Posts Tagged ‘LGBTQ’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 9, 2020

What an interesting week across America! And, hello to my friends beyond our borders! 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts. While we don’t have to agree, we must do it diplomatically!

“HAPPY HOLIDAYS” DOESN’T REALLY COVER IT!

Let’s start off light and cheery! I found a new greeting to get us through the next three months!

And, this is still one of my favorites!

COVID-19 LATEST

I’ve been trying really, really hard to stay out of the fray that is the past four years of 45’s presidency.

But, just when you think nothing else can shock you, SURPRISE!

What? WTH? WTF?

More than 212-thousand people in the U.S. have died this year from Covid-19 and more than 7.6 million have tested positive for it and he tweets, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.” and “Don’t let it dominate your life.”!

While I’m no doctor or medical expert, I feel pretty confident in saying that many people testing positive for Covid-19 are doing so because they’re following pathetic advice like that and not following safety protocols!

This GIF has nothing to do with his comments, but it works!

“VOTE NOT GLOAT”

“Halloween” movie icon Jamie Lee Curtis tweeted an incredible and powerful message last Friday after Donald and Melania Trump tested positive for Covid-19.

As you can see, I approve this message!

PROOF THAT MASKS SAVE LIVES!

If you don’t believe that masks save lives, I have two words for you –Hannibal Lecter!

Now I want to watch 1991’s Oscar winning Best Picture, “The Silence of the Lambs”, again!

#1 SELLING NON-CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR

I recently read the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

Since Halloween is nearing, I’ll share this candy stat from the book.

It states that PayDay is the top selling non-chocolate candy bar in the U.S.!

If you love that candy bar, but you crave chocolate, too, a new PayDay was introduced in August — Chocolatey PAYDAY!

What are your favorite candy bars?

Mine are (#4) Milky Way, (#3) PayDay, (#2) Snickers, and at (#1) Zero!

By the way, the original Zero candy bar was produced in Centralia, Illinois!

HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY MARY GRIFFITH

Mary Griffith died earlier this year at the age of 85. She shared the same birthday as me (October 13th).

Most of you don’t know the name. But, in the 1980s, she became an icon after she saw the light and became one of the strongest advocates for the LGBTQ community.

However, it took a tragedy for that to happen.

Because of her faith in religion and the Bible, she terrorized her gay son, Bobby, constantly with Bible verses and with the fear of God after he came out to her.

Bobby ended his life is the summer of 1983 when he jumped off a Portland, Oregon, overpass into the path of an 18-wheeler!

Over time, Mary realized that God didn’t need to change Bobby because her son was perfect just as God created him — gay!

Through heartache and pain, she became a staunch advocate for PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) in her northern California chapter.

Mary, now that you and Bobby are reunited, I hope you’re enjoying the happiness you never found together on Earth.

I’m honored to share a birthday with you!

If you want to read Mary’s story, Leroy Aarons’ book, “Prayers For Bobby” is excellent.

And, there’s a great Lifetime movie with Sigourney Weaver.

“LOVE, VICTOR”

When this project was announced, I was excited thinking it was a movie and a true sequel to 2018’s “Love, Simon”. When I found out it was a 10-episode Hulu series and would not be a Nick Robinson-series, I was less excited.

So, I waited a almost three months after it premiered. Boy, was I wrong!

“Love, Victor” has a great cast including the adorable lead, Michael Comino as Victor, Anthony Turpel as his best friend, Felix, and George Sear (Benji) and Rachel Hilson (Mia) as his two crushes.

And, it’s a well-rounded story that just doesn’t just focus on Victor’s coming of age story and coming out. His parents have their own drama!

Plus, Nick Robinson does make a brief appearance in a later episode.

“Love, Victor” was renewed for a second season.

There were many funny one-liners including this one from Benji to Victor about Dolly Parton:

“She’s actually one of the few things that gay sons and straight guys agree on!”

“LOVE, SIMON”

This was my #10 movie of 2018 grossing $66.3 million in theaters. When I saw it March of that year, I gave it a grade of B+ and wrote:

“LGBT icon and trailblazer Harvey Milk once said, ‘You gotta give them hope.’ The new romantic dramedy, ‘Love, Simon’, gives LGBTQ teenagers and young adults a lot of hope.

Nick Robinson is adorable as closeted high school student Simon Spier living in an Atlanta suburb.  He has a great family and a group of close friends at school, but he a “huge ass secret” — he’s gay.”

I went on to add, “I loved the movie and the message it presents to youngsters and young adults (and their families).

However, as a realist and an older gay man, the movie was wrapped up a little too perfect even with the drama Simon experienced.

But, regardless of age, we all want a happy ending!”

SELENA

One day I was singing a Selena song and then in a scene that night in “Love, Victor”, his mother was singing one of her songs!

It took me back to my 1997 Lubbock, Texas days when I was a reporter and weekend anchor at the CBS affiliate, KLBK.

That was the year that the movie, “Selena”, with Jennifer Lopez came out. I felt like I was on the Selena “beat” because it seem like I was always doing stories on the movie.

And, I remember interviewing Jackie Delgado, who I honestly believe was Selena’s biggest fan in West Texas!

In 1994, I became a Selena fan when I moved to Chicago and bought her fourth album, “Amor Prohibido”.

At the time of her death, at the age of 23, in the spring of 1995, Selena was working on her English language debut album, “Dreaming of You”.

That album debuted at #1 that summer and produced her only Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 (the title track).

“SELENA: THE SERIES”

This new series debuts December 4, 2020, on Netflix with Christian Serratos (“The Walking Dead”) playing Selena.

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This is Dolly Parton’s first new Christmas album is 30 years.

I loved the duet with Michael Bublé, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”, and the duet with Willie Nelson on his holiday classic, “Pretty Paper”.

Also, her upbeat duet with her brother, Randy, “You Are My Christmas” is great. And, her giddy versions of “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” and “Holly Jolly Christmas” are fun.

I also liked her originals “Christmas on the Square”, “Circle of Love”, and “Comin’ Home for Christmas”.

Now, the downside, her duet with Billy Ray Cyrus would have been much better as just a Dolly song. Despite his success in the 1990s, who said he could sing? And, the pairing with Miley Cyrus was forgettable.

However, the most unforgivable song on the album is Dolly’s remake of Mariah Carey’s Christmas classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, with Jimmy Fallon!

While I love Dolly and I like Fallon, this song is iconic and it shouldn’t have been so gimmicky!

All I can say is “Mariah, I’m sorry!”

After the first listen, I didn’t feel too cheery. On the second listen, the grade went up some. I hope it continues to grow on me!

GRADE: B

HARVEST SEASON

It’s harvest season, so watch out for farmers and farm machinery on the roadways.

Also, you never know what you might find in your gardens! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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 — June 12, 2020

It was so nice sharing some of my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week. It was even better that it was read and well received. For those of you that took the time to check it out, thank you!

As I always say, if you disagree with me, that’s fine. Do it diplomatically!

With that being said, my first thought today may not sit well with some. Don’t take it out of context, so read it all before you comment! 🙂 And, don’t take it personally!

Have a fantastic weekend!

STIMULUS CHECKS & UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION

While I’m expressing my displeasure of how misaligned the pandemic unemployment compensation program is, I’ll cut it short in light of what’s going on now in America.

There have been a couple of times in my life that I collected unemployment and let me tell you, the checks are NOT enough!

Since unemployment benefits are only a fraction of what you’d make by working, people living on unemployment alone find it hard to make ends meet.

But, now, with the pandemic unemployment compensation program, it’s become a joke and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t tick me off!

With an additional $600 a week on top of the unemployment checks, there are people not working that are making more money than essential workers working through this pandemic!

I know people that are benefiting from this financial windfall, so please use the money wisely!

I’ve worked through this entire pandemic and it’s a little upsetting that I’m clearing less on payday than some of those out of work!

People should NOT be making more money by staying at home than they would be making if this had never happened and they were working!

If this ever happens again, the pandemic unemployment compensation program needs to regulated better! On the positive side, I’m happy taxpaying Americans got a stimulus check!

Okay, I’m off my soapbox!

“HANNIBAL” IS NOW ON NETFLIX!

There are several topics that I’ve written about extensively over the past eight years: Hillary Clinton, Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Christmas, food, travel, and “Hannibal”.

What? Yes, I mean Hannibal Lecter and the NBC television series that ran for three season!

Well, after all this time, it’s now on Netflix! So, please, binge watch and see what you (and America) missed during its original run.

So, why should you watch it? Here’s what I’ve said about the show in the past:

April 3, 2013: “From the trailers, I feel that NBC is definitely pushing the envelope with the network’s standards and practices department with the gore and violence.  But, then again, this is a story about serial killers and a cannibal.  This isn’t Disney!”

April 5, 2013: (after seeing the premiere episode): ” it was incredible, gory, suspenseful, and psychologically stimulating.”

February 28, 2014: “If you didn’t catch this incredibly creepy, gory, and complex series, you’re missing out on great drama and television.” 

I’m not alone! This is what “Entertainment Weekly” wrote about the season 2 premiere. (By the way, it gave the season two finale an “A-” also!)

May 16, 2014: NBC’s ‘Hannibal’ is without a doubt one of the best shows on television. I’m so thrilled that the network has enough faith in the critically acclaimed, but severely ratings-challenged drama to renew it for a third season.”

August 14, 2015: “This was definitely one of the most intelligent, thrilling, artistically creative, and well acted shows on television. Maybe it was too intelligent!”

“THE POLITICIAN”

I loved season one of Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” and I can’t wait to see season two, which premieres June 19, 2020, on Netflix.

Jessica Lange is mesmerizing as white trash conniver Dusty Jackson!

(Here’s the trailer to season one, so I don’t spoil anything for season two!)

And, I’ve said it before that in “another place and time”, I could see being married to star Ben Platt! 🙂

Here’s a Ben Platt extra — “The Rain” — check out that voice and those moves! 🙂

“HOLLYWOOD”

After watching season one of “The Politician”, I thoroughly enjoyed the seven episode series, “Hollywood” (also from Ryan Murphy).

It’s based on Scotty Bowers’ book, “My Adventures in Hollywood and the Secret Sex Lives of the Stars” and the documentary “Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood”.

It’s a very honest and risque look into Tinseltown. It’s amazing that it was so open about “homophobia” and “racism” in Hollywood back in the heyday! (Oh hell, who am I kidding? It’s still rampant today!)

Another bold move for the series was having the mesmerizing Patti LuPone, at 71-years-old, in a lead role.

She plays the wife of a studio head that ignores her at home — in every way — so she hires a young, hot escort!

Their small talk on their first tryst definitely gets “three snaps in a z-formation”! (Quickly scroll past the LuPone GIF if you’re easily offended!)

JACK (David Corenswet): “You want an honest answer?”
AVIS (LuPone):

Now, I’m finally watching all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

STILL WATCHING…

I had free HULU for a week this spring, so I watched 20 of the 36 episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale”.

Elisabeth Moss and Ann Dowd are amazing and even though he’s not a nice guy, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) is so hot!

And, Max Minghella (Nick) is so beautiful in the f***ed up dystopian world of “Handmaid’s”!

“CHROMATICA”

If you’re ready for some fun dance (and disco) music to brighten your days with all of the unrest across the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic, Lady Gaga’s new “Chromatica” fits the bill!

My favorite songs on the album are “Free Woman”, “Fun Tonight”, and “911” (makes me think of Murray Head’s “One Night in Bangkok”)!

My other favorites are “Alice”, “Sour Candy” (with the South Korean group Blackpink) and “1000 Doves” — in addition to the first two hits, “Stupid Love” (#5) and “Rain On Me” (#1) with Ariana Grande.

And, I hate to admit that the duet with Elton John doesn’t do much for me, which is shocking since I love both artists! (It was a good song until the last 15 seconds — epic fail to an otherwise decent song!)

Please tell me that when “Enigma” comes on that it sounds like she’s saying “I’ll be your enema” instead of “enigma” if you’re not really paying attention! Maybe it’s just me. 🙂

GRADE: B

However, if the album only consisted of the first ten songs, I’d give it an “A”. But. the last part of the CD brings the grade down!

LADY GAGA JOINS AN ELITE GROUP OF WOMEN

With “Chromatica” debuting at #1 on the Billboard 200 album chart, it becomes her sixth chart topper!

This places her in a five-way tie for fourth place among women with Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Britney Spears, and Taylor Swift.

Janet Jackson is in third place with seven #1 albums, Madonna is second with nine, and the leader is Barbra Streisand with eleven!!!

Jay-Z leads men with 14 chart toppers and the Beatles lead all artists with 19 #1 albums.

HAPPY 10TH BIRTHDAY “LOVERS”

One of my favorite Kylie Minogue songs turns 10 years old this week. It’s definitely one of the sexiest, button-pushing videos ever!

Due to its erotic nature, the video was banned or censored in many Asian countries including Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia!

Kylie says, “I think, yes, it’s sexy but I also think it’s very touching and sensual and the message is love.”

While the song reached the Top 5 in many countries, it only hit #1 on one chart — the American Dance Club Songs chart! Go U.S.A. deviates! 🙂

The video has been viewed more than 24 million times! 🙂

ALSO READ…

Three books I’ve read this spring on my walks around Lake Decatur are 2004’s “Chasing The Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer” by David Reichert.

It covers the notorious serial killer that targeted young prostitutes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also, there was 2009’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith — a parody novel/mash-up of Jane Austen’s 1813 classic, “Pride and Prejudice”.

My favorite line in the book was from an annoying character that I prayed would be devoured by zombies! No such luck! 😦

I know of nobody that is coming, I am sure, unless Charlotte Lucas should happen to call in – and I am sure my dinners are good enough for her, since she is an unmarried woman of seven-and-twenty, and as such should expect little more than a crust of bread washed down with a cup of loneliness.”

So catty! Meow!

And, I read “Julie & Julia” (2005) by Julie Powell, which is based on real life.

Many of you know of this book from the 2009 movie starring Oscar Best Actress nominee Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Amy Adams as Julie Powell.

“TALKING TO GIRLS ABOUT DURAN DURAN”

I also finished Rob Sheffield’s humorous look of growing up in the 1980s and how the music ( “best.music.ever” — my description of the 1980s) shaped his life.

DURAN DURAN

Since the book is more about the music and the decade rather than Duran Duran, here are a couple of pictures I took when I saw them on the “Paper Gods Tour” in Las Vegas in 2016.

Here’s a snippet of my 4th favorite Duran Duran song, “The Wild Boys”, live from that concert!

And, here are my three favorite Duran Duran songs!

“HUNGRY LIKE THE WOLF

“THE REFLEX”

“IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?

DURANNIES, YOUR FAVORITE?

Let’s hope this doesn’t start World War 3, but who was/is your favorite?

For me, it’s Roger Taylor!

He’s followed by Simon, John, and Nick. Sorry, Andy!

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

Random Friday Thoughts — March 6, 2020

Surprise!  I can’t believe it’s been almost two months since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Thank you for taking the time to check it out.

CORONAVIRUS & VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE

As fears rise and the death toll climbs around the world, I’m even more alarmed (but, totally not shocked) that 45 appointed Vice President Mike Pence to lead his Coronavirus response team.

Coronavirus Pence Trump

I hope the U.S. response is swift and adequate and that it prevents a widespread outbreak here.

Pence IS NOT a medical expert and his previous judgement is poor!

In a December 1, 2016, blog on “World AIDS Day”, I wrote, “And, just last year, a county in southern Indiana had an outbreak of HIV cases that reached “epidemic” levels.  It was reported that there were about twenty new cases each week because of drug use and needle sharing.

Yes, Indiana — while Vice-President elect Mike Pence was governor and before he was picked to be second in command in the U.S.”

PETS, TOO!

Last week, a pet dog, a Pomeranian, of a Coronavirus patient, was placed in quarantine after testing “weak positive” for the virus in Hong Kong!

Hong Kong dog Coronavirus

This week, that was upgraded to a “low-level infection”.  It’s the first reported case of human-to-animal transmission.

By Friday, the number of those infected worldwide is approaching 104,000 with more than 3,500 deaths.  (Most are in China.) 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the U.S. reports 164 confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in nineteen states.

The CDC is also confirming eleven deaths!

EDUCATE YOURSELF!

With that being said, educate yourself!

Corona

I saw a survey last week that showed because of the Coronavirus, 38% of Americans wouldn’t buy Corona beer “under any circumstances”!

Seriously, stop drinking altogether if you’re that brilliant!!!

IT WON’T HAPPEN BEFORE ELECTION DAY 2020, BUT…

JFK Meme Diversity Mortal June 10 1963.JPG

That is from President John F. Kennedy’s June 1963 commencement speech at American University.

“THE MAN”

In 2019, “Lover”, Taylor Swift’s seventh studio release, was my favorite album of the year!

Taylor Swift Lover

It’s already produced the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans, and the title track, which reached #10 on the Hot 100.

Her latest single is “The Man”, one of my absolute favorites from “Lover”.  And, I can’t watch the new video enough!

Yes, that’s Taylor playing “The Man”, Tyler Swift!

My other favorites from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed” or “Cornelia Street”!

CHRISTMAS CARDS — BY THE NUMBERS

Okay, I know that Christmas was more than two months ago (or less than ten months from now), but I didn’t take my trees and decorations down until the last day of January.  Yes, I enjoy them for three months!

As I was putting away my Christmas cards, I analyzed them and here’s what I found out.

I heard back from 78% of the people I sent a card.

Do you think most people used Christmas stamps?  They did!

28% used Santa stamps and 20% used the new wreath stamps!

Wreaths

However, a high number (21%) used flag stamps.  Either they’re patriotic or just using up the stamps they had on hand?

By the way, this past Christmas when I was planning a summer 2020 move to Las Vegas (aborted mission), I actually used cactus stamps.

Cactus Christmas Stamps

I wonder how many of my friends noticed and wondered why I wasn’t using holiday stamps? 🙂

“STUPID LOVE”

Lady Gaga is back with new music!

“Stupid Love”, the first single, from her upcoming album, “Chromatica”, which will arrive April 10th, was released last week!!!

While I love the upbeat dance hit, it does borrow from “Born This Way”, probably unintentionally!

I’m very excited about the new music since I didn’t buy her last album, “Joanne”, which dropped in October 2016.

Do I lose gay points for that???

“JOJO RABBIT”

This Oscar nominated comedy-drama was hilarious and well acted.

While mostly a comedy,  when a kid has Adolf Hitler (director and screenwriter Taika Waititi) as an “imaginary friend”, it does feature a few dark scenes.

Roman Griffin Davis was fantastic as Jojo, Waititi was great, and Rebel Wilson cracked me up.

This is not a spoiler, but two of her best lines were “I’ve had 18 kids for Germany — such a great year to be a girl!”

And, in another scene, instead of saying “O-M-G”, she replies, “O-M-God”, which made me laugh so much!

GRADE:  A-

MADONNA CONTINUES TO MAKE MUSIC HERSTORY (HISTORY)!

“I Don’t Search I Find” recently became Madonna’s 50th #1 hit on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

She extended her record of having the most #1 songs on any one Billboard chart!  Her closest competitor is George Strait, who has 44 number one songs on the Billboard Country charts.

“I Don’t Search I Find” is also the fourth chart topper from her 2019 album, “Madame X”!  (“Madame X” is also Madonna’s ninth #1 album!)

Madonna is also the only act to score a #1 hit on the Dance Club Songs chart in five decades!

She hit the top of that chart 9 times in the 1980s, 13 times in the 1990s, 18 times in the 2000s, 9 times in the 2010s, and, now, once (so far) in the 2020s!

It’s also Madonna’s 10th consecutive #1 on the Dance chart and every one of her singles since 2012 have topped the chart!

GIVE IT A LISTEN! 🎶

“JOKER”

I’m no longer a fan of super hero movies, but I still have an affinity to the Batman series after growing up with the cheesy television Batman series of the 1960s.

I still absolutely love 1992’s “Batman Returns” with Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman and Danny DeVito as the Penguin!

I waited for last fall’s “Joker” to arrive on DVD and it was great.

The movie grossed over a billion dollars worldwide and garnered eleven Academy Award nominations!

Joaquin Phoenix deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar for his manic performance as aspiring comedian and loser Arthur Fleck.

How he became the Joker is tragic, sadistic, and compelling!

GRADE:  B+

“PRISONER OF TEHRAN”

In “Prisoner of Tehran”, Marina Nemat, who now lives in Canada, writes of her early life in Iran during the “Islamic Revolution”.

It was the late-1970s and early-1980s when the Ayatollah Khomeini was taking control of the country from the Shah of Iran.

If you were even thought to be a Shah supporter or you weren’t all for Khomeini’s way of rule (less freedom for women, very anti-Western, and anti-American), you could be imprisoned, raped, and killed.

Nemat Prisoner of Tehran.JPG

By telling her story, it’s clear that Nemat escaped Iran.  However, her story before then is heartbreaking!

“CHILDREN OF JIHAD”

Subtitled “A Young American’s Travels Among the Youth of the Middle East”, this 2007 book from American Jewish writer Jared Cohen talks about his time spent in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and Syria.

Cohen Children of Jihad

In his secret talks with Muslim youth, Cohen learned that they didn’t hate America or Jews, but despised the American and Israeli governments because they were anti-Islam.

Cohen went on to work for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice.

“THE KITE RUNNER”

While the book, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini came out in 2003, it’s taken me this long to come across it and read it!

And, wow, what a powerful book!

I had to go back to check and make sure it was fiction and not a true story.  While it’s fiction, I know tragedies like this are also reality.

If you’re not familiar, it’s the story of two childhood friends raised together without mothers in Afghanistan, one’s rich and the other is poor.

Events unfold that separate them as teenagers and something brings their lives back into the same orbit again as adults.

The Kite Runner

Here is a powerful quote from the book!

The Kite Runner Quote

Now, I need to watch the movie!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

When I Was Young (and Ignorant)

I’ll be the first to admit this since I’m now on the receiving end of it:  I was once young and ignorant!

This is something that I’ve always known, but it took Jennifer Lopez on the Super Bowl halftime show and Blanche Devereaux to drive it home again!

The best meme of the week highlighted “50 years old in 1985” and “50 years old in 2020”!

Rue McClanahan of “The Golden Girls” was dressed to kill as a “Maneater” (another 1980’s reference — you’re welcome Hall & Oates) and J. Lo was swinging from a pole in her performance a la “Hustlers”.

50 Blanche J Lo

As a youngster just getting ready to turn 21-years-old, I thought Blanche was old!

Maybe it’s because McClanahan was surrounded by a cast of actresses more than a decade older than her (Betty White, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty).  Or, was it was because they were called “The Golden Girls”?

The Golden Girls

I know that McClanahan was selling “sexy” as an older woman and J. Lo is selling “sexy” as vivacious! (Let me tell you, it works!)

J Lo Super Bowl

Yet, on the other hand, I never considered my mother, Dessie, old.

When she died at the age of 47, in 1990, I still considered her a “young” woman.  Yet, I saw Blanche as old!

Bizarre!

Dessie Birthday 1989

And, here’s where my youth and ignorance really showed, in the 1980s, even though I didn’t recognize it then.

When I started going out to “the bar” in Paducah, Kentucky, I’d see men that were probably 30-years-old or in their 30s and I thought “they’re OLD”!

Now, I’m that “OLD” person (and I’m not even talking 30s or 40s)!

These days, when I see and hear the gay youth (20s) saying the same thing, I think, “You’re so stupid!  Just wait, you’ll be on the receiving end of it before you know it!”

And, here’s something that totally confounds the age logic for me back then even more.

Anthony 1980s

When I was back home on break from college as a 19-year-old, I had a chance “encounter” one hot summer night with the neighborhood hottie that all the women lusted after!

He was 29 — ten years older than me!

Yet, it was so thrilling, I didn’t even think of the age difference.  Maybe because he wasn’t 30! 🙂

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So, just remember, age is just a number!

Also, keep in mind, that most of us in our 40s and 50s shouldn’t try emulating J. Lo!

J. Lo Super Bowl

This all reminds me of Arnold Becker (Harvey Fierstein) as he was getting into drag in “Torch Song Trilogy”!

I think my biggest problem is being young and beautiful. It’s my biggest problem because I’ve never been young and beautiful. Oh, I’ve been beautiful. And God knows I’ve been young, but never the twain have met.”

And, because I mentioned 1982’s “Maneater”, Daryl Hall & John Oates’ longest running #1 song at four weeks, here it is!

Anthony

My Favorite Movies of 2019

It’s hard to believe that the first two decades of the 2000s are behind us!

Now that it’s 2020, here are my favorite movies that I saw in 2019.  The list was held off because I was seeing one of the movies that made the list on New Year’s Eve!

Some of them were in the Oscar race last year since critics and those living in large metropolitan cities get to see movies before most of America!

Before I kick off my countdown, here’s my favorite movie I saw in 2018!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $41.9 MILLION

Just missing out on the countdown:  #40 “The Old Man and the Gun”; #39 “Beautiful Boy”; #38 “The Front Runner”; #37 “Hotel Artemis”; #36 “Gloria Bell”; #35 “Widows”; #34 “22 July”; #33 “At Eternity’s Gate”; #32 “The First Man”; and #31 “The Mule”.

At #30 “On The Basis of Sex”; #29 “Green Book”; #28 “Rocketman”; #27 “Boy Erased”; #26 “Us”; #25 “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”; #24 “Yesterday”; #23 “Mary Poppins Returns”; #22 “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” and #21 “If Beale Street Could Talk”.

Now, my favorite 20 movies I saw in 2019.

#20

“THE FAVOURITE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $96.0 MILLION

19

“A STAR IS BORN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $434.9 MILLION

#18

“A SIMPLE FAVOR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $97.6 MILLION

#17

“MIDSOMMAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $42.3 MILLION

#16

“MA”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $60.6 MILLION

15

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $118.5 MILLION

#14 Movie

“SECOND ACT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $72.3 MILLION

13

“BOMBSHELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.3 MILLION

12

“THE HATE U GIVE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $34.9 MILLION

11

“HOTEL MUMBAI”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $21.3 MILLION

Bonus

We’re halfway through the countdown of my favorite movies I saw in 2019.

As a bonus, here’s a look at one of my favorites movies of not only 1995, but one of my favorite movies of all time! I can’t believe it turned 25 this year!

(While the movie premiered in 1994 in its native Australia, it debuted in the United States in 1995!)

It also launched the careers of Toni Collette and Rachel Griffiths.

Muriel.gif

10

“BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $31.9 MILLION

#9

“ARCTIC”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $4.1 MILLION

8

“ALADDIN”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $1.05 BILLION!!!

#7 MOVIE

“A PRIVATE WAR”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $3.8 MILLION

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“HUSTLERS”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $157.1 MILLION

GREEN 5

“JUDY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $37.9 MILLION

#4 CD

“THE WIFE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $18.2 MILLION

3

“BEN IN BACK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $10.1 MILLION

Holiday Bonus

Before I reveal my two favorite movies I saw last year, I want to celebrate another one of my favorite movies that turned 25 in 2019!

I had just moved to Chicago in the summer of 1994 and I remember feeling so metropolitan seeing a LGBTQ movie on the big screen that fall!

Ironically, I featured another Australian movie earlier with “Muriel’s Wedding” and now it’s “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert”.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert.gif

Guy Pearce was so beautiful as Adam Whitely/Felicia Jollygoodfellow!

The movie won an Oscar for “Best Costume Design”!

#2 CD

“CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $12.4 MILLION

Before I reveal my favorite movie that I saw in 2019, the two least favorite movies I saw this year were:  “Vice” (great acting, cheesy movie about evil people) and “Good Boys” (just the worst — I laughed once)!

For “Good Boys”, watch the funnier trailer instead and don’t waste 90 minutes of your life!

Now back to the countdown!

1

“THE FAREWELL”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE:  $19.6 MILLION

Now, on to the new year!

2020

Oscar nominations will be announced on Monday, January 13, 2020.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 8, 2019

I still have a few blogs to share before the end of the year, but this is the last “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019.

If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

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

“LOCK HIM UP”

So, at Game 5 of the World Series in Washington D.C. last week, when Donald Trump was introduced, he was booed and “Lock Him Up” was chanted.

Donald Trump Lock Him Up.jpg

Less than a week later, he was booed at an Ultimate Fighting Championship event at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

Some say it was disrespectful.

I didn’t think that because it all goes back to what I was taught at a young age — you have to earn respect.

It’s no secret that 45 not only called Hillary Clinton “Crooked”, but he also went along with his cult, oops, his supporters, in saying “Lock Her Up”!

So then, why is it disrespectful now?

APOLOGIZE OR NOT?

A couple of weeks ago, Sevier County (Tennessee) Commissioner Warren Hurst unleashed a rant about 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and current South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg (without mentioning him by name).

Hurst Comment

GLAAD, an LGBTQ media monitoring group, asked for an apology.

GLAAD 1.JPG

Pete Buttigieg.jpg

Mayor Pete, a Navy veteran, responded, “Well, he was right about one thing.  He’s right that there is a gay man running for president. He doesn’t seem to be right about much else.”

If GLAAD gets an apology from Hurst, that’s great.  But, sadly, if he does apology, it’d be an empty apology, so why bother!

In the early months of my blog in 2012, I wrote about public figures saying hateful things and then apologizing.

I said, “I’m sure if someone watching the news when I’m doing the weather makes a derogatory comment to their buddy about me, and not my performance, I’d bet that he or she really means it.”

So, if you say it and that’s what you think, saying “sorry” isn’t going to change the hurt behind your ignorance!

You can read the full blog here:

Your Apology Really Doesn’t Mean That Much to Me

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/07/your-apology-really-doesnt-mean-that-much-to-me/

“MR. ROBOT”

The fourth and final season of the incredible FX series, “Mr. Robot” is airing and we’re down the last eight episodes.

I love the series and I’m so glad the final showdown between Elliot and fsociety and White Rose and the Dark Army is taking place at Christmas, my favorite time of the year!

And, I still cherish this Twitter response from the show’s genius creator, Sam Esmail, after the season three finale!

Mr Robot

“BOMBSHELL”

I absolutely love Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron is incredible!

Throw in John Lithgow as creepy Roger Ailes (played by Russell Crowe on Showtime’s “The Loudest Voice”) and you have a sure fire winner when “Bombshell” opens December 20, 2019.

It’s the story of the sexual harassment lawsuit that threatened to topple Ailes and Fox News!

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than seven weeks away, but next Tuesday night my dear friend, Katie, and I are heading to the movies to see “Last Christmas”, which opens this weekend.

It stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding and Michelle Yeoh, both from “Crazy Rich Asians”, alongside Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”).

The romantic comedy/drama is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“COMPOSED”

I just came across Rosanne Cash’s 2010 autobiography, “Composed”, and I have to say it was very enjoyable.

Rosanne Cash Composed.jpg

It was nice reading about her early years in California, the ups and down of her life, her parents’ life, and how she handled the deaths of her mother and her father and stepmother, Johnny and June Carter Cash.

I was especially touched by the eulogy she gave at June Carter Cash’s funeral.

It was fun hearing her honest thoughts about her music career and her albums.  Interestingly enough, my favorite album of Rosanne’s was her least favorite! 🙂

Recording “Rhythm and Romance” was a very long process — they started in April 1984 and it wasn’t mastered until April 1985!

Rosanne says, “I still cannot stand to listen to ‘Rhythm and Romance’, even though I think that some of its songs — “Second to No One” and “Halfway House” especially – are among my best to date.”

As Rosanne started charting on the country music charts, I still listened to country.  But, I was moving quickly away from the genre for pop music and dance.

And, because of the pop sound, I admit that “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me”, a song that hit #1 and won Rosanne her first Grammy Award, is still my favorite.

Coming in a close second is “Seven Year Ache”.  In 1981, Rosanne reached the top of the country music charts with that song and it became her only crossover hit.  It hit #22 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I still love hearing the lines, “The boys say, ‘when is he gonna give us some room’ / The girls say, ‘God I hope he comes back soon'”! 

Classic!

Rosanne scored 22 country hits with 16 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Eleven went all the way to #1!

Thank you for the music and the wonderful book, “Composed”!   And, Rosanne, thank you for your activism and not straying away from being political!

I’M (STILL) WITH HER

It’s so hard to think that the 2016 presidential election was ONLY three years ago today!  It seems like an eternity!

Hillary AP

And, it makes me happy, regardless of the outcome, that Rosanne Cash and I were on the same team! 🙂

Rosanne Hillary Clinton.JPG

SCREAMING WOMAN & CAT MEMES

Here’s proof that I don’t always write and think about heavy topics!

For some reason, just the image of the “woman yelling at cat” cracks me up.  And, it’s usually funnier once it’s a meme!

Some are very naughty.  But, this one, by far, is my favorite!

Cat Woman

If you’re not familiar with this (where have you been?), it’s a screenshot of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast members Taylor Armstrong and Kyle Richards from 2011 next to a white cat enjoying a fancy meal.

NEW COCA-COLA FLAVORS!

Just in time for the holidays, Coca-Cola is rolling out two limited edition flavors:  Cinnamon Coca-Cola and Winter Spiced Cranberry Sprite.

Cinnamon Coke Winter Spiced Sprite

These will be available through New Year’s Day or while supplies last!

Would you try it?

“THE HATE U GIVE”

I finally got around to seeing this 2018 movie about a young lady witnessing the shooting of her unarmed best friend, who’s black, by a white police officer.

Amandla Stenberg is amazing as 16-year-old Starr Carter, who lives in a crime-ridden, poor area, but attends a mostly white private prep school.

She’s at a party where a fight breaks out and shots are fired.  People quickly leave before police arrive.  Starr is given a ride home from her childhood friend, Khalil.

They pull over away from the party and talk about their childhood, Harry Potter, his sick grandmother, and the path he’s taken in life.  As they pull back onto the street, they’re stopped by a white police officer.

Khalil is shot dead in front of her.

Now, Starr has to bottle up her feelings about the tragedy and hide her identity at her private school — even as she decides to go public in a television interview about the incident with police.

My favorite scene was between Starr and her uncle, a black policeman (Common).

Ironically, this same topic (white police officers pulling over an unarmed black family) was highlighted recently on Fox’s “9-1-1”.

GRADE:  B+

“YESTERDAY”

This is a cute musical about struggling musician Jack Malik who wakes up after being injured in an accident caused by a global blackout.  He also learns that it’s now a world where no one has heard of The Beatles!

As he tries to remember all the Beatles lyrics and songs to recreate them, he becomes an international superstar.  He’s right up there with Ed Sheeran, who stars in the movie.

Himesh Patel is great as Malik in this Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) directed movie!

GRADE:  B

“THE END OF THE F***ING WORLD” 

Believe it or not, this is not about “that man”! 🙂

Trump

The second season of the critically acclaimed British dark comedy series, “The End of the F***ing World” premiered on Netflix earlier this week.

If you didn’t see the first season, here’s what I said about it in August 2018, “If you’re looking for something short and funny to binge watch, check out this Netflix series.

17-year-old James thinks he’s a psychopath and he decides he’s going to kill a classmate, Alyssa, to see if he is.

There were many classic lines in the series, but this one from Alyssa is my favorite:  ‘I sometimes wonder if I should just become an alcoholic. It means you’ve always got something to do.’

Here’s the trailer for the first season.

GRADE:  B

“STAND BY YOUR MAN”

I just read Tammy Wynette’s 1979 autobiography in an original paperback that was discolored and falling apart.

Tammy Wynette.JPG

What an interesting life she lead!

The book ended in the late-1970s after the height of her popularity, on her fifth and final husband, and many hospital stays — and she was on in her 30s!

If you’re not a country music fan, you probably don’t know that she had 44 solo hits on the Billboard Country charts with 31 of them reaching the Top Ten.  Seventeen topped the chart!

And, with former husband George Jones, she scored 13 more hits with eight of them making the Top Ten and three reaching #1.

However, she also hit #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #2 on the Billboard Dance chart in 1991 with the British duo, the KLF on “Justified and Ancient”.

“REACHING FOR GLORY:  LYNDON JOHNSON’S SECRET WHITE HOUSE TAPES, 1964-1965”

This 2001 book by Michael Beschloss actually starts in December 1963 with a Prologue called “Jackie, I Love You”.

It’s a series of privately recorded telephone conversations between President Johnson (by Johnson) and Jacqueline Kennedy, the widow of his predecessor John F. Kennedy.

Lyndon Johnson Beschloss.JPG

The book mostly covered Johnson’s 1964 campaign against Republican Barry Goldwater of Arizona and his first two years in office (1964 and 1965).

While there were many interesting conversations, the ones about a scandal weeks before the 1964 presidential election intrigued me the most.

Walter Jenkins, Special Assistant to the President, was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct with another man (oral sex) in a public restroom in Washington, D.C. just weeks before the 1964 election.

Back then, it was thought that gays were a security risk knowing highly sensitive government information. Incorrectly, it was believed they were more likely to be blackmailed and spill the U.S. government’s secrets!

Hoover Johnson.jpg

What I found humorous is a chat between President Johnson and closet case FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.

Johnson:  “They raised the question of the way he combed his hair…”

Hoover:  “It’s just… that his mannerisms… were suspicious.”

And, Johnson, knowing the rumors of Hoover being a “secret homosexual”, wins with this line to Hoover:  “I guess you are going to have to teach me something about this stuff… I swear I can’t recognize them.  I don’t know anything about them.”

To which Hoover replies:  “It’s that you just can’t tell sometimes.”

I guess “gaydar” wasn’t perfected back in the 1960s!

Another interesting tidbit:  Analyzing the results of his landslide victory in 1964, but losing five states in the South because of his support for the Civil Rights legislation, Johnson said in a conversation, “Louisiana’s a bunch of crooks, and Mississippi’s too ignorant to know any better, and Alabama’s the same way.  But Georgia knows better.”

X-RATED LBJ

Another story this book touches on is rather infamous in President Johnson’s circle.

Lyndon Johnson.jpg

Arthur Goldberg, former U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice and Ambassador to the United Nations, told of the time that someone asked the President why America was in Vietnam, Johnson “unzipped his fly, drew out his substantial organ, and declared, ‘This is why!'”

Could you just imagine????????

A FINAL JOHNSON THOUGHT

Johnson Johnson.JPG

It’s very interesting that two vice presidents named Johnson — Lyndon and Andrew — became President of the United States after their Commander in Chiefs, Abraham Lincoln in 1865 and John F. Kennedy in 1963, were assassinated!

Lincoln Kennedy.JPG

And, civil rights for blacks were a major part of Lincoln, Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s presidencies about a century apart with the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), the Civil Rights Act (1964), and the Voting Rights Act (1965)!

“ROCKETMAN”

The acting in “Rocketman” was incredible.  Taron Egerton was amazing as Elton John and I love Elton’s music, but I thought this movie was a mess!

Unlike the far more superior “Bohemian Rhapsody”, this movie seems very thrown together.

But, people went to see it.  The $40 million movie brought in $193.4 million at the box office!

GRADE: C+

“9 to 5”

It’s hard to believe that it took almost forty years, but I finally watched the comedy classic, “9 to 5”.

Starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton, the December 1980 movie brought in $103.3 million on a $10 million budget.

Parton and Fonda both confirmed in 2018 that a sequel featuring them (and Tomlin) was in the works.

By the way, Dolly Parton’s #1 Billboard Hot 100 and Country single was nominated for a Best Song Oscar and she won two Grammy awards!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 18, 2019

While I’ll still post a few new blogs before the end of the year, this is the next to last the “Random Friday Thoughts” of 2019!

As always, if you disagree with me, do it diplomatically and have a great weekend!

HILLARY CLINTON’S NEXT ROLE

While I’d love for Hillary Clinton to make an “eleventh hour” entry into 2020 Democratic race for president, I don’t think that’ll happen.

STILL. HOPING.

Still

Before you even say it, Ronald Reagan ran for president three times before winning in 1980!

However, I think I’ve already figured out her next role in the history of U.S. politics.

In early 2021 when the Democratic 46th president * takes office, I think Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down from the bench and Hillary will become the new Supreme Court Justice!

* Oh, a technically — it might the 47th president of the U.S. if 45 is impeached or forced to resign and that despicable Mike Pence becomes #46 for a few months!

Or, maybe Hillary could be Vice President and then ascend to Commander in Chief!

“MADAM SECRETARY” “MADAM PRESIDENT”

Spoiler Alert:  As the sixth and final season of the CBS hit, “Madam Secretary” kicked off earlier this month, it’s now “Madam President (sort of)”!

Capture.JPG

The show has never been subtle that Secretary of State (now president) Elizabeth McCord (Tea Leoni) is based heavily on real life Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Capture.JPG

The final season premiere was a very powerful and pointed episode.  It made no effort to mask “real life” in America today with these lines about Elizabeth’s opponent:

“…his disgusting attacks on immigrants, the media.  He’s not fit to be president.”

“He won the nomination, but that doesn’t mean honorable people should get behind him and validate his worst impulses.”

“His politics WILL divide the country even further!”

ONE BIG DEVIATION FROM REAL LIFE

President McCord realizes near 100 days into her presidency that Iran COLLUDED to release information on her competitor, which may have led to her winning the election!

This would make her an “illegitimate president”!

WHERE DO THEY COME UP WITH THESE STORY IDEAS???? 

Trump Putin

However, unlike Donald Trump, President McCord tries to find out how this happened and not make a love nest with a Vladmir Putin!

FINAL THOUGHT ON “THAT MAN”

Here’s a tweet that I responded to when I read his tweet about his “great and unmatched wisdom”!

DT wisdom

CLUTCH YOUR PEARLS OVER ELLEN DeGENERES & PRESIDENT BUSH!

Weeks later, people are still talking about comedian/talk show host Ellen DeGeneres sitting with former President George W. Bush at a Dallas Cowboys football game.

Ellen Bush

Many in the LGBTQ community blasted her for being friends with such a devil.  A couple of days after the game, I tweeted Ellen:

Ellen.JPG

Elton John is now defending her.

While I agreed with a few things that George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

One of the things I’m most proud of came early in his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Laura Bush

By the way, I love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d enjoy meeting President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

“ON BECOMING A GOD IN CENTRAL FLORIDA”

This quirky ten-episode Showtime series wraps up its first season this weekend.

It stars Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Kirsten Dunst as Krystal Stubbs, a struggling minimum-wage-earning water park employee near Orlando, Florida.

She schemes her way up the ranks of Founders American Merchandise (FAM), a cultish, flag waving, multi-billion dollar organization that made her family lose all of its money.  It also indirectly caused her husband’s death (a very interesting one at that)!

22-year-old Canadian actor Theodore Pelleren co-stars as pyramid scheme victim Cody Bonar.  He’s incredible and I’m calling it now — he’ll get an Emmy nomination in 2020!

In late-September, “On Becoming a God in Central Florida” was renewed for a second season!

As much as I enjoyed season one, I don’t think I’ll return for season two!

GRADE:  B

“OUR BOYS”

I was really intrigued with the gut-wrenching HBO Israeli series, “Our Boys”, since I have an indirect connection to it.

The events it dramatizes were happening in the months leading up to my trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, in October 2014, to celebrate my 50th birthday.

Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea

Tensions were still running rather high on my visit and we were advised not to visit Jerusalem for safety reasons.

This series focuses on the murder investigation of Arab teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burnt alive in retaliation for the kidnapping and murder of three Jewish teenagers by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas.

While the entire series is compelling, “Chapter 7: Judging by its End” is so tense and heartbreaking.

The series features standout performances from Shlomi Elkabetz (Simon), Adam Gabay (Avishay), Jony Arbid (Hussein, Mohammed’s father) and Ruba Blal-Asfour (Suha, Mohammed’s mother).

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a boycott of the series because it portrays Israelis in a bad light.   Um, okay!!!!!!

GRADE:  A-

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

I can’t wait until November 17th for the return of the critically acclaimed Netflix series, “The Crown”!

Olivia Colman succeeds Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II and Tobias Menzies will play Prince Philip, replacing Matt Smith.

The third season covers the years 1964-1976, including Harold Wilson’s terms as prime minister until 1976.

Sexy Josh O’Connor (“God’s Own Country”) will play Prince Charles.

This trailer is so clever in how it prepares us for the transition from a younger Queen Elizabeth in seasons one and two to a more mature Queen (Oscar winner Colman in seasons three and four)!

The fourth season will include Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”) as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and it’ll introduce Lady Diana Spencer.

“GOD’S OWN COUNTRY”

If you want to get a taste of O’Connor before the new season of “The Crown” arrives, check out “God’s Own Country” on Netflix.  It was my 8th favorite movie of 2018.

Along with O’Connor, this stunning English drama stars Romanian actor Alec Secareanu.

O’Connor plays Johnny, a young man living with his father and grandmother on the family farm in northern England.  Johnny now has more responsibility after his father’s stroke.

He leads a lonely existence and drowns his sorrows in alcohol and cheap, meaningless sex.

The family hires Gheorghe, a Romanian migrant worker, for the upcoming lambing season and sparks begin to fly between the two young men.

But, can Johnny admit his feelings for Gheorghe and come out to his family that may or may not be accepting?

O’Connor won the British Independent Film Award for Best Actor beating out his co-star for the honor.

GRADE: B+

“PURE GOLDWATER”

This book by John Dean and Barry Goldwater, Jr. covers the Arizona Senator’s life and his 1964 Republican Presidential campaign.  He lost to President Lyndon Johnson.

Pure Goldwater

While Goldwater was very conservative, in the 1980s when he was in his 80s, he turned against the close-minded values of the Republican party and was supportive of his gay grandson, Ty Ross.

Ty Ross 1

Ross, a former Zoli model turned interior decorator, says this about his grandfather, he “knew I was gay since I was a teen. He was fine with it, and it was never an issue. He wasn’t terribly religious. It was all kind of a non-issue in the family.  In the early 1990s, I went to go protest in support of a local ordinance to include sexual orientation and gender identity into the city charter, and there was this raucous debate.  My grandfather happened to be at our house when I got back. ‘I heard you went downtown. Good job, standing up for what you believe in.'”

Ty Ross 2

Ross adds, “He was aware I was in POZ. I was never dealt any shame about it or met with adulation. It was neither, which was good for me because I didn’t have to feel any guilt. We never really talked about me being HIV positive. Without a doubt, he knew I was positive and was supportive of me more in that I was involving myself in standing up for gay rights.”

Additionally, in June 1993, after consulting with military experts, Goldwater realized that gays posed no security risk and declared that the military should lift its ban on gays.

He was quoted as saying, “you don’t need to be ‘straight’ to fight and die for your country; you just need to shoot straight.”

Two months later, he told the LGBTQ magazine, “The Advocate” that people being worked up over gays in the military was “pointless” and “stupid”.  He added that the GOP’s stance on gays was “dumb”.

“GOLDWATER GIRL”

As a 17-year-old in Chicago, you’ll never guess who was a “Goldwater Girl”, campaigning for the Republican in the 1964 presidential election!

Hillary Clinton Goldwater

Appearing on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” in November 1993, Goldwater told the story of Hillary campaigning for him, “I remember her going around in a gingham dress trying to get people to vote for me.  Trouble is, she didn’t get around to enough of them.”

In October 1996, less than two years before Goldwater died, Hillary made a surprise visit to Goldwater at his Paradise Valley home!

Goldwater Hillary

And, if you didn’t know, Hillary was raised in a very conservative household in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge.

I’m just glad Hillary was much quicker to get away from the Republican party than Goldwater. 🙂

MY PICK HIT IS CATCHING ON!

Whitney Houston is back on Top 40 radio!

“Higher Love” with Kygo is at #27 on Mediabase today!

The reworked song is from the Japanese version of Houston’s third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The video is so sexy and cute and the song will sound familiar — it’s a remake of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, which is one of my all-time favorite songs!

NEW CHRISTMAS STAMPS

The new holiday offering from the United States Postal Service this year is artsy, but I’ll be looking for an alternative for my Christmas cards this year.

Wreaths

I may go with the same ones I used last year!

Diwali.jpg

As I stated in my blog last November, “I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights… It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.  We could really use that in the world these days!!!!!!!!”

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  This year, it’ll be on Sunday, October 27th in the U.S.

“CHRISTMAS IN THE CITY”

Lea Michele (“Glee”) will be releasing her first holiday album, “Christmas in the City” on October 25th.

Lea Michele Christmas

It’ll feature duets with two very sexy men!

Jonathan Groff (“Glee” and “Mindhunter”) joins her on “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” and Darren Criss (“Glee” and “American Crime Story:  The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) sings “White Christmas” with Lea.

Broadway star Cynthia Erivo, who was amazing in “Bad Times at the El Royale” and will star in the upcoming “Harriet”, joins Lea on “Angels We Have Heard on High”.

Other classics included on the album will be “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree”, “O Holy Night”, “Silent Night”, “Silver Bells” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year”.

“Do You Want to Build a Snowman” from “Frozen” is also featured.  (By the way, Groff is also the voice of Kristoff in the “Frozen” movie franchise!)

“ALL TOO HUMAN”

I also read George Stephanopoulos’ 1999 book subtitled “A Political Education” this fall.

All Too Human George Stephanopoulous

It covered the years 1992, when he worked to get Bill Clinton elected president, through 1996, when he resigned from being Clinton’s Senior Advisor shortly after Clinton was re-elected in November 1996.

Stephanopoulos talked openly about his abrasive relationship with Hillary Clinton and Vice President Al Gore.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony