Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 13, 2020

Two weeks in a row with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy!

Feel free to comment on any of my thoughts, but, as always, do it diplomatically!

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

Don’t zone out from fatigue over the Coronavirus.  I’ll keep this part short!

You’re hearing a lot on the news about the virus, which is now a pandemic.

Basically the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is that an epidemic is an illness affecting a specific region and a pandemic has global impacts!

Here is the U.S., sports seasons and playoffs are basically done, concerts are being cancelled or postponed, schools are extending spring break and going to online classes when they return, restaurants are closing, and the list goes on.

And, on Wednesday, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, in Australia, announced they they tested positive for Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

Yet, there are those that are blaming the media (of course) for hyping up something that’s no worse than the flu, which kills people each year.

However, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the Coronavirus is ten times (that’s 10 times) deadlier than the seasonal flu!

Coronavirus

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust the government!  (I’m not just talking about the Trump administration — yet that speaks for itself!)  I’m talking about trust on a daily basis and not specifically with Coronavirus.

This mistrust of the U.S. government is a product of past administrations (Republican and Democrats) of telling us just what we “need” to know, when it deems the time is right.

Well, here’s the thing.  I think Coronavirus is a real public threat and I think we’re going to see the number of cases (and deaths) in the U.S. and Canada shoot up drastically over the next month or so.

As for me, I pray that I don’t get sick.  However, I’m doing nothing more to prevent it than I normally do in a typical day. 

I always wash my hands.  I love using hand sanitizer (even before it was chic).  I cover my mouth when I cough and I move away from people hacking like they’re coughing up a lung.

And, no I didn’t raid the store for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water!

Watermelon Mint Vodka

However, I did buy a bottle of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Zero Sugar Infusions vodka.  It sounded fun!  And, I do have a decent supply of wine and liquor!

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

Hello, Wicked Spoon!  These were my four plates and truly UNLIMITED champagne and mimosas this past December from there!

Wicked Spoon

Because of Coronavirus, my life as I know it is (temporarily?) disrupted — if I was in Vegas now.

MGM Resorts (which doesn’t own Wicked Spoon) issued this statement earlier in the week:

“MGM Resorts will temporarily close buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday March 15. These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

It what could be called “joy” and “madness”, I found out this week that I joined Facebook more than a decade ago.

So, if you don’t follow me there, here were my thoughts on my eleventh anniversary!

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

Primaries and caucuses are taking places across the nation ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, which I think will be Joe Biden and 45.

I love looking at polls and I trust them — for the most part.

Vote

However, I also know that polls mean nothing if people don’t get out and vote!

And, come November 3, 2020, if you want to make “that man” a one-term president (or if you support him), you have to VOTE!

“OZARK” 

Season three of one of the best shows on television is coming back later this month.

“Ozark” returns March 27th on Netflix and from the new trailer, it looks like this could be Laura Linney’s year for an Emmy win!

She was incredible in season two and I was hoping that she and Julia Garner would take home trophies.  Garner won in the Emmy’s supporting actress category.

THANKS NETFLIX!

But, before I can check out the new season of “Ozark” with the incredible Linney, season three of “The Crown”, season two of “Sex Education”, season two of “Mindhunter”, and the first season of “The Politician”, I now have to buy a new television!

Thanks a lot Netflix!

Last month, I was going to start binge-watching “The West Wing” and this is what greeted me!

Bad Netflix

On December 1, 2019, Netflix deemed my Samsung television, which I got in 2014, obsolete for its streaming service!

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

Last week, I talked about the new Lady Gaga single, “Stupid Love” (it debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), from her upcoming April 10th album, “Chromatica”.

Now, I’m excited to know what my second album that I’ll buy in 2020 will be and when.

“Gaslighter” is the new single and the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ new album that’ll drop May 1, 2020!

“Gaslighter” is actually getting country music airplay!  It debuted on the Billboard Country chart at #31 and moved to #20 in its second week!

That’s their biggest hit at country radio since “Travelin’ Soldier” hit #1 in early 2003, about the time that Natalie Maines’ comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War got the Chicks banned from country radio!

Their last album, “Taking The Long Way”, came out in May 2006, and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

The Dixie Chicks’ last hit song was 2006’s “Not Ready To Make Nice”, which reached #4 on the Hot 100.

It went on to win three Grammy Awards — “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”, in 2007!

“KNIVES OUT”

If you like whodunit movies, you’ll like this mystery comedy.

The all-star cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson.

The first half of the movie features some very humorous scenes as the story was set up.  Collette was especially funny.

I figured out early on who was likely the killer.  From that point on, the movie started to drag.  (Oh, I was correct!).

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

For months now, I’ve been purging my CD and movie collection.

I started listening to CDs that I liked at one time in my life, but I’d never say, “I want to listen to <insert album title here>.  I had about one thousand CDs and now it’s down to about 425 essentials that I don’t want to part with.

With my movies, I’m watching older ones, some of which didn’t become one of “my favorites”, and I’m getting rid of them.

Until recently, only three of them made the cut and I put them back on the shelf.

I kept the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”), the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”, and the 2010 American romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?”.

“LEMON TREE”

This past week, I added three more “keepers”.

The first is the 2008 Israeli drama, “Lemon Tree”.

Hiam Abbass is heartbreaking and stunning!  She plays Salma, a widowed Palestinian woman fighting to keep the Israeli government from cutting down her lemon grove, which was planted by her late father decades ago.

It becomes a security risk when the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife, Mira, (a moving performance by Rona Lipaz-Michael) move next door.

“PATRIK 1.5”

Another was the very touching 2008 Swedish film, “Patrik 1.5”.

It stars one of the sexy Skarsgard brothers (no, not Alexander from “True Blood” and “Big Little Lies” and not creepy Bill (Pennywise in the new “It” movie series).

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

His Göran Skoogh in “Patrik 1.5” would make the perfect husband! 🙂

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

Even though this Argentinean movie came out in 2013, it speaks volumes about today’s dating and app hook-up scene!

You never really know who you’re meeting or hooking up with and what could happen!

Manuel (Patrico Ramos) and Julio (Mario Veron) finally decide to meet after chatting online for a while.

Once they meet, Julio tells Manuel, “There are really bad people round there. They say one thing and they mean another. You never know who you’re dealing with. You don’t even know who you’re bringing into your home.”

“TRANSAMERICA”

I also watched the incredible “Transamerica” with Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman and the adorably sexy Kevin Zegers.

While still a very fulfilling movie, so much has changed since it came out in 2005.

After the groundbreaking television series “Pose” and “Transparent”, I couldn’t imagine a movie made today about a trans woman that WOULD NOT be played by a real trans actress!

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

Debbie Gibson, one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, is back with a huge club hit!

“Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young Radio Remix) is currently at #4 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In 2019, Tracy Young scored back-to-back chart toppers on the the Dance Club Songs chart with Madonna’s “I Rise” and “Crave”.  (Young won a Grammy Award for the “I Rise” remix!)

From 1986 to early 1991, Gibson scored nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, five reached the Top Ten, including the #1 hits, “Foolish Beat” (1988) and “Lost in Your Eyes” (1989, three weeks at #1).

When “Foolish Beat” topped the chart in the summer of 1988, Debbie became youngest person to write, produce, and perform a number-one single entirely on her own, at age 17!!!

“Only In My Dreams”, Debbie’s first hit in 1987 that reached #4, is still one of my all-time favorites!

“ICE BOUND:  A DOCTOR’S INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE”

Ice Bound

This 2001 book is about Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an Ohio doctor that took a year off from medicine to find herself by “wintering” in Antarctica with 40 others.

Just a few months into her one-year stay, she found a lump in her breast.

This book is the story of how she and her new friends, “winterovers”, worked via satellite and computers in the harsh -100° weather and months of complete darkness to keep her alive.

This lasted for eight months before the weather finally broke and she could be rescued and brought back to the U.S. for surgery in the fall of 1998.

In 2000, while I was an anchor and reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, I interviewed Dr. Nielsen.  Twenty years later, I have no clue what about!  Maybe it was about her recovery?

Dr. Nielsen was a cancer survivor for over a decade before she died in the summer of 2009.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Favorite Movies of 2019

It’s hard to believe that the first two decades of the 2000s are behind us!

Now that it’s 2020, here are my favorite movies that I saw in 2019.  The list was held off because I was seeing one of the movies that made the list on New Year’s Eve!

Some of them were in the Oscar race last year since critics and those living in large metropolitan cities get to see movies before most of America!

Before I kick off my countdown, here’s my favorite movie I saw in 2018!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.9 MILLION

Just missing out on the countdown:  #40 “The Old Man and the Gun”; #39 “Beautiful Boy”; #38 “The Front Runner”; #37 “Hotel Artemis”; #36 “Gloria Bell”; #35 “Widows”; #34 “22 July”; #33 “At Eternity’s Gate”; #32 “The First Man”; and #31 “The Mule”.

At #30 “On The Basis of Sex”; #29 “Green Book”; #28 “Rocketman”; #27 “Boy Erased”; #26 “Us”; #25 “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; #24 “Yesterday”; #23 “Mary Poppins Returns”; #22 “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and #21 “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

Now, my favorite 20 movies I saw in 2019.

#20

“THE FAVOURITE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $96.0 MILLION

19

“A STAR IS BORN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $434.9 MILLION

#18

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $97.6 MILLION

#17

“MIDSOMMAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $42.3 MILLION

#16

“MA”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $60.6 MILLION

15

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.5 MILLION

#14 Movie

“SECOND ACT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $72.3 MILLION

13

“BOMBSHELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.3 MILLION

12

“THE HATE U GIVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

11

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $21.3 MILLION

Bonus

We’re halfway through the countdown of my favorite movies I saw in 2019.

As a bonus, here’s a look at one of my favorites movies of not only 1995, but one of my favorite movies of all time! I can’t believe it turned 25 this year!

(While the movie premiered in 1994 in its native Australia, it debuted in the United States in 1995!)

It also launched the careers of Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.

Muriel.gif

10

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $31.9 MILLION

#9

“ARCTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4.1 MILLION

8

“ALADDIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.05 BILLION!!!

#7 MOVIE

“A PRIVATE WAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.8 MILLION

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“HUSTLERS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $157.1 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JUDY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $37.9 MILLION

#4 CD

“THE WIFE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.2 MILLION

3

“BEN IN BACK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $10.1 MILLION

Holiday Bonus

Before I reveal my two favorite movies I saw last year, I want to celebrate another one of my favorite movies that turned 25 in 2019!

I had just moved to Chicago in the summer of 1994 and I remember feeling so metropolitan seeing a LGBTQ movie on the big screen that fall!

Ironically, I featured another Australian movie earlier with “Muriel’s Wedding” and now it’s “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert.gif

Guy Pearce was so beautiful as Adam Whitely/Felicia Jollygoodfellow!

The movie won an Oscar for “Best Costume Design”!

#2 CD

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $12.4 MILLION

Before I reveal my favorite movie that I saw in 2019, the two least favorite movies I saw this year were:  “Vice” (great acting, cheesy movie about evil people) and “Good Boys” (just the worst — I laughed once)!

For “Good Boys”, watch the funnier trailer instead and don’t waste 90 minutes of your life!

Now back to the countdown!

1

“THE FAREWELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $19.6 MILLION

Now, on to the new year!

2020

Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, January 13, 2020.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Thank You for Making Me Feel Invincible!

Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*
¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday dear Helen Reddy!!!!! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥
¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Happy Birthday to you! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥

International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee and feminist Helen Reddy is celebrating her 78th birthday later this week (October 25).

HelenReddy2

My admiration for Helen is apparent with the many blogs I’ve written about her over the years.  On this special day, I want to say “thank you” for the incredible music she’s given us and I want to share my favorite Helen Reddy songs.

The first record I ever bought, thanks to my great grandparents, John and Helen Peoples, was Helen’s “Delta Dawn”.  I was almost 9-years-old and the writing was already on the wall! 🙂

Delta Dawn Helen Reddy

Also, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I owned three 8-track tapes and one was “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits”.  The other two were were “Totally Hot” by Olivia Newton-John and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

In the 1970s, I was too young to see her in concert.  It appeared she would be one of the singer I idolized, but would never get to see live because she gave a farewell concert performance in western Canada in 2002.  In 2008, she announced she was done with singing and entertaining.

Lucky for us, in 2012, she made an appearance at a jazz club in San Diego, California, and did a benefit for a school outside of Los Angeles and decided that she felt the joy of singing and performing again.

That’s how I got to see her in concert in early 2013 near Chicago and I almost got to meet her, but there was a mix-up at the theater.

Helen Reddy 1

Luckily, my friend Jim arranged for this gorgeous consolation gift!Helen Reddy Autograph

At the time, I was living in Moline, Illinois, which is about three hours west of Chicago.

Back in the 1970s and the 1980s, Helen performed in Illinois and Iowa, including Davenport, Iowa.

While she may not have done a concert in Moline, the second largest city in the Quad Cities, I’m sure she remembers it.

In late October 1973, around her 32nd birthday, she and her band were heading back to California after playing a show in Philadelphia on a leased private jet.  It encountered an intense thunderstorm in the Midwest and the plane started going down.

Helen says they were losing altitude so fast that it felt like they “hit a brick wall” and that “interior paneling started to snap out of its moorings” and cabin baggage was flying through the aircraft.

The pilots were able to get out of the storm’s downdraft and they regained control of the plane and they made an emergency landing at “a little airfield”, as Helen called it.

Moline from the air

That “little airfield” ended up being in Moline, Illinois!  🙂

If you ever get a chance, read Helen’s very entertaining 2006 autobiography, “The Woman I Am”.

The Woman I Am

While the book covers the highs and lows of her entertainment career, she also talks quite a bit about her love of genealogy and tracing her family’s history, her beliefs in reincarnation, and acquiring Addison’s Disease, which also affected President John F. Kennedy.

It traces Helen’s life from her Australian childhood growing up in a vaudeville entertainment household, having her kidney removed as a teenager, her first marriage (also as a teenager) to an older man (33), who turned out to be an alcoholic and an abusive husband.   But, something good came out of that failed marriage — her daughter, Traci.

In 1966, Helen appeared on the Australian show “Bandstand” and won a trip to New York City for a record audition.

Helen Reddy 1966.JPG

At the time, women were still referred to as “girl singers” and labels were afraid to promote the careers of too many women.  So, success in America, the creme de le creme of the world music market, would have to wait.

Helen sang wherever she could in the United States and Canada to make ends meet for her and her little girl, all alone and a world away from her family “down under””.

In the book, Helen cracked me up by only referring to her second husband and manager, Jeff Wald, as “Number Two”!  (After they divorced in the 1980s, Helen learned how vindictive he had been in closing doors on her musical career and the games he played with her involving their two children.  He also swindled her out of most of her earnings that took Helen much of the next two decades to recover from financially!)

In 1971, Helen recorded “I Believe In Music”, an Adult Contemporary hit for country singer and actor Mac Davis, but it was the flip side of the single, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” that became her first American hit.  It peaked at #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Helen Reddy I Dont Know How To Love Him.JPG

She would go on to chart thirteen more Top 40 hits on the Hot 100.  Six of them reached the Top Ten and three went all the way to #1!

Her Top Ten hits were “I Am Woman” (#1, 1972), “Delta Dawn” (#1, 1973), “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973), “You and Me Against the World” (#9, 1974), “Angie Baby” (#1, 1974), and “Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady” (#8, 1975).

Her last Hot 100 hit was 1977’s “You’re My World”, which peaked at #18.

In honor of her birthday, I’m counting down my 10 favorite Helen Reddy songs!

10

“YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD”

#9

“AIN’T NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY”

8

“EMOTION”

#7 CD

“PEACEFUL”

6

“I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM”

5

LEAVE ME ALONE (RUBY RED DRESS)”

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns this song as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along. 🙂

She once told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

When I saw her in concert in 2013, she didn’t perform it! 🙂

4

“ANGIE BABY”

#3 CD

“DELTA DAWN”

As I mentioned earlier, this was the first record I ever bought as an 8-year-old!

#2 MOVIE

KEEP ON SINGING”

Before I reveal my favorite Helen Reddy song, I want to share the powerful story behind it.

I also want to express how much the song means to me and how it helped shape me into becoming the man I am today!

Back in 1971, her own experiences in the entertainment business prompted her to write a song for her debut album that would become iconic more than a year later!  That song was “I Am Woman”!

Helen Reddy album.jpg

She says, “Women have always been objectified in showbiz. I’d be the opening act for a comic and as I was leaving the stage he’d say, ‘Yeah, take your clothes off and wait for me in the dressing room, I’ll be right there’. It was demeaning and humiliating for any woman to have that happen publicly.”

Helen knew things had to change and she believed with the right song, her voice could do that, “I remember lying in bed one night and the words, ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman’, kept going over and over in my head.”

While the song was included on her 1971 album, Helen re-recorded “I Am Woman” in May 1972 and it was shipped to radio.  It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart!

Months later, it was released again!

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

However, it was SO much more than that!

Helen Reddy became an icon in the fight for women’s rights and the song became an anthem for millions as the “women’s movement” for equality gathered steam.

Womens Lib.JPG

More than forty years after “I Am Woman” moved mountains for women demanding equality to men, the words of that song could apply to the LGBTQ community with regards to demanding the acceptance of Americans and the world for the same civil rights.

There are still 29 states in the United States where LGBTQ+ people can still be discriminated against with regards to employment, housing and more!

Helen Reddy, thank you for standing up for women in the early 1970s and for letting the strength of your words make me stronger in my fight until I make my (straight) brothers understand.

While I’m not a woman, the conviction of that song from my childhood inspired me as an adult to push forward in the gay rights and marriage equality movements.

It made me stronger and gave me the strength to stand up to anyone who ever tried to belittle me for being gay.

#1

“I AM WOMAN”

Helen has always been an advocate for women and gay men and equal treatment for all.

Thank you for the memories and thank you for all that you’ve done for us!

Happy Birthday and here’s to many more!

Anthony

 

 

 

2019: My Personal Expectations & What Excites Me

While not as bad as 2017, a year I’d rather forget, (wait, what was I talking about? :)) I’m want to improve on 2018.

Relocating back to the Midwest to Duluth, Minnesota, was a great move for me.

Duluth

I really like Northland, the beauty of Lake Superior and most of the people I work with are a great group to spend time alongside during work hours.

I still loving forecasting weather, but I haven’t gotten used to the afternoon and evening hours after almost six years on a morning show.  It’s an adjustment that I hope works better for me in the new year.

I also want to expand my friend base.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the solitude of watching movies, binge watching television series (I’m watching and loving “The Americans” right now) and walking and reading (at the same time) to stay in shape and to exercise my brain!

Here’s to 2019! May it be a great one for us all!

gif-happy-new-year-2019.gif

CONCERTS

It’s hard to believe that I didn’t see one concert in 2018!  I can’t remember the last year that I didn’t see a concert!

However, in December 2017, on three consecutive nights, I saw Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, and Tanya Tucker in concert in Las Vegas.  I guess those three shows held me over for 2018!

LAS VEGAS

Also, with the move, I didn’t get to visit Las Vegas last year either!

I first visited Vegas in the early-1990s and I didn’t see my favorite American city again until 2012.  Since then, I’ve visited it, at least, once a year (twice in 2017).

In the back of my mind, I think I’d still like to move there!

As of now, I’m planning a trip there in the fall with my sister, Tammy, and I hope to be lucky and win big on the slots!

If I’m super lucky, I’ll win big and get to see the only concert I really want to see in 2019 — Kylie Minogue’s “Golden Tour”.

Kylie 1

It’s already played in Europe and will play Australia this March.  Her fall schedule is still open, so Kylie if you see this — Las Vegas, Nevada in the fall of 2019!  And, bring Jake Leigh with you! 🙂

Kylie 5

And, wouldn’t it just rock my world to have a seat to the show like this one!  This person had an incredible view for Kylie’s show in Birmingham, England.

This is the show’s opening number, “Golden”!

MARCH TRIP

Over the years, people have wondered (and asked) how I get to travel so much.  Well, I promise you it’s not from family wealth or my salary!

It’s called interest-free credit cards!  And, since my current card’s 0% APR ends in February, I used it to pay for my next trip.  I just made the final payment on New Year’s Day!

Of course, I won’t divulge the location until I get there! 🙂

If you recall, I didn’t announce my trip to Morocco last fall until three days before I departed.  Even then, I didn’t say specifically where I was heading.

You have to keep a little mystery in life! 🙂

March 2019.JPG

If you’re curious, it’s a capital city with a population of 8.3 million (about the same as New York City).

It’s very warm and humid. The average high temperature is above 90° every month of the year (expect December’s 89°), so I’ll take two pair of underwear for each day!  I hate “moist” underwear! 🙂  TMI!

And, I’m intentionally going to eat insects — specifically deep-fried grasshoppers, crickets and silkworms!  They sell them on the street!

Silkworms.JPG

Bon Appétit!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I saw Olivia Newton-John’s “Summer Nights” show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

In March 2019, Olivia will release her memoirs, “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

As you know, Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and was in remission until 2017.

She’s still fighting it and after weeks of headlines proclaiming her imminent death, Olivia stepped in front of the camera.

She laughed off the rumors and wished everyone a Happy New Year looking very alive and stunning!

“Xanadu” is still my favorite Olivia song.

NEW MADONNA ALBUM

Madonna kicked off 2019 with a surprise appearance at the Stonewall Inn in New York City with her 13-year-old son David, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Madonna.JPG

Talking to the surprised crowd, peace was on her mind, “If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for — ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?”

Madonna is working on her 14th studio album.

I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since “Rebel Heart” came out!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Sadly, you probably missed this song in 2015.  It was one of the best and most underrated songs in Madonna’s long career!

If you’re not familiar with the “Stonewall Riots” and the police brutality that led to LGBTQ people forming a community and Pride, click on the link below the picture and read my 2012 blog!

Stonewall_riots

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/

NEW REBA ALBUM

In September 2018, Reba teased new music and it’s expected in 2019.

REBA Coming Soon

Weeks later, about the new music, Reba said, “It’s gonna be probably the most country album I’ve ever recorded.”

Reba’s last studio album, 2017’s “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” was gospel.

This will be her first country album since 2015’s underappreciated, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Love Somebody

Thanks sexist, ageist country radio!

So, here’s a flashback to a real country sounding Reba from 1980 with her first Top 10 country hit, “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven”, which reached #8!

And, you’ll catch little sister, Susie Luchsinger, on backing vocals!

“TRICK 2” 

It’s taken 20 years, but a sequel to 1999’s “Trick” is on the way in 2019!

trick 2.jpg

The original, a New York City-based gay romantic comedy, with Tori Spelling, Christian Campbell (Neve’s brother), John Paul Pitoc, and Miss Coco Peru, is still one of my favorites.

I’ve read that the sequel will take place in Los Angeles a dozen years later.  Gabriel and Mark’s meet up again on an app.

Here’s the original trailer and Miss Coco Peru’s amazing rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” sung in original “Trick” by Jessica Williams.

“TALES OF THE CITY” SEQUEL

I was introduced to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” book series when the television miniseries hit the U.S. on PBS in early 1994.

I also fell in love with the amazing and incredible Laura Linney as Mary Ann Singleton.

Mary Ann

Since then, there’s been “More Tales of the City” (1998) and “Further Tales of the City” (2001).

In 2019, the latest installment will debut on Netflix with returning original stars Linney, Olympia Dukakis (Anna Madrigal), Barbara Garrick (DeDe Halcyon Day) and Paul Gross (Brian Hawkins).

Michael “Mouse” Tolliver will be played by the beautiful and sexy Murray Bartlett (“Looking”).

It’ll be based on the eighth book in the series (out of nine), “Mary Ann in Autumn”.

Mary Ann

Molly Ringwald has also joined the cast.

’80s FLASHBACK

I’ve talked about 2019 and the future, so why not enjoy a flashback to the decade of the best music ever!

This song hit #1 in more than ten countries around the world and reached #3 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 in the mid-1980s.

THAT’S IT

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

Happy New Year! 🎉🥂🍾

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 17, 2017

Can you believe Thanksgiving is now just days away?

Thanksgiving Forecast

I hope you have an incredible feast and enjoy everything about the holiday season.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!

Australians earlier this week overwhelmingly (62%) voted “yes” for marriage equality!

Thank you for seeing that “Love Is Love Is Love”.  And, thank you LeAnn Rimes for this incredible #1 U.S. Dance hit!

“COURT”ING CONTROVERSY”

75-year-old Australian tennis legend Margaret Court, who won 62 major titles in her career is a long-time opponent to marriage equality.

courttennis

In one of my first blogs ever back in January 2012, I wrote about Court when she said this (and much more) about being LGBT, “It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings.”

At the time, I wrote, “While I fully disagree with Court, I’m glad she stands by her views and I hope one day she can open her mind for equality.”  Clearly, she hasn’t.

So, ironically, I concluded my blog then with, “You old wind bag, feel free to speak your mind, but if you get on the “court” and make a lob, expect a return volley.”

No regrets!

NAVRATILOVA, MATCH & GAME POINT!

Openly gay tennis pro and LGBT rights activist Martina Navratilova posted this awesome tweet for Court.

Martina

“MR. ROBOT”

The third season of the USA Network hit series is moving right along and recently addressed #45!

Zhang (who’s also “Whiterose”), China’s Minster of State Security, tells the right wing TV host Frank Cody: “I may have a potential candidate for president I want you to back.” (with “that man” on the television).

Cody:  <nervous laugh> “Look, the country’s desperate right now, but you can’t be serious.  I mean the guy’s a buffoon.  He’s completely divorced from reality.  How would you even control him?”   

Zhang (Whiterose):  “If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance anyway you desire!”

ON THAT NOTE

Putin

Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings in Russia hit a record level of 88% with the annexation of Crimea in March 2014!

Wonder what it now that he influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

“MINDHUNTER”

If crime procedurals and serial killers are your thing, you’ll love the Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany star as FBI agents in the late-1970s that start the FBI’s “Behavioral Science” division to study criminal psychology and criminal profiling.

They want to learn from serial killers and this criminal profiling can help them catch future killers.

Groff (“Glee”, “Hamilton”, and Kristoff in “Frozen”) is adorable in this series.  In life, his character, Holden Ford is socially awkward, but it’s his fascination with crime and killers that pushes this project forward.

It’s especially fun seeing the very sexy Groff, who’s gay in real life, play a very sexually active straight man in graphic sex scenes, much like Neil Patrick Harris did on “How I Met Your Mother” — without the graphic sex scenes.

Also, it’s great to see Anna Torv (“Fringe”) back in a series and I love the fact that she eats tuna out of the can!  She rocks!

I find it hilarious that since “behavioral science” is a new division within the FBI that it’s relegated to the basement!  Sounds like another FBI show that studied paranormal activity and was put in the basement!

GRADE:  A-

BEST “MINDHUNTER” LINE THIS SEASON

Holden: “How do you get to be the president of the United States if you’re a sociopath?”

Breathe Trumpsters!  He was talking about President Richard Nixon!

WHO LISTENS TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC?

Nielsen released data on Christmas music on the radio from last year and what groups do you think listen to holiday music the most?  The results may surprise you.

  • Millennials (Age 18-34): 36%
  • Gen X (Age 35-54): 31%
  • Boomers & Beyond (Age 55+): 25%
  • Gen Z (Age 13-17): 8%

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO ALL”

With that in mind, I put together my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, I mean my 12 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs.

MC Santa

If you missed the countdown earlier in the week, you have another chance.  What do you think is #1?  Are you right?

Just click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/oh-santa-the-holidays-have-a-new-face/

TAYLOR SWIFT — “reputation”

Last Friday, Taylor Swift released “reputation”, the follow-up to her megahit “1989”, that’s gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Taylor-Swift-reputation

“reputation” sold 1.05 million copies in just its first four days to become the biggest selling album of 2017.

That’s four consecutive first week million sellers for Swift!

One thing I can say about the new album is that “Tim McGraw”‘s Taylor Swift is DEAD!!!!

This album is definitely more grown up and angrier with jabs to the older men she’s dated and veiled slams to Kanye West and Katy Perry (or “drama queens”).

I love the first two singles, “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Ready For It”.

The video to the album’s first single is incredible.  Even if you’re not a Swift fan, at least click on the video and watch the last 30 seconds.  Amazing and funny!

My favorite songs on the album are “Delicate” and “Gorgeous”.

I also love “I Did Something Bad”, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, “Getaway Car”, “Dress”, and “Don’t Blame Me”.

“End Game” with Ed Sheeran and Future is great, too.

GRADE:  A-

“PATTI CAKE$”

I’ve heard really good things about the summer drama “Patti Cake$”.

As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.

Danielle Macdonald plays Patricia Dombrowski, who’s mockingly called “Dumbo” in her New Jersey neighborhood.

She’s down on her luck and her home life is appalling.  She lives with her mother and terminally ill grandmother.  They’re poor and behind on their bills and are constantly getting collection agency calls.

But, the hardship comes naturally for Patti.  Her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett) loves to get drunk and sing karaoke at the dive bar where Patti works.

Patti’s calling is writing rhymes and rapping with her best friend, Jheri, played by a very charming Siddharth Dhananjay, a YouTube star from India.

By the end of the movie, you’re rooting for Patti and being thankful that Barb isn’t your mother.

 

GRADE:  A-

Another interesting note about “Patti Cake$” is that while watching the movie, it had a very “Muriel’s Wedding” feel with rap music substituted for ABBA songs.

The reason could be that Macdonald is Australian, just like Muriel Heslop and actress Toni Collette.

“PATTI CAKE$” BONUS — “PBNJ”

“THE BEGUILED”

First off, the movie stars my “girl crush” Nicole Kidman and the very sexy Colin Farrell.

It’s set in 1864, near the end of the Civil War.

Martha Farnsworth (Kidman) runs a home for young girls in Virginia.  One day while out hunting mushrooms, one of the girls finds an injured Union soldier (Farrell).

Against their better judgement, they nurse him back to health instead of turning him over to the Confederate Army.

Well, being the only (hot) man in a house of two women (Kidman and Kirsten Dunst) and a sexually provocative teenage vixen (Elle Fanning), you can imagine there’s “tension” and things go bad.

GRADE:  B+

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

Why Helen Reddy Will Always Remember Moline

International superstar Helen Reddy has won a Grammy, been a star on the stage and in movies, and has performed at some of the biggest venues across the world.

Back in the 1970s and the 1980s, she played shows in Iowa and Illinois.  She even performed in Davenport, Iowa.  While she may not have sung on stage in Moline, Illinois, the second largest of the Quad Cities, she’ll always remember Moline.  More on that shortly.

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I was fortunate to see Miss Helen Reddy in concert last year just outside of Chicago and I almost got to meet her.

I just finished reading her very entertaining 2006 autobiography, “The Woman I Am”.

The Woman I Am

While the book covers the highs and lows of her entertainment career, she also talks quite a bit about her love of genealogy and tracing her family’s history, her beliefs in reincarnation, and acquiring Addison’s Disease, which also affected President John F. Kennedy.  It’s a failure of the adrenal glands that will require treatment for the rest of her life.

The books traces Helen’s life from her childhood in Australia growing up in a vaudeville entertainment household, having her kidney removed as a teenager, her first marriage (also as a teenager) to an older man (33), who turned out to be an alcoholic and abusive husband.  However, one good thing came out of that failed marriage, her daughter, Traci.

And, this was all before Helen appeared on the television show, “Bandstand” in Australia and competed against 1,357 other people.

She couldn’t decide whether to perform a ballad or an uptempo song in the finale.  She lucked out and found a song, “Strangers and Lovers”, by Petula Clark that was both.  It worked because she won the contest that brought her to the United States to record a song for Mercury Records.

Unfortunately, it was the mid-1960s and women were still referred to as “girl singers” and labels were afraid to promote the careers of too many women.  Success in America, the creme de le creme of the world music market, would have to wait.

Helen sang wherever she could in the United States and Canada to make ends meet for her and her little girl, Traci, all alone and a world away from her family “down under”.  While the song would come later (in 1974) and reach #15 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, this is a perfect time for one my favorite Helen Reddy songs, “Keep on Singing”, since I mentioned the phrase “make ends meet”.

It’s included here in a medley with two other big Helen Reddy hits, “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973) and “Delta Dawn” (#1, 1973).

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns the song “Leave Me Alone” as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along. 🙂

On the tour last year when I saw Helen perform, she told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

HelenReddy2

Although I jumped ahead of myself to work in “Keep on Singing”, we have to go back to the man who made Helen Reddy the international superstar and legend she is — that is, outside of Helen’s immense talent and charm that kept her at the top of the chart in the 1970s.

His name is Jeff Wald, a younger man who Helen met a “surprise rent party”/25th birthday celebration in New York City thrown by two of her friends to raise money for Helen to pay her rent when she was a struggling singer in the 1960s.

What’s funny is that Wald crashed the party and didn’t even pay his five dollar entry fee.  In her book, Helen never refers to him by name, just “Number Two”, meaning her second husband and manager.  And, that totally made me smile.

In 1971, in a one-off deal with Capitol Records, Helen recorded “I Believe In Music”, an Adult Contemporary hit for country singer and actor Mac Davis.  For the “b-side” of the single, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” was chosen.  The song had been rejected by superstar Linda Ronstadt and even Helen didn’t much care for it.

Nevertheless, it was the song that radio warmed to and it reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 become Helen’s first hit in America.  In her native Australia, it hit #2.

Helen talks at length in the book about Jeff’s demons, including a long history of cocaine use.  While they were in love, it wasn’t enough with drugs and an increasing temper involved.  They would eventually divorce in the early-1980s.

It was also in the 1980s, after the divorce and her radio airplay and record sales cooled, that Helen realized how vindictive “Number Two” had been in closing doors for her in the music business and the games he played with her involving their two children.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he also swindled Helen out of most of her earnings that took her much of the two decades to recover from financially.

Helen’s last hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was the #18 smash, “You’re My World” in 1977.

Helen spent much of the next phase of her life acting on television and on stage.  She also started making plans for a life that did not involve the entertainment business and eventually became a clinical hypnotherapist.

In 2002, Helen gave a farewell concert performance in western Canada and announced in 2008 that she was done with singing and entertaining.

Lucky for us, in 2012, she made an appearance at a jazz club in San Diego, California, and did a benefit for a school outside of Los Angeles, and decided that she felt the joy of singing and performing again.

That’s how I got to see her in early 2013 outside of Chicago.

Helen Reddy Autograph

While Helen was on top of the world in 1973, there was a lot of turmoil going on in her life dragging her in many different directions.

As 1972 ended, “I Am Woman” hit #1 in the United States in December and Helen gave birth to her second child, Jordan.

In May 1973, after becoming the first Australian to score a number one song in America, she won a Grammy Award – another first for an Australian.  Helen got people talking at the Nashville, Tennessee, ceremony when she closed her acceptance speech with, “I want to thank God because She makes everything possible.”

And, that summer, she had a successful variety television show on NBC thanks to her good friend, comedian Flip Wilson.

But, things then turned dark for Helen as her mother died in July and she traveled the 9,000 miles to Melbourne for the funeral only to have her father die ten weeks later.

Helen was raised to know that “the show must go on” and she continued to tour around the funerals.

At this point, I bet you thought I had forgotten about the Quad Cities’ connection and why Helen would always remember Moline, Illinois, where I’ve lived for the past nine years.

Just around her 32nd birthday in late October 1973, she and her band were heading back to California after playing a show in Philadelphia on a leased private jet.  It encountered an intense thunderstorm in the Midwest and the plane started going down.

Helen says they were losing altitude so fast that it felt like they “hit a brick wall” and that “interior paneling started to snap out of its moorings” and cabin baggage was flying through the aircraft.

Moline from the air

The pilots were able to get out of the storm’s downdraft and they regained control of the plane and they made an emergency landing at “a little airfield”, as Helen called it.

That “little airfield” ended up being in Moline, Illinois!  And, that, my friends, is why Helen will never forget Moline!

HelenReddy Airport 1975

Interestingly enough, one year later Helen would star as a nun in the box office blockbuster disaster flick, “Airport 1975”, which you know almost crashed!  But, she got to sing an original song of hers, “Best Friend”, in the movie.

By now, you can tell that I absolutely love Helen Reddy.

I’ve blogged several times about her and if this is the first time you’ve had a chance to check out blog or you missed the others, check out these two entries.

This one is more about Helen Reddy and my discovering her as a little boy.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/helen-heres-to-many-more-happy-birthdays/

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And, this one is about her shaping me to be an advocate for equality.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/helen-reddy-thank-you-for-making-me-the-advocate-i-am-now/

Helen was always and is still an advocate for women, gay men, and equal treatment for all.  In the book, she covers the AIDS epidemic and homophobia.

Helen, thank you for the memories and for all that you’ve done for us.

Anthony