Random (Christmas) Thoughts — December 22, 2017

Christmas is here in a few day!

Thank you for checking out my festive, holiday version of “Random Friday (Christmas) Thoughts” today.

“CHRISTMAS GHOSTS — LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT”

MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

I just saw the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Mariah Carey show in Las Vegas.  She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!

Here’s my Facebook album of the amazing show.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.gene.13/media_set?set=a.10155163332614849.1073742044.500579848&type=3

By the way, the title track to the new holiday movie, “The Star”, by Mariah has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award and is in contention for an Oscar nomination!

POINSETTIAS

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

Poinsettia 1

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

CANDY CANES

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

I wonder how many of those billions end up as garnishes in festive holiday drinks?

CHRISTMAS TREES

The National Christmas Tree Association reports that Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year.  And, of that number, one out of every four are from the country’s roughly 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

I did that back in 2000 and 2001 for Miss ABBA’s (my late golden retriever) first two Christmases.

In retrospective, I felt guilty for cutting down that big, gorgeous tree!

TURKEYS

The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century.

Our Turkey 2012

However, in rich households, it didn’t immediately replace the traditional goose, beef or boar’s head.

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

I chose these stamps this year to help out a very financially stressed United States Postal Service.  I sent out 136 cards and that’s really the only time I use the USPS except when I order things online.

Stamps 1

It’s ironic that the USPS is about to go under because as early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. wanted to limit the number of cards people could send at the holidays.

People were sending out so many homemade cards, since commercial cards weren’t available then, that an extra sixteen postmen had to be hired in the nation’s capital to handle the extra mail.

The Postmaster General would be ecstatic if that was the case today!

I guess this is my chance to say once again, stop Saturday mail service and save yourself a lot of money!

“SILENT NIGHT”

“Silent Night” was written in 1818, by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

On Christmas Eve, he was told that the church organ was broken and it would not be repaired for service that evening.

Saddened, he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music and he sat down and wrote three stanzas.  Later that night,  “Stille Nacht” was performed for the first time in that little Austrian church.

BABY JESUS & THE MANGER

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is Miss ABBA wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

“JINGLE BELLS”

And, finally, the Christmas classic, “Jingle Bells”, was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont.  It was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

Check out this version of the popular holiday carol at Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka.

It made me smile.

GLOWING TURTLE

Here’s a holiday bonus, “glowing turtles” were found a couple of years ago off the coast of the Solomon Islands (northeast of Australia).

Glowing Turtle

The biofluorescent species glow red and green!

“TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, while it isn’t one of my favorite holiday songs, crazy town’s Janice Dickinson’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” is over-the-top fun.

However, the song was written to help Catholic children, in England, remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs.

Now, I found this online and didn’t take the time to verify it, but it’s still interesting.

In the song:

The “partridge in a pear tree” = Christ.
2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity– the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

HOLIDAY BREAK

While I have a few year end “best of” or “favorites” blogs coming, I’m taking time off from “Random Friday Thoughts”.

If there’s something that I really want to talk about, I’ll write something just about that. 🙂

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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Quad Cities White Christmas?

UPDATED POST:  Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 5:18 p.m.

While a wintry mix is possible Thursday night, the Friday night/Saturday system will likely stay well south of the Quad Cities.

However, if the long-term models hold, a snowy end of December is not out of the question — but, that’s still a ways off in terms of model consistency.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 5:18 a.m.

Greetings Quad Cities across the miles!  Are you “dreaming of a white Christmas”?

March Snow

While it’s still days away, there was a point yesterday when that wish looked possible.  However, those chances are diminishing.

The system that threatened to whiten the ground for you will be passing southeast of you Friday night into Saturday morning.

QC Snow Chances

In the earlier GFS model run Tuesday, the system would have missed the Quad Cities.  However, the next run six hours later made a big shift northwest.  It was enough of a jump to do two things: (1) excite meteorologist for an accumulating snow threat for the Quad Cities and (2) be very suspicious and wait for later runs.

Sure enough, the 18Z GFS run Tuesday evening decreased the heavier snow chances for the Quad Cities.  And, those chances look even less likely this morning!

However, it’s going to be turning very cold and there could be some light snow.  But, it probably won’t be enough for a “White Christmas”!

So, why am I writing about snow a thousand miles away from Panama City, Florida?

Lighted Palm Trees

The same reason that The Carpenters sang about a “White Christmas” from warm Beverly Hills L.A.:

“The sun is shining; the grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There’s never been such a day in Beverly Hills L. A.
But it’s December the 24th and I’m longing to be up north

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.”

Anthony

‘Tis the Season, My Friends!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  This year, I put my tree and decorations up earlier than usual.  I really needed the beauty of the sparkling lights and the sounds of Christmas music to get me through my toughest year since my mother died 27 years ago!

Ap tree

After eight years together, Ray and I decided to go our separate ways earlier in the year.

It wasn’t just one thing that brought us to this conclusion.  The outcome of the 2016 election was very difficult for me and it took its toll on us. (I’m still not at peace with it!)  Also, it turns out I was a better dad to a golden retriever than his teenage daughter.  And, Ray realized he wasn’t happy some time ago, but he didn’t address it.

So, I took a morning meteorologist position in Panama City, Florida.  I still love what I do, but with the changes in my personal life and the move, it hasn’t been easy.  I’m miserable and it’s not just because of the split. I miss my sister, my friends, my koi/fish pond, and the snow in the Midwest!

With that being said, life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.

Enough with the “Hard Candy Christmas”, let’s make it a “Holly Jolly Christmas”!  There were fun things in 2017!

CC

Meeting my childhood idol was the highlight of my move.

In July, I drove hours through the Southern “backwoods” to Plains, Georgia, and enjoyed a church sermon from President Jimmy Carter.

Not only did I get my picture taken with him and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, but they sent me an autographed picture of us!

Autograph Carters

Since paying bills isn’t the only reason I work, I traveled, too!

You know how much I love Las Vegas.  In March, I saw Britney Spears for the second time.

Brit

And, I caught the Australian Bee Gees, a cover band.

Of course, splurging on buffets is a huge draw for me. I’ve now made the scrumptious Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and the incredibly delicious Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood part of my Vegas tradition!

In August, Ray and I traveled to Scandinavia together since we had already booked and paid for the trip.  Copenhagen, Denmark was gorgeous and Norway was beautiful, too (I loved Bergen and Oslo and seeing snow on Sognefjord (“King of the Fjords”).  We also spent one night in Gothenburg, Sweden.

AP Scand

My sister, Tammy, is still in the Quad Cities. She and her boyfriend, Gerald, came down for a week to visit in October.

ATG

Just after she got home, her family expanded in October with the birth of twin grandsons.  Now, her two granddaughters are big sisters.

I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for — not just at the holidays, but every day.  With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!  Here’s wishing us great health and happiness in 2018 as we travel down this road of life!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Love, Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 8, 2017

While I compile my “best of” lists of movies, songs, and albums of 2017 that people don’t look at other than me, I’m down to my last two “Random Friday Thoughts” of the year.

Thank you always for taking the time to check out what I’m thinking about weekly (or whenever I blog).

FORGIVENESS

What are your thoughts on forgiving people and moving on?

I just read the most amazing “Time” magazine article, “Murder, Race And Mercy: Stories from Charleston” by David Von Drehle with Jay Newton-Small and Maya Rhodan.

It introduced us to the nine people killed (ages 26 to 87) at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on a June night in 2015.

Charleston

We also got to know the other five people at the church that night (three in the room with the shooter) and two others in a different part of the church.

It’s a tragedy that not only ripped apart the lives of the families and loved ones of those in the church that night, but also the basic fabric of “love thy neighbor” in that community and across America.  It proved, once again, that hatred and ignorance is alive in this country.

In just about a minute-and-a-half, investigators say 77 bullets were fired, some at point blank.  The self-proclaimed white supremacist shooter went to the church that night with one purpose — to kill black church goers — even sitting through a Bible study lesson before opening fire when the group started praying!

Less than two days later, at the shooter’s first court appearance (via a television monitor), family members got to tell him what they were thinking.

One daughter of 70-year-old victim Ethel Lance told him, “I forgive you.  You took something very precious away from me.  I will never get to talk to her ever again — but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul… if God forgives you, I forgive you.”  

However, her sister, a reverend, says “I understand that forgiveness is a process.  Some people can automatically forgive, but I’m not there yet.  And I know that God is not going to look at me any differently because I haven’t forgiven *** yet.” (***She spoke the shooter’s name, which I refuse to use in the cases of mass shootings.  Many want fame and I’ll not give in to that by sharing their names!)

That disagreement drove the sisters apart.

So, what are you thoughts?  Could you forgive that person so easily?

I know it wasn’t my family that was killed, but it was my fellow man and it was done out of hatred.  It may not be Christian, but I hope he’s executed sooner rather than later.

roof

In January 2017, he was formally sentenced to death by lethal injection and in the spring of this year, he was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Indiana awaiting his execution.

Speaking of executions:  the most notable person to be executed at this prison (June 2011) was the man behind the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 that killed 168 people and hurt more than 600 others.

If you’d like to read the compelling, original “Time” article, here’s the link:

http://time.com/time-magazine-charleston-shooting-cover-story/

ORLANDO STRONG AND PULSE NIGHTCLUB

Ever since I first wrote about the Pulse Nightclub massacre in the summer of 2016, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims.

I especially remember 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

In June 2016, here’s what I wrote: “Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.”

Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

Netflix’s hit series will return in 2018 for the sixth and final season with eight episodes.

Kevin Spacey is out and Robin Wright will lead the cast.

Claire.gif

Madam President Claire Underwood, we’re ready for you to lead in 2018!

GLUTTONS

Disclaimer:  I love buffets and I sample a lot of food when I indulge — especially desserts.  However, I’ve really cut back on how many I eat.

Second Disclaimer:  At the holidays, I love to sample finger foods and baked treats every chances I get!

However, it blows my mind when I see the atrocious food offerings that restaurants and sports venues offer on their menus or free to customers that can finish in a certain amount of time.

4 LB

In 2014, at Tampa Bay Rays Tropicana Stadium, you could get this four-pound, $30 heart attack waiting to happen — eight patties plus one-half pound of bacon (32 slices).  It’s also served with a pound of fries!

If you finished it, you won two free tickets to a future Rays game and a commemorative t-shirt!

Then there’s the Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, features a 6-pound “bruiser” burger.

6pound_000

Or, what about the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, which features a 72-ounce steak — that’s almost a 5-pound steak!!!!!!!!

72ozSteaklarger

Seriously, am I the only one that thinks this is sad and gross?  And, to think those animals were partly raised and slaughtered just to make gluttons out of Americans!

I gave up beef years ago and I’m seriously thinking of making a few other animal groups safe, too!

Happier thoughts!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

MORE TURMOIL FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Oops!

Hillary Laughing.gif

Food for thought:  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in all five of her campaigns! Sadly, more votes doesn’t always equal win!

It never occurred to me or I didn’t remember that she even had more votes than Barack Obama in 2008.

WALMART PULLS T-SHIRTS

Walmart is now longer offering a hateful t-shirt that was popular during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The back of the shirt read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED”!

The Radio Television Digital News Director Association (RTDNA) convinced the retailer to drop the shirt you could order online through a third party.

Shirts

As you can see from the photo, it was popular among some of one candidate’s followers!

BRITNEY SPEARS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

BS Tree

“A DOG’S PURPOSE”

DREADFUL & DEPRESSING!

I was given this movie back in May, but didn’t feel inclined to watch it until this past weekend.

The premise is that a dog comes into our lives for a reason and then they die and come back into someone’s else’s life.

spoiler-alert

After a puppy is euthanized, a golden retriever dies, and then a dog is adopted and abandoned in a white trash front yard on a chain, I had all I could take.  73 minutes into the movie, I ejected it and didn’t finish it.

Capture1

The only highlight in the movie was discovering the sexy KJ Apa, the 20-year-old New Zealand actor (Archie on the CW’s “Riverdale”).

Interesting enough, it was a box office smash bringing in about $196 million in the U.S. alone and a sequel is planned!

No thanks!

GRADE:  D

PERFECT TIME TO REMEMBER MY GOLDEN!

ABBA Santa Christmas 2001

And, how about Miss ABBA and Mr. Panda with Ms. Santa!

ABBA Panda Christmas 2008 001

“GOOD TIME”

I never saw any of the “Twilight” movies or any of Robert Pattinson’s movies.

I took a chance on the crime drama “Good Time” and I was very impressed with his acting.

He plays “Connie”, a man who takes care of his mentally challenged, younger adult brother.

Connie decides they’re going to rob a bank of $65,000, and it appears they get away with it.  However, a dye pack is slipped into the money bag, which explodes in the getaway car.

That’s when police start catch up with them.  One is taken to jail and the other tries to spring his brother for the rest of the movie.

It’s nominated for five Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Pattison), Best Supporting Male (Benny Safdie), Best Supporting Female (Taliah Lennice Webster), Best Director (Benny & Josh Safdie), Best Editing, and Best Cinematography.

 

GRADE:  B

‘THE WALKING DEAD”

I made it to the 90-minute winter finale, which airs Sunday, December 10th.

The eighth season of “The Walking Dead” is still on life support with me — I’m watching it episode by episode and I keep saying that the next one will be my last.

The series is now down to its lowest ratings since the end of season two, when ratings were still climbing!

Only 7.47 million people watched last week’s episode compared to the 17.03 million that watched the season seven premiere!

I’ll admit after a dismal season, I did like episode five that focused mostly on Negan and Father Gabriel trapped in a trailer surrounded by walkers!

Also, for years now, I’ve been hoping that a certain youngster would meet an untimely death.

spoiler_alert_300_w2

In episode six, it almost happened and I was freaking out.  I’ve changed my mind now since he’s become more human and mature!

And, I hope to see more of Siddiq (Avi Nash), the man that Rick shot at and Carl befriended with food and water.

Capture2

Also, Callan McAuliffe, who plays Dillon, a Savior, is a nice, cute addition.

SHANIA LOOKED AMAZING!

Shania Twain made a wintry entrance and looked and sounded amazing at her last performance of 2017 — the Grey Cup halftime show.

 

 

OXYMORON

def oxymoron

This was parked outside my apartment building.  So, is this an “oxymoron” or just a moron?

Strike that!  It’s the holidays.  It’s an oxymoron!

Oxymoron

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 1, 2017

Welcome to December!

I hope you’re getting into the holiday spirit.  I am, but I’m also ready for this dreadful year to end and start anew in 2018.

While I’m glad the upcoming royal wedding is giving us a slight breather from mass shootings and the shameful cesspool of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, television news, and politics, I’m already over the talk of Prince Harry and his actress fiancee. *

With this comment, you can tell that starting anew and positive is still a month away. 🙂

* Oops, I spoke too soon.  After I wrote that paragraph earlier in the week, Matt Lauer was fired from “The Today Show”!

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

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st is “World AIDS Day”.

It was started in 1988 to raise awareness about the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

While we now have medications, when that taken properly, that allow those living with HIV to live a long, full life, that wasn’t always the case.

We still have a world of people that are still not being treated for HIV and AIDS because of the cost of medication and the fact that many in this country and the world don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.

People, if you’re sexually active (even in a relationship), get tested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HIV-POSITIVE & UNDETECTABLE

Great news coming in the fight against the spread of HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that HIV-positive people that are being treated and with undetectable viral loads CANNOT spread the HIV virus to others.

This is fantastic news in the fight against HIV and for serodiscordant couples — where one is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative.

While this is a huge step forward, people still need to be aware of the other sexually transmitted infections out there that are rampant in both the LGBT and straight communities!

THANKING PRESIDENT BUSH

While I agreed with a few things that President George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

STOP AIDS

One of the things I’m most proud of came in the early part of his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Thank you again, President Bush!

By the way, I still love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d love to meet President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

Laura Bush

LOVE ANA’S HONESTY!

If you’re not familiar with Ana Navarro, she’s a Republican strategist and political commentator who’s not afraid to be honest — she doesn’t care what political party!

CONGRATS REBA!

Congratulations to Reba McEntire on the Grammys nomination for her first gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”!

reba-faith

It earned a nomination in the BEST ROOTS GOSPEL ALBUM category.

While “Pray To God” didn’t get nominated, Reba is getting country radio airplay for the latest single, “God and My Girlfriends”!

It debuted on the Billboard Country Airplay chart at #54 and is expected to move up some week!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

“Call Me By Your Name”, the critically-acclaimed LGBT love story, is the movie that I most want to see.  But, it won’t be until early 2018 that I’ll get that chance since it’s only in limited release now.

However, it opened in four theaters last weekend and grossed an eye-opening $103,233 per screen average.

That was the biggest per screen average of 2017 and it was good enough to debut at #14 for the weekend ($412,932) — again, in just 4 theaters!!!

call me

“BEACH RATS”

While I await the wide release of “Call Me By Your Name”, I checked out “Beach Rats”, a movie that’s getting a lot of buzz, too.

It’s nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Harris Dickinson) and Best Cinematography.

21-year-old East London newcomer Dickinson plays Frankie, a young man wasting away his summer hanging out with his friends on the Brooklyn boardwalk drinking, doing drugs, and watching fireworks.

This isn’t just a “coming-of-age” summer for Frankie.  His dad is dying of cancer and he’s secretly meeting older men for sex in public wooded areas.  The struggle with his sexuality is something he keeps from his girlfriend, his family, and his friends for much of the movie.

Dickinson is a bright new talent and earns the rave reviews he’s getting for his acting.  And, that has nothing to do with how cute he is or his gorgeous body! 🙂

GRADE:  A-

“MUDBOUND”

This poignant Netflix drama takes place in poverty-stricken and backwards Mississippi in the 1940s.

It tells the story of a white family with a racist patriarch that ends up having to live on the land of an African American family.

Casey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks lead an excellent cast.

However, the standouts are Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, the two sons — one from each family — returning from war.  The friendship that forms between them is very touching.

I know it’s a period piece, but the frequency of use of the n-word, the blatant racism, and the graphic violence at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan are still painful to watch.  But, the movie is powerful.

I really wish I had seen more of Mary J. Blige.

If you check out “Mudbound”, stay for the amazing Blige song playing over the credits.

GRADE:  B

BINGE WATCH “THE BRAVE”

I’m really enjoying this freshman NBC action series.

The winter finale was very suspenseful and with the holidays, you have a chance to binge watch the nine episodes before it returns January 1, 2018!

For God & Country - Season Pilot

Here’s what I had to say about the series earlier in the fall:

I checked out one of the new fall series, “The Brave”, on NBC, mainly because I have a crush on Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield” and “Under The Dome”).  It was very entertaining and suspenseful and the pilot episode ended with a major cliffhanger, so I’ll be back next week to see what happens.

And, in November, I mentioned the series again and added, Still enjoying this thriller, yet it seems like every time they go up against terrorists, they always win without causalities.  That’s a good thing because this show has the most beautiful cast!

JAMES TAYLOR

Speaking of beautiful, I was just reading an old “Rolling Stone” magazine and came across this 1969 photo of James Taylor!  Holy moly!

JT 1969

You probably remember him from his hits “Fire and Rain” (#3, 1970) and “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1, 1971).

COUNTRY RADIO SHOWING A LITTLE LOVE FOR…

Shania Twain’s second single from “Now”, “We Got Something They Don’t” is getting some radio airplay at country stations.

The lead single, “Life’s About to Get Good” only reached #33 on Billboard Country, but it reached #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

MOST PLAYED CHRISTMAS SONGS

Christmas music is taking over the airwaves now, especially at adult contemporary stations, which have gone to 24-hour holiday music.

Earlier this week, I shared the 10 most played Christmas songs last year, according to Nielsen Music.

Let me just say that I was shocked at what was #1!

It wasn’t “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey or, sadly, my favorite Christmas song, “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters.

The most played Christmas song last year was by a Puerto Rican singer.  It was released in 1970 and didn’t even crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it peaked at #44.

#1

Find out what that song is and if your guess was in the Top Ten!  Click on the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/oh-lord-christmas-music/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

I don’t even want to think of my “Last Christmas” because it would sadden me.

However, this fun, upbeat, chic remake of the Wham! classic is okay to think about. 🙂

If you’ve never seen Cascada’s cool version, here it is.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Oh Lord, Christmas Music! :)

It’s that time of the year when stations start throwing in some holiday songs to break up the monotony of playing the same twenty songs over and over again!

And, many adult contemporary stations switched over to 24-hour Christmas music in early November.  What do you think was the most played Christmas song last year???

According to Nielsen Music, here are the 10 most played Christmas songs on radio in 2016.

10

JOHNNY MATHIS — “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS”

9

BING CROSBY — “WHITE CHRISTMAS”

8

ANDY WILLIAMS — “IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR”

7

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHRESTRA — “CHRISTMAS EVE SARAJAVO”

6

NAT KING COLE — “THE CHRISTMAS SONG”

5

MARIAH CAREY — “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

4

BOBBY HELMS — “JINGLE BELL ROCK”

3

BURL IVES — “A HOLLY JOLLY CHRISTMAS”

2

BRENDA LEE — “ROCKIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE”

1

JOSE FELICIANO — “FELIZ NAVIDAD”

Will we have a repeat this year and will there be new entries in the Top Ten?

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 24, 2017

I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving and had plenty to eat.

With many out shopping or visiting with family, I’m not sure how many will check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but here they are.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA

I’m still one of those people trying to keep the postal service in business by buying 49-cent stamps and mailing out Christmas cards!

While I personalize each card, I started sending out a Christmas letter to recap my year for those that don’t follow me on Facebook or read my blog! (The horror!)

Last year, at the end of my Christmas letter, I shared the photo with Hillary Clinton and I wrote that it was “the highlight of the year” for me.

Hillary AP

And, I added, “Sadly, we all know how that turned out in November!  Regardless of how you voted, I was very dismayed.  But, I hope for the best for the U.S. and the world over the next four years.”

I thought that was diplomatic and it expressed my sadness.

However, I was appalled by a response from, I guess, a former “friend” and co-worker.  On the outside of the envelope, she wrote:

Christmas Card Dilemma

Now, I spent my only Maryland Thanksgiving with her and her husband.  She was my drinking buddy and my confidant.  I still considered her a friend even though at some point in 2016, she unfriended me on Facebook!

So, I was torn.  Do I not send a card this year?  Do I send a card and ignore the comment?

Or, do I send a card and say, “I was already living in a stronger ISIS-free America prior to the election.  As for a “new found security”, I wasn’t insecure.  When I’m in a large crowd, I’m aware of my surroundings, but I’ve never felt threatened or insecure.  But, as one of your LGBT friends, I feel more insecure of my future now –with the current administration — than I did prior to the 2016 election!”

What would you do?  At the end of the blog, I’ll tell you what I did. 🙂

STAMPS

By the way, I chose these fun stamps this year.

Stamps 1

I’M NOT IN THE MIDWEST ANYMORE!

As the winter season moves closer, I know I’ll miss the Midwest snow.  However, I won’t miss the bitterly cold air!

I smiled the other day when I saw this on an area National Weather Service Twitter feed.

Here in northwestern Florida, it only takes 2″+ of snow and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) in a 12-hour period for a “Winter Storm Warning”!

Capture1

Back in the Quad Cities, it would take 6″ of snow in a 12-hour period or 8″ in 24 hours and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) for a “Winter Storm Warning” to be issued!

GOODBYE, “AHS: CULT”

This season of “American Horror Story: Cult” was incredible.

While the subject matter — the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election — brought back many painful memories, it was presented pretty realistically (although the violence was highly over exaggerated for dramatic effect!).  There were things as a Hillary or a Trump supporter that you may not have wanted to hear.

So, as I say “thank you” Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for a great season, I want to share two crazy late season scenes.

TV reporter and eventual cult member Beverly Hope tells cult leader Kai Anderson what she thinks of him and his cult as she tries to break away.

BH: “Your promises are sh*t.  You’re a fake.  You don’t stand for a goddamn thing.”

KA:  “I’m standing up for millions of people who are finally being heard.”

BH:  “Nothing is bigger than your ego.  You don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing from one minute to the next.  You’re an incompetent guy — just another media whore.”

And, for this next one, I won’t set up the scene because I don’t believe in complete spoilers.  But, it was my favorite line of the season!

spoiler-alert

Nasty Woman

And, how can I move on without sharing this hilarious one again from earlier in the season!

lesbians-were-under-attack-billy-eichner-ahs-cul-scared

WINTER FINALE — “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

With all of the craziness of the past 3.5 seasons, you know when you get a special warning beyond the typical “Viewer Discretion Advised” in the last 20 minutes that it’s going to be over-the-top!

Well, this winter finale had a W-T-F ending that you couldn’t tear yourself away from –even as you cringed!

Without giving it anything away, it was the most painful and heart-wrenching scene I’ve seen on television — maybe ever!

911

This scene made the accidental deadly gunshot to the head and the blood spatter earlier in the episode register only as a “wow”.

“How To Get Away With Murder” returns on January 18, 2018.

NOW THAT IT’S THANKSGIVING…

Maybe people will be a little less touchy about seeing Christmas decorations and hearing all Christmas, all the time on the radio, now that they’ve had some turkey.

However, if you’re decorating this weekend and you live in Florida or in a tropical area, be careful with palm trees and lights! 🙂

Palm Tree Lights

PRICIEST CHRISTMAS TREE

Last year, the Christmas tree at the Emirates Palace Hotel, a seven-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, was valued at $11.4 million!

The-Emirates-Palace-Hotel-Decorated-Christmas-tree

Emeralds, diamonds, and pearls enhanced the 43-feet high tree.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR KIDS

Since many of you will be heading out Christmas shopping, here’s an interesting tidbit:

“U.S. children make up just 3.1% of the global world population, but American families buy 40% of the world’s toys.”  (“Time” — March 23, 2015)

Cash Register

JON STEWART SAID WHAT???

Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart tells “Rolling Stone” in November 2014 about Fox News and Christmas:

“They truly feel the loss of absolute power is the same as persecution.  Like, watch them do their “War on Christmas” stuff.  It’s real, man.  There’s no bullsh*t.  They are in the middle of Rockefeller Center talking about “They won’t let us put up a Christmas tree!”  Meanwhile, they’re standing next to a 60-foot Christmas tree in a place with so much Christmas stuff up it looks like Santa’s balls just exploded.”

HOT JANUARY TELEVISION

Two highly anticipated television shows (at least for me) will be warming up my DVR in January.

Back in June, I wrote about the upcoming Ryan Murphy series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”.

EW verace

The 10-episode series will premiere on January 17, 2018.

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man that killed Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

Here’s the official trailer.

And, the 10-episode eleventh season of “The X-Files” returns even earlier on January 3, 2018, on Fox.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully!

“WIND RIVER”

Jeremy Renner plays a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent who stumbles upon the body of an a teenager in the cold, wintry Wyoming tundra on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The woman’s death isn’t a simple case of hypothermia and frostbite.  The FBI is called in and rookie special agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) has to determine if this is a murder case.

Olsen is incredible in this very intense and, at times, brutal movie.

“Wind River” cost $11 million, but it went on to gross $40 million at the box office.

GRADE:  A-

A DIFFERENT “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

I feature this very different version of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” every year because it’s so funny.

I hope you find it humorous, too.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA — MY SOLUTION

I took the high road and I didn’t send a card.  I decided to vent and share my disappointment here.

If she hadn’t unfriended me on Facebook, I would have addressed it to her privately.

My thought is that if that’s how she approached the subject — on the outside of an envelope last year — her friendship isn’t worth 49 cents!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony