Posts Tagged ‘Las Vegas’

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

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It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

Olivia 2

In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

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Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

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If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony

My Struggle Before Winter Is Real!

Aging comes with different obstacles and changes in our body.

Since I’m not an expert with the female body (yes, I’m laughing inside now that might just become an “LOL”), I’ll talk from a male perspective — mine!

I know metabolism slows down and aging skin lacks the elasticity a younger body provides.

It’s easy noticing graying hair, more wrinkles and your clothes fitting tighter, but that evil Facebook really drove home the changes for me!  And, I’m not even talking about Anthony in his 20s or 30s!

Since “Memories” are a sidebar option, I take advantage of it sometimes to see what I was doing over the past ten years on a particular day.

ap

That picture was around Labor Day 2010 after being caught in a Chicago thunderstorm following a Scissor Sisters concert and I was 46!

And then, just two years later, there’s this one.

July 6 2012

I still look at those pictures and think that I looked pretty sexy even as I was closing in on 50!

Yet, at the same time, I can still hear Harvey Fierstein getting into drag as Arnold Becker in “Torch Song Trilogy”:  “I think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. It’s my biggest problem because I’ve never been young and beautiful. Oh, I’ve been beautiful. And God knows I’ve been young, but never the twain have met.”

Life changes can also make a big difference in one’s appearance!

I feel the changes in my physical appearance accelerated following my separation, divorce and moving away from the Quad Cities!

I really noticed it after my first Duluth, Minnesota winter that lasted nine months!

Snow

That, along with a major schedule change of moving to evenings after years of working mornings (in bed by 7 p.m. to be up at 2 a.m).

With my new hours, I don’t cook as often and I’m now eating late at night.  That combination is a big mistake!

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Since moving to Duluth, I’ve gained ten pounds!

Now that I’ve returned from my endless enjoyable buffets and cocktail-filled Las Vegas trip, I’m getting on the scale and slimming down before winter settles in again!

I’m going to cook more, eat less and have meals at more sensible hours!

I’ll start by taking my dinner to work and eating hours before bedtime!  This will cut back on my late night wine, cheese and crackers and late night dinners.

Now I’ll still treat myself to a drink or two when I get home — without the meal!

eating-disorder

As a recovering food addict, I struggle daily with weight gain of even a pound or two and the ever present fear of falling off the wagon!

It’s pretty sad when you have to fight the logic of knowing that bingeing and purging would be the easier route to take — eat all you want and purge = instant weight loss!

However, I know how detrimental that is to one’s body!

So, I’ll do it the healthy way, even if it’s a tough fight!

By the way, I’ve been talking a lot this summer about writing my next chapter.  If you didn’t get a chance to read that, here it is again for you!  (It’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/i-need-to-write-my-next-chapter/

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2019

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts over the past few weeks.  This is it for a while again.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts diplomatically if we disagree.

Have a great weekend!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN LATEST

I’ll start off with some sad news, but I know she’s a fighter!

Pop music icon Olivia Newton-John tells “60 Minutes Australia” she’s not giving up the fight as she battles stage four cancer.

Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer back in 1992.

She overcame the disease, but it returned in 2013.  Olivia won that battle, too, and it was never made public.

However, the cancer returned in May 2017 and metastasized into her lower back.

This month, we learned that the cancer has advanced to Stage IV, which means it has spread to other organs and the mortality rate is higher.

If you click on this, you can hear just how courageous she is!

I’ve loved Olivia since the early-1970s as a little kid when she dominated country radio before crossing over to pop music.

I was so lucky to catch her during her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2014.

Olivia 2014

Olivia, you beautiful woman, stay strong and keep fighting!

Here’s Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi on their #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “You Have To Believe”, from 2015, with Dave Aude!

MY TWO CONNECTIONS TO PRINCESS DIANA

We’re coming up on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lady Diana

Of course, I remember the fairy tale wedding back in 1981 and the tragic news of her death in Paris, France, in 1997.

I was working at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas, as the weekend news anchor.  We led our 10 p.m Saturday newscast with the news of the car crash.  At that point, she was still alive or it hadn’t cross the wires that she had died.

However, just minutes after we said goodnight, the Associated Press reported that the Princess was dead!  We waited for CBS to break into programming.  They didn’t!

Finally, my co-anchor, Ny Lynn Nichols, and I went back on the air with the sad news.  We reported all that we knew at the time, which wasn’t much.  We re-ran the story from the newscast about the crash and gave updates for a few minutes as information came into our newsroom.

That was my first connection to Princess Diana.  So, if anyone was watching CBS in Lubbock, Texas, after the 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday, August 30, 1997, they saw Ny Lynn and I relaying the tragic news.

SARAH, THE DUCHESS OF YORK

My second connection to Princess Diana came many years later.

sarah ferguson.jpg

In March 2010, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (and Princess Diana’s former sister-in-law), came to the Quad Cities for a benefit for Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people fighting cancer.

The Duchess spoke to a crowd of more than 600 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

They had a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book, “Little Red to the Rescue”, and I won.

Sarah Duchess of York

Needless to say, it was so pretty cool to get not only an autographed book from the Duchess, but also a package addressed from Windsor Castle!

“A ROYAL DUTY”

As the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approached, I decided to read the two books on my bookshelf about her life (and death).

The first was “A Royal Duty” by Paul Burrell.

Paul Burrell Diana.JPG

This 2003 best seller chronicles Burrell’s life of working his way up through the ranks in British Royal Household to become Queen Elizabeth II’s footman.

Burrell then worked for Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, before working for Diana exclusively after the Royal separation and divorce up until her untimely death.

While I believe Burrell’s stories about his commitment to Princess Diana, I do think he was overly dramatic at times!

GRADE:  B 

“THE DIANA CHRONICLES”

Tina Brown, who worked for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, released “The Diana Chronicles” in the summer of 2007, a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

Diana Tina Brown.JPG

While I believe Burrell’s stories in his book, I think that he hid away the naughty and nasty side of Princess Diana.  We all have one!

Brown’s book is very comprehensive and easy to read.  It’s much more journalistic, thorough and fair (i.e. honest).  However, she could be catty!  Meow!

Although the front and back cover featured the same collage of photos of Princess Diana’s life, I really wish the book featured photos inside!

One thing that Brown talked about that intrigued me was Diana and Charles’s divorce settlement: a lump sum of £17 million (roughly $20.5 million) and £400,000 annually for Diana’s office (nearly one-half million dollars).

Also, Diana would lose the HRH (Her Royal Highness) title, but retain the Diana, Princess of Wales title.

GRADE:  A

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

If you follow the Royal Family and checked out the first two seasons of “The Crown” on Netflix with the amazing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, the next season is getting closer.

Season 3 with Oscar winner Olivia Colman as a more mature Queen Elizabeth II premieres on November 17, 2019!

“IS IT JUST ME?”

As I mentioned back in February, I’m going through my movie collection and I’m watching older ones to either get rid of or save.

So far, I’ve only kept two:  the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”) and the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”.

Now, a third one is saved — the 2010 romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?” with the sexy Nicholas Downs (Blaine) and David Loren (Xander).

Blaine is looking for a nice guy, but doesn’t think that they exist until he meets Xander online.

After chatting, they talk for hours on the phone.

The problem is that Blaine realizes his roommate, Cameron, an actor and go-go dancer, was logged into his computer and it was his profile they were chatting under.

So, while Xander is talking to Blaine, he thinks Blaine looks like Cameron!

This scene between Blaine and his friend Michelle is one that made me laugh (and I watched it over and over!) The other is the last scene in the movie trailer below. 🙂

Michelle Blaine Sarcasm.JPG

GRADE:  B

LET’S GO TO VEGAS

I’m finally heading back to Vegas this weekend.  I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend since they’ve never been.

As you may know, Vegas experienced a grasshopper invasion earlier this summer.

Grasshopper Las Vegas.JPG

There were so many grasshoppers in the air that it was detected on Doppler radar!

Vegas Radar Grasshopper.jpg

This was the most creative response to the creepy infestation! 😉

Grasshopper

It’d be pretty neat to experience them if they’re still around when we get there! 🙂

VEGAS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG

Since 2012, I’ve tried to get to Vegas every year, but I failed last year since I was moving to Duluth, Minnesota.

However, I had a great time there on my last visit in December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s magical “All I Want For Christmas” show…

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

met Lionel Richie…

Capture2

and saw one of my childhood favorites, Tanya Tucker!

Tanya

“NEW” WHITNEY HOUSTON ON THE RADIO

It’s been more than seven-and-a-half years since Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills, California hotel.

whitney-houston

Now, Whitney and Norwegian record producer Kygo are poised to have a big hit at Top 40 radio with a rework of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love”, one of my all-time favorites.

Whitney originally recorded the song for the Japanese version of her third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The new version is incredible!

“Higher Love” is already at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and at #43 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio airplay chart!

Whitney’s last Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was in the fall of 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks when “The Star Spangled Banner”, her 1991 recording, was re-released.  This time around, it reached #6.

Before that, her last original song to hit the Top 40 was in 2000 when “I Learned from the Best”, the fifth and final release from the “My Love is Your Love” album, hit #27.

Kygo’s 2016 album, “Cloud Nine”, is fantastic.  Check it out!

“THE LOUDEST VOICE”

This Showtime series about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, who sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives, was great.

Okay, the acting was great.  Watching Ailes’ creepiness of preying on women and forcing sex on them was disgusting.

In the series, Ailes blamed the left for all of America’s problems and gloated, “I’ve given the Silent Majority a voice” and that “we worship a Christian God”.

Yes, womanizer and rapist, worship that Christian God!

But, I have to hand it to Ailes for seeing a wide opening in television “news” that wasn’t catering to Republicans and the “religious right” and seizing the opportunity.

Give Russell Crowe his 2020 Emmy now and Roger Ailes, may you rot in hell!

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

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And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

Martha Layne Collins.jpg

LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

Lonestar.JPG

BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Tim McGraw.jpg

PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

AP TL.jpg

NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

David Kersh.jpg

TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Carol Channing.jpg

DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

Dee Dee Myers.jpg

C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

Rendell.jpg

DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

Denise-Brown.jpg

JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

Molly Sims.jpg

Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Thoughts — May 10, 2019

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all of the moms and future moms out there, whether it’s children, godchildren, pets or plants!

Here’s a flashback to spring 1990 with my mother, Dessie, and my sister, Tammy.  While we didn’t know it then, this would be her last spring and Mother’s Day with us! 😦

Dessie 1990

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  If you disagree, feel free to diplomatically share yours with me!

IT’S SPRING, BUT NOT SO MUCH IN DULUTH

Okay, we’re already past the first week of May and we just experienced record May snowfall in Duluth, Minnesota.

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10.6″ of snow fell Wednesday night and Thursday morning.  Of that, 8.3″ fell Wednesday night making it the snowiest May 8th on record and the snowiest single day in May.

An additional 2.3″ fell on Thursday making it the snowiest May 9th on record.

This is now the snowiest May on record with 10.9″ (so far).

For this snow season, we’re up to 104.4″ in Duluth, making this the 15th snowiest winter on record and these records go back to 1884!

REALLY CLASSY PANAMA CITY BEACH! 

As you know, I was miserable the year I spent in Panama City, Florida, before moving to Duluth.

While I made three amazing friends and I’m sure there were many other great people I didn’t meet, there were a lot of people there that believed every word that spews out of 45’s ugly mouth.

Trump PC.JPG

He was in Panama City Beach this week and while talking about immigrants and how to handle the border, a woman in the audience shouted, “Shoot them”!

He smiled and commented, “That’s only in the Panhandle, you can get away with that statement. Only in the Panhandle!”

Sadly, it’s probably true!  Pathetic!

PINK SAID WHAT???? 

To “Entertainment Weekly” about the title track of her latest album, “Hurts 2B Human”, a duet with Khalid: “I feel like if you’re present in 2019 and not totally escaping your feelings and looking around at what’s going on in the world, especially this country, it hurts.  It fucking hurts your heart.  I think that’s a good thing, because that’s what creates change, and we’re starting to see change and people show up and fight back!” 

“FERRARO: MY STORY”

This 1985 autobiography is by Congresswoman Geraldine A. Ferraro.

In 1984, she became the first woman to make it on a major presidential ticket when Democratic nominee Walter Mondale chose her as his running mate.

Ferraro.jpg

While she talked about her family, her mother raising her and her brother as a single parent after her father’s death and her early political career, the book focuses mostly on the weeks leading up to her nomination and the long and painful 1984 presidential run.

In the book, this story stood out to me and it’s very relevant today as we head into a bitter fight into the 2020 race to get Donald Trump out of office.

It was early 1983 and Ferraro was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.  She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to defeat Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro wrote, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

“THE BLOOD OF ABRAHAM”

This 1985 book by my idol and former President Jimmy Carter traces the history of the Israeli-Palestinian turmoil back to biblical times when the Arabs, the Jews and the Christians all came from Abraham.

The Blood Jimmy Carter.jpg

If you’re not a reader of the Bible, some of the history is overwhelming and, to me, unbelievable (Abraham fathered children when he around 100 years old and he lived to 175!).

But, this was only in the first few pages of the book.

The great, concise book (just over 200 pages) details the torturous history of Palestine that only became more daunting once Israel came into existence in 1948 and Arab Palestinians didn’t have a home or home state.

As you recall, President Carter worked night and day for almost two week at Camp David in the summer of 1978 with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachen Begin to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and the Arabs.

Sadly, there will never be peace between the two peoples over this small piece of real estate because neither side wants to give up anything to make peace.

Carter sums up the book talking about Abraham’s blood flowing through the veins of the Arab, Jew and Christian people and the bloody history of the Middle East with this chilling line, “The spilled blood in the Holy Land cries out to God — an anguished cry for peace.” 

AMERICA’S CRY FOR PEACE

It’s easy for Westerners to shake their heads over the long-standing history of violence in the Middle East.  But, that’s very narrow-minded of us.

Without being too judgmental, it’s like that right now in the United States.  We have strong race divisions, religious divisions, human rights divisions, and many more.

Just look at the divide between Democrats and Republicans, Hillary Clinton supporters, Bernie Sanders fans, and the ones that think that Donald Trump can do no wrong!

We’ve crossed a line from which we can’t (or will never) rebound!

I’m not a pessimist, I’m a realist!

“MADAME X TOUR”

Madonna announced her latest tour this week to support her 14th studio album, “Madame X” coming out June 14th.

And, not surprising, it’s something new for the ever-changing icon.

Instead of taking her very expensive and incredible tours to arenas and cities all over the world, she’s doing mini-residencies in smaller theaters in large cities in the U.S. and Europe.

Madonna Madame X Tour.jpg

So far, only New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago have been announced.  The tickets sold out so quickly that five more shows were added in New York City and four more in Los Angeles.

While only 25 show dates are known now, she’s set to announce additional dates for Boston, Las Vegas, Miami, and Philadelphia for 2019.

Since I didn’t get to Vegas last year, I’m planning on seeing Madonna for the fifth time when the show plays at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

And, while the dates aren’t public yet, I’d venture to say that it’ll be in December since no headliner has been announced there in that month! 🙂

“KILLING EVE” UPDATE

I couldn’t take the suspense any longer.  After finishing season one of the critically acclaimed BBC America series, I slowly started watching season two.

I’m four episodes in (five of the eight season two episodes have aired).

In the second episode, I almost peed myself with a line that likely went over the heads of most Americans!

Giving a power point presentation to her new team of detectives about Villanelle’s murders, Eve mentions that Bill was killed (oops, spoiler!) on a club’s dance floor and she quickly replies:

Eve Murder on the Dance Floor.gif

“MURDER ON THE DANCEFLOOR”

“Murder on the Dance Floor” by Sophie Ellis Bextor was a minor dance club hit here in the U.S. in the early 2000s, yet it hit the Top Ten in, at least, 18 countries worldwide.

I fell in love with this song at Roscoe’s when I moved back to Chicago in 2002.

It’s from her fantastic debut album, “Read My Lips”.

MARIAH CHRISTMAS EARLY!

While Christmas is still more than seven months away, Mariah Carey recently announced that she’ll be performing her holidays standards again in Las Vegas.

Her “All I Want For Christmas Is You” will be returning to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace for five shows November 22-30, 2019.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

Trust me, this is a phenomenal show!  I saw a version of it in December 2017 in Vegas.

This is what I wrote about it on my return, “She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic. The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Thoughts — May 3, 2019

Now that May is here and the weather will start being nice on a regular basis (I hope), I’m ready to get out more and enjoy life.

So, I have just a few more blogs to share with you before I go on hiatus.

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share your thoughts about what I’m talking about and if we disagree, that’s fine.  Just do it diplomatically!

GET VACCINATED!

I know I probably have friends that don’t believe in vaccinating their children, but this is a subject where we sorely disagree.

If you don’t vaccinate, I’m sure you have your reasons.

I think people, of any age, should be up to date on their shots to help prevent the spread of contagions!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tweeted this on Monday!

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Measles.JPG

KENT STATE MASSACRE

This weekend marks the 49th anniversary of the Kent State Massacre!

As you recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on the campus and the shootings left four students dead.

In May 2000, I was a reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, about 75 miles away from Kent State University and I got to cover the 30th anniversary of the shooting spree.

It was very eerie and I can’t believe that next year will be 50 years!

Here is the report that I filed in 2000.  My apologies for the quality since this was recorded on my phone from TV and VHS!

The story is still great!

2019 BILLBOARD MUSIC AWARDS

The 2019 Billboard Music Awards were amazing! It was a total throwback for me to the fun 1980s American Music Awards — so many great, exciting visual performances!

Madonna & Maluma, Taylor & Brendon Urie, Mariah Carey, Ciara, Paula Abdul and The Jonas Brothers rocked Las Vegas and the MGM Grand, along with Halsey and Kelly Clarkson (both performances)!!!

2019 BBMA.JPG

I’m still crushing on Brendon!

“KILLING EVE”

We’re midway through the eight-episode second season of BBC America’s “Killing Eve”.

I just finished binge watching the first season’s eight episodes and finally brought myself to start watching the second season.

After the shocking season one finale, I hesitated to start this season because I know I’ll have to wait for the next four episodes to air on television and then wait another year for the third season!

The show is absolutely incredible!

Sandra Oh, who won Best Actress awards in a drama from the Critics’ Choice Television Awards and the Golden Globes, is amazing, as Eve Polastri, an MI5 officer in London.

And, every time that Jodie Comer, who plays psychopathic, hired assassin Villanelle, is on screen, I’m mesmerized!

And, of course, I’m crushing on Sean Delaney, who plays Kenny Stowton, an ex-hacker who has been recruited by Eve in her search for Villanelle!

Sean Delaney.JPG

“SECOND ACT”

I love Jennifer Lopez and I’m hoping to see her in concert this summer.

Until then, you can catch her on this hit from last winter.  The $16 million comedy brought in $72.3 million in theaters.

Lopez plays Maya Vargas, an assistant manager at a Value Shop store, who is ready for a big promotion after working there for 15 years.

She’s passed over because she doesn’t have a college degree.

On her birthday, she makes a wish that is far-fetched.  But, through the magic of the internet and social media, things start happening for Maya, but it’s based on a lie!

Leah Remini is hilarious and sexy Milo Ventimiglia (“This Is Us”) plays Lopez’s boyfriend.

Okay, the movie is cute, sexy, and funny, but it’s not totally realistic.  But, that’s why we watch some movies!

GRADE: B+

“ON THE BASIS OF SEX”

This movie is based on the life of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It covers her life from her college years, when not too many women were enrolled at Harvard Law School, to her trying her first big case.

Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) plays Bader and dreamy Armie Hammer (“Call Me By Your Name”) plays her husband, Martin Ginsburg.

It’s a well told story and both actors are great, so I recommend it.  However, I’d highly suggest that you watch the superior “RBG” instead or in addition to “On The Basis of Sex”.

GRADE: B

“RBG”

In September 2018, I wrote, “This superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen documents the career of 85-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”  

GRADE: A

“SANTA CLARITA DIET” CANCELLED

I haven’t gotten around to watching the third season of this Netflix comedy.

I guess I should laugh and cherish each episode since it was cancelled!

Where will I watch Timothy Olyphant now?

SPECTRUM “ON DEMAND”

My cable company, Spectrum, is pretty much like any other cable company, most notably, Mediacom — very expensive and very unreliable.

While recently on a customer service call, I was told that “On Demand” is free.

I politely told the agent that while Spectrum may consider it “free” and there may not be a line on my bill that charges me for “On Demand”, when I pay them $140.40 a month, when I turn on the television to watch something on cable, it’s not free!

I was calling because there was a missing episode in season three of “Veep” and there are four missing episodes scattered about in seasons three and four of “Younger”!

“YOUNGER”

Speaking of… I’ve been trying to binge watch the TV Land series, “Younger” for over a year now.

I watched season one last spring while I was still in Panama City.  When I got to Duluth, Minnesota, seasons two through four were not available “On Demand”, yet I did DVR season five.

Now “On Demand”, all five seasons are available with random missing or unavailable episodes.

I’m just finished season four and for the missing episodes, I just read the Wikipedia episode synopsis and ventured on. 😦

“Younger” is from creator and producer Darren Star, who brought us the classics “Beverly Hills, 90120”, “Melrose Place” and “Sex and the City”.

It stars Sutton Foster, as Liza, a 40-year-old recently separated mother of a teenager, who’s trying to jump start her once thriving career.  She tries to get a job in publishing, but she realizes the industry is obsessed with much younger employees!

Her roommate and best friend, Maggie (Debi Mazar), gives her a makeover and she lands a job as a “26-year-old” and works for Diana Trout (a hilarious Miriam Shor) and alongside Kelsey Peters (Hilary Duff).

She meets and falls for young, inked, and insanely sexy Josh (Nico Tortorella), a tattoo artist, who thinks Liza is around his age, mid-20s!

I’ve crushed on Tortorella since he was on the first season of Fox’s “The Following”.

Nico Tortorella

On ‘Younger”, the bisexual/genderfluid actor is absolutely stunning!

And, the sexiness doesn’t end with Tortorella.  There’s also Peter Hermann (Charles) and Dan Amboyer (Thad).

Dan Amboyer

Amboyer (above) came out as gay in 2017 and announced he had married his long-term partner.

And, my new hottie in seasons three and four is Ben Rappaport!

Ben Rappaport

Season six debuts on June 12, 2019, on TV Land.

“ME”

Taylor Swift is back and she seems happy after the awesome, darker 2017 “Reputation” album.

This time she’s teaming up with sexy Brendon Urie of Panic! at the Disco.

Wonder if there’s going to be a duet with The Dixie Chicks on the new album?

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 11, 2019

I hope you had a great holiday season and that your New Year is off to a great start!

Here are a few thoughts I want to share — mainly some recommendations.

Have a great weekend!

MY BLOG JUST TURNED 7

On January 7, 2012, I decided that instead of just posting a thought on Facebook, I would expand on whatever I was thinking at the time.

That bright idea led me to starting this blog!

belle 7

My blog — by the numbers — in those seven years:

  • Number of blogs posted:  1244
  • Total views:  607,263

Kylie

  • Most Viewed Month:  January 2014 (33,800 views)

 

  • Most Views by Country:  United States (72% of all views)
  • Runner-up Countries: #2 Germany, #3 Canada, #4 U.K, #5 France* (2012 data is missing, so France could really be higher), #6 Brazil, #7 Australia, and #8 Italy.

 

  • Number of People I’ve Pissed Off: Unknown 🙂

HeatherMooney

THEY SAID WHAT (on Twitter)?

TENNIS LEGEND MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  “I can tell you all this for sure- whatever ridiculous propaganda we were fed in then Czechoslovakia, which was mandated by Soviet Union- pales next to the lies being told and repeated by trump and his ilk. I am not kidding… trump truly trumps the communists. And that’s not easy”

ADULT STAR STORMY DANIELS (on the night of 45’s immigration prime time plea): “If you’re looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live.”

And, one more…

not an immigrant

WINTER FUNNY

Snowman Life in Prison

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wine Cupcakes

WISH I WAS IN VEGAS NOW!

But, since I can’t be, I’ll share this fun video that features Olivia Newton-John reprising her hit “Magic” (1980) as the chorus.

This version hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 2015 for Olivia, her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi and DJ Dave Aude.

Olivia and Chloe are the only mother-daughter team to achieve that on the Billboard Dance Club Song chart!

It features a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists!

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome!

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón ( “Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

“PEPPERMINT”

This revenge drama stars Jennifer Garner as a mother hellbent on finding the scum bags that murdered her husband and little girl.

While you had to suspend disbelief in some scenes, it was an entertaining movie.

If you saw and loved Jodie Foster’s much better movie “The Brave One”, you’ll like this one.

It makes me want to binge watch ABC’s “Alias” now!

“Peppermint” was my 16th favorite movie I saw in 2018.

GRADE:  B+

“GAME NIGHT”

I usually prefer dramas over comedy, but this one starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams was funny (at times).

My favorite scene was when a character is shot and another one has to clean the wound and stop the bleeding.  Hilarious!!!!!!!

Any movie that features my main crush Michael C. Hall (Ben Whishaw is the other) gets my attention.

GRADE:  B-

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“BLACK CHRISTMAS” (1974)

I’ve seen the 2006 remake of “Black Christmas” and I finally caught the 1974 original this holiday season.

It stars the late Margot Kidder.

Considering this movie was pre-“Halloween” (1978), it tried to build up the suspense, but failed.

I was more surprised by the language that was allowed 40+years ago!

GRADE:  C+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony