Posts Tagged ‘Carly Rae Jepsen’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 16, 2018

Where does the time go?  It’s a week before Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping season.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

THE “N-WORD”

“Green Book” is a drama-comedy set in the 1960s racist-South (as opposed to the current-day racist South — okay, not all of the South is racist).

Viggo Mortensen plays “Tony Lip”, a big city club bouncer hired to chauffeur a famous black pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a tour of the South while navigating racial tension.

Before the movie even hit theaters to tackle that subject, there was a tense conversation last week during a screening of the movie.  Mortensen was talking about generational use of hate speech and used the “n-word” specifically as speech that’s no longer commonly used.

That didn’t set well with Ali.  He responded, “However well-intended or intellectual the conversation may have been, it wasn’t appropriate for Viggo to say the n-word… An excellent and poignant thought was unfortunately overshadowed by voicing the word in its fullness. Which for me, is always hurtful.”

In his apology, Mortensen said, “Although my intention was to speak strongly against racism, I have no right to even imagine the hurt that is caused by hearing that word in any context, especially from a white man. I do not use the word in private or in public. I am very sorry that I did use the full word last night, and will not utter it again.”

Ali adds, “The use of the word within the black community has long been debated, and its usage should continue to be examined within the black community… The use of the word by those who aren’t black, is not up for debate.”

Ali accepted Mortensen’s apology.

“GREEN BOOK”

I’ve been wanting to see this movie since the trailer came out.

I can already see Academy Award nominations for two-time Oscar nominee Mortensen (“Eastern Promises” and “Captain Fantastic”) and Oscar winner Ali (“Moonlight”) and a Best Picture nomination!

And, if you never saw “Captain Fantastic, do so.  It was my #2 movie in 2016!

SPEAKING OF RACE

The first eight episodes of the fifth season of “How To Get Away With Murder”, which just went on winter break with the revelation of who was killed at Connor and Oliver’s wedding, were great!

The show, headed by a white man with a black lead (Oscar and Emmy winner Viola Davis), has never shied away from problems that people of color face in the U.S.

In last week’s episode at a celebration before Connor and Oliver’s wedding, Michaela made a very bold and, sadly, honest toast, “Is this country a scary, evil, racist place? Yes. Are those guards probably home with their families right now, not giving a damn about what they did.”

Scary Evil Racist

You can watch the entire scene here:  https://www.mrctv.org/videos/htgawm-evil-racist-place

After a few more responses, Oliver toasted, “To Nate Senior and the hope that, someday, we will live in a world that isn’t always so terrible all the time.”

ANOTHER “HTGAWM” THOUGHT

I’ve always thought that Frank Delfino (Charlie Weber) was hot, but he’s exceptionally sexy this season.

Charlie Weber Frank Delfino

SALT & STRAW

If you live in California, Oregon, or Washington, chances are that you’ve enjoyed or at least heard of Salt & Straw.

I definitely want one or I have to visit one of their shops!

The West Coast ice cream company is chef-based and everything is made from scratch.  The ice-cream base is churned into five to ten gallon batches from locally sourced cream.

So, you might be thinking, big deal.  There are many companies that make their own ice cream!

But, Roasted Peach & Sage Cornbread Stuffing (ice cream infused “with fresh-picked sage…handfuls of sweet and crunchy cornbread brown sugar shortbread cookies and spoonfuls of spiced peach jam brightened with a splash of peach vinegar)?

Roasted Peach Sage Cornbread Stuffing.JPG

I’d also love to try the Spiced Goat Cheese & Pumpkie Pie (“warm spices, fresh local goat cheese, and streaks of fresh baked pumpkin pie filling… It’s almost as if we scooped out that yummy pumpkin custard straight from the pie shell and smattered it into a spicy, goaty, cheesecake ice cream.”)

Spiced Goat Cheese Pumpkin Pie.JPG

Now, the one I’d definitely take a bite or two, but might not (or might) want a full serving of is the “Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey” (“sweet and buttery turkey brittle into a turkey fat caramel ice cream”)!Salted Caramel Thanksgiving Turkey.JPG

When it comes to culinary delights and if you’re curious like me, you can check out their other non-Thanksgiving flavors here:  https://saltandstraw.com/flavors/

Until I get to a Salt & Straw, I’ll just have to enjoy the interesting flavors of gelato at the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The blockbuster is coming to DVD next week — November 20, 2018!!!

Crazy-Rich-Asians-Movie

The $30 million dollar production has already brought in $236 million in theaters (74% of that in the U.S. with $173.6 million)!

“MEET CUTE”

I know pop culture comes up with little words and phrases that go on to be overused very quickly.

I’m not a fan of “meet cute”!

Come on!  People “meet” and some start dating.  Sometimes these introductions are not in perfect Hollywood situations.

Stop using this phrase!  “Crazy Rich Asians” didn’t bore us with a “meet cute” with Nick and Rachel. 🙂

Oops, “SPOILER ALERT”! 🙂

“THE WALKING DEAD” IS TRULY DEAD TO ME NOW!

I didn’t like seasons 7 and 8 of “The Walking Dead” and I vowed that I was done — until I heard that my favorite character was leaving!

So, I gave the first five episodes of season nine a chance and they were great.

That was up until the final moment of episode 5 when my favorite character should have been eaten alive by walkers.

That’s when “TWD” “jumped the shark” with a rescue and flash forward of six years!  Judith Grimes as a kid badass!  Gimme a break!

I didn’t even think about it.  At that moment, I took the recordings off the DVR.  I’m done!

And, just in case you haven’t heard, there’s a reason for the last minute rescue.  My favorite character will be starring in three future “The Walking Dead” movies.

Um, probably, no thanks!

spoiler-alert

Notice I didn’t say who the character was.  If you haven’t caught up, you’re really good at avoiding spoilers because it’s been everywhere.

If you want to know who it is, the actor’s picture is at the bottom!

If not, stop scrolling down at the Carly Rae Jepsen video!

MORE FALL TELEVISION

The first season of the “The Purge” and Lifetime’s “You” wrapped up (both have been renewed for a second season).

While very uneven, this season of “American Horror Story:  Apocalypse” is over.  It was enjoyable at times, especially the scenes with Joan Collins and with Jessica Lange.

The finale was so over-the-top and “WTF”, but mostly fun — only because it was so crazy and ludicrous!  Nice to see you again Angela Bassett!

I’m still loving “Madam Secretary ” and “Manifest” and while I’ve cooled on “The Good Doctor”, I’m still watching it.

NEXT WEEK IS THANKSGIVING

FB Turkey

Thanksgiving Forecast“WASTED!  THE STORY OF FOOD WASTE”

Since most of the country will be feasting on a lot of food next week for Thanksgiving, it’s unfortunate that there’ll be a lot of waste!

I watched an incredible documentary on how we can use more of the crops we grow for creative dishes and even use the waste in more creative ways.

It’s very eye-opening!

“Wasted!” features the late chef and television star Anthony Bourdain.

While his views are very bold in the 2017 documentary, he made a very chilling comment about people hanging themselves in one of his soundbites.

It’s eerie and creepy since he was found dead in France this past summer from an apparent suicide by hanging!

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Carly Rae Jepsen will always be known by her signature hit, “Call Me Maybe” from 2012, but she’s had so many more incredible songs!

“Emotion” was my #3 album of 2015.  I still love it and listen to it.

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

I saw her in concert in March 2016 at Terminal 5 in New York City and it’s still one of my favorite shows.

Here’s the final number, “I Really Like You” and around the first chorus, you’ll see just how close I was! 🙂

Her latest song, “Party of One”, just came out.

It’s about moving on from relationships, self-love, and being intimate — even it’s alone!!!

The video is a happy, sad, and peppy!

P.S.   It’s also a little risque with toys not usually seen in mainstream music videos!   Read between the lines and enter at your own risk! 🙂

GOODBYE SEXY ANDREW LINCOLN!

Andrew Lincoln

“The Walking Dead” is dead to me now, so goodbye Rick Grimes!

Andrew_Lincoln_shirtless_02

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — October 6, 2017

It’s been a heartbreaking week with the mass shooting in Las Vegas (more on that below).  While sad and tragic, there are some happy things going on in the world and I hope some of that is happening in your life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WHAT AN HONOR!

If you’ve followed me on Facebook since 2009 or read my blog since 2012, you know that I’m a strong believer in equality — LGBT, marriage, women’s rights, for people of color, and more.

While some of you may disagree with my views, that’s fine.  I do have to walk a fine line when I state my opinions and in my responses to people who don’t think like me (especially now, considering where I live and the climate we live in)!

With that being said, I got a big surprise when I started reading the October/November 2017 issue of “The Advocate”.

Advocate WG

The magazine had a feature on the “50 Most Influential LGBT People In Media” and I absolutely love lists and countdowns.  I had a thought on who might be number one, so I was curious.

Since I always read magazines from the front to back and I don’t skip ahead, I got to page seven and Editorial Director Diane Anderson-Minshall’s “Editor’s Letter”.

Below that was this segment.  As I was reading it and walking, I was shocked and surprised!!!!!!!!!!!

LGBT Media Arrow

A shout-out in the nation’s biggest and longest-running LGBT magazine in the country, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

What an honor!  Diane, I’ll keep up the fight for equality and visibility in these very trying, dark post-November 8, 2016 days!!!

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

A dear friend from back in the Quad Cities, Clayton, posted a message on my blog a couple of weeks ago that touched my heart just as much as the name check in “The Advocate”.

Clayton said, “I hope that you realize the lasting effects you have had on the many people who feared going public”.

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

On October 1st, President Jimmy Carter turned 93 years old.

It’s no secret that I love President Carter and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, and I had the pleasure to meet them in July at their Plains, Georgia church.

While there, I had my picture taken with them.  I sent them a copy inside an anniversary card celebrating their 71 years of marriage on July 7th.

I just hoped that with all of the fan mail they still get that they would see the card.

Weeks passed and I opened the mail recently to find an envelope from the “Office of Jimmy Carter”!  I gingerly opened it.

Not only did the Carters see my anniversary card and the picture, but they took the time to autograph it and send it back to me!

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

I’ve now met three of my four living idols.  I wrote about them this summer and if you missed that blog, here it is.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

Jimmy Carter

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (PRESIDENT CARTER & MS. ROSALYNN)

What a perfect time to share one of my favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

This is from her show at Terminal 5 in New York City in March 2016.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.

It’s also from one of the most underrated pop albums ever, “Emotion”.

It was my third favorite album of 2015 and I still listen to it today and marvel at its excellence.

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

Sadly, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the summer of 2016, is no longer the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!

That heartbreaking title is now bestowed on Las Vegas, Nevada, after a man opened fire on a country music festival near Mandalay Bay on the Strip Sunday night.

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

The senseless violence in the United States and the world saddens me.  While we still don’t know the motive of the shooting, the man is purely evil or suffered from a mental illness.  I’m only speculating, but I think he was just evil and filled with hate!

Mental illness is something that we, as Americans, are still uncomfortable discussing.  It comes up after each mass shooting, but then we’re on to the next “breaking news” and nothing is accomplished.

Enough!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and I’m still considering moving there.

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

On the morning of this senseless tragedy, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico, tweeted this to the people of Las Vegas!

Her compassion is incredible!

To take the time to think of Las Vegas even as her people try to put their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma!

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

Except for “Batman Returns” and the Christian Bale-Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy, superhero movies bore me.

They’re so unrealistic.  I know, I know, they’re “superheroes” with super strength and powers, blah blah blah!

I was huge fan of the “Wonder Woman” television series in the 1970s with Lynda Carter, so I wanted to see this movie.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is stunning as Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta on the hidden island of Themyscira, a land of Amazonian warriors.

She rescues an American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and is intrigued by his worldliness and the fact that he’s a man! 🙂  Okay, as beautiful as Gadot is, it’s Chris Pine! I’m intrigued, too.

Diana heads off with him to stop World War II and Ares’.

The fight scenes were typical superhero-fakery, but when the movie dives into storytelling and drama, it does it well.

Plus, the always incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood on “House of Cards”) plays Diana’s aunt, General Antiope, who trains her to fight.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Canadian country music hottie Brett Kissel, with just two hit albums under his cowboy belt buckle, has already scored nine Top Ten hits on the Canadian country charts.

Sadly, American radio hasn’t taken a chance on him yet.  As Julia Roberts’ Vivard Ward says to the snooty women on Rodeo Drive, “big mistake, big, huge!”

Brett is back with a brand new single that’s burning up the country charts in his native country.

“We Were That Song” is already at #22!

Back in February 2016, I wrote about Brett and his fantastic album, “Pick Me Up”, which was my #7 album of that year!

Here’s that blog again so you learn more about Brett.  And, by the way, he’s fantastic with being personable with his fans on social media!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

Brett, I can’t wait for the new album!  You have a lot of American fans, too!

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

The Gainesville, Florida rocker died Monday night after being found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home the night before.

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Petty scored 16 Top 40 hits.

Three of them reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1980), “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3, 1981, from Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna” album), and “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1990).

While it wasn’t one of his Top Ten Hot 100 hits, “The Waiting” (#19, 1981) was one of my favorite Petty songs. (It did spend six consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart!)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

Now that October is here, so is the holiday SEASON! 🙂

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

rihanna-perfume

By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 8, 2016

I hope you’re enjoying your week following the Fourth of July weekend.

I loved the cooler temperatures last weekend, but the heat and humidity definitely returned to the Midwest.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and many of you did last Friday, so thank you again.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

I want to extend Happy Anniversary wishes to one of the most perfect couples — my favorite President Jimmy Carter and his beautiful bride, Rosalynn.

Jimmy & Rosalynn.jpg

Thursday marked the couple’s 70th wedding anniversary.

After the couple married in their hometown of Plains, Georgia, they lived in several different parts of the country when President Carter was in the Navy.  After that, they returned to Plains to run the family’s peanut farm and business before moving on to Atlanta to become to Governor and First Lady of Georgia.

As I’ve written before, as a 12-year-old boy, I accompanied my grandmother, Helen, who was mostly illiterate into the voting booth in November 1976 in Mayfield, Kentucky, and placed my first presidential vote for the former Georgia governor.

I want to think that my vote was instrumental in him winning my state’s nine electoral votes.

CarterPres

I went with her again in 1980 and, again, voted for President Carter.

I’ll be visiting Atlanta in early September for the first time and I can’t wait to see the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.  I’m so hoping that the former President and First Lady will be speaking at the Carter Center while I’m there.

So, President and Mrs. Carter, I’d love to treat you to an anniversary lunch or dinner if our path’s cross in Atlanta this September!  🙂

Happy Anniversary!

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

In case you missed it, here’s the blog from four years ago confessing my admiration for President and Mrs. Carter. (It’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place in this week’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

SAD STATE OF THE WORLD

I already had this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” ready to post when the bloodshed in Dallas, Texas, became the top story.

Dallas

A sniper (or snipers) opened fire on about 100 police officers at a demonstration of around 800 people in Dallas.  Eleven police officers were shot and, at least, five were dead.

The group gathered to protest two police-related deadly shootings this week — one in Louisiana and the other in Minnesota.

At least three people were in custody after an exchange of gunfire with police at a parking garage downtown.

This story is changing by the minute and will continue to do so throughout the day and weekend.

the real world

America and the world, violence is and has always been a part of our existence.   But, the lack of empathy and the total disregard for life and our fellow man has to change.

I’m a realist and I know how this will play out, but I truly want society and mankind to prove me wrong!

STOP THE HATE

(This part of the blog was already written before the Dallas shooting spree.)

It’s been almost a month since the deadly shooting at the gay nightclub, Pulse, in Orlando, Florida.

49 people were gunned down and another 53 were injured.

There have been many vigils and memorials in the past few weeks.

Now, heavyweight producer Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story”, “American Crime Story”, “Scream Queens”, and “Glee”) is behind a very powerful and beautiful 18-minute video tribute featuring Hollywood stars sharing the stories of each of the 49 victims’ lives with their photographs.

The video may be long, but that time pales in comparison to the lifetime that each of those 49 people will never experience now.

I hope you take the time to watch it.

So touching and heartbreaking!

THOSE “DAMN EMAILS”

“The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails.”

Those words came from Senator Bernie Sanders on October 13, 2015 (my birthday)  in a Democratic debate with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive U.S. Presidential nominee, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Clinton quickly replied with a chuckle, “Thank you. Me, too.  Me, too.”

DEM 2016 Debate

Now, almost nine months later, the debate is over with FBI Director James Comey stating in a press conference with his agency’s decision, “Our judgement is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”

But, Comey did call Clinton’s handling of private emails “extremely careless.”

Yesterday, while being grilled by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, he basically said that none of the Clinton documents in the investigation had headers stating it was “classified”.

Now that precedence is set, hopefully every Secretary of State from John Kerry forward will learn from this and new guidelines will be instituted that can keep up with the always changing internet world.

BENGHAZI — FOUR YEARS LATER

If you asked Americans what country Benghazi is in or where to find it on the map, most would not know.  From a security standpoint four years ago, our own government didn’t seem to have it (and several other places) high on their radar either.

It didn’t seem like a priority until September 11, 2012, when Islamic militants killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans there.

The U.S. government, the Obama administration, and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted formal responsibility and she said this of the blame game, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator.”

Hearing were held and many studies were conducted (even independent ones).  Yet, in this presidential election year, people are still looking for the “silver bullet” to implicate Clinton for this tragedy.

The Stevens Family.jpg

Dr. Anne Stevens, the sister of Ambassador Stevens, is that family’s spokesperson and she says the latest reports added nothing new because it was already established that Benghazi was not secure.

Stevens adds, “I do not blame Hillary Clinton or Leon Panetta. They were balancing security efforts at embassies and missions around the world. And their staffs were doing their best to provide what they could with the resources they had. The Benghazi Mission was understaffed. We know that now. But, again, Chris knew that. It wasn’t a secret to him. He decided to take the risk to go there. It is not something they did to him. It is something he took on himself.”

Clinton Stevens.jpg

And, when asked what Chris would have thought about this year’s upcoming presidential election, she says, “I know he had a lot of respect for Secretary Clinton. He admired her ability to intensely read the issues and understand the whole picture.”

Sadly, many people are keeping this tragedy alive, not because they are saddened by the loss of Ambassador Stevens and the three other men, to make it another piece of this year’s election puzzle.

It’s time to make security changes to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and, most of all, it’s time to move on people.

“13 HOURS:  THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI”

When it was announced in late 2014 that director Michael Bay would be bringing a movie about the Benghazi tragedy to the big screen, I didn’t have any interest in seeing it.

He’s famous for making popcorn movies geared toward teenage fanboys and fangirls (“The Transformers” series and “Armageddon”).

However, once I heard that the movie wasn’t just propaganda (it was released two weeks before the Iowa Caucus on February 1, 2016, which is the kick-off to the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election), I decided I would check it out on DVD.

It’s much better than I expected it to be.  From a Hollywood telling of real life events, it was definitely a great thriller.  It ended up making about $70 million in theaters with a $50 million budget.

Since we’re talking about the movie here, John Krasinski looks incredible with his newly buffed physique.

GRADE:  B

TICKETMASTER & FREE TICKETS

The concert movie giant is trying to make good after a losing a lawsuit over the crazy fees it charges.

Ticketmaster has already released two waves of tickets totaling almost $15 million, but it’s only for select concerts and venues.

It’s a nice gesture, but it’ll not likely benefit most of the customers it ripped off over the years, including myself.

Here’s a July 1st post from Ticketmaster:

tm

Ticketmaster, I have an idea if you really (and I stress, REALLY) want to make good on redemption from your shady activities that got you sued.

Since you’re only offering select number of tickets anyway, let us pick the general admission seats to the concerts we’d want to attend — if seats are available.

For instance, there are two shows that still have plenty of cheap seats open in Las Vegas when I’m there later this month.  Let me use my free vouchers there.

Just a thought!

SULLY

You might not remember that it was in January 2009, but I’m sure just looking at this photo, you’ll remember the story.

Flight 1549

This is US Airways Flight 1549 resting on the Hudson River after taking off from LaGuardia Airport in New York City.

Shortly after take-off, the plane hit a flock of Canadian geese, which caused engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

Director Clint Eastwood and Oscar winner Tom Hanks are bringing this amazing story to the big screen September 9th.

The movie also stars Aaron Eckhart as Skiles and Oscar nominee Laura Linney as Sully’s wife, Lorraine.

FISH POND UPDATE

It appears that the anti-viral chemical we’re using in the fish pond is making a difference!

As I told you in last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, we had four larger koi to die in about a week’s time and then we quickly treated the pond with an agent to fight viruses in case the last fish we acquired were sick.

Sadly, Snowflake, another of the larger koi, died last weekend.  (She’s on the left here.  Pumpkin Pie, my favorite fish, on the right, died two weeks ago.)

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

While I think the medicine is definitely working, it was already too late for Snowflake.

FIRST LADIES

For the past three weeks, I’ve been sharing tidbits from the book I read called “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.

I’m wrapping it up this week.

First Ladies

Eleanor Roosevelt:   She worked for the advancement of women and civil rights for black Americans.  Many saw her and FDR as a team in politics.  She loved press conferences — she had 348 in the three terms as First lady.  She also ended Prohibition by serving wine in the White House in 1934.

Elizabeth “Bess” Truman:  She and President Harry Truman made it no secret that they closely worked together for his policies.  She didn’t travel by air and mostly took the train.  Unlike her First Lady predecessor, she hated press conferences and only gave one!

Mamie Eisenhower:  Her favorite color was pink and she surrounded herself with it.  She saw her role as wife as secondary and supportive.  She made many “best dressed” lists, but often bought clothes off the rack.  While she exuded a “soft” side, White House staff saw her as militaristic.

Jacqueline Kennedy:  She worked hard to restore the White House (she didn’t like the word “redecorate”).  She was the first First Lady to hire her own press secretary and she was very into art and not just what was popular at the time.

Lady Bird Johnson:  Her first name was Claudia.  She borrowed against her inheritance, so her husband, LBJ, could run for Congress in Texas in 1937.  She also borrowed money to buy an Austin radio station in 1942 and when television took off in the 1950s, her broadcasting complex made her a very rich woman.  She’s best known for supporting the environment and for starting Highway Beautification projects.

Pat Nixon:  Thelma was her first name.  In her renovations of the White House, she made it more accessible for disabled and the sight-impaired.  She responded to her correspondences individually and she was also a well-traveled First Lady visiting 83 nations.

Betty Ford:  Her real name was Elizabeth.  She was widely lauded (and likely mocked) for her frankness — about her kids, health problems, and her life, including using Valium.  She wasn’t afraid to share her views even when they contradicted President Gerald Ford’s stances.

Rosalynn Carter:  Her first name is Eleanor and she gave the valedictory speech at her high school graduation of eleven students in Plains, Georgia.  As First Lady of Georgia and the country, she worked very hard for mental health reforms.  She also fought to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified.  She also played a big role in the Middle East Peace Talks at Camp David by making many trips back to Washington D.C. during the lengthy process to stand in at events for President Jimmy Carter.

Nancy Reagan:  She wasn’t shy about asking for White House renovations and new china even as the country was in a major recession.  She was often criticized for influencing her husband, especially in his second term.  The “New York Times” even wrote about her “Associate Presidency”.

Barbara Bush:   She worked hard during her White House years for literacy and to bring attention to the fight against AIDS.  She was heavily into volunteerism before she became First Lady.

Hillary Rodham Clinton:  As First Lady, she was seen as highly ambitious because she was a strong woman that worked on policy for her husband.  To counter criticism, she lightened her hair, wore a more feminine wardrobe, and cut back on her public speaking.  To top it off, she even added her married name publicly to her already establish name of “Hillary Rodham”.

This book was updated in 1993 and it didn’t have chapters on Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.

HIllary Flag

One last interesting comment that the author made was “By 1993, the credentials of First Lady Hillary Clinton looked very much like those of the President.”

Prophetic much???? 🙂

PICK HIT

I saw Cardiknox, the pop duo of Thomas Dutton and lead singer Lonnie Angle, open for Carly Rae Jepsen in New York City in March on the “Emotion Tour”.

They are full of energy and their debut album, “Portrait”, is fantastic.

Here’s their new video, “Wild Child”.

PICK HIT BONUS

I also want to share the first song and video from the album, “On My Way”, which is one of my favorite songs of 2016.

The video is amazing because it definitely looks like it done in one take with no edits.

THAT’S IT

With all that’s going on in the world, I hope you can make your little part of this f**ked up world a little brighter!

Anthony

Ready To Really Like Carly Rae Jepsen in NYC

The weekend is almost here and I hope it’s a fun one for you.  It’s also Easter weekend.  Happy Easter!

ABBAEaster2001

Easter gives me a chance to share this cute picture of Miss ABBA, who’s probably enjoying Easter egg hunts across the rainbow bridge.

Depending on the time of day you read this (and United Airlines), we’re likely on the way to Chicago or already in New York City for a few days. This is Gretel’s Christmas present.

We’ll do the touristy things, eat great food, and see a Broadway show, “Disaster!”.

However, the weekend kicks off tonight with my choice for a fun New York City time — Carly Rae Jepsen in concert! Cardiknox and Fairground Saints will be joining her.

carly-rae-jepsen

So, in honor of the headliner, here are my 15 favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs and I’ll hear many of them since the “Gimme Love Tour” is promoting the “Emotion” album.

It was one of my favorites CDs of 2015.  Get it now if you don’t already have it!

carly-rae-jepsen-emotion

15

“TURN ME UP” (CD:  “KISS”)

#14 Movie

“BOY PROBLEMS” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

13

“BLACK HEART” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

12

“THIS KISS” (CD:  “KISS”)

#11 Movie

“HURT SO GOOD” (CD:  “KISS”)

10

“CURIOSITY” (CD:  “KISS”)

#9 MOVIE

“GOOD TIME” (WITH OWL CITY) (CD:  “KISS”)

8

“YOUR TYPE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#7 CD

“WARM BLOOD” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#6 CD

“RUN AWAY WITH YOU” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

5

“CALL ME MAYBE” (CD:  “KISS”)

4

“GIMME LOVE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#3 CD

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#2 MOVIE

“I DIDN’T JUST COME HERE TO DANCE” (CD:  “EMOTION”)

#1

“TONIGHT I’M GETTING OVER YOU” (CD:  “KISS”)

 

CARDIKNOX

The Los Angeles-based duo Cardiknox (Thomas Dutton and Lonnie Angle) just released their major label debut, “Portrait”.

It’s a great album full of synth and electronic vibes that take you back to the 1980s with a current day rock feel.

Right now, my favorite song on the album is still “On My Own” because it was the song that introduced me to the group and I’ve watched the incredibly choreographed video so many times.

I also like “Wild Child”, an energetic anthem that makes no apologies for being young and being yourself.

However, the more I listen to “Portrait”, I think my favorite jams will be “Bloodlust” and “Supermodel”.

Both take me back to the “new wave” and punk days of the late-1970s and early-1980s when bands like  Berlin, Missing Persons, X, Blondie and the Go-Gos were making inroads to success in popular music.

Can’t wait to see Lonnie and Thomas open for Carly Rae.

FAIRGROUND SAINTS

Carly Rae definitely picked two of Los Angeles’ finest to open for her on the tour with Cardiknox and the trio, Fairground Saints (Mason Van Valin, Megan McAllister, and Elijah Edwards).

While I like many genres of music (dance, electronic, pop, country, and soul), Fairground Saints doesn’t box themselves into one category.  On their self-titled album, which came out last August, you get a strong feel of folk, country, and gospel.

I’ll probably embarrass my soon-to-be 15-year-old daughter, Gretel, by singing along and dancing to Carly Rae, but I know she’s going to love the smooth, alternative sound of Fairground Saints.

Here’s to a fun Friday night at Terminal 5 in New York City with Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardiknox, and Fairground Saints.

Anthony

Losing Weight & Degrading Women Is Torture In “Dietland”

When it comes to recommendations, you expect me to suggest movies (you still need to see “Lilting”, “Bridegroom”,”Weekend”, and “Mr. Holmes”), music (“Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder, “Communion” by Years & Years, and “Emotion” by Carly Rae Jepsen were tops last year), or television shows (loving “The Man In The High Castle” and “Quantico” while I wait for my regulars to return.)

Last year, I even suggested a couple of books — the incredible “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz — both debut novels.

Normally, I read non-fiction books, autobiographies, and biographies.  Since it’s an election year, I’m going to devour political books this year and I’m starting off with “It Takes A Village” by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

However, thanks to “Entertainment Weekly”, I had to get one more book in before polluting my mind with politics.

It named “Dietland” by Sarai Walker as one of the ten best books of 2015.

Dietland

And, I totally agree.  I devoured the stellar 307-page novel like Plum would choke down greasy cheeseburgers, cupcakes, and homemade lady fingers.

Okay, I need to back up because there’s also Alicia and we definitely can’t forget Jennifer!

“Dietland” is centered around Plum, a reclusive woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to women.  Actually, her job, that allows her to work at home or from the cafe she frequents, is to answer emails from young women that think they’re writing to the editor of the magazine, Kitty, for advice.

And, she’s likely not working from the Austen Media Tower high rise in Manhattan because she doesn’t fit the editor’s or the magazine’s ideal woman mold — Plum is very overweight, clocking in at over 300 pounds.

Although she’s tried dieting and weight loss programs since she was young, her weight keeps going up.

She feels her only alternative is to have gastric bypass surgery.  That’ll allow “Alicia” (her given birth name and the skinny woman deep down inside her overweight body) a chance to shine — a chance to live life, wear fun clothes, date, and fall in love.  Those are the things that Plum feels she’ll never have.

One day, she realizes that she’s being followed.  This eventually leads to a confrontation with the person tailing her and Plum meeting other people including a woman with ties to a weight loss program Plum tried and failed at when she was younger.

In the meantime, a series of high profile events involving men suspected of rape, domestic violence, and other acts against women — directly or indirectly — are starting and gaining national and international attention.

These are not court cases.  No, I’m talking about men being dropped from a plane to their deaths in the desert and much more.

But, who’s doing this?

Is Jennifer the mastermind behind the series of attacks on men and the media that objectify women.  Is Jennifer an alias of one of the main characters or an underground group?  And, how long will it take before she starts a whole revolution of women lashing out at men and institutions that demean them with unrealistic expectations?

And, then the big question is how does this all tie into Plum and her aversion to saying the one word, the f-word, that she’s never been able to say about herself — that’s she fat!

Sarai Walker

“Dietland” is a stellar debut novel from Sarai (pronounced sa-RAY) Walker and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next.

Walker has mastered what it feels like to be an outsider.  An outsider that learns if you love yourself, it doesn’t matter what other small-minded people think — since killing them is still against the law!

In a perfect world and if Hollywood took real chances, this book would be optioned for a movie — like five minutes ago!

Anthony

2016: My (Not So) Lofty Expectations

It’s hard to believe not just that another year has passed, but that it seems to have gone by so quickly!  I think that comes with getting older.  There’s just not enough hours in a day.

Now that 2016 is here, I’ll share the same wish to you that I shared a few days ago when I looked back on my 2015 in a blog, “I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.”

Time

So, what do I want to accomplish and do with my time in the new year?

I want to nap more.  My work schedule is a strange one and I always feel sleep-deprived.  Part of that is my fault because I always find things I could or should be doing in the afternoons when I should be snoozing for a couple of hours.

I’ll strive to be a better person.  In 2016,  I hope not to let other people’s actions or incompetence agitate me.  Yes, I’m human and so many people disappoint me with their inaction.

I plan on sticking close to my budget.  This will allow me the opportunity to travel as much as I can in the new year.

In 2015, I was fortunate to go to New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anchorage, and to Mexico twice, Riviera Maya in the summer and to Puerto Vallarta in December.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in 2015 from home and afar from some of these amazing places I visited.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10153326556919849.1073741954.500579848&type=3

I saw some great concerts and shows last year (Madonna, Janet  Jackson, Bette Midler, Michael C. Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and Renee Fleming in “The Merry Widow”).

This year, I’d love to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas.  I saw her a few years back on the “Femme Fatale Tour” and she was incredible.  And, I hear she has new music dropping this year.

Britney Las Vegas

We already have two trips planned for the new year.  One, we booked in the spring of last year and paid for it in monthly payments for the remainder of 2015.  There’s there budget thing again!  I’m sure we’ll announce when and where before we go. 🙂

Also, for Christmas, we gave Gretel a trip to New York City for her spring break.  She’s always wanted to go and she loved the pictures of our trip there last New Year’s Eve, my first time.

AP Ray NYC

She wants to see Madame Tussauds and probably visit a museum.  Ray hasn’t said what he wants to do and I’ve already bought tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen at Terminal 5!

If you haven’t checked out her 2015 album, “Emotion”, you’re missing out on a pop masterpiece!  It was my #3 favorite album of last year and if you only know her from “Call Me Maybe”, this set of songs is more mature and just as catchy!

And, in May, Ray and I are going to see Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, outside Chicago.

I love Ellie Goulding’s music, but I chose this concert to see the opening act.  Years & Years released “Communion” last summer and it’s incredible.

Lead singer Olly Alexander’s voice is so soulful and powerful.  If you love Adele, you have to check out “Communion”.  And, it was my #2 album of last year.

Click here and another window will open and you can see my favorite albums of 2015 and hear more selections from Years & Years to see what I’m talking about.  You’ll also see what album was my favorite since I mentioned #3 (Carly Rae) and #2 (Years & Years)!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/my-favorite-albums-of-2015/

While I already mentioned Britney, 2016 also promises new music from Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue and if I’m really lucky, new albums from Erasure, Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Enrique Iglesias!

However, my most anticipated album of 2016 is by Matthew Koma.  I loved his song “Tempted” with Giorgio Moroder and his work with Zedd.  But, it’s his solo album that I want.

Here’s a fun song from Matthew, but you may want to check the title before you click on it — if there are kids in the room. 🙂

So, that’s it for me and a few of the things I look forward to in 2016:  sleep more, smile more, not let people tick me off as much, travel more, and see some fantastic shows.

Those expectations aren’t all that lofty, right?

Happy New Year!

Anthony