Posts Tagged ‘Band AId’

Random Thoughts — Christmas 2016

BITTER COLD & SNOW

We all know that Santa lives at the North Pole and it’s pretty cold and snowy there.  Well, if you’re out doing Christmas shopping across the Midwest, the weather is rather Christmas-sy or very North Pole-ish.

We picked up 2.8″ of snow this weekend, officially, in the Quad Cities bringing us to 13.8″ for December.  But, more importantly, it’s bitterly and dangerously cold.

Sunday morning, I woke up to -9° at my house in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, was even colder at -13° .  We saw similar temperatures Monday morning.

cold

This is the coldest morning since late February 2015, almost two years ago, when we reached about -18° in the Quad Cities.

If those temperatures weren’t bad enough, the wind chill early Sunday morning was -35° in Davenport and Clinton.

Temperatures start to warm today and this warming will last through the rest of the week!

 

 

That’s my part of the blog to keep you safe.  Now let’s have fun since you’re already reading!

CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is only a week away now!  Where has this year gone?

White Red Christmas

I hope you and yours are having a festive holiday season.  I’ve only bought four Christmas presents so far.  What am I waiting for?

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

NOLA Christmas

THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO, HMMMM

Now that some stations are playing Christmas tunes twenty-four hours a day and others are sprinkling in a holiday song here and there, I have these questions for the writers of some of the classics.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” — So “a child shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.  Why not bring him a blanket or clothes?
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” — “Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”  Um, if he’s the most famous of all, of course we remember his name.  But, can we name the other eight without singing the song?
  • “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” — Wanting one this Christmas?  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER

WHAT SONGS MAKE YOU CRINGE?

“Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer” is without a doubt my least favorite Christmas song of all time!

Other songs that make me quickly change the radio station in the car are “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” and “Linus And Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

For Ray, it’s “Santa Baby”.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not there yet, but it’s definitely getting tired.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOK

It’s not secret that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president and after reading his book, “Christmas in Plains” a few years back, it’s one of my Christmas traditions to read it each holiday.

ChristmasInPlains

I’m finishing the political book I’m reading now and I’ll dive into the very touching, easy-to-read 155 page book.

President Carter shares stories of Christmases from his childhood, with Rosalynn and his children, in the White House, and more.

Merry Christmas President and Mrs. Carter!

MERRY X-MAS!

So, does seeing “Merry X-Mas” upset you at the holidays?

xmas

It doesn’t bother me.  However, “Christians” do!  Before you have a coronary thrombosis, click here to see what I’m talking about!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

So, every day, not just at Christmas, let’s put “Christ” back into “Christian”, too.

READY FOR AN “UNSILENT NIGHT”  *

VH1, the older people’s MTV, rang in the Christmas cheer earlier this month with “Unsilent Night”, the latest concert in its “Diva” concert series.

Mariah Carey was the headliner and opening act for this show.

And, before you watch it here, know that as a gay man, I can’t get enough of Mariah Carey’s divaness and her boobs!  (As you gasp,  you’ll know what I’m taking about from the video or just from the thumbnail image below.  There’s no doubt that she wanted those ornaments to be seen!)

I also love the back-up dancers.  Who knew Christmas could be so sexy?

The other divas this year included Vanessa Williams, Miss Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan.

A VERY MERRY ($$$) MARIAH CHRISTMAS  *

Mariah Carey’s holiday tradition of performing shows at the Beacon Theater x is something that I hope I can finally see.  Heck, this year, Beyonce and Shania Twain checked out the performance.

While she won’t be singing “All I Want For Christmas”, I’m planning on seeing Mariah and Lionel Richie on tour in the spring of 2017.

Along with her Christmas shows, her Las Vegas residency, her tour with Lionel Richie, and performing on this year’s “Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year Eve” to ring in 2017, Mariah kicked off the holiday season with a seven-minute performance in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).

Mariah Toronto.jpg

She performed “Here Comes Santa Claus” and her now iconic classic, “All I Want For Christmas” for a cool million bucks for Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window display unveiling!

SPEAKING OF DIVAS

This performance by Patti LaBelle (without her back-up singers and the words) is classic for all the wrong reasons.

But, Ms. LaBelle is a champion!

READY FOR A “CHRISTMAS PARTY”?

Derrick Barry is the most amazing Britney Spears!  Okay, other than the real Britney, bitch!

This Christmas version of “Slumber Party”, “Christmas Party” makes me want to deck the halls!

While this has nothing to do with Christmas, it gives me a chance to show the original “Slumber Party” by Britney Spears and Tinashe, which is now a Top 40 song at pop radio!

It’s already been viewed more than 38 million times in less than a month.

THIS CHRISTMAS IS SUCH A “DRAG”

And, that’s amazing!

One hundred or so Dutch drag queens got together to put together this Christmas medley and it’s amazing!

Ray was scared of some of them, but I loved it.  This is what drag is all about.

Warning:  This is a rather risque part about eight minutes in. 🙂

Thank you, Lady Galore!

THIS CHRISTMAS GIVE FRUITCAKE SOME LOVE

I’m one of those that absolutely loves fruitcake, but not everyone does.

funny_fruitcake

But, I know some celebrities that do!

Sir Paul McCartney orders a fruitcake from cake designer Fiona Cairns each Christmas and, in early 2011, Cairns was tapped to make the royal wedding cake for Prince William and his future bride, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Royal Wedding Fruit Cake

CONFESSION AT CHRISTMASTIME *

You probably know how very popular James Corden’s “Carpool Karoke” is.  If not, he’s joined by celebrties in a car and they sing, talk, laugh, and confess.

Okay, I’ll confess two things — (1) I think James is adorable and I have a tiny crush on the teddy bear and (2) I’ve always loved Mariah Carey and I just can’t get enough of her now!  And, I finally get to see her in concert in May in Nashville, Tennessee!

But, first things first, check out this all-star version of Mariah’s incredible Christmas hit (again).

Love it!

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA TO DAZZLE FRIENDS

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

Poinsettia 1

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is the late, great, golden retriever, Miss ABBA, wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

Again,I hope that Bible story and information is correct since I didn’t verify it.  The big man upstairs didn’t get back with me on that one.

CHARITY & CHRISTMAS

While we feast at Christmas, one of my favorite songs of the holiday season is, sadly, about not having enough to eat and starvation.

Can you believe that “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released more than 30 years ago?

Between the single’s release in December 1983 and 1989, it sold 11.7 million singles worldwide.

It was the best selling single in U.K. until “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John in 1997 following Priness Diana’s death.

FORGET THAT OLD “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

The Christmas classic is tired and so outdated.  Do we really care about “Lords a Leaping”, “Maids a Milking”, and all that stuff.

Why not infuse the song (and video) with botox, prancing gays, naked men, former husband, and giant breasts.

I bet I have your attention now!

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG

“O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional Christmas song, but my favorite of all-time is a song that was first released in 1970.

It was re-issued in 1974 and 1977.  It’s The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling” by my favorite vocalist of all-time, Karen Carpenter.

And, what song is now my second-favorite Christmas song?….

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS *

without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”.

What did we do before this now-classic, 1994 hit was released that’s had more than 226.7 million views?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S.  Did you figure out the what the * denoted in the blog?  Mariah “visions”, of course. 🙂  Leave the “visions of sugarplums” for ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”!

P.S. 2  

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.  I hope it’s fun of love and joy.  Most of all, I hope you’re not screaming “You Ruined My Christmas” to anyone this year.

Here are the Supreme Fabulettes, thanks to the one and only Boy George, who directed the video and co-wrote the song.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — November 21, 2014

We’re closing in on the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is next week and I hope that you have a happy one and if you head out to the stores or the malls afterwards, I hope you don’t get mauled or that you don’t maul others!

Thanksgiving Forecast

I have a few random thoughts to share with you.  With the Christmas season coming up and my countdowns of my favorite movies, albums, and songs in December, this will be my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2014.  Enjoy!

NOT ONE, BUT TWO COUNTRY STARS COME OUT AS GAY THIS WEEK

Ty Herndon last hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart in 2001 with a song that only peaked at #37.  While not impressive, that’s just one of thirteen hits he’s scored since his debut, “What Mattered Most”, topped the chart in 1995.

Ty Herndon

After two failed marriages, stints in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and a 1995 arrest in a Fort Worth, Texas, park for exposing himself to an undercover cop with drugs in his possession (the indecent exposure charged was dropped in a plea bargain), the Mississippi born singer is finally finding peace.

Earlier this week, he told “People” magazine, “I’m an out, proud and happy gay man” and that he’s been in a long-term relationship with his partner, Matt.

Herndon says he started thinking he was gay when he was 10-years-old and starting coming out to his family when he was 20, “My mother probably knew I was gay before I did. I remember sitting down with her and having the conversation.”  He adds, “She was more concerned about me having a happy life. You have to be able to do that in your own skin, and [my family] has seen me struggle with being gay my whole career.”

Herndon also talked to “People” about his demons.  “I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. They’ve been my mistakes, and I own them,” says Herndon. “I’ve done a lot of work around forgiveness with people that I’ve hurt and people I’ve not been honest with because of my sexuality.”

Of his thirteen country hits, seven reached the Top Ten with three topping the chart:  “What Mattered Most” (1995), “Living In A Moment” (1996), and “It Must Be Love” (1998).

Herndon plans to release a new solo album next year and is currently touring with Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs.

He plans on using his coming out to help others with visibility.  Herndon adds, “I just want to show up for the causes that I believe in. And be able to walk down the street and hold this man’s hand that will be my husband one day, and I know we’ll have kids one day.”

Ty, congratulations and I wish you and Matt the very best.  Enjoy country music, singing, touring, and whatever you choose to do in life.

BILLY GILMAN ALSO DECLARES PUBLICLY THAT HE’S GAY

Billy Gilman is now a charming, good-looking 26-year-old man, but he scored his first country hit back in 2000, when he hit #20 with “One Voice”, at the age of just twelve!

Billy Gilman

While he had one more modest hit later that year on the radio, his big accomplishment was having three Top Ten albums on the country chart in less than one year!

In a compelling video posted to YouTube yesterday, Gilman talks about what prompted him to come out and why he’s ashamed to say publicly that he’s gay.

He says, “It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person, but it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that I’m in a genre and an industry that’s ashamed of me for being me.”

And, sadly, that’s true.  Now, I know that not all country music fans are close-minded because many country music fans are friends and fans of mine.  But, you don’t have to look too far and too long to realize that what Gilman says is true.

Billy, coming out is courageous and I applaud you.  As you already know, there will be obstacles.  Deal with them and do what you love and you’ll have people follow you.

Best of luck!

DONATE, BUT AVOID THE EBOLA CHARITY SINGLE!

Back in the fall of 1984, Bob Geldof gathered a group of very popular English musicians including Culture Club, Duran Duran, Wham!, U2, Bananarama, Sting, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Phil Collins, and many more to record a charity single called “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”.

band_aid_1984

The money raised would go toward fighting starvation in Ethiopia.  By 1989, the single had already sold nearly 12 million copies worldwide.

It became the biggest selling single in UK history until 1997 when it was surpassed by Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle In The Wind”.

Band Aid Cover

Now, 30 years later, Geldof has brought together some of the biggest U.K. stars today including One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, Rita Oro, and others for a re-working of the song to raise money and awareness to fight ebola.

However, the lyrics are awkward and the production pales in comparison to original.  I couldn’t even get through the song once.  You can find it online by searching for “Band Aid 30”.

The good news is that the song raised the equivalent of $1.7 million in just the first few minutes of being released.

By the way, in November 2004, there was another version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by “Band Aid 20”.  Like the new version, it fails miserably living up to the original even with one of my favorites, Kylie Minogue, involved.

If you’d like to donate money in the fight against ebola and save yourself from buying and hearing the “Band Aid 30” song, you can donate here:

https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-stop-ebola-west-africa/18771

And, here’s the original “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and my early prayers that there won’t be a “Band Aid 40”!

REMEMBERING HARVEY MILK

Next week marks the 36th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected to public office in California as a member of the San Fransisco Board of Supervisors eleven months early.

It was on November 27, 1978, that Dan White, an unstable and disgruntled former supervisor on the board with Milk, went into City Hall and gunned down Milk and San Fransisco Mayor George Moscone in cold blood.

I just read the book, “The Mayor of Castro Street” by the late writer Randy Shilts, who was born right here in the Quad Cities, in Davenport.  What an incredible read and what an amazing man!

If you don’t know much about Harvey Milk, the man who help ignite the LGBT movement in the late-1970s, just as the Stonewall Riots in New York did in the summer of 1969, check out this feature I wrote a couple of years ago.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/11-3-1977-harvey-milk/

 “PEOPLE” SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

31-year-old Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) was named “People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”.

Chris-Hemsworth

While he is definitely gorgeous and I haven’t checked out the magazine yet, my choice for “Sexiest Man Alive” would be Enrique Iglesias.

Enrique Iglesias

James Marsden or Matt Bomer would also be high on that list, too.  For others that made my list last year, check out this fun blog I posted in October 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/least-thought-provoking-entry-yet/

If I had to update the list now, it would have to include singer Nick Jonas and actors Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), Theo James (“Divergent”), and Jack Falahee (Connor Walsh on “How To Get Away With Murder”).

Nick JonasHugh DancyTheo James

Andrew Lincoln

Wait, how did Andrew Lincoln of “The Walking Dead” pop up there? 🙂

MORE TAYLOR SWIFT ADMIRATION

If I thought “Shake It Off”, the first release from the mega-hit album, “1989”, was awesome, the follow-up, “Blank Space” is incredible.

I thought that when I first heard the song, but once I saw the over-the-top crazy video, there was no doubt!

TAYLOR, BY THE NUMBERS

Taylor Swift is still on fire.  “Blank Space” vaults from #13 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Taylor the first woman to ever replace herself at #1.  This week, “Shake It Off” drops from the top spot to #3.

Taylor Swift

The first act to do that was the Beatles back in 1964.  They actually replaced themselves at #1 back-to-back with three chart toppers:  “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, and “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

Also, Taylor’s album “1989” spent a third week at number one on the album chart selling another 312,000 copies.  In just three weeks, it’s up to sales of two million!

Only one other album in 2014 has sold more, the “Frozen” soundtrack and it’s up to 3.25 million.

“1989” and “Frozen” are the only million sellers this year!

With the Christmas buying season hitting full force next week, which album will end up as the biggest seller in 2014?  You can never count out “Frozen” since it has a big lead and it won’t go away, but I’m putting my money on T-Swizzle!

TWO HUMOROUS LOOKS AT TAYLOR

Thanks to my friend, Kathy McCoy, for bringing this to my attention from “Saturday Night Live”.  This is so me!

And, here’s “Blank Space” as a horror movie trailer!

ADAM JOSEPH — BEST DAD OF THE YEAR!

There are great dads out there all over the world, whether they are single dads, dads married to a woman, or dads that have another great man.

My vote for dad of the year goes out to fellow television meteorologist Adam Joseph of 6ABC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Adam is taking the holidays and the important November ratings period off to be with his son, Jacob.  Here’s what he posted on his Facebook page earlier this month.

Adam Joseph

Back in August, Adam not only publicly came out as gay, but he also announced that his partner, Karl, were proud dads of newborn, Jacob.

Adam told philly.com, “While I believe every person reading this article should respect others’ privacy, I decided to share this personal moment for my son.”

He added, “I want my son to be proud of both his fathers.  From the day he was born, I want him to understand that families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  In our eyes, as long as there is unconditional love for a child, it doesn’t matter who that child looks up to or leans on… This is unconditional love and hope.  I truly wish that every person wanting a family can feel this overwhelming happiness and joy.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Happy 2015, Adam, Karl, and Jacob!

MY PICK HIT IS NOW A CROSSOVER HIT

Last month in October, while in Tel Aviv, Israel to celebrate my birthday, I was so thrilled to get to see VH-1 and music videos all the time.

One new song that caught my attention was “Stolen Dance” by the German duo, Milky Chance.

That song has spent ten weeks #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and is now a Top 40 radio airplay hit here in America!

THE NEXT TIME YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT SNOW…

Think about poor western New York.  Lake effect snows this week have dumped more than seven feet of snow (that’s more than 84″ of snow)!

Sadly, the storm has killed at least ten people and stranded thousands.

However, I’m looking for the silver lining in this historic snow event.

Home Near Buffalo

Is this picture not too funny?

Last season, the second snowiest on record in the Quad Cities, we picked up 65.1″ and that was from October 2013 to March 2014!

 SOLO BONUS JONAS (NO, NOT FRANKIE)

Nick Jonas, the youngest in the pop trio, the Jonas Brothers, is having a great year.

He’s earning rave review in his role as Nate Kulina on the hit Audience Network series, “Kingdom”.

Additionally, he just hit #6 on the Billboard Album chart with his self-titled latest album and he just scored his first Top Ten solo hit on Billboard Hot 100 as “Jealous” moves to #10.

As part of the Jonas Brothers, he scored eight hits on the Hot 100 with two of them reaching the Top Ten.

A SEXY CHRISTMAS FLASHBACK

Remember this sexy “Show Your Joe” KMart commercial from last year?

If you’re a fan of the Showtime series, “Dexter”, you might recognize Darri Ingolfsson, the third from the left.  He played Oliver Saxon/Daniel Vogel in the eighth and final season.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and you get family time, even if you have to work.

I work Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, but I’m still going to make the most of my family time and the holidays when I get home from work!

If you’re still not buying into the amazing Christmas music on the Quad Cities’ Mix 96 yet, maybe this beautiful Coca-Cola commercial will get you into the Christmas spirit!

Now, I want a Coke Zero!

Thank you for checking out my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2014.   Let me know if you agree or disagree with me on anything that I wrote today.

My favorite albums, songs, and movies of 2014 are coming soon, along with another blog or two.

Anthony

I’m Your Christmas Juke Box Today

I hear people say that it seems like Christmas starts earlier each year.  In the quest to get more of your money, that’s true.  By the time “Black Friday” arrives, many stores have already had big sales.

I love it each holiday season when “Mix 96” in the Quad Cities changes their music format to all Christmas!  I could listen to holiday music all year around and I confess that when I’m overly stressed, I turn it on to chill out, even if it’s September.

holiday boom box

Today, I’m going to share my favorite Christmas songs with you.  Now, while I love Reba, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, every song from their Christmas albums cannot make the list, otherwise you’d still be reading it next Christmas, so I’ll select just one of my favorites from each of them.

Whether you’re at work, at play, or at home reading my blog today, click on each of my selections and let me your Christmas Juke Box today!

While Christmas would not be complete if we didn’t hear Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, or Elvis belting out classics, they are not in my Top Ten.

My other favorites that just missed out, too, are “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (Bruce Springsteen), both versions of “Please Come Home For Christmas” (The Eagles and Bon Jovi), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love), “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (Brenda Lee), “Sleigh Ride” (Debbie Gibson), and “If We Make It Through December” (Merle Haggard).

Now, my ten favorite holidays songs.  To make this list, it has to be a song that regardless of what I’m doing or if I’m in the car and it comes on, I’ll stop and listen until it’s over.

10

WILLIE NELSON — “PRETTY PAPER” 

My love for this song goes back to watching my mother cry every time she heard it.  And, now I know why.  We really need to slow down at the holidays and show more love and compassion, especially to strangers.

#9

MICHAEL BUBLE — “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS”

8 red

REBA — “THE SECRET OF GIVING”

I absolutely love the message behind this song.  I wish radio (pop and country) would play it at Christmas time.

I  remember when I was in Maryland, in 2005, and one of the radio groups had an all-day telethon to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims and the American Red Cross.  You could call any of the radio stations that you listened to and make a donation and they’d play your request on whichever station you chose, regardless of the genre.  I donated $10 to play this Reba song on the hard rock station. 🙂

green 7

JOSH GROBAN — “O HOLY NIGHT”

“O Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas song.

I could very well have had Reba, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill or countless others listed here.  But, there are many classics on Josh Groban’s “Noel” album and his version is perfect and that voice makes me melt!

6 red

PAUL McCARTNEY — “WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME”

 

GREEN 5

ELTON JOHN — “STEP INTO CHRISTMAS”

 

red-number-4

JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO — “HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)”

If you’ve only heard this song on the radio and have never seen the video, it’s graphic.  War is never pretty, even during the holidays.

green 3

MARIAH CAREY — “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

number_2_red

BAND AID — “DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?”

Christmas has definitely taken a turn a bit darker in my countdown after many upbeat and fun holidays songs.

And, what would Christmas be without a Christmas Bonus?

Christmas-Bonus- Woman

What?  You want the other present?

Christmas-Bonus- Man

Wait, I’m not talking that kind of bonus.  Casey Kasem always had an “American Top 40 Extra”!  So, here’s mine.

Before I started the countdown of my favorite Christmas songs, I said, “while I love Reba, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, every song on their Christmas albums cannot make the list”.  The same can be said for the Carpenters, so here’s an extra medley before we get to #1.

We’ve counted down the hits, all the way from number ten to number two and now we’re up to my favorite Christmas recording of all time!

#1

THE CARPENTERS — “MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING”

Which of these do you like or dislike?  What is your favorite?

Merry Christmas!

Anthony

It’s Not a Holly Jolly Christmas For Everyone

The shimmering snow, the sparkle of Christmas lights, the joy of family and friends gathering and laughing, and holiday classics blasting on the radio may bring delight to those that love the Christmas season.

But, this time of the year is not necessarily “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” and some people don’t see it as a “Holly Jolly Christmas”.

Holiday_blues

No, I’m not depressed over the loss of my job or despondent over our first Christmas without Miss ABBA.  I have so many cherished memories of  her that she is still with us.  And, I’m fortunate enough to have loved ones that I’m getting to go on a fantastic Christmas cruise with next week.

However, I know that all is not “merry and bright” for many people who feel they have very little to live for or to be thankful for.  And, this is why I’m talking about it today and I hope that you’ll continue reading.

A Christmas Carol

In Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol”, Scrooge is visited by the “Ghost of Christmas Past”.  He’s not alone.  A lot of us are also visited by the ghosts of loved ones that have gone before us.

Many people think that suicide rates skyrocket during Christmas.  There are many studies that prove that is not the case.  However, in 2010, more than 38,000 Americans committed suicide (that’s 105 a day) and another estimated one million people in the U.S. attempted to take their own life.  Men are much more likely to end their life (79%).  And, suicide is the third leading cause of death of people ages 15-24, but in the 25-34 age range, it moves up to second.

The reality, and the point I want to make, is that one suicide or one attempt is one too many!

SuicideHotline

Holiday or not, if you, or someone you suspect, might be thinking of doing something irrational, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Trevor Project

There’s also the Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. That number is:

1-866-488-7386.

HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS DEPRESSION

George Bailey

In this scene from one of the most iconic,  holiday standards, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, George Bailey, a man who put his dreams on the back burner to keep the family business alive and to raise his own family, reached the point on Christmas Eve that he thought that everyone would be better off if he were dead.  He was ready to jump off a bridge and end his life.

Clarence, an angel working on getting his wings, was sent down from heaven to try to prevent that tragedy.

its-a-wonderful-life-3

The movie is a true tear-jerker.  I cry each time I watch it.  It’s not George’s attempted suicide that gets to me, it’s this note from Clarence that turns on the water works for me.

its_a_wonderful_life_friends

There are other holiday movies that I absolutely love that are mostly sad.  “Prancer” is one of them.

Prancer

This 1989 movie tells the story of a young girl, Jessica, trying to be happy at Christmas following the death of her mother.  Her father has fallen on hard times and he wants Jessica to go live with her aunt because he feels she could offer the youngster a better life.

One day, she discovers an injured deer and is convinced that it’s one of Santa’s and that she must get it well in time for Christmas.

At one point, Jessica threatens to run away from home and even wishes she were dead.  Pretty heavy stuff for an 8-year-old!

It’s a must-see movie.

The Houseboy Cover

And, since 2008, there’s also another bleak movie that I watch several times each season.  Some people may be put off just by the provocative cover of “The Houseboy”.

The movie focuses on Ricky, a young man living in New York City.  In the opening scene, we learn that he’s in a relationship as the third person in a couple’s long-term relationship and the couple wants a “new toy”.  Ricky is no longer wanted.

He’s also estranged from his family back in North Carolina after he came out to them at Thanksgiving.  In a phone conversation, his religious sister gives him the “love the sinner, just not the sin” speech and that she doesn’t know if his mother would ever accept Ricky being gay.

When the couple goes away to Los Angeles for the week, Ricky is left to house sit and take care of the cats, the hamsters, the rabbits, the fish, and water the Christmas tree.

To Ricky, who is despondent over the rejection from his family and, now, his gay “surrogate” family, the only solution is to kill himself on Christmas Eve by overdosing on a bowl of pills.

The Houseboy

As we watch Ricky’s depression build that week up to that fateful decision to end it all on Christmas Eve, we see him engage in unprotected casual sex and being used by others just for them to have a place for a drug-fueled orgy.  In one haunting scene, Ricky talks to a tweaked out kid writing his mother’s phone number on his foot with a marker in case he overdoses, they’d know who to call.

Phone Number

“The Houseboy” is very thought-provoking and I know many people will never see it because it’s a gay movie with drugs and promiscuous sex.  And, that’s a shame, because it does have a subplot like “It’s A Wonderful Life” that features hot chocolate and mistletoe that will leave you with a smile and a sigh of relief after almost 80 minutes of sadness.

SADNESS IN CHRISTMAS SONGS, TOO

We even find sadness permeating in many holiday songs.  There’s Elvis’ classic, “Blue Christmas”, Willie Nelson sings about homelessness in “Pretty Paper”, and Reba sings about divorce in “Santa Claus Is Coming Back To Town”.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Why did I include, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” here?  That’s cheery, right?

When the song was written for the 1944 musical, “Meet Me In St. Louis”, Judy Garland and others on the movie said the song’s original lyrics were depressing.  They asked writer Hugh Martin to change some of the lyrics to make it happier.

One of the changes was “It may be your last/Next year we may all be living in the past”  became “Let your heart be light/Next year all our troubles will be out of sight”.

Band Aid Cover

In November 1984, a group of mostly English musicians got together to record a song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, a country located in eastern Africa.  From 1983-1985, it’s estimated that 8 million people were affected by famine brought on by drought conditions and war and that about one million of them died from starvation.

band_aid_1984

The superstar recording organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure included Boy George, Culture Club, Duran Duran, George Michael, Spandau Ballet, Sting, Bono, U2, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Bananarama, Jody Watley, Kool & The Gang, Kiss, Marilyn, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and many others.

The song topped the charts in many countries and the following summer, a concert, Live Aid, continued to raise money for famine relief.  Sadly, it’s estimated that more than 56,000 tons of food sent to Africa rotted because it couldn’t get to people desperately needing it.

Five years later, another recording of the song by Band Aid II was released and it hit #1 and raised more money.  And, Band Aid 20, in 2004, did the same.  But, neither of the last two re-recordings reached the success of the original.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is still one of my all-time favorites.  The lines “And it’s a world of dreaded fear/Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears/And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom/Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you /And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time/The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life” still give me chills today.

If you’re still reading this, I appreciate it.  It isn’t one of my most bubbly, fun blogs.  However, it’s a reality faced by many.

christmas lights

So, when you’re out and about and you pass someone on the streets or in the stores (it should be everyday and not just at the holidays), smile and say, “hello”.  That simple act of kindness may be that person’s lifeline.

Anthony