Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 6, 2017

It’s been a heartbreaking week with the mass shooting in Las Vegas (more on that below).  While sad and tragic, there are some happy things going on in the world and I hope some of that is happening in your life.

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

WHAT AN HONOR!

If you’ve followed me on Facebook since 2009 or read my blog since 2012, you know that I’m a strong believer in equality — LGBT, marriage, women’s rights, for people of color, and more.

While some of you may disagree with my views, that’s fine.  I do have to walk a fine line when I state my opinions and in my responses to people who don’t think like me (especially now, considering where I live and the climate we live in)!

With that being said, I got a big surprise when I started reading the October/November 2017 issue of “The Advocate”.

Advocate WG

The magazine had a feature on the “50 Most Influential LGBT People In Media” and I absolutely love lists and countdowns.  I had a thought on who might be number one, so I was curious.

Since I always read magazines from the front to back and I don’t skip ahead, I got to page seven and Editorial Director Diane Anderson-Minshall’s “Editor’s Letter”.

Below that was this segment.  As I was reading it and walking, I was shocked and surprised!!!!!!!!!!!

LGBT Media Arrow

A shout-out in the nation’s biggest and longest-running LGBT magazine in the country, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

What an honor!  Diane, I’ll keep up the fight for equality and visibility in these very trying, dark post-November 8, 2016 days!!!

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

A dear friend from back in the Quad Cities, Clayton, posted a message on my blog a couple of weeks ago that touched my heart just as much as the name check in “The Advocate”.

Clayton said, “I hope that you realize the lasting effects you have had on the many people who feared going public”.

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

On October 1st, President Jimmy Carter turned 93 years old.

It’s no secret that I love President Carter and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, and I had the pleasure to meet them in July at their Plains, Georgia church.

While there, I had my picture taken with them.  I sent them a copy inside an anniversary card celebrating their 71 years of marriage on July 7th.

I just hoped that with all of the fan mail they still get that they would see the card.

Weeks passed and I opened the mail recently to find an envelope from the “Office of Jimmy Carter”!  I gingerly opened it.

Not only did the Carters see my anniversary card and the picture, but they took the time to autograph it and send it back to me!

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

I’ve now met three of my four living idols.  I wrote about them this summer and if you missed that blog, here it is.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

Jimmy Carter

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (PRESIDENT CARTER & MS. ROSALYNN)

What a perfect time to share one of my favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

This is from her show at Terminal 5 in New York City in March 2016.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.

It’s also from one of the most underrated pop albums ever, “Emotion”.

It was my third favorite album of 2015 and I still listen to it today and marvel at its excellence.

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

Sadly, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the summer of 2016, is no longer the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!

That heartbreaking title is now bestowed on Las Vegas, Nevada, after a man opened fire on a country music festival near Mandalay Bay on the Strip Sunday night.

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

The senseless violence in the United States and the world saddens me.  While we still don’t know the motive of the shooting, the man is purely evil or suffered from a mental illness.  I’m only speculating, but I think he was just evil and filled with hate!

Mental illness is something that we, as Americans, are still uncomfortable discussing.  It comes up after each mass shooting, but then we’re on to the next “breaking news” and nothing is accomplished.

Enough!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and I’m still considering moving there.

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

On the morning of this senseless tragedy, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico, tweeted this to the people of Las Vegas!

Her compassion is incredible!

To take the time to think of Las Vegas even as her people try to put their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma!

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

Except for “Batman Returns” and the Christian Bale-Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy, superhero movies bore me.

They’re so unrealistic.  I know, I know, they’re “superheroes” with super strength and powers, blah blah blah!

I was huge fan of the “Wonder Woman” television series in the 1970s with Lynda Carter, so I wanted to see this movie.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is stunning as Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta on the hidden island of Themyscira, a land of Amazonian warriors.

She rescues an American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and is intrigued by his worldliness and the fact that he’s a man! 🙂  Okay, as beautiful as Gadot is, it’s Chris Pine! I’m intrigued, too.

Diana heads off with him to stop World War II and Ares’.

The fight scenes were typical superhero-fakery, but when the movie dives into storytelling and drama, it does it well.

Plus, the always incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood on “House of Cards”) plays Diana’s aunt, General Antiope, who trains her to fight.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Canadian country music hottie Brett Kissel, with just two hit albums under his cowboy belt buckle, has already scored nine Top Ten hits on the Canadian country charts.

Sadly, American radio hasn’t taken a chance on him yet.  As Julia Roberts’ Vivard Ward says to the snooty women on Rodeo Drive, “big mistake, big, huge!”

Brett is back with a brand new single that’s burning up the country charts in his native country.

“We Were That Song” is already at #22!

Back in February 2016, I wrote about Brett and his fantastic album, “Pick Me Up”, which was my #7 album of that year!

Here’s that blog again so you learn more about Brett.  And, by the way, he’s fantastic with being personable with his fans on social media!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

Brett, I can’t wait for the new album!  You have a lot of American fans, too!

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

The Gainesville, Florida rocker died Monday night after being found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home the night before.

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Petty scored 16 Top 40 hits.

Three of them reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1980), “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3, 1981, from Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna” album), and “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1990).

While it wasn’t one of his Top Ten Hot 100 hits, “The Waiting” (#19, 1981) was one of my favorite Petty songs. (It did spend six consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart!)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

Now that October is here, so is the holiday SEASON! 🙂

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 21 , 2017

It’s the weekend and can you believe it’s already late July.  Where does the time go?

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. Please feel free to share yours with me.

PRESIDENT CARTER WAS SPEAKING TO ME

As I shared with you earlier this week, I got to meet the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life — President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

R JC AP

Here’s that blog about me meeting three of my four idols (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

What I didn’t share with you was a part of his Sunday school sermon that spoke just to me (well, I’m sure others felt he was speaking to them, too).

Four days before meeting President Carter, in my blog “Sugar Coating Life”, I shared with you, “I’m not depressed or despondent, but I’m sad and lonely.  I miss human correspondence and friendship.  However, in life, we never know what’s right around the corner.  Tomorrow, I could meet my new best friend — someone to make me change the way I feel about life, love, and the future.”

President Carter told us that his favorite chapter in the Bible is James.  In James, it talks about if you’re unhappy, it’s your fault.  You are the one that has to change it.

So, with my feelings last week about not loving the direction of my life, it seems like I really needed to be at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, last weekend, for inspiration.

IRONIC?

There was another thought racing through my mind during President Carter’s Sunday school lesson from Ezekiel.

He told us that Ezekiel and Jesus Christ were both “unpopular” in life, but God gave them a second chance.

I couldn’t help but think about President Carter, too.

CarterPres

While I idolize the man (and I’m not alone), he had a very difficult presidency.

He told us that he prayed more in those four years than in his entire life.  At times, he’d say a prayer with his eyes open!

So, like Ezekiel and Jesus, Jimmy Carter got a second chance in life after being president.

In those 36 years, he and Ms. Rosalynn have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, ensured fair elections across the world, brought medication to poor countries and worked to eradicate Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raised awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

Second chances are great!

“THE SNOWMAN” TRAILER IS HERE!

“The Snowman” trailer is finally here!

It’s one of the most anticipated movies for me behind “Beauty and the Beast”, which I saw in March, and next year’s “Mamma Mia” sequel!

snowman

Two summers ago, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

The book was creepy and incredible and a must-read if you like crime novels!

In it, Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

My man crush (well, one of them), Michael Fassbender, plays Hole.  The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”).

It opens on October 20th.

EMMY NOMINATIONS

I’m thrilled “House of Cards”, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, and Michael Kelly got some Emmy love with nominations.

Also, my girl crush, Nicole Kidman, was nominated (alongside Reese Witherspoon) for the fantastic “Big Little Lies”, which also got a nod.

However, I most excited that Jessica Lange is nominated for “Feud:  Bette and Joan” (Susan Sarandon was also nominated).

feud

In “Feud”, I was mesmerized by Lange’s transformation into Joan Crawford.  As much as I love Susan Sarandon as an actress, I saw her “Bette Davis” as Susan Sarandon.

What’s surprising is that Lange has never seen the 1981 Faye Dunaway movie, “Mommie Dearest” and she says that she’ll likely never see it.

Let’s hope that Lange picks up the Emmy award on September 17th.

READ MY MIND, IT’S YOUR CALL! OR, FOR MY BROKEN HEART, RUMOR HAS IT…

With her Las Vegas residency, Reba McEntire (with Brooks & Dunn) has a good thing going.  She performs her music a few months out of the year to sold out crowds that come to her.

Sadly, now that ABC passed on her new series from Marc Cherry, I have an idea for Reba.

Back in the  late-1990s, Reba did a non-traditional tour called “The Singer’s Diary”.  It was part theater and part concert.

Lately, many artists like U2 and Bruce Springsteen are touring and performing entire albums and not just the hits and popular songs.

Could you imagine Reba performing most of the tracks of her early 1990s albums, “Rumor Has It”, “For My Broken Heart”, “It’s Your Call”, and “Read My Mind” in a more intimate venue?

Reba

Of course, “Rumor Has It” and “Read My Mind” are my favorite Reba albums.

CHRISTMAS & GOD

Okay, if that’s too far-reaching, how about a Christmas and gospel-tinged show to feature tracks from her 1987 and 1999 Christmas albums and her latest “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”?

reba-faith

There’s little hope of hearing new Reba music on country radio, so I was just thinking outside the box for our favorite redhead.

ONE MORE CHRISTMAS NOTE

Christmas is now only five months away and you know I love me some Mariah Carey.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-Tape

While Mariah is currently on tour with Lionel Richie (I had tickets to the postponed Nashville show, but it was eventually cancelled), I’ve been wanting to go to New York to see her annual Christmas concert.

On Wednesday, Mariah announced that she’s taking the show to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for six nights in December!  I think I need to plan a trip now!

Here’s a couple of version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for my “Christmas in July” friends. 🙂

It should come as no shock why I posted more than just the original video. 🙂

Two words: Hot Elves!

CHEAPER TO DRINK LIQUOR!

Now that I’m getting settled into Panama City, Florida, I’ve noticed a few peculiar things.

I expected produce to be really cheap here and it isn’t.  Well, limes are inexpensive.

Milk

However, I’m always jealous when my sister tells me that milk is sometimes less than a dollar a gallon back in the Quad Cities, when it’s almost $4 a gallon here.

Heck, it’s cheaper to drink liquor, especially when I find a big clearance sale at Walmart like I did here.  This’ll make the Christmas party fun!

Christmas Cheer

MORE “TALES” COMING!

I’ve been missing 28 Barbary Lane for far too long and it’s time for more Tales.

Netflix is bringing Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series back!

Laura Linney (“Mary Ann Singleton”) and Olympia Dukakis (“Anna Madrigal”) are returning.

If you recall, the series made its American debut on PBS in 1994.  It was followed by “More Tales of the City” in 1998 (Showtime), and “Further Tales of the City” in 2001 (also on Showtime).

If you missed it, you’ve got to search it out.

Here’s what I wrote about it before.  (Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/armistead-maupin-thank-you-for-motivating-me/

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

This is another of “based on a true story” movies that I’ve been checking out lately.

It stars David Oyelowo (“Selma”, “The Butler”, “The Help”, and “Lincoln”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) as a interracial couple that meets in London during World War II.

He’s in line to become President of a South African tribe when he meets a woman he falls madly in love with and neither of their families approve of the union.

Many of the movies that I’ve loved on DVD this summer failed miserably at the box office, including this one.

Maybe they just play better at home!

GRADE:  A

HUGE BOX OFFICE BOMB THIS WEEKEND

I expect “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” to be a massive box office bomb this weekend — maybe the biggest of 2017.

The sci-fi movie, which opens wide (3,400+ theaters), has a reported $209 million budget!

“Newsweek” reports that it’ll have to make $400 worldwide to break even with all the promotion!

PANAMA CITY DRIVING

Getting around here is interesting.

Drivers in Panama City are crazy.  They’ll be driving along at 40 mph and just slam on the brakes to make a turn.  No slowing down or signal, just stop and turn!

Also, the signal lights here are a nightmare.  I drive to work from north to south on Harrison Avenue and I’m sitting at lights forever.  It seems the lights are set up to keep east-west traffic moving.

In Chicago, you sit in traffic because there’s thousands of cars.  Here, you just sit and wait. 🙂

“BLOOD DRIVE”

This SyFy series has an interesting plot line.  It’s set in the future and cars run on blood!  So, I gave it a try.

After watching a vixen standing outside her car sensually licking on a sucker to entice drivers to stop, she teases a couple of guys that stop and then jumps in her car to have them chase her.

She stops and the one creep attempts to rape her and she stabs him in the privates and feeds him to her car engine.

Blood Drive

This was how the series started and I stopped it at the 4 minute, 57 second mark.  No thanks!

FLASHBACK

James Blunt scored a massive #1 worldwide hit in 2005 with “You’re Beautiful”.  The follow-up single, “Goodbye My Lover” was even better, but it didn’t connect with American Top 40 radio.

Both were from the fantastic album, “Back to Bedlam”.

The first single from the follow-up album, “All the Lost Souls”, was released ten years ago this week.

Sadly, “1973” didn’t bring continued success to Blunt in America.

However, the song is still one of my favorites.

It topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela and reached #2 in Germany and Italy.

Blunt’s new album, “The Afterlove”, came out in March.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Meeting My Biggest Inspiration in Life

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

Dessie Birthday 1989

John Henry

Sadly, their lives were cut short.  I had my mother for 26 years and my grandfather for only 13 years.  But, they still have a strong impact on my life decades later.

In life, we look up to others for guidance or inspiration.  It can be friends and family, politicians, entertainment stars, and so on.

JIMMY & ROSALYNN CARTER

This past weekend, I took advantage of living in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill a life-long dream of meeting the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life.

Plains

Plains, Georgia, is about 180 miles away (3.5 hours).  I got up very early Sunday and drove to Marantha Baptist Church for a Sunday school lesson from President Jimmy Carter.

R JC AP

After his lesson and the Sunday service from Pastor Brandon Patterson, I got to meet the man and woman that I helped put in the White House in the 1976 presidential election.

As an 11-year-old boy, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother Helen back in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She let me choose her candidate and, of course, it was Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

CarterPres

My vote four years later didn’t keep them in Washington D.C. and they headed back to Plains.

It’s incredible how much the couple has done in the 36 years since leaving the White House — building homes for Habitat for Humanity, ensuring fair elections across the world, bringing medication to poor countries and eradicating Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raising awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, thank you for inspiring me for more than 40 years and Happy 71st Anniversary again!

I’ve written about President Carter many times, but this is my favorite.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REBA McENTIRE

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

Reba 45s

However, I discovered her at Sidetracks in Chicago on country night in 1990.  That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Regardless of what was happening in my life, good or bad, when Reba released a new album, there were songs that I feel she recorded just for me.

Reba Anthony 2005

I’ve now seen Reba in concert thirteen (13) times and I got to meet her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2005.

Starting with the November election and, especially, this year, I’ve gone through many changes and not for the better.

So, of course, Reba comes through for me with her 2017 release, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

HILLARY CLINTON

I’ve admired Hillary Clinton since she became the First Lady of the United States in January 1993.

There is no politician that hasn’t been raked over the coals in their career.  And, now with 24-hour news channels and less objectivity in their reporting for higher ratings, it’s easy to vilify people, especially if it’s a strong woman.

If you supported another candidate in the last election, you know what I’m talking about. They were beat up in that divisive, long campaign, too.

Hillary AP

I went to hear Hillary speak on a cold winter’s day in Davenport, Iowa, in January 2016.

When she finished, I politely edged my way through the crowd toward the roped off area in front of the stage.  I lucked out and we talked a little –we exchanged hellos and I wished her success.

You know how much I love Christmas and I was so looking forward to visiting the beautifully decorated Clinton White House this holiday season…

MADONNA

MadonnaCone

My fourth idol is the only one that I haven’t met, and after seeing her in concert four times, that meeting may be elusive.

I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since before her first album came out in the summer of 1983, as her club hit, “Everybody” was racing up the dance charts before Top 40 radio discovered her with “Holiday”.

Madonna 1983 Album

I admire her fight to succeed, her fight for equality, her love of the LGBT community, and for not being afraid to stand her ground on issues that go against the grain.

Sadly, I have two more idols that are no longer with us.

JESSICA SAVITCH

The first is Jessica Savitch, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News.  She inspired me to go into television news.

Jessica-Savitch

I wrote about her in an October 2012 blog on the anniversary of her drowning death.  (The link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/remembering-the-woman-that-inspired-me-to-go-into-television/

HARVEY MILK

The other idol that I’ll never meet is Harvey Milk.

His strength and determination gives me the drive to fight for equality — for my LGBT community and for everyone that’s not getting a fair shake in life.

Milk1

Here’s my blog about him. (It, too, will open in a new window.)

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

As you can see, my all-time idol and inspiration, President Jimmy Carter and Harvey Milk met.

Harvey Milk meets Jimmy Carter, May 1976

President Carter and Ms. Rosalynn, Reba, Hillary, and Madonna, thank you for the inspiration.

Mom, Granddaddy, Jessica, and Harvey, I hope you’re having a great time up there looking down on us as we try to inspire others.

Anthony

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — July 7, 2017

I hope you had a nice Fourth of July with some good food, great friends, and celebrating the country’s birthday.

I worked, so it was just another day for me.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts and enjoy your weekend!

FACE LIFTS & DECENCY

I’ve been very good at saying little about the state of nation since January 20th.

I expressed my feelings of how my life has shattered since the night of November 8th and not being able to deal with the anger in “It Starts With Me”:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/07/it-all-starts-with-me/

And, the “Change” it’s brought to my life:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/04/15/change/

So, I’ll still stick to saying very little about #45.

However, I’m going to comment on the disgusting Twitter tirade of Donald Trump toward Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe”.

 

Psycho 1

I don’t watch their show, so I’m have no loyalty for them in that sense.

However, there are so many things going on in this country and the world that needs the undivided attention of a leader and this isn’t one of them.

Neither is Twitter.  I know it’s the electronic age and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or whatever social media you use gives you access to express your feelings with immediacy. But, maybe some just need to think before they speak.

The bottom line is that there isn’t a politician in this country EVER that hasn’t been criticized by the news media.

Jimmy Carter

Look at all that was said about Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan in the 1970s and 1980s.  Did you see them personally attack news anchors or reporters with such vile?

RonaldReagan

No, they were gentlemen.

This is a disgrace!

#Resistance

FOURTH OF JULYS

I worked until noon this Fourth of July and chilled out the rest of the day in the Florida heat and humidity.

For those of you that have followed me for years, you may already know this.

My favorite Independence Day was 1976 when America celebrated its 200th birthday, our bicentennial.

This is what I wrote on July 4, 2012:  “As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of hundreds of boats from the U.S. and other countries filling New York Harbor and with the sound of “Fernando” by ABBA blasting on the radio.  (It’s hard to believe that just one month later, ABBA would release “Dancing Queen”!)”

Meanwhile, July 4, 2007, will go down as the worst Fourth of July ever for me (hopefully).

I was working the morning show and I went in at 1:45 a.m.  Rain was coming down in buckets.  As I was running toward the door, my keys went flying out of my hand and were submerged underwater.  By the time I found my spare keys in my bag, I was soaked from head to toe.

I told the producer that I had to go home and get another suit.  On the three-minute drive to my house, the torrential rains continued to fall and all of a sudden, a wall of water flooded into the intersection.

In a matter of seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and the motor died as water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate that mine did!

FloodingBSticker3flat

I quickly thought about the power locks in the car and if it shorted out, I’d be locked inside with no way out.  I’d drown getting trapped in my car on a busy street in town!

I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment.  For those of you that don’t know who her, she is/was one of my idols.  She was a news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of  NBC news, back in the late 1970s.  She drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Jessica-Savitch

As I took off my shoes and socks and opened the door, I stepped out into the raging waters as three intoxicated teenagers came running over and helped me push my car into an alley.

At this time, I was soaked and water had already risen into the intersection up to my knees.  I went back and helped the kids push the other three cars to safety.

I walked the fifteen blocks to my house dressed in a suit, soaking wet, and bare-footed.

The car’s engine was hydro-locked and had to be replaced!

That was ten years ago and I hope that goes down as the worst Fourth of July in my lifetime!

“MASTER OF NONE”

While a little “Netflix and chill” soundS good, it’s just “Netflix” for me this summer. 🙂

I finished season five of “House of Cards” and just started watching “Master of None”.

The Emmy Award-winning show features comedian Aziz Ansari in the lead role.

He plays a 30-year-old actor working toward his big break while navigating single life in New York City.

My favorite episodes of season one:  “Indians on TV”, “Old People”, and “Hot Ticket” .

While Ansari is funny and I love the conversations he has with his three best friends, my favorite character on the show is his lesbian friend Denise.

Her dry, dead-pan delivery just cracks me up.  Denise is played by out Chicago-born actress Lena Waithe.

Denise Lena

FELL IN LOVE WITH FATHER JOHN MISTY

After seeing the “Hot Ticket” episode of “Master of None”, which partly took place at a private Father John Misty show, I fell in love with the song “Chateau Lobby #5 (in C for Two Virgins)” from his “I Love You, Honeybear” album (and he’s cute, too).

The scene gets rather raunchy so I’ll share this BBC Two performance.

By the way, Father John Misty is 36-year-old Josh Tillman, the drummer for the rock folk band, Fleet Foxes.

His new solo album is “Pure Comedy”.

“I LOVE DICK”

Okay, I bet that got your attention! 🙂  It’s a bold statement that probably comes only as a surprise to you that I typed it.

Now, get your mind out of the gutter!  If you have Amazon Prime, you might not have gasped out loud seeing that headline.

It’s a new series co-created by Jill Soloway (“Transparent”).  I haven’t seen it and I’m only writing about it to share a line of the funny review by “Entertainment Weekly” (June 23, 2017): “She becomes obsessed with Kevin Bacon’s Dick, a fine artist whose withering judgement and sex-cowboy cool threatens to unravel her.”

Seriously, I read the first seven words and smiled, laughed, and saw “blah blah blah” after that.

Creative writing is so much better than angry, immature, and insensitive tweets in the middle of the night!

#Resistance

MISSING “HOUSE OF CARDS”?

Are you like me and you’ve already binge-watched the fifth season of “House of Cards” and you already miss the iciness of Claire Underwood (Robin Wright)?

Then you have to check out “Miss Sloane” with two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Jesssica Chastain!

She’s incredible as always!

GRADE:  A

DONUT DELIGHT!

Once I moved to Panama City, Florida, two months ago, I got to shop at Piggly Wiggly again.  If you’re from the South (or you’ve seen “Steel Magnolias”), you know it’s a staple here.

One my first visit, I found a bag of “Peach Cobbler” limited edition mini donuts from Tastykake.  They were so good.

I then tried the “Key Lime”, which were just okay.

But, I just found my new favorite (so far) — Birthday Kake!

Birthday Kake

I can’t wait to see what seasonal flavors arrive this fall and winter!

However, a quick Google search shows they’ve sold Pumpkin Spice, Karrot Kake, Caramel Apple, Gingerbread, Salted Caramel, and Red Velvet in the past! 🙂

‘Tis the season!

“MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS”

I’ve only been to the theater once this year to see “Beauty and the Beast”. I’m still thinking of going to see “Wonder Woman”.

Otherwise, there’s only three other movies that I want to see this year:  “The Beguiled” with my girl crush Nicole Kidman, “The Snowman” with my boy crush Michael Fassbender (no official trailer yet — in theaters October 20th), and this interesting remake of the Agatha Christie classic, “Murder on the Orient Express”.

It opens November 10th.

FLASHBACK TO KICK OFF WEEKEND

As crazy as it may seem, Ylvis’ “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)” was my #3 song of 2013.

Since its release, the video has been viewed almost 680 million times on YouTube!

So, here’s to the weekend.  Enjoy. 🙂

By the way, the song hit #1 in the duo’s native Norway.

It also hit the Top Ten here in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100, along with Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, New Zealand, South Korea, Scotland, and Sweden!

 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 3, 2017

It’s already the first week of March and for the winter weary (even though in the Quad Cities, the winter hasn’t been bad at all), it’s officially “meteorological spring”.

That’s the three months (March, April, and May) sandwiched between the three coldest months of the year and the three hottest of the year.

So, enjoy that and my Random Friday Thoughts.

FOUR YEARS ALREADY 

This past weekend, Facebook alerted me through its “On This Day” feature that I started my new position on “Local 4 News This Morning” four years ago!  Time sure does fly.

Anthony CBS4

When I posted that as my status update, the outpouring of kind comments was heartwarming.  Thank you all so much for following me down the road in the Quad Cities as I continue to do what I love and something I’ve wanted to do since I was a child.

But, it wasn’t the four year announcement that got a few people to thinking, it was this line that started off the post, “As we travel down the road of life, we sometimes know where it’ll lead. At other times, the unforeseen detours make it more exciting.”

Inquiring minds want to know. 🙂

One of my close friends sent me this, “…lately I’ve been having a feeling you may be leaving broadcast weather, or debating doing so…So upon seeing your anniversary post, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see an announcement that you were moving on to a different challenge.”

So, that got me to thinking and two things came to mind.

I’ve always been upfront in my daily correspondences with family and friends, in my blog, and on social media.  At times, I’m too brutally honest (a fault, I know — it’s that “tone”)!

Mouth Shut

Kidding aside, when there’s something new to disclose, you know I’ll share it with you.  I’m just honored that some of you really care.

I appreciate that and the feelings are mutual.

AND THE WINNER IS…. NO, WAIT…..

Remember back in 1993 when Marisa Tomei won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny”?

There are still people today that believe the wrong name was announced and to save face, a correction was never made.  (By the way, Tomei has been nominated two more times since in the Best Supporting Actress category!)

True or not, the climax of the 89th Annual Academy Awards was definitely suspenseful.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

Legendary actors Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced that “La La Land” won Best Picture.

Warren Faye.jpg

Well, the winner of Best Picture was actually “Moonlight”!

As the “La La Land” team was making its way on stage, the error was realized and the correct winner was announced.  Awkward!

According to Beatty and PricewaterhouseCoopers, the accounting firm that handles Oscar voting and the envelopes with the winners, the presenters were handed the envelope for Best Actress, which was won by Emma Stone of “La La Land”.

Sounds logical, but here’s where it gets fishy!

Emma.jpg

Best Actress Stone, who had just picked up her Oscar, says “I also was holding my best actress in a leading role card that entire time.”  Stone adds, “I don’t mean to start stuff but whatever story that was, I had that card, so I’m not sure what happened.”

But, the snafu might make sense!  In a 2016 interview, PricewaterhouseCoopers says it makes duplicates of every card.  So, Stone may have had hers and the other one was accidentally handed to Beatty and Dunaway.

Leave it to Hollywood for the drama.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

Since I don’t have HBO, I’m bummed that I have to wait to see “Big Little Lies”, the seven-part series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, and Alexander Skarsgaard when it comes to DVD.

It’s based on the Liane Moriarty book, which I just read!

I loved that you got almost to the end of the the book before you find out who was killed and who did it.  Now, that’s great storytelling and suspense.

Once I finished the book, I finally checked out the trailer for the series.

Without spoiling anything, I’ll say that I’m not surprised that the locale moved from Pirriwee, Australia in the book to Monterrey, California, for the series.

I also can’t wait to see the HBO series to find out more about the gun you see in the trailer. I sure don’t want that to be the method of “murder” since the book’s cause of death is much more potent and highly unexpected than a gunshot!

It’s a great, catty, powerful read.

BARBARA BUSH

I have a confession to make.

BB.jpg

When Barbara Bush was the “First Lady” of the United States (1989-1993) and even the eight years that she was the “Second Lady of the United States” (1981-1989), I wasn’t a fan.

There was just something standoffish about her.  It was clear to me that she loved her family, but I just didn’t feel the warmth was genuine.

After reading her book, “A Memoir”, I’ve changed my views quite a bit.  I still think she’s a force to reckon with and I still disagree with her on several things, but that’s part of life.

She is more down-to-earth than I gave her credit for and she accomplished so much in those twelve years.

However, she did say some things that sound so odd today (keep in mind that the book came out in 1994) and very politically incorrect.

But, Ms. Bush gets brownie points with me when she talks about whether or not she thinks the American public likes the First Lady to be front and center.

president-hillary

She writes, “Hillary Rodham Clinton is certainly very much a part of her husband’s decision-making process.  She seems much the stronger of the two.  Does it make him seem weaker?  I am afraid that when problems or controversy occur, and they will, the finger will be pointed at Hillary.”

How prophetic!

It’s great seeing her and former President George H.W. Bush out in public whenever they make appearances these days.

George Barbara

She’s now 91 and he’s 92 (both have June birthdays) and they’re now the the oldest living President and First Lady.

My favorite Commander-in-Chief Jimmy Carter is less than four months younger.  He turns 93 on October 1st.

Jimmy Carter

I still have another Barbara Bush book to read, “Reflections:  Life After the White House”(2003).

And, as I’ve stated before, my favorite Bush family member is former First Lady Laura Bush.

Laura Bush

I still want to meet her one day!

YOUTH SUICIDE RATES IN UTAH

I’m getting caught up on some magazines stacked in my bedroom and I came across an eye-opening fact in a couple of them.

In “Out” (September 2016), it was reported that in Utah, suicide is the number one cause of death for kids ages 10 to 17.

How sad is that!

MORE STARTLING FACTS

In “The Advocate” (June/July 2016), I read these startling facts from John T. Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago:

  • Living with obesity increases the odds of an early death by 20%
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases the odds by 30%
  • Loneliness increases odds of an early death by 45%

Damn!  This means some of us aren’t going to live anywhere near forever!

“I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER”

I’m just a bundle of happiness today! 🙂

Maybe this is the perfect time to share my favorite song out right now —  Zayn and Taylor Swift’s “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack.

“MANCHESTER BY THE SEA”

Casey Affleck won the Best Actor award at the Oscars last weekend for his role in this Best Picture nominee.

Affleck was incredible in character, but his character had no likable characteristics.

He plays a Boston janitor with many issues and you learn more of them as the movie goes on.

He’s called home when his brother has a fatal heart attack and he’s asked to raise his teen-aged nephew.  That’s not a spoiler!

Michelle Williams plays Affleck’s ex-wife and is only in a few scenes, but a couple of them were very emotional and earned her an Oscar nomination.

Lucas Hedges played Affleck’s nephew and he’s incredible.  He has some very funny lines that are still rooted in pain.  There’s one scene where he doesn’t speak, but his facial expressions and reaction speaks volumes.

Hedges was also nominated for an Oscar, but didn’t win.

GRADE:  B

“ARRIVAL”

I love Amy Adams and she was great, as always, in this science fiction movie.

I also like sci-fi, too, but this one didn’t blow me away.

While the movie was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar (Adams didn’t get a nomination), neither deserved it.

Adams plays a language expert grieving a personal loss and she’s asked to decipher the language of aliens that have landed in different ships around the world.

It just didn’t gel me and I didn’t get excited about the fate of the world or the aliens.

GRADE:  C+

ONE LAST BARBARA BUSH NOTE

One thing that resonated strongly while reading “A Memoir” by Barbara Bush is her response to late actress and two-time Oscar winner Shelley Winters (“The Poseidon Adventure”, “The Diary of Anne Frank”, “A Patch of Blue”, and “A Place in the Sun”).

An upset Winters called the First Lady during “Desert Storm” and wanted President Bush to enact some war act restricting the press from telling all.

Ms. Bush writes, “I tried to explain to this extremely agitated woman that if the President were to do as she asked and put a ban on the press, the hue and cry from one and all would be deafening.”

I agree.

So, where is that deafening cry from one and all today with #45???

ss

Resist!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

Happy Friday and Happy Weekend!  I hope you have a great one whatever you do.

The highlights for me will be watching the season four finale of “House of Cards”, this week’s “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Madam Secretary”, and the return of “The Walking Dead”!  And, I hope to work in seeing “La La Land”!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and be concise. 🙂

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

Lady Gaga is an amazing performer.  I’ve seen her in concert three times and I’d go see her again another three times.

I guess I can count her “Super Bowl LI” halftime show as my fourth Gaga show.  Like tens of millions across the world, I was blown away!

Gaga SB.jpg

While Gaga is earning rave reviews for her energy, her vocals, her performance, and her costumes, you know there are going to be haters.

Some say she wasn’t “political” enough.  Yes, she could have been more blatant about it.  However, if you stop and think about it, she did two things that were political and brave.

She opened with “God Bless America” and then segued into “This Land Is Your Land”, which Woody Guthrie wrote in 1940 as a contradiction to Kate Smith’s late-1930s patriotic “America” song, which he thought was unrealistic.

Some versions of “This Land” also include Guthrie’s original lyrics:

This Land.jpg

Gaga, in front of the football crowd and the millions watching — even in red states — brazenly sang of equality for all during “Born This Way”.

She didn’t hold back with the lyrics “don’t be a drag, just be a queen”, she sang about being “gay, straight, or bi, lesbian, transgender”, and that no matter what your race, you were born this way and born to be brave!

That’s a first for the Super Bowl halftime spectacle!  Take that!

It’s estimated that 113.7 million people watched “Super Bowl LI”, but the audience spiked during Lady Gaga’s halftime show, which generated a 50.0 rating, which means that one out of every two televisions on at the time were tuned into the game!

MORE ON GAGA

After the performance, some (the insecure) took to social media and started fat-shaming her.  Seriously?

This isn’t the first time people took aim at Gaga over her weight, which is even sadder considering she’s recovering from an eating disorder.

GagaLatest

That was about four years ago.  I wrote about it at the time and even talked about my own battle, Karen Carpenter’s, and others.

Here’s the link (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/you-need-to-shut-your-fat-mouth/

“SNOWDEN”

Edward Snowden is a hero to some and a traitor to others.  After exposing the American government for spying on the lives of Americans (and people across the entire world), he’s now exiled in Russia.

Director Oliver Stone’s movie about Snowden, with the always charming Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the whistle blower, came and went in 2016.

Watching the trailer, it was Gordon-Levitt’s voice that was hard for me to grasp.  However, it was less distracting in the 2-hour-plus movie. But, once I heard the actor’s voice and the real Snowden’s voice, I’m more baffled than ever about the voice portrayal.

While Gordon-Levitt is compelling as Snowden, the real stars of the movie are Shailene Woodley as his girlfriend Lindsay Mills and the computer special effects and the music score.

It’s frightening to know just how much information governments collect on citizens every time we’re online or use our cell phone.

Even before Snowden, this movie, or Russian or Chinese computer hackers, it doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to know that the most private of our correspondences are not private at all.

Overall, the movie was too long and it seemed like a dramatization of a Wikipedia page on Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency.

But, if you really didn’t get bogged down in the real-life Snowden that played out in the news, it’s worth your time.

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

While we’re political opposites, I’d still love to have dinner with former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd.  (Now, this dinner would have to take place at a restaurant — not Chick-fil-A or Cracker Barrel — because I wouldn’t want to feast on moose or reindeer, although Alaskan salmon would be great!)

Recently, I finally got around to reading her 2009 book, “Going Rogue” and watching the movie “Game Change” about the 2008 presidential election with Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Julianne Moore as Palin.

sarah-palin-going-rogue-book-cover.jpg

I enjoyed learning more about Palin and the events that shaped her life and her views.  I admire her love and commitment to her family.

With that being said, at that dinner with Palin, I’d ask her about a reoccurring theme in the book for clarification.

Early on (page 45), Palin writes that she has “respect for equality” and later on (page 395), she says she’s “tired of divisions”.  She also says, “too many of us have felt ignored and become disillusioned.”

I find these comments ironic because she is/comes across as very divisive.  Also, when she talks about respecting equality, who is that for?  Clearly, it’s not for the LGBT community.

Trust me, when she talks about feeling ignored, I’d have to ask her again how can she say that without thinking about the LGBT community with discrimination laws and the fight for marriage equality.  Her version of equality and my version are different.  Mine includes ALL AMERICANS!

This brings me to another point that Palin makes.  She says it doesn’t matter where you grew up, who you are, your gender, race, or religion “if you love this country and will defend our Constitution, then you’re an American”.

sarah palin

It’s clear from the book that she loved Ronald Reagan as much as I love Jimmy Carter, who she detests.

CarterPres

My final dinner discussion point would be that Palin stressed that our 52 American diplomats and citizens held hostage for 444 days in Iran (November 1979-January 1981) were released minutes after President Reagan was inaugurated.

She writes, “The enemies of freedom took notice”.

Future enemies might have taken notice, but what Palin failed to clarify is that those 52 hostages were ALREADY on that plane to freedom while Jimmy Carter was still president.  The plane was held on the tarmac until Reagan was officially sworn in as one last swipe at Carter’s presidency.

Long before #45’s administration coined the phrase “alternative facts”, Palin is/was on board with them, too.

DINNER PARTY WITH….

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be?

Hillary AP

Of course, I’d love to dine with Hillary Clinton and President Bill Clinton and President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter.

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

But, after reading legendary gossip columnist Liz Smith’s 2005 book, “Dishing:  Great Dish – And Dishes – From America’s Most Beloved Gossip Columnist”, I now desperately want to attend a dinner party hosted by Barbara Walters at her Fifth Avenue apartment!

dishing.jpg

Smith says, “Whether or not she has the position of society’s grand dame, Barbara certainly knows how to host New York’s most interesting dinner parties.”

Smith adds that Walters doesn’t hesitate to have her guest mingle outside of their “circles”, sing songs, make speeches, give a toast, or write poems.  It sounds incredible!

BW.jpg

Walters starts her lavish parties with “excellent caviar, toast, the works.”  She calls that the easy part.

This is followed by “The Children’s Menu” — “small delicious hamburgers, tiny baby hot dogs on delicate buns… a miniature ramekin of macaroni and cheese, french fried potatoes, incredible little dishes of coleslaw, and large servings after of ice cream and sauces.  All of this served with incredible wines followed by coffee and big glasses of what most host and hostess forget — ice water.”

The entertaining book also shares interesting recipes, including the fun Elvis-inspired “fluffernutter”.

Smith also tells funny stories about the secret food lives of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, “mountain oysters”,  and she shares this great quote from Larry Gelbart, the creator of “M*A*S*H”, “Champagne is only ginger ale that knows somebody!”

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

Country music icon and one of my idols, Reba McEntire, just released her first Christian/Gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”.

It’s expected to debut at #1 on the Country and Christian album charts and in the Top Ten on the “Billboard 200”, which charts all genres of music.

Her new single, “Back To God”, has already topped the Christian sales chart, but the song is getting more press with some outlets claiming that it’s pro-Donald Trump.

If you know anything about Reba, regardless of her political affiliation, she does not preach about it.  Yes, she’s friends with former President George H.W. Bush and his wife Barbara Bush and she’s donated money to both Democrats and Republicans.

But, “Back To God”, is not singing the praises of #45.  The song was originally on Randy Houser’s debut album in 2008, so it was released during George W. Bush’s presidency!

The bottom line is that the song talks about how society seems broken.  Regardless of your party affiliation, you have to admit that we, as Americans and the human race, are in a bad place now and the lack of respect for our fellow man only adds to the sad state of affairs.

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

I’ll have my review on the new Reba album soon.  Also, I highly recommend, “Remnants” by LeAnn Rimes. It’s spectacular and I’ll have my full thoughts on that one, too.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 27, 2017

It’s Friday again and the weekend is almost here.

I appreciate you checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.  As always, if we disagree and you want to tell me so, do it diplomatically and concisely.

LGBT RIGHTS & CLIMATE CHANGE, GONE!

Moments after #44 became history and America moved on to #45, searching the White House website yielded no results for “LGBT” and “Climate Change”.

white-house-lgbt

In my heart I know what this means and anyone with a functioning brain knows, as well.

At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!

donald-lgbt

I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON…

If you’ve never watched the U.S. version of the political drama, “House of Cards”, you’re missing one of the most intelligent television shows ever!

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey are incredible in the lead roles.  Their characters’ determination, iciness, and conviction to get what they want in the political arena is mesmerizing.

The show gives us the backstory of what really goes on in Washington.  Things are not cut and dry.  While it’s a television show, you know that Beau Willimon, the man behind the American version, is serving you a slice of reality.

He also tweeted that slice of reality last Friday morning!

beau

We’re now at 1,454 days now!

Resist!

ONE LAST COMMENT

Facts:  “a thing that is indisputably the case.”

Synonyms of “facts”:  reality, actuality, certainty

kc

So, Kellyanne Conway, “Alternative facts” are LIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

REBA HEADS INTO A NEW DIRECTION

Country music icon Reba McEntire is heading into a new musical direction with her latest release on February 3rd.

The deluxe version “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” will feature 22 gospel hymns.

Ever since “Sky Full of Angels” from 2003’s “Room To Breathe” album, I was hoping that Reba would record a gospel album.  And, since country radio airplay for her last album, 2015’s “Love Somebody” was pretty much non-existent, this is the perfect time for a change of genres.

The first single is “Back to God”.

Reba, how about a dance-oriented album next since you hit #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart in 1996 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”?

JIMMY CARTER

In September, when visiting the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library And Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, I left this message.

msg-jc-r

I’d love to visit the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and leave a similar message!

Hope

I hope I have those feelings again for a future president!

HAVEN’T TALKED GAGA IN FOREVER

If you regularly read my blog, you know I love Lady Gaga.  I’ve see her in concert several times and her shows are amazing!

Gaga Las Vegas

However, I wasn’t fond of the musical direction she took on “Joanne”, her latest album, and it’s the first Gaga album I didn’t buy. 😦  (I wasn’t alone.  Sales and radio airplay have paled in comparison with her previous releases!)

She’ll be playing the Super Bowl halftime show next weekend.  While I’m not a football fan, I’ll be watching her performance.

Sources close to Gaga told “Entertainment Tonight” last week that Gaga was informed that she couldn’t mention the 2016 presidential election or the current president.

The NFL says otherwise, “This is unsourced nonsense from people trying to stir up controversy where there is none. The Super Bowl is a time when people really come together. Lady Gaga is focused on putting together an amazing show for fans and we love working with her on it; we aren’t going to be distracted by this.”

Ironically, that nameless “source” is quoting another “unsourced” person.  Seriously, grow a pair, face up, and speak up or shut up.

Unless Gaga has gone soft, you know she’ll say and do whatever she wants.

Did Beyonce make a statement last year with “Formation”?  You’re damn right, she did.

Did her career suffer?  One word:  “Lemonade”!

“FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS”

This comedy, based on a true story, was my #3 favorite movie of 2016.

It’s about a wealthy woman, Florence Foster Jenkins, who was determined to become a successful singer although she was horrible.

Meryl Streep, who some idiot called “overrated”, was amazing as Jenkins.

On Tuesday, she earned her 20th Oscar nomination in the “Best Actress” category.

GRADE:  A

“CAPTAIN FANTASTIC”

Also, on Tuesday, I was ecstatic Viggo Mortensen was nominated in the “Best Actor” category for my #2 movie of 2016.

Here’s what I had to say about the movie in December.

“I highly recommend “Captain Fantastic”, which just hit DVD.

This little-seen movie in theaters is about a family living in the forests of the Pacific Northwest away from the trappings of modern life.

Viggo Mortensen plays Ben Cash, the father of six children, who has to decide how to keep his family together after the death of his wife.

It’s a shame that this movie only made $9 million in theaters.  It’s incredible and now you have a chance to see it at home.

Spoiler Alert:  Seeing Mortensen’s penis should NOT be reason enough for a warning at the beginning of the movie with “Brief Graphic Nudity”.  As his character says, “it’s just a penis!”

Wouldn’t “Brief Nudity” suffice?

By the way, on Thursday, Mortensen was nominated for a “Critics’ Choice Award” for “Best Actor in a Comedy”.  While I’m happy for the nomination, I have to ask, “comedy”???  There are funny scenes in the movie, but this leans more toward a drama to me.

Another great performance in the movie was from George McKay, who played Mortensen’s son, Bodevan.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT

Calum Scott is best known for appearing on “Britian’s Got Talent” in 2015.

One of the songs he performed on the reality series was “Dancing On My Own”, a remake of Robyn’s 2010 hit.

Scott’s version has already topped the chart in Scotland and reached #2 in Australia and the U.K.

It’s recently just debuted on the American’s Top 40 radio airplay charts.

Scott’s debut album is expected this year.

ORIGINAL VERSION BY ROBYN

Swedish singer Robyn dominate the worldwide charts with this incredible song in 2010.

In America, it was a bigger hit on the Dance Club songs chart.

It reached #3 on both the U.S. and the U.K. dance charts.  But, it hit #1 in Sweden and #2 in Denmark.

“THE SHALLOWS”

It’s winter now, so you don’t have to worry about going into the water and thinking about sharks.

The last two Blake Lively (the beautiful wife of the gorgeous Ryan Reynolds) movies I saw were also on my favorites’ list in the respective years.

She was great in “Savages” (my #7 movie of 2013) and she was incredible in “The Age of Adaline” (my #7 movie of 2015).

I see a trend there.  Will “The Shallows” be my #7 movie of 2017?  Probably not.

However, it was a very enjoyable and realistic movie.

I got a little scared 72 minutes into the 87-minute movie because the plausibility took a little hit.  You realized that while what happened could take place, the stars would really have to align perfectly.  But, hey, it’s Hollywood.  Just go with it.

“Jaws” this isn’t, but it’s worth an hour-and-a-half of your time.

GRADE:  B-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony