Posts Tagged ‘country music’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 22, 2018

It’s officially summer now and that can only mean one thing!

SBSangria

Yes, this Moscato Sangria will work just fine, thank you! 🙂

I appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

PRIDE EVERYDAY — ESPECIALLY IN JUNE

As many of you know, June is “Pride Month”.  Yet, Pride festivities happen at different times of the year depending on where you are.

The Duluth Superior GLBTAQI Pride Festival will be held Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 2) this year.

I plan on attending, but I can guarantee it won’t be Chicago! 🙂

Speaking of my “second home”, here are two of my favorite Pride photos that I took in Chicago back in 2010.

Pride3

Pride4

So, cheers queers and to all of our “straight, but not narrow friends”!

pride-martini-collection

THANK YOU BRETT KISSEL

I’m a very liberal thinking person, but there are still things that I learn everyday — even about being more inclusive.

There are good people and bad people in every walk of life — regardless of demographics or whatever group they belong.

Country music is one of those genres that typically gets a bad rap (oh wait, rap is another) for not being very inclusive when it comes to the LGBTQ community.

Yes, there are exceptions:  Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, and others.

Now, add sexy Canadian country music singer Brett Kissel to that growing list!

Brett Kissel Pride.JPG

For years now, since I discovered his “Pick Me Up” album, I’ve written about Kissel and his amazing voice and stage presence.

Yes, he’s sexy, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to drop $10 for a CD!  But, he has what it takes to warrant buying his music — not just good looks!

He’s incredible with a beautiful wife, Cecilia, and two daughters, Mila and Aria.

Kissel Family.jpg

I like him even more knowing he supports all people, including me and my LGBTQ brothers, sisters, and they.

Here’s his latest single, “Guitars & Gasoline”.

Come on America, start playing Kissel!  He’s already had eleven Top Ten hits on the Canadian Country music chart.

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

If you didn’t catch this amazing FX series during its winter run earlier this year, watch it now!

I’ve written several times about the series and I’m bringing it up again as we near the Emmy nominations in July because it popped up in a recent issue of “Entertainment Weekly”.

Here’s what I wrote on March 30, 2018:

“Sadly, this excellent series is over.  I think when Emmy nominations are announced in July that Darren Criss and Judith Light will get acting nods for their roles of Andrew Cunanan and Marilyn Miglin.”

CrissMiglin

In the new “Entertainment Weekly”, critic Kristen Baldwin chose “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story” as her #1 best TV show of 2018, so far.

Baldwin adds, “And if Darren Criss (who played Cunanan) and Judith Light (as the wife of one of his victims) do not win big come Emmy season, it will be (ahem) a crime.”

DIANA ROSS “MEMOIRS”

Since moving to Duluth, I haven’t had a chance to read a book and I’m starting to fall behind on magazines.

But, before moving, I read Diana Ross’s “Memoirs:  Secrets of a Sparrow”.

Diana Ross.jpg

It was interesting hearing her version of how she became the face and name of The Supremes and how that and other behind the scene dramas ended the successful trio.

She talked extensively about the racial tensions in the South in the 1950s and 1960s and how it made touring there scary.

Ross also talked about AIDS and her gay fans and friends.

An interesting story she told was going on her second honeymoon.  Since her husband owned the Tahitian island, they ran around naked! 🙂

At times, she sounded a little out there, but she comes across as a genuine woman and entertainer.

It was a little gossipy when she talked about her working relationship with Lionel Richie when they recorded the iconic ballad “Endless Love”.

Ross says, “the working relationship between us was difficult.”  She added, “I am a perfectionist.  I like to be on time always.  Lionel was not always on time.”

LIONEL THEN (?) AND NOW

I don’t doubt Diana Ross’ story of working with Lionel.  He was young and coming off huge success with the Commodores and was launching his solo career.

I know him as a gentle, fun man that I met in Las Vegas last December.  When I went to shake hands with him, he grabbed me and said, “I’m a hugger”.

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Earlier this week, Lionel turned 69!  To honor that, here’s my favorite Lionel Richie song.

If you want to know what my other 19 favorites are since you know I love countdowns, click here.  It’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/06/my-20-favorite-lionel-richie-songs/

90s NOSTALGIA

Living in Duluth, my television market covers parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin and two counties in Upper Michigan.

My part of the state is called the “Northland”, which is not to be confused with the “Northwoods” of northern Wisconsin!

My first Wisconsin experience was in the late-1980s visiting a friend’s family in Merrill.  In the summer of 1990, I moved to Milwaukee for four months before moving back to Kentucky.

In July 1996, I took my first network affiliate television job in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  I was there for just about five months.

However, moving back to the upper Midwest makes me nostalgic about those times even though they were short.

So, over the new few weeks, I’ll share some of the songs that were impressionable to me during those times!

Remember this one from 1990?

That was Taylor Dayne’s seventh consecutive Top Ten Billboard Hot 100 hit.  It was the third release from the “Can’t Fight Fate” album.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — May 11, 2018

I always appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts and I want to hear your thoughts, too!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

To all my female friends and any dads that fulfilled both roles as a parent, I hope you have a special weekend!

While it would be easy just to forget Mother’s Day altogether since my Mom has been gone for almost 28 years, I’m remembering her today.

Dessie 1990

There have also been other “Moms” in my life that deserve a special mention today:  Betty, Donna, D’nell, and Linda.

But, I really want to say Happy Mother’s Day to a special person in my life that never gets the love, respect, and appreciation that she deserves on this day and every day — my sister.

tammy PCB

Tammy, I’m so impressed with all that you’ve accomplished in life, especially the past seven years.

While you’re not alone in dealing with setbacks (we all have those), I want you to always appreciate all that you’ve done, all that you’ll do, and look for the silver lining in life and don’t focus on the clouds.

Happy Mother’s Day!

KANYE WEST’S EGOTISM

I’ve never been a fan of Kanye West and I don’t put him in the musical genius category as many do.

Also, I could care less if he’s a fan of Donald Trump and why.

kanye west

In the same token, there are people that say the same thing about me being on Team Hillary!

Hillary AP

However, when West basically says that 400 years of slavery was “a choice”, he went too far for publicity.  And, I’m not alone in my disappointment over that comment.

I’m not going overboard in bashing him over it because I don’t know if he’s saying all these things to bring attention to himself to drop new music or if he’s suffering another mental breakdown or exhaustion like back in 2016.

MICHELLE WOLF’S ROAST

The hoopla over comedian Michelle Wolf’s hosting the White House Correspondent’s Dinner is beginning to calm down.

Some thought she was too abrasive to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

MichelleWolfHuckabeeSanders

I think her bit on abortion was a little harsh, but the final punchline was spot on about powerful people getting abortions for their mistresses!

And, life Wolf said, I think it was a little soon for the Southwest Airlines joke.

But, the comments about Sanders were well within the safe zone.  Look at the some of the comments #45 and his supporters have made over the past few years (and still make)!

Bitch about it and move on!

WAS IT BULLYING?

A friend and loyal reader of my blog posed these questions to me, “Is roasting another form if [sic] bullying? Where does the line get drawn before roasting becomes rude and distasteful? Should the press hold itself to a higher standard? Would love to read your thoughts.”

Some could say that roasting is a form of bullying.  However, roasts have been going on for generations and we know what to expect from them.

We’ve become such a divisive nation that being mean or hateful is just common.  With social media, it’s even easier and more instantaneous to be nasty.

As for where to draw the line and was it crossed, it really depends on which side you’re on.  I thought many of Wolf’s jokes were funny and a couple were too strong.  (I mentioned them above.)

But, when it comes to comedians, when do they play it safe?

As for Sanders, before she agreed to attend in the place of #45 who was afraid to attend last year and this year, did she really think it would be warm and cuddly?

“THE TERROR”

The latest AMC series, “The Terror”, is very enjoyable.

It’s based on a true story (with creative dramatic liberties taken) about two navigation ships exploring the Arctic Circle in the 1840s.  The ships get stuck in the ice for several years.

The crews not only face “cabin fever” and starvation, but also a mysterious illness and a beast (imagined or real) that’s stalking the ships.

While the first episode starts out slow and talky, it definitely develops into a great and creepy series!

And, it does feature a very cruel and graphic flogging scene!

From an acting standpoint, thank you Adam Nagaitis, as Cornelius Hickey, for sharing your talents and assets!  Yikes!

Another thing that creeps me out is that the surgical procedures are conducted without gloves (it’s the 1840s) — all that blood and disease!

Nagaitis is sexy (especially without all the welts and blood), but he isn’t the only sexy standout in “The Terror”.

There’s also Ronan Raftery and Liam Garrigan!

REMEMBERING TAMMY WYNETTE

Last month marked the 20th anniversary of the death of Miss Tammy Wynette, the “Queen of Country Music”.

If you’re not a country music fan, you probably don’t know that she had 44 solo hits on the Billboard Country charts with 31 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Seventeen topped the chart!

And, with former husband George Jones, she scored 13 more hits with eight of them making the Top Ten and three reaching #1.

However, she also hit #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1991 with the British duo, the KLF on “Justified and Ancient”.

How many of you remember this one?

The song also reached #1 in Austria, Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, and Sweden, and make it all the way to #2 in Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the U.K.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

I’ve now seen the first trailer for “Crazy Rich Asians”, which I first talked about last November, and I’m so excited to see the movie.

Back then, I wrote, “You may not know the name ‘Henry Golding’ now.  But, you will when ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ hits theaters August 17, 2018!  Golding is a 30-year-old British-Malaysian actor and he got married a year ago in August! 🙂 😦”

Henry Golding

I think “Crazy Rich Asians” could be the new “Pretty Woman”!  Well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles!

I’m so excited to see MUCH MORE of Henry Golding and the chemistry between his character, Nick Young and Rachel (Constance Yu).

Also, I hear that Goh Peik Lin (played by Awkwafina), Rachel’s Singaporean college best friend, is hilarious.

“Crazy Rich Asians” opens Friday, August 17th.

LIES LIES LIES

I just finished my 16th book, “Lies: And The Lying Liars Who Tell Them” by LIBERAL former U.S. Minnesota Senator (2009 to 2018) and “Saturday Night Live” comedian.

He resigned earlier this year after several women accused him of sexual misconduct.

Franken

In this funny and factual book, he takes on right-wing lunatics Ann Coulter, Bill O’Reilly, and Sean Hannity.

But, he also expresses his dislike for former President George W. Bush and his cronies, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice, mainly over the lies told about the “weapons of mass destruction” that led us into the Iraqi War in 2003.

While he’s also tough on Colin Powell, he shows that he has more respect for him than the others.

There is a humorous quote from Franken (especially in the wake of #MeToo and the allegations against him) when trying to expose the fake Bob Jones University in South Carolina, when he says, “I never lie.  That is, unless it’s absolutely necessary”.

I’d advise Republicans that toe the party line to skip the book because many of the FACTS will startle you.  Or, as Coulter, O’Reilly, or Hannity would call them, “Lies”.

REMEMBER THIS ONE?

The English trio The Thompson Twins first hit the American Top 40 in the spring of 1983 with “Lies”.

That song would peak at #30 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it topped the Billboard Dance charts.

They went on to score seven Top 40 hits in America with three of them reaching the Top Ten on the Billboard Hot 100:  “Hold Me Now” (#3, 1984), “Lay Your Hands on Me” (#6, 1985), and “King for a Day” (#8, 1985).

“Doctor! Doctor!” just missed out on the Top Ten peaking at #11 in 1984.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 30, 2018

The first big holiday of spring is upon us.  I know it’ll be a busy one for many of you, so thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

HAPPY EASTER!

A flashback to Easter 2001 and Miss ABBA visiting the Easter Bunny!

ABBAEaster2001

KRISPY KREME CELEBRATES EASTER 

For just a limited time in the United States and Canada, Krispy Kreme is featuring a Reese’s Peanut Butter Egg donut.

The chocolate-iced, nut-covered sweet treat is filled with a Reese’s peanut butter version of Krispy Kreme’s signature Kreme filling.

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If that isn’t your thing, the company will start selling a Lemon Glaze Doughnut, which was voted on by fans, on April 23, 2018.

SIX MONTHS NOW

Six months ago this weekend, on October 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on a country music concert on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada.

LV

Before killing himself, he gunned down 58 others and injured more than 700.

Country star Jason Aldean was on stage when the massacre occurred.  While he has commented on the rampage before, he’s ready to try to move on.

Aldean tells “Entertainment Weekly”, “I’m not a politician.  I’m not trying to push my own agenda.  If I say that I believe this, I’m gonna piss off half of the people, and if I say I believe that, I’m gonna piss off the other half.  I have my opinions, but what the hell do I know?  I think everybody needs to sit down, stop pushing their own agendas, and figure out what will make it safer.  When people can’t go to a damn movie or a concert and not worry about somebody shooting the place up, there’s a flaw in the system.”

Amen!

“AMARILLO SKY”

Aldean has scored 34 Billboard Country hits since his career kicked off in 2005.  Of those, 29 have hit the Top Ten.  Ten topped the chart.

“Amarillo Sky” (#4, 2006) is one of my favorites.

REMEMBRANCE GARDEN 

In December 2017, while in Las Vegas, I visited the memorial for the victims — the Remembrance Garden and Wall!

Remembrance Garden

HOMOPHOBIA — THEN AND NOW

In 1997, homophobia allowed spree killer Andrew Cunanan to murder four people before he gunned down fashion icon Gianni Versace outside his Miami Beach mansion.

In Minneapolis, Cunanan killed his friend, Jeffrey Trail, and his ex-boyfriend David Madson before he murdered real estate developer Lee Miglin in Chicago — Cunanan planted gay erotica material at that crime scene.

Even after three murders, police weren’t looking too hard for the killer because only gays were being executed.

Cunanan ditched Miglin’s stolen car when he realized the car’s cell phone was being tracked by the FBI.  He killed a straight cemetery worker in New Jersey for his truck.

His final victim (besides himself) was Versace.

While police were looking for Cunanan in Miami’s gay community, they were convinced he might be masquerading in drag to hide out!

“THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

Sadly, this excellent series is over.

I think when Emmy nominations are announced in July that Darren Criss and Judith Light will get acting nods for their roles of Andrew Cunanan and Marilyn Miglin.

Miglin

“THE SHAPE OF WATER”

If this movie needed an alternate title, how about “The Shape of Excellence”!

Nominated for 13 Oscars, the movie won four including Best Picture and Best Director for Guillermo del Toro.

An excellent Sally Hawkins was nominated for Best Actress and Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer were both nominated in the Best Supporting categories.

Eliza (Hawkins) is a mute woman working as a cleaning lady in a secret government lab in Baltimore during America’s “Cold War” with the Soviets.

She becomes infatuated with the creature that’s being experimented on in the lab.

Eliza’s neighbor, Giles, like her, is lonely and looking for love.  He’s older and gay and realizes if he’d been born at an earlier or later time, he might have had a fulfilling life as a gay man, complete with love.

Spencer is incredible as Eliza’s friend and after seeing this movie, I think Michael Shannon, the bad guy, should have gotten an Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting category instead of Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”).

“The Shape of Water” is a very adult “Beauty and the Beast” story.

GRADE:  A+

“WATCHDOGS OF DEMOCRACY?”

This is the second book this year I’ve read from the late UPI reporter Helen Thomas.  The first was “Front Row at the White House”, which was a great read.

watchdogs

This book examines how reporters were the “watchdogs” for the public in the early days of newspaper and even radio and television.

However, as presidents (especially Nixon, Reagan, and George W. Bush) began to limit the amount of information the public would know about military conflicts and wars (Vietnam, Grenada, and Iraq), reporters failed by not being more assertive in their questioning the information press secretaries were feeding them.

Thomas was especially harsh toward the presidency of George W. Bush, which she mostly referred to as “Bush-2”.

I was thrilled that she also gave President Jimmy Carter the due respect he deserved for bringing the hostages home alive from Iran.

President Carter National Christmas Tree 1979

Thomas writes, “But television commentators and anchormen [Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” was born out of the hostage crisis] were relentless in citing how many days it had been that the hostages were being held, fueling the perception that Carter was a weak president.  In truth, he brought the hostages back alive.  But President Reagan got the credit, because the Iranians waited until the day Reagan was sworn in to release them.”

“Watchdogs” is the ninth book I’ve read, so far, in 2018.

WHAT NOW?

Now that “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”, “The X-Files”, “9-1-1”, and “The Alienist” (although I still have the series finale to watch) are finished, I’m now going to check out “The Terror” on AMC and “Trust: The Getty Family Saga” on FX.

DONNA SHERIDAN:  DEAD OR ALIVE?

2008’s “Mamma Mia!” is still one of my favorite movies and I’ve watched it countless times.  It’s the 134th biggest movie of all-time worldwide bringing in $615.7 million.

In May 2017, it was announced that a sequel, “Mamma Mia!  Here We Go Again” would hit theaters in July 2018.  I was thrilled!

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But, that excitement turned to despair when the first trailers arrived.  Fans were quick to note that there was very little of Donna Sheridan (Meryl Streep), the star of the first movie.

Does that mean that Donna is dead since it focused on a young Donna (Lily James)?

After seeing the trailer in theater last week during “Love, Simon”, Donna was still referred to in the past tense.

I know there are many great people in “Mamma Mia!” and with the addition of Cher in the sequel, it’ll be great.

But, a dead Donna Sheridan means no “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” for me this summer!

THE END OF “THE X-FILES”

When this series “ended” in 2002 on Fox after the ninth season, I was not pleased with the “series finale”.

It was brought back for a six-episode tenth season in 2016 and then back for ten mostly painful episodes this winter.

Gillian Anderson, who plays FBI agent Dana Scully, announced that she would not return to the series if it comes back for another season.

And, after seeing this final finale, I can see why!

No more “The X-Files” please — unless it’s on the big screen as a movie!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

This Agatha Christie thriller directed by Kenneth Branagh, who also stars as famous Detective Hercule Poirot, was a hit last year.

After solving a case in Jerusalem, Poirot is ready for a vacation, but stumbles across a “Murder on the Orient Express”!

The all-star cast is great and includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penelope Cruz and many more.

The cinematography is incredible!

On a $55 million budget, the movie made $350.5 million worldwide.

Fox announced earlier this year that “Death on the Nile”, another Christie novel, will be the sequel.

It’ll hit theaters in November 2019 with Branagh returning as director and star.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

U.S. Country Radio STILL Needs Brett Kissel

Two years ago, in February 2016, I blogged about a hot Canadian country music singer in “American Country Radio Needs Brett Kissel”.

I was talking about his amazing album, “Pick Me Up” and I concluded that blog with, “Here’s hoping American audiences will get to hear Brett on the radio in 2016!”

Click here to read that first blog (it’ll open in a new window):

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

Well, that didn’t happen in 2016 or 2017!  Hopefully, 2018 will be Kissel’s year to break here in America.

Brett Kissel

Last December, he released his latest album, “We Were That Song”.

Brett-Kissel-We-Were-That-Song-Album-Cover

The title track became his 10th Top Ten hit song on Canadian country music radio!

The album features many standouts and potential singles.

My favorites are “Damn!”, “Cecilia”, “Slow Me Down”, “Between You and Me”, and “Guitars and Gasoline”.

By the way, “Damn!” features Dave Mustaine of Metallica and Megadeth fame and country music legend Charley Pride makes an appearance on the track, “Burgers and Fries”.

The second single, “Anthem”, just cracked the Top Ten in Canada on the country charts marking his 11th Top Ten.  It’s also one of my favorites from the album.

“We Were That Song” is a strong album, but it’s not doing as well on the Canadian country album chart as its predecessor.

“Pick Me Up” was fantastic, so check out the new album, too.

By the way, American Country Radio (STILL) Needs Brett Kissel!

GRADE:  B+

Random Friday Thoughts — March 16, 2018

I hope March is treating you well.  For the winter-weary, spring can’t be too far away.

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

AN UNOPPOSED MORON

Leslie Gibson, a Republican running unopposed in Maine’s House 57th District, deleted a tweet calling 18-year-old Emma Gonzalez a “skin head lesbian”.

She’s a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, where last month a shooter killed 17 people and injured 14 others.

Skinhead

The complete tweet said, “There is nothing about this skin head lesbian that impresses me and there is nothing that she has to say unless you’re a frothing at the mouth moonbat.”

Gibson apologized in another tweet:  “I would like to extend to you my most sincere apology for how I addressed you. It was wrong and unacceptable.”

He added, “You are doing work that is important to you. I would like to extend my hand in friendship and understanding to you.”

While he’s a moron, he does have a right to an uneducated opinion.  But, maybe he does know a thing or two about being a “frothing at the mouth moonbat”, whatever the hell that is!

By the way Gibson, Gonzalez is not a lesbian.  She identifies as bisexual — you know the “B” in LGBT!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME” ON DVD!

If you didn’t catch this four-time Oscar-nominated, critically acclaimed movie in its theatrical run, please see it now!

89-year-old James Ivory won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for the movie.

call me

It’s beautiful, touching, loving, heartbreaking, and sensual.

As I wrote back in January, “It’s not only a coming-of-age love story between Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and a slightly older American graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) visiting northern Italy, but it’s a beautiful bond of love between a teenager and his parents.”

GRADE:  A

WE ALL DESERVE AN ELIO MOMENT

After I saw “Call Me By Your Name”, I shared my own stories of innocence, lust, and living.

It’s been my most read blog (non-weather-related) of 2018!  Thank you for all of you that checked it out the first time.

Anthony1982

If you didn’t get a chance to read it, please click below on the link and it’ll open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/01/29/we-all-deserve-an-elio-moment/

MIKE WALLACE

Just finished reading my sixth book of the year, Mike Wallace’s “Between You and Me: A Memoir”.  While it isn’t an autobiography, it did cover part of his career.

MW

It tells stories about the news he covered including interviews with Anwar Sadat, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Malcolm X.

Also, it talks about some of the people he admired — Tina Turner, Barbra Streisand, and Shirley MacLaine.

BRETT KISSEL

Two years ago, in February 2016, I blogged about a hot Canadian country music singer in “American Country Radio Needs Brett Kissel”.

I was talking about his amazing album, “Pick Me Up” and I concluded that blog with, “Here’s hoping American audiences will get to hear Brett on the radio in 2016!”

Well, that didn’t happen in 2016 or 2017!  Hopefully, 2018 will be Kissel’s year to break here in America.

Brett Kissel

Last December, he released his latest album, “We Were That Song”.

Brett-Kissel-We-Were-That-Song-Album-Cover

The title track became his 10th Top Ten hit song on Canadian country music radio!

The album features many standouts and potential singles.

My favorites are “Damn!”, “Cecilia”, “Slow Me Down”, “Between You and Me”, and “Guitars and Gasoline”.

By the way, “Damn!” features Dave Mustaine of Metallica and Megadeth fame and country music legend Charley Pride makes an appearance on the track, “Burgers and Fries”.

The second single, “Anthem”, just cracked the Top Ten in Canada on the country charts marking his 11th Top Ten.  It’s also one of my favorites from the album.

“We Were That Song” is a strong album, but it’s not doing as well on the Canadian country album chart as its predecessor.

“Pick Me Up” was fantastic, so check out the new album, too.

By the way, American Country Radio (STILL) Needs Brett Kissel!

GRADE:  B+

Here’s that blog from two years ago to hear more about and from Brett Kissel:

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

THEY SAID WHAT???

Margaret Sanger (founding mother of the “birth control” movement before women were given the right to vote in 1920):  “No woman can call herself free who does not have control over her own body.”

margaret-sanger

Sanger, who died in 1966, was not afraid to go up against and speak out against the very powerful Catholic church and its views on birth control and natural law.

She told CBS newsman Mike Wallace, “Oh, I certainly take issue with it, and I think it’s untrue and I think it’s unnatural.  It’s an unnatural attitude to take.  How do they know?  I mean, after all, they’re celibates.  They don’t know love, they don’t know marriage, they know nothing about bringing up children nor any of the marriage problems of life, and yet they speak to people as if they were God.”

Just imagine what she would have said about the sexual abuse scandal!

“THE FLORIDA PROJECT”

This movie about people down on their luck and finances living in a “project” (The Magic Castle Motel) in Kissimmee, Florida (near Walt Disney World), is sad and incredible.

The real star of the movie is Brooklynn Prince, who plays 6-year-old Moonee.  She’s spectacular for a child actor expressing a happy childhood of not knowing just how bad things are in her life.

Bria Vinaite, is great as Moonee’s white trash mother, Halley.

My sister and I grew up in a bug-infested apartment and we didn’t have much during our childhood, so I could definitely relate to this movie.

Willem Defoe earned a “Best Supporting Actor” Oscar nomination for his role as Bobby, the manager of the motel.  Either it was a slow year for actors in that category or Defoe was just too great and very subtle in his touching role.

GRADE:  B+

“DARKEST HOUR”

This historical drama about Winston Churchill earned six Oscar nominations including “Best Picture” and “Best Actor” for Gary Oldman.

A couple of weeks ago, I predicted that Oldman would win the Oscar, even though Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”) deserved it more.

I went on to say this about Oldman, “He was great and so was the make-up.”  By the way, the movie did get a nomination for “Best Makeup and Hairstyling”.

However, while compelling, “Darkest Hour” was too cut and dry.

I enjoyed John Lithgow’s Churchill on the first season of “The Crown” better.

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 — November 10, 2017

Happy Friday (or whatever day you read this)!

The first story in today’s blog may not set well with some.  That’s fine.  Read it or scroll past it and check out the rest of my thoughts.

If you’d like to comment (and I’m asking for your opinion), do it diplomatically!

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Random Thoughts

REFLECTIONS — ONE YEAR LATER!

It’s been one year now since that fateful night in 2016 when the truly impossible happened.

The bottom line is that former FBI Director James Comey’s October 27th bombshell of reopening the email controversy was (and still is) the main reason for the unthinkable.  If that proclamation hadn’t been made, Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States!

Now that I’ve had a year to reflect on it (and you have, too), I’m still no more at ease than I was in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016.

In retrospective, I’m not mad at the minority of people that voted for “that man”. While I don’t know, I try to understand why they did.

I’m still angrier with the people that voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  Did they really think that either of them had a chance to win the election?  No!

Did they vote for them to make a statement against Hillary?  Yes!

But, was it worth the outcomes in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin?  If a fraction of the votes for Johnson and Stein in those all important states had been cast for Hillary, she would have had the electoral votes to win the election.

Now, my question for those who voted for Trump, are you happy with what he’s done for America? Also, do you think he’s well representing the U.S. and what we stand for on the world stage?

And, I didn’t even get started on the Bernie Sanders supporters that didn’t vote or didn’t vote for Hillary.  Again, was the outcome of that anger worth it?

Those are some of the questions I’ve asked myself every day for the past year!  I can’t answer them.

Hillary AP

I just know how I feel waking up daily and not having Hillary Clinton as my president. 😦

I hope things change.

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The seventh season of “American Horror Story” wraps up Tuesday night, November 14th!

ahs dt

Wait, wrong graphic! 🙂

I can’t wait to see how “Cult” ends.  After the dismal fourth and fifth seasons (“Freak Show” and Hotel”, respectively), and the so-so sixth season, “Roanoke”, this season was entertaining and thought-provoking.

FAILED AGGRESSORS! 

“History is filled with aggressors who triumphed for a moment.  Then failed.”

Who do you think Madeleine Albright, the 64th U.S. Seceretary of State, was talking about in “Time” magazine in 2014?

Since you know me so well, I know who you’re thinking!

Surprisingly, it’s not “that man”.  It’s this slime bag– Vladimir Putin!

Putin

But, as time will likely tell, it’ll fit well into our current situation, too!

LAS VEGAS AND NOW TEXAS…

It sounds like a broken record.

Here’s what I wrote on July 14, 2017, before the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas and before the Texas church shooting last weekend.

“When something like the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook school massacre, or the bombing outside the Manchester Ariana Grande concert happens, we’re shocked for a few days before the news cycle moves on to the next story.

People go crazy on Facebook sharing “Remember <insert city>” or “Pray for <insert city>. And, then we move on, too!”

Why is this a regular part of our lives now?

DONNA BRAZILE & HER NEW BOOK

EMMA STONE & SEXISM

In her new movie, “Battle of the Sexes”, Oscar winner Emma Stone plays tennis legend Billie Jean King.

It’s about the historic tennis match with sexist, misogynist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).billie

In “Out” magazine in August 2017, Stone talked about where King and women were in the 1970s and where we are today “with a narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy — again this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean King…”

Stone adds, “Obviously the way this has all panned out has been fascinating and horrifying, and it still feels like we’re in a bad dream, but those parallels make sense to me — the equal-pay issue makes a lot of sense to me.  At our best right now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar.”

“LOSING SLEEP” — CHRIS YOUNG

I’ll admit upfront that I grew up on country music in the 1970s and abandoned the genre for Top 40/English Invasion/Dance music in the 1980s, and then re-discovered country in the 1990s with Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless.

Once radio cooled on Reba and Patty, I pretty music gave up on the format and especially with its love of bro-country.

When I do buy a country album, it’s usually by female singers.  The last male country album I bought was Canadian Brett Kissel’s phenomenal “Pick Me Up”, my #7 CD of 2016.

Brett Kissel

Before that, it was Michael Ray’s self titled full length in 2015.

I went out a limb and bought the latest from country crooner Chris Young.

I really like the texture of his voice on past hits, “Getting You Home (The Black Dress Song)”, “Voices”, “Think of You” (with Cassadee Pope), and “Sober Saturday Night” (with Vince Gill).

On this album, there are some standout perfect songs.

My favorites and I’m putting them in the order of how I’d love for him to release songs as singles:  “Losing Sleep” (his current hit, just outside the Top Ten), the ballad “Where I Go When I Drink”, “Holiday” (the perfect summer song), and “She’s Got A Way”.

“Blacked Out”, “Trouble Looking”, and “Hangin’ On” are also great.

GRADE:  B+

I KID YOU NOT! 🙂

This is the “The River 100.5” WTRV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, playlist from yesterday morning!

24-hour Christmas music was being played just after Halloween at some stations!  Who needs to wait until Thanksgiving anymore?

Carving Turkey

As you can see, several Christmas songs are already charting on the Adult Contemporary charts.

CHRISTMAS ALBUMS SALES

In 2016, overall album sales dropped almost 17% (falling from 241.4 million in 2015 to 200.8 million in 2016).

However, Christmas albums sales jumped 10.6% (climbing from 7.2 million units to 7.97 million).

HOT NEW CRUSH

You may not know the name “Henry Golding” now.

Henry Golding

But, you will when “Crazy Rich Asians” hits theaters August 17, 2018!

Golding is a 30-year-old British-Malaysian actor and he got married a year ago in August! 🙂 😦

MORE MID-FALL TELEVISION THOUGHTS

“How To Get Away With Murder” — Absolutely loving the fourth season.  Analise is incredible and I can’t wait to see what this whole blood bath is all about.  Plus, Connor and Frank are so hot this season!

“Mr. Robot” —  I’m glad that Tyrell (Martin Wallstrom) was given a full episode to expand his back story.  And, Wallstrom is so sexy!

Tyrell

Also, I love Darlene (Carly Chaikin) and I’m always surprised at what comes out of her mouth.  In a recent episode, it was “muff divers” and “diddle your skittle”!  *The horror!* 🙂

As much as I’ve enjoyed the three seasons so far, I hope it ends with this season.

“Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers” — I’m DVR-ing it, but have not watched the first episode yet.  Should I just delete it and free up the space?

“The Walking Dead” (again) — Episodes 2 and 3 of Season 8 sucked!  I’m giving it one more episode and I’m done.

This whole Ezekiel, his pet tiger Shiva, and the Kingdom plot line is such a laughable joke.

PICK HIT  

EDM (electronic dance music) producer and DJ Marshmello, who’s identity is unknown (but may be American DJ Christian Comstock), has scored seven hits in the U.S. on the Billboard Dance charts since 2015.

Two have reached the Top Ten.  “Alone” reached #9 in 2016.

His current hit featuring Khalid, “Silence” is currently at #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.  It’s also #36 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart.

“Silence” already topped the Australian Dance chart and hit the Top 5 in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and on the UK Dance chart.

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 6, 2017

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

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

WHAT AN HONOR!

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

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

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

Advocate WG

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

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

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

LGBT Media Arrow

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

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

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

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

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

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

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

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

Jimmy Carter

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

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

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

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

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

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

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

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

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

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

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

Enough!

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

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

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

Her compassion is incredible!

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

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

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

Now

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

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

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

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

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

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

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

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

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

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

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

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

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

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony