Posts Tagged ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’

Random Friday Thoughts — May 7, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day weekend!

I’ll take a moment to remember my mother, Dessie, and be thankful that I still have my sister, Tammy, in my life.

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

STICKS & STONE MAY BREAK MY BONES

…but words shall never hurt me!

As kids, we’ve all heard that saying (or something like it). And, I believe, for the most part, it’s true.

I know that when you’re young and impressionable or if you’re a grown-up with insecurities (who doesn’t have some), hurtful words from parents, friends, lovers, or spouses can hurt. Actually, words said in anger do have a lasting impact.

However, being called a “f***ing fa**ot” by a speeding car driving by definitely doesn’t hurt my feelings. It just pisses me off.

This happened last Friday afternoon on one of my many daily walks around Lake Decatur.

It was from a group of youngsters and the man/boy in the back seat yelled it out the window. This person had no clue who was on the other side of busy U.S. 36. He was just being juvenile and ignorant.

I’m sure if it was a woman walking, he’d yell something sexist and stupid.

I was a teenager and young adult in the conservative dark Reagan-era years when homophobia was rampant and the world was scared of gay people and AIDS. (It didn’t help that it took President Reagan almost six years to mention it publicly!)

So, “f***ing fa**ot” is something that most LGBTQ people have heard before. However, it was scarier back then (in the 1980s and 1990s) because those people threatened us with baseball bats!

I’m a very secure person and my immediate reaction last Friday was to go back to reading my book and enjoying my day, while the thought bubble above my head said, “f***ing idiot”!

This is a perfect time for Heather Mooney! 🙂

Before I move on, I just hope that it made his day a little better to yell that out the window at a stranger. And, I hope he becomes more educated before he spawns a child and projects his ignorance onto another generation!

While I know there are others here (and in the U.S. and across the world) that share that narrow-minded mentality, Decatur and Central Illinois, I’ve met so many of you and I know there are so many more loving, caring, and beautiful people that make the world a better place!

Let’s carry on…

GOODBYE OLYMPIA DUKAKIS

Academy Award and Golden Globe winner (“Moonstruck”) Olympia Dukakis passed away last weekend at the age of 89.

In her almost 60 year career, she acted in more than 130 stage productions, over 60 movies, and in 50 television series!

I remember her most fondly as Anna Madrigal, the transgender “mother” of the tenants at 28 Barbary Lane in the “Tales of the City” series.

I always wanted to move into an apartment complex like 28 Barbary Lane and have Mrs. Madrigal as my landlady!

Armistead Maupin’s book series is my favorite and I’ve read it many times over the years. It was made into four continuing series (1993, 1998, 2001, and the most recent on Netflix in 2019).

And, as a gay man, I must mention her role as Clairee Belcher in 1989’s classic, “Steel Magnolias”!

Come on, you know the rest of it!!! All together now…

“…come sit by me.”

And, if you want to watch the entire 30-second scene…

DID YOU KNOW?

  • The 2020 U.S. presidential election is estimated to have cost $14 billion dollars, that’s with a “B”!
  • Gay and bisexual men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating than straight men and 12 times more likely to binge and purge. (National Eating Disorders Association)
  • Kenta Seki is a Los Angeles-based fitness guru? Neither did I, but I do now! 🙂

“THE MEANING OF MARIAH CAREY”

As you know, I love Mariah Carey. I’ve been a huge Mariah Carey fan since the spring of 1990 when I first heard “Vision of Love”.

I’ve seen her go through the highs with international success and we’ve see her hit the lows — the ice cream cart ordeal on MTV.

So, when Mariah’s biography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey” came out in the fall of 2020, I didn’t know what to expect.

Once I read it, I love Mariah even more — if that was even possible.

I knew her life and career was a rags to riches story, but I never realized just how hard she had as a child.

Not only was her family poor, but she also had a very difficult time of being biracial — she wasn’t Black enough for some family members and too white for others.

I was astounded at some of the things her sister made her do as a teenager and some of the things she did to Mariah! And, once Mariah became an international superstar with money flowing in, I was saddened to hear how her family tried to siphon that money away.

And then, there’s the whole creepiness of her first husband (and manager), Tommy Mottola!

Here’s a review of the book I read and it sums it up perfectly: “improbable and inspiring journey of survival and resilience as she struggles through complex issues of race, identity, class, childhood, and family trauma during her meteoric rise to music superstardom.”

“The Meaning of Mariah Carey” is an excellent book! Read it now!

Here are a few things I learned:

Since I now live in Central Illinois, it’s interesting that Mariah’s mother was born in Illinois’ capital of Springfield and grew up there in the 1940s and 1950s, which Mariah describes as “a center of insidious institutional racism”.

After years of racially-motivated crimes in the early 1900s in Springfield, the city had a strong Ku Klux Klan presence in the 1920, which Mariah summed up this way, “Springfield was a city openly cloaked in hate.”

On a happier note, I loved the wine quote about working with David Morales. “I’d have a couple splashes of wine, and we would just go wherever the spirit took us — which were almost always high-energy dance tracks with big, brand-new vocals.”

A couple splashes! What a cool description! 🙂

And, it was interesting to read who the song “My All” was written about!

I finally got to see Mariah in concert in December 2017 with her “All I Want For Christmas: A Night of Joy and Festivity” show in Las Vegas at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Mariah was phenomenal, beautiful, and she sounded flawless and the sets were incredible!!!!!!!

After my separation and eventual divorce, that show lifted my spirits and it would be the most magical 90 minutes I’ve enjoyed in the past few years!

FINAL NOTES ABOUT MARIAH & CHRISTMAS

About “All I Want For Christmas”, that she wrote in her early-20s for her fourth album, 1994’s “Merry Christmas”: “I wanted to write a song that would make me happy and make me feel like a loved, carefree young girl at Christmas.

Mariah added, “I wanted to sing it in a way that would capture joy for everyone and crystallize it forever. Yes, I was going for vintage Christmas happiness!”

HOW DID I MISS THIS???

I’m usually on top of pop culture, but I totally missed this bus on this!

Recently, I was catching up on magazines and I was shocked to learn that Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy died a year ago this weekend (May 8, 2020) of COVID-19! He was 75.

The famed Las Vegas entertainer’s publicist announced on April 28, 2020, that Horn tested positive for the virus and was responding well to treatment.

I also didn’t know that Siegfried (Fischbacher) announced on January 11, 2021, that he had terminal pancreatic cancer and died two days later in Las Vegas at the age of 81!

As you recall, Roy (on the left in the photo) was the one that was attacked at the Mirage on October 3, 2003, by a seven-year-old white tiger named Mantecore. It was on his 59th birthday!

As the story goes, Horn held his microphone to Mantecore’s mouth and told him to say “hello”. The tiger bit Horn’s sleeve. Horn swatted the tiger and barked “release!”.

Horn, became dizzy, tripped, and fell onto his back. (He ended up having a stroke.)

Mantecore moved to stand over him and then bit into Horn’s neck and dragged him offstage!

SO WHAT HAPPENED TO MANTECORE?

Horn asked that nothing happen to the tiger and it was re-integrated back into the duo’s pack of cats.

Mantecore died more than a decade later, in March 2014, at Fischbacher and Horn’s Little Bavaria estate in Las Vegas at the age of 17!

“THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE”

Last week, I talked about Jim Jones and shared some interesting things from Jeff Guinn’s compelling 2017 book.

Here are a few more tidbits from that great book.

The bisexual Jones believed that everyone, women and men, desired him. One follower in his close knit managerial team was not afraid to stand up to him. Harriet Tropp told him that she didn’t desire him because “You are 47 and fat”, but she added, “I don’t have romantic illusions. They say the greatest orgasm is death, so I hope we have the great pleasure of dying together.”

Once in Jonestown, the cost to feed almost a thousand people was extravagant and they began to see less meat and more watered down rice dishes and beverages, like water and cheap Flavor Aid.

As Jonestown began to fall apart in the fall of 1977, Jones and his inner circle were already thinking of how to conduct a mass suicide. Some suggested people being shot, but Jones preferred poison.

In early August 1978, Jones told his followers that he had terminal lung cancer. However, there was no evidence of this — yet another deceit by Jones to his cult.

“JONESTOWN:  TERROR IN THE JUNGLE”

If you don’t have time to read Guinn’s book, this SundanceTV documentary following Jones’ life was incredible!

I saw it in the fall of 2018 and gave it an “A”!

“DA 5 BLOODS”

The latest Spike Lee movie garnered mix reviews.

If you know what to expect from one of his movies, you’ll enjoy it. After the compelling opening montage, the first hour dragged a bit. However, the second hour was riveting.

It’s about four older Black American vets returning to Vietnam to search for the remains of their fallen squad leader and buried treasure.

Delroy Lindo’s performance as Paul was insane! He deserved an Oscar nomination.

Now there was talk that Chadwick Boseman might get an Oscar nomination for his supporting role in the movie, but that didn’t happen.

GRADE: B-

FAVORITE MARIAH CAREY SONGS

Before I share my five favorite Mariah Carey songs, let me tell you how difficult this was to narrow down.

Here’s how much of a superstar she is:

She’s had 36 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1990. Of those, 28 reached the Top Ten and 27 made the Top 5!!!

And, 19 went on to top the Hot 100 and she’s had two different runs of five or more consecutive #1 songs!

Mariah also had at least one #1 song on the Hot 100 for eleven straight years (1990-2000) and she’s had the most #1 singles on the Hot 100 than any other solo artist!

If that’s not impressive enough, Mariah has sold more than 200 million records worldwide and is the biggest selling certified female artist in the United States.

“DREAMLOVER”

“VISION OF LOVE”

“MAKE IT HAPPEN”

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

“EMOTIONS”

What’s your favorite Mariah Carey song?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S. My full Mariah Carey blog is here:

The Meaning of Family & “The Meaning of Mariah Carey”

For most people, family is very important.

They’re there for you through life’s ups and downs and there when you need a friend and to celebrate in your happiness. Sadly, that isn’t the case for all.

I’m so happy that my sister, Tammy, is still in my life and she lives nearby!

The sad reality is that not all families are created equal. To some, the family we choose (friends) is closer and more reliable than the one we acquire at birth.

Mariah Carey’s autobiography got me to thinking a lot about family.

I’ve been a huge Mariah fan since the spring of 1990 when I first heard “Vision of Love”. It was the first of her five consecutive number ones songs and the start of her reign as the queen of pop radio!

I can’t believe her career in now in its fourth decade — 31 years and counting!

I finally got to see her in concert in December 2017.

The “All I Want For Christmas: A Night of Joy and Festivity” show in Las Vegas at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace was amazing and the sets were incredible!

Mariah was phenomenal, beautiful, and she sounded flawless!!!!!!!

After my separation and eventual divorce, that show lifted my spirits and it would be the most magical 90 minutes I’ve enjoyed in the past few years!

“THE MEANING OF MARIAH CAREY”

As I’ve already stated, I love Mariah. I’ve seen her go through the highs with international success and we’ve see her hit the lows — the ice cream cart ordeal on MTV.

And, then there was the truly surreal E! reality show “Mariah’s World”! The eight episode season debuted in December 2016 and was totally over the top. I loved it!

When Mariah’s biography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey”, came out in the fall of 2020, I didn’t know what to expect.

Once I read it, I loved her even more — if that’s even possible.

I knew her life and career was a rags to riches story, but I never realized just how bad she had it as a child.

NOW, LET’S TALK ABOUT MARIAH’S FAMILY!

Not only was her family poor, but she also had a very difficult time of being biracial — she wasn’t Black enough for some family members and too white for others.

I was astounded at some of the things her sister made her do as a teenager and some of the things she did to Mariah! And, once Mariah became an international superstar with money flowing in, I was saddened to hear how her family tried to siphon that money away.

And then, there’s the whole creepiness of her first husband (and manager), Tommy Mottola, then head of Sony Music!

Here’s a review of the book I saw online and it sums it up perfectly: “improbable and inspiring journey of survival and resilience as she struggles through complex issues of race, identity, class, childhood, and family trauma during her meteoric rise to music superstardom.”

I’d like to share a few things I learned (without giving too much away since I want you to read it!):

Since I now live in Central Illinois, it’s interesting that Mariah’s mother was born in Springfield, Illinois’ capital, and she grew up there in the 1940s and 1950s, which Mariah describes as “a center of insidious institutional racism”.

After years of racially-motivated crimes in the early 1900s, Springfield had a strong Ku Klux Klan presence in the 1920s, which Mariah summed up this way, “Springfield was a city openly cloaked in hate.”

On a happier note, I loved the wine quote about working with David Morales. “I’d have a couple splashes of wine, and we would just go wherever the spirit took us — which were almost always high-energy dance tracks with big, brand-new vocals.”

A couple of splashes! How fun — what a cool description! 🙂

And, it was interesting to read who the song “My All” was written about!

As I said before, I’ve always loved Mariah and I’m glad I got to see her in concert. I’d love to see her again!

And, after reading the book, I’m so glad she has so much money to spoil her twins, Moroccan and Monroe, who just turned ten!

FAVORITE MARIAH CAREY SONGS

Before I share my ten favorite Mariah Carey songs, let me tell you how difficult this was to narrow down!!!

Not only does Mimi have enough of a Christmas catalog to rank the best Christmas songs separately, here’s how much of a superstar she is:

She’s had 36 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1990. Of those, 28 reached the Top Ten and 27 made the Top 5!!!

Nineteen (19) went on to top the Hot 100 and she’s had two different runs of five or more consecutive #1 songs!

Mariah also had at least one #1 song on the Hot 100 for eleven straight years (1990-2000) and she’s had the most #1 singles on the Hot 100 than any other solo artist!

If that’s not impressive enough, Mariah has sold more than 200 million records worldwide and is the biggest selling certified female artist in the United States.

“WITH YOU”

“I DON’T WANNA CRY”

“LOVE TAKES TIME”

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

“SOMEDAY”

“DREAMLOVER”

“VISION OF LOVE”

“MAKE IT HAPPEN”

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

From the book, Mariah writes:

About “All I Want For Christmas”, the song she wrote in her early-20s for her fourth album, 1994’s “Merry Christmas”: “I wanted to write a song that would make me happy and make me feel like a loved, carefree young girl at Christmas.

Mariah added, “I wanted to sing it in a way that would capture joy for everyone and crystallize it forever. Yes, I was going for vintage Christmas happiness!”

“EMOTIONS”

And, a bonus track!!! We’ve all been here! 🙂

“GTFO”

So, those are my favorites. What’s your favorite Mariah Carey song?

Again, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey” is an excellent book! Read it now!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 20, 2020

Happy Holidays and thank you for taking the time to check out what’s on my mind this week.

While I have a couple of more blogs to posts in December, I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts” until January!

Happy Thanksgiving and Season’s Greetings!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

THANKSGIVING FORECAST

COVID DINING FOR ONE

In these unsettling times, we just need something adorable and cute to make us forget everything else for a few monents.

This is how Atlanta-based writer Angela Hansberger deals with things. She arranged a pop-up restaurant for this cute little chipmunk she named “Thelonious Munk”.

She says it arrives daily to feast on “fun-sized sushi, almond crust pizza, and intricately-prepared micro tacos.”

“THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7”

“The Whole World Is Watching!”

It’s sad that a movie about the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago resonates so strongly in the United States in 2020!

The movie and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and directing are definite shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.

While there are many compelling performances, I think Yahya Abdul-Mateer II, as Bobby Seale, National Chairman of the Black Panther Party, has the best chance of getting a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Seale was the eighth defendant and not part of the “Chicago 7”.

The Whole World Is STILL Watching!

GRADE: A

“DISCO” UPDATE

Last week, I raved on how awesome the new Kylie Minogue album, “Disco”, is and I guess I’m not alone.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and is the biggest selling album of 2020 in its opening week.

By topping the chart, it’s now Kylie’s eighth #1 album there. She rules supreme as the artist with the most chart toppers — more than Elton John, George Michael, and Cliff Richard!

And, she becomes the first female artist in the U.K. to top the Official Charts in five consecutive decades!!! Kylie’s had a #1 album in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s, and the ’20s!

This is one of my favorite songs from the album, “Where Does the DJ Go?”!

“I AM WOMAN”

I finally got around to watching the Helen Reddy biopic based on her life and her signature hit.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey was amazing as Helen and Danielle MacDonald was great in a limited role.

Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”) was also great as Helen’s manager and loser of a husband, Jeff Wald. (And, I’ll add “loser” in relation to Helen’s life and career. He may be in a much better place these days!)

I only have one complaint about the movie and it’s a small one.

The movie moves along so quickly that it made it sound like the anthemic song, “I Am Woman” was a smash out of the gates at Top 40 radio in America.

That wasn’t the case. The album version was released and it flopped. The song was re-recorded and then it became iconic.

But, that’s just nitpicking!

GRADE: B+

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Since this is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2020, I’ll include a few early thoughts about Christmas.

Now that I’m much older I don’t want or need Christmas gifts (unless it’s homemade desserts). But, I have four Christmas presents that still stand out as my favorites in my life.

As a child, the first toy I can remember asking for and getting was a red cash register like this one.

I’m sure playing with money as a youngster helped me excel in math and money management today!

My favorite Christmas present growing up was a Panasonic tape recorder that I got in 1976.

I spent hours listening to the radio recording songs, making montages, and I remembering making a “Hurricane Allen” tape as the storm hit Texas in 1980.

The first song I ever recorded was “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)”, which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it won a Grammy for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

And, while Christmas 1990 was a sad one since my mother, Dessie, died in early November of that year, I’ll always remember my presents.

My mother had already put our Christmas presents in layaway.  I had chosen a $30 stone-washed denim jacket at Wal-Mart and the VHS (yes, VHS!) copy of “Pretty Woman”.

After my mother died, my lovely sister, Tammy, got those things out of layaway for me.

I still have that jacket and I’ll cherish it forever!

JAPANESE CHRISTMAS DRINK

Here are a couple of fun looking Japanese holiday drinks.

The first one (from 2019) is a Christmas Tree Latte from the Italian Coffee chain Segafredo.

It was light on the coffee and cream based and sweet like eggnog. On top of a mound of whipped cream were colorful, fruity balls that popped in your mouth!

And, here’s a Japanese Starbucks drink this year. Yum!

It’s red raspberry-flavored meringue/cheesecake pieces and white chocolate shavings topped with lots of whipped cream to create a classic red-and-white Christmas color palette.

AND, THANKS ALDI!

For this Christmas, we’ll be enjoying this Eggnog Wine treat that I picked up at Aldi.

It’s marketed as “a blend of white wine, egg yolk, festive spices, and finest cream!

“THIS IS HOW WE JEW IT”

If you loved “Chow Down (At Chick-Fil-A)” I shared a few weeks ago, let’s celebrate Hanukkah early!

This is from the 2015 holiday album, “Christmas Queens”.

Detox Icunt is amazing and so is this adorably cute Jewish boy!

Oh, how I’d love to be back in Tel Aviv, Israel again!

“FULL SERVICE”

This 2012 book by Scotty Bowers was subtitled, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars”.

Some of the gay people that Bowers wrote about were Vincent Price, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Randolph Scott. He also shared very dirty stories about composer Cole Porter.

Since all of the big stars that Bowers dished on are dead, I’m just a little skeptical on how much of his stories are true. All of them could be!

Bowers died in the fall of 2019 at the age of 96.

A very toned down version of the book was the premise of Ryan Murphy’s amazing Netflix series, “Hollywood”.

Back in June, here’s what I said of the series, “It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about ‘homophobia’ and ‘racism’ in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!) Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.”

ROYAL NAUGHTINESS

Bowers shared some naughty secrets about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward and American divorcee Wallis Simpson, in his book.

All I know is that Queen Elizabeth II can keep her corgis. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor loved pugs!

He owned at least eleven of them and most were bred in the United States.

Some of their names were “Imp”, “Disraeli”, “Trooper”, “Mr. Chu”, “Rufus”, “Winston”, “Davy Crockett”, “Minoru”, “Ginseng” and “Diamond”.

And, no, my #Pug2021’s name is not on that list! 🙂

AND, SPEAKING OF THE ROYALS…

The new season (four) of “The Crown” is now on Netflix.

While I haven’t watched it yet, I can’t wait to see more of Josh O’Connor (“God’s Own Country”) as Prince Charles.

And, of course, there’s the “chick I’d switch for” — Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher.

P.S. If you haven’t seen “God’s Own Country”, it’s incredible!

It was my #8 movie of 2018.

LEE HARVEY OSWALD IS HOT!

Okay, let me quickly clarify.

Australian actor Daniel Webber, who plays Oswald in “11.22.63”, is hot! 🙂

This 2016 Hulu series is based on a Stephen King novel. In it, James Franco’s character time travels back to 1960 to try and stop the assassination of President Kennedy.

If he does, it’ll change the future.

While this would be great for Kennedy (and America), how would that change everything else in the next 50-plus years?

GRADE: B+

TAKING A BREAK

Happy Holidays, my friends!

AND… LAST CALL… ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD!

This one from 2018 slays and is probably the best “Little Drummer Boy” version ever!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 9, 2020

What an interesting week across America! And, hello to my friends beyond our borders! 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts. While we don’t have to agree, we must do it diplomatically!

“HAPPY HOLIDAYS” DOESN’T REALLY COVER IT!

Let’s start off light and cheery! I found a new greeting to get us through the next three months!

And, this is still one of my favorites!

COVID-19 LATEST

I’ve been trying really, really hard to stay out of the fray that is the past four years of 45’s presidency.

But, just when you think nothing else can shock you, SURPRISE!

What? WTH? WTF?

More than 212-thousand people in the U.S. have died this year from Covid-19 and more than 7.6 million have tested positive for it and he tweets, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.” and “Don’t let it dominate your life.”!

While I’m no doctor or medical expert, I feel pretty confident in saying that many people testing positive for Covid-19 are doing so because they’re following pathetic advice like that and not following safety protocols!

This GIF has nothing to do with his comments, but it works!

“VOTE NOT GLOAT”

“Halloween” movie icon Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted an incredible and powerful message last Friday after Donald and Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.

As you can see, I approve this message!

PROOF THAT MASKS SAVE LIVES!

If you don’t believe that masks save lives, I have two words for you –Hannibal Lecter!

Now I want to watch 1991’s Oscar winning Best Picture, “The Silence of the Lambs”, again!

#1 SELLING NON-CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

Since Halloween is nearing, I’ll share this candy stat from the book.

It states that PayDay is the top selling non-chocolate candy bar in the U.S.!

If you love that candy bar, but you crave chocolate, too, a new PayDay was introduced in August — Chocolatey PAYDAY!

What are your favorite candy bars?

Mine are (#4) Milky Way, (#3) PayDay, (#2) Snickers, and at (#1) Zero!

By the way, the original Zero candy bar was produced in Centralia, Illinois!

HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY MARY GRIFFITH

Mary Griffith died earlier this year at the age of 85. She shared the same birthday as me (October 13th).

Most of you don’t know the name. But, in the 1980s, she became an icon after she saw the light and became one of the strongest advocates for the LGBTQ community.

However, it took a tragedy for that to happen.

Because of her faith in religion and the Bible, she terrorized her gay son, Bobby, constantly with Bible verses and with the fear of God after he came out to her.

Bobby ended his life is the summer of 1983 when he jumped off a Portland, Oregon, overpass into the path of an 18-wheeler!

Over time, Mary realized that God didn’t need to change Bobby because her son was perfect just as God created him — gay!

Through heartache and pain, she became a staunch advocate for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in her northern California chapter.

Mary, now that you and Bobby are reunited, I hope you’re enjoying the happiness you never found together on Earth.

I’m honored to share a birthday with you!

If you want to read Mary’s story, Leroy Aarons’ book, “Prayers For Bobby” is excellent.

And, there’s a great Lifetime movie with Sigourney Weaver.

“LOVE, VICTOR”

When this project was announced, I was excited thinking it was a movie and a true sequel to 2018’s “Love, Simon”. When I found out it was a 10-episode Hulu series and would not be a Nick Robinson-series, I was less excited.

So, I waited a almost three months after it premiered. Boy, was I wrong!

“Love, Victor” has a great cast including the adorable lead, Michael Comino as Victor, Anthony Turpel as his best friend, Felix, and George Sear (Benji) and Rachel Hilson (Mia) as his two crushes.

And, it’s a well-rounded story that just doesn’t just focus on Victor’s coming of age story and coming out. His parents have their own drama!

Plus, Nick Robinson does make a brief appearance in a later episode.

“Love, Victor” was renewed for a second season.

There were many funny one-liners including this one from Benji to Victor about Dolly Parton:

“She’s actually one of the few things that gay sons and straight guys agree on!”

“LOVE, SIMON”

This was my #10 movie of 2018 grossing $66.3 million in theaters. When I saw it March of that year, I gave it a grade of B+ and wrote:

“LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, ‘You gotta give them hope.’ The new romantic dramedy, ‘Love, Simon’, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.”

I went on to add, “I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!”

SELENA

One day I was singing a Selena song and then in a scene that night in “Love, Victor”, his mother was singing one of her songs!

It took me back to my 1997 Lubbock, Texas days when I was a reporter and weekend anchor at the CBS affiliate, KLBK.

That was the year that the movie, “Selena”, with Jennifer Lopez came out. I felt like I was on the Selena “beat” because it seem like I was always doing stories on the movie.

And, I remember interviewing Jackie Delgado, who I honestly believe was Selena’s biggest fan in West Texas!

In 1994, I became a Selena fan when I moved to Chicago and bought her fourth album, “Amor Prohibido”.

At the time of her death, at the age of 23, in the spring of 1995, Selena was working on her English language debut album, “Dreaming of You”.

That album debuted at #1 that summer and produced her only Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (the title track).

“SELENA: THE SERIES”

This new series debuts December 4, 2020, on Netflix with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) playing Selena.

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This is Dolly Parton’s first new Christmas album is 30 years.

I loved the duet with Michael Bublé, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”, and the duet with Willie Nelson on his holiday classic, “Pretty Paper”.

Also, her upbeat duet with her brother, Randy, “You Are My Christmas” is great. And, her giddy versions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” are fun.

I also liked her originals “Christmas on the Square”, “Circle of Love”, and “Comin’ Home for Christmas”.

Now, the downside, her duet with Billy Ray Cyrus would have been much better as just a Dolly song. Despite his success in the 1990s, who said he could sing? And, the pairing with Miley Cyrus was forgettable.

However, the most unforgivable song on the album is Dolly’s remake of Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, with Jimmy Fallon!

While I love Dolly and I like Fallon, this song is iconic and it shouldn’t have been so gimmicky!

All I can say is “Mariah, I’m sorry!”

After the first listen, I didn’t feel too cheery. On the second listen, the grade went up some. I hope it continues to grow on me!

GRADE: B

HARVEST SEASON

It’s harvest season, so watch out for farmers and farm machinery on the roadways.

Also, you never know what you might find in your gardens! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

Random Friday Thoughts — September 4, 2020

It’s already September!

That means this horrible year is almost over and the dreadful 2020 presidential election will (hopefully) be behind us soon!

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

SEASONS IN THE SUN

🎶Summer loving, had me a blast🎶… blah blah blah… bring on the holidays 🍂🎃🦃🎄🎅🤶!

It’s now officially “meteorological fall”, the three months (September, October, and November) between the hottest and coldest months of the year.

Big changes will be coming in the weather across Central Illinois. Check out the temperature drop over the next three months with average highs — from 85° to 45°!!!

And, on Monday, Labor Day marks the “unofficial end of the summer”!

Here’s the countdown to fall and the holidays (as of today, 9/4/20).

KYLIE MINOGUE ❤️ ME!

I’ve been a Kylie Minogue fan since the 1980s and a super fan since 2001’s “Fever” album.

“All The Lovers” is one of the most amazing songs and videos of the past 20 years and the “Golden” album is phenoemenal.

The video to her latest hit, “Say Something”, from the upcoming “Disco” album (November 6, 2020), is mind-blowing and I just can’t stop watching it. It just makes me smile!

I finally got a reply back from Kylie, so now I can just retire from Twitter! 🙂

If you’re not one of the 4.7 million views of “Say Something”, take three minutes and make yourself happier in time for the weekend!

Here’s the video!

“PARASITE”

I finally got around to seeing the “Best Picture” winner at this year’s Oscars and it definitely deserves the top prize.

Worldwide, it has brought in $257.5 million on an $11 million dollar budget!

While Bong Joo-ho’s “Snowpiercer” was my #14 movie I saw in 2014, it’s not even in the same league as this incredible film!!!

And, what’s shocking is that the two young leads in the movie are almost 30 years old and could easily pass as teenagers! WOW!

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

CONGRATULATIONS & WELCOME TO THE FAMILY

I can’t wait to see the fourth and final season of “Claws” and see what fantabulously gorgeous Desna Simms and her insane posse!

But, that can wait. I’m blown away by not on the fact that the amazing Niecy Nash just came out, but she also introduced the world to her new wife, singer Jessica Betts.

And, you know how much I love desserts, look at this amazing cake!

Congratulations and best wishes Niecy and Jessica! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

OVERSHARING?

And, since we’re talking weddings and wedding cakes, I was married in a former life.

This was my fall wedding cake.

While not as dreamy as Niecy and Jessica’s, it was beautiful!

BRING IT ON MARIAH CAREY!

2020 is turning out to be the year of Mariah Carey.

At the end of the month (September 29), she’ll be releasing her new autobiography, “The Meaning of Mariah Carey”.

Days later, on October 2nd, a new double album called “The Rarities” arrives!

And, this holiday season, Apple+ will be airing “Mariah Carey’s Magical Christmas Special”.

Billboard magazine says this about the exclusive holiday event, “It is being described as an “innovative special” that will mix music, dancing and animation “driven by a universally heartwarming story that brings the world together.”

So, basically, it sounds like a great substitute to her annual “All I Want For Christmas is You” show.

I saw it in Las Vegas in December 2017 and it was the most magical 90-minutes of my life!

SPEAKING OF (SCARY) CHRISTMAS

I finished watching the creepy second season of “NOS4A2”, which was cancelled by AMC this week.

While I enjoyed the series and I’m now going to read Joe Hill’s book that the series is based on, I had already made up my mind that if it had been renewed for a third season, I was already done with it!

So long, Christmasland and Charlie Manx!

“A WOMAN IN CHARGE”

I read Carl Bernstein’s 2007 mammoth 916 page tome (large print) this summer.

Things I learned from the book:

One of Hillary’s mother, Dorothy Rodman’s (in her 70s at the time) favorite movies was 1994’s “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” — one of my all-time favorite movies about three drag queens on a cross country trip of Australia.

During the 1992 presidential run, in a Chicago coffee shop, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell asked Hillary a question about her working at a law firm that had clients that did business with the state (where Bill was governor) and her answer became the soundbite of the day, “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies, and had teas…”

It came across as condescending to housewives and stay at home moms.

What didn’t get press was the complete quote, “I suppose I could have stayed home, baked cookies, and had teas. The work that I’ve done as a professional, as a public advocate, has been aimed in part to assure that women can make the choices that they should make — whether it’s a full-time career, full-time motherhood, some combination, depending on what stage of life they are at — and I think that is still difficult for people to understand right now, that it is a generational change.”

“Later, Jackie [Kennedy] told friends that of all of her successors as first lady, she was most fond of Hillary.”

About Whitewater, Bernstein says the New York Times and others reporting on the matter “were often contextually misleading, exaggerated in significance, and sometimes factually off-base.”

At another point in the book, Bernstein writes that the “Whitewater story” was “overblown” from the start and that the New York Times stories and editorials during the 1992 campaign were “increasingly long on innuendo, short on context, and in some important ways unfair to the Clintons.”

But, he adds, “The Clintons’ response was not straight-forward, and served only to create more suspicion.”

And, about Hillary’s 2000 successful run for U.S. Senate: “No woman had ever won office in New York in a statewide race.”

“LITTLE”

I finally watched the 2019 comedy “Little”.

It’s about Jordan (Regina Hall), a bully of a boss at her own tech company (she was bullied a kid in school) and her put upon assistant, April (Issa Rae).

Jordan is rude to a little girl who practices magic and is put under a spell.

She wakes up her as a youngster again to go through her childhood years in today’s time period with her current adult mindset.

Rae is so funny that now I’m going to check out her critically acclaimed HBO series, “Insecure”. (She’s also nominated for an Emmy this year in the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series category.)

GRADE: B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 2019 Holiday Greetings to You

My favorite months of the year are upon us!

While most were carving jack-o-lanterns 🎃 and wanting to feast on turkey, I was impatiently waiting for the first weekend of November to arrive to put up my Christmas tree 🎄!

Christmas Tree 2019.jpg

I hope 2019 is a year that you’ll remember fondly.  If not, there’s hope for us in 2020! 🙂

I’ve now been in Duluth, Minnesota, for a year-and-a-half and I’m still the Chief Meteorologist at Fox 21 News.

My first winter in the Northland lasted from October 2018 through May 2019 and brought over 106” of snow – the most I’ve seen in my lifetime!!!

Snow Car 1

Ironically, that didn’t even rank as one of the ten snowiest winters on record!

The bitter cold was relentless, too, with a few consecutive nights with -30° low temperatures!  Wind chills were even lower at -50°!

Oh, in February, I did a “Polar Plunge” into the icy waters of Lake Superior to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota!

Polar Plunge.JPG

In March 2019, I escaped the “winter wonderland” for a week in Bangkok, Thailand, and it was very hot & humid.

Night Cruise

The temples were beautiful,

Koi Buddha

the food was amazing and I got to hold a large, gorgeous yellow and white albino Burmese python – my Britney Spears flashback moment!

AP Britney Snake

I saw my sister, Tammy, a few times this year.  She visited me in April and I saw her in the Quad Cities (an eight hour drive) in June, August, and October.

That August visit was for a trip to Las Vegas.

Anthony Tammy Las Vegas

It was her first time there and she wasn’t impressed! 🙂

It was my first time back to Vegas since December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

I also saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie in concert and I got to meet him before the show!

Tanya

Capture2

As strange as it may sound, I’m looking forward to another long winter in the Northland.

AP Frozen Lake.jpg

Yes, I love snow.  But, I’m more excited for the “next chapter” in my life in 2020.  I know I said that last year, but there’s actually a plan in place this time! 🙂

As Belle sings in “Beauty and the Beast”, ♪ “I want much more than this provincial life… I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell!” ♪

Belle.gif

Maybe it’ll be “Xanadu” – ♪ “a place where nobody dared to go” where “a million lights are dancing and there you are – a shooting star”!

Xanadu.gif

Here’s wishing you a bright and beautiful holiday season and an incredible year ahead!

carter Dove.JPG

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — May 10, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the moms and future moms out there, whether it’s children, godchildren, pets or plants!

Here’s a flashback to spring 1990 with my mother, Dessie, and my sister, Tammy.  While we didn’t know it then, this would be her last spring and Mother’s Day with us! 😦

Dessie 1990

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  If you disagree, feel free to diplomatically share yours with me!

IT’S SPRING, BUT NOT SO MUCH IN DULUTH

Okay, we’re already past the first week of May and we just experienced record May snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota.

Capture 4.JPG

10.6″ of snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Of that, 8.3″ fell Wednesday night making it the snowiest May 8th on record and the snowiest single day in May.

An additional 2.3″ fell on Thursday making it the snowiest May 9th on record.

This is now the snowiest May on record with 10.9″ (so far).

For this snow season, we’re up to 104.4″ in Duluth, making this the 15th snowiest winter on record and these records go back to 1884!

REALLY CLASSY PANAMA CITY BEACH! 

As you know, I was miserable the year I spent in Panama City, Florida, before moving to Duluth.

While I made three amazing friends and I’m sure there were many other great people I didn’t meet, there were a lot of people there that believed every word that spews out of 45’s ugly mouth.

Trump PC.JPG

He was in Panama City Beach this week and while talking about immigrants and how to handle the border, a woman in the audience shouted, “Shoot them”!

He smiled and commented, “That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement. Only in the Panhandle!”

Sadly, it’s probably true!  Pathetic!

PINK SAID WHAT???? 

To “Entertainment Weekly” about the title track of her latest album, “Hurts 2B Human”, a duet with Khalid: “I feel like if you’re present in 2019 and not totally escaping your feelings and looking around at what’s going on in the world, especially this country, it hurts.  It fucking hurts your heart.  I think that’s a good thing, because that’s what creates change, and we’re starting to see change and people show up and fight back!” 

“FERRARO: MY STORY”

This 1985 autobiography is by Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro.

In 1984, she became the first woman to make it on a major presidential ticket when Democratic nominee Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate.

Ferraro.jpg

While she talked about her family, her mother raising her and her brother as a single parent after her father’s death and her early political career, the book focuses mostly on the weeks leading up to her nomination and the long and painful 1984 presidential run.

In the book, this story stood out to me and it’s very relevant today as we head into a bitter fight into the 2020 race to get Donald Trump out of office.

It was early 1983 and Ferraro was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.  She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to defeat Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro wrote, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

“THE BLOOD OF ABRAHAM”

This 1985 book by my idol and former President Jimmy Carter traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil back to biblical times when the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians all came from Abraham.

The Blood Jimmy Carter.jpg

If you’re not a reader of the Bible, some of the history is overwhelming and, to me, unbelievable (Abraham fathered children when he around 100 years old and he lived to 175!).

But, this was only in the first few pages of the book.

The great, concise book (just over 200 pages) details the torturous history of Palestine that only became more daunting once Israel came into existence in 1948 and Arab Palestinians didn’t have a home or home state.

As you recall, President Carter worked night and day for almost two week at Camp David in the summer of 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Arabs.

Sadly, there will never be peace between the two peoples over this small piece of real estate because neither side wants to give up anything to make peace.

Carter sums up the book talking about Abraham’s blood flowing through the veins of the Arab, Jew and Christian people and the bloody history of the Middle East with this chilling line, “The spilled blood in the Holy Land cries out to God — an anguished cry for peace.” 

AMERICA’S CRY FOR PEACE

It’s easy for Westerners to shake their heads over the long-standing history of violence in the Middle East.  But, that’s very narrow-minded of us.

Without being too judgmental, it’s like that right now in the United States.  We have strong race divisions, religious divisions, human rights divisions, and many more.

Just look at the divide between Democrats and Republicans, Hillary Clinton supporters, Bernie Sanders fans, and the ones that think that Donald Trump can do no wrong!

We’ve crossed a line from which we can’t (or will never) rebound!

I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist!

“MADAME X TOUR”

Madonna announced her latest tour this week to support her 14th studio album, “Madame X” coming out June 14th.

And, not surprising, it’s something new for the ever-changing icon.

Instead of taking her very expensive and incredible tours to arenas and cities all over the world, she’s doing mini-residencies in smaller theaters in large cities in the U.S. and Europe.

Madonna Madame X Tour.jpg

So far, only New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have been announced.  The tickets sold out so quickly that five more shows were added in New York City and four more in Los Angeles.

While only 25 show dates are known now, she’s set to announce additional dates for Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, and Philadelphia for 2019.

Since I didn’t get to Vegas last year, I’m planning on seeing Madonna for the fifth time when the show plays at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

And, while the dates aren’t public yet, I’d venture to say that it’ll be in December since no headliner has been announced there in that month! 🙂

“KILLING EVE” UPDATE

I couldn’t take the suspense any longer.  After finishing season one of the critically acclaimed BBC America series, I slowly started watching season two.

I’m four episodes in (five of the eight season two episodes have aired).

In the second episode, I almost peed myself with a line that likely went over the heads of most Americans!

Giving a power point presentation to her new team of detectives about Villanelle’s murders, Eve mentions that Bill was killed (oops, spoiler!) on a club’s dance floor and she quickly replies:

Eve Murder on the Dance Floor.gif

“MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR”

“Murder on the Dance Floor” by Sophie Ellis Bextor was a minor dance club hit here in the U.S. in the early 2000s, yet it hit the Top Ten in, at least, 18 countries worldwide.

I fell in love with this song at Roscoe’s when I moved back to Chicago in 2002.

It’s from her fantastic debut album, “Read My Lips”.

MARIAH CHRISTMAS EARLY!

While Christmas is still more than seven months away, Mariah Carey recently announced that she’ll be performing her holidays standards again in Las Vegas.

Her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be returning to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for five shows November 22-30, 2019.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

Trust me, this is a phenomenal show!  I saw a version of it in December 2017 in Vegas.

This is what I wrote about it on my return, “She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic. The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Life This Year – Christmas 2018

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

Here’s my tree and my presents this year.

Gifts.JPG

Most of them are from my sister and her boyfriend, Gerald.  There’s also three tins of homemade sweet treats from my dear friend Connie and “Crazy Rich Asians” which I bought for myself. 🙂

It’s that time of the year again and I hope life is treating you well.  

Bedford Falls

It’s been another year of changes for me.  Luckily, for the better! As you know, 2017 was a life-altering year that I’d rather forget!

However, there were two highlights in 2017, which is where I’ll start!

In July, I got to meet my idol, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

Autograph Carters

And, in December, I saw three incredible concerts in Las Vegas.

With all of the sadness I felt last year, it was forgotten for 90 minutes at Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

To this day, the beauty and spectacle of that holiday treat still brings a smile to my face. 🙂  The sets were magical and Mariah looked and sounded flawless!

Also on that trip, I saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie.

Tanya

Capture2

I met Lionel and he told me that he doesn’t shake hands, he’s a hugger!  Then, he hugged me! 🙂

Capture2

In March 2018, my sister, Tammy, and I escaped for several days to Cancun, Mexico.

AP T.JPG

Weeks later, I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position at Fox 21 News in Duluth, Minnesota, and I moved there in June.

Duluth.jpg

I spent a year in Panama City, Florida, and it’s no secret that I was very unhappy there.  However, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to leave when I did.  In October, Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida, including Panama City.

Much of my apartment complex was totally destroyed and my dear friends, Cathy and Gerard

A C G.JPG

and Robbie (left) and Diane (right)

Robbie Diane AP

are still picking up the pieces of their lives! 😦

In memory of my apartment and the complex in Panama City, here’s my balcony from last Christmas!

Balcony.jpg

On a happier note, after 19 months, I saw snow again in October!

I can’t wait to have a real winter, but it scares me a bit.  It’s not the 86” of snow that Duluth picks up in an average winter (more in some years), it’s that the city is built on a hill that leads down to Lake Superior!  And, I’ll have to endure months of bitterly cold temperatures in the Northland!

This is my apartment’s backyard view toward Lake Superior down the “hill”!

Snow.jpg

In October, I went to Morocco, in northwest Africa.

This was the first time I traveled internationally by myself.   I met some fun people that made the trip very enjoyable.

It was incredible learning about the African continent, the Muslim faith, and enjoying delicious Moroccan food!

1 Morocco.JPG

2 Morocco.JPG

I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life.  I’m already trying to decide what I want to do next (when I grow up)!!! 🙂

For now, I’ll just have an Olivia Pope Christmas and enjoy my beautiful tree, free flowing wine and popcorn!

Olivia Christmas

If you had a great year, I hope 2019 is even more fantastic.  If 2018 was a tough one for you, I hope things turn around in the New Year!

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

Anthony