Posts Tagged ‘Britney Spears’

What I’ll Miss About the Quad Cities

Quad Cities, it’s been fun!

After 11.5 years, I left bright and early this morning to start my 1,000-mile journey to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

PC

I’m stopping along the way in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to have lunch with one of my best friends, Steve, at one of my favorite restaurants, Patti’s 1880’s Settlement!

If you’ve never heard of it and you’re traveling through Land Between The Lakes in western Kentucky, you have to stop there!

IMG_4180

IMG_4186

On Thursday, I talked about my local television career.  Today, it’s all about how the Quad Cities enriched my life and, hopefully, made me a better person.

First off, social media made me more accessible to my friends.  It also made loyal viewers more connected to me and my life.

That’s definitely an advantage (and to some degree, with some, a disadvantage).  The friendships I’ve fostered over the years definitely outweighed the negative people that suck. 🙂

SETTLING INTO THE QUAD CITIES

It’s hard to believe that Miss ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted the weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at the ABC affiliate.  After seven years there, I moved to WHBF for a little over four years.

When ABBA and I moved here, I was still earning my meteorology certification while working full-time.

We’d go on long walks to Karstens Park and sit for hours.  I’d be reading and studying and she happily watched the world go by.  She was always hoping that every person that walked by would stop and love on her. She was a golden retriever, after all!

It was always fun on our walks.  We’d stop and make “photo ops” out of someone else’s yard decorations! 🙂

EATING OUT

I love to cook and when I moved here, I ate most of my meals at home.  But, when my sister Tammy or “Mom” (Betty) visited the Quad Cities, I enjoyed going out to eat.

Bishop’s Buffet in South Park Mall in Moline was one of my favorites.  As you know, I love buffets and even though it was served cafeteria style, it was still a buffet and it was incredible.  I was saddened when they closed the doors.

I loved their coconut chicken and it was there that I first had strawberry-rhubarb pie. Bishop’s desserts were out of this world.  I still eat more desserts at a buffet than real food. 🙂

Along with Bishops, I loved Panda Buffet in Moline, which is now Osaka Buffet.  I got to eat there once more yesterday!

Where else can you have tasty Chinese food and great sushi at such a reasonable price!

Osaka.jpg

I’ll truly miss Osaka Buffet, but I know Panama City will have something similar to make me happy.

FATE KEEPS ME IN THE QUAD CITIES

After a few years here, I was thinking about leaving the Quad Cities in early 2009.  But, fate intervened and Ray and Gretel came into our lives.  I joined Facebook in March of that year and you pretty much know most of what’s happened since then. 🙂

But, since I’m sharing my memories of the Quad Cities and some of you are newer friends, I have more to tell.

Ray and I met in February 2009 and our first lunch date was at Exotic Thai in Moline.  I had pumpkin curry and each anniversary of that date we went back there and I had the same thing each time!

2013 Anniver ET.jpg

Once we got past that date, I invited Ray over for dinner and made him Shrimp Scampi, which was healthier than my comfort food staple, Chicken a la King with mashed potatoes!

I still make Shrimp Scampi, but I’ve now mastered an incredible Shrimp Ceviche!

Shrimp C.jpg

The first dinner Ray made for me and Miss ABBA at his place was Chicken Piccata (thinly breaded, pan-fried chicken cooked with lemons and capers).  It’s now one of my favorite meals and Ray made it again for me last weekend.  (This is Ray’s Chicken Piccata from earlier this year.)

Chicken PI’ll never forget this funny story from that first dinner date.

While he was cooking, Miss ABBA was on the linoleum floor waiting for him to share with her or drop something.

Much to his chagrin, because he hated the ugly floor (and it was), I laid down beside her and just talked to him while he made dinner. 🙂

Since we both love to cook, the second big project after I moved in was to renovate the kitchen and we were very pleased with the final project in the summer of 2012.

I’m truly going to miss our kitchen!

FIRST CONCERT DATE

We’ve gone to many concerts over the past eight years:  Madonna (twice), Lady Gaga (three times), Reba (three times), Britney Spears, Elton John, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Scissor Sisters, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, the Dixie Chicks, Erasure, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull (twice), Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Band Perry, Ellie Goulding, and more.

But, our first concert together in the summer of 2009 was Keith Urban and pre-megastar Taylor Swift at the iWireless Center in Moline!

KU AP R

Yes, in all of his sweaty hotness, Keith was this close to us.  But, I was on a date and I adore Nicole Kidman too much to think about it (okay, maybe a little!). 🙂

KU.jpg

TRAVEL

Before the Quad Cities, my travel was confined to North America:  Nashville (TN), Louisville (KY), Houston (TX), Palm Springs (CA), Las Vegas (NV), Niagara Falls (NY), and Cancun (Mexico).

Once I met Ray, we started traveling more domestically.

Our first trip together was to Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada, when I accompanied him to a conference.  That was in the fall of 2009 and I was so excited when an October snow dropped several inches overnight to make Lake Tahoe even more breathtaking.

Since then, I’ve gone along with him to New Orleans (LA), Houston, Indianapolis (IN), Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), San Francisco (CA), Anchorage (AK), and Atlanta (GA).

And, for fun, we’ve gone to New York City and to Savannah (GA) and Charleston (SC) on the Atlanta Trip.

Bratislava

For his 50th birthday, we decided to go big and I got to get a passport for the first time. Ray chose a cruise on the Danube River in Europe and we got to see Bratislava (above), Austria, and Germany.

Although it was Ray’s celebration and he chose the location, I convinced him to fly into Zurich, Switzerland, since we were so close.  I’ve always wanted to visit there and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Zurich.jpg

For dinner that night, we went to a restaurant and the menu consisted of mostly deer and boar, so we politely got up and left while the waiter was getting water. Okay, we bolted for the door! 🙂

We ended up going to a grocery and getting cheeses, breads, dessert, and wines and it was a much more intimate and enjoyable dining experience.

Zurich (43)

For my 50th birthday celebration a year later, in 2014, I chose to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, a mystical and stunning place I’ve always wanted to go.

The connecting flight was in Paris, France, so we decided to spend three nights in Paris since we were already there and four night in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday celebration, Ray treated me to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a show at the world-renowned and historic Moulin Rouge — sans Satine (Nicole Kidman — her again!)

Paris Birthday

I actually turned 50 years old while sipping champagne stage side at the Moulin Rouge show.

AP R Moulin

From there, it was on to the beautiful Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

The trip was so magical.  Even though tensions kept us from visiting the holy city of Jerusalem, we did walk to Jaffa — the oldest part of Tel Aviv (about 3,500 years old).

You know how much I love food and the morning Israeli breakfast at our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.

Israeli Breakfast

However, my favorite meal ever was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Port.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!  This was brought out before our entrees!

Benny The Fisherman

And, last spring, we went to China.  While I’d never have to go back again, if you ever get a chance to go, do it.

While we saw many fun things including the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army soldiers, and much more, my favorite part was at the end — Shanghai!

China.jpg

Why did I deviate from the Quad Cities to food and travel elsewhere?  If it wasn’t for my time here, I may not have gotten to experience all of those other things.

One more thing and then I’ll close with a few more Quad Cities thoughts.  I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s Settlement) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since you know I love lists and rankings, my favorite entree was in Atlanta last September at Tavernpoint — Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

20160907_214342

And, my favorite brunch or buffet is Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas!

Wicked Spoon.jpg

Now, back to the Quad Cities.

I’m going to miss Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport.  Their boneless chicken wings are superb and their dessert pizzas (cherry, apple, and cinnamon crumb) are not to be missed.  I always eat more dessert pizza than the others.

I’ll miss the mimosa brunches at the Bix Bistro and Thunder Bay and the weekend crab legs at Jumer’s.

Crab.jpg

However, while I’ll miss my Lotus Flower slot machine, I won’t miss leaving my $$$ with the casino!

Seriously, enough about food.  I’ve gained five pounds writing this.

PERSONAL THANK YOUS…

When I first moved here, I started working to promote the LGBT community in the Quad Cities.

I was very impressed with the work that Wendy Kelly and Thea Hansen Bettis were doing with “The Project of the Quad Cities”.  This is an amazing group that provides HIV testing and services to those with HIV/AIDS.

Anthony Thea

While I’m not an “organized religion” person, a great alternative and welcoming group is Reverend Rich Hendricks and the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities.

Rich

Rich, thank you for all that you do for the community.  It’s been a pleasure standing along side you in the fight for love and no hate!

Anthony NOH8

Also, to Rich, to those who fought for us, and the Iowa judges that brought “marriage equality” to Iowa and the Midwest before the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that allowed me to get married in September 2011, thank you!

Ray, Anthony, & Gretel

Reception 2011

Finally, since all of you know how much Miss ABBA meant to me, I have to say a special thank you to Dr. Thomas Greiner and his wonderful wife, Pamela, and all of the great people at Oak Knoll Animal Hospital in Moline.

Miss ABBA always thought going to the vet was a fun time.  Even with shots, she still socialized and had a blast.

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

You were there for us for all of the fun times and even the dark day when Miss ABBA crossed the “rainbow bridge”.

ABBA letter 001

Thank you for everything and enjoy retirement and traveling!

AND, NOW YOU!

My friends, you’ve been amazing over the past 11.5 years and I hope you stay in touch across the miles.  I know you’re probably not interested in Florida weather, but once I get my work page set up, feel free to “like” it and follow me.

Otherwise, I know most of us will stay in touch personally.

To you, my friends…

sarah-paulson-love

Anthony

Advertisements

“It’s Britney, B*tch” — My 20 Favorite Songs

The countdown is on for me to see Britney Spears in concert for the second time — the first for her Las Vegas residency, “Piece of Me”, at the AXIS at Planet Hollywood.

I’ll be there tonight, March 22nd, for the kickoff to the 18th leg of the residency!

Britney Piece of Me

I first saw Britney in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the summer of 2011, on the “Femme Fatale Tour”.

Britney Spears

Anthony Britney 07092011

In anticipation of the show, I’m sharing my 20 favorite Britney songs and based on a previous set list, I may see and hear 15 or more of them!

Britney Whip

#20

19

18

17

16

15

14

#13

12

#11 Movie

#10 MOVIE

9 CD

#8 MOVIE

#7 CD

#6 CD

5

4

#3 CD

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

1

So, there you have them — my 20 favorite Britney Spears songs.

Now, I must go get ready to see Britney, bitch! 🙂

Anthony

Best Songs of 2016

This week I’ve counted down my 20 favorites moves I saw this year and my 16 favorite albums of 2016.

You can find those here and both will open in a new window.

Movies:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/best-movies-of-2016/

Albums:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/best-albums-of-2016/

Before we begin this year’s countdown, I want to share my #1 songs from the past three years.  Last year, it was “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo.  In 2014, it was “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift and in 2013, Hailey Rowe’s “My Boyfriend Is Gay” was my favorite.

Now, it’s time for me to count down my 20 favorite songs of 2016.

2016-songs

My list started out with 43 and it was difficult narrowing them down.  Sorry, The Weeknd! “Starboy” came in at #21, so we’ll have a drink for you and feature it anyway!

#21  “STARBOY” — THE WEEKND FT. DAFT PUNK

20

“BLUE AIN’T YOUR COLOR” — KEITH URBAN

19

“FOUR YEARS OF CHANCES” — MARGO PRICE

#18

“ON MY WAY” — CARDIKNOX

#17

“ROSES” — THE CHAINSMOKERS FT. ROZES

#16

“THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR” — CALVIN HARRIS FT. RIHANNA

FLASHBACK BONUS!

Bonus

That was my #16 favorite song this year and this was my 16th favorite song from last year!

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE”  — DAVE AUDE FT. OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN & CHLOE LATTANZI

Now, back to my favorites of 2016!

#15 Movie

“IN THE NIGHT” — THE WEEKND

#14 Movie

“THINK OF ME” — CHRIS YOUNG & CASSADEE POPE

BONUS! BONUS! BONUS!

Bonus

If you’re not an established country artist, it takes forever for songs to move up the chart.  This amazing song was released in March 2015, but it’s still the 36th most played country song of 2016!!!  We’re talking 21 months.  Crazy!

It’s still one of my favorites and the video is very inclusive!

“STAY A LITTLE LONGER” — THE BROTHERS OSBORNE

#13

“LET ME LOVE YOU — DJ SNAKE FT. JUSTIN BIEBER

12

“WORK FROM HOME” — FIFTH HARMONY & TY DOLLA $IGN

This is one video where you could mute the sound and just watch, but then you’d miss out on an incredible song!

Bye Camila!  I know that Ally, Normani, Dinah, and Lauren will be just fine and I can’t wait for the new music!

#11 Movie

“SLUMBER PARTY” — BRITNEY SPEARS FT. TINASHE

10

“CRASH” — USHER

#9 MOVIE

“SOMEDAY” — MICHAEL BUBLE FT. MEGHAN TRAINOR

8

“DON’T LET ME DOWN” — THE CHAINSMOKERS FT. DAYA

#7 CD

“LOVE YOURSELF” — JUSTIN BIEBER

6

“SOMETHING IN THE WAY YOU MOVE” — ELLIE GOULDING

#5 CD

“PILLOWTALK” — ZAYN

FLASHBACK BONUS!

Before we get to this year’s #4, here was my #4 song from 2014.

“ANACONDA” — NICKI MINAJ

red-number-4

“ME TOO” — MEGHAN TRAINOR

green 3

“SIT STILL LOOK PRETTY” — DAYA

#2 MOVIE

 

“YOUTH” — TROYE SIVAN

This was a tough call because I love this song and it was a virtual tie for my favorite song of the year.

Another number 1

“FADED” — ALAN WALKER FT. ISELIN SOLHEIM

19-year-old Norwegian record producer and DJ Alan Walker was only 17 when he produced a version of this song called “Fade” without vocals.

The new version, “Faded”, featuring Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim hit #1 in 17 countries and reached the Top Ten in, at least, ten more countries (add another one if you count the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the U.S., where it went to #4.)

So, here it is — my favorite song of 2016.  “Faded” has been viewed almost 828 million times on YouTube!

Now, it’s time to share my least favorite songs of 2016.

Gag Me

#4 “Broccoli” (Big Baby D.R.A.M)

#3 “Black Beatles” (Rae Sremmurd)

#2  “For Free” (DJ Khaled & Drake)

Normally, I wouldn’t show the video for my least favorite song of the year.  But, it’s so bad and hideous and the video is just so… indescribable.  Here it is!

#1  “M.I.L.F. $” (Fergie)

I seriously can’t leave you on that note.  That would be cruel. 🙂

Bonus

I jumped on “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE late last year.  It was my #6 song of 2015. Meanwhile, it really took off on Top 40 radio this year in the U.S.  It’s the 12th most played song of the year.

So, I’m featuring my #6 song of 2015 again.  To get us through these cold winter months, let’s just think of “Cake By The Ocean”.

By the way, the DNCE album is my 6th favorite album of 2016.

dnce

Anthony

 

Best Albums of 2016

I shared my 20 favorite movies I saw in 2016 with you yesterday.

If you missed it because of work, real life, or the hustle and bustle of the holidays, here it is again.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/best-movies-of-2016/

2016-albums

As we kick off my favorite 16 albums of 2016, let’s start with a quick look back at my past favorites.

In 2010, it was “Night Work” by Scissor Sisters.  It was “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears in 2011, “MDNA” by Madonna in 2012, and “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace in 2013.

There was a tie for my favorite album in 2014 between Erasure’s “The Violet Flame” and Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex And Love”.

Last year, my favorite album was “Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

Now, let’s kick off my favorites of 2016!

#16

“MATTER” — ST. LUCIA

st-lucia-matter-new-album

15

“THANKS” — MEGHAN TRAINOR

meghan-trainor-thank-you

#14 Movie

“PAPER GODS” — DURAN DURAN

PAPER GODS DURAN DURAN.jpg

13

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS” — KACEY MUSGRAVES

kacey

#12 Movie

“GLOW” — BRETT ELDREDGE

glow

11

“START HERE” — MADDIE & TAE

Start Here

10

“50” — RICK ASTLEY

 

50

9

“SUPER” — PET SHOP BOYS

pet_shop_boys_-_super

 

#8 MOVIE

“CLOUD NINE” — KYGO

KYGO.jpg

7

“PICK ME UP” — BRETT KISSEL

Brett Kissel

#6 CD

“DNCE” — DNCE

DNCE.jpg

#5 MOVIE

“MIDWEST FARMER’S DAUGHTER” — MARGO PRICE

Margo was born in Aledo, Illinois (Mercer County), just 35 miles from the Quad Cities!

Margo Price.jpeg

4

“7/27” — FIFTH HARMONY

 

Fifth Harmony 727.jpg

3

“SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY” — DAYA

daya

2

“NOBODY BUT ME” — MICHAEL BUBLE

mb

 

 

#1 MOVIE

This year’s best album is by a repeat performer.  “Femme Fatale” from Britney Spears topped my year-end list in 2011.

Her follow-up, “Britney Jean” only ended up at #6 in 2013.

But, Britney’s back in all her “Glory” as my favorite album of 2016.

“GLORY” — BRITNEY SPEARS

Glory BS

What were your favorite albums of 2016?

Any surprises or disappointments?

Thank you for checking out my favorites.  Tomorrow, I’ll share my 20 favorite songs of 2016.

Anthony

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

Random Friday Thoughts — November 18, 2016

It’s Friday and the weekend is almost here.

In the Quad Cities, the Christmas holiday season officially kicks off with the “Festival of Trees” in Davenport, complete with a parade, and “Lighting on the Commons” in downtown Moline.

It’s been a trying period post-election for winners and losers.  I hope that we all find some peace and common ground soon.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  I welcome yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

“HALLELUJAH” 

This touching performance from “Saturday Night Live” and Kate McKinnon made me smile a little more this week.

HOLLY DUNN PASSES ON

Back in September, I wrote about country music singer Holly Dunn and her fight against a “rare and aggressive” ovarian cancer and that her chances of survival were bleak.

Earlier this week, Holly succumbed to the disease at the age of 59.

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard her music.  Dunn’s breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” topped the chart in 1989 and in memory of Holly, here’s her other #1 hit from 1990, “You Really Had Me Going”.

Thinking of you, Holly.

I’M READY FOR A “SLUMBER PARTY”

The latest singles from Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, and Britney Spears received only lukewarm responses from Top 40 radio.

To be honest, while “Perfect Illusion” (Gaga), “Rise” (Perry), and “Make Me (Ooh)” were okay songs, none of them represented the best or what was expected of the superstars that released them.

As Christmas songs start popping up on radio, I’m really hoping radio takes a chance on the second single from Britney Spears’ “Glory” album, “Slumber Party”, a new remix featuring Tinashe, a 23-year-old Kentucky-born singer and songwriter.  Go Wildcats!

Glory BS

If you’re familiar with my blog, you know I love Britney.

She’s had some moderate success at radio over the past five years, but most of the songs were misses rather than hits.

“Femme Fatale” from 2011 was my favorite album of that year and featured some of the biggest songs of Brit’s career, “Hold It Against Me”, “Till The World Ends”, and “I Wanna Go”.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

“Glory”, the new album, is equally phenomenal and the remix version of “Slumber Party” is different from the album and inviting Tinashe to the party was an excellent idea.

Let’s just say the new video is so hot and sexy, it’ll smolder long after you finish watching it.  It’ll fuel many fantasies — even with gay men (and maybe even a few open-minded straight women)!

American Top 40 radio, add this song now!

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

In just four months, Disney’s live-action remake of its classic, “Beauty and the Beast”, hits theaters.

After a very secretive first trailer last March, a new trailer was released earlier this week.

It was viewed by 127.6 million people in just the first 24 hours breaking the previous record of 114 views in the first 24 hours set by “Fifty Shades Darker”!

“Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters March 17, 2017.

A BEAUTY WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

When Todrick Hall’s “Britney and the Beast” came out last June, I can’t tell you how many times I watched it.

I guess I wasn’t alone. It’s now been viewed almost 1.8 million times.

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

I said I would accept the fact that more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton (actually, more people vote for Hillary than for any white president in the history of the U.S.), but Donald Trump won the electoral college vote and the presidency.

However, that doesn’t mean I won’t mention interesting developments in the week of Trump!

DT Masks

He’s now accepting of marriage equality (?), wants his kids to have access to “Top Secret” information (? — Trump denies this), Vice President Mike Pence is going to court to keep his emails hidden (wait, wasn’t emails the biggest part of Hillary’s undoing in the public eye?), and Rudy Giuliani ws rumored to be a front runner for Secretary of State (sorry Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell).  Now, it seems that Mitt Romney’s name is floating around for that position.

Stay tuned!

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

The television buzz last year was all about “Mr. Robot”, which was phenomenal in its first season.

However, my favorite new show last year was Amazon Prime’s “The Man in the High Castle”.

The second season is now less than a month away.

Its premieres December 16th.

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

I’m sure there are some great gay movies on the festival scene snow.  However, this year, there weren’t too many that I saw on DVD that really stood out.

“Beautiful Something” was a good one.

Last weekend, I finally got around to watching “People You May Know”, which features a LGBT regular and one of my favorites, Mark Cirillo — a Twitter buddy of mine.

In the movie, Herbert (Cirillo), Joe (Sean Maher) and Delia (Andrea Grano) are BFFs and get together to hang out one Friday night with dinner, wine, and cocaine.

When one of the friends goes to bed, the other two continue to party and that leads to a major plot in the movie.  (And, just because it’s a LGBT film, you might be wrong on which two hook-up).

While I would have liked to have seen more of Herbert as he got to know Nicholas, watching Delia and Joe work through some very complicated circumstances was rewarding.

The cast is amazing and the movie makes you realize just how important friends are in life through the ups and downs.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

“Water Under The Bridge” is Adele’s fourth hit release from her “25” album, which has sold 20 million-plus copies worldwide since its release one year ago this week!

Two of the singles, “Hello” and “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” reached #1 on the Billboard Top 40 radio airplay charts and “When We Were Young” just missed out on the Top Ten.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 2, 2016

Greetings from Charleston, South Carolina!

As a meteorologist, I’ve never been interested in chasing tornadoes. But, I’m stoked that Tropical Storm Hermine (formerly a hurricane before hitting Florida) is bearing down on South Carolina and it’ll be soaking us with heavy, wind blown rains today!

thumbnail

That red outlined area is where we are and it indicates a “Tropical Storm Warning”!

WHY ARE WE HERE?

Ray has a conference in Atlanta, so we took off a few days early to explore the southern charm of Charleston and Savannah, Georgia, and the beaches at Hilton Head, South Carolina.

In the weeks leading up to this last hooray of summer, we ate healthy and exercised like crazy.  We wanted to indulge in good ol’ Southern cooking with no calorie counting.

So, here are my “Random Friday Thoughts” this week.  As always, if we disagree, just do it diplomatically.

GET WELL WISHES FOR HOLLY DUNN

If you listened to country music in the late 1980s, you definitely heard Holly Dunn.  Her breakthrough hit, in 1986, was the Top Ten smash, “Daddy’s Hands”.

She scored a total of thirteen country hits with nine of them reaching the Top Ten.

“Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” in 1989 and this one, “You Really Had Me Going” in 1990, topped the charts.

After her last album in 2003, Holly left country music to focus on another love — art.

Now, at 59, she’s fighting for her life.

In March, she was diagnosed with a “rare and aggressive” form of ovarian cancer.  She had surgery and she’s now undergoing chemotherapy, but the statistics are bleak.

Holly says, “Good thing I don’t believe in statistics!”

She has faith, but is still asking for prayers, “I have since grown more tumors and it is going to be more of a battle than I anticipated, but I have a huge faith in the healing power of God and the healing power within me that originates from my God. I look towards a future when I am completely healed and cancer free. I ask for prayers of strength and courage as this journey continues.”

My thoughts and prayers go out to you, Holly.

PAULA DEEN IS ONE CRAZY WOMAN

Before heading off to the southeastern United States, I read Paula Deen’s “It Ain’t All About the Cookin'”.

PD.jpg

It was a very brutally honest book that shared all of the downs Paula endured in her life before she because a famous restaurateur and television cooking star.

I won’t give too much away, but I’ll share a quick story from the book of her being single and lonely for a long time and wanting to find love.  She even makes that story funny!

Paula writes, “Just because there’s snow on the roof doesn’t mean there’s no fire in the furnace.  No one knew how I felt — even my children, who could no more imagine their momma’s feet pointed up to Jesus than they could imagine me deserting them!”

Paula!

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME BISCUITS WITH THAT GRAVY?

Paula learned her craft by watching her grandmother, just as I learned much of the cooking basics I’ve built upon in my lifetime from my grandmother Helen.

Helen

I’ve always regretted not paying close attention to my grandmother when she was making southern biscuits.

However, at the end of the one of Paula’s chapters, she has a recipe for biscuits that sounds just like my grandmother’s.  So, this fall or winter, I’m making breakfast from scratch — including homemade biscuits!

THE EMPIRE CRASHES…

Paula’s television culinary empire came crashing down in the summer of 2013 when she was accused of being racist by a former employee.

If you don’t remember the details, I’m sharing it again because that problem and that word is still very much part of today’s landscape.

Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts” on June 28, 2013:

“Food Network star Paula Deen is all over the television these days.  She’s the talk of radio, her face is all over the magazines, and blogger are feasting on a buffet talking about her.  There are many things being said about her — some say give her a break because she hasn’t said anything you probably haven’t said and some say she’s a racist.

Paula Deen Happy

Paula’s whirlwind downfall started recently after she was called to testify last month in a 2012 $1.2 million sexual and racial workplace discrimination lawsuit brought against her and her brother Earl “Bubba” Hiers by former restaurant manager Lisa Jackson.

Jackson, who is white, claims that Deen said this when asked about a theme for a wedding, “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n—–s to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around.  Jackson says that Deen laughed and said, “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it?  But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”

In that deposition last month, Deen admitted to using the “n-word” in the past.  However, she maintains that she hasn’t used it in years and when she did, it was because a black man held a gun to her head at her former place of employment.   Earlier this week on “Today”, Matt Lauer asked Deen , “Are you a racist?” and the 66-year-old grandmother responded, “No, I am not.” and “The day I used that word it was a world ago.  It was 30 years ago.”

This week, Deen was fired from the Food Network and she lost sponsorships with Wal-Mart, Smithfield Foods, Home Depot, and Target.  QVC is still deciding on Deen’s fate.

Domestic Diva Martha Stewart says, “”I feel sorry for Paula Deen.  She’s a public figure and I know you have to be extremely careful being a public figure.”  And, civil rights activist Reverend Al Sharpton adds, “A lot of us have in the past said things we have regretted saying years ago” and “You cannot deal with what is fair or not fair until we see an outcome of the present circumstances she is accused of, not something that happened 20 years ago.”

So, with that being said, I want to know what you think.  Here’s what I think.

IF (and notice that’s a big IF) Paula made that joke about the wedding idea in any era, then or now, it’s not funny.  It’s stupid.  If Paula responded with the n-word after a man held a gun to her head as she stated, while not still acceptable, it’s more likely a case of forgiveness given the circumstances.

I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s South and that awful word was a commonly used word.  Sadly, my late father was one of the most racist, homophobic, sexist, and the list goes on, man I think I’ve ever met.  And, even my late grandmother, who was one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met, uttered that word in my childhood, but she wasn’t using it to be ugly.  As I grew from a child to a teenager, I educated her that although people use that word, it’s not right.

And, as Paula stated in the interview with Lauer, that word is used too freely in today’s society in movies and music.  I agree and that has to stop, too.  I don’t care if you are an African-American or you identify as a black man or woman, that word has to stop in all circles.  While I’m a gay man, I don’t refer to myself as the derogatory “f-word” and I’d be truly offended if someone else did.

In this country, you’re supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty”.  How do we know that Lisa Jackson is telling the truth?  I’d really be saddened to know that Paula Deen was not a racist and these allegations ruined her life and career.

Paula Deen Crying

My only advice to Paula is stay off television, avoid interviews, and stop posting internet apologies.  I know you’re hurt and scared, but the tears and the pleas make you seem too apologetic.  As you’ve stated, people who know you know the truth — whatever that truth is.

The bottom line is that if Paula Deen is a racist and she freely used the n-word as Jackson claims, more people would be coming out of the woodwork to make other allegations.  They haven’t!

And, I have to say that I commend Paula for the heartfelt and seemingly genuine comments in the interview, “I believe every creature on this Earth … was created equal, no matter who you choose to go to bed at night with [and] no matter what church you go to pray.”  And, “There’s a couple of kinds of people that I don’t like that I am prejudiced against, Matt, and that’s thieves and liars.”

Lisa Jackson, if you’re a liar, I hope you get yours.”

…BUT THE PHOENIX RISES

After losing sponsors and her “Food Network” show, Paula took time to be with her family.

She now has a web television show on http://www.pauladeen.com she still has her “The Lady and Sons” restaurant in  Savannah, Georgia, and I’ll be eating there on Labor Day!

POOR MTV AND THE “VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS”

Remember when MTV actually played music videos on television.  Just as youngsters today waste hours at a time online, I did the same watching the same music videos on television.

Back in the day, the Video Music Awards (VMAs) was a fun show with all of the best stars.  Now, for the most part, it’s painful to watch.

This year, when I’d flip over to the VMAs during commercials (I was watching AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead”), comedians Key & Peele’s alter-ego psuedo-hosts were painful to watch.  It didn’t get much better when Olympics-gold medalist Michael Phelps struggled to read the prompter and introduce a boring Future performance.

If this is the “future” of the VMAs, may the show sign off and rest in peace!

IT’S BRITNEY BITCH! (G-EAZY)

My first thoughts when seeing Britney Spears’ performance at the MTV VMAs was how hot she was and the amazing color and outfit she was wearing!  (And, I don’t even watch fashion shows!)

Then, I had to laugh Tuesday when I read that the Parents Television Council (PTC) blasted MTV and its parent company stating, “Sadly, last night’s program contained concerning levels of sexualization throughout the night.”

A spokesperson specifically mentioned Britney’s outfit to “Entertainment Weekly” stating that G-Eazy, who performed with her, was “totally covered up”.

Yes, it would have been interesting to see Eazy wearing a similar outfit, but I thought what he wore made him look sexier than ever.

As a Britney fan, I admit the two had very little chemistry together.  But, I loved the performance and, yes, I know she was lip-syncing. 🙂

“GLORY” — BRITNEY SPEARS

Last Friday, Britney released her ninth studio album, “Glory”.

Glory BS

It’s a very different, more mature sound for her.  While there’s still a dance vibe, the beat-per-minutes are not as dance club driven, but more sensual in a slow-groove kind of way.

As any music fan knows, the sequence of the songs is a well thought out process and it shows here.

The first four songs, “Invitation”, “Do You Wanna Come Over?”, the current single, “Make Me…” and “Private Show” are incredible.

The album features some standout ballads such as “Just Luv Me”.

And, Britney gets very naughty on “Slumber Party” .  I guess living and working in Vegas does affect your song selection and there’s nothing wrong with that.

While I liked her last album, “Britney Jean”, which many saw as a commercial flop, this album is much better.

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

It’s no “Femme Fatale”, my favorite album of 2011 and my favorite Britney album.

“Glory” is highly recommended!

My goal in 2017 is to see Britney again in concert!

GRADE:  B+

“STAR TREK BEYOND” DUBSTEP

“Star Trek Beyond” is now up to a $242.9 million for its worldwide box office budget.  It’s the third most highest grossing in the film series.

It was released a few weeks after one of its stars, Anton Yelchin, died in a freak accident this summer.

In this dub smash video, you can tell the stars of the movie (and Anton) were have a good time off-camera.

PICK HIT

Australian record producer and musician Flume (Harley Streten) and Canadian singer Kai are enjoying huge success in the U.S. with “Never Be Like You”, the first single from Flume’s Top Ten summer album, “Skin”.

It’s already a Top Ten Billboard Dance hit and it’s at #11 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

It’s an incredible song and I’m bummed that Flume will be playing two shows in Atlanta at the Tabernacle while I’m there next week and both shows are SOLD OUT!

“Rolling Stone” listed “Never Be like You” as one of the 30 best songs of the first half of 2016 and I totally agree.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony