Posts Tagged ‘ARTPOP’

Random Friday Thoughts — August 19, 2016

We made it through another week, but for me it’s a six-day work week since I work Saturday night.  I hope you have some great weekend plans.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.

BREAKING NEWS….

It’s been a long time coming, but Lady Gaga announces her new single. “Perfect Illusion” is coming in September!

perfect-illusion-gif-4_tt.gif

She was last on pop radio in 2014 with “G.U.Y.”, the third single from the “Artpop” album, which peaked at a dismal #29 on the Top 40 airplay charts.

The first two hits from “Artpop” charted higher at Top 40 radio.  “Applause” reached #4 on the airplay chart and “Do What U Want” with R. Kelly peaked at #7.

Welcome back Lady Gaga!

I now return you to my regularly scheduled “Random Friday Thoughts”.

REBA, HOW COULD YOU?

I know that Reba McEntire, one of my musical idols, is very LGBT friendly.

Reba 2011

However, her new business venture with the anti-gay Cracker Barrel restaurant chain has me scratching my head.  I know it’s just business.

Since country radio doesn’t support her new music, Reba’s album sales have dropped off significantly and are pretty non-existent the past few years.  But, her residency at Caesars Palace and her concerts on the road are still bringing in big crowds and she still has her fashion line at Dillard’s.

So, it distresses me for her to associate herself with the hateful chain, especially when she has a new Christmas album coming out that is exclusive to them.  It features five new recordings and six previous releases.  But, I won’t be buying it.  I can’t give my money to a business that supports hate.

Reba, I wish you could make it available from other outlets!

Let’s make a deal!  Send me a copy and I’ll donate the cost of the CD at Cracker Barrel to a LGBT charity in your name!

WINTER’S COMING!

While we’re still experiencing above average temperatures, some kids are still on summer break, and we’re not even to Labor Day, the unofficial end of the summer season, “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” is already scaring people with its 2016-2017 winter forecast.

ap_winter_weather_new_york_snow_ss_101227_ssh

For the “Heartland” (including the Quad Cities, all of Iowa, western Illinois, much of Missouri, and parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas), the forecast is shocking!!!!!!!!!  (Note: sarcasm)

Its winter forecast — “the coldest periods will be in early-to-mid and mid-to-late January and early February. The snowiest periods will be in mid-to-late November, mid-January, and early February.”

Okay, seriously, you live in the Midwest.  Of course, those are the coldest and snowiest times of the winter climatologically speaking!  You don’t need an almanac or even a meteorologist to tell you that.

I wonder what Heather Mooney would think of that winter forecast being so generic?

HeatherMooney

Next!

GOOD RIDDANCE, CAIT

“I Am Cait” is officially cancelled by E! after two seasons.

Caitlyn

I applauded Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as transgender in the spring of 2015.  I was hoping that she’d bring much to the table in America’s (and the world’s) LGBT discussions and help demystify and educate on transgender issues.

The problem is she’s learning herself and is not in touch with most transgender men and women.  She’s never really had a clue as to what their lives are really like.  Their lives are not Hollywood parties and open checkbooks.  Many face discriminatory practices and the fear for losing their jobs and their lives daily on the streets due to hate and ignorance.

And, then there’s the whole thing about her thinking the Republican party really cares about her plight and the LGBT community.

We need strong advocates in the transgender (and LGBT) community, but Caitlyn Jenner is not that advocate.

JIMMY CARTER & ELECTION SPENDING

It’s no secret that I think President Jimmy Carter is an amazing man.

Jimmy Carter 90.jpg

I just finished his “A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety” — incredible stories of his life and an easy read.

One story that boggled my mind in this presidential election year is how much money is spent by politicians to get elected (or lose) compared to when he was running for office.

Back in the 1976 and 1980 elections, he and his competitors Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan spent $26 million.  People were allowed to donate a dollar each on their income tax payments.

Today, with super-PACs (political action committees), the amount of money is astronomical.  In 2012, President Obama and Mitt Romney both spent over one billion dollars — that’s billion with a “B”!

In this summer 2015 book, Carter writes that the Koch brothers and their associates had already devoted $889 million to get Republicans elected.  What’s scary is that that number continues to rise and that’s just on one side of the aisle!

Incredible!  Could you imagine what we could do with that money to better the U.S. and the world?

PATTI DAVIS BLASTS DONALD TRUMP

The daughter of President Ronald Reagan took to Facebook to rip into GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump after his “second amendment” comments that many thought advocated gun violence against his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.

Patti Davis Donald Trump.jpg

Your thoughts?

Some say liberals read too much into Trump’s off-hand remarks.  Others say he meant exactly what he hinted at with the comments.

FOX NEWS, PAY UP OR SHUT UP

Devastating flooding is hitting Louisiana.  Baton Rouge, one of the hardest hit areas, picked up more than twenty inches of rain since last week.  At least thirteen people have died.

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift has donated one million dollars for Louisiana flood relief.

This prompted Fox News to run a story with the headline “Taylor Swift fixing her image or just being nice?”

Seriously?  Hey Fox News, work on fixing your own image and donate a million dollars, too!  Louisiana could use the money more than your insults.

Taylor and I have something else to say to you!

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The horror anthology series returns to FX for the sixth season on September 14th.

Lady Gaga, Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, Evan Peters, Denis O’Hare, Matt Bomer, Finn Wittrock, Wes Bentley, Cheyenne Jackson, and Leslie Jordan are returning.

They’ll be joined by newcomer Cuba Gooding Jr., who starred in Ryan Murphy’s “The People v O.J. Simpson, as O.J. Simpson.

Several short promos have been released for the sixth season including this awesome campy one.

While details of the sixth season are still secret, it’s rumored to focus on children and Murphy has called this season “more rogue” and “dark”.

This is also the first of the “American Horror Story” seasons that doesn’t have a subtitle before the premiere since the debut.

So, if you’ve watched all five seasons, what is your favorite and least favorite?

Here are mine (and even the incredible Wittrock as Dandy Mott couldn’t save “Freak Show”, as a whole, for me.)

american-horror-story-freak-show

#5  “Freak Show” (season four); #4 “Hotel” (season five); “Coven” (season three); #2 “Murder House” (season one); and my favorite was season two, “Asylum”.

American Horror Story Asylum

CHER RECORDING NEW MUSIC!

Pop music icon Cher is ready to get to work on her new album.

This would be the follow-up to 2013’s amazing and underappreciated “Closer To The Truth”, which was my second favorite album of that year.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Cher tweeted that she’s already recorded two songs and when she’s done with her current campaigning for Hillary Clinton, she’ll be back to work on her 26th studio album.

Cher Singing.jpg

It’s hard to believe that her first album came out more than 50 years ago in the fall of 1965!

“THE LOBSTER”

If you’ve seen the trailer for the movie, “The Lobster”, it screams “quirky”.

When you watch the movie, you’ll laugh and then realize that while it’s a comedy-drama, you feel a little awkward laughing at the sensitive material.

 Colin Farrell stars as a divorced man, in a dystopian society, where single people have 45 days to find a mate or they’ll be transformed into an animal of their choosing.

The dramedy also stars Rachel Weisz, John C. Reilly, and the ever charming Ben Whishaw.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

My pick hit this week is the first American release for French DJ and record producer Kungs and Australian funk trio Cookin’ on 3 Burners with vocalist Kylie Auldist.

“This Girl” is already a chart-topper in Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Scotland, Slovakia, and on the UK Dance chart.

“This Girl” is now racing up the American Top 40 radio airplay charts.  It’s at #21.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 17, 2016

I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”.  We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.

There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.

The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages.  He was killed by police.

Pulse

I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.

First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people.  But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!

Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.

If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man.  He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay.  Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change!  However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).

After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.

hate

Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:

Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”

Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”

Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered.  It was because of who they were!

Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies.  The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”

In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners.  The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.

Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.

Church Fire

In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country.  We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution.  This means all of us.

GUN CONTROL

There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control.  Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.

Gun Control

I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun.  I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.

I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting.  But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15!  None!!!

But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.

AR-15

Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.

They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47.  He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!

The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again.  (This will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones.  This one really breaks my heart.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.

Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other.  It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

Christmas Was Perfect

Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.

The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.

LOVE IS LOVE

Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile.  I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.

Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.

Make sure the person you love knows it everyday!  Life is too short.

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub.  Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.

The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”

She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)

If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember.  I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.

We might have been born at night, but not last night!

Donald LGBT.jpg

Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.

Fish Pond

Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!

Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”

He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer.  You can read about that harrowing experience here.  (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!

Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.

Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.

FIRST LADIES

As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year.  I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.

I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.

Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.

First Ladies.jpg

Martha Washington:  A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.

Abigail Adams:  Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.

Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.

Dolley Madison:  Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.

Elizabeth Monroe:  Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.

Louisa Adams:  Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.

Rachel Jackson:  She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.

Hannah Van Buren:  She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.

Anna Harrison:  She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.  While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.

Letitia Tyler:  She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).

I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.

His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.

He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

THAT’S IT

Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.  More gets resolved that way.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 28, 2014

I guess if you work weekends, you may not be all that fond of Saturdays and Sundays.

However, since I work a traditional work schedule, I really love my weekends and this one should be a great once since I have no plans and the weather is going to dry and warmer.

So, enjoy your weekend and my random thoughts this Friday.

SPRING PLANTING

With the nice weather expected, I hope to get outdoors and clean out the garden, the herb garden, and the two flower beds.  Ray and I talked about planting and I suggested that we have two herb gardens this year for plenty of fun, tasty herbs to cook with this summer and fall.

Planter

I’m making progress on my indoor planting that I did three weeks ago.  It appears that the Ice White Cherry Tomatoes have popped up!  No luck yet on the Jerusalem Cherry plants that I desperately want.

Now I just have to keep them alive and healthy until I can plant them outdoors.

WINTER’S LAST HOORAY?

While it’s going to be a warm one this weekend with highs in the 50s Saturday and in the 60s Sunday and Monday in the Quad Cities, we had measurable snow this past Monday night.

Snow 032514

That brought us up to 65.1″ of snow for the winter, which is more than twice what we typically see in a winter.

We’re still 4.6″ shy of the snowiest winter on record.  Too bad since I’ve moved on from winter and I want spring now!

ONE JURY I’D LIKE TO BE ON!

Jessica Dutro of Tigard, Oregon, just outside of Portland, is on trial for murder, murder by abuse, second-degree assault, and four other charges in the death of her 4-year-old son, Zachary, because she thought he was gay!

Her boyfriend, Brian Canady, has already pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter for his part in the child’s death.

dutro-boggess-canady

Zachary’s 7-year-old sister told investigators that “Jessica and Brian, they kept hitting him and punching him.  He didn’t listen to them so they kicked him and punched him and stuff and they kept doing it and doing it.”

In Facebook messages that the judge is allowing in the trail, the little boy’s mother tells her boyfriend, Brian, using a homophobic slur that he’s going to be gay and “he walks and talks like it.  Ugh.”

Little Zachary did not get medical treatment until two days after the beating and was unresponsive when he was finally taken to the hospital on August 14, 2012.  He was taken off life support two days later.

The child died from the trauma to his abdomen, tears in his bowels, and the infection caused by the leakage into his body.

The other two children in the home, the aforementioned 7-year-old girl and a 3-year-old brother also showed multiple signs of abuse.

MALAYSIA AIRLINES FLIGHT 370

I know that plane crashes are always a possibility with the high number of flights around the world daily.

However, it’s now been about three weeks since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 lost contact and disappeared on a flight from Kuala Lumpar International Airport in Malaysia en route to Beijing, China.

Malaysia-Bejing Flight Map

While it’s still unknown what happened to the Boeing 777, it’s likely that the 239 people on board are dead.

Malaysian Airlines is telling the families of those on board that “beyond reasonable doubt” there are no survivors and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told the world that the flight “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.

Malaysia Prime Minister

Unless there was an act of terrorism, in my heart, I feel that the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean and there are no survivors.

However, I don’t trust the Malaysian government and I believe the press conference they held earlier this week concluding the plane crashed is just damage control because officials there have botched this investigation and its interactions with the media since the beginning.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

19 Down Beliefs

ANOTHER 2014 CONCERT PLANNED

In late May, we’re going to see Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and in June, we have tickets to see Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis in Clinton, Iowa, on the “Grits and Glamour Tour”.

Cher Cyndi Lauper

While there may be one more concert, we just bought tickets to see the “Dressed To Kill Tour” with Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in early June.

The concert kicked off in Phoenix, Arizona, last Saturday night and it’s getting great reviews and Cher looks amazing.

I saw Cher and Cyndi Lauper on “The Farewell Tour” more than ten years ago.  This will be Ray’s first time.

I know it’ll be fun even though Cher doesn’t do my favorite song, “Red”, from her new album.

NCAA BASKETBALL BRACKETS

After winning the NCAA Men’s Basketball “March Madness” last year at the station and for one of the local newspapers, I was doing rather well going in to the “Sweet Sixteen”.

2014 Brackets

Sadly, last night, one of my “Final Four” teams, Baylor, lost miserably to Wisconsin.

If my other three “Final Four” teams continue to win, I’ll have a chance!

IOWA STATE CYCLONES

I have the Iowa State Cyclones winning one more game before falling to Virginia.

ISU is Ray’s alma mater, but that is not the reason I love watching them play.

Fred

That’s Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

He played for Iowa State in the 1990s and then went on to an NBA career from 1995-2005 playing for Indiana, Chicago, and Minnesota.  He’s been the head coach at Iowa State now since 2010.

DIVERGENT

“Divergent” opened with $54.6 million in the U.S. last weekend.

The movie looks interesting and I’ll likely see it when it comes out on DVD.  It stars Shailene Woodley and 29-year-old Englishman Theo James.

Theo James

There’s more to say about the movie, but it escapes me!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY #1

Mother Monster is celebrating her 28th birthday today.  Happy Birthday, Lady Gaga!

Lady Gaga

Since 2008, Gaga has charted with 13 Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

While my favorite Lady Gaga songs are still “Bad Romance”, “The Edge of Glory”, “Marry The Night” and “Dance in The Dark”, there are many songs on her new album, “ARTPOP”, that are incredible.

Her new single, “G.U.Y.”, is definitely one of them!

Classic Gaga!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”/HAPPY BIRTHDAY #2

While Lady Gaga is celebrating today, she’s not alone.

Reba

My idol, Reba McEntire, turns 59 today!

Reba Anthony 2005

Reba, I hope you’re having an amazing birthday.   While I don’t know if Reba is looking for songs for a new album, I hope so.

Nevertheless, for her birthday, let’s flash back to February 1995 when Reba took “Till You Love Me” to number 2 on the Billboard Country charts.

Reba has sold more than 80 million records worldwide, accumulated 25 #1 hits, which has her tied with Dolly Parton for the most numbers ones by a female country artist.

Reba easily has the most Top Ten hits by a country female artist with 59.

MY PARENTS’ ANNIVERSARY

March 28th seems to be a popular day.  It was on this date back in 1964 that my parents, Hollie Gene and Dessie, got married.

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

They were married almost 23 years when Hollie died (Dessie died three years later).

However, that little bundle of joy in the picture turns 50 in October.  Yes, that’s me.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

They Said What??? Morrissey, Liza Minnelli, & Kimberly Williams-Paisley

ACTRESS KIMBERLY WILLIAMS-PAISLEY

(on rumors that her country music star husband Brad Paisley is having an affair with fellow country music star Carrie Underwood):  “Are you serious? Wow! I hope it helps our careers! That’s all I can say.”

THE SMITHS’ LEAD SINGER MORRISSEY

“Please ignore the abysmal example set by President Obama who, in the name of Thanksgiving, supports torture as 45 million birds are horrifically abused; dragged through electrified stun baths, and then have their throats slit. And President Obama laughs. Haha, so funny.”

MORE MORRISSEY

“As Ingrid Newkirk from PETA points out, turkey ‘meat’ is one of “our nation’s top killers”, causing heart-attacks and strokes in humans due to saturated animal fats and cholesterol. And President Obama laughs.”

AND, EVEN MORE MORRISSEY

“Further, the meat industry is responsible for 51% of human-caused greenhouse-gas emission, therefore the embarrassingly stupid White House ‘turkey pardon’ is open support for a viciously cruel and environmentally irresponsible industry. And President Obama laughs.”

DR. MARK WALCOTT

(head of performing arts at Newham College in London, England and a part-time psychotherapist):  “You can find people that are gay… and they’re using their sexuality to stream through the way they teach the students, to boy children especially in boy schools.  And those boys are becoming gay not because they have a gay gene but because they have gay teachers who are indoctrinating them with their gay mentality.”

MORE WALCOTT

(after comparing the gay community to the Ku Klux Klan):  “Gay people’s objectives [are] not just to have lots of gay sex, but also to increase the gay community. Gayism or any sexual preference is subliminally taught and auto-suggestive.”

ONE MORE FROM WALCOTT

“I’ll give the name of someone I’d never have run a school: Elton John. His gayism is so liberal… I don’t like him. His sexuality, his gayism is over-burdensome.”

EMMY, GRAMMY, OSCAR, & TONY AWARD WINNER LIZA MINNELLI

“Whenever I see Lady Gaga in a new outfit I wonder how she finds the time! Her closet must be huge! I’ve been listening to her new CD and absolutely loving it. She’s a true artist and we’ll be hearing from her for a long long time.”

POP ICON LADY GAGA

(in a tweet):  “LIZA MINNELLI loves ARTPOP.  My life is finally complete! I thought of you the whole way through SNL Liza i love you!”

Anthony

They Said What??? Alec Baldwin, Ann Coulter, Anjelica Huston, & Faith Hill

TALK SHOW HOST ANDERSON COOPER

(about Alec Baldwin after the actor called a photographer a c**k su**ing f*g”.  Baldwin claims he didn’t use the “f-word” and that he didn’t know the “c-word” could been seen as homophobic):  “For him to say, I was informed of this afterward, I mean come on!  If Alec Baldwin had yelled the n-word to that photographer, or yelled some anti-Jewish slur, it would be over!”

RIGHT WING EXTREMIST ANN COULTER

(defending Baldwin, who was suspended by MSNBC):  “They shouldn’t have suspended him. In defense of Alec Baldwin, the photographer, he’s not actually gay.  This was just a curse word. It was like using the f-word and, frankly, a lot of these paparazzi photographers deserve it. It’s not something Alec Baldwin said in a calm moment on television. He has been harassed horribly by photographers and now this stalker, and he’s trying to protect his family and he curses. That is what happened.”

SINGER LILY ALLEN

(commenting on her song, “Hard Out Here”):  “It’s hard out here for a bitch.  Dolly Parton is a bitch.  Adele’s a bitch. Angela Merkel is a bitch … Rihanna’s an inspiring bitch, my mum, Miley’s a bitch, rising. She’s my hero. Kate Middleton is not a bitch.”

COUNTRY SINGER FAITH HILL

(denying rumors that she country singer Tim McGraw are heading toward divorce):  “[Rumors] seem to be running like crazy right now for some reason. It’s perplexing.  I don’t know why ‘happy’ can’t be a story.”

POP ICON LADY GAGA

(after debuting at #1 on the Billboard album chart with “ARTPOP”):  “I put so much love into my music, into my shows, I make it all for you. I’ll never understand the overflow of hate sent my way.  Or maybe thats what entertainment is now. It’s more fun to point & laugh than appreciate the artist. I’ll keep rehearsing my steps.”

COUNTRY SINGER BLAKE SHELTON

(on “The Voice” responding to his co-judge Adam Levine being picked as “People” Magaine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”):  “This is why I drink so much.  He stole my thunder.”

SINGER KANYE WEST

(saying he was “used” by President Barack Obama):  “I just think that we’re pop icons, and the president likes to use that type of thing just to be down and stuff. People was fine with me being everyone’s punching bag for about five years — ‘Man, this is the person we love to hate, so if you want to distract people from everything that’s going on…, just say you hate Kanye and there’s going be 30 other people who say they hate Kanye. … That was kind of my position in culture so he also used that too — ‘Oh, he’s a jackass’ — because that’s how the world felt.”

OUT “GLEE” STAR ALEX NEWELL

(who plays transgender student “Unique”):   “When people don’t understand something their first reaction is to hate it,” he said of his groundbreaking role. “But [the LGBT community] isn’t going away. We’re a part of everyday life and people need to be educated.”

BRYAN FISCHER, OF THE “AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION”

(responding about the public debate between former Vice President Dick Cheney’s two daughters who have different views on marriage equality):  “Who’s the one who’s been intolerant here? Who’s the one who’s being a bigot?  It’s not the Christian, it’s not the heterosexual … it is the intolerant lesbian bigot that’s doing that … It is Liz Cheney’s sister who is, in fact, the intolerant bigot.”

ROBERT RITCHIE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE RIGHT-WING GROUP, AMERICA NEEDS FATIMA

“The massive tornadoes that hit Illinois after the passing of the same sex “marriage” bill, has stimulated many people to reflection.  In it, some see God’s chastisement; others see it as yet one more merciful warning from Providence; others yet deny both options and give various reasons.”

ACTRESS ANJELICA HUSTON

(in her new book, “A Story Lately Told”, about her director father, John, who used to hang out naked in front of the children):  “He was extremely well endowed.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 15, 2013

Greetings, my friends.  Can you believe it’s already the middle of November!  Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away and Christmas will be here before you know it.

Last weekend, we put some outdoors lights up and we’ll add more this weekend despite the rainy forecast.  Here are my random thoughts this week.

STORES OPENING ON THANKSGIVING

I’ve been hearing a lot of uproar about Kmart opening at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

KMart

Since then, Best Buy announced it will be opening at the same time and remaining open until 10 p.m. Friday!  Also, Walmart, Target, Toys R Us, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and others plan on opening their doors Thanksgiving evening.

People are complaining that this is keeping employees from spending time with their families on Thanksgiving.

It is.  However, for much of my career, I’ve worked the holidays.  This year, I’ll be working Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day, but I’ll still make sure that I get to celebrate with my family.

Our Turkey 2012

And, the way I look at it is that there are people who don’t have families or someone to spend the holidays with and they welcome the stores being open to have something to do!

JUST IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS

I’ll just going to keep walking on the treadmill and telling myself that I’m going to eat healthy to prepare for the feast that is Thanksgiving!

However, thanks to Pringles and Lay’s — fat chance!

lays_chocolate_potato_chips_630x420 Limited Time Only Pringles

Here are their new holiday offerings.  Let me know if you’ve tried either the “Lay’s Wavy Original Potato Chips dipped in Milk Chocolate”and Pringles’ “Pecan Pie” and how they taste.

Last year, I liked the “Cinnamon & Sugar”, but I didn’t really care for the “Pumpkin Pie”.  Also, in 2012, there was the “Peppermint White Chocolate”, which I didn’t get to try.

A DARKER SIDE TO CHRISTMAS

I’ve a huge fan of Erasure and the English duo just released their first Christmas album, “Snow Globe” this week.

Erasure Snow Globe

I previewed the album yesterday.

Here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/11/14/erasure-takes-us-to-the-dark-side-of-christmas-back/

It’s not your traditional Christmas album!  If you don’t believe me, there’s a song on the album called “Blood on the Snow”.

On “Snow Globe”, you’ll also find songs that may make you forget it is a Christmas album, but you won’t care.  There are many Christmas classics with the trademark Erasure sound.  Here’s a preview of “Silent Night”.

“Snow Globe” is a great addition to any Christmas or dance collection.  My full review and grade are in the blog from yesterday.

And, it’s exciting that Erasure retweeted my blog tweet!

Erasure Retweet

ANOTHER “WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?”

Joel Osteen is a televangelist out of Houston, Texas, and his ministry, through broadcast media, reaches millions of people each week in over 100 nations around the world.

Seriously!

As a writer, I’ve made typos.  There are times when I’m editing my blog and I change a few words that I may leave an old word in there or the subject and verb may not agree after editing, but I can’t recall having anything like this go public.

If this is real and this was a quote on social media or if it was a verbal quote, it definitely went astray.  Religion isn’t the first thing that went through my mind!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Fish Be You

Today's Forecast What Will Happen -- Gay Marriage

A NEW CAREER POSSIBILITY

There is more and more talk in our household about retirement as I enjoy my last year in my 40s and now that Ray has hit the big 5-0.

Unfortunately, my current position is paying me slightly more than I was making eight years ago and considerably less than I was making at my last job.  So, if I don’t win the lottery, I think I’ve found a new career that might even give me the flexibility to relocate!

Air Ttraffic Control

“Time” magazine recently reported that by the end of 2016, about one-third of the nation’s air-traffic controllers will be retiring — that’s about 4,500 job openings!

Various websites report that the middle 50% of controllers make anywhere from $85,000-140,000!  But, the wind was knocked out of my sails when I read that rookies only make anywhere from $16,000-35,000, depending on location!

SOME MUSICIANS SHOW A SENSE OF HUMOR

With Facebook and Twitter, people can instantly share their thoughts, right or wrong, nice or vicious.  Jimmy Kimmel asked some in the music industry to read tweets about them.

This is too funny and Ke$ha is just amazing!

I’VE FOUND MY NEW LOVE STORY

I don’t care that Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) was a prostitute in “Pretty Woman”.  Obviously, neither did Edward Lewis.

That is my one of my favorite movie love stories, along with “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, and “Weekend”.  Chances are that you’ve never heard of those last three, but you should definitely search them out if you’re open-minded and feel that love is love.

OUT-IN-THE-DARK-Poster

I can now add “Out In The Dark” to that small list.

This 2012 Israeli gem features an amazing storyline and stunning performances from lead actors Nicholas Jacob and Michael Aloni.

out-in-the-dark

“Out In The Dark” begins when Palestinian student, Nimr, sneaks across the border into Tel Aviv, Israel to party with his friends at a bar.  There he strikes up a conversation with Israeli lawyer, Roy.  They share a fun evening talking at the club and promise to keep in touch when he leaves to go back to Palestine later that night.

Nimr finds out from his friend, Mustafa, that Roy was asking about him.  Roy and Nimr start dating when Nimr gets papers allowing him to be in Tel Aviv once a week for an internship.

While the two fall in love, homophobia in the very religious West Bank threatens to tear them apart when Nimr’s family finds out his secret.  Meanwhile, back in Israel, Nimr has to confront hatred because he’s Arab.

It’s a beautiful love story that may or may not end in happiness.

Both gorgeous actors make the love story very realistic and touching.

Aloni (Roy) is an established film and movie actor and television host and was nominated in 2011 for an Israeli Academy Award for portraying a platoon commander in “Infiltration”.

Michael Aloni

And, “Out In The Dark” marks the acting debut for Israeli born Nicholas Jacob.  Interestingly, he spent about half of his childhood in Nashville, Tennessee, where he fell in love with music.  Now, he follows both dreams — acting and music.

Nicholas Jacob

So, how much did I love this movie?  I gave it a grade that I rarely give a movie!

GRADE:  A+  

GAGA’S WORLD DOMINATION

If you follow my blog, you already know that “ARTPOP”, the latest Lady Gaga album came out earlier this week and it’s expected to sell about 275,000 copies.

ARTPOP

On first listen, it definitely is a rockier version of dance music.

I’ll get the bad news out of the way.  I doubt that I’ll ever really like “Jewels N’ Drugs” featuring T.I., Too Short and Twista!

Since the album is new to me and my favorites will likely change over time, here are the ones that excite me the most right now:  “Do What U Want” (the new single featuring R. Kelly), “Donatella”, “Applause”, “Artpop” and “Swine”.

In addition to her hosting “Saturday Night Live” and also performing this weekend, her first 90-minute Christmas special, “Lady Gaga & the Muppets’ Holiday Spectacular” will air on ABC Thanksgiving night.

ABC Lady Gaga Muppets

Two years ago, “A Very Gaga Thanksgiving” aired on ABC and featured acoustic version of songs from her second album, “Born This Way”.  It also featured “White Christmas”.

INTERESTING TEXAS TRIVIA

While you may or may not find it scary that Rick Perry and Ted Cruz are both successful politicians in the “Lone Star” state, here’s something that may be even scarier.

Chuck Norris Kickboxing

A recent “Time” magazine article stated that the FBI reports that Texas leads the nation for the most people who were either punched or kicked to death in 2012!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

“Work Bitch”, the first single from the upcoming album, “Britney Jean”, by Britney Spears reached #12 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was a moderate hit at pop radio.

britney-spears-perfume

The second single, “Perfume”, is now racing up the charts and will likely make Britney a Top Ten hit maker one more time!

The new song is stripped of the electronic sound and is more like a 1980s arena ballad.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

New York singer-songwriter and actress Melissa Manchester has only scored seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  However, the three of those hits that have reached the Top Ten are still memorable more than three decades later.

Melissa Manchester

Her first hit, “Midnight Blue” reached #6 in 1975.  After a couple of modest hits, she reached #10 in 1978 with “Don’t Cry Out Loud”.  That was followed by a couple more modest hits before she scored the biggest hit of her career.

In 1982, “You Should Hear How She Talks About You” reached #5.

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

I hope you’ve enjoy this week’s random thoughts.  If you agree, let me know.  If you disagree, I welcome that discussion, too.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

The “Truth” About Cher

When you’ve had a career as long as Cher, it’s hard to live up to the expectations when you make a new movie, release a new album, or start a new tour.

That is what Cher is up against with the fall release of “Closer To The Truth”, her 25th studio album.

Cher Closer To The Truth

Since the release of her first album, “All I Want To Do”, 48 years ago, Cher has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide and she has established herself as one of the top-selling female recording artists of all time.

While she earned three gold albums (shipments of 500,000) in the United States in the 1970s, she came into her own in the late-1980s when “Cher” went platinum (one million copies shipped) and “Heart of Stone” sold more than 3 million copies in the U.S.

But, it was 1998’s “Believe” (the album and the single) that introduced Cher to a new audience.  Worldwide, the album has sold more than 20 million copies and the single, “Believe” is the biggest hit of her career, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks, reaching number one in 22 other counties, and selling 11 million single copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling singles of all time!

After “Believe”, Cher released one more studio album, “Living Proof” in 2001.  It’s hard to believe that except for the two songs she recorded for the “Burlesque” soundtrack, Cher fans have had to wait more than a decade for a new collection of songs.

It was definitely worth it!

Woman's World Cher

Although it leaked last fall and Cher posted a version on her website around Thanksgiving of last year, the first single from “Closer To The Truth”, “Woman’s World” was officially released this summer and it topped the Billboard Dance Chart.

The new album features eleven songs with several producers, including Paul Oakenfold and Timbaland.  Pop stars Pink and Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters drop by to sing with Cher.

PinkJake

Yes, at one time, there was a collaboration with Lady Gaga (“The Greatest Thing”) that didn’t make the album.  However, as much as I love Gaga, this album works perfectly without it and I can hear Gaga on her upcoming album, “ARTPOP”.

If you love dance music, the album’s first six songs are perfect and will you have wanting to hit the clubs for a night of partying.  This includes “Woman’s World”, “Take It Like A Man” with Jake Shears, the heavily electronic track “Dressed To Kill”, and my favorite song on the album, “Red”.

Okay, that’s a little deceiving because the ballads, “I Hope You Find It” and “Sirens” are incredible, too.

The nice thing about Cher’s music is that she can rock out, she can move you into a dance frenzy, or bring you to tears with the ache in her voice on the slow songs.  She shows her versatility in the Pink-assisted song, “I Walk Alone”, which sounds like a cross between something you’d hear at a hoe-down and a rave!

My second favorite uptempo song is “Favorite Scars”.

Cher has been working very hard here in America and across the Atlantic in Europe promoting “Closer To The Truth” and preparing her for the “Dressed To Kill Tour” that kicks off in March 2014.

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

I haven’t bought my tickets yet for the show in Des Moines, Iowa, on June 9th yet, but soon.  It’s been a decade since I saw Cher in Chicago and after hearing this new album, I know the show will be fantastic.

“I Hope You Find It” is currently climbing up the Adult Contemporary chart.  It’s such a perfect song and if Top 40 radio wasn’t so ageist and focused on teenagers and 20-somethings, you’d be hearing this song alongside Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and One Direction.

And, it’s been reported that the duet with Jake Shears, “Take It Like A Man” will be the third single from the album.

CDbookletback

Cher is back and I couldn’t be any “Closer To The Truth” than by saying she’s been sorely missed and this album is fantabulous!

It’s the perfect stocking stuffer now that you’re starting to think about the holidays!

GRADE:  A

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8, 2013

The weekend is almost here and I’m so ready for it.  We have friends coming over for dinner Saturday night and I plan on putting up the outdoor Christmas lights Sunday.

In addition to working on today’s blog and still posting pictures of our European trip on Facebook, I started working on my Christmas cards this week.  I ended up not buying the poinsettia Christmas stamps that I featured a few weeks ago in my blog.  When I went to the post office, they had these awesome little decorated Christmas Gingerbread houses!

GingerBreadHouses-Forever-Block4-Singles-v2

Here are my random Friday thoughts.

TOTALLY GIVING UP ON EMINEM

By the time you read this, Eminem’s latest album that was released Tuesday will have already sold hundreds of thousands of copies.

After years of spewing anti-gay lyrics in his songs, I thought he was “evolving”.  I read an old “Rolling Stone” article after he crashed from drug abuse and it actually made him sound very down to earth and more human.  And, in 2010, he even made comments to support marriage equality.

Eminem

However, he’s back to his old ways.  Check out these disgusting lyrics from “Rap God” on his new album.

“Break a motherf**ker’s table over the back of a couple of fa**ots and crack it in half”, “You fags think it’s all a game till I walk a flock of flames off a plank, and tell me what in the f*ck are you thinking” and “Little gay looking boy/So gay I can barely say it with a straight face looking boy/You witnessing a massacre like you watching a church gathering.”

And, his views toward women haven’t softened any either, “They asking me to eliminate some of the women hate/But if you take into consideration the bitter hatred that I had/Then you may be a little patient and more sympathetic to the situation/And understand the discrimination”.

elton-john-and-eminem1

Eminem has performed with and befriended openly gay singers Elton John and Sia, who scored big with “Titanium” with David Guetta.  She even has a duet with him on the new album.

After hearing the lyrics to “Rap God”, in a Twitter discussion with a fan, she initially defended Eminem as not personally being homophobic, but added, “I truly understand your point, and am certainly experiencing fear around the repercussions if he doesn’t explain his art.  I am queer, and love my queers, young and old. I work with the Center and homeless LGBT kids, and when I heard ‘Rap God’ I was very anxious.  He has a character called Slim Shady who represents the worst and darkest bile of America. I see how it can be unclear.”

sia

You may or may not be shocked at how many homophobic remarks popped up against Sia and the fan from Eminem fans!  Very sad!

Sia is now donating the proceeds she receives from the Eminem collaboration, “Beautiful Pain”, to the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center, a 50-bed shelter and transitional living program geared toward LGBT homeless youth.

Here is how Eminem responded to “Rolling Stone” for his upcoming cover story about “Rap God” being anti-gay, “It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or asshole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then…  And, not saying it’s wrong or it’s right, but at this point in my career – man, I say so much shit that’s tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I’m glad we live in a time where it’s really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves.”

Maybe that “real me” that is Marshall Mathers III (Eminem) is really okay with LGBT people.  But, I don’t understand how he’ll spew hate, I mean, raps that are homophobic that advocate young or uneducated people to have such vile and hateful thoughts toward the LGBT community!

Maybe I just don’t get it!

ILLINOIS HOUSE DOES THE RIGHT THING!

With a vote of 61-54-2 Tuesday, the Illinois House says “yes” to marriage equality!

The Illinois Senate approved this back in February with a 34-21 vote.

Marriage Equality Illinois

The “Land of Lincoln” is now the 15th state (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage available to all residents.  Governor Pat Quinn plans on signing it into law on November 20th.

Locally, I want to say “thank you” to Representatives Pat Verschoore and Mike Smiddy for their “yea” votes!

Same-sex marriages in Illinois will begin on June 1, 2014.

THE COUNTDOWN TO “ARTPOP”

It’s been almost a year-and-a-half since Lady Gaga released “Born This Way” and in just a few days, we get “ARTPOP”, Gaga’s third full-length studio album.

ARTPOP

Several of the album’s 15 songs have been made public, including the Top 5 Hot 100 hit “Applause”, along with “Aura”, “Dope”, “Venus”, and her new single, a duet with R. Kelly, “Do What U Want”, which is already racing up the charts.

Here is Lady Gaga’s recent performance of “Venus” and “Do What U Want” on “The X Factor” UK, which prompted several complaints for being too adult!  Seriously?

OUR FISH LOVE THE RECENT RAIN

During the drought in the Quad Cities this summer, it was a struggle to keep the water level up in the fish pond.

As we head deeper into fall and eventually winter, last week’s almost two inches of rain and the one-half inch that fell earlier this week really made a big difference in giving our 13 fish (our original six and the newly acquired, older, and bigger ones) plenty of water.  And, we’ve already added the de-icer to keep the pond from freezing this winter.  So, bring on the snow!

Fish Pond Late February 2013

IN THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT

While we’re still weeks away from decorating the inside of our house, this weekend I’m decorating the outside before it gets too cold!  We have some new lights that we bought for half-price last Christmas.  This is what it looked like two years ago.

Christmastime 2011

I love following charts, whether it’s music, movie, or whatever.  As I was looking at the Mediabase charts and playlists, the first Christmas song of the season is at #43 today on the Adult Contemporary (AC) airplay chart.  AC stations are usually the ones that embrace and switch over to Christmas first.

“Underneath The Tree” was the song from Kelly Clarkson’s new album, “Wrapped in Red”.

“WRAPPED IN RED”

I love Kelly Clarkson’s music and her voice, but I have to admit that two other variables put it at the top of my new CD wish list:  it’s a Christmas album and it features Reba McEntire!

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

Reba and Trisha Yearwood join Kelly on “Silent Night”, the last song on the album.

While Reba’s version on her own 1987 album, “Merry Christmas To You” is flawless, the arrangement on the new version is spectacular.

Of the album’s 14 tracks, eight are Christmas classics and Kelly does each one justice.

Kelly’s versions of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Please Come Home For Christmas”, “Blue Christmas”, and “White Christmas” are my favorites of the classics.  And, Ronnie Dunn, of Brooks & Dunn, joins Kelly on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

Most of the originals are strong songs, too.  My favorites of the six original are the slow tempo, “Winter Dream (Brandon’s Song)”, dedicated to her new husband, the upbeat, fun, and catchy “4 Carats” and the new single, “Underneath The Tree”.

It’s going to take many more listens, but “Just For Now” doesn’t do anything for me — for a Christmas album.

GRADE:  A-

A holiday television special to promote the album, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale” was filmed live in Las Vegas last week and it’ll air on NBC on December 11th.  It also features Reba, Trisha, and Ronnie.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Mommie DearestHuckabee

VeteransDay

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?

Marketing is very important in what we watch, wear, drive, drink, and eat.  Advertisement agencies make billions and earn billions for their clients by cleverly encouraging us to spend our hard-earned money on their products.

But, I have to ask, did this agency close its doors after this ad campaign and what was Burger King in Singapore thinking?

burger-king_seven-incher

Last January when I was in Las Vegas for the Lady Gaga concert, I visited the old downtown area and Fremont Street for the first time and the Heart Attack Grill stood out to me.

Heart Attack Grill Las Vegas

The restaurant features the “Quadruple Bypass Burger” (four half-pound beef patties, twenty strips of bacon, eight slices of American cheese, a whole tomato, one-half of an onion served in a bun coated with lard).  It checks in at a whopping 9,982 calories!

Quadruple Bypass

Disgusting!

“THE WAY WAY BACK”

On our recent flight to Europe on Swiss Airlines, we watched the coming of age dramedy, “The Way Way Back”, rated PG-13.

The movie focuses on 14-year-old Duncan, played by the incredible 17-year-old Canadian actor Liam James, as he spends his summer vacation seaside in Cape Cod with his mother, Pam (Toni Collette) and her boyfriend, Trent (Steve Carell).

Trent is a total jerk, which is made clear in the opening scene of the movie when he forces Duncan to rate himself on a scale of one-to-ten.  When the teenager says “six”, Trent proceeds to tell him he’s just a three!

All summer long, Trent stays on Duncan’s case.  To escape the misery, the teenager sneaks away to a local water park, Water Whizz, and befriends Owen (Sam Rockwell).

Duncan and Owen

While the movie features stellar performances from all of the actors, the standout is Allison Janey, who plays a boozer, Betty, who lives next door.  Her one liners kept me laughing and her comic timing is impeccable!  (“See You Next Tuesday”!)  If you’ve seen the movie, you’re laughing at that line right now. 🙂

“The Way Way Back” is a must see this fall!

GRADE:  A

“NOW YOU SEE ME”

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

Now You See Me

In the movie, four street magicians are summoned by an unknown benefactor and make their debut as “The Four Horsemen” in Las Vegas.

Their Vegas finale is to rob a bank of millions of Euros in Paris, France.  The movie follows them as they continue to dazzle crowds by stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and giving it to the audience while trying not to get caught by the FBI and Interpol.

“Now You See Me” stars Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco, Woody Harrelson, Isla Fisher, Morgan Freeman, Mark Ruffalo, Melanie Laurent, Common, and Michael Caine.

If you loved Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network” or “Zombieland”, you’re going to love him in “Now You See Me”.  And, I was really digging his long hair in this movie.

Jesse

GRADE:  B 

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Corey Hart was one of my biggest crushes back in the mid-to-late-1980s and my favorite Canadian export.

His latest release is with Papercha$er, “Night Visions (Sunglasses)”.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Corey+Hart

Hart hit the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 nine times, but only two of those songs reached the Top Ten hits.

In 1985, he took “Never Surrender” to number three on the Billboard Hot 100, but it was “Sunglasses at Night”, his first hit that made it up to #7 that captured my attention and provided me with my second entertainment crush.  John Schneider (Bo Duke, from “The Dukes of Hazzard”) was the first!

FINAL THOUGHTS

That’s it for this week.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend.  Let me know what you think of my random thoughts or let me know your random thoughts!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 30, 2013

The weekend is almost here.  I’m not in Cancun and I’m not back from there for one day before heading to Chicagoland to see Depeche Mode like last weekend.   Don’t get me wrong.  Both were awesome.

However, this weekend, with the intense summer heat, I’m vegging out with Ray and my sister, Tammy.  Maybe we’ll spend some time floating in the pool, grilling out, and devouring humans and taking part in the bloodshed of the undead.  Simply put, we’ll be watching season three of “The Walking Dead”!!!  It arrived Thursday.

The-Walking-Dead-Season-3

Whatever you do this weekend, be safe outdoors.  Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing, and take some air conditioning breaks!  For now, check out my random thoughts this week!

WINTER IS COMING!

I believe in forecasting several days in advance with a decent degree of accuracy.  I refrain from giving forecasts for an entire season, yet people love to hear outlooks for the upcoming winter.  So, here goes…

The “Farmers’ Almanac”, which has been forecasting weather since 1818, just released its winter forecast and it looks pretty cold (biting or piercing) for us in the Quad Cities.  Whatever you do, don’t cross the Mississippi River from Iowa into Illinois unless you want a “snowy” winter!!! 🙂

Farmers' Almanac

However, NOAA is not forecasting  “piercing” or “biting” cold this winter.  It’s calling for above average temperatures this winter!

NOAA Winter Temp Forecast

On that note, there’s a local television meteorologist in the Quad Cities that’s probably already calling for 20″ with every snow event that develops this winter!

If you really want me to go out on a limb, I expect many days with really cold temperatures, several round of light snow, a few heavier snowstorms, and many people dreaming of a “White Christmas”.  Since the “Farmers’ Almanac” and “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” both boast a high degree of accuracy with their vague forecast, I bet my vague prediction there is pretty accurate, too. 🙂

March Snow

WHERE DOES PAULA DEEN GO FROM HERE?

A few weeks ago, I talked about the “racial discrimination” lawsuit against Paula Deen being dismissed.  Last Friday afternoon, Judge William T. Moore of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia signed an order of dismissal in the case of Jackson vs. Deen.

What this means is that Lisa Jackson, the woman who filed the lawsuit against the celebrity chef that brought down her culinary empire after Deen admitted using the “n-word” many years ago, reached an undisclosed settlement with Paula and her brother, Bubba Hiers.

PaulaDeen2012

While Deen said she was happy and was looking to put this all behind her, I’m agitated with the money-hungry accuser Jackson.  Here is what she (or her lawyers) released after the settlement:

“I assumed that all of my complaints about the workplace environment were getting to Paula Deen, but I learned during this matter that this was not the case. The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years, is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone. I now know that the workplace environment issues that I raised are being reviewed and will in the future no longer be at issue. I wish Ms. Deen and her family all the best in all of their future endeavors and I am very pleased that this matter has been now been resolved and can now be put behind us.”

Wait, let me read this again, The Paula Deen I have known for more than eight years, is a woman of compassion and kindness and will never tolerate discrimination or racism of any kind toward anyone.”

That doesn’t sound like the kind of woman I’d file a multi-million dollar lawsuit against, but maybe I’m wrong!

Despicable!

SPEAKING OF DESPICABLE

Two words:  Pat Robertson.

Pat Robertson

Just when I think the man might have just an ounce of humanity, clarity, or compassion, he proves me wrong and solidifies my belief that he’s a moron!  I will not even apologize or sugar coat it for people who like him or listen to his drivel.

Earlier this week, a question was posed from a woman who drove a man dying of AIDS to church on Sundays.  She did this more than twenty times.  However, she wasn’t told he had AIDS and she feels deceived and is going to another church until she “sorts this out.”

In response, Robertson starts out with a moment of sanity before it goes south.

Pat Robertson response

His co-host Terry Meeuwsen is compassionate about the situation adding, “I think you were doing a good thing by transporting this man.  I have known people in AIDS and have never felt fearful even if you had had a car accident.”

And, now, here’s where it goes to hell.  Robertson says, “You know what they do in San Francisco? Some in the gay community there, they want to get people. So if they got the stuff they’ll have a ring, you shake hands and the ring’s got a little thing where you cut your finger,” he said. “Really. It’s that kind of vicious stuff, which would be the equivalent of murder.”

Seriously????

CNN’s Anderson Cooper had the best response to Robertson’s hateful, hurtful, and stupid comment, along with some of the best of the worst of Robertson’s God-loving “advice”.  (For the uninitiated, that was sarcasm!)

I’m glad I have God in my life and I’m glad I don’t have to find him through some vile little man like Robertson.

Oh, by the way, even “The 700 Club” or The Christian Broadcasting Network obviously knew that Robertson was so far off his rocker that it edited that segment out of the show before posting it to their website later that day!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Syria MileyCow CliffHappy Hour

MEMORIES OF CANCUN

Since our trip to Cancun was all-inclusive for food and drinks, here are a few pictures of my favorite drink there.

Green Drinks

Anthony Green Drink

Ray Green Drink

It was a heavy pour of Smirnoff Vodka, melon liquor, a splash of sour mix topped off with a little blended (not frozen) pina colada.  It was incredible!  Maybe I’ll have to make some at home by the pool this weekend!

OKAY, I’VE GOT TO MEET THIS WOMAN AND HANG WITH HER!

While I’d love to meet Madonna, Gaga, Britney, Kylie, Olivia, Reba (again), and Gillian (Anderson of “The X-Files” and “Hannibal”), I just read an article in “Out” that made me fall in love with Angela Raiola!

If that name doesn’t ring a bell, try “Big Ang”, from the second season of VH1’s “Mob Wives” and the one season of “Big Ang”, the spin-off.

??????????????????????????????? Toasted Big Ang

She just opened her second bar, “Miami Monkey” in South Beach and that’s where she’s enjoying that big orange fruity drink.

I don’t watch reality television, so I don’t know anything more about her than what I read and she sound like a hoot!!!   I think she and Divine would have made an awesome team.

And, she told “Out” that she’s an incredible cook and her favorite hot-weather dish:  tangerine zest linguine (minced garlic, olive oil, Parmigiano, fresh linguine with tangerine zest, salt, and pepper).

She seems like a down-to-earth gal that also knows how to have a good time.  Big Ang, let’s hang some time!  It might even be fun attending one of her Botox parties!  She loves them and she’s not shy about it. 🙂

DEPECHE MODE CONCERT

Last Saturday night, we saw Depeche Mode in concert at First Midwest Bank Amphitheater in Tinley Park, outside of Chicago.

I have to admit that I was really scared that we’d miss the opening of the show because traffic was such a cluster (you know the rest of the word).  It took us more than an hour to travel one-quarter of mile once we were within 1.5 miles of the venue.  Needless to say, we missed the opening act, Bat For Lashes, and I was seated for only about ten minutes before Depeche Mode took the stage.

Tinley Park, EPIC FAIL!

However, Depeche Mode was great and it was well worth the 30-year wait to see them in concert.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

The big winner (and loser) was Miley Cyrus at last Sunday’s ceremony in New York City.  More on that in a moment.

I never thought it would excite me so much for Mother Monster to be booed and have people say “I hate her”.  However, that was part of the act as Lady Gaga kicked off the awards show in a triumphant return to performing after having to cancel much of the North American leg of the “Born This Wall Ball” tour for hip surgery earlier this year.

vma-mtv-2013-lady-gaga-performance-4-red-carpet-getty__oPt

“ARTPOP”, Gaga’s new album featuring “Applause” comes out November 11th!

The biggest reaction from the show was Miley Cyrus’ over-the-top sexual performance of “Blurred Lines” with Robin Thicke.

Miley Robin Thicke

After watching the performance, the dirty dancing and sexcapades with Thicke didn’t bother me since you see that kind of action in music videos and movies all the time.  I think the thing that was most creepy to me was Cyrus sticking out her tongue like an animal and the hideous bear costume she was wearing.

Love it or hate it, the performance got Cyrus what she wanted:  free publicity for her album “Bangerz” which comes out in early October.  The first single and song she performed Sunday night, “We Can’t Stop” is a Top Ten radio airplay hit after reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, it’s already sold two million copies, and the video has been viewed on Vevo almost 166 million times!   And, if you saw this video, you should have known that “Hannah Montana” would not be at the VMAs!

If you didn’t like Cryus’ performance and you wonder what happened to little Hannah Montana, just remember that Miley’s birth name is Destiny Hope Cyrus.  Maybe this was her “Destiny” and there’s still “Hope”. 🙂

Earlier this week, I blogged my in-depth thoughts about the performance and the Miley-bashing that took place for days afterwards.  Here is that much-viewed blog if you didn’t a chance to read it:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/27/she-blurred-lines-but-mileys-not-the-antichrist/

ONE CHILD STAR TO ANOTHER

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

Former Disney Channel star Selena Gomez,  who is scoring hits at pop radio and won a Moonman at the VMAs Sunday night has this to say of Miley’s sex-driven performance, “Amazing. I thought it was awesome.  I love Robin Thicke, too, so I like that they collab’d.”

Before becoming a Disney star herself, Gomez appeared on three episodes of “Hannah Montana” with Miley.

TAYLOR SWIFT, GO AWAY!

Full disclaimer:  I own an early Taylor Swift CD and I saw her in concert with Keith Urban several years ago and, at that time, she was enjoyable.  Now, enjoyable, for me, has turned into annoying.

At the MTV VMAs, while One Direction was accepting the award for “Song of the Summer”, Swift is caught on an “audience cam” apparently mouthing the words “Shut the F&*k Up”.

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

Was she talking about her ex-boyfriend, Harry Styles’ band onstage or did Selena comment on how cute the boys are?

Whatever the reason and I don’t really care if we’re misunderstanding the lip-reading or not, just go away Taylor.  Please.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Since sex was mentioned early in the blog (hello Miley and Robin), why not flashback to the 1980s with a song that doesn’t even beat around the bush with the sex in the title?

“Sex (I’m A…) was the second single from “The Pleasure Victim” album by new wave band, Berlin in 1982.  Imagine how scandalous this was to a 17-year-old Kentucky boy.

pleasurevictim

However, this one was a little to hot to handle for American pop radio where it peaked at #62 on the Billboard Hot 100.  It did, however, reach the top ten on the American Mainstream Rock and the Dance charts.  Canada wasn’t so shy.  It peaked at #5 on the Canadian Hot 100.

The band would go on to score huge hits with “Take My Breath Away”  (#1) from the “Top Gun” soundtrack and “No More Words” (#23).

PICK HIT RE-DUEX

While I was in Cancun last week, it was interesting listening to the radio.  We found a station that was a mix of ’70s, ’80s, 90’s, ’00s, and today in both English and Spanish.  One song that I really liked was “Take A Picture” by Carly Rae Jepsen.  And, they were also playing was a song I picked as a future pick hit back in May.  I chose it as a potential song of the summer.  Maybe next summer!

Here’s Erika Jayne, featuring Flo Rida with “Get It Tonight”.

FINAL THOUGHT ON MILEY CYRUS

Okay, I know personally that my Facebook page blew up with negative comments about Miley Cyrus following her VMA performance Sunday night.

And, then you started seeing reactions from celebrities in the audience and the one that caught my attention was Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and their two kids, Willow and Jaden. For the record, this shot of the Smith family was during the Lady Gaga performance and Willow was in mid-chew with her gum and Jada was rubbing her nose.  It had nothing to do with Miley as some believe or have posted.

Smith-family

Now, about Jada. She is a beautiful woman. However, in that photo, I don’t know if the look of horror is from seeing the performance on stage or that she just realized, for the first time, her poor rip-off of Tina Turner’s amazing “Auntie Entity” look from 1985’s “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome”. 🙂

Jada

Ripped Off From Thunderdome

Tina Turner as “Auntie Entity”

tina_aunty_entity

Here’s a “Peeps’ ’80s Friday Flashback” bonus — Tina Turner’s #2 smash from the summer of 1985, “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)”.

Have a great weekend everyone and thank you for checking out my blog!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2013

Another weekend is upon us and I hope you’re excited about whatever you have planned to do.  I know some of my friends are going to take it easy this weekend after partying at Market Days last weekend.  Since I worked 11 of past 12 days, I think I deserve a break today and I’m not talking McDonald’s.  🙂

Have a great weekend and enjoy my random thoughts this Friday!  And, please know that I always welcome your feedback on my thoughts, whether you agree or disagree, and I’d like to know what you’re thinking about whatever.

VACATION

In less than 24 hours from now, we’ll be boarding a plane from the Quad Cities to Dallas and then to Cancun and by tomorrow afternoon, God-willing, we’ll have our feet buried in the sand sipping on a cold potent drink.

It’s been an interesting week of watching the tropics.  If you recall last week, the Caribbean was quiet.  And, then by Wednesday, there was a 60-70% chance of a tropical storm forming and bringing heavy rain and wind to the Yucatan Peninsula, e.g. Cancun!

Atlantic

Fun times!  Luckily, for us, development into a tropical storm (if it happens) will not occur until it gets into the Gulf of Mexico and the rainy, wet weather should be gone by Saturday!

Here’s to margaritas, tequila, beautiful sunsets, and hot bodies!  So, here’s my favorite Latina hottie, Pauline Rubio.  (Don’t worry, Enrique (Iglesias), you’re my favorite Latin hottie!)

PAULA DEEN GETS VINDICATION, BUT…

The lawsuit against celebrity chef Paula Deen that caused her to lose her Food Network television show and many sponsorships has been thrown of out of court.

Lisa Jackson, a former manager at one of Deen’s Savannah restaurants, is suing her former bosses, Deen and her brother, Bubba Hiers, for millions of dollars for racial and sexual discrimination.

However, earlier this week, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. ruled that Jackson, who is white, cannot sue them for race discrimination because she was not one of the victims — even though others may have allegedly faced discrimination.

Paula Deen Happy

A spokesperson for Paula Deen says, “We are pleased with the court’s ruling today that Lisa Jackson’s claims of race discrimination have been dismissed.  As Ms. Deen has stated before, she is confident that those who truly know how she lives her life know that she believes in equal opportunity, kindness and fairness for everyone.”

There is still the issue of sexual harassment that Jackson is alleging.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday Dear Madonna!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

Madonna3

Today, the “Material Girl” turns 55!

In honor of the woman who had the most successful tour of 2012 (the “MDNA Tour” made $305.2 million), has had more Hot 100 Top Ten Billboard hits than the Beatles (38), and leads with the most #1 Billboard Dance chart hits (43), here’s my favorite Madonna song.

“Borderline” became her first Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984.

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And, here’s my favorite Madonna video.

“Open Your Heart” became Madonna’s 11th Top Ten hit and fifth #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 in February 1987.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ozzy Mouth ShutAuto Correct

FINALLY, I GET TO READ A BOOK!

I just finished the April 28, 2011 “Rolling Stone”, the last of my stockpiled magazines that also included “Time”, “Details”, “Men’s Fitness”, and “Boston”.  Now that all of those subscriptions have expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, “Instinct”, and “The Advocate”.

This means that I’ll be able to keep up with the new magazines as they arrive and I can finally read a book!  I haven’t read a book in about five years — right before Ray and I met.

Golden Days The Art of Racing in the Rain

I already have the first four picked out, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” by Garth Stein (yes, Vickie, I’m finally going to read it and get it back to you), “The Meaning of Matthew:  My Son’s Murder in Laramie, and a World Transformed” by Judy Shepard, and “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter.

meaning_of_matthew_l

Those four should take me up to the end of the year.  The Matthew Shepard book will be timely since the 15th anniversary of his death is October 12th and the book by President Carter should coincide with Christmas this year!

ChristmasInPlains

WHAT I LEARNED FROM “ROLLING STONE” MAGAZINE

I always thought of “Rolling Stone” as a rock music magazine.  However, I was pleasantly surprised at how it excels in hard news and investigative reporting.  It expands on stories that mainstream news media outlets shy away from by playing it safe.  “Rolling Stone” doesn’t hold back!

Here are some of the highlights from the last few issues that I just finished reading from 2011 as my subscription expired.  I told you I was behind on reading!

Witty TV commentator Bill Maher was profiled in the March 17, 2011 issue and the article quoted the comedian talking about a shamed Texas politician, “Tom DeLay has done only two things since leaving politics, “Dancing With The Stars” and now prison — somebody must tell him there are easier ways to have sex with men.”  Good stuff!

Image: ABC's "Dancing With The Stars" Season Nine - Week Three

It also had an interesting cover story on talk show host Howard Stern, who still like to shock people.

In the March 31, 2011 issue, it basically made Stern seem much more human and flawed.  The article touched on the fact that Stern currently makes $80 million dollars a year for his SiriusXM talk show, but he’s still very unhappy in his life and fighting demons.  However, it stated that he is now happily remarried.

Since the article is over two years old, Stern now makes another $15 million for being a judge on “America’s Got Talent”!

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

And, while she went though hell at the hands of ex-boyfriend/singer Chris Brown and she gets some bad press because of her actions, I really enjoyed learning more about Rihanna in the April 14, 2011 issue.

Rihanna Rolling Stone

For the record, she’s already scored 39 Top 40 hits in America on the Billboard Hot 100 since her first hit in 2005 and twelve of those songs topped that chart.  She became only the seventh artist in music history to accomplish that.

Her longest charting #1 song on the Hot 100 (ten weeks) was “We Found Love” with Calvin Harris.  And, her latest single with David Guetta, “Right Now” just became her 20th number one song on the Billboard dance chart.  She’s now in second place as the artist with the most #1 dance hits behind Queen Madonna, with 43 chart toppers.

However, I didn’t learn any of that from the “Rolling Stone” article.  Here’s what I learned from the magazine that made RiRi so much more down to earth:  She doesn’t like vegetables because they taste “like bush”, but she loves french fries, Cheetos, and KFC.  She loves going to grocery store and cooking for herself and enjoys a nice chardonnay at the end of the day.

Rihanna loves true-crime reality, she’s chronically late and she’s also a compulsive boob-grabber!

And, finally, her name is Arabic for “sweet basil”.

ALBUM SALES IN DISTRESS…

Earlier this month, Billboard magazine reported “U.S. album sales have hit new historic lows over the last five weeks marking the longest consecutive stretch in the SoundScan era that the industry has gone without scanning more than 5 million units.  And, over the last two weeks, album sales hit consecutive record lows.”

4.68 million albums were sold for the week ending July 28, 2013.   That’s the lowest weekly total since Nielsen SoundScan started in May 1991.

The top-selling album for the first half of this year, through June 30th, is “The 20/20 Experience” by Justin Timberlake.  Sales are right around two million.

THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LIST REVEALED!

And, the top-selling single during that same time period is “Thrift Store” by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, with U.S. sales of 5.6 million.  The song sold an additional 1.2 million copies in the U.S. in late 2012 when it was released.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

However, by the end of 2013, I expect that “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke (with Pharrell and T.I.) will be the biggest selling single of the year.  As of August 7th, it was up to 4.27 million in U.S. sales!

But, we can’t forget “Applause” by Lady Gaga and “Roar” from Katy Perry.  Both were rush-released this week because the songs were leaked on the internet.

Lady Gaga-Katy Perry

“Applause” is the first single from the “ARTPOP” album due November 11th.  Gaga will be performing the song live on the MTV VMA show August 25th marking her first real performance since a hip injury and surgery caused her to cancel the remainder of her “Born This Way Ball” tour earlier this year.

This is the lyric video for “Applause”.  The “official” video for the song debuts Monday, August 19th.

And, “Roar” is the first single from Katy Perry’s album “Prism”, which comes out October 22th.

Gretel, my 12-year-old daughter, likes “Roar” more than “Applause”, which she thinks is “weird”.

As for me:

Katy Perry — “Roar” —  I love the catchy chorus of “Roar”, but the rest of the sound is too slow of a build for me.   GRADE:  B

Lady Gaga — “Applause” —  The energy is incredible, the vocals are captivating, and it sounds a little rougher than her previous club hits, but it’ll still make you gravitate to the dance floor.  GRADE:  A

The winner!

Applause

YET, VINYL IS HOT AGAIN

While album sales are suffering, vinyl record albums are making a comeback.  In 2012, 4.55 million were sold in the U.S. compared to just less than a million (990,000) five years ago.  Many record companies are beginning to offer free downloads of an album when vinyl is purchased.

Albums

Last Christmas, I asked Santa Ray & Santa Tammy for a turntable because I missed vinyl records.  Since Santa delivered, I’ve been hitting a few yard sales and my neighbor’s store, Readmore Book World & Rock Shop, in Moline, for albums and Tammy has picked up a few for me at Goodwill.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Go-Go’s first album, “Beauty and the Beat”, in 1981,  hit #1 and sold more than two million copies.  It also gave the group its first two hits and its biggest hit, “Our Lips Are Sealed” (#20) and “We Got The Beat” (#2).

They followed that album up the next year with “Vacation”.  The biggest hit off that release was the #8 title track (the album also peaked at #8).  The group did have two other smaller hits from that album and that was it for them.  A total of five Top 40 Hot 100 hits.

Since we’re heading to Cancun tomorrow, this song is very fitting.

“ELYSIUM”

We saw “Elysium” last weekend.  Matt Damon was incredible (and majorly buff) and Jodie Foster, who wasn’t in the movie as much as Damon, was icily perfect.

Elysium Matt Damon Jodie Elysium

Also, Sharlto Copely, who starred in director Neill Blomkamp’s more superior, Oscar-nominated film, “District 9”, was scary and fantastic as the villain, Kruger.

Sharlto Copley

The premise of the movie is that it’s 2154 and Earth (especially Los Angeles) is in ruins.  The wealthy 1% live above the Earth, literally, in space looking down on the ravaged world, the 99%.  On “Elysium”, where the rich live, there is no poverty and no disease.  Life is perfect.

Damon, plays Max, a former car thief, who has a work place accident that exposes him to high levels of radiation.  He’s informed that he only has five days to live and his only chance for survival is to get to Elysium and be treated for the disease.

The movie was action filled and fun.  However, if you saw “District 9”, which was amazing, this movie may not thrill you as much.  It’s still an exciting two hours.

GRADE: B

MY THOUGHTS THIS WEEK ON RUSSIA’S HOMOPHOBIA

boycott-sochi-2014 Madonna Defend Human Rights

THAT’S IT FOR A FEW DAYS

While I might post something on Facebook while in Mexico, my next blog will be next Friday’s random thoughts.

Have a great weekend.

Anthony