Posts Tagged ‘gay’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 14, 2016

The weekend is almost here.  You know I love my weekends and I start counting down to them when I walk into work Monday mornings.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  I think about a lot of things and writing not only gives me an avenue to express myself, but it gives me a chance to process all of the things that are happening in the world.

So, bear with me this week even if you’re over this year’s circus of a presidential election.

I also have random thoughts that are not about politics.  But, I feel it’s worth mentioning.

As always, if you disagree with me, just do it diplomatically.

SECOND DEBATE HIGHS AND LOWS

Here’s a shocker — I’ll say a nice thing about Donald Trump.

He did better in last Sunday’s debate. However, he also did a better job of showing he knows nothing about the job of president!

When asked repeatedly about what he’d do in Syria, he ranted and raved for minutes without ever answering the question.  I swear he thought they said, “cereal”.  It confused him and he didn’t know what to say — like most of what he said all night!

He did have one nice thing to say about Hillary before saying he didn’t agree with much of what she said.

dt-hillary-fighter

TELL HIM THE WAY IT IS!

My favorite celebrity tweet of the night came from Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and so many more ABC hits.

shonda

Look on the bright side, it’s all over in just a little over three week!  Get out and vote!

SHE SAID WHAT(!) IN THE BEST QUOTE OF THE WEEK 

Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro made headlines last week in the wake of Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood” secret recording degrading women.

In 2005, he was recorded boasting that because he was a celebrity, he could kiss anyone he wanted and could even grab their p***y.

In this video, Navarro shocked television censors when she stood up to Trump bobble head Scottie Nell Hughes.

Warning:  This is not censored like my statement three lines up!

Kudos to you Ana.  Speak the truth.  Sometimes that’s harder to swallow for some!

EARLIER THIS WEEK, I HAD MUCH MORE TO SAY…

Since my thoughts here are random and I don’t want to write chapters, I posted a blog about the Donald Trump and Billy Bush scandal and what it meant to me earlier this week.

bush-trump

If you missed it Wednesday, here it is (if you click on this link, it’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place here.)

Donald & Billy’s “Locker Room Talk”

Since I posted that blog on Wednesday, I’ve gotten great feedback.  Not everyone agrees with me, but we have that right.  As I said above, you can disagree, just do it diplomatically.

ANOTHER  BIRTHDAY 

On Thursday, I celebrated another birthday.

It was a low-key affair.  We’ll be celebrating with dinner and cake next week when my sister, Tammy, and Gretel are with us.

As I celebrate another year of life, I think back to my favorite birthdays.

Let’s see, there was my 50th, two years ago, sipping champagne at the Moulin Rogue after a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower after a dinner cruise on the Seine River.  Thanks Ray!

AP R Moulin

After that, it was on to Tel Aviv, Israel, one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited.

In 2012, we were in Vegas and I saw Madonna on the “MDNA Tour”.

AnthonyMadonna

And, of course, I’ll always cherish my birthday in 2011.  It was the last one with my golden retriever, ABBA, my best friend.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

Finally, while I don’t remember it, here’s a photo of my first birthday celebration in 1965.

October 13 1965

Not bad for a premature baby born six weeks early weighing only four pounds before dropping down to three pounds and spending the first six weeks of his life in the hospital!

LOBSTERS 

No, I’m not talking about the movie, “The Lobster”, even though it was a great movie with Colin Farrell and Ben Whishaw.

This is about the lobsters that sadly find themselves one day swimming in the ocean and then on plates served with drawn butter.

lobster

I was reading an article in “Coastal Living” and I learned that regardless of their original color, lobsters turn red when cooked!  The exception is the albino (white) lobster that remains white.

By the way, some other lobsters colors include red, yellow, blue, and blue-green.  As you’ll see in this video, some of those are VERY RARE.

See, my thoughts are random!

“EMPIRE”

The cast of Fox’s “Empire” have something to say about the upcoming election.

But, where’s Terrence Howard????

COULD THE ELECTION BE RIGGED?

Donald Trump supporters definitely think so.

Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee sent two correspondents out to get to the bottom of the latest conspiracy!

As you see, this only applies if Hillary Clinton wins the election!

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL

Back in my “Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015” blog, here’s what I wrote about Paula Hawkins’ amazing debut novel, “The Girl on the Train”.

The Girl on the Train

“This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE

Last Friday, the movie adaptation of the book came out in theaters.  It debuted at #1 in the United States with $24.5 million.  It’s global opening weekend box office draw was $41.2 million.

From book to movie, the location was changed from London to New York City.  This also meant that Rachel’s drink of choice had to be changed.

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

Sadly, there were no gin and tonics in a can on the train.  I won’t tell you what her movie drink is — spoilers. 🙂

I sure hope when the Oscar nominations are announced in early 2017 that Emily Blunt’s name is on the list.

Blunt, as Rachel, was so compelling, sad, and heartbreaking.  I teared up when she took her first sip on the train.

Haley Bennett (Megan) was also a strong force in the movie.

If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie.  For me, it started out a little slow.  That’s because I read the book.  However, the pace quickly picked up.

If you haven’t read the book, this is one psychological thriller/drama that you’ll definitely want to see.

GRADE – “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE:  A-

GRADE- “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL:   A

“TIMELESS”

Time travel as a premise for a television series is not a new idea.  The new NBC series, “Timeless” is the latest to take this on.

In the premiere episode, a time machine that the government was unaware of (shock!) was stolen by an evil man (Goran Visnjic).

A ragtag trio consisting of a college history professor, a soldier, and a scientist working for the company that created the time machine are brought together to track him down.

I admit that the promos and print ads featuring the very sexy Matt Lanter caught my attention first.  I took notice of the show and its premise.

After the premiere, which took us back to 1937 and the Hindenburg explosion, and the second episode (Lincoln’s assassination in 1865), I’m hooked on the show.

It’s still early in the run, so you have a chance to catch up.

“HOLDING THE MAN”

This Australian romantic drama film was released late last year and is based on a 1995 memoir by Timothy Conigrave, an Australian actor, writer, and activist.

It tells the story of his life with his partner, John, from the time they met in high school in the 1970s to John’s death in the early 1990s.

It’s not too often these days to see a gay movie with a central plot line centered around AIDS.  Today, it’s more about coming-of-age or marriage equality.

But, other than vital to their lives and the decades it covered, it’s important in 2016 to see this story line.  People are still getting infected daily from HIV and people die daily from AIDS.

Younger men and women, whether LGBTQ or not, are becoming less familiar with the AIDS epidemic that took so many of our loved ones and friends in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Holding The Man” is not just a AIDS movie.  It’s a love story and a touching one and the lead actors, Ryan Corr and Craig Stott, are adorable as a couple.

GRADE:  A-

PICK HIT

Kelsey Waldon is from Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, just down the road from where I grew up in Mayfield.

She was one of six artists that “Entertainment Weekly” featured as up-and-comers, ” The New Queens of Country” in a recent magazine article.  Last week, I featured Margo Price.

If you like real, traditional country music, then you’re going to love “I’ve Got A Way”.

Listening to Waldon, I couldn’t help but imagine this collection of songs sung by another of Kentucky’s icons, Loretta Lynn.

So, until my favorite Kentuckian Patty Loveless releases another album, I’ll enjoy Waldon’s debut and maybe check out the newly recorded Christmas collection from Loretta Lynn, “White Christmas Blue”.

FINAL BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS

To all of you that took the time out of your day to send me birthday wishes, thank you very much.  I appreciate each and every one and I hope I responded to all of you.

Here are a couple more that I got — one by mail and one by email.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen them! 🙂

jc bd

Hillary BD.jpg

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 17, 2016

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

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

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

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

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

Pulse

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

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

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

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

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

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

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

hate

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

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

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

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

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

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

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

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

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

Church Fire

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

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

GUN CONTROL

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

Gun Control

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

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

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

AR-15

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

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

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

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

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

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

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

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

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

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

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

Christmas Was Perfect

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

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

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

LOVE IS LOVE

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

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

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

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

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

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

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

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

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

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

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

Donald LGBT.jpg

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

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

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

Fish Pond

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

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

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

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

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

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

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

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

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

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

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

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

FIRST LADIES

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

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

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

First Ladies.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

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

Eli Lieb Facebook

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

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

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

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

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

THAT’S IT

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

Take care of yourself and those around you.

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

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Deadly Gay Nightclub Attack — We’re all “One”

The worst mass shooting in American history took place Saturday night in an Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub called “Pulse”.

In a story that’s still developing as I write this Sunday, Orlando’s mayor says 50 people are dead and another 53 are hurt. (Monday, the total was updated to 49 victims inside the club, plus the shooter.)

Pulse.jpg

This is deadlier than the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 or Sandy Hook five years later.

I pray for each and every person — gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning, or straight — in that nightclub.  I pray for their families and their friends that someone took it upon himself to come into that nightclub to destroy the lives of everyone there and for the people who love them.

This is a disgusting act of cowardliness and it’s a sad expression of where some in humanity stand in life.  It’s pathetic and heartbreaking!

The motive is still unknown as I write this.

If this shooting and mass murder took place because it was a gay nightclub, that compounds an already inhumane act.

Hate is hate!  No one has the right to inflict emotional or physical pain or death upon another person because they think being gay is a sin.

Let God decide that when the time comes.

Learn to be human and talk about your differences or move along down the road in a different walk of life.

PrideFlag

June is the month for Americans to celebrate “Gay Pride”.

It’s a time to celebrate diversity and everything that we in the LGBTQ community has had to fight for in life — from being discriminated against for who we are, to having others neglect them and kick them out of their homes for being different, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Stonewall_Inn_1969

“Gay Pride” was established in 1970 after the Stonewall Riots in New York City in the summer of 1969.

Bar patrons, who already had to hide in the shadows to meet, said to police who came in harassing them on a regular basis, “enough is enough”.

They fought back with bottles, rocks, and whatever they could find to protect themselves. Harassment, even at the hands of police, who demeaned and mocked gay people at the bar, is harassment and is wrong.  (You read can more about the “Stonewall Riots” at the bottom of this blog.  I re-posted my blog from four years ago.)

Stonewall_riots

The “Stonewall Riots” started a revolution!  Gay people could be themselves anywhere in America — whether it be Mayfield, Kentucky,  Pocatello, Idaho, or San Francisco, California.

When America is faced with an act of terrorism, such as the 9/11 attacks in September 2001 or terrorist attacks on a smaller scale, we stand strong in the face of sadness, tears, and blood.

As Gay Pride events take place this month, I hope all our friends embrace the LGBTQ community and look out for us, just as we would do for you — we are one!

I’m thinking of the U2 song, “One” right now and I think it’s appropriate.

I hope America and the world come together at this sad time to open their arms and open their hearts to their brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ community.

We’re human just like you — we love and we want to find love, we work and pay taxes, we’re someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, or co-worker.

And, when some coward charges into a nightclub armed with “an assault-type weapon, a handgun” and “some type of (other) device”, we bleed and die just like the rest of America and the world.

All we want is peace, love, and understanding.

peace_love_understanding

That starts at home, at schools, and at work.  That starts with each one of us.

Please pray for those hurt and killed, their families and friends, and the world.  We all need that prayer now.

Anthony

If you want to read more about the “Stonewall Riots”, I posted this in 2012, so it’s now been 47 years, not 43.

Click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/

Mom — 27 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You

If you’re married and you make it to your silver anniversary or if you work at your job for twenty-five years, you know that you’ll go through a lot of changes — some good and some bad.  But, you achieved that milestone.

Today, my sister, Tammy, and I are marking a more solemn, 25-year anniversary — the death of our wonderful mother, Dessie.  She died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

This picture was taken on Mother’s Day that year.

Dessie 1990

In the past 25 years, there have been so many changes in the world — we now have the internet, cell phones, and in the United States, marriage equality (actually, more general equality than ever before), our first African-American president, and next November, we could very well elect the first woman president.

I know there are people who lose their mother in childhood or during childbirth and grow up not knowing what it’s like to have a mother.  Because of that, I’ll always be grateful that I got to share 26 years in this world with Dessie.

Dessie

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 just two cities.

MSUspring1985

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

Dessie Christmas 1989 Anthony Graduation Picture

I’ll never forget taking my mother to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee, in the spring of 1990.  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 a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne.

While there, I bought my mother the cassette single to Patty Loveless’ #1 hit, “Chains”.  At the time, I didn’t listen to country music.  But, when I started listening to the genre, Patty became one of my favorite singers and I can thank my mother for that.

As grateful as I am for the time we had together, I can’t help but think of the all of the things over the past 25 years that I never got to share with my mother.  There have been so many times in my life that I wanted to grab the phone and share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it.

My mother wasn’t here when I made the big decision, in the summer of 1994, to leave my small town Kentucky life and move to Chicago, the third largest city in America.

Chicago

She wasn’t here to see me start my paid, network-affiliated television weather career in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and then move on to other jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, and Illinois.  She didn’t witness me achieving my childhood dream of becoming a meteorologist and earning my “Seal of Approval” from the National Weather Association.

APWQAD8

My mother didn’t get to meet my best friend and the pride and joy of my life, Miss ABBA.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

My mother was only 20-years-old when her mother, Reba, died of a heart attack.  Less than a year later, she was married and expecting her first child that came prematurely in October 1964.  (Yes, that would be me!)

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

By 1966, she had two children and a stepdaughter and was in an unhappy (and seemingly loveless) marriage with an alcoholic womanizer.

She probably felt she had limited options because people stayed married.  Her paycheck from her minimum wage job provided me and my sister no frills, just the necessities — food and clothing.  But, she never complained about what she didn’t or would never have in life, including medication that may have kept her alive longer.

Dessie

While we didn’t sit around and talk about it, my mother always knew I was gay.  After all, she did buy me the “Colour By Numbers” album by Culture Club for my 19th birthday! 🙂

CultureClubColourByNumbersAlbumcover

Dessie was raised in a backwards, small town, Southern mentality and she was married to a sexist, racist, homophobic alcoholic.  When you add the conservatism of the Reagan era to her fire-and-brimstone-preaching church and the AIDS epidemic that exploded in the 1980s, you can fully understand why we never talked about my sexuality.

In the mid-1980s, when the story of actor Rock Hudson dying of AIDS broke and the disease continued to ravage the gay communtiy, she and most Americans probably thought that every gay person would contract HIV and AIDS and die.  Back then, it was pretty much a death sentence.

HIV AIDS

I became sexually active during that dark time and to this day, I’m still grateful to God that I remained HIV-negative when I knew many people that contracted HIV and AIDS — some are still living and some didn’t make it.

Dessie probably thought that the prospects of her openly gay, first-born son were bleak.  I wonder what she’d think today seeing me relatively successful and healthy at 51-years-old — something that wouldn’t have seemed very likely.

So much has changed on that front, too.  Today, with medication and a healthy lifestyle, people that are HIV-positive can live a normal life expectancy.

And, back then, a majority of people thought that gay people would have to live very secret and lonely lives without ever having the chance to find love and get married!

While it failed (in 2017), I got that chance and it was beautiful.  Thank you Iowa!

OurWeddingWedding Park Fountain

I did get married.  Thank you Iowa!

And, while this date is tough for me, it’s even rougher for my sister, Tammy.

TammyDessie

When my mother died, Tammy’s first son was just a toddler and her second son had just been born a couple of weeks earlier.  They never got to know what a great woman their grandmother was and would have been to them.

Dessie Birthday 1989

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 talked about today and not having a chance to talk to Dessie about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother was really with me all the time — in my heart and in my memories.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 21, 2014

We’re closing in on the holiday season.

Thanksgiving is next week and I hope that you have a happy one and if you head out to the stores or the malls afterwards, I hope you don’t get mauled or that you don’t maul others!

Thanksgiving Forecast

I have a few random thoughts to share with you.  With the Christmas season coming up and my countdowns of my favorite movies, albums, and songs in December, this will be my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2014.  Enjoy!

NOT ONE, BUT TWO COUNTRY STARS COME OUT AS GAY THIS WEEK

Ty Herndon last hit the Top 40 on the Billboard Country chart in 2001 with a song that only peaked at #37.  While not impressive, that’s just one of thirteen hits he’s scored since his debut, “What Mattered Most”, topped the chart in 1995.

Ty Herndon

After two failed marriages, stints in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and a 1995 arrest in a Fort Worth, Texas, park for exposing himself to an undercover cop with drugs in his possession (the indecent exposure charged was dropped in a plea bargain), the Mississippi born singer is finally finding peace.

Earlier this week, he told “People” magazine, “I’m an out, proud and happy gay man” and that he’s been in a long-term relationship with his partner, Matt.

Herndon says he started thinking he was gay when he was 10-years-old and starting coming out to his family when he was 20, “My mother probably knew I was gay before I did. I remember sitting down with her and having the conversation.”  He adds, “She was more concerned about me having a happy life. You have to be able to do that in your own skin, and [my family] has seen me struggle with being gay my whole career.”

Herndon also talked to “People” about his demons.  “I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. They’ve been my mistakes, and I own them,” says Herndon. “I’ve done a lot of work around forgiveness with people that I’ve hurt and people I’ve not been honest with because of my sexuality.”

Of his thirteen country hits, seven reached the Top Ten with three topping the chart:  “What Mattered Most” (1995), “Living In A Moment” (1996), and “It Must Be Love” (1998).

Herndon plans to release a new solo album next year and is currently touring with Jamie O’Neal and Andy Griggs.

He plans on using his coming out to help others with visibility.  Herndon adds, “I just want to show up for the causes that I believe in. And be able to walk down the street and hold this man’s hand that will be my husband one day, and I know we’ll have kids one day.”

Ty, congratulations and I wish you and Matt the very best.  Enjoy country music, singing, touring, and whatever you choose to do in life.

BILLY GILMAN ALSO DECLARES PUBLICLY THAT HE’S GAY

Billy Gilman is now a charming, good-looking 26-year-old man, but he scored his first country hit back in 2000, when he hit #20 with “One Voice”, at the age of just twelve!

Billy Gilman

While he had one more modest hit later that year on the radio, his big accomplishment was having three Top Ten albums on the country chart in less than one year!

In a compelling video posted to YouTube yesterday, Gilman talks about what prompted him to come out and why he’s ashamed to say publicly that he’s gay.

He says, “It’s difficult for me to make this video, not because I’m ashamed of being a gay male artist, or a gay artist or a gay person, but it’s pretty silly to know that I’m ashamed of doing this knowing that I’m in a genre and an industry that’s ashamed of me for being me.”

And, sadly, that’s true.  Now, I know that not all country music fans are close-minded because many country music fans are friends and fans of mine.  But, you don’t have to look too far and too long to realize that what Gilman says is true.

Billy, coming out is courageous and I applaud you.  As you already know, there will be obstacles.  Deal with them and do what you love and you’ll have people follow you.

Best of luck!

DONATE, BUT AVOID THE EBOLA CHARITY SINGLE!

Back in the fall of 1984, Bob Geldof gathered a group of very popular English musicians including Culture Club, Duran Duran, Wham!, U2, Bananarama, Sting, Spandau Ballet, Paul Young, Phil Collins, and many more to record a charity single called “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”.

band_aid_1984

The money raised would go toward fighting starvation in Ethiopia.  By 1989, the single had already sold nearly 12 million copies worldwide.

It became the biggest selling single in UK history until 1997 when it was surpassed by Elton John’s tribute to Princess Diana, “Candle In The Wind”.

Band Aid Cover

Now, 30 years later, Geldof has brought together some of the biggest U.K. stars today including One Direction, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Ellie Goulding, Rita Oro, and others for a re-working of the song to raise money and awareness to fight ebola.

However, the lyrics are awkward and the production pales in comparison to original.  I couldn’t even get through the song once.  You can find it online by searching for “Band Aid 30”.

The good news is that the song raised the equivalent of $1.7 million in just the first few minutes of being released.

By the way, in November 2004, there was another version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by “Band Aid 20”.  Like the new version, it fails miserably living up to the original even with one of my favorites, Kylie Minogue, involved.

If you’d like to donate money in the fight against ebola and save yourself from buying and hearing the “Band Aid 30” song, you can donate here:

https://www.unicefusa.org/donate/help-stop-ebola-west-africa/18771

And, here’s the original “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” and my early prayers that there won’t be a “Band Aid 40”!

REMEMBERING HARVEY MILK

Next week marks the 36th anniversary of the assassination of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected to public office in California as a member of the San Fransisco Board of Supervisors eleven months early.

It was on November 27, 1978, that Dan White, an unstable and disgruntled former supervisor on the board with Milk, went into City Hall and gunned down Milk and San Fransisco Mayor George Moscone in cold blood.

I just read the book, “The Mayor of Castro Street” by the late writer Randy Shilts, who was born right here in the Quad Cities, in Davenport.  What an incredible read and what an amazing man!

If you don’t know much about Harvey Milk, the man who help ignite the LGBT movement in the late-1970s, just as the Stonewall Riots in New York did in the summer of 1969, check out this feature I wrote a couple of years ago.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/11-3-1977-harvey-milk/

 “PEOPLE” SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

31-year-old Australian actor Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) was named “People” magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive”.

Chris-Hemsworth

While he is definitely gorgeous and I haven’t checked out the magazine yet, my choice for “Sexiest Man Alive” would be Enrique Iglesias.

Enrique Iglesias

James Marsden or Matt Bomer would also be high on that list, too.  For others that made my list last year, check out this fun blog I posted in October 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/least-thought-provoking-entry-yet/

If I had to update the list now, it would have to include singer Nick Jonas and actors Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), Theo James (“Divergent”), and Jack Falahee (Connor Walsh on “How To Get Away With Murder”).

Nick JonasHugh DancyTheo James

Andrew Lincoln

Wait, how did Andrew Lincoln of “The Walking Dead” pop up there? 🙂

MORE TAYLOR SWIFT ADMIRATION

If I thought “Shake It Off”, the first release from the mega-hit album, “1989”, was awesome, the follow-up, “Blank Space” is incredible.

I thought that when I first heard the song, but once I saw the over-the-top crazy video, there was no doubt!

TAYLOR, BY THE NUMBERS

Taylor Swift is still on fire.  “Blank Space” vaults from #13 to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, making Taylor the first woman to ever replace herself at #1.  This week, “Shake It Off” drops from the top spot to #3.

Taylor Swift

The first act to do that was the Beatles back in 1964.  They actually replaced themselves at #1 back-to-back with three chart toppers:  “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”, and “Can’t Buy Me Love”.

Also, Taylor’s album “1989” spent a third week at number one on the album chart selling another 312,000 copies.  In just three weeks, it’s up to sales of two million!

Only one other album in 2014 has sold more, the “Frozen” soundtrack and it’s up to 3.25 million.

“1989” and “Frozen” are the only million sellers this year!

With the Christmas buying season hitting full force next week, which album will end up as the biggest seller in 2014?  You can never count out “Frozen” since it has a big lead and it won’t go away, but I’m putting my money on T-Swizzle!

TWO HUMOROUS LOOKS AT TAYLOR

Thanks to my friend, Kathy McCoy, for bringing this to my attention from “Saturday Night Live”.  This is so me!

And, here’s “Blank Space” as a horror movie trailer!

ADAM JOSEPH — BEST DAD OF THE YEAR!

There are great dads out there all over the world, whether they are single dads, dads married to a woman, or dads that have another great man.

My vote for dad of the year goes out to fellow television meteorologist Adam Joseph of 6ABC in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Adam is taking the holidays and the important November ratings period off to be with his son, Jacob.  Here’s what he posted on his Facebook page earlier this month.

Adam Joseph

Back in August, Adam not only publicly came out as gay, but he also announced that his partner, Karl, were proud dads of newborn, Jacob.

Adam told philly.com, “While I believe every person reading this article should respect others’ privacy, I decided to share this personal moment for my son.”

He added, “I want my son to be proud of both his fathers.  From the day he was born, I want him to understand that families come in all shapes, sizes and colors.  In our eyes, as long as there is unconditional love for a child, it doesn’t matter who that child looks up to or leans on… This is unconditional love and hope.  I truly wish that every person wanting a family can feel this overwhelming happiness and joy.”

Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, and Happy 2015, Adam, Karl, and Jacob!

MY PICK HIT IS NOW A CROSSOVER HIT

Last month in October, while in Tel Aviv, Israel to celebrate my birthday, I was so thrilled to get to see VH-1 and music videos all the time.

One new song that caught my attention was “Stolen Dance” by the German duo, Milky Chance.

That song has spent ten weeks #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart and is now a Top 40 radio airplay hit here in America!

THE NEXT TIME YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT SNOW…

Think about poor western New York.  Lake effect snows this week have dumped more than seven feet of snow (that’s more than 84″ of snow)!

Sadly, the storm has killed at least ten people and stranded thousands.

However, I’m looking for the silver lining in this historic snow event.

Home Near Buffalo

Is this picture not too funny?

Last season, the second snowiest on record in the Quad Cities, we picked up 65.1″ and that was from October 2013 to March 2014!

 SOLO BONUS JONAS (NO, NOT FRANKIE)

Nick Jonas, the youngest in the pop trio, the Jonas Brothers, is having a great year.

He’s earning rave review in his role as Nate Kulina on the hit Audience Network series, “Kingdom”.

Additionally, he just hit #6 on the Billboard Album chart with his self-titled latest album and he just scored his first Top Ten solo hit on Billboard Hot 100 as “Jealous” moves to #10.

As part of the Jonas Brothers, he scored eight hits on the Hot 100 with two of them reaching the Top Ten.

A SEXY CHRISTMAS FLASHBACK

Remember this sexy “Show Your Joe” KMart commercial from last year?

If you’re a fan of the Showtime series, “Dexter”, you might recognize Darri Ingolfsson, the third from the left.  He played Oliver Saxon/Daniel Vogel in the eighth and final season.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving and you get family time, even if you have to work.

I work Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve, but I’m still going to make the most of my family time and the holidays when I get home from work!

If you’re still not buying into the amazing Christmas music on the Quad Cities’ Mix 96 yet, maybe this beautiful Coca-Cola commercial will get you into the Christmas spirit!

Now, I want a Coke Zero!

Thank you for checking out my last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2014.   Let me know if you agree or disagree with me on anything that I wrote today.

My favorite albums, songs, and movies of 2014 are coming soon, along with another blog or two.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 7, 2014

Happy Friday!  Can you believe that Halloween is behind us and we’re already into the first week of November?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and 2015 will be here before you know it.

While I gave up writing a weekly “Random Friday Thoughts” this summer because of time constraints and I’m running out of free space to post images in the blog without paying, I enjoyed putting together the October 24th random thoughts, so I thought I’d do it again.

And, I’ll start this one with a big time, eat crow apology!

TAYLOR, I’M SORRY

Many times over the past couple of years, I’ve sort of bashed Taylor Swift.

Taylor Swift

While I saw her in concert in the Quad Cities opening for Keith Urban in the summer of 2009 and I bought her “Fearless” album, I quickly tired of the constant reports of “manizing” (my word for the opposite of womanizing) and her overexposure.

However, in her latest #1 hit, “Shake It Off”, the lead single from her new and hugely successful, record-setting album, “1989”, Taylor won me back with her “eff-off” to me and all of her haters!

“Shake It Off” is brilliant.  It shows that Taylor is in on the joke and not the joke.

Taylor, I promise that I’ll never pass judgement on you again.  And, if I do, I know you can come back with another “eff-you” song in the vain of “Shake It Off”.

“SHAKE IT OFF”

TAYLOR SWIFT RULES THE WORLD

With “1989”, Taylor Swift’s fifth studio album, selling an incredible 1.287 million copies in the United States alone, that makes Taylor the only singer in music history to have three (and three consecutive) million selling-plus first week albums.

This is also her best-selling first week ever!

Her 2010 album, “Speak Now” sold 1.047 million in its first week and the follow-up, 2012’s “Red” sold 1.208 million in its first week.

AND, THAT’S NOT ALL FOR “1989” AND TAYLOR

Those first week sales make “1989” the biggest selling first-week album since 2002 (Eminem), the biggest-selling album released in 2014 (Sam Smith’s “In The Lonely Hour” is second with 746,000 copies sold since May), and it’s the second biggest selling album of the year behind the “Frozen” soundtrack, which has sold 3.2 million copies in 2014.

SHOUT-OUT TO BRITNEY

While Taylor’s first week sales of 1.287 million copies were astounding, “1989” now ranks in second place behind “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears for most albums sold in the first week by a woman.

In its first week, in 2000, that album had sales of 1.32 million.  To date, “Oops!…” has sold 10.4 million copies in the United States and 24 million worldwide.

I absolutely love Britney.  I plan on seeing her in concert again next year in Las Vegas with her “Britney:  Piece of Me” show at Planet Hollywood.

Britney

So, here’s a shout-out to “It’s Britney, bitch” as she holds on to her record.

The lead single and title track,”Oops!… I Did It Again”, hit #1 on the radio airplay charts in 2000.

HOZIER – RUSSIA AND HOMOPHOBIA

24-year-old Irish singer Andrew Hozier-Byrne, professionally known as just Hozier, is enjoying his third Top Three hit back in his native Ireland.

But, it’s his first hit there that is now getting a lot of airplay here in the United States.

“Take Me To Church” reached #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Rock Songs and Adult Alternative Songs charts.

While a powerful song, it’s the video, that calls attention to Russia’s homophobia and homophobic laws, that is so riveting and sad.

Hozier, thank you for getting the message out there.

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY”

29-year-old Brittany Maynard, a California woman, took her own life in Portland, Oregon, last weekend, assisted by a physician.

Back on New Year’s Day 2014, Brittany was diagnosed with brain cancer.  She had surgery, but the cancer came back in April and she was given six months to live.

She and her husband moved from California to Oregon so when the pain got to be too much, she could take own life with the help of a doctor because of Oregon’s “Death with Dignity” law that was passed by Oregon voters twenty years ago.

Oregon became the first state to allow this, but appeals kept Oregonians from using the law until 1997.

Brittany Maynard

I’m a firm believer that every human should die with dignity and I applaud Brittany’s decision.  I’m glad she and her family enjoyed a nice vacation to the Grand Canyon last month to cross it off her “bucket list”.

So far, about 750 people in Oregon have used the law since 1997.

REMEMBERING “DR. DEATH”

I’ve talked about “doctor-assisted suicide” before.  Here is a re-post of what I had to say May 31, 2013, about Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

“While more Americans find doctor-assisted suicides less acceptable today than a decade ago, according to that recent Gallup poll, I’m taking a moment to remember the man whose name is synonymous with that subject.  He died two years ago next week.

Kevorkian

Dr. Jack Kevorkian, a Michigan born pathologist, gained national attention in late 1998 when he allowed CBS News’ “60 Minutes” to air a videotape he made two months earlier of the voluntary euthanasia of 52-year-old Thomas Youk, who suffered from Lou Gehrig’s disease, a debilitating disease that causes progressive weakness, muscle atrophy, muscle spasms, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and breathing.

After a two-day trial, a Michigan jury found Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder.  After serving time, he was paroled eight years later.

He may have been involved in more than 130 deaths and Kevorkian told “Time” magazine, “My specialty is death.”

So, what is your view on doctor-assisted suicides?  Feel free to tell me, even if we disagree.

I’m all for it.  I’ve seen people wither away to almost nothing in so much pain. I look at their lives and I see that some have no quality of life.  My mother died of a sudden heart attack at age 47.  While we were unable to say goodbye, I’m thankful that she never suffered for a long period like some people do.

If I’m ever in a terminal health situation where there is no chance of recovery (short of a miracle) and I’m in unimaginable pain, I’d welcome being euthanized.  Why is it that we’re in a position in this country where we have to watch our loved ones suffer until they die naturally, but we can do the “humane” thing to keep our beloved pets from immense suffering when they reach that point of no return by euthanizing them?

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

On February 3, 2012, Miss ABBA, our golden retriever that was just like a child to us, took that final R-I-D-E in the car.  I carried her to the car that morning and into the vet’s office.  I sat on the floor holding her when the doctor administered the two shots and she peacefully crossed over the “rainbow bridge”.

Many of you already know that Miss ABBA lived ten fantastic months after being diagnosed with terminal cancer when she was only given two to three months to live.  She never got sick or down until the day before she died.

I’m blessed for the almost 12 years Miss ABBA and I had together.  I’m so glad that she never had to suffer and that I had that option to ease her pain when her quality of life ended.  I would want the same for myself or for my human counterparts.”

SPEAKING OF MY MOTHER

My sister and I lost that beautiful woman 24 years ago today!

Dessie

Dessie, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you and wish that we could talk.  But, I know that you’re looking over us now!

ELECTIONS ARE OVER, BUT WHAT ABOUT 2016?

I believe that former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee and it won’t be a long vicious fight for that nomination like it was in 2008 against President Obama.

hillary2016

It’s going to be a much tougher fight for the Republican Party since there is no real front-runner.  And, because of that, I think it’s going to be nasty for quite some time once there are people vying for that nomination.

That’s why I predict that the candidates will start throwing their hat in the ring in early 2015 (or even by the end of this year).

For weeks now, I’ve said that the first person that will announce their candidacy will be former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

And, when all is said and done, here is my prediction of who we’ll be choosing from in the 2016 presidential election.

hillaryclinton_jebbush

Clinton and Bush!  Talk about dynasties in American politics!

“MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY 2”

There are many Christmas movies that I love, but one of my favorites came out in 2009.

It’s called “Make The Yuletide Gay”, a Rob Williams-directed movie about a college kid wanting to “come out” to his parents at Christmas, but he’s afraid to do it because of how he thinks they may react.  A visit from his college boyfriend pushes the “coming out” to the forefront.

While the boys are definitely charming, Wisconsin’s own Kelly Keaton, who plays Anya Gunnunderson, the mother of boy coming out, is so sweet and she makes you laugh.

There’s been talk about a sequel for years and now that is falling into place.  The director and producers have a script and just started a Kickstarter campaign through the end of December to raise the $175,000 needed to assist in the movie.

You can find out more about it here and make a small donation.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/robwilliams/make-the-yuletide-gay-2-a-sequel-to-the-hit-comedy

I love the original movie so much that if I had $2,500 lying around, I’d donate it so I could make my Hollywood debut in the movie!

Could you imagine me transitioning from a television meteorologist to actor?

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

As you may recall, I saw Olivia Newton-John in concert this past May in Las Vegas and she was fantastic.  She sounded and looked great.

Olivia

I recently read a biography about her life by Tim Ewbank.

It was a thorough book that covered her pre-career life in Australia and England, her career, both in music and movies, her marriage and divorce, and her fight with cancer.

I was glad that the book talked about how some of the biggest country music stars in the 1970s (Conway Twitty, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Barbara Mandrell, Mel Tillis, Dolly Parton, and more) formed the Association of Country Entertainers as a protest to “outsiders” that were not country purists or “Nashville”.

Dolly quickly withdrew from that group and embraced Olivia.

Also, the book covered her friendship with another Australian that I love, Helen Reddy.  The book claims that it was Helen and he ex-husband that convinced Olivia to take the role of Sandy in “Grease”!

WATCHING MORE TELEVISION

When we had cable before, we never watched television.  Now that we have it, we’ve caught up on season five of  “The Walking Dead” and now we don’t have to avoid the spoilers until it arrives on DVD the following August!

We’re also watching “American Horror Story: Freak Show”.

Another show I really loved after seeing the first episode is “Stalker” on CBS.  It’s creepy, but I love it.

Maggie Q is my new “girl I would switch for”!  I’m kidding. 🙂

My favorite line in the pilot is when Dylan McDermott’s detective character, Jack Larsen, says “I get the feeling you don’t like me” and Maggie Q’s Lieutenant Beth Davis replies, “Don’t be silly, I’m sporadically rude.”

Murder

I’m still loving “How To Get Away With Murder.  It’s the best new show this fall and so scandalous and real that you’d never know that Disney is the parent company of ABC.

My two favorite characters are Annalise Keating, a criminal law professor, played by multiple Oscar nominee Viola Davis, and Connor Walsh, a gay law student, played by Jack Falahee.

It’s one thing for a television show to feature a gay character, but to allow him (or her) to be sexually active on-screen is groundbreaking.

Here’s a video tribute to Connor and it includes scenes from the October 16th episode that made me think I was watching a soft-core adult movie!

If you watched that to the end, you probably heard the most “did he just say that?” moment I’ve seen on television.  EVER.

Yes, this is ABC and not premium cable!

In the same episode, Viola Davis’ character is sitting at her bureau and removes her wig, all of her make-up, and her eye lashes in one of the most emotionally naked scenes written for television.

And, if that wasn’t riveting enough, the scene ends when she holds up a cell phone to her cheating husband and asks the most mind-blowing question that no spouse ever wants to ask their husband!

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER:  A+

Way to go, Mouse House!

THAT’S IT

How do you top that?  I won’t even try.

I’ve enjoyed sharing my random thoughts this week from the serious to the silly to the entertaining.

I hope you enjoyed them.  Let me know what you think.

Until the next “Random Friday Thoughts”, happy holidays.

Peace!

Anthony

I’m Glad Tanya Tucker Shared Her Nickel Dreams

As a kid growing up in Kentucky, I was obsessed with county music icon Tanya Tucker, who was only six years older than me.

Although it came out in 1996, I just read Tanya’s autobiography, “Nickel Dreams:  My Life” and all of those childhood memories came flooding back.

Tanya+Tucker Nickel+Dreams

While this blog is about the book, I have to dwell on my childhood love of Tanya.

“Nickel Dreams” made me realize how much I loved the young Tanya Tucker in the 1970s and all that I missed in the 1980s when I was became obsessed with the English new wave music invasion, Madonna, and New Kids on the Block.  However, I found Tanya again in the early-1990s and it’s my goal to see her in concert for the first time when she heads back out on the road!

The Texas-born singer scored her first country hit, “Delta Dawn”, which reached #6 on the Billboard Country chart in 1972, when she only 13-years-old.

delta_dawn-1973-tanya_tucker

I loved that song so much that when Australian singer Helen Reddy released her version a year later, it was the first 45 rpm record that I bought with my own money.

However, it was Tanya Tucker, that I couldn’t get enough of.  I couldn’t decide which of her early hits, “Delta Dawn”, “What’s Your Mama’s Name” or  “Blood Red and Goin’ Down” were my favorites?  I know my family probably tired quickly of their 8-year-old son running around and constantly belting out Tanya songs and wishing he were Tanya Tucker!

While the story behind “Blood Red” totally freaked me out, as a kid, I loved the song and Tanya’s vocal delivery!

However, it would be her eighth hit (and fourth #1 song), “Lizzie and the Rainman”, in 1975, that would become my all-time favorite Tanya song before I swayed over to pop in the 1980s.

In her career, so far, Tanya has racked up 53 Top 40 solo hits on the Billboard Country charts.  Of those, an incredible 40 of them reached the Top Ten and 32 made the Top Five.

She has topped the country chart ten times:  “What’s Your Mama’s Name” (1973), “Blood Red and Goin’ Down” (1973), “Would You Lay With Me in a Field of Stone” (1974), “Lizzie and the Rainman” (1975), “San Antonio Stroll” (1975), “Here’s Some Love” (1976), “Just Another Love” (1986), “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love” (1987), “If It Don’t Come Easy” (1988), and “Strong Enough To Bend” (1988).

tanya-tucker

Tanya and her co-writer on the book, Patsi Bale Cox, did an excellent job covering Tanya’s childhood growing up in Texas, Arizona, and Utah.

While still a child, the family ultimately ended up in Las Vegas and Tanya began getting more work.  Her father, Beau, worked very hard at getting demo tapes recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles and knocking on doors at any record label that would listen to him and Tanya.

Tanya finally caught the attention of Billy Sherrill, a hot-shot producer that made Tammy Wynette a star.  He also had a big influence on the careers of George Jones and Charlie Rich.  After they recorded “Delta Dawn”, the rest is history and Sherrill had another superstar on his hand.

As a teenager, Tanya scored 12 Top Ten hits from 1972-1977 at country radio.  But, just as she turned 20-years-old, her new management team made a radical change with her image and her sound — from country to rock.

TNT2

I remember seeing this album and thinking, what is going on?  I had just witnessed Olivia Newton-John’s Sandy Olsson (“Sandra Dee”) in “Grease” go from an innocent girl to a leather-clad beauty at the end of the musical and now Tanya was shocking the country music world with her suggestive album cover and liner note pictures with “TNT”.

TNT

She looked incredible, “Texas (When I Die)” reached the Top 5 on the country charts in 1978, and the album went platinum, selling more than a million copies .

However, the big hits were scarce for Tanya in the early half of the 1980s.  Nashville and country music were uneasy with Tanya’s new image and now that she was no longer a little girl, she was more interested in hitting the party scene in Los Angeles and whatever city she was playing.

Tanya was very honest and open about her drinking, her drug use, and her outlaw image.  When you listen to Tanya’s voice, you felt what she was singing about whether it was heartache and sadness, or living life to the fullest.

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In addition to her nightlife of drugs and alcohol, Tanya was also making headlines for her relationship with a much older man, country and pop superstar Glen Campbell, who was more than twice her age and married!

Tanya does not hold back when talking about their excessive drug use and the very violent fights.  One of them left her bloodied and needing dental work after an altercation with Campbell when he knocked out her two front teeth!

She takes her fair share of blame for some of their fights during their turbulent relationship that lasted about a year.

In the second half of the 1980s, Tanya got a new label and the hits starting coming again.  She scored 11 Top Ten hits during that time, but the partying didn’t let up and she ended up in rehab at the Betty Ford Clinic late in that decade.

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I started listening to country music again in late 1990 when I visited “Sidetrack”, a gay bar in Chicago on country night.  That night, I heard this voice that blew me away.  It was Reba McEntire.

That renewed my love in the music I grew up listening to.  I quickly fell in love with Patty Loveless and months later, in 1991, I re-discovered Tanya Tucker just as she was getting ready to release the most amazing album of her career, “What Do I Do With Me”.

The album kicked off with the first hit, “Down to My Last Teardrop”, which reached #2 in 1991 and that was followed by three more Top Five hits, including “If Your Heart Ain’t Busy Tonight”.

The more I read “Nickel Dreams”, the more I wanted to hang out with Tanya Tucker.

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She’s been a party animal, but you can know that she’s real.  What you see is what you get.  She’ll move heaven and earth for the people she loves and cares for.

Tanya talks extensively about her daughter Presley, who turned 25 this month, and her son, Beau “Grayson”, who turns 23 this fall.  You can tell how much she loves her parents, Beau and Jaunita, who sadly, since the book was published in the 1990s, have passed away.

And, I was very touched by Tanya’s honesty about how her feelings toward gay people evolved once she realized that, contrary to her upbringing and the general attitudes of the country music genre, gay people are just like everyone else.

Michael Tovar helped Tanya with that.  She met him in Beverly Hills, California, in 1979, when she walked into the Jon Peters’ salon to get a haircut.  There was no one available to cut her hair and Tovar was sweeping the floor and shampooing.  He wasn’t even a hairdresser then, but Tanya took a chance on him and the two formed a strong friendship that would last until he died of AIDS in 1993.

Tanya visited him many times before he died and she paid special tribute to him during the Academy of Country Music Awards broadcast on May 11, 1993, when she won the award for best video for ”Two Sparrows in a Hurricane.”

Michael died less than two weeks later.

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“Nickel Dreams” was an amazing read and Tanya Tucker is an incredible woman!

Tanya, thank you for forty years of fantastic music.  I can’t wait to hear new music from you and finally get to see you in concert.

If you ever feel you’re “Down to My Last Teardrop” and you need another (gay) best friend to listen and bitch to, give me a call!

Anthony