Posts Tagged ‘Kelly Clarkson’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 20, 2018

While winter is relentless for my friends in the Midwest, spring is finally in the forecast.

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”!

BARBARA BUSH (1925-2018) 

Former First Lady Barbara Bush passed away earlier this week at her Houston home.

Barbara Bush

The 92-year-old had been battling Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and congestive heart failure.  She’s also suffered from Graves’ disease, a thyroid condition, since the late-1980s.

My thoughts go out to the Bush family.

BARBARA STUNS THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT…

In 1990, former PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) President Paulette Goodman asked for support from the First Lady.

Ms. Bush sent a personal response, “I firmly believe that we cannot tolerate discrimination against any individuals or groups in our country.  Such treatment always brings with it pain and perpetuates intolerance.”

Needless to say, the “religious right” went ballistic.

AND, DON’T MESS WITH HER FAMILY

During the 1984 campaign season, the Democratic vice-presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro continued her attacks on then Vice President George H.W. Bush.

Barbara had had enough and referenced Ferraro by saying, “I can’t say it, but it rhymes with rich!”

Ferraro

The former First Lady apologized for that comment.

REBA STILL STUNS!

Back in 1993, when she performed “Does He Love You”, a #1 hit with Linda Davis, gasps were heard across the world with Reba’s “red dress” and its plunging neckline (right below)!

At the time, Reba said she got “more press off that dress than if I’d won entertainer of the year”.

Reba

At last Sunday night’s Academy of Country Music Awards, she performed the same song with her daughter-in-law, Kelly Clarkson, and she wore the same dress from 25 years ago (left above)!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR

We know about Bill Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky, but there’s been other shocking presidential behavior that just isn’t as widely known.

Lyndon-b-johnson-photo.jpg

Lyndon B. Johnson was being badgered by reporters over why the United States was in Vietnam.

With a simple, unmistakable off-the-record gesture, the president unzipped his pants, pulled out his “Johnson” and said, ”This is why!”

Could you just imagine a president doing that today???

GOODBYE OLIVIA POPE & “SCANDAL”

I’m probably in the minority here, but I felt the “Scandal” series finale was anti-climatic and the wrong person died in the final episode!

It’s sad to say goodbye to Olivia Pope, the Gladiators, and both President Grants (oops, spoiler) after binge watching seven seasons of the ABC drama — 124 episodes.

Mellie

However, there were many great moments in the seventh and final season, but this one had me laughing out loud.

I think the reaction from Kerry Washington (Olivia) is authentic and that she was really cracking up with Bellamy Young (Mellie)!

Warning:  Adult content!

“Olivia, there’s a famine in my lady bits…”  (Still laughing!)

And, another dramatic and hilarious scene is this confrontation between Olivia and her terrorist mother, Maya!

“You can either be my mother or a bitch!  What’s it gonna be?” and Mama’s reaction, “Girl, if you don’t sit your dramatic ass down…”

GOT MY CHRISTMAS “SCANDAL”

As you know, Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  I was so thrilled to get a “Scandal” Christmas in season five.

Although it was a tense and heavy episode, it ended with Olivia in a happy place!

Olivia Christmas.gif

This is going to be me this Christmas!  Like Olivia, I’ll find my happy place this year!

GOOD RIDDANCE “THE WALKING DEAD” 

After eight seasons, I’m giving up on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”.

The seventh and eighth season were painful and I didn’t find them enjoyable.

I guess I’m not alone.  The season eight finale had the lowest ratings since the season one finale!

About 8 million people watched this season finale.  The season four and five finales both had about 16 million viewers!

Andrew Lincoln

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), I’ll miss you, but I can’t take the show anymore!

KYLIE HITS #1 AGAIN!

My girl Kylie Minogue hits #1 again with her latest album, “Golden”!

Kylie-Minogue-Golden

The album topped the charts in Australia, Ireland, Scotland, and the U.K.

It started out in the Top 5 in Austria, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.

Kylie

It’s definitely “Raining Glitter” for Kylie fans with the new music.

I can’t wait for her to announce her U.S. tour dates to promote the album!

ROSE MAKING A COMEBACK

Over the past few years, drinking rose has been growing at a much higher rate than other wines.

rose

Dry rose almost went extinct in the 1970s when sweet White Zinfandel was introduced in California.

In France, Provence makes more than 140 million bottles of the crisp pink wine.

Spain and Italy are also prime producers of rose!

“ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD”

a.k.a. “The movie that went through drastic, last minute re-shoots with Christopher Plummer in the role that was originally played by Kevin Spacey!”

a.k.a. “The movie that “USA Today” reports that Mark Walhberg got $1.5 million for the re-shoots, while Michelle Williams was only paid less than $1,000!!

WTH on the second a.k.a. — Yes, there’s definitely still a big pay discrepancy between men and women in Hollywood (and the U.S.)!

It’s the story of J. Paul Getty, once the world’s richest private citizen, and the kidnapping of his teenage grandson in Rome in 1973.

At first, the elder Getty (Oscar nominee and former winner Plummer) refused to pay the $7 million ransom, even though that was just pocket change for him!

GRADE:  B

“TRUST” ON FX

Hollywood is mining the Getty kidnapping story with the movie version, “All The Money In The World” and the FX television series, “Trust”.

In the FX series, Emmy and two-time Golden Globe winner Donald Sutherland plays the elder Getty.

His kidnapped grandson is played by Harris Dickinson, who earned rave reviews from me (and other critics) in the incredible “Beach Rats”, my #3 movie of last year!

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 — January 26, 2018

The weekend is here and can you believe that January is almost over!  I hope you have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

SPANKING YOUR KIDS

Pop singer Kelly Clarkson went on the defensive after saying she’s “not above” spanking her kids.

Clarkson says, “My parents spanked me and I did fine in life. I feel fine about it, and I do that as well.”

KELLY c

However, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages spanking and “other physical punishments”.

A recent survey showed that 78% of people believe spanking is okay “sometimes”, while 20% said “never”.

I’m fully on Clarkson’s side.  This whole “time out” or putting a child in the corner is silly to me.   I’ve been around children that could have used a few spankings in their lives.

I had my fair share as a youngster and I deserved every one them.  But, I also had a few beatings from my father that easily went over that threshold of spanking.  A beating and a spanking are much different!

Your thoughts on spanking?  Did you spank your children and how were you disciplined as a kid?

#TIMESUP MEGAN!

Who needs men to set women back 100 years when you have Megyn Kelly of “Megyn Kelly Today”?

Megan

Yes, I defended her against the attacks from “that man”.

But, to go after 80-year-old actress Jane Fonda about plastic surgery and then drag up a mistake she made during the Vietnam War!  Tacky!

Jane

When you want to use “Hanoi Jane” against her, Megyn and Fonda-haters, think of how welcoming America was to Vietnam War veterans when they returned home.  Even today, Vietnam War veterans get little respect!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Companies are always trying to come up with new variations on classics to increase their revenue.  Some work and some don’t.  Would you try these?

Food for Thought

A couple of years ago, McDonald’s in Japan marketed McChoco Potato.  It’s basically chocolate drizzle over their fries.  (YES, just to try it!)

Around that same time, Kellogg Company offered hot dog-flavored Pringles. (Again, yes, just to try it.)

And, in late 2014, PepsiCo tested a Doritos Nacho Cheese-flavored Mountain Dew with college students!  (NO THANK YOU!)

FINALLY SAW “CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”!

Earlier this week, “Call Me By Your Name” was nominated for four Oscars — Best Picture, Best Actor (Timothee Chalamet), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song (“Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens).

It was a year ago this week that the movie debuted at the Sundance film festival and it’s been gaining immense buzz ever since then.  The movie has been in limited release, but is now going wide.

I finally got to see it this week and it’s fantastic. 22-year-old Chalamet deserves the Oscar nomination and I could definitely see him as a front-runner for Best Actor.

It’s not only a coming-of-age love story between Elio (Chalamet) and a slightly older American graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) visiting northern Italy, but it’s a beautiful bond of love between a teenager and his parents.

“Call Me By Your Name” is stunning, sensual, and heartbreaking!

GRADE:  A

By the way, there’s talk that director Luca Guadagnino is working on a sequel and both Charlamet and Hammer have expressed interest in continuing the story of Elio and Oliver.

“THE SNOWMAN” (DISASTER)

Nesbo+Snowman

After reading Jo Nesbo’s incredible Norwegian crime thriller, “The Snowman”, I was so excited to hear it was being made into a movie starring sexy Michael Fassbender!

the-snowman

Well, when it arrived in the fall of 2017, critics hated it, the movie only made $6.7 million in the U.S. ($43 million worldwide), and “Entertainment Weekly” named it as one of the five worst movies of the year.

However, movie critics are known to be wrong.  But, not this time!

I watched the movie and it was the most disjointed thing I’ve seen in a long time.  It was like they had a script and threw out pages here and there and just pieced it together.  (The director said they did run of our time shooting the movie!)

I visited Norway late last summer.  You know the movie is bad when you spend most of it picking out all of locales that you saw while there: the Vigeland Sculpture Park, Oslo City Hall, the gorgeous Holmenkollen Hotel and Jump Tower, the amazing city of Bergen, and the view from Floyen Mountain — all covered in snow in “The Snowman”.

The only real highlight of the movie was a gratuitous, but pointless to the plot, shot of Fassbender standing by the window in tight blue briefs!

Read the amazing book instead!

GRADE:  D+

READING MILESTONE

Back in the Quad Cities, I read many books while walking on the treadmill.  Since moving to Panama City, I do all my walking outside (only twice have I walked on the treadmill).

It’s given me a chance to read through the two boxes of “Rolling Stone” and “Time” magazines that I brought with me dating back to 2014.

With those now finished, I’ll read my “Entertainment Weekly”, “Out”, and “The Advocate” magazines when they arrive and start clearing out books from my bookshelf and visit the library!

Capture1

I’m currently reading “Front Row At The White House” by the late United Press International journalist Helen Thomas.

“THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US”

Oscar winner Kate Winslet and Golden Globe winner Idris Elba star in this movie from last fall that made $61.1 million at the box office.

Both stars give excellent performances in a very predictable movie.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

The amazing and incredible Kylie Minogue is back with new music following “Kylie Christmas” in 2016.

While the new single, “Dancing”, may have been recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, it’s definitely got the Kylie dance groove going on after the acoustic-sounding start!

The new album, “Golden”, arrives in April 2018.

And, since I’m excited about new Kylie music and I’m honoring the Queen, I had to share this hilarious commercial, which features Kylie!

It’s too funny!

REMEMBERING LARI WHITE

Country singer Lari White died earlier this week after a short battle with cancer.

She was moved to a Nashville hospice last week after being diagnosed with advanced peritoneal cancer in September 2017.

Lari hit it big in 1994 and 1995 with her phenomenal gold album “Wishes”.

It produced three Top Ten country hits:  “That’s My Baby” (#10), “Now I Know” (#5), and “That’s How You Know (You’re In Love)” (#10).

On “That’s My Baby”, she channeled her best Pam Tillis.

Lari leaves behind a husband and three children.  She was 52.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random (Christmas) Thoughts — December 22, 2017

Christmas is here in a few day!

Thank you for checking out my festive, holiday version of “Random Friday (Christmas) Thoughts” today.

“CHRISTMAS GHOSTS — LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT”

MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

I just saw the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Mariah Carey show in Las Vegas.  She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!

Here’s my Facebook album of the amazing show.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.gene.13/media_set?set=a.10155163332614849.1073742044.500579848&type=3

By the way, the title track to the new holiday movie, “The Star”, by Mariah has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award and is in contention for an Oscar nomination!

POINSETTIAS

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

Poinsettia 1

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

CANDY CANES

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

I wonder how many of those billions end up as garnishes in festive holiday drinks?

CHRISTMAS TREES

The National Christmas Tree Association reports that Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year.  And, of that number, one out of every four are from the country’s roughly 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

I did that back in 2000 and 2001 for Miss ABBA’s (my late golden retriever) first two Christmases.

In retrospective, I felt guilty for cutting down that big, gorgeous tree!

TURKEYS

The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century.

Our Turkey 2012

However, in rich households, it didn’t immediately replace the traditional goose, beef or boar’s head.

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

I chose these stamps this year to help out a very financially stressed United States Postal Service.  I sent out 136 cards and that’s really the only time I use the USPS except when I order things online.

Stamps 1

It’s ironic that the USPS is about to go under because as early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. wanted to limit the number of cards people could send at the holidays.

People were sending out so many homemade cards, since commercial cards weren’t available then, that an extra sixteen postmen had to be hired in the nation’s capital to handle the extra mail.

The Postmaster General would be ecstatic if that was the case today!

I guess this is my chance to say once again, stop Saturday mail service and save yourself a lot of money!

“SILENT NIGHT”

“Silent Night” was written in 1818, by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

On Christmas Eve, he was told that the church organ was broken and it would not be repaired for service that evening.

Saddened, he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music and he sat down and wrote three stanzas.  Later that night,  “Stille Nacht” was performed for the first time in that little Austrian church.

BABY JESUS & THE MANGER

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is Miss ABBA wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

“JINGLE BELLS”

And, finally, the Christmas classic, “Jingle Bells”, was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont.  It was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

Check out this version of the popular holiday carol at Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka.

It made me smile.

GLOWING TURTLE

Here’s a holiday bonus, “glowing turtles” were found a couple of years ago off the coast of the Solomon Islands (northeast of Australia).

Glowing Turtle

The biofluorescent species glow red and green!

“TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, while it isn’t one of my favorite holiday songs, crazy town’s Janice Dickinson’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” is over-the-top fun.

However, the song was written to help Catholic children, in England, remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs.

Now, I found this online and didn’t take the time to verify it, but it’s still interesting.

In the song:

The “partridge in a pear tree” = Christ.
2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity– the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

HOLIDAY BREAK

While I have a few year end “best of” or “favorites” blogs coming, I’m taking time off from “Random Friday Thoughts”.

If there’s something that I really want to talk about, I’ll write something just about that. 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Reba “My Kind of Christmas”

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

Also, be sure to catch Reba hosting “CMA Country Christmas” on ABC on November 27th!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 27, 2017

The holiday season is officially here with Halloween next week.

I hope you have fun shopping this weekend for costumes and candy.  Will there be any left over for trick-or-treaters? 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for taking time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

HARVEY WEINSTEIN’S DOWNFALL

Harvey Weinstein

As more and more sexual harassment allegations surface and multi-million dollar lawsuits are filed against Harvey Weinstein, the former head of The Weinstein Company, I’m just shocked at how long it took all of this to come to light.

One person that’s probably the least bit surprised is actor-comedian-writer-director Seth Rogen.

Rogen

In a December 2014 “Rolling Stone” magazine article, Rogen was quoted as calling Weinstein “a well-documented psychopath” and “a real motherf**ker”!

“HALLOWEEN” (2018)

Since John Carpenter’s “Halloween” movie came out in 1978, there have been nine sequels.

Well, guess what?  For the 40th anniversary of the original, the 11th movie in the franchise hits theaters October 19, 2018.

Halloween-2019-sequel-Jamie-Lee-CurtisJamie Lee Curtis will return as Laurie Strode.

But, wait, didn’t Michael Myers kill Laurie in 2002’s “Halloween: Resurrection”?  Oops….spoiler-alert

The 2018 film will be a direct sequel to the 1978 original and will ignore all of the previous sequels!!!

Here’s the original trailer.

“It was the boogeyman!”

“As a matter of fact, it was!”

HALLOWEEN CANDY — BY STATE

My favorite candy bars are Snickers and Zero and I also love Twizzlers.

Here’s what candystore.com reports as the most popular Halloween candy by state!

CANDY

So, I was born and raised in a “Tootsie Pops” state (Kentucky) and lived in two “Starburst” (Wisconsin and Texas) states.  I’ve also lived in “Sour Patch Kids” (Illinois), “Milky Way” (Maryland), “Blow Pops” (Ohio) and “Skittles” (Florida) states.

I also love Candy Corn and it’s the most popular Halloween candy in Idaho, New Mexico, Michigan, Alabama, South Carolina and Rhode Island.

I’M NOT AS POPULAR AS “SNL”, BUT… 🙂

It seems we think alike.

A couple of weeks ago, I was ticked off at one of Kellyanne Conway’s ignorant tweets and sent her one.

AP Clown

Well, I guess the writers of “Saturday Night Live” have the same thought process as me.

snl kellyanne

In a skit, Kellyanne is “Kellywise” and tries to lure Anderson Cooper into the sewers.  She’s already got two other famous victims in her clutches!

ARE YOU “READY FOR IT”?

“Ready For It”, the new video and second single from the upcoming Taylor Swift album, “Reputation”, is incredible, creepy, and sexy!

“MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN!”

A few months ago, I excitedly told you about the sequel to “Mamma Mia!”, the 2008 box office smash, based on ABBA songs.

Here’s an update — Cher is joining the cast alongside returning stars Meryl Streep, Christine Baranski, Julie Walters, and Amanda Seyfried. (Oh, Dominic Cooper is back, too) 🙂

While the details are limited, Cher was recently in the U.K..  She tweeted, “Just went through two dance numbers, everyone’s great.” and this:

Cher

The “Mamma Mia!” sequel hits theaters July 20, 2018, which will be ten years to the weekend of the original!  It made almost $610 million worldwide.

“TEN DAYS IN THE VALLEY”

I’m four episodes into the new ABC thriller starring Kyra Sedgwick, who plays a Hollywood television and documentary producer whose child goes missing.

Each episode covers one day in the investigation to find the little girl. And, each episode casts characters as suspects and clears others.

In the trailer, Sedgwick says “People say there’s some truth in every lie.”

That’s funny because I’ve been told there’s a little truth to all my jokes! 🙂

I highly recommend it, although it’s the least watched new series on the major networks this fall!

“BABY DRIVER”

In this summer action caper, Ansel Elgort plays “Baby”, a getaway driver for a group of criminals who rob banks and businesses for a crime boss played by Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) .

I saw Elgort in his first three movies, “Carrie”, “Divergent”, and “The Fault in Our Stars” and I thought he was cute, but that was it.  However, in “Baby Driver”, he’s downright adorable.

The movie plays out like a two-hour music video.  It has a lot of heart, but you have to suspend disbelief very early on (less than five minutes into the movie) and quite often.

Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, and Lily James costar.

GRADE:  B

“MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS” REVIEW

Reba McEntire’s latest holiday offering, “My Kind of Christmas” came out a couple of weeks ago on October 13th.

REBA

This is her third Christmas album following 1987’s “Merry Christmas to You” and 1999’s “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection”.

If you already own those two, you have six of the fourteen songs on this new disc.  However, these are newly recorded versions with new arrangements.

The album kicks off with “Winter Wonderland” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)” and the songs take you to an intimate piano bar during the holiday season with Reba as the lounge singer!

The piano vibe continues with “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”, and the stellar remake of Dolly Parton’s classic, “Hard Candy Christmas”.

This song hits harder for me this year knowing I’ll be single and alone this Christmas.  (Reba experienced this two years ago after ending her 26-year marriage to Narvel Blackstock).

As Reba sings, “Maybe I’ll just get drunk on cheap red wine” and “Maybe I’ll just leave town/Maybe I’ll have some fun/Maybe I’ll meet someone and make him mine”!

You know I love Reba and I’ve expressed before that whenever Reba releases a new album, there’s also a song (or songs) that reflects what’s happening in my life like Reba is singing just to me.

For me, on this album, it’s “Hard Candy Christmas” and “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” (if only in my dreams!)

On “Jingle Bells”, Reba makes this simple standard refreshingly new with just piano and one other instrument, her voice.

If the album stopped there, I’d give it an “A+”, but it doesn’t.  It’s the duets that brings the album down.

It’s great to hear Vince Gill and Reba singing together again, with Gill’s wife, Amy Grant on “Mary Did You Know”.  However, when Grant start reciting the lyrics, it does nothing for me and makes me want to skip over the song!

And, then there’s an acoustic version of Reba’s incredible “Back To God” from earlier this year.  On “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith and Hope”, it was flawless.

reba-faith

The arrangement on this version, which features Lauren Daigle, is offsetting.  Maybe I’m just too much of a fan of the original!

Her duet with Darius Rucker “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is good.

The album ends with the amazing “Silent Night” from Kelly Clarkson’s “Wrapped in Red” album (2013) that also featured Trisha Yearwood.

GRADE:  B+

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Last week, I shared with you the two news USPS Christmas stamps and asked which ones you’d choose?

Although I liked them both, I’m buying these this year.

Stamps 1

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

I wish you the scariest Halloween ever!

DT MasksWait, many of us feel as if we’ve been living it since last Halloween!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 28, 2016

We’re up to the last weekend of October.  It might be hard to believe, for some, that in the next couple of weeks, some radio stations will be switching over to continuous Christmas music. Bring it on!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts and have a great Halloween weekend.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

It’s been a few years now since I last dressed up for Halloween.  In 2010, we had a big Halloween party and I dressed as Lady Gaga at the 2009 MTV VMA show.

GAGAABBA2010

I even tortured my golden retriever, ABBA, by putting the wig and outfit on her, too!

ABBAGAGA2011

This Halloween, for our morning show, a local haunted house, Skellington Manor in Rock Island, Illinois, took me and my co-anchors, Emily and James, behind the scenes.

20161025_105210.jpg

To make the deal even sweeter, they made us up as a pumpkin, a broken doll, and a skeleton.

Thank you Jenn, our amazing make-up artist, and Penni, the owner of Skellington Manor and our hostess!

2016 ELECTION — HALLOWEEN STYLE

While some people just put out pumpkins or jack-o-lanterns at Halloween or for fall, some like to go all out with decorations.

And, some get creative.  Check out this cool display in my neighborhood in Moline, Illinois.  Incorporating this scary election season into Halloween makes it even better.

20161023_171140.jpg

R.I.P. PETE BURNS

The world lost a creative force and an early LGBT ally this past weekend.

Dead or Alive lead singer and fashionista Pete Burns died of massive cardiac arrest.

Pete Burns

For 1980s music fans, he was cutting edge, not only in dance clubs, but on the international pop scene.

While he and his band may not have achieved the chart success of other English acts at the time like Culture Club and Duran Duran, Pete endured and stayed in the spotlight long after radio hits became obsolete.

Mainstream America knows Dead or Alive from their two Top 40 pop hits, “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”, which reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1985 and the #15 smash “Brand New Lover” in 1986.

Both of those songs reached the Top Five on the Dance Club Play charts in America — “Brand New Lover” hit #1 for two weeks.  They scored five other Top Ten dance hits.

Two years ago, I read Pete’s autobiography, “Freak Unique” and wrote this blog, which I’m happy to say, prompted a Twitter correspondence between the two of us.

Here’s that blog and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/pete-burns-is-a-freak-unique/

Pete was 57.

“THE WALKING DEAD” BASHES COMPETITION

The season seven premiere slaughtered not only its competition Sunday night with 17 million viewers, but in the key demograpics (ages 18-49), it had a 8.4 rating!  That’s higher than “Sunday Night Football”, “Empire” and “The Big Bang Theory”.

Ratings were also up 22% over the season six finale.  I guess everyone had to tune in to see what main character was bashed to death by Negan and his trusted barbed-wire baseball bat, Lucille.

Well, thank God, Rick survived, but he’s definitely a broken man!

rick-twd

Oops, I should have said, “spoiler alert”!

spoiler_alert_300_w2

I’m kidding.  I’m not going to mention who died at the hands of Negan.  However, if you’ve been online since Sunday night, there’s no way you could avoid knowing who died!

But, the brutal outcome didn’t really come as a shock to me.  Here’s what I wrote in my “Random Friday Thoughts — August 5, 2016” blog about the show and the cliff hanger:

“We already know that a major character is savagely murdered.  My guess is Abraham, but an online poll has Glenn at 36% and Abraham at 32%.

Here’s a thought:  Why not shock everyone and just have Negan go completely batty and kill off TWO PEOPLE?  We wouldn’t expect that!”

spoiler-alert

Surprise, two people died!!!!!!!!!!

The season seven premiere was the second most watched “The Walking Dead” episode ever.  The most watched was the season five premiere with 17.3 million viewers and 18-49-year-olds demo of 8.8.

THE “WEEKEND UPDATE” VIEW OF RIGGED ELECTION

We’ve all heard Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claims that this year’s election is rigged — because he’s losing in polls.

On “Saturday Night Live”, “Weekend Update” host Michael Che has an opinion.

He says it’s “weird” that Trump is just now pointing out that the system is rigged.  Che says, There were 43 white-male presidents in a row, then one black guy and maybe a woman and now you’re sensing a pattern of unfairness?

Che goes on to add, “An old white billionaire is on TV arguing that the system is rigged, and my black ass is arguing that it’s not.  This just feels wrong.”

SNL.jpg

His “Update” co-anchor Colin Jost adds his thoughts about how silly it is for Trump to accuse the media of rigging the election against him because he’s the greatest thing to come along for them.

Jost asked, who the networks would rather cover, “a grandma who loves secrets or a human air horn who screams every thought in his head and can’t swing his arms without grabbing a lady’s ass?”

“FREE STATE OF JONES”

War is brutal and this Civil War drama, based on a true story starring Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, is no exception.

The opening scenes are ultra violent.  However, it’s the racism of the 1860s that’s heartbreaking.

McConaughey plays Newton Knight, a Mississippi farmer that worked as a medic in the Confederate’s fight against the Union.  He was opposed to slavery and became a deserter after the death of his soldier nephew.

The movie follows the plight to freedom before and after President Lincoln freed slaves.

As I said many times, the whole premise of the Ku Klux Klan, is so sad and disgusting and is such a disgrace to mankind.

GRADE:  B

RACISM –THEN AND NOW

While the KKK plays a prominent role in “Free State of Jones” and in American history, it’s even sadder that a century after the Civil War, we saw how prevelant the KKK was in the South.

Hell, even now 150 years after the Civil War, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is still waging a race war.  However, he’s not just directing it toward the African American population, there’s Muslims, and the list goes on and on.

Trump

Remember to vote November 8th for the future of America and tolerance.  Send Trump and his group of deplorables* away.

*For the record, not all Trump supporters are deplorable.  Many are just disillusioned with the political scene and mistakenly think that the change they want can only be brought about by this blowhard!

VOTE NOVEMBER 8TH!

HIllary Flag

This endorsement approved by me!

KELLY CLARKSON WAS A SNEAKY YOUNGSTER

Pop star Kelly Clarkson is working on new material and she says it’s some of her favorite.

She recently told “Entertainment Weekly” that she had to sneak and listen to anything risque growing up.

Kelly says, “I was only allowed to listen to Christian music and, funny enough. Reba McEntire, [whose songs are] all about adultery.  I was definitely not supposed to listen to TLC or Madonna … and I definitely did.”

So, in honor of that, here are two of her “bad” influences, including her mother-in-law!

“REBEL HEART TOUR” COMING SOON

Last October, I was fortunate to see Madonna’s “Rebel Heart Tour” in Saint Paul, Minnesota and it was phenomenal.

It was my fourth Madonna concert (I saw the “Confessions Tour” in 2006 and the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” in 2008 in Chicago and “The MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas on my birthday in 2012.)

AnthonyMadonna

In December, the “Rebel Heart Tour” is coming to Showtime!

I can’t wait for the DVD release.

The 82 shows made $169.8 million with over one million attending the concerts across North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

TOP SELLING SONGS OF 2016

It might be hard to believe that there are only nine weeks left in 2016.  Maybe not since we’re already into the holiday(s) season with Halloween on Monday.

With that being said, here are the top five selling songs of the year, so far.

At #5 is Justin Bieber “Love Yourself” (1.76 million downloads), Drake is at #4 with “One Dance” (1.9 million downloads), Lukas Graham’s “7 Years” is at #3 (2.03 million downloads), Flo Rida’s “My House” is at #2 (2.14 million downloads), and the most downloaded song in 2016 at 2.16 million is Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling!”.

Timberlake’s song is from the “Trolls” movie that hits theaters next Friday, November 4th.

CHRISTMAS INSANITY WITH MISS PATTI LABELLE!

While it’s not even Halloween, it’s the holiday(s) season.

With several major country Christmas releases coming out today, it’s time to move begrudgingly into the merry holiday.

We all know that Miss Patti LaBelle can command a stage, but here’s a flashback performance for the National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony for President Clinton (Bill) in 1996 where the diva almost had a meltdown! 🙂

Ironically, “This Christmas” was the title track of her 1990 holiday album.  You’d think she’d be a little more familiar with the song or, at least, rehearsed it some before hand?

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 29, 2015

I’m starting off with a quick thank you for taking the time to check out my blogs when I share new ones and for your comments.

I miss writing every day.  Since my new blogs are not regular, fewer people check them out.  But, I appreciate each and every one of you that reads them.

And, as always, feel free to share your thoughts — if you agree with me or disagree.  Just tell me why and do it diplomatically.

Here goes…

BIZARRE “KING OF POP” CASTING

A new British made-for-television movie, “Elizabeth, Michael, & Marlon”, focusing on a road trip that Michael Jackson allegedly took with Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 is getting a lot of buzz.  I say “allegedly” because this incredibly hard to believe story was disputed by “Vanity Fair” magazine in 2011.

“The Guardian”, a British daily newspaper, is reporting that Joseph Fiennes, who won praise and several awards for 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love”, will be playing Michael Jackson!

Joseph-Fiennes-American-Horror-Story

Wouldn’t the Oscars just love this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I remember him very, very well as the naughty Monsignor Timothy Howard on “American Horror Story: Asylum” in 2012-2013.

Stockard Channing is reportedly playing Liz Taylor.

WHAT WOULD MICHAEL THINK ABOUT THIS?

In a 23-year-old interview with Oprah Winfrey, she asked the legendary singer about rumors of him wanting a white kid play him in a Pepsi commercial.

http://www.michael-jackson-photos.com/

Michael replied, “That’s the most ridiculous, horrifying story I’ve ever heard. It’s crazy. Why would I want a white child to play me? I’m a black American. I am proud to be a black American. I am proud of my race. I am proud of who I am.”

I guess he wouldn’t approve of Fiennes!

THIS “SNL” SCENE FITS PERFECTLY — #OSCARSSOWHITE

For two years in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the Academy Awards) failed to nominate an actor of color in the acting awards — that’s 20 white people two years running.

I’m not a fan of “Saturday Night Live”, but they can get it right and when they do, it’s too funny.

IOWA CAUCUS

Like music and movie charts and stats, I love polls and numbers when it comes to big elections and this year’s presidential election will be a big one.

I’m excited about Monday’s Iowa Caucus, the first vote in the nation for the next president of the United States, for two reasons:  (1) to see who wins and if the polls were correct and (2) so we’ll hear and see less of the so-called candidates that never stood a snowball’s chance in hell of winning!

Earlier in the week, I posted a really interesting blog about why the race for president is much bigger than Iowa and New Hampshire and how diversity across the U.S. will have a bigger impact on the nominations.  The day after I shared it, “Real Clear Politics” had a similar story.

Lately when you say politics, people zone out.  So, if you didn’t read it, here it is again.  At least, glance at it.  (The link will open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/diversity-in-america-the-2016-presidential-election/

Now that you’ve read it, do you agree or disagree?

DONALD TRUMP CAN GET AWAY WITH MURDER?

Maybe he could get a show on ABC since NBC got rid of him!

And, technically, he didn’t say he could kill someone.

Last Saturday, in Sioux City, Iowa, the not-fit-for-president blowhard told an audience, “The polls say I have the most loyal people. Did you ever see that, that I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters? Okay, it’s like incredible.”

This isn’t Russia and he’s not Putin, it’s not Germany and he’s not Hitler.  Nevermind, I can’t prove who he is and who he isn’t!

I just know that even my Republican friends across the aisle can’t think that he’d be good for America no matter how much they hate President Obama and dislike the Democratic candidates and the Republicans running against Trump.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember this former Monday feature?

POP STAR KELLY CLARKSON (on Trump):  “I am legitimately frightened for our nation.”

kelly-clarkson-wrapped-in-red-album-cover

POP MUSIC ICON CHER (tweeting about Trump backing out of this week’s Fox debate):

“Trump NOT Doing FOX Debate Cause Of MEGAN KELLY😂Some1 Get Him TOE SHOES,fkng PRIMA DONNA. HOW CAN HE FACE ISIS,HE CANT FACE A CHICK ON TV.🐈

Cher Dressed to Kill Tour

REPUBLICAN MAINE GOVERNOR PAUL LePAGE (on drug traffickers):  “What I think we ought to do is bring the guillotine back. We could have public executions.”

Say what????

DANCE MIX TO GET YOU GOING THIS FRIDAY

Sometimes you just have to smile and make the best of the trainwreck that is Sarah Palin and Donald Trump.

Her endorsement of the Republican front runner is rather entertaining!  Okay, this version is fun.

“CANCELLED” OR “CANCELED”

Thousands of flights were “cancelled” last weekend with the epic blizzard across the mid-Atlantic and the northeastern United States.  Even when school are delayed or “canceled” locally, you see the spelling both ways.

Which do you prefer, since both are correct?  I’m old school and I like “CANCELLED”.

PANDA IN SNOW — LOVE IT!

While I know the historic snowstorm wreaked havoc for millions and, sadly, killed people, you have to find the beautiful of it.

This video from the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C. made my weekend last weekend.

Tian Tian (tee-YEN tee-YEN), the male giant panda, loved playing in the snow.  The zoo says “giant pandas have thick woolly coats that keep them warm in the snowy mountains of China”.

“FORCE MAJEURE”

Since we’re talking snow, I finally got to see a movie that I’ve been wanting to see for well over a year now.

“Force Majeure”, a 2014 Swedish film, that was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, is funny and serious.

A family of four are vacationing for a week in the French Alps.  One day at a patio lunch, a controlled avalanche rolls down the mountain dangerously close to where they’re sitting blasting them with snow.

In the pandemonium, as vacationers run from the patio, the father, Tomas, rushes from the scene leaving his wife, Ebba, to get to two children to safety.

It’s only a false alarm and they go back to lunch with snow on the patio.  But, things have changed.

Did Tomas really run and leave his family and how will he and Ebba deal with the aftermath as a family?

After seeing the movie, I wish that Johannes Bah Kuhnke, who plays Tomas, would do some American movies.

GRADE:  A-

“THE 5TH WAVE”

Last Friday night, with Ray in New Orleans, Gretel, our 14-year-old daughter, and I had a dad and daughter weekend.

It started at the movies with a large popcorn and two large Coke Zeros with a splash of cherry!

She’s read “The 5th Wave” novel and was looking forward to the movie starring one of her favorite actresses, Chloe Grace Moretz, and one of her crushes, Nick Robinson (“Jurassic World”).

It’s a young-adult end-of-the-world movie about aliens taking over the world in a catastrophic waves.

While the U.S. box office results for opening weekend were weak at $11 million, part of that may have been due to historic snowstorm on the East Coast.  Foreign box office returns are stronger and the movie has, at least, made back its $38 million budget.

If you like doomsday movies, you can look past the teenage love story (triangle) and enjoy the movie.  I did.  (And, Gretel is right.  Both Robinson and Alex Roe are very cute young men!)

GRADE:  B

I CROSSED THE AISLE TO BE FAIR, BUT HE SURE ISN’T!

If you’ve read my blogs and thoughts on a regular basis, you know that I’m a Democrat and that I support Hillary Clinton.

However, this random thought is about being open-minded and crossing the aisle and reading books by a couple of Republicans.  I started with two-time failed presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.

Huckabee

I read his 2008 “New York Times” bestseller “Do The Right Thing” and here’s a quick summation of the 216-page book to prove that I actually read it. 🙂

I enjoyed the six-page Prologue, “I Love Iowa! January 3, 2008”, which focused on the Iowa Caucus that he won keeping him in the presidential race that year longer than expected.

After that, it was all downhill!  It was filled with his anti-Democrat, anti-gay rhetoric, and his holier than thou religious life.  I’m perfectly fine that people love God and want to talk about it.  I pray to God every night and thank him for all he’s blessed me with in life.

Huckabee starts one chapter about “all men are created equal” and later in the book, on protecting human life, he states, “I do pray that one day we will be clear as to the value and worth of each and every human life”.  What baffles me is the hate he then spews in the name of his love for God.  It fully contradicts those comments.

The book is not very cohesive — it’s all over the place.  In the middle of talking about abortions and being pro-life, there’s a couple of paragraphs about how repulsive slavery was.  It was!  However, that was awkward place for it.  Couldn’t it have its own chapter?

The biggest laugh I had (and there weren’t many in the book) was at the start of chapter 6 (page 83) when he declared, “On Saturday, January 28, 2007, I made history by becoming the first person both to announce his candidacy for president of the United States on “Meet the Press” and, moments later, to be seen on the same program wearing a Hawaiian shirt and playing “Born to Be Wild” with his band.”

Technically, it may have never happened before.  But, I’m sorry Mike, that’s not history-worthy and it won’t be remembered by anyone other than you and your family!

As I stated, the Prologue was interesting and then when he talked about FairTax, he got my attention.

It’s basically a system to tax goods we buy instead of taxing our salaries and doing away with the IRS and income taxes.  Huckabee made a good point, “Do you think that drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, or people in this country illegally are filling out the same IRS tax forms each year and reporting the money they illegally earned?”

I can say I gave him a chance and I was hoping to see where he developed so much hate for me and my family and the rest of the LGBT community.

Move on Mike.  Your 2016 presidential run is DOA and Iowa doesn’t love you like it did in 2008.  Go home to your family and retire.

ONE-HIT WONDER — I BET YOU DON’T REMEMBER THIS

I’m going through my movies and CDs and downsizing.

I came across the self-titled debut from Hanna-McEuen (cousins Jaime Hanna and Jonathan McEuen) from the fall of 2005.

The first single from the album, “Something Like A Broken Heart” is a great song and Jaime’s voice is incredible.  Sadly, it only made a blip on country music radio peaking at #38.

I’m hoping Hanna’s good looks weren’t what prompted me to buy the CD.  Nevermind, I already said his voice is incredible.

By the way, he’s currently playing in Gary Allan’s band.

Gary is a great guy.  I had a chance to interview him in Lubbock, Texas, as we were both starting out in our respective professions, back in 1996.  He was enjoying his first hit, “Her Man”, which reached #7.

As charming and sexy as he is (and was), all he wanted to be was “her man”, not mine. 🙂

Gary has now scored 23 country hits, eleven have gone Top Ten, and four have hit #1.  His first was “Man To Man” from the 2001 “Alright Guy” album.

Gary Allan

Gary is coming to the area to Davenport, Iowa, August 3, 2016, to the Mississippi Valley Fair.

OR THIS ONE-HIT WONDER…

I also came across another self-titled, one-hit wonder, Katrina Elam of Oklahoma.

She reached #29 on the country charts with “No End in Sight”.

While that was her only Top 40 country hit as a singer, she’s written Top Ten hits for Rascal Flatts (“Easy”, #2, 2011) and Hunter Hayes (“Invisible”, #4, 2014), and songs for Carrie Underwood and the Eli Young Band.

Reba McEntire did a remake of Elam’s “I Want A Cowboy” on her 2009 “Keep on Loving You” album.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

I hope you found something interesting here.  If something got you thinking, share your thoughts with me and have a great weekend!

Anthony