Posts Tagged ‘Jeffrey Dahmer’

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 — August 17, 2018

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

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

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“FAKE NEWS” — FOR SURE

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

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

Real.JPG

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

Don Jr..JPG

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

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

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

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

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

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

Crazy-Rich-Asians-Movie.jpg

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

Henry Golding

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

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

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

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

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

aretha640

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AUGUST 16TH

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

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

Elvis Aretha Madonna

Happy 60th Madonna!

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

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

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

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

Jamie Bell was equally deserving.

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

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

Bick.jpg

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

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

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

GRADE: A

“SAFE”

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

Dexter-michael-c-hall

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

Hedwig

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

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

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Kahlusion

MY 15 MINUTES OF FAME WITH JEFFREY DAHMER

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

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

Jeffrey Dahmer.jpg

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

MY FRIEND DAHMER”

There have been several movies released about Dahmer.

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

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

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

GRADE:  C

CRAZY OCCURRENCES IN JIMMY CARTER’S TERM

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

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

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

MONDALE

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

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

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

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

“CHAPPAQUIDDICK”

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

TED KENNEDY

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 30, 2017

The first half of the year is over now!  It’s incredible how fast time flies.

I hope you’ve enjoyed part one of 2017 and are looking forward to more of the same for the part two if it’s been a good one.  If it hasn’t been all that spectacular or if there’s room for improvement, here’s to a better summer, fall, and the kick-off to winter!

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

4 MORE YEARS, ANTHONY KENNEDY, PLEASE!

Rumors are swirling that Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) Anthony Kennedy, almost 81-years-old, might be ready to announce his retirement.

Anthony Kennedy

The Reagan-nominee has been a Justice for more than 29 years.

The court is currently split.  Ruth Bader Ginsburg, now 84, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer lean Democratic and Neil Gorsuch, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito side Republican.

Kennedy is sometimes a tiebreaker or a swing voter.

My hope is that he holds out until 2021 before he retires since President Obama didn’t get to appoint a successor to conservative judge Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

TWO YEARS AND THE WORLD IS STILL HERE

It was two years ago this week (June 26, 2015) that Justice Kennedy authored SCOTUS’ decision making marriage equality the law of the land.

He concluded by saying, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

That night, the White House showed its true colors!

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Since that day, despite people like Kentucky’s “Wicked Witch” Kim Davis, the LGBT community learned more about what the expression “all men are created equal” means.

And, to this day, the Earth is still rotating on its axis, the sun still rises in the east, and settles in the west!  And, that won’t change with #45 either!

#Resistance

VERSACE LIVES AGAIN

Summer just started last week and I’m already looking forward to fall and winter.  And, now, early 2018 can’t get here soon enough. 🙂

The long awaited follow-up to the spectacular and award winning FX series “The People v O.J. Simpson:  American Crime Story” was announced.

Originally, it was going to about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, but that’ll now be the third installment.

Katrina2005

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is now being filmed at Casa Casuarina, Versace’s former Miami Beach home, and an early look at the series graced the cover of “Entertainment Weekly”.

EW verace

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man suspected of killing Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

ANDREW CUNANAN

I had my own small brush with Cunanan notoriety working as the weekend news anchor in Lubbock, Texas, in 1997.

The search for Cunanan was one of the biggest stories that summer.  Without thinking about it, the newscast was produced with me reading the story of Miami’s search for the suspected spree killer since I had a phone interview with a friend that lived in that city.

We used an “OTS” (over the shoulder) of Cunanan and then we started getting phone calls about the eerie similarities. 🙂  See for yourself!

Cunanan

You can read my full blog on this story here.  Just click on this link and it’ll open in a new window so you won’t lose your place in today’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.

It also gives you the back history of the story.  It’s crazy to believe that it’s been twenty years already!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/cunanan-then-peeps-now-nicknames/

RYAN MURPHY ON TRUMP

Murphy’s new Versace series focuses not only on the designer’s murder, it also drives home how homophobia let Cunanan’s killing spree go one for so long and how that led to Versace’s death.

Fox's 62nd Annual Emmy Award Nominees Celebration

Murphy tells “Entertainment Weekly” that after the 2016 presidential election, there couldn’t be a better time for this series to air.

Murphy:  “I think it’s the perfect timing based on this president we have.  I felt there was so much progress in terms of gay rights and rights for any marginalized groups of people [under Obama] .  Suddenly it felt like Trump is inaugurated and the door closed and there’s fear again and they’re trying to take away everything we fought for.  This a bracing cold slap against the policies that the current government has.”

#Resistance

“GET OUT”

Racism is front and center of this psychological drama about a young, white woman taking her black boyfriend home to her little small New England town.

It’s the directorial debut from comedian Jordan Peele (“Key & Peele” and “MADtv”) and he masters it beautifully.  Peele knows the subject very well since he’s the son of an interracial couple.

As the movie is moving toward its climax, you might have to suspend disbelief, but the point is perfectly driven home.

While it’s a drama, the comedy provided by Chicago actor and comedian Lil Rel Howery is so funny.  He plays the main character’s best friend.

When he explained to his friend why he needed to “Get Out” of there, I’m glad I wasn’t taking a drink of something when he started talking about Jeffrey Dahmer, lobotomies, and penises!  It was so flipping hilarious!

GRADE:  A-

WARNING — CHRISTMAS TALK AHEAD!

I know it’s still about six months away, but I’m thinking about my first Christmas party — Florida-style.

While it won’t be as large as the ones Ray and I hosted back in the Quad Cities, I’m sure it’ll be festive.

Liquor is more expensive down here and as I’ve already vented in an earlier blog, boxed wine only comes in 3-liter boxes!  Instead of “I Want My MTV”, I want my 5-liter boxed wine!

Wine Ripe off

Well, thanks to returning my two Redbox movies and wanting to get salsa at WalMart last Sunday, I walked out with a gigantic start toward the Christmas party with a cart of discontinued, discount liquor with rebates!

All of this for just $4 to $12 a bottle!

Christmas Cheer

CHRISTMAS PARTY PUNCH????

I just came across the most interesting sounding cocktail that I’m considering making as a punch for my Christmas party.

It’s a staple at Latitude 29 in New Orleans called a “Paniolo”.

It’s a combination of fresh cranberry syrup, lime juice, bourbon, and a macadamia nut liqueur!

paniolo

Sounds tasty and festive!

The last really incredibly tasty and holiday-festive drink I had was on a Holland America cruise a few years back.

It was a Strawberry Basil Bellissimo (vodka, strawberries, basil infusion, and fresh basil)!

SBB

“BAD SANTA 2”

I didn’t see the original and I only wanted to give this one a try because of Kathy Bates.

She was very naughty and was the highlight of the movie.

“Bad Santa 2” is so crude.  I don’t think there’s a group that this movie didn’t set out to offend. 🙂  Yes, I did laugh at some of the absurd humor.

Warning:  contains adult language!  (You can check out the “red band trailer”, which is about four minutes long.  It’s really raunchy, so I didn’t share it, but it’ll save you 90 minutes of your life and a couple of bucks from not renting this movie at Redbox!)

GRADE:  C-

“3 GENERATIONS”

Naomi Watts, Susan Sarandon, and Elle Fanning headline this little seen summer movie about a trans teenage boy, Ray, played by Fanning wanting to transition from female to male.

Watts is stellar and Sarandon was very funny and likable as Watts’ mother and Fanning’s grandmother, who just happens to be a lesbian.

The subject matter is very relevant with today’s higher visibility of trans men and women and the fight for transgender equality, but this isn’t the movie to further the cause.

It’s just a step away from an after-school special or a Lifetime movie.  But, don’t take that the wrong way.  I’ve watched some Lifetime movies, especially at Christmas.

GRADE:  C

MORE OF MY PRIDE CLASSICS

LGBT Pride month is winding down, but I’m still sharing some of my favorite classics from my club days.  Actually, I had three different eras of club days.

In the 1980s, in Paducah, Kentucky, when I first started going out.  Then, in Chicago, from 1994-1996, and, again, from 2002-2004.

So, I’ll featured a couple more of my favorites!

OH L’AMOUR — ERASURE

This is still one of my favorite songs of all time.

I got to see Andy Bell and Vince Clark in concert in Chicago a couple of years ago and it was incredible.

Their new album, “World Be Gone”, their 17th, came out this May.

Dance diva Sylvester, who died from complications from AIDS in 1988, scored three Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 in the late 1970s.

However, he had 18 hits on the Billboard Dance charts.  Three of them topped that chart.

“You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)”, from 1979, was one of those number one hits and it also was played on mainstream pop radio.

ANOTHER PARTING VERSACE SERIES NOTE

“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” is being written by Tom Rob Smith.

Smith, who created and wrote the incredible 2015 BBC Two five-part miniseries, “London Spy”, featuring my future fantasy husband Ben Whishaw.

Ben-Whishaw

If you haven’t seen, find it.  Not only is Whishaw captivating, it also stars a stellar Charlotte Rampling.

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 7, 2016

October is here and I’m excited that cooler days are in the forecast and the holiday seasons are right around the corner.  (Notice I said “seasons”?  While Christmas is my favorite, I do love my Halloween candy and the Thanksgiving feast!)

Now that the summer heat is giving way to fall temperatures, we’ll probably be eating fewer Popsicles.

Popsicle

But, it’s always the perfect time for ice cream!

As political as I get sometimes, I admit that I really want November 8th to get here and have this long, drawn out election cycle and 2016 presidential election behind us.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random Friday thoughts and as always, if you disagree, do it diplomatically!

CREEPY CLOWN SIGHTINGS

I’m not sure what’s behind this sudden fascination with creepy clowns showing up and freaking people out.

I’d venture to guess that social media and 24-hour news cycles are huge factors for us hearing so much about it.  Aren’t those two always to blame? 🙂

john-wayne-gacy-killer-clown

When it comes to creepy clowns, this is the creepiest by far!  On the brighter side, this particular “killer clown” in no longer a threat to anyone.

If you’re too young to know, that’s John Wayne Gacy, a serial killer and rapist that murdered at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978 inside his Chicago-area home.  Let me tell you, as a teenager when that killing spree was exposed, it creeped me out big time.

A decade or so later, I had a “too close for comfort” brush with Jeffrey Dahmer.  That’s a story for another time!

KIM KARDASHIAN ROBBED AT GUNPOINT

Reality star Kim Kardashian West was reportedly robbed at gunpoint earlier this week at her Paris hotel residence by five men dressed as police officers.

kim-kardashian-kanye-west-wedding

While she was “badly shaken but physically unharmed”, it had to be a scary ordeal!

At least $11 million in jewelry was taken including a jewelry box worth about $6.7 million and a ring valued at $4.5 million.

Unless I win the lottery, I’ll never know what it’s like to have that kind of money and anything of that much value in my house.

The thing that baffles me most about the ordeal is that if someone had that much money or jewelry, wouldn’t you keep it at a safer location like a bank or a vault?

In Kardashian West’s case, if she wanted any particular piece of her collection that was safely tucked away, she could have someone fetch it for her!

MAGIC MIKE MISFIRE

I really enjoyed “Magic Mike”, but I hated the sequel.

Now, James Marsden reveals that he regrets not signing on for the movie.

Well, that makes two of us.  Okay, three if you count Ray and I know the number doesn’t stop there!

With that in mind, if Marsden is still up to strip down, this might actually excite me for a third installment!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SEASON FINALE

The second season of AMC’s “Fear The Walking Dead” wrapped up last Sunday night with back-to-back episodes for a two-hour finale.

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While the first season’s six episodes were slow, it was still enjoyable.  However, the second season was stronger and much more powerful.

The finale featured one of the most intense “walker” deaths of the series.  It was a wrenching scene that lasted beyond the comfort level and that’s a good thing.

We also saw one of the show’s original cast members die.  While the death may not have come as a surprise, how it was executed was a shocker to me.  I tweeted the actor about his amazing two seasons and he liked the tweet.

While I gave the season and the finale a high grade (see below), I have a complaint.

It’s becoming monotonous when the characters disembowel a walker and smear the blood on themselves now that they’ve learned they can walk freely among the walking dead by doing that.

This is much more believable and is done with more intensity on “The Walking Dead”.  And, it isn’t overused as a gimmick.

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If “Fear The Walking Dead” is going to keep doing this, why not make it a “chore” and each day for several hours, people can go out, get exercise, and rid themselves of the walker population in their area.  But, this would be boring.

That’s my only complaint and I can’t wait for season three in 2017.

GRADE:  A-

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

After what seems like an eternal wait since I read the book, “The Girl on the Train” finally hits theaters this weekend.

I’ve highly recommended the Paula Hawkins book several times in my blog and I can’t wait to see the movie, which I think will easily debut at #1 in the U.S. and at worldwide box office.

“WILL & GRACE” TAKE ON VOTING

If you miss the NBC hit comedy, “Will & Grace”, you got a treat around the time of the first presidential debate.

The cast gathered ten years after the comedy left television to raise awareness on the importance of voting in this November’s election.

This is hilarious (and even borderline offensive to some).

Disclaimer:  it’s definitely not made for NBC’s “standards and practices”!

A LESS “BRAGGADOCIOUS” LOOK BACK

Comedian Randy Rainbow takes a much different approach to last week’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

I think this is the best skit I’ve seen him perform.

“MONEY MONSTER”

This Jodie Foster-directed suspense thriller starring George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Jack O’Donnell (“Unbroken”) was high on my list to see this summer when it hit theaters.

Life got in the way, so I caught it on DVD.

I’m glad it worked out that way because I wouldn’t have been too happy if I had spent $35-plus for tickets, popcorn, and sodas.

Don’t get me wrong.  I’d watch Julia Roberts read the newspaper.

The story was intense and the way it ended was fulfilling, but I had higher expectations.

I guess most of all, I want to see Foster back in front of the camera!

GRADE:  B

“RISEN”

This movie about the search for a risen Jewish messiah (yes, Jesus) was a modest box office hit earlier this year.

The $20 million movie grossed $46.1 million and most of that was here in the United States.

It was an entertaining movie without being too preachy for those that proceed with caution with religious-based movies.

The very sexy Joseph Fiennes plays Clavius, a Roman tribute, assigned to investigate the story of Jesus rising from the dead.  By the way, Jesus is played by Cliff Curtis, who plays Travis on “Fear The Walking Dead”.

One thing that cracked me up was the silly MPAA rating at the beginning of the movie.

For this one, it warned viewers of “Biblical Violence”.

Okay, while implied more than glorified with blood and gore, the movie was rather savage, at times, and violence is violence.  Putting the word “biblical” in front of it doesn’t make it less painful or deadly, right? 🙂

GRADE:  B-

PICK HIT

I admit that since I don’t hear any new music from my country favorites on the radio these days and I’m not a fan of “bro-country”, I don’t make it a point to listen to the genre.

However, Canadian country music star Brett Kissel is one of my new favorites even though he doesn’t get airplay on American country radio.

Recently, “Entertainment Weekly” showcased several women making inroads in the country music field.  Two of them stood out to me.

Margo Price, who was born in Aledo, Illinois, in Mercer County, just down the road from the Quad Cities, is one of them.

Her debut album, “Midwest Farmer’s Daughter”, which hit #10 on the Billboard Country Album chart earlier this year, features some great country music.

“4 Years of Chances” is a favorite of mine.

Next week, I’ll feature another standout and if you like traditional country music, you’ll love it.

ANOTHER PICK HIT

As I’ve stated before, “7/27”, the latest CD from Fifth Harmony is a great album.

It’s already produced the #1 hit “Work From Home” and the smash “All In My Head (Flex)”.

“That’s My Girl” is their latest release.

Right now, it’s at #36 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony