Posts Tagged ‘Ariana Grande’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 3, 2017

The first month of 2017 is already behind us.  I hope the year is off to a good start for you.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours diplomatically and concisely!

WITH SADNESS & REGRETS

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” earlier this week.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy would have turned 14 at the end of March.

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

FIVE YEARS ALREADY!

The news of Mr. Panda crossing the “Rainbow Bridge” comes near the anniversary of us saying goodbye to my precious golden, ABBA.

I can’t believe it was five years ago today!

Here are the two of them on a spring walk when Miss ABBA decided she was going to be Mr. Panda’s “seeing eye dog”.

ABBAWalkingPanda

The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.

ABBAWalkingPandaArticle

Miss ABBA, I still think of you daily, but it’s with smiles now instead of tears.

Here’s a look back at her beautiful, golden life.

And, on we go…

BUILDING WALLS & BARRIERS

I’m going out on a limb here and say that most of us have been in relationships — successful ones and failed ones.

Lack of communication is probably to blame for a number of the failed relationships and it’s likely at the heart of the problems in the successful ones, too.

NOH8 Heart

We build walls around our heart and it causes friction, insecurity, miscommunication, and eventually, hate.

While those walls are emotional, the talk of building physical walls between people and countries is at all-time high.

Check out this incredible airlines commercial from Aeromexico driving home the message that ideological and physical barriers hurt people!

MURDER IN AMERICA

It’s a proven fact that most of the murders here in the United States are committed by people of the same race — white people are mostly killed at the hands of other white people, black people are mostly responsible for killing black people, etc.

The reasons for the senseless murders are many:  domestic problems, drugs, robbery, stupidity, etc.

KILLING SPREES CAUSED BY HATE AND IGNORANCE

quebec-city

Last Sunday, police say this white man walked into a Quebec City (Canada) mosque, opened fire, and killed six people and injured eight others.

When I heard this and the words “mosque” and Canada came up, the first thing that crossed my mind is that this wasn’t a “suicide bombing” by a Middle Eastern group attacking its own people.

Pulse

Last summer, when news broke about a gunman storming into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and hurting 53 others, I didn’t think it was an LGBT person going in with a vendetta.

And, when nine African Americans were massacred in a downtown Charleston, South Carolina, church, I didn’t think the shooter was another black person .

Roof.jpg

In all three of these incidents, I instantly thought the motivation was hate.  Today, I still feel certain it was.

The accused Quebec City shooter is reported to have “far-right, nationalist views” and publicly supported Donald Trump and the French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen.

Th man behind the Pulse shootings was disgusted by gay people and might even have been a self-hating gay man himself, and the Charleston shooter is a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Notice I didn’t use their names.  They don’t deserve any more publicity!  We know the hateful things they did or are accused of doing.

I’d love to say that people will be nicer and things will get better.  But, I’m a realist and I’m saddened and scared for our future — our intolerance of people that look or act different than us.

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

I’m thinking about this even more after listening to all of Mariah Carey’s albums again.

On her 1990 self-titled debut, she had a song called “There’s Got To Be A Way”.

It features the chilling lyrics, “In another land they still believe/color grants supremacy/I don’t understand how there can be/regulated bigotry”.

Sadly, in this day and age, you don’t even have to go to another country.  It’s alive here in America and now those people don’t even have to hide under sheets in the darkness of night or behind a computer screen.

Optimistically, Mariah sings on, “Some of us don’t even wonder/some of us don’t even care/couldn’t we accept each other/can’t we make ourselves aware”.

Let’s hope!

Hope

FINDING HOPE WHERE WE CAN!

On a much brighter note, we’re now only six weeks away from the live action version of Disney’s remake of “Beauty and the Beast”.

The final official trailer came out earlier this week.

It gives us a comprehensive look at the movie and we finally hear Ariana Grande and John Legend’s remake of the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s theme song.

I’m excited even more for the March 17, 2017 premiere.

The original “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 made $425 million and it was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  (It lost to “The Silence of the Lambs”.)

WHERE ARE THOU, SNOW?

Only 0.4″ of snow officially fell in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, for the month of January.

There have only been two other winters on record that date back to the 1870s where less snow accumulated in January.

lack-of-january-snow

Only a trace of snow fell in January 1989 and January 1944.

This January ties 1973 as the third least snowiest on record.

“GROUNDHOG DAY BLIZZARD”

While this winter is rather skimpy on snow, six years ago today we were digging out of the “Groundhog Day Blizzard”.

Snow started falling on January 31, 2011, and by the time the storm departed February 2, 2011, the Quad Cities tied the record for a single snowstorm with the one from January 11-13, 1979 at 18.4″!

Blizzard 2-2-2011

The bulk of the snow in 2011, 14.8″ fell on February 1st, with 1.7″ the day before that, and 1.9″ the day after the big snow.  If you look at those totals, the 16.7″ that fell on February 1st and 2nd set the record for the most snow in 24 hours in the Quad Cities!

Days later, Gretel and I took advantage of the snow by playing snow zombie attack and Ray helped us dig a tunnel, which ABBA loved.

February 5 2011February 6 2011

Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!

“THE HYPNOTIST”

As I’ve stated many times, I read books, mostly autobiographies, biographies, or real life events, while walking on the treadmill.

Occasionally, I check out some fiction.  I just finished Fiona Barton’s “The Widow” and a Swedish book translated into English, “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler.

After reading Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” in 2015, I’ve come to realize that Scandinavians love their violent novels.

“The Hypnotist” picks up after a vicious and savage attack on a family leaves the mom, dad, and their little girl dead and in pieces.  The only survivor was a teenage boy stabbed hundreds of times.

Detectives are in a race against time to talk to the boy because he is the only one that saw the killer(s).  They learn that he has an older sister not living at home and the killer could be after her next.

The only way they can reach the boy’s memories of the brutal attack is to use hypnosis by a discredited doctor.

The use of hypnosis opens up old wounds from ten years ago and brings forth a new crime spree as detectives race to catch the savage murderer and a newly discovered serial killer.

A great read!  Now, I need to find the hit 2012 movie based on the book.

“THE SNOWMAN”

Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!

Nesbo+Snowman

Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

the-snowman

Until there’s an official trailer, here’s what I wrote about the book in July 2015 if you want to check it out.

“Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train [Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”], I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.”

PICK HIT

LeAnn Rimes is back this week with “Remnants”, her 13th studio album!  While it’s just now coming out in the U.S., it was released last fall in the U.K.

Here at home, Rimes is best known for many huge country hits that kicked off with 1996’s “Blue”.  Those hits continued through 2004-2006 when she scored three Top Ten Country smashes from her “This Woman” album.

She also scored huge pop hits with “How Do I Live” and with tracks from the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack (“Can’t Stop the Moonlight”).

Rimes also had amazing, but less commercially successful, albums like “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I highly recommend both!

She’s currently in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart at #6 with “Long Live Love” from the new “Remnants” album.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 26, 2016

It’s Friday and that’s makes me very happy.  The weekend is almost here and I get to share some of the things that got me to thinking this week.

As always, let me know your thoughts once you’re done.  If you disagree, that’s fine.  Just do it diplomatically!

SUPPORT FOR TRUMP CONTINUES TO GET SCARY

I had my “Random Friday Thoughts” all ready to go including a little spat between Donald Trump and Pope Francis and a quote from Trump’s Nevada Caucus victory speech earlier this week.

But, I bumped everything down when I heard about what David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and Louisiana state representative had to say about Trump.

davidduke kkk

Duke says, “Voting for these people [Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio], voting against Donald Trump at this point is really treason to your heritage.  I’m not saying I endorse everything about Trump, in fact, I haven’t formally endorsed him. But I do support his candidacy, and I support voting for him as a strategic action.”

Trump.jpg

Six months ago, Duke made similar comments in support of Trump.  The GOP front-runner then replied, “I don’t need his endorsement; I certainly wouldn’t want his endorsement.”  And, he added, “I don’t need anyone’s endorsement.”

Duke is not the only white supremacists praising Trump.  When asked about it, Trump’s response is coy, “A lot of people like me. Republicans like me, liberals like me. Everybody likes me.”

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m have no positive feelings about Cruz or Rubio.

This is just scary, sad, and so reductive to the advances we’ve made in the past fifty years as a nation!

DONALD TRUMP TAKES ON THE POPE

The war of words between Donald Trump and Pope Francis has calmed down.

Last Thursday, while traveling  from Mexico to Rome, Pope Francis talking about immigration, said this of Trump, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel.”

The U.S. presidential hopeful fired back, “No leader, especially a religious leader, should have the right to question another man’s religion or faith”.

By that evening, God must have talked to Trump because he had a much nicer message and someone else to blame, “I don’t think this is a fight.  I think he said something much softer than was originally reported by the media.”

Of course, blame the media! 🙂

PLEASE GRANT KANYE HIS WISH! 

I’ll admit up front that I can’t stand pompous ass Kanye West.  He may be a musical genius (as reported by others), but his ego is so disgusting, I wouldn’t think twice of giving his music a listen to see what it’s like.

Last week, he tweeted that “I love love love white people” after he tweeted this:

kanye

I hope white publications continue to get the word out about “black music”, but I wish that ALL publications would never write about Kanye again.  Maybe the world would be a better place?

THEY SAID WHAT???

DR. BEN CARSON (GOP PRESIDENTIAL WANNABE) — speaking of President Obama and saying if elected he might be the first black president:  “He’s an ‘African’ American. He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch.”

MRS. BETTY BOWERS (COMEDIAN –AMERICA’S BEST CHRISTIAN): “It is so inappropriate for the Pope to say Donald Trump doesn’t sound like a Christian. No conservative American does! How unfair to single Trump out.”

DONALD TRUMP (in his Nevada Caucus victory speech):  “We won with highly educated, we won with poorly educated.  I love the poorly educated”.

ANTHONY (blog writer and political pundit):  “I rest my case, your honor!”

“STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON”

After seeing this summer 2015 blockbuster now on DVD, it definitely should have been nominated in the “Best Picture” category for the Academy Awards that’ll be handed out this weekend.

I can’t say that any one performance in the movie deserved an Oscar nomination and if so, it would have been Corey Hawkins, who played Dr. Dre.  Hawkins is now on the sixth season of “The Walking Dead”.

If you’re familiar with rap music, you know the story of “Straight Outta Compton”.  It starts with the creation of the rap band N.W.A. and how Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy E changed the world of rap.

When watching this movie, you never want it end and you never notice the 2-hour-21 minute running time.

The $28 million movie grossed $201.6 million and is now the all-time highest grossing music biopic and is all-time highest domestic grossing film from a black director in the United States.

GRADE:  A

#OSCARSSOWHITE WEEKEND

The 88th annual Academy Awards are this weekend, but sadly “Straight Outta Compton” will not be picking up the top prize.  I’m not saying it’s the best movie of 2015, but as I stated above, it should have been nominated.

It could still win an Oscar since it’s nominated for Best Original Screenplay.  I’d put my money on that one because the four screenwriters are white!

But, will there be more diversity next year when the nominees are announced?  Big changes have been proposed to ensure that people of color are nominated in the acting categories.  This year and last year, all 20 acting nominees were white, prompting #OscarsSoWhite.

The changes proposed are to double the number of women and minority members and there’s talk of taking away the voting rights of members that are not actively working in the movie business.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

My thoughts:  It great to diversify the membership to reflect what America looks like.

I also think there should be some kind of verification that when nominee selections are made that the movies were actually watched.  I’m sure if more Academy members had actually watched “Straight Outta Compton”, it might have been the ninth movie nominated this year for Best Picture!

A few more notes about the Oscars:  There are currently 6,261 members — mostly men and mostly white.  The show will be seen by about 40 million people and commercials are bringing in $2.2 million for each 30 second spot.

FOR THE LOVE OF HILLARY!

I just finished reading Hillary Clinton’s incredible 2003 autobiography, “Living History” and I love the woman even more.

In the book, she details her life from Chicago and Park Ridge, Illinois, to college and law school on the East Coast, to Little Rock, Arkansas, to becoming First Lady of the United States, and to winning the New York Senate race in November 2000.

The book ends with her and President Bill Clinton leaving the White House in January 2001.

The book details many of the personal and political attacks she’s endured in her years in the public limelight.  But, it was a quote on page 42 that jumped out and stuck with me throughout the 528 pages.

It shows that behind the exterior people see (good or bad), she’s human!

Hillary Living History Meme

“I have never been as good as or as bad as my most fervid supporters and opponents claimed.”

#ImWithHer

TAYLOR SWIFT SUPPORTS KESHA

Kesha has topped the Hot 100 chart four times including two solo #1s “Tik Tok”in 2009 and “We R Who We R” in 2010.  Last Friday, she lost a major court battle.

A New York judge ruled that Kesha would not be released from her contract with Dr. Luke to record new music without him.  (Back in 2014 lawsuit, Kesha claims Dr. Luke “sexually, physically, verbally and emotionally abused” her for nearly 10 years, starting at age 18.)

Now, it appears that Sony (her record company) says she can record with other producers (Zedd has offered his services), but she can’t get out of her contract.

However, Kesha picked up big support from Taylor Swift, who donated $250,000 toward her legal fund.

Many stars, including Lady Gaga, Adele, Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato, Ariana Grande, Zedd, and Lorde have tweeted their support of Kesha.

I posted this blog in early 2013 about Kesha’s phenomenal album, “Warrior”, which was her last full length CD.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/this-warrior-comes-with-a-parental-advisory/

Best of luck Kesha!

“EVEREST”

This movie is stunningly beautiful, but eerie and scary at the same time.

It’s a true story movie about a 1996 Mount Everest expedition that stranded and killed several climbers when they were caught in a “rogue storm”.

The movie features an all-star cast including Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, and Keira Knightley.

There were many WTF moments during the movie and several times I asked, “are these people crazy?” to want to do this.

 

GRADE:  B+

GOP DROP OUT!

I’m sure that many of you probably haven’t heard of comedian Randy Rainbow.

His latest parody of “Grease” and the GOP presidential candidates is cracking me up. You’ll have to look up the one about Carly Fiorina.  It’s funny to me, but I didn’t want to offend those easily offended by posting it.

Here’s his goodbye to Jeb Bush — you know the former Florida governor and son and brother to the former president and two-time president.  What happened to Jeb chances?  Maybe Barbara would have had a better chance?

“OUR BRAND IS CRISIS”

Since it is political season in America, this movie starring Oscar winner Sandra Bullock is timely.

Bullock plays a political strategist with the nickname, “Calamity Jane”.  She’s hired to turn around a presidential campaign in Bolivia where her client is down by 30 points just months before the election.

There’s a lot at stake here.  If her candidate wins, will the people of Bolivia win, too?

Sadly, after waiting months to see this movie, it was mostly disappointing.

However, there was one really rewarding scene near the end of the movie with her adversary, played by Billy Bob Thornton.  It involves a quote he steals from her (or did she feed it to him?).

GRADE:  C

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

We just finished the 10-episode first season of Amazon Prime’s series, “The Man in the High Castle” and it was fantastic.

After the way episode nine ended, the last scenes of the season didn’t shock me.  I’m definitely looking forward to the second season later in 2016, but I definitely don’t want the show to become another “Fringe”, even though it was a great five-season Fox series.

PICK HIT

I know it’s already one of the ten most played songs in America this week, but I’m really taking a shine to Selena Gomez’s latest, “Hands To Myself”.

It’s the third release and third Top Ten Hot 100 hit from her second album, last fall’s “Revival”.  Both of her albums have debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 album chart.

Until “Hands To Myself”, my favorite Selena Gomez song was her hit with Zedd last year, “I Want You To Know”.

THAT’S IT

I hope you enjoyed my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about them with me.

Have a great weekend and have fun.

Anthony

My Old Feathers Are Ruffled

Hey old people out there, what kind of music do you listen to?  Do you still listen to your music on the radio because you’re afraid to touch a computer?

elderly-people-on-computer

Are you afraid of buying music online and burning it to a disc?

If you’re over the age of 29, have you moved beyond Lady Gaga’s cutting edge pop, rhythmic, and dance music and embraced “Cheek To Cheek”, her collaboration with 89-year-old Tony Bennett?

Tony_Bennett_and_Lady_Gaga_-_Cheek_to_Cheek

Actually, I’m just kidding with you to see if those comments ticked you off as much as radio music programmers in many genres, especially Top 40 and country, tick me off because of the way they treat people that are not teenagers or in their 20s.

They think only the young ones will carelessly throw away money and downloads songs freely.  That may be true.  However, we older people will buy music when good music comes our way.

It’s a proven fact that without radio airplay, only die hard fans will know about an artist’s new music.  And, the other edge of that sword is that crappy music, if played thousands of times a week on the radio with the same 20 redundant songs, will sell millions of copies and hit #1.  (Hello, Omi’s “Cheerleader”!)

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about ageism.  I’ve talked about how country music has basically shunned new music from every queen that’s dominated that genre’s chart — Loretta, Tammy, Dolly, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Trisha Yearwood, and now Reba.

Reba Love Somebody

Last spring, Reba released her latest album, “Love Somebody” and it topped the country chart for two weeks.  However, the first single, “Going Out Like That” barely cracked the Top 25 and the second single was pretty much DOA.

Madonna Rebel Heart

The same for Madonna.  Her “Rebel Heart” album came out last spring, too, and only one single reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #84, although three singles topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

Who wants to hear women in their late-50s sing amazing music, 30-plus years into their career, when Top 40 radio force-feeds us substandard music from Ariana Grande (“Focus”, I’m talking about you, since I love Ariana’s previous hits!)

So, what has ruffled my 51-year-old feathers today?

I just bought Adele “25” and Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” and both albums are amazing.  And, both artists are in their 20s.

A couple of months ago, I bought Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” album, her first new album in seven years.

JanetJackson_Standard-2

I saw her in concert in Omaha, Nebraska, in late October and the show was incredible and she was flawless.

The first single from the album, “No Sleeep”, peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #18 on the “Hot R&B/Hip Hop” chart.

However, it’s currently at #1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart, where it’s been for nine weeks — her longest running #1 song on that chart.

20151030_204005

But, wait, her chart dominance doesn’t end there.  The second single and the album track, “Unbreakable” is currently at #9 (after peaking at #8). So, that means that Janet has two songs currently in the Top Ten on the Urban R&B chart, but the 49-year-old has no place at mainstream Top 40 radio!

“Adult Contemporary” is a very bad term and no singer that has dominated the music world for decades should be relegated to that place on the radio.

It shouldn’t have to be a consolation prize for musicians and listeners of certain age.

Here’s a more complete definition, “AC radio may play mainstream music, but they will exclude hip hop, dance tracks, hard rock, and some forms of teen pop, as they are less popular amongst the target demographic of these radio stations, which is intended for an adult audience. The AC Radio stations will often target the 25–44 age group, the demographic that has received the most attention from advertisers since the 1960s.”

My philosophy is a song should get radio airplay if it’s good music, regardless of the artist’s age, gender, race, religion, or whatever label you want to add.

Case in point, listen to “Burnitup”, my favorite track from Janet’s new album featuring Missy Elliot, and tell me this couldn’t be popular on today’s radio if radio didn’t have closed ears, closed minds, and open wallets catering to a certain demo.

Also, Madonna’s “Ghosttown”, critically acclaimed as some of her best work ever, topped the Billboard Dance Club Song chart earlier this year and reached #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but it found no love at Top 40 radio.

And, at country radio, Reba’s music is as fresh today as it was back in the 1980s and 1990s when she dominated country music and those playing her songs cashed in on the millions.

I love all kinds of music — teen pop to dance to mainstream rap to jazz, whatever — if it’s good (or I think it’s good), I’ll give it a listen.

But, I think it’s sad that people of certain age don’t have a fair chance of having their latest songs heard by the masses because they aren’t youngsters.

Radio, open your heart and open your ears.

Remember, “Believe”, the song that hit #1 in 23 countries, including the United States.  It was biggest song of 1999 here in America and became the biggest hit of Cher’s career.

She was 52-years-old, at the time, and holds the record for being the oldest female to top the Hot 100 chart.

It’s almost 2016 radio programmers, leave age out of it and play great music regardless of the singer’s age.

Anthony

VMA Nominations Announced & My Favorites!

Drama!  Drama!  Drama!

The MTV VMAs nominations were announced Tuesday and Nicki Minaj went to Twitter to express her dissatisfaction about the picks for video of the year, even though she’s up for three other “Moonmen” awards.

Nicki Minaj

Her beef is with Taylor Swift, who Nicki didn’t mention by name.  But, it was so clear.

Taylor Swift

And, thankfully, T-Swizzle took the high road on Twitter.

Here’s a full list of the 2015 VMA nominees and my favorites (not necessarily what will win).

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”

BEST MALE VIDEO
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
The Weeknd – “Earned It”
Nick Jonas – “Chains”

BEST FEMALE VIDEO  (Yes, I want this category to end up in a tie!)
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Sia – “Elastic Heart”
Ellie Goulding – “Love Me Like You Do”

BEST POP VIDEO
Beyoncé – “7/11”
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
Taylor Swift – “Blank Space”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Maroon 5 – “Sugar”

BEST ROCK VIDEO
Hozier – “Take Me To Church”
Fall Out Boy – “Uma Thurman”
Florence + the Machine – “Ship To Wreck”
Walk the Moon – “Shut Up and Dance”
Arctic Monkeys – “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?”

BEST HIP HOP VIDEO
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Nicki Minaj – “Anaconda”
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Big Sean ft. E-40 – “IDFWU”

ARTIST TO WATCH
Fetty Wap – “Trap Queen”
Vance Joy – “Riptide”
George Ezra – “Budapest”
James Bay – “Hold Back The River”
FKA Twigs – “Pendulum”

BEST COLLABORATION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
Wiz Khalifa ft. Charlie Puth – “See You Again”
Ariana Grande & The Weeknd – “Love Me Harder”
Jessie J, Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj – “Bang Bang”

VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE
Jennifer Hudson – “I Still Love You”
Colbie Caillat – “Try”
Big Sean ft. Kanye West and John Legend – “One Man Can Change the World”
Rihanna – “American Oxygen”
Wale – “The White Shoes”

BEST ART DIRECTION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Charles Infante)
Snoop Dogg – “So Many Pros” (Jason Fijal)
Jack White – “Would You Fight For My Love” (Jeff Peterson)
The Chemical Brothers – “Go” (Michel Gondry)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY
Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Chris Grant, Additional choreography: Gabriel Valenciano)
OK Go – “I Won’t Let You Down” (OK Go, air:man and Mori Harano)
Chet Faker – “Gold” (Ryan Heffington)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Nappy Tabs)
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Keone and Mari Madrid)

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Flying Lotus ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Never Catch Me” (Larkin Sieple)
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud” (Daniel Pearl)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Christopher Probst)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Justin Brown)
Alt-J – “Left Hand Free” (Mike Simpson)

BEST DIRECTION
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Joseph Kahn)
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk” (Bruno Mars and Cameron Duddy)
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright” (Colin Tilley & The Little Homies)
Hozier – “Take Me To Church” (Brendan Canty, Conal Thomson)
Childish Gambino – “Sober” (Hiro Murai)

BEST EDITING
Beyoncé – “7/11” (Beyoncé, Ed Burke, Jonathan Wing)
Ed Sheeran – “Don’t” (Jacquelyn London)
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Chancler Haynes at Cosmo Street)
A$AP Rocky – “L$D” (Dexter Navy)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood” (Ingenuity Studios)
FKA Twigs – “Two Weeks” (Gloria FX, Tomash Kuzmytskyi, and Max Chyzhevskyy)
Childish Gambino – “Telegraph Ave.” (Gloria FX)
Skrillex & Diplo – “Where Are U Now” with Justin Bieber (Brewer)
Tyler, The Creator – “F****** Young/Death Camp” (Gloria FX)

The show which will be hosted by Miley Cyrus airs Sunday, August 30th.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over and that means we’re getting closer to fall, my new favorite season.  Sorry winter!

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

BLAKE & MIRANDA GETTING DIVORCED

Marriages and relationships take a lot of work and when both people are celebrities, it’s much harder.  So, I’m a little surprised at people’s shock about the impending divorce of country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert after four years of marriage.

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Yes, I’m bummed about it.  But, I’m not shocked.

Country singer Chris Young, who has toured with Miranda and considers himself a friend of the couple, is speaking out that he had nothing to do with the couple’s marriage problems.

CY

That response was prompted after the gossip-mongers at TMZ reported what they learned from “multiple sources familiar with the situation”!  Have I ever mentioned that I can’t stand TMZ and its bitterness?

I always hope that love is real for everyone and I hope Blake and Miranda find it again.  I’m definitely a romantic that wants the fairy tale.

SPEAKING OF FAIRY TALES

Can you believe this year marks the 25th anniversary of “Pretty Woman”?

pretty-woman

The romantic comedy that skyrocketed Oscar winner Julia Roberts to fame made $463 million dollars at theaters after its spring 1990 release.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

Okay, this one is far from the fairy tale or a romantic comedy!

I just finished reading Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”.   I walked so much on the treadmill just to finish the book because I didn’t want to put it down!

The Girl on the Train

This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!

It’s been reported that Emily Blunt (“Into The Woods” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is set to star as Rachel (and also reported that she’ll play Jess/Megan).

Emily Blunt

Since I’m a real-life television meteorologist and not a Hollywood casting agent, as a fan of the book, here’s my dream cast. And, in case you haven’t read the book, I’m only giving character names and not how they play into the story.

I know actors and projects have to line up, so I’ll offer several people for each role.

Tom — Michael Fassbender, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), James Marsden, and Andrew Lincoln (“The Walking Dead”)

Michael FassbenderDexterHugh DancyJames MarsdenAndrew Lincoln

Scott — Grey Damon (“Aquarius”) and Shawn Ashmore (“The Following”)

Grey DamonShawn Ashmore

Let’s go with it that Emily will take the role of either Rachel or Jess/Megan.

Jess/Megan and Anna —  Elisabeth Rohm (“Stalker), Jennifer Aniston, and Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”)

Elisabeth RohmJennifer AnistonEvanRachelWood

And, finally, Dr. Kamal Abdic — Manish Dayal (“The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Enrique Iglesias

Manish DayalEnrique Iglesias

Okay, I’ve enjoyed my fantasy casting enough.  One more “reported” claim about the movie is that the locale will move from London to the United States.

Tate Taylor (“The Help”) has signed on to direct.

Paula, your thoughts on the casting?

And, in honor of Rachel! 🙂

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

“THE SNOWMAN”

Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember on Mondays back when I blogged all the time, I had the feature, “They Said What???”  Why not revisit it with these fun ones!

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABEE LINDSEY GRAHAM

(on “CBS This Morning” about Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans): “Run for president but don’t be the world’s biggest jackass.”

Pitbull

POP SINGER PITBULL

“I want to tell Marco Rubio, step it up!  Jeb Bush, step it up!  Hillary Clinton, step it up!  Because Donald Trump can’t be president.”

(More Pitbull to Trump):  “I want him to know I’m not a politician. I’m a musician. I’m a Latino first. I support our people.”

DIRECTOR/ACTOR TYLER PERRY

(speaking of the media reporting on Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown):  “It makes me sad to know that everybody wants to be the first to report something awful. So much so, that they find it OK to speak death onto those who are still alive. May I ask you all to please show some decency and respect?”

IRRELEVANT “ONE-HIT WONDER” SINGER SINEAD O’CONNOR

(on Facebook blasting “Rolling Stone” for its Kim Kardashian West cover):  “What is this c**t doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died.  Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it? Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be f**king horrified. #BoycottRollingStone”

Kim KW Rolling Stone

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(responding to “North Dakota Today” news co-host Chris Berg.  When talking about Stern’s salary of a reported $95 million, Berg asked how Stern could be making that much money.)

Berg

“Douche, you can do the same thing. Leave Fargo, get a show and work on your comedy chops and work on being interesting.”

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

(MORE STERN):  “The reason I worked so hard is so I wouldn’t have to live in Fargo, North Dakota, honestly. No offense if you live there. I’m pretty sure if you’re living there, you’re trying to get out … Gee whiz … I didn’t know Fargo still existed … Good lord. Well, anyway.”

DJ/PRODUCER SKRILLEX

(on Justin Bieber):  “Justin is a f**king virtuoso.  He’ll school you at every-thing: Ping-Pong, basketball, freestyle rapping.  The kid is so competitive.  Whatever he does he’s super good at, so you don’t stand a chance.  It’s not even fair.”

And, here’s Justin’s latest with Skrillex and Diplo.  I love this song and the video is so cool.  It’s takes me back to the fun days of music videos on MTV.

DONUTGATE

I like donuts and I cannot lie!  (You can sing that along to “Baby Got Back” if you want.)

Donuts

And, while they’re so delicious, the unhealthy treat was thrust into the national spotlight recently when pop tart Ariana Grande was busted “allegedly” licking a donut in a California shop without paying for it.

I’m glad that charges will not be filed against her for the silliness.  Yes, it’s gross if she actually Frenched the pastry for someone else to buy, but there are more pressing matters for us to deal with here in America.

Here’s another perspective on the matter.  When you were young, could you see yourself doing that if you were dared by a friend?  I can’t say that my young self would have done it, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t have!

SUMMER 2016 PROJECT

While there’s still several weeks left in summer 2015, I’m already making plans for next summer and setting my goals high.

Back in the summer of 2012, I ventured into making jelly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made 44 jars of mint, jalapeno-mint, apple mint, lemon balm-basil, and rosemary-lavender-lemon-mint jellies in many festive colors. While rainbow-colored, I didn’t call it “gay jelly”.

I just came across a recipe for pickling vegetables and it looks simple and tasty.

So, next year, pickles and pickled veggies!

ACCEPTANCE OF THOSE IN LOVE

As I’ve talked about in the past, my relationship with my alcoholic father was strained at best.  When sober, he was more tolerable.  However, overall, he didn’t like people, including his own family.

I know if he was alive today he would likely not be a part of his gay son’s life.  But, who knows, he could have softened in his golden years and surprised me.

I usually don’t think of him (he died in 1987), but I did think of him again when Jennifer Hudson’s “I Still Love You” was nominated earlier this week for an MTV VMA “Moonmen” award for “Video With a Social Message”.

The album (and song) didn’t catch on with radio or music buyers, but the video and the song are incredible.

TILDA SWINTON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HER

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is all for looking bad for a great role.

She’s hardly recognizable in “Snowpiercer” as Deputy-Minister Mason or as Madame D. in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, a very old woman.

But, check out the 54-year-old actress in the new movie, “Trainwreck”!  (It’s the picture on the left.)

tilda-transformation

Incredible!  What a chameleon.

SKIP “IT FOLLOWS” AND RENT “THE BABADOOK”

“It Follows” was critically acclaimed and made enough money that a sequel is being discussed.

The premise is cool — a supernatural “it” stalks people after they’ve had sex.  The only way for it to leave you alone is if you pass it along to someone else.

After watching the very SLOOOOOOOW movie, I realized that if “It Follows”, it’d definitely catch them!

Watch the trailer, which is better than the movie and save a couple of dollars renting it.

GRADE: C

However, if you want something supernatural that’s scary, check out the Australian-Canadian psychological thriller, “The Babadook”.

“Mister Babadook” is a pop-up storybook that mysteriously appears and re-appears in the home of a mother and her 6-year-old troubled son.

The supernatural entity starts tormenting people when they are made aware of its existence.

Essie Davis are Noah Wiseman excellently portray the fear and horror of being tormented by the “Babadook”.

And, how cool is the word “Babadook”?

GRADE:  B

MID-YEAR CANADIAN MUSIC LEADERS

In my last “Random Friday Thoughts” back on July 3rd, I reported that at the halfway point of 2015 that Taylor Swift leads in album sales and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have the top-selling single in the U.S. with “1989” and “Uptown Funk”, respectively.

I guess our friends to the north in Canada have the same taste.  Here are the sales there through mid-year and T-Swizzle has now surpassed Ed Sheeran in album sales and Ronson and Mars lead there, too.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Top Selling Canadian Albums (through June 30, 2015)

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 — 172,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, X — 170,000
3. Fifty Shades Of Grey, soundtrack — 134,000
4. Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour — 132,000
5. Yoan, Yoan — 101,000
6. Hozier, Hozier — 101,000
7. Drake, If You’re Reading This… — 101,000
8. Maroon 5, V — 92,000
9. Meghan Trainor, Title — 86,000
10. Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind — 84,000

Top Selling Singles (through June 30, 2015)

1. Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk! — 526,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud — 346,000
3. Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again — 315,000
4. Maroon 5, Sugar — 289,000
5. Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney, FourFiveSeconds — 289,000
6. Hozier, Take Me To Church — 279,000
7. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do — 245,000
8. Omi, Cheerleader — 242,000
9. Andy Grammar, Honey, I’m Good — 204,000
10. Walk The Moon, Shut Up & Dance — 200,000

“SHOW ME YOURS”

A couple of years ago, singer Hailey Rowe released “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.  It was a fun song and the video was incredible frisky and sexy.  It ended up being my favorite song of 2013.

Now, Canadian singer and internet sensation Scotty Dynamo has released the next big gay thing.

His “Show Me Yours” video reminds me of a modern-day version of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, which was very scandalous and controversial back in 1981.  Maybe that’s why the song ended up spending ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and was the biggest-selling single of the 1980s in the U.S.

BETTE MIDLER & DIVINE INTERVENTION

Congratulations to Bette Midler on the 32 sellouts shows on the “Divine Intervention Tour”!  It made an incredible $36 million!

Bette

We saw the amazing Las Vegas show in May!

GUESS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW

As I’ve said many times, I wish I was wealthy enough to just write all the time.  But, I must pay the bills and find time to get a few hours of sleep, pay the bills, and go on vacation.

Thank you very much for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about them.  If you agree with something, let me know.  If not, tell me that, too.

I value your thoughts as much as I appreciate you checking out mine.

Anthony

My Top 20 Songs of 2014

It’s time to share the songs that I loved this year and to share one that I couldn’t stand!

There are no country songs on the list since country radio pretty much doesn’t play the artists I want to hear (except their oldies), so I don’t listen to country.

However, I really liked Maddie & Tae’s “Girl In A Country Song”, but I don’t know if it was for the cute video or the song, so here it is as an extra!

MADDIE & TAE — “GIRL IN A COUNTRY SONG”

20

HAILEY ROWE — “DON’T NEED YOUR APPROVAL”

19

CASH CASH (featuring BEBE REXHA) — “TAKE ME HOME”

18

ERASURE — “ELEVATION”

17

CASCADA  — “BLINK”

16

HOZIER — “TAKE ME TO CHURCH”

*The song is amazing, but the video is heart-breaking and poignant.  Why does this have to happen?*

15

RENEE FLEMING — “WHO KNOWS WHERE THE TIME GOES”

14

WISIN (featuring JENNIFER LOPEZ & RICKY MARTIN)– “ADRENALINA”

13

THE CHAINSMOKERS — “#SELFIE”

12

MILKY CHANCE — “STOLEN DANCE”

11

KYLIE MINOGUE — “INTO THE BLUE”

10

DISCLOSURE (FEATURING SAM SMITH) — “LATCH”

9

ARIANA GRANDE & ZEDD — “BREAK FREE”

8

NICK JONAS — “JEALOUS”

7

MICHAEL JACKSON & JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE — “LOVE NEVER FELT SO GOOD”

6

TAYLOR SWIFT — “SHAKE IT OFF”

5

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS & PITBULL

4

NICKI MINAJ — “ANACONDA”

3

ERASURE — “REASON”

2

MADONNA — “LIVING FOR LOVE”

Casey_Kasem

Since I’m counting down my favorite twenty songs of 2014, I want to take a moment to remember the man who got me interested in music charts and countdowns, Casey Kasem.

Kasem died this past summer at the age of 82 after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease and dementia.

As Kasey told us each week on his “American Top 40” countdown, “keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars”.

Before we get to my favorite song this year, let’s take a look back to my favorite song of 2013.

HAILEY ROWE — “MY BOYFRIEND IS GAY”

Now, on with the countdown and my favorite song of 2014!

This is the second appearance from T-Swizzle from her “1989” album.

Another number 1

TAYLOR SWIFT — “BLANK SPACE”

Thank you for checking out my countdown.  Let me know what you liked or didn’t like.

Gag Me

Speaking of not liking, my least favorite song of 2014 was “Wiggle” by Jason DeRulo (which is sad because his first album in 2010 was one of my favorites of the year!

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

There was another song that I didn’t really care too much about on the radio, but once I saw the over-the-top, crazy, dirty video, then I liked it more.  But, not enough to be one of my twenty favorite songs of 2014.  But, here it is as an extra.

This video is sick!

DJ SNAKE & LIL JON — “TURN DOWN FOR WHAT”

As I look forward to 2015, I sure hope that Reba’s new song, “Going Out Like That”, that hits country radio on January 6th makes the list and gives me a reason to listen to country music again.  Also, let’s get some new Patty Loveless music, too.

Reba 2011

Happy New Year!

Anthony