Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

Sugar Coating Life

I use my blog as therapy.

I express my thoughts and feelings through written words.  Sometimes, it’s fun stuff (food, movies, songs, and books I like, love, or didn’t care for) and, at other times, I speak out on injustices that need to be part of our dialogue.

I’ve ticked people off and I’ve been degraded for it.

But, since I started my television career decades ago, I’ve developed a tough skin.  Things that might have upset me all those years ago just tick me off now.  The use of the f-word helps, too. 🙂

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

By the way, T-Swizzle, please drop the follow-up to “1989” this fall!

I feel a sense of pride when my written words and thoughts enlighten others on a topic they normally wouldn’t have pursued to learn more.

With that being said, I want you to know that there’ll always be a certain amount of sugar coating served with my thoughts and blogs.

Sugar

Being a “public figure”, I can’t truly say what I’m really thinking.  I can hint at it, but it has be to watered down.

Two words:  Dixie Chicks!

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I’m not #45 with free reign (of terror) to offend without any retribution!  I’m no longer in the progressive “blue state” of Illinois.  I now live in the “red state” of Florida and in a county where about two-thirds of the people don’t think like me, so pass the sugar!

I’ll always cherish my 15.5 years in the Midwest (four in Chicago and more than a decade in the Quad Cities).  It was far more progressive than I could ever have imagined.

Former Iowa Justices

Think about it, three Iowa judges lost their seats in the 2010 November elections, but they brought “marriage equality” to the “Hawkeye State” in 2009, six years before the Supreme Court of the United States made it the law of the land in the summer of 2015!

But, what’s the point of today’s blog about sugar coating things?

Mary Ann

I’m going through another “Mary Ann Singleton” phase again in my life.

For the uninitiated, she’s a naive character in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” book series, who visited San Francisco from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1976 and decided to stay.

My best friend, Steve, introduced me to the PBS mini-series based on the book in the spring of 1994 before I made my big move from small town Mayfield, Kentucky, in July of that year.

I felt like Mary Ann experiencing a whole new world.  San Francisco wasn’t Cleveland for her and Chicago wasn’t Mayfield for me.  I turned 30 a few months after moving there and it was fantastic.  But, I’m now two decades older as I begin my new life in Panama City, Florida.

While I might be older, the climate (and I’m not talking weather) of the country and my living here alone, a thousand miles from those I love, makes me feel like the “fish out of water” — like Mary Ann all over again.

I’ve been in Panama City for two months now and while still adorable, I’ve tired of my only friendships being with the two web-footed fowl!

I’m not depressed or despondent, but I’m sad and lonely.  I miss human correspondence and friendship.

However, in life, we never know what’s right around the corner.  Tomorrow, I could meet my new best friend — someone to make me change the way I feel about life, love, and the future.

“Everybody Knows” by the Dixie Chicks perfectly sums up the way I’m feeling now.

I’m not writing this for sympathy.  I’m just processing my life at this time.

As Belle exclaims in “Beauty and the Beast”:

“Little town/It’s a quiet village/Every day/Like the one before/Little town/Full of little people”… “Every morning just the same/Since the morning that we came/To this poor provincial town”… “There must be more than this provincial life!”

One more note about the Maupin series.

I smiled the other day when I saw “Mary Ann in Autumn”, the eighth book in the nine-book “Tales” series on a shelf here in heavily Republican Panama City!

If only they knew it’s part of a series about 1970s and 1980s San Francisco complete with casual sex (L,G,B, and T), bathhouses, drugs, AIDS, transgender characters, and so much more. 🙂

In that book, (spoiler alert), Mary Ann did become a famous newscaster, but decided that New York City wasn’t for her anymore and she moved back to San Francisco.

No, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be moving back to the Quad Cities, but Las Vegas and a new start might be on the table!

Anthony

Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.

Advocate

The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.

LGBT

“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.

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That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.

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“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.

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Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.

RonaldReagan

“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.

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“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)

SEXUAL RACISM

I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.

haring

Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexual

Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.

Anthony

April Snow Possible — No Foolin’ Around!

ORIGINAL POST:  Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 8:37 a.m.

A soaking rain is on the way to the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys late Tuesday night through Wednesday night.  Many hometowns could easily pick up over an inch of rain.

That’s a given, but here’s where it gets interesting.

The storm will track to south of the Quad Cities and that’ll set up a cold, brisk east-northeast wind of 20-40 miles-per-hour.

This will keep temperatures in the low-to-mid-40s Wednesday.  However, this also sets up the potential for even colder air to spill down closer to the surface.

If that happens, the rain could change over to snow in some hometowns.  If it comes down heavy enough, it could overcome the warmer, wet ground and begin to accumulate!

Snowy Daffies

This situation will have to be closely watched.  The bottom line is that parts of northern Illinois, including areas in and around the Quad Cities, could see accumulating snow.

Snow Potential

But, I think the heaviest of the snow will be downwind of Lake Michigan toward Chicagoland and northwestern Indiana.

This winter, we’ve picked up 22.4″ of snow officially in the Quad Cities.  That’s 8.5″ below average for this point in winter.  At this time last winter, we were at 24.1″.

I’ll continue to monitor the snow threat and keep you updated.

If you don’t like snow, we’ll be in the 60s and 70s for the weekend.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 20, 2017

It seems like forever since I’ve written a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

While I shared my favorite movies, songs, and albums in blogs in December, I’ve mostly written about the weather lately.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically and concisely.  I won’t put up with tired rants! 🙂

LAST MENTION (HOPEFULLY)

I did share one more blog about you know who yesterday and that means I’ll be trying very hard not to bash him either.  You guessed it —  I’m not referring to him by name.

If you missed that, click here and it’ll open in another window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/fasten-your-seat-belts/

IT’S AN HONOR….

Playing for the president of the United States, regardless of party, would be an honor for any performer.

But, after the decisive 2016 election, singers are catching hell for signing on or skipping this year’s inauguration and parties.

Garth Brooks is facing backlash from some of his conservative fans, but he says his decision not to play the inauguration was because of his world tour.

Brooks says, “We left it up to karma. If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then of course we are out.”

Strong sales prompted him to add three more shows over that weekend.

PresidentObama

Brooks adds, “I’ll tell you with this whole presidential thing: We got one going out. Pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let’s stay together.  Love, unity — that’s what it’s all about.”

As Garth sings in his amazing anthem, “We Shall Be Free”.

https://vimeo.com/8515766

However, it was the other way around for Jennifer Holliday.  When it was announced that the “Dreamgirls” star was planning on performing, the backlash from her fans — people of color and LGBT — was immediate.

Holliday dropped out and apologized.

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While I’m happy for that decision, I’m appalled about a reporte that Holliday and her family received death threats once it was initially announced that she would be performing.

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If true, those people are as disgusting as the ones spewing their hate and ignorance before and after the 2016 presidential election!

Disgusting!

…BUT YOU’RE NOT DOING IT “FOR THE COUNTRY”.

While I said “it’s an honor” to play for the president, I’ve actually heard some performers say they do it for the country.

I think that’s stretching it quite a bit.

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Our uniformed men and women in the armed forces do what they do for the country!

WHERE IS THE SNOW?

It’s now January 20th and it’s been over a month since we’ve had measurable snow in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

Officially, in the Quad Cities,  in Moline, we’re at the same point we were at last winter at this time on snowfall — 13.8″ (as of Thursday).

winter-snow

Typically, we should be at around 16″ at this point in the winter.

Since Davenport had more snow with the first storm of the season in early December, the total there is up to 16.5″ this winter compared to 11.8″ at this point last winter.

No snow is expected until later next week.

“THE WIDOW”

While we’re only a few weeks into the new year, I’ve already finished two books while walking on the treadmill.

I mostly read autobiographies, biographies, or books about real life events.  Occasionally, I’ll read fiction.

Over the past year, my favorites were “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker.

Dietland

If you’re looking for a thriller with the “Gone Girl”-like twist of who’s telling the truth and what is real and what isn’t, “The Widow” by Fiona Barton is a great book to check out.

widow.jpg

Jeanie is now a widow and is being pursued by journalists to tell her story after her husband Glen is hit by a bus.

But, this isn’t the first time that she felt badgered by the television and print reporters.  The last time, it was mostly about Glen and a crime for which he was charged.

There’s also twists and turns centering around a missing child and internet porn.

“DON’T BREATHE”

This psychological thriller is now out on DVD and it’s definitely worth catching.

Three down on their luck young adults are breaking into houses in Detroit and selling what they steal for money.   Yet, they feel they’re not getting the money they deserve for the stolen merchandise.

So, they decide to target one more person, an Army veteran, who won a settlement from a wealthy family after their daughter killed his only daughter in a car accident.

He appears to be an easy target because he’s blind.  Big mistake!

Let’s just say you’ll never look at a turkey baster the same way again! If your mind is already reeling, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking! 🙂

This thriller was very successful.  It made $155.1 million on a $10 million budget!

GRADE:  A

“LIGHTS OUT”

While “Don’t Breathe” is a psychological thriller and I love those types of crime capers, “Lights Out” is more of a suspenseful, supernatural movie.

It’s like an extended movie version of an episode of “The X-Files”.

A family is left to pick up the pieces after the dad is murdered at his business by something that can only be seen when it’s dark — “lights out”.

His wife, played by Maria Bello, suffers from a mental illness.

She sinks further into depression after her husband’s death and their adolescent son, Martin, is becoming more and more distressed after seeing his mother talk to a third unseen “person” in the room.

Unable to sleep, he falls asleep in school and goes to stay with his grown sister.  We learn that she left home because of her mother’s behavior.

It’s all because of Diana and Diana’s identity drives this movie.

The $5 million movie made close to $149 million and a sequel is in the works,

GRADE:  B

MORE FROM TERESA PALMER

Teresa Palmer is the star of “Lights Out” and she’s phenomenal.

Although movie goers will recognize her from “Warm Bodies”, “I Am Number Four”, “The Grudge 2”, and “Hacksaw Ridge”, I first saw the Australian actress in her incredible second movie, “2:37” from 2006.

If you come across it, it’s definitely worth checking out.

JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

I saw Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in 2007.  She was amazing, as usual.

JH.jpg

Most people remember her as Effie White in her Tony Award-winning role on Broadway in “Dreamgirls”.

That show also gave Holliday her only Top 40 hit on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.  It reached #22 in 1982.  (That song also reached #1 on the R&B charts and won her a Grammy Award.)

Holliday has also scored six Top Ten hits on the Billboard Dance charts.

“And I Am Telling You…” hit the Top Ten twice, in 2001 and 2007, but it didn’t chart when the song came out originally in 1982!

She’s also topped the dance chart twice with “No Frills Love” — in 1985 in its original release and again in 1996!

This is my favorite Holliday song!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 11, 2016

On Wednesday, my “Random Friday Thoughts” went through a major re-write.

The script changed.

I had to delete the part of thanking God that more Americans and enough blue states “elected a proven leader as the 45th president of the United States and sent an egocentric, racist, and overall, scum bag packing.”

So, here’s the updated version.  Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

A HEARTFELT THANK YOU

Senator Hillary Clinton, I want to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope that all I’ve worked for in life would continue on through your presidency.

Thank you for being a forward-thinking First Lady.  My one vote made a difference in 1992 and, again, in 1996.

Thank you for all of the years fighting for those that needed a voice, a strong person and not just a strong woman.  You were there for children, mothers, the LGBTQ community, people of color, minorities, the environment, but most of all, the world.

We failed you!

Hillary AP

I’ll never forget that cold, January day in Davenport, Iowa, when I had a chance to tell you “good luck” and you placed your hand on my shoulder.

I hope that we meet again.  You’ve been an inspiration to me for 20-plus years and for that, I’m grateful and honored to have fought the fight with you.

We may have lost this battle, but I’m still with you.

(Editor’s note — that’s me, by the way:  As I’m sitting here Friday morning, proof reading and putting the finishing touches on today’s blog, I’m tearing up again reading back what I wrote a couple of days ago.  I was more invested in this election, more than any before it, and I’m devastated.  Laugh if you want because I fear that I won’t be the only one shedding tears over the next four years.)

REMEMBERING MY SWEET MOTHER

I think about my mother for one reason or another every day.

Dessie Birthday 1989

My mother, Dessie, died 26 years ago this week.  At times, it seems just like yesterday and at other times, it seems so long ago, which it was.

Dessie 1990

Mom, Tammy and I miss you greatly.  But, we both know that you are with us every step of the way in life.

Many of you checked out the blog I wrote about my mother last year on the 25th anniversary of her death.  If you didn’t, here it is again.

Mom — 25 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You

“A REMARKABLE MOTHER”

As I’ve stated before, I get much of my real reading done on the treadmill after work. Since I knew the anniversary of my mother’s death was coming up, I wanted to read about another incredible woman —  Lillian Carter, the mother of my favorite President Jimmy Carter.

“A Remarkable Mother” is from 2008 and was published twenty-five years after Miss Lillian’s death at the age of 85.

a-remarkable-mother

I’ve read many funny stories about Miss Lillian.  She definitely said what she wanted and she didn’t care what her son’s presidential handlers thought.

She was a strong advocate for racial equality back in southwestern Georgia during the turbulent period all the way through the 1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election.

If you didn’t know, she even joined the Peace Corps and traveled to India when she was almost 70-years-old.

There are many fun quotes and stories I remember reading over the years and President Carter shares many of them in the book.

This is my favorite.  When Jimmy Carter was running in the 1976 presidential race, a female reporter from “The Washington Post” met Miss Lillian in Plains, Georgia, and said, “Miss Lillian, your son claims that he will never tell a lie.  Do you believe him when he says that?”

Miss Lillian said Jimmy had always been truthful and she didn’t think that would change, but the reporter didn’t drop it.  Finally, Lillian said, “Well maybe a little white lie every now and then.

When the reporter said, “Aha!  Aha!  And what do you mean by a little white lie?

The always quick thinking Miss Lillian responded, “Well do you remember a few minutes ago when I met you at the door and said that you look very nice and that I was glad to see you?

I sure hope that my mother and Miss Lillian are friends in heaven.  They are just two of the remarkable mothers we’ve lost!

SAD MICHAEL BUBLE NEWS

Singer Michael Buble and his wife, Luisana Lopilato, are putting their careers on hold following the devastating news that their 3-year-old son, Noah, has been diagnosed with cancer.

buble-family

He’s being treated here in the United States.

A couple of weeks ago, I previewed Michael’s new album, “Nobody But Me”, which is incredible.

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In my random thoughts on October 21, 2016, here’s what I wrote: “My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.”

For Michael and his family, I’m featuring “God Only Knows” this week.

I’ll be saying an extra prayer for Noah, Michael, and his family !

Also, it’s that time of the year that his 2011 album,”Christmas”, goes into heavy rotation and it’s sensational.

MichaelBubleChristmas

ANOTHER THANK YOU, BUT THIS ONE ISN’T SO NICE

I’m moving on from this week’s presidential election after these three parting thoughts.

I expected the race to be close and it was.  As of this writing, Hillary Clinton (60.3 million) got more votes than Donald Trump (60 million).  It’s incredible that with more than 126 million votes cast, there was only a difference of about 338-thousand votes.

debate

There are two camps I blame for Clinton’s loss.  One is the 38% of Americans that didn’t vote.

However, the people who I mostly blame for Trump winning the presidency are not just the people that voted for him.  While that’s vital, it’s the people that didn’t like either Clinton or Trump, the “protest voters”.

4.1 million people voted for Gary Johnson and 1.2 million for Jill Stein.  In toss-up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the margin of win was small enough that the “protest votes” for Johnson and Stein were enough to turn blue-leaning states red.

I’m all for having three or more viable parties that have a chance to win a presidency. However, I tried and tried to tell people who didn’t like either front-runner that a vote for Johnson or Stein was a vote for Donald Trump.

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Well, since we live in an “electoral college” voting world, thank you very much.  Your protests were successful in electing Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.  I hope you can live with it.  I’ll have to.

Thank you again!

MY ABSOLUTE FINAL THOUGHT

I’m going to highlight this, so there’s no confusion — I don’t believe that every person that voted for Trump is a racist, but there are those that are and you know who you are.

Trump

With that being said, if you deny that Trump didn’t do enough to distance himself from the love and flattery he was getting from David Duke AND if you don’t think that Trump also repeatedly made very racist remarks in his campaign, then you’re clearly (God, how do I say this with people being so sensitive) ignorant, misinformed, in denial, oblivious, or you just don’t care?

That kind of hate used to live in the darkness of night and hide under sheets.  That isn’t just a part of our sad history in the United States, it’s still very alive today.  The only difference now is that it doesn’t have to hide.

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davidduke kkk

If you believe in a higher spirit, say with me, “may God be with us”!

Tammy Faye 2

BETTE MIDLER GETS CANDID 

Okay, that’s not shocking at all.

Bette

But, for once, I’m not talking entirely about her no-holds-barred Twitter feed.  It’s about that and her own mortality.

She recently spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” and Twitter came up:  “I look at it as entertainment, but I don’t need that much entertainment in my life.  Then you feel like you’re missing out on your life.  I don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to spend it looking around and observing and thinking and memorizing poetry.” 

In the spring of 2017, Midler returns to Broadway as the widowed and brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly”

In honor of her upcoming 71st birthday (December 1st) and the holiday season, here’s Bette with “Cool Yule”, the title track of her 2006 Christmas album.

Bette, thank you for being the voice of reason in such a crazy world!

“CHRISTINE”

The most popular movie with the title, “Christine”, is based on Stephen King’s novel about a possessed vintage car.  But, now there’s another movie with that title that I can’t wait to check out.

It’s a true life story about a Florida news anchor in the 1970s that changed television news forever and shocked and scarred viewers.

It stars one of my favorite actors, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) and Rebecca Hall (no relation).

PET SHOP BOYS CONCERT

Last weekend, I finally got to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert on their “The Super Tour” in Chicago.

Here they are performing their Top Ten hit, “Always on My Mind”.

If that whetted your appetite to go back in time, here are my 20 favorite Pet Shop Boys songs.  And, since they only had six Top 40 hits in America, I bet you’ll find some fun ones you haven’t heard.  Just click below.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

I GUESS I HAVE O.C.D.

ocd

With that being said, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now and here in the Quad Cities, Mix 96 has switched over to continuous holiday music!

BRETT ELDREDGE PUTS A “GLOW” IN CHRISTMAS

It’s early fall, but there are already several new Christmas albums on the market to fill your holidays.

The a cappella group Pentatonix just released their third Christmas set in less than four years (!).

Country acts Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year.

glow

“Glow” is the first Christmas album from Illinois native and relative country newcomer Brett Eldredge.

He’s already released two hit country albums and, since 2012, has scored five Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  His latest, “Wanna Be That Song” is at #12 and will likely be his sixth Top Ten.

But, we’re talking Christmas and “Glow” here.

The standard edition features eleven songs and the Target exclusive gives you three more.

The only original song on the album is the title track.  I’ll be forthright in saying that I love the classics and I have to warm to new originals and I did with “Glow”.

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Brett is not only an attractive young man, he also has a very strong voice.

If you only buy the standard edition, you’ll likely listen to the eleven songs (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, and many more) and think, “it doesn’t sound very country”.  It doesn’t.  The music is very much jazzed up.

It’s like he’s channeling Michael Buble and that’s a good thing.  But, comparing Eldredge’s voice to Buble’s is like comparing Mick Jagger’s voice to Paul McCartney’s.  Both strong, but very different in delivery.

Now, if you buy the Target exclusive, the three additional songs are the only ones on the album that lets you know that Eldredge in a country music star.

It’s like you changed discs in the player from a jazz artist to a country one.

“Glow” is an exceptional Christmas album and it solidifies the fact that pop star Meghan Trainor should be on every duet!

On this album, she sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eldredge and just last month, she appeared with Michael Buble on “Someday” from his “Nobody But Me” album.

GRADE:  A

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS”

Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards winner Kacey Musgraves also just delivered her first Christmas collection, “A Very Kacey Christmas”.

Although she’s a country music singer, like Brett Eldredge, you only have to start this album to know she’s true to the genre. It’s real country with real Texas twang and I mean that in the very best way.

kacey

This album features many popular Christmas classics such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”. But, Musgraves expands the cultural horizons with “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka”.

She’s not afraid to show what an amazing songwriter she is on the album with four original songs (out of the twelve featured).

My favorite original on the album is “Ribbons and Bows”, followed closely by “Present Without A Bow” with Leon Bridges, and “A Willie Nice Christmas”, which features country music outlaw and legend, Willie Nelson.

While you do hear songs about having too much to drink at Christmas (that spiked egg nog will get you every time), it’s very rare for an artist to sing about staying “higher than the angel on top of the tree”!

If you know anything about Musgraves, you know she boldly sings songs that she wants to and she doesn’t stick to the tired and safe guidelines of country music.

Her first country radio hit, the Top Ten smash “Merry Go ‘Round” featured her brother “hooked on Mary Jane”.

And, Musgraves other Top Ten hit, “Follow Your Arrow”, not only was about rolling joints, but she told you to “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into”, which is definitely not your parents or grandparents country music.  (Okay, there was Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free”, which told us we would be free “when we’re free to love anyone we choose.”)

The point I’m getting at here is she takes chances.  The biggest on this Christmas album is with the remake of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late”.  Yes, that one!  However, with Musgraves in control and without Alvin, Simon, and Theodore terrorizing Dave, it’s a bona fide true country Christmas song.

The only misfire on the album and this is strictly a personal thing for me is including “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.  It’s one of my least favorite holiday songs.  However, I’ll add that Musgraves’ performance is incredible, as it always is.  I just don’t like the song.

“A Very Kacey Christmas” is definitely a great addition to your growing list of Christmas albums.

GRADE:  B+ (Thanks Hippopotamus!)

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 20 Favorites From the Brilliant Pet Shop Boys

UPDATE:  TONIGHT!

I’m just days away from seeing my first Pet Shop Boys concert and I’m so excited.  I’ve only waited thirty years for this.

Pet Shop Boys, Electric

Saturday night, I’ll be seeing Neil and Chris from the second row in Chicago, Illinois.  I’ve never had concert tickets this close!

super-tour

The “Super Tour” kicked off on my birthday (October 13) in Chile and the North American leg started in Las Vegas about a week later.  It’ll continue through the end of November before moving to Europe.

Sadly, American radio audiences only got a sample of the brilliance of the Pet Shop Boys.  The duo only charted six Top 40 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, but five hit the Top Ten.

Their chart run started with the #1 hit “West End Girls” in May 1986 and ended with the #18 smash “Domino Dancing” in December 1988.

That’s really sad because the Pet Shop Boys have consistently released incredible music in the past twenty-five years.

Pet-Shop-Boys-Electric-CD

“Electric, which came out in 2013 was one of my favorite albums of the year.

Here’s what I wrote at the time:  “Unless you’re a die-hard fan, many people think that when an act releases their twelfth studio album of original songs that the music may be stale.  It’s also true that many artists play things safe and produce the same music they did when they released their first album.  That is definitely not the case with “Electric”, the latest Pet Shop Boys album.”

And, this year’s “Super” is that and more.

In honor of Neil and Chris, here are my twenty favorites Pet Shop Boys songs (not just hits) so far.  I say “so far” because I know there’s more incredible music to come.

20

“IT’S ALRIGHT”

19

“YOU ONLY TELL ME YOU LOVE ME WHEN YOU’RE DRUNK”

#18

“RENT”

17

“HAPPINESS”

16

“I WANT A LOVER”

#15 Movie

“WAS IT WORTH IT?”

#14 Movie

“PAZZO!”

13

“NEW YORK CITY BOY”

12

“I WOULDN’T NORMALLY DO THIS KIND OF THING”

11

“AXIS”

10

“LOVE COMES QUICKLY”

9 CD

“WHERE THE STREETS HAVE NO NAMES”

#8 CD

“THE POP KIDS”

#7 CD

“VOCAL”

#6 CD

“THURSDAY”

#5 MOVIE

“HEART”

4

“IT’S A SIN”

green 3

“WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS?”

#2 MOVIE

“ALWAYS ON MY MIND”

#1

“WEST END GIRLS”

I’m ready to party with the Pet Shop Boys this weekend and “burn this disco down before the morning comes”!

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — June 24, 2016

Summer is officially here.  It’s been feeling like it for weeks now in the Quad Cities.

Last weekend, we were in Fort Dodge, Iowa, for Papa Ray’s (Ray’s dad) 80th birthday party and are ready to chill out at home this weekend.

Have a great one and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

STAY COOL THIS SUMMER

Popsicle.jpg

ALLIGATOR ATTACK

It was a very sad week in Orlando, Florida, last week following the previous weekend’s shooting death of 22-year-old singer Christina Grimmie of “The Voice” fame and the Pulse nightclub massacre that left 49 dead and 53 injured.

Then, last Tuesday night, a two-year-old boy visiting Walt Disney World from Nebraska, was wading in the water at a Grand Floridian Resort and Spa beach when he was dragged away by an alligator.

His body was found the next day and an autopsy showed he died from drowning and traumatic injuries.

Alligators 2010

My heart breaks for Luke and his family.  What was supposed to be a fun trip to Disney will now be a nightmare for the rest of their lives.

While there were “no swimming” signs posted at the beach, there were no warnings posted about alligators.

I’m sorry, but I don’t need a sign to warn me about alligators in waters in Florida and Louisiana (where I took picture above).  If you’re the least bit familiar with those states, you know there are alligators.

And, there’s no way I’d be wading in water when it’s dark and I can’t see what’s around me!

When it comes to blame, there’s enough to go around.  I just hope we don’t see another tragedy like this (or the other two I mentioned).

What are you thoughts?  How much of the blame is on Disney?

HE’S ALIVE AND STILL FULL OF VILE

Twisted “Christian” mouthpiece (note “quotation marks” and mockery) Pat Robertson of “The 700 Club” shares these words of advice to haters

“Christians need to just let Muslims and homosexuals kill each other off.”

Pat Robertson

I guess now Florida will probably see a hurricane this summer to punish them for their sins.

HurricaneGloria09241985

That’s not my forecast.  That just how Robertson thinks.

If you think I’m kidding, check out this blog I wrote about him and his forecasting skills about four years ago.  (This will open in a new window for you.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/08/22/and-now-your-weather-forecast-with-reverend-pat-robertson/

I hope you smiled through the insanity.

ISRAELI SHOOTINGS & DAILY CHICAGO GUN VIOLENCE

In last week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”, I was going to talk about the gunmen that fired upon a Tel Aviv, Israel open-air market in early June killing four people.

However, the mind-boggling massacre at the gay nightclub Pulse, in Orlando, Florida, stunned the nation where more than one hundred people were shot — 49 of them died.

Now, I want to revisit that.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

I visited Tel Aviv in the fall of 2014 for my 50th birthday and it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.  I’d go back there in a heartbeat!

Before we went, there was heightened tensions around Jerusalem, so we didn’t visit the holy city.  People kept asking, “aren’t you scared to go the Middle East”?  Of course, you think about it, but I wasn’t afraid.

In early June, four Israelis were killed and five others were injured in a shooting by two attackers, identified as Palestinians, at a popular food and shopping market.

I want to comment about the Israeli and Palestinian conflict and how many Americans fear visiting Israel because of the the violence and put it into perspective.  (And, this was before the massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando.)

Chicago Police murder investigation

Over the past few years, shooting deaths and injuries have gotten out of hand in Chicago.

So far this year, 1,819 people have been shot in Chicago (through June 23rd).  Of those, more than 200 have died!  (Last year, there were 2,988 shooting victims in the “Windy City”.)

Last weekend alone, the “Chicago Tribune” reported 59 people shot and 13 of those people died.  That was in a 60-hour period from Friday afternoon through early Monday morning over Father’s Day weekend.

I lived in Chicago for four years (1994-1996 and 2002-2004) and I never felt unsafe.  I can’t say that now when I do make it back to the city.

As a matter of fact, I would feel much safer in Tel Aviv, Israel!

TRAGIC ENDING FOR PROMISING ACTOR

Anton Yelchin was a charismatic, attractive young actor that I thoroughly enjoyed watching on screen and listening to talk (yes, he has a very sexy voice).

The 27-year-old died tragically last weekend in a freak accident when his Jeep pinned him against a brick mailbox pillar attached to a security fence outside his home.

TMZ.com reports that his death certificate shows he died from “blunt traumatic asphyxia” and he didn’t suffer — he was dead within a minute of impact.

It’ll be interesting to see how, if any, a spring recall on his Jeep’s year and model will play into the death investigation and if the accident could have been avoided.

Anton

I loved Yelchin in “Alpha Dogs”, “Odd Thomas”, and his two “Star Trek” movie in 2009 and 2013.  The latest, “Star Trek Beyond” arrives in theaters July 22, 2016.

Also, I’m really looking forward to seeing Anton and co-star Patrick Stewart’s critically acclaimed movie, “Green Room”.  It comes out on DVD on July 12th.

This is “red band” trailer (adult language and situations).

R.I.P. Anton

IT’S SUMMER — TOO SOON TO THINK CHRISTMAS?

Summer officially began here in the Midwest this past Monday evening.  While we have three months of hot weather to look forward to, is it too soon to think winter?

colored-trees

Maybe not since Christmas is only six months from this weekend!

“ALMOST CHRISTMAS”

I’ve already found my first holiday movie that I want to see.

It’s directed by David E. Talbert, who was behind “Baggage Claim”, one of my twenty favorite movies of 2014.

“Almost Christmas” features an all-star cast including Oscar winner Mo’Nique, in a much different role than her Academy Award turn in “Precious”.

It arrives in theaters on November 11th.

PICK HIT

This week’s pick hit, “This Is What You Came For” by Calvin Harris and Rihanna, is already a Top Ten hit in America at pop radio and in dance clubs and it’s an international smash.  I’m featuring it because the video is new.

Calvin Harris is one of the world’s highest paid club DJs.  He’s also placed 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with four of them reaching the Top Ten.

Meanwhile, Rihanna has charted an amazing 48 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 since her debut in 2005.  Of those, 29 have made the Top Ten and 14 have hit number one!

Will lightning strike twice for Harris and Rihanna?  Their last collaboration, “We Found Love”, spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2011.

Okay, I know they’re just friends, but I have to throw this out there.

Rihanna is so beautiful and stunning and Calvin is so gorgeous and hot, I just want to ship them like my teenager daughter does with “Star Wars”.  Could you imagine how beautiful their children would be?

In case you’re less familiar with Calvin and didn’t see what I’m talking about in his fifteen second cameo in the video…

Calvin Underwear

MORE FIRST LADIES

Last week, I started sharing a few tidbits about president’s wives after reading “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  I covered Martha Washington to Letitia Tyler.

And, now on with a few more.  We all need a little bit of useless (or useful) trivia. 🙂

First Ladies

Julia Tyler:  She married President John Tyler 18 months after his first wife Letitia became the first First Lady to die in the White House.  She’s remembered for starting the “Hail To The Chief” tradition and she hired a press agent to promote herself.

Sarah Polk:  She became the most outspoken and politically involved First Lady since Abigail Adams.

Margaret Taylor:  Delegated First Lady duties to her daughter.  She was so obscure that no authentic likeness of her exists.  In her obituary, “The New York Times” just referred to her as “Mrs. General Taylor”.

Abigail Fillmore:  She established the White House library and she died about a month after President Millard Fillmore died.  She caught a cold during the inauguration of her husband’s replacement, President Franklin Pierce.

Jane Pierce:  She wasn’t very happy being in Washington and was regularly depressed after the death of her son, Bennie. (Their other two sons died in childhood, too.).   From the public’s perspective, it was acceptable for her to grieve, but not her husband for they saw it as a weakness for the president.

Mary Todd Lincoln:  She was known for freely spending money and received plenty of criticism.  She was also institutionalized by her son to a private mental hospital near Chicago.  Ms. Lincoln was thought to be insane because of her erratic behavior.

Eliza Johnson:  She mostly remained out of sight as First Lady unlike her predecessor.

YOU MIGHT AS WELL SWEAT — IT’S SUMMER!

I don’t know what floats your boat, but the video to “Work From Home”, the recent #1 song from Fifth Harmony, is too freaking hot!

It’s an equal opportunity crowd pleaser.

I can’t believe I’ve listened to the song thousands of times, but never watched the video.  Big Mistake! Big!  Huge!

Fifth Harmony’s second album, “7/27”, came out in late May and debuted at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.

EVEN MORE FIRST LADIES

Julia Grant:  She was the first First Lady to write her autobiography once out of the White House.  It wasn’t published until 1975, almost one hundred years later.

Lucy Hayes:  Unlike fun-loving Julia Grant, Ms. Hayes was known as a “tight-lipped moralizer” because of attending daily prayer meetings each morning and singing hymns Sunday evening.  Also, for refusing to serve alcohol in the White House.

Lucretia Garfield:  She continued her teaching job in New York during her first years in the White House.  After her husband’s assassination, she became the first presidential widow to participate in her husband’s public memorial service.

Ellen Arthur:  She died before her husband became the 21st president.

Rose Cleveland:  She was the sister of bachelor President Grover Cleveland.  As a hostess, she was often bored and was happy when he married and his young wife became First Lady.

Frances Cleveland:  She was 21-years-old when she married the president, who was 28 years older than her!  Frances was the daughter of a former law partner to President Cleveland and he had known her since she was born.  He also bought her her first baby carriage!

220px-Home_alone

Okay, that’s just downright creepy and a perfect place to end this week’s blog.

THAT’S IT

Thank you for checking it out and feel free to share your thoughts on any of my random thoughts.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony