Posts Tagged ‘Academy of Country Music Awards’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 20, 2018

While winter is relentless for my friends in the Midwest, spring is finally in the forecast.

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

BARBARA BUSH (1925-2018) 

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away earlier this week at her Houston home.

Barbara Bush

The 92-year-old had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.  She’s also suffered from Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition, since the late-1980s.

My thoughts go out to the Bush family.

BARBARA STUNS THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT…

In 1990, former PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) President Paulette Goodman asked for support from the First Lady.

Ms. Bush sent a personal response, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country.  Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.”

Needless to say, the “religious right” went ballistic.

AND, DON’T MESS WITH HER FAMILY

During the 1984 campaign season, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro continued her attacks on then Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Barbara had had enough and referenced Ferraro by saying, “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich!”

Ferraro

The former First Lady apologized for that comment.

REBA STILL STUNS!

Back in 1993, when she performed “Does He Love You”, a #1 hit with Linda Davis, gasps were heard across the world with Reba’s “red dress” and its plunging neckline (right below)!

At the time, Reba said she got “more press off that dress than if I’d won entertainer of the year”.

Reba

At last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, she performed the same song with her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson, and she wore the same dress from 25 years ago (left above)!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR

We know about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, but there’s been other shocking presidential behavior that just isn’t as widely known.

Lyndon-b-johnson-photo.jpg

Lyndon B. Johnson was being badgered by reporters over why the United States was in Vietnam.

With a simple, unmistakable off-the-record gesture, the president unzipped his pants, pulled out his “Johnson” and said, ”This is why!”

Could you just imagine a president doing that today???

GOODBYE OLIVIA POPE & “SCANDAL”

I’m probably in the minority here, but I felt the “Scandal” series finale was anti-climatic and the wrong person died in the final episode!

It’s sad to say goodbye to Olivia Pope, the Gladiators, and both President Grants (oops, spoiler) after binge watching seven seasons of the ABC drama — 124 episodes.

Mellie

However, there were many great moments in the seventh and final season, but this one had me laughing out loud.

I think the reaction from Kerry Washington (Olivia) is authentic and that she was really cracking up with Bellamy Young (Mellie)!

Warning:  Adult content!

“Olivia, there’s a famine in my lady bits…”  (Still laughing!)

And, another dramatic and hilarious scene is this confrontation between Olivia and her terrorist mother, Maya!

“You can either be my mother or a bitch!  What’s it gonna be?” and Mama’s reaction, “Girl, if you don’t sit your dramatic ass down…”

GOT MY CHRISTMAS “SCANDAL”

As you know, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I was so thrilled to get a “Scandal” Christmas in season five.

Although it was a tense and heavy episode, it ended with Olivia in a happy place!

Olivia Christmas.gif

This is going to be me this Christmas!  Like Olivia, I’ll find my happy place this year!

GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD” 

After eight seasons, I’m giving up on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.

The seventh and eighth season were painful and I didn’t find them enjoyable.

I guess I’m not alone.  The season eight finale had the lowest ratings since the season one finale!

About 8 million people watched this season finale.  The season four and five finales both had about 16 million viewers!

Andrew Lincoln

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!

KYLIE HITS #1 AGAIN!

My girl Kylie Minogue hits #1 again with her latest album, “Golden”!

Kylie-Minogue-Golden

The album topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and the U.K.

It started out in the Top 5 in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.

Kylie

It’s definitely “Raining Glitter” for Kylie fans with the new music.

I can’t wait for her to announce her U.S. tour dates to promote the album!

ROSE MAKING A COMEBACK

Over the past few years, drinking rose has been growing at a much higher rate than other wines.

rose

Dry rose almost went extinct in the 1970s when sweet White Zinfandel was introduced in California.

In France, Provence makes more than 140 million bottles of the crisp pink wine.

Spain and Italy are also prime producers of rose!

“ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD”

a.k.a. “The movie that went through drastic, last minute re-shoots with Christopher Plummer in the role that was originally played by Kevin Spacey!”

a.k.a. “The movie that “USA Today” reports that Mark Walhberg got $1.5 million for the re-shoots, while Michelle Williams was only paid less than $1,000!!

WTH on the second a.k.a. — Yes, there’s definitely still a big pay discrepancy between men and women in Hollywood (and the U.S.)!

It’s the story of J. Paul Getty, once the world’s richest private citizen, and the kidnapping of his teenage grandson in Rome in 1973.

At first, the elder Getty (Oscar nominee and former winner Plummer) refused to pay the $7 million ransom, even though that was just pocket change for him!

GRADE:  B

“TRUST” ON FX

Hollywood is mining the Getty kidnapping story with the movie version, “All The Money In The World” and the FX television series, “Trust”.

In the FX series, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland plays the elder Getty.

His kidnapped grandson is played by Harris Dickinson, who earned rave reviews from me (and other critics) in the incredible “Beach Rats”, my #3 movie of last year!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Shania Is Iconic, But I Feel I Know Eilleen More

Shania Twain is drop dead gorgeous!

Shania Twain 4

She’s a multi-Grammy Award winner and the 1999 Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association “Entertainer of the Year”.

She’s also the  top-selling country female artist of all time and she has the top-selling country album of all time, “Come On Over”, and the list goes on and on and on.

Come On Over

I can’t wait to see her show, “Shania:  Still The One”, in Las Vegas this Saturday night.

Shania Still The One

While I’ve been listening to all of my Shania albums leading up to the concert, I also just read her autobiography, “From This Moment On”.

Shania Twain and Book

While I may not have much in common with the superstar and millionaire Shania Twain, I’m amazed at how much Eilleen Regina (Edwards) Twain, the real person and not the international celebrity, and I have in common.

I knew that I would like the book, but I didn’t have any idea how much I’d love it.  Since I’d highly recommend you reading the book and getting to know the both Eilleen and Shania, I won’t give away too many details.

Throughout some of this blog, I’ll refer to Shania as Eilleen since she didn’t change her name until 1992, right before the release of her first album, “Shania Twain”, the following year.

Eileen Twain 2

Eilleen Regina Edwards was born in Windsor, Ontario (Canada), on August 28, 1965, and her parents divorced when she was a small child and she was later adopted by her mother’s second husband, Jerry Twain.

Little Eilleen and her siblings (two sisters and two brothers) lived most of their childhood in Timmins, Ontario, a city with a population of about 43,000.

Money was tight for the Twain family and Eilleen found herself being moved from place to place, usually when her parents got so far behind on rent that they were evicted.  The living spaces were always cramped and the kids usually had to sleep together in the same room (and for Eilleen and her sister, Carrie Ann, the same bed).

 

I know that cramped feeling all too well since my sister and I grew up in a five-room apartment with our parents.  My sister, Tammy, had to share the bed with our mother and I slept in twin beds in the same room as my father.  We were in the apartment for almost twenty years until my mother died!

As I wrote earlier, I’m going to focus somewhat on how much I have in common with Eilleen/Shania because that’s why her life and her story touched me so much.

 

In the book, Shania talks about living in the basement of one place as a child that had an old, tattered, and disgusting carpet on the floor.  She didn’t even want to touch it with her feet, so she’d always wear socks.

One day, she decided she was going to rip up the carpet because the floor had to be in better shape.  When she did, the floor was covered in maggots!  She decided to leave the carpet and try to forget what was living underneath it!

Shania never invited classmates to her house because food was very scarce and the living arrangements were less than ideal.

We had a similar upbringing with no frills in the food department with just enough food for the four of us to eat and our apartment was infested with cockroaches.  The landlord never seemed to care enough to hire an exterminator and aerosol bug bombs didn’t faze them!

The-Carpenters

Another thing that Eilleen and I had in common growing up in the 1970s was our love of the velvety, smooth voice of Karen Carpenter and her brother, Richard.

And, we both thought Terry Jacks’ “Season in the Sun” was an incredible song!

Shania also talks about the domestic violence between her parents (another similarity we share).  Once, she finally convinced her depressed mother to leave her abusive husband by driving more than 400 miles from their hometown of Timmins to Toronto, to live in a homeless shelter and then in transitional housing for two years!

 

Looking at how glamorous Shania is, I enjoyed reading about her being such a tomboy and working with a tree-planting crew during the summers during her teen years.

She talks about the tragic accident that killed her parents when she was 22-years-old.

That forced her to leave the big city of Toronto and move back to Timmins to keep her family together and finish raising her sister and two teenaged brothers.  Eventually, she starting working in Huntsville, Ontario, about six hours south of Timmins, at Deerhurst Resort, as a singer and performer.

Shania Deerhurstdeerhurst

It was here that Eilleen Twain was discovered by Nashville scouts, was signed to the Mercury Nashville Records label, and then changed her named to “Shania”, which means “on my way” in Ojibwa.

Since Shania didn’t have the money to move to Nashville immediately, she talks about locking herself away in seclusion in a little shack owned by her boyfriend’s family in the middle of nowhere to write songs for her first album.

In a typical northern Ontario winter, it snows all the time and the average temperatures regularly drops to around twenty to forty degrees below zero.  It sounded incredible!

Shania Twain

When Shania finally moved to Nashville, her self-titled debut album was recorded and released in 1993.  It featured only one song co-written by Shania.

Here’s where I have to disagree with Shania, but I can definitely see her point.  She’s not proud of that first album and I understand as a singer/songwriter that you want to have control of what you put your name on.  But, she was a newcomer to country music and not even American, so her label basically had her shop around from Nashville songwriters to pick songs for the debut.

I was working at Charlie’s, a gay country bar in Chicago, and we played her first single, “What Made You Say That”, all the time and I fell in love with the album and her voice.

That song only reached #55 on the Billboard County chart.  The follow-up, “Dance With The One That Brought You”, also reached #55 on the country chart.  That video was directed by future Oscar winner Sean Penn!

While that album didn’t blow Nashville or country music away, it did grab the attention of international rock superstar producer Robert “Mutt” Lange, who had produced chart toppers by AC/DC, Def Leppard, Foreigner, The Cars, and Bryan Adams.

The two met at “Fan Fair” in Nashville in the summer of 1993 and started writing songs for the follow-up album.  During that time, they fell in love and were married at the end of 1993.

Mutt Shania Wedding

That follow-up album, “The Woman in Me”, came out in February 1995.  It went on to sell 20 million copies worldwide (12 million of those in the United States).

the-woman-in-me

It also produced seven Top 40 country hits, including four #1 hits:  “Any Man of Mine”, “(If You’re Not in it For Love) I’m Outta Here”, “You Win My Love”, and “No One Needs To Know”.

In the book, Shania shares the story of legendary director and photographer John Derek, the husband of “10” actress Bo Derek, shooting the art work for “The Woman in Me” album and the videos to the first two hits from that album, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?” and “Any Man of Mine”.

Shania Twain John Derek

I laughed and thought Derek was crazy when he told Shania, who weighed 115 pounds, that she was overweight and that he wasn’t pleased with her nose and he wanted to cut it off!

Now I know that celebrities have people work their magic on hair, make-up, and costumes, but there is no one, not even Shania, that’s going to convince me that she’s not a beauty to start with it.

I find Shania absolutely stunning in the video for “You Win My Love, the fifth hit from “The Woman In Me” and her third #1 song.

Her 1997 album, “Come On Over”, garnered worldwide sales of more than 40 million (one-half of that was in the U.S. alone).

The album also produced 11 Top 40 country hits, which is unheard of.  Of those, eight reached the Top Ten, with three, “Love Gets Me Every Time”, “You’re Still The One”, and “Honey, I’m Home” all topping the country charts.

And, her last album, “Up”, from November 2002, sold eleven million copies in the U.S.

Up Shania Twain

Those three albums made Shania an international superstar.  She was also touring the globe constantly while being a wife and mother.  Her son, Eja (pronounced “Asia”) was born in August 2001.

Once the relentless touring of more than a decade was over, Shania began spending all her time at her château near Zurich, Switzerland, and renovating another home in New Zealand.

shania-twain-and-marie-anne-thiebaud

It was during this time that her best friend, Marie-Anne Thiebaud, a woman who worked for her husband and one of Shania’s best friends, started acting more hot and cold than ever and began cancelling get togethers.  (The two women were pregnant at the same time and had grown close.)

In the spring of 2008, Shania learned that her husband and Marie-Anne were having an affair.  Shania talks, at length, about the love that she and Mutt had and that she felt that they were growing apart.  However, she was willing to do whatever it took to save her marriage.

Through tears, sadness, and hanging out with family and real friends, Shania realized that her friend, Marie-Anne, was not a friend, but a home wrecker.

I smiled when Shania told a humorous story that I’m sure wasn’t funny, at the time, for her.  A friend forced Shania to stop referring to “the other woman” as a “friend”, because she was a “bitch” and another very strong, harsh word that you shouldn’t call a woman!

While Shania didn’t want to say it, she admits when she did, it was “cathartic”!  See You Next Tuesday!

Shania Twain 1

Working on the book helped Shania put the infidelity and the broken marriage into perspective.

Reading the story of Mutt and Shania’s courtship and the connection they had during much of their fourteen year marriage was touching.  I also felt sadness as Shania described the depression she felt when she was told by Frederic Thiebaud, the husband of the mistress, that his wife and her husband were having an affair.

Shania Twain 2

As time went by, Shania cherished the friendship that was developing with Frederic (Fred) more and more.  Shania’s son, Eja, had known Fred since he was born and he felt a bond with him.

Over time, the trust that developed between Shania and Fred allowed for a deeper, personal attraction to develop into love.

Shania Twain Frederic Thiebaud Wedding

On January 1, 2011, Shania and Fred were married in Puerto Rico.

I’m so happy for the couple and their two children, Shania’s son and Fred’s daughter.  Everyone should have a fairy tale ending after personal heartbreak enters one life.

ShaniaFred

I think that a beautiful quote that Fred sent Shania (via fiction writer Maria Robinson) sums up their relationship and it should go for everyone that’s ever had a broken heart, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”

Reading “From This Moment On” allowed me to see this happy ending through Shania’s eyes.  I should say that I see it as Eilleen sees it.  Shania writes, “Whereas I used to see a division between Eilleen the person and Shania the personality, now they have merged into one”.

What Made You Say That Shania

I fell in love with Shania, the entertainer, with “What Made You Say That”, before superstardom kicked in.  However, I really felt I got to know the real Shania by sharing so many of the struggles that Eilleen went through to become the person and the personality of Shania Twain.

“From This Moment On” is an incredible book.  I didn’t want it to end.

Shania, thank you for sharing it.

Shania Twain 5

I’m so excited to see Shania’s show Saturday night in Las Vegas.

I’ll even smile an extra smile that night thinking that Shania is still at the top of her game, professionally and personally.  And, somewhere, maybe in Switzerland, karma is waiting for a woman with “body language posturing like a mean, hissing cat”!

Anthony

Chely Wright Knows That God Loves Her

“Dear God, please don’t let me be gay.  I promise to be a good person.  I promise… I promise… I promise… I promise… Please take it away.  In your name I pray.  Amen. ”

Variations of that prayer were a daily part of country singer Chely Wright’s life from the time she was a third grader until she privately accepted that she was gay.

Fast forward to January 26, 2006 — a cold winter’s morning when Chely stood defeated in her Nashville home with a loaded 9 millimeter gun in her mouth.  After all of the years of living in denial and fighting to be happy, but not out, she was ready to end it all.

However, the tears started falling and Chely just couldn’t pull the trigger.  She put the gun on the mantle and went back upstairs and stayed in bed for a couple of more days.

chely wright

The former Academy of Country Music’s Top New Female Vocalist and one of People magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” couldn’t handle the stress of being gay and not being able to be open and honest about it.

That month of depression in January 2006 and the suicide attempt was a turning point for Chely.

Today, she’s happily married to LGBT rights advocate Lauren Blitzer (they met and married in 2011) and she’s the mother of twin boys, George Samuel and Everett Joseph, who turn one-year-old last weekend.

chely-wright-weddingChely's Twins Turn One

Although the book came out in 2010, I just got around to reading her autobiography, “Like Me”, which not only talked about her love of God, her family, country music and singing, but also her struggles with being a lesbian and having to hide her personal life to be a successful country music star.

Chely Wright Like Me

Richelle Rene Wright was born in the fall of 1970 in Kansas City, Missouri, and raised in a small Kansas town of 1,600 people.  She was the youngest of three children.

Even as a child, Chely knew that she was different.  She even had feelings for a teacher when she was just a little girl.

While Chely dated boys growing up in Kansas, she knew that it wasn’t going to change the feelings she felt toward women.  She moved to Nashville as a teenager to work at Opryland, where she had her first lesbian affair.

After landing a recording contract, Chely’s first album, “Woman in the Moon” and her first singles arrived at country radio in 1994 and 1995.

Chely Wright - Woman In The Moon

While the three singles got some radio airplay, none of them cracked the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart.  However, at the gay country bar, Charlie’s, in Chicago, that I worked at during that time, “Sea of Cowboy Hats”, was a hit with the two-steppers.

Chely released a second album in 1996, but it, too, failed to catch on at country radio.  Meanwhile, she continued to tour extensively across the U.S. and visit and perform for troops around the world.

She always lived a double life.  When she wasn’t the “country singer” touring and promoting her songs, she was in an on-again and off-again relationship for about ten years with a music industry woman named Julia.

In 1997, she scored her first hit on the Billboard Country chart.  “Shut Up and Drive” reached #14.  It was followed by two more modest hits that reached #39 and #36, respectively.

While working to make it big as a country singer, she kept a low profile with Julia.  Julia even got married to a man, but that marriage ended in divorce and she and Chely got back together.  During this time, Chely also dated men, including her dear friend, Vince Gill.

Vince Gill

Even as she lived in the closet with country music fans, Chely hit the big time in 1999 when her album, “Single White Female”, went gold (selling more than 500,000 copies) and the title track topped the country charts in September.

In the book, Chely held nothing back about how hard it was to love God so much, yet struggle with being gay.  And, being in a genre of music that, for the most part, lacked compassion for gay people, she felt she was living a lie with her fans.

In late 2000, she met and started dating rising star, Brad Paisley.

Brad Chely

She had deep feelings for Paisley and he fell in love with her.  However, because she was a lesbian, her love for him wasn’t the same and he just couldn’t handle her getting close and pushing away.

brad-paisley-chely-wright

Throughout “Like Me” and since its publication, Chely regrets the way that relationship ended because she did care for Brad.

While Chely scored five more hits after the chart topper, “Single White Female”, through 2005, “It Was” was the biggest.  It made it up to #11 in 2000.

Chely knew that people on Music Row and in Nashville gossiped about her personal life and she had heard rumors that some thought she was gay.  Those dated back to 1994, just as she was starting her career.

However, Chely confirmed this with John Rich, a former member of the band, Lonestar, and one-half of the duo, Big & Rich.  The two had worked together back in 1990 at Opryland.

One night, in March 2005, the two of them were hanging out when Rich confronted her.

John Rich Chely Wright

Chely writes that Rich told her that people were talking about her and wondered if she was gay and that it wasn’t cool if she had “chosen to live that lifestyle” and that fans and the industry wouldn’t allow it.  He also told her, “People don’t approve of that kind of deviant behavior.  It’s a sin.”

She goes on to talk about how uneasy she started feeling because, at that point, he hadn’t asked her about her sexuality.  Rich was just telling her what he thought and what he felt that country music fans would think.  Finally, he asked, “You’re not gay, are you?”

Taking a deep breath, Chely exclaimed, “No, John, I’m not gay” to which Rich replied, “Good”.

JohnRich2

John Rich would go on the defensive again in late 2007 when he commented on a radio talk show that marriage equality would lead to incestuous marriages.

Days later, he offered this lame apology that was nothing more than damage control, “However, I also believe that intolerance, bigotry and hatred are wrong. People should be judged based on their merits, not on their sexual orientation. We are all children of God and should be valued and respected.”

Back in 2007, I interviewed Lonestar in Lubbock, Texas.  Luckily, for me, it was lead singer Richie McDonald and keyboardist/vocalist Dean Sams.  Rich was fired from Lonestar the following year and I’m so happy that I never met that homophobe!

Chely Wright Like Me

When Chely’s book came out in 2010, she also released her seventh studio album, “Lifted Off The Ground”, which focused around her personal struggles.  It reached #32 on Billboard Country album chart.

In June 2011, Chely released a documentary about the three years leading up to her coming out called “Wish Me Away”.

It won “Best Documentary” at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the “Documentary Channel Audience Award” for “Best Documentary” at the Nashville Film Festival.

Chely has also founded two organizations:  Reading, Writing and Rhythm (RW&R), which helps supply musical instruments and equipment to promote music in America’s schools, and about ten years later, in 2010, she started “The Like Me Organization”, which provides assistance, resources, and education to LGBT individuals and their family and friends.  It also works to prevent LGBT bullying and teen suicide.

Chely NOH8

So, while country radio and the Grand Ole Opry are missing out on a first-class talent, it’s great that real fans and LGBT people still have Chely around to offer support and give people courage to be themselves and not be afraid.

Chely, thank you for sharing your story and touching the lives of those that may be afraid to make that step to “come out”.

“Like Me:  Confessions of a Heartland Country Singer” is a must read!

CMT Flameworthy Video Music Awards

Chely, best wishes to you, Lauren, and the boys.

Anthony

While this blog was ready to be posted last week, I held off on it once Chely tweeted this about the loss of her mother, Cheri.

Chely -- Loss of Mother

Random Friday Thoughts — April 11, 2014

The weekend is upon us!  While I have a couple of work-related events to take part in this weekend, one Saturday and one Sunday, I plan on taking full advantage of my down time.

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.

GIVE YOUR LOVED ONES AN EXTRA HUG

We all get overwhelmed and sometimes we forget to do simple things like show others how much we care.

alexhribelshackles

You just never know what will happen that day.

Who would have thought this innocent-looking 16-year-old boy is now suspected of stabbing 21 students and a security guard earlier this week in a Pennsylvania school?

To my friends, I appreciate you.  To my loved one, I’m thankful you’re in my life!

RE-WRITING THE BIBLE

Failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee wants you to know he is not homophobic.

Huckabee

That’s what he told a crowd earlier this week at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Spring fundraiser.

Huckabee says, “I’m not against anybody. I’m really not. I’m not a hater. I’m not homophobic. I honestly don’t care what people do personally in their individual lives…but… when people say, ‘Why don’t you just kind of get on the right side of history?’ I said, ‘You’ve got to understand, this for me is not about the right side or the wrong side of history, this is the right side of the Bible, and unless God rewrites it, edits it, sends it down with his signature on it, it’s not my book to change.’ Folks, that’s why I stand where I stand.”

I admit that Huckabee knows more about the Bible than I do, but I really don’t think that God put his signature on the first one, much less rewriting it, signing it, and sending it down now!

HIT THE ROAD, JACK

After thirty years of marriage, it’s over for Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife, Lyudmila.

Putin

Unless she’s like him, I wonder why it took thirty years?  Who knows (or cares)?  Maybe his hateful, ignorant attitude is something relatively new.

They have two daughters.

COUNTRY MUSIC SHINES ON CBS

Last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards show on CBS brought in some big numbers with 14.2 million people watching.

While I had no desire to watch it, I did flip over from “Crisis” on NBC during a couple of commercial breaks and I have three observations to make.

49th Annual Academy Of Country Music Awards - Show

In her performance with husband Tim McGraw, Faith Hill looked amazing.  I didn’t really care for the song they performed and I really wish that she’d release an incredible album that country radio would have to embrace.

Meanwhile, show co-host Luke Bryan (left, below) looked incredibly hot.  Whatever he’s doing, it’s working.  As for Blake Shelton, not so much.

Luke Bryan, Blake Shelton

I didn’t watch the opening monologue and I know that the point is to poke fun at pop culture.

I thought Blake’s comment about marriage equality was funny, “A year ago, same-sex marriage just meant once you got married, you had the same sex over and over and over again.”  From what I’ve read, his wife, Miranda Lambert, in the audience, mouthed, “Thank you” to him!  It might have been a cold night in Las Vegas in their suite that night!

But, I didn’t care for one of his other “jokes” that I’m sure others thought was funny.

When the hosts were talking about the upcoming live performances on the show, Shelton added, “And if you don’t like live music, you have to go down the block and see Britney Spears”.

Britney Las Vegas

Stop!  I’m laughing out loud.  Not really.

I know it was a joke and they have writers, so I’m saying this in fun.  Blake, when you get own residency in Vegas and can ask for $800 a ticket and $2,500 for a VIP/Meet & Greet ticket, give me a call!

HERE’S THE KICKER TO BLAKE’S JOKE

Rascal Flatts, performing their new single, “Rewind”, on the ACMs now admit to lip-syncing (badly)!

Rascal Flatts

The band says, “After having performed several shows earlier in the week, Gary lost his voice.  So instead of canceling our commitment to do the show, we made a last-minute decision to lip-synch. We’ve never done it before, and we’re obviously not very good at it. We look forward to singing live again in the very near future!”

“WTH” FASHION STATEMENT

And, my last ACM Awards comment is about Miranda Lambert.  She is a beautiful woman and she looks amazing in the right and left pictures from Sunday night.

Miranda Lambert

However, in the middle picture, from the braided hair to the demin shirt and the belt, the whole ensemble had me censoring myself and just saying, “WTH”.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

 

Freaking StupidDog Social MediaPeas and Hominy

WAY TO GO, NOTRE DAME

In life, there are good and bad Democrats and Republicans.  There are good and bad straight people and LGBT people.  There are good and bad <insert group here>.

The University of Notre Dame, a Catholic college, in South Bend, Indiana, is making strides to be on the right side of history.

Matt Dooley

Watch this amazing video the University released after tennis play Matt Dooley came out as gay.  It’s incredible and touching.

REMEMBERING RYAN WHITE

It was 24 years ago this week that 18-year-old Ryan White died of complications of AIDS.

Ryan White

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long.  We have come so far in the fight against AIDS and today, with proper medication, it’s no longer a death sentence and people can now live a full and long life.

That wasn’t the case back in the 1980s.  Ryan, a hemophiliac, was infected with HIV from contaminated blood in December 1984 and was given only six months to live.  He surprised doctors and the world by living for another five years.

While he posed no threat to other students, he was expelled from middle school because of his diagnosis.  Many parents and teachers in Kokomo, Indiana, fought against him returning to school and the family left Kokomo after bullets were fired into their house.

elton_John_ryan_white MIchael Jackson Ryan White

In life, Ryan became good friends with Elton John and Michael Jackson, along with John Cougar Mellencamp, and former President and First Lady Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Before he died, Ryan became a national spokesperson for bringing AIDS discrimination to the forefront in America.  Sadly, he died a month before graduating from high school.

Ryan, your memory is still alive.  And, to all of the Ryan Whites in the world today, live life to the fullest.

Here’s Elton John performing “Skyline Pigeon” at Ryan’s funeral.

DID YOU KNOW?

On a lighter note, now that it’s warming up, ice cream sounds like a great treat to enjoy outdoors.

In the July 2013 issue, “Better Homes and Gardens” reported that the average American eats 24 pounds of ice cream a year!

rocky road ice cream

While I love many flavors of ice cream, if I had to choose only one, it’d be Rocky Road.  And, if I could add one ingredient, it’d be coconut.

Now, there are many ranking of favorite flavors.  My favorite, Rocky Road, barely makes the Top 15.

Most rankings have Strawberry at #4, Butter Pecan at #3, and Chocolate comes in second place.

What’s shocking to me is that Vanilla is the favorite by a three-to-one margin!  Maybe because of its versatility?

PICK HIT

Pharrell Williams is hot right now.

As a solo artist, he’s at #1 with his song, “Happy”, and last year, he was featured in two of the biggest songs of the year, “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk and “Blurred Line” with Robin Thicke.

I don’t really care for “Happy”, but I love him accompanying other artists.  I first became aware of him when appeared on Madonna’s album “Hard Candy” and on her 2008’s #1 dance smash, “Give It 2 Me”.

Pharrell is featured on one of my favorite songs from Kylie Minogue’s latest album, “Kiss Me Once”.

kylie_pharrell

“I Was Gonna Cancel” is the album’s second single and the follow-up to the #1 Billboard Dance hit, “Into The Blue”.

Radio programmers, add this to your playlist now!

“THE BEST MAN HOLIDAY”

While it’s a Christmas-themed movie, I recently watched “The Best Man Holiday”, the sequel to Malcolm D. Lee’s 1999 hit, “The Best Man”, and I loved it.

The-Best-Man-Holiday-Poster

The $17 million movie brought in an incredible $71.6 million in theaters.  While I didn’t see the original and know the history of the characters, I could still follow the storyline.

In the movie, Mia and Lance invite their group of friends —  boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, and a couple of single friends to their ritzy, gorgeously Christmas-decorated mansion to share a secret with them.

However, Mia and Lance’s secrets aren’t the only ones revealed.

“The Best Man Holiday” is funny, cute, and sentimental!

GRADE:  A-

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Earlier I talked about Luke Bryan, so I’ll feature him in my segment of some of my favorite country songs.

In just seven short years, the 37-year-old Georgia native and married father of two boys has racked up an incredible 15 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 11 of  have reached the Top Three with seven making it to the #1 spot!

His latest, “Play It Again”, is at #3 this week and it could top the chart, too.  However, he’d have to knock himself out of the top spot since he’s featured on Florida Georgia Line ‘s “This Is How We Roll”, at #1.

luke-bryan-nbc-today-show-650-430

I really like many of his hits like “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” and “Rain Is A Good Thing”, but his first hit, “All My Friends Say”, which reached #5 in 2007, is my still my favorite.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts this week.  As always, feel free to let me know what you think, whether you agree or disagree with any of them.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony