Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

LeAnn Rimes: The New Voice of Christmas

“It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes makes its Hallmark Channel debut this weekend and the soundtrack is incredible!

Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!

LeAnn

There are three original songs on the soundtrack — two ballads and the upbeat “You and Me and Christmas”.

LeAnn doesn’t just sing the classics.  The arrangements of “Carol of the Bells” (Ring Out Remix) and “White Christmas” are stunning.

The North Pole Remix of “I Still Believe in Santa Claus” gives the song new life and there are two medleys that make the album an instant classic.

The Jolly Remix of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/”Hark the Herald Angels Sing”/”Angels We Have Heard on High” has a dance club sound to it.

And, “Christmas Jam on Snow” is funky, upbeat fun with “Jingle Bell Rock”/”Here Comes Santa Claus”/”I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”/”Last Christmas”.

Radio programmers gearing up for holiday music through Christmas need to add each of these songs to their playlists, especially “White Christmas” and the medleys!

LeAnn is becoming the new voice and face of Christmas!

And, if you’re lucky and you live on the West Coast, you can see her on the “You and Me and Christmas” tour.

Sadly, Duluth, Minnesota is not on that list! 🙂

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GRADE:  A

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Random Friday Thoughts — November 9, 2018

We’re only a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving and the holiday shopping rush!

I hope you survived the midterm elections without losing too many “friends” on Facebook!

Thank you for taking time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts!

HAPPY SEASON!

Normally, I start my blog with heavier and more hard-hitting thoughts, but it’s that time of the year again! 🙂

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LEANN RIMES CHRISTMAS

“It’s Christmas, Eve” with LeAnn Rimes makes its Hallmark Channel debut this weekend and the soundtrack is incredible!

Okay, incredible is an understatement.  It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!

LeAnn.JPG

There are three original songs on the soundtrack — two ballads and the upbeat “You and Me and Christmas”.

LeAnn doesn’t just sing the classics.  The arrangements of “Carol of the Bells” (Ring Out Remix) and “White Christmas” are stunning.

The North Pole Remix of “I Still Believe in Santa Claus” gives the song new life and there are two medleys that make the album an instant classic.

The Jolly Remix of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”/”Hark the Herald Angels Sing”/”Angels We Have Heard on High” has a dance club sound to it.

And, “Christmas Jam on Snow” is funky, upbeat fun with “Jingle Bell Rock”/”Here Comes Santa Claus”/”I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”/”Last Christmas”.

Radio programmers gearing up for holiday music through Christmas need to add each of these songs to their playlists, especially “White Christmas” and the medleys!

LeAnn is becoming the new voice and face of Christmas!

GRADE:  A

WHY WE SHOULD ALWAYS VOTE!

As you likely know, I’m reading Ted Sorensen’s biography of President John F. Kennedy.  Sorensen was Kennedy’s adviser and speechwriter.

I came across an amazing quote from President Kennedy that he gave in a June 1963 speech on civil rights.

It still rings clear today and I shared it before the midterm elections and I think we should remember it daily until the 2020 presidential election.

JFK JUNE 1963

2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Now that the midterm elections are over, the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election is unofficially underway.

Ironically, John F. Kennedy didn’t announce his presidential run until January 2, 1960!  Wouldn’t it be nice again if the political season was only 10 months long!!!!!!!!!!!

Anyways, in late October, Hillary Clinton was asked by journalist Kara Swisher, with Recode, a technology news web site, if she wanted to run again?

Clinton replied “no” twice, but Swisher pressed her about it and the Former Secretary of State said, “Well, I’d like to be president!”

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There you have it folks.  The first woman to ever gain a major party’s nomination and the woman who won the popular vote in 2016 is unofficially in the race!

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I know it’s early, but I was having this conversation the other day and I still believe she is the only person that can beat 45!

“HOUSE OF CARDS” FINAL SEASON

This comes as no shock, but Robin Wright was phenomenal as President Claire Underwood, oops President Claire Hale in the final season of “House of Cards”.  It dropped on Netflix last week.

While I enjoyed the final eight episodes, the first and the last ones were my favorites.

I loved the way the series wrote out Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood and was appalled at how vicious people were with the threats against Claire as president.

But, Claire’s iciness at the threats and comments directed toward her made it more human and made her more powerful as Commander-in-Chief.

When told there were “Lots of threats involving the c-word, ma’am. Lots and lots of the c-word, unfortunately especially with the ‘c-word’.”

She responds, “You mean ‘Claire’!” 🙂

I loved the final scene even though many on the internet and in blogs didn’t care for it.

SEASON GRADE:  B

SERIES FINALE GRADE: A

SERIES GRADE: B+

“HALLOWEEN”

“Halloween (2018)” was the #1 movie in America for two straight weekends and was the top movie for 14 consecutive days!

It’s already made $156.8 million in the U.S. and another $88.7 million in foreign markets for a total of $245.5 million!  That’s incredible for a movie with a budget around $15 million!

I avoided all spoilers and saw it in its second weekend in theaters.

It was very entertaining and I loved the winks back to all of the other movies in the franchise that this one pretended didn’t exist.

I loved that the movie was very violent (Micheal Myers as a practicing dentist!).  It could be because he’s psychotic and has been locked up and drugged for 40 years!

However, there were a couple of murders that made you go, “um, okay”!

While the movie was great, it didn’t scare me since nothing can compare to the 1978 original!

GRADE:  B

FINAL “HALLOWEEN” THOUGHT

Halloween

Although it didn’t scare me, it scared someone that saw the movie in the theater where I saw it.

I put my jacket in the next seat next to me and when I went to leave, it reeked of urine!!! 😠

“GAME CHANGERS”

If you love game shows or you grew up on them, you have to check out this 2018 documentary hosted by Alex Trebek, which I caught on my return flight from Morocco.

It traces the history of games shows and catches up with some of the trailblazers in the genre.

GRADE:  B

“THE FIRST PURGE”

I really enjoy “The Purge” movies and I even watched the television series.

However, I didn’t see the latest movie, “The First Purge”, in theaters, but I just caught it on DVD.

I fully understand what the movie was going for —  low-income people’s lives don’t matter, so they’re expendable, thus perfect subjects for the first purge.

However, it was so jokey and silly that I was mostly bored.  Pretty sad because I really liked the first three movies in the series.

Skip this movie if you haven’t already seen it and if you need a “purge” fix, check out the 10-episode USA Network event.  It wrapped up this week and it was better than this movie!

GRADE:  D

THAT’S IT

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

Random Friday Thoughts — November 2, 2018

It’s November now and I urge you to get out and vote!

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

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

There are many uneducated and misinformed people here in America that believe terrorists are from other cultures.

Yes, there are terrorists from other cultures, but we should open our eyes because we live in glass houses here in the U.S.!

Last weekend, eleven people were murdered at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue.

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Look at the ages of these people.  They were someone’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, family and friends.  And, they were killed out of ignorance!

Also, in October, many high profile Democrats and CNN were targeted with terrorism and fear from a 56-year-old fitness obsessed, Donald Trump supporter in Florida!

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Just look at his van!

Hate Van

Needless to say, it wasn’t a proud couple of weeks to say America is the best country in the world!

MEGHAN McCAIN APOLOGY

In wake of the suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats and news agencies, including CNN, President Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meghan McCain made an apology on “The View”.

McCain says, I really try every day, I really try to come into work thinking about what rhetoric I’m going to put out in the world and what my father would’ve done if he was still here,” McCain began. “Last year on this show I said, ‘I hate Hillary Clinton’ and I called her Crooked Hillary, and it is one of the things I regret doing.

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She goes on to say, “This is not saying I agree with her. I have many vast difference of opinion on philosophy and ideology, and I didn’t think she was a great candidate. But ‘hate’ is not a word that should be coming out of my mouth on television about someone of a different political persuasion.”

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“BLUE WAVE”

As winter nears, people talk of cold snaps or “cold waves”, all I’m envisioning on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is an Election Day “blue wave”!

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CAITLYN JENNER’S ADMISSION

Caitlyn Jenner now admits that she was wrong about Donald Trump and his anti-LGBTQ stances.

Caitlyn

Well, Caitlyn, it’s a little too late for that now — until midterms and 2020!

Make it right!

This also goes for people that voted for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson and for those that didn’t vote just to take a stance against 45 and Hillary Clinton!

MORE KENNEDY

As I stated last week, I’m reading a biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter, which is 800-plus pages.

Kennedy Sorensen

With the mid-term elections coming up and the stench of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign and election reeking every day, I was blown away by a statement made by Sorensen midway through the book.

Talking about the 1960 presidential run, Sorensen writes, “The campaign had illuminated many a dark corner of intolerance and ignorance.”

What would Sorensen (who died Halloween 2010) think of the the political climate since 2016 if he were alive today???

Another thing to note:  Kennedy and I are very much alike in many ways, especially this one, “Forgive but never forget.”

DIWALI

The holiday season is here and Christmas is now just weeks away.

While I’m not converting from being Christian, I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  It’s celebrated across most of India on Wednesday, November 7th in 2018 (November 6th in some places).

Why does it touch my sensibilities other than the beautiful display?

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It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.

We could really use that in the world these days!!!!!!!!

HALLOWEEN

I hope you had a very spooky, fun Halloween!

Here’s a blast from the past — me trying to duplicate Lady Gaga’s VMA look from 2009.  I can say “A Star Is Born”, but it wasn’t me. 🙂

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“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE”

The sixth episode of the new season of “American Horror Story:  Apocalypse” called “Return to Murder House” takes us back to the first season of the anthology series.

There were many funny lines in the creepy episode including this exchange between “Coven” witches Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (Billy Porter), “Calm down skinny witch!”

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Jessica Lange also made her triumphant return for one episode to reprise her role from the first season with the classic line:

“I’m Constance Langdon and this is my f**king house!”

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INTERESTING JESSICA LANGE FACT

Lange is from Cloquet, Minnesota, which is about 20 minutes outside Duluth!

NOVEMBER IS HERE!

I love my turkey and dressing and I give thanks daily for what I have, but this is so me!!!!!!!!!!

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“IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON”

And, don’t be like this sheep! 🙂

Bah Humbug

I baaa-ught (I couldn’t resist) — I bought my first new Christmas CD of the season, the latest from Martina McBride.

Martina

It’s a nine-song collection with a big band sound.

While I love Martina McBride, her country roots gets lost in her voice throughout the collection.

I know the sound is more universal, but there are times on the album that you wouldn’t know it’s Martina.  It could be any generic female singer.

Overall, a great new addition to Christmas recordings.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 26, 2018

I’m back after a couple of weeks off for my trip to Morocco, so thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’m sure there are many Halloween parties this weekend, so have fun and be safe.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY CLINTON

I hope you have an incredible day and year ahead.  Meeting you in 2016 is still one of the highlights in my life!

Hillary AP

“HALLOWEEN”

Since I arrived back from my Africa trip on opening day and worked the next seven days, I’ve avoided the spoilers to the new “Halloween” movie.

But, I’m going to see it this weekend!

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The movie scared up an incredible $76.2 last weekend!

After just the opening weekend, it’s now the highest grossing movie * in the 11-movie franchise that started 40 years ago.

*  If you adjust the box office of all the movies to account for ticket price inflation, 1978’s $47 million box office for the original “Halloween” would be $183.6 million today, making it the biggest!

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on the return flight, I watch the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

GRADE:  A+

MORE “OZARK” TO COME 

A couple of weeks ago (10/10), Netflix renewed the Emmy Award nominated “Ozark” for a third season.

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I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.

Jason Bateman was nominated this year.

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, you now have time to do so now.  It’s an incredible drama!

“KENNEDY”

I’m reading an 800-plus page biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter.

Kennedy Sorensen

The book was first released in 1965 and is pretty much the autobiography that Kennedy never got to write.

I’m 400 pages into the book now and one of the most interesting non-political things I’ve learned about the nation’s 35th president is that he bathed three times a day!

His Attorney General, his brother Robert, didn’t like being called “Bobby”, even though that’s what JFK called him.  Robert Kennedy preferred “Bob”.

JFK ate many times a day — small portions at a time — and really liked soups!

And, I’m astounded that him being Catholic was a major issue for him in the 1960 election.  He broke that glass ceiling, just as Obama did in 2008 with race.

Now, if only the 2016 election hadn’t been stolen from Hillary Clinton, another glass ceiling would have been shattered!

Thanks Vladimir Putin and Russia!

“SEIZE THE MOMENT”

After reading Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s “All The President’s Men” and “The Final Days”, I realized I had one more Nixon book on my bookshelf, 1992’s “Seize The Moment: America’s Challenge in a One-Superpower World”.

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Reading most of it and skimming over some of the very outdated parts, here are a few takeaways.

Clearly, unlike Ronald Reagan who was in bed (metaphorically) with Mikhail Gorbachev, Nixon has nothing good to say about that Soviet leader.  He was on Team Boris Yeltsin.

While China, in 1979, implemented the “one-child policy” as a way to control population growth, Nixon talked about the aging population in Japan.  Because more than one-quarter of the population was expected to be over 65 in the year 2025, the government was giving women $6,700 grants to have a third child!

But, interestingly, while he praised Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush in the book, he never mentioned his vice president and successor Gerald Ford once!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty strange since Ford basically damned his 1976 re-election hopes by pardoning Nixon a month after he resigned the presidency in 1974!

NIXON BY NIXON:  IN HIS OWN WORDS

I was also talking about Nixon back in September and I wrote, “While I didn’t know him personally, I’ve concluded that he wasn’t a good man!  I’m not talking politically because he was a snake in the grass.”

I just came across the 2014 HBO documentary, “Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words” and it’s incredible.   And, it verifies my September statement.  He was a vile man!

Just as the name implies, it’s not transcripts of all of Nixon’s private recordings, it’s the actual audio, which makes it even more damning.

Check out these two comments!

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Nixon also said, “The press is the enemy!”

Fast forward more than four decades and it sounds like “that man” in the White House (45) now!

Nixon trashed talked everyone — women, hippies, Jews, and, of course, gays (back then it was “homosexuals”, “homo”, and “fags”)!

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There’s another longer Nixon rant that really blew me away.  I’m sharing it at the bottom of the blog, so you can see more random thoughts first.

If you want to see it, you can find it in its entirety on YouTube.

MARIAH CAREY

We’re just weeks away from the release of Mariah Carey’s fifteenth studio album, “Caution”, on November 16, 2018.

I’ve already bought it!  So far, three songs are available to hear.

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“With You” is the first single from the album and it’s already racing up the Adult Contemporary and the Urban Adult Contemporary chart.

Of course, Top 40 radio isn’t playing it!

And, I absolutely love the first song from “Caution”, “GTFO”.

Yes, it does stand for what you think it does and Mimi makes it sound so sexy telling someone that their company is no longer needed!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Former President Richard Nixon to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman:

“Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general, these are the enemies of strong societies.  Goddammit, we have got to stand up to these people.  I do not mind the homosexuality.  I understand it.  Nevertheless, the point that I want to make is that goddammit, I do not think you glorify homosexuality anymore than you glorify whores.  Now we all have weaknesses and so forth and so on.  But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids?”

Nixon rants on, “You knew what happened to the Greeks?  Homosexuality destroyed them.  Sure, Aristotle was a homo;  we all know that, so was Socrates.  You what happened to the Romans? Romans?  The last six Roman emperors were fags.  You know what happened to the Popes?  Po-Po-popes were laying the nuns.  That’s been going on for years, centuries.  But when the Popes – When the Catholic Church went to the hell, it was homosexual. And finally had to be cleaned out.”

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More Nixon (in a 1983 interview):  “We talk about the men reporters, the women reporters are more bitchy than the men.”

“THE MAN THAT INVENTED CHRISTMAS”

Since Christmas is now less than two months away, here’s my customary mention of my favorite holiday. 🙂

On my flight to Paris, I finally got to see this late 2017 film and I’d highly recommend it.

It was overlooked at the box office making only $8.1 million.

It tells the story of Charles Dickens and how he came up with the holiday staple, “The Christmas Story”!

GRADE:  B

MORE DAN STEVENS

I only have one complaint about Dan Stevens.  I know it’s acting, but in two of the three movies I’ve seen him in, his beauty is hidden!

I mean, in “Beauty and the Beast”, he was totally hidden as the Beast and don’t get me started on the Dickens hair in the Christmas movie! 🙂

So, from 2014’s “The Guest”, here goes!

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GRADE:  B

“I FEEL PRETTY”

This Amy Schumer comedy earned $88.4 million at the box office on a $32 million budget.

While the movie addresses body image, I wasn’t impressed.

Save yourself an hour-and-a-half of your life and watch the three minute trailer!

I guess I’m not alone with those thoughts.  It has a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 5, 2018

Happy first week of October!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts!

MORE REFLECTIONS ON PRESIDENT CARTER

President Jimmy Carter turned 94 earlier this week.

Here’s a note I left at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, a couple of years ago on my visit.

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AMERICA’S MOOD

It’s summed up perfectly by Dana Scully and the always incredible, beautiful, and intelligent Gillian Anderson!

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COMFORTING ROBERT KENNEDY 

Just moments after giving his victory speech in the California Democratic primary at the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968, Senator Robert F. Kennedy was making his exit through the kitchen.

That’s when an assassin’s bullets mortally wounded the Democratic presidential hopeful.

18-year-old hotel busboy, Juan Romero rushed to Kennedy’s side and cradled him and kept his head off the restaurant floor.

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Romero died earlier this week of an apparent heart attack in Modesto, California. He was 68.

Earlier this year, Romero said, “I kneeled down to him and I could see his lips moving, so I put my ear next to his lips and I heard him say, ‘Is everybody OK?’ I said, ‘Yes, everybody’s OK.’ I put my hand between the cold concrete and his head just to make him comfortable.”

“THE WALKING DEAD”

Like 45 and his old tweets that come back to bite him in the ass, I’m retracting something I said in my April 20, 2018, blog.

Under the ominous headline, GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD”, I wrote, “After eight seasons, I’m giving up on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.  The seventh and eighth season were painful and I didn’t find them enjoyable… Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!”

Well, hell’s bells!  Now that I know Lincoln is leaving the show early in the ninth season, I now have to watch it to say goodbye to my future ex-boyfriend.

Andrew Lincoln

By the way, I saw the first five minutes of the October 7th premiere episode and it looks great.

Okay, show runners, while the details of how he departs is unknown to the public, I hope his death (?) is heartbreaking!  And, as an added bonus, can Judith go along with him?

I’m normally not a shipper, but may I request Jesusaron?

“YOU”

Last week, I talked about the Lifetime stalker drama, “You”.

I’m still loving it and I was laughing out loud with these two lines from the last episode.

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Beck’s thoughts after the quick intimacy with Joe: “What was that? Eight seconds? Hell yeah, he’s got that Trump just took Pennsylvania look!”

Also, from Beck, “You’re a coward. Britney got through 2007 though, right?”

BASEBALL SEASON

I’m a fair weather baseball fan.

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By the way, that Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. 🙂

I don’t really follow a particular team although when I lived in Chicago, I rooted for the Cubs. And, then when the White Sox made the World Series, they were my team.

There are just too many games for me, but I start to pay attention when the 30 teams are whittled down and the Division Series, the League Championship Series, and the World Series take place.

The Division Series (quarterfinal round) got underway this week!

In the August 6-13, 2018 issue, “Time” reported that the average age of those watching Major League Baseball (MLB) rose from 52 in 2000 to 57 in 2016. (42 is the average age of National Basketball Association viewers!)

Not only are MLB viewers getting old, there are fewer young people watching the games.  A recent survey showed that nearly two-thirds of people ages 18 to 36 didn’t watch baseball!

By the way, I was huge Cleveland Indians fan when I lived in Ohio and Grady Sizemore played for the team (2004-2011).

Sizemore

And, as a kid, I had the biggest crush on Kansas City Royals third baseman, George Brett!

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“MANIFEST”

The new hit, “Manifest” on NBC is creepy, sad, and awesome!

In 2013, a flight takes off from Jamaica and arrives in New York five years later.  However, to the people on board, it was a typical three-hour flight with some turbulence.

But, the world has moved on without them.

I was blown away by the premiere and the second episode was equally compelling!  I love the premise, the acting, and I’m touched with the sentimentality!

While I can’t wait to see how the story develops, I’m majorly crushing on Josh Dallas!

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I may have to binge watch “Once Upon a Time” when I’m snowed in this winter to catch more of him!

Totally random here, but one advantage to a “Manifest”-like situation is not having to deal with 45 in the White House!

FALL TELEVISION MVP

I’m happy to see more of my network television shows back from summer break.

“9-1-1” on Fox is still sexy, thrilling , and fun.  The earthquake episodes were fantastic.

And, here’s to the new hotties:

Ryan Guzman (Eddie Diaz, a new firefighter on “9-1-1”)

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and from the USA Network show, “The Purge”, Gabriel Chavarria (Miguel Guerrero, a US Marine who returns home on Purge Night to save his sister, Penelope).

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HARVEST SEASON IS HERE

Before you know it, a hard freeze and snow will be on the way.  Harvest those crops!

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CANDY CORN PIZZA

Would you try it? 🙂

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“A LEGENDARY CHRISTMAS”

Finally, more information about the upcoming John Legend Christmas project.

john legend - A Legendary Christmas

The new album (and 25-date Christmas tour) is called “A Legendary Christmas” and it comes out October 26th!

Fourteen songs will appear on the album and it includes several original songs and many classics like “Please Come Home for Christmas”, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, and “The Christmas Song” (featuring Esperanza Spalding).

Stevie Wonder brings his harmonica skills to the album’s first song, “What Christmas Means to Me”.

“SONS OF ANARCHY”

I just started binge-watching the seven season, 92-episode FX series, “Sons of Anarchy”, which ran from 2008-2014.

After the first two seasons, I’m very impressed.  I even Googled to see if “motorcycle club” life was as violent as the series portrays it and from what I read, it’s pretty rough to be part of that gang!

Charlie Hunnam has grown up from when I first saw him in the 1999-2000 original UK series “Queer As Folk”.  He’s still gorgeous and nicely buffed as rough Jax Teller.

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And, I’m blown away by Katey Sagal, who play’s Jax’s mother, Gemma, and is the real life wife of “Sons of Anarchy” creator Kurt Sutter.   Many will remember her as Peg Bundy on Fox’s long-running series “Married… with Children”.

Sagal won the Golden Globe Award for “Best Actress” in a Television Series Drama for the third season.

In the second season, there’s a brutal rape and beating of a major character and it’s painful to watch.  It’s even more heartbreaking watching her try to recover without her family knowing about it!

Here’s an interesting tidbit that you may remember if you’ve watch the series.

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Other than Hunnam, I’m crushing on Johnny Lewis, who plays “Half-Sack” (no, I won’t explain his nickname!) in seasons one and two.

When I went online to find out more about the actor, I learned that he dated Katy Perry many years ago.

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However, I was shocked to learn that he’s dead.

Lewis and his 81-year-old landlady Catherine Davis were found dead at Davis’ home in September 2012.

Police were called after neighbors heard the woman screaming.  Authorities say Lewis broke into the house, beat Davis to death and killed her cat, Jesse.

They found his body in the driveway and believe he fell to his death from the building.

Lewis had just been released from jail just five days before the murder, but the autopsy found no alcohol or drugs in his body.

His family says he had occasional spurts of violence, which stemmed from untreated head injuries suffered from a high-speed motorcycle accident one year earlier!

“JAKE SHEARS”

It’s hard to believe that the last Scissor Sisters album came out in 2012.

I was so grateful to see them in Chicago in 2010.

This was the pre-concert and post-concert after dancing and getting caught in the rain!

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This is sexy Jake Shears, one of the two lead singers for the band (with Ana Matronic).

Scissor Sisters

In August, Jake released his self-titled debut album and it’s phenomenal.  Sadly, it hasn’t made a splash in America like it did in Europe!

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There are many incredible songs on the album and my favorites are “Good Friends”, “S.O.B.” (which stands for sex on the brain), “Everything I’ll Ever Need”, “Creep City”, and “Sad Song Backwards”!

GRADE:  B+

“DANCING QUEEN”

If you love Cher and you love ABBA, then this album is a combination of unicorns, rainbows, and bell bottoms if you’re a dancing queen!

It’s expected to debut in the Top 5 on the Billboard 200 album chart!

And, the album’s first single, “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)” moves into the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, her 14th top 10 hit on that chart!

Cher

GRADE:  B+  

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 28, 2018

September is coming to a close and it’s time to get those pumpkins and think about carving jack-o-lanterns.

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As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.   I’ll start off on a happy note, vent a little, and then share more positive things. 🙂

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

It’s a few days early, but I’d like to wish a “Happy Birthday” to my idol, President Jimmy Carter!

Autograph Carters

On October 1st, our nation’s 39th president turns 94!

This makes him the second longest-lived president and the president that’s lived the longest after leaving office (almost 37 years and 8 months and counting)!

What’s amazing about this wonderful man is that he and his incredible wife, Rosalynn, are still both very active writing, touring, and building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Since leaving office in 1981, with The Carter Center, he’s done more for world peace and a healthy planet than any U.S.  president — living or dead!

Here’s to many more happy, loving years, President Carter!

A QUICK MOMENT TO VENT

Full disclosure here:  I think 45 is a joke, I hope America votes him out of office in 2020, and I can’t understand why people still support him — even if they voted for him.

Facebook is a wonderful thing (?) because some “friends” on there make strange bedfellows.

The other day, I defended “that man” (45) for drinking Diet Coke from a wine glass and then I made a critical comment about him.  Well, it was a meme.

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Of course, one of his supporters came to his defense.  That’s fine, if you can coherently debate the topic and defend the man.

However, when she posted this comment, it crossed the line with me:  “but you supported a [sic] anti American Muslim who wanted to take America down?

At this point, I jumped into melee with this post:

“Christine, I’m really glad that Neil blocked you. Why? Your comment on his thread about the American Muslim that tried to take down America! Let me clarify something with you as diplomatically as I can. The Muslims that tried to bring America down on 9/11 were Islamic extremists! They killed thousands, but they failed miserably when you look at the big picture. Whether you’re an American Muslim, a Middle Eastern Muslim, or wherever you’re from, it doesn’t mean you’re a terrorist. The Islamic faith is not based on those extreme actions from the extremists! Look at all the white terrorists that have made it their ill-fated mission with the killing sprees here in the U.S. I know your life will go on and mine will, too, if I chose to delete you, too. It’s one thing to support that man and his beliefs, but when you demean the #MeToo movement and make sexual misconduct jokes (yes, I looked at your page), I really don’t know what we even have in common and why we’re “friends”!”

People (who really test my tolerance)!

“RBG”

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, this year alone, “Won’t You Be My Friend” ($22.6 million) and”RBG” ($14 million) changed that!

This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She started her trailblazing from just being a woman and using her voice when women didn’t really have a place or a voice in the world of law.

What an amazing woman!

GRADE:  A

MORE GINSBURG

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Earlier this summer, Ginsburg announced that she has no plans to give up her seat anytime soon, “My senior colleague, Justice John Paul Stevens, he stepped down when he was 90, so think I have about at least five more years.”

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

And, if you can’t get enough of Ginsburg, you’ll get another chance in select theaters on Christmas Day with “On The Basis of Sex”.

Academy Award nominee Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Ginsburg and Golden Globe Award nominee Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband Martin.

THEY SAID WHAT???

CHER (on “Ellen” when asked what three celebrities she’d like to record a duet with): “Oh, Adele, Pink, and, uh, um, not Madonna!”

JACQUELINE KENNEDY (born and raised Republican, in 1960, the year her Democratic husband would be elected the 35th president of the U.S.: “But you have to be a Republican to realize how nice it is to be a Democrat.”

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

The final season (eight episodes) of House of Cards” with Robin Wright as President Claire Underwood debuts on Netflix November 2nd!

A new revealing trailer came out this week and “the reign of the middle-aged white man” is over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

UNDERWEAR

Why not take a few minutes for something sexy and lighter?

Here’s a look at the the changes in men’s underwear over the past century!

“YOU”

I shamelessly (sorry, not sorry) admit two things — occasionally watching “Lifetime” and actually enjoying the creepy stalker series, “You”.

It’s based on Caroline Kepnes’ novel about a bookstore owner, Joe (Penn Badgley) who becomes obsessed with a college graduate student, Beck (Elizabeth Lail), who comes into the store.

I know many of us has had psychotic exes or stalkers, but what’s more disturbing is that even though you know that what Joe is doing is bad, bad, bad, you still feel for him.  He does have a thin thread of humanity in him!

I guess I’m not alone.  Before the first episode aired, Lifetime renewed it for a second season.

“THE PURGE” TELEVISION SERIES

I love “The Purge” movie series and I thought I’d give the USA Network’s 10-episode television event a chance.

After four episodes, I’m still with it.  However, I don’t know if it’ll hold my interest to see it through to the end.

There are some exciting things in the series and some lame filler, too.

GRADE:  B-

One last note:  The latest movie in the series, “The First Purge”, came out in theaters this summer and made $135.6 million.

I can’t wait to see it when it arrives on DVD October 2nd!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE” 

As I approach my birthday and since I’m in my 50s, I had to laugh out loud at one of Joan Collins’ line from the second episode of “Apocalypse”.

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By the way, Collins is 85.

Another “Apocalypse” note:   Very little on television or in movies shocks me (language, violence, or sex), but I have to say there was a very graphic sex scene in the second episode that probably made conservatives choke — if they watch “American Horror Story”.

It made Joan Collins’s character blush and run away! 🙂

“BLOODLINE”

This three-season, 33-episode Netflix series aired from 2015-2017.

The drama is about the Rayburn family who own a beach side inn, the Rayburn House, in the Florida Keys.

Three of the Rayburn children still live in Monroe County.  John is a detective for the Sheriff’s Office, Meg is a lawyer, and hot-headed Kevin is a mechanic.

The drama comes in when the black sheep of the family, Danny, returns home.

Kyle Chandler plays John and I had the biggest crush on him back in the late-1990s when he starred on the CBS series “Early Edition”.

My recommendation is to watch season one and the last five episodes of season two.  Just read the episode summary for the first five episodes of season two online and skip season three altogether!

I had a major crush on Enrique Murciano, who played John’s work partner, Marco Diaz, who also dated Meg.

Enrique Murciano

The series also stars Sissy Spacek and Sam Shephard.

Season 1 GRADE:  B+

Season 2 (FIRST FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  D+

Season 2 (SECOND FIVE EPISODES) GRADE:  A-

Season 3 GRADE:  D+

SISSY SPACEK

One of the great pleasures of watching “Bloodline” was seeing Sissy Spacek.

Sissy Spacek

I remember seeing her as a teenager as Carrie White in 1976’s “Carrie” (which earned Spacek an Oscar nomination) and as Loretta Lynn in 1980’s “Coal Miner’s Daughter”, for which Spacak won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

What did surprise me is that the Texas-born actress, who’ll turn 69 on Christmas Day, has been nominated for an Oscar four other times!

The other Best Actress nominations were for “Missing” (1982), “The River ” (1984), “Crimes of the Heart” (1986), and “In The Bedroom” (2001)!

Spacek has upcoming roles in the movie “The Old Man & the Gun” with Robert Redford and in Amazon’s “Homecoming” (November 2, 2018) starring Julia Roberts and directed and executive produced by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”).

“BREAKING IN”

This movie will likely have a mention in my year end blog of my 20 favorites movies of the year.

But, it’ll be on a different list — the worst movies of the year!

It’s basically the story of four bad guys who take a woman’s two children hostage inside her father’s fortified home.  She has to break into the house to save her children.

The $6 million movie brought in almost $51 million at the box office, but it’s terrible.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over because it was so unrealistic!

However, Gabrielle Union is a fine actress and I also enjoyed seeing Billy Burke (“Zoo”) as a bad guy.

It was also great to see Richard Cabral again.   He was phenomenal in seasons one and three of ABC’s “American Crime”.

GRADE:  D+

SPEAKING OF THOSE 20 FAVORITES MOVIES OF THE YEAR…

Now that I’ve seen more than 30 movies in 2017, here are the ones that I liked, but have been pushed out of my Top 20 list for this year (the “honorable mentions”):

“The Star”, “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”, “Molly’s Game”, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, “It”, “The Mountain Between Us”, “All the Money in the World”, “Darkest Hour”, “Marshall”, “Chappaquiddick”.

“My Friend Dahmer” almost made the list of the three worst movies I saw in 2017, but there were three other stinkers!

“SAY YOU REALLY WANT ME”

English singer Kim Wilde first hit the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982 with “Kids in America”.  Even though it only reached #25, it’s still one of my favorites.

Her biggest hit in the U.S. was a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.  It reached #1 in 1987.

The follow-up was “Say You Really Want Me”, a very sultry song that barely missed the Top 40 on the Hot 100, but I still love it to this day!

Sexy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 24, 2018

Kids are heading back to school soon and summer is winding down.

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

THANK YOU KELLY CLARKSON!

Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson has always been an ally to the LGBTQ community and earlier this week, she took on a homophobic fan on Twitter.

Back in December 2016, Clarkson invited fan Kiana Clark on stage to propose to her girlfriend, Amanda.

The couple married recently and Kelly congratulated them and then came the rude tweet.

But, Kelly handled it like a sweetheart!

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Oh, Terri, if you’re going to be condescending and rude, I want to let you know that “dikes” are built to hold back water.

The offensive slang you were trying to use is spelled with a “y”!

“MARILYN MONROE:  THE BIOGRAPHY”

I finished reading my 21st book of the year.

This 1993 biography by Donald Spoto is just one of many books written about Marilyn Monroe after her death in 1962.

MARILYN

There’s no denying that in movies and magazines, Monroe was magic.

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But, boy was she one tormented soul!

She was pawned off from person to person as a kid and then spent time in an orphanage before she was married at 16-years-old to avoid another children’s home!

As she was trying to launch her career, she was even a “boulevard hooker”!

While there were many flaws in Monroe’s work ethic (tardiness and absenteeism), it’s easy to see from the book that she was a very generous and loving woman (to a fault).

It was heartbreaking reading about how Hollywood manipulated her financially as just another dumb blonde, when she worked so hard to be a great actress in both comedy and drama.

Also, her drug dependency (from 1954 to her death in August 1962) was sad.

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The book convinced me that her affair with President Kennedy was a one-night stand and that she and Bobby Kennedy never had an affair and that the Kennedys did NOT have her killed.

While there are many conspiracy theories out there, including the one I just mentioned, I believe that her psychiatrist/”doctor” ordered a drugged enema that negatively reacted with sleeping pills that Monroe had taken and that’s what killed her.

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Her death was ruled a “probable suicide”.

I had two faults with the book.  It could have had a better editor and the 611 pages of Monroe’s story could have easily been cut down to 500 pages!

Also, the author was very protective of his subject and lacked objectivity at times.  There was, at least, one instance in the book that he justified Monroe’s drug dependency, just like all the “yes” people and “doctors” she surrounded herself with.

CATERING DRUGS TO CELEBRITIES 

With the loss of such a legend as Monroe more than fifty years ago, it’s nice to know that “doctors” are much more careful about prescribing medication to celebrities.

Oh wait, that’s not true.  There’s Michael Jackson (2009), Whitney Houston (2012), and Prince (2016), for starters!

Just to drive home how crazy things are getting in the U.S. — two million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers and nearly 50,000 died from opioids over a recent 12-month period!

“GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES”

Contracts are usually nasty pieces of paper.  They benefit the company more than the people signing them.

That was definitely the case for Marilyn Monroe when she did 1953’s iconic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

For the movie, Marilyn was only paid $15,000, while her co-star Jane Russell was paid $150,000!

By the way, Russell was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, which is about 150 miles northwest of Duluth! 🙂

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

“Crazy Rich Asians” was the box office champion last weekend bringing in $26.5 million ($48.2 million over its first eight days)!  It’s expected to be #1 again this weekend.

Jon M. Chu has directed a classic romantic comedy — a masterpiece of not only love, but culture.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a must-see!

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As Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), enjoy dessert in New York City, he asks her to join him on a trip back home in Singapore where he’s going to be the “best man” in his best friend’s wedding.  It’ll also give Rachel a chance to meet his family.

The movie is gorgeously shot and the cast is phenomenal.

It has romance, drama (not only with Nick’s mother), and humor, mostly supplied by actress/rapper Awkwafina.

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There’s one character not billed in the credits that’s vital to success of the movie — decadence!

It’s important to the movie’s charm and escapism — that mansion, the food, the parties, the wedding, and Singapore!

Nighttime

“Crazy Rich Asians” shows that it’s time for executives to realize that movies don’t need white faces to make money.  But, then again, it’s hard for that to sink in when most of ones controlling the industry and making the decisions are older, white men!

GRADE:  A

MY COMPLETE REVIEW HERE

That was a condensed version of what I thought of the movie.  Here’s the complete and more exciting review (sexier and steamier)! 🙂

Click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/crazy-rich-asians-sparkles-fascinating-irresistible/

HELLO, SELENA TAN!

Selena Tan, who plays ‘Alix’, Nick’s aunt in “Crazy Rich Asians”, is hilarious at the beginning of the movie at the Bible study.  I wish she had had a bigger role in the movie.

I’m honored that she got to see my blog review of the movie and that she took the time to reply and follow me on Twitter!

Greetings across the miles!

Selena Tan

“ALEX STRANGELOVE” OR “LOVE, SIMON”

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Which coming-of-age LGBTQ movie do you choose to watch if you haven’t already seen them?

Why do you have to choose? Watch them both!

“Alex Strangelove” is a touching Netflix comedy and it’s more realistic in tone and language than “Love, Simon” since it was made for a streaming service.

The sex talk about losing one’s virginity and about being gay is spot on.

And, the scene when Alex is practicing his come-on lines with his stuffed monkey is hilarious!

Daniel Doheny is very funny and adorkable as Alex.  At times, he looks like a young Andrew Garfield.

GRADE: B

“Love, Simon” was a box office success bringing in $66.2 million total ($40.8 million of that was in the U.S.).  Since it was a mainstream movie with a PG-13 rating, it wasn’t as wild and mature as “Alex Strangelove”.

Here’s what I wrote about “Love, Simon” after I saw it in March 2018:

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUMS THIS FALL

While Christmas is still four months away, holiday albums usually come out in the fall.

I’m very excited about John Legend’s first Christmas album.  As of now, no title, track list or release date is known.

Maybe this 2010 track, “When Christmas Comes”, with Mariah Carey, will hold us over until we know more about Legend’s album.

Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) is releasing “Season of Peace” on October 12th.  It’s a compilation from his first three Christmas albums, plus a new song.

Also, Eric Clapton’s first holiday disc, “Happy Xmas” also arrives on October 12th.

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It’ll feature classics like “White Christmas”, “Away in the Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Mary Christmas Baby”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, along with seven lesser known titles, and an original “For Love on Christmas Day”.

It’ll also feature “Jingle Bells”, in memory of EDM superstar DJ Avicii, who died from suicide last spring in Oman.

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Martina McBride’s new collection “It’s The Holiday Season” comes out October 19th and will feature nine songs.

Now, I say “new” because her first holiday collection, “White Christmas”, came out in 1998 and there were “re-releases” in 1999, 2007, and a re-packaging and renaming of the album as “The Classic Christmas Album” in 2013!

Also, Brett Eldredge is working on a re-vamped version of his 2016 Christmas collection, “Glow”.

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This one is likely going to be called “Glow 2.0”.

And, finally, The Mavericks’ “Hey, Merry Christmas!” arrives November 2nd.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony