Posts Tagged ‘Madonna’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 20, 2017

I’m done celebrating my birthday and my sister is now back to real life in Midwest.  It was a nice visit.  Now, we just need to plan our next get together!

Random Thoughts

I hope this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” comes across a little happier.  Last week, I had some things I needed to get off my chest.  If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here’s that link again.  It’ll open in a new window. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/random-friday-thoughts-october-13-2017/

BACK TO REALITY

I had my first company in Panama City, Florida, over the past week with my sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend, Gerald, visiting.

It was great going out to eat (Granny Cantrell’s country cooking was amazing and Captain D’s fish was delicious and not as greasy as I remembered back in Kentucky), hanging out and talking, and hitting Panama City Beach for the first time!

ATG

Tammy got back to the Midwest just in time.  Her twin grandsons arrived a week early and were born Thursday morning!

GIRLFRIEND, THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM!

Tutti Frutti Little Richard…

LR 2

Oops, let me start over.

“Tutti Frutti” singer Little Richard in the 1980s told “Penthouse”, “I’ve been gay all my life and I know God is a God of love, not of hate.”

Well, I guess he “prayed the gay away” (note the quotation marks that screams of sarcasm).

LR 1

The 84-year-old now tells a Christian broadcasting show that homosexuality is “unnatural”.

Little Richard states, “When I first come in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself.  He added, “And, anybody that comes in show business they going say you’re gay… God made men, men and women, women, you know.”

Yeah, we know!

Hmmmm

WINTER FORECAST

As a meteorologist in the Midwest, I always had people asking me, “what’s this winter going to be like?”  It was one of my least favorite questions.

I don’t believe in long-term forecasting and I think the forecasts from the “almanacs”, Accuweather, the Weather Channel, etc. are fun to look at it.  But, I don’t put any faith in them.

For example, look at the highlights here from Accuweather for this winter.

AccuWeather Winter

Unless this is a very bizarre winter, “Arctic Cold Blasts” in the Dakotas and the Midwest, “Snow, Ice” in the Great Lakes and the Northeast, “Warm, Dry” in the Southwest, “Rain” in the Southeast, and “Warm At Times” in Florida?

Seriously?  With those generalities, I can tell you now that Accuweather will be 100% accurate and you don’t need a meteorologist to forecast that for you.

Next!

HAMILTON TAKES ON #45 OVER PUERTO RICO

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the brains behind the successful “Hamilton” doesn’t like #45’s handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico.  Well, he’s not alone.

While Miranda was born in upper Manhattan, he is of Puerto Rican descent.

I’m sure by now, you’ve heard about this bold tweet.

Lin DT

He composed a new charity recording for Puerto Rico with some of the biggest stars in Latin music including Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan.

“Almost Like Praying” sold 111,000 digital downloads in its first week and debuted at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At this time, three million people (about 80%) still have no electricity and a million are without running water in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria hit a month ago!

OH, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY! 🙂

In the October 20/27 double issue’s “What to Watch” section, this is what it said of the new episode of “Scandal”:

“POTUS Mellie preps for the nuclear summit.  Any joke we make would hit too close to home, assuming there is a home by the time you’re reading this.”

T NK

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”/”THE WALKING DEAD”

I know I swore off “The Walking Dead” after the dismal seventh season, but I’ve decided to give it a few episodes in season 8 before I abandon it.

As for its spin off, “Fear The Walking Dead”, the third season just wrapped up a great installment.

If you gave it up on after the slow-burning first season or the hit and miss second season, give it another try.  The third season was strong and the second half of the season was incredible.

FTWD Christmas

And, I finally got a “Dead” Christmas and it was twisted and insane!

ANTICIPATION FOR “THE SNOWMAN” MELTED AWAY

Ever since I read Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” and it was announced that my future ex-boyfriend Michael Fassbender would star in the movie, I was very excited.

the-snowman

Last week, Norwegian reviews started coming in and they were not encouraging.  American movie critics are echoing those sentiments.

snowman

My blizzard of anticipation melted away faster than several feet on Rocky Mountain snow with a Chinook wind!

I’ll now wait for “The Snowman” on DVD! 😦

“REBEL HEART TOUR DVD”

This new concert DVD is from Madonna’s last international tour supporting her 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart”.

I saw the show in October 2015 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, my fourth Madonna concert.  (I saw the “Confessions Tour” (2006) and the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” (2008) in Chicago and “The MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas (2012).

After the angry, dark, and fantastic “The MDNA Tour”, this one was fun and personable.  However, Madonna still delivered a strong message, including this opening sequence before she opens the show with “Iconic”.

“FIVE FOOT TWO”

This new Netflix series chronicles Lady Gaga’s making of her latest album, “Joanne”.

It also shows us the behind the scenes pain (fibromyalgia) that Lady Gaga experienced leading to the postponement of the European leg of the “Joanne Tour”.

What I liked about the show was her honesty about the beef Madonna has with her and calling Gaga “reductive”.

And, then there was this zinger that “Entertainment Weekly” featured in its soundbite of the week segment. 🙂

Gaga Madonna EW

“Bad Romance” is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs and this stripped down live version is incredible.

Here’s the original and its amazing video.

In the documentary, Gaga is distraught over the “Joanne” album.  For her, it’s very personal and she’s afraid the change in musical style for the collection would not be something her fans would embrace.

Sadly, that turned out to be the case.  It was her least successful album in terms of album sales and radio airplay.

And, as much as I love Lady Gaga, I was part of that resistance.  “Joanne” was the first Lady Gaga album I didn’t buy and after seeing “Five Foot Two”, I still didn’t want the album.  But, I do love “A Million Reasons” and “The Cure”.

GRADE:  B

“STRANGER THINGS”

Now that the second season of the Netflix hit series is set to premiere next Friday (October 27), I need to binge watch the award winning and critically acclaimed smash.

I know many of you were blown away by the series last summer, so I don’t want to spoil things for newbies like me by showing the season 2 trailer.

I learned enough spoilers by reading the “Entertainment Weekly” article on the show’s return.

Psyche!

For those that have already seen the first season, here’s the second season trailer.  FYI, I didn’t watch it. 🙂

2017 CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Christmas is now just about two months away and it’s time to start addressing my cards. 🙂

Here are the new stamps this season.

Stamps 1

Stamps 2

Which ones would you choose?

PICK HIT

EDM (electronic dance music) producer and DJ Marshmello, who’s identity is unknown (but may be American DJ Christian Comstock), has scored seven hits in the U.S. on the Billboard Dance charts since 2015.

Two have reached the Top Ten.  “Alone” reached #9 in 2016 and his current hit featuring Khalid, “Silence” is currently climbing the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.  It’s also #45 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart.

“Silence” already topped the Australian Dance chart and hit the Top 5 in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and on the UK Dance chart.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — October 13, 2017

Another weekend is upon us and I hope it’s a great one for you.

As always, I appreciate you taking the time to check out my thoughts.  Please feel free to share yours, too.  If you disagree with me, do it diplomatically!

WHAT A CLOWN!

It seems that Kellyanne Conway is still around and still Kellyanne.

In the wake of all of the inappropriate sexual allegations coming out against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, I’d call him a pig, but I don’t want to insult the swine community!

Earlier this week, Conway lashed out on Twitter about Hillary Clinton’s slow response on condemning Weinstein, who donated to many Democratic candidates.

Kellyanne

I thought about it and it infuriated me even more, so I decided to reach out to her.

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

Today, I’m starting and ending my blog with it.  We need it!

I woke up a couple of weeks ago to this series of tweets from #45.  I pondered the callousness of the tweets.

DT

Seriously? Puerto Ricans are natural-born citizens of the United States!

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

CarmenThis same mayor that he’s criticizing has been wading through floodwaters helping her people while some “leaders” golf the weekends away.

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of #45, but there comes a time when little boys need to grow up or shut up!

This saddens me as much as much as it angers me!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

While being bashed by #45, Carmen Yulin Cruz, San Juan’s mayor, was thinking of Las Vegas and the victims of the massacre there, while working to get aid from the U.S. government for her people.

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

It’s been almost two weeks since a lone, white terrorist gunned down 58 people in a shooting spree at a country music concert outside Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas that left more than 500 others injured.

LV

While police sort through the facts of the case to learn “why”, the debate quickly turned to gun control.  Sadly, this is a long-standing debate that falls on deaf ears after every mass shooting in America.

Geez, we have more than any other country in the world, yet we have a gridlocked political system that will not work to find a solution to make both side happy. But, I’m not even getting into that debate in this blog.

I love Vegas and I’m going there in December.  While there, I’ll drop money at the casinos, I’ll eat in the restaurants, and I’ll tip the cocktail and food servers well.

My biggest problem in the hours following this massacre was with the thing that was needed the most.  Although a “Go Fund Me” page was set up and quickly raised several million dollars for the victims’ medical costs, I didn’t donate.  Why?  Because blood was needed more than money as the victims were rushed to the hospitals.

Blood

I’m not allowed to give blood because I’m a gay or bisexual man that’s had sex with another man in the past year.   This excludes me from donating, yet it’s okay for a man or woman that hasn’t had same-sex relations to donate.  Yet, they may have slept with half of the free world (and even without protection), but it’s okay for them to donate.

I understood the hysteria in the 1980s and early 1990s when so much was unknown about HIV and AIDS, but three decades later?

Every blood donation is so thoroughly screened and tested before it enters the blood bank and HIV tests can be done in 15 minutes these days!

I have beautiful veins and in the late-1980s, I donated blood every chance I got and I’m regularly tested for HIV.

So, when there’s a national crisis and the American Red Cross is begging for blood donations, that’s where I draw the line.  I’m emphatically uncompassionate to its pleas!

Harsh?  No, it’s a reality and it’s one for which I didn’t set the rules!  To the Food and Drug Administration, do your job and stop discriminating!

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

The new season of one of my favorite shows, ABC’s “How To Get Away With Murder” is incredible.

After just two episodes (I haven’t watched the newest episode), I love the vibe of the season 4.

Viola Davis is incredible (as always) as the very mean Annalise Keating, who’s turned over a new leaf and so far, so good.

I actually cried during the season premiere and I applauded Annalise in first case after returning to practicing law.

Viola

She’s defending an older black woman, who has spent most of her life in and out of jail and prison.

The woman was raped as a young girl and arrested for prostitution at 13-year-old.  She was released back to the streets, while white girls arrested that year for the same crime was put in a home for rehabilitation and a chance to turn their lives around.

Annalise argues, “Because that’s what we do to black people, women, and gay people. We turn a blind eye and we tell them their lives don’t matter, but they do matter!”

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

I’ve shared many pictures of the cute ducks and the babies in my complex since I moved to Panama City, Florida, in early May.

Ducks

And, I’ve also talked about the turtles feasting on unfortunate ducks.  I know, it’s the “circle of life”.

The other day, I was walking by the pond by my apartment and I noticed a turtle upside down in the shallow water with its head submerged underwater.

I guess it had fallen into the water upside down!  I didn’t know how long it had been there.  So, I had three options: let it drown, let it try to flip itself over (which seemed impossible), or flip it over myself.

Well, being the “tree hugger” and a softie, I helped it and it swam away.

Turtle 1

I hope it remembers that and it doesn’t feast on a baby duck one day!

“THE SNOWMAN”

I’ve only been to the theaters once this year.  Back in the spring, I saw “Beauty and the Beast”.

Next weekend, I’m going to see my future ex-boyfriend, Michael Fassbender, in “The Snowman”.

This movie is based on the superb Norwegian crime thriller by Jo Nesbo.

I haven’t been to a movie alone since 1996 in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, when I went to see “101 Dalmatians”!

PREMATURE BABIES

In 2010, the survival rate of a baby born under 3.3 pounds was at 78%.  There was a lot of improvement in those odds since the 1980s.  (What a great decade — except for AIDS and Ronald Reagan!)

Focus Anthony!  The point I want to make is that just five decades earlier, in 1960, the survival rate for a baby that size was only 28%.Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964I was one of those babies and I spent the first six weeks of my life in the Mayfield Hospital and look at me now!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Yes, I’m a survivor and it’s my birthday!  I’m celebrating it with my sister Tammy and her boyfriend Gerald, who are visiting me in Panama City.

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

This was my birthday in 2011, my last one with my best friend, Miss ABBA.  Yes, it warm enough in the Quad Cities to be out in a tank top playing ball. 🙂

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

Wait, Dessie didn’t know then that I prefer chocolate cake?  (Actually, I haven’t met too many desserts I didn’t like.  Why can’t people be like desserts for me?) 🙂

AP 1st Birthday

My most exciting birthday ever was my 50th in Paris, France!

It started with a Seine River dinner cruise, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and then sipping champagne stage-side at the Moulin Rogue (sans Satine!)  After that, it was off to my dream destination, Tel Aviv, Israel!

Also, I can’t forget celebrating in Las Vegas in 2012 with Madonna!

Let’s hope in the next 50 years I have other birthdays to rival those.

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

It’s the new Christmas album from Reba McEntire, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

As I shared with you in an August blog, Reba released a version of this album through Cracker Barrel, a chain restaurant with a history of homophobic and racist practices.

It was also the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

This re-issue features new versions and new songs with Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

Freddie Highmore was incredible as Norman Bates on A& E’s “Bates Motel”, so I was excited to check out his new ABC series, “The Good Doctor”.

Highmore is very convincing as Dr. Shaun Murphy, who is a surgeon with autism and savant syndrome.  The show follows the struggles he faces in the high pressure world of San Jose St. Bonaventure Hospital.

While some of the show comes across as far-fetched to me, I’m still with it after three episodes.

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

This movie is based on the true story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman who was diagnosed with cervical cancer in the 1950s.

Without her knowledge, doctors used her cancer cells, known as HeLa, to advance not only cancer research, but research for many different other diseases, too.

Oprah Winfrey is great as Debra Lacks, Henrietta’s daughter, who worked with a Rebecca Skloot, a writer who was researching and writing a book about her mother.

The HBO movie was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

20-year-old Norwegian record producer and DJ Alan Walker was only 17 when he produced a version of a song called “Fade” without vocals.

A new version, “Faded”, featuring Norwegian singer Iselin Solheim, hit #1 in 17 countries and reached the Top Ten in, at least, ten more countries (add another one if you count the Billboard Dance Club Songs in the U.S., where it went to #4.)

“Faded” was my favorite song of 2016 and it’s been viewed more than 1.3 billion times (that’s billions with a “B”) on YouTube!

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Meeting My Biggest Inspiration in Life

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

Dessie Birthday 1989

John Henry

Sadly, their lives were cut short.  I had my mother for 26 years and my grandfather for only 13 years.  But, they still have a strong impact on my life decades later.

In life, we look up to others for guidance or inspiration.  It can be friends and family, politicians, entertainment stars, and so on.

JIMMY & ROSALYNN CARTER

This past weekend, I took advantage of living in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill a life-long dream of meeting the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life.

Plains

Plains, Georgia, is about 180 miles away (3.5 hours).  I got up very early Sunday and drove to Marantha Baptist Church for a Sunday school lesson from President Jimmy Carter.

R JC AP

After his lesson and the Sunday service from Pastor Brandon Patterson, I got to meet the man and woman that I helped put in the White House in the 1976 presidential election.

As an 11-year-old boy, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother Helen back in Mayfield, Kentucky.  She let me choose her candidate and, of course, it was Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

CarterPres

My vote four years later didn’t keep them in Washington D.C. and they headed back to Plains.

It’s incredible how much the couple has done in the 36 years since leaving the White House — building homes for Habitat for Humanity, ensuring fair elections across the world, bringing medication to poor countries and eradicating Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raising awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, thank you for inspiring me for more than 40 years and Happy 71st Anniversary again!

I’ve written about President Carter many times, but this is my favorite.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/03/08/forget-marilyn-i-want-my-week-with-jimmy/

REBA McENTIRE

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

Reba 45s

However, I discovered her at Sidetracks in Chicago on country night in 1990.  That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

Regardless of what was happening in my life, good or bad, when Reba released a new album, there were songs that I feel she recorded just for me.

Reba Anthony 2005

I’ve now seen Reba in concert thirteen (13) times and I got to meet her in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2005.

Starting with the November election and, especially, this year, I’ve gone through many changes and not for the better.

So, of course, Reba comes through for me with her 2017 release, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

HILLARY CLINTON

I’ve admired Hillary Clinton since she became the First Lady of the United States in January 1993.

There is no politician that hasn’t been raked over the coals in their career.  And, now with 24-hour news channels and less objectivity in their reporting for higher ratings, it’s easy to vilify people, especially if it’s a strong woman.

If you supported another candidate in the last election, you know what I’m talking about. They were beat up in that divisive, long campaign, too.

Hillary AP

I went to hear Hillary speak on a cold winter’s day in Davenport, Iowa, in January 2016.

When she finished, I politely edged my way through the crowd toward the roped off area in front of the stage.  I lucked out and we talked a little –we exchanged hellos and I wished her success.

You know how much I love Christmas and I was so looking forward to visiting the beautifully decorated Clinton White House this holiday season…

MADONNA

MadonnaCone

My fourth idol is the only one that I haven’t met, and after seeing her in concert four times, that meeting may be elusive.

I’ve been a huge Madonna fan since before her first album came out in the summer of 1983, as her club hit, “Everybody” was racing up the dance charts before Top 40 radio discovered her with “Holiday”.

Madonna 1983 Album

I admire her fight to succeed, her fight for equality, her love of the LGBT community, and for not being afraid to stand her ground on issues that go against the grain.

Sadly, I have two more idols that are no longer with us.

JESSICA SAVITCH

The first is Jessica Savitch, the “Golden Girl” of NBC News.  She inspired me to go into television news.

Jessica-Savitch

I wrote about her in an October 2012 blog on the anniversary of her drowning death.  (The link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/remembering-the-woman-that-inspired-me-to-go-into-television/

HARVEY MILK

The other idol that I’ll never meet is Harvey Milk.

His strength and determination gives me the drive to fight for equality — for my LGBT community and for everyone that’s not getting a fair shake in life.

Milk1

Here’s my blog about him. (It, too, will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/11-3-1977-harvey-milk/

As you can see, my all-time idol and inspiration, President Jimmy Carter and Harvey Milk met.

Harvey Milk meets Jimmy Carter, May 1976

President Carter and Ms. Rosalynn, Reba, Hillary, and Madonna, thank you for the inspiration.

Mom, Granddaddy, Jessica, and Harvey, I hope you’re having a great time up there looking down on us as we try to inspire others.

Anthony

 

 

 

What I’ll Miss About the Quad Cities

Quad Cities, it’s been fun!

After 11.5 years, I left bright and early this morning to start my 1,000-mile journey to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

PC

I’m stopping along the way in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to have lunch with one of my best friends, Steve, at one of my favorite restaurants, Patti’s 1880’s Settlement!

If you’ve never heard of it and you’re traveling through Land Between The Lakes in western Kentucky, you have to stop there!

IMG_4180

IMG_4186

On Thursday, I talked about my local television career.  Today, it’s all about how the Quad Cities enriched my life and, hopefully, made me a better person.

First off, social media made me more accessible to my friends.  It also made loyal viewers more connected to me and my life.

That’s definitely an advantage (and to some degree, with some, a disadvantage).  The friendships I’ve fostered over the years definitely outweighed the negative people that suck. 🙂

SETTLING INTO THE QUAD CITIES

It’s hard to believe that Miss ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted the weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at the ABC affiliate.  After seven years there, I moved to WHBF for a little over four years.

When ABBA and I moved here, I was still earning my meteorology certification while working full-time.

We’d go on long walks to Karstens Park and sit for hours.  I’d be reading and studying and she happily watched the world go by.  She was always hoping that every person that walked by would stop and love on her. She was a golden retriever, after all!

It was always fun on our walks.  We’d stop and make “photo ops” out of someone else’s yard decorations! 🙂

EATING OUT

I love to cook and when I moved here, I ate most of my meals at home.  But, when my sister Tammy or “Mom” (Betty) visited the Quad Cities, I enjoyed going out to eat.

Bishop’s Buffet in South Park Mall in Moline was one of my favorites.  As you know, I love buffets and even though it was served cafeteria style, it was still a buffet and it was incredible.  I was saddened when they closed the doors.

I loved their coconut chicken and it was there that I first had strawberry-rhubarb pie. Bishop’s desserts were out of this world.  I still eat more desserts at a buffet than real food. 🙂

Along with Bishops, I loved Panda Buffet in Moline, which is now Osaka Buffet.  I got to eat there once more yesterday!

Where else can you have tasty Chinese food and great sushi at such a reasonable price!

Osaka.jpg

I’ll truly miss Osaka Buffet, but I know Panama City will have something similar to make me happy.

FATE KEEPS ME IN THE QUAD CITIES

After a few years here, I was thinking about leaving the Quad Cities in early 2009.  But, fate intervened and Ray and Gretel came into our lives.  I joined Facebook in March of that year and you pretty much know most of what’s happened since then. 🙂

But, since I’m sharing my memories of the Quad Cities and some of you are newer friends, I have more to tell.

Ray and I met in February 2009 and our first lunch date was at Exotic Thai in Moline.  I had pumpkin curry and each anniversary of that date we went back there and I had the same thing each time!

2013 Anniver ET.jpg

Once we got past that date, I invited Ray over for dinner and made him Shrimp Scampi, which was healthier than my comfort food staple, Chicken a la King with mashed potatoes!

I still make Shrimp Scampi, but I’ve now mastered an incredible Shrimp Ceviche!

Shrimp C.jpg

The first dinner Ray made for me and Miss ABBA at his place was Chicken Piccata (thinly breaded, pan-fried chicken cooked with lemons and capers).  It’s now one of my favorite meals and Ray made it again for me last weekend.  (This is Ray’s Chicken Piccata from earlier this year.)

Chicken PI’ll never forget this funny story from that first dinner date.

While he was cooking, Miss ABBA was on the linoleum floor waiting for him to share with her or drop something.

Much to his chagrin, because he hated the ugly floor (and it was), I laid down beside her and just talked to him while he made dinner. 🙂

Since we both love to cook, the second big project after I moved in was to renovate the kitchen and we were very pleased with the final project in the summer of 2012.

I’m truly going to miss our kitchen!

FIRST CONCERT DATE

We’ve gone to many concerts over the past eight years:  Madonna (twice), Lady Gaga (three times), Reba (three times), Britney Spears, Elton John, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Scissor Sisters, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, the Dixie Chicks, Erasure, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull (twice), Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Band Perry, Ellie Goulding, and more.

But, our first concert together in the summer of 2009 was Keith Urban and pre-megastar Taylor Swift at the iWireless Center in Moline!

KU AP R

Yes, in all of his sweaty hotness, Keith was this close to us.  But, I was on a date and I adore Nicole Kidman too much to think about it (okay, maybe a little!). 🙂

KU.jpg

TRAVEL

Before the Quad Cities, my travel was confined to North America:  Nashville (TN), Louisville (KY), Houston (TX), Palm Springs (CA), Las Vegas (NV), Niagara Falls (NY), and Cancun (Mexico).

Once I met Ray, we started traveling more domestically.

Our first trip together was to Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada, when I accompanied him to a conference.  That was in the fall of 2009 and I was so excited when an October snow dropped several inches overnight to make Lake Tahoe even more breathtaking.

Since then, I’ve gone along with him to New Orleans (LA), Houston, Indianapolis (IN), Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), San Francisco (CA), Anchorage (AK), and Atlanta (GA).

And, for fun, we’ve gone to New York City and to Savannah (GA) and Charleston (SC) on the Atlanta Trip.

Bratislava

For his 50th birthday, we decided to go big and I got to get a passport for the first time. Ray chose a cruise on the Danube River in Europe and we got to see Bratislava (above), Austria, and Germany.

Although it was Ray’s celebration and he chose the location, I convinced him to fly into Zurich, Switzerland, since we were so close.  I’ve always wanted to visit there and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Zurich.jpg

For dinner that night, we went to a restaurant and the menu consisted of mostly deer and boar, so we politely got up and left while the waiter was getting water. Okay, we bolted for the door! 🙂

We ended up going to a grocery and getting cheeses, breads, dessert, and wines and it was a much more intimate and enjoyable dining experience.

Zurich (43)

For my 50th birthday celebration a year later, in 2014, I chose to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, a mystical and stunning place I’ve always wanted to go.

The connecting flight was in Paris, France, so we decided to spend three nights in Paris since we were already there and four night in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday celebration, Ray treated me to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a show at the world-renowned and historic Moulin Rouge — sans Satine (Nicole Kidman — her again!)

Paris Birthday

I actually turned 50 years old while sipping champagne stage side at the Moulin Rouge show.

AP R Moulin

From there, it was on to the beautiful Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

The trip was so magical.  Even though tensions kept us from visiting the holy city of Jerusalem, we did walk to Jaffa — the oldest part of Tel Aviv (about 3,500 years old).

You know how much I love food and the morning Israeli breakfast at our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.

Israeli Breakfast

However, my favorite meal ever was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Port.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!  This was brought out before our entrees!

Benny The Fisherman

And, last spring, we went to China.  While I’d never have to go back again, if you ever get a chance to go, do it.

While we saw many fun things including the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army soldiers, and much more, my favorite part was at the end — Shanghai!

China.jpg

Why did I deviate from the Quad Cities to food and travel elsewhere?  If it wasn’t for my time here, I may not have gotten to experience all of those other things.

One more thing and then I’ll close with a few more Quad Cities thoughts.  I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s Settlement) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since you know I love lists and rankings, my favorite entree was in Atlanta last September at Tavernpoint — Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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And, my favorite brunch or buffet is Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas!

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Now, back to the Quad Cities.

I’m going to miss Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport.  Their boneless chicken wings are superb and their dessert pizzas (cherry, apple, and cinnamon crumb) are not to be missed.  I always eat more dessert pizza than the others.

I’ll miss the mimosa brunches at the Bix Bistro and Thunder Bay and the weekend crab legs at Jumer’s.

Crab.jpg

However, while I’ll miss my Lotus Flower slot machine, I won’t miss leaving my $$$ with the casino!

Seriously, enough about food.  I’ve gained five pounds writing this.

PERSONAL THANK YOUS…

When I first moved here, I started working to promote the LGBT community in the Quad Cities.

I was very impressed with the work that Wendy Kelly and Thea Hansen Bettis were doing with “The Project of the Quad Cities”.  This is an amazing group that provides HIV testing and services to those with HIV/AIDS.

Anthony Thea

While I’m not an “organized religion” person, a great alternative and welcoming group is Reverend Rich Hendricks and the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities.

Rich

Rich, thank you for all that you do for the community.  It’s been a pleasure standing along side you in the fight for love and no hate!

Anthony NOH8

Also, to Rich, to those who fought for us, and the Iowa judges that brought “marriage equality” to Iowa and the Midwest before the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that allowed me to get married in September 2011, thank you!

Ray, Anthony, & Gretel

Reception 2011

Finally, since all of you know how much Miss ABBA meant to me, I have to say a special thank you to Dr. Thomas Greiner and his wonderful wife, Pamela, and all of the great people at Oak Knoll Animal Hospital in Moline.

Miss ABBA always thought going to the vet was a fun time.  Even with shots, she still socialized and had a blast.

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

You were there for us for all of the fun times and even the dark day when Miss ABBA crossed the “rainbow bridge”.

ABBA letter 001

Thank you for everything and enjoy retirement and traveling!

AND, NOW YOU!

My friends, you’ve been amazing over the past 11.5 years and I hope you stay in touch across the miles.  I know you’re probably not interested in Florida weather, but once I get my work page set up, feel free to “like” it and follow me.

Otherwise, I know most of us will stay in touch personally.

To you, my friends…

sarah-paulson-love

Anthony

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

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I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Best Albums of 2016

I shared my 20 favorite movies I saw in 2016 with you yesterday.

If you missed it because of work, real life, or the hustle and bustle of the holidays, here it is again.  (It’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s countdown.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/20/best-movies-of-2016/

2016-albums

As we kick off my favorite 16 albums of 2016, let’s start with a quick look back at my past favorites.

In 2010, it was “Night Work” by Scissor Sisters.  It was “Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears in 2011, “MDNA” by Madonna in 2012, and “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace in 2013.

There was a tie for my favorite album in 2014 between Erasure’s “The Violet Flame” and Enrique Iglesias’ “Sex And Love”.

Last year, my favorite album was “Deja Vu” by Giorgio Moroder.

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Now, let’s kick off my favorites of 2016!

#16

“MATTER” — ST. LUCIA

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15

“THANKS” — MEGHAN TRAINOR

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#14 Movie

“PAPER GODS” — DURAN DURAN

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13

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS” — KACEY MUSGRAVES

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#12 Movie

“GLOW” — BRETT ELDREDGE

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11

“START HERE” — MADDIE & TAE

Start Here

10

“50” — RICK ASTLEY

 

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9

“SUPER” — PET SHOP BOYS

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#8 MOVIE

“CLOUD NINE” — KYGO

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7

“PICK ME UP” — BRETT KISSEL

Brett Kissel

#6 CD

“DNCE” — DNCE

DNCE.jpg

#5 MOVIE

“MIDWEST FARMER’S DAUGHTER” — MARGO PRICE

Margo was born in Aledo, Illinois (Mercer County), just 35 miles from the Quad Cities!

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4

“7/27” — FIFTH HARMONY

 

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3

“SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY” — DAYA

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2

“NOBODY BUT ME” — MICHAEL BUBLE

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#1 MOVIE

This year’s best album is by a repeat performer.  “Femme Fatale” from Britney Spears topped my year-end list in 2011.

Her follow-up, “Britney Jean” only ended up at #6 in 2013.

But, Britney’s back in all her “Glory” as my favorite album of 2016.

“GLORY” — BRITNEY SPEARS

Glory BS

What were your favorite albums of 2016?

Any surprises or disappointments?

Thank you for checking out my favorites.  Tomorrow, I’ll share my 20 favorite songs of 2016.

Anthony