Posts Tagged ‘John Lennon’

When I Get To Heaven

Heaven.

It’s something we think about and many of us almost instinctively think of hell.  Well, to hell with that, I want to talk about heaven today.

There’s Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” (which was re-made by DJ Sammy), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “Heaven’s Just A Sin Away”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “One Night In Heaven”, “Tears In Heaven” and many more songs with “heaven” in the title.

Yes, I’m getting older, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about mortality.  My parents died early — my mother was 47 and my father was 55.  I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t cross my mind.  However, my latest physical showed that I was healthy and I feel good for my age.

Heaven

But, I know one day I’ll come to those pearly gates and I’ll be welcomed in with open arms.  Since we really don’t know what heaven is like, how we see it is subjective.

When the time comes, I’ll miss those that I leave behind here on Earth.  However, I already know what I’ll do when I get there.

Animals Heaven

It brings me such joy almost four years after my beloved golden retriever, ABBA, left us on Earth to know she’ll be there smiling and happily greeting me.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

October 2011

October 2011

04012011 ABBA Anthony
If she’s napping when I make my entrance, I wonder what her thumping tail on the clouds will sound like when she knows I’ve entered heaven.  I hope it still sounds like her tail thumping on the hardwood floors in life.  That brought me such joy to come home and hear that welcoming sound.  Upon hearing that, any problems I had that day just melted away.

Since heaven is peaceful, I know that Miss ABBA and my chow chow, Keshia, (1986-1998), are friends.

Keshia 001 Keshia 002

Their demeanor was very different.  ABBA loved everyone (she was a golden) and Keshia was very much a one-person dog.  She showered me with love, but was slow to warm to others.

And, it would be great to see our family dog, Cricket, again.  We had her through much of my childhood in the 1970s.  She died in 1982, my senior year in high school.

After I shower Miss ABBA with love and reacquaint myself with Keshia and Cricket, I can’t wait to see my mother and let all the years, tears, and sadness since November 1990 just fade away.

Dessie Birthday 1989

I won’t have to give her all of the details of my successes and failures and the ups and downs in my life.  She already knows all of that because she’s been looking over me and my sister, Tammy, now for 25 years.

Dessie 1990

It’ll be so nice to see my grandparents, John Henry and Helen Peoples, again.

HelenJohn Henry

I was lucky to have my grandmother Helen around until I turned 29, but my grandfather, John Henry, was taken away from us in early 1978, when I was only 13.

While 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 will remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer too much.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me lick 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 champagne, wine, and vodka as an adult. 🙂

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 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”!

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Since heaven is a perfect place, it’ll be nice to be friends with my father, Hollie.  We weren’t friends in life.

I’d be able to forgive him for his hateful, homophobic, sexist, and racist attitudes, and his total disregard for anyone else’s feelings.  In heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with his alcoholism and all of the times he aimed guns at me and my mother and sister forcing us to hide outside until he passed out.  All would be forgotten.

In life, I was not sad when he died.  I was only saddened because of my mother’s broken heart.  Whatever good she saw in him, maybe I’d be able to see in heaven.

The-Carpenters

Once I caught up with my cherished pets and my family, the first person I want to befriend in heaven is Karen Carpenter.

While chasing fame in life, Karen was obsessed with her weight and she starved herself to death.

In heaven, Karen would never have to hear the words anorexia nervosa and I wouldn’t know anything about bulimia, the eating disorder that I struggled with for nine years from 1986 through 1995.

In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat.  While I’m not a practicing bulimic today, I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.

On Earth, Karen had the voice of an angel.  In heaven, I would be blessed to have a front row seat to hear my new friend sing.

Until then, her music lives on.

And, since it’s Christmas time and that friendship and concert with Karen will have to wait, I can enjoy this classic.

John Lennon

I’d also like to meet John Lennon and just sit and listen to his wisdom of his words.  People on Earth would still be able to strive for the peace found in “Let It Be” and”Imagine”, my two favorite songs of all time.

I’d also want to hang out with Jessica Savitch and let her know that she inspired me go into television news.

Jessica

And, finally, in heaven, I’d be able to witness former President Ronald Reagan hanging out with the more than 650,000 Americans that have died of AIDS.  A majority of those have been gay men.

RonaldReagan

It took President Reagan almost six years after taking office to publicly mention AIDS for the first time.   In the spring of 1987, he called it “public enemy number one”.

From the summer of 1981 when “The New York Times” published an article about “gay cancer” to end of the year that Reagan first publicly mentioned AIDS, a reported 50-thousand-plus Americans were diagnosed with the disease and more than 40-thousand of them died!

I hated the man for decades for his ignorance in handling the AIDS crisis.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all of those that succumbed to AIDS in the 25 years after he left office.

I can envision haters like Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant (if she goes before me), and their close-minded friends on Earth partying with Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, and every other LGBT person that died at the hands of anti-gay violence brought on by bigotry and ignorance.

In heaven, we’re all God’s children like we should be on Earth.

In heaven, there’s only love.

I’m not ready to go to heaven just yet, but I sure would have so much fun catching up and living the life.

Anthony

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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 — December 13, 2013

Happy Friday!  I’m a little scared today.  It’s not about the snow coming in tonight and Saturday, but about Jason Voorhees.  Yes, it’s “Friday the 13th”, so I hope you have a great weekend.

Here are my random Friday thoughts.

JasonVoorhees

BY THE WAY, SNOW IS ON THE WAY!

Snow is coming in tonight and early Saturday for the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys.  Here’s how much you can expect!

Snow Tonight & Saturday

JASON & SNOW DON’T SCARE ME, BUT ICE + IDIOT DRIVERS DO

Ice Ray

Meteorological winter is already here even if the calendar says we have to wait until next weekend for the winter solstice.  Last weekend, while in Nashville, icy road conditions and speed were responsible for a deadly accident in the metro area.

Driving home was very scary.  Once we got past the fresh coating of ice in northwestern Tennessee, we encountered leftover heavy snow in southern Illinois, and falling freezing rain in central Illinois.  While it was a slow drive for hours at 40-50 miles-per-hour, the interstate was littered with cars and semis in the ditch — some overturned.

IMG_4699

And, yet with all of the accidents and emergency crews working on the side of the interstate to rescue people, there were still idiots speeding past us and the slowing traffic.

People, ice and snow means conditions are not ideal, so slow down!

MISSING NASHVILLE

One week ago, I was looking forward to seeing Lorrie Morgan’s Christmas show, the ICE exhibit featuring “Frosty the Snowman”, a lunch cruise on the General Jackson showboat on the Cumberland River, and the Grand Ole Opry.  Now that we’re back and I put in my five days at work, the mini-vacation seems like it was so long ago!

IMG_4524

I would definitely consider Nashville as a place to retire.

OPRY VALUES AND THE CHRISTIAN FAITH

I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-vacation and it was cool to visit the Opry at the Ryman.  This is the music that I grew up on in Kentucky.  Most of the show that we saw was entertaining, yet some of it was painful.  But, that’s not the focus of my random thought.

Country music legend Connie Smith was the host of the first 30 minutes of the two-hour Opry show.  Smith, from 1964-1978, scored 40 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country charts with 20 of them reaching the Top Ten!  She was very entertaining.

IMG_4590

However, my mind started wandering about the Opry and country music’s close ties to Christianity.

While I know there are many open-minded and loving “Christians” out there, the advertisements from sponsor, Cracker Barrel, and Smith’s introduction to a close family friend and medical doctor of Reverend Billy Graham, made me think more and more about homophobia.

chely_wright_fhm3_hClnTlY.sized

Country singer Chely Wright, who has scored nine hits on the Billboard Country chart with “Single White Female” reaching #1 in 1999 and was a regular performer at the Opry, has not been invited back since she came out publicly as a lesbian in 2010.

Chely Wright

Chely married her partner, Lauren Blitzer, in August 2011, and this past May, Chely gave birth to identical twins.

Last year, Chely told “Nashville Scene”, “I do think that there are homophobic people in the industry — some of them in power.  I feel that the greatest setback that plagues the country music industry is their collective fear of the consumer’s expected homophobia. I call this fearphobia. The industry is afraid of the record buying public’s fear of gays and lesbians. They’re afraid of fear. And that fear is enough to cause silence. And it’s deafening, if you ask me.”

I love Chely and she is a very courageous woman.  I just wish that the country music genre that I grew up listening to would be more welcoming to my LGBT brothers and sisters.

Opry, it’s time for you to do the right thing and welcome Chely back with open arms.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

LollipopCookie Swap

Eggs Milk Bread

REMEMBERING JOHN LENNON

While dignitaries around the world are paying respect and mourning the loss of former South African President Nelson Mandela, who died last week, this past Sunday marked the 33rd anniversary of the shooting death of another man who was a voice for peace and love, John Lennon.

John Lennon

John, what you believed in, and Yoko, what you still fight for, is still achievable.  We may not see world peace, but I know that some are living more peaceful lives because of your efforts then and our efforts now.  No one has said it better that you — we just have to “Imagine”!

Happy Christmas everyone!  While this video contains disturbing images, we need to step outside our comfort zone to see how much work there is left to do in our lifetime.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Elton John and John Lennon were great friends.

Elton John and John Lennon

After the Beatles broke up and Elton John was dominating the pop charts in the early-1970s, John Lennon was working on his solo music career.  He reached #3 with “Instant Karma” in 1970 and #3 with “Imagine” the following year.

But, it would be his seventh solo hit that would become his only #1 hit in his lifetime after the Beatles.  “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” featured his friend, Elton, on harmony vocals and piano.  And, John surprised Elton by appearing on stage during Elton’s Thanksgiving concert in 1974 at Madison Square Garden in Lennon’s last major concert appearance.

In 1982, Elton dedicated “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)” to his friend, John Lennon and the song reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100.

ELTON PREACHES TO RUSSIA

And, while I’m talking about Elton, he’s making news after his recent concerts in Russia.

Calling it “inhumane” and “isolating”, Elton took time out of his Moscow, Russia, concert last Friday night to talk about the anti-gay laws that were implemented in Russia this summer.

Elton John Performs at Madison Square Garden

Elton told the crowd, “I have always loved coming here, coming to this country, ever since I first played here in 1979. I love Russia – I love its art and its culture. But most of all, I love you, the people. You took me to your hearts all those years ago, and you have always welcomed me with warmth and open arms every time I have visited. You have always embraced me, and you have never judged me.  So I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating.”

Vladislav Tornovoi

And, before he closed his condemnation of Russia’s homophobia, he asked for harmony to build “a future of equality, love and compassion” and he dedicated the show in memory of 23-year-old Vladislav Tornovoi, whose naked body had been dumped in a Volgograd courtyard this past May.  His skull was smashed and he had been raped with beer bottles.

Take three minutes to watch this compelling and heartbreaking story here from Sky News about Tornovio and the blatant homophobia that exists in Russia.

ON A LIGHTER NOTE

Joan Rivers cracks me up!

Joan Rivers Joan Rivers - Lindsay Lohan

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

“Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s Christmas special, “Kelly Clarkson’s (Cautionary) Christmas Tale” earlier this week on NBC.  It features Reba McEntire and Trisha Yearwood and is on Kelly’s “Wrapped In Red” holiday album.

TAKE DOWN THOSE DAMN CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!

Christmas lights brighten the holidays in multi-colors, solid colors, and clear bulbs.  However, if those lights are rainbow, it can cause some to freak out, especially in Rome, Italy.

RomeRainbow

This almost mile-long stretch of rainbow-flag lights decorate the Via del Corso, Rome’s main shopping street, to take a stand against homophobia following the recent suicide of a gay teenager.

The right-wing party, Fratelli d’Italia, calls the logic behind the decorations “provocative and ideological” and asked that they be replaced by the colors of Italy’s flag.

That was rejected and the lights will stay up as a dedication to the late South African President Nelson Mandela.

WE NEED MORE MAYORS LIKE ROME’S LEADER
While we’re on the subject of Rome, the city’s mayor, Ignazio Marino, says the “Eternal City” needs to stop living in the past when it comes to marriage equality.
Rome Mayor
Marino told HuffPost Live, “I believe that if a couple loves each other, they should get married.  I don’t see where the problem is. I guess it’s a problem with people thinking in the past — people belonging to the previous century. The last century is gone. It’s surprising for me that this is open for discussion.”
Thank you, Mayor Marino!

PICK HIT

“Work Bitch” is a fun song and Britney Spears looks amazing in the video.  However, it didn’t blow Top 40 radio away.

However, the follow-up, “Perfume”, is already one of the hottest songs in the country and is still racing up the chart.  The video debuted this week and Britney is incredible playing up vulnerability and insecurity.  And, I don’t know who is hotter — her or hot “boyfriend”.

“Britney Jean”, Britney’s eighth solo album debuted at #4 on the Billboard album chart this week with sales of 107,000 copies.

Britney Jean

While that’s a soft opening for Britney, she didn’t do any live performances to promote the album while she’s still rehearsing for her two-year Las Vegas residency that begins later this month at Planet Hollywood.

Britney’s last album, “Femme Fatale” sold 276,000 copies in its first week in 2011, but it had a huge smash at radio at the time, the #1 hit, “Hold It Against Me”.

A FINAL NASHVILLE THOUGHT

While I thoroughly enjoyed the “Reba: All The Women I Am” exhibit and the rest of the displays at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville last week, there was something that had me scratching my head.

IMG_4445

Whose idea was it to put the Dixie Chicks and Toby Keith memorabilia in the came display case?  Really?

Some days you just gotta dance if you’re not ready to make nice. 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 4

Another weekend is here and I’m taking advantage of this one to relax.

While it will feel like summer Friday with highs in the 80s, storms Friday night and Saturday will cool us off.  By Sunday, highs only in the 50s and morning lows in the 30s to around 40° are likely.  This will be the coolest day in the Quad Cities since Memorial Day weekend.

So, I’m thinking a big pot of chili for comfort food, popcorn, watching the first season of “Bates Motel”, and enjoying a nice fire in the fireplace with champagne!

champagne

Here are my random thoughts this week.  Whether you agree or disagree, let me know!

POSTAGE STAMP INCREASE… AGAIN?

To my friends that work for the United States Postal Service (USPS), I hope things work out for you.  With that being said, I’m on the verge of cutting my last ties with the mail service!

The USPS is proposing ANOTHER first-class stamp increase from 46 to 49 cents in January 2014 to try to offset its loss of $6 billion dollars this year.

USPS

I only use stamps once a year at Christmas when I mail out about 150 holiday cards.  I love sending Christmas cards and wishes each year and I wouldn’t mind paying the extra three cents for a stamp if I felt the USPS was serious about trying to save its floundering business.

Why do we still have Saturday mail delivery?  Think of how much money could be saved without that service (The Postmaster General has even asked that Saturday mail delivery be cut for most customers, which would save an estimated $2 billion per year)!

If people really needed to mail something on Saturday, there are substations in many grocery stores and other businesses.

So, if you’re on my Christmas mailing list, this may be the last card you get from me!  And, if you haven’t seen them yet, here are two of the new Christmas stamps for 2013.

2013 Poinsettia Stamp Christmas Cleveland MOA

ERASURE CHRISTMAS ALBUM UPDATE

Three weeks ago, I blogged about Erasure’s first Christmas album, “Snow Globe”, coming out in the U.S. on November 12th.

Erasure Snow Globe

Here’s a first listen to Andy and Vince on “Silent Night”.

ANOTHER EMMY AWARDS THOUGHT

If you, like me, were not one of the 17.6 million people watching the Primetime Emmy Awards two Sundays ago, you missed Michael Douglas winning the Best Actor award for playing Liberace in “Behind The Candelabra” (if you want to read more about the movie from my blog last week, type in “Liberace” in the blog search engine in the top right).

Douglas Emmy Awards

In his acceptance speech, Douglas looked down to his co-star, Matt Damon, who was also nominated, and said, “You really deserve half of this.  So, you want the bottom or the top?  Top?  I figured that!”  Too funny!

If you’ve seen the movie, you know what he’s talking about since it’s part of pivotal scene.  If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it wouldn’t take much to figure it out. 🙂

COULD THERE BE EMMY CONFUSION NEXT YEAR?

The hit Netflix series, “Orange Is The New Black” is a critical and fan favorite.

The series focuses on Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a Connecticut woman living in New York City, who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison for transporting a suitcase full of drug money for her former lover ten years ago.

Orange is the New Black

The series also stars Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset.  Sophia is a transgender woman who’s in prison for credit-card fraud and she’s the hairdresser for many of the inmates. Outside of the prison walls, she has a son with her wife, Crystal.

Laverne Cox

Cox, the actress that plays Sophia is also transgender in real life.

If Cox gets the attention of Emmy votes, would they be progressive (and educated) enough to nominate her in the right category of Outstanding Supporting Actress?

ACRONYMS & LABELS CAN BE CONFUSING

Back in the day, there was the “gay community”, which covered both gays and lesbians.  But, then as society began to educate itself on sexual orientation and sexual identity, a couple more terms, bisexual and transgender were added to that community.

LGBT

So, when you see “LGBT”, it refers to people who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (those who deviate from their assigned gender at birth, including transsexuals, cross-dressers, drag queens and kings, genderqueers, and others).

In the coming months and years, there will be more and more court cases and publicity around transgender men and women.  Advocates are working harder to ensure that someone born with a penis, but has always identified as being female, is not discriminated against and called a “man”.  This blurs lines and it’s not cut and dry or one or the other.

I’m bringing this up because I was reading an article last week and it was about a person that was identified as “genderqueer trans masculine person”.  While it would take some thought to figure that one out, I have a simple solution.  Just refer to this human as a “person” and love them just the same.

While it’s easy to label someone, the shoe doesn’t always fit.

As for me, you can call me “gay”.  However, I don’t like the term “homosexual”.  To me, that sounds like a medical term from before 1973 when being gay was still considered a “mental disorder.”

MOST POWERFUL 5 MINUTES TO SIMPLIFY MY LAST COMMENTS

While those terms I just described can label a person, it does so with class.  As we all know, there are other hurtful terms that people use to identity people in the LGBT community.

Check out this incredible, heart-wrenching video, “Define Me”, from New York City singer and songwriter, Ryan Amador, along with Jo Lampert.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Black Sheep Crazy Ass Eat Well

EUROPE IS ONLY TWO WEEKS AWAY NOW!

With that last “Food For Thought” in mind, Ray and I have to work very hard over the next two weeks to get to a chosen, acceptable weight as we embark on our first European cruise to celebrate Ray’s 50th birthday this past August.

Sound of Music Cruise

When Betty was here recently, I had five buffets in four nights and then last week we celebrated my sister’s birthday by eating out and having cake!!!

Our goal is to lose five to ten pounds before October 18th, which is also the date of my annual physical.  I guess this means other than a pizza buffet for my upcoming birthday, all buffets will be put off until November. 🙂

“WORK BITCH” OR “WORK WORK”?

Britney Spears is racing up the chart with the first release from her new studio album that comes out on December 3rd.  The video debuted earlier this week.

Britney Las Vegas

Two versions of the song were serviced to pop stations across the country.  One changes the title, which is said many times in the song, from “Work Bitch” to “Work Work”.  Here in the Quad Cities, one station is playing the “Bitch” version (my preference) and one is playing the sanitized “Work Work” version.

KHHM program director Pattie Moreno says, “Britney, can you please put out a record out without the word ‘bitch’ in it?  Please, can you help a girl out?”  (If you recall, her last hit, “Scream & Shout” with will.i.am, featured Brit Brit saying her classic line, “It’s Britney, Bitch”.)

However, WNOW New York PD Gillette is playing the original version and adds, “‘Bitch’ is not a dirty word. “No complaints so far. Plus, it’s a great dance track.”

I have one to say, “you’d better work”.  Oh wait, that’s another song!

The bottom line is “It’s Britney, Bitch”!

“PRISONERS”, “DON JON”, & “LOOSE CANNONS”

Two new big movies hit theaters this weekend.  There’s “Gravity”, which already has Oscar buzz for star Sandra Bullock.  The sci-fi thriller also stars George Clooney.  Also, “Runner Runner”, a thriller with Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake, makes its wide release debut.

If those movies don’t appeal to you, I have a couple of suggestions.  We saw a double feature last weekend of “Prisoners” and “Don Jon”.

Prisoners

If you want a psychological thriller that will make you cringe and eat your popcorn nervously, check out “Prisoners” with Academy Award nominees Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard, along with Oscar winner Melissa Leo.

The movie focuses on the disappearance of two little girls on Thanksgiving Day and what lengths one desperate parent (Jackman) would go to get a confession out of the suspect, Alex (Paul Dano).

In a weaker Oscar race year, I think that Jackman would have a chance for a nomination.   But, with many buzzed about performances coming up before Christmas, I’m thinking he’ll just have to relish his nomination last year for “Les Miserables”.

However, I think Melissa Leo could get nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her portrayal of Alex’s religious aunt.

GRADE:  A-

Don Jon

This directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who also wrote the screenplay, is a solid effort.  While porno movies and masturbation play an integral part in the comedy, it’s really a love story!

In no way am I a prude, however, the first part of movie made me think that I was watching some “adults only” site online and it started out as a strong “R-rated” movie that bordered on “NC-17”.

In the movie, Gordon-Levitt plays Jon Martello, a New Jersey bartender that loves God, his family, his apartment, his car, his boys, his girls. and his porn.  He’s totally satisfied with one-night stands and fulfilling his sex life “alone” until he meets the perfect woman, Barbara, played with perfection by Scarlett Johansson.

He loves his movies (porn) and she loves her movies (romantic comedies).  Once they start spending the night together, she discovers that he likes to, um, be alone in the other room after they have intimate time together.  She gives him an ultimatum — her or the porn.

Again, it sound very adult in nature and it is.  But, the bottom line, it’s a comedy that has heart and it’s a love story.

While entertaining, you could definitely wait and see it on DVD.

GRADE:  B

Loose_Cannons

“Loose Cannons” (Mine Vaganti ) is a critically acclaimed 2010 Italian comedy that is just now coming out on DVD in the United States.

It focuses on the Cantones, a pasta making family in conservative southern Italy.  At a family dinner one night, the youngest son, Tommaso, is going to “come out” to his family.  Before he does, his older brother, Antonio, who runs the factory announces to his family that he’s gay!

Their father has a heart attack at the table and he kicks Antonio out of the house and the business.

While there’s plenty of secrets and drama, this is a comedy.

It’s also an award-winning movie.  It was nominated for 13 David di Donatello Awards (the Italian equivalent to the American Oscar), including Best Film.   The film picked up two awards for Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

GRADE:  A

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

Okay, this week, today’s selection is more of a featured song than a pick hit.  It’s from the movie, “Loose Cannons”.

I fell in love with the song, “Una Notte a Napoli” by the Portland, Oregon, band, Pink Martini, featuring vocalist China Forbes, who is the cousin of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The song was featured on their second album, “Hang On Little Tomato” from 2004, which is sung in seven different languages!

I’M FINALLY READING A BOOK!

For years, my magazines have been stacking up.

I finally organized all of the “Rolling Stone”, “Time”, “Men’s Health”, “Details”, and “Boston Magazine” issues and read the stories that appealed to me.  Since those subscriptions expired, I only get “Entertainment Weekly”, “The Advocate”, “Instinct”, and “Out”.  (I just ordered “Time” again!)

Since I’m totally caught up on magazines until the new “EW” arrives later today, I grabbed the book, “Golden Days:  Memories of a Golden Retriever” by Arthur Vanderbilt to read.

Golden Days

I bought the 1999 book shortly after its release when Miss ABBA, my late golden, was just a puppy.  I think it’s finally time to read it!

Since I haven’t read a book in five years, I don’t think the 143-page story of Amy, a New England golden retriever and the bonds she formed with her people, will overwhelm me!

Actress Betty White says of the book, “Once someone has had the good fortune to share a true love affair with a golden retriever, one’s life and one’s outlook are never quite the same again. A warm afterglow remains that lasts a lifetime. The author is fluent in that language.”

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

The Beatles’ John Lennon would have turned 73 next week on October 9th.

Outside of the Beatles, Lennon, as a solo artist, scored 13 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Lennon NYC

Of those hits, two reached the top of the charts:  1974’s “Whatever Gets You Thru The Night” and “(Just Like) Starting Over”, which was released in October 1980, but it reached #1 three weeks after Lennon was murdered outside his apartment in New York City on December 8, 1980, at the age of 40.

“Nobody Told Me” reached #5 on the Hot 100 in 1984 more than three years after he died, marking his last Top 40 chart appearance.

Happy Birthday, John!  Your wisdom and your humanity are greatly missed in today’s world.

“BATES MOTEL”

Have yourself a great weekend and make the most of it.  We’re spending it with Norman and Norma Bates.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 5, 2013

My friends, another Friday is upon us and I’m very pleased to announce that I have nothing planned this weekend and I’m so thrilled about it.

Between work and upcoming events, both public appearances and personal commitments, I have a lot going on for the rest of April and May and I’m already overwhelmed!  But, this is one thing that I really look forward to each week, sharing my random thoughts with you.  What do you think of this blog feature???

FINALLY, IT’S WARMER!!!

Although we’ll have to deal with some scattered showers Saturday, it’s going to be very warm with highs in the Quad Cities around 70°!   This will be the warmest weekend since December 1-2, 2012, four months ago, when we reached 61° and 59°.

With that being said, I think we’re going to grill out Saturday night.  Maybe we’ll be lucky and get to sit outside on the patio.

As many of you know, I love Moscato and flavored vodkas, but here’s something that I think I’m going to have to check out and it would be perfect for the BBQ.  If you’ve already tried it, let me know how it is.

This is what I’ve read about it:  “This is our take on the traditional margarita. Beer drinkers were already mixing Bud Light Lime into margaritas to create ‘beer ritas’; Lime-a-Rita just adds a new level of convenience by providing a beverage with the perfect balance of flavors.”

strawberrita

PERFECT WEATHER COMING UP — FOR DUCKS AND FISH

After a dry day Sunday, a very wet period is expected from Sunday night through next Thursday with rain chances each day.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we get more than 2″ of rain in that time period.  I know our fish pond could use the water since we just went through a 12-day period with no measurable rain or snow.

WG10

SPEAKING OF FLAVORED VODKAS!

Wanda Sykes

STRESSED OVER “MARCH MADNESS”

Every spring, I wager $5 and fill out my brackets for the men’s NCAA basketball tournament, better known as “March Madness”.  In the past, I’ve never been a contender down the stretch!  However, this year, “March Madness” is insane for me.

Final Four Picks

If you’re a basketball fan, you can see that I have Louisville and Michigan in the final with Louisville winning.

If my calculations are correct and both of those teams make it to the finals, then I’ll likely win the “pool” at work and if those two teams make it to the final and Louisville wins, I think I may have won a 50″ LED television from a local newspaper’s bracket contest!   So, what started out as fun and a $5 investment could turn out rather profitable for me.  You know what I’ll be doing Saturday night when the two games are being played!  The finals are Monday night, April 8th, on CBS4, in the Quad Cities.

Go Louisville and Michigan!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Give Peeps a Chance

Hellfire   Palm Tree LightsYoko Ono Tweet

HIS HEROES MAY HAVE ALWAYS BEEN COWBOYS, BUT…

It’s no surprise to my friends that I idolize Reba McEntire, Madonna, Lady Gaga, former President Jimmy Carter, and former U.S. Secretary of State, First Lady, and Senator (and future President?) Hillary Clinton, but I’m now feeling the love for an unlikely ally.

Willie Nelson

When you hear the name Willie Nelson, you probably think country singer, outlaw, hippie, marijuana smoker, troubles with the IRS, and other things.  But, what about LGBT and marriage equality supporter?  Yes and yes!

Willie says, “For same-sex couples, taxes are different, benefits are different, survivor benefits are different.  It’s crazy … I never had a problem with any of it. I’ve known straight and gay people all my life. I can’t tell the difference. People are people where I came from.”

And, the “Red Headed Stranger” goes on to say with his wicked sense of humor, “I never thought of marriage as something only for men and women. But I’d never marry a guy I didn’t like!”   And, with a mix of humor and seriousness, “[gay people] should be just as miserable as the rest of us,” before stating that he finds the public uproar over same-sex marriage “ridiculous…in this day and age.”

Willie Nelson Marriage Equality

Willie recently posted this picture when the Supreme Court of the United States was debating California’s ban on same-sex marriage, “Proposition 8”, and the “Defense of Marriage Act”, which states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

And, here’s something else you may not know about Willie.  He’s a strong advocate for better treatment of horses and he supported the passage of the “American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act”.  He told “Men’s Journal” magazine in July 2011, “I’m an outside person.  I like to camp out and ride the horses.  I have 71 of them there [on his Luck, Texas ranch] — beautiful paint horses — that I rescued from places that were selling them to be slaughtered.”

Willie Nelson Horses

Willie Nelson turns 80-years-old later this month.  To the man who has had a total of 82 country hits (60 of which were solo hits) with 44 of them reaching the country Top Ten and 23 topping the charts (14 #1 solo hits), I salute you and I appreciate you being a strong ally in supporting equality for all.

Happy Birthday, Willie and thank you!

“If You’ve Got The Money Honey I’ve Got The Time”

“Always on My Mind”

TELEVISION SOUND BITES

In television news, a “sound bite” is a short comment, from a longer interview, that stresses a point that the speaker is trying to make in a news story.  So, here are some of my sound bites about things that I watch:

TWD S3 Finale

* A record 12.4 million people watched the season three finale of “The Walking Dead”.

* The one-hour (two back-to-back 30-minute episodes) season finale of “The New Normal” was funny, cute, and sentimental.  However, the ratings are less than stellar and I don’t think it’ll be renewed  for a second season unless creator Ryan Murphy (“American Horror Story” and “Glee) has a lot of pull in Hollywood and at NBC.

* The viewership of the first two weeks of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament was up 31% this year over last year — the highest ratings in 19 years!

following_nevermore

* I’m ready for this season of “The Following” to end.  I know the season finale April 29th will be incredible, but the show is really starting to drag and it’s starting to irritate and bore me.  My correspondence with my good friend, Kelly, in Baltimore, Maryland, sums it up.

Kelly:  “Bates Motel is what I wanted The Following to be. (Following and I have broken up.)”

Me:  “‘The Following” and I sticking together for the kids until the season finale and then I’m done. I can’t believe how ridiculous it has become. I mean, give the FBI a break. I know you have to draw it out to 15 episodes, but really. Last week was nothing but filler.”

* While we dropped cable because we never watched television, I want to see “Bates Motel” on A&E, which Kelly highly recommends.  Last night, I watched “Hannibal” on NBC and it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.  If you missed it, NBC usually has most of its show online for viewing.

Here’s the “Viewer Discretion Advised” trailer:

My Wednesday’s blog link about the new “Hannibal” series:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/come-into-my-house-but-not-for-dinner/

* And, finally, “Dexter” season 7 arrives on DVD May 14th.  The countdown is on:  39 days!

SO LONG, ROGER!  TWO THUMBS UP!

Roger Ebert

Roger Ebert, the legendary movie critic and television co-host, who popularized a movie rating of “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” died Thursday in Chicago.

Since 2002, the 70-year-old Ebert struggled with cancer of the thyroid, salivary glands, and the chin, which affected his ability to speak, eat, and drink, he never gave up and was a fighter.

Two years ago, he published his book, “Life Itself:  A Memoir”.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

With the record warmth in March 2012, things looked a lot different last year compared to now.  The grass was green, lilacs were in bloom, my friend, Lynn, had a flowering bush budding with Easter eggs, and my garden was already tilled!

Lilacs040612

EasterEggsInBloom 040512  TilledGarden040612

MY FUTURE HIT PICK

Chris Wallace, a musician from Chicago and the former lead singer for the band White Tie Affair, released his first solo song, “Remember When (Push Rewind)” last summer and it was a pick hit of mine and one of the absolute best songs of 2012!  It did get moderate airplay, but was pretty much ignored at pop radio in the big scheme of things.  While it reached #25 on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart, it never cracked the Billboard Hot 100.

The follow-up coming out later this month is “Keep Me Crazy”.

PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been making music together since 1985 as Erasure.  Although they only scored three top 20 pop hits in America, #12 “Chains of Love” (1988), #14 “A Little Respect” (1988), and #20  “Always” (1994), it was “Oh L’Amour” that blew me away when I start going out clubbing and dee-jaying.  It hit #3 on the dance chart in 1986.

I guess I’ll wrap this up now because I could go on and on.  I do have many random thoughts!  Just ask Ray! 🙂

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

I’m Your Christmas Juke Box Today

I hear people say that it seems like Christmas starts earlier each year.  In the quest to get more of your money, that’s true.  By the time “Black Friday” arrives, many stores have already had big sales.

I love it each holiday season when “Mix 96” in the Quad Cities changes their music format to all Christmas!  I could listen to holiday music all year around and I confess that when I’m overly stressed, I turn it on to chill out, even if it’s September.

holiday boom box

Today, I’m going to share my favorite Christmas songs with you.  Now, while I love Reba, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, every song from their Christmas albums cannot make the list, otherwise you’d still be reading it next Christmas, so I’ll select just one of my favorites from each of them.

Whether you’re at work, at play, or at home reading my blog today, click on each of my selections and let me your Christmas Juke Box today!

While Christmas would not be complete if we didn’t hear Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, or Elvis belting out classics, they are not in my Top Ten.

My other favorites that just missed out, too, are “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (Bruce Springsteen), both versions of “Please Come Home For Christmas” (The Eagles and Bon Jovi), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love), “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (Brenda Lee), “Sleigh Ride” (Debbie Gibson), and “If We Make It Through December” (Merle Haggard).

Now, my ten favorite holidays songs.  To make this list, it has to be a song that regardless of what I’m doing or if I’m in the car and it comes on, I’ll stop and listen until it’s over.

10

WILLIE NELSON — “PRETTY PAPER” 

My love for this song goes back to watching my mother cry every time she heard it.  And, now I know why.  We really need to slow down at the holidays and show more love and compassion, especially to strangers.

#9

MICHAEL BUBLE — “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS”

8 red

REBA — “THE SECRET OF GIVING”

I absolutely love the message behind this song.  I wish radio (pop and country) would play it at Christmas time.

I  remember when I was in Maryland, in 2005, and one of the radio groups had an all-day telethon to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims and the American Red Cross.  You could call any of the radio stations that you listened to and make a donation and they’d play your request on whichever station you chose, regardless of the genre.  I donated $10 to play this Reba song on the hard rock station. 🙂

green 7

JOSH GROBAN — “O HOLY NIGHT”

“O Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas song.

I could very well have had Reba, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill or countless others listed here.  But, there are many classics on Josh Groban’s “Noel” album and his version is perfect and that voice makes me melt!

6 red

PAUL McCARTNEY — “WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME”

 

GREEN 5

ELTON JOHN — “STEP INTO CHRISTMAS”

 

red-number-4

JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO — “HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)”

If you’ve only heard this song on the radio and have never seen the video, it’s graphic.  War is never pretty, even during the holidays.

green 3

MARIAH CAREY — “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

number_2_red

BAND AID — “DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?”

Christmas has definitely taken a turn a bit darker in my countdown after many upbeat and fun holidays songs.

And, what would Christmas be without a Christmas Bonus?

Christmas-Bonus- Woman

What?  You want the other present?

Christmas-Bonus- Man

Wait, I’m not talking that kind of bonus.  Casey Kasem always had an “American Top 40 Extra”!  So, here’s mine.

Before I started the countdown of my favorite Christmas songs, I said, “while I love Reba, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, every song on their Christmas albums cannot make the list”.  The same can be said for the Carpenters, so here’s an extra medley before we get to #1.

We’ve counted down the hits, all the way from number ten to number two and now we’re up to my favorite Christmas recording of all time!

#1

THE CARPENTERS — “MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING”

Which of these do you like or dislike?  What is your favorite?

Merry Christmas!

Anthony

Imagine… It’s Easy If You Try

I always try to find a silver lining to every cloud and trust me, I had to look really hard today because there are a lot of dark clouds hovering over December 8th.

On this day back in either 1982 or 1984 (conflicting dates!), Onika Tanya Maraj was born in Saint James, Trinidad and Tobago.  We know her today as rapper Nicki Minaj and she’s a great performer.  I saw her in July 2011 when she opened for Britney Spears in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nicki Minaj

That is the silver lining because on December 8, 1941,  America was entering World War II after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the day before.  This date in history is also marked by other depressing events:  Right-wing nut job Ann Coulter was born in 1961, a 1963 plane crash in Maryland killed 81 people, another plane crash in 1972 at Chicago’s Midway Airport left 45 dead, and the 1987 Alianza Lima Air Disaster in Peru left 43 dead.  There were several war deaths on this date and violent political attacks that left many dead.

And, as a 16-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, getting ready for bed after the local news, I remember the networks breaking into television programming on December 8, 1980, to announce that John Lennon, of the Beatles, had been shot and killed outside his apartment, The Dakota, in New York City, as he and his wife, Yoko Ono, were returning home.

John Lennon and Yoko Ono

40-year-old Lennon was enjoying a quieter life in New York City with his wife and their son, Sean, after dominating the international music scene in the 1960s, with the Beatles, and as a solo recording star in the 1970s.

John Lennon released his first single in 1969 without the Beatles even as the super group was still topping the charts with “Come Together” (1969), “Let It Be” (1970), and “The Long And Winding Road” (1970).

“Let It Be” is still my favorite Beatles’ song.

Peace

John Lennon left the Beatles in the fall of 1969, just as his first single, “Give Peace A Chance” with Ono was climbing the charts.  It would peak at #14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and become an anthem for anti-war demonstrations in the 1970s.

Lennon would have two more hits in America, “Cold Turkey” (#30), which documented the withdrawal symptoms he experienced from a heroin addiction, and “Instant Karma (We All Shine On)” (#3), before he released his first solo album, “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band”.  Although the album went “gold” (shipments of 500,000) in the U.S., it spawned no hits.

Everything would change for John Lennon in the fall of 1971 with the release of the album, “Imagine” and the title track as the first single.

john-lennon-imagine

The album would hit #1 in the United States and move two million copies.  The single, “Imagine”, reached #3 here, but it topped the charts in Australia, Canada, Italy, and in England.  It’s by far the best John Lennon song.

From his first hit, “Give Peace A Chance” in 1969 to his #20 song in 1975, “Stand By Me”, John Lennon charted with nine Top 40 singles (four reached the Top Ten).  His only #1 hit during this period was “Whatever Gets You Through The Night” in 1974.  His other Top Ten hit in the 1970s was “#9 Dream” in 1975, and that one peaked at, you guessed it, #9, in the U.S.!

His remake of “Stand By Me” in 1975 would be the last single he released for five years so he could spend time with his newborn son, Sean.  Then, in the fall of 1980, he was ready to return to radio and music with the release of  the first single, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, from his upcoming album, “Double Fantasy”.

JohnLennon-albums-doublefantasy

The single, “(Just Like) Starting Over”, was released on October 24, 1980, and by early December, it had climbed to #3.  However, the “Double Fantasy” album wasn’t doing very well on the charts and was pretty much being panned by critics.  One even called it, “a self-obsessed disaster”.  Nevertheless, just as John Lennon was starting over in music, it would all come to an end.

John and Yoko had a 2 p.m. photo shoot on December 8, 1980, with Annie Leibovitz for a “Rolling Stone” article about Lennon’s return to music, which would produce this iconic photo.

John Yoko for Rolling Stone

After a radio interview, Lennon and Yoko left their apartment around 5:30 p.m. and he said hello to fans that had gathered outside.  John autographed his “Double Fantasy” album for one, Mark David Chapman.

Lennon Chapman

Upon returning home that night around 10:50, Chapman was still waiting.  As Yoko walked ahead of Lennon, Chapman calls out, “Mr. Lennon” and he dropped into a “combat stance” and fired five shots.  The first one missed the superstar, but the next four hit him — two in the left side of the back and two in the left shoulder.  John Lennon stumbled inside the Dakota exclaiming, “I’m shot.  I’m shot”.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Roosevelt Hospital.  The cause of death was listed as “hypovolemic shock”.  Lennon had lost more than 80% of the blood in his body.

mark-david-chapman

After firing the five shots, the Dakota’s doorman, ex-CIA agent, Jose Sanjenis Perdomo, wrestled the gun from Chapman and he said, “Do you know what you’ve done?”  And, Chapman calmly replied, “Yes, I just shot John Lennon.”

Chapman pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 20 years to life in prison.  He’s still locked away and has been denied parole seven times.  His next chance for parole will come in 2014.

*This version of  “(Just Like) Starting Over” is NSFW*

Two weeks after John Lennon’s death, “(Just Like) Starting Over” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and remained there for five weeks.  The album, “Double Fantasy”, which had been released three weeks before the murder bolted to #1 and shipped more than three million copies.

In January 1981, the follow-up single, “Woman”, reached #2, and the album would produce one more hit, “Watching The Wheels”, (#10).

“Double Fantasy” won “Album of the Year” at the 1982 Grammy Awards and Yoko Ono and Sean Lennon accepted the award.

yoko-1982

John Lennon would have one more hit on the charts more than three years after his death.  The album, “Milk and Honey”, which was recorded in the last few months of his life produced the #5 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Nobody Told Me”  in 1984.  It would become his third Top Ten American hit posthumously.

John Lennon NYC

On the day after John Lennon was murdered, Yoko Ono said, “There is no funeral for John…John loved and prayed for the human race.  Please pray the same for him.”

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Yoko, Sean, and Julian, I shed tears that fateful night back in 1980, as a teenager, and I’ll smile today as I remember the joy that your husband and father, John Lennon, brought to the world.  We can all “Imagine” what the world really should be like:   “Imagine all the people living life in peace/You, you may say/I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one/I hope some day you’ll join us/And the world will be as one.”

Peace! ☮

Anthony

P.S.  Without Yoko Ono, John Lennon might not have achieved his post-Beatles legacy that we know today and I want to pay tribute to that wonderful woman.

Last month, Ono told the “Advocate”, “I’m really saddened that fair treatment is not given to gays. Why can’t they get married, if they wanted to?”  When asked if would John have supported marriage equality, she said, “Definitely. John hated any injustice.”

Yoko Ono

What many of you don’t know is that she released her first dance single less than a month after John died.  “Walking On Thin Ice” would reach #13 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1981. She would have four more dance hits over the years.

However, in 2003, when the reissued, remixed “Walking On Thin Ice” hit #1 on the dance chart, it would be the start of Ono dominating the dance club charts.  She now has nine #1 Billboard Dance Hits.  Of those, from 2007-2011, seven of them were consecutive #1 hits!  What an amazing feat for an incredible woman who will turn 80-years-old in February 2013!  Happy birthday early Ono!

This was her last #1 hit, in 2011 and I’ll leave you with a quote:  “I think it’s better to dance than to march through life.  Love, Yoko”

oko Ono, thank you!

Anthony