Posts Tagged ‘Jennifer Holliday’

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 — January 20, 2017

It seems like forever since I’ve written a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

While I shared my favorite movies, songs, and albums in blogs in December, I’ve mostly written about the weather lately.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically and concisely.  I won’t put up with tired rants! 🙂

LAST MENTION (HOPEFULLY)

I did share one more blog about you know who yesterday and that means I’ll be trying very hard not to bash him either.  You guessed it —  I’m not referring to him by name.

If you missed that, click here and it’ll open in another window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/01/19/fasten-your-seat-belts/

IT’S AN HONOR….

Playing for the president of the United States, regardless of party, would be an honor for any performer.

But, after the decisive 2016 election, singers are catching hell for signing on or skipping this year’s inauguration and parties.

Garth Brooks is facing backlash from some of his conservative fans, but he says his decision not to play the inauguration was because of his world tour.

Brooks says, “We left it up to karma. If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then of course we are out.”

Strong sales prompted him to add three more shows over that weekend.

PresidentObama

Brooks adds, “I’ll tell you with this whole presidential thing: We got one going out. Pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let’s stay together.  Love, unity — that’s what it’s all about.”

As Garth sings in his amazing anthem, “We Shall Be Free”.

https://vimeo.com/8515766

However, it was the other way around for Jennifer Holliday.  When it was announced that the “Dreamgirls” star was planning on performing, the backlash from her fans — people of color and LGBT — was immediate.

Holliday dropped out and apologized.

jh-apology

While I’m happy for that decision, I’m appalled about a reporte that Holliday and her family received death threats once it was initially announced that she would be performing.

hate

If true, those people are as disgusting as the ones spewing their hate and ignorance before and after the 2016 presidential election!

Disgusting!

…BUT YOU’RE NOT DOING IT “FOR THE COUNTRY”.

While I said “it’s an honor” to play for the president, I’ve actually heard some performers say they do it for the country.

I think that’s stretching it quite a bit.

flag

Our uniformed men and women in the armed forces do what they do for the country!

WHERE IS THE SNOW?

It’s now January 20th and it’s been over a month since we’ve had measurable snow in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

Officially, in the Quad Cities,  in Moline, we’re at the same point we were at last winter at this time on snowfall — 13.8″ (as of Thursday).

winter-snow

Typically, we should be at around 16″ at this point in the winter.

Since Davenport had more snow with the first storm of the season in early December, the total there is up to 16.5″ this winter compared to 11.8″ at this point last winter.

No snow is expected until later next week.

“THE WIDOW”

While we’re only a few weeks into the new year, I’ve already finished two books while walking on the treadmill.

I mostly read autobiographies, biographies, or books about real life events.  Occasionally, I’ll read fiction.

Over the past year, my favorites were “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker.

Dietland

If you’re looking for a thriller with the “Gone Girl”-like twist of who’s telling the truth and what is real and what isn’t, “The Widow” by Fiona Barton is a great book to check out.

widow.jpg

Jeanie is now a widow and is being pursued by journalists to tell her story after her husband Glen is hit by a bus.

But, this isn’t the first time that she felt badgered by the television and print reporters.  The last time, it was mostly about Glen and a crime for which he was charged.

There’s also twists and turns centering around a missing child and internet porn.

“DON’T BREATHE”

This psychological thriller is now out on DVD and it’s definitely worth catching.

Three down on their luck young adults are breaking into houses in Detroit and selling what they steal for money.   Yet, they feel they’re not getting the money they deserve for the stolen merchandise.

So, they decide to target one more person, an Army veteran, who won a settlement from a wealthy family after their daughter killed his only daughter in a car accident.

He appears to be an easy target because he’s blind.  Big mistake!

Let’s just say you’ll never look at a turkey baster the same way again! If your mind is already reeling, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking! 🙂

This thriller was very successful.  It made $155.1 million on a $10 million budget!

GRADE:  A

“LIGHTS OUT”

While “Don’t Breathe” is a psychological thriller and I love those types of crime capers, “Lights Out” is more of a suspenseful, supernatural movie.

It’s like an extended movie version of an episode of “The X-Files”.

A family is left to pick up the pieces after the dad is murdered at his business by something that can only be seen when it’s dark — “lights out”.

His wife, played by Maria Bello, suffers from a mental illness.

She sinks further into depression after her husband’s death and their adolescent son, Martin, is becoming more and more distressed after seeing his mother talk to a third unseen “person” in the room.

Unable to sleep, he falls asleep in school and goes to stay with his grown sister.  We learn that she left home because of her mother’s behavior.

It’s all because of Diana and Diana’s identity drives this movie.

The $5 million movie made close to $149 million and a sequel is in the works,

GRADE:  B

MORE FROM TERESA PALMER

Teresa Palmer is the star of “Lights Out” and she’s phenomenal.

Although movie goers will recognize her from “Warm Bodies”, “I Am Number Four”, “The Grudge 2”, and “Hacksaw Ridge”, I first saw the Australian actress in her incredible second movie, “2:37” from 2006.

If you come across it, it’s definitely worth checking out.

JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

I saw Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in 2007.  She was amazing, as usual.

JH.jpg

Most people remember her as Effie White in her Tony Award-winning role on Broadway in “Dreamgirls”.

That show also gave Holliday her only Top 40 hit on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.  It reached #22 in 1982.  (That song also reached #1 on the R&B charts and won her a Grammy Award.)

Holliday has also scored six Top Ten hits on the Billboard Dance charts.

“And I Am Telling You…” hit the Top Ten twice, in 2001 and 2007, but it didn’t chart when the song came out originally in 1982!

She’s also topped the dance chart twice with “No Frills Love” — in 1985 in its original release and again in 1996!

This is my favorite Holliday song!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

The Soundtrack Of My Life – 50 Years of Music

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

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

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

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

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

HONORABLE MENTION (#22)

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

HONORABLE MENTION (#21)

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

20

“DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” — DONNA SUMMER

 

19

“NO FRILLS LOVE” — JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

18

“ON MY OWN” — PATTI LABELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD

#17

“I LOVE MY RADIO” — TAFFY

16

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE”  — REBA

15

“DELTA DAWN”  — HELEN REDDY

 

#14 Movie

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

13

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q

12

“MISSING YOU” — JOHN WAITE

11

“BORDERLINE” — MADONNA

10

“FASCINATED” — COMPANY B

#9

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

8

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

#7 CD

“TAINTED LOVE” — SOFT CELL

6

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

#5 MOVIE

“OH L’AMOUR” — ERASURE

4

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

3

GREATEST HITS MEDLEY — THE CARPENTERS

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

“IMAGINE” —  JOHN LENNON

1

THE BEATLES — “LET IT BE”

So, there you have it.

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 26, 2013

It’s Friday morning and since I’m working the afternoon and evening shift, I have not been up since 1 a.m.!  While I’ll have a shortened weekend, I’m looking forward to it, nevertheless.

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend.  Here are the things on my mind this week — my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think of them and what you’re thinking about these days.

CHINA, KEEP YOUR FAST FOOD

As you know, I love buffets and Osaka Buffet in Moline, Illinois, and Wise Guys in Davenport, Iowa, are my favorites.  However, I know some people who hate buffets because they have issues with cleanliness and others touching the same serving utensils.

However, maybe they should reconsider their eating out options, especially if they’re going to China.

mcdonalds-kfc-kungfu

China Central Television tested the ice at McDonald’s, KFC, and Kungfu, a Chinese fast-food chain, in Beijing, and found that the ice cubes contained 13 times more bacteria than water from a toilet.  The worse offender in the undercover test was KFC.  There were 900 colony-forming bacteria units per milliliter.

KFC

Now, while this sounds very gross, Dong Qingli, a food safety expert, says the headline might get your attention, but the information is not useful stating, “The bacteria count on your teeth or on the bottom of your shoe is about the same. Instead you should look at which actual bacteria types exceeded levels.”

Nevertheless, all three restaurants promise to improve their sanitary procedures.

I guess I don’t have anything to worry about with this because I have no desire to visit China and even if I did, I wouldn’t be eating American fast food in Asia!

THREE UPDATES ON LAST WEEK’S BLOG

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the city’s Fox affiliate KTVU fired three producers involved with reporting the offensive and fake names of the pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines flight 214 airplane crash that killed three people.  An investigative producer, a special projects producer, and a producer who tweeted “oh sh*t!” right after the names were read on the air were let go.

This is the graphic that started it all.

KTVU Asiana Flight 214

It now looks like Sasha Baron Cohen will not be playing Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury, who died in 1991.  Deadline.com exclusively reported, “The reason is that the band wanted to make more of a PG movie about Queen while Cohen was counting on a gritty R-rated tell-all centered around the gifted gay singer.”  That’s a bummer because I love Sacha and I know he’d be perfect in the role.  I guess I’ll have to watch him in “Borat” or “Les Miserables” again.

borat-mercury

And, Josh Rottenberg of “Entertainment Weekly” is reporting that Orson Scott Card, the controversial author of “Ender’s Game”, has “quietly stepped down from the board of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM)”.

Ender's Game

As I blogged last week, NOM is an outspoken group that is against marriage equality and Card has been very vocal in the past with his views against gay people and same-sex marriage.

The $110 million movie, based on Card’s book, hits theaters November 1, 2013, and is facing a public relations’ nightmare and a boycott because of Card’s personal views.

You can read more about all three of these stories in my original post last Friday:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/random-friday-thoughts-july-19/

NAUGHTY SHIRLEY JONES

Although I was only 5-years-old when it premiered back in September 1970, I remember Shirley Jones as Shirley Partridge on “The Partridge Family”, the musical comedy that lasted four seasons on ABC.

Partridge_Family_first_cast_1970

On the show, Shirley and her children record a pop song in their garage and it becomes a hit and then they get an old school bus and go on tour.

Fast forward 43 years and the Academy Award winning actress has just released her autobiography and she shared some very naughty stories.  You may want to close your eyes and not read some of the juicy stories she tells in the book (Spoiler alert:  I share some after this picture!).

Shirley Jones

She talks a lot about her troubled 18-year marriage to the late Jack Cassidy, the father of her three sons (including Shaun Cassidy) and the father of her stepson, David Cassidy, who played her television son, Keith, on “The Partridge Family”!  Jack’s body was found in December 1976 the morning after his penthouse went up in flames.

In the book, Shirley reveals that Jack was her first lover, that he was well endowed, and that he carried on a sexual affair with musician Cole Porter before and during their marriage.  Oh, and they had a threesome with a woman that she didn’t enjoy.

David Cassidy

Now, back to David.  Apparently, he and his father shared a family trait.  Wink, wink!  Shirley writes, “David’s brothers called him Donk, for Donkey.”

Okay, Shirley, I really didn’t expect to hear such things!  But, I’ll definitely be reading your book!

BREAKING GAGA-LICIOUS NEWS!

Yes, I’m getting very excited about the new Lady Gaga single coming out in mid-August (the new album arrives this November).

Lady GaGa on stage at the KOKO club in London

Gaga sent out this news Thursday afternoon!

“It’s official! Lady Gaga returns to the stage at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards on August 25th for the world premiere performance of the first single from ARTPOP!”

LEBANON IS EVOLVING

After being heavily criticized by the “Human Rights Watch” for mistreatment, torture (which included conducting “anal probes examination” to “test” if a person engages in anal sex as “evidence” of being gay), and arrests of LGBT people, some progress is being made in Lebanon, in the Middle East.

LEBANON-SOCIETY-HOMOPHOBIA-RALLY

The Lebanese Psychiatric Society (LPS) made it clear last week that being gay is NOT a mental disorder and it does NOT need to be treated.  It went on to say that “conversion therapy” that falsely converts gays into straights has no scientific backing.  The LPS made these comments after Dr. Nabil Khoury stated on prime time television that being gay is a disease and it needs to be treated.

The group says, “Homosexuality in itself does not cause any defect in judgment, stability, reliability or social and professional abilities.  The assumption that homosexuality is a result of disturbances in the family dynamic or unbalanced psychological development is based on wrong information.”

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Cold Crazy Hungry

ADVANTAGES OF BEING A GAY DAD TO A 12-YEAR-OLD GIRL

One of the advantages is that you get to discuss which member of One Direction is the cutest.  I say it’s Harry Styles and for the most part, Gretel agrees.

Harry Styles Pics

And, we also both feel sorry for him for dating Taylor Swift (even though she likes Taylor and her music).

One

Harry and his band must be doing something right because they faced the fury of the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC).  The cult calls One Direction “perverted” and went on to diminish them and the United Kingdom as “sin-chasing, fag-enabling, God-hating, Christ-rejecting”.

In June, the WBC released this statement about the band, “These freaks and their fans think it’s funny for these five perverts to grab each other’s asses on stage. “They glamorize sin and make a mock of God’s standards. Their one purpose is to encourage the youth of this generation to pursue every lust their evil hearts can imagine.”

So, last Friday night , the cult protested at One Direction’s Kansas City, Missouri, concert prompting Harry to send out this tweet.

Harry Styles

The cult quickly tweeted a compliment to Harry for mentioning God, before sending this follow-up.

WBC

All I can say is that at this point, the Westboro Baptist Church amuses me with their ignorance.    And, while I’ve used this before, it’s still perfect and I do it every day! 🙂

Live Your Life WBC

TINA TURNER GETS MARRIED

Pop superstar Tina Turner is a married woman again!

Deutscher Medienpreis 2005

The 73-year-old Tennessee native wed her longtime German-born record producer boyfriend Erwin Bach at their home in Lake Zurich, Switzerland, last Sunday.  Tina reportedly says, “I am happier than I could ever dream of.”

While the couple has lived in Switzerland for 18 years, it looks as though they will be staying there since Tina received her Swiss citizenship in late April.

“BLURRED LINES” HAS SOME COMPETITION

I love the biggest song in the country, Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines”.  The song is now spending its seventh week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and it’s been the top-selling digital song for the past eight weeks ago.  A few weeks, I featured the PG version and the unrated versions (featuring women showing their boobies).

Today, I’m posting the best parody of the song and video from the Seattle-based Boylesque group, Mod Carousel, which has been viewed more than a million times this week on YouTube, to positive reviews.

COMIC REACTION TO PAT ROBERTSON

A couple of weeks ago, I featured a video of televangelist Pat Robertson talking about what makes him want to vomit.  I stated my opinions then, but here’s another. 🙂

Conan Pat Robertson Follow

“THE LONE RANGER” = BIG BOMB!

I knew the latest Johnny Depp movie, “The Lone Ranger” was going to bomb at the box office.  The marketing ploy told the story.  When I saw “World War Z” and “White House Down”, the previews for “The Lone Ranger” basically stressed that it was a movie that you had to see in theaters for full effect.  In others words, please come see it and don’t wait to watch it on DVD.

The Lone Ranger

The movie’s budget is reportedly $215 million and since its July 3rd opening, it has only made $148.9 million worldwide ($82.5 million of that is from the U.S.).  It’s not the only bomb lately.  “R.I.P.D.”, “Red 2”, “White House Down”, and “Turbo” also tanked.  “Pacific Rim” performed poorly in the U.S., but is doing very well across the rest of the world.

A MOVIE RECOMMENDATION & TWO TO AVOID

We rented movies recently from Redbox.  Avoid “Texas Chainsaw 3D” and “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.

Hansel & Gretel

It was painful to watch Oscar nominee Jeremy Renner in “Hansel & Gretel:  Witch Hunters”.  If you love special effects, it was a great movie.  However, the story line was lacking and the violence was over the top.  Also, this is definitely not a movie for kids!

While it made $55.7 million in the U.S., it was a blockbuster around the rest of the world with a total take of $225.7.  A sequel is on the way!

GRADE:  D

Texas Chainsaw

There have been much better Texas Chainsaw movies and the only reason to watch this movie would be for the eye candy.  No, I’m not talking about Leatherface!   The movie earned back its budget grossing $39.3 million.

GRADE:  C-

Side Effects

The movie you should definitely rent soon is “Side Effects”, which was in theaters earlier this year.  The $30 million dollar movie ended up making $60.3 million.

It stars Oscar nominee Rooney Mara and Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones, along with Jude Law and Channing Tatum.

It’s a suspenseful drama that focuses on a trial drug and who’s responsible if something bad happens while someone is taking that pill.  It has plenty of drama and a few surprise twists including the finale!  It’s a must see movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Even before I saw the tweets between Harry Styles of One Direction and the Westboro Baptist Church, I caught a snippet of the band latest song, “Best Song Ever” and I actually liked it enough to check out the video.  And, I’m glad I did.  It cute and humorous and the song is fun.  Yes, I admit to liking a One Direction song!

And, I’m not alone.  The “Best Song Ever” video debuted Monday and broke the Vevo record for most views — 10.9 million views in the first 24 hours!

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Jennifer Holliday is best known from her Tony Award-winning role of Effie White from Broadway’s “Dreamgirls”.  “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” from that musical was her only top forty Hot 100 hit, reaching #22 in 1982.  It also won her a Grammy Award.  However, “No Frills Love” hit #1 two times on the Billboard Dance charts, first in 1985 and, again, in 1996.

I got to see fabulous Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in August 2010!

And, as a bonus to kick off your weekend, here’s the extended dance remix of “No Frills Love”.  Have fun this weekend!

Anthony