Archive for September, 2019

Random Friday Thoughts — September 27, 2019

It’s been over a month since I shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so I thought it was about time to share a few more!

I appreciate you checking them out!

WILL NOT TALK POLITICS THIS WEEK, BUT…

peach 1

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

In just a few days, my idol, President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 95th birthday (October 1).

As you know, he’s the oldest living president in history and what’s amazing is that he and Rosalynn, his wonderful wife, are still very active building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Recently, people were asked to send President Carter birthday messages and here’s the one that I sent him!

Happy 95 President Carter Final

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!

Before today’s entry, I only posted one new blog in September — a tribute and “thank you” letter to Olivia Newton-John, who turned 71 yesterday!

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling

In that tribute, I talked about her courageous fight with Stage IV cancer, shared some stories on how her music has touched my life and I counted down my 13 favorite ONJ songs, with three bonus songs.

Many people checked it out.  If you didn’t, click here and it’ll open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/thank-you-for-the-beautiful-music-and-a-lifetime-of-wonderful-memories/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than three months away and I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a random thought or two about my favorite time of the year.

I love Christmas movies, but I can’t recall ever going to the theaters to see one.  That’ll change this year.

“Last Christmas” stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”), and Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”), who is also a co-writer.

Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”) also co-star!

It takes its name from George Michael and Wham’s 1984 holiday classic.

Thompson was in touch with Michael before his death, ironically on Christmas Day 2016, about using several of his songs in the movie!

The romantic comedy is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“Last Christmas” opens November 8, 2019, and my dear friend, Katie, and I are already planning on seeing it after work on November 12th! 🙂

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS” COMES EARLY THIS YEAR

While I bought Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, “Merry Christmas”, in 1994, and have been gleefully enjoying it every year since then, I just ordered the 25th “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” that arrives November 1, 2019!

MC Deluxe

In addition to the ten songs on the original, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will be added to disc one.

And, check out all of the amazing goodies on the second new CD!

Track List CD2.JPG

While I ordered mine from Amazon, if you order from Mariah’s website for $13.98 (plus about $10 for shipping), you’ll get “as a special bonus for fans, this special edition package includes rare photos, a personal note from Mariah, and some Mariah-themed Christmas decorations!”

https://mariahcareyshop.com/products/merry-christmas-25th-anniversary-2cd

NEW COFFEE MATE CREAMER

I already have my Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer in the refrigerator.  And, while I absolutely love Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog, it now has some competition this holiday season!

Just announced: Red Velvet!

Red Velvet.gif

“RAIN”

This is my new favorite song!

Take a listen because it probably won’t make Top 40 radio!

In “another place and time” (If I was much younger and in Ben Platt’s orbit), we could so be together! 🙂

He’s so dreamy and talented and this song is incredible and the video is so sensual!

My plans this weekend include binge watching “The Politician” with Platt, of course, on Netflix.

It co-star the incredible Jessica Lange and her line in the restaurant in this trailer is so hilarious that it almost makes me pee my pants every time I watch it!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

This 2007 novel by Andre Aciman came to big screen in late 2017 with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet in the lead roles.

It ended up being my favorite movie of 2018.

call me

Aciman is finally releasing the sequel, “Find Me” next month (October 29, 2019).

Since I don’t think Hammer and Chalamet will ever get together for a movie sequel, I hope to read it as soon as it hits the library.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The movie was my 5th favorite of 2018 and I recently read Kevin Kwan’s novel that it’s based on.

CRA Kwan

If you loved the movie, read the book!  It fills in so much about just how crazy and rich the Asians are that have passed through Kwan’s life for him to write these “fictional” stories!

There are two more books in the series, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems”, but I don’t want to read them yet.  Why?

Because, in 2020, they’re shooting two movies back-to-back based on the books to cut down on how long it takes for them to hit movie theaters!

“MA”

This psychological thriller starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer was much better than I expected!  But, then again, just having Spencer in the movie adds credibility.

Plus, it was directed and co-produced by Tate Taylor, who also directed 2011’s “The Help” (co-starring Spencer) and “The Girl on the Train” (which co-starred Luke Evans).

Speaking of Evans, he’s so freaking hot in his few scenes in this movie, including the “full monty” one!   Evans is best known as Gaston in the live-action Disney hit “Beauty and the Beast”.

The two young leads in the movie, Diana Silvers and Corey Fogelmanis, are very convincing as young lovers, who are terrorized when “Ma” becomes unhinged!

By the way, Fogelmanis is adorable (he just turned 20) — just like his on-screen dad, played by Evans!

GRADE: B

“THE PURGE” SEASON 2

I loved the first three movies in “The Purge” franchise, but I hated 2018’s fourth installment.  I gave it a “D” grade.

Last year, I watched the 10-episode USA Network television version with the same premise as the movies.

Purge TV

The second season with a new cast premieres on USA on October 15, 2019.  I’ll be back for season two, but I’m definitely going to miss Gabriel Chavarria this season.

Gabriel Chavarria

SPOOKY STAMPS

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky stamps this fall, the postal service is putting these out October 11, 2019!

It would definitely surprise people if I used them on my Christmas cards this year! 🙂

Spooky Stamps.jpg

HAPPY AUTUMN

Thank you for checking out my thoughts!  Have a great weekend  — the first weekend of autumn 2019!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

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It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

Olivia 2

In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling.png

Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

sl onj.JPG

If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony