Posts Tagged ‘Cancun’

My Life This Year – Christmas 2018

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

Here’s my tree and my presents this year.

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Most of them are from my sister and her boyfriend, Gerald.  There’s also three tins of homemade sweet treats from my dear friend Connie and “Crazy Rich Asians” which I bought for myself. 🙂

It’s that time of the year again and I hope life is treating you well.  

Bedford Falls

It’s been another year of changes for me.  Luckily, for the better! As you know, 2017 was a life-altering year that I’d rather forget!

However, there were two highlights in 2017, which is where I’ll start!

In July, I got to meet my idol, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

Autograph Carters

And, in December, I saw three incredible concerts in Las Vegas.

With all of the sadness I felt last year, it was forgotten for 90 minutes at Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

To this day, the beauty and spectacle of that holiday treat still brings a smile to my face. 🙂  The sets were magical and Mariah looked and sounded flawless!

Also on that trip, I saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie.

Tanya

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I met Lionel and he told me that he doesn’t shake hands, he’s a hugger!  Then, he hugged me! 🙂

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In March 2018, my sister, Tammy, and I escaped for several days to Cancun, Mexico.

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Weeks later, I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position at Fox 21 News in Duluth, Minnesota, and I moved there in June.

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I spent a year in Panama City, Florida, and it’s no secret that I was very unhappy there.  However, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to leave when I did.  In October, Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida, including Panama City.

Much of my apartment complex was totally destroyed and my dear friends, Cathy and Gerard

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and Robbie (left) and Diane (right)

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are still picking up the pieces of their lives! 😦

In memory of my apartment and the complex in Panama City, here’s my balcony from last Christmas!

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On a happier note, after 19 months, I saw snow again in October!

I can’t wait to have a real winter, but it scares me a bit.  It’s not the 86” of snow that Duluth picks up in an average winter (more in some years), it’s that the city is built on a hill that leads down to Lake Superior!  And, I’ll have to endure months of bitterly cold temperatures in the Northland!

This is my apartment’s backyard view toward Lake Superior down the “hill”!

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In October, I went to Morocco, in northwest Africa.

This was the first time I traveled internationally by myself.   I met some fun people that made the trip very enjoyable.

It was incredible learning about the African continent, the Muslim faith, and enjoying delicious Moroccan food!

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I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life.  I’m already trying to decide what I want to do next (when I grow up)!!! 🙂

For now, I’ll just have an Olivia Pope Christmas and enjoy my beautiful tree, free flowing wine and popcorn!

Olivia Christmas

If you had a great year, I hope 2019 is even more fantastic.  If 2018 was a tough one for you, I hope things turn around in the New Year!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Anthony

 

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 30, 2013

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

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

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

WINTER IS COMING!

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

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

Farmers' Almanac

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

NOAA Winter Temp Forecast

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

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

March Snow

WHERE DOES PAULA DEEN GO FROM HERE?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Despicable!

SPEAKING OF DESPICABLE

Two words:  Pat Robertson.

Pat Robertson

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

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

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

Pat Robertson response

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

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

Seriously????

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

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

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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MEMORIES OF CANCUN

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

Green Drinks

Anthony Green Drink

Ray Green Drink

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DEPECHE MODE CONCERT

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

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

Tinley Park, EPIC FAIL!

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

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MTV VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS

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

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

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

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

Miley Robin Thicke

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

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

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

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

ONE CHILD STAR TO ANOTHER

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Red Carpet

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

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

TAYLOR SWIFT, GO AWAY!

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

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

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

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

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

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

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

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

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

PICK HIT RE-DUEX

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

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

FINAL THOUGHT ON MILEY CYRUS

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

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

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

Jada

Ripped Off From Thunderdome

Tina Turner as “Auntie Entity”

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

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 23, 2013

Getting up at 1 a.m., drinking caffeinated soda by 2 a.m. and having a rabbit cross your path on the way to work instead of sleeping in and having iguanas and sting rays dart across in front of you on walks along the beach are sure signs that I’m no longer in paradise.

Just 24 hours ago, I was waking up for one more stroll in Cancun.  We just got back late last night and four hours later I’m back to work.  Luckily, I only have one shift before I try to catch up on rest from the vacation this weekend.  I hope you’ve all had a good week.

CANCUN

Our getaway to the Yucatan Peninsula was awesome.  We ate plenty of fresh fruit and breakfast was my favorite meal.  A green-colored orange/pineapple/carrot/spinach juice combo was my favorite way to start the day.  The unlimited adult beverages were fantastic, too.  I’ll post a picture of my favorite potent potable next week.  And, I learned that Dos Equis beer is pretty tasty on tap and I’m not even a beer drinker.

Here are a few photos from the trip.  Hopefully, I’ll get around to posting the rest of the vacation pictures on Facebook early next week.

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RAY TURNS 50 NEXT WEEK!

He turns how old?  I’m just giving him a hard time.  Age is just a number.

Little Ray Teen Ray

For his golden, milestone birthday, he chose a cruise on the Danube River, which is coming up in mid-October, with stops in several European cities for his present.  While a little pricey, you only turn 50 once!

I recently blogged about it and if you missed it, here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/14/plans-for-a-milestone-birthday/

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO MY WEATHER IDOL

While my fascination with weather started when I was a four-year-old cutting weather maps out of the “Mayfield Messenger” and “The Paducah Sun-Democrat” in the late-1960s, I knew that I wanted to be a television meteorologist after seeing Tom Skilling on WGN.

Vintage Tom Skilling

61-year-old Skilling joined WGN back in 1978.  Tom is the chief meteorologist covering the weather weekdays for the two-hour midday news from 11 am – 1 pm, the 5 pm, and the 9 pm shows.  In addition to the long hours he puts in on television, he also writes a weather page for the Chicago Tribune and a weather blog.  It’s reported that Tom has a weather staff of twelve.

Tom Skilling

Just last year, Tom signed a multi-million dollar, ten-year contract that will keep him on the air until 2022.

When Tom signed the contract, he told Robert Feder of “Time Out Chicago”, “I have marveled at the support I’ve received from my viewers all these years — at their loyalty and kindness. We are nothing in our line of work without those who offer us the gift of taking time out of their busy days to grace us with the honor of checking out what we do and what we have to say. I’m beyond words over the whole thing.”

While I’ve never met him, from a meteorologist standpoint, I’ve never seen anyone with the commitment to weather that I see in Tom.  His lengthy weathercasts are incredible and you can just feel the passion when he talks about the weather, whether there’s a snowstorm on the way or just more tranquil weather — he sells it and he owns it.

As I said earlier, I’ve never met Tom, but I’ve celebrated Chicago Pride with him and his colleagues at WGN on their Pride float.  He’s always happy and you can tell he loves weather and he loves people.  (This is from the 2010 Chicago Pride parade.)

Pride 2010

While some people have bobbleheads (no thank you), I cherish this autographed publicity photo from Tom in 2003.

Tom Skilling

Tom, my colleague and my weather idol, congratulations on 35 years and here’s to next nine (or more) at WGN.  Thank you for inspiring me to follow my weather dreams.

And, I have to feature these hilarious videoes of Tom to show he’s not all weather maps and computer models.

“Tom Freakin’ Skilling!”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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PATHETIC, ANGRY IOWA WOMAN

A Des Moines, Iowa, woman is getting off easy for a disgusting act of violence she committed last spring.

Sheena Ann Cornwell

Police say that 28-year-old Sheena Ann Cornwell showed no remorse when she was arrested for hanging her boyfriend’s senior dog, Lillie, in an intoxicated rage because the dog was barking.

While he believes what Cornwell did was cruel, Judge Joe Smith doesn’t think she is a danger to society.  The Des Moines Register reports that Cornwell is now on probation for two years and she cannot own a pet during that same period of time.

But, the judge’s decision is raising concern and some think it sends out the wrong message.  Tom Colvin of the Animal Rights League says,  “I’m very afraid that that’s what it’s saying – is that someone can torture an animal with no consequences.  So, what are the consequences here for Lillie? For Lillie’s death?”

So sad!

WAS IT HOMOPHOBIC, A MISUNDERSTANDING, OR DAMAGE CONTROL?

In my quest to keep the anti-gay laws of Russia front and center until people realize the antics and hate the government there is spewing, here’s someone who agrees with the way things are headed there.  Or, does she?

Yelena Isinbayeva

Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva, a two-time Olympic champion, is strongly anti-gay (or is she?).

Last week, after winning the World Championship title in Russia, “USA Today” reports that she said, “If we allow to promote and do all this stuff on the street, we are very afraid about our nation because we consider ourselves like normal, standard people.”

She added, “We just live with boys with woman, woman with boys.  Everything must be fine. It comes from history. We never had any problems, these problems in Russia, and we don’t want to have any in the future.”

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After widespread criticism, Isinbayeva “clarified” her comments, “English is not my first language and I think I may have been misunderstood when I spoke yesterday.”
She added, “But let me make it clear I respect the views of my fellow athletes and let me state in the strongest terms that I am opposed to any discrimination against gay people on the grounds of their sexuality [which is against the Olympic charter].”
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Isinbayeva, I really don’t know what your views are or if this clarification is just damage control?  However, let this American offer you some advice.  I don’t speak Russian and if I’m going to criticize your country’s pathetic views toward the LGBT community (and I will), I’ll do it in English, a language I can fluently speak.  I won’t condemn your leaders in a poor attempt by speaking Russian because there may be some misunderstanding!
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MILLER COMES OUT AND COMES OUT AGAINST RUSSIA
Two days ago, while I was away, 41-year-old “Prison Break” actor Wentworth Miller officially came out as a gay man.
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Miller came out in a letter to the St. Petersburg International Film Fest.  The actor refused to take part in the festival because of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws.
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Miller writes, “I am deeply troubled by the current attitude toward and treatment of gay men and women by the Russian government.  The situation is in no way acceptable, and I cannot in good conscience participate in a celebratory occasion hosted by a country where people like myself are being systematically denied their basic right to live and love openly.”
For years, there’s been speculation about Miller being gay with Perez Hilton reporting that Miller was dating former “Brothers & Sisters” actor Luke MacFarlane.
Luke MacFarlane
Congratulations Wentworth on standing up to the bullies in Russia and I hope by coming out that you can live your life openly and happily.  And, if you’re dating Luke, you two make a beautiful couple!
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PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK
Depeche Mode

While it’s not Ray’s birthday present, we’re heading to Chicago Saturday night to see the 1980s English band, Depeche Mode, in concert.  The band is still putting out amazing music thirty years later.  As you might remember, their first American hit on radio was “People Are People”, which reached #13 in 1984 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The band went to score five more Top 40 hits on the Hot 100:  “Personal Jesus” (#28, 1989), “Enjoy The Silence” (#8, 1990), “Policy of Truth” (#15, 1990), “I Feel You” (#37, 1993), and “It’s No Good” (#38, 1997).

And, just this year, they hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart with “Heaven” and #10 with “Soothe My Soul”, both from their latest album, “Delta Machine”.

And, speaking of Depeche Mode, here’s the blog I wrote about the band and how excited I was to get tickets for their concert:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/finding-my-own-personal-jesus-in-chicago-this-summer/

THAT’S IT FOR THIS WEEK

While it’s shorter today week because I was away until last night, I hope you enjoyed or learning something from my random thoughts.  Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2013

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

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

VACATION

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

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

Atlantic

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

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

PAULA DEEN GETS VINDICATION, BUT…

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

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

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

Paula Deen Happy

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU

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

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Today, the “Material Girl” turns 55!

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

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

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And, here’s my favorite Madonna video.

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

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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FINALLY, I GET TO READ A BOOK!

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

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

Golden Days The Art of Racing in the Rain

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

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

ChristmasInPlains

WHAT I LEARNED FROM “ROLLING STONE” MAGAZINE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

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

Rihanna Rolling Stone

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

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

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

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

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

ALBUM SALES IN DISTRESS…

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

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

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

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

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

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

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

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

Lady Gaga-Katy Perry

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

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

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

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

As for me:

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

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

The winner!

Applause

YET, VINYL IS HOT AGAIN

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

Albums

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

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

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

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

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

“ELYSIUM”

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

Elysium Matt Damon Jodie Elysium

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

Sharlto Copley

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

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

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

GRADE: B

MY THOUGHTS THIS WEEK ON RUSSIA’S HOMOPHOBIA

boycott-sochi-2014 Madonna Defend Human Rights

THAT’S IT FOR A FEW DAYS

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

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

Glad I’m Not In Cancun Yet… Well, Sorta

My work day is almost over for today and I have eight hours to go tomorrow before I head to the sunny beaches of Cancun, Mexico Saturday.

Wait, did I say “sunny” beaches?  Okay, that’s the travel industry description because it’s a different story there today.

Webcam Cancun

That’s a webcam shot of Cancun Thursday morning as the Yucatan Peninsula waits for a disorganized tropical system to move through today and tomorrow on its way to the Gulf of Mexico bringing heavy rain and wind.

Caribbean

Notice that cluster of yellows, reds, and dark purples toward the left side of that satellite photo.  That’s the Yucatan Peninsula where Cancun is located.

All week, I’ve been watching the National Hurricane Center’s forecast with the possibility of a tropical system developing increasing.  Would that cluster become Tropical Storm Erin?

It didn’t because Erin developed around the Cape Verde Islands, just off the western coast of Africa.

While it’ll be a stormy day around Cancun today (and possibly tomorrow), the chances of it becoming a named storm is not likely before it makes landfall in that part of Mexico.

Cancun Close-Up

However, it has a decent chance to become Tropical Storm Fernand over the Gulf of Mexico over the next five days.

By that time, I should be safely in Cancun.

Anthony

P.S.  I have to admit that, as a meteorologist, the thought of a minor tropical system passing over the Yucatan Peninsula while on I’m vacation would be a little exciting!

Random Friday Thoughts — August 9, 2013

Another weekend is here and I hope you have a fantastic one.  The weather is going to be perfect.  It’s a short weekend for me since I’m working Saturday evening for our weekend meteorologist, Kyle, who’s on vacation.  While it’s a longer work week for me, it all works out because I go on vacation next weekend!

ONE WEEK TO CANCUN 

I was in Cancun twenty years ago and this is Ray’s first visit.  God willing, next Saturday afternoon we’ll be lying on the sandy beaches of Mexico with a margarita or some low-calorie cocktail in hand a million miles (figuratively) from home.

And, while the Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st, there’s good news out in the tropics.  Here are the forecasts from the National Hurricane Center for the next five days.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT FIVE DAYS.

Atlantic Hurricane Forecast

SAD FOLLOW-UP

The Spectrum Human Rights Alliance in eastern Europe is reporting that Dr. Valentin Degtyarev,  a medical doctor and a human right activist, claims that a Uzbek teenager is now dead of torture from the Russian anti-gay neo-Nazi group, Occupy Pedofilyaj.
Russian Extremists Attacks

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the injustices being brought upon the LGBT community in Russia and I posted this edited picture of the teenager that is reportedly dead from excessive torture.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the hate you’re encouraging is disgusting!

If you didn’t get a chance to read about it last week, here’s the link:   https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/random-friday-thoughts-august-2/

MY HEART IS BREAKING

Animal abuse stories usually get to me more than stories about human tragedies.  Even when watching movies or television shows that I know are not real, it’s harder for me to watch something that involves an animal in pain or dying than a human.

However, earlier this week, I saw a story on “CBS This Morning” that broke my heart.  It was about little 2-year-old Logan Stevenson, who was dying of a rare genetic disease, serving as the best man at his parent’s wedding last weekend.

Best Man Logan

Sadly, the toddler died Monday evening.  Here is what his mother, Christine Swidorsky, posted on Facebook that evening, “At 8:18 my son took his last breath in my arms.  I’m so sad, upset and I’m in disbelief. He is with angels, and he’s in no more pain. No more sickness, no more hospitals. We love all of [you] for all your prayers.”

Christine and Sean Stevenson, Logan’s dad, were planning on getting married in the summer of 2014.  However, after learning that the baby only had weeks to live from lukemia and cancerous tumors on his kidneys, the couple moved up the wedding date for Logan to take part in the event.

Little Logan

I know that God has a plan for all of his creatures, young and old, but I guess it’s not for me to fully understand.  After seeing Logan’s story, I’m going to work harder and remember that whatever dramas we face in our lives, most are usually small.  There is always someone facing something worse.

In memory of little Logan, I want to share “God’s Will” by Martina McBride.  It’s one of the most heartfelt music videos I’ve seen in years.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING ITEMS WHILE SHOPPING

Last weekend, Ray and I did something we rarely do –  we went shopping at the mall and a few other stores.  Typically, we go where we need to go, grab what we need, and then head home.  I despise shopping!  However, here are a few things I saw that piqued my interest or made me smile.

Top Bottom WitchesPumpkin Pie Vodka

That “Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie” vodka brings our vodka flavors and brands total up to 42!  It’s definitely getting me in the mood for fall and if the bottle looks a little interesting, it has frost on it since I put it in the freezer when we got home in case I make a pumpkin pie martini one of these days soon.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Birthday wishes go out this week to two of my favorite, sexy people.

Gillian David The X-Files

Today, “The X-Files” star Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) turns 45 and two days ago, David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) turned 53.

FINALLY WALKED OUT WITH A LITTLE MONEY!

Ray and I have gone to the casinos in the past and never invested much money.   However, lately, we’ve been going and we usually come home empty-handed.  While I don’t like losing at all, it’s a good thing we’re not hard-core gamblers that bet the house!

Last Sunday night, down to my last few dollars I took to gamble on, I finally hit a good one!

Slot Machine Win

While I’m very happy with the pay-off, I still have to think, “how much would it have been if I had bet the max of $1.50 and what if that “7” and “blue star” had been a “WILD, too?”  Oh well, once I played on that money a while longer and took out what I started with, I still left with $50 more than I started with.

It’s a good thing because dinner there (and the last time we visited this casino) was not good, which is surprising because this place is usually pretty tasty!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

MosquitosUgly Bald Puppy

Jesus

SEXIST, RACIST, OR NEITHER?

“The Sapphires”, a musical dramedy, is new to DVD this week.  Since its release last year (March 2013 in the United States), the movie made slightly over $20 million.  It stars “Bridesmaids” cutie Chris O’Dowd.

The movie is inspired by a true story of four young, talented Australian Aboriginal singers learning “about love, friendship and war” (Redbox) when their all-girl group, “The Sapphires”, are discovered by Dave (O’Dowd), a kind-hearted talent scout who knows soul music.  He works as their manager and gives the ladies a chance for stardom entertaining American troops in Vietnam in 1968.

Sounds innocent so far, huh?  It was until the packaging for the DVD in the United States was revealed.  In the American release, O’Dowd is front and center and the singers are in the background (below left), compared to the Australian release (below right) which has the girl group more prominently featured.

The Sapphires

The original band members of the 1960s group wrote a letter to the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People saying,  “As I’m sure you can appreciate, the treatment of people of colour in Australia mirrored much of the trauma to which people in the United States were subjected. That trauma – and much of that treatment – remains alive and well in Australia today, as I know it does in the United States.”

Anchor Bay Entertainment released a statement Monday apologizing and “regrets any unintentional upset” and is considering new cover art for future orders of the DVD.

I firmly believe that women should never settle for anything less than what men get in life.  It was always unfair to me that David Duchovny made more money than Gillian Anderson on “The X-Files”.  And, I don’t think that race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. should be a deciding factor in job placement.  The best and most qualified person should get the job or promotion!

In this matter, I don’t know if race or gender came up in the discussions at Anchor Bay when the artwork was being created for the U.S. release.  But, I can fully understand why the biggest star in the movie would be prominently featured in the promotions.  After all, American audiences know him from “Bridesmaids”, which made $288 million dollars two years ago.

“The Sapphires” was the biggest movie of 2012 in Australia and is one of the top 20 of grossing films of all time there.

What are your thoughts?

THE TURNING TIDE

A recent Gallup poll found that if Election Day was held now, 52% of Americas would make marriage equality legal in all 50 states, while 43% of those surveyed said “no”.

Legal in all 50 states

Breaking down that survey, the sub-groups that ranked highest for approving marriage equality were liberals (77%), those with no chosen religion (76%), Democrats (70%), and those ages 18-34 years (69%).

Those that were most opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states were:  weekly church attendees (73% against), conservatives (67%), Republicans (66%), and Protestants and those 55 years or older (58% opposed).

Women more than men were for making marriage equality a reality in all fifty states.

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER

Ben-Whishaw

British actor Ben Whishaw who played “Q” in last year’s James Bond flick, “Skyfall” recently came out as a gay man and he also announced that he’s been in a civil partnership with his boyfriend, Australian composer Mark Bradshaw, since August 2012.

Ben told “Out” magazine in March 2011, “[A]s an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do.  I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities. It’s difficult talking about it. That’s why I didn’t want to go there, but at the same time I know this is a gay magazine and that means there’s a conflict there.”

The couple met in 2009 while working on the movie, “Bright Star”.

Ben and Mark

DON’T PUT AWAY THE CHAMPAGNE YET!

Well wishes also go out to “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Justin Mikita-Jesse Tyler Ferguson

He tied the knot with lawyer Justin Mikita on July 20, 2013, in New York City.  The couple have been together almost two years.

WAS “THE $64,000 QUESTION” ANSWERED?

Raven-Symone

Actress Raven-Symone has always avoided questions about her sexuality, but this tweet last Friday may have answered the question.

Raven-Symone Tweet

The 27-year-old actress who got her start on “The Cosby Show” in 1989 and had her own show, “That’s So Raven” on the Disney Channel from 2003-2007, tells E! News, “I am very happy that gay marriage is opening up around the country and is being accepted. I was excited to hear today that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to.”

Congratulations to Ben, Mark, Jesse Tyler, Justin, and Raven-Symone for being yourself, finding love, and being out and proud!

LADY GAGA TAKES ON RUSSIA’S IGNORANCE

We’re now just a little over a week away from the premiere of Lady Gaga’s new single and video, “Applause”, and that isn’t the only thing that Mother Monster is working on right now.  She’s fighting back to homophobes in the Russian government!

In addition to arresting and exiling people from the LGBT community, authorities are investigating Gaga and Madonna’s visas they used last year to perform concerts in Saint Petersburg.

GagaMadonna

Here’s how Gaga is responding.  In just the first half-hour, the comments were re-tweeted more than 20,000 times!

Gaga Russia Tweets

How about a little Gaga this Friday with the late, great saxophonist Clarence Clemons before we flashback to the 1980s?

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

This past Tuesday we experienced a new moon that was one day too late to fit into music history.   Just think, if it had fallen a day earlier, it would have been a “New Moon on Monday”.  If you’re a ’80s music fan, that’s already ringing a bell for you.  If not, how about “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” as a second clue?

duran-duran-seven-and-the-ragged-tiger

In 1978, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor formed a band that would go on to be named after a character from the movie, “Barbarella”.   Lead singer Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, and Andy Taylor would round out the English group Duran Duran.

While the band had some success back home and on the American dance charts in 1981, their first song to reach the Billboard Hot 100 debuted at #77 on Christmas Day 1982.  “Hungry Like The Wolf” would go on to peak at #3 in the summer of 1983.

Fourteen more songs would reach the Top 40 in America from that first hit in 1983 to their last pop radio hit in 1993.  Eleven of those songs would reach the Top Ten and two would top the Hot 100, “The Reflex” in 1984 and “A View To A Kill” from the James Bond movie of the same name in 1985.

“New Moon on Monday”, the second release from “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”, peaked at #10 in March 1984.  The “Ragged” album went double platinum in the United States with shipments of more than two million copies.

Sing along even if you have no clue what the lyrics mean, “Shake up the picture the lizard mixture/ With your dance on the eventide/ You got me coming up with answers/ All of which I deny”.

Duran Duran has sold more than 100 million records worldwide!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Here’s to a great weekend.  While I’m working Saturday, Ray and Gretel are going to see “Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters” and then on Sunday, Ray and I are going to see my woman, Jodie Foster, in “Elysium” (with Matt Damon).  And, we’ll spend a couple of hours in the pool working on a nice base tan for Cancun.

Whatever you do this weekend, make the most of it.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what your thoughts are about these topics or anything on your mind.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2013

I know that there are many of you out there that are just loving this heat and humidity.  I just love the fact that the central air works!  I’m so ready for fall!  Here’s a comparison of the first 16 days of July 2012 to the first 16 days of July 2013.

First 16 days of July

Notice that it was hotter and drier last year even though we only had rain twice this July in the first 16 days of the month!  It’s so dry and I don’t want to have to keep watering the new trees we planted and the garden.  Other than the heat, the humidity and the dog days of summer, here are my other random thoughts this Friday.

THERE’S STILL SO MUCH HATE IN THIS COUNTRY

Tensions are still running high across the United States following last Saturday night’s acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin in February 2012.  Race is definitely playing a role in how people are reacting to the verdict.  But, believe it or not, the hate group, the American Family Association (AFA) is using this trial and the verdict to attack gay people!

Conservative radio host Bryan Fischer, who’s also a high-ranking official with the AFA, is one of those hateful people.  Here are some of the tweets he sent out defending Zimmerman and attacking others.

Fischer TweetFischer Tweet 2

TALK ABOUT HATE AND IGNORANCE

Latin singer (and Jennifer Lopez’s ex-husband) Marc Anthony sang “God Bless America” Tuesday night in the seventh inning of the MLB All-Star Game in New York City.   And, this did not go over well with some fans of America’s favorite pastime.  Check out some of these ignorant tweets (and these were some of the more innocent ones that didn’t involve really bad racial overtones)!

Marc Anthony 1 Marc Anthony 2 Marc Anthony 3

For the record, Anthony was born in New York City in the Spanish Harlem neighborhood.  While he may be of Puerto Rican descent, he is an American!

Marc Anthony sings God Bless America during the seventh inning stretch at Major League Baseball's All-Star Game in New York

We have come so far in this country, yet we still have a long way to go.  We must never give up hope!

RUSSIA, MOVE OUT OF THE DARK AGES

While I love vodka, I have never had any desire to visit Russia.  And, now, with a new law in place, I definitely won’t be going there and I wouldn’t be welcomed.

Putin

The new law that was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and went into effect June 30th allows the government to arrest or detain gay or “pro-gay” foreigners for up to two weeks before expelling them from the country.  While the “pro-gay” language is vague, Travel + Escape, a Canadian website, says it could be “gay-affirmative” speech, displaying a rainbow flag and same-sex partners holding hands.

Fines could range from $156 to $6,250 in U.S. dollars for what “The Voice of Russia” calls “any display of affection between same-sex couples could cause a ‘distorted understanding’ that gay relations and heterosexual relations are socially equivalent, and risk spreading Western liberalism”.

But, Putin says the law is not anti-gay and that others should mind their own business, “We are talking about protecting children from the respective information.  We ask that (other countries) do not interfere in our regulation.”

I guess we should still call Russia the U.S.S.R. (or the Soviet Union) since it’s still living in the dark ages!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

CUREDEyes Ear Mouth Resolution

CANCUN

Last fall, I visited Houston, Texas, with Ray, twenty years after my first visit.  The first time was with one of my best friends, Dennis.

Interestingly enough, the first time I visited Cancun, Mexico, in 1993, it was also with my friend Dennis.  He got us round trip airline tickets from Nashville, Tennessee, and the Cancun trip for only $299!  Now, twenty years later, Ray and I have passports and we’re heading to Cancun in about a month.

Here are a couple of pictures that I took from that 1993 trip.  I hope now that we’ve planned this beach vacation, I’ll find the motivation I need to lose ten pounds in four weeks!

Cancun 1993 001 Cancun 1993 002

KELLY CLARKSON GOT ME EXCITED

All it took was one tweet!  And, no it wasn’t a backstage shot of a shirtless Adam Levine since her tour with Maroon 5 doesn’t start until August 1st!

Kelly Tweet

Although you know as much as I do from this tweet and picture, it would appear that Kelly is recording new music with Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood.  Since ABC cancelled “Malibu Country” and her last radio single was in late 2011 (“Somebody’s Chelsea”), we haven’t heard much of “singer” Reba.

I don’t care if this is for a new album for Kelly or Trisha, I’m just excited that there will be new Reba music.  One could only hope that Reba is recording an album for early 2014!

Reba and Kelly first worked together on Reba’s “Duets” album that debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart (her only #1 “pop” album) in the fall of 2007, selling more than 300,000 copies in the first week!

The lead single from that album, “Because of You” reached #2 on the country charts in August 2007.  Two years earlier, Kelly took the song to #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 becoming her sixth Top Ten hit on that chart.

Come on Reba.  Let’s make a return to country radio in 2014!

ASSOCIATE OF THE MONTH — REALLY?

Through the wonders of Facebook, people you haven’t talked to in 20 or 30 years can touch base with you.  And, you can find out that you were named “Associate of the Month” for your “excellent coverage” of a news story!

WYTV May 2001

This was at WYTV in Youngstown, Ohio.  While I don’t remember this achievement, I do remember the story.   And, I have to admit that the picture of me is a bit of a scary flashback, but the little blurb did bring a smile to my face since it was May 2001 and Miss ABBA, my beautiful golden was turning one year old!

So, here’s a bonus picture of Miss ABBA from the summer of 2001.

ABBA Spring 2001

GIVING JOURNALISTS A BAD NAME

Asiana Airlines accepted an apology and is dropping its lawsuit against San Fransisco television station KTVU after the station announced wrong, offensive names for the pilots involved in that airline’s deadly plane crash July 6th that killed three people.

The station made a call to the National Transportation Safety Board and apparently got confirmation of the names of the pilots from an intern.

But, seriously, what kind of idiots (and it wasn’t just the news anchor) didn’t catch that these names sounded out as “Captain Something Wrong”, “We Too Low”, and “Holy F**k”.

KTVU Asiana Flight 214

Just where did the station get these names in the first place?

How fitting is it that Don Henley of The Eagles scored his first solo hit with the anti-news business song, “Dirty Laundry” (#3, 1982).  It includes the lines, “We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who comes on at five/She can tell you ’bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye/It’s interesting when people die/Give us dirty laundry”.

Rest assured that not all journalists are irresponsible with information and your trust!

IOWA SINGER IS READY FOR THE BIG TIME

Earlier in the week, I blogged about Eli Lieb, a southeastern Iowa musician that has been working in New York City to make a name for himself in the music business.  He now lives in Los Angeles and is on the verge of making it big with his latest song, “Young Love”.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since its release about a week ago, the video has already been viewed almost a quarter of a million times on YouTube!  If you missed it, here’s the video.

And, here’s the link to Tuesday’s blog so you can read more about Eli:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

FREDDIE MERCURY LIVES!

While it was announced back in late 2010 by Queen guitarist Brian May, it now looks like we’ll finally be seeing a movie based on the group’s bisexual lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in late 1991 from an AIDS-related illness, at the age of 45.

freddie_with_crown

Mercury was born Farrokh Bulsasa, in Zanzibar, in East Africa.  While he was flamboyant on stage, he was personally very shy.  The singer, who dated men and women, became the first major rock star to die of AIDS.  Interestingly enough, it’s reported that he always denied that he was HIV-positive or had AIDS and it was only announced publicly one day before he died in London on November 24, 1991.

sacha-baron-cohen

“Borat” and “Les Miserables” actor Sacha Baron Cohen will play Mercury and he’s already taking singing lessons.  IMDb is reporting that the film will be “a chronicle of the years leading up to Queen’s appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.”  It’s also rumored that Tom Hooper, who also directed “Les Miserables” and “The King’s Speech” will be behind the camera.

This sounds like an exciting movie and it’s expected in 2014.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The English rock band Queen formed in 1970.  While the band did not achieve instant success, it has now sold an estimated 150 million to 300 million albums world-wide since its debut album, “Queen”, came out in the summer of 1973.

“Killer Queen” was the band’s first  American hit in 1974 peaking at #12.

Queen Radio Gaga

Queen would go on to chart 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, five would reach the Top Ten and two would top the chart:  “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” and “Another One Bites The Dust” (1980).  “Bohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days of Our Lives” would go all the way to #2 in 1991.

My selection today was released in late October 1979, but it reached #1 on the Hot 100 in late February 1980, so it qualifies as one of my “80’s Friday Flashback” songs.

GOD SAVE THE QUEEN!

And, since we’re on the subject of Queen, let’s curtsy to Queen Elizabeth II!

Queen Elizabeth II Pride

Earlier this week, the Queen gave her blessing on marriage equality after Parliament passed its third reading.  Back in May, the House of Commons passed the bill by a vote of 366 to 161.   Same-sex marriages will begin in the United Kingdom next year!

Prime Minister David Cameron has pushed for marriage equality since 2011 when he told his own Conservative Party, “Yes, it’s about equality. But it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society’s stronger when we make vows to each other and we support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage in spite of being a conservative, I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

Congratulations, Great Britain!

ENDER’S GAME” CONTROVERSY

EndersGame

“Ender’s Game” is a science fiction action movie coming out November 1, 2013, starring Asa Butterfield (“Hugo”), Academy Award nominees Harrison Ford (“Witness”), Viola Davis (“Doubt” and “The Help”), Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”), and Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”), along with Oscar winner Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi”).

It’s based on the popular 1985 novel by Orson Scott Card.  However, with just a little over three months before the $110 million movie’s premiere, it’s marred in a publicity nightmare and the LGBT group, Geeks OUT! is even proposing a boycott of the movie because of comments made by the book’s author.

Orson Scott Card

Card is on the board of directors at the National Organization for Marriage, a group that is very aggressive and mean in its views against same-sex marriage.   In 2009, Card wrote in “Mormon Times” that “marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down.”

And, just last year, while supporting North Carolina’s Amendment One, he called same-sex attraction, “reproductive dysfunction” and added that “normalizing a dysfunction will only make ours into a society that corrodes any loyalty to it, as parents see that our laws and institutions now work against the reproductive success (not to mention happiness) of the next generation.”

Now, the director of the movie, some of its stars, and Lionsgate Entertainment are distancing themselves from Card.  Lionsgate issued this in a statement, “As proud longtime supporters of the LGBT community […] we obviously do not agree with the personal views of Orson Scott Card and those of the National Organization for Marriage”.

Card recently told “Entertainment Weekly” (“EW”) that his anti-marriage views are now “moot” because of the Supreme Court’s late June decision on  the Defense of Marriage Act.

And, even with all of his negative views toward same-sex couples wanting the right to marry, it sounds like Card is playing the victim telling “EW”,  “Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”

Say what????  Let me get this straight.  Now, Card wants the LGBT community and its supporters to be tolerant and open-minded and come out to see “Ender’s Game” — just to line his pockets with more money.  That, Mr. Card, sounds more like a joker than an ace!

enders-game-boycott

So, what are your thoughts on this or anything else I talked about today?  I welcome your opinions whether we agree or disagree.  Have yourself a great weekend and, as always, thank you for checking out my blog.

Anthony