Posts Tagged ‘Helen Reddy’

2019: My Personal Expectations & What Excites Me

While not as bad as 2017, a year I’d rather forget, (wait, what was I talking about? :)) I’m want to improve on 2018.

Relocating back to the Midwest to Duluth, Minnesota, was a great move for me.

Duluth

I really like Northland, the beauty of Lake Superior and most of the people I work with are a great group to spend time alongside during work hours.

I still loving forecasting weather, but I haven’t gotten used to the afternoon and evening hours after almost six years on a morning show.  It’s an adjustment that I hope works better for me in the new year.

I also want to expand my friend base.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the solitude of watching movies, binge watching television series (I’m watching and loving “The Americans” right now) and walking and reading (at the same time) to stay in shape and to exercise my brain!

Here’s to 2019! May it be a great one for us all!

gif-happy-new-year-2019.gif

CONCERTS

It’s hard to believe that I didn’t see one concert in 2018!  I can’t remember the last year that I didn’t see a concert!

However, in December 2017, on three consecutive nights, I saw Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, and Tanya Tucker in concert in Las Vegas.  I guess those three shows held me over for 2018!

LAS VEGAS

Also, with the move, I didn’t get to visit Las Vegas last year either!

I first visited Vegas in the early-1990s and I didn’t see my favorite American city again until 2012.  Since then, I’ve visited it, at least, once a year (twice in 2017).

In the back of my mind, I think I’d still like to move there!

As of now, I’m planning a trip there in the fall with my sister, Tammy, and I hope to be lucky and win big on the slots!

If I’m super lucky, I’ll win big and get to see the only concert I really want to see in 2019 — Kylie Minogue’s “Golden Tour”.

Kylie 1

It’s already played in Europe and will play Australia this March.  Her fall schedule is still open, so Kylie if you see this — Las Vegas, Nevada in the fall of 2019!  And, bring Jake Leigh with you! 🙂

Kylie 5

And, wouldn’t it just rock my world to have a seat to the show like this one!  This person had an incredible view for Kylie’s show in Birmingham, England.

This is the show’s opening number, “Golden”!

MARCH TRIP

Over the years, people have wondered (and asked) how I get to travel so much.  Well, I promise you it’s not from family wealth or my salary!

It’s called interest-free credit cards!  And, since my current card’s 0% APR ends in February, I used it to pay for my next trip.  I just made the final payment on New Year’s Day!

Of course, I won’t divulge the location until I get there! 🙂

If you recall, I didn’t announce my trip to Morocco last fall until three days before I departed.  Even then, I didn’t say specifically where I was heading.

You have to keep a little mystery in life! 🙂

March 2019.JPG

If you’re curious, it’s a capital city with a population of 8.3 million (about the same as New York City).

It’s very warm and humid. The average high temperature is above 90° every month of the year (expect December’s 89°), so I’ll take two pair of underwear for each day!  I hate “moist” underwear! 🙂  TMI!

And, I’m intentionally going to eat insects — specifically deep-fried grasshoppers, crickets and silkworms!  They sell them on the street!

Silkworms.JPG

Bon Appétit!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I saw Olivia Newton-John’s “Summer Nights” show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

In March 2019, Olivia will release her memoirs, “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

As you know, Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and was in remission until 2017.

She’s still fighting it and after weeks of headlines proclaiming her imminent death, Olivia stepped in front of the camera.

She laughed off the rumors and wished everyone a Happy New Year looking very alive and stunning!

“Xanadu” is still my favorite Olivia song.

NEW MADONNA ALBUM

Madonna kicked off 2019 with a surprise appearance at the Stonewall Inn in New York City with her 13-year-old son David, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

Madonna.JPG

Talking to the surprised crowd, peace was on her mind, “If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for — ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?”

Madonna is working on her 14th studio album.

I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since “Rebel Heart” came out!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Sadly, you probably missed this song in 2015.  It was one of the best and most underrated songs in Madonna’s long career!

If you’re not familiar with the “Stonewall Riots” and the police brutality that led to LGBTQ people forming a community and Pride, click on the link below the picture and read my 2012 blog!

Stonewall_riots

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

NEW REBA ALBUM

In September 2018, Reba teased new music and it’s expected in 2019.

REBA Coming Soon

Weeks later, about the new music, Reba said, “It’s gonna be probably the most country album I’ve ever recorded.”

Reba’s last studio album, 2017’s “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” was gospel.

This will be her first country album since 2015’s underappreciated, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Love Somebody

Thanks sexist, ageist country radio!

So, here’s a flashback to a real country sounding Reba from 1980 with her first Top 10 country hit, “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven”, which reached #8!

And, you’ll catch little sister, Susie Luchsinger, on backing vocals!

“TRICK 2” 

It’s taken 20 years, but a sequel to 1999’s “Trick” is on the way in 2019!

trick 2.jpg

The original, a New York City-based gay romantic comedy, with Tori Spelling, Christian Campbell (Neve’s brother), John Paul Pitoc, and Miss Coco Peru, is still one of my favorites.

I’ve read that the sequel will take place in Los Angeles a dozen years later.  Gabriel and Mark’s meet up again on an app.

Here’s the original trailer and Miss Coco Peru’s amazing rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” sung in original “Trick” by Jessica Williams.

“TALES OF THE CITY” SEQUEL

I was introduced to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” book series when the television miniseries hit the U.S. on PBS in early 1994.

I also fell in love with the amazing and incredible Laura Linney as Mary Ann Singleton.

Mary Ann

Since then, there’s been “More Tales of the City” (1998) and “Further Tales of the City” (2001).

In 2019, the latest installment will debut on Netflix with returning original stars Linney, Olympia Dukakis (Anna Madrigal), Barbara Garrick (DeDe Halcyon Day) and Paul Gross (Brian Hawkins).

Michael “Mouse” Tolliver will be played by the beautiful and sexy Murray Bartlett (“Looking”).

It’ll be based on the eighth book in the series (out of nine), “Mary Ann in Autumn”.

Mary Ann

Molly Ringwald has also joined the cast.

’80s FLASHBACK

I’ve talked about 2019 and the future, so why not enjoy a flashback to the decade of the best music ever!

This song hit #1 in more than ten countries around the world and reached #3 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 in the mid-1980s.

THAT’S IT

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

Happy New Year! 🎉🥂🍾

Anthony

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Thank God For Women (and a Few Good Men)

With the exception of my grandfather, John Henry Peoples, and President Jimmy Carter,

Autograph Carters

women have always seemed to inspire me more.

inspiration

This started with my dear mother, Dessie and Jessica Savitch of NBC News in the 1970s and 1980s, to Hillary Clinton!  I’m still with her!

Hillary AP

In the 1980s, I was obsessed and inspired by Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne, and Whitney Houston.

Reba Anthony 2005

In the 1990s, for me, it was Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Mariah Carey, LeAnn Rimes, Toni Braxton, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, and Gillian Anderson.

The 21st century highlighted a 1980s favorite, Kylie Minogue, and Britney Spears (who debuted on the pop scene in late 1998).  Both overcame what could have been career-ending obstacles (cancer and a breakdown) to show their strength, thus inspiring millions!

But today,  my blog is really dedicated to the first four female singers who made a big impact on my formative years — the 1970s.

While they all dominated the music world that decade, one charted her biggest hit in the 1980s and one of the others had massive hits in her genre into the mid-1990s!

Ironically, it wasn’t until the past five years or so that I finally got to see three of them in concert.  While radio only plays their classics now, they sounded amazing live well past their radio dominance!

In honor, I’ll start with the one that’s no longer with us.

Karen

Karen Carpenter’s voice was so angelic and the music of the Carpenters was inescapable starting with “(They Long To Be) Close to You” in 1970, which was their first Top 40 hit and it went on to top the chart.

“Merry Christmas Darling” is my second favorite Carpenters song and this one is my favorite.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

In September, Olivia Newton-John celebrated her 70th birthday.

As a kid, I absolutely fell in love with her when “Let Me Be There” hit the Billboard Country Top Ten in 1973.

Olivia has charted 27 Top 40 hits (pop and country).  Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten.

Five of those smashes reached #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart becoming her biggest hit.

I saw her in concert in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

“Xanadu” is my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!  It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

If you’d like to read a full blog I dedicated to Olivia, here’s the link and it’ll open in a new window when you click on it.

I’m Still Hopelessly Devoted To Olivia

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/im-still-hopelessly-devoted-to-olivia/

TANYA TUCKER

I’ve been a huge Tanya Tucker fan since she exploded onto the country music scene in 1972 with “Delta Dawn”.

While Tanya is just six years older than me (she just celebrated her 60th birthday), it was fun seeing a teenager dominating country music.

delta_dawn-1973-tanya_tucker

I finally got to see Tanya in concert in December 2017 in Las Vegas.  She looked and sounded amazing.

Tanya.jpg

I’ve written two blog about her.

One was about her book “Nickel Dreams”, which covered her music career and her crazy personal life.

I’m Glad Tanya Tucker Shared Her Nickel Dreams

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/im-glad-tanya-tucker-shared-her-nickel-dreams/

The other was a countdown of my 20 favorite Tanya hits before I saw her in concert!

My 20 Favorite Tanya Tucker Songs

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/my-20-favorite-tanya-tucker-songs/

Spoiler alert!

spoiler-alert

If you don’t click on that to see what my 20 favorite Tanya songs are, here’s my favorite!

“Lizzie and the Rainman” hit #1 on the Billboard Country chart in 1975.

But the star of today’s blog is Helen Reddy, who’s celebrating her 77th birthday (October 25, 2018)!

HelenReddy2

Charting 14 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (three made it all the way to #1), she was referred to as the “Queen of 70s Pop”.

I was fortunate enough to catch her in concert outside of Chicago in March 2013.

Helen Reddy Sign.jpg

Helen Reddy 1

I almost got to meet her, but there was a mix-up at the theater.  😦  However, my friend Jim, who works for Helen, arranged for this gorgeous consolation gift!Helen Reddy Autograph

In honor of her birthday, I’m counting down my 10 favorite Helen Reddy songs!

#10  “YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD”

#9     “AIN’T NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY”

#8    “EMOTION

#7   “PEACEFUL”

#6  “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM”

5

“LEAVE ME ALONE (RUBY RED DRESS)”

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns the song “Leave Me Alone” as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along.  🙂

When I saw her in concert in 2013, she didn’t perform it.

She once told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

4

“ANGIE BABY”

#3 CD

“DELTA DAWN”

#2 CD

“KEEP ON SINGING”

This was featured in the medley for #5, but I’m posting the full version here.

Another number 1

“I AM WOMAN”

I’ve dedicated three blogs to Helen over the years and here are the links if you’d like to read them.  Again, each will open in a new window when you click on it!

Helen Reddy, Thank You For Making Me The Advocate I Am Now! (February 2012)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/helen-reddy-thank-you-for-making-me-the-advocate-i-am-now/

Helen, Here’s To Many More Happy Birthdays (October 2012)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/helen-heres-to-many-more-happy-birthdays/

Why Helen Reddy Will Always Remember Moline (September 2014)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/why-helen-reddy-will-always-remember-moline/

To each of these beautiful and wonderful ladies, thank you for music and the memories.  And, to all of the women (and Jimmy Carter and my grandfather), thank you for the inspiration!

Happy Birthday Helen and Happy Belated Birthday Olivia and Tanya!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 7, 2014

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

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

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

TAYLOR, I’M SORRY

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

Taylor Swift

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

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

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

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

“SHAKE IT OFF”

TAYLOR SWIFT RULES THE WORLD

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

This is also her best-selling first week ever!

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

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

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

SHOUT-OUT TO BRITNEY

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

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

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

Britney

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

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

HOZIER – RUSSIA AND HOMOPHOBIA

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

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

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

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

Hozier, thank you for getting the message out there.

“DEATH WITH DIGNITY”

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

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

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

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

Brittany Maynard

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

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

REMEMBERING “DR. DEATH”

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

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

Kevorkian

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

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

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

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

SPEAKING OF MY MOTHER

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

Dessie

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

ELECTIONS ARE OVER, BUT WHAT ABOUT 2016?

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

hillary2016

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

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

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

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

hillaryclinton_jebbush

Clinton and Bush!  Talk about dynasties in American politics!

“MAKE THE YULETIDE GAY 2”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

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

Olivia

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

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

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

Dolly quickly withdrew from that group and embraced Olivia.

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

WATCHING MORE TELEVISION

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

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

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

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

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

Murder

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

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

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

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

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

Yes, this is ABC and not premium cable!

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

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

HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER:  A+

Way to go, Mouse House!

THAT’S IT

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

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

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

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

Peace!

Anthony

The Soundtrack Of My Life – 50 Years of Music

I like most genres of music, but I pass over hardcore rap and heavy metal.

In Kentucky, in the 1970s, I grew up on country music.  In the 1980s, British new wave, dance music, and Madonna became my music of choice.

In the 1990s, I found country music again when I moved to Chicago.  (Thanks, Charlie’s).

After much thought and deliberation, I put together a list of my favorite songs of all time — the soundtrack of my life.

These may not be the best songs ever, but they are the ones that will make me stop what I’m doing and listen when they come on.

HONORABLE MENTION (#22)

 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” — MIQUEL BROWN

HONORABLE MENTION (#21)

 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” — CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN

20

“DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” — DONNA SUMMER

 

19

“NO FRILLS LOVE” — JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

18

“ON MY OWN” — PATTI LABELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD

#17

“I LOVE MY RADIO” — TAFFY

16

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE”  — REBA

15

“DELTA DAWN”  — HELEN REDDY

 

#14 Movie

“AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” — JOHN COUGAR

13

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q

12

“MISSING YOU” — JOHN WAITE

11

“BORDERLINE” — MADONNA

10

“FASCINATED” — COMPANY B

#9

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” — JEANNIE C. RILEY

8

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” — JERMAINE STEWART

#7 CD

“TAINTED LOVE” — SOFT CELL

6

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” — THE HUMAN LEAGUE

#5 MOVIE

“OH L’AMOUR” — ERASURE

4

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

3

GREATEST HITS MEDLEY — THE CARPENTERS

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

“IMAGINE” —  JOHN LENNON

1

THE BEATLES — “LET IT BE”

So, there you have it.

Let me know what you think and what your favorite song is.

Anthony

Why Helen Reddy Will Always Remember Moline

International superstar Helen Reddy has won a Grammy, been a star on the stage and in movies, and has performed at some of the biggest venues across the world.

Back in the 1970s and the 1980s, she played shows in Iowa and Illinois.  She even performed in Davenport, Iowa.  While she may not have sung on stage in Moline, Illinois, the second largest of the Quad Cities, she’ll always remember Moline.  More on that shortly.

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I was fortunate to see Miss Helen Reddy in concert last year just outside of Chicago and I almost got to meet her.

I just finished reading her very entertaining 2006 autobiography, “The Woman I Am”.

The Woman I Am

While the book covers the highs and lows of her entertainment career, she also talks quite a bit about her love of genealogy and tracing her family’s history, her beliefs in reincarnation, and acquiring Addison’s Disease, which also affected President John F. Kennedy.  It’s a failure of the adrenal glands that will require treatment for the rest of her life.

The books traces Helen’s life from her childhood in Australia growing up in a vaudeville entertainment household, having her kidney removed as a teenager, her first marriage (also as a teenager) to an older man (33), who turned out to be an alcoholic and abusive husband.  However, one good thing came out of that failed marriage, her daughter, Traci.

And, this was all before Helen appeared on the television show, “Bandstand” in Australia and competed against 1,357 other people.

She couldn’t decide whether to perform a ballad or an uptempo song in the finale.  She lucked out and found a song, “Strangers and Lovers”, by Petula Clark that was both.  It worked because she won the contest that brought her to the United States to record a song for Mercury Records.

Unfortunately, it was the mid-1960s and women were still referred to as “girl singers” and labels were afraid to promote the careers of too many women.  Success in America, the creme de le creme of the world music market, would have to wait.

Helen sang wherever she could in the United States and Canada to make ends meet for her and her little girl, Traci, all alone and a world away from her family “down under”.  While the song would come later (in 1974) and reach #15 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, this is a perfect time for one my favorite Helen Reddy songs, “Keep on Singing”, since I mentioned the phrase “make ends meet”.

It’s included here in a medley with two other big Helen Reddy hits, “Leave Me Alone (Ruby Red Dress)” (#3, 1973) and “Delta Dawn” (#1, 1973).

Interestingly enough, Helen now condemns the song “Leave Me Alone” as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along. 🙂

On the tour last year when I saw Helen perform, she told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

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Although I jumped ahead of myself to work in “Keep on Singing”, we have to go back to the man who made Helen Reddy the international superstar and legend she is — that is, outside of Helen’s immense talent and charm that kept her at the top of the chart in the 1970s.

His name is Jeff Wald, a younger man who Helen met a “surprise rent party”/25th birthday celebration in New York City thrown by two of her friends to raise money for Helen to pay her rent when she was a struggling singer in the 1960s.

What’s funny is that Wald crashed the party and didn’t even pay his five dollar entry fee.  In her book, Helen never refers to him by name, just “Number Two”, meaning her second husband and manager.  And, that totally made me smile.

In 1971, in a one-off deal with Capitol Records, Helen recorded “I Believe In Music”, an Adult Contemporary hit for country singer and actor Mac Davis.  For the “b-side” of the single, “I Don’t Know How To Love Him” from the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar” was chosen.  The song had been rejected by superstar Linda Ronstadt and even Helen didn’t much care for it.

Nevertheless, it was the song that radio warmed to and it reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100 become Helen’s first hit in America.  In her native Australia, it hit #2.

Helen talks at length in the book about Jeff’s demons, including a long history of cocaine use.  While they were in love, it wasn’t enough with drugs and an increasing temper involved.  They would eventually divorce in the early-1980s.

It was also in the 1980s, after the divorce and her radio airplay and record sales cooled, that Helen realized how vindictive “Number Two” had been in closing doors for her in the music business and the games he played with her involving their two children.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he also swindled Helen out of most of her earnings that took her much of the two decades to recover from financially.

Helen’s last hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was the #18 smash, “You’re My World” in 1977.

Helen spent much of the next phase of her life acting on television and on stage.  She also started making plans for a life that did not involve the entertainment business and eventually became a clinical hypnotherapist.

In 2002, Helen gave a farewell concert performance in western Canada and announced in 2008 that she was done with singing and entertaining.

Lucky for us, in 2012, she made an appearance at a jazz club in San Diego, California, and did a benefit for a school outside of Los Angeles, and decided that she felt the joy of singing and performing again.

That’s how I got to see her in early 2013 outside of Chicago.

Helen Reddy Autograph

While Helen was on top of the world in 1973, there was a lot of turmoil going on in her life dragging her in many different directions.

As 1972 ended, “I Am Woman” hit #1 in the United States in December and Helen gave birth to her second child, Jordan.

In May 1973, after becoming the first Australian to score a number one song in America, she won a Grammy Award – another first for an Australian.  Helen got people talking at the Nashville, Tennessee, ceremony when she closed her acceptance speech with, “I want to thank God because She makes everything possible.”

And, that summer, she had a successful variety television show on NBC thanks to her good friend, comedian Flip Wilson.

But, things then turned dark for Helen as her mother died in July and she traveled the 9,000 miles to Melbourne for the funeral only to have her father die ten weeks later.

Helen was raised to know that “the show must go on” and she continued to tour around the funerals.

At this point, I bet you thought I had forgotten about the Quad Cities’ connection and why Helen would always remember Moline, Illinois, where I’ve lived for the past nine years.

Just around her 32nd birthday in late October 1973, she and her band were heading back to California after playing a show in Philadelphia on a leased private jet.  It encountered an intense thunderstorm in the Midwest and the plane started going down.

Helen says they were losing altitude so fast that it felt like they “hit a brick wall” and that “interior paneling started to snap out of its moorings” and cabin baggage was flying through the aircraft.

Moline from the air

The pilots were able to get out of the storm’s downdraft and they regained control of the plane and they made an emergency landing at “a little airfield”, as Helen called it.

That “little airfield” ended up being in Moline, Illinois!  And, that, my friends, is why Helen will never forget Moline!

HelenReddy Airport 1975

Interestingly enough, one year later Helen would star as a nun in the box office blockbuster disaster flick, “Airport 1975”, which you know almost crashed!  But, she got to sing an original song of hers, “Best Friend”, in the movie.

By now, you can tell that I absolutely love Helen Reddy.

I’ve blogged several times about her and if this is the first time you’ve had a chance to check out blog or you missed the others, check out these two entries.

This one is more about Helen Reddy and my discovering her as a little boy.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/helen-heres-to-many-more-happy-birthdays/

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And, this one is about her shaping me to be an advocate for equality.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/helen-reddy-thank-you-for-making-me-the-advocate-i-am-now/

Helen was always and is still an advocate for women, gay men, and equal treatment for all.  In the book, she covers the AIDS epidemic and homophobia.

Helen, thank you for the memories and for all that you’ve done for us.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — April 26, 2013

Happy Friday!  The last weekend of April 2013 is almost upon us.  I hope you have fun plans.  Since the weather is going to be nice, I hope to get outdoors and prep some things for spring planting.  Last weekend in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Ray bought several plants that we’ll be putting in the ground.  I hope they are hearty because I don’t trust this Midwestern weather!

Fort Dodge Plants

Old Farmer’s Almanac says to “plant trees and shrubs while it’s still cool and wet”.  Ray and I did just that two weeks ago with a couple of trees.  Gretel and I really want a cherry tree and we saw a nice one last night, so maybe we should get it.

Although I have to work Saturday afternoon and evening, I still plan on getting out and enjoying the very nice weather this weekend and maybe even mow the yard for the first time this season.  All of the recent rains have really greened up the lawn and the grass is growing.  By the way, don’t expect to see me on the air Saturday.  I’m only there as behind the scenes support for our new weekend meteorologist, Kyle Kiel, who is making his Quad Cities’  and CBS4 debut.  Check him out!

Even though we have a few days of mostly dry weather in the forecast, this April is already going down in the record books as one of the wettest Aprils on record in the Quad Cities.  And, we still have four more days to go and rain is expected Monday and Tuesday.  (This graphic was from earlier in the week.  We now stand at 7.21″, since we’ve added a whopping 0.01″ more!)

Wettest Aprils

ANOTHER REASON TO WATCH CBS EARLY IN THE MORNING

Other than joining me for your latest Quad City weather forecast Monday through Friday from 5-7 a.m.  on CBS4 and to get live updates during the national morning show from 7-9 a.m., national publications are telling you why you should check out Norah, Charlie, and Gayle on “CBS This Morning”.

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“Broadcasting & Cable” recently commended the show for being a “bright spot” in the morning.  And, affiliates like mine, CBS4, are happy, too.   Chris Cornelius, the chairman of the CBS affiliates board, told the the group at a recent gathering in Las Vegas, “We’ve got a wonderful advantage in that we do [hard] news in the morning.”

It’s working.  While those other two national morning shows are fighting each other for number one, mediabistro.com just reported, “The big winner again is “CBS This Morning” which, while still trailing by two million viewers, is up +24% in viewership vs. last year.”

Up 24%!  Incredible!

DO YOU THINK ABOUT DYING?

Normally, I’m a care free kind of guy that always looks and plans for the future.  I rarely think of dying except in mid-February when my mother’s birthday and the anniversary of my father’s death comes around (February 14th & 15th) and in early November around the anniversary of my mother and grandmother’s deaths.

However, lately, I just get a weird feeling that the hereditary curse of my father (brain cancer) and grandfather (colon cancer) is catching up to me.  I know I’m getting older, but I’m noticing more and more aches and pains internally that I didn’t have before.  I know it could very well be from the lack of sleep with my new position at work.  Is three or four hours enough sleep to thrive on during the week? 🙂

I saw this on someone’s Facebook page the other day and it got me to thinking even more!  Luckily, if I were to die tomorrow, I don’t share four of those regrets:  I definitely have the courage to be true to myself (#1), I express my feelings (#3), I do a relatively good job staying in touch with my friends if they want to (#4), and I allow myself to be happy (#5).

The only regret that I have is #2, working too hard in life.  But, short of winning the lottery, how do you get around that one?

Dying Regrets

“I’M TOO SEXY” FOR THIS COUNTRY

After that buzz kill random thought, let’s lighten the mood.  “Out Traveler” is reporting that three men have been kicked out of Saudi Arabia because they were “too handsome” and that women “might fall for them.”  Seriously!  One of the men is actor/poet/photographer Omar Borkan Al Gala from Dubai.

Too Sexy

Now, you can thank me for getting that #1 hit from 1991 by Right Said Fred stuck in your head for the day!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

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I LOVE FOOD, BUT NO THANKS!

My friend, Joan, always teases me that many of my blogs and posts have to do with food.  Yes, I love food.  I love talking about it, posting pictures of great culinary treats that I make, and restaurant entrées or buffets that I’ve sampled.  However, I came across an entrée in a past “Boston” magazine food review that I had to say, “no thank you” to and turn away!

Fish, no thanks

I’ll just have the fish and chips, please!

BEY BEY BEY

There is no doubt that Beyonce is gorgeous and hot.  Okay, there are a couple of pictures that you can argue about and I want to share  one of them with you!

She’s now less than two weeks into “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour”, her new 65-date, three-leg concert across Europe, North America, and South America.  While some are surprised that the concert doesn’t feature any new music (her new album is due later this year), one thing that is definitely turning heads is the costumes.

This one has me saying “Bey Bee” (baby)!

Bey1

And, this one has me saying “Bey BOO!”

Bey Boo!

You go on with your bad self!  Lady Gaga and Madonna, watch out, Bey has gone “Boobie-liciuous”.

AWESOME SURPRISE FROM HELEN REDDY

Last month, I blogged about finally getting to see one of my childhood idols, Helen Reddy, in concert in St. Charles, Illinois.  As you already know, back in the 1970s, she was one of the biggest pop stars in the world.  In 1992, Helen gave up touring and started enjoying life and doing whatever she wanted.  Luckily, for her fans, she decided that she wanted to tour some more this spring.

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Although I didn’t get a chance to meet the 71-year-old singer after the show, her great fan club president and Facebook page administrator, Jim Keaton, made my day recently.  Look what he got me!

Helen Reddy Autograph

Jim and Helen, thank you very much!

CHRISTMAS IS ONLY EIGHT MONTHS AWAY!

Too early to think about it?  I don’t think so considering we had just snow flurries in the Quad Cities last weekend!

While Christmas is still eight months away and I have no desire to even think about what to buy people this Christmas, I already have the first new Christmas album on my list to buy.

Erasure

Erasure, the new wave/dance band from the 1980s, is recording a Christmas album that is expected to come out in November or December!

While the duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have dominated the Billboard Dance charts with 21 hits, 15 of which have made the Top Ten, and two reaching #1, they’ve only charted with three Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100:  “Chains of Love”  (#12, 1988), “A Little Respect” (#14, 1988), and #Always” (#20, 1994).

Since this isn’t my Flashback ’80s hit, I’ll share “Always” from 1994 with you since it has a wintry, holiday feel to it.

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Three years ago this week, we purchased two “King Winter Hawthorne” trees for our front yard.

Interestingly enough, we didn’t have to convince Miss ABBA and Gretel to help us dig the holes for the news trees.  ABBA thought it was fun because she got to dig in the yard without getting reprimanded and Gretel pretended to be a ghoul rising up out of a grave!  The trees have done very well in the three years since we planted them and I can’t wait for the new leaves to sprout out so I can share a new picture with you from this spring to show how they’ve grown.

042410 ABBA Digging For Trees Gretel 042410

And, this awesome photo is from April 28th of last year.  I wasn’t lucky enough to “catch” the lightning streak.  I had to cheat.  I recorded a video and was able to capture frames from the video.  Nevertheless, it’s a cool shot.

042812 Lightning

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Why not have another dose of Erasure?  I met the band briefly when I was a writer for “Fox News Chicago” when they were on the morning show about ten years ago.  They even signed my VHS copy of “Erasure Live!”

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The synthpop band first charted on the U.S. Dance chart with 1985’s “Who Needs Love Like That” and first topped the dance chart in 1987 with “Victim of Love”.

When I was a club disc jockey in the 1980s, “Oh L’Amour” and “Sometimes” were two of my favorite Erasure songs.

MY FINAL “THE FOLLOWING ” THOUGHT BEFORE THE FINALE

Emma

“The Following” season one finale is Monday night at 8pm Central on Fox, that other network!

Have yourself a great weekend and thank you for checking out my weekly random Friday thoughts.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 15

Happy Friday!  Can you believe it’s already the middle of March?  After you read this blog, if you live in the Quad Cities, northern Illinois, or eastern Iowa, get outside for a few minutes today to enjoy the warmest day, so far, in the month of March.  It’s pretty pathetic when the forecast high of 53° today qualifies as “warm” in mid-March.  This is just one of my random thoughts.

COOL, WET, WHITE MARCH

Now that the first half of March is behind us, temperatures in the Quad Cities are running 6.7° below average.  We’ve only had four days, counting today, with highs that made it into the 40s!  To put this chill into perspective, this past January highs were in the 50s or higher five times with the warmest of those days making it up to 62° on January 29, 2013, which is the warmest day in 2013!  In February 2013, two days made it to 50° or higher.

In a typical March, we see 2.86″ of precipitation (rain and melted snow).  In just the first 15 days this March, we’re up to 2.22″ in the Quad Cities.  Average March snow in the Quad Cities is 4″ and this March, we’ve had four measurable snows with a total of 5.7″.

THIS WAS ONE YEAR AGO THIS WEEK!!!

March 2012 Quad Cities

My colleague and friend at CBS4, chief meteorologist Andy McCray put together this graphic to show the high temperatures this time last year.  In addition to these seven unseasonably warm days, we also hit 82° on March 20th and 81° on March 21st.

March 2012 ended up 14.2° above average and it went down in the record books as the warmest March on record in the Quad Cities.

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Look at how green and how in bloom everything was last March 15th-21st in my neighborhood!

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MY CONCERT BUCKET LIST IS GETTING SMALLER!

When I got up for work at 1 a.m. Wednesday, I knew I was going to be up 33 hours.  After working my morning shift Wednesday, Ray and I drove 2.5 hours to St. Charles, Illinois, that evening for a concert and then drove back to the Quad Cities just in time for me to shower and go into work to get ready for the Thursday morning news.  Why the insanity and the sleep deprivation?

Last fall, I heard that one of my childhood idols was doing a few tour dates in early 2013 after giving up touring more than ten years ago.  However, most of the dates were in New York, Florida, and California.  Monday morning, I got a Facebook notice about a concert Wednesday night in St. Charles, a western suburbs of Chicago.  And, I knew I had to move heaven and earth to be there!

Back in 1973, I was almost 9-years-old when I bought my first 45 rpm record thanks to an allowance from my grandparents, John and Helen Peoples.  It was “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy.

Delta Dawn Helen Reddy

Although Helen had many Top Ten hits in America, she’ll be most remembered by her signature #1 hit from December 1972, “I Am Woman”.  That song not only became an anthem for women and equality, but it was also the first Australian-penned song to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and to win a Grammy Award.  In her acceptance speech for Best Female Performance, Helen thanked “God, because SHE makes everything possible”.

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Wednesday night, I got to see the incredible and amazing Helen Reddy in concert!!   While she has aged 40 years since her chart topping days of the early 1970s, she sounded amazing.  The 90-minute concert was surreal.

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While Helen charted with more than a dozen Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 1970s, she only performed a handful of those radio hits:  “Angie Baby” (#1), a medley of “Delta Dawn” (#1) and “Ain’t No Way To Treat A Lady” (#8), along with “You And Me Against The World” (#9).  For her encore, she performed two versions of her iconic #1 international hit, “I Am Woman”.  She recited the lyrics of the song and then she asked the audience to sing along with her.  While most people were shy and just sat there, I sang along with my childhood idol!

Most of the songs that Helen performed where favorites picked by her, whether they were album cuts that never made the radio or songs written by her music business friends.  You could tell that she was having a blast onstage and it never seemed that she had been away from the spotlight for eleven years.

She has a fantastic sense of humor and shared many little personal stories between songs.  Twice, she would be telling a story at the front of the stage and then turn around to the band and ask “what song is next?”  It was so cute and funny.

Two other times, she would be setting up the next song and then pause and the band would be a couple of seconds behind her and she would look around and ask if they were still there or she told the audience, “I thought they left”.

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It may have taken me 40 years to see Miss Helen Reddy in concert since I first heard “I Am Woman”, but it was definitely worth the wait.  Aging like a good wine, the 71-year-old mother and grandmother, sounded just as incredible and alive as she did back in the early-1970s when she was one of the biggest international music stars in the business!  I’m not ageist.  I’m only mentioning her age because she brought it up and I hope that I’m still traveling the world when I hit my 70s!

The only thing that could have made this night any more perfect would have been to meet Helen.  We were on the meet & greet list, but the Arcada Theatre management’s own “meet & greet” messed that up and it left me and Ray and about eight other ladies waiting at the edge of the stage to reminisce about her albums and her glamorous looks of the 1970s.

Oh well, maybe Helen and I will cross paths again!  We’re both young at heart. 🙂  I really can’t complain since we were sitting in the front row stage left and Ray told me that Helen was singing directly to me during some songs.  🙂

That was a classic medley from the 1970s with Helen performing one of my favorite songs, “Keep on Singing”.

Now, I only have Olivia Newton-John and Lorrie Morgan left on my must see list before they retire.  And, if Helen Reddy is any indication, great music stars don’t retire forever, they take a break from the business and live life!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Bad Meal WineHappy Stray Dog

“THE FOLLOWING” IS DRIVING ME NUTS!

Fox’s “The Following” has been renewed for a second season in 2014.

With only seven episodes left before this season’s April 29th finale, the show is driving me nuts.  SPOILER ALERT ahead if you haven’t watched this past Monday’s show!  So, I’ll stall for a moment with a picture from the show, so you can skip ahead to the next segment of my random blog!

Joe & Ryan The Following

While the search for escaped serial killer, Dr. Joe Carroll continues, I’m totally frustrated by the incompetence of the FBI agents on “The Following”.  They’re definitely not Mulder and Scully, FBI agents from Fox’s other successful series, “The X-Files”!  Every week, they come some so close to cracking Joe’s “following” and find his kidnapped son, Joey.  So close, yet so far!

Paul, Emma, & Jacob

Three episodes ago, Paul (left) and Jacob (right), the “gay couple”, escaped and disappeared after a shoot out with the FBI and Paul was bleeding profusely after being stabbed by Ryan Hardy (Kevin Bacon).  And, they haven’t been back in the last two episodes even though they were mentioned.  Hello!!!!!!!!!!!

And, Emma (center), has to DIE!  She is so evil.

Okay, I’ve stalled long enough.  While I love the show, it ‘s definitely dragging things out.  While I love Agent Debra Parker and Kevin Bacon’s Ryan Hardy character is likeable even with his flaws (the biggest being that stupid pacemaker storyline), my favorite character is Agent Mike Weston, played by Shawn Ashmore.  Last Monday, I commented on Facebook that it would be shocking and cool if Hardy died in the season finale and that I wanted to see more Ashmore.

Shawn Ashmore

And, then Monday night, Joe’s crazy followers kidnapped Weston and I said, “Oh no, if he dies, this is it!  I’m done”.

After refusing to give away Claire’s whereabouts (the FBI has her hidden away to keep her safe from Carroll), Weston was beaten and bloodied as Hardy and Agent Parker closed in on rescuing him and then it happened!!!!!!!!!!!  Follower Charlie stabbed him as Ryan breaks in only to have Weston whisper, “I didn’t tell them” and his body goes limp in Hardy’s arms!!!!!!!!!!

Holy crap, “The Following”, you’re driving me nuts!

Oh, and since I said I wanted to see more of Ashmore, here’s a bonus from a June 2008 “Cosmopolitan” magazine spread.  And, it has nothing to do with “The Following”.  Enjoy! 🙂

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

MORE FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PHOTOS

Earlier in the blog, I featured some pictures I posted this week last year during our early season “heat wave”.  Here are a couple from this week in 2010, which definitely showed that winter was hanging on.

Miss ABBA was enjoying playing with Lucky and Odie.  Now, all three of them are playing together in “puppy heaven”.

Lucky ABBA Odie 03202010

And, on that same day, I saw a deer walk by our window in the ravine behind our house.  I grabbed my camera and ran out the door into the front yard and down the street a few house to sneak around back and try to cut it off in the ravine.  I was successful and got this great picture!

Deer 03202010

“OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL”

This past Monday, Ray, Gretel, and I went to see the prequel to “The Wizard of Oz”.

Gretel Anthony Oz

“Oz The Great and Powerful” stars James Franco as Oscar “Oz” Diggs, Mila Kunis (Theodora, the Good Witch), Michelle Williams (Glinda, the Good Witch of the South), and Rachel Weisz (Evanora, Theodora’s sister).

The $215 million, Sam Raimi-directed fantasy movie, grossed a very impressive $167 million worldwide in just the first six days of release.

In the movie, Franco’s Diggs is a small time magician/con artist traveling from town to town hitting on the pretty women and leaving a trail of heartbreak.  When a muscled strongman that is traveling with the carnival finds out that Diggs has been making the moves on his woman, he goes to confront him.  Diggs barely escapes in a hot air balloon only to get sucked in by a tornado.  Oh, and the first part of the movie is in black and white.  Wait, this all sounds familiar. 🙂

Diggs winds up in the Emerald City and Theodora thinks that he’s the Wizard that has been sent to save them.  If he breaks the spell of the Wicked Witch, he will become king and have all the riches!  We also know that either Theodora, Glinda, or Evanora will become the Wicked Witch!

The world of Oz is beautiful and stunningly colorful.  I absolutely loved the movie and there’s been talk that it would have been a better movie if either Johnny Depp or Robert Downey, Jr. had been the magician.  I disagree, as I was captivated by Franco as the Wizard.  And, Michelle Williams is always incredible.

As for kids seeing the PG-rated movie, Ray and Gretel are “jumpers” when watching movies.  She jumped twice (and one was SOOO predictable) and Ray jumped once.  I have to admit that his one jump scene was totally unexpected and fun!

A must see!

GRADE:  B+

FUTURE PICK HIT

Okay, say what you about Ke$ha.  I used to like her auto-tuned to death, sugary, pop confections, but I didn’t think she was very talented.  That changed when I bought “Warrior”, her latest album.  I absolutely love it.  But, I still wouldn’t commit to seeing her in concert!

Her new song, the third release from the album and the follow-up to “C’Mon” is “Supernatural”.

When I blogged about the “Warrior” album and gave it an “A” back in January, here’s what I said about her new single, “If you’re already a fan of Ke$ha’s music and you like to dance, you’ll love a very Ace of Base sounding, “All That Matters (The Beautiful Life)”, “Out Alive”, “Wherever You Are”, “Last Goodbye”, and “Supernatural”.

PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK

And, one of the co-writers on Ke$ha’s “Supernatural” is featured in my weekly ’80s flashback!

In England, singer Nik Kershaw was a 1980s teen idol and made eight appearances on the Top 40 music charts.

Sadly, here in the United States, the closest he came to the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 was with “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”.  The song peaked at #46 in 1984.  I still love the video and the song today!

Okay, that’s enough random thoughts for now.  I could go on and on and on.  What’s on your mind?   Maybe something about what I said today or something else random?  Let me know.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend!

Anthony