Posts Tagged ‘Barbara Walters’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

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While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

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That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

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I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

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It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

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My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

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But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

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Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

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Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

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“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

“Me” Personifies Ricky Martin’s Compassionate Life

I grew up listening to country music in Kentucky in the 1970s and switched over to pop, new wave, and dance music in the 1980s.  While I recall hearing about Menudo, I didn’t know much about the Puerto Rican boy band.

Ricky Martin File Photos

I also grew up watching NBC soap operas, especially “Days of Our Lives” and I recall, in the 1980s, how obsessed people at Murray State University were with “General Hospital” on ABC.

Since I wasn’t a fan of Menudo and I didn’t watch “General Hospital” in the mid-1990s when the character Miguel Morez, a bartender and singer, was on there, I missed my first two chances to fall under the spell of Ricky Martin.

Miquel Ricky

That’s okay because when he hit the Grammy Awards stage in February 1999, I took notice, along with the other 187 million people around the world that might not have known Ricky Martin.

Ricky Martin Grammy Performance

Even though “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and the follow-up songs, the hot videos, and the non-stop touring would propel him to super stardom, I really didn’t get to know and really admire Ricky Martin until I recently read his autobiography, “Me”.

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The book came out in late 2010,  the same year that he admitted to the world on his website, in March, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

I won’t give away all of the details of “Me” because I highly recommend you reading it.  But, for someone sitting on top of the world and that could have anything they wanted, I’ll say that I was most impressed with Ricky’s down-to-earth attitude and his commitment to making the world a better place for those that he loves and for the people he’ll never meet.

Enrique Martín Morales was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Christmas Eve in 1971.  While his parents divorced when he was young, he remained very close to both of them.

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As a child, he would sing into wooden spoons in kitchen along with popular rock groups Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Led Zepplin.  Even then, he knew he wanted to entertain.  Thanks to the encouragement of his parents, he got into television commercials and it became profitable.

He had multiple auditions to join Menudo, one of the most successful bands in the history of music.  Interesting enough, it wasn’t his lack of talent or his age that kept him from joining the band, it was because he was too short!

menudo

Ricky became a member of Menudo in 1984 and stayed with them until 1989.  Touring the world as a pre-teen and a teenager was grueling, but it taught him the importance of working hard and being committed to his craft.

As a 17-year-old, in the summer of 1989, he left Menudo and headed back to Puerto Rico.  On his 18th birthday, he finished school and then made one of the biggest decisions of his young life less than two weeks later.

He moved to New York City in January 1990 and enjoyed living life out of the spotlight and even considered giving up show business.  While in the “Big Apple”, Ricky visited friends in Mexico City and was drawn back into the entertainment business.

Ricky Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock)

He did theater work that led to a soap opera role that was made into a movie that won him the Mexican equivalent of the Oscar.  That led to a successful tour of the music inspired by the movie, which was about six boys in a band.

This renewed his love for music.  He signed on to Sony Music and released his first two Spanish albums in 1991 and 1993.  Together, those albums sold 1.2 million copies and produced six hits on the Billboard Latin chart with three of them reaching the Top Ten.

As excited as Ricky was to be sing again, he realized he should have checked that music contract out better because he got “robbed” — earning only about a penny from each album sold!

He continued to sing and tour and then moved to Los Angeles to act.  Before landing at “General Hospital” in 1994, he was on a short-lived series called “Getting By”.

A medio vivir

Outside of the United States, Ricky hit it big with the release of his third album, “A Medio Vivir” in late 1995.  Ricky’s book states the album went on to sell more than seven million copies world-wide and it produced one of the biggest hits of his career around the world, “Maria”.

Ricky writes that when a record executive first heard the song, he said, “Are you crazy?  You have ruined your career!  I can’t believe you are showing me this.  You’re finished — this is going to be your last album.”  It goes to show what some record company people know!

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As Ricky’s star continued to rise, so did the scrutiny about his private life.  He was hot, young, Latin, and single.  But, Ricky would not talk about his private life to reporters and so they’d speculate and start rumors.

You didn’t have to get too far into “Me” , (page 5), to learn about the real Ricky Martin, the man he kept hidden from the world because of fear.  Ricky writes that he wanted to “end the secret” and “I accept my homosexuality and celebrate the gift that life has given me.”

One of the things that I admire most about Ricky is that he said the book was about his life and his coming to terms and honestly admitting to the world who he was.  In the book, he’s a perfect gentleman.    While he talked about his affairs and falling in love with both women and men, he didn’t name names!

While he admitted these things in 2010, throughout his career in the 1980s and the 1990s, he didn’t talk about his private life.

Vuelve

In 1998, he released his fourth album, “Vuelve” early in the year and it sold more than seven million copies around the world and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.  Also, he recorded and performed “Copa de La Vida (The Cup of Life)” for the 1998 World Cup.

He would add English lyrics to that song and perform it on the Grammy Awards in February 1999 and the superstar, who had already conquered the Latin world with his music, became a household name in America.

Ricky Martin 1999

That led to his first English album. “Ricky Martin” in 1999 that sold 22 million copies worldwide.  Even in the U.S., it sold an incredible 660,000 copies in its first week out.

The first single, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” topped the charts in America and all over the world.

At more than eight million copies sold, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is one of the best-selling singles of all time!

Ricky was on the cover of “Time” and “People” and was named “Artist of the Year” by “Entertainment Weekly”.  He continued to tour to promote “Ricky Martin” while recording the follow-up album, “Sound Loaded”, and was being pulled in a million directions.

At the 1999 performance at the Grammy Awards, Ricky met Madonna.

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When they were recording “Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón)” for the “Ricky Martin” album, she gave him some good advice, “Ricky, stop doing interviews.  Everybody knows who you are.”  However, he continued saying “yes” to everything that his people and the record company asked.

The scrutiny about his private life continued to mount after a March 26, 2000, interview with Barbara Walters before the Oscars, in which she was relentless in her questioning him about whether he was gay.

Ricky Barbara Walters

In 2010, Barbara told the “The Toronto Star”, “In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was,” Walters said. “A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.”

The gossip about his personal life and the pressure of a tour of more than 100 dates forced him to lose control.  He finally took Madonna’s advice and put himself and his emotional state first.

While in Australia in late October 2000, he cancelled his next concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was only the second cancellation of his career — the other was because of illness.

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In “Me”, Ricky talks about how he met, by chance, a Puerto Rican, who was living in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1998, that would become a spiritual adviser to him.  That man prompted Ricky to go to India.  He went back to India, to Calcutta, in late 2000, and that trip opened his eyes to world of human child trafficking — selling children, as young as four-years-old, into the sex trade business.

Ricky Martin Foundation

Ricky has always been a  humanitarian and in 2002, he started the Ricky Martin Foundation, and two years later, added “People for Children”, to raise awareness about the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children around the world.

Child Trafficking

Ricky was instrumental in the relief efforts and the rebuilding of Thailand after the December 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed about one-quarter of a million people.  And, he was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after a January 2010 earthquake that killed around 159,000 people.

ricky martin haiti

In the book, Ricky never boasted about Haiti or Thailand, about raising awareness of child trafficking, or his organization just to say, “look at what I’ve done”.  You can definitely tell he is a great person and humanitarian.

If you’d like to know more about The Ricky Martin Foundation, here’s the link to the website:  http://www.rickymartinfoundation.org/en/

Exclusive - Ricky Martin Spends Time With His Partner And Children

Ricky spent the last part of “Me” talking about his beautiful twins boys, Matteo and Valentino, who were born in August 2008, to a surrogate mother.  It was heart-warming to hear how he kept the pregnancy a secret to keep the media away from the boy’s mother during the pregnancy.

And, he just gushes when he talks about how he wants the boys to be free to live their life without fear and with compassion to everyone they meet.

That song, “The Best Thing About Me Is You”, was released in late 2010 and reached #1 on the Billboard Latin chart.

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Ricky Martin is undeniably hot.  And, once you read “Me”, you’ll know he’s the kind of person any person would be lucky to call a “friend” and someone who any man would be lucky to call “husband”.

After reading “Me”, I know Ricky Martin much better and I wish him and the boys the very best in life.

Anthony