Posts Tagged ‘God’

Random Thoughts — May 10, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the moms and future moms out there, whether it’s children, godchildren, pets or plants!

Here’s a flashback to spring 1990 with my mother, Dessie, and my sister, Tammy.  While we didn’t know it then, this would be her last spring and Mother’s Day with us! 😦

Dessie 1990

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  If you disagree, feel free to diplomatically share yours with me!

IT’S SPRING, BUT NOT SO MUCH IN DULUTH

Okay, we’re already past the first week of May and we just experienced record May snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota.

Capture 4.JPG

10.6″ of snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Of that, 8.3″ fell Wednesday night making it the snowiest May 8th on record and the snowiest single day in May.

An additional 2.3″ fell on Thursday making it the snowiest May 9th on record.

This is now the snowiest May on record with 10.9″ (so far).

For this snow season, we’re up to 104.4″ in Duluth, making this the 15th snowiest winter on record and these records go back to 1884!

REALLY CLASSY PANAMA CITY BEACH! 

As you know, I was miserable the year I spent in Panama City, Florida, before moving to Duluth.

While I made three amazing friends and I’m sure there were many other great people I didn’t meet, there were a lot of people there that believed every word that spews out of 45’s ugly mouth.

Trump PC.JPG

He was in Panama City Beach this week and while talking about immigrants and how to handle the border, a woman in the audience shouted, “Shoot them”!

He smiled and commented, “That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement. Only in the Panhandle!”

Sadly, it’s probably true!  Pathetic!

PINK SAID WHAT???? 

To “Entertainment Weekly” about the title track of her latest album, “Hurts 2B Human”, a duet with Khalid: “I feel like if you’re present in 2019 and not totally escaping your feelings and looking around at what’s going on in the world, especially this country, it hurts.  It fucking hurts your heart.  I think that’s a good thing, because that’s what creates change, and we’re starting to see change and people show up and fight back!” 

“FERRARO: MY STORY”

This 1985 autobiography is by Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro.

In 1984, she became the first woman to make it on a major presidential ticket when Democratic nominee Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate.

Ferraro.jpg

While she talked about her family, her mother raising her and her brother as a single parent after her father’s death and her early political career, the book focuses mostly on the weeks leading up to her nomination and the long and painful 1984 presidential run.

In the book, this story stood out to me and it’s very relevant today as we head into a bitter fight into the 2020 race to get Donald Trump out of office.

It was early 1983 and Ferraro was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.  She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to defeat Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro wrote, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

“THE BLOOD OF ABRAHAM”

This 1985 book by my idol and former President Jimmy Carter traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil back to biblical times when the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians all came from Abraham.

The Blood Jimmy Carter.jpg

If you’re not a reader of the Bible, some of the history is overwhelming and, to me, unbelievable (Abraham fathered children when he around 100 years old and he lived to 175!).

But, this was only in the first few pages of the book.

The great, concise book (just over 200 pages) details the torturous history of Palestine that only became more daunting once Israel came into existence in 1948 and Arab Palestinians didn’t have a home or home state.

As you recall, President Carter worked night and day for almost two week at Camp David in the summer of 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Arabs.

Sadly, there will never be peace between the two peoples over this small piece of real estate because neither side wants to give up anything to make peace.

Carter sums up the book talking about Abraham’s blood flowing through the veins of the Arab, Jew and Christian people and the bloody history of the Middle East with this chilling line, “The spilled blood in the Holy Land cries out to God — an anguished cry for peace.” 

AMERICA’S CRY FOR PEACE

It’s easy for Westerners to shake their heads over the long-standing history of violence in the Middle East.  But, that’s very narrow-minded of us.

Without being too judgmental, it’s like that right now in the United States.  We have strong race divisions, religious divisions, human rights divisions, and many more.

Just look at the divide between Democrats and Republicans, Hillary Clinton supporters, Bernie Sanders fans, and the ones that think that Donald Trump can do no wrong!

We’ve crossed a line from which we can’t (or will never) rebound!

I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist!

“MADAME X TOUR”

Madonna announced her latest tour this week to support her 14th studio album, “Madame X” coming out June 14th.

And, not surprising, it’s something new for the ever-changing icon.

Instead of taking her very expensive and incredible tours to arenas and cities all over the world, she’s doing mini-residencies in smaller theaters in large cities in the U.S. and Europe.

Madonna Madame X Tour.jpg

So far, only New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have been announced.  The tickets sold out so quickly that five more shows were added in New York City and four more in Los Angeles.

While only 25 show dates are known now, she’s set to announce additional dates for Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, and Philadelphia for 2019.

Since I didn’t get to Vegas last year, I’m planning on seeing Madonna for the fifth time when the show plays at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

And, while the dates aren’t public yet, I’d venture to say that it’ll be in December since no headliner has been announced there in that month! 🙂

“KILLING EVE” UPDATE

I couldn’t take the suspense any longer.  After finishing season one of the critically acclaimed BBC America series, I slowly started watching season two.

I’m four episodes in (five of the eight season two episodes have aired).

In the second episode, I almost peed myself with a line that likely went over the heads of most Americans!

Giving a power point presentation to her new team of detectives about Villanelle’s murders, Eve mentions that Bill was killed (oops, spoiler!) on a club’s dance floor and she quickly replies:

Eve Murder on the Dance Floor.gif

“MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR”

“Murder on the Dance Floor” by Sophie Ellis Bextor was a minor dance club hit here in the U.S. in the early 2000s, yet it hit the Top Ten in, at least, 18 countries worldwide.

I fell in love with this song at Roscoe’s when I moved back to Chicago in 2002.

It’s from her fantastic debut album, “Read My Lips”.

MARIAH CHRISTMAS EARLY!

While Christmas is still more than seven months away, Mariah Carey recently announced that she’ll be performing her holidays standards again in Las Vegas.

Her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be returning to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for five shows November 22-30, 2019.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

Trust me, this is a phenomenal show!  I saw a version of it in December 2017 in Vegas.

This is what I wrote about it on my return, “She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic. The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — November 23, 2018

I hope you’re having a great and happy Thanksgiving holiday and the kick-off to the Christmas season!

Thank you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

THANKSGIVING

turkey_thanksgiving

Before work, I enjoyed the Thanksgiving feast with my friend, Katie, and her family and friends.

I still have vivid memories (and pictures) of Thanksgiving pasts!

Our Turkey 2012

ABBATG2007

PLAY THAT CHRISTMAS SONG NOW!

A few weeks ago, I highlighted the soundtrack to “It’s Christmas, Eve” on the Hallmark Channel by LeAnn Rimes.

LeAnn

I wrote, “It’s the best Christmas album in the past few years!!!!” and I gave the album an “A”!

Not only am I telling you again to get the album, but I’m thrilled that LeAnn saw my review and called me “sweet” on Twitter. 🙂

LeAnn.JPG

By the way, LeAnn and I crossed paths back in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2005.  She was just as sweet and fantastic then as she is now!

AnthonyLeAnn

Check out this mix from the soundtrack!  Incredible!

LeAnn and family, Merry Christmas and Happy 2019!

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

While “Bohemian Rhapsody” went through cast changes (Sacha Baron Cohen was originally cast as Freddie Mercury) and a rocky road from development to screen, the movie was amazing!

In just three weeks, the $52 million production has already made $404.1 million (one-third of that in the U.S.)

Emmy winner Rami Malik (“Mr. Robot”) was incredible as Queen lead singer Mercury and will very likely be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar!

GRADE:  A- 

QUEEN — BY THE NUMBERS

In the U.S., the band scored eleven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Its first “Killer Queen” reached #12 in 1975.

Queen hit the Top Ten five times (two of those were with “Bohemian Rhapsody” — #9 in 1975, #2 in 1991).  “Rhapsody” also reached #33 on the Hot 100 this year, too, when the movie soundtrack came out.

They topped the chart twice:  “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (1980, 4 weeks) and “Another One Bites The Dust” (1980, 3 weeks).

As risque as Mercury could be, in 1984, the band’s relatively tame video “I Want To Break Free” was banned on MTV because the band was wearing women’s clothes!

Because of that ban in Reagan’s uptight America, the song only reached #45 here.

However, it hit #1 in three countries and the Top Ten in eight others around the world!

“MAMMA MIA!  HERE WE GO AGAIN”

In 2008, “Mamma Mia! was one of my favorites of the year and it grossed $615.7 million worldwide.

I was excited when the sequel was announced to hit theaters in the summer of 2018.

Mamma Mia Here We Go Again.jpg

Well, that was until I heard that a major character (my favorite) was dead in the sequel, but would appear briefly.

So, I refused to go see it in theaters.  But, it made $393.4 million worldwide.

Now that it’s on DVD and Redbox sent me a free movie for my birthday, I saw it.

Pros:  Jeremy Irvine, Lily James, Meryl Streep (in the closing credits production number), the closing production number, Cher, and Jeremy Irvine. 🙂

Cons:  incoherent mess (at times), the “I Kissed The Teacher” production number and several others, and Cher.

Instead of sharing the trailer for the movie, here’s the amazing closing credits production number!

GRADE:  B- 

JEREMY IRVINE

I put Jeremy Irvine in my “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” review because I’ve loved him since his 2011 movie debut in “War Horse”.

Jeremy_Irvine

I even enjoyed him in 2015’s reviled “Stonewall”!  About that movie, I know it was “white-washed”, but it still told a very important story in LGBTQ history!

“BOY ERASED” & “BEN IS BACK”

There are a few more movies I want to see this year.

“Boy Erased” (with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and the incredible Lucas Hedges) about gay conversion therapy ( P.S.  IT’S WRONG AND IT DOESN’T WORK!),

“Green Book”, “Mary Poppins Returns”, and “Ben Is Back”.  (I may have to wait until 2019 for some of them since they’re only playing in bigger cities for now!)

I absolutely love Julia Roberts and Lucas Hedges (him again) blows me away.  When I heard they were doing a movie together, I was excited.

All I knew about it was that Ben is a drug user and he shows up on Christmas Eve.  So, I figured it was going to be a drama-filled holiday.

However, when the full trailer debuted, I was floored.  It’s so much more intense and powerful than I expected.

I’ll definitely be there when it opens in Duluth, Minnesota!  WOW!

Final note from the trailer:  When Ben says, “I’m not going to die.”

Really?  If this is like horror movie foreshadowing when they say “I’ll be right back”, you’re know they’re doomed and they won’t be back!!!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 27, 2017

The holiday season is officially here with Halloween next week.

I hope you have fun shopping this weekend for costumes and candy.  Will there be any left over for trick-or-treaters? 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for taking time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S DOWNFALL

Harvey Weinstein

As more and more sexual harassment allegations surface and multi-million dollar lawsuits are filed against Harvey Weinstein, the former head of The Weinstein Company, I’m just shocked at how long it took all of this to come to light.

One person that’s probably the least bit surprised is actor-comedian-writer-director Seth Rogen.

Rogen

In a December 2014 “Rolling Stone” magazine article, Rogen was quoted as calling Weinstein “a well-documented psychopath” and “a real motherf**ker”!

“HALLOWEEN” (2018)

Since John Carpenter’s “Halloween” movie came out in 1978, there have been nine sequels.

Well, guess what?  For the 40th anniversary of the original, the 11th movie in the franchise hits theaters October 19, 2018.

Halloween-2019-sequel-Jamie-Lee-CurtisJamie Lee Curtis will return as Laurie Strode.

But, wait, didn’t Michael Myers kill Laurie in 2002’s “Halloween: Resurrection”?  Oops….spoiler-alert

The 2018 film will be a direct sequel to the 1978 original and will ignore all of the previous sequels!!!

Here’s the original trailer.

“It was the boogeyman!”

“As a matter of fact, it was!”

HALLOWEEN CANDY — BY STATE

My favorite candy bars are Snickers and Zero and I also love Twizzlers.

Here’s what candystore.com reports as the most popular Halloween candy by state!

CANDY

So, I was born and raised in a “Tootsie Pops” state (Kentucky) and lived in two “Starburst” (Wisconsin and Texas) states.  I’ve also lived in “Sour Patch Kids” (Illinois), “Milky Way” (Maryland), “Blow Pops” (Ohio) and “Skittles” (Florida) states.

I also love Candy Corn and it’s the most popular Halloween candy in Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, Alabama, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

I’M NOT AS POPULAR AS “SNL”, BUT… 🙂

It seems we think alike.

A couple of weeks ago, I was ticked off at one of Kellyanne Conway’s ignorant tweets and sent her one.

AP Clown

Well, I guess the writers of “Saturday Night Live” have the same thought process as me.

snl kellyanne

In a skit, Kellyanne is “Kellywise” and tries to lure Anderson Cooper into the sewers.  She’s already got two other famous victims in her clutches!

ARE YOU “READY FOR IT”?

“Ready For It”, the new video and second single from the upcoming Taylor Swift album, “Reputation”, is incredible, creepy, and sexy!

“MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN!”

A few months ago, I excitedly told you about the sequel to “Mamma Mia!”, the 2008 box office smash, based on ABBA songs.

Here’s an update — Cher is joining the cast alongside returning stars Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, and Amanda Seyfried. (Oh, Dominic Cooper is back, too) 🙂

While the details are limited, Cher was recently in the U.K..  She tweeted, “Just went through two dance numbers, everyone’s great.” and this:

Cher

The “Mamma Mia!” sequel hits theaters July 20, 2018, which will be ten years to the weekend of the original!  It made almost $610 million worldwide.

“TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY”

I’m four episodes into the new ABC thriller starring Kyra Sedgwick, who plays a Hollywood television and documentary producer whose child goes missing.

Each episode covers one day in the investigation to find the little girl. And, each episode casts characters as suspects and clears others.

In the trailer, Sedgwick says “People say there’s some truth in every lie.”

That’s funny because I’ve been told there’s a little truth to all my jokes! 🙂

I highly recommend it, although it’s the least watched new series on the major networks this fall!

“BABY DRIVER”

In this summer action caper, Ansel Elgort plays “Baby”, a getaway driver for a group of criminals who rob banks and businesses for a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) .

I saw Elgort in his first three movies, “Carrie”, “Divergent”, and “The Fault in Our Stars” and I thought he was cute, but that was it.  However, in “Baby Driver”, he’s downright adorable.

The movie plays out like a two-hour music video.  It has a lot of heart, but you have to suspend disbelief very early on (less than five minutes into the movie) and quite often.

Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Lily James costar.

GRADE:  B

“MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS” REVIEW

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Last week, I shared with you the two news USPS Christmas stamps and asked which ones you’d choose?

Although I liked them both, I’m buying these this year.

Stamps 1

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I wish you the scariest Halloween ever!

DT MasksWait, many of us feel as if we’ve been living it since last Halloween!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 21 , 2017

It’s the weekend and can you believe it’s already late July.  Where does the time go?

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. Please feel free to share yours with me.

PRESIDENT CARTER WAS SPEAKING TO ME

As I shared with you earlier this week, I got to meet the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life — President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

R JC AP

Here’s that blog about me meeting three of my four idols (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

What I didn’t share with you was a part of his Sunday school sermon that spoke just to me (well, I’m sure others felt he was speaking to them, too).

Four days before meeting President Carter, in my blog “Sugar Coating Life”, I shared with you, “I’m not depressed or despondent, but I’m sad and lonely.  I miss human correspondence and friendship.  However, in life, we never know what’s right around the corner.  Tomorrow, I could meet my new best friend — someone to make me change the way I feel about life, love, and the future.”

President Carter told us that his favorite chapter in the Bible is James.  In James, it talks about if you’re unhappy, it’s your fault.  You are the one that has to change it.

So, with my feelings last week about not loving the direction of my life, it seems like I really needed to be at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, last weekend, for inspiration.

IRONIC?

There was another thought racing through my mind during President Carter’s Sunday school lesson from Ezekiel.

He told us that Ezekiel and Jesus Christ were both “unpopular” in life, but God gave them a second chance.

I couldn’t help but think about President Carter, too.

CarterPres

While I idolize the man (and I’m not alone), he had a very difficult presidency.

He told us that he prayed more in those four years than in his entire life.  At times, he’d say a prayer with his eyes open!

So, like Ezekiel and Jesus, Jimmy Carter got a second chance in life after being president.

In those 36 years, he and Ms. Rosalynn have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, ensured fair elections across the world, brought medication to poor countries and worked to eradicate Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raised awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

Second chances are great!

“THE SNOWMAN” TRAILER IS HERE!

“The Snowman” trailer is finally here!

It’s one of the most anticipated movies for me behind “Beauty and the Beast”, which I saw in March, and next year’s “Mamma Mia” sequel!

snowman

Two summers ago, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

The book was creepy and incredible and a must-read if you like crime novels!

In it, Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

My man crush (well, one of them), Michael Fassbender, plays Hole.  The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”).

It opens on October 20th.

EMMY NOMINATIONS

I’m thrilled “House of Cards”, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, and Michael Kelly got some Emmy love with nominations.

Also, my girl crush, Nicole Kidman, was nominated (alongside Reese Witherspoon) for the fantastic “Big Little Lies”, which also got a nod.

However, I most excited that Jessica Lange is nominated for “Feud:  Bette and Joan” (Susan Sarandon was also nominated).

feud

In “Feud”, I was mesmerized by Lange’s transformation into Joan Crawford.  As much as I love Susan Sarandon as an actress, I saw her “Bette Davis” as Susan Sarandon.

What’s surprising is that Lange has never seen the 1981 Faye Dunaway movie, “Mommie Dearest” and she says that she’ll likely never see it.

Let’s hope that Lange picks up the Emmy award on September 17th.

READ MY MIND, IT’S YOUR CALL! OR, FOR MY BROKEN HEART, RUMOR HAS IT…

With her Las Vegas residency, Reba McEntire (with Brooks & Dunn) has a good thing going.  She performs her music a few months out of the year to sold out crowds that come to her.

Sadly, now that ABC passed on her new series from Marc Cherry, I have an idea for Reba.

Back in the  late-1990s, Reba did a non-traditional tour called “The Singer’s Diary”.  It was part theater and part concert.

Lately, many artists like U2 and Bruce Springsteen are touring and performing entire albums and not just the hits and popular songs.

Could you imagine Reba performing most of the tracks of her early 1990s albums, “Rumor Has It”, “For My Broken Heart”, “It’s Your Call”, and “Read My Mind” in a more intimate venue?

Reba

Of course, “Rumor Has It” and “Read My Mind” are my favorite Reba albums.

CHRISTMAS & GOD

Okay, if that’s too far-reaching, how about a Christmas and gospel-tinged show to feature tracks from her 1987 and 1999 Christmas albums and her latest “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”?

reba-faith

There’s little hope of hearing new Reba music on country radio, so I was just thinking outside the box for our favorite redhead.

ONE MORE CHRISTMAS NOTE

Christmas is now only five months away and you know I love me some Mariah Carey.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-Tape

While Mariah is currently on tour with Lionel Richie (I had tickets to the postponed Nashville show, but it was eventually cancelled), I’ve been wanting to go to New York to see her annual Christmas concert.

On Wednesday, Mariah announced that she’s taking the show to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for six nights in December!  I think I need to plan a trip now!

Here’s a couple of version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for my “Christmas in July” friends. 🙂

It should come as no shock why I posted more than just the original video. 🙂

Two words: Hot Elves!

CHEAPER TO DRINK LIQUOR!

Now that I’m getting settled into Panama City, Florida, I’ve noticed a few peculiar things.

I expected produce to be really cheap here and it isn’t.  Well, limes are inexpensive.

Milk

However, I’m always jealous when my sister tells me that milk is sometimes less than a dollar a gallon back in the Quad Cities, when it’s almost $4 a gallon here.

Heck, it’s cheaper to drink liquor, especially when I find a big clearance sale at Walmart like I did here.  This’ll make the Christmas party fun!

Christmas Cheer

MORE “TALES” COMING!

I’ve been missing 28 Barbary Lane for far too long and it’s time for more Tales.

Netflix is bringing Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series back!

Laura Linney (“Mary Ann Singleton”) and Olympia Dukakis (“Anna Madrigal”) are returning.

If you recall, the series made its American debut on PBS in 1994.  It was followed by “More Tales of the City” in 1998 (Showtime), and “Further Tales of the City” in 2001 (also on Showtime).

If you missed it, you’ve got to search it out.

Here’s what I wrote about it before.  (Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/armistead-maupin-thank-you-for-motivating-me/

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

This is another of “based on a true story” movies that I’ve been checking out lately.

It stars David Oyelowo (“Selma”, “The Butler”, “The Help”, and “Lincoln”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) as a interracial couple that meets in London during World War II.

He’s in line to become President of a South African tribe when he meets a woman he falls madly in love with and neither of their families approve of the union.

Many of the movies that I’ve loved on DVD this summer failed miserably at the box office, including this one.

Maybe they just play better at home!

GRADE:  A

HUGE BOX OFFICE BOMB THIS WEEKEND

I expect “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” to be a massive box office bomb this weekend — maybe the biggest of 2017.

The sci-fi movie, which opens wide (3,400+ theaters), has a reported $209 million budget!

“Newsweek” reports that it’ll have to make $400 worldwide to break even with all the promotion!

PANAMA CITY DRIVING

Getting around here is interesting.

Drivers in Panama City are crazy.  They’ll be driving along at 40 mph and just slam on the brakes to make a turn.  No slowing down or signal, just stop and turn!

Also, the signal lights here are a nightmare.  I drive to work from north to south on Harrison Avenue and I’m sitting at lights forever.  It seems the lights are set up to keep east-west traffic moving.

In Chicago, you sit in traffic because there’s thousands of cars.  Here, you just sit and wait. 🙂

“BLOOD DRIVE”

This SyFy series has an interesting plot line.  It’s set in the future and cars run on blood!  So, I gave it a try.

After watching a vixen standing outside her car sensually licking on a sucker to entice drivers to stop, she teases a couple of guys that stop and then jumps in her car to have them chase her.

She stops and the one creep attempts to rape her and she stabs him in the privates and feeds him to her car engine.

Blood Drive

This was how the series started and I stopped it at the 4 minute, 57 second mark.  No thanks!

FLASHBACK

James Blunt scored a massive #1 worldwide hit in 2005 with “You’re Beautiful”.  The follow-up single, “Goodbye My Lover” was even better, but it didn’t connect with American Top 40 radio.

Both were from the fantastic album, “Back to Bedlam”.

The first single from the follow-up album, “All the Lost Souls”, was released ten years ago this week.

Sadly, “1973” didn’t bring continued success to Blunt in America.

However, the song is still one of my favorites.

It topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela and reached #2 in Germany and Italy.

Blunt’s new album, “The Afterlove”, came out in March.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Meeting My Biggest Inspiration in Life

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

Dessie Birthday 1989

John Henry

Sadly, their lives were cut short.  I had my mother for 26 years and my grandfather for only 13 years.  But, they still have a strong impact on my life decades later.

In life, we look up to others for guidance or inspiration.  It can be friends and family, politicians, entertainment stars, and so on.

JIMMY & ROSALYNN CARTER

This past weekend, I took advantage of living in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill a life-long dream of meeting the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life.

Plains

Plains, Georgia, is about 180 miles away (3.5 hours).  I got up very early Sunday and drove to Marantha Baptist Church for a Sunday school lesson from President Jimmy Carter.

R JC AP

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

As an 11-year-old boy, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother Helen back in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She let me choose her candidate and, of course, it was Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

CarterPres

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

It’s incredible how much the couple has done in the 36 years since leaving the White House — building homes for Habitat for Humanity, ensuring fair elections across the world, bringing medication to poor countries and eradicating Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raising awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, thank you for inspiring me for more than 40 years and Happy 71st Anniversary again!

I’ve written about President Carter many times, but this is my favorite.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REBA McENTIRE

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

Reba 45s

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

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

Reba Anthony 2005

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

Starting with the November election and, especially, this year, I’ve gone through many changes and not for the better.

So, of course, Reba comes through for me with her 2017 release, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

HILLARY CLINTON

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

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

If you supported another candidate in the last election, you know what I’m talking about. They were beat up in that divisive, long campaign, too.

Hillary AP

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

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

You know how much I love Christmas and I was so looking forward to visiting the beautifully decorated Clinton White House this holiday season…

MADONNA

MadonnaCone

My fourth idol is the only one that I haven’t met, and after seeing her in concert four times, that meeting may be elusive.

I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since before her first album came out in the summer of 1983, as her club hit, “Everybody” was racing up the dance charts before Top 40 radio discovered her with “Holiday”.

Madonna 1983 Album

I admire her fight to succeed, her fight for equality, her love of the LGBT community, and for not being afraid to stand her ground on issues that go against the grain.

Sadly, I have two more idols that are no longer with us.

JESSICA SAVITCH

The first is Jessica Savitch, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News.  She inspired me to go into television news.

Jessica-Savitch

I wrote about her in an October 2012 blog on the anniversary of her drowning death.  (The link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/remembering-the-woman-that-inspired-me-to-go-into-television/

HARVEY MILK

The other idol that I’ll never meet is Harvey Milk.

His strength and determination gives me the drive to fight for equality — for my LGBT community and for everyone that’s not getting a fair shake in life.

Milk1

Here’s my blog about him. (It, too, will open in a new window.)

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

As you can see, my all-time idol and inspiration, President Jimmy Carter and Harvey Milk met.

Harvey Milk meets Jimmy Carter, May 1976

President Carter and Ms. Rosalynn, Reba, Hillary, and Madonna, thank you for the inspiration.

Mom, Granddaddy, Jessica, and Harvey, I hope you’re having a great time up there looking down on us as we try to inspire others.

Anthony

 

 

 

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

ABBADecember2007

I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 17, 2017

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re part of the 55% of Americans that celebrate the day.

Roses

If you’re in a relationship, I hope you got chocolates, flowers, or whatever makes you happy.  And, if you’re not seeing anyone, I hope you treated yourself to something nice.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

We just finished binge-watching the first four seasons of “House of Cards”.

I absolutely love Robin Wright as First Lady Claire Underwood and Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood.

Season five debuts on Netflix May 30, 2017.

If you haven’t watched the show and you love politics, you have to start!

Check out this amazing scene from season three.  Claire has to tell the world that an American citizen jailed in Russia for being openly gay and protesting the country’s anti-LGBT laws committed suicide.

To Russia and the rest of the world that still think this way (Americans, #45, and his cabinet members, some of you could use some educating, too), wake up, open your eyes and your heart, and let’s start more of a dialogue!

A NEGRO TRAVEL GUIDE?

It’s sad to think this is reality, but it’s definitely not hard to believe in our country with all the hatred — then and now.

I was reading an “Out” magazine article that mentioned “The Negro Motorist Green Book”.

TNMGB.gif

It was a resource travel guide that started publication in 1933.

Its purpose was to keep black motorists safe and to let them know what places refused to serve non-whites, provide information on “sundown towns”, predominately or all-white towns that practiced segregation, and much more.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there must have been enough security (or hope) in the United States that it ceased publication in 1966.

Sadly, with the open hatred of people that aren’t white in the “post-January 20, 2017th world”, it might need to come back.

And, while we’re at it, maybe a rainbow version is needed, too, to keep the LGBT community safe from the haters, too!

PICK HIT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Last fall, as Michael Buble was ready to launch his latest album, “Nobody But Me”, he and his wife, model Luisana Lopilato, dropped out of the public eye when his 3-year-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with cancer.

buble-family

Two weeks ago, Buble released this encouraging update:

MB.jpg

Last Friday, the video to “I Believe in You” was released and if you don’t smile or shed a tear after seeing this video, hopefully you got a heart for Valentine’s Day because you need one. 🙂

Oh, if that didn’t encourage you to watch it, Derek Hough of “Dancing With The Stars” fame is absolutely drop dead gorgeous (and shirtless) in the video!!!!!!

REMEMBERING EMMANUELLE RIVA

With so many celebrity deaths already this year, the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva was pretty much overlooked in America.  She died of cancer January 27, 2017, in Paris.

In 2012, she became the oldest woman to earn an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for her heartbreaking turn in “Amour”. (She was 85 at the time.)

“Amour” was my #6 movie of 2013.

“REMNANTS”

Whether country music stations play her new songs or not, LeAnn Rimes’ albums usually debut in the Top Ten on the Country Albums charts.

Her last Top Ten album on the Billboard 200, which includes all genres, was 2007’s “Family”.

LeAnn Rimes is back with her latest album, “Remnants” and it’s flawless.

remnants

I definitely love LeAnn’s country music.  My favorites in that genre are “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Some People”,”One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”, and “Big Deal”.

I met LeAnn in Salisbury, Maryland, in the fall of 2005.  She was a sweetheart.

AnthonyLeAnn

LeAnn has released many pop-oriented albums in her career and “Twisted Angel” (2002) is still one of my all-time favorites of hers.

Her new album, “Remnants” is the latest pop effort.  It was released last fall in the U.K. and just came out last week here in the U.S.

The highest charting single from the new album is “Long Live Love”.  The Dave Aude remix is currently #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

Twelve of the thirteen songs on “Remnants” are absolutely perfect!

My favorites are the soulful “Do It Wrong”, the religious-tinted “I Couldn’t Do That To Me”, “Love Is Love Is Love” (which LeAnn sings about not wanting to start an argument, just a conversation about tyrants, politics, religion, and love), the torch song-sounding “Outrageous Love”, and “The Story”.

Just because radio is missing out this amazing voice and music doesn’t mean you have to!

GRADE:  A

“SING IT NOW: SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE”

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is Reba McEntire’s 29th studio album, but it’s her first Christian album.

Reba faith.jpg

It debuted at #1 on this week’s Billboard County Albums chart and at the top of the Christian Albums chart, too.  On the Billboard 200 Albums chart, which includes all music, it debuted all the way up at #4.

It sold 52,000 copies in its first week!

I’ve always wanted Reba to do a full gospel album after she recorded “Sky Full of Angels” for her 2003 “Room To Breathe” album.

The deluxe version of the new album features 22 songs.

“Back To God” is the first single.

On the gospel classics, Reba’s voice and musicianship are simple and stunning!

There are many songs that, if you didn’t know more about this album, you’d think they were just more Reba country songs.

But, as Reba once joked around the 1995 release of “Starting Over” album, whatever genre of music she sings becomes country when the words come out of her mouth.

The song I love the most on the album is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.  The album version is four minutes of pure bliss!

My favorite “country” gospel numbers on this album are “I’ll Fly Away”, Hallelujah Amen”, “I Got The Lord on My Side”, “How Sweet Thou Art”, “Sing It Now”, “Oh Happy Day”, and “God And My Girlfriends”.

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is almost perfect.  I think when an artist stretches an album out to 22 songs, there are ultimately a couple that wouldn’t have made the cut on a shorter album.  But, I’ll take those songs here just to have more new Reba music.

With the divisive election last November and the circus of the past few weeks, this album does soothe the soul.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church that preached all about fire, brimstone, and damnation and I still find solace in gospel music!

Reba, if you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!

GRADE: A-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony