Posts Tagged ‘Laura Linney’

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

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

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

Random Friday Thoughts — July 31, 2020

It’s another Friday and another week with Random Friday Thoughts! I guess I’ve been thinking a lot lately! 🙂

Have a great weekend and if you disagree with any of my thoughts, do it diplomatically!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM…

Two things come to mind when I saw this poll a couple of weeks ago.

First, C+C Music Factory’s #4 Hot 100 hit from 1991, “Things That Make You Go Hmmm…”

Also, the title of Justin Simien’s award winning and critically acclaimed 2014 movie! 🙂

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Actually, it’s Shiraz (or Moscato) for me, but this works! 🙂

MORE FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Has anyone tried the limited release Piñata Party Blizzard at Dairy Queen?

It’s described as a birthday cake treat “filled with confetti cake white chocolate stars in pink, blue, and white… pink confetti icingwhipped topping and a rainbow of edible glitter.”

I haven’t had one, but I found a VERY TASTY, similar ice cream at Kroger!

It’s called “Unicorn Swirl” — cake batter ice cream with icing covered animal cracker bits”. And, it’s pink and blue! 🙂

SAY SOMETHING” & “DISCO”

Might as well continue that festive theme….

I’m very excited for November 6, 2020, to get here and it has nothing to do with Christmas, although that’s exciting.

Kylie Minogue will release her 15th studio album, “Disco”, that day.

Last week, she dropped the first single, “Say Something”.

As you can see, I’m ready from just watching the lyric video and dancing along! 🙂

Turn up the volume, take a listen, and try not to dance around like you’re out at a dance club with your friends!

“THE ALIENIST”

Caleb Carr’s 1994 book is incredible. I’ve had it forever and FINALLY got around to reading it!

His attention to detail in late-1890s New York City and the study of those with mental illnesses (the “alienated”) and those that studied them (“alienists”) is remarkable and the writing is spellbinding.

I can’t believe it sat on my shelf for almost two decades — even after I watched the first season of the TNT’s series based on the book.

Now I have to read the sequel, “The Angel of Darkness”.

“THE ALIENIST— TV SERIES

TNT, you suck!

After reading the book, I decided to watch the first season again. I got through four episodes and now they’ve take down the last six episodes. I’m not going to pay for them since I’ve already seen it!

Okay, Anthony, focus… The second season is underway!

If you haven’t watched the first season and you want something mind-boggling and creepy, check it out.

Here’s what I had to say about the first season in February 2018:

“Now it’s an 10-episode TNT series that debuted last week and the production values are first rate.  TNT is spent a reported $5 million on each episode — that’s as much as some movies.  And, trust me, each episode looks like a mini-movie.

After seeing the first two episodes, let me say that it’s an incredibly acted series, but definitely not for the faint-hearted.

‘The Alienist’ is a psychological thriller.  It’s 1896 in New York City and a serial killer is on the loose.  The victims are boy prostitutes, some dressed as girls.

Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Bruhl), a criminal psychologist, John Moore (Luke Evans), a newspaper artist, and Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), a secretary at the police headquarters under newly appointed police commissioner Teddy Roosevelt, are investigating the gruesome murders since “criminal psychology” isn’t a thing yet.”

GRADE:  A

And, sexy Luke Evans plays John Schuyler Moore, a newspaper cartoonist and illustrator who joins Dr. Kreizler’s team of alienists.

DELMONICO’S

If I ever make another trip to New York City (my third), I’m definitely treating myself to an extravagant meal at Delmonico’s.

It’s a famous family chain of restaurants that operated for about a century from the 1820s to the 1920s.

It re-opened in the late-1990s!

I first heard of it while reading Nina Titone’s “My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry That Led To The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln”.

John Wilkes Booth’s older famous actor brother, Edwin, regularly dined there.

And, it was prominently featured in Caleb Carr’s “The Alienist”.

While I was already sold on the eatery, here’s the feast that Dr. Kreizler treated his team of amateur alienists to at Delmonico’s (not sure if these items were really served back around 1896 or Carr has exquisite culinary taste – or both):

“platters of oysters”, “green turtle soup au clair”, “aiguillettes [long, thin slivers] of bass done in a creamy Mornay sauce”, “plates of saddle of lamb a la Colbert”, “succulent Maryland terrapin”, “canvasback duck, prepared with hominy and a currant gelee”, “petits aspics de foie gras”, and “Alliance pears: steeped in wine, deep-fried, powdered with sugar, and smothered in apricot sauce” and “petits fours” for dessert.

And, the courses of food the alienists enjoyed at Delmonico’s were served with and “glasses of sherry and bitters”, amontillado [a dry sherry], Hochheimer [a German Rhine white wine], Chateau Lagrange [a Bordeaux French red wine], and Chambertin [a red wine from the Burgundy region].

Bon Appetit!

“EMMY LOVE & EMMY SNUB”

The Emmy nominations came out this week and as I expected Laura Linney was nominated in the Outstanding Lead Actress Drama category for “Ozark”! (Co-stars Jason Bateman and Julia Garner also got nominated, along with the series.)

I was surprised that Janet McTeer and Tom Pelphrey were snubbed, especially Tom! 😦

I really think this is Laura’s year to win!

I was also pleased to see Bette Midler nominated for “The Politician” as Hadassah Gold, but bummed that Judith Light was overlooked.

Finally, congratulations to Hulu and Hillary Clinton for the nomination in the Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series category for “Hillary”.

MORE FROM “THE CLINTON TAPES”

In my last blog, I talked about Taylor Branch’s 2009 book, which is based on his regular one-on-one conversations with President Bill Clinton during his eight years in office.

A couple of other things from the book that I found interesting.

Clinton says there are those in the Republican Party that run primitive campaigns centered around “God, gays, and guns”.

It’s interesting that almost 30 years later, not much has changed!

Also, even back in the 1990s, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was viewed as a “key Republican obstructionist”.

Again, not much has changed some 30 years later!

“SNOWPIERCER” (TV SERIES)

Bong Joon-ho’s “Snowpiercer”, with sexy Chris Evans and the incredible Tilda Swinton, was my 14th favorite movie I saw in 2014.

This summer’s TNT’s 10-episode series was very enjoyable.

I liked the fresh take on the climate change disaster and especially seeing Allison Wright (“The Americans”) again.

While entertaining, I don’t think I’ll stick around for season two, even with the shocking revelation at the end of season one.

Shooting on season two was almost finished before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down Hollywood.

It’s expected to return in the summer of 2021.

GRADE: B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 3, 2020

Since it’s been a rather bizarre year so far, it probably comes as no surprise that summer is here and 2020 is already half over!

Have a safe and enjoyable Independence Day and thank you for checking out my random thoughts!

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!

It’s going to be “hotter than a firecracker” * out there this holiday weekend as temperatures top out around 90° across Illinois (heat indices will be near 100°)! 

* Technically, firecrackers and sparklers can burn to more than 1800° to 3000°+, so it’s just hot!

PUT A LITTLE SPARKLE IN YOUR FOURTH!

I have another thought or two to share about the flamboyant showman.

On my first visit to Las Vegas in 1993, I didn’t get to visit the “official” Liberace Museum (thanks Dennis for your hangover! LOL).

However, I did get to see an exhibition of some of his possessions on my July 2016 trip. It was called the “Liberace Garage”!

By the way, I know I could rock those boots! 🙂

MY FAVORITE FOURTH OF JULY

My favorite Independence Day is, without a doubt, probably one of your favorites, too.

Back in 1976, the United States was celebrating its 200th birthday, its bicentennial.

As a kid, I was mesmerized with the sight of more than a dozen tall ships and tens of thousands of boats filling New York Harbor.

On my transistor radio, “Fernando” by ABBA was playing.  It’s hard to believe that just one month later, the band would release the iconic “Dancing Queen”!

No other Fourth of July comes close for me as positively memorable!

MY LEAST FAVORITE FOURTH OF JULY

On the other hand, for the worst, none compares to the 4th of July in 2007!

I was working the morning show and on my drive in, it started pouring rain. In the three minute drive to the station, it was coming down in buckets.

As I was running toward the door, my keys flew out of my hands and went underwater in a puddle.  I got to the door and banged and banged, but no one heard it! It was 1:45 a.m.

So, I dug through my bag and found my spare car keys.  I drove to the other side of the building and, this time, one of the producers heard me knocking and opened the door.

Since I was soaked, I decided to go back home and change into a dry suit.

As torrential rains continued falling, a wall of water came crashing into the intersection. Without warning, in just seconds (real-time seconds), my car stalled and died as the water quickly came up to the door.  At the same time, three other cars met the same fate as mine.

I quickly thought about the power doors and windows! If there was a shortage, I would be locked inside!

Yes, I had a Jessica Savitch flashback moment!

For those of you that don’t know her or remember her, Savitch is/was one of my idols.  She was the weekend news anchor, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News, back in the late 1970s. 

Savitch drowned in an overturned car in a flooded ravine back in 1983!

Three intoxicated teenagers came running through the water and helped me push my car into an alley.

Soaking wet, I walked fifteen blocks to my house bare-footed in a ruined suit.

I ended up with three large blisters on the soles of my feet. Luckily, I didn’t step on anything sharp, which would have allowed bacteria in the nasty floodwaters to make me sick!

By the way, I made it back in time to get my weather graphics done and was on the air at 5 a.m.!

As a meteorologist, I’ve never encountered the force of raging water and now I know first hand just where “flash flooding” gets its name. 

It just two or three seconds, the water came out of nowhere and submerged the cars!

Remember, it only takes about six inches of flowing water to sweep a person off their feet, a foot of moving water to make a car buoyant, and only two feet of raging water to sweep a car away!

“OZARK”

“Ozark”, one of my favorite shows, will be returning for a fourth and FINAL season. 🙂 😦

Netflix announced earlier this week that final season will feature fourteen episodes instead of the usual ten.

It’ll also be divided in two parts, seven episodes each (like the final season of “Breaking Bad”).

The return date is unknown.

ANOTHER “OZARK” THOUGHT

When the 72nd Emmy Awards nominations are announced on July 28th, I have a request (or three)!

In May, I wrote that season 3 “was incredible! WOW!”, so “just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy Awards now!”

And, in June, I added that “I’ve loved Linney since I saw her as Mary Ann Singleton in ‘Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities’ in 1994 and I feel this is her year to collect another Emmy!”

AUDITION”

Barbara Walters’ 2008 autobiography, “Audition” is incredible!

After reading it, I’m sorry for two things: that it took me this long to read it and that even at 576 pages, I wished it was longer!

In television news, Barbara is an icon and a trailblazer for women.

We all know of her famous specials and interviews, her time spent on “Today”, “20/20”, and “The View”, along with her million dollar-plus salary (back when it was unheard of for most network anchors — especially women).

However, her home life was very interesting.

Her famous father would earn several fortunes and lose them all, she had a mentally challenged older sister, and she was very open about her successes and failures in love and in her career.

I wish she had talked more about the lavish parties she hosted at her New York City penthouse. I’ve read that they are to die for!

“Audition” is a fantastic read!

“MY THOUGHTS BE BLOODY”

Another interesting book I read this spring was “My Thoughts Be Bloody: The Bitter Rivalry That Led To The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln” by Nora Titone.

The book doesn’t dwell much on the night of Lincoln’s shooting death.

It focuses on the lives of Edwin Booth (a rich, world-renowned famous actor) and his less successful younger brother, John Wilkes Booth, a failed actor and oil businessman.

It wasn’t just the inferiority complex that John Wilkes felt when it came to acting and financial stability that led to his decision to kill Lincoln.

Politics and slavery deepened the familial divide that led to John Wilkes Booth outshining both his brother and famous Shakespearean actor father’s achievements through infamy!

DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES

Daryl Hall & John Oates are still one of the few acts that I’ve never gotten to see in concert! (The other four are Kylie Minogue, Culture Club, Toni Braxton, and Vanessa Williams).

In the summer of 1980, the duo’s “Voices” was the first album I bought with my own money. Actually, it was a cassette.

In Rob Sheffield’s book “Talking to Girls About Duran Duran” (2010), he had a chapter on Daryl Hall & John Oates.

He calls the “H20” cover art, “Hall & Oates’ second-gayest album cover”.

Now, while Sheffield doesn’t mention which Daryl Hall & John Oates album had the gayest cover, I’d venture to guess it was their fourth album — the self-titled effort that included their hit “Sara Smile” (#4, 1976). 🙂

And, Sheffield shares part of an interview to “Rolling Stone” in January 1985 from Daryl Hall saying he wasn’t into John Oates in that way, “he’s not my type — too short and dark” and then he (Hall) adds, “The idea of sex with a man doesn’t turn me off…”

Wait? What?

You mean as a 15-year-old, in the summer of 1980, when they became my favorite act, I had already missed my window of opportunity with an older, experienced man? (Hall was 33-years-old!)

No, I didn’t have “daddy issues” at the time! (I still don’t!) 🙂

Here’s the entire quote: “The idea of sex with a man doesn’t turn me off, but I don’t express it. I satisfied my curiosity about that years ago. I had lots of sex between the ages of three or four and the time I was fourteen or fifteen. Strange experiences with older boys. But men don’t particularly turn me on. And, no, John and I have never been lovers. He’s not my type. Too short and dark.”

To pay tribute to this dynamic duo and their influence on my life, here are my ten favorite Daryl Hall & John Oates hits.

It’s so hard narrowing it down to ten since they charted 29 hits in the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, sixteen reached the Top Ten and six topped the charts!

My ten favorites are:

#10 “Did It In a Minute” (1982) — #9 “Adult Education” (1984) — #8 “One On One” (1983) — #7 “Maneater” (1982) — #6 “Say It Isn’t So” (1983).

“OUT OF TOUCH” (#1, 1984, two weeks)

“KISS ON MY LIST” (#1, three weeks, 1981)

“I CAN’T GO FOR THAT (NO CAN DO)” (#1, one week, 1982)

“PRIVATE EYES” (#1, two weeks, 1981)

YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (#5, 1981)

Here’s a little bit more Daryl Hall & John Oates trivia for you. BMI reports that the duo had fourteen songs to be played more than a million times on the radio!

P.S. Notice I didn’t refer to them as “Hall & Oates”? They don’t like that.

John Oates told “Esquire, “There isn’t one album that says Hall and Oates. It’s always Daryl Hall and John Oates, from the very beginning. People never note that. The idea of ‘Hall and Oates,’ this two-headed monster, this thing, is not anything we’ve ever wanted or liked.”

So there! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 5, 2020

It’s been a couple of months since I last shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”!

I’ve been busy with the move, transitioning into a new job and schedule, and just walking, reading, and binge watching television.

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

While I always say that, I’m stressing it today because of recent events across the country!

VIOLENCE AND RACISM

If the unprecedented COVID-19/Coronavirus pandemic isn’t enough to depress America, the outward racism and violence across the country is pathetically sad!

Here are my thoughts in a tweet last Sunday. Let me clear: protests SHOULD BE peaceful ☮️ and looters and rioters SHOULD BE ARRESTED!

There is a difference between protesting and being a criminal!

And, he’s worried about being fact-checked on Twitter?

NO “GLEE” FOR LEA MICHELE

The word “glee” means “great delight”, but when it comes to “Glee” star Lea Michele, it’s more of nightmare.

Well, I guess she is more of a nightmare!

On May 29th, Michele tweeted about the death of George Floyd.

Lea

This opened the gates of hell for her.  

A guest actor from the “Glee” series called Michele out for her rude behavior to her when she was on the show.  Then many other guests and co-stars came out to share their horror stories!

While her “Glee” co-star Amber Riley didn’t address the social media stir with words, this GIF pretty much says it all!

Ouch!

Glee Rachel Slushie

COVID-19 — YESTERDAY’S NEWS???

My friends, please be vigilant and be safe!

The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has now topped 1.9 million and the death toll has surpassed 109-thousand!

With the murder of George Floyd and the unruly riots that are burning U.S. cities, Coronavirus has taken the backseat on television news coverage.

But, as America reopens, please be sanitary and keep yourself (and me and my family) as healthy as possible so we can move on to the “new normal”!

ON A LIGHTER NOTE — COVID-19 RELATED

HAPPY PRIDE MONTH!

While there won’t be amazing parades with music divas performing and scantily clad men and women, the LGBTQ community is still proud!

This is still one of my favorite Pride pictures of all time when I was in Chicago!

So, in honor of pride, cheers…

And, dance like you just don’t care!

ON A SADDER NOTE OF PRIDE — THANK YOU LARRY KRAMER!

Sadly, most people don’t know Larry Kramer.

What’s even sadder is that most of the youth in the LGBTQ community today don’t know the pain and sacrifices this man went through to give them chances that many of his friends never had back in the 1980s and 1990s.

And, many people living with HIV and AIDS are alive today and owe much of it to Kramer!

Sadly, the 84-year-old advocate died in late May.

Kramer was a Hollywood screenwriter and gained fame in 1969 penning the Oscar-nominated film “Women in Love”. 

But, his fortune came four years later on the flop, “Lost Horizon”. That film gave Kramer the financial security to do something he wanted to do —  write about the gay community.

He did and his 1978 novel, “Faggots”, about the out and openly gay community of New York City in the 1970s before AIDS, was very controversial.

Middle America was shocked about the easy come and easy go world of sex and drugs and the gay community shunned him because he exposed its seedy secrets.

But, Kramer became a beacon of hope for gay men dying of AIDS in the 1980s by starting the Gay Men’s Health Crisis Center (GMHC) and ACT UP, an activist group that put the heat on politicians (most notably President Ronald Reagan, President George H.W. Bush and New York Mayor Ed Koch) to get off their asses and start fighting AIDS!

Kramer was so outspoken and blunt that he was forced out of GMHC, the group he founded!

His biggest literary success was the autobiographical Off-Broadway play, “The Normal Heart”, in the 1980s.  It played on Broadway in 2011 and was made into a hit movie by Ryan Murphy in 2014.

There’s an amazing HBO documentary called “Larry Kramer In Love & Anger” that you must see to learn more about this incredible man.

“THE CELLULOID CLOSET”

This 1981 book by Vito Russo covered the representation of the LGBTQ community in entertainment through the early years into the 1980s!

What an eye-opening read!

It’s appalling to know that gays and lesbians, when they were shown in movies in the early days of film, were only there to be made fun of, even though they weren’t even referenced as “homosexuals”.

Once movies in the 1960s and 1970s moved beyond using gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers as sight gags and to be made fun of, they became either the victims of heinous crimes or they would commit suicide because of “being that way”!

Even critics, from reputable publications like “Time”, “Newsweek”, “The New York Times”, and others perpetuated this appalling stereotype, even after gay liberation started at the beginning of the 1970s.

No wonder it took America until the 2000s to really make progress in LGBTQ rights!

Even one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1991 Oscar-winning “The Silence of the Lambs” made the serial killer a transvestite that killed to be more like a woman! 

And, it starred a lesbian, Jodie Foster, one of my favorite actresses!

The late actor Richard Burton, who played a gay character, summed it up best to gossip columnist Liz Smith talking about homophobic theater critics, “Are they even vaguely aware that some of the greatest voices in the theater belong to homosexuals? They frighten me. Because they’re supposed to be the intellectuals, and I suddenly realize that they’re the audience for this film. I have never known anyone who took great exception to homosexuals that there wasn’t something very wrong with that person himself. “

And, “Abuse” director Arthur J. Bressan was asked by the mother of a teenage boy auditioning for his movie if her son would turn out gay by acting in the film. He replied, “No, and if he plays Hamlet he won’t inherit Denmark, either!”

One final interesting note from this book: director Herbert Ross made some of the most homophobic movies to come of out of Hollywood!

He was also the director of such major films such as “Funny Lady”, “The Turning Point”, “Goodbye Girl”, and “Footloose”.

And, here’s the irony, his biggest hit was 1989’s “Steel Magnolias”, one of the gayest (non-gay) movies ever made!

come sit by me!”

TV VIEWING & BINGE WATCHING

After binge-watching 60-plus hours of television in April, I got caught up on “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star” “Prodigal Son”, “The Good Doctor”, and “The Sinner”!

I also watched season three of “Ozark” and it was incredible! WOW!

While the nominations aren’t out yet, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy Awards now!

I’ve loved Linney since I saw her as Mary Ann Singleton in “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” in 1994 and I feel this is her year to collect another Emmy!

In May, I watched the series finales of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “Homeland”. Both were perfect!

Thank you Viola Davis, Shonda Rhimes, and Peter Nowalk for six amazing, crazy years of “Murder”!

And, Claire Danes and Mandy Patinkin, these eight years of “Homeland” were so intense and rewarding!

These A+ finales join “The Americans”, “Breaking Bad”, and “Six Feet Under” as my favorites series I’ve watched from beginning to end!

Sorry “Dexter”! Loved the entire series except that finale! Really???

OTHER MAY TELEVISION BINGEING

I’m also now caught up on “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, “You”, and “Eastsiders”.

“Eastsiders” is a funny, touching LGBTQ series on Netflix.

Check it out since the fourth and final season was just nominated for eight Daytime Emmy Awards!

Congrats to creators Kit Williamson and John Halbach and the incredible cast! Hi Willam!

If you’ve never seen it, live a little and start with the six episode final season and you’ll be hooked and want to see it from the beginning!

The finale was so touching, beautiful, and funny!

LADY GAGA “CHROMATICA”

The sixth studio album from Lady Gaga, “Chromatica”, came out in late May.

The second single, “Rain on Me”, with Ariana Grande, debuted last week at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

It follows “Stupid Love”, which reached #5 on the Hot 100.

“JAMES CAMERON’S TITANIC”

Earlier this year, I read the 1997 picture book about the making of the “Titanic” movie.

Titanic

With text by Ed Marsh and photographs by Douglas Kirkland, it was very enlightening to see what all went into Cameron’s masterpiece.

ALSO READ…

Earlier this year, I also read “The Perfect Storm” by Sebastian Junger (1997), Tatum O’Neal’s “A Paper Life” (2004) and Dame Judi Dench’s “and furthermore” (2010).

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My (Interesting) First Month in Decatur

Boy, time sure does fly by as you get older!

With the Coronavirus and COVID-19, I know many of you, are under “stay at home” protocols with state governments, working from home, or unemployed because of restaurants being closed to diners, like my sister and her family!

As for me, I’ve been working since the media is considered “essential” in this crazy time across the United States and the world.

Snowy Duluth UHaul

It seems just like yesterday that I left snow-covered Duluth, Minnesota, and moved into my new apartment in Decatur, in central Illinois.

What a whirlwind month it’s been!  I moved into my apartment on Wednesday, April 1st, and started work the next day.    I’ve already been on the air at WAND-17, the NBC-affiliate, four weeks!

Except for hanging two pieces of wall art that’s rather heavy and needs to be done by someone that know what’s they’re doing, my apartment is set up and livable.

It’ll “do” for a year and I’ll find another place here that I’ll make my forever home.  I’m tired of moving, but this apartment is not that place!

Bedroom View

However, I do love the view out my bedroom window, which gave me a front row seat of deer frolicking and playing in the shallow end of this part of Lake Decatur one afternoon.

I’ll share more pictures when I’m totally done decorating.  But, with “social distancing”, I’m not sure when that’ll be!

Interesting

PASSING THE TIME

It’s bizarre and interesting to have lived here a month and not be able to experience life in Decatur, to invite my morning co-anchors over for dinner, or to meet new people for drinks.

I know that one day I’ll get to eat out and see what central Illinois has to offer.

Until then, to pass the time, I take regular four-mile walks from my complex and through the marina around one part of Lake Decatur.

Lake Decatur

Since I walk and read at the same time, I’ve already finished four books, all by my idol, former President Jimmy Carter.

I’m currently reading “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” by Maureen Orth.

The book is the basis for the Emmy-winning FX series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” with ALL of Emmy winner Darren Criss!

Criss

Criss 1

Oops, sorry for not warning you! 🙂

My connection to Cunanan and this story goes back to 1997 when it was happening and I was the weekend anchor in Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, this made it “on air” and we did get calls because of the eerie similarities! 🙂

Cunanan

Since I didn’t watch a lot of television in Duluth, I dropped cable this past January.

My new apartment complex offers “free” cable (I still pay for DVR service and internet), so I’ve been catching up on the shows I used to watch.

In April, I binge-watched 60-plus hours of television!

I watched the last season of “Homeland” (except for the series finale because Showtime and xfinity suck and aren’t making it “free” like it did for the first eleven episodes of the last season.

I’ve also watched the 2020 episodes of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “9-1-1” (the final two episodes of both series air in May — for “Murder”, it’s the series finale), along with “Prodigal Son”, “9-1-1 Lone Star”, “The Good Doctor”, and the third season of “The Sinner”!

Bad Netflix

In Duluth, for some reason, I got this message on my television while trying to watch Netflix.

What’s bizarre is that Netflix works on my television in Decatur!

Since discovering this, I’ve already binged the third season of “Ozark” and I’m almost done with the third season of “The Crown”.

Up next, seasons two of “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, and “You”, the first season of “The Politician”, and the fourth season of “Eastsiders”.

And, to make my bestie, Katie, happy, I can now binge-watch all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

Speaking of “Ozark”, season three is the best, so far!

Ozark Emmys

While nominations don’t come out until this summer, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy awards now!

BACK ON THE WAGON

The last four months in Duluth were very stressful for me.

While I’ve talked about the crazy stretches of work (days and nights for several days with just a couple of hours of sleep in between),  I never mentioned and I won’t elaborate here on a police-involved harassment ordeal that forced me to “fall off the wagon”.

Over the years I’ve been very open about being a recovering food addict.

Since 1995, I’ve pretty much successfully fought the daily battle by eating healthier with a great dose of exercise.

There were a few stumbles (most recently in early 2017 when I was going through a divorce).  But, with the stress of work, being stalked and harassed, job hunting, and relocating, I took a big step backwards and my weight dropped has dropped from 163 to 138 pounds.

My new schedule not only allows me more free time each afternoon, but it gives me the opportunity to cook more and eat at a reasonable hour!

April 7 Dinner

I’m back on track, “on the wagon”, and I have one month under my belt now!!!

I don’t know what I weigh now and I don’t need to know.  All I know is that I should gain a few more pounds to be healthier again.

I owe much of that success to Kroger!  Yes, the grocery chain.  There’s one located right by work and another one a couple of miles from my apartment.

On my first visit to each, I noticed they marked down all kinds of fun produce as it approaches the “sell by” or “best by” dates.

So, now instead of binging and purging on high caloric junk to satisfy an addiction, I’m now a little O-C-D about making very regular trips to the Kroger stores in Decatur and stocking up on greens and veggies!

April 17 Dinner

(For the record, I went to three Kroger stores a total of 17 times in April!) 🙂

I’ve also treated myself to fried chicken three times and three rotisserie chickens, along with the chicken that I cook at home.

Did I mention several bottles of wine, too?

FOND MEMORIES AND MAKING NEW ONES

I’ll fondly remember my two years in Duluth.

Lake Superior was beautiful and the almost 107″ of snow my first winter there was mind-blowing.

When I left Duluth at the end of March, we had already picked up almost 90″ this past winter!

I had the pleasure to work with some fun and entertaining people at Fox 21 in Duluth (and one that I hope I never, oh, never mind)!

Fun People

And, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my dear friends, Katie (who was my evening director at work), her mother Mary Kaye, and my neighbor, Kass.

Over the past two years, I shared many delicious meals (including Thanksgivings and Christmases) with these special ladies.

And, Kass and I regularly had “cocktail hour” at her place.  (Kass, I don’t have a drinking buddy here yet, but I did see your spiced rum at a liquor store and I smiled!) 🙂

Love Duluth Friends

While I miss my Northland Peeps, I know that when America is healthier again and it’s safe to socialize, I’ll find some dear friends and colleagues in central Illinois.

To all my friends reading this, stay safe and healthy!

And, while it’s not a “Random Friday Thoughts”, I’ll end it with my signature sign-off.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

 

Making Good on a Bad Decision

“I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left! 

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.”

Those were my thoughts in June 2019 in my “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” blog.

Capture

I really don’t have too many regrets in my life, but there’s one that’s been weighing heavily on me.

My life shattered in February 2017 when my ex and I decided to end our marriage and our eight-year relationship.

I made the irrational decision to move away from the Quad Cities rather than stay and start my life over again there.

So, after 11.5 years in Moline, Illinois, I took a job in Panama City, Florida, and moved there in May 2017.  I stayed for a year.

AP G C

I made three incredible friends, Gerard and Cathy, who started the Panama City PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) chapter, and Diane, a neighbor in my apartment complex.

Also, while there, I drove through the backwoods of the South to Plains, Georgia, to meet my idol, former President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

Autograph Carters

However, there was nothing else I liked about Panama City or the area.

So, in the summer of 2018, I took the Chief Meteorologist position at the Fox affiliate in Duluth, Minnesota.

It gave me a chance to work with some really great people, including zany Dan Hanger, our evening anchor, the most popular newscaster in Northland television!

After our appearance at the Superior, Wisconsin, Halloween parade, we decided to have an adult beverage and we sent our evening director Katie this little snippet of us lip syncing Taylor Swift’s “You Need To Calm Down”.

The joke is that Katie regularly has to tell Dan, “Not Today!” 🙂

And, speaking of Katie…

She and her mother, Mary Kaye, became two of my dearest friends, along with Kass, one of my neighbors.

For the past two Thanksgivings and Christmases, I feasted with Katie and Mary Kaye (and Duke, the golden retriever).  We also made it a point to have each other over for Saturday night dinners almost monthly.

Capture

As you can tell, they’re camera shy! 🙂

And, Kass regularly hosted cocktail hour at her place for the two of us to enjoy each other’s company and talk.

But, the dating scene in Duluth was dismal and my work schedule became very undesirable.  No one wants to basically work around the clock for days on end — at any age or at any point in their career!

Plus, I was still an eight-hour drive away from my sister, Tammy, in the Quad Cities.

Night Cruise

When I was in Bangkok, Thailand, in March 2019, I made the decision that when my contract was up in June 2020, I’d move to Las Vegas, give up television, and wait tables!

I wanted to start living again!

However, this winter, after a lot of thought and deliberation (with myself), I came to the conclusion that maybe it wasn’t the right time in my life.

And, then Coronavirus came along and I’m glad I didn’t pursue Vegas as “home”.

As that door closed, another one opened and a great opportunity presented itself to me out of the blue.

Now, the time has come to share some news with you — the “next chapter” is beginning soon amidst the Coronavirus pandemic! 😱

Kylie

Back in May 2017 as I was driving through Henry County, Illinois, on Interstate 74, tears streamed down my face as I left my sister, my friends, and my shattered life in the Quad Cities.

This past February, I made a covert trip back to the Quad Cities and Illinois. 🙂

And, this time, driving that same stretch of I-74 in Henry County at sunrise offered me hope and the chance to right the wrong — I was making good on a bad decision!

Henry County Illinois

“Climb That Mountain High” from Reba McEntire’s 1990 album, “Rumor Has It”, has always been a beacon of encouragement for me.

The song was an inspiration to me when I started my television news career and it’s given me hope every time I was ready to move on.

“Red sun a-rising, over the hill/I’ve had enough of this desert to last from now until… This could be the day I finally find my way out”

“How I arrived here, oh heaven only knows/Seems more like the kind of place the devil would have chose… I know somewhere down the road my dreams will come true”!

I’m heading back to the Land of Lincoln!

I accepted the morning meteorologist position at the NBC affiliate in Decatur, in central Illinois!  (It’s part of the Champaign-Decatur-Springfield television market.)

Decatur

Now, I’ll be able to see my sister in three hours, instead of setting aside a whole day to drive one way!

And, we’ll be able to spend holidays together again!

AP T

And, along with this “next chapter”, #Pug2020 is still in my plans unless the real life situation (Coronavirus, again!) delays it!

By the way, this “air freshener” was another “sign” from Bangkok last year.  It was in one of the cabs! 🙂

#Pug2020

Thailand Pug AP

MY NEXT APARTMENT

Let’s end on a lighthearted note!

When I left Kentucky, for good, in the summer of 1994 for Chicago, as my 20s were winding down, I envisioned my next apartment complex.

I had hoped it’d be like “Melrose Place” with Jake (Grant Show) as my neighbor. 🙂

Grant Amy

Okay, the “Melrose Place” before crazy Kimberly (Marcia Cross) moved in and blew the damn place up! 🙂

Melrose Place

Oops, spoiler alert!

Or, I was dreaming of 28 Barbary Lane (“Tales of the City”) with Anna Madrigal as my eccentric land lady…

28 Barbary Lane

and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) and Michael “Mouse” Tolliver as my friends!

Mary Ann

Neither has happened in all my moves, but there’s always Decatur!  LOL

Honestly, I think I’m too old for those silly dreams and dramas now!

My friends, here’s to new beginnings and a happy, healthy new future — not just for me, but for all of us!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 13, 2020

Two weeks in a row with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy!

Feel free to comment on any of my thoughts, but, as always, do it diplomatically!

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

Don’t zone out from fatigue over the Coronavirus.  I’ll keep this part short!

You’re hearing a lot on the news about the virus, which is now a pandemic.

Basically the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is that an epidemic is an illness affecting a specific region and a pandemic has global impacts!

Here is the U.S., sports seasons and playoffs are basically done, concerts are being cancelled or postponed, schools are extending spring break and going to online classes when they return, restaurants are closing, and the list goes on.

And, on Wednesday, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, in Australia, announced they they tested positive for Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

Yet, there are those that are blaming the media (of course) for hyping up something that’s no worse than the flu, which kills people each year.

However, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the Coronavirus is ten times (that’s 10 times) deadlier than the seasonal flu!

Coronavirus

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust the government!  (I’m not just talking about the Trump administration — yet that speaks for itself!)  I’m talking about trust on a daily basis and not specifically with Coronavirus.

This mistrust of the U.S. government is a product of past administrations (Republican and Democrats) of telling us just what we “need” to know, when it deems the time is right.

Well, here’s the thing.  I think Coronavirus is a real public threat and I think we’re going to see the number of cases (and deaths) in the U.S. and Canada shoot up drastically over the next month or so.

As for me, I pray that I don’t get sick.  However, I’m doing nothing more to prevent it than I normally do in a typical day. 

I always wash my hands.  I love using hand sanitizer (even before it was chic).  I cover my mouth when I cough and I move away from people hacking like they’re coughing up a lung.

And, no I didn’t raid the store for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water!

Watermelon Mint Vodka

However, I did buy a bottle of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Zero Sugar Infusions vodka.  It sounded fun!  And, I do have a decent supply of wine and liquor!

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

Hello, Wicked Spoon!  These were my four plates and truly UNLIMITED champagne and mimosas this past December from there!

Wicked Spoon

Because of Coronavirus, my life as I know it is (temporarily?) disrupted — if I was in Vegas now.

MGM Resorts (which doesn’t own Wicked Spoon) issued this statement earlier in the week:

“MGM Resorts will temporarily close buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday March 15. These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

It what could be called “joy” and “madness”, I found out this week that I joined Facebook more than a decade ago.

So, if you don’t follow me there, here were my thoughts on my eleventh anniversary!

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

Primaries and caucuses are taking places across the nation ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, which I think will be Joe Biden and 45.

I love looking at polls and I trust them — for the most part.

Vote

However, I also know that polls mean nothing if people don’t get out and vote!

And, come November 3, 2020, if you want to make “that man” a one-term president (or if you support him), you have to VOTE!

“OZARK” 

Season three of one of the best shows on television is coming back later this month.

“Ozark” returns March 27th on Netflix and from the new trailer, it looks like this could be Laura Linney’s year for an Emmy win!

She was incredible in season two and I was hoping that she and Julia Garner would take home trophies.  Garner won in the Emmy’s supporting actress category.

THANKS NETFLIX!

But, before I can check out the new season of “Ozark” with the incredible Linney, season three of “The Crown”, season two of “Sex Education”, season two of “Mindhunter”, and the first season of “The Politician”, I now have to buy a new television!

Thanks a lot Netflix!

Last month, I was going to start binge-watching “The West Wing” and this is what greeted me!

Bad Netflix

On December 1, 2019, Netflix deemed my Samsung television, which I got in 2014, obsolete for its streaming service!

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

Last week, I talked about the new Lady Gaga single, “Stupid Love” (it debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), from her upcoming April 10th album, “Chromatica”.

Now, I’m excited to know what my second album that I’ll buy in 2020 will be and when.

“Gaslighter” is the new single and the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ new album that’ll drop May 1, 2020!

“Gaslighter” is actually getting country music airplay!  It debuted on the Billboard Country chart at #31 and moved to #20 in its second week!

That’s their biggest hit at country radio since “Travelin’ Soldier” hit #1 in early 2003, about the time that Natalie Maines’ comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War got the Chicks banned from country radio!

Their last album, “Taking The Long Way”, came out in May 2006, and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

The Dixie Chicks’ last hit song was 2006’s “Not Ready To Make Nice”, which reached #4 on the Hot 100.

It went on to win three Grammy Awards — “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”, in 2007!

“KNIVES OUT”

If you like whodunit movies, you’ll like this mystery comedy.

The all-star cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson.

The first half of the movie features some very humorous scenes as the story was set up.  Collette was especially funny.

I figured out early on who was likely the killer.  From that point on, the movie started to drag.  (Oh, I was correct!).

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

For months now, I’ve been purging my CD and movie collection.

I started listening to CDs that I liked at one time in my life, but I’d never say, “I want to listen to <insert album title here>.  I had about one thousand CDs and now it’s down to about 425 essentials that I don’t want to part with.

With my movies, I’m watching older ones, some of which didn’t become one of “my favorites”, and I’m getting rid of them.

Until recently, only three of them made the cut and I put them back on the shelf.

I kept the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”), the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”, and the 2010 American romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?”.

“LEMON TREE”

This past week, I added three more “keepers”.

The first is the 2008 Israeli drama, “Lemon Tree”.

Hiam Abbass is heartbreaking and stunning!  She plays Salma, a widowed Palestinian woman fighting to keep the Israeli government from cutting down her lemon grove, which was planted by her late father decades ago.

It becomes a security risk when the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife, Mira, (a moving performance by Rona Lipaz-Michael) move next door.

“PATRIK 1.5”

Another was the very touching 2008 Swedish film, “Patrik 1.5”.

It stars one of the sexy Skarsgard brothers (no, not Alexander from “True Blood” and “Big Little Lies” and not creepy Bill (Pennywise in the new “It” movie series).

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

His Göran Skoogh in “Patrik 1.5” would make the perfect husband! 🙂

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

Even though this Argentinean movie came out in 2013, it speaks volumes about today’s dating and app hook-up scene!

You never really know who you’re meeting or hooking up with and what could happen!

Manuel (Patrico Ramos) and Julio (Mario Veron) finally decide to meet after chatting online for a while.

Once they meet, Julio tells Manuel, “There are really bad people round there. They say one thing and they mean another. You never know who you’re dealing with. You don’t even know who you’re bringing into your home.”

“TRANSAMERICA”

I also watched the incredible “Transamerica” with Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman and the adorably sexy Kevin Zegers.

While still a very fulfilling movie, so much has changed since it came out in 2005.

After the groundbreaking television series “Pose” and “Transparent”, I couldn’t imagine a movie made today about a trans woman that WOULD NOT be played by a real trans actress!

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

Debbie Gibson, one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, is back with a huge club hit!

“Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young Radio Remix) is currently at #4 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In 2019, Tracy Young scored back-to-back chart toppers on the the Dance Club Songs chart with Madonna’s “I Rise” and “Crave”.  (Young won a Grammy Award for the “I Rise” remix!)

From 1986 to early 1991, Gibson scored nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, five reached the Top Ten, including the #1 hits, “Foolish Beat” (1988) and “Lost in Your Eyes” (1989, three weeks at #1).

When “Foolish Beat” topped the chart in the summer of 1988, Debbie became youngest person to write, produce, and perform a number-one single entirely on her own, at age 17!!!

“Only In My Dreams”, Debbie’s first hit in 1987 that reached #4, is still one of my all-time favorites!

“ICE BOUND:  A DOCTOR’S INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE”

Ice Bound

This 2001 book is about Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an Ohio doctor that took a year off from medicine to find herself by “wintering” in Antarctica with 40 others.

Just a few months into her one-year stay, she found a lump in her breast.

This book is the story of how she and her new friends, “winterovers”, worked via satellite and computers in the harsh -100° weather and months of complete darkness to keep her alive.

This lasted for eight months before the weather finally broke and she could be rescued and brought back to the U.S. for surgery in the fall of 1998.

In 2000, while I was an anchor and reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, I interviewed Dr. Nielsen.  Twenty years later, I have no clue what about!  Maybe it was about her recovery?

Dr. Nielsen was a cancer survivor for over a decade before she died in the summer of 2009.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 19, 2019

It’s been some time since I last shared some random thoughts.

Thoughts

There have many things I would have written about if I was still doing “Random Friday Thoughts” on a weekly basis, so here are just a few.

It’s also a reason to share a personal potentially embarrassing story! 🙂

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts today!

THE MANSON MURDERS 

We’re coming up on the 50th anniversary of the Charles Manson “family” murders on August 9-10, 1969.

As you may recall, a group of psychos led by the notorious Manson terrorized Los Angeles by slaughtering actress Sharon Tate and four others at her Hollywood home at 10050 Cielo Drive.

Manson.jpg

The next night, the “family” randomly killed Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.

A crazy new book by Tom O’Neill called “Chaos” claims much of what we know about the case is wrong and that prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi lied in his book “Helter Skelter”.

I read that book and I’m interested to read O’Neill’s far-fetched (?) book and theories.

The thing that intrigues me the most is who O’Neill says knows more about the murders, but isn’t talking — actress Candice Bergen of “Murphy Brown” fame (pictured below)!

Candice Bergen

Bergen and record producer Terry Melcher (son of actress Doris Day) actually lived in the house where the murders took place as late as early 1969!!!

O’Neill tells “Entertainment Weekly” that Bergen “knows a hell of a lot more than she’s ever said.”   

Creepy tidbit:  Before the Manson murders, the home was rented to these Hollywood actors: Lillian Gish, Cary Grant, Dyan Cannon, Henry Fonda, and Olivia Hussey.

Murder House.JPG

And, the house’s owner, Rudolph Altobelli, moved back in just three weeks after the Manson bloodshed!!!  He lived there for the next 20 years before selling it in 1989 for the equivalent of $3.2 million today!

“OZARK” EMMY LOVE

After watching the second season of Netflix’s “Ozark”, in October 2018, I wrote, “I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.”

Netflix TCA 2018

Well, I was right!

“Ozark” picked up two more nominations this summer — one for “Outstanding Drama Series” and another for Jason Bateman.

“ARCTIC”

If you’d like something to distract you from the summer heat and humidity, definitely check out the thriller “Arctic”!

I’ve been a fan of Mads Mikkelsen since NBC’s “Hannibal”.

After seeing the survival story, I definitely hope there’s an Oscar “For Your Consideration” campaign for Mikkelsen for “Best Actor”.

“Arctic” is stunning, breathtaking, and heartbreaking — unlike Robert Redford’s alone on a boat and lost at sea 2013 movie “All Is Lost” (which was one of my four least favorite movies I saw in 2014)!

GRADE:  A

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

I love Armie Hammer and Dev Patel and when I watch movies, I tend to lean toward dramas and thrillers.

This one is based on a real-life terrorist attack in 2008 at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India.

While very realistic, it wasn’t overly gory.  It’s a great movie that was never given a chance for box office success.

GRADE:  B+

“GRAND HOTEL”

I started watching this ABC soap opera with low expectation, but I’m still watching it!

Yes, it’s cheesy and some of the characters are silly caricatures of spoiled rich people.

But, the cast is beautiful — especially Australian actor Lincoln Younes, Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez!

GH.JPG

And, then there’s Shalim Ortiz as Mateo, the hotel manager!

Shalim Ortiz

Eva Longoria Baston (“Desperate Housewives”) is an executive producer on the series and guest stars as the late former hotel co-owner.

“BIG LITTLE LIES”

I read Liane Moriarty’s book in early 2017 and absolutely loved the HBO mini-series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, Alexander Skarsgaard and Adam Scott.

After the eight Emmy Award wins (out of sixteen), I was thrilled when it was announced that there’d be a second season even though the first covered everything in the book!

I love Kidman and the thought of spending more time with the “Monterey Five” was fantastic.  Meryl Streep joining the cast as Kidman’s imposing, untrusting mother-in-law with a sharp tongue was just icing on the cake!

What I’ve seen of the second season is great, but not fantastic!.  However, Kidman, Witherspoon and Streep make it very worthwhile.

And, I’m loving Laura Dern’s angry Renata Klein this season.  Here’s an example why! 🙂

And, here is my favorite scene, so far, by far.

Two Oscar winners going at it and then the line, “What do we call that?  Foreplay?” followed by a sinister laugh off-camera are just too much! 🙂

Please give Streep her Emmy now and Kidman and Dern their second ones for this series!

“CLAWS”

I’m still loving this TNT series lead by Niesy Nash!

However, halfway through the third season, it’s definitely different than the first two seasons.

Sometimes, it feels a little lost.  However, I know the payoff will be great!

I mean really, it’s focused around a casino! 🙂

“WORLD WAR Z” SEQUEL CANCELLED

I really loved 2013’s “World War Z” with Brad Pitt and I’m bummed that the long-planned sequel has been nixed!

The reason?  A source tells “The Hollywood Reporter” that the Chinese government’s ban on movies with zombies or ghosts is the single biggest reason that Paramount cancelled the sequel!

The expensive $190 million movie was a box office smash bringing in more than $540 million worldwide.  This made it the highest-grossing zombie film of all time!

It was my second favorite movie of 2013.

OMG!

I think this is too funny not to share.  I’m downsizing my apartment before my next move — including my CDs and movies.

I’m watching movies over again that I may have watched once over the years.  Some I enjoyed, but they weren’t my favorites.  Others, I vaguely remember.

The other night after work, I was watching one of those movies while eating a salad and drinking my wine.  A sex scene comes on and I didn’t think anything about it.

I’m VERY open-minded and liberal! 🙂

taylor-swift-selena-gomez-shut-the-fuck-up-vmas-2013

All of sudden, the scene gets more and more graphic!  It went from soft core adult to pornographic.  I thought, “Wow, they can show that!” and “I can’t believe I don’t remember that scene!”

Sitting in the dark with only the flicker of the large screen television, I looked over my shoulder and realized my neighbor directly across the way was out on his balcony!!! (Our balconies are only separated by two small patches of grass and a sidewalk.)

I quickly grab the remote to hit “stop” for the very graphic (but erotic) image to go away.  I HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON!!!!!!!!!

So, not only did it not go away, but it was frozen for all the world (well, my neighbor) to see!

I didn’t go back to finish that movie for a few nights and when I did, it still wasn’t that good.  No wonder I didn’t remember it!

As for the neighbor, I now realize he had his back toward my apartment and was leaning on his ledge watching his own television! 🙂

So, that’s my funny, almost embarrassing story.

Don’t get me wrong!  I have nothing against adult scenes or material. I’d just discrete about it! 🙂

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)!

MM.gif

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)”.

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

When I was last in Las Vegas this past December, not only did I get to see Paula Abdul’s great “Forever Your Girl” residency, I got a hug from her as she passed through the crowd during that song! 🙂

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — 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!”

Capture2

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

McCoy Emilio.JPG

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

Tara Dawn Holland.jpg

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

220px-c._everett_koop,_1980s

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

Hutchinson Gramm.JPG

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

tressel

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 — February 8, 2019

We’re snowed in again here in the Northland of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin with  almost a foot of new snow!

Here’s hoping that we all have a fantastic weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’M TAKING THE PLUNGE!!!!!!!

I’ve always wanted to do a Polar Plunge, but I’ve never had the opportunity.

Now, I get to do it for a great cause — Special Olympics Minnesota!

On February 16th in Duluth, Minnesota, a group of co-workers and I are raising money and are jumping into the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

Polar Plunge

Any donation, large or small, will add up!

Once you go to the page and if you want to make a smaller donation that what’s listed, just type it into the box!

Thank you in advance and here’s the link:

https://reg.plungemn.org/participant/anthonypeoples

OUT AND PROUD & CLOSETED AND OUTING

I’ve always been out.  For me, the closets are for clothes.  But, that’s not the case for many others.

In the mid-1980s, as Rock Hudson was dying of AIDS and his management team was giving lame excuses for his sickness, one of my favorite authors and a leading LGBTQ activist Armistead Maupin outed him as being gay.

While it was an “open secret”, Maupin confirmed to mainstream news agencies that Hudson was gay.

Doris Day Rock Hudson 1985

Maupin also came down hard on lesbian actress Lily Tomlin in the 1990s for waiting so long to come out.

Personally, I think the LGBTQ community needs visibility.  Kids need role models to look up to when they feel alone in some small town or in a family that doesn’t accept gay people.

While I’d love for rumored LGBTQ celebrities and politicians to come out and be proud, it’s their choice.  I would not out them.

However, for politicians that are anti-LGBTQ or support anti-LGBTQ legislation, I’m all for outing them without any remorse at the first hint of them being deceptive and closeted!

Even for those “straight” celebrities that support religions (or cults pretending to be religion, TC/JT, I’m looking at you) that are anti-LGBTQ, I’m all for someone outing them when there’s proof!

“Come out, come out, wherever you are!”  

Was Maupin right or wrong with outing Hudson as a gay man or saying Tomlin shouldn’t have waited so long to come out?

What do you think?

“THE UNTOLD TALES OF ARMISTEAD MAUPIN”

While I’ve read Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the Cities” novels many times (there are nine of them), the series was first written for a California newspaper.

The story begins in San Francisco in the 1970s and follows a core group of friends that become “family” over time.

If you’ve never heard of it, go to the library and get them or buy the first one on Amazon and you’ll be hooked!

“The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin”, a 2017 documentary, follows Maupin from his conservative upbringing in North Carolina (where he even worked for racist, homophobic Senator Jesse Helms) to becoming a writer in San Francisco and coming out.

It’s also an incredible love story!

GRADE:  A

So far, the “Tales of the City” novels have been made into three amazing miniseries with Laura Linney and Olympia Dukakis.

A fourth arrives on Netflix this year!

“THE WIFE”

“And, the Best Actress Oscar goes to Glenn Close in ‘The Wife’!”

That’s what I predict we’ll be hearing Sunday, February 24th, at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony.

After six previous nominations and six losses, I think this is Close’s year.  Sorry, Lady Gaga, you may have more chances.

Close plays Joan, the wife of Jonathan Pryce’s Joseph Castleman, who’s awaiting a call from the Nobel Prize committee to see if he’ll earn one for his literary work.

Spoiler, not Spoiler: he does!

As the story unfolds, we see how Joseph and Joan meet and how their lives have played out over the decades — professionally and personally.

Close plays the perfect wife standing by her famous writer husband, but also feels the sting of disappointment over how her husband depends on her and takes her for granted — professionally and personally!

GRADE:  A

“BOY ERASED”

The main point I want to stress here is that “gay conversion therapy” is still going on across the U.S. and it’s sad, pathetic, and damaging!

This movie, with the always incredible Nicole Kidman and Lucas Hedges, is based on Garrard Conley’s 2016 “Boy Erased:  A Memoir” about his time in an Arkansas facility.

Pop singer Troye Sivan, director/actor Xavier Dolan, and Joe Alwyn (Taylor Swift’s boyfriend) also turn in amazing performances.

Since I hadn’t read Conley’s book when the movie was announced, I decided to wait to do so and now I’m ready to read it.

“Boy Erased” will be more powerful to people who are not all that familiar with gay conversion therapy.

While the movie was very touching, it was a bit sanitized.  For those of us that have heard the horror stories of conversion therapy, I felt it was too Hollywood-ized and needed a rougher edge!

It’s still a must see!

GRADE:  B

LAST TWO BOOKS READ IN 2018

It’s a tradition for me to read “Christmas in Plains” by my idol President Jimmy Carter every year at the holidays!

Christmas In Plains

“JACKIE AFTER JACK”

After finishing Ted Sorensen’s 800+ page biography of John F. Kennedy and “Christmas in Plains”, I jumped right into Christopher Andersen’s “Jackie After Jack”.

Anderson Jackie after Jack

Sorensen’s book on President Kennedy was more about Kennedy as “President” rather than Kennedy as a husband, father, brother, and friend.

I was shocked into reality with the abrasive tone difference at beginning of Andersen’s book, which pretty much talks about Kennedy’s assassination in graphic detail.

Of course, when you’re reading books about people, you don’t know how much is fact and how much is hearsay.

But, if only a fraction of the book is true, Jackie certainly loved her children and she was definitely what we’d call a “gold digger” today!

By no means do I think that President Kennedy, Senator Bobby Kennedy, and Jackie were angels, but, in retrospect, I’m a little disturbed about their alleged homophobia.

Andersen mentions several times about Jackie wanting to toughen her son, John John, up because she was didn’t want him to “grow up to be a fruit”.

I’m not giving a free pass on that, but I’m putting it in the context of the 1960s and 1970s and how most people have evolved when it comes to being gay.  I know the Kennedys would have been much more accepting in today’s world!

Thank God “homosexuality” (a truly clinical term that had implications of mental illness prior to 1973 in the United States) has now progressed to being “gay” and part of the acronym LGBTQ!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony