Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Making Good on a Bad Decision

“I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left! 

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.”

Those were my thoughts in June 2019 in my “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” blog.

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I really don’t have too many regrets in my life, but there’s one that’s been weighing heavily on me.

My life shattered in February 2017 when my ex and I decided to end our marriage and our eight-year relationship.

I made the irrational decision to move away from the Quad Cities rather than stay and start my life over again there.

So, after 11.5 years in Moline, Illinois, I took a job in Panama City, Florida, and moved there in May 2017.  I stayed for a year.

AP G C

I made three incredible friends, Gerard and Cathy, who started the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, and Diane, a neighbor in my apartment complex.

Also, while there, I drove through the backwoods of the South to Plains, Georgia, to meet my idol, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Autograph Carters

However, there was nothing else I liked about Panama City or the area.

So, in the summer of 2018, I took the Chief Meteorologist position at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota.

It gave me a chance to work with some really great people, including zany Dan Hanger, our evening anchor, the most popular newscaster in Northland television!

After our appearance at the Superior, Wisconsin, Halloween parade, we decided to have an adult beverage and we sent our evening director Katie this little snippet of us lip syncing Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down”.

The joke is that Katie regularly has to tell Dan, “Not Today!” 🙂

And, speaking of Katie…

She and her mother, Mary Kaye, became two of my dearest friends, along with Kass, one of my neighbors.

For the past two Thanksgivings and Christmases, I feasted with Katie and Mary Kaye (and Duke, the golden retriever).  We also made it a point to have each other over for Saturday night dinners almost monthly.

Capture

As you can tell, they’re camera shy! 🙂

And, Kass regularly hosted cocktail hour at her place for the two of us to enjoy each other’s company and talk.

But, the dating scene in Duluth was dismal and my work schedule became very undesirable.  No one wants to basically work around the clock for days on end — at any age or at any point in their career!

Plus, I was still an eight-hour drive away from my sister, Tammy, in the Quad Cities.

Night Cruise

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2019, I made the decision that when my contract was up in June 2020, I’d move to Las Vegas, give up television, and wait tables!

I wanted to start living again!

However, this winter, after a lot of thought and deliberation (with myself), I came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t the right time in my life.

And, then Coronavirus came along and I’m glad I didn’t pursue Vegas as “home”.

As that door closed, another one opened and a great opportunity presented itself to me out of the blue.

Now, the time has come to share some news with you — the “next chapter” is beginning soon amidst the Coronavirus pandemic! 😱

Kylie

Back in May 2017 as I was driving through Henry County, Illinois, on Interstate 74, tears streamed down my face as I left my sister, my friends, and my shattered life in the Quad Cities.

This past February, I made a covert trip back to the Quad Cities and Illinois. 🙂

And, this time, driving that same stretch of I-74 in Henry County at sunrise offered me hope and the chance to right the wrong — I was making good on a bad decision!

Henry County Illinois

“Climb That Mountain High” from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”, has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.

The song was an inspiration to me when I started my television news career and it’s given me hope every time I was ready to move on.

“Red sun a-rising, over the hill/I’ve had enough of this desert to last from now until… This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“How I arrived here, oh heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would have chose… I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”!

I’m heading back to the Land of Lincoln!

I accepted the morning meteorologist position at the NBC affiliate in Decatur, in central Illinois!  (It’s part of the Champaign-Decatur-Springfield television market.)

Decatur

Now, I’ll be able to see my sister in three hours, instead of setting aside a whole day to drive one way!

And, we’ll be able to spend holidays together again!

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And, along with this “next chapter”, #Pug2020 is still in my plans unless the real life situation (Coronavirus, again!) delays it!

By the way, this “air freshener” was another “sign” from Bangkok last year.  It was in one of the cabs! 🙂

#Pug2020

Thailand Pug AP

MY NEXT APARTMENT

Let’s end on a lighthearted note!

When I left Kentucky, for good, in the summer of 1994 for Chicago, as my 20s were winding down, I envisioned my next apartment complex.

I had hoped it’d be like “Melrose Place” with Jake (Grant Show) as my neighbor. 🙂

Grant Amy

Okay, the “Melrose Place” before crazy Kimberly (Marcia Cross) moved in and blew the damn place up! 🙂

Melrose Place

Oops, spoiler alert!

Or, I was dreaming of 28 Barbary Lane (“Tales of the City”) with Anna Madrigal as my eccentric land lady…

28 Barbary Lane

and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver as my friends!

Mary Ann

Neither has happened in all my moves, but there’s always Decatur!  LOL

Honestly, I think I’m too old for those silly dreams and dramas now!

My friends, here’s to new beginnings and a happy, healthy new future — not just for me, but for all of us!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 6, 2020

Surprise!  I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Thank you for taking the time to check it out.

CORONAVIRUS & VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE

As fears rise and the death toll climbs around the world, I’m even more alarmed (but, totally not shocked) that 45 appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead his Coronavirus response team.

Coronavirus Pence Trump

I hope the U.S. response is swift and adequate and that it prevents a widespread outbreak here.

Pence IS NOT a medical expert and his previous judgement is poor!

In a December 1, 2016, blog on “World AIDS Day”, I wrote, “And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

Yes, Indiana — while Vice-President elect Mike Pence was governor and before he was picked to be second in command in the U.S.”

PETS, TOO!

Last week, a pet dog, a Pomeranian, of a Coronavirus patient, was placed in quarantine after testing “weak positive” for the virus in Hong Kong!

Hong Kong dog Coronavirus

This week, that was upgraded to a “low-level infection”.  It’s the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission.

By Friday, the number of those infected worldwide is approaching 104,000 with more than 3,500 deaths.  (Most are in China.) 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. reports 164 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in nineteen states.

The CDC is also confirming eleven deaths!

EDUCATE YOURSELF!

With that being said, educate yourself!

Corona

I saw a survey last week that showed because of the Coronavirus, 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beer “under any circumstances”!

Seriously, stop drinking altogether if you’re that brilliant!!!

IT WON’T HAPPEN BEFORE ELECTION DAY 2020, BUT…

JFK Meme Diversity Mortal June 10 1963.JPG

That is from President John F. Kennedy’s June 1963 commencement speech at American University.

“THE MAN”

In 2019, “Lover”, Taylor Swift’s seventh studio release, was my favorite album of the year!

Taylor Swift Lover

It’s already produced the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans, and the title track, which reached #10 on the Hot 100.

Her latest single is “The Man”, one of my absolute favorites from “Lover”.  And, I can’t watch the new video enough!

Yes, that’s Taylor playing “The Man”, Tyler Swift!

My other favorites from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed” or “Cornelia Street”!

CHRISTMAS CARDS — BY THE NUMBERS

Okay, I know that Christmas was more than two months ago (or less than ten months from now), but I didn’t take my trees and decorations down until the last day of January.  Yes, I enjoy them for three months!

As I was putting away my Christmas cards, I analyzed them and here’s what I found out.

I heard back from 78% of the people I sent a card.

Do you think most people used Christmas stamps?  They did!

28% used Santa stamps and 20% used the new wreath stamps!

Wreaths

However, a high number (21%) used flag stamps.  Either they’re patriotic or just using up the stamps they had on hand?

By the way, this past Christmas when I was planning a summer 2020 move to Las Vegas (aborted mission), I actually used cactus stamps.

Cactus Christmas Stamps

I wonder how many of my friends noticed and wondered why I wasn’t using holiday stamps? 🙂

“STUPID LOVE”

Lady Gaga is back with new music!

“Stupid Love”, the first single, from her upcoming album, “Chromatica”, which will arrive April 10th, was released last week!!!

While I love the upbeat dance hit, it does borrow from “Born This Way”, probably unintentionally!

I’m very excited about the new music since I didn’t buy her last album, “Joanne”, which dropped in October 2016.

Do I lose gay points for that???

“JOJO RABBIT”

This Oscar nominated comedy-drama was hilarious and well acted.

While mostly a comedy,  when a kid has Adolf Hitler (director and screenwriter Taika Waititi) as an “imaginary friend”, it does feature a few dark scenes.

Roman Griffin Davis was fantastic as Jojo, Waititi was great, and Rebel Wilson cracked me up.

This is not a spoiler, but two of her best lines were “I’ve had 18 kids for Germany — such a great year to be a girl!”

And, in another scene, instead of saying “O-M-G”, she replies, “O-M-God”, which made me laugh so much!

GRADE:  A-

MADONNA CONTINUES TO MAKE MUSIC HERSTORY (HISTORY)!

“I Don’t Search I Find” recently became Madonna’s 50th #1 hit on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

She extended her record of having the most #1 songs on any one Billboard chart!  Her closest competitor is George Strait, who has 44 number one songs on the Billboard Country charts.

“I Don’t Search I Find” is also the fourth chart topper from her 2019 album, “Madame X”!  (“Madame X” is also Madonna’s ninth #1 album!)

Madonna is also the only act to score a #1 hit on the Dance Club Songs chart in five decades!

She hit the top of that chart 9 times in the 1980s, 13 times in the 1990s, 18 times in the 2000s, 9 times in the 2010s, and, now, once (so far) in the 2020s!

It’s also Madonna’s 10th consecutive #1 on the Dance chart and every one of her singles since 2012 have topped the chart!

GIVE IT A LISTEN! 🎶

“JOKER”

I’m no longer a fan of super hero movies, but I still have an affinity to the Batman series after growing up with the cheesy television Batman series of the 1960s.

I still absolutely love 1992’s “Batman Returns” with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin!

I waited for last fall’s “Joker” to arrive on DVD and it was great.

The movie grossed over a billion dollars worldwide and garnered eleven Academy Award nominations!

Joaquin Phoenix deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar for his manic performance as aspiring comedian and loser Arthur Fleck.

How he became the Joker is tragic, sadistic, and compelling!

GRADE:  B+

“PRISONER OF TEHRAN”

In “Prisoner of Tehran”, Marina Nemat, who now lives in Canada, writes of her early life in Iran during the “Islamic Revolution”.

It was the late-1970s and early-1980s when the Ayatollah Khomeini was taking control of the country from the Shah of Iran.

If you were even thought to be a Shah supporter or you weren’t all for Khomeini’s way of rule (less freedom for women, very anti-Western, and anti-American), you could be imprisoned, raped, and killed.

Nemat Prisoner of Tehran.JPG

By telling her story, it’s clear that Nemat escaped Iran.  However, her story before then is heartbreaking!

“CHILDREN OF JIHAD”

Subtitled “A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East”, this 2007 book from American Jewish writer Jared Cohen talks about his time spent in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Syria.

Cohen Children of Jihad

In his secret talks with Muslim youth, Cohen learned that they didn’t hate America or Jews, but despised the American and Israeli governments because they were anti-Islam.

Cohen went on to work for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.

“THE KITE RUNNER”

While the book, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini came out in 2003, it’s taken me this long to come across it and read it!

And, wow, what a powerful book!

I had to go back to check and make sure it was fiction and not a true story.  While it’s fiction, I know tragedies like this are also reality.

If you’re not familiar, it’s the story of two childhood friends raised together without mothers in Afghanistan, one’s rich and the other is poor.

Events unfold that separate them as teenagers and something brings their lives back into the same orbit again as adults.

The Kite Runner

Here is a powerful quote from the book!

The Kite Runner Quote

Now, I need to watch the movie!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

New Details On “The Next Chapter”

For eight months now, I’ve shared a few things here and there about changes that were being set into play.

A year ago, as I was preparing to head off to Bangkok, Thailand, I hoped the mysticism of the Far East would answer a few questions for me.

Temples

In my June 2019 blog, “I Need to Write My Next Chapter”, I concluded with this, “I’ll take a gamble on life again!”

Capture

At that time, I was very seriously thinking of giving up my career as a television meteorologist and moving to Las Vegas!

Later in June, I posted another subtle hint with this photo and the caption of “Future” — a new theme!!!

Future

Well, I guess that post wasn’t as subtle as I thought. 🙂  Some of my dear friends across the miles quickly caught on to the hint.

Kathy Linda

And, Connie sent me this private message!

Connie

Ha!  I even used cactus stamps for my cards this past Christmas! 🙂

Cactus Christmas Stamps

Well, I’m only telling you this now because I’ve changed course and moving to Las Vegas is no longer on the table — for now.

However, what I wrote in my November 2019 blog, “The ‘Next Chapter’ Is Still Being Written”, is still true and it’s getting closer:  “I can’t wait to find something fun to pay bills that’ll allow me more time to live, meet people (friends or that “someone special”), and be a great dad to #Pug2020!”

Here’s the link to that full blog:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/11/22/the-next-chapter-is-still-being-written/

And, the link for the first one from last June:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/i-need-to-write-my-next-chapter/

I hope you stick around for the details!

You know they’re coming soon because Spring 2020 is getting closer every day!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 17, 2020

Happy 2020!

2020

I hope the new year is off to a great start for you.  Even though we’re only a few weeks into 2020, I already feel overwhelmed with some of the things I’m working off that I’ll share one day!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  If you want to comment, feel free.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

MOVE ALONG, YOU’VE PROVED YOUR POINT!

We’re now just a few weeks away from the beginning of the voting process for the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

After a few more suspended campaigns, we’re down to twelve “active major” candidates, which is still several too many!  (It’s a stretch that Bennet, Delaney, Gabbard, and Patrick are still in the race!)

I’m sure the Iowa caucus (February 3), the New Hampshire primary (February 11), the Nevada caucus (February 22), and the South Carolina primary (February 29) will weed out several more of those running.

However, it’ll likely be Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, that will narrow the field to just the front runners.  Fourteen states have their primaries on that day.

So, Hillary Clinton, it’s time to jump into the race!

Still

Say what you want — diplomatically!

WE CAN CHANGE THE FACE OF INAUGURATION DAY 2020!

JFK JUNE 1963

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

High Crime.JPG

EERIE, SAD COINCIDENCE

Melanie Panayiotou, the sister of pop legend George Michael, died on Christmas Day.  She was in her 50s!

What’s eerie is that Michael also died on Christmas Day in 2016!  He was 53.

George Michael.gif

They are survived by their father and an older sister.

MILLIONAIRE “LOVER”

My favorite CD of 2019 was also the ONLY album to sell more than a million copies last year!

It’s astounding that the music landscape has changed so much with streaming, downloading singles, etc.!

Taylor Swift Lover

Taylor Swift’s “Lover” sold 1.085 million copies.  Of that, 699,000 were physical units (including mine) and the other 386,000 were digital copies.

Now I’m getting excited to see what the fourth single will be from the album.  I hope it’s either “I Forgot That You Existed” or “The Man”.

I would have added “Cornelia Street”, too, but it’s a ballad and her last single, “Lover”, was a ballad!

“FAST FOOD NATION:  THE DARK SIDE OF THE ALL-AMERICAN MEAL”

This incredible, eye-opening, and mind-boggling book by Eric Schlosser came out in 2001.

Fast_food_nation

While I know there have been improvements and advancements in raising animals for human consumption and in food processing and distribution, something tells me there are still so many horror stories today that threaten our health and our lives.

Even before reading this book, I was already considering giving up eating meat.  The first step will be to stop buying it for home (except when I’m hosting) and only eating meat when I’m out.

I’m sure I can do it since I gave up beef more than a decade ago!

While I know the research in the book is reliable, if only a fraction was true and our lives weren’t dictated by huge corporations and shady politicians, we Americans would change our eating habits.

Not just because it’d be healthier, but the production of meat, from raising livestock to slaughtering them for food, is so cruel and unsanitary!

A very compelling documentary to watch from 2009 is called “Food, Inc.”, which was nominated for Oscar!

In 2012, I wrote a very interesting blog called “Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us.”

Here’s the link if you want to read it and see some of the monstrosities we serve in our restaurants, including this:

6pound_000

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

“UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS: A STORY OF LOSS AND AGAIN”

I can’t believe that it took me so long to read Portia De Rossi’s 2010 heartbreaking book about her fight with food addiction and the obsession with weight loss!

Portia

I also didn’t expect that reading it would trigger me to fall off the food addiction wagon!

For a recovering bulimic or anorexic, eating is a nightmare.

Once you fall, it’s hard to get back on track.  The scale entices you with weight loss that you can’t do easily just by eating right and exercising.

Every pound that disappears is not just one step closer to a goal.  Sadly, it’s only more encouragement for the physically destructive behavior to continue!

After nine years as a practicing bulimic (1986-1995), I spent the next two decades “on the wagon”.  A separation (and ultimate divorce) caused a relapse for a few months, in 2017, but I overcame it.

And, I know I’ll overcome this recent relapse, too.  I just hope it’s sooner rather than later!

SKIP THIS BOOK!

“Call Me By Your Name” was my favorite movie I saw in 2018.  Afterwards, I read the book by Andre Aciman.

I was so excited when it was announced in 2019 that a sequel, “Find Me”, was on the way.

andre-aciman-call-me-by-your-name-find-me

I was thoroughly disappointed!

I was so excited that I’d see where Elio and Oliver were in life and if they ended up together!  However, most of the book (the first part) was about Elio’s father!

When we finally caught up Elio and in a fleeting moment, Oliver, it was too little, too late.

As for “Find Me”, don’t even look for it!

Pretend that this sequel doesn’t exist and just enjoy the beauty of “Call Me By Your Name” again!

It’s peachy!  🍑🍑🍑

peach 1

MORE BOOKS I READ LATELY

“Dispatches From The Edge:  A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper (2006)

What a riveting book about what Cooper saw in 2005 from the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami, various wars, and Hurricane Katrina.

Anderson also talked quite a bit about his brother’s suicide.

I sure hope that he sought therapy after 2005 because he sounded very depressed and down.

Or, like me, writing is therapy and maybe authoring the book was therapeutic for him!

“Vice:  Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of The American Presidency” (2006) by Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein

I knew from living through the George W. Bush presidency that Dick Cheney was a despicable man.  However, I didn’t know that his wife, Lynne, was also a mean, snake of a woman, too.

But, then again, why should that shock me???

“Christmas in the Old West” (2003) by Sam Travers

A very informative and fun look at Christmases when the West was truly wild.  How people survived back then (1800s and early 1900s) still amazes me!

“The Words Lincoln Lived By:  52 Timeless Principles To Light Your Path” (1997) by Gene Griessman

A great quote from the book, which is perfect for the new year!

Lincoln (1858):  “By all means, don’t say ‘if I can’; say ‘I will'”. 

“THE FAREWELL”

“The Farewell” was my favorite movie of 2019!

Its star was also in my #5 movie of 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians”, in a much different role.

In “Asians”, Awkwafina was comedic relief and in “The Farewell”, she shows off her dramatic acting chops.

She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical this month, but was snubbed and didn’t get an Oscar nomination!

It’s a the story of a Chinese family going back to their homeland from the U.S. to visit a loved one who’s dying of cancer.  However, the family chooses not to let her know!

GRADE:  A

“JUDY”

What an incredible movie!

If you’re a Judy Garland fan, you’re already familiar with what is covered in the movie.

If you just know Garland as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and maybe as Liza Minnelli’s mother, then definitely check out this movie.  It’s on DVD!

Renee Zellweger won the Golden Globe Award earlier this month in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama category and will be the one to beat when the Academy Awards are handed out.

“Judy” was my #5 movie of 2019!

GRADE:  A

“BOMBSHELL”

Even after seeing “The Loudest Voice” on Showtime last year, watching “Bombshell” was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!

“Bombshell” ended up being my #13 movie I saw in 2019.

GRADE:  B

A WARM YOU UP THIS WINTER FLASHBACK!

Since we’re into the “dead of winter”, here’s something to warm you up!

It still astounds me that Kim Wilde only scored two Top 40 hits in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Kids in America” reached #25 in 1981 and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” topped the chart in 1987.

She came close to scoring two more hits with “You Came” in 1988 (#41) and this one, “Say You Really Want Me” (#44), in 1987.

This video is so sexy and hot, but it was deemed “raunchy” in the U.K.!

SUPERBOWL TEASE

And, ahead of her Super Bowl halftime performance, a 2020 megamix of the sexiest woman alive — Jennifer Lopez!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

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THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 2019 Holiday Greetings to You

My favorite months of the year are upon us!

While most were carving jack-o-lanterns 🎃 and wanting to feast on turkey, I was impatiently waiting for the first weekend of November to arrive to put up my Christmas tree 🎄!

Christmas Tree 2019.jpg

I hope 2019 is a year that you’ll remember fondly.  If not, there’s hope for us in 2020! 🙂

I’ve now been in Duluth, Minnesota, for a year-and-a-half and I’m still the Chief Meteorologist at Fox 21 News.

My first winter in the Northland lasted from October 2018 through May 2019 and brought over 106” of snow – the most I’ve seen in my lifetime!!!

Snow Car 1

Ironically, that didn’t even rank as one of the ten snowiest winters on record!

The bitter cold was relentless, too, with a few consecutive nights with -30° low temperatures!  Wind chills were even lower at -50°!

Oh, in February, I did a “Polar Plunge” into the icy waters of Lake Superior to raise money for Special Olympics Minnesota!

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In March 2019, I escaped the “winter wonderland” for a week in Bangkok, Thailand, and it was very hot & humid.

Night Cruise

The temples were beautiful,

Koi Buddha

the food was amazing and I got to hold a large, gorgeous yellow and white albino Burmese python – my Britney Spears flashback moment!

AP Britney Snake

I saw my sister, Tammy, a few times this year.  She visited me in April and I saw her in the Quad Cities (an eight hour drive) in June, August, and October.

That August visit was for a trip to Las Vegas.

Anthony Tammy Las Vegas

It was her first time there and she wasn’t impressed! 🙂

It was my first time back to Vegas since December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

I also saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie in concert and I got to meet him before the show!

Tanya

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As strange as it may sound, I’m looking forward to another long winter in the Northland.

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Yes, I love snow.  But, I’m more excited for the “next chapter” in my life in 2020.  I know I said that last year, but there’s actually a plan in place this time! 🙂

As Belle sings in “Beauty and the Beast”, ♪ “I want much more than this provincial life… I want adventure in the great wide somewhere, I want it more than I can tell!” ♪

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Maybe it’ll be “Xanadu” – ♪ “a place where nobody dared to go” where “a million lights are dancing and there you are – a shooting star”!

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Here’s wishing you a bright and beautiful holiday season and an incredible year ahead!

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

Anthony

The “Next Chapter” Is Still Being Written

The holidays and winter are quickly approaching.

While I love the feast of Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for all that I have, Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Christmas Tree 2019

I celebrate it with decorations from early November through late January and I start listening to Christmas music on October 1st (earlier if I’m stressed)!

Back in early June, I shared “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” to let you know about my life — where I’m at and where I want to be!  That’s why you take the time to keep you with me, right? 🙂

I wrote that I’m “Alive, but not living!” and I said, “In life, I’ve only made two real spontaneous decisions.  As it turned out, both were the best decisions I’ve ever made!”

Both times involved moving to Chicago — in 1994 for two years and, again in 2002 for two more years.

I concluded with, “So, I’ll have to be spontaneous again and start living!  As this summer turns into a long Minnesota winter, I’ll enjoy every snowflake.  And, come spring 2020, I’ll proudly take to heart the words of my favorite Robert Frost poem, ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening’. 

Those words “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”!

I concluded with “I’ll take a gamble on life again!”

That’s the Cliff Notes or the “soundbite” version of the June blog.  If you want to read the entire personal entry (my most viewed blog of 2019), click here and it’ll open in a separate window:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/i-need-to-write-my-next-chapter/

Well, almost six months later, it’s time for an update and a clarification.

I know the intent was well-meaning, but I had someone basically tell me to stop waiting for this “next chapter” to happen and start living now!

Each time that correspondence crossed my mind, I’d stop, breathe, and count to ten!

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Since I’m no longer in my 20s, 30s, or even my 40s, this is not a decision that I can make foolhardily.

For starters, I have two contracts to fulfill — work and my apartment.

But, this “spontaneous” decision that I’m working toward actually came to me in early 2019.  And, while visiting Bangkok, Thailand, in March, I decided with 99% certainty that I needed to write “the next chapter”!

Temples

Because I’ve gained ten pounds since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, in June 2018, my fall physical also showed that I had higher cholesterol.

Plugging my blood results into a formula, my doctor told me, “With this cholesterol, your 10-year heart disease risk is 4.2% — well below the level to start a medicine.”

Dr. C. also told me that I was in great shape!

With that being said, I’m moving forward with the “Next Chapter” and I can share this without alarming anyone! 🙂

Dying Regrets

I actually posted this before in an April 2013 blog!  Back then I said, “if I were to die tomorrow… the only regret that I have is #2 — working too hard in life.”

Let’s “time jump” more than six years, I now realize that I need to work on #2 (“I Wish I Hadn’t Worked So Hard”) and #5 (“I Wish That I Had Let Myself Be Happier”)!

No matter how independent we are or how strong we are, part of our happiness is tied to others.

That’s especially true in my life since 2017.  In the first year after my marriage ended, I didn’t go on one date and only two dates in the second year!  One of those led to a friendship.

It’s tough when you work strange hours and you don’t get to meet people.  It drastically diminishes opportunities of meeting friends or that “someone special”.

And, I’m way past the “hook up” stage in life of having meaningless sex just for the sake of feeling intimacy!

I’ve vented about this before, but it seems the world is so obsessed with apps designed for quick hook-ups — whether they’re single or in relationships!  No thanks!

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Okay, that’s totally the wrong seductive GIF to use because I’d so retract everything I just said for Michael C. Hall (or Dexter Morgan)! 🙂

With the new year drawing closer, I’m excited about going fishing in a bigger pond!

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I can’t wait to find something fun to pay bills that’ll allow me more time to live, meet people (friends or that “someone special”), and be a great dad to #Pug2020!

Cheers to the future — “the next chapter”!!!

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Spring 2020 is getting closer each day!

Anthony