Posts Tagged ‘Harvey Milk’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 23, 2018

It’s here!  Welcome to spring!

Spring Already

I know there’s still plenty of winter and snow in the forecast for some of you.  Be careful out there across the Plains and Midwest (Quad Cities, I’m looking at you!).

6″-12″ of snow could fall under the “Winter Storm Warning”!

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

WEATHER’S “MARCH MADNESS”

If you’re following NCAA college basketball, there’s plenty of shattered brackets — thanks, Virginia!  Actually, I didn’t fill out brackets this year, but I’d never pick Virginia to become the first #1 seed ever to lose to a #16 seed!

Here’s a funny weather forecasting bracket that’s perfect for the Midwest (or any region that has quickly changing weather conditions)!

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THE CALENDAR SAYS WINTER IS OVER, BUT…

Michael Myers Winter

LEAVE YOUR DOGS AT HOME!

I know pet owners take care of their dogs differently.

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When I had my golden retriever, most of my trips were by car so ABBA could go with me.  It never crossed my mind to take her on a plane.

United and Delta airlines are both under media and social media scrutiny over recent mishaps involving dogs — including one that died while being put in an overhead bin and three others sent to the wrong locations.

Okay, both airlines deserve criticism for not getting things right.  However, for as long as there have been airlines, there has been lost luggage.  So, why does misdirecting dogs seem so far-fetched?

The bottom line is that customers that put their pets on a flight know that something could go wrong and should take responsibility for mishaps, too!

A final note:  Earlier this week, United announced that it’s suspending the program of sending pets as cargo!

GOVERNOR NIXON?

While Oprah is pretty much shooting down gossip that she’ll run for president in 2020, “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon announced earlier this week that she’ll be running for Governor of New York!

cynthianixon2

She plans to run in the Democratic Primary against current Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Nixon is the mother of three kids and she’s a strong advocate for LGBT rights and women’s rights.

While the bisexual Nixon is definitely vocal and an advocate and has every reason to run, I’m not entirely sold on the idea.

Plus, I don’t think she can beat Cuomo!

“THIS JUST IN” & “FACE THE NATION”

I just finished reading two Bob Schieffer books back to back, his memoir “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV” and “Face The Nation”, my seventh and eighth completed books of the year.  (Yes, six of them have been news people!  The other two were from Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan.)

Bob Schieffer

The CBS newsman comes across in this book just as he does on television — very likable.

I really enjoyed Ted Koppel’s “Nightline” and Mike Wallace’s “Between You and Me: A Memoir”, but this was my favorite.

Schieffer talks about his start as a college radio newsman, his time as a Fort Worth newspaper reporter, and getting to go to Vietnam to find personal stories about Fort Worth locals fighting that war.

He shares fun and interesting stories about his career in television and how the news business changed at the network.

Working the God awful hours of a television morning show (going into work while others are sleeping or coming home from the bars) is tough. I know because I’ve done it for years.

About that, Schieffer writes that former “Morning Show” anchor Sally Quinn said “it was only place she has ever worked where people talked more about sleep than sex” and Diane Sawyer summed it up as “being on Moscow time when everyone else was on New York time.”

R JC AP

And, Schieffer shared this about former President Jimmy Carter and it proves that I may have one more thing in common with my idol, “Many of the reporters who covered him during the [1976 presidential] campaign were turned off by his blunt manner”.

I have been accused of having a “tone” and forgetting to sugar coat things for some people!

I highly recommend Schieffer’s “This Just In:  What I Couldn’t Tell You On TV”!

face-the-nation

“Face The Nation”, subtitled “My Favorite Stories From The First 50 Years Of The Award-Winning News Broadcast”, was a very informative and easy read at 227 pages with many great vintage photographs.

The book covered the show’s creation and topics ranging from McCarthyism in the 1950s to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s and Vietnam in the 1970s to 9/11 in 2001 and much more.

Schieffer is such a great storyteller.

Here’s an interesting tidbit:  At the end of the book, there is a list of the people that appeared on the show the most times up to the book’s publication (2004).

Many of the people including Robert Dole (62), John McCain (51), Joe Biden (35), Patrick Buchanan (28), Joseph Liberman (27), and others ran unsuccessfully for president, yet several served as vice president!

“LOVE, SIMON”

LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, “You gotta give them hope.”

The new romantic dramedy, “Love, Simon”, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

The movie gives us three possible students that could be “Blue” and all three are cute and sweet and would be a great match for Simon.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!

GRADE: B+

“SANTA CLARITA DIET”

I’m sick of “The Walking Dead”.  Season 8 will be it for me and I’m already counting down to the last four episodes.

I hate saying this because the first few seasons were amazing!

So, to get my zombie fix, last year I checked out the Netflix horror-comedy, “Santa Clarita Diet”.

One day, the lives of real estate agents Joel (Timothy Olyphant) and Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) are turned upside down when, for reasons unknown, Sheila begins to crave human flesh.

And, what’s a loving husband to do — he helps “feed” his wife!

It gets even funnier when their teenage daughter, Abby, finds out about it.

Here’s the trailer for season two if you’ve already watched the first season.

And, if you haven’t started, here’s the season one trailer.

The full season is now on Netfix.

P.S.  Olyphant, who turns 50 in May, is aging beautifully.  I’ve had a crush on him since “The Broken Hearts Club:  A Romantic Comedy” from 2000.

“THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI”

This drama was nominated for seven Academy Awards.

Frances MacDormand won the Oscar for Best Actress and Sam Rockwell won for Best Supporting Actor.

Both performances were great!  Woody Harrelson was also up against Rockwell for Best Supporting Actor and he was fantastic, too.

Lucas Hedges (“Manchester By The Sea”) could equally have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor.  He’s always amazing.

The movie about a woman who buys three billboards criticizing police who haven’t solved the rape and murder of her daughter is powerful.

It deserved all of the acting gold, but after seeing it, it rightfully didn’t deserve Best Picture.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR”

Christmas is only nine months away now. 🙂  Too early to start celebrating?

christmascocktails

This animated movie from last fall that brought in $62.8 million is now out on DVD.

“The Star” is an enjoyable film that tells the story of the baby’s birth.  (You know what baby I’m talking about.)

But, it’s pretty scary when you find an animated character sexy and it’s even scarier when it’s Joseph (of Joseph and Mary Bible fame)!

My favorite characters though were the camels Deborah, Cyrus, and Felix voiced by Oprah Winfrey, Tyler Perry, and Tracy Morgan.

GRADE:  B

“THE STAR” TAKES ME BACK TO VEGAS

Watching that Christmas story took me back to one of my few highlights of a rather bleak 2017 — seeing Mariah Carey’s Christmas show in Las Vegas in early December.

She was gorgeous and sounded phenomenal and the show was 90 minutes of Christmas bliss with the music and the glamorous sets!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

“The Star” by Mariah Carey was my 20th favorite song of 2017 and when it played in the movie, I cried. 🙂

While Mariah’s “The Star” was nominated for a Golden Globe award, it didn’t get an Oscar nomination.

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

 

 

 

Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.

Advocate

The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.

LGBT

“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.

Stonewall_riots

That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.

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“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.

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Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.

RonaldReagan

“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.

marriage

“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)

SEXUAL RACISM

I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.

haring

Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.

Bisexual

Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.

Anthony

Equality is Not “Establishment”

The fight for equal rights is a tough one and it’s one that will not end today or tomorrow.

LGBT and straight people have fought very hard for decades — from the Stonewall riots in the summer of 1969 to Harvey Milk’s fight against Anita Bryant and her crusade in the late- 1970s to Act Up in the 1980s and for every marriage equality battle won before the Supreme Court Of The United States granted that right to every American last summer –for equal rights for everyone.

LoveEqualityFormula

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is a leader in that fight.

human_rights_campaign

My respect for Bernie Sanders dimmed after he lashed out at the HRC by calling it an “establishment organization” after its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.

HRC.png

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group in the United States.  It has been fighting the establishment and the system for equality since its founding in 1980.

The HRC is not the only organization that endorsed Clinton and was called “establishment” by Sanders.  He said the same thing about Planned Parenthood.

That organization calls Sanders’ comments, “regrettable”.

PP

 

Every fight the HRC and Planned Parenthood takes on are difficult ones and Sanders needs to be held accountable for his comments.

Hillary establishment

 

With the Iowa Caucus a little over a week away, I hope people see that while he may seem like a nice grandfatherly type that speaks his mind, he’s also the “establishment” and is just as “Washington” as the next candidate.

These endorsements don’t give Sanders the right to play nasty with the fights both of these organizations are taking on where we all win — straight, gay, men, women, children, elderly, rich, poor, black, white, Hispanic, and on and on!

We humans all win when there’s equality and when there’s someone there fighting for us.

Anthony

My Enjoyable 2015 — The Year in Review

It’s my favorite time of the year.  I look forward to the new year and take time to reflect back on the past year and share the highlights with my friends.  I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for –not just at the holidays, but every day.

For me, there is so much to love about the holidays — the twinkling lights, the sounds of Christmas music, the amazing feasts, and the beautiful snow (it’s still early in the season).

Snow Saturday Morning

My family is doing well.  I’m still the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities.  I’ve been there almost three years.

Ray is the Economic Development and Planning Director for the city of Moline, a job that he excels at and still loves after ten years.  Miss Gretel, a high school freshman, aspires to be a movie director.  (Hopefully, a very successful one, so we can have a mansion somewhere near Hollywood where there’s warmth all year around and we can have avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Okay, that’s really long-term planning!)

My sister, Tammy, is still in Moline and her two sons and two granddaughters now live in the Quad Cities.  It makes her very happy to have them here and not several states away.

As you know, we love to travel and try to get in a few concerts throughout the year. Paying bills isn’t the only reason we work! J

In early December of last year, we took Gretel and Tammy on an eastern Caribbean cruise.  It was a nice way to put off winter longer.

Anthony Gretel Ray

Tammy

Ray and I started 2015 in New York City.  We flew there on New Year’s Eve, but got into town too late to get anywhere near the televised festivities and Taylor Swift rocking in 2015.

It was my first visit to the “Big Apple” and we did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I loved the beautiful window displays decked out for Christmas, Rockefeller Center, and the gigantic Christmas tree.  We also saw the new World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Along with the great food, we saw Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) off Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and we attended “The Merry Widow” at the Metropolitan Opera.

Hedwig

We made our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas in May, where we ate some amazing food (buffets, of course!)  We discovered a new brunch this year that you have to check out when you’re there next – Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  On a future visit, I’m determined to visit the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.

In June, we took Gretel to Riviera Maya (Cancun) and she got to use her passport for the first time.

In late September and early October, I accompanied Ray to his two back-to-back work conferences – the first was in San Francisco, California.

Wine Country

On his one free day, we took a bus trip for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  While he worked, I went sightseeing and saw Chinatown, Golden Gate Park and the National AIDS Memorial Grove.  I also walked to the Castro District and was so touched to see the house where Harvey Milk diligently worked to plant the seeds for the LGBT movement.  While I was only a teenager when he was murdered, I was overwhelmed just being there where it all happened four decades ago.

While I would never want to live in downtown San Francisco (very dirty and expensive), I was blown away by the funkiness of Haight-Ashbury.  I’d move there in a heartbeat.  The “Summer of Love” was still very much alive!

To celebrate our four year wedding anniversary, we took a scenic boat tour on San Francisco Bay, which took us around Alcatraz, Sausalito, and under and around the majestic Golden Gate Bridge.

From there, it was off to the second leg of the two-week getaway and his next conference in Anchorage, Alaska.  If you’re ever going to visit, do it before October.  Most of the tours are over by this time as the Frontier State settles in for a long northern winter.

AP Ray AK

We did get to visit an animal sanctuary where we saw bear, moose, deer, bison, eagles, and other animals.  On the drive there, we saw snow-covered mountains and glaciers, tasted natural Alaskan spring water, and saw a few salmon swimming.  Also, we got to visit Prince William Sound, now fully recovered from 1989’s Valdez Exxon oil spill.

This year, we saw five concerts.  On our trip to Vegas in May, we saw the divine Miss M, Bette Midler.

Bette

She’s still incredible.  In August, I saw Reba McEntire in the Quad Cities.  I’ve now seen Reba 13 times.

In October, we saw three shows in three different cities:  In Anchorage, we saw Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.  If you’ve never heard of them, Google them because they are amazing.  Days later, we saw Madonna in Saint Paul, Minnesota (my fourth Madonna concert), and then in late October, we took an overnight road trip to Omaha, Nebraska, and saw Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty!  She is so beautiful and talented.

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That’s what we did in 2015. I’m already looking forward to what adventures lie ahead in 2016. I guess I should wrap this up so I can start planning trips and concerts for next year so I’ll have things to share with you next Christmas.

I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.

Anthony

When I Get To Heaven

Heaven.

It’s something we think about and many of us almost instinctively think of hell.  Well, to hell with that, I want to talk about heaven today.

There’s Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” (which was re-made by DJ Sammy), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “Heaven’s Just A Sin Away”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “One Night In Heaven”, “Tears In Heaven” and many more songs with “heaven” in the title.

Yes, I’m getting older, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about mortality.  My parents died early — my mother was 47 and my father was 55.  I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t cross my mind.  However, my latest physical showed that I was healthy and I feel good for my age.

Heaven

But, I know one day I’ll come to those pearly gates and I’ll be welcomed in with open arms.  Since we really don’t know what heaven is like, how we see it is subjective.

When the time comes, I’ll miss those that I leave behind here on Earth.  However, I already know what I’ll do when I get there.

Animals Heaven

It brings me such joy almost four years after my beloved golden retriever, ABBA, left us on Earth to know she’ll be there smiling and happily greeting me.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

October 2011

October 2011

04012011 ABBA Anthony
If she’s napping when I make my entrance, I wonder what her thumping tail on the clouds will sound like when she knows I’ve entered heaven.  I hope it still sounds like her tail thumping on the hardwood floors in life.  That brought me such joy to come home and hear that welcoming sound.  Upon hearing that, any problems I had that day just melted away.

Since heaven is peaceful, I know that Miss ABBA and my chow chow, Keshia, (1986-1998), are friends.

Keshia 001 Keshia 002

Their demeanor was very different.  ABBA loved everyone (she was a golden) and Keshia was very much a one-person dog.  She showered me with love, but was slow to warm to others.

And, it would be great to see our family dog, Cricket, again.  We had her through much of my childhood in the 1970s.  She died in 1982, my senior year in high school.

After I shower Miss ABBA with love and reacquaint myself with Keshia and Cricket, I can’t wait to see my mother and let all the years, tears, and sadness since November 1990 just fade away.

Dessie Birthday 1989

I won’t have to give her all of the details of my successes and failures and the ups and downs in my life.  She already knows all of that because she’s been looking over me and my sister, Tammy, now for 25 years.

Dessie 1990

It’ll be so nice to see my grandparents, John Henry and Helen Peoples, again.

HelenJohn Henry

I was lucky to have my grandmother Helen around until I turned 29, but my grandfather, John Henry, was taken away from us in early 1978, when I was only 13.

While 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 will remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer too much.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me lick 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 champagne, wine, and vodka as an adult. 🙂

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 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”!

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Since heaven is a perfect place, it’ll be nice to be friends with my father, Hollie.  We weren’t friends in life.

I’d be able to forgive him for his hateful, homophobic, sexist, and racist attitudes, and his total disregard for anyone else’s feelings.  In heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with his alcoholism and all of the times he aimed guns at me and my mother and sister forcing us to hide outside until he passed out.  All would be forgotten.

In life, I was not sad when he died.  I was only saddened because of my mother’s broken heart.  Whatever good she saw in him, maybe I’d be able to see in heaven.

The-Carpenters

Once I caught up with my cherished pets and my family, the first person I want to befriend in heaven is Karen Carpenter.

While chasing fame in life, Karen was obsessed with her weight and she starved herself to death.

In heaven, Karen would never have to hear the words anorexia nervosa and I wouldn’t know anything about bulimia, the eating disorder that I struggled with for nine years from 1986 through 1995.

In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat.  While I’m not a practicing bulimic today, I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.

On Earth, Karen had the voice of an angel.  In heaven, I would be blessed to have a front row seat to hear my new friend sing.

Until then, her music lives on.

And, since it’s Christmas time and that friendship and concert with Karen will have to wait, I can enjoy this classic.

John Lennon

I’d also like to meet John Lennon and just sit and listen to his wisdom of his words.  People on Earth would still be able to strive for the peace found in “Let It Be” and”Imagine”, my two favorite songs of all time.

I’d also want to hang out with Jessica Savitch and let her know that she inspired me go into television news.

Jessica

And, finally, in heaven, I’d be able to witness former President Ronald Reagan hanging out with the more than 650,000 Americans that have died of AIDS.  A majority of those have been gay men.

RonaldReagan

It took President Reagan almost six years after taking office to publicly mention AIDS for the first time.   In the spring of 1987, he called it “public enemy number one”.

From the summer of 1981 when “The New York Times” published an article about “gay cancer” to end of the year that Reagan first publicly mentioned AIDS, a reported 50-thousand-plus Americans were diagnosed with the disease and more than 40-thousand of them died!

I hated the man for decades for his ignorance in handling the AIDS crisis.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all of those that succumbed to AIDS in the 25 years after he left office.

I can envision haters like Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant (if she goes before me), and their close-minded friends on Earth partying with Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, and every other LGBT person that died at the hands of anti-gay violence brought on by bigotry and ignorance.

In heaven, we’re all God’s children like we should be on Earth.

In heaven, there’s only love.

I’m not ready to go to heaven just yet, but I sure would have so much fun catching up and living the life.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 21, 2014

We’re closing in on the holiday season.

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

Thanksgiving Forecast

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

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

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

Ty Herndon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BILLY GILMAN ALSO DECLARES PUBLICLY THAT HE’S GAY

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

Billy Gilman

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

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

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

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

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

Best of luck!

DONATE, BUT AVOID THE EBOLA CHARITY SINGLE!

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

band_aid_1984

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

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

Band Aid Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REMEMBERING HARVEY MILK

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

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

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

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

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

 “PEOPLE” SEXIEST MAN ALIVE

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

Chris-Hemsworth

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

Enrique Iglesias

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

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

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

Nick JonasHugh DancyTheo James

Andrew Lincoln

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

MORE TAYLOR SWIFT ADMIRATION

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

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

TAYLOR, BY THE NUMBERS

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

Taylor Swift

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

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

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

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

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

TWO HUMOROUS LOOKS AT TAYLOR

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

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

ADAM JOSEPH — BEST DAD OF THE YEAR!

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

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

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

Adam Joseph

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

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

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

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

MY PICK HIT IS NOW A CROSSOVER HIT

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

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

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

THE NEXT TIME YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT SNOW…

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

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

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

Home Near Buffalo

Is this picture not too funny?

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

 SOLO BONUS JONAS (NO, NOT FRANKIE)

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

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

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

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

A SEXY CHRISTMAS FLASHBACK

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

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

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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

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

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

Now, I want a Coke Zero!

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

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

Anthony