Posts Tagged ‘George Michael’

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

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 — January 17, 2020

Happy 2020!

2020

I hope the new year is off to a great start for you.  Even though we’re only a few weeks into 2020, I already feel overwhelmed with some of the things I’m working off that I’ll share one day!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  If you want to comment, feel free.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

MOVE ALONG, YOU’VE PROVED YOUR POINT!

We’re now just a few weeks away from the beginning of the voting process for the Democratic nominee for president in 2020.

After a few more suspended campaigns, we’re down to twelve “active major” candidates, which is still several too many!  (It’s a stretch that Bennet, Delaney, Gabbard, and Patrick are still in the race!)

I’m sure the Iowa caucus (February 3), the New Hampshire primary (February 11), the Nevada caucus (February 22), and the South Carolina primary (February 29) will weed out several more of those running.

However, it’ll likely be Super Tuesday on March 3, 2020, that will narrow the field to just the front runners.  Fourteen states have their primaries on that day.

So, Hillary Clinton, it’s time to jump into the race!

Still

Say what you want — diplomatically!

WE CAN CHANGE THE FACE OF INAUGURATION DAY 2020!

JFK JUNE 1963

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

High Crime.JPG

EERIE, SAD COINCIDENCE

Melanie Panayiotou, the sister of pop legend George Michael, died on Christmas Day.  She was in her 50s!

What’s eerie is that Michael also died on Christmas Day in 2016!  He was 53.

George Michael.gif

They are survived by their father and an older sister.

MILLIONAIRE “LOVER”

My favorite CD of 2019 was also the ONLY album to sell more than a million copies last year!

It’s astounding that the music landscape has changed so much with streaming, downloading singles, etc.!

Taylor Swift Lover

Taylor Swift’s “Lover” sold 1.085 million copies.  Of that, 699,000 were physical units (including mine) and the other 386,000 were digital copies.

Now I’m getting excited to see what the fourth single will be from the album.  I hope it’s either “I Forgot That You Existed” or “The Man”.

I would have added “Cornelia Street”, too, but it’s a ballad and her last single, “Lover”, was a ballad!

“FAST FOOD NATION:  THE DARK SIDE OF THE ALL-AMERICAN MEAL”

This incredible, eye-opening, and mind-boggling book by Eric Schlosser came out in 2001.

Fast_food_nation

While I know there have been improvements and advancements in raising animals for human consumption and in food processing and distribution, something tells me there are still so many horror stories today that threaten our health and our lives.

Even before reading this book, I was already considering giving up eating meat.  The first step will be to stop buying it for home (except when I’m hosting) and only eating meat when I’m out.

I’m sure I can do it since I gave up beef more than a decade ago!

While I know the research in the book is reliable, if only a fraction was true and our lives weren’t dictated by huge corporations and shady politicians, we Americans would change our eating habits.

Not just because it’d be healthier, but the production of meat, from raising livestock to slaughtering them for food, is so cruel and unsanitary!

A very compelling documentary to watch from 2009 is called “Food, Inc.”, which was nominated for Oscar!

In 2012, I wrote a very interesting blog called “Our Eating Habits Are Killing Us.”

Here’s the link if you want to read it and see some of the monstrosities we serve in our restaurants, including this:

6pound_000

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/03/our-eating-habits-are-killing-us/

“UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS: A STORY OF LOSS AND AGAIN”

I can’t believe that it took me so long to read Portia De Rossi’s 2010 heartbreaking book about her fight with food addiction and the obsession with weight loss!

Portia

I also didn’t expect that reading it would trigger me to fall off the food addiction wagon!

For a recovering bulimic or anorexic, eating is a nightmare.

Once you fall, it’s hard to get back on track.  The scale entices you with weight loss that you can’t do easily just by eating right and exercising.

Every pound that disappears is not just one step closer to a goal.  Sadly, it’s only more encouragement for the physically destructive behavior to continue!

After nine years as a practicing bulimic (1986-1995), I spent the next two decades “on the wagon”.  A separation (and ultimate divorce) caused a relapse for a few months, in 2017, but I overcame it.

And, I know I’ll overcome this recent relapse, too.  I just hope it’s sooner rather than later!

SKIP THIS BOOK!

“Call Me By Your Name” was my favorite movie I saw in 2018.  Afterwards, I read the book by Andre Aciman.

I was so excited when it was announced in 2019 that a sequel, “Find Me”, was on the way.

andre-aciman-call-me-by-your-name-find-me

I was thoroughly disappointed!

I was so excited that I’d see where Elio and Oliver were in life and if they ended up together!  However, most of the book (the first part) was about Elio’s father!

When we finally caught up Elio and in a fleeting moment, Oliver, it was too little, too late.

As for “Find Me”, don’t even look for it!

Pretend that this sequel doesn’t exist and just enjoy the beauty of “Call Me By Your Name” again!

It’s peachy!  🍑🍑🍑

peach 1

MORE BOOKS I READ LATELY

“Dispatches From The Edge:  A Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival” by Anderson Cooper (2006)

What a riveting book about what Cooper saw in 2005 from the aftermath of the Indonesian tsunami, various wars, and Hurricane Katrina.

Anderson also talked quite a bit about his brother’s suicide.

I sure hope that he sought therapy after 2005 because he sounded very depressed and down.

Or, like me, writing is therapy and maybe authoring the book was therapeutic for him!

“Vice:  Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of The American Presidency” (2006) by Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein

I knew from living through the George W. Bush presidency that Dick Cheney was a despicable man.  However, I didn’t know that his wife, Lynne, was also a mean, snake of a woman, too.

But, then again, why should that shock me???

“Christmas in the Old West” (2003) by Sam Travers

A very informative and fun look at Christmases when the West was truly wild.  How people survived back then (1800s and early 1900s) still amazes me!

“The Words Lincoln Lived By:  52 Timeless Principles To Light Your Path” (1997) by Gene Griessman

A great quote from the book, which is perfect for the new year!

Lincoln (1858):  “By all means, don’t say ‘if I can’; say ‘I will'”. 

“THE FAREWELL”

“The Farewell” was my favorite movie of 2019!

Its star was also in my #5 movie of 2018, “Crazy Rich Asians”, in a much different role.

In “Asians”, Awkwafina was comedic relief and in “The Farewell”, she shows off her dramatic acting chops.

She also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Comedy or Musical this month, but was snubbed and didn’t get an Oscar nomination!

It’s a the story of a Chinese family going back to their homeland from the U.S. to visit a loved one who’s dying of cancer.  However, the family chooses not to let her know!

GRADE:  A

“JUDY”

What an incredible movie!

If you’re a Judy Garland fan, you’re already familiar with what is covered in the movie.

If you just know Garland as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz” and maybe as Liza Minnelli’s mother, then definitely check out this movie.  It’s on DVD!

Renee Zellweger won the Golden Globe Award earlier this month in the Best Actress in a Motion Picture — Drama category and will be the one to beat when the Academy Awards are handed out.

“Judy” was my #5 movie of 2019!

GRADE:  A

“BOMBSHELL”

Even after seeing “The Loudest Voice” on Showtime last year, watching “Bombshell” was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!

“Bombshell” ended up being my #13 movie I saw in 2019.

GRADE:  B

A WARM YOU UP THIS WINTER FLASHBACK!

Since we’re into the “dead of winter”, here’s something to warm you up!

It still astounds me that Kim Wilde only scored two Top 40 hits in the United States on the Billboard Hot 100.

“Kids in America” reached #25 in 1981 and “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” topped the chart in 1987.

She came close to scoring two more hits with “You Came” in 1988 (#41) and this one, “Say You Really Want Me” (#44), in 1987.

This video is so sexy and hot, but it was deemed “raunchy” in the U.K.!

SUPERBOWL TEASE

And, ahead of her Super Bowl halftime performance, a 2020 megamix of the sexiest woman alive — Jennifer Lopez!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 27, 2019

It’s been over a month since I shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so I thought it was about time to share a few more!

I appreciate you checking them out!

WILL NOT TALK POLITICS THIS WEEK, BUT…

peach 1

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

In just a few days, my idol, President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 95th birthday (October 1).

As you know, he’s the oldest living president in history and what’s amazing is that he and Rosalynn, his wonderful wife, are still very active building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Recently, people were asked to send President Carter birthday messages and here’s the one that I sent him!

Happy 95 President Carter Final

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!

Before today’s entry, I only posted one new blog in September — a tribute and “thank you” letter to Olivia Newton-John, who turned 71 yesterday!

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling

In that tribute, I talked about her courageous fight with Stage IV cancer, shared some stories on how her music has touched my life and I counted down my 13 favorite ONJ songs, with three bonus songs.

Many people checked it out.  If you didn’t, click here and it’ll open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/thank-you-for-the-beautiful-music-and-a-lifetime-of-wonderful-memories/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than three months away and I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a random thought or two about my favorite time of the year.

I love Christmas movies, but I can’t recall ever going to the theaters to see one.  That’ll change this year.

“Last Christmas” stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”), and Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”), who is also a co-writer.

Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”) also co-star!

It takes its name from George Michael and Wham’s 1984 holiday classic.

Thompson was in touch with Michael before his death, ironically on Christmas Day 2016, about using several of his songs in the movie!

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

“Last Christmas” opens November 8, 2019, and my dear friend, Katie, and I are already planning on seeing it after work on November 12th! 🙂

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS” COMES EARLY THIS YEAR

While I bought Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, “Merry Christmas”, in 1994, and have been gleefully enjoying it every year since then, I just ordered the 25th “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” that arrives November 1, 2019!

MC Deluxe

In addition to the ten songs on the original, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will be added to disc one.

And, check out all of the amazing goodies on the second new CD!

Track List CD2.JPG

While I ordered mine from Amazon, if you order from Mariah’s website for $13.98 (plus about $10 for shipping), you’ll get “as a special bonus for fans, this special edition package includes rare photos, a personal note from Mariah, and some Mariah-themed Christmas decorations!”

https://mariahcareyshop.com/products/merry-christmas-25th-anniversary-2cd

NEW COFFEE MATE CREAMER

I already have my Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer in the refrigerator.  And, while I absolutely love Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog, it now has some competition this holiday season!

Just announced: Red Velvet!

Red Velvet.gif

“RAIN”

This is my new favorite song!

Take a listen because it probably won’t make Top 40 radio!

In “another place and time” (If I was much younger and in Ben Platt’s orbit), we could so be together! 🙂

He’s so dreamy and talented and this song is incredible and the video is so sensual!

My plans this weekend include binge watching “The Politician” with Platt, of course, on Netflix.

It co-star the incredible Jessica Lange and her line in the restaurant in this trailer is so hilarious that it almost makes me pee my pants every time I watch it!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

This 2007 novel by Andre Aciman came to big screen in late 2017 with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet in the lead roles.

It ended up being my favorite movie of 2018.

call me

Aciman is finally releasing the sequel, “Find Me” next month (October 29, 2019).

Since I don’t think Hammer and Chalamet will ever get together for a movie sequel, I hope to read it as soon as it hits the library.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The movie was my 5th favorite of 2018 and I recently read Kevin Kwan’s novel that it’s based on.

CRA Kwan

If you loved the movie, read the book!  It fills in so much about just how crazy and rich the Asians are that have passed through Kwan’s life for him to write these “fictional” stories!

There are two more books in the series, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems”, but I don’t want to read them yet.  Why?

Because, in 2020, they’re shooting two movies back-to-back based on the books to cut down on how long it takes for them to hit movie theaters!

“MA”

This psychological thriller starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer was much better than I expected!  But, then again, just having Spencer in the movie adds credibility.

Plus, it was directed and co-produced by Tate Taylor, who also directed 2011’s “The Help” (co-starring Spencer) and “The Girl on the Train” (which co-starred Luke Evans).

Speaking of Evans, he’s so freaking hot in his few scenes in this movie, including the “full monty” one!   Evans is best known as Gaston in the live-action Disney hit “Beauty and the Beast”.

The two young leads in the movie, Diana Silvers and Corey Fogelmanis, are very convincing as young lovers, who are terrorized when “Ma” becomes unhinged!

By the way, Fogelmanis is adorable (he just turned 20) — just like his on-screen dad, played by Evans!

GRADE: B

“THE PURGE” SEASON 2

I loved the first three movies in “The Purge” franchise, but I hated 2018’s fourth installment.  I gave it a “D” grade.

Last year, I watched the 10-episode USA Network television version with the same premise as the movies.

Purge TV

The second season with a new cast premieres on USA on October 15, 2019.  I’ll be back for season two, but I’m definitely going to miss Gabriel Chavarria this season.

Gabriel Chavarria

SPOOKY STAMPS

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky stamps this fall, the postal service is putting these out October 11, 2019!

It would definitely surprise people if I used them on my Christmas cards this year! 🙂

Spooky Stamps.jpg

HAPPY AUTUMN

Thank you for checking out my thoughts!  Have a great weekend  — the first weekend of autumn 2019!

Fall

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 17, 2018

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

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

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“FAKE NEWS” — FOR SURE

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

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

Real.JPG

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

Don Jr..JPG

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

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

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

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

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

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

Crazy-Rich-Asians-Movie.jpg

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

Henry Golding

A couple of months ago, I wrote, “I think ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be the new ‘Pretty Woman’!  Well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles!

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

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

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

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

aretha640

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUGUST 16TH

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

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

Elvis Aretha Madonna

Happy 60th Madonna!

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

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

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

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

Jamie Bell was equally deserving.

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

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

Bick.jpg

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

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

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

GRADE: A

“SAFE”

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

Dexter-michael-c-hall

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

Hedwig

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

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

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Kahlusion

MY 15 MINUTES OF FAME WITH JEFFREY DAHMER

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

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

Jeffrey Dahmer.jpg

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

MY FRIEND DAHMER”

There have been several movies released about Dahmer.

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

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

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

GRADE:  C

CRAZY OCCURRENCES IN JIMMY CARTER’S TERM

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

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

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

MONDALE

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

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

Rosalynn Gacy.jpg

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

john-wayne-gacy-killer-clown

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

“CHAPPAQUIDDICK”

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

TED KENNEDY

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

TKENNEDY.jpg

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

 

The world lost music legend Aretha Franklin Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer.  She was 76.

Her family and friends were with her when she passed on.

aretha640.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are my three favorite Aretha songs!

3

2

1

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

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

Aretha, you’ll be dearly missed.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 20, 2018

July is moving right along and before you know it, it’ll be August!  I hope you’re having a great summer and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

DEAR CANADA

Will you please share Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with us here in the U.S.?  We’re heading into crisis mode!

JT

TRUMP-PUTIN LOVE AFFAIR

45 and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Helsinki, Finland earlier this week and 45 basically says he trusts his buddy more than American intelligence.  (Seriously, him debating anyone’s intelligence?)

Trump Putin.JPG

You know my thoughts without me expressing them.  So, I’ll let fellow Republicans speak their mind of the summit, or as Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) calls it, “a tragic mistake”.

McCain calls it “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.”

Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) says it was NOT “a good moment for our country. This was a very good day for President Putin” and that Trump made the U.S. “look like a pushover”.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan says there’s “no question” that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and this about “that man” (45): “The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally.”

BREAKING NEWS… 24 HOURS LATER.  45 claims that he misspoke.  Whatev!

HeatherMooney

JUST A FEW THINGS RUSSIA SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF…

Interfering in the 2016 American presidential election, buying the right to host the World Cup soccer tournament, condemning and making the lives of the LGBTQ community miserable, and poisoning people with substandard street alcohol… for starters.

DAN QUAYLE, REST EASY…

You’ll likely not be remembered as the most useless Vice President in recent American history.

Quayle

Mike Pence is giving you one hell of a run for your money!

Pence.JPG

This photo of just another old white man standing around gives credence to the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words”!

What has he really done as vice president?  I can answer that with two comments:  (1) With his boss that wants, needs, and lives for the spotlight, nothing, and (2) with his hateful views, I’m glad he doesn’t have power to do anything!

I really don’t think that 45 will run again in 2020, although he says he will and is already setting the stage for it.

If he does run, I hope there’s a Republican that’ll pull a stunt like Ronald Reagan did in 1976 or Ted Kennedy in 1980 and be successful.  Both Reagan and Kennedy failed in their efforts in trying to steal the nominations from sitting presidents (Ford in 1976 and Carter in 1980).

Hopefully, a “sea of blue” in the 2018 midterm elections in November and the 2020 presidential election will end the current rhetoric of “Make America Hate Again”!

And, then Mike Pence can take his misguided interpretation that God stands for hate and fade away into obscurity.

“MAMMA MIA:  HERE WE GO AGAIN”

I absolutely love and adore the 2008 original starring Meryl Streep and the fabulous music of ABBA!

With that being said, I WILL NOT being seeing the sequel out in theaters now!  That’s all I’ll say since I don’t believe in spoilers.

Full disclosure:  I may break down and watch it on DVD one day!

CHER DOES ABBA

On a happier note, the iconic and legendary Cher will be releasing an album of ABBA covers in September!

Cher says, “It’s not what you would think of when you think of ABBA, ’cause I did it in a different way.”

cher here we go again.jpg

In “Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again”, Cher plays Sophie’s grandmother and Donna’s mother.

EMMY NOMINATIONS HITS & MISSES

Last week, the Emmy nominations were announced and I’m excited that FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace:  American Crime Story” picked up 18 nods, the most for a Limited Series!

Criss

As I predicted, Darren Criss was nominated for “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Andrew Cunanan in “Versace”.

Miglin

Also, I said that Judith Light would be pick up a nod for “Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie” for playing Marilyn Maglin, the wife of one of Cunanan’s victims.

I’m happy that Finn Wittrock was nominated in the supporting actor category, but I was a little surprised that Penelope Cruz, Edgar Ramirez, and Ricky Martin were also nominated in supporting roles.

And, as I expected, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated in the “Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” for Patrick Melrose.

However, I’m disappointed that Jennifer Jason Leigh was snubbed as his mother, Eleanor.

JJL

Also, bummed that Evan Peters was overlooked for “American Horror Story: Cult”. But, there is some happy news — two of his castmates, Sarah Paulson and Adina Porter were nominated.

spoiler-alert

Beware a “Nasty Woman” and two Emmy nominees (Paulson and Porter)!

Contains strong language and violence!!!

Again, no nomination for Peters!!!!

Finally, no love for AMC’s “The Terror”.

KINDNESS

If you haven’t been watching “Pose”, you’re missing out on an incredible period of life in LGBTQ culture and a show that’s so damn heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time!

In a recent episode, Pray Tell (Billy Porter) doesn’t hold back when he retaliated against Blanca’s transphobic and homophobic siblings after their mother’s funeral.

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“Kindness doesn’t cost you anything.”

Pray Tell, tell it!!!

“DIETLAND”

I first wrote about “Dietland” (the book) in January 2016 and I’ve become Twitter friends with the amazing author, Sarai Walker.

Sarai Walker

Dietland

Now, “Dietland” is a hit AMC series.

Not every woman is a size zero and trying to get there can kill you or get you killed if you’re one to degrade women or fat girls!

Okay, before you think I’m insensitive to use the word “fat”, instead of “full figured”, “large”, or “overweight”, you need to understand what Walker wants people to know about these beautiful women!

The series stars an incredible Joy Nash, as Plum, a mostly reclusive 300-pound-plus woman from California, now living in New York City and working for a fashion magazine catering to young women.

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She works for a very demanding, gorgeous, piranha of a woman named Kitty Montgomery (Julianna Margulies).

Next year when Emmy nominations are announced, I hope that both Nash and Marguilies get a nod!

The 10-episode series concludes on July 30, 2018, so you still have time to binge watch it before the finale.

Here’s my original blog on Walker’s book (clicking on this link will open it in a new window)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

FARMERS’ MARKETS

Since moving to Duluth, I haven’t been to a farmers’ market, yet peaches 🍑 and grapefruits are on my mind!

Maybe that has to do with “Call Me By Your Name” and “Girls Trip”.  If you’ve seen both of those movies, you know what I’m talking about.

If you haven’t, I won’t tell! 🙂

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Grapefruiting.jpg

I’m still thinking of juicy peaches! 🍑 🙂

SPEAKING OF PEACHES! 🍑

Armie Hammer told Stephen Colbert recently that people are bringing him peaches 🍑 to autograph.

Wondering what people did with those peaches 🍑, Hammer says,  “Watch it wither like Donald Trump’s presidency.”  (and this was even before 45 spoke, misspoke in Helsinki!)

“GEORGE MICHAEL: FREEDOM”

There’s an incredible documentary on Showtime about music icon George Michael.

While I knew much of what was covered, it was heartbreaking to hear George talk about finally meeting the man of his dreams only to have his lover become ill and die of AIDS not long into the relationship.

It was very interesting to hear how George became a staple at black radio and then once he won awards in that genre over black artists, he became a pariah in that format.

Michael was found dead at his Oxfordshire home on Christmas Day 2016. A coroner’s report attributed his death to natural causes.

I think he died of a broken heart and loneliness!

If you think you’ll never watch the documentary, this longer trailer gives you much more of the George Michael story.

MY FAVORITE GEORGE MICHAEL HITS

5

“FAITH” (1987)

So damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

4

“FREEDOM ’90” (1987)

green 3

“ONE MORE TRY” (1988)

#2 CD

“I WANT YOUR SEX” (1987)

Again, so damn sexy!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another number 1

“I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” featuring Aretha Franklin (1987)

Bonus

FAVORITE WHAM! SONG

As much as I love “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go”, “Last Christmas”, and “Everything She Wants”, “I’m Your Man” (1985) is my favorite Wham! song.

Bonus

“JESUS TO A CHILD” (1996)

I didn’t realize how emotional and touching this song was until I heard the story behind it — finally falling in love and coming out and then losing your lover without getting to spend much time together! 😦

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony