Posts Tagged ‘Elton John’

My Life – The Next Era (1999-2021)

It’s time for the sequel of my life!

If you’re a regular reader of my random thoughts, you know I love making lists and countdowns.

On September 11, 2020, I posted a blog of the 13 biggest events of my first 35 years. (13 because I was born on the 13th and it’s my favorite number).

Along with that, I intended to share my 35 favorite songs of those first 35 years. Well, the initial list ended up with 236 songs, so I decided to be like the Billboard Hot 100 and share my top 100 songs of that era of my life.

In case you didn’t see it last year or last week when I posted it again, here it is:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/my-life-the-first-35-years/

Well, it was well-received, so why not be like Hollywood and make a sequel???

So, here are the top eight events that shaped the next era of my life (1999-2021) along with not my just my 22 favorite songs of the past 22 years, but my 100 favorites of that era!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY LAST 22 YEARS

MEETING REBA McENTIRE (APRIL 2005)

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

However, I discovered her at Sidetrack, in Chicago, on country night in 1990.  That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Regardless of what was happening in my life, good or bad, when Reba released a new album, there were songs I felt she recorded just for me.

I’ve now seen Reba in concert thirteen (13) times and I got to meet her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2005.

MOVING BACK TO CHICAGO (JUNE 2002)

After my mother died in November 1990 and my grandmother, Helen, passed away in November 1993, I felt it was time to leave Kentucky and I moved to Chicago the following summer.

I stayed for two years before kicking off my television news career in the summer of 1996 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. After jobs in Lubbock, Texas, and Mansfield, Columbus, and Youngstown, Ohio, working for a homophobic, racist, and sexist news director, I felt it was time to take a break from television.

So, Miss ABBA, my golden retriever, and my ex, Christopher, headed back to Chicago, where we had met in early 1995. (Look at how youthful we were 26 years ago!)

It was a very enjoyable return to the “windy city”.

I had a great time at Roscoe’s Tavern (a very popular gay bar on Halsted), worked as a freelance writer for the morning show at Fox News Chicago, and went back to school to earn my meteorology certification.

By the way, I don’t make it a point to lie, but I saw that sticker and it was just too much fun not to stick it on my shirt for a photo op! 🙂

In the summer of 2004, Christopher and I realized our nine-year relationship had run its course, so I took a job in Salisbury, Maryland, and Miss ABBA and I moved to Delmarva for a year-and-a half before returning to the Midwest in November 2005.

When I started putting together the recap of my second era (1999-2021), I thought about the events that shaped the past 22 years of my life and I started thinking of my favorite songs of the past two decades-plus.

That list started with 221 songs and after the first cut, it was still at 155. After thinking long and hard, I narrowed it down to one hundred, just like the Billboard Hot 100!

Here’s to you, Casey Kasem! (Hint, the other 60 are at the bottom of this blog, along with some surprises!)

#40 “LOVE YOURSELF” (JUSTIN BIEBER) (2015)

#39 “I’LL BE” (REBA McENTIRE) (2000)

#38 “WOMANIZER” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2008)

#37 “FADED” (ALAN WALKER) (2015)

#36 “THE EDGE OF GLORY” (LADY GAGA) (2011)

While that’s the official version of “The Edge of Glory”, here’s the version I love more. And, I “borrowed” the sparklers idea for my wedding reception!

#35 “WHO WOULDN’T WANNA BE ME” (KEITH URBAN) (2003)

#34 “CAN’T GET YOU OUT OF MY HEAD” (KYLIE MINOGUE) (2001)

NOW, BACK TO MY LIFE EVENTS….

LIVING NEAR MY SISTER AGAIN (AUGUST 2011)

Other than my years of living on campus at Murray State University in the 1980s, less than a half hour from where I was born and raised, I never lived apart from my sister, Tammy, until I moved to Chicago in 1994 and she moved away, too.

My career took me all over the country and my sister made Clarksville, Tennessee, home. After her marriage with her L-O-S-E-R husband ended and life dealt her several bad hands, I convinced her to move to the Quad Cities (Moline, Illinois) in 2011.

While she wasn’t thrilled to have to make her home there and deal with more snow than she was used to, it was nice to be in the same city again. We could now see each other whenever we wanted and we’d spend holidays together again.

After I moved away for 3.5 years, she joined me in Decatur, Illinois. It’s nice to have my best friend around again!

Love you Tammy!

MY 50TH BIRTHDAY TRIP TO PARIS & TEL AVIV (OCTOBER 2014)

While I don’t remember my first birthday, you see from the picture above that it happened and it was celebrated.

Other birthdays that stand out for me are my 30th, in Chicago, when I met a very attractive man that ended up being a psycho that try to kill me (stalker much?), my 48th, in Las Vegas, in 2012, seeing Elton John the night before and Madonna on the big day…

… and my 54th on an incredible solo trip to Morocco with a surprise birthday cake from my tour group!

However, it’s going to be really hard to top my 50th birthday!

In 2013, I took my first “real” international trip (officially, Cancun was the first in the early-1990s, but North America doesn’t really count any more!).

For my ex’s 50th, he chose a Danube River cruise of Europe. The following year, for my 50th, I chose to celebrate the milestone birthday with a trip to Europe (Paris, France) and the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Israel).

While the trip was incredible and I paid my own way, my actual birthday present was like a fairy tale. (He did well!)

I was treated to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, followed by a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night to see the sprawled out city of Paris twinkling in the distance.

And, the night didn’t end there. 

It was then off to the historic Moulin Rouge for a show and champagne. 

At midnight, I turned 50 during the show sitting right at the stage staring at boobies, acrobatic routines, and a woman in a water tank with snakes!

For the record, years later, in the spring of 2019, I’d have my own encounter with a beautiful albino python in Bangkok, Thailand. I called it my Britney Spears moment! Britney is now free!

Then it was off to Tel Aviv for three days. From the hotel room, you could see the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea!

Each morning, I looked forward to the Israeli breakfasts, which are world-renowned and very tasty and filling! 

However, my favorite meal was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Sea.

That was just the salads and “starters” that they brought out.  Yes, fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

Sadly, I didn’t get a stamp on my passport from Israel.

This was during the 2014 Ebola scare and the customs agent was so flustered from ranting at a woman in front of us for sticking her passport in her mouth that he forgot.  He refused to let her go through his line because he wasn’t going to touch her passport.  And, I really don’t blame him.  However, his approach was a little abrasive.

On the return flight home, the snow-covered Alps were beautiful!

This crazy song went viral in 2013 and ended up being my third favorite song of that year. It didn’t make the Top 100 on this countdown, but it was on the initial list. So, it’s a bonus. 🙂

Now, back to the countdown of my favorite songs of the past 22 years!

#33 “LOOKIN’ FOR A GOOD TIME” (LADY A) (2008)

#32 “TURN ON THE RADIO” (REBA McENTIRE) (2010)

#31 “I KNEW I LOVED YOU” (SAVAGE GARDEN) (1999)

#30 “TOXIC” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2004)

#29 “YOU BELONG WITH ME” (TAYLOR SWIFT) (2009)

And, of course, there’s a cute and sexy alternative version of the Taylor teen love story!

#28 “IF I DIE YOUNG” (THE BAND PERRY) (2010)

#27 “MUSIC” (MADONNA) (2000)

#26 “LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT” (KYLIE MINOGUE) (2002)

#25 “LIFE GOES ON” (LEANN RIMES) (2002)

#24 “BECAUSE OF YOU” (REBA McENTIRE & KELLY CLARKSON) (2007)

#23 “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS” (MICHAEL BUBLE) (2011)

What! A Christmas song made it onto the countdown!!! Don’t be shocked!

My fourth favorite song of my first 35 years was Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You”!

NOW BACK TO MY LIFE EVENTS OF THE PAST 22 YEARS!

MEETING PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER & ROSALYNN CARTER (JULY 2017)

In September 2016, I got to visit the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

However, it would take a major change in my life and relocation to meet my childhood idols, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

In the summer of 2017, I was living in Panama City, Florida, and I drove 180 miles (3.5 hours) through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama, and Georgia in the darkness of night to fulfill that life-long dream.

Once I arrived in Plains, Georgia, at the Marantha Baptist Church, I was one of the last people to make it in to hear a Sunday school lesson from President Carter.

After his lesson and the Sunday service from the pastor, I got to meet the man and woman that I helped put in the White House in the 1976 presidential election.

For the record, I was just a 12-year-old boy, but I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother Helen back in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She let me choose her candidate and, of course, it was Jimmy Carter.

My vote four years later didn’t keep the Carters in Washington D.C. and they headed back to Plains.

You might notice that the photo is autographed! I sent a copy of the photo inside of an anniversary card to the lovely couple and they signed it and sent it back!!!!!!!!!!

AND HILLARY CLINTON (JANUARY 2016)

I’ve admired Hillary Clinton since she became the First Lady of the United States in January 1993.

There is no politician that hasn’t been raked over the coals in their career.  And, now with 24-hour news channels and less objectivity in their reporting for higher ratings, it’s easy to vilify people, especially if it’s a strong woman — like Hillary.

I went to hear Hillary speak on a cold winter’s day in Davenport, Iowa, in January 2016.

When she finished, I politely edged my way through the crowd toward the roped off area in front of the stage.  I lucked out and we talked a little – we exchanged hellos and I wished her success.

“Politely edged” sounds nicer than “aggressively made” my way through the crowd! 🙂

Now, my 22 favorite songs of the past 22 years!

#22 “I WANNA GO (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2011)

#21 “CAN’T FIGHT THE MOONLIGHT” (LEANN RIMES) (2000)

#20 “SURRENDER” (LAURA PAUSINI) (2002)

#19 “IF I FALL YOU’RE GOING DOWN WITH ME” (THE CHICKS) (2001)

I’ve never met Natalie Maines of The Chicks and it’s one of the biggest regrets of my life.

When I took my second television job in Lubbock, Texas, (Natalie’s hometown), in 1997, as a reporter and Saturday anchor at the CBS affiliate, her sister, Kim, was the 10 p.m. weekday producer.  What a sweetheart!

1997 was also the year that Natalie and sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison exploded onto the country music scene with “I Can Love You Better”, which went on to reach #7 on the Billboard Country chart.

I had a chance to see them and meet the unknown band and real life prevented me from going! Bummer!

#18 “MY BOYFRIEND IS GAY” (HAILEY ROWE) (2013)

#17 “SOMEBODY LIKE YOU” (KEITH URBAN) (2002)

#16 “YOUTH” (TROYE SIVAN) (2015)

#15 “WE’RE SO GOOD TOGETHER” (REBA McENTIRE) (2000)

#14 “SOME DAYS YOU GOTTA DANCE” (THE CHICKS) (2001)

#13 “SILENCE” (MARSHMELLO & KHALID) (2017)

#12 “YOU’LL THINK OF ME” (KEITH URBAN) (2004)

NOW, BACK TO MY BIGGEST LIFE EVENTS OF THE PAST 22 YEARS!

MEET, FALL IN LOVE, GET MARRIED, AND THEN DIVORCE (2009-2017)

We’ve all been there (well, at least half of us).

You meet someone that’s an Edward Lewis (Richard Gere) to your Vivian Ward (Julia Roberts) — with or with sex work involved!

You fall in love and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t.

I got to have a wedding, a beautiful reception, and a gorgeous cake!

And, I was a “like a dad” and I got to experience helping to raise a child. I loved and was loved in return, we traveled the world — Europe, Israel, China, and Scandinavia — and my golden retriever, ABBA, had two more people to shower her with love, and I got to foster 60 koi and goldfish!

While things didn’t work out, I’m glad that I got to experience the good before the bad.

There are many things I miss about those days and there are things I don’t miss. The serenity of the koi pond is definitely high on the list of things I miss!

This is a feeding frenzy in the summer of 2016!

Oh, if you were hoping for sordid details, there were several circumstances leading to the demise of the relationship. Those are being saved for the book (which is being written)!

WE NEED A BREATHER!

Now, back to my favorite songs of the past 22 years!

#11 “SOMETHING” (LASGO) (2001)

#10 “TILL THE WORLD ENDS” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2011)

#9 “BAD ROMANCE” (LADY GAGA) (2009)

#8 “BLANK SPACE” (TAYLOR SWIFT) (2014)

#7 “EVERYTIME WE TOUCH” (CASCADA) (2005)

#6 “EVERYTIME” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2004)

NOW BACK TO THE BIGGEST EVENTS OF MY PAST 22 YEARS

MISS ABBA (MAY 2000-FEBRUARY 2012)

My golden retriever, ABBA, and I traveled down many roads together. 

From the llama farm in Ohio where I picked her up in July 2000 to swimming in Lake Michigan when we lived in Chicago to the salty waters of the Atlantic Ocean on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and then back to the cold, snowy Midwestern winters in the Quad Cities, Miss ABBA loved it all and she loved life!

She didn’t mind doggie sitting (or walking) her blind Shar Pei friend, Panda, and she loved road trips so much that you had to spell out R-I-D-E. She loved her fast food hamburgers and she loved treats and cakes!

And, she was the perfect drinking buddy!

From that first ride from the Ohio llama farm to her new life away from Dolly and Fletcher (her mom and dad) and her siblings to the last fateful ride, she enjoyed life so much and never met a stranger.

I wish we were more like ABBA!

As I was lying on the bed comforting ABBA on those final two days in early 2012, these words just came to me and I put them on paper.

While I’m not a poet, I still love this — my goodbye to Miss ABBA!

If you can’t read my writing through the tears:

The fog hangs in the air shrouding the light, not only in the sky, but in your eyes

You look lost and just want to sleep with me close by your side

I listen to you breathe and each breath sounds deeper

Is it the end or just a peaceful sleep

As I caress your neck and shoulder blades,

You snore even louder as I try harder to hold back the tears

I don’t want you to hear me cry,

I want you to let go and not fight for me

You’ve been there for me all your life

And I want to be there for you now, my love.

My best friend — ABBA (May 22, 2000-February 3, 2012)

This is one of my favorite pictures taken of Miss ABBA in her last month with us…

The song in the video tribute below is “Over My Shoulder” by one of my favorite singers, Patty Loveless, from her 1994 album, “When Fallen Angels Fly”.

Okay, this silly photo will take the sadness away…

FINAL BONUS TRACK!

When I put together a recap of my first 35 years and my 100 favorite songs of that era of my life (1964-1999), Olivia Newton-John placed four songs on the countdown: #3 “Xanadu”, #47 “Let Me Be There”, #50 “If You Love Me (Let Me Know)”, and #68 “Magic”.

I finally got to see her in concert at The Flamingo in Las Vegas in May 2014.

As a bonus, I’m featuring two of my favorites in one video — Olivia and Las Vegas.

In 2015, DJ Dave Aude re-worked Olivia’s hit “Magic” and “You Have To Believe” became a #1 dance song for Olivia and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi.

And, one final fun fact, Olivia met her future husband and Chloe’s dad, Matt Lattanzi, on the set of the movie, “Xanadu”!

Just a random thought, since you know me for random thoughts, I think #Pug2020, which became #Pug2021, and then #Pug20-something, needs to become a reality in 2022!!!

I need a new drinking partner or, at least, a movie and television binge-watching partner!

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, in the spring of 2019, I saw this in the taxi and I know it was a sign!

NOW BACK TO THE COUNTDOWN OF MY FIVE FAVORITE SONGS OF THE PAST 22 YEARS!

#5 “SOMEBODY” (REBA McENTIRE) (2004)

#4 “NOT READY TO MAKE NICE” (THE CHICKS) (2006)

#3 “CONSIDER ME GONE” (REBA McENTIRE) (2009)

Before I reveal my two favorite songs of the past 22 years, how about another bonus track!

This one didn’t make the list of my Top 100 favorites, but it was one of the 221 on the initial list and was my 13th favorite song of 2014! 🙂

As I reveal my two favorites from 1999-2021, both are two of the most underrated songs that radio should have sent to the top of every chart!

#2 “ALL THE LOVERS” (KYLIE MINOGUE) (2010)

This one did top the airplay chart in Poland and it reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Club songs chart!

And. it’s so naughty and scandalous! 🙂

#1 “DANCING ON MY OWN” (ROBYN) (2010)

This one only topped the chart in Robyn’s native Sweden!

NOW, THE BIGGEST EVENT OF MY PAST 22 YEARS…

THE DEPLORABLE 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION! (NOVEMBER 8, 2016)

While this could be a divisive discussion starter, that is not the purpose.

We know “what happened”, since there’s a book about this with that title. It’s been five years now — almost half of the country was on the winning side, but a majority of us were on the losing end.

That statement, “a majority of us were on the losing end”, doesn’t just mean the almost 66 million people that voted for Hillary Clinton.

I’m talking about America’s reputation on the world stage and the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the first months — a major misstep that had now resulted in more than 700,000 deaths since early 2020 in the United States.

DISCLAIMER: If Hillary Clinton had been elected president, we would still likely have seen a significant death toll from Coronavirus. However, I believe with all my heart and intelligence, it wouldn’t be at 709K and counting…

But, is that why the 2016 U.S. presidential election is the biggest event of my past 22 years? In part, yes. However, it ranks above ABBA’s death and the failure of my relationship because it’s partly to blame for the separation and divorce.

That loss affected me greatly as 2016 turned to 2017. In the five years since, I’ve accepted it and moved on. Does it still bother me? Yes. Is there anything I can do about it? No.

Michelle Obama, in her 2018 autobiography, “Becoming”, sums it up best the day after that shocking loss: “And I will always wonder about what led so many women, in particular, to reject an exceptionally qualified female candidate and instead choose a misogynist as their president. But the result was now ours to live with.”

If you want to share comments about how/if that win or loss affected you, feel free. Do it diplomatically with respect to me and my friends.

The point was not to discuss politics, I’m just sharing my life — the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Thank you for taking the time to travel down the road of the second era of my life!

Before you leave, if you’re not interested in #41 to #100, scroll down a little for some of my favorite photos of the past 22 years!!!

Will I write a third? Probably not. Do you know how old I’d be by then! 🙂

However, if I had two front-runners for favorite songs for my final chapter of life — the new Kylie Minogue and Elton John songs rock my world and are on repeat!

Now, that’s it…. except for some of my favorite photos of the past 22 years!

Wait, my friends, let’s keep going. They haven’t made “last call”!

You know I love lists and I’ve mentioned 100 favorites songs several time in this life recap even though the countdown started at #40 like “American Top 40”.

Scroll down and see which songs just missed out.

You might find one of your favorites on here, you might discover several songs you’re not familiar with, and some that might make you say, “Anthony has some very interesting tastes”, or “No <musical act> on the countdown?”

#41 “MY LOVE IS YOUR LOVE” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#42 “NEED YOU NOW” (LADY A) (2009)

#43 “THAT’S THE KIND OF MOOD I’M IN” (PATTY LOVELESS) (2000)

#44 “MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR” (SOPHIE ELLIS-BEXTOR) (2001)

#45 “SAY SOMETHING” (KYLIE MINOGUE) (2020)

#46 “CHOW DOWN (AT CHICK-FIL-A)” (WILLAM BELLI, DETOX, VICKY VOX) (2012)

#47 “YOU NEED TO CALM DOWN” (TAYLOR SWIFT) (2019)

#48 “OH SANTA” (MARIAH CAREY) (2010)

#49 “KING” (YEARS & YEARS) (2015)

#50 “ALL FOR YOU”(JANET JACKSON) (2001)

#51 “TEQUILA MAKES HER CLOTHES FALL OFF” (JOE NICHOLS) (2005)

#52 “WHAT DO YOU SAY” (REBA McENTIRE) (1999)

#53 “SUDS IN THE BUCKET” (SARA EVANS) (2004)

#54 “GOOD DIRECTIONS” (BILLY CURRINGTON) (2006)

#55 “DANCING” (KYLIE MINOGUE) (2018)

#56 “DAME OTRO TEQUILA” (PAULINA RUBIO) (2004)

#57 “THE WAY YOU LOVE ME” (FAITH HILL) (2000)

#58 “WHAT WAS I THINKIN'” (DIERKS BENTLEY) (2003)

#59 “BORN TO FLY” (SARA EVANS) (2000)

#60 “LONG TIME GONE” (THE CHICKS) (2002)

#61 “REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND)” (CHRIS WALLACE) (2012)

#62 “HOME” (MICHAEL BUBLE) (2005)

#63 “COWBOY TAKE ME AWAY” (THE CHICKS) (1999)

#64 “BORN THIS WAY” (LADY GAGA) (2011)

#65 “LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” (TAYLOR SWIFT) (2017)

#66 “FREE AND EASY (DOWN THE ROAD I GO)” (DIERKS BENTLEY) (2007)

#67 “I’M YOURS” (JASON MRAZ) (2008)

#68 “FREE” (FAITH HILL) (2002)

#69 “CAN’T FEEL MY FACE WITHOUT YOU” (THE WEEKND) (2015)

#70 “POKER FACE” (LADY GAGA) (2008)

#71 “TURN UP THE RADIO” (REBA McENTIRE) (2012)

#72 “HIGHER LOVE” (KYGO & WHITNEY HOUSTON) (2019)

The original by Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan from 1986 also made my list of my favorite songs of my first 35 years — #91!

#73 “LOT OF LEAVIN’ LEFT TO DO” (DIERKS BENTLEY) (2005)

#74 “I DON’T FEEL LIKE DANCIN'” (THE SCISSOR SISTERS) (2006)

#75 “DON’T TELL ME” (MADONNA) (2000)

#76 “WHAT DO YOU MEAN?” (JUSTIN BIEBER) (2015)

#77 “BLEEDING LOVE” (LEONA LEWIS) (2007)

#78 “WORK FROM HOME” (FIFTH HARMONY) (2016)

#79 “CALL ME MAYBE” (CARLY RAE JEPSEN) (2011)

#80 “SORRY” (MADONNA) (2006)

#81 “SIT STILL LOOK PRETTY” (DAYA) (2016)

#82 “I NEED YOU” (LEANN RIMES) (2000)

#83 “CRAZY IN LOVE” (BEYONCE) (2003)

#84 “SORRY” (JUSTIN BIEBER) (2015)

#85 “FIREWORK” (KATY PERRY) (2010)

#86 “AIRWAVES” (BRETT KISSEL) (2015)

#87 “I RUN TO YOU” (LADY A) (2009)

#88 “I DIDN’T JUST COME HERE TO DANCE ” (CARLY RAE JEPSEN) (2015)

#89 “PLAY” (JENNIFER LOPEZ) (2011)

#90 “YOU’RE BEAUTIFUL” (JAMES BLUNT) (2005)

#91 “TOUCH MY BODY” (MARIAH CAREY) (2008)

#92 “CRUSH (1980 ME)” (DARREN HAYES) (2003)

#93 “MUST BE DOIN’ SOMETHIN’ RIGHT” (BILLY CURRINGTON) (2005)

#94 “HAVEN’T MET YOU YET” (MICHAEL BUBLE) (2009)

#95 “DON’T CHA” (THE PUSSYCAT DOLLS) (2005)

#96 “DON’T SAY GOODBYE” (PAULINA RUBIO) (2002)

#97 “LET ME LOVE YOU” (DJ SNAKE & JUSTIN BIEBER) (2016)

#98 “WHEN GOD FEARING WOMEN GET THE BLUES” (MARTINA McBRIDE) (2011)

#99 “RAIN” (BEN PLATT) (2019)

#100 “ON THE FLOOR” (JENNIFER LOPEZ) (2011)

Now, that’s it….

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 10, 2021

The weekend is upon us and I’m happy to be sharing some of the thoughts on my mind this week.

And, I appreciate you taking the time to check them out.

As always, we don’t have to agree. But, if you choose to disagree, be intelligent and diplomatic about it!

RAMPING UP THE FIGHT TO END THE PANDEMIC

Here is a Thursday afternoon breaking news headline and story from the Associated Press in President Joe Biden’s efforts to end the pandemic and to make America safer!

MR. ED WANTS HIS MEDS BACK!

This ISN’T about those of you that refuse to get one of the three COVID-19 vaccinations available in the United States. (But, I wish you would!)

However, it just boggles my mind that there are an increasing number of people that don’t trust the Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but will go to a store and buy a horse de-wormer as a treatment measure!!!

Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady says Ivermectin is causing “all kinds of issues” in people consuming it, including liver problems and nausea.

Arwady adds, “First and foremost, do not ever, please, take any medicine that is formulated for animals. It’s dangerous, and it can really be a problem.”

Wait, there’s a call for you, idiots!

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that Ivermectin overdoses can bring on seizures, coma, and, even death!

WHILE I’M TALKING VET DRUGS

Another example of a drug veterinarians use that should not be in the hands (or bodies) of the public — ketamine (aka “Special K”).

This anesthetic, which is, in many cases, is used illegally by people to get high.

This dissociative drug produces auditory distortion and a detachment from reality. Like GHB, some use ketamine-based drugs as a “date-rape” drug because it causes memory loss.

So… NO! NO! NO! to using drugs and medications that should be left to veterinarians!

The COVID-19 vaccines make much more sense!

IN OTHER HAPPIER NEWS (IF YOU HAVEN’T DISOWNED ME)…

OH, DADDY!

In the “Oh, how I wish it was with me, but it isn’t” category, congratulations go out to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten on becoming the parents of two newborns!

Buttigieg posted on Instagram, “Chasten and I are beyond thankful for all the kind wishes since first sharing the news that we’re becoming parents. We are delighted to welcome Penelope Rose and Joseph August Buttigieg to our family.”

NEW ELTON JOHN DUETS ALBUM

A couple of weeks ago, I shared the new Elton John/Dua Lipa hit, “Cold Heart (Pnau Remix)”.

It 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).

Now, I know it’s part of the new Elton John album, “The Lockdown Sessions”, and will feature sixteen duets.

Here’s the track listing:

The album drops October 22, 2021.

ABBA LIVES ON!

The iconic Swedish band ABBA shocked the world last week by announcing a new album later this fall and “tour dates” in the spring of 2022!

Fans already knew the legendary band had recorded some new music. However, the announcement that “Voyage”, the first new studio album since “The Visitors” forty years ago, will arrive November 5, 2021, was definitely earth-shattering!

The new album will feature ten new songs including the ballad “I Still Have Faith in You” and the upbeat pop song “Don’t Shut Me Down.”

Billboard magazine reports that ABBA “will be reborn as avatars that will take the stage with a live 10-piece band for the shows and “will perform a run of shows in a specially built arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London beginning on May 27, 2022”.

THE RYAN MURPHY UNIVERSE

While it may not be as well known or as lucrative as the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), Ryan Murphy’s domination of the television medium is probably the equivalent to Marvel’s box office domination.

I was intrigued with the seven episode, first season of “American Horror Stories” (not to be confused with the long-running anthology series, “American Horror Story”). “Stories” was renewed for a second season.

Instead of one theme running through an entire season, “Stories” was pretty much like “The X-Files” when it featured a different monster or case of the week!

Now, I’m watching then tenth season of “American Horror Story: Double Feature”, which is unique because this season will feature six episodes with the “Red Tide” (“by the sea”) theme and the four final episodes are “Death Valley” (“by the sand”).

And, watching “American Horror Stories” and “AHS: Double Feature” got me excited about two more Ryan Murphy series.

“AMERICAN CRIME STORY: IMPEACHMENT”

Those two were keeping me entertained until the higher prestige series, “American Crime Story: Impeachment”, dealing with Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky and the fallout, arrived.

I loved the first two Emmy Award installments dealing with the O.J. Simpson trial and the shooting death of Gianni Versace and the manhunt for Andrew Cunanan. If you haven’t seen them, binge watch now!

In “Impeachment”, it was interesting seeing Edie Falco as Hillary Clinton, although she was only in one scene in the series debut. Believe it or not, I’ve never watched Falco in anything — not even “The Sopranos” or “Nurse Jackie”.

The first episode aired earlier this week. It was okay, but I know it was just setting up the drama. I can’t wait to see the next nine episodes!

“RATCHED”

The other series from Ryan Murphy I’m ready for is “Ratched”!

I’m ready for more Sarah Paulson and Finn Wittrock (yes, one of my fantasies) in season two of the incredible series from Murphy.

No information yet for the release date!

MORE CHERNOBYL

Here are a few more things I found interesting from the Adam Higginbotham’s 2019 book “Midnight In Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster”.

I shared some last week.

Three years after the explosion, the “Moscow News” reported that parts of the Ukraine, just 40 kilometers west of the “Exclusion Zone” near Reactor Number Four were still radioactive hot spots. Farmers noticed a steep rise in the number of livestock with birth defects, such as “piglets with froglike eyes and malformed skulls, and calves born without legs, eyes, and heads.”

It was even reported that tons of pork and beef contaminated with radioactive cesium had been mixed in with sausages and sold to the unsuspected public. The government said this was not true and that Chernobyl sausage was safe to eat and it was processed “in strict accordance with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of the USSR.”

While the first three reactors were supposed to be shut down within five years of the 1986 explosion, the last of the Chernobyl reactors didn’t go offline until 2000.

“THE CHINA SYNDROME”

I finally got around to watching the 1979 classic, “The China Syndrome”, with Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, and Michael Douglas.

The nuclear disaster meltdown flick earned $51.7 million on a $5.9 million budget and earned four Oscar nominations, including a Best Actor nod for Lemmon and Best Actress for Fonda.

After watching six seasons of “Grace and Frankie” with octogenarian Fonda (she’s 83 now), it was awesome seeing her as a very sexy 41-year-old! (She’s very sexy now at 83, too!)

GRADE: B+

“GERALD FORD”

Douglas Brinkley’s 2007 book is part of “The American Presidents” series.

What I really liked about this book is that while it’s comprehensive (not as much as a real biography or an autobiography), it was an easy read at just 160 pages!

One interesting thing about Gerard Ford is that isn’t his real name. He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1913, as Leslie Lynch King Jr.

His mother, Dorothy, left her abusive husband and moved in with her family in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and met and married Gerald R. Ford in 1917. He informally adopted her child and named him after himself. The child would officially change his name in 1935!

After two failed assassination attempts against him in September 1975 by women in California, Ford, in 2003, said he told Betty, “I’m going to have to review my support for the Equal Rights Amendment. These women are trying to kill me.”

On Inauguration Day 1977, President Ford was deeply touched and surprised when the new President Jimmy Carter opened him speech with “For myself and for our nation, I want to thank my predecessor for all he has done to heal our land.”

Carter and Ford, after a bitter campaign in 1976, became good friends and each asked the other to give the eulogy at their funerals. As you know, President Ford died on December 26, 2006, and President Carter did just as he promised!

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

Random Friday Thoughts — May 21, 2021

It was just last week that I referenced Memorial Day being the “unofficial” start to summer.

After dealing with frosty temperatures a week ago, it’s now feeling like summer here in Illinois with highs heading up well into the 80s.

Our big warm-up started Thursday and will last into next week!

Yuck! I only like the 80s when we’re talking music!

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

GOODWILL AND GOOD GRIEF!

My sister loves going to Goodwill stores. Yard sales are more up my alley.

Now that the people across the country are feeling more comfortable and getting out of their homes, some are doing some spring cleaning.

You’d think that Goodwill store would benefit greatly from this. However, check out this headline and tidbit from the Associated Press:

The Twitter post states, “Americans cleaning out their homes during the pandemic have been donating defective and unusable items to Goodwill. The stores say the donations are hurting them rather than helping and want people to stop giving them their trash.”

Come on people, throw your damn trash away and recycle things that are still in good shape!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

I’m so excited that the Zack Snyder Las Vegas/zombie heist film hits Netflix this weekend!!!! I know what I’ll be watching!

A follow-up, a prequel, “Army of Thieves”, has already been shot!

It was directed by actor Matthias Schweighöfer, who stars in both movies.

“THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW”

Six-time Academy Award nominee Amy Adams and Oscars winners Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) and Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”) and Oscar nominee Jennifer Jason Leigh star in this Netflix psychological thriller.

Okay, no matter what JJL does, I’ll always see her as “Hedy” in “Single White Female” (1992)!

It’s basically an update of the 1954 Jimmy Stewart/Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Rear Window” and 2007’s “Disturbia” with Shia LeBeouf.

In this version, Amy Adams’ Anna Fox is a New York City agoraphobic who spends her time drinking red wine and watching her neighbors.

That’s it!

Ha, just kidding!!!

One night she sees a neighbor being attacked. Or, did she? Was it a just part of a drunken stupor?

This movie definitely rises above the fray and now I plan on reading the book.

By the way, I didn’t see the plot twists ahead of time and that brought the grade up!

GRADE: A

VERY RANDOM THOUGHTS

The internet and entertainment word is abuzz about the possibility that “Bennifer” is a thing again.

Am I jaded and the only one that doesn’t care if Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez are together again?

I just have so little faith in Hollywood couplings and marriages (maybe in marriage altogether)!

My only real concern if they’re together again is that there could be a “Gigli 2”? (Okay, I didn’t actually see the 2003 original, but neither anyone else, in theaters, since it was a box office bomb!)

After watching season four of “Fargo”, the television series, I don’t think Chris Rock should give up his day job as a comedian to be a dramatic actor.

He wasn’t convincing as a mob boss! However, his final scene in the series had potential!

However, the highlight of the season was seeing Timothy Olyphant playing Dick “Deafy” Wickware , a 1950 Mormon U.S. Marshal agent.

What? Another U.S. Marshal? Yes, but it was much different than Raylan Givens on “Justified.

MUST SEE VIDEO!!!

I’ve earned back some of my gay points!

A few weeks I commented that I wish Madonna would just focus on making music again because her Twitter feed seems so desperate.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love her and I can’t wait to see the Netflix documentary on the “Madame X Tour” since I didn’t get to see it.

However, I’m obsessed with the incredible performance of Elton John and Olly Alexander (from the group Years & Years) at the 2021 BRIT Awards.

They performed the Pet Shop Boys 1987 Top 10 hit “It’s A Sin” (which is also the name of the HBO Max series featuring Alexander about the early AIDS epidemic in London).

You can tell that Elton is ready to hit the road again this fall with his “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” farewell tour.

“YOU” BOOK SERIES

After watching the first two season of the creepy, stalker, “love story” Netflix series, “You”, I decided to read the first two Caroline Kepnes book it’s based on.

It was interesting to see how the author saw Joe Goldberg, Beck, and Love and how much was changed when it became a television series.

Spoiler (not really): Book 1 (“You” — 2014) and Season 1 were pretty close, yet there was much more of difference between Book 2 (“Hidden Bodies” — 2016) and Season 2.

A third book, “You Love Me” came out in April 2021, but I haven’t read it yet. The third season of the series is expected later in 2021.

Here’s the trailer for the first season, which originally aired on Lifetime.

“MEMORIAL”

Bryan Washington’s fall 2020 fictional book, “Memorial”, is a great read.

It tells the story of a young gay interracial Houston couple, Ben and Mike, navigating a failing relationship and a cultural divide.

Mike is waiting for his mother from Japan to arrive when he decides to fly to Japan to spend time with his dying father, who abandoned the family when Mike was a teenager.

Mike drops the bombshell that he’s leaving his mother there with Ben, who’s Black, and has never met his boyfriend’s mother for an indefinitely period of time!

“PARTY DOWN”

A revival of the comedy, “Party Down”, is in development more than a decade after it ended.

I recently watched the two-season, 20 episode series that originally aired in 2009 and 2010.

It’s about a group of entertainment types (actors, writers, and comedians) working at a catering company, Party Down, to pay the bills while they wait for their big break.

It stars Adam Scott (“Parks and Recreation”), Lizzy Caplan (“Castle Rock”), and Jane Lynch (pre-“Glee”).

Season one was very funny and season two was enjoyable, but not as funny.

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 23, 2021

Two weeks ago in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I jokingly posted about breaking up with winter because summer is hotter!

It snowed earlier this week here in Central Illinois!!! That’s what I get! 🙂

Oh, if winter looked like this in the real world, I’d be all for it twelve months a year!

Thanks Gus (Kenworthy) for making my day!

And, thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts this week! (Oh, apologies to the uninitiated to my blog about the pictures above, but my thoughts are really random!)

REMEMBERING WALTER MONDALE

Earlier this week, the world lost a great man when former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away at the age of 93.

Before become President Jimmy Carter’s vice president from 1977-1981 and running as the Democratic nominee for President in 1984, he served as the U.S. senator from Minnesota from 1964-1976.

Here are some interesting facts from Jonathan Alder’s 2020 book, “HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”:

President Carter changed the role of Vice President. Before Carter, it was basically a useless role — other than becoming the leader of the free world in the case of the president died or became incapacitated.

But, Carter made Vice President Walter Mondale’s role real. He invited him into meetings, gave him real responsibilities, and valued his opinions.

At a farewell dinner before President Carter left office in 1981, Mondale said, “Never once did you put me down. Never once did you fail to treat me with dignity.” He made a toast and added, “We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.”

AND, ON A MORE INFAMOUS NOTE

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., future serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and met Vice President Mondale!

AMERICA, GET ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!

Even though thousands are still being diagnosed with COVID-19 daily in America and the death toll continues to rise, more and more of us are fully vaccinated!

In the U.S., 26.7% of us are fully vaccinated! That’s slightly more than one-in-four!

In Illinois, we’re at 26.9% and up to 43.3% for those with at least one shot.

While this is great news, I personally feel that some are getting a little too comfortable a little too soon. However, I’m happy to see things moving toward the “new normal”.

With that being said, more and more artists are announcing fall 2021 tour dates.

In the past few weeks, Eric Church, Kane Brown, Andrea Bocelli, and Sammy Hagar announced new tour dates and Elton John and James Taylor posted new dates for their previously postponed tours.

Meanwhile, last week, Reba postponed her 2021 road concerts to 2022 and Michael Buble did the same for his 2021 U.K. dates.

I’m still waiting for Kylie Minogue to announce dates for her late 2020 critically acclaimed album, “Disco”. As I said before, she’s at the top of my concert “bucket list” and I want to see her in some foreign city!

Call it wanderlust!

How comfortable are you attending concerts with 100% capacity later this year?

I’m ready for us to safely travel again. However, it may still be a while for international travel.

At this point, only 2.8% of the world is fully vaccinated!

REBA ANNOUNCEMENT

Oh, back to Reba! When she announced the postponement of her summer arena tour, she also dropped something that made me very happy!

Yes, new music!!!!!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

My two most highly anticipated movies this year are “Halloween Kills” (October 15, 2021) and Netflix and Zack Snyder’s “Army of The Dead” (May 21, 2021).

I’m excited for two reasons: (1) it’s about zombies and (2) it’s set in Las Vegas!

Let’s just hope the excitement for me when I visit in June is winning big bucks (or breaking even) — no explosions or zombies, please!

The full trailer is now out and if you love Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”, take a look and listen!

RIP JIM STEINMAN

Earlier this week, the same day that Vice President Mondale died, the rock music world lost a legendary producer.

Jim Steinman produced some of the biggest hits in pop and rock music including Bonnie Tyler’s four week #1 smash “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in 1983 and Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) in 1993, that topped the charts in 28 countries, including five weeks in the U.S., and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, which hit #2 in 1996.

He also wrote and produced my favorite Air Supply song from 1983, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All”. It peaked at #2 for three weeks behind Bonnie Tyler’s “Eclipse”!

“ANOTHER ROUND”

Earlier this week, I checked out the 2020 Danish movie “Druk” (which means “binge drinking”) on Hulu.

While most of you haven’t heard of it, it’s actually nominated for two Oscars this year, including Thomas Vinterberg for Best Director.

My interest in the movie is that it stars Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal”).

It’s the story of four high school teachers in Denmark going through mid-life crises.

They decide to do an experiment with alcohol, since a leading psychiatrist believes that an alcohol blood content level of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed.

They test the theory and push it to the limits.

While a very interesting movie, I probably wouldn’t watch it again. However, the final scene is amazing!

Spoiler Alert: The captured image above is part of that incredible last scene.

GRADE: B

MORE MADS

If you love Mads Mikkelsen and you’re going through “Hannibal” withdrawals like me, check out “Arctic”, my #9 movie of 2019.

Awesome movie!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “There were thousands of complaints of sexual abuse at migrant shelters during the Trump years. Not to say what’s going on now is right, but we couldn’t find one instance of you complaining & calling that out when President Trump was president.”

“ME”

I’ve read several book about and from Elton John, but his 2019 autobiography, “Me”, is by far the best!

I absolutely loved this book and I’d highly recommend it.

I was very intrigued about what he had to say about Michael Jackson (“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”) and Tina Turner.

In 1997, he and Tina had planned to tour together but found her very difficult to work with. His band called her a “f**king nightmare” and Elton agreed!

Elton says she called him at home and told him, “She didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like the color of my piano – which for some reason had to be white – and she didn’t like my clothes.” And, then Elton says, she added, “You wear too much Versace, and it makes you look fat – you need to wear Armani.” 

I loved that he and Rod Stewart have female nicknames for each other.

And, I was so touched when he told the story of how he and his husband, David Furnish, met in October 1993. (Elton was feeling down, so he called a friend and said bring others over for a dinner party before they went out to celebrate Halloween. David was one of the people his friend brought along to dinner!)

He and David are now the dads of 10-year-old Zachary and 8-year-old Elijah.

Since I haven’t had a date in more than two years, I should try that when the “new normal” post-pandemic world begins!

Also, I was curious about what he’d have to say about Madonna.

If I recall correctly, Elton mentioned her four times and three were positive. The other time he spoke of Madonna was about his anger toward her and he said he apologized to her!

THE NIGHT I SPENT WITH ELTON JOHN

Ha! That’s just tease writing! I never spent the night with Elton John — just the evening! 🙂

For my birthday weekend in 2012, I had tickets to see Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas.

Earlier that year, Sir Elton John was forced to cancel nine shows due to health reasons and it was announced in the summer that he would make up those dates in October.  But, I didn’t have tickets.

As luck would have it, just hours after arriving in Las Vegas, I searched ebay one last time and found fantastic rear orchestra seats for a great price. And, just like that, two hours later I was sitting there waiting for the show to begin!

I’ve always been a fan of Elton’s from the days of my childhood and his poppy ’70s songs, the fun, yet sometimes, moody hits of the ’80s, the more mature themed music of the ’90s when radio began to move away from playing his new songs (except for “The Lion King” and his tribute to Princess Diana), to his recent adult contemporary fare.

Elton closed out his 19-song set with his award-winning “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.

It was two hours of pure gold entertainment!!! 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE ELTON

In January 2018, Elton announced his final “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour that would play more than 300 shows worldwide.

The North American leg kicked off that September and ran through March 2019 and then moved to Europe for the summer and then back to North America though November. The show moved “down under” to Australia and New Zealand from late 2019 to March 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the tour and the world!

Dates are now rescheduled and the tour is expected to resume in Europe on September 1, 2021, and return to the U.S. and Canada in January 2022 for 43 shows through April!

MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONGS

On the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., Elton has scored 58 Top 40 hits. Of those, 27 reached the Top 10 with 19 making it to the Top Five. Nine reached #1!

And, he’s had even more hits on the American Adult Contemporary charts. He’s scored 74 Top 40 hits with 40 of them making the Top 10 and 33 of those reaching the Top Five! Eighteen topped the charts!

So, it was so hard narrowing the list down….

“I’M STILL STANDING”

“THE LAST SONG”

“SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)”

“EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)”

“I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES”

What’s your favorite Elton song?

If you want to see the full blog and my other 15 favorite Elton John songs, here it is! (It should open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/04/20/finding-my-next-love-with-help-from-elton-john/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Finding My Next Love With Help From Elton John?

Forget online dating and phone apps, I may have learned how to end my two-year dating drought and find the love of my life.

If that turns out to be the case, I owe it all to Elton John and his 2019 autobiography, “Me”, that I just got around to reading.

While I’ve read other books about Elton, I absolutely loved this book because it’s in Elton’s own words and from his heart. I’d highly recommend it.

Other than our gayness, there’s two others things Elton and I have in common — analyzing music charts and our love of statistics!

I was very intrigued about what he had to say about Michael Jackson (“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”) and Tina Turner.

In 1997, he and Tina had planned to tour together but he found working with her very difficult. His band called her a “f**king nightmare” and Elton agreed!

Elton says she called him at home and told him, “She didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like the color of my piano – which for some reason had to be white – and she didn’t like my clothes.” And, then Elton says, she added, “You wear too much Versace, and it makes you look fat – you need to wear Armani.” 

I loved that he and Rod Stewart have female nicknames for each other.

And, I was so touched when he told the story of how he and his now husband, David Furnish-John, met in October 1993.

I don’t want to spoil it for you in case you decide to read “Me”.

It’s very clever and it’d be up my alley when I finally get to meet people socially in Decatur, Illinois, now that I’m fully vaccinated from COVID-19!

Sir Elton and David, who have now been together for almost 28 years, are the dads of 10-year-old Zachary and 8-year-old Elijah.

Also, I was curious about what he’d have to say about Madonna.

Elton is not one to hold his tongue and he’s said some mean-spirited things about Madonna in the past about her live performances and her beef with Lady Gaga over “Born This Way” being “reductive”.

If I recall correctly, Elton mentioned her four times in the book and three were positive. The other time he spoke of Madonna was about his anger toward her over Gaga and he said he apologized to her!

I SPENT THE NIGHT WITH ELTON JOHN!

Ha! That’s just tease writing! I never spent the night with Elton John — just the evening! 🙂

For my birthday weekend in 2012, I had tickets to see Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas.

Earlier that year, Sir Elton John was forced to cancel nine shows due to health reasons and it was announced he’d make up those dates in October.  But, I didn’t have tickets.

As luck would have it, just hours after arriving in Las Vegas, I searched ebay one last time and found fantastic rear orchestra seats for a great price. And, just like that, two hours later I was sitting there waiting for the show to begin!

I’ve always been a fan of Elton’s from the days of my childhood and his poppy ’70s songs, the fun, yet sometimes, moody hits of the ’80s, the more mature themed music of the ’90s when radio began to move away from playing his new songs (except for “The Lion King” and his tribute to Princess Diana), to his recent adult contemporary fare.

When the lights went down and the stage lit up, Elton John had arrived and he opened with “The Bitch Is Back”. For the next two hours, he would perform some of his biggest hits of the 1970’s:  “Bennie and the Jets”, “Rocket Man”, “Levon”, “Tiny Dancer”, “Your Song”, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Philadelphia Freedom”, “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me”, and “Crocodile Rock”.

After that decade, the selections became more scarce.  He performed “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” and “I’m Still Standing” from the 1980s.

Elton closed out his 19-song set with his award-winning “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.

It was two hours of pure gold entertainment!!!  Sir Elton John sounded great and was in a fantastic mood telling some really touching stories about his past, his collaborations, the friends he has lost (Ryan White, Lady Diana, and Elizabeth Taylor), and some naughty stories (John Lennon) and he did make one, very funny Madonna reference.

While talking about his glitzy Yahama piano, Elton said that the company went all out with the construction of the piano.  He said they even installed an aquarium on the front of it so if he got bored, he could watch the fish.  He then said that we could see fish and through optical illusions, the sides of the piano changed like his background and we saw fish swimming.

At that point, he said the fish reminded him of Madonna.  All of the sudden, a small gasp could be heard from the well-informed, and he hushed us, saying that he and Madonna have made up and that they met for dinner in France, “I hugged her and she kicked me in the balls”.  The crowd loved it!

Sir Elton John, you were simply amazing and I’m glad I got to spend two hours of my 2012 birthday weekend with you.

After seeing the show, I bought his “The Red Piano” DVD from his 2004-2009 Las Vegas residency. And, can you believe, nine years later, I still haven’t watched it? But, I will soon!

LAST CHANCE TO SEE ELTON

In January 2018, Elton announced his final “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour that would play more than 300 dates worldwide.

The North American leg kicked off that September and ran through March 2019 and then moved to Europe for the summer and then back to North America though November.

The show moved “down under” to Australia and New Zealand in late 2019 to March 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the tour and the world!

Dates are now rescheduled and the tour is expected to resume in Europe on September 1, 2021, and return to the U.S. and Canada in January 2022 for 43 shows through April!

Maybe I should see Elton one more time and buy tickets to his St. Louis, Missouri, show on March 30, 2022!!!

ELTON JOHN’S AMERICAN CHART SUCCESS

Do you know how difficult it is to narrow down decades of Elton John hits to pick your twenty favorite? Think about it for a moment.

On the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., Elton has scored 58 Top 40 hits. Of those, 27 reached the Top 10 with 19 making it to the Top Five. Nine reached #1!

And, he’s had even more hits on the American Adult Contemporary charts. He’s scored 74 Top 40 hits with 40 of them making the Top 10 and 33 of those reaching the Top Five!

Eighteen topped the charts (and seven more of those Top Five hits stalled at #2. I’d be firing some people in the office for not getting them to #1! Just Kidding!!!)

MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONGS

So with all those hits and all that pressure, here are my 20 favorite Elton John songs!

Once you listen and look at my list, tell me your favorites!

“ISLAND GIRL”

“MAMA CAN’T BUY YOU LOVE”

“CROCODILE ROCK”

“SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD”

“DON’T GO BREAKING MY HEART” (WITH RUPAUL)

“STEP INTO CHRISTMAS”

“SACRIFICE”

“ROCKET MAN”

“LITTLE JEANNIE”

“DON’T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME” (WITH GEORGE MICHAEL)

“KISS THE BRIDE”

“PHILADELPHIA FREEDOM”

“DANIEL”

“BLUE EYES”

“THE ONE”

“I’M STILL STANDING”

“THE LAST SONG”

“SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)”

“EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)”

“I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES”

Thank you Elton John for the decades of music and memories and for the beautiful story of your life in “Me”!

Enjoy the rest of the farewell tour and maybe I’ll see you in St. Louis!

Afterwards, enjoy your family, your retirement, and keep making music for fun!

Love and Peace!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 20, 2020

Happy Holidays and thank you for taking the time to check out what’s on my mind this week.

While I have a couple of more blogs to posts in December, I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts” until January!

Happy Thanksgiving and Season’s Greetings!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

THANKSGIVING FORECAST

COVID DINING FOR ONE

In these unsettling times, we just need something adorable and cute to make us forget everything else for a few monents.

This is how Atlanta-based writer Angela Hansberger deals with things. She arranged a pop-up restaurant for this cute little chipmunk she named “Thelonious Munk”.

She says it arrives daily to feast on “fun-sized sushi, almond crust pizza, and intricately-prepared micro tacos.”

“THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7”

“The Whole World Is Watching!”

It’s sad that a movie about the riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago resonates so strongly in the United States in 2020!

The movie and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay and directing are definite shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.

While there are many compelling performances, I think Yahya Abdul-Mateer II, as Bobby Seale, National Chairman of the Black Panther Party, has the best chance of getting a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Seale was the eighth defendant and not part of the “Chicago 7”.

The Whole World Is STILL Watching!

GRADE: A

“DISCO” UPDATE

Last week, I raved on how awesome the new Kylie Minogue album, “Disco”, is and I guess I’m not alone.

It debuted at #1 in the U.K. and is the biggest selling album of 2020 in its opening week.

By topping the chart, it’s now Kylie’s eighth #1 album there. She rules supreme as the artist with the most chart toppers — more than Elton John, George Michael, and Cliff Richard!

And, she becomes the first female artist in the U.K. to top the Official Charts in five consecutive decades!!! Kylie’s had a #1 album in the ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s, and the ’20s!

This is one of my favorite songs from the album, “Where Does the DJ Go?”!

“I AM WOMAN”

I finally got around to watching the Helen Reddy biopic based on her life and her signature hit.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey was amazing as Helen and Danielle MacDonald was great in a limited role.

Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”) was also great as Helen’s manager and loser of a husband, Jeff Wald. (And, I’ll add “loser” in relation to Helen’s life and career. He may be in a much better place these days!)

I only have one complaint about the movie and it’s a small one.

The movie moves along so quickly that it made it sound like the anthemic song, “I Am Woman” was a smash out of the gates at Top 40 radio in America.

That wasn’t the case. The album version was released and it flopped. The song was re-recorded and then it became iconic.

But, that’s just nitpicking!

GRADE: B+

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFTS

Since this is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2020, I’ll include a few early thoughts about Christmas.

Now that I’m much older I don’t want or need Christmas gifts (unless it’s homemade desserts). But, I have four Christmas presents that still stand out as my favorites in my life.

As a child, the first toy I can remember asking for and getting was a red cash register like this one.

I’m sure playing with money as a youngster helped me excel in math and money management today!

My favorite Christmas present growing up was a Panasonic tape recorder that I got in 1976.

I spent hours listening to the radio recording songs, making montages, and I remembering making a “Hurricane Allen” tape as the storm hit Texas in 1980.

The first song I ever recorded was “You Don’t Have To Be A Star (To Be In My Show)”, which hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it won a Grammy for Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

And, while Christmas 1990 was a sad one since my mother, Dessie, died in early November of that year, I’ll always remember my presents.

My mother had already put our Christmas presents in layaway.  I had chosen a $30 stone-washed denim jacket at Wal-Mart and the VHS (yes, VHS!) copy of “Pretty Woman”.

After my mother died, my lovely sister, Tammy, got those things out of layaway for me.

I still have that jacket and I’ll cherish it forever!

JAPANESE CHRISTMAS DRINK

Here are a couple of fun looking Japanese holiday drinks.

The first one (from 2019) is a Christmas Tree Latte from the Italian Coffee chain Segafredo.

It was light on the coffee and cream based and sweet like eggnog. On top of a mound of whipped cream were colorful, fruity balls that popped in your mouth!

And, here’s a Japanese Starbucks drink this year. Yum!

It’s red raspberry-flavored meringue/cheesecake pieces and white chocolate shavings topped with lots of whipped cream to create a classic red-and-white Christmas color palette.

AND, THANKS ALDI!

For this Christmas, we’ll be enjoying this Eggnog Wine treat that I picked up at Aldi.

It’s marketed as “a blend of white wine, egg yolk, festive spices, and finest cream!

“THIS IS HOW WE JEW IT”

If you loved “Chow Down (At Chick-Fil-A)” I shared a few weeks ago, let’s celebrate Hanukkah early!

This is from the 2015 holiday album, “Christmas Queens”.

Detox Icunt is amazing and so is this adorably cute Jewish boy!

Oh, how I’d love to be back in Tel Aviv, Israel again!

“FULL SERVICE”

This 2012 book by Scotty Bowers was subtitled, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars”.

Some of the gay people that Bowers wrote about were Vincent Price, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and Randolph Scott. He also shared very dirty stories about composer Cole Porter.

Since all of the big stars that Bowers dished on are dead, I’m just a little skeptical on how much of his stories are true. All of them could be!

Bowers died in the fall of 2019 at the age of 96.

A very toned down version of the book was the premise of Ryan Murphy’s amazing Netflix series, “Hollywood”.

Back in June, here’s what I said of the series, “It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about ‘homophobia’ and ‘racism’ in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!) Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.”

ROYAL NAUGHTINESS

Bowers shared some naughty secrets about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward and American divorcee Wallis Simpson, in his book.

All I know is that Queen Elizabeth II can keep her corgis. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor loved pugs!

He owned at least eleven of them and most were bred in the United States.

Some of their names were “Imp”, “Disraeli”, “Trooper”, “Mr. Chu”, “Rufus”, “Winston”, “Davy Crockett”, “Minoru”, “Ginseng” and “Diamond”.

And, no, my #Pug2021’s name is not on that list! 🙂

AND, SPEAKING OF THE ROYALS…

The new season (four) of “The Crown” is now on Netflix.

While I haven’t watched it yet, I can’t wait to see more of Josh O’Connor (“God’s Own Country”) as Prince Charles.

And, of course, there’s the “chick I’d switch for” — Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher.

P.S. If you haven’t seen “God’s Own Country”, it’s incredible!

It was my #8 movie of 2018.

LEE HARVEY OSWALD IS HOT!

Okay, let me quickly clarify.

Australian actor Daniel Webber, who plays Oswald in “11.22.63”, is hot! 🙂

This 2016 Hulu series is based on a Stephen King novel. In it, James Franco’s character time travels back to 1960 to try and stop the assassination of President Kennedy.

If he does, it’ll change the future.

While this would be great for Kennedy (and America), how would that change everything else in the next 50-plus years?

GRADE: B+

TAKING A BREAK

Happy Holidays, my friends!

AND… LAST CALL… ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD!

This one from 2018 slays and is probably the best “Little Drummer Boy” version ever!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites and a bonus song (the first 45 I ever bought as a kid, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

“DELTA DAWN” (HELEN REDDY) (1973)

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8, 2019

I still have a few blogs to share before the end of the year, but this is the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019.

If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

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

“LOCK HIM UP”

So, at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington D.C. last week, when Donald Trump was introduced, he was booed and “Lock Him Up” was chanted.

Donald Trump Lock Him Up.jpg

Less than a week later, he was booed at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Some say it was disrespectful.

I didn’t think that because it all goes back to what I was taught at a young age — you have to earn respect.

It’s no secret that 45 not only called Hillary Clinton “Crooked”, but he also went along with his cult, oops, his supporters, in saying “Lock Her Up”!

So then, why is it disrespectful now?

APOLOGIZE OR NOT?

A couple of weeks ago, Sevier County (Tennessee) Commissioner Warren Hurst unleashed a rant about 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and current South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (without mentioning him by name).

Hurst Comment

GLAAD, an LGBTQ media monitoring group, asked for an apology.

GLAAD 1.JPG

Pete Buttigieg.jpg

Mayor Pete, a Navy veteran, responded, “Well, he was right about one thing.  He’s right that there is a gay man running for president. He doesn’t seem to be right about much else.”

If GLAAD gets an apology from Hurst, that’s great.  But, sadly, if he does apology, it’d be an empty apology, so why bother!

In the early months of my blog in 2012, I wrote about public figures saying hateful things and then apologizing.

I said, “I’m sure if someone watching the news when I’m doing the weather makes a derogatory comment to their buddy about me, and not my performance, I’d bet that he or she really means it.”

So, if you say it and that’s what you think, saying “sorry” isn’t going to change the hurt behind your ignorance!

You can read the full blog here:

Your Apology Really Doesn’t Mean That Much to Me

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/your-apology-really-doesnt-mean-that-much-to-me/

“MR. ROBOT”

The fourth and final season of the incredible FX series, “Mr. Robot” is airing and we’re down the last eight episodes.

I love the series and I’m so glad the final showdown between Elliot and fsociety and White Rose and the Dark Army is taking place at Christmas, my favorite time of the year!

And, I still cherish this Twitter response from the show’s genius creator, Sam Esmail, after the season three finale!

Mr Robot

“BOMBSHELL”

I absolutely love Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron is incredible!

Throw in John Lithgow as creepy Roger Ailes (played by Russell Crowe on Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice”) and you have a sure fire winner when “Bombshell” opens December 20, 2019.

It’s the story of the sexual harassment lawsuit that threatened to topple Ailes and Fox News!

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than seven weeks away, but next Tuesday night my dear friend, Katie, and I are heading to the movies to see “Last Christmas”, which opens this weekend.

It stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh, both from “Crazy Rich Asians”, alongside Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”).

The romantic comedy/drama is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“COMPOSED”

I just came across Rosanne Cash’s 2010 autobiography, “Composed”, and I have to say it was very enjoyable.

Rosanne Cash Composed.jpg

It was nice reading about her early years in California, the ups and down of her life, her parents’ life, and how she handled the deaths of her mother and her father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash.

I was especially touched by the eulogy she gave at June Carter Cash’s funeral.

It was fun hearing her honest thoughts about her music career and her albums.  Interestingly enough, my favorite album of Rosanne’s was her least favorite! 🙂

Recording “Rhythm and Romance” was a very long process — they started in April 1984 and it wasn’t mastered until April 1985!

Rosanne says, “I still cannot stand to listen to ‘Rhythm and Romance’, even though I think that some of its songs — “Second to No One” and “Halfway House” especially – are among my best to date.”

As Rosanne started charting on the country music charts, I still listened to country.  But, I was moving quickly away from the genre for pop music and dance.

And, because of the pop sound, I admit that “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”, a song that hit #1 and won Rosanne her first Grammy Award, is still my favorite.

Coming in a close second is “Seven Year Ache”.  In 1981, Rosanne reached the top of the country music charts with that song and it became her only crossover hit.  It hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I still love hearing the lines, “The boys say, ‘when is he gonna give us some room’ / The girls say, ‘God I hope he comes back soon'”! 

Classic!

Rosanne scored 22 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Eleven went all the way to #1!

Thank you for the music and the wonderful book, “Composed”!   And, Rosanne, thank you for your activism and not straying away from being political!

I’M (STILL) WITH HER

It’s so hard to think that the 2016 presidential election was ONLY three years ago today!  It seems like an eternity!

Hillary AP

And, it makes me happy, regardless of the outcome, that Rosanne Cash and I were on the same team! 🙂

Rosanne Hillary Clinton.JPG

SCREAMING WOMAN & CAT MEMES

Here’s proof that I don’t always write and think about heavy topics!

For some reason, just the image of the “woman yelling at cat” cracks me up.  And, it’s usually funnier once it’s a meme!

Some are very naughty.  But, this one, by far, is my favorite!

Cat Woman

If you’re not familiar with this (where have you been?), it’s a screenshot of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards from 2011 next to a white cat enjoying a fancy meal.

NEW COCA-COLA FLAVORS!

Just in time for the holidays, Coca-Cola is rolling out two limited edition flavors:  Cinnamon Coca-Cola and Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite.

Cinnamon Coke Winter Spiced Sprite

These will be available through New Year’s Day or while supplies last!

Would you try it?

“THE HATE U GIVE”

I finally got around to seeing this 2018 movie about a young lady witnessing the shooting of her unarmed best friend, who’s black, by a white police officer.

Amandla Stenberg is amazing as 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in a crime-ridden, poor area, but attends a mostly white private prep school.

She’s at a party where a fight breaks out and shots are fired.  People quickly leave before police arrive.  Starr is given a ride home from her childhood friend, Khalil.

They pull over away from the party and talk about their childhood, Harry Potter, his sick grandmother, and the path he’s taken in life.  As they pull back onto the street, they’re stopped by a white police officer.

Khalil is shot dead in front of her.

Now, Starr has to bottle up her feelings about the tragedy and hide her identity at her private school — even as she decides to go public in a television interview about the incident with police.

My favorite scene was between Starr and her uncle, a black policeman (Common).

Ironically, this same topic (white police officers pulling over an unarmed black family) was highlighted recently on Fox’s “9-1-1”.

GRADE:  B+

“YESTERDAY”

This is a cute musical about struggling musician Jack Malik who wakes up after being injured in an accident caused by a global blackout.  He also learns that it’s now a world where no one has heard of The Beatles!

As he tries to remember all the Beatles lyrics and songs to recreate them, he becomes an international superstar.  He’s right up there with Ed Sheeran, who stars in the movie.

Himesh Patel is great as Malik in this Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) directed movie!

GRADE:  B

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD” 

Believe it or not, this is not about “that man”! 🙂

Trump

The second season of the critically acclaimed British dark comedy series, “The End of the F***ing World” premiered on Netflix earlier this week.

If you didn’t see the first season, here’s what I said about it in August 2018, “If you’re looking for something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:  ‘I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.’

Here’s the trailer for the first season.

GRADE:  B

“STAND BY YOUR MAN”

I just read Tammy Wynette’s 1979 autobiography in an original paperback that was discolored and falling apart.

Tammy Wynette.JPG

What an interesting life she lead!

The book ended in the late-1970s after the height of her popularity, on her fifth and final husband, and many hospital stays — and she was on in her 30s!

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

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

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

“REACHING FOR GLORY:  LYNDON JOHNSON’S SECRET WHITE HOUSE TAPES, 1964-1965”

This 2001 book by Michael Beschloss actually starts in December 1963 with a Prologue called “Jackie, I Love You”.

It’s a series of privately recorded telephone conversations between President Johnson (by Johnson) and Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of his predecessor John F. Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson Beschloss.JPG

The book mostly covered Johnson’s 1964 campaign against Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona and his first two years in office (1964 and 1965).

While there were many interesting conversations, the ones about a scandal weeks before the 1964 presidential election intrigued me the most.

Walter Jenkins, Special Assistant to the President, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct with another man (oral sex) in a public restroom in Washington, D.C. just weeks before the 1964 election.

Back then, it was thought that gays were a security risk knowing highly sensitive government information. Incorrectly, it was believed they were more likely to be blackmailed and spill the U.S. government’s secrets!

Hoover Johnson.jpg

What I found humorous is a chat between President Johnson and closet case FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Johnson:  “They raised the question of the way he combed his hair…”

Hoover:  “It’s just… that his mannerisms… were suspicious.”

And, Johnson, knowing the rumors of Hoover being a “secret homosexual”, wins with this line to Hoover:  “I guess you are going to have to teach me something about this stuff… I swear I can’t recognize them.  I don’t know anything about them.”

To which Hoover replies:  “It’s that you just can’t tell sometimes.”

I guess “gaydar” wasn’t perfected back in the 1960s!

Another interesting tidbit:  Analyzing the results of his landslide victory in 1964, but losing five states in the South because of his support for the Civil Rights legislation, Johnson said in a conversation, “Louisiana’s a bunch of crooks, and Mississippi’s too ignorant to know any better, and Alabama’s the same way.  But Georgia knows better.”

X-RATED LBJ

Another story this book touches on is rather infamous in President Johnson’s circle.

Lyndon Johnson.jpg

Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations, told of the time that someone asked the President why America was in Vietnam, Johnson “unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, ‘This is why!'”

Could you just imagine????????

A FINAL JOHNSON THOUGHT

Johnson Johnson.JPG

It’s very interesting that two vice presidents named Johnson — Lyndon and Andrew — became President of the United States after their Commander in Chiefs, Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and John F. Kennedy in 1963, were assassinated!

Lincoln Kennedy.JPG

And, civil rights for blacks were a major part of Lincoln, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s presidencies about a century apart with the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), the Civil Rights Act (1964), and the Voting Rights Act (1965)!

“ROCKETMAN”

The acting in “Rocketman” was incredible.  Taron Egerton was amazing as Elton John and I love Elton’s music, but I thought this movie was a mess!

Unlike the far more superior “Bohemian Rhapsody”, this movie seems very thrown together.

But, people went to see it.  The $40 million movie brought in $193.4 million at the box office!

GRADE: C+

“9 to 5”

It’s hard to believe that it took almost forty years, but I finally watched the comedy classic, “9 to 5”.

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, the December 1980 movie brought in $103.3 million on a $10 million budget.

Parton and Fonda both confirmed in 2018 that a sequel featuring them (and Tomlin) was in the works.

By the way, Dolly Parton’s #1 Billboard Hot 100 and Country single was nominated for a Best Song Oscar and she won two Grammy awards!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 9, 2018

It’s time for another one of my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

I want to thank all of you for the beautiful words about Miss ABBA and Mr. Panda last  week on the anniversaries of their crossing over the “Rainbow Bridge”.

I’ll tell you that the first few days of February have not been kind to me over the years with the passing of ABBA, Panda, the end of my relationship, and the death of Karen Carpenter.

However, I promise you, my friends, at this time next year, I’ll still remember those beautiful pets, but I’ll have an exit plan in place for getting out of this misery I’m in and God-willing, I’ll have an exit date!

With that in mind, here’s what I’m thinking this week!

CHILD VACCINATIONS

While not totally related, this year’s high rate of the flu has me thinking about vaccinations, specifically childhood vaccinations.

Capture

I know there are parents out there that don’t vaccinate their children for religious reasons and some because they fear that childhood shots may cause autism.

I’m one of those that firmly believes that every child in school should have all of the doctor-recommended shots.

Children are susceptible to so many viruses and diseases anyways, why not give them every chance to be as healthy as possible?

Your thoughts on mandatory childhood vaccinations?

RICKY MARTIN IS NOW A MARRIED MAN

Ricky Martin is off the market, guys (and gals).

The sexy Latin pop star and star of the current FX series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” married his Syrian-Swedish painter boyfriend of three years, Jwan Yosef.

Capture

Martin, the father of two, wants people to see him, Jwan, and the kids as normal.

He tells “Out” magazine, “I want people to look at me and see a family and say, ‘There’s nothing wrong with that.’ It’s part of my mission.  It’s part of my kids’ mission as well.  My kids ask me about having two daddies and I tell them we are a part of a modern family.  This is a beautiful sense of freedom.”

After reading Martin’s autobiography, “Me”, here’s what I had to say if you want to learn more about him.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/me-personifies-ricky-martins-compassionate-life/

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Donut Mania, a specialty shop, in Las Vegas is offering the ultimate dessert through Valentine’s Day — gold-decorated donuts.

Capture.JPG

The treats are made with edible 24-karat gold leaf and dust.  If that wasn’t decadent enough, the fabulosity factor goes higher since the deep-fried dough is infused with sparkling Perrier-Jouët Champagne!

If you’re heading to Vegas soon, these shiny donuts will set you back $15 each and they have to be pre-ordered.

Too extravagant for you?  They have countless others available, too!

Donut 3

FINISHED READING BOOKS 1 & 2

As I blogged before, now that I’m finished with boxes of old “Rolling Stone” and “Time” magazines, I read “Front Row At The White House” by UPI news correspondent Helen Thomas.

Capture1

It was a great read with her stories of the eight presidents (and First Ladies) she covered through 1999 from John & Jacqueline Kennedy to Bill & Hillary Clinton.

Christmas In Plains

I also read “Christmas In Plains” by my idol, Former President Jimmy Carter.  I read this small, but inspiring book every holiday season.

LAUGHTER TO KEEP FROM CRYING (OR CUSSING)

Leading up to the 2016 presidential election, I was pretty vocal about the candidates and since that fateful night, I’ve worked very hard to say as little as possible about “that man”.  It is what it is and what can I do until the mid-term elections in 2018 and the next election in 2020.

But, with the amazing Oscar-nominated Jessica Chastain as Vernoica Elders, I’m still laughing and watching this “Saturday Night Live” skit again and again.

Really, “What Even Matters Anymore!”  While sad that this is true, Chastain is freaking funny!

ENTERTAINMENT TAKES ON 45

Many television shows are taking on Donald Trump.

There’s the incredible third season of USA’s “Mr. Robot” where this interaction played out…

Zhang (who’s also “Whiterose”), China’s Minster of State Security, tells the right wing TV host Frank Cody: “I may have a potential candidate for president I want you to back.” (with “that man” on the television).

mr-robot-whiterose-trump

Cody:  <nervous laugh> “Look, the country’s desperate right now, but you can’t be serious.  I mean the guy’s a buffoon.  He’s completely divorced from reality.  How would you even control him?” 

Zhang (Whiterose):  “If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance anyway you desire!”

And, then there’s “The X-Files”.

In the eleventh season, actions and comments of #45 have been mentioned (without calling him by name) several times, especially “fake news”.

They

In a recent comical episode, Mulder meets with the mysterious “Dr. They”, who tells the FBI agent that his time has passed.  He adds that these days, we don’t even know what the truth means and that no one really cares if it gets out.

A more potent, yet much less subtle, bash is when a spaceship landed and the alien leader told Mulder and Scully that they were cutting ties with Earth.

They were going to build a wall around the solar system because our race is made up of liars and we accuse them of bringing in drugs and crime.  But, the alien did say that not all of us are bad!

And, #45, every time you bring up the expression “Crooked Hillary”, think of this:

Capture2

That replaced “The Truth Is Out There” opening earlier this season.

ANOTHER MR. ROBOT THOUGHT

After the season three finale, I got a tweet back from the show’s mastermind and creator Sam Esmail.Mr Robot

ELTON IS READY TO SAY GOODBYE

The “Rocket Man” Elton John is saying “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, but not before sharing the love with his fans one last time.

Elton

A couple of weeks ago, the 70-year-old music icon announced his massive farewell tour — 300 cities over three years!

Elton promises an over-the-top production with dates in the U.S., Europe (May 2019), South America, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Comically, he added that when he’s done, he’s done, “I’m not Cher, even though I like wearing her clothes — this is the end.”

Elton LasVegas

I saw him in Las Vegas on my birthday weekend in 2012 and he was incredible.

OH, KEN, YOU SCARE ME!

34-year-old Rodrigo Alves is a Brazilian born social media celebrity.  However, he’s known as the “Human Ken Doll”.

FLYNET - Exclusive: Rodrigo Alves On A Shopping Spree In London

Holy hell, I don’t think so!

I had many fantasies as a kid of a human version of the Mattel “Ken” doll, but he didn’t look like that.

He looked more like this!

ken doll

Okay, back to Alves.  He finally found a doctor to reduce his waistline from 26″ to 20″ by removing four “floating ribs”!

This is a creepy and shocking television interview with him.

Okay, I’m not a mental health expert.   But, when it comes to finding plastic surgeons to perform these elaborate works of human body massacre, how does he pass psychological evaluations or do they even do them?

As a recovery food addict, I fought body image issues for much of my 20s.  However, I never once thought of doing anything like this!

No wonder Barbie is more independent!

SPEAKING OF BARBIE…

1959 — Barbie hit stores and pundits said the toy would fail.  Mattel sold 300,000 of the $3 dolls within a year.

1963 — The Barbie Baby-Sits debuted with a book titled “How to Lose Weight”.  It recommended, “Don’t eat.”  Nice going, Mattel!

1970 — National Organization for Women stage the “Women’s Strike for Equality” with signs reading, “I Am Not a Barbie Doll”.

1980 — Multi-cultural versions of Barbie are introduced, but critics blasted them because their features were Caucasian.

1992 — A new talking Barbie declares “Math class is tough!”.  This didn’t go over well.

2004 — Barbie and Ken break-up.  They had been companions since 1961.  However, they reunited seven years later.

“BARBIE GIRL”

In 1997, if you listened to pop radio, you couldn’t escape “Barbie Girl” by the Danish group Aqua.

The song peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, but it topped the charts in more than a dozen countries.

With lyrics like “I’m a blond bimbo girl, in a fantasy world” and “Make me walk, make me talk, do whatever you please/I can act like a star, I can beg on my knees”, Mattel wasn’t pleased.  It unsuccessfully sued the group.

PICK HIT

Troye Sivan is racing up the chart with his latest hit, “My My My”, the first single from his new album.  The name of the disc and the release date are still unknown.

Two years ago, Sivan had my #2 song of 2016 with “Youth” and last year, he made my year-end Top 20 list with Martin Garrix on “There For You”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony