Posts Tagged ‘Janet Jackson’

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

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

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

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

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

Random Friday Thoughts — June 12, 2020

It was so nice sharing some of my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week. It was even better that it was read and well received. For those of you that took the time to check it out, thank you!

As I always say, if you disagree with me, that’s fine. Do it diplomatically!

With that being said, my first thought today may not sit well with some. Don’t take it out of context, so read it all before you comment! 🙂 And, don’t take it personally!

Have a fantastic weekend!

STIMULUS CHECKS & UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

While I’m expressing my displeasure of how misaligned the pandemic unemployment compensation program is, I’ll cut it short in light of what’s going on now in America.

There have been a couple of times in my life that I collected unemployment and let me tell you, the checks are NOT enough!

Since unemployment benefits are only a fraction of what you’d make by working, people living on unemployment alone find it hard to make ends meet.

But, now, with the pandemic unemployment compensation program, it’s become a joke and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t tick me off!

With an additional $600 a week on top of the unemployment checks, there are people not working that are making more money than essential workers working through this pandemic!

I know people that are benefiting from this financial windfall, so please use the money wisely!

I’ve worked through this entire pandemic and it’s a little upsetting that I’m clearing less on payday than some of those out of work!

People should NOT be making more money by staying at home than they would be making if this had never happened and they were working!

If this ever happens again, the pandemic unemployment compensation program needs to regulated better! On the positive side, I’m happy taxpaying Americans got a stimulus check!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox!

“HANNIBAL” IS NOW ON NETFLIX!

There are several topics that I’ve written about extensively over the past eight years: Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christmas, food, travel, and “Hannibal”.

What? Yes, I mean Hannibal Lecter and the NBC television series that ran for three season!

Well, after all this time, it’s now on Netflix! So, please, binge watch and see what you (and America) missed during its original run.

So, why should you watch it? Here’s what I’ve said about the show in the past:

April 3, 2013: “From the trailers, I feel that NBC is definitely pushing the envelope with the network’s standards and practices department with the gore and violence.  But, then again, this is a story about serial killers and a cannibal.  This isn’t Disney!”

April 5, 2013: (after seeing the premiere episode): ” it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.”

February 28, 2014: “If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.” 

I’m not alone! This is what “Entertainment Weekly” wrote about the season 2 premiere. (By the way, it gave the season two finale an “A-” also!)

May 16, 2014: NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.”

August 14, 2015: “This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television. Maybe it was too intelligent!”

“THE POLITICIAN”

I loved season one of Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” and I can’t wait to see season two, which premieres June 19, 2020, on Netflix.

Jessica Lange is mesmerizing as white trash conniver Dusty Jackson!

(Here’s the trailer to season one, so I don’t spoil anything for season two!)

And, I’ve said it before that in “another place and time”, I could see being married to star Ben Platt! 🙂

Here’s a Ben Platt extra — “The Rain” — check out that voice and those moves! 🙂

“HOLLYWOOD”

After watching season one of “The Politician”, I thoroughly enjoyed the seven episode series, “Hollywood” (also from Ryan Murphy).

It’s based on Scotty Bowers’ book, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” and the documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood”.

It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about “homophobia” and “racism” in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!)

Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.

She plays the wife of a studio head that ignores her at home — in every way — so she hires a young, hot escort!

Their small talk on their first tryst definitely gets “three snaps in a z-formation”! (Quickly scroll past the LuPone GIF if you’re easily offended!)

JACK (David Corenswet): “You want an honest answer?”
AVIS (LuPone):

Now, I’m finally watching all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

STILL WATCHING…

I had free HULU for a week this spring, so I watched 20 of the 36 episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd are amazing and even though he’s not a nice guy, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) is so hot!

And, Max Minghella (Nick) is so beautiful in the f***ed up dystopian world of “Handmaid’s”!

“CHROMATICA”

If you’re ready for some fun dance (and disco) music to brighten your days with all of the unrest across the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic, Lady Gaga’s new “Chromatica” fits the bill!

My favorite songs on the album are “Free Woman”, “Fun Tonight”, and “911” (makes me think of Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok”)!

My other favorites are “Alice”, “Sour Candy” (with the South Korean group Blackpink) and “1000 Doves” — in addition to the first two hits, “Stupid Love” (#5) and “Rain On Me” (#1) with Ariana Grande.

And, I hate to admit that the duet with Elton John doesn’t do much for me, which is shocking since I love both artists! (It was a good song until the last 15 seconds — epic fail to an otherwise decent song!)

Please tell me that when “Enigma” comes on that it sounds like she’s saying “I’ll be your enema” instead of “enigma” if you’re not really paying attention! Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

GRADE: B

However, if the album only consisted of the first ten songs, I’d give it an “A”. But. the last part of the CD brings the grade down!

LADY GAGA JOINS AN ELITE GROUP OF WOMEN

With “Chromatica” debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, it becomes her sixth chart topper!

This places her in a five-way tie for fourth place among women with Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift.

Janet Jackson is in third place with seven #1 albums, Madonna is second with nine, and the leader is Barbra Streisand with eleven!!!

Jay-Z leads men with 14 chart toppers and the Beatles lead all artists with 19 #1 albums.

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY “LOVERS”

One of my favorite Kylie Minogue songs turns 10 years old this week. It’s definitely one of the sexiest, button-pushing videos ever!

Due to its erotic nature, the video was banned or censored in many Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!

Kylie says, “I think, yes, it’s sexy but I also think it’s very touching and sensual and the message is love.”

While the song reached the Top 5 in many countries, it only hit #1 on one chart — the American Dance Club Songs chart! Go U.S.A. deviates! 🙂

The video has been viewed more than 24 million times! 🙂

ALSO READ…

Three books I’ve read this spring on my walks around Lake Decatur are 2004’s “Chasing The Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer” by David Reichert.

It covers the notorious serial killer that targeted young prostitutes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also, there was 2009’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — a parody novel/mash-up of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic, “Pride and Prejudice”.

My favorite line in the book was from an annoying character that I prayed would be devoured by zombies! No such luck! 😦

I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in – and I am sure my dinners are good enough for her, since she is an unmarried woman of seven-and-twenty, and as such should expect little more than a crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness.”

So catty! Meow!

And, I read “Julie & Julia” (2005) by Julie Powell, which is based on real life.

Many of you know of this book from the 2009 movie starring Oscar Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell.

“TALKING TO GIRLS ABOUT DURAN DURAN”

I also finished Rob Sheffield’s humorous look of growing up in the 1980s and how the music ( “best.music.ever” — my description of the 1980s) shaped his life.

DURAN DURAN

Since the book is more about the music and the decade rather than Duran Duran, here are a couple of pictures I took when I saw them on the “Paper Gods Tour” in Las Vegas in 2016.

Here’s a snippet of my 4th favorite Duran Duran song, “The Wild Boys”, live from that concert!

And, here are my three favorite Duran Duran songs!

“HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

“THE REFLEX”

“IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?

DURANNIES, YOUR FAVORITE?

Let’s hope this doesn’t start World War 3, but who was/is your favorite?

For me, it’s Roger Taylor!

He’s followed by Simon, John, and Nick. Sorry, Andy!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

30 Years Later, You’re Forever Our Girl!

It’s only taken three decades, but I’m finally getting to see one of my favorite entertainers in concert this week in Las Vegas!

She’ll join the list of those I’ve seen in concert (some many times) that are known worldwide by just one name!

Madonna. Reba. Britney. Taylor. Janet. Cher. Olivia. Gaga. Bette. Elton.

I’m still hoping to add Kylie (Minogue) to the that list, but Thursday night, it’s Paula (Abdul)!

PA.jpg

I’ve been such a huge fan of hers even before I bought the 12″ dance single for “Knocked Out” in the summer of 1988.

Yes, before she even released her first record!

My best friend and I spent all of 1986 reciting the monologue at the beginning of Janet Jackson’s first Top 40 pop hit, the #4 smash, “What Have You Done For Me Lately”!

This will ring a bell if you were part of the 1980s MTV generation! 🙂

“What’s up girl?”  

“He stood me up again!”  

“Again?”

“Mmmhmm”  

“Well, what’s up with this guy?  Do you really like him that much?”  

“Yes, honey, I love him.  He is fine, he does a lot of nice things for me.” 

Paula Janet

“I know he used to do nice stuff for you, but what has he done for you lately?”

Paula has released three studio album and several remix and greatest hits albums.  Worldwide, her record sales are over 53 million!

In anticipation of finally getting to see Paula in concert, I listened to every song she’s recorded and today I’m sharing my 20 favorites and a bonus!

20

“SEXY THOUGHTS”

19

“I’M JUST HERE FOR THE MUSIC”

18

“OPPOSITES ATTRACT”

17

“DANCE LIKE THERE’S NO TOMORROW”

16

“ALRIGHT TONIGHT”

15

“BEND TIME BACK ROUND”

#14 Movie

“ROCK HOUSE”

#13

“STATE OF ATTRACTION”

12

“AIN’T NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP”

#11 Movie

“U”

#10 MOVIE

“BLOWING KISSES IN THE WIND”

9 CD

“VIBEOLOGY”

#8 MOVIE

“(IT’S JUST) THE WAY THAT YOU LOVE ME”

#7 CD

“THE PROMISE OF A NEW DAY”

#6 CD

“MY LOVE IS FOR REAL”

#5 CD

“KNOCKED OUT”

4

“RUSH RUSH”

#3 CD

“STRAIGHT UP”

#2 MOVIE

“FOREVER YOUR GIRL”

Holiday Bonus

“PAULA ABDUL MEDLEY MIX 1990”

#1

“COLD HEARTED”

Here’s to dancing the night away at the Flamingo Las Vegas with Paula!

Anthony

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 3, 2017

I hope you all had a fun and safe Halloween.

I want to share this hilarious card my friend, Jennifer, sent me before we jump into this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Halloween Card

KEVIN SPACEY IS GAY, BUT…

This part of the blog has been re-worked many times since Monday.

In a regular blog week, I’d be happy to report that two-time Oscar Award winner Kevin Spacey comes out and is choosing “to live as a gay man”.  But, it’s the circumstances surrounding that Twitter “coming out” that’s disturbing.

46-year-old gay actor Anthony Rapp, a star of Broadway’s “Rent” and the CBS All Access’ series, “Star Trek Discovery”, alleges that back in 1986, then 26-year-old Spacey invited him to a party at his Manhattan apartment, when Rapp was only 14!

Rapp tells “Buzzfeed” Spacey tried to seduce him and that “I was aware that he was trying to get with me sexually.”

Spacey RappIt was then that Rapp says that Spacey “sort of stood in the doorway, kind of swaying. My impression when he came in the room was that he was drunk … He picked me up like a groom picks up the bride over the threshold. But I don’t, like, squirm away initially, because I’m like, ‘What’s going on?’ And then he lays down on top of me.”

Rapp told the LGBT magazine, “The Advocate”, this same story back in 2001, but he didn’t mention Spacey’s name.

Now, several others have come out with allegations against Spacey.

MY THOUGHTS ON SPACEY & THE REVELATIONS

When the story broke, Spacey tweeted, “I’m beyond horrified to hear his story.  I honestly do not remember the encounter, it would have been over 30 years ago. But if I did behave as he describes, I owe him the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior, and I am sorry for the feelings he describes having carried with him all these years.”

I really like Spacey as an actor and I love “House of Cards”.  However, if what Rapp says is true and why wouldn’t it be, it’s not good.  But, I have questions about this.

Was Spacey aware that Rapp was only 14?

And, I’m still baffled, whether 1986 or now, why a 14-year-old would be allowed to be out that late at an adult party — in New York City — without a parent or guardian???

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

After the sexual misconduct allegations against Spacey, Netflix announced that the 53-time Emmy Award-nominated series (seven wins) will end after the sixth season.

That season was set to air in 2018, but production has been suspended indefinitely!

Update:  On Friday, a statement was released from Netflix:  “Netflix will not be involved with any further production of House of Cards that includes Kevin Spacey. We will continue to work with MRC [Media Rights Capital, the company that produces the show] during this hiatus time to evaluate our path forward as it relates to the show.”

 

house-of-cards

Even before these developments, if you’re caught up on the show, you know that it was likely nearing its end after the season five finale.

HOLLYWOOD!

Since the Harvey Weinstein rape and sexual misconduct scandal broke and the Spacey allegations, accusations of inappropriate behavior are coming out against director Brett Ratner and actors Dustin Hoffman and Jeremy Piven.

Iceberg

And, women are even coming forward with allegations against former President George H.W. Bush!

“NIPPLEGATE” — 14 YEARS LATER

I was one of the 90 million people watching the Super Bowl halftime performance in 2004 when a “wardrobe malfunction” flashed Janet Jackson’s boob and pierced nipple to the world.

Janet Jackson nip slip

My first reaction was “did I just see what I think I saw?”.  However, then and now, I’m still baffled about what’s so taboo about a woman’s boobie?

So, now we’re talking about it again because it was announced that Justin Timberlake, who’s had an amazing career before and after that incident, will be playing Super Bowl LII (52) in February.

Yet, Jackson is still treated like a pariah. It’s white privilege and that’s what people are saying with #JusticeForJanet.

For Christ’s sake, bring her back for a performance if only to rip off Timberlake’s shirt to reveal his nipple and chest!

JANET’S “STATE OF THE WORLD TOUR”

I saw Janet on the “Unbreakable Tour” in Omaha, Nebraska, in October 2015.

After taking time off for health reasons, to become a mother, and separating from her overbearing Middle Eastern husband, Janet is back on the road again with the re-branded “State of The World Tour”.

When I saw her, she was phenomenal and very covered up.  Only her face and hands were visible.  Her new tour costumes are sexier and more revealing!

Here’s a video of the incredible song “It” from the show I saw.

HILLARY CLINTON “THAT MAN”

You may have noticed that Hillary Clinton was everywhere over the past month or so promoting her book, “What Happened?”, about the 2016 presidential election.

Hillary What Happened

In an interview with “The Sunday Times”, she said, “I thought I’d be a damn good president, I did not think I was going to lose.”

Clinton went on to say, “I feel a terrible sense of responsibility for not having figured out how to defeat this person. There must have been a way and I didn’t find it.”

So now, I don’t have to refer to him as #45 all the time.  I now have “this person”!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

(*Disclaimer:  This part of the blog was already written before the Kevin Spacey story broke earlier in the week.  The upcoming movie, “Call Me By Your Name”, takes place in Italy where the legal age of consent in 16.  The characters in the movie are 24 and 17.*)

After “Beauty and the Beast”, the movie I was impatiently waiting to see was “The Snowman”.  Sadly, the horrid reviews scared me away and I’m now waiting for it on DVD.

My anticipation is building for “Call Me By Your Name”.

call me

When the movie opens November 24th, I doubt that it’ll play in Panama City, Florida, but I might be surprised.  If that’s the case, I’m not too worried because I’ll catch it when I visit Las Vegas in December.

As the praise and Oscar buzz for the movie grows, I’m getting rather ticked about the silly blogs and articles slamming it for not showing full frontal nudity!

Trust me, I understand it.  If Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet were showing “the full monty”, I’d love it, too.

But, as sensual as the movie is expected to be, if that’s what you really want to see, just Google “male nudity” or check out redtube for porn!  It’s free!

ON A LIGHTER, HUMOROUS MUSICAL NOTE

Proof that some people have way too much time on their hand or are way too creative, someone took the dance scene from “Call Me By Your Name” and set it too many different songs and IT WORKS.  It’s hilarious.

Here’s the original from the movie with the Psychedelic Furs.

Here are a couple of favorites — “Til’ The World Ends” by Britney Spears and “What Makes You Beautiful” by One Direction.  Too cute!

NEW HERSHEY BAR

Hershey’s is debuting a new candy bar December 1st and it sounds amazing!

It’s a caramelized creme bar with bits of salty peanuts and pretzel bits.

Hersheys Gold

This is only the fourth candy bar in the company’s history.  The original debuted in 1900, followed by a special dark variety in 1939, and the Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Creme bar in 1995.

MID-FALL TELEVISION THOUGHTS

spoiler_alert_300_w2

“THE WALKING DEAD”— Negan is still alive and after a decent return in the eighth season opener, the second episode of mainly gunfight was so boring.  If this continues, I’m seriously done!

Eric was shot, but I’m not too concerned.  I’m shipping Jesaaron (Jesus and Aaron), so Eric needs to go. 🙂

“MADAM SECRETARY” — Loved Elizabeth calling out the Fox News-like network and “fake news” and how it’s hurting America.  And, I was totally shocked and saddened by the departure of a beloved character. (The actress asked CBS to be released from her contract.)

“THE GOOD DOCTOR” — Still loving this hit Freddie Highmore series on ABC.

“THE BRAVE” — Still enjoying this thriller, yet it seems like every time they go up against terrorists, they always win without causalities.

For God & Country - Season Pilot

That’s a good thing because this show has the most beautiful cast!

“TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY” —  After four episodes, it’s been pulled from the schedule due to low ratings.  It’ll return on Saturday nights in December to burn off the remaining six episodes.  I still want to see how it ends.

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY: CULT” — This crazy, enjoyable season wraps up November 14th.  Sadly, I know how the real life events this installment is based on is going.  I want to know how insane it’ll get over the next two weeks!

FLASHBACK TO THE ’80S

Does anyone remember “Don Quichotte” by the French trio Magazine 60?

While the song reached the Top Ten in France and it was played in American dance clubs, it only reached the Top 60 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986.

FINAL HALLOWEEN THOUGHT

Laugh it Up

 

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

It All Starts With Me

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

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

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

champagne

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

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

Anthony1982

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

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

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

anger

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

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

ABBADecember2007

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

Hillary AP

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

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

Reba Anthony 2005

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

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

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

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

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

Dessie 1990

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

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

reba-faith

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

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

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

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

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

lake_of_fire

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

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

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

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

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

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

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She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 21, 2016

Ah, the weekend is here again and to kick it off, here are a few of my random thoughts.

I appreciate you checking them out and have fun this weekend!

LESS THAN THREE WEEKS AWAY — THANK GOD!

Regardless of which candidate you support in this year’s presidential election, I’m sure most of us agree that we can’t wait for November 8th to get here so we can vote and put this long, nasty campaign behind us!

The three presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are history and a CNN/ORC poll conducted after each debate shows that Clinton won all three by margins of 35%, 23%, and 13%.

After watching the first two, I decided that I could not and would not subject myself to another ninety minutes of watching an immature and unprepared old man act like a child.

And, did I call that one correctly?  21 seconds into video proves me right!

My summation:  An adult is talking and a spoiled brat without manners interrupts and starts name calling. Said grown adult maintains cool – PRICELESS!

THE DEATH OF A CHILD BEAUTY QUEEN

This Christmas will mark the 20th anniversary of the shocking death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey in her Boulder, Colorado home.

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Two decades later, there have been no arrests, but there’s widespread speculation about who killed her and how and why she was murdered.

I just finished reading “Perfect Murder, Perfect Town” by Lawrence Schiller.

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If you want to know more about the investigation instead of just the soundbites you remember from the news two decades ago, this is a well written and well researched book.

Here’s what I took away from the 600-plus pages:  There were many dedicated and thorough detectives working to solve the crime, but the murder investigation (that was called in as a kidnapping) was pretty much botched from the beginning with police failing to secure the crime scene, there was a major disconnect between the Boulder Police and the district attorney’s office and this made each side look like amateurs to the nation and the world, and finally, that unless someone confesses one day, the case will never be solved.

JONBENET’S KILLER

Be careful who you accuse of murdering JonBenet.

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On October 6, 2016, her brother, Burke Ramsey, who was nine at the time of her death, filed a defamation lawsuit against Dr. Werner Spitz, who accused Burke of killing his little sister.

Burke and his attorneys are seeking a total of $150 million in punitive and compensatory damages. They may also be filing new lawsuits against CBS soon.

Burke, now grown, agreed to an exclusive interview with Dr. Phil to talk about his life and sister’s murder.

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While Burke, his family, and their friends should be presumed innocent in JonBenet’s death until proven otherwise, one thing that Burke is guilty of is being rather creepy and unnerving in the interview.

You’re talking about the savage murder of your little sister on Christmas Day and you’re sitting there smiling like you’re unstable or medicated.  That’s just an observation.  It was awkward.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

No one really knows what happened Christmas night 1995 in the Ramsey’s Boulder mansion.  No one, that is, but the killer(s).

But, as I mentioned above, almost everyone following the case then and now, have theories on who killed JonBenet.  After reading Schiller’s book, I feel I know a little more than the average person following the murder.  I definitely know more than I did twenty years ago.

I would love to throw out my theory, but I don’t want to be sued by Burke Ramsey or anyone else…

THIS IS A WORK OF “FICTION”

… so here’s a ripped from the headline, “fictional” treatment that could become a Lifetime movie.*

A family comes home from a Christmas party and before their two children go to bed, one wants a snack.  While the older child is eating from a bowl of fruit, the younger sibling grabs a piece from the bowl and pops it in her mouth and runs off.  The older child grabs a flashlight from the kitchen counter and a foot chase ensues.  The older child strikes his little sister in the head with the flashlight.  This blow is not intended to kill, but to put the younger child in her place.  The parents put the children to bed, but realize that something is wrong when the little girl becomes unresponsive.  At that point, instead of taking the younger child to the hospital or calling 9-1-1, they panic and stage a crime scene to cover up the accidental, unintentional death.

This isn’t far-fetched.  I grew up with a little sister two years younger than me and we definitely had our fair share of arguments and fights growing up.

*The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in this production are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.

MARCO RUBIO, THANK YOU!

In the past, I’ve blogged about how much former Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio scares me because of his LGBT views.

MarcoRubio1

While I still want to keep him at arm’s length, he has come around and spoken out on a couple of issues that Republican politicians and their supporters need to face.

First, Rubio is disputing Donald Trump’s claims that this year’s election is rigged.

Rubio says, “This election is not being rigged.  There is no evidence behind any of this, so this should not continue to be said.”

And, finally, about the WikiLeaks smear campaign against Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Rubio says in a statement:

Rubio WikiLeaks.jpg

Here’s what I had to say about Rubio in a blog earlier this year when he was still a contender in the Republican race for the White House.

Why We Should Fear Marco Rubio

RUBIO ISN’T ALONE

Former Republican presidential candidate, Ohio Governor John Kasich also disagrees with Trump in thinking the election is rigged.

Kasich says, “Look, to say that elections are rigged and all these votes are stolen — that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is.”

MAYBE WE SHOULD ASK HEATHER MOONEY HER THOUGHTS!

HeatherMooney

“THE WALKING DEAD” FINALLY RETURNS

spoiler-alert

“The Walking Dead, one of the best shows on television, returns for its much anticipated seventh season Sunday night.

If you don’t already know by now, this is a mini-spoiler:

When the season six finale ended, baddie Negan and his barbed-wire covered baseball bat, Lucille, bashed to death a major cast member!

Director Greg Nicotero says this episode is “the most emotional episode I’ve ever shot.”

It’s about time to have Rick back again!  (That is, if he’s not killed!) 🙂

HE WASN’T ALREADY “OUT”?

With all the allegations of sexual misconduct by several women against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, I guess anchor Shepard Smith coming out as gay earlier this week is no big deal.

Personally, I thought he already identified publicly as gay!

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It’s almost 2017 and a person’s sexuality should never be what defines them.  Some may even ask, why should we care?  It’s his business.

I think it’s important for people, even at Smith’s age (early-50s), to have role models if they feel they’re living a lie or can’t be themselves by staying in the closet.

Come out, come out!  It’s freeing and it’s liberating.

Congrats Shepard!

THAT P-WORD AGAIN!

My favorite new comedian and satirist Samantha Bee drives home another winning commentary on the Donald Trump and Billy Bush recording!

You know the one that started the debate on kissing and grabbing whatever you want — if you’re a celebrity (or Trump).

Oh no!  You’re going to hear the p-word again and according to Samantha Bee, that word isn’t “presidential”.

This is too funny and I’ve never even heard some of these expressions!

I sure hope Samantha is still as funny after the 2016 presidential election is over in just under three weeks!

MICHAEL BUBLE IS BACK (AND IT’S NOT EVEN CHRISTMAS)

For Michael Buble fans, it’s been a long wait for his ninth studio album (seventh major label release), “Nobody But Me”.

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The three-and-a-half year wait is over.

While I enjoyed his early 2013 release, “To Be Loved”, the new album is fantastic!

Michael Buble To Be Loved

My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.

Here’s the first release from the album.  While I featured the lyric video some time ago, the “official” video just came out last week.

“WAITING IN THE WINGS — THE MUSICAL”

When it comes to mainstream movies, there are Oscar worthy ones, some great ones, and some that true turkeys (and not the Thanksgiving kind).  You know the ones — the ones that remind you that you’ll never get those two hours of your life back.

It’s even harder to find those gems in the LGBT movie genre because there are fewer of them being made.

My favorites are still “Longtime Companion”, “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, “Make The Yuletide Gay” and “Lilting”, my favorite movie that I saw in 2015.  (Okay, it has nothing to do with my innocent crush on Ben Whishaw!)

Ben-Whishaw

When I saw the trailer for “Waiting in the Wings:  The Musical”, I thought it had potential to be funny.  I also knew that it could easily leave the rails.

The musical is written and directed by Jeffrey A. Johns, who’s also the star.

Johns plays Anthony, a small town Montana man who lives for musicals (and Disney).  He enters an online contest and heads to New York to make his mark on Broadway.

However, there’s a casting mix-up and Tony, a stripper (played by Adam Huss, who was also entertaining in 2010’s “Is It Just Me?”), gets Anthony’s role and naive Anthony has to learn to strip.

The movie also features Lee Meriwether in a touching and supporting role.  Shirley Jones and Sally Struthers also make cameos.

I really fell in love with Rena Strober, who plays Rita, the lead in an Off-Broadway play. She gets to play sweet and catty, but most of all, her voice is incredible.

Yes, you have to suspend disbelief at times, but isn’t that why we watch movies?

My only complaint is that Rebekah Kochan is underutilized.  She was so crass and so much fun in Q. Allan Brocka’s “Eating Out” movies.

GRADE:  B

HE REALLY IS INVINCIBLE — EVEN IN DEATH!

Michael Jackson died more than seven years ago, but he’s still the top earning dead celebrity.

In 2016, his estate earned $825 million!

$750 million of that is from the sale of his half of the Sony/ATV publishing catalogue.  Back in 1985, Jackson paid $47.5 million to buy the original Beatles-packed ATV.

At #2, with $48 million, is “Peanuts” (and Charlie Brown) creator Charles Schulz.

Charlie Brown

Golf legend Arnold Palmer came in third with $40 million.

Elvis Presley ($27 million) and Prince ($25 million) round out the top five.

“NASTY, NASTY, NASTY”

Okay, back in 1986, in my formative party years, we knew all about those “nasty boys” thanks to Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.

Now, in 2016, in our increasingly all-inclusive world, we have a “nasty” woman (or maybe a few of them). 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 4, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to imagine that it’s already March.

Spring will be here in a couple of weeks and after the warmth last weekend and the snow earlier this week in the Midwest, I’m ready for it.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts and if we disagree, do it diplomatically.

SAD PARENTING!

I know this happens much more than people know — a kid tells their parents they’re gay or the parents find out and either kicks them out onto the streets or severs ties with them.

Promoting his autobiography, “Master of Ceremonies”, 83-year-old Oscar winning actor Joel Grey (“Cabaret”) tells “Entertainment Weekly” about telling his parents when he was a teenager that he’d had an affair with a man.

Grey says, “When I told my mother, I remember reaching out to her, and she said, ‘Don’t ever touch me again, you disgust me.’  It was one of the worst moments of my life.  Secrets became necessary.”

I know people have hang ups with LGBT people, but I’ll never understand, as a gay man and as a parent, how a mother or father (or grandparent) could say that to their child.  If you could or have done that and have no regrets, please “unfriend” me now!

“AMY” WINS AN OSCAR, BUT NOT EVERYONE IS HAPPY

The documentary, “Amy”, by director Asif Kapadia walked away with an Academy Award Sunday night for “Best Documentary Feature”.

I saw it and it’s an insightful piece on the rise, fall, and death of five-time Grammy Award winning singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 at the age of 27 from alcohol poisoning.

At one point, the director had the support of the Winehouse family, but then they had a change of heart and spoke out publicly about how the documentary portrayed Amy and the family.

Amy’s father, Mitch, said this after the Sunday night win, “I am not changing my stance just because film won Oscar.  It’s a negative, spiteful, and misleading portrayal of Amy.  We will fix this.”

It’s been almost five years and it’s time for the Winehouse family to move on it.  The documentary is much nicer about Amy’s life and death than some of the things I’ve heard in the past few years.

SUPER TUESDAY AFTERMATH

If you follow politics, you already know that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were the big winners from “Super Tuesday”, even as Bernie Sanders won four states, Ted Cruz three, and Marco Rubio eked out a win in Minnesota.

Here’s how Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief of the website FiveThirtyEight and considered the ultimate expert in politics and presidential election predictions, summed up the night.

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After last Tuesday and the debate Thursday night, I don’t know what Trump could possible say to offend anyone he hasn’t already and not secure the Republican nomination.

APTOPIX DEM 2016 Debate

As for Democratic race, Clinton is winning big states and in big numbers and is on track to secure her party’s nomination.

Harry Enten, a senior political writer and analyst for FiveThirtyEight, sums up that race like this:

“Sanders, perhaps not surprisingly, has indicated that he’ll continue to fight for votes across the country. But for every win he may get in mostly white states, Clinton will be marching toward the nomination with likely victories in states such as Michigan and Florida. The math indicates that Clinton eventually will win the nomination with relative ease.”

SCRUFF APP USERS MAKE THEIR PICK

If you follow politics, you see all of the polling from different organizations on Real Clear Politics (RCP).  I can say I haven’t seen any results from Scruff, the gay app hook-up site listed on RCP.

But, a poll was conducted and 72% of guys who responded classified themselves as Democrats.  Only 9% claimed to be Republicans with 16% listed as Independents.

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Of the more than 10-thousand Democratic respondents, 63% supported Hillary Clinton compared to 31% for Bernie Sanders.  6% were still undecided.

Trump

Of the smaller Republican group, 38% picked Donald Trump, 19% Marco Rubio, 9% John Kasich 6% Ted Cruz, and only 2% for Ben Carson, in last place.

And, just think, this poll came out before Trump made sure we know that his endowment is not small, in reference to Rubio making a small hands reference last week.  Ewwwww!

What

Another prime example to prove he’s not presidential material.

ELTON’S ON A RAMPAGE (AGAIN)

One of the greatest entertainers in music is back with a new album.  Okay, I should say “The Bitch Is Back”.

Elton John just released his 32nd studio album, “Wonderful Crazy Night”.  It debuted at #8 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and dropped precipitously the following week.

That happens with highly anticipated album.  It doesn’t reflect on how good or bad an album is, it’s more of an indication that Top 40 radio doesn’t play songs from the album.

So, with new music to promote, it’s time for Elton to ruffle some feathers.

Elton

It seems like a lifetime ago when he ripped on Madonna accusing her of lip-syncing in her concerts in 2004 and, in 2012, his husband, David Furnish, blasted Madonna after Elton lost to her at the Golden Globes.

Elton says now, “I probably went too far with Madonna and I got very personal and I wrote her – she was very gracious”.

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Now, his venon is directed to “No, my first name ain’t baby.  It’s Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty.”

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Elton tells “Rolling Stone”, “You know, f*cking music magazines writing a review of Janet Jackson saying, ‘This is the greatest show – four and a half stars.’  It’s f*cking lip-synced.  Hello!  That’s not a show!  I’d rather go and see a drag queen.  F*ck off!”

Elton LasVegas

Madonna

As for the feuds and the talent, Elton, I saw you in concert in Las Vegas in 2012 the night before I saw Madonna and both of you were incredible.

Chill out!

JANET JACKSON — MY DEFENSE

This past fall, I saw Janet on her “Unbreakable World Tour” in Omaha, Nebraska, and the show dazzled me.

You’d think if it was “lip-synced”, you wouldn’t have heard her cough at the end of one song!

JanetJackson

The European leg of that tour picks up again in late March and she returns to the United States this May for the North American leg.

She’ll be playing right here in the Quad Cities, in Moline, Illinois, at the iWireless Center, and I’d highly recommend you see the show.

Here’s a video from the Omaha show.

And, here’s what I have to say about the concert:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/janet-jacksons-unbreakable-world-tour-dazzles/

“BATES MOTEL” RETURNS & SO DOES “DAMIEN”

The fourth season of the incredible “Bates Motel” returns Monday night, March 7th, on A&E.

We’ll see Norman (Freddie Highmore) descend deeper into madness to take on the persona of his mother, Norma (Vera Farmiga), who’s also losing it.

After that, stick around for the premiere of “Damien”, the return of the evil child from the 1976 motion picture, “The Omen”.

Hot English actor Bradley James, plays Damien, now a 30-year-old photographer who has forgotten his Satanic past.

It’s from the creator of “The Walking Dead” and also stars Scott Wilson, who played Hershel Greene on “Dead”.

ADELE SAYS NO TO MACKLEMORE & RYAN LEWIS

Adele is one of the biggest stars on the planet.

She’s won more Grammys than she can carry and she’ll likely cash in again early in 2017 when “25” sweeps the awards just as her as her last album, “21”, did.

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She’s already had two smash hits from her new album, “Hello” and “When We Were Young” and the third single will likely be announced soon.

But, thankfully, “she graciously passed” when Macklemore and Ryan Lewis asked her to lend vocals on “Growing Up” from their new album.

That song made my list of “worst songs” of 2015.  Sadly, Ed Sheeran stepped in for Adele.

PICK HIT

In May, we’ll be seeing Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, Illinois, on the “Delirium World Tour” to support Ellie’s latest album.

I’ve been a fan of hers since long before “Lights” became a huge hit in America in 2011.

Last year, the English trio, Years & Years released “Communion”, which was my second favorite album of 2015.

Ellie’s latest hit, “Something in the Way You Move” is one of my favorite songs out right now and is already one of the 20 most played songs on Top 40 radio.

And, if you’re not familiar with Years & Years, here’s more on “Communion”.  Check out the blog I featured last summer which features more songs from the album.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

THAT’S IT

Have a great first weekend of March.

I’m going to enjoy the nice weather, have some great food and drinks, watch some movies, catch up on my television shows, and check out this weekend’s caucuses and primaries.

Feel free to comment on any of my topics today.

Anthony

2016: My (Not So) Lofty Expectations

It’s hard to believe not just that another year has passed, but that it seems to have gone by so quickly!  I think that comes with getting older.  There’s just not enough hours in a day.

Now that 2016 is here, I’ll share the same wish to you that I shared a few days ago when I looked back on my 2015 in a blog, “I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.”

Time

So, what do I want to accomplish and do with my time in the new year?

I want to nap more.  My work schedule is a strange one and I always feel sleep-deprived.  Part of that is my fault because I always find things I could or should be doing in the afternoons when I should be snoozing for a couple of hours.

I’ll strive to be a better person.  In 2016,  I hope not to let other people’s actions or incompetence agitate me.  Yes, I’m human and so many people disappoint me with their inaction.

I plan on sticking close to my budget.  This will allow me the opportunity to travel as much as I can in the new year.

In 2015, I was fortunate to go to New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anchorage, and to Mexico twice, Riviera Maya in the summer and to Puerto Vallarta in December.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in 2015 from home and afar from some of these amazing places I visited.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10153326556919849.1073741954.500579848&type=3

I saw some great concerts and shows last year (Madonna, Janet  Jackson, Bette Midler, Michael C. Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and Renee Fleming in “The Merry Widow”).

This year, I’d love to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas.  I saw her a few years back on the “Femme Fatale Tour” and she was incredible.  And, I hear she has new music dropping this year.

Britney Las Vegas

We already have two trips planned for the new year.  One, we booked in the spring of last year and paid for it in monthly payments for the remainder of 2015.  There’s there budget thing again!  I’m sure we’ll announce when and where before we go. 🙂

Also, for Christmas, we gave Gretel a trip to New York City for her spring break.  She’s always wanted to go and she loved the pictures of our trip there last New Year’s Eve, my first time.

AP Ray NYC

She wants to see Madame Tussauds and probably visit a museum.  Ray hasn’t said what he wants to do and I’ve already bought tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen at Terminal 5!

If you haven’t checked out her 2015 album, “Emotion”, you’re missing out on a pop masterpiece!  It was my #3 favorite album of last year and if you only know her from “Call Me Maybe”, this set of songs is more mature and just as catchy!

And, in May, Ray and I are going to see Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, outside Chicago.

I love Ellie Goulding’s music, but I chose this concert to see the opening act.  Years & Years released “Communion” last summer and it’s incredible.

Lead singer Olly Alexander’s voice is so soulful and powerful.  If you love Adele, you have to check out “Communion”.  And, it was my #2 album of last year.

Click here and another window will open and you can see my favorite albums of 2015 and hear more selections from Years & Years to see what I’m talking about.  You’ll also see what album was my favorite since I mentioned #3 (Carly Rae) and #2 (Years & Years)!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/my-favorite-albums-of-2015/

While I already mentioned Britney, 2016 also promises new music from Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue and if I’m really lucky, new albums from Erasure, Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Enrique Iglesias!

However, my most anticipated album of 2016 is by Matthew Koma.  I loved his song “Tempted” with Giorgio Moroder and his work with Zedd.  But, it’s his solo album that I want.

Here’s a fun song from Matthew, but you may want to check the title before you click on it — if there are kids in the room. 🙂

So, that’s it for me and a few of the things I look forward to in 2016:  sleep more, smile more, not let people tick me off as much, travel more, and see some fantastic shows.

Those expectations aren’t all that lofty, right?

Happy New Year!

Anthony