Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 10, 2017

It’s the weekend and the countdown is on for next weekend.  I must be crazy!

Well, maybe.  But, the reason I’m excited about March 17th — the live action “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters.  I can’t wait!

After very warm temperatures and Midwestern tornadoes last week and, again, this week, we’re looking at a snowstorm later this weekend!

IOWA & ILLINOIS WEEKEND SNOW

Updated Snow Details:  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 5:30 a.m.

I got up at 3:30 a.m. to analyze the data on our late weekend winter storm and here it is.

The snow will be heaviest Sunday night and early Monday.  This is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Monday.

Monday 6am

For snow forecast amounts and a complete update on the winter storm, click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/spring-forward-into-snow/

Updated Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 4:10 p.m.

The snowstorm for Sunday evening into Monday night looks much more potent.  I’m now thinking that we could easily see 3-6″of snow with that storm!

We’ll know much more this weekend and I’ll have another update Saturday morning.

Original Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 6:15 a.m.

The last two winters in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa were lame.

Snowfall amounts for the season were well below average and a far cry from the 65.1″ of snow we saw in the winter of 2013-2014.  That was the second snowiest winter on record.

It snowed all the time that winter!

The first system late Friday night and early Saturday morning could drop up to an inch mainly to the southwest of the Quad Cities.

We’ll see a more widespread snow Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday.  This one could blanket the area with three inches or more.

I’ll continue to update you this weekend when the data is better once the storm comes ashore from the Pacific.

There could finally be some winter weather and cold — in MARCH!

SILENT OSCAR PROTEST AGAINST AFFLECK

Last week, I reviewed “Manchester By The Sea” (I gave it an “B”).  The movie earned Casey Affleck the Oscar for Best Actor.

Before he walked away with the gold statuette, there was speculation that two sexual harassment allegations against him in 2010 would cause Academy voters not to vote for him.  (Both cases were settled out of court.)

Larson Affleck.jpg

As you probably know, the previous year’s Best Actress announces the new Best Actor category.

When Brie Larson (“Room”) announced Affleck as the winner, she handed him the trophy and envelope without clapping or hugging him.

Larson, who is an advocate for victims of sexual abuse and played one in her Oscar winning role, told Vanity Fair, “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself.”

She added, “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”

REMEMBERING TOMMY PAGE

If you were a New Kids on the Block fan in the late 1980s, the name Tommy Page may ring a bell with you.

Before he was a music industry executive, he was a teen pop star.  While he gained exposure with “A Zillion Kisses”, it was 1990’s “I’ll Be Your Everything” that topped the Billboard Hot 100 with back-up assistance with several members of NKOTB.

Last Friday, Tommy was found dead of an apparent suicide.  He was 46 and is survived by his partner, Charlie, and their three kids.

I saw him open for the New Kids in 1988 in Du Quion, Illinois and I saw him again at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1990.

R.I.P. Tommy

“MARIAH’S WORLD”

I’m not a fan of reality television, but I finally broke down and watched my first full reality show for two reasons — it was only eight episodes and it was Mariah Carey.

“Mariah’s World” took us backstage during Mariah’s European “Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour”.  It was also during this time that Mariah was engaged to billionaire James Packer.

If you followed that story, you know how it ended.  But, in “Mariah’s World”, you see how it unfolds.

Yes, the series was over-the-top and many times you get the impression that the drama was played up for the cameras!  Shocking!

It’s great to see more of Mariah — her humor, her thoughts, and her insecurities.  It did sadden me to think that she’s such an icon that she seems out of touch with the world, at times, because she can’t experience things that the average person can because of her celebrity.

It also cracked me up that Mariah would be interviewed lying on a chaise lounge in very sexy negligee and it was funny to see her wheeled down the corridor back stage on a chair to go on stage.

One final note that I came away with is that Mariah loves her champagne and wine.  We’d get along fab-lamb-ulously!

LIONEL RICHIE-MARIAH CAREY BUMMER

When Lionel Richie announced his “All The Hits Tour” with special guest Mariah Carey, I immediately snapped up tickets for Nashville, Tennessee, in May.

Lionel Mariah

This would give me a chance to take a road trip and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

A few weeks ago, the tour was postponed because Lionel’s knee surgery recovery was taking longer than expected.

Those plans are cancelled now!  Nashville was one of a dozen cities that was dropped when the new summer dates were announced.  Others include Saint Paul, St. Louis, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.

While I know that Lionel had surgery and the recovery may have taken longer to heal, it’s also very clear that ticket sales were very “soft” in many cities and Lionel and Mariah would have been playing to half-empty venues!

It won’t be this time, but I still want to be one of those “Dancing on the Ceiling” with Lionel.

And, I still long to share “Emotions” and a “sweet sweet fantasy baby” with Mariah!  Maybe in December in New York at her annual Christmas show?

“HACKSAW RIDGE”

This Mel Gibson-directed motion picture was nominated for six Academy Awards this year including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Andrew Garfield.

While it didn’t win any of those, it did win two Oscars — Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.

Whether you’re a fan of war movies or not, this one is phenomenal.

The first half of the movie focuses on character development and is even a cute love story.

Oscar nominee Garfield is adorable and awkward as Desmond Doss, especially when he meets a nurse at the hospital after his quick thinking saves a man’s life.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Doss enlists to fight for his country, but because of his religion and the commandment “thou shalt not kill”, Doss refuses to carry a gun.  He went to war to save lives and take them.

Needless to say, this doesn’t go over well with his superiors.

The second half of the movie is a full-on war movie.  It’s gory and heartbreaking, but realistic and amazing.

Garfield and Teresa Palmer are incredible.

GRADE:  A

“MOONLIGHT”

After this year’s Oscar debacle when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope and “La La Land” was announced as Best Picture, when it was actually “Moonlight”, the little seen, but well received movie got more press than it could have without the mix-up.

The little movie that could, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, ended up not only winning the biggest prize of the night, but it also earned Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”) the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, making him the first Muslim to win the gold statute.

It also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Moonlight” also became the first LGBT movie to win Oscars’ biggest prize  (that honor should have gone to 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”) and the first movie with an all-black cast to win Best Picture.

“Moonlight” tells the story of a poor, lonely Miami kid, Chiron, with a drug addicted and abusive mother.  One day, while hiding out from bullies, the kid befriends a drug dealer (Ali), who nicknamed him “Little”.

The movie is played out in the three chapters of Chiron’s life:  childhood, teenager, and adult.  It’s a beautiful and sad “coming of age” story.

All three actors playing Chiron were great.  However, I think Trevante Rhodes, as adult Chiron (nicknamed “Black”) stole the show with his vulnerability, loneliness, and withdrawn look at life.

You just wanted to wrap your arms around him and tell him it’ll be okay.  That has nothing to do with the fact that he was gorgeous and had the physique of a Greek God.

Ali was good in his short time on screen, but it’s a shame that Rhodes wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor!

“Moonlight” was so brutally honest in its portrayal of life on the streets and life as an outsider.

A must see!

GRADE:  A

TREVANTE RHODES EXTRA!

Trevante Rhodes.jpg

“EDGE OF WINTER”

Don’t bother!

I’ve been a fan of Joel Kinnaman since “The Killing” and I like him on “House of Cards”.

Tom Holland was great in the tsunami-survival movie, “The Impossible” and he’ll be the next Spiderman in this summer’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

However, this movie doesn’t do anything for either actor or me.

Kinnaman plays a down on his luck father being visited by his two sons, while their mother and new husband are away on a cruise.

Well, a simple trip into the wilderness to practice shooting goes astray and not everyone comes back.

The premise and the trailer makes more sense than the movie.

GRADE: C-

ONE MORE TOMMY PAGE 

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

Christmas Travel Concerns

ORIGINAL POST:  Friday, December 23, 2016, 6:12 a.m.

Two days before Christmas and we have two weather systems that’ll create some travel problems for Iowa and Illinois.

The first system arrives today.  With highs of 32°-37°, we’ll see a combination of rain and snow.  Northern hometowns will see almost all snow.  Along Interstate 80 and to the south, this wintry mix may change over to mostly rain this afternoon.

christmas

A “Winter Weather Advisory” goes into effect this morning through 9 p.m. Friday.  This includes Jo Daviess and Jackson counties.  Snow accumulations there could be 1-3″.  For the Quad Cities and along I-80, an inch may accumulate, but only a dusting is expected south.

If you’re traveling across northern Iowa today, 3-6″ of snow will fall there.

We get a break Saturday, but the next system starts moving in late Saturday night and early Christmas morning.  With dense fog and drizzle developing and temperatures near freezing, it could become rather slick early Christmas morning, especially north.

Fog

As the main system moves in Christmas afternoon and evening, it’ll be all rain because temperatures will warm into the upper-40s and 50s.

We could even hear a few rumbles of thunder Sunday evening.

The front will pass through Sunday night and bring rather blustery conditions with winds approaching 40 miles-per-hour or higher Monday with temperatures crashing throughout the day.

Christmas Outside

Happy holidays and be safe out there today and this weekend.

Anthony

Random Thoughts — Christmas 2016

BITTER COLD & SNOW

We all know that Santa lives at the North Pole and it’s pretty cold and snowy there.  Well, if you’re out doing Christmas shopping across the Midwest, the weather is rather Christmas-sy or very North Pole-ish.

We picked up 2.8″ of snow this weekend, officially, in the Quad Cities bringing us to 13.8″ for December.  But, more importantly, it’s bitterly and dangerously cold.

Sunday morning, I woke up to -9° at my house in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, was even colder at -13° .  We saw similar temperatures Monday morning.

cold

This is the coldest morning since late February 2015, almost two years ago, when we reached about -18° in the Quad Cities.

If those temperatures weren’t bad enough, the wind chill early Sunday morning was -35° in Davenport and Clinton.

Temperatures start to warm today and this warming will last through the rest of the week!

 

 

That’s my part of the blog to keep you safe.  Now let’s have fun since you’re already reading!

CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is only a week away now!  Where has this year gone?

White Red Christmas

I hope you and yours are having a festive holiday season.  I’ve only bought four Christmas presents so far.  What am I waiting for?

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

NOLA Christmas

THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO, HMMMM

Now that some stations are playing Christmas tunes twenty-four hours a day and others are sprinkling in a holiday song here and there, I have these questions for the writers of some of the classics.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” — So “a child shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.  Why not bring him a blanket or clothes?
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” — “Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”  Um, if he’s the most famous of all, of course we remember his name.  But, can we name the other eight without singing the song?
  • “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” — Wanting one this Christmas?  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER

WHAT SONGS MAKE YOU CRINGE?

“Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer” is without a doubt my least favorite Christmas song of all time!

Other songs that make me quickly change the radio station in the car are “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” and “Linus And Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

For Ray, it’s “Santa Baby”.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not there yet, but it’s definitely getting tired.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOK

It’s not secret that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president and after reading his book, “Christmas in Plains” a few years back, it’s one of my Christmas traditions to read it each holiday.

ChristmasInPlains

I’m finishing the political book I’m reading now and I’ll dive into the very touching, easy-to-read 155 page book.

President Carter shares stories of Christmases from his childhood, with Rosalynn and his children, in the White House, and more.

Merry Christmas President and Mrs. Carter!

MERRY X-MAS!

So, does seeing “Merry X-Mas” upset you at the holidays?

xmas

It doesn’t bother me.  However, “Christians” do!  Before you have a coronary thrombosis, click here to see what I’m talking about!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

So, every day, not just at Christmas, let’s put “Christ” back into “Christian”, too.

READY FOR AN “UNSILENT NIGHT”  *

VH1, the older people’s MTV, rang in the Christmas cheer earlier this month with “Unsilent Night”, the latest concert in its “Diva” concert series.

Mariah Carey was the headliner and opening act for this show.

And, before you watch it here, know that as a gay man, I can’t get enough of Mariah Carey’s divaness and her boobs!  (As you gasp,  you’ll know what I’m taking about from the video or just from the thumbnail image below.  There’s no doubt that she wanted those ornaments to be seen!)

I also love the back-up dancers.  Who knew Christmas could be so sexy?

The other divas this year included Vanessa Williams, Miss Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan.

A VERY MERRY ($$$) MARIAH CHRISTMAS  *

Mariah Carey’s holiday tradition of performing shows at the Beacon Theater x is something that I hope I can finally see.  Heck, this year, Beyonce and Shania Twain checked out the performance.

While she won’t be singing “All I Want For Christmas”, I’m planning on seeing Mariah and Lionel Richie on tour in the spring of 2017.

Along with her Christmas shows, her Las Vegas residency, her tour with Lionel Richie, and performing on this year’s “Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year Eve” to ring in 2017, Mariah kicked off the holiday season with a seven-minute performance in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).

Mariah Toronto.jpg

She performed “Here Comes Santa Claus” and her now iconic classic, “All I Want For Christmas” for a cool million bucks for Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window display unveiling!

SPEAKING OF DIVAS

This performance by Patti LaBelle (without her back-up singers and the words) is classic for all the wrong reasons.

But, Ms. LaBelle is a champion!

READY FOR A “CHRISTMAS PARTY”?

Derrick Barry is the most amazing Britney Spears!  Okay, other than the real Britney, bitch!

This Christmas version of “Slumber Party”, “Christmas Party” makes me want to deck the halls!

While this has nothing to do with Christmas, it gives me a chance to show the original “Slumber Party” by Britney Spears and Tinashe, which is now a Top 40 song at pop radio!

It’s already been viewed more than 38 million times in less than a month.

THIS CHRISTMAS IS SUCH A “DRAG”

And, that’s amazing!

One hundred or so Dutch drag queens got together to put together this Christmas medley and it’s amazing!

Ray was scared of some of them, but I loved it.  This is what drag is all about.

Warning:  This is a rather risque part about eight minutes in. 🙂

Thank you, Lady Galore!

THIS CHRISTMAS GIVE FRUITCAKE SOME LOVE

I’m one of those that absolutely loves fruitcake, but not everyone does.

funny_fruitcake

But, I know some celebrities that do!

Sir Paul McCartney orders a fruitcake from cake designer Fiona Cairns each Christmas and, in early 2011, Cairns was tapped to make the royal wedding cake for Prince William and his future bride, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Royal Wedding Fruit Cake

CONFESSION AT CHRISTMASTIME *

You probably know how very popular James Corden’s “Carpool Karoke” is.  If not, he’s joined by celebrties in a car and they sing, talk, laugh, and confess.

Okay, I’ll confess two things — (1) I think James is adorable and I have a tiny crush on the teddy bear and (2) I’ve always loved Mariah Carey and I just can’t get enough of her now!  And, I finally get to see her in concert in May in Nashville, Tennessee!

But, first things first, check out this all-star version of Mariah’s incredible Christmas hit (again).

Love it!

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA TO DAZZLE FRIENDS

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

Poinsettia 1

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is the late, great, golden retriever, Miss ABBA, wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

Again,I hope that Bible story and information is correct since I didn’t verify it.  The big man upstairs didn’t get back with me on that one.

CHARITY & CHRISTMAS

While we feast at Christmas, one of my favorite songs of the holiday season is, sadly, about not having enough to eat and starvation.

Can you believe that “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released more than 30 years ago?

Between the single’s release in December 1983 and 1989, it sold 11.7 million singles worldwide.

It was the best selling single in U.K. until “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John in 1997 following Priness Diana’s death.

FORGET THAT OLD “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

The Christmas classic is tired and so outdated.  Do we really care about “Lords a Leaping”, “Maids a Milking”, and all that stuff.

Why not infuse the song (and video) with botox, prancing gays, naked men, former husband, and giant breasts.

I bet I have your attention now!

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG

“O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional Christmas song, but my favorite of all-time is a song that was first released in 1970.

It was re-issued in 1974 and 1977.  It’s The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling” by my favorite vocalist of all-time, Karen Carpenter.

And, what song is now my second-favorite Christmas song?….

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS *

without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”.

What did we do before this now-classic, 1994 hit was released that’s had more than 226.7 million views?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S.  Did you figure out the what the * denoted in the blog?  Mariah “visions”, of course. 🙂  Leave the “visions of sugarplums” for ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”!

P.S. 2  

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.  I hope it’s fun of love and joy.  Most of all, I hope you’re not screaming “You Ruined My Christmas” to anyone this year.

Here are the Supreme Fabulettes, thanks to the one and only Boy George, who directed the video and co-wrote the song.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 2, 2016

The weekend is almost here and can you believe in just three weekends, it’s Christmas already.  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.

Since I took a break last week on my “Random Friday Thoughts” since people were shopping and eating leftovers, here’s a short version for this week.

HELLO DECEMBER AND WINTER!

UPDATED POST:  early Saturday, December 3, 2016

If you follow my forecast on “Local 4 News This Morning” or my blogs for winter weather updates, you know I always tell you to keep up on the changing forecast when snow is coming.  There’s a good reason.  Small changes in the forecast can have big implications.

Here’s an update on the three weather systems that I first told you about Friday morning in my blog and on-air:

Saturday Night:  Rain and snow will develop late and change over to snow.

Sunday:  Moderate snow in the morning changing to rain in the afternoon.

Since the ground is still relatively warm and part of the precipitation will come down as a mix or rain, accumulations will mainly be on grassy and elevated surfaces.

We could anywhere for 1-3″ of slushy snow.  It’ll start to melt away during the afternoon.

Monday Night & Tuesday:  Wintry mix still possible.  It’s not looking too impressive this morning.

Wednesday and Wednesday Night bigger snow:  This may very well not happen!  Stay tuned.  The cold air will definitely be coming in late week!

However, since we may not get a blanket of snow Wednesday night and Thursday, lows later in the week may only drop into the teens and not the single digits.

If we get a blanket of snow Wednesday and Wednesday night, then lows in the single digits are still possible.

Stay up on the latest forecast.  This is a developing and changing weather pattern.

March Snow

ORIGINAL POST:  early Friday, December 2, 2016

After the third warmest November on record in the Quad Cities, winter will be making its return to Iowa and Illinois to welcome December.

Over the next week, we have three chances of seeing some snow accumulation.

Late Saturday night and early Sunday, snow may accumulate on grassy and elevated surfaces.  Early indications show an inch or two possible.  That will melt away Sunday.

winter

Another system could bring some grassy accumulation Monday night and early Tuesday.

However, we could be seeing a winter storm Wednesday and Wednesday night.  As of this writing, there is low confidence in the details and the models are not very consistent.

This will have to monitored closely because depending on how this develops, we could be talking little or no snow or a lot of snow.

One thing is certain.  Late next week, we’ll see the coldest blast of air this season with highs only in the lower half of 20s and lows could drop to the single digits!

Brrrrr!!!!!!

“LOVE IS THE CURE”

If you grew up in the 1970s and 1980s (and through “The Lion King” and “Candle in the Wind”, the 1990s), you have been touched by the genius of Elton John’s music.

During that same time period, you also heard a lot about Elton’s personal life since he was a pop music superstar.  That’s an understatement — he’s an icon.

He’s also a great humanitarian.  His 2012 book, “Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, he shares the struggles he went through to give more of himself to fight HIV and AIDS.

Love is the Cure.jpg

If you missed my thoughts on Elton, the book, and “World AIDS Day”, here’s the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/01/love-is-the-cure-to-end-aids/

After you read the touching stories in that blog, check out the book.  It’s an incredible read.

A MONSTER BEHIND THAT PRETTY SMILE

Since we’re talking about AIDS, Donald Trump’s Deputy National Security Adviser pick, Kathleen Troia “KT” McFarland is a monster behind that pretty smile.

kt

In 2006, when the New York Times Magazine was writing an article on McFarland, they found a 1992 letter she wrote to her parents shortly after finding out her brother, Michael Troia, had AIDS.

She reportedly wrote, “Have you ever wondered why I have never had anything to do with Mike and have never let my daughters see him although we live only fifteen minutes away from each other?”  She added, “He has been a lifelong homosexual, most of his relationships brief, fleeting one-night stands.

Michael died of AIDS in 1995.

McFarland goes on to elaborate and say that her father was an abusive parent, who beat them with belts and waved guns in their faces.

Responding to the allegations, her father denied them and offered to take a lie detector test.  Her other brother, Tom, living in Janesville, Wisconsin, at the time of the magazine article replied, “If I had one word to describe my sister, it would be ‘evil.’ ”

Not surprising, the people Trump has chosen for his cabinet are all anti-LGBT.

It’s going to be a fun four years!  (Note: sarcasm.)

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

Since I opened Pandora’s box by mentioning his name…

Pre-election, Donald Trump talked about a “rigged” election.  When he won the electoral vote, there was no big proclamations from Trump about the rigged elections.

Now that there’s talk of recounts in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, Trump has plenty to say, especially in incoherent tweets and rants.

He’s even saying that millions of California votes are illegal.

Even in victory, he’s such a “sore loser”.  It might have something to do with the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by more than two million votes and that number is still climbing as votes are still being counted.  Little man!

Hey, Donald, why don’t we just have a total recount or better yet, why don’t we have another election before the holidays and monitor the voting process even closer.

DT Masks

One final note and I actually agree with Trump on this one:  Burning an American flag is just wrong (but allowed by the freedom of free speech).

flag

However, here’s where I disagree with him.

Being threatened with losing citizenship or being imprisoned for burning the American flag sounds a lot like Russia — but, then again, Donald and Russia are friends, so I hear!

ARETHA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM

“The Queen of Soul” is earning mixed reviews for her Thanksgiving Day performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Vikings-Lions football game.

The gospel-tinged song clocked in at 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

Comments on the performance have ranged from “stirring” and “memorable” to “punishingly long”.

YouTube “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” are two to one positive.

What do you think?

LOSING FAITH IN “THE WALKING DEAD”

Season 7 of “The Walking Dead” started off strong with the second highest ratings in the series history with 17 million viewers.

Last weekend’s episode dropped to the lowest ratings (10.4 million viewers) since season three when the ratings were still rising.

The fifth and sixth episodes this season were two of my least favorites.  Maybe I should look at it as a baseball game.  Those two episodes were strikes, so either this weekend, I need a base hit or I’m out.  I’m not interested in a foul or a ball.

Andrew Lincoln

Bring Rick (Andrew Lincoln) back and you’ll, at least, have my attention!

I’m not saying I want the show to be cancelled, but if it doesn’t come to life soon, maybe an end date should be set!

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

As the days get shorter and winter settles in, we find ourselves watching more television and movies.

I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

“HELL OR HIGH WATER”

Since I just mentioned the “Critics’ Choice Award” nominations, “Hell Or High Water” was nominated for six — “Best Picture”, “Best Director”, “Best Original Screenplay”, Jeff Bridges and Ben Foster for “Best Supporting Actor”, and “Best Acting Ensemble”.

Chris Pine, Bridges, and Foster are incredible in this crime caper about a couple of brothers (Pine and Foster) on a bank robbing spree across west Texas.

Bridges plays a Texas Rangers nearing retirement when he gets the assignment of catching these small town crooks.

What makes this story compelling is learning the motivation of why the brothers need the money.

What’s also thrilling is that you know things will probably turn out badly for some or all of the characters.  It’s a crime drama, so don’t expect a truly happy ending.

GRADE:  B

BASHING “CHRISTIANS”

I love Christmas and I always smile when I hear people get bent out of shape about those who write “Merry Xmas”.  That takes “Christ” out of “Christmas”.

christ-in-chrismas

But, what about the “Christians”, who conveniently leave “Christ” our of their life.  Those are the ones I have issues with in this blog I shared last week.

Many have checked it out and here’s that link if you didn’t get a chance to read it.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you can continue reading today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

Happy  whatever you celebrate this holiday season!

ANOTHER CHANCE “THIS CHRISTMAS” FOR OLIVIA & JOHN

Each Christmas, I buy some of the new holiday offerings.  This year, I got “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and “A Very Kacey Christmas” by Kacey Musgraves and would recommend both of them.

I also bought the latest Straight No Chaser album, “I’ll Have Another…Christmas Album” and I really wish I had said, “No thanks.”

Don’t waste your time or money on it. Instead, pick up their other two Christmas albums, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition”.

Earlier this week, I also decided to give “This Christmas” by John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John from 2012 another listen.

I’ve avoided this album for four years now!

John Olivia Christmas

This is what I wrote about it at the time:  “I’ll get the bad news out of the way first and then focus on the good.  The opening song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”, is probably the worst version I’ve ever heard.  As much as I love Olivia, she couldn’t get “Physical” enough to save this disaster!  Three songs later, “This Christmas” would have been better without John’s vocals.”

On the listen four years later, their version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is still painful and the worst version I’ve ever heard.

However, while Travolta is definitely the weak link and Olivia soars as usual, I enjoyed it a lot more this time and Travolta actually does a decent job on “Silent Night” and a few others.

What I wrote four years ago about “I Think You Might Like It” still holds true today, “It’s a very fun song and if I close my eyes while listening to it, I see Danny & Sandy in “Grease” dancing to it around the Christmas tree.

2012  GRADE:  C+

2016 GRADE:  B

ANOTHER TAKE ON OLIVIA’S “PHYSICAL”

I’ve never watched “The Real O’Neals” on ABC Tuesday nights, but this scene looks pretty funny and that so would have been me as a teenager if I had gone to a gym.

16-year-old Kenny (Noah Galvin) wants to check out the fitness center after seeing a sexy guy on the cover of a brochure.

This seems like the perfect time for the original again.

Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” was the biggest song of the 1980s.  It spent ten weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 from November 1981 to January 1982!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Merry Xmas (Christmas) To All

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and the electoral college picked its next president of the United States since the candidate with a two million vote lead didn’t win!

Tomorrow, we’ll be sitting down and enjoying Thanksgiving feasts with our families and friends.

Our Turkey 2012

People are decorating their homes, writing out Christmas cards, and making holiday gift lists and checking them twice.

Meanwhile, radio stations are transitioning from their tired playlists to treat us with holiday standards while sprinkling in a few new offerings of Christmas musical cheer.

This year, I added “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and Kacey Musgraves’ “A Very Kacey Christmas”  — both country selections — to my Christmas musical library.

I’d recommend both of them, but avoid the new Straight No Chaser Christmas offering.  Pick up their first album, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition” instead.

Yet, I know I’ll resort to listening to The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” (1978) , Michael Buble “Christmas” (2011), Mariah Carey “Merry Christmas” (1994), and Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas to You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) over and over again.

I love Christmas music so much that I could listen to it year around.

Christmas is just so magical.  I’m mesmerized by the twinkling of the lights and I love holidays parties. I can’t get enough of the appetizers and the baked goodies — the cookies, fudge and divinity, and even the fruitcake!

funny_fruitcake

Each year, my Christmas cards are mailed the day before Thanksgiving to begin the trek across the country.

Xmas.jpg

I’m smiling now because I’m sure someone has already commented on Facebook where the link to this blog was first posted because I put Xmas in the title line.

I know that many people get their tinsel all twisted (that’s a Christmas way of saying “get their panties in a wad”) when they see “Merry Xmas”!

christ-in-chrismas

They say that writing Xmas takes Christ out of “Christmas”.  After all, he’s the reason for the season!

The whole Christ, Christmas, and Xmas debate got me to thinking.

People get so up in arms about leaving “Christ” in “Christmas”, yet many of those same people claiming to be Christians and living for the Lord can be so hateful and judgmental.

All of a sudden it hit me.  Maybe these same people should take a moment to put Christ back into Christian”! At that point, I decided to write about it and I really thought I was on to something.

As Indiana’s governor, we had Vice President-elect Mike Pence doing all he could do to be discriminatory to LGBT people in his state until businesses started moving out (or threatening to) and it cost Indiana money.

Pence

He’s one of those people — “Christians”.  Note there that “Christians” is in quotation marks. They are the ones that use religion to hate or discriminate — “Christians”.

Then there are those that love and live for the Lord that also love their fellow man for who they are.  They are the true Christians!

As someone who doesn’t believe in “organized religion”, but prays to God and believes in a higher power, I’m all about loving the Lord and trying to live the best life I can.

However, when you “religious freedom” to hate, I don’t think my Lord would like that very much.

pence-gay-marriage

So, when I started putting this together, I did a quick Google image search to add a fun and colorful graphic to the story.

It was then that I found that my whole thought process of putting “Christ” back in “Christian” to off set “Christ” in “Christmas” wasn’t such an original idea!

Christ in Christian.jpg

Here’s the bottom line for me. I never write Xmas in a Christmas card, nor do I type it online (except in today’s blog to drive home a point!).

It has nothing to do with keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

In the same line of thinking, when you go to talk about “Christ” this Christmas, live up to what he was preaching.  Love your fellow man (or woman) whether they live the same way of life as you.

It’s something that I try to do every day and not just at Xmas.  (Ha, I was just seeing if you were still reading.)  I fail and then I just try harder the next time.

Christmas will always be Christmas to me and not Xmas.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Krampusnacht!  Happy Yule!  Happy Chalica!

Whatever you celebrate, have a great December and an even better 2017!

christmascocktails

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 18, 2016

It’s Friday and the weekend is almost here.

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

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

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

“HALLELUJAH” 

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

HOLLY DUNN PASSES ON

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

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

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

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

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

Thinking of you, Holly.

I’M READY FOR A “SLUMBER PARTY”

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

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

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

Glory BS

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

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

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

Britney-Spears-Femme-Fatale

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

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

American Top 40 radio, add this song now!

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

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

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

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

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

A BEAUTY WITH A DIFFERENT LOOK

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

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

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

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

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

DT Masks

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

Stay tuned!

“THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE”

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

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

The second season is now less than a month away.

Its premieres December 16th.

“PEOPLE YOU MAY KNOW”

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

“Beautiful Something” was a good one.

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony