance I got and I’m regularly tested for HIV.

So, when there’s a national crisis and the American Red Cross is begging for blood donations, that’s where I draw the line.  I’m emphatically uncompassionate to its pleas!

Harsh?  No, it’s a reality and it’s one for which I didn’t set the rules!  To the Food and Drug Administration, do your job and stop discriminating!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

The new season of one of my favorite shows, ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” is incredible.

After just two episodes (I haven’t watched the newest episode), I love the vibe of the season 4.

Viola Davis is incredible (as always) as the very mean Annalise Keating, who’s turned over a new leaf and so far, so good.

I actually cried during the season premiere and I applauded Annalise in first case after returning to practicing law.

Viola

She’s defending an older black woman, who has spent most of her life in and out of jail and prison.

The woman was raped as a young girl and arrested for prostitution at 13-year-old.  She was released back to the streets, while white girls arrested that year for the same crime was put in a home for rehabilitation and a chance to turn their lives around.

Annalise argues, “Because that’s what we do to black people, women, and gay people. We turn a blind eye and we tell them their lives don’t matter, but they do matter!”

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

I’ve shared many pictures of the cute ducks and the babies in my complex since I moved to Panama City, Florida, in early May.

Ducks

And, I’ve also talked about the turtles feasting on unfortunate ducks.  I know, it’s the “circle of life”.

The other day, I was walking by the pond by my apartment and I noticed a turtle upside down in the shallow water with its head submerged underwater.

I guess it had fallen into the water upside down!  I didn’t know how long it had been there.  So, I had three options: let it drown, let it try to flip itself over (which seemed impossible), or flip it over myself.

Well, being the “tree hugger” and a softie, I helped it and it swam away.

Turtle 1

I hope it remembers that and it doesn’t feast on a baby duck one day!

“THE SNOWMAN”

I’ve only been to the theaters once this year.  Back in the spring, I saw “Beauty and the Beast”.

Next weekend, I’m going to see my future ex-boyfriend, Michael Fassbender, in “The Snowman”.

This movie is based on the superb Norwegian crime thriller by Jo Nesbo.

I haven’t been to a movie alone since 1996 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, when I went to see “101 Dalmatians”!

PREMATURE BABIES

In 2010, the survival rate of a baby born under 3.3 pounds was at 78%.  There was a lot of improvement in those odds since the 1980s.  (What a great decade — except for AIDS and Ronald Reagan!)

Focus Anthony!  The point I want to make is that just five decades earlier, in 1960, the survival rate for a baby that size was only 28%.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964I was one of those babies and I spent the first six weeks of my life in the Mayfield Hospital and look at me now!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, I’m a survivor and it’s my birthday!  I’m celebrating it with my sister Tammy and her boyfriend Gerald, who are visiting me in Panama City.

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

This was my birthday in 2011, my last one with my best friend, Miss ABBA.  Yes, it warm enough in the Quad Cities to be out in a tank top playing ball. 🙂

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

Wait, Dessie didn’t know then that I prefer chocolate cake?  (Actually, I haven’t met too many desserts I didn’t like.  Why can’t people be like desserts for me?) 🙂

AP 1st Birthday

My most exciting birthday ever was my 50th in Paris, France!

It started with a Seine River dinner cruise, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and then sipping champagne stage-side at the Moulin Rogue (sans Satine!)  After that, it was off to my dream destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

Also, I can’t forget celebrating in Las Vegas in 2012 with Madonna!

Let’s hope in the next 50 years I have other birthdays to rival those.

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

It’s the new Christmas album from Reba McEntire, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

As I shared with you in an August blog, Reba released a version of this album through Cracker Barrel, a chain restaurant with a history of homophobic and racist practices.

It was also the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

This re-issue features new versions and new songs with Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

Freddie Highmore was incredible as Norman Bates on A& E’s “Bates Motel”, so I was excited to check out his new ABC series, “The Good Doctor”.

Highmore is very convincing as Dr. Shaun Murphy, who is a surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.  The show follows the struggles he faces in the high pressure world of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.

While some of the show comes across as far-fetched to me, I’m still with it after three episodes.

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

This movie is based on the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s.

Without her knowledge, doctors used her cancer cells, known as HeLa, to advance not only cancer research, but research for many different other diseases, too.

Oprah Winfrey is great as Debra Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, who worked with a Rebecca Skloot, a writer who was researching and writing a book about her mother.

The HBO movie was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

20-year-old Norwegian record producer and DJ Alan Walker was only 17 when he produced a version of a song called “Fade” without vocals.

A new version, “Faded”, featuring Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim, hit #1 in 17 countries and reached the Top Ten in, at least, ten more countries (add another one if you count the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the U.S., where it went to #4.)

“Faded” was my favorite song of 2016 and it’s been viewed more than 1.3 billion times (that’s billions with a “B”) on YouTube!

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 6, 2017

It’s been a heartbreaking week with the mass shooting in Las Vegas (more on that below).  While sad and tragic, there are some happy things going on in the world and I hope some of that is happening in your life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WHAT AN HONOR!

If you’ve followed me on Facebook since 2009 or read my blog since 2012, you know that I’m a strong believer in equality — LGBT, marriage, women’s rights, for people of color, and more.

While some of you may disagree with my views, that’s fine.  I do have to walk a fine line when I state my opinions and in my responses to people who don’t think like me (especially now, considering where I live and the climate we live in)!

With that being said, I got a big surprise when I started reading the October/November 2017 issue of “The Advocate”.

Advocate WG

The magazine had a feature on the “50 Most Influential LGBT People In Media” and I absolutely love lists and countdowns.  I had a thought on who might be number one, so I was curious.

Since I always read magazines from the front to back and I don’t skip ahead, I got to page seven and Editorial Director Diane Anderson-Minshall’s “Editor’s Letter”.

Below that was this segment.  As I was reading it and walking, I was shocked and surprised!!!!!!!!!!!

LGBT Media Arrow

A shout-out in the nation’s biggest and longest-running LGBT magazine in the country, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

What an honor!  Diane, I’ll keep up the fight for equality and visibility in these very trying, dark post-November 8, 2016 days!!!

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

A dear friend from back in the Quad Cities, Clayton, posted a message on my blog a couple of weeks ago that touched my heart just as much as the name check in “The Advocate”.

Clayton said, “I hope that you realize the lasting effects you have had on the many people who feared going public”.

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

On October 1st, President Jimmy Carter turned 93 years old.

It’s no secret that I love President Carter and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, and I had the pleasure to meet them in July at their Plains, Georgia church.

While there, I had my picture taken with them.  I sent them a copy inside an anniversary card celebrating their 71 years of marriage on July 7th.

I just hoped that with all of the fan mail they still get that they would see the card.

Weeks passed and I opened the mail recently to find an envelope from the “Office of Jimmy Carter”!  I gingerly opened it.

Not only did the Carters see my anniversary card and the picture, but they took the time to autograph it and send it back to me!

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

I’ve now met three of my four living idols.  I wrote about them this summer and if you missed that blog, here it is.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

Jimmy Carter

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (PRESIDENT CARTER & MS. ROSALYNN)

What a perfect time to share one of my favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

This is from her show at Terminal 5 in New York City in March 2016.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.

It’s also from one of the most underrated pop albums ever, “Emotion”.

It was my third favorite album of 2015 and I still listen to it today and marvel at its excellence.

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

Sadly, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the summer of 2016, is no longer the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!

That heartbreaking title is now bestowed on Las Vegas, Nevada, after a man opened fire on a country music festival near Mandalay Bay on the Strip Sunday night.

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

The senseless violence in the United States and the world saddens me.  While we still don’t know the motive of the shooting, the man is purely evil or suffered from a mental illness.  I’m only speculating, but I think he was just evil and filled with hate!

Mental illness is something that we, as Americans, are still uncomfortable discussing.  It comes up after each mass shooting, but then we’re on to the next “breaking news” and nothing is accomplished.

Enough!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and I’m still considering moving there.

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

On the morning of this senseless tragedy, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico, tweeted this to the people of Las Vegas!

Her compassion is incredible!

To take the time to think of Las Vegas even as her people try to put their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma!

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

Except for “Batman Returns” and the Christian Bale-Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy, superhero movies bore me.

They’re so unrealistic.  I know, I know, they’re “superheroes” with super strength and powers, blah blah blah!

I was huge fan of the “Wonder Woman” television series in the 1970s with Lynda Carter, so I wanted to see this movie.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is stunning as Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta on the hidden island of Themyscira, a land of Amazonian warriors.

She rescues an American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and is intrigued by his worldliness and the fact that he’s a man! 🙂  Okay, as beautiful as Gadot is, it’s Chris Pine! I’m intrigued, too.

Diana heads off with him to stop World War II and Ares’.

The fight scenes were typical superhero-fakery, but when the movie dives into storytelling and drama, it does it well.

Plus, the always incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood on “House of Cards”) plays Diana’s aunt, General Antiope, who trains her to fight.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Canadian country music hottie Brett Kissel, with just two hit albums under his cowboy belt buckle, has already scored nine Top Ten hits on the Canadian country charts.

Sadly, American radio hasn’t taken a chance on him yet.  As Julia Roberts’ Vivard Ward says to the snooty women on Rodeo Drive, “big mistake, big, huge!”

Brett is back with a brand new single that’s burning up the country charts in his native country.

“We Were That Song” is already at #22!

Back in February 2016, I wrote about Brett and his fantastic album, “Pick Me Up”, which was my #7 album of that year!

Here’s that blog again so you learn more about Brett.  And, by the way, he’s fantastic with being personable with his fans on social media!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

Brett, I can’t wait for the new album!  You have a lot of American fans, too!

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

The Gainesville, Florida rocker died Monday night after being found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home the night before.

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Petty scored 16 Top 40 hits.

Three of them reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1980), “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3, 1981, from Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna” album), and “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1990).

While it wasn’t one of his Top Ten Hot 100 hits, “The Waiting” (#19, 1981) was one of my favorite Petty songs. (It did spend six consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart!)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

Now that October is here, so is the holiday SEASON! 🙂

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Get Shania Twain’s “Now”, Like Now!

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

P.S.  I know it may not be of Shania’s favorites, but I was on the Shania Twain bandwagon even before the success of  1995’s “The Woman in Me” album.  I loved her self-titled 1993 debut and “What Made You Say That” is still one of my all-time favorite Shania songs!