Posts Tagged ‘Elton John’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 2, 2016

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

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

HELLO DECEMBER AND WINTER!

UPDATED POST:  early Saturday, December 3, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

March Snow

ORIGINAL POST:  early Friday, December 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Brrrrr!!!!!!

“LOVE IS THE CURE”

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

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

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

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

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

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

A MONSTER BEHIND THAT PRETTY SMILE

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

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

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

Michael died of AIDS in 1995.

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

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

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

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

THE WEEK OF TRUMP

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

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

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

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

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

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

DT Masks

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

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However, here’s where I disagree with him.

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

ARETHA’S NATIONAL ANTHEM

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

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

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

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

What do you think?

LOSING FAITH IN “THE WALKING DEAD”

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

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

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

Andrew Lincoln

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

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

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

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

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

GRADE:  A

“HELL OR HIGH WATER”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

BASHING “CHRISTIANS”

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

christ-in-chrismas

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

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

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

Happy  whatever you celebrate this holiday season!

ANOTHER CHANCE “THIS CHRISTMAS” FOR OLIVIA & JOHN

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

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

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

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

I’ve avoided this album for four years now!

John Olivia Christmas

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

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

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

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

2012  GRADE:  C+

2016 GRADE:  B

ANOTHER TAKE ON OLIVIA’S “PHYSICAL”

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

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

This seems like the perfect time for the original again.

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

“Love Is the Cure” To End AIDS

We all know that Elton John is an incredible musician and, since the 1970s, he’s been part of the soundtrack of our lives.

I was fortunate to see him in concert in Las Vegas in October 2012 for my birthday.

Elton LasVegas

Elton John is a survivor (drugs, alcohol, and an eating disorder).

He’s also a great humanitarian.

That’s what I want to talk about today on “World AIDS Day”, a day started on December 1, 1988, to remember those fallen by AIDS, to encourage those living with HIV and AIDS to fight, and to raise awareness, educate the public, and prevent future infections.

world aids day

We don’t hear stories about AIDS today as much as we did in the 1980s and 1990s, but “World AIDS Day” is still very important to remember.

Today, 36.7 million people worldwide are living with HIV and AIDS and of that number, 1.8 million are children.

elton-john-costume

In the 1970s and 1980s, Elton admitted to having unprotected sex and says he was very lucky he didn’t contract HIV, the infection that causes AIDS.

From the summer of 1981 through December 2000, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that close to 775-thousand people were infected with AIDS in the United States alone and, of that number, about 448-thousand died.

elton_John_ryan_white

While Elton spiraled out of control through the 1980s, it wasn’t until he met Indiana teenager Ryan White, who contracted HIV and AIDS through blood transfusions, in the mid-1980s that he realized he had to turn his life around to stay alive.  He checked into rehab in the early-1990s and has been sober and clean ever since then.

While he recorded “That’s What Friends Are For” in 1986 with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder to raise awareness and money for AIDS research, Elton knew that song and the AIDS benefits he performed weren’t enough.

He formed the “Elton John AIDS Foundation” in 1992 in the United States (1993 in the United Kingdom) and has raised more than $200 million dollars to fund innovative HIV prevention and education programs and for direct care and support for those living with HIV and AIDS.

love-is-the-cure

“Love Is The Cure:  On Life, Loss, and the End of AIDS”, Elton’s 2012 book, is an excellent read.

While it does give some eye-opening stats on HIV and AIDS, the book has a heart and it tugs at yours.

Throughout the book’s lean 219 pages, he talks of the friends he’s lost (Freddie Mercury of Queen) and two heroes that defied convention to raise awareness of AIDS — Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana.

elton-hillary

He shares stories of politicians who have been instrumental in the fight against HIV and AIDS — Bill and Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and George W. Bush!  Yes, despite his short-comings in the LGBT community, Bush made a huge contribution in the fight against AIDS during his presidency.

In “Love is the Cure”, Elton also tells stories of lesser known heroes in the fight against AIDS and ignorance and raising awareness — Elizabeth Glaser and Fumana (a South African rape victim, now HIV-positive, who uses her status and survival as a talking tool to educate others in that country to fight against the stigma of HIV).

HIV AIDS

Poor Sub-Saharan countries in Africa and the gay community aren’t the only groups that HIV and AIDS are ravaging today.

We have those places right here in the United States — the South is being hit hard and some parts of our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., are devastated with HIV and AIDS.

And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

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

Also, while the HIV rates are still climbing in the younger LGBT community here in America, the heteorosexual black community is seeing the rates of infection skyrocketing.

STOP AIDS

Last year alone, 2.1 million people became HIV-positive and, sadly, only 60% of people know they are HIV-positive.  That means that 40% of the people that are HIV-positive don’t even know their status and could be spreading HIV without even being aware of it!

GET TESTED!  It’s painless and simpleand it could save your life!

love-is-the-cure

Elton John says that the fight against AIDS can only be won when there’s no stigma associated with the disease.

Every person that is HIV-positive, regardless of where they live, how much money they have, their color, their age, their profession, or their religion, needs to be treated for the infection and the disease.

He says how that person contracted HIV and AIDS should not be a factor in getting treatment.  A sex worker should be given the same compassion as someone who became HIV-positive through a blood transfusion.

Elton says eliminating that stigma with HIV and AIDS starts with love — “Love is the Cure”.

This is a book that every person needs to read — NOW!

In honor of Elton’s contributions in the fight against AIDS, for love and compassion, and for eliminating the stigma that HIV-positive people encounter, I’m sharing these two powerful songs.

Love!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 16, 2016

It’s Friday and another weekend is almost here.  This one is the last weekend of summer 2016 as fall officially begins on September 22nd!

After enjoying my getaway to South Carolina and Georgia, it was back to work this week and it wasn’t bad.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts” and, as always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically.

COUGHING, “OVERHEATED”, AND PNEUMONIA

Last Sunday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton left an event commemorating the fifteen-year anniversary of “9/11” because she felt “overheated”.  She went to her daughter’s apartment in New York City and came out a short time later looking much better and waving to the crowd.

chelsea hillary

That evening, her doctor released a statement saying that Clinton had been diagnosed with pneumonia two days earlier and was finally going to take doctor’s order and rest a few days before carrying on with the presidential campaign.

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All of this comes at a critical time in the race when some started questioning whether she’s healthy enough to run the country.

My final thoughts:  I wish Clinton’s camp had just come out last Friday and said she had pneumonia instead of adding fire to the conspiracy theories.

However, pneumonia is very common with more than three million Americans getting it each year.  As Clinton said, she tried to work through it and it got the best of her and that’s why she didn’t reveal it.  I see the point.  Would you want to know if she had a yeast infection or if Donald Trump had a urinary track infection?

HEAT EXHAUSTION

While summer is winding down, we may still have some very warm days with humidity.  So, I’ll talk about getting “overheated”, particularly since Clinton’s health scare was front and center last week.

Here are the facts and these aren’t political party facts, it’s science.

While temperatures in Central Park were around 80° at the time Clinton felt “overheated” last Sunday, New York City and Central Park had been dealing with stifling heat and humidity.  Here are the actual high temperatures leading into last Sunday.

CP Temps.jpg

 

Once you factor in the humidity, those highs around 90° felt more like 95°-102° to the human body.

If you’re even somewhat familiar with heat, humidity, and the human body (and you don’t have to be a doctor or meteorologist), you know that heat exhaustion cases really rise after days of excessive heat and humidity, which was encountered in New York City — not just on the first hot day.

It’s less relevant that it was only 80° at the time.

FAVORITE.AMERICAN.ENTREE.EVER.

As you know, I love food and writing about it.

My favorite restaurant is Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

Their Flowering Colossal Onion and Dark Beer-Battered Cheese Sticks appetizers are so tasty.

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Their two-inch specialty pork chops are amazing and their desserts, especially the Sawdust Pie, make the seven-hour drive from the Quad Cities worth every bite.

SawdustPie

My favorite meal ever was in Tel Aviv, Israel, right on the Mediterranean Sea, two years ago during my 50th birthday week at Benny the Fisherman.

This was just the “salad” part of the experience!

Benny The Fisherman

Now, I have a favorite entree to add to the list.

Last week, we walked an hour from our downtown hotel to the Atlanta Botanical Garden to see the “Chihuly in the Garden” exhibit, which was phenomenal.

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I bought a Groupon for a four-course meal at Tavernpointe.  It was roughly another hour’s walk from the Botanical Garden through the Ansley Park neighborhood to the Sherwood Forest restaurant and it was worth every step!

From the incredible service from Joey, the bartender who doubled as our waiter, to each of the four courses and the beer and wine pairing for each course, it was the most perfect evening.

My sensational entree was Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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Thank you, Tavernpointe (and Groupon — otherwise, we would have missed out on this culinary experience)!

WHY EAT AT PAULA DEEN’S?

I know that food mogul Paula Deen would love to put the talk about using the “n-word” and the accusations of racism behind her.

Paula Deen Happy

Two blogs ago, I wrote about Paula and shared my 2014 thoughts when her empire came crashing down.

Last week, I stated that I ate at her Savannah, Georgia, restaurant “The Lady and Sons” and it was amazing for good southern cooking.

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Someone asked me on Facebook after reading the blog, “Can I ask why you went to Paula Deen’s restaurant after all the publicity about her racism and discrimination? Asked respectfully.”

Here’s my reply:  “Because I wanted to. I know about her use of the n-word and the circumstances around her usage of it. However, “racism” is a whole new can of worms.”

But, when I thought about it a little more, I realized that I had more to say about the lawsuit, race, and the use of that ugly “n-word”.

I am appalled by that word and I don’t care what race is using it. As I’ve written before, if the woman [Deen] was a “racist” (and I don’t know her to know, but I suspect she is NOT), you can’t tell me that people would not have already come out of the wood works to back up Lisa Jackson’s claims.”

I concluded with this, “I was even thinking of this the day I was eating there. There were many African-Americans working that day, including our server. I cannot imagine that any one of them would value that job so much if they really thought that she felt that way about them. There are other restaurants in Savannah and I honestly don’t think they’d be there.

JIMMY CARTER

Ever since I was an 11-year-old boy that got to pull the lever for Jimmy Carter in the 1976 presidential election (with my grandmother), I’ve idolized the former president and his wife, Rosalynn Carter.

While in Atlanta last week, I just missed seeing the Carters by mere days, but I did check out the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.

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The tour at the museum started with a movie of his life from his childhood in Plains, Georgia, to joining the U.S. Navy, heading back to Plains, and then entering the political arena (from Georgia State Senator to Georgia’s Governor to becoming the 39th President of the United States).

The amount of memorabilia displayed in the museum is incredible.  It’s definitely a labor of love — not only to President Carter, but to his fans and the United States as a country.

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It’s also nice to see all the displays of what the Carters have accomplished in life after they left the White House in 1981.

What an amazing couple!

CALLING OUT THE “MAINSTREAM MEDIA”

I’ve known of Canadian comedian Samantha Bee for some time.

She was on Comedy Central’s  “The Daily Show” before leaving to host her own satirical news show on TBS, “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee”.

I finally caught her act criticizing the mainstream media for not calling out Donald Trump on his blatant lies.  Kudos to you, Samantha.

If you’ve never watched Bee, check this out and, by the way, shame on you Matt Lauer!

Warning: language!

I’ll definitely feature more of Bee in the future because she’s on to something.

Gallap reports thats only one in three Americans trust the media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly”.  This is the lowest level since tracking started in 1972.

DIXIE CHICKS

The Dixie Chicks put on an amazing show last night at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois.

dc

This was the second time I’ve seen them perform.  The first was back in 2006, in Chicago, on the “Accidents and Accusations Tour”.

It was so great partying with Natalie, Martie, and Emily again!

“SULLY”

On the afternoon of January 15, 2009, if you had your television on, you were likely watching the incredible, real life events unfolding on a bitterly cold afternoon in New York City.

US Airways Flight 1549 was ditched into the Hudson River after taking from LaGuardia Airport.

Flight 1549

Shortly after take-off, the plane encountered a flock of Canadian geese causing engine failure.

57-year-old Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger and 49-year-old First Officer Jeff Skiles skillfully saved all 155 passengers on board in this amazing, unpowered emergency water landing.

It’s now a #1 box office movie directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks as “Sully” and Aaron Eckhart as Skiles.

As always, Hanks is incredible and while the movie covers the landing on the cold, icy waters, it focuses more on the investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board and whether Sully made the right decision on the water landing instead of trying to make it back to the airport.

In the conversation after the model, we debated and decided that while it was a strong and compelling role for Hanks, it probably won’t garner an Oscar nomination for Hanks.  However, the Academy does like actors playing real-life heroes.

GRADE: B+

PICK HIT

This summer, late-80s English pop star Rick Astley released his eighth studio album (his seventh was never released) conveniently called “50” since he turned 50 earlier this year.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and will be released here in the U.S. on October 7th.

Three singles have already been released in European markets and I’m featuring “Dance” as my pick hit today.

FLASHBACK!

I have to admit that I crushed on Rick when I was in my early-20s and I have to say that he’s aging rather well at almost 51. (I’m slightly older — I turn 52 in October.)

Rick topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart here in the U.S. with his first two songs, “Never Gonna Give You Up” (March 1988) and “Together Forever” (June 1988).

He went on to score three more Top Ten hits, “It Would Take a Strong Strong Man” (#10, 1988), “She Wants To Dance With Me” (#6, 1988), and “Cry For Help” (#7, 1991).

Here’s a little music trivia for you.  He also sang backing vocals on Elton John’s 1994 Oscars, Golden Globes, and Grammy winning song, “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” from “The Lion King”!

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 17, 2016

I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”.  We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.

There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.

The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages.  He was killed by police.

Pulse

I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.

First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people.  But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!

Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.

If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man.  He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay.  Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change!  However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).

After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.

hate

Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:

Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”

Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”

Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered.  It was because of who they were!

Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies.  The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”

In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners.  The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.

Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.

Church Fire

In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country.  We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution.  This means all of us.

GUN CONTROL

There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control.  Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.

Gun Control

I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun.  I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.

I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting.  But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15!  None!!!

But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.

AR-15

Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.

They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47.  He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!

The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again.  (This will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones.  This one really breaks my heart.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.

Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other.  It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

Christmas Was Perfect

Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.

The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.

LOVE IS LOVE

Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile.  I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.

Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.

Make sure the person you love knows it everyday!  Life is too short.

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub.  Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.

The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”

She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)

If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember.  I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.

We might have been born at night, but not last night!

Donald LGBT.jpg

Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.

Fish Pond

Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!

Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”

He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer.  You can read about that harrowing experience here.  (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!

Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.

Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.

FIRST LADIES

As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year.  I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.

I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.

Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.

First Ladies.jpg

Martha Washington:  A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.

Abigail Adams:  Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.

Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.

Dolley Madison:  Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.

Elizabeth Monroe:  Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.

Louisa Adams:  Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.

Rachel Jackson:  She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.

Hannah Van Buren:  She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.

Anna Harrison:  She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.  While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.

Letitia Tyler:  She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).

I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.

His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.

He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

THAT’S IT

Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.  More gets resolved that way.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 3, 2016

IS IT SUMMER YET?

Depending on who you listen to, it might already be summer.  Some say Memorial Day is the “unofficial” start to the summer season and meteorologists call the three hottest months of the year (June, July, and August) “meteorological summer”.

However, if you go by the calendar, the summer solstice begins Monday, June 20th at 5:34 p.m. CDT.

Whatever you call it, I hope your spring or summer is off to a great start.  Since I had so much fun bringing back “Random Friday Thoughts” last week, here’s another one!

IT ALREADY FEELS LIKE SUMMER

After a pretty chilly start to the month of May in the Quad Cities, it sure got hot over the last week or so.  Check out these recent unseasonably warm temperatures in Moline, Illinois, right on the Mississippi River.

May Temps.png

After a cooler weekend, warmer weather is forecast to return through, at least, the middle of June.

HOW DID PRINCE DIE?

A medical examiner and the toxicology report confirm that musical icon Prince died of an accidental opioid fentanyl overdose.  Even before that news broke, there was widespread speculation that an overdose was the cause of death.

Opioid fentanyl is a very potent pain reliever — 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

Prince.jpg

Even before the news broke Thursday, I was already writing about Prince in today’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.  Here’s what I had already written:

“It’s now been six weeks (!) since music icon Prince died at Paisley Park, his Minneapolis-area home, but we still don’t know how he died.

I know medical examiners want to be thorough when determining the cause of death, but six weeks?  Typically, toxicology results are released a couple or a few weeks after someone dies.”

While Prince is gone, his music will live on.  Following his death, in the first full week of sales, he had 19 albums on the Billboard Top 200 chart.  That broke the Beatles’ record of 14.

To honor the musical legend, here’s my favorite Prince song — it’s so hard to narrow it down to one!

ARE SOME PEOPLE “FOR REAL”?

Social media is great to reconnect to people you’ve lost contact with over the years and to communicate and share ideas with others.

However, the anonymity it provides allows people to say things they normally wouldn’t say to someone in person.

Some people can handle it and blow it off, but some can’t.  For me, I have a tougher skin from working in a public forum all these years.  While crazy or mean comments on social media still tick me off, it has to be really bad to even remotely hurt my feelings.

For example, look at this inspirational picture I posted again earlier this week.

Fish Be You

It got a lot of love on Facebook.  However, I have to share this Twitter correspondence with some anonymous person.

Unique.jpg

 

I’m the kind of person that tries to respond to all comments (good or bad), but I’ll not carry on a lengthy debate and waste my time with someone who’s main objective is just to argue just for the sake of it.

Trust me, most of the posts on this person’s Twitter page proves he/she just trolls the internet and social media to make negative comments.

Move on and troll elsewhere!

BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTERS, PLEASE READ (AND COMMENT)

Voters in California and New Jersey, two very delegate-rich states, head to the polls Tuesday, June 7th.

From a mathematical standpoint, Hillary Clinton will almost certainly become the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party.

Hillary AP

In full disclosure, if you’re reading my blog for the first time, I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter.  However, I’m not writing today to boast or gloat.

I’m trying to understand things from the perspective of a Bernie Sanders supporter and I want your diplomatic feedback.  But, first, here’s a little set-up to my questions.

Much to my chagrin back in 2008, after a long fight, Hillary dropped out of the race and fully supported Senator Barack Obama in his successful bid for president that November.

In a perfect world, we’d have more than two parties choosing candidates with a real chance of being elected president.  If we had three or four strong, viable parties fighting for the job, the House and Senate would work for the people and with the president to get things done.  Now, it’s just say the opposite of what the other side is saying!

If this was the case, Sanders could run as an independent and he’d likely be on the ballot in November in a race on equal footing with the other candidates.

This election season (especially lately), there’s been a lot of talk about the “superdelegates” having the power to choose the nominee.  That’s a realistic part of the process now, as it was in 2008 and many elections before that. Should that part of the election process change?  Probably.

Also, I wish that every state and territory had primaries and we’d totally do away with caucuses.  We should be able to go into the booth and choose the candidate we want.  We shouldn’t have to argue and debate it in a room full of people.  Let the candidates debate and just let us vote.

DEM 2016 Debate

Thus far in the race for the Democratic nomination, I’ve been mature and I’ve taken the high road not to personally bash Senator Sanders.  However, since we’re being honest, it’s getting harder and harder and I’m very frustrated with his mean-spirited rhetoric lately.  I know he wants to win and I know you want him to win and aren’t happy with the way it’s turning out.

Now, Bernie supporters, here’s what I want to know — at what point do you think that he should move toward backing Hillary since he’s running on the Democratic ticket?  After California and New Jersey?  Before the Democratic National Convention?  At the convention?

I’ve also heard, “I’d rather not vote than to vote for her”.  How many of you would actually want Donald Trump to be president if it isn’t Sanders?  Doesn’t that fly in the face of everything that Bernie stands for?

I want to hear what you have to say — as long as you’re diplomatic!

MURDERED ZOO GORILLA

Unless you’ve been on vacation or living under a rock, I know you’ve heard of the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden last weekend.

A 3-year-old child crawled through the barrier and then fell twelve feet into the gorilla enclosure.

Zoo officials, fearing for the life of the child, shot and killed Harambe, the 17-year-old silverback gorilla.

The way the incident was handled has sparked outrage online.  Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition wanting the boy’s parents to be held criminally responsible.

A witness, Kimberley Ann Perkins O’Connor, told CNN that she overheard the boy joking to his mother about going into the water and the next thing you know, he was inside the exhibit with the gorilla.

But, Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard stands by the decision to kill the gorilla, “That child’s life was in danger. People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal.  He adds, “Looking back, we’d make the same decision. The child is safe.”

Famed zookeeper Jack Hanna agrees “1,000 percent” with the zoo’s decision.

Watching the (frightening, at times) video, I fully believe the gorilla felt it was protecting the child.  However, I don’t know the nature of gorillas and it could have ended up hurting or killing the child with all of the commotion going on.

I know that “kids are kids” and that they can be elusive, but you can’t tell me that the mother was fully in control of that child.  Should she go to jail?  No.  Should there be some penalty?  Yes!  How about community service at the zoo?

What do you think?  Was the right decision made to shoot and kill the gorilla with a rifle instead of tranquilizing him?  Should the parents face any criminal charges — neglect or child endangerment?

AIN’T YOUR MAMA

I’m ready for my next trip to Las Vegas in late July.  I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we were there.  During that trip, we ate plenty of great food and enjoyed many mimosas.

Since 2012, we’ve seen Elton John, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, and, last year, Bette Midler in Vegas.

Bette

This time, I’m working to get my hands on tickets to see one of the sexiest women ever (okay, maybe not “one of the sexiest”, but “the sexiest”), Jennifer Lopez.

JLo All I Have Vegas

J. Lo danced her way onto the entertainment scene as a “Fly Girl” on Fox’s “In Living Color” in the early-1990s, endeared herself to movie and Tejano music fans playing slain international singer Selena in the 1997 hit movie, “Selena”, and then blasted to the top of the music charts in 1999 with her first international hit, “If You Had My Love”.

She’s back with a fun dance song with a strong feminist point of view.

“Ain’t Your Mama” even features a very powerful message from former Secretary of State (and possibly the next president of the United States) Hillary Clinton, “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s right are human rights once and for all.”

“Ain’t Your Mama” is already a Top Ten hit in Finland, Hungary, Lebanon, and Spain.  Here is the U.S., it’s finally cracking the airplay charts at Top 40 radio.

I can’t wait to go back and listen to all of J. Lo’s music (and not just the songs she performs in the “All I Have” Las Vegas show at The Axis Planet Hollywood) and rank my favorites.  I’ll post that in July before I see the incredible show!

PICK HIT

As we near the halfway point of 2016, “Matter”, the latest album from the New York City-based synth-pop band St. Lucia, is one of my favorites of the year.

st-lucia-matter-new-albumThe band makes dance music that sounds new and refreshingly 1980s at the same time.

I reviewed the album back in February giving it an “A”.

Here’s what I said then, “Most of the eleven songs on his second album are very upbeat and very synth-heavily.

My favorites are “Dancing on Glass” (which I’m sharing with you),”Home”, “Rescue Me”, and “Physical”, which is very energetic, but ends very chill.  “The Winds of Change” is very similar in composition — higher beats-per-minute, but ends chill.

“Help Me Run Away” is so retro in feeling that it makes me giddy every time I hear it.”

And, I’m even more giddy now because St. Lucia just released “Help Me Run Away”, which was co-written by Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers, as the next single and video.

If you haven’t heard of them and you need a fantastic album to get you through summer, grab “Matter” now.

The band is getting ready to embark on a nationwide tour that kicks off next week and runs through late October.

In October, they’ll be playing in Des Moines, Iowa, which is just three hours from the Quad Cities.  I just might have to drive in, see the show, and drive back home just in time to go into work for the graveyard shift! 🙂

PICK HIT BONUS — COUNTRY STYLE

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and has opened for some of the biggest names in the business like Garth Brooks.  However, here in the U.S., he’s probably unknown outside of the Nashville music circles.  I hope that changes soon.

Since his 2013 debut album, “Started with a Song”, generated five Top Ten Canadian Country songs, he’s moved into superstar status there with his second album, “Pick Me Up”, which arrived last fall.

Brett Kissel

It produced his first #1 song, “Airwaves” and the Top Ten follow-up, the title track.

His new single, “Cool With That”, is out now and it’s racing toward the Top Ten in Canada.  I’m featuring it as my pick hit today and I hope this is the one that introduces him to American country radio.

If you’d like to know more about Brett and his music, here’s a blog from February.

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

MORE ST. LUCIA

How about a bonus track from “Matter” and St. Lucia?

THAT’S IT

As always, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to check out my random thoughts and I value your opinions, too.  We can disagree, as long as it’s diplomatic.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 4, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to imagine that it’s already March.

Spring will be here in a couple of weeks and after the warmth last weekend and the snow earlier this week in the Midwest, I’m ready for it.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

SAD PARENTING!

I know this happens much more than people know — a kid tells their parents they’re gay or the parents find out and either kicks them out onto the streets or severs ties with them.

Promoting his autobiography, “Master of Ceremonies”, 83-year-old Oscar winning actor Joel Grey (“Cabaret”) tells “Entertainment Weekly” about telling his parents when he was a teenager that he’d had an affair with a man.

Grey says, “When I told my mother, I remember reaching out to her, and she said, ‘Don’t ever touch me again, you disgust me.’  It was one of the worst moments of my life.  Secrets became necessary.”

I know people have hang ups with LGBT people, but I’ll never understand, as a gay man and as a parent, how a mother or father (or grandparent) could say that to their child.  If you could or have done that and have no regrets, please “unfriend” me now!

“AMY” WINS AN OSCAR, BUT NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY

The documentary, “Amy”, by director Asif Kapadia walked away with an Academy Award Sunday night for “Best Documentary Feature”.

I saw it and it’s an insightful piece on the rise, fall, and death of five-time Grammy Award winning singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning.

At one point, the director had the support of the Winehouse family, but then they had a change of heart and spoke out publicly about how the documentary portrayed Amy and the family.

Amy’s father, Mitch, said this after the Sunday night win, “I am not changing my stance just because film won Oscar.  It’s a negative, spiteful, and misleading portrayal of Amy.  We will fix this.”

It’s been almost five years and it’s time for the Winehouse family to move on it.  The documentary is much nicer about Amy’s life and death than some of the things I’ve heard in the past few years.

SUPER TUESDAY AFTERMATH

If you follow politics, you already know that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the big winners from “Super Tuesday”, even as Bernie Sanders won four states, Ted Cruz three, and Marco Rubio eked out a win in Minnesota.

Here’s how Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief of the website FiveThirtyEight and considered the ultimate expert in politics and presidential election predictions, summed up the night.

Nate.jpg

After last Tuesday and the debate Thursday night, I don’t know what Trump could possible say to offend anyone he hasn’t already and not secure the Republican nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

As for Democratic race, Clinton is winning big states and in big numbers and is on track to secure her party’s nomination.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, sums up that race like this:

“Sanders, perhaps not surprisingly, has indicated that he’ll continue to fight for votes across the country. But for every win he may get in mostly white states, Clinton will be marching toward the nomination with likely victories in states such as Michigan and Florida. The math indicates that Clinton eventually will win the nomination with relative ease.”

SCRUFF APP USERS MAKE THEIR PICK

If you follow politics, you see all of the polling from different organizations on Real Clear Politics (RCP).  I can say I haven’t seen any results from Scruff, the gay app hook-up site listed on RCP.

But, a poll was conducted and 72% of guys who responded classified themselves as Democrats.  Only 9% claimed to be Republicans with 16% listed as Independents.

president-hillary

Of the more than 10-thousand Democratic respondents, 63% supported Hillary Clinton compared to 31% for Bernie Sanders.  6% were still undecided.

Trump

Of the smaller Republican group, 38% picked Donald Trump, 19% Marco Rubio, 9% John Kasich 6% Ted Cruz, and only 2% for Ben Carson, in last place.

And, just think, this poll came out before Trump made sure we know that his endowment is not small, in reference to Rubio making a small hands reference last week.  Ewwwww!

What

Another prime example to prove he’s not presidential material.

ELTON’S ON A RAMPAGE (AGAIN)

One of the greatest entertainers in music is back with a new album.  Okay, I should say “The Bitch Is Back”.

Elton John just released his 32nd studio album, “Wonderful Crazy Night”.  It debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and dropped precipitously the following week.

That happens with highly anticipated album.  It doesn’t reflect on how good or bad an album is, it’s more of an indication that Top 40 radio doesn’t play songs from the album.

So, with new music to promote, it’s time for Elton to ruffle some feathers.

Elton

It seems like a lifetime ago when he ripped on Madonna accusing her of lip-syncing in her concerts in 2004 and, in 2012, his husband, David Furnish, blasted Madonna after Elton lost to her at the Golden Globes.

Elton says now, “I probably went too far with Madonna and I got very personal and I wrote her – she was very gracious”.

MadonnaGoldenGlobe

Now, his venon is directed to “No, my first name ain’t baby.  It’s Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.”

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Elton tells “Rolling Stone”, “You know, f*cking music magazines writing a review of Janet Jackson saying, ‘This is the greatest show – four and a half stars.’  It’s f*cking lip-synced.  Hello!  That’s not a show!  I’d rather go and see a drag queen.  F*ck off!”

Elton LasVegas

Madonna

As for the feuds and the talent, Elton, I saw you in concert in Las Vegas in 2012 the night before I saw Madonna and both of you were incredible.

Chill out!

JANET JACKSON — MY DEFENSE

This past fall, I saw Janet on her “Unbreakable World Tour” in Omaha, Nebraska, and the show dazzled me.

You’d think if it was “lip-synced”, you wouldn’t have heard her cough at the end of one song!

JanetJackson

The European leg of that tour picks up again in late March and she returns to the United States this May for the North American leg.

She’ll be playing right here in the Quad Cities, in Moline, Illinois, at the iWireless Center, and I’d highly recommend you see the show.

Here’s a video from the Omaha show.

And, here’s what I have to say about the concert:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/janet-jacksons-unbreakable-world-tour-dazzles/

“BATES MOTEL” RETURNS & SO DOES “DAMIEN”

The fourth season of the incredible “Bates Motel” returns Monday night, March 7th, on A&E.

We’ll see Norman (Freddie Highmore) descend deeper into madness to take on the persona of his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), who’s also losing it.

After that, stick around for the premiere of “Damien”, the return of the evil child from the 1976 motion picture, “The Omen”.

Hot English actor Bradley James, plays Damien, now a 30-year-old photographer who has forgotten his Satanic past.

It’s from the creator of “The Walking Dead” and also stars Scott Wilson, who played Hershel Greene on “Dead”.

ADELE SAYS NO TO MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS

Adele is one of the biggest stars on the planet.

She’s won more Grammys than she can carry and she’ll likely cash in again early in 2017 when “25” sweeps the awards just as her as her last album, “21”, did.

adele

She’s already had two smash hits from her new album, “Hello” and “When We Were Young” and the third single will likely be announced soon.

But, thankfully, “she graciously passed” when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis asked her to lend vocals on “Growing Up” from their new album.

That song made my list of “worst songs” of 2015.  Sadly, Ed Sheeran stepped in for Adele.

PICK HIT

In May, we’ll be seeing Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, Illinois, on the “Delirium World Tour” to support Ellie’s latest album.

I’ve been a fan of hers since long before “Lights” became a huge hit in America in 2011.

Last year, the English trio, Years & Years released “Communion”, which was my second favorite album of 2015.

Ellie’s latest hit, “Something in the Way You Move” is one of my favorite songs out right now and is already one of the 20 most played songs on Top 40 radio.

And, if you’re not familiar with Years & Years, here’s more on “Communion”.  Check out the blog I featured last summer which features more songs from the album.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

THAT’S IT

Have a great first weekend of March.

I’m going to enjoy the nice weather, have some great food and drinks, watch some movies, catch up on my television shows, and check out this weekend’s caucuses and primaries.

Feel free to comment on any of my topics today.

Anthony