Posts Tagged ‘Dexter’

Random Friday Thoughts — September 17, 2021

Summer is fleeting!

Since fall officially begins Wednesday, September 22, 2021, this is my last blog of the summer. 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts. As always, if you disagree with me, state it diplomatically!

9/11: NEVER FORGET

As the nation commemorated the twentieth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City, Washington D.C., and rural Pennsylvania, I learned of a connection that I hadn’t heard about over the past two decades.

The Las Vegas CBS affiliate, KLAS 8NewsNow, reports “Ringleader Mohammed Atta and at least four of the other 19 hijackers made six visits to Las Vegas between late May and mid-August of 2001.”

Investigative Team reporter George Knapp (with Justin Hopkins) adds that “Atta, who piloted the first plane into the World Trade Center, flew to Las Vegas on June 28, rented a car, then spent 90 minutes online at an internet cafe across from UNLV.

Knapp also reports that “The hijackers weren’t the only visitors of note in the summer of 2001. On 9/11 itself, more than 100 members of the Saudi royal family and their friends the Bin Ladens were staying in Las Vegas, mostly at Caesars Palace and the Four Seasons. Osama Bin Laden’s sister was well known at the Bellagio.”

If you want to watch the investigative report, here it is!

So, 20 years later, detectives still don’t know why the 9/11 terrorists were in Las Vegas — was the city being targeted or was someone in southern Nevada helping them?

“DEXTER” IS GETTING REAL NOW!

Last week, an incredible new trailer for “Dexter: New Blood” dropped.

It reveals Dexter’s new “dark passenger” and a new serial killer that we may already know — even though we really know very little about the person if that’s the case!

So excited for November!

WHERE’S MY MAGAZINE, “EW”?

Love the cover! Can’t wait to read it!

Yes, I’m still crushing on Michael C. Hall!

And, while we’ve never met, I was in the same room with him once when he was performing on Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”!

ANOTHER FALL THOUGHT THIS SUMMER

Dairy Queen is ready for fall!

While it’s advertising seven Blizzards in the “Fall Together Now” advertisement, only two are truly fall flavors — “Pumpkin Pie” and “Pecan Pie” (although I wouldn’t say no to the others).

And, the “Choco Dipped Strawberry” could double as a Christmas treat!

The others are “Sea Salt Toffee Fudge”, “Reece’s Pieces Cookies”, and “Oreo Mocha Fudge”.

NEVER TOO EARLY FOR CHRISTMAS TREATS!

Hershey’s is ready to make Christmas a whole lot tastier (and naughtier — okay, unhealthier). 🙂

Several new candies will be coming out this holiday season. The two I’m most excited about is the classic KitKat wafers with a gingerbread-flavored creme.

And, there’s also the miniature Reese’s peanut butter cups with peanut brittle-flavored creme wrapped around crunchy peanut butter — no chocolate!

There’s also Whoppers Snowballs (milk balls in a new festive new wrapper and a new vanilla-flavored creme) and Hershey’s Sugar Cookie Kisses!

CHRISTMAS IS CANCELLED!

Now that I have you excited, Christmas is cancelled!!! (Yes, I like “cancelled” instead of “canceled”!)

Wait, before you get alarmed, the holiday is still on!

However, the Backstreet Boys are cancelling their Las Vegas Christmas show residency and pushing their new Christmas album back to 2022 because of COVID-19.

Now, there’s something to look forward to for Christmas 2022 — the pandemic (hopefully) being under control and new holiday music from my second favorite “boy band” (New Kids are still #1)!

“THE BODY REMEMBERS”

Debbie Gibson’s first album “Out of the Blue” was released in 1987 and it sold more than 5 million copies worldwide.

It produced five Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100. The first four all reached the Top 5 including her #1 smash, “Foolish Beat”.

Her debut hit, “Only In My Dreams” is my 22nd favorite song from my first 35 years! (Yes, I love making countdowns!)

Last month, Debbie released her first album of new material in twenty years, her 7th studio album, “The Body Remembers”. (She did release an album mostly of Broadway standards in 2003 and a Japanese only album in 2010.)

The album features many club bangers including her #4 dance hit, “Girls Night Out (Tracy Young Remix), and her latest, “One Step Closer”.

It also features a remake of her #1 hit from 1989, “Lost In Your Eyes”, a duet with Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block.

My favorite songs on the album are the three hits I just mentioned, along with the title track and “Runway”. (Honestly, the six songs are perfect and that part of the album gets an “A+”!!!

The ballads, “Strings” and “Me Not Loving You” are incredible.

This is the most cohesive album of Debbie’s career and well worth the two decades wait.

It’s also my favorite album since Kylie Minogue’s “Disco” that came out in November 2020!

GRADE: A-

ONE MORE DEBBIE & JOEY NOTE

I’m flying out to Vegas Sunday and it’s the last night of their limited residency at The Sands Showroom at the Venetian.

Barring no delays, I’m going to get a ticket and head to the show.

In anticipation, I wrote a blog in late July about my love of Debbie and Joey (with NKOTB) and counted down my seven favorite hits from each.

If you didn’t read it before, here it is and if you click on the link, it should open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/07/30/i-want-my-girls-night-out-with-debbie-joey/

SPECIAL”

If you’re looking for something touching, funny, and dramatic, check out the Netflix series, “Special”.

The two season series, with eight episodes each, centers around 20-something Ryan Hayes (Ryan O’Connell), who gets an unpaid internship at a blog site called Eggwoke.

Ryan is gay, a virgin, and has cerebral palsy, which he plays off as a result of a car accident, which did happen.

The series is very touching, yet there is one scene that should be very warm and cuddly (it is, at first), but it turns very creepy.

My favorite character was his best friend and co-worker at Eggwoke, Kim Laghari (Punam Patel).

And, if you’ve followed by blog over the years, you know I love the Hindu holiday, Diwali, and I get to see Kim and her family celebrate it!

GRADE: B+

KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUTS POPCORN

Back in April, I talked about craving a donut shop that isn’t a chain store. I still haven’t had one.

However, I also talked about the new Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut Smartfood Popcorn. Well, my sister bought some and she left the bag with me!

Verdict: Skip it and have a real Krispy Kreme or whatever brand of donut you like!

“MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL”

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared some interesting tidbits from Adam Higginbotham’s amazing 2019 book, subtitled, “The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

Here are three more things:

  • As the 2010s came around, a contract to build a new nuclear plant in the United States was underway, the first in more than thirty years, and in March 2011, two new reactors were to be built in Ukraine not far from Chernobyl.
  • However, on March 11, 2011, the Fukushima, Japan, nuclear plant reactor meltdown occurred and was played out on live television. While there were no deaths or injuries from the immediate release of radiation there, the U.S. reactor plans were cancelled, Japan took its 48 reactors offline, and Germany closed eight of its seventeen reactors — with plans to close the rest of them by 2022.
  • The book states there are still a hundred licensed and operational power reactors today in the United States, including one at Three Mile Island. Also, France generates 75% of its electricity from nuclear plants, and China has twenty new reactors under construction with 39 already operating.

For the record, I’m an advocate for nuclear power, if it’s done the right way with no Chernobyl-like shortcuts in safety precautions.

Your thoughts?

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 27, 2021

August is coming to an end and next weekend is Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of the summer season. (Sorry, Connie!)

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts! I’ll start out with a positive vibe. Well, positive unless you dread fall and winter!

BRING IT ON!

Other than those things, I’m looking forward to my birthday trip (if international travel isn’t halted or they tell us Americans to stay away!).

However, another thing I’m eagerly anticipating before the Christmas season is the return of my fantasy crush — serial killer Dexter Morgan!

“DEXTER: NEW BLOOD”

One of my favorite series of all time is coming back as a “limited series” this fall. (Yes, I’m a huge fan of the killer series!) 🙂

“Dexter” originally ended after eight seasons in September 2013. After 95 great episodes, the series finale was a DUD!

By the grace of God, we’re getting another season of ten episodes this fall and winter to make up for that finale!

Showtime’s president of entertainment Gary Levine earlier this week said, “For me, it’s a revisiting of Dexter and a proper finale for a brilliant season.”

The new season debuts on Showtime November 7, 2021.

Oh, Paramount, please make sure that when the season is finished that it’s released on DVD to complete my collection!

ONE MORE FALL TREAT!

Nabisco is making fall a little tastier with two new “limited edition” Oreo cookies.

“Salted Caramel Brownie Oreo” boasts two creme layers – caramel and brownie – between chocolate wafers with a sprinkling of salt on top.

While that sounds delicious, I’m really excited to try the “Apple Cider Donut Oreo”, which features an apple cider-flavored creme between two golden Oreo wafers.

And, my beautiful, wonderful sister, Tammy, bought me a bag of the Apple Cider Donut Oreos, so I’ll open them when she visits next!

EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON!

Last week, my sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend, took a little road trip to Metropolis, Illinois, for a short getaway and to try our hands at the slots.

We also got to hang out with our cousin, Steve, and my dear friend, Dennis, from back in the day when we were in our carefree 20s!!!

While at the casino the first night, I had lost almost all the money I brought to lose. I then played a game my sister had won over a hundred dollars on. As my money melted away, I got a bonus!

In that bonus round, I covered the board with snow leopards on the last spin and broke even for the night and cashed out!

Incredibly, the next night, I got another bonus on that game and filled the board again. With that $250 spin, I ended up one hundred dollars ahead and cashed out!

As we got back into Decatur the next afternoon, we heard a loud pop behind us and didn’t see anything. By the time I approached my sister’s street to drop her off, I had a flat tire.

So, that’s where my $100 profit went! 🙂

However, in the long wait for Roadside Assistance, I changed the tire myself since there a strange person lurking around and it wasn’t such a great neighborhood!

ARBY’S DISAPPOINTMENT

While driving back, we stopped at the Arby’s in Salem, Illinois. I was so excited to try the Market Fresh Southwest Chicken Avocado Wrap.

This restaurant’s version of the sandwich and the marketing department vision of the sandwich were much different.

That’s the advertisement.

The actual sandwich was mostly the wrap. There was very little filling (just a few thin slices of chicken and you really had to look hard to see any avocado).

Big disappointment! It’s no wonder I rarely eat fast food!

PFIZER APPROVED BY THE FDA

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.

Like the Moderna vaccination, it’s a two-shot regimen (the Johnson & Johnson vaccination is “one and done”).

Holdouts, now that it’s the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the U.S. government, let’s get those vaccinations numbers up and put this pandemic behind us!

WELCOME BACK, ELTON JOHN!

Elton John is a musical icon that’s been charting hits in the U.S. since his first hit, “Your Song” charted in 1970, and reached the Top Ten in 1971.

He’s now back on the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since July 2000 with his latest song, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”, a duet with Dua Lipa.

The song features Elton singing part of his 1990 hit “Sacrifice” (one of his best and most underappreciated hits) and Lipa belting out his 1972 classic “Rocket Man”. The song is remixed by Australia’s Pnau (brothers Nick and Sam Littlemore and Peter Mayes).

While the song debuts at #81 on the Hot 100, it breaks onto the Adult Contemporary chart at #16 and #3 on the Hot Dance/Electronic chart!

“Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)” extends John’s lead on the AC chart with 74 entries. Barbra Streisand is in second with 64 and Neil Diamond is in third place with 59.

One more interesting note: Lipa becomes just the latest partner of Elton’s on the Hot 100.

He’s charted with Kiki Dee twice (first with the 1976 four-week #1 hit, “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”). Elton also spent four weeks at the top in 1986 on “That’s What Friends Are For,” with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder.

His other Hot 100 duet partners were Jennifer Rush (1987); Aretha Franklin (1989); George Michael on “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” (No. 1, one week, 1992); Kiki Dee again (1993); RuPaul on the remake of “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (1994); and LeAnn Rimes (1999).

REMEMBERING TOM T. HALL

Kentucky-born country music singer and songwriter Tom T. Hall died last week at the age of 85.

During his decades of chart hits from 1967-1985, Hall scored 39 country hits. Of those, 21 reached the Top Ten with seven making it to #1, including “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” and “I Love”.

However, his biggest achievement is the one that impacted my life the most.

In 1968, he wrote, “Harper Valley P.T.A.”, which became an international hit for Jeannie C. Riley.

It topped both the country chart and the Billboard Hot 100 and won a Grammy Award for Riley. It was also nominated for Song and Record of the Year.

The single sold more than six million copies and I had one of those records. However, as a 4-year-old, I played it constantly until an evil step-sister (a bratty teenager) broke it!!!

“Harper Valley P.T.A.” was my 5th favorite song of my first 35 years! Yes, I love compiling lists!

“BETTY FORD”

Here are the final thoughts from Lisa McCubbin’s amazing 2018 biography subtitled, “First Lady, Women’s Advocate, Survivor, Trailblazer” that I haven’t shared with you.

  • At a three-day conference in Cleveland, Ohio, for International Women’s Year, Betty wrapped up her speech about her support of the ERA with “I spoke out on this important issue because of my deep personal convictions. Why should my husband’s job, or yours, prevent us from being ourselves.” She paused and concluded, “Being ladylike does not require silence.” Amen sister!
  • On May 24, 1978, President and Mrs. Ford where back in their former home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the unveiling of their official White House portraits. This was Betty Ford’s first visit back at White House since they left in January 1977 and it was just a couple of weeks after she left her alcohol and drug program in Long Beach, California. President Jimmy Carter said, “Betty Ford has earned the admiration of our nation for her courage and complete candor. She is the most popular person in our country today.”
  • Elizabeth Taylor was one of the first celebrities to stand up in the fight against AIDS and when she asked Betty Ford to help her to remove the stigma with the deadly disease, Ms. Ford didn’t hesitate.
  • In 1985, Taylor awarded her the first “AIDS Project Commitment to Life Award” in Los Angeles. The 2,500 attendees gave Ms. Ford a standing ovation when she walked onstage to accept the award. She told the crowd, “Tonight is about conquering fear and saving lives” and added just like the country’s attitudes about cancer and alcoholism have changed, “attitudes toward AIDS can change as well.”

WHAT A TRAILBLAZER! I wish I could have met her!

MY THOUGHTS ON “DEXTER” SEASONS 1-8

So, which were your favorite or least favorite seasons?

I plan on watching the series again before the new season. I wonder if my original reviews on the first eight seasons will hold up?

Season 1: (A+)  — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelation killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

When I originally posted my thoughts on the series in 2013, I only wrote about the first seven seasons. When I re-posted it in February 2014, I only gave the final season a grade because I didn’t want to spoil anything. Now I’ll elaborate!

Season 8:  (B) — If the finale hadn’t been so silly, I’d given it an A-.

I loved Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling as Dr. Evelyn Vogel, an expert on psychiatry and Sam Underwood was fantastic as Zach Hamilton, a budding serial killer. You can see more of Underwood in “The Following”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

The 4 Fs of Our Future — Fantasy, Frustration, Fear, & F***!

Earlier this year, even as people were dying at an alarming rate from the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw a glimmer of hope.

Vaccinations were showing promise of success and would be made available free of charge to Americans. In March, I got my first Moderna shot.

A month later, I got my second shot and two weeks after that, I was fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

What does that mean? Well, it means that the vaccination is not 100% effective. Nothing is — except death! How morbid, but true.

However, it meant that while I could still get COVID-19, I’d probably not die from it or end up in the hospital. I loved that sense of security.

So, back in March, four months ago, I started thinking about all that I’ve missed since the pandemic brought life to a standstill in 2020.

The “new normal” meant that I’d finally get to meet people across Central Illinois, go on dates, and maybe fall in love again.

I’d get to have people over for dinner, host holiday parties, socialize, and enjoy the nightlife (if I chose to do so)!

Professionally, I could emcee and attend fundraisers and bid in silent auctions!

That vaccination turning point also opened up the world again for domestic and international travel.

Concerts also started being announced, which meant that I might finally get to see Kylie Minogue live on tour.

All of that optimism, all of that excitement, all of that, just a figment of my imagination — a fantasy???

Well, it could be!!!

In mid-May, here in the U.S., about 36% of American adults were fully vaccinated and 47% had gotten at least one shot. It was so encouraging.

Now, more than two months later, the number of those getting vaccinated have hit a roadblock!

Fully vaccinated adults has stalled at 60% (those with one shot stands at 68%).

COVID-19 cases are now on the rise in all 50 states.

In just the past two weeks, the number of new COVID-19 cases has tripled and restrictions are going back in place!

That’s from earlier this week from Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas, a new COVID-19 hot spot!!!

Officials in Los Angeles, Chicago, and Hawaii are warning people NOT to travel to Las Vegas!

Well, I’m now thoroughly disappointed and I hope I don’t upset your sensitivities and sensibilities!

For those that refuse to get vaccinated and take precautions, Debra Morgan of “Dexter” says it best!

That may sound harsh, but I want a life again! And, I’m sure you do, too!

My thoughts this summer of turning the corner with the COVID-19 pandemic was like the final scene of “Longtime Companion”, one of the first critically acclaimed and awarded movies dealing with the AIDS epidemic.

Three of the main characters were pontificating (I love that word) about wanting to be there when they found a cure for AIDS. They got lost in the moment and fantasized about seeing their friends again that they’d lost to AIDS.

Like Willy, Fuzzy, and Lisa, I just want to be there and have a life again after COVID-19!

GET VACCINATED PEOPLE!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 5, 2021

Happy March!

Soon, we’ll start seeing budding trees and blooming flowers and bushes!

For much of the country, the weather is finally starting to warm up. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done with snow and cold yet, but it sure feels nice.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts. The first two are a little heavy.

So, if you don’t agree with me and you want to comment, that’s fine. Just do it diplomatically!

KEEP YOUR DAMN HANDS TO YOURSELF!

More sexual misconduct allegations are coming out against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Three women are now accusing him of inappropriate advances.

Sadly, we live in a country where men feel they can do whatever they want — even “grab ’em by the p***y”!

In a culture where the last president of the United States is accused of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment by more than two dozen women, this needs to stop — now!!! Actually, it should never have started!

Men (and women), regardless of profession, unless you’re asked to touch or kiss someone, keep your damn hands and lips to yourself!

“No” means “No”!

And, if you don’t understand printed or verbal words, maybe a song will help you understand better. Here’s the one hit wonder, The Georgia Satellites’ #2 1986 hit, “Keep Your Hands to Yourself”!

BUSINESS AS USUAL IN TEXAS!

Note to self: AVOID TEXAS until I get vaccinated!

Texas Governor Greg Abbott earlier this week announced that the state is lifting its mask mandate.

Texas is now the largest state to end an order intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Additionally, the state will no longer limit the number of diners that can be served indoors!

Even during the worst outbreak of the pandemic, over the past months, restrictions across the Lone Star state were only lightly enforced.

More than 45,000 Texans have been killed by the pandemic and only two states, California and New York, have had more COVID-19 deaths than Texas!

And, what makes this change even more shocking is that over the past two weeks, Texas has seen a 31% increase in the number of daily new cases!!!

After Texas made the announcement, it should come as a shock to no one that Mississippi got on the bandwagon, too, announcing it would be dropping mask restrictions and businesses opening to 100% again!

GOLDEN GLOBES HITS

Last month, I said that season four of the “The Crown”, the award-winning Netflix series, was my absolute favorite. I added, “Even if you haven’t watched the first three seasons, watch this one. You don’t need to see their first three to follow the storyline.”

I guess the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) agrees because “The Crown” was a smash hit at this year’s Golden Globes!

The series won for Best Television Series Drama and my girl crush, Gillian Anderson picked up the Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Miniseries, or TV Movie award as Margaret Thatcher.

Also, sexy Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin both came away as winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress in a Television Series Drama categories as Prince Charles and Lady Diana.

Sadly, with Corrin’s win, that means Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, lost as Ozark’s Wendy Byrde.

DREAMING OF… DEXTER!

After an eight-year absence and that disappointing series finale, America’s favorite, sexy serial killer Dexter Morgan is coming back this fall.

As fans already know, production for the ten-episode, ninth season is underway in New England. While nothing is known about the storyline and what’s happened since they show wrapped in 2013, here’s the sexy new look Dexter is sporting!

Good riddance, 2013 lumberjack Dexter!

While I can’t wait for the new season to debut later this year, I did see Michael C. Hall off-Broadway in January 2015 in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”. It was a fantastic show and he was so damn sexy as the genderqueer East German rocker!

“THE UNITED STATES vs. BILLIE HOLIDAY”

This Hulu original is very compelling, even at over two hours. I never realized how messed up legendary singer Billie Holiday was with her heroin addiction.

Also, just another reason to despise J. Edgar Hoover, it amazes me the lengths the FBI went through to trap and falsely imprison Holiday because she refused to stop singing the controversial song “Strange Fruit”.

Why was it controversial and scared the government so? It focused the spotlight on the lynching of Black people in the South!

Andra Day was amazing as Holiday and won the Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Golden Globe last weekend.

GRADE: B+

“NOMADLAND”

This is one of the most critically acclaimed movies of 2020 and will get many Oscar nominations later this month. Ahead of the Golden Globes, I watched it last weekend.

I can’t imagine living the life of a nomad (someone in a community without fixed habitation that regularly moves from place to place), but I can see the freedom of it.

Frances McDormand is excellent and heartbreaking as Fran, who loses her job and her husband. When the town, Empire, closes down, too, she hits the road.

I definitely feel that the movie deserves its Best Picture Drama win at last weekend’s Golden Globes.

While McDormand is excellent in everything she does and I think this role is definitely worthy of an acting nomination, I don’t feel that it deserves the top prize! (I guess the HFPA agrees. Oscar voters may disagree!)

So far, I’ve seen four of the five performances for the Best Actress Drama category for the Golden Globes and I think that Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), and Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) all deserved it more.

P.S. I wrote these last two paragraphs before last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards ceremony!

You can see it on Hulu.

GRADE: B+

MY NIGHT WITH MADELEINE ALBRIGHT

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Following 63 old white guys, she became the first woman Secretary of State (1997-2001) during President Bill Clinton’s second administration.)     

Albright was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report. It did!

However, I then flubbed a simple English word that followed Milošević’s name! 🙂

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Last summer, I finally got around to reading Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

What an incredible read! Here are a few things I learned:

She was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia, in May 1937. Her real name is Marie Jana Korbelová.

Her grandmother nicknamed her “Madla” and her mother modified it to “Madlen”, but most of the time she was called “Madlenka”. However, while learning French at the age of ten, she chose “Madeleine”.

Three of her grandparents died in the Holocaust.

One of her favorites treats and something I’d love to try is “Knedliky” — “Czechoslovak fruit dumplings swimming in melted butter, cover with sugar and ground nuts”.

At the age of 40, after earning her Ph.D., she began working in President Jimmy Carter’s office under his National Security Advisory.

Since Albright, there have been two more female Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

MISSING RIHANNA?

You might not have even thought about it, but I bet it crossed your mind now. 🙂

While her last album was 2016’s “Anti” and she says her new album is complete, there is no release date.

Earlier this week, I heard a new dance song that sounds a lot like Rihanna and I love the lyrics, “I got a bed, but I’d rather be in yours”!

Enjoy the new song from David Guetta with Joel Corry and RAYE! It’s my new favorite right now!

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 30, 2020

It’s that time again — the weekend and a few of my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Thank you for checking out what’s on my mind.

Trust me, it’s twisted, naughty, dangerous, and sweet!

So, Happy Halloween!

POPULAR CANDY BY STATE

I guess you won’t be finding these candies in your neighborhood stores at half price November 1st since they’re the most popular!

Of the states I’ve lived, I totally agree with Snickers in Minnesota and I could deal with Milk Duds in Maryland.

But, I’m definitely unsure about Mars bars in Ohio (not sure if I’ve ever had one), M&Ms in Florida and Texas, and Pretzel M&Ms in Wisconsin.

The one that baffles me most is Swedish Fish in Kentucky!!! Seriously? Give me chocolate anytime!

And, Jolly Ranchers in Illinois? Again, give me chocolate!

Final thought: If Swedish Fish makes the list only in Kentucky, where are Twizzlers?

Your thoughts on your state’s favorite candy?

MOST POPULAR HORROR VILLAINS

With more than 100,000 tweets and hashtags tracked since October 1st, here are the most popular horror villains by state this Halloween!

Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Voorhees (“Friday The 13th”) are tied with 12 states each, followed by Pennywise (“It”) with 10 states.

Freddy Krueger (“Nightmare On Elm Street”) won in 7 states.

Other winners include: Chucky (“Child’s Play”) and Hannibal Lecter (“The Silence Of The Lambs”) both with 3 states, and Leatherface (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), The Candyman (“Candyman”), and The Babadook (“The Babadook”) each won in one state!

Go on with your bad selves Michael Myers and Hannibal Lecter, two of favorite villains! 🙂

HALLOWEEN POLITICAL HUMOR

President Richard Nixon can rest easily in his grave this Halloween!

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD TUESDAY!

“I AM WOMAN”

The Helen Reddy biopic that I’ve been talking a lot about lately, “I Am Woman”, is now on Netflix. I’ll be watching it this weekend!

“DEXTER”

Showtime announced that one of my favorite characters (Dexter Morgan), series (“Dexter”), and actors (Michael C. Hall) are coming back next year for another season!

I can’t say how happy this makes me. While I loved the series, I hated how it ended!

When Dexter returns, I want my favorite serial killer doing what he does best — killing! (Well, that and looking damn fine!)

Here are my thoughts and my grades on the eight seasons:

Season 1: (A+)  — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B) —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-) —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+)  — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  (B) — (Despite that main character’s death and with “that” series finale, I’m surprised this season didn’t grade lower!) The only reason it scored higher was because I loved Sam Underwood, who played Zach Hamilton. Also, the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  Additionally, the “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

“THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL KILLERS”

This summer I read this 1992 book by Brian Lane and Wilfred Gregg. Just imagine how many more are known now in the past 28 years!

While the more popular ones live on in infamy, it was interesting reading about other twisted killers that aren’t as well known.

Here are some interesting things I learned:

Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron won an Oscar playing her in “Monster”) was the most well-known female serial killer.

While women only make up about 8% of serial killers in the U.S., they make up 76% of the world’s total!

Albert De Salvo, “The Boston Strangler”, was likely responsible for the deaths of 13 women in a reign of terror from June 1962 to January 1964.

“Likely”? That’s because he confessed to the killings, but he NEVER stood trial for the murders since there wasn’t one piece of direct evidence to connect him to the crimes!

He was jailed on a 1965 rape charge and was murdered in prison in 1973.

I guess I’m a little twisted because I laughed at a couple of responses from serial killers!

German Christa Lehmann confessed to intentionally poisoning three people and accidently killing a fourth person (a friend that ate a poisoned truffle intended for someone else).

When she was led into prison, she reportedly said, “I don’t suppose I should have done it. But with the exception of Anni, they were all nasty people. Besides, I love to go to funerals.”

And, there’s Mary Elizabeth Wilson, who was also known as the “Merry Widow of Windy Nook” in England in the 1950s.

After her first husband of 43 years died painfully from phosphorous poisoning, she went on to murder three husbands in a span of just a few years. One died just 12 days after marrying her!

At her final wedding reception, a modest affair, she “jokingly” told the caterer, “Save the leftover cakes, they will come in handy for the funeral.” She added later, “Better not save them, I might give him a bit longer to live.”

He died within the year and she didn’t even attend the funeral!

“WHEN THE MOB RAN VEGAS”

Back in my former life, there was talk of “us” moving to Las Vegas and that Christmas Santa brought me three books on my favorite American city.

I finally got around to reading them! (More on the other two at a later date!)

This 2007 book by Steve Fischer is subtitled, “Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder” spelled out how the Mob ruled Vegas in its gambling boon, in the 1950s and 1960s.

While I was too young to be a fan of Frank Sinatra during his heyday, he’s definitely portrayed as a scumbag!

Here are some of the fascinating stories Fisher shared:

Sinatra was at the “Havana Mafia Conference” (to perform?) at the Hotel Nacional over Christmas 1946. This was the “meeting” where it was decided that Bugsy Siegel would be killed. This happened six months later in Los Angeles!

While gruesome, this photo actually appeared in the morning Los Angeles Times!

Las Vegas was a very segregated town. While black performers, such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Lena Horne, could perform in the casino showrooms, they COULDN’T walk through the casino or stay in the Strip hotels.

The Moulin Rogue was the first integrated (multiracial) casino and hotel. It opened in mid-May 1955. It was so progressive and successful that it mysteriously closed just six months later!

More widespread integration began on the Strip hotels around 1960.

The Teamsters Union and Jimmy Hoffa loaned millions of dollars to Strip casinos during the 1950s and 1960s through its Pension Fund.

Now that I think about it, could Hoffa, who disappeared in the summer of 1975, be buried under one of the spectacular Strip Casino and Hotels?

And, finally, I find this story very interesting. Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes spent millions to buy up several Strip casinos and hotels in the 1970s.

Hughes was a very paranoid man.

He believed the huge shoe 65 feet off the ground atop the Silver Slipper’s billboard had a photographer hidden inside taking his picture on the Penthouse floor of the Desert Inn.

Why? Because the shoe would stop in his direction!

Hughes wanted the hollowed out shoe “filled in”. When that was denied, he just bought the Silver Slipper Casino for $5.4 million and stopped the “Slipper” from rotating forever!

But, here’s the best story and it’s naughty. So, you may only want to read part of it. 🙂

In March 1951, the Senate Committee on Organized Crime hearings were broadcast live on the early days of television and everyone was glued to their sets.

Not only were many people learning about the Mob for the first time, they also witnessed a very funny, vulgar exchange.

While I’ll censor the word (it’s inappropriate, but the quote is totally hilarious), some may just want to stop here and have a great weekend! 🙂

Remember this was on live television with no way to edit it!

While being questioned about her income, Senator Estes Kefauver asked Virginia Hill, the girlfriend of the late Bugsy Siegel, why so many men gave her so much money.

He said there was a doctor in Chicago, New York mobsters, Ben Siegel, a concert violinist in New York, and a millionaire in Mexico, giving her money for no reason.

She toyed with the Senator and asked if he was “SURE” he really wanted to know. He said, “Of course, I want to know, Miss Hill.”

Hill replied, “Senator, they give me the money, because I’m the best damn ****sucker in the United States.”

Well, wasn’t than scandalous! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 5, 2020

It’s been a couple of months since I last shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”!

I’ve been busy with the move, transitioning into a new job and schedule, and just walking, reading, and binge watching television.

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

While I always say that, I’m stressing it today because of recent events across the country!

VIOLENCE AND RACISM

If the unprecedented COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough to depress America, the outward racism and violence across the country is pathetically sad!

Here are my thoughts in a tweet last Sunday. Let me clear: protests SHOULD BE peaceful ☮️ and looters and rioters SHOULD BE ARRESTED!

There is a difference between protesting and being a criminal!

And, he’s worried about being fact-checked on Twitter?

NO “GLEE” FOR LEA MICHELE

The word “glee” means “great delight”, but when it comes to “Glee” star Lea Michele, it’s more of nightmare.

Well, I guess she is more of a nightmare!

On May 29th, Michele tweeted about the death of George Floyd.

Lea

This opened the gates of hell for her.  

A guest actor from the “Glee” series called Michele out for her rude behavior to her when she was on the show.  Then many other guests and co-stars came out to share their horror stories!

While her “Glee” co-star Amber Riley didn’t address the social media stir with words, this GIF pretty much says it all!

Ouch!

Glee Rachel Slushie

COVID-19 — YESTERDAY’S NEWS???

My friends, please be vigilant and be safe!

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has now topped 1.9 million and the death toll has surpassed 109-thousand!

With the murder of George Floyd and the unruly riots that are burning U.S. cities, Coronavirus has taken the backseat on television news coverage.

But, as America reopens, please be sanitary and keep yourself (and me and my family) as healthy as possible so we can move on to the “new normal”!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE — COVID-19 RELATED

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

While there won’t be amazing parades with music divas performing and scantily clad men and women, the LGBTQ community is still proud!

This is still one of my favorite Pride pictures of all time when I was in Chicago!

So, in honor of pride, cheers…

And, dance like you just don’t care!

ON A SADDER NOTE OF PRIDE — THANK YOU LARRY KRAMER!

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifices this man went through to give them chances that many of his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, many people living with HIV and AIDS are alive today and owe much of it to Kramer!

Sadly, the 84-year-old advocate died in late May.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter and gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”. 

But, his fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”. That film gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do —  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and openly gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS, was very controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed its seedy secrets.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Koch) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie by Ryan Murphy in 2014.

There’s an amazing HBO documentary called “Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” that you must see to learn more about this incredible man.

“THE CELLULOID CLOSET”

This 1981 book by Vito Russo covered the representation of the LGBTQ community in entertainment through the early years into the 1980s!

What an eye-opening read!

It’s appalling to know that gays and lesbians, when they were shown in movies in the early days of film, were only there to be made fun of, even though they weren’t even referenced as “homosexuals”.

Once movies in the 1960s and 1970s moved beyond using gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers as sight gags and to be made fun of, they became either the victims of heinous crimes or they would commit suicide because of “being that way”!

Even critics, from reputable publications like “Time”, “Newsweek”, “The New York Times”, and others perpetuated this appalling stereotype, even after gay liberation started at the beginning of the 1970s.

No wonder it took America until the 2000s to really make progress in LGBTQ rights!

Even one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1991 Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs” made the serial killer a transvestite that killed to be more like a woman! 

And, it starred a lesbian, Jodie Foster, one of my favorite actresses!

The late actor Richard Burton, who played a gay character, summed it up best to gossip columnist Liz Smith talking about homophobic theater critics, “Are they even vaguely aware that some of the greatest voices in the theater belong to homosexuals? They frighten me. Because they’re supposed to be the intellectuals, and I suddenly realize that they’re the audience for this film. I have never known anyone who took great exception to homosexuals that there wasn’t something very wrong with that person himself. “

And, “Abuse” director Arthur J. Bressan was asked by the mother of a teenage boy auditioning for his movie if her son would turn out gay by acting in the film. He replied, “No, and if he plays Hamlet he won’t inherit Denmark, either!”

One final interesting note from this book: director Herbert Ross made some of the most homophobic movies to come of out of Hollywood!

He was also the director of such major films such as “Funny Lady”, “The Turning Point”, “Goodbye Girl”, and “Footloose”.

And, here’s the irony, his biggest hit was 1989’s “Steel Magnolias”, one of the gayest (non-gay) movies ever made!

come sit by me!”

TV VIEWING & BINGE WATCHING

After binge-watching 60-plus hours of television in April, I got caught up on “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star” “Prodigal Son”, “The Good Doctor”, and “The Sinner”!

I also watched season three of “Ozark” and it was incredible! WOW!

While the nominations aren’t out yet, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy Awards now!

I’ve loved Linney since I saw her as Mary Ann Singleton in “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” in 1994 and I feel this is her year to collect another Emmy!

In May, I watched the series finales of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Homeland”. Both were perfect!

Thank you Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, and Peter Nowalk for six amazing, crazy years of “Murder”!

And, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, these eight years of “Homeland” were so intense and rewarding!

These A+ finales join “The Americans”, “Breaking Bad”, and “Six Feet Under” as my favorites series I’ve watched from beginning to end!

Sorry “Dexter”! Loved the entire series except that finale! Really???

OTHER MAY TELEVISION BINGEING

I’m also now caught up on “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, “You”, and “Eastsiders”.

“Eastsiders” is a funny, touching LGBTQ series on Netflix.

Check it out since the fourth and final season was just nominated for eight Daytime Emmy Awards!

Congrats to creators Kit Williamson and John Halbach and the incredible cast! Hi Willam!

If you’ve never seen it, live a little and start with the six episode final season and you’ll be hooked and want to see it from the beginning!

The finale was so touching, beautiful, and funny!

LADY GAGA “CHROMATICA”

The sixth studio album from Lady Gaga, “Chromatica”, came out in late May.

The second single, “Rain on Me”, with Ariana Grande, debuted last week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It follows “Stupid Love”, which reached #5 on the Hot 100.

“JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC”

Earlier this year, I read the 1997 picture book about the making of the “Titanic” movie.

Titanic

With text by Ed Marsh and photographs by Douglas Kirkland, it was very enlightening to see what all went into Cameron’s masterpiece.

ALSO READ…

Earlier this year, I also read “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger (1997), Tatum O’Neal’s “A Paper Life” (2004) and Dame Judi Dench’s “and furthermore” (2010).

THAT’S IT

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

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!

Dexter.gif

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

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

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And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

When I was last in Las Vegas this past December, not only did I get to see Paula Abdul’s great “Forever Your Girl” residency, I got a hug from her as she passed through the crowd during that song! 🙂

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

Capture2

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

Martha Layne Collins.jpg

LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

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PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

 
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Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

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Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 17, 2018

It’s hard to believe that we’re already into the middle of August.

After one of the hottest weekends of the summer last weekend in the Northland, I’m ready for a long, comfortable Duluth, Minnesota autumn!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“FAKE NEWS” — FOR SURE

It’s bad enough to have to look at 45 and listen to his ramblings with the traditional trite catch phrases, “witch hunt”, “crooked Hillary”, or “fake news”.

Well, last week, CNN ran a story comparing the approval rating of  “that man” vs. President Barack Obama.

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But, Junior, that’s Donald Jr. posted a fake image on his Instagram page with 45’s job approval rating at 50% instead of the actual 40%!

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After being called out numerous times, he finally deleted it last Friday.

FAKE NEWS in the 45 White House circle of hell is alive and well!

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

In January, I saw “Call Me By Your Name” and in March, I went to see “Love, Simon”.  I highly recommend both of them!

But, today, I’m indulging with a large popcorn, a Coke Zero, and “Crazy Rich Asians”!

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I first mentioned the movie in my blog last November when I was crushing on 31-year-old British-Malaysian actor Henry Golding, the lead in the movie.

Henry Golding

A couple of months ago, I wrote, “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 Wu).

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

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

The world lost music legend Aretha Franklin Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer.  She was 76.  Her family and friends were with her when she passed on.

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Franklin got her start singing in her father’s Detroit church.

She scored her first hit in 1960 on the Billboard R&B chart when “When I Sing The Blues” reached #10.

That was the first of 81 hits she charted on R&B charts.  Of those, 52 reached the Top Ten, with 37 making the Top 5!

On the R&B chart, she had 20 number one hits.

Meanwhile, on the Billboard Hot 100 (which combines all music), she scored 43 hits with 17 making it to the Top 5.

She had two #1 hits on the Hot 100:  1967’s “Respect” and 1987’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”, with George Michael.

My three favorite Aretha songs were “Chain of Fools” at #3, “Freeway of Love” at #2, and this one is my favorite.

Aretha’s duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” was also my favorite of all of Michael’s hits, too!

Franklin also picked up 17 Grammy Awards for her recordings and thee more Special Grammy Awards!

AUGUST 16TH

On this date, August 16, we lost the “King” Elvis Presley in 1977 and the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin in 2018.

On a happier note, the “Queen of Pop” Madonna was born in 1958!

Elvis Aretha Madonna

Happy 60th Madonna!

In her honor, here are my all-time favorite Madonna songs.  I’ll be your jukebox today!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/my-favorite-iconic-madonna-hits/

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

While I still haven’t seen two of the Best Actress performances from the 90th Academy Awards, I have to say that Annette Benning was robbed of an Oscar nomination in “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”.

Jamie Bell was equally deserving.

This romantic dramedy is about the love affair of an older woman and a younger man and is based on the true story of actress Gloria Grahame.

While Grahame won an Oscar in 1952 for “The Bad and the Beautiful”, many people probably know her best as Violet Bick from 1946’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  (Yes, the staple of Christmas television!)

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Bening was fantastic as Grahame and it’s great to see Jamie Bell all grown up and sexy!

I loved him, when barely a teenager, in his movie debut, 2000’s incredible “Billy Elliot”.

And, it was fun seeing him reunited with Julie Walters (“Mamma Mia”), who played his dance teacher in “Billy Elliot” and his mother in “Film Stars”.

GRADE: A

“SAFE”

If you’re looking for a new series to binge watch on Netflix, check out the latest from Michael C. Hall, who played adorable serial killer, “Dexter” on Showtime for eight seasons.

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I still have the biggest crush on Hall!  I was very fortunate to see him “off Broadway” in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in New York City in January 2015.

Hedwig

In “Safe”, an eight episode series, Hall plays an English doctor who goes on the search for his teenage daughter when she and her hot boyfriend go missing.

It’s filled with many twists and turns and the conclusion is a shocker!

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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MY 15 MINUTES OF FAME WITH JEFFREY DAHMER

Back in 1990, I spent the summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and unbeknownst then, a menacing serial killer was praying on young men in the city.

When the timeline of Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree, complete with cannibalism and lobotomies, came to light, I had been in Club 219 two nights before Dahmer picked up one of his victims!

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Who knows, he might have been creeping around in the corner of that seedy bar that night!

MY FRIEND DAHMER”

There have been several movies released about Dahmer.

“Dahmer” (2002) with Jeremy Renner playing the serial killer is a little bit better than this one, but it’s not great either.

“My Friend Dahmer” focuses on the high school years of Dahmer in Ohio, with Ross Lynch of Disney Channel fame, playing a teenage Dahmer.

While Lynch is convincing, Anne Heche’s performance as his unstable mother is a bit much to take — too comical.

GRADE:  C

CRAZY OCCURRENCES IN JIMMY CARTER’S TERM

Watching “My Friend Dahmer”, I did learn something that I didn’t know.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president.

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and even got to meet Vice President Walter Mondale.

MONDALE

That isn’t the only strange occurrence during the Carter White House years with a serial killer.

In a turn of events that’s much more widely known, First Lady Rosalynn Carter was photographed with John Wayne Gacy in May 1978 for his part in the annual Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago.

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Around Christmas 1978, Gacy was arrested and eventually convicted of killing 33 young men and boys outside Chicago.  He buried many in his house in the crawl space.

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He was also known for dressing up as a clown, thus earning the nickname “Killer Clown”.

“CHAPPAQUIDDICK”

We know the story of the Kennedy curse:  Joe was killed fighting in World War II and John and Bobby were assassinated, so it was up to Ted to get to the White House.

But, on a fateful summer night near Martha’s Vineyard, those dreams almost disappeared in an alcohol-induced accident that left Mary Jo Kopechne , who worked on Bobby’s 1968 campaign, dead.

If you liked Kennedy, this movie definitely won’t make you like him any more.  If you already disliked him, you’ll like him even less.

GRADE:  B-

TED KENNEDY

I’ll admit for all his faults, Ted Kennedy did a lot for us in his almost 47 years as Senator.

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However, I’ll never forgive him for making a run in 1980 for the Democratic nomination for president.

While dealing with the Iranian hostage situation and the faltering economy, this definitely hurt sitting President Jimmy Carter that spring and gave Ronald Reagan the advantage he needed.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 27, 2018

It’s crazy to believe that we’re already heading into May!  Here’s to a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

While a sad occasion, Barbara Bush’s funeral last weekend brought out the best of both sides.

America the Beautiful

Sadly, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn were unable to attend.

The Carter Center announced that the former president was “on a private trip overseas, and although she is recovering, Mrs. Carter is not yet able to travel following her recent intestinal surgery.”

THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH!

Canadian country and pop superstar Shania Twain was at the center of a social media storm last weekend.

I admit that I, too, was flabbergasted when she said she would have voted for Donald Trump in 2016!

Twain told “The Guardian”, “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

Okay, everyone has a right to their opinion.  But, just because you’re “honest” doesn’t mean your views are on the right side of history!  And, it doesn’t mean you’re qualified!

Well, needless to say, there was an internet uproar that ranged from “No”, “she’s a has been”, “who”, and this popular meme.

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By Sunday afternoon, Twain was in damage control posting four messages on her Twitter page.

Twain 1Twain 2Twain 3Twain 4

My last thoughts on the matter is that new stars get media training to know how and what to say and what not to say.  She’s not a newcomer, so if that question was awkward, she could have danced around it.

Finally, I still love her music, I’m glad I saw her in concert, and that she was my first awkward attempt at a selfie.

AP Shania

It helped me be more experienced for the selfie that truly mattered. 🙂

Hillary AP

AVICII — DEAD AT 28

Last Friday, I was shocked to learn of the sudden death of Swedish electronic music DJ Avicii in Muscat, Oman.

Avicii and Madonna

At the time, the family said, “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii… The family is devastated…”

While not publicly announced, sources close to family now says Avicii died from an apparent suicide.

“Entertainment Weekly” obtained this statement, “Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions… When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”

I know he had experienced health issues and anxiety in the past that prompted him to give up touring in 2016.  But, this is still a shock.

Avicii worked with artists as diverse as Madonna, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and Coldplay.

Avicii True

His debut album, “True”, was my #11 album of the 2013 and “Wake Me Up” was the biggest hit of his career.

BONUS — AVICII + MADONNA (“GIRL GONE WILD”)

So young and so sad!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR (PART 2)

RL Stahl

In her “Reporting Live” autobiography, CBS News and “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, talks about the time George H. W. Bush, after a contentious interview with Dan Rather, made a rather rude comment comparing her to Rather.

While the microphone was still open, Bush said, “The bastard didn’t lay a glove on me”adding that Rather made “Leslie Stahl look like a pussy.”  (Normally, I’d not spell that word out, but Stahl was brave enough to do it in her book.)

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Bush’s camp told Stahl that he meant to say “pussycat”.

However, Bush’s public apology only made matters worse.  He said, “If I had known the microphone was on, I wouldn’t have done it at all.”

What?  He only apologized because the microphone was still on and not for his juvenile vulgarity?

“LOOKING”

Last week, Comcast gave its customers free access to HBO and other networks.  The last time they did this, I caught the first season of “The Leftovers”.  I still need to see seasons two and three.

This time, I binge-watched seasons one and two (18 30-minute episodes) of the LGBT series, “Looking”, and “Looking: The Movie”, which wrapped up the cancelled-too-soon series.

Looking

It’s the story of three friends, Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), and Dom (Murray Bartlett) as they navigate life in San Francisco’s Castro District.

The supporting cast was amazing, too.

Doris (Lauren Weedman), Dom’s roommate and best friend from childhood, was too funny, and Patrick’s boyfriends (over the two seasons), Richie (Raul Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey) were too sexy.

While the eighteen regular episodes were entertaining and funny, “The Movie” was incredible.

Spoiler alert:  This “movie” trailer might give something away that happened in seasons one and two!

It brought back a lot of memories of me and my party days of my 20s and 30s.

It made me miss one of my friends that’s a space cadet and was never good at keeping in touch and my former “best friend” that chooses not to stay in touch.  Bummer!

“THE SHAPE OF WATER” WORDS OF WISDOM

“Never trust a man even if he looks flat down there!”

Shape of Water

FINAL “SCANDAL” THOUGHTS

Here’s another funny quote between President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) and her former Chief of Staff Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi).

Mellie:  “You don’t like me!”

Liz:  “I don’t like people!”

Mellie

I never bought into mild-mannered Gladiator Quinn Perkins becoming a B-613 killing machine.

When Huck, Charlie, and Quinn would torture and/or kill “bad” people or people they needed information from, the whole wrapping them in saran wrap was either paying homage to or ripping off “Dexter”!

Which brings me around to sharing this one again — after all Christmas is about eight months away! 🙂

Dexter Elf

BOOKS #12, #13, & #14

After giving up on “The Walking Dead” following the season eight finale, I just finished reading my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth books of the year.

This is a technicality — I just finished “The Walking Dead” Compendium One, Two, and Three that I got for Christmas two years ago.

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The mammoth books, literally weighing in at around five pounds each, cover the graphics novels from issues 1 through 144.

It was interesting to read them since some characters on the TV series are still alive and they are dead in the books and vice versa.  Also, there are some characters in the TV show that are not in the books.

Toward the end of the third book, we’re introduced to “The Whisperers”, which was an interesting twist.

However, it’s not enough to bring me back for season nine of the AMC series!

“AUTOMATIC” “LOOKING” BONUS

The Pointer Sisters took “Automatic” to the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984 (#2 Dance).

The song, by Ultra Nate, appeared in a nightclub scene in the “Looking” movie (2016).  However, her version topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart in 2007.

It’s just one of her 20 Top Ten Billboard Dance hits! (Seven have reached #1!)

And, check out this hot video.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony