Posts Tagged ‘LeAnn Rimes’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 17, 2017

Can you believe Thanksgiving is now just days away?

Thanksgiving Forecast

I hope you have an incredible feast and enjoy everything about the holiday season.

Thank you for checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

THANK YOU AUSTRALIA!

Australians earlier this week overwhelmingly (62%) voted “yes” for marriage equality!

Thank you for seeing that “Love Is Love Is Love”.  And, thank you LeAnn Rimes for this incredible #1 U.S. Dance hit!

“COURT”ING CONTROVERSY”

75-year-old Australian tennis legend Margaret Court, who won 62 major titles in her career is a long-time opponent to marriage equality.

courttennis

In one of my first blogs ever back in January 2012, I wrote about Court when she said this (and much more) about being LGBT, “It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings.”

At the time, I wrote, “While I fully disagree with Court, I’m glad she stands by her views and I hope one day she can open her mind for equality.”  Clearly, she hasn’t.

So, ironically, I concluded my blog then with, “You old wind bag, feel free to speak your mind, but if you get on the “court” and make a lob, expect a return volley.”

No regrets!

NAVRATILOVA, MATCH & GAME POINT!

Openly gay tennis pro and LGBT rights activist Martina Navratilova posted this awesome tweet for Court.

Martina

“MR. ROBOT”

The third season of the USA Network hit series is moving right along and recently addressed #45!

Zhang (who’s also “Whiterose”), China’s Minster of State Security, tells the right wing TV host Frank Cody: “I may have a potential candidate for president I want you to back.” (with “that man” on the television).

Cody:  <nervous laugh> “Look, the country’s desperate right now, but you can’t be serious.  I mean the guy’s a buffoon.  He’s completely divorced from reality.  How would you even control him?”   

Zhang (Whiterose):  “If you pull the right strings, a puppet will dance anyway you desire!”

ON THAT NOTE

Putin

Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings in Russia hit a record level of 88% with the annexation of Crimea in March 2014!

Wonder what it now that he influenced the 2016 U.S. presidential election?

“MINDHUNTER”

If crime procedurals and serial killers are your thing, you’ll love the Netflix series, “Mindhunter”.

Jonathan Groff and Holt McCallany star as FBI agents in the late-1970s that start the FBI’s “Behavioral Science” division to study criminal psychology and criminal profiling.

They want to learn from serial killers and this criminal profiling can help them catch future killers.

Groff (“Glee”, “Hamilton”, and Kristoff in “Frozen”) is adorable in this series.  In life, his character, Holden Ford is socially awkward, but it’s his fascination with crime and killers that pushes this project forward.

It’s especially fun seeing the very sexy Groff, who’s gay in real life, play a very sexually active straight man in graphic sex scenes, much like Neil Patrick Harris did on “How I Met Your Mother” — without the graphic sex scenes.

Also, it’s great to see Anna Torv (“Fringe”) back in a series and I love the fact that she eats tuna out of the can!  She rocks!

I find it hilarious that since “behavioral science” is a new division within the FBI that it’s relegated to the basement!  Sounds like another FBI show that studied paranormal activity and was put in the basement!

GRADE:  A-

BEST “MINDHUNTER” LINE THIS SEASON

Holden: “How do you get to be the president of the United States if you’re a sociopath?”

Breathe Trumpsters!  He was talking about President Richard Nixon!

WHO LISTENS TO CHRISTMAS MUSIC?

Nielsen released data on Christmas music on the radio from last year and what groups do you think listen to holiday music the most?  The results may surprise you.

  • Millennials (Age 18-34): 36%
  • Gen X (Age 35-54): 31%
  • Boomers & Beyond (Age 55+): 25%
  • Gen Z (Age 13-17): 8%

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO ALL”

With that in mind, I put together my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, I mean my 12 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs.

MC Santa

If you missed the countdown earlier in the week, you have another chance.  What do you think is #1?  Are you right?

Just click here:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/14/oh-santa-the-holidays-have-a-new-face/

TAYLOR SWIFT — “reputation”

Last Friday, Taylor Swift released “reputation”, the follow-up to her megahit “1989”, that’s gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Taylor-Swift-reputation

“reputation” sold 1.05 million copies in just its first four days to become the biggest selling album of 2017.

That’s four consecutive first week million sellers for Swift!

One thing I can say about the new album is that “Tim McGraw”‘s Taylor Swift is DEAD!!!!

This album is definitely more grown up and angrier with jabs to the older men she’s dated and veiled slams to Kanye West and Katy Perry (or “drama queens”).

I love the first two singles, “Look What You Made Me Do” and “Ready For It”.

The video to the album’s first single is incredible.  Even if you’re not a Swift fan, at least click on the video and watch the last 30 seconds.  Amazing and funny!

My favorite songs on the album are “Delicate” and “Gorgeous”.

I also love “I Did Something Bad”, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things”, “Getaway Car”, “Dress”, and “Don’t Blame Me”.

“End Game” with Ed Sheeran and Future is great, too.

GRADE:  A-

“PATTI CAKE$”

I’ve heard really good things about the summer drama “Patti Cake$”.

As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.

Danielle Macdonald plays Patricia Dombrowski, who’s mockingly called “Dumbo” in her New Jersey neighborhood.

She’s down on her luck and her home life is appalling.  She lives with her mother and terminally ill grandmother.  They’re poor and behind on their bills and are constantly getting collection agency calls.

But, the hardship comes naturally for Patti.  Her mother, Barb (Bridget Everett) loves to get drunk and sing karaoke at the dive bar where Patti works.

Patti’s calling is writing rhymes and rapping with her best friend, Jheri, played by a very charming Siddharth Dhananjay, a YouTube star from India.

By the end of the movie, you’re rooting for Patti and being thankful that Barb isn’t your mother.

 

GRADE:  A-

Another interesting note about “Patti Cake$” is that while watching the movie, it had a very “Muriel’s Wedding” feel with rap music substituted for ABBA songs.

The reason could be that Macdonald is Australian, just like Muriel Heslop and actress Toni Collette.

“PATTI CAKE$” BONUS — “PBNJ”

“THE BEGUILED”

First off, the movie stars my “girl crush” Nicole Kidman and the very sexy Colin Farrell.

It’s set in 1864, near the end of the Civil War.

Martha Farnsworth (Kidman) runs a home for young girls in Virginia.  One day while out hunting mushrooms, one of the girls finds an injured Union soldier (Farrell).

Against their better judgement, they nurse him back to health instead of turning him over to the Confederate Army.

Well, being the only (hot) man in a house of two women (Kidman and Kirsten Dunst) and a sexually provocative teenage vixen (Elle Fanning), you can imagine there’s “tension” and things go bad.

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 28, 2017

Where does the time go?  It’s hard to believe that it’s already the end of July and that seven months of this year have already passed.

I hope you have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  After you read mine, feel free to share yours.

#45, YOU DON’T SURPRISE ME AT ALL

Last summer, when #45 posted this on Twitter, I made sure to save it.

donald-lgbt

On January 27, 2017, I wrote, “At the time of this tweet, I laughed to myself as a man, an American, and one of those people he thanked!  I think now just as I thought then, it’s just another joke and a bad one played on me and my fellow Americans.”

This past Wednesday, #45 tweeted that transgender people will not serve in the military in an capacity.

Here’s my reply.

AP to DT

This ban is a perfect example of “smoke and mirrors” to hide his job and policy failures.

Friends, just remember:  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

Yes You Are

KILLING GAYS IN CHECHNYA

Outside of conservative America, there’s an all out war against the LGBT community in Chechnya (a republic of Russia). When I say war, I mean savage murdering.

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazetta reports that as many as 26 men have been killed, so far, in 2017, in Chechnya.

Ramzan Kadyrov

However, Chechnya’s president, Ramzan Kadyrov,  claims there are no gay people there.  In an interview with “Real Sports”, he said “To purify our blood, if there are any here, take them to Canada”.

Earlier this spring, he publicly stated that he wanted all LGBT people in his country eliminated by May 26, the start of Muslim holiday, Ramadan.

While sad and devastating, one has to think how this might be handled if the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election was different — if we had Hillary Clinton as president and a different Secretary of State.

Hillary

BUT, WE HAVE OUR OWN HATRED

While Chechnya and Russia’s hatred of LGBT people needs to be addressed on the international stage, we need to do something at home, too.

Already in 2017, there have been, at least, 11 trans people, many of them people of color, murdered in the United States.

But, this is nothing new, it’s just getting worse.

Brandy

Over the years, Brandy Martell (above) is just one of many high-profile transgender women, again, mostly people of color, that have been brutally murdered.

37-year-old Martell was shot in the genitals in Oakland, California, and Diamond Williams’ body was hacked into pieces and scattered about in an overgrown lot in Philadelphia.

And, just last week, a former Navy sailor, 21-year-old Dwanya Hickerson, of Mississippi, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for murdering a registered nurse, Dee Wigham, in 2016.

Hickerson stabbed Wigham 119 times after learning that she was transgender.

“LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE”

Maybe everyone needs to take four minutes and open their ears and mind and listen to LeAnn Rimes!

She’s one of my favorite singers and a sweetheart (I met her in Salisbury, Maryland, in 2005).

AnthonyLeAnn

This week she tops the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart with her latest, “Love is Love is Love”.

Earlier this year, “Long Live Love” also topped the chart marking her third #1 on the Dance Club Songs chart.

If you haven’t bought her latest album, “Remnants”, do so now.  It’s phenomenal!

“OZARK”

“Ozark” is the latest Neflix series and it debuted last week.

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) is a financial adviser from Chicago who’s laundering money for a Mexican drug lord.  When a scam deal goes bad, he relocates to the Ozarks of Missouri to continue his illegal work.

Laura Linney, one of my favorite actresses, plays his wife.  You’ve heard me talk about her many times as Mary Ann Singleton in “Tales of the City”.  Plus, she’s a three-time Oscar nominee and she’s won four Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes!

This is an excellent series and both lead actors play their broken characters very well.

The Emmys will come calling for Bateman, Linney, and the series next summer and I hope it’s renewed for season two.

GRADE:  A

“TO THE BONE”

Earlier this week, I talked about the Netflix movie “To The Bone”.

It’s the story of a 20-year-old woman’s struggle with anorexia that was not only threatening to kill her, but it was also tearing her family apart.

While the movie was realistic and I commend it for showing that men suffer from eating disorders, too, I was a little offset by the amount of humor surrounding the dire subject.

Humor is needed in the darkest of times, but there has to be a line and I think this movie crossed that line, at times.

Overall, a great movie to highlight a devastating illness.

GRADE:  B

RECOVERY IS A LIFELONG STRUGGLE

I know first hand about eating disorders.  While “To The Bone” focused mostly on anorexia nervosa, my illness is the opposite, bumilia (binging and purging).

In 1995, I weighed 116 pounds (down from a weight of 169 in 1986).  I was on the wagon for 21 years, but I relapsed this past winter.

I’m eating healthy again and exercising. I’m at almost three months and counting toward my next 21-year run!

Bad Meal

You can read that blog by clicking here and it’ll open in a new window:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/daily-struggle-through-thick-and-thin/

If you or someone you know is fighting anorexia and/or bulimia, please contact the National Eating Disorders Association at 1-800-931-2237 or check out their website, http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/

MELISSA McCARTHY KNOWS SHE’S NOT THIN

The hilarious comedian earned an Oscar nomination for “Bridesmaids” and scored one of my favorite movies of 2015 with “Spy”.

She’s talked candidly with “Rolling Stone” about her weight and said she often wished she was taller, prettier, and thinner.

Melissa

One night she was looking at the IMDB message board and saw an anonymous message from Ohio at 3:43 a.m. calling her a “fat pig” and hoping “she drops dead of a heart attack in front of her children.”

McCarthy told the magazine, “all the air left my lungs.  Like, wait a minute.  My kids?  Like who –?  What kind of ass?  I kind of wanted to go to Ohio and just be like, ‘Hey, I have two girls, I do by best, and you hope I die in front of them?  Like, what the f*ck?  I mean, you can hate my movies, find me boring or over-the-top, whatever it is.  But when you move into that realm of the world…”

What is wrong with people?

MARTHA WASH & BLACKBOX

Just one more thought on this weighty subject matter.

I’m sure many of you remember or have heard the classic,”It’s Raining Men” by The Weather Girls.

The group, made up of Martha Wash and Izora Armstead, also worked as back-up singers for Sylvester.  They were then known as Two Tons O’ Fun.

Since then, Wash has worked with many acts because she’s an incredible vocalist.  Back around 1990, she sang on albums by C+C Music Factory and Black Box.

“Everybody Everybody” and “Strike It Up” became Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 and both topped the Dance Club Songs chart.

However, if you watch the “Strike It Up” video, you don’t see Wash.  You see a very petite Katrin Quinol lip-synching the lyrics!

Wash also sang the vocals on C+C Music Factory’s #1 hit, “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)”.  Yet, another petite woman, Zelma Davis, appears in the video moving her mouth to Wash’s voice.

It’s a perfect example of pandering to the mentality that it’s easier to sell a product with a pretty, young, and thin woman as opposed to a pretty, older, and larger lady.

I wish we lived in a society that accepted people for who or what they are, but we don’t. 😦

As for Martha Wash, in 1993, her self-titled album produced three Top Ten Dance Club Songs hits with two hitting #1 (“Carry On” and “Give It To Me”).  I also got to see her perform at the Vortex in Chicago around that time!

Here’s that full-figured dynamo with some very hot, hot dancers!

In 1994, Wash and C+C Music Factory’s Clivilles and Cole reached two out-of-court settlements giving Martha credit for singing on their hits.

TROPICKLES

You may have heard Walmart is carrying Tropical-flavored pickle spears!

Some of you are already snarling your nose up and some are thinking that it sounds interesting.

Pickles

Kyle, our morning photographer, brought some in and I tried one.

If you like “bread and butter” pickles and you like fruit punch, you’ll love them.  It’s a very pleasant combination and I’d definitely buy them for a picnic.

PICK HIT & PANAMA CITY BEACH

Most of you may not know Jason Dottley.

He starred in the LogoTV series, “Sordid Lives: Television Series”.  (If you’ve never seen the original “Sordid Lives” with Olivia Newton-John, Leslie Jordan, Beth Grant, Delta Burke, and others, you’ve got to find it.  Hilarious!)

Jason is also a singer that’s scored three hits on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart over the years.

His latest, “Summertime” is convenient for the season.

The video was filmed in Panama City Beach, Florida.  While there, over the Fourth of July, Jason says a young woman called him a “f**got”.

I know Jason is man enough to handle her ignorance.

But, I just want you all to know we have some great people here — like those that risked their own lives recently to make a human chain to save a family caught in dangerous rip currents.  But, we also have other people like that young woman!  It takes all kinds!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

LeAnn Rimes Gives Us More Than “Remnants”

Whether country music stations play her new songs or not, LeAnn Rimes’ albums usually debut in the Top Ten on the Country Albums charts.

Her last Top Ten album on the Billboard 200, which includes all genres, was 2007’s “Family”.

LeAnn Rimes is back with her latest album, “Remnants” and it’s flawless.

remnants

I definitely love LeAnn’s country music.  My favorites in that genre are “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Some People”,”One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”, and “Big Deal”.

I met LeAnn in Salisbury, Maryland, in the fall of 2005.  She was a sweetheart.

AnthonyLeAnn

LeAnn has released many pop-oriented albums in her career and “Twisted Angel” (2002) is still one of my all-time favorites of hers.

Her new album, “Remnants” is the latest pop effort.  It was released last fall in the U.K. and just came out last week here in the U.S.

The highest charting single from the new album is “Long Live Love”.  The Dave Aude remix is currently #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

Twelve of the thirteen songs on “Remnants” are absolutely perfect!

My favorites are the soulful “Do It Wrong”, the religious-tinted “I Couldn’t Do That To Me”, “Love Is Love Is Love” (which LeAnn sings about not wanting to start an argument, just a conversation about tyrants, politics, religion, and love), the torch song-sounding “Outrageous Love”, and “The Story”.

Just because radio is missing out this amazing voice and music doesn’t mean you have to!

GRADE:  A

Random Friday Thoughts — February 17, 2017

I hope you had a nice Valentine’s Day, especially if you’re part of the 55% of Americans that celebrate the day.

Roses

If you’re in a relationship, I hope you got chocolates, flowers, or whatever makes you happy.  And, if you’re not seeing anyone, I hope you treated yourself to something nice.

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

We just finished binge-watching the first four seasons of “House of Cards”.

I absolutely love Robin Wright as First Lady Claire Underwood and Kevin Spacey as President Frank Underwood.

Season five debuts on Netflix May 30, 2017.

If you haven’t watched the show and you love politics, you have to start!

Check out this amazing scene from season three.  Claire has to tell the world that an American citizen jailed in Russia for being openly gay and protesting the country’s anti-LGBT laws committed suicide.

To Russia and the rest of the world that still think this way (Americans, #45, and his cabinet members, some of you could use some educating, too), wake up, open your eyes and your heart, and let’s start more of a dialogue!

A NEGRO TRAVEL GUIDE?

It’s sad to think this is reality, but it’s definitely not hard to believe in our country with all the hatred — then and now.

I was reading an “Out” magazine article that mentioned “The Negro Motorist Green Book”.

TNMGB.gif

It was a resource travel guide that started publication in 1933.

Its purpose was to keep black motorists safe and to let them know what places refused to serve non-whites, provide information on “sundown towns”, predominately or all-white towns that practiced segregation, and much more.

After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, there must have been enough security (or hope) in the United States that it ceased publication in 1966.

Sadly, with the open hatred of people that aren’t white in the “post-January 20, 2017th world”, it might need to come back.

And, while we’re at it, maybe a rainbow version is needed, too, to keep the LGBT community safe from the haters, too!

PICK HIT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

Last fall, as Michael Buble was ready to launch his latest album, “Nobody But Me”, he and his wife, model Luisana Lopilato, dropped out of the public eye when his 3-year-old son, Noah, was diagnosed with cancer.

buble-family

Two weeks ago, Buble released this encouraging update:

MB.jpg

Last Friday, the video to “I Believe in You” was released and if you don’t smile or shed a tear after seeing this video, hopefully you got a heart for Valentine’s Day because you need one. 🙂

Oh, if that didn’t encourage you to watch it, Derek Hough of “Dancing With The Stars” fame is absolutely drop dead gorgeous (and shirtless) in the video!!!!!!

REMEMBERING EMMANUELLE RIVA

With so many celebrity deaths already this year, the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva was pretty much overlooked in America.  She died of cancer January 27, 2017, in Paris.

In 2012, she became the oldest woman to earn an Academy Award Best Actress nomination for her heartbreaking turn in “Amour”. (She was 85 at the time.)

“Amour” was my #6 movie of 2013.

“REMNANTS”

Whether country music stations play her new songs or not, LeAnn Rimes’ albums usually debut in the Top Ten on the Country Albums charts.

Her last Top Ten album on the Billboard 200, which includes all genres, was 2007’s “Family”.

LeAnn Rimes is back with her latest album, “Remnants” and it’s flawless.

remnants

I definitely love LeAnn’s country music.  My favorites in that genre are “Probably Wouldn’t Be This Way”, “Something’s Gotta Give”, “Some People”,”One Way Ticket (Because I Can)”, and “Big Deal”.

I met LeAnn in Salisbury, Maryland, in the fall of 2005.  She was a sweetheart.

AnthonyLeAnn

LeAnn has released many pop-oriented albums in her career and “Twisted Angel” (2002) is still one of my all-time favorites of hers.

Her new album, “Remnants” is the latest pop effort.  It was released last fall in the U.K. and just came out last week here in the U.S.

The highest charting single from the new album is “Long Live Love”.  The Dave Aude remix is currently #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

Twelve of the thirteen songs on “Remnants” are absolutely perfect!

My favorites are the soulful “Do It Wrong”, the religious-tinted “I Couldn’t Do That To Me”, “Love Is Love Is Love” (which LeAnn sings about not wanting to start an argument, just a conversation about tyrants, politics, religion, and love), the torch song-sounding “Outrageous Love”, and “The Story”.

Just because radio is missing out this amazing voice and music doesn’t mean you have to!

GRADE:  A

“SING IT NOW: SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE”

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is Reba McEntire’s 29th studio album, but it’s her first Christian album.

Reba faith.jpg

It debuted at #1 on this week’s Billboard County Albums chart and at the top of the Christian Albums chart, too.  On the Billboard 200 Albums chart, which includes all music, it debuted all the way up at #4.

It sold 52,000 copies in its first week!

I’ve always wanted Reba to do a full gospel album after she recorded “Sky Full of Angels” for her 2003 “Room To Breathe” album.

The deluxe version of the new album features 22 songs.

“Back To God” is the first single.

On the gospel classics, Reba’s voice and musicianship are simple and stunning!

There are many songs that, if you didn’t know more about this album, you’d think they were just more Reba country songs.

But, as Reba once joked around the 1995 release of “Starting Over” album, whatever genre of music she sings becomes country when the words come out of her mouth.

The song I love the most on the album is “Swing Low Sweet Chariot”.  The album version is four minutes of pure bliss!

My favorite “country” gospel numbers on this album are “I’ll Fly Away”, Hallelujah Amen”, “I Got The Lord on My Side”, “How Sweet Thou Art”, “Sing It Now”, “Oh Happy Day”, and “God And My Girlfriends”.

“Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” is almost perfect.  I think when an artist stretches an album out to 22 songs, there are ultimately a couple that wouldn’t have made the cut on a shorter album.  But, I’ll take those songs here just to have more new Reba music.

With the divisive election last November and the circus of the past few weeks, this album does soothe the soul.

I was raised in a Pentecostal church that preached all about fire, brimstone, and damnation and I still find solace in gospel music!

Reba, if you’re listening, how about a bonafide dance album next?  Your voice and EDM could be amazing!

GRADE: A-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 10, 2017

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

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

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

LADY GAGA SUPER BOWL HALFTIME SHOW

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

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

Gaga SB.jpg

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

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

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

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

This Land.jpg

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

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

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

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

MORE ON GAGA

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

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

GagaLatest

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

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

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

“SNOWDEN”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

SARAH PALIN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

sarah palin

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

CarterPres

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

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

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

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

DINNER PARTY WITH….

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

Hillary AP

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

President-Jimmy-and-Rosalynn-Carter1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

champagne

“BACK TO GOD” CONTROVERSY

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, sing it Reba and preach on!

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 3, 2017

The first month of 2017 is already behind us.  I hope the year is off to a good start for you.

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  Feel free to share yours diplomatically and concisely!

WITH SADNESS & REGRETS

Mr. Panda, our blind shar-pei buddy that we housed for periods of times over the past years, crossed the “Rainbow Bridge” earlier this week.

ABBAPanda

The beautiful and strong little guy would have turned 14 at the end of March.

As you may recall, he lived in Chicago, was a rescue, and lost his eyesight many years ago to glaucoma. Even though he spent the last half of his life sightless, he was still a happy, loving, crazy little critter!

FIVE YEARS ALREADY!

The news of Mr. Panda crossing the “Rainbow Bridge” comes near the anniversary of us saying goodbye to my precious golden, ABBA.

I can’t believe it was five years ago today!

Here are the two of them on a spring walk when Miss ABBA decided she was going to be Mr. Panda’s “seeing eye dog”.

ABBAWalkingPanda

The photo I posted ended up making the sports section of the “Geneseo Republic” thanks to my good friend and columnist, Dan Dauw.

ABBAWalkingPandaArticle

Miss ABBA, I still think of you daily, but it’s with smiles now instead of tears.

Here’s a look back at her beautiful, golden life.

And, on we go…

BUILDING WALLS & BARRIERS

I’m going out on a limb here and say that most of us have been in relationships — successful ones and failed ones.

Lack of communication is probably to blame for a number of the failed relationships and it’s likely at the heart of the problems in the successful ones, too.

NOH8 Heart

We build walls around our heart and it causes friction, insecurity, miscommunication, and eventually, hate.

While those walls are emotional, the talk of building physical walls between people and countries is at all-time high.

Check out this incredible airlines commercial from Aeromexico driving home the message that ideological and physical barriers hurt people!

MURDER IN AMERICA

It’s a proven fact that most of the murders here in the United States are committed by people of the same race — white people are mostly killed at the hands of other white people, black people are mostly responsible for killing black people, etc.

The reasons for the senseless murders are many:  domestic problems, drugs, robbery, stupidity, etc.

KILLING SPREES CAUSED BY HATE AND IGNORANCE

quebec-city

Last Sunday, police say this white man walked into a Quebec City (Canada) mosque, opened fire, and killed six people and injured eight others.

When I heard this and the words “mosque” and Canada came up, the first thing that crossed my mind is that this wasn’t a “suicide bombing” by a Middle Eastern group attacking its own people.

Pulse

Last summer, when news broke about a gunman storming into the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and hurting 53 others, I didn’t think it was an LGBT person going in with a vendetta.

And, when nine African Americans were massacred in a downtown Charleston, South Carolina, church, I didn’t think the shooter was another black person .

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In all three of these incidents, I instantly thought the motivation was hate.  Today, I still feel certain it was.

The accused Quebec City shooter is reported to have “far-right, nationalist views” and publicly supported Donald Trump and the French rightist party led by Marine Le Pen.

Th man behind the Pulse shootings was disgusted by gay people and might even have been a self-hating gay man himself, and the Charleston shooter is a self-proclaimed white supremacist.

Notice I didn’t use their names.  They don’t deserve any more publicity!  We know the hateful things they did or are accused of doing.

I’d love to say that people will be nicer and things will get better.  But, I’m a realist and I’m saddened and scared for our future — our intolerance of people that look or act different than us.

“THERE’S GOT TO BE A WAY”

I’m thinking about this even more after listening to all of Mariah Carey’s albums again.

On her 1990 self-titled debut, she had a song called “There’s Got To Be A Way”.

It features the chilling lyrics, “In another land they still believe/color grants supremacy/I don’t understand how there can be/regulated bigotry”.

Sadly, in this day and age, you don’t even have to go to another country.  It’s alive here in America and now those people don’t even have to hide under sheets in the darkness of night or behind a computer screen.

Optimistically, Mariah sings on, “Some of us don’t even wonder/some of us don’t even care/couldn’t we accept each other/can’t we make ourselves aware”.

Let’s hope!

Hope

FINDING HOPE WHERE WE CAN!

On a much brighter note, we’re now only six weeks away from the live action version of Disney’s remake of “Beauty and the Beast”.

The final official trailer came out earlier this week.

It gives us a comprehensive look at the movie and we finally hear Ariana Grande and John Legend’s remake of the Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson’s theme song.

I’m excited even more for the March 17, 2017 premiere.

The original “Beauty and the Beast” in 1991 made $425 million and it was the first animated movie to be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars.  (It lost to “The Silence of the Lambs”.)

WHERE ARE THOU, SNOW?

Only 0.4″ of snow officially fell in the Quad Cities in Moline, Illinois, for the month of January.

There have only been two other winters on record that date back to the 1870s where less snow accumulated in January.

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Only a trace of snow fell in January 1989 and January 1944.

This January ties 1973 as the third least snowiest on record.

“GROUNDHOG DAY BLIZZARD”

While this winter is rather skimpy on snow, six years ago today we were digging out of the “Groundhog Day Blizzard”.

Snow started falling on January 31, 2011, and by the time the storm departed February 2, 2011, the Quad Cities tied the record for a single snowstorm with the one from January 11-13, 1979 at 18.4″!

Blizzard 2-2-2011

The bulk of the snow in 2011, 14.8″ fell on February 1st, with 1.7″ the day before that, and 1.9″ the day after the big snow.  If you look at those totals, the 16.7″ that fell on February 1st and 2nd set the record for the most snow in 24 hours in the Quad Cities!

Days later, Gretel and I took advantage of the snow by playing snow zombie attack and Ray helped us dig a tunnel, which ABBA loved.

February 5 2011February 6 2011

Come on “Old Man Winter”, I want one more big snow this winter!

“THE HYPNOTIST”

As I’ve stated many times, I read books, mostly autobiographies, biographies, or real life events, while walking on the treadmill.

Occasionally, I check out some fiction.  I just finished Fiona Barton’s “The Widow” and a Swedish book translated into English, “The Hypnotist” by Lars Kepler.

After reading Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” in 2015, I’ve come to realize that Scandinavians love their violent novels.

“The Hypnotist” picks up after a vicious and savage attack on a family leaves the mom, dad, and their little girl dead and in pieces.  The only survivor was a teenage boy stabbed hundreds of times.

Detectives are in a race against time to talk to the boy because he is the only one that saw the killer(s).  They learn that he has an older sister not living at home and the killer could be after her next.

The only way they can reach the boy’s memories of the brutal attack is to use hypnosis by a discredited doctor.

The use of hypnosis opens up old wounds from ten years ago and brings forth a new crime spree as detectives race to catch the savage murderer and a newly discovered serial killer.

A great read!  Now, I need to find the hit 2012 movie based on the book.

“THE SNOWMAN”

Since I mentioned Nesbo’s “The Snowman”, I’m ecstatic since I learned the movie based on the book comes out this fall!

Nesbo+Snowman

Actually, it debuts on my birthday, October 13th, with my dreamboat Michael Fassbender in the lead role.

the-snowman

Until there’s an official trailer, here’s what I wrote about the book in July 2015 if you want to check it out.

“Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train [Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”], I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

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

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.”

PICK HIT

LeAnn Rimes is back this week with “Remnants”, her 13th studio album!  While it’s just now coming out in the U.S., it was released last fall in the U.K.

Here at home, Rimes is best known for many huge country hits that kicked off with 1996’s “Blue”.  Those hits continued through 2004-2006 when she scored three Top Ten Country smashes from her “This Woman” album.

She also scored huge pop hits with “How Do I Live” and with tracks from the “Coyote Ugly” soundtrack (“Can’t Stop the Moonlight”).

Rimes also had amazing, but less commercially successful, albums like “Twisted Angel” (2002) and “Whatever We Wanna” (2006).  I highly recommend both!

She’s currently in the Top Ten on Billboard’s Dance Club Songs chart at #6 with “Long Live Love” from the new “Remnants” album.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Favorite Albums of 2015

I’m one of those people who tracks music, movies, charts, polls, and the sort all year-long.  And, when December comes, I love seeing the best and worst of the year lists.

I posted my favorite movies of the year last week.  “Lilting” was #1.

Here’s the link if you want to see the complete list:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/my-favorite-movies-of-2015/

And, I posted my 30 favorite songs of 2015.  Jason Derulo came out on top!

Here’s the complete list to see if your favorite made my countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/my-20-favorite-songs-of-2015/

Now, I ready to share my favorite albums of the year with you.  But, before I do that, I want to channel my radio idol, Casey Kasem, and look back at my favorite albums of the past.

In 2010, it was Scissor Sisters’ “Night Work”.  “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears was my favorite in 2011 and Madonna’s “MDNA” was tops in 2012.  In 2013, it was “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace.  And, last year, it was a tie between Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex and Love” and Erasure’s “The Violet Flame”.

Now, my favorites of 2015.

2015 Albums

17

“NEW EYES” — CLEAN BANDIT

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#16

“TODAY IS CHRISTMAS” — LEANN RIMES

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#15 Movie

“UNBREAKABLE” — JANET JACKSON

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Here’s what I wrote about her Omaha concert on the “Unbreakable World Tour”:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/janet-jacksons-unbreakable-world-tour-dazzles/

14

“PURPOSE” — JUSTIN BIEBER

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13

“DELIRIUM” — ELLIE GOULDING

Ellie CD

12

“TRUE COLORS” — ZEDD

True Colors Zedd

#11 Movie

“KYLIE CHRISTMAS” — KYLIE MINOGUE

Kylie Christmas

10

“I CRY WHEN I LAUGH” — JESS GLYNNE

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9 CD

“MICHAEL RAY” — MICHAEL RAY

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Here’s what I wrote about the album in August:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/michael-ray-could-bring-me-back-to-country-music/

#8 CD

“TALKING IS HARD” — WALK THE MOON

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7

“REBEL HEART” — MADONNA

Madonna Rebel Heart

Here’s what I wrote about the album in March:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/03/12/still-a-rebel-heart-and-an-unapologetic-bitch-32-years-later/

#6 CD

“25” — ADELE

adele

Here’s what I wrote about the album in November:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/11/24/adele-25-is-almost-perfect/

#5 MOVIE

“EVERYTHING IS 4” — JASON DERULO

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4

“LOVE SOMEBODY” — REBA

Reba Love Somebody

Here’s what I wrote about the album in April:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/rebas-return-to-country-music/

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“EMOTION” — CARLY RAE JEPSEN

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#2 CD

“COMMUNION” — YEARS & YEARS

Communion

I wrote about the band in July when the album came out:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/years-years-communion-is-definitely-king/

1

“DEJA VU” — GIORGIO MORODER

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

Here’s what I wrote about the album in June:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/giorgio-moroder-the-70s-magic-its-deja-vu/

So, there you have my favorite albums I bought in 2015.

I can’t wait for new music in 2016 from Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Kylie Minogue, and I hope there’s new music from Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Erasure.

Anthony