Posts Tagged ‘2016 Presidential Election’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 4 , 2017

Are you ready for the weekend?  Although I have nothing planned, I’m still ready!

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

THREE MONTHS ALREADY

This weekend marks my third month in Panama City, Florida!

While everyone’s life carries on, the things I miss the most about the Quad Cities are my family and friends, my fish pond, my beautiful and spacious sun porch, and Sunday champagne brunch!

Missing QC

I’M READY FOR A GETAWAY

Clearly from the way I kicked off this week’s blog, I’m ready for a vacation.

Shania Twain has the right idea in her latest video, “Life’s About To Get Good”, that dropped last week.

And, when I take that getaway, I’m coming back with a new attitude and moving on with my life.

“NOW” IS GETTING CLOSER!

It’s been 15 years since Shania Twain released her last studio album.  Her new one, “Now”, comes out September 29th.

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good” is the first single and while country radio decided not to embrace it, the song is getting some airplay at adult contemporary stations.

CAITLYN, YOU CONTINUE TO DISAPPOINT ME

It’s no secret that I’m not a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While I applauded her decision to come out to the world as a trans woman, her misinformation and ignorance proves she’s not a good spokeswoman for the transgender movement.

I find her latest escapade of expressing her love of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” highly offensive.

caitlyn steven

We all know that she transitioned from the gorgeous Olympic star Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn because she was born male, but that wasn’t her gender identity.  But, now to finally be seen as a woman and then to make a mockery of it is just tacky.

You could say that it’s no different from a gay man calling himself a “sissy” or a “girl”.  It is different because that gay man may have always identified and lived that way.

We may disagree on this, but Caitlyn has spent a fortune trying to look like the woman she felt inside.  So, why cheapen yourself by thinking it’s still cool to publicly admit that you love an offensively, crude song with the title, “Dude Looks Like a Lady”.

Sadly, in the world we live in, many people still see you that way!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The new season of “American Horror Story” debuts on FX September 5, 2017.

The first episode deals with the 2016 presidential election and takes place in the battleground state of Michigan.

The creator, Ryan Murphy, says it’s about “the fallout of that night, which to many people, from all sides of the camps is a horror story.”

Trump

Oh, by the way, the season is called “Cult”.

Trump

I guess that’s because “Freak Show” and “Asylum” have already been used in the series!

“THE SINNER” & “MANHUNT: UNABOMBER”

Both of these limited series made their debut this week.  I’m definitely find one more intriguing.

After watching the first two episodes of “Manhunt: Unabomber”, it was informative and entertaining enough even with very little of the Unabomber.  It was more about his crimes and the FBI manhunt to capture him.

Maybe we’ll find out more about Ted Kaczynski and get to see Paul Bettany (“Wimbledon”) do his thing as the hunted serial bomber.

I was much more impressed with USA’s “The Sinner”, which “seemed” like a cut and dry story.

A woman (Jessica Biel) is at the beach with her attractive husband and child and while cutting a pear, she savagely attacks and kills a man sitting with his friends in front of her.

She confesses to the crime to police, but why did she do it?  A twist at the end of the first episode has me awaiting next week’s second of eight episodes.

“MANHUNT: UNABOMBER” GRADE (after two episodes):  B

“THE SINNER” GRADE (after one episode): A- 

“THE LEFTOVERS”

While Comcast pimped me over recently by not recordings movies on my DVR during my free HBO and Cinemax week, I did get a chance to catch the first season of “The Leftovers”.

The Bible-like “rapture” story is chilling enough, but when you add in a “cult” (wait, they say they’re not a cult) and mental illness, it gets unsettling.

But, on the other hand, Justin Theroux is gorgeous!

JT

Now, I can’t wait to see seasons two and three.

By the way, happy second anniversary to Justin and his beautiful wife, Jennifer Aniston.

“MASTER OF NONE”

I loved the first season of Netflix’s “Master of None”.  While I enjoyed all but one episode, I wasn’t blown away as much by season two.

But, the show is nominated for an Emmy for “Comedy Series”, Aziz Ansari got a nod for “Comedy Actor”, and Ansari and Lena Waithe (“Denise”) are up for the “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode, which was my favorite of the season.

Angela Bassett is almost nominated for “Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode.

“Master of None” is nominated for four more Emmy Awards for a total of eight.  I really wish Bobby Cannavale was nominated, too.

“FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE”

Two episodes into this Netflix original comedy series, I realized why I don’t have any friends.  These people are annoying!

I’ll pass.

MY NEW FAVORITE VEGETABLE

Turnips

As a kid, I hated turnips.  I don’t even remember how my mother and grandmother cooked them to make them look like puree.

I dice them and saute them in seasoning and olive oil and I can’t get enough.  I need to experiment with recipes and try them others ways, too.

PICK HIT

24-year-old English DJ Sigala is racking up the Top Ten hits in his native United Kingdom. He’s already has five, including a #1 hit.

“Came Here For Love” with 23-year-old U.K. vocalist Ella Eyre is his latest.  It went all the way to #6 and has made the Top Three in Belgium and Scotland.

“NEW ATTITUDE”

I can’t mention “New Attitude” earlier in the blog without sharing Miss Patti LaBelle!

This #1 dance hit in 1985 was featured on the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack and earned LaBelle a “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” Grammy nomination!!!

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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It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

ABBADecember2007

I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

2017, Don’t Let Me Down

Happy New Year!

2017

I hope you had a great time saying goodbye to 2016.  While I worked Saturday night, I was home in time to ring in the new year with my husband, Ray, enjoying some champagne and shrimp cocktail.

champagne

Our 15-year-old daughter, Gretel, is growing up and growing out of her parents — she welcomed in 2017 with her friends.

I’m always pontificating about life (the past, the current, and the future).  It’s like being visited by the three ghosts (spirits) at Christmas, but I do it year around.

A Christmas Carol

While reflecting on where I’ve been, the mistakes I’ve made, and what I’d change if given the chance to do it all over again, I still look forward.  I’m always counting down to something.

I remember so many times, as a kid, saying that I wished a certain event or date would arrive and my grandmother, Helen, telling me, “you are wishin’ your life away.”

As I became more prospective as a teenager and being 51 years younger than my grandmother, I foolishly thought that she meant I was wishing her life away.  After all, I was young and I was looking forward to the rest of my life.

Now that I’m 52 and approaching those golden years like my grandmother, I realize two things:  I’m still always planning and counting down to something, but I’m also very aware that I’m no longer a youngster.

Anthony April 1969

It doesn’t help knowing that my mother died at the age of 47 and my father died at 55.  With each passing year and each celebration of the new year, it makes me think even more.

The bottom line is that I’m blessed in life.

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I have a wonderful family, my health, and a job that I love for the most part.  While I’d love to make more money (who doesn’t?), I’m in a position to travel and see places that many may never visit.

AP Ray Night View Vegas

Last year, I got to visit China, see New York City, Las Vegas and Cleveland, Ohio, again, and I checked out Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, for the first time.

I already have a few things planned for 2017.  As I often joke, I work just so I can travel.  Honestly, I do it to pay the bills, too!

Speaking of work, I can’t believe I’ve now worked in the Quad Cities television market as a meteorologist for more than 11 years.  I love what I do, but I also love to write.  There are times when I think about changing careers.  Will that be in 2017?

We all know that life is full of changes and uncertainty and I’m not shy about my feelings of dread for the next four years.

Almost two months after the shocking presidential election, I’m still devastated with the results.

Hillary AP

While three million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to be the 45th president of the United States, the electoral college was obligated to vote otherwise.

Since I live in the real world, I know some of you voted for someone other than Hillary and you got your wish!  I hope I never hear you express regret over that decision.  You won’t find a bit of sympathy coming from me.

With that being said, I sincerely hope for the best for America (and the world).

As someone put it after the stunning election — wishing for the new president to fail is like boarding a plane and hoping it crashes.

Flight 1549

If we look at the next four years as a flight, I sure wish that Sully was in the cockpit.  Hell, I’d be happy if it was Tom Hanks playing Sully in the cockpit!

“Oh, but I need some time off/From that emotion/Time to pick my heart up off the floor.”

As the late George Michael expressed to us, we got to have “faith”!

With all this in mind, I wish you and yours the very best in the year ahead.

If you had a great 2016, I hope 2017 is even better.  If 2016 was less than stellar, I hope the new year treats you better.

As Mariah Carey laughs off in my favorite version of “Auld Lang Syne”, “does anybody really know the words?”.  That sounds like life to me!

By the way, I get to see Mariah and Lionel Richie in Nashville, Tennessee, this spring!  See, that’s something I’m counting down to. 🙂

If life gets you down or gives you lemons, make lemonade.  If there’s no sugar to sweeten the lemonade, just smile, say “f*ck” it, and add a shot of vodka!

Happy New Year!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 🙂

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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

Random Friday Thoughts — September 23, 2016

Fall is here and summer is officially over!  It’s time to trade in those fruit smoothies for everything apple and pumpkin!

Even the USPS is getting into the act.  Check out these cool stamps.

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As always, thank you for checking out my random thoughts. Let’s get started!

SHUT YOUR MOUTH HATERS!

It’s old news now because news travels fast, but Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced and he’s being investigated on child abuse allegations!

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Reactions:  no surprise, sad, Jennifer Aniston is smiling somewhere, and Jolie is a “f***ing lunatic”.  What?

Comedian Chelsea Handler, who’s friends with Pitt’s ex, Aniston, holds nothing back, “There are rumors that part of the problem was that Brad was allegedly drinking and smoking too much weed. I wonder why he would need to self-medicate.”

She goes on to say, “Maybe because he could have been spending the last 12 years at Lake Como hanging out with George Clooney and Matt Damon, instead of being stuck in a house with 85 kids speaking 15 different languages. Oh yeah, because he married a f***ng lunatic, that’s why.”

However, Oscar winner Marion Cotillard, who stars with Pitt in this November’s “Allied”, is shutting the rumor mill down in a lengthy Instagram post with a big announcement of her own.

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Cotillard says, “Firstly, many years ago, I met the man of my life, father of our son [5-year-old Marcel] and of the baby we are expecting.  He is my love, my best friend, the only one that I need.” (She’s referring to French actor and director Guillaume Canet.)

And, she adds, “Secondly to those who have indicated that I am devastated, I am very well thank you. This crafted conversation isn’t distressing. And to all the media and the haters who are quick to pass judgment, I sincerely wish you a swift recovery. Finally, I do very much wish that Angelina and Brad, both whom I deeply respect, will find peace in this very tumultuous moment. With all my love, Marion”

Burn!

MY LITTLE SISTER TURNS 50!

My little sister Tammy reaches a milestone birthday this weekend — she hits the big 5-0!

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I wish her the very best as she begins a new era in her life.  As we slowly move toward the “golden years”, I hope she makes the most of it.

She moved to Quad Cities five years ago and has gotten herself back on solid financial ground, but I know she doesn’t want to stay here forever.

She’s been talking about moving back to our hometown!  While I couldn’t imagine doing that, if that’s what she wants, I say “go for it”.  And, why wait?  Do it now since we never really know how much time we have left.

Our own mother, Dessie, died at the age of 47.  Since Tammy has already survived two heart attacks and hasn’t changed her unhealthy habits (mainly smoking), I’m truly surprised that we still have her!

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This beautiful picture is from a Caribbean cruise we took in 2012.  She definitely loves to get dressed up and we’re looking forward to doing it again this December!

Happy Birthday Tammy!  Enjoy life, don’t let the bitches get to you, and live it up!

“SWEETBITTER”

I’ve stated many times that I mostly read biographies, autobiographies, or books about real events.

When I venture in fiction, I find some real gems like “The Girl on the Train” (Paula Hawkins), “Dietland” (Sarai Walker), and “Day Four” (Sarah Lotz).  Now, I can add Stephanie Danler’s superior debut, “Sweetbitter” to the list!

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“Sweetbitter” is fiction, but it’s based on real life Danler experienced as a waitress in New York City.

It was the food and drink service industry angle that attracted my attention in this coming-of-age novel because I’ve been there.

If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant or bar, you know how demanding it is — the hours, the hard work, smiling back at ungrateful and demanding customers (oops, guests), the insane amount of readily available cash, and if you worked at the right (or wrong) places, the partying after shifts with alcohol and/or drugs.

But, most of all, it’s the incredibly diverse people you work with “on the floor” and “in the back of the house” that make this business unlike any other I’ve ever been a part of.

Some will make a life and career in this high stress and burnout line of work.  Some, like me, are just passing through on the way to other professions.

Danler perfectly captures all of this.

Her vast experiences — from the people keeping the plates and drinks on the table and the guests coming back, the intrinsic knowledge of food and wine that make the book a beginner’s guide to gastronomy, to living an empty life in a nowhere place and then taking a chance to make it in the big city with a cast of characters wanting more and really wanting nothing — make “Sweetbitter” such a delight.

A must read!

EMMY WINNERS

I’m very happy that Rami Malek of “Mr. Robot” won for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series” at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards!

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And, it comes as no shock that “The People v. O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story”, the 10-part miniseries that aired earlier this year on FX, won big.

In addition to four Creative Arts Emmys it recently won, the show picked up five more awards Sunday night, including “Outstanding Limited Series” and three for acting – Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Sarah Paulson), Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Courtney B. Vance), and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie (Sterling K. Brown).

Sarah Paulson looked beautiful making her acceptance speech for the much deserved first Emmy win (out of six nominations since 2012) and the shout-out to the real Marcia Clark was outstanding!

She ended her speech by telling Holland Taylor that she loved her!

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What gets me is all the chatter over the more than 30-year age difference (Paulson is 41 and Taylor is 73).

Earlier this summer, Paulson told a magazine, “You should be able to love whomever you f***ing well please.”

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Amen, sister, I wish you and Holland the very best.  Life’s too short not to find and enjoy love at any age.

People need to get real and work on their own love lives, relationships, and marriages.

MARK RUFFALO WILL SHOW IT ALL FOR THIS!

This year’s presidential election is now just a little over six weeks away.  It can’t get here soon enough!

However, there are still some people that are undecided and there are others that may not even vote.

Many celebrities are using their fame to get people to vote and to take this election seriously.  They are even volunteering one of their own to give you his all for the cause!

But, on a more serious note, it’s also about “a racist, abusive coward who could permanently damage the fabric of our society.”

Warning:  contains adult language and situations!

Vote on November 8th.  If you don’t do it for Hillary Clinton, then do it for Mark Ruffalo! 🙂

CHRISTMAS IS NOW JUST THREE MONTHS AWAY

My annual tradition is to drop off my Christmas cards at the post office on Thanksgiving Eve and let the cards make their way across the country as people feast on turkey!

Here are the new Christmas stamps being offered by the USPS.

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Since they’re “Forever” stamps, they’ll always be good even if the price of stamps goes up in the future.  So buy up and keep Christmas going as long as you want with your mailings.

HALLMARK CHANNEL GEARING UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS

The “Countdown to Christmas” kicks off on the Hallmark Channel on October 28th this year with around the clock original television holiday movies.

It’ll start with classics over the years and then on November 5th, the new original Christmas movies debut.

Lacey Chabert is back (sadly without Mariah Carey, but you can catch Mimi on the October 5th episode of “Empire”!).

I’m excited to see “My Christmas Dream”, which debuts November 19th, because it stars Deidre Hall of “Days of Our Lives”.

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I’ve been a huge fan of Deidre since childhood watching her on “Days” and “Electra Woman and Dyna Girl”, a short-lived 1976 series.

There’s no official trailer yet for “My Christmas Dream”, which simply sounds like the work of Satan! 🙂

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Oh, come on, you loved that “Days” possession story line as much as I did!

In all, 22 new movies are being prepped for your holiday enjoyment for the Hallmark Channel.

“NOW YOU SEE ME 2”

I really enjoyed the 2013 original.

In a November 2013 blog, I wrote, “If you love magic, suspense, and action, this summer caper is the movie for you.  The $75 million motion picture made $351.7 million and a sequel is in the works and is expected to begin production next summer.”

Well, that sequel came this summer and it did rather well.  The $90 million production made $331.4 million and a third installment is on the way.

My teenaged daughter, Gretel, saw this one twice in the theaters, so she’s partly responsible for its success.  I waited to see it on DVD and that’s a good thing.

I was bored for much of the two-hour movie.  The first lavish card trick and magic act was hokey and unbelievable.  The final reveal had slightly more appeal.

It’s great to see Jesse Eisenberg in anything!

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It’s funny because I commented on liking his hair in the first movie three years ago.  Well, his hair in this movie was one of the highlights, too.  You can see it in this still image of the trailer.

GRADE: C

SPEAKING OF MAGIC, HOW ABOUT A “PERFECT ILLUSION”?

Lady Gaga is back with new music without her good friend Tony Bennett.

Earlier this month, she released “Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her upcoming fifth studio album, “Joanne” (named after her late aunt, who died of Lupus at the age of 19 in December of 1974, a little over eleven years before Gaga was born).

“Perfect Illusion” is already Gaga’s biggest hit at Top 40 radio since 2013’s “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly, which reached #7 on the radio airplay charts.

It’s an upbeat rock song and we’ve seen her rock out before, but this one has a different sound thanks to Mark Ronson (who’s biggest credits to date are “Uptown Funk” with Bruno Mars and working with Amy Winehouse).

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I’ve seen Gaga in concert twice (three times, sorta) and she’s an incredible singer, piano player, and dancer — an all-around amazing entertainer.

She’s an artist with an emphasis on “art”.  There’s no way you’ll ever forget the “meat dress” and the many outlandish and bizarre outfits and stage productions we’ve been blessed with over the past eight years.

Can you believe it’s only been eight years?

Now, back to the art (and the spectacle, the show, the dance moves, the club beats).  After the somewhat commercially disappointing (and uneven) “Artpop”, she’s all about the music this time.  To me, that’s evident after her high profile performances at the Grammys and the Oscars and singing the National Anthem at the Super Bowl.

There’s no glamour in the new video to “Perfect Illusion” and there’s nothing over-the-top and envelope-pushing with the artwork for the new album.  It’s classy and clean.

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It looks like it’s all about the music on “Joanne”, which comes out October 21st.

I admit that this whole new chapter of Lady Gaga is taking some adjusting for me, but I have a month to get there!

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

I just hope that there’s some “Mother Monster” left somewhere on “Joanne” and in Lady Gaga.

Now, where did I leave that “disco stick”?

50 YEARS OF PRIDE — CHARLEY PRIDE

In 2012, Darius Rucker, of Hootie & The Blowfish fame, was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.  He bacame only the third African-American to achieve that honor.  The first two were harmonica player Deford Bailey and singer Charley Pride (inducted in 1993).

The 82-year-old Mississippi-born Pride has enjoyed quite the country music career.

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From the 1960s through the 1980s, he charted an incredible 52 Top Ten Billboard Country hits.  Of those, 29 went all the way to #1!

Pride has also topped the country album charts twelve times — that’s more #1s than Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson!

As he celebrates his 50th year in country music, Pride tells “Billboard” that little has changed in country music when it comes to black artists.

He says, “Promoters were reluctant to book me. When you ask why things haven’t changed, I just say, “How far do you want to go back?” Do you want to go back to 1817? Once someone in the industry said to me, “I don’t mean no harm” — you know, just throwing that in — “but I want to ask: How come every time we let y’all in, you just take over?” I told him, “See that barrel over there? Go peek in it. Oh, look, there I am, down at the bottom! Now where is there for me to go?”

As a kid, I loved Charley Pride.  So did my grandmother Helen.

Here’s one of our favorites from 1971.

“Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” spent five weeks at the top of the country charts and became Pride’s first crossover hit.  It peaked at #21 on the Billboard Hot 100 and reached the Top Ten on the Adult Contemporary charts.

Happy 50th Anniversary Charley!  Thank you for all of the wonderful songs and memories.  Best wishes for the future!

By the way, let’s get Charley to perform here in the Quad Cities!

WELCOME FALL 2016!

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THAT’S IT

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

Anthony