Posts Tagged ‘Martina McBride’

Random Friday Thoughts — November 2, 2018

It’s November now and I urge you to get out and vote!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts!

DOMESTIC TERRORISM

There are many uneducated and misinformed people here in America that believe terrorists are from other cultures.

Yes, there are terrorists from other cultures, but we should open our eyes because we live in glass houses here in the U.S.!

Last weekend, eleven people were murdered at a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania synagogue.

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Look at the ages of these people.  They were someone’s parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, family and friends.  And, they were killed out of ignorance!

Also, in October, many high profile Democrats and CNN were targeted with terrorism and fear from a 56-year-old fitness obsessed, Donald Trump supporter in Florida!

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Just look at his van!

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Needless to say, it wasn’t a proud couple of weeks to say America is the best country in the world!

MEGHAN McCAIN APOLOGY

In wake of the suspicious packages sent to prominent Democrats and news agencies, including CNN, President Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, Meghan McCain made an apology on “The View”.

McCain says, I really try every day, I really try to come into work thinking about what rhetoric I’m going to put out in the world and what my father would’ve done if he was still here,” McCain began. “Last year on this show I said, ‘I hate Hillary Clinton’ and I called her Crooked Hillary, and it is one of the things I regret doing.

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She goes on to say, “This is not saying I agree with her. I have many vast difference of opinion on philosophy and ideology, and I didn’t think she was a great candidate. But ‘hate’ is not a word that should be coming out of my mouth on television about someone of a different political persuasion.”

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“BLUE WAVE”

As winter nears, people talk of cold snaps or “cold waves”, all I’m envisioning on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, is an Election Day “blue wave”!

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CAITLYN JENNER’S ADMISSION

Caitlyn Jenner now admits that she was wrong about Donald Trump and his anti-LGBTQ stances.

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Well, Caitlyn, it’s a little too late for that now — until midterms and 2020!

Make it right!

This also goes for people that voted for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson and for those that didn’t vote just to take a stance against 45 and Hillary Clinton!

MORE KENNEDY

As I stated last week, I’m reading a biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter, which is 800-plus pages.

Kennedy Sorensen

With the mid-term elections coming up and the stench of the 2016 U.S. Presidential campaign and election reeking every day, I was blown away by a statement made by Sorensen midway through the book.

Talking about the 1960 presidential run, Sorensen writes, “The campaign had illuminated many a dark corner of intolerance and ignorance.”

What would Sorensen (who died Halloween 2010) think of the the political climate since 2016 if he were alive today???

Another thing to note:  Kennedy and I are very much alike in many ways, especially this one, “Forgive but never forget.”

DIWALI

The holiday season is here and Christmas is now just weeks away.

While I’m not converting from being Christian, I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  It’s celebrated across most of India on Wednesday, November 7th in 2018 (November 6th in some places).

Why does it touch my sensibilities other than the beautiful display?

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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!!!!!!!!

HALLOWEEN

I hope you had a very spooky, fun Halloween!

Here’s a blast from the past — me trying to duplicate Lady Gaga’s VMA look from 2009.  I can say “A Star Is Born”, but it wasn’t me. 🙂

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“AMERICAN HORROR STORY:  APOCALYPSE”

The sixth episode of the new season of “American Horror Story:  Apocalypse” called “Return to Murder House” takes us back to the first season of the anthology series.

There were many funny lines in the creepy episode including this exchange between “Coven” witches Madison Montgomery (Emma Roberts) and Behold Chablis (Billy Porter), “Calm down skinny witch!”

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Jessica Lange also made her triumphant return for one episode to reprise her role from the first season with the classic line:

“I’m Constance Langdon and this is my f**king house!”

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INTERESTING JESSICA LANGE FACT

Lange is from Cloquet, Minnesota, which is about 20 minutes outside Duluth!

NOVEMBER IS HERE!

I love my turkey and dressing and I give thanks daily for what I have, but this is so me!!!!!!!!!!

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“IT’S THE HOLIDAY SEASON”

And, don’t be like this sheep! 🙂

Bah Humbug

I baaa-ught (I couldn’t resist) — I bought my first new Christmas CD of the season, the latest from Martina McBride.

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It’s a nine-song collection with a big band sound.

While I love Martina McBride, her country roots gets lost in her voice throughout the collection.

I know the sound is more universal, but there are times on the album that you wouldn’t know it’s Martina.  It could be any generic female singer.

Overall, a great new addition to Christmas recordings.

GRADE:  B

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — August 24, 2018

Kids are heading back to school soon and summer is winding down.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

THANK YOU KELLY CLARKSON!

Grammy winner Kelly Clarkson has always been an ally to the LGBTQ community and earlier this week, she took on a homophobic fan on Twitter.

Back in December 2016, Clarkson invited fan Kiana Clark on stage to propose to her girlfriend, Amanda.

The couple married recently and Kelly congratulated them and then came the rude tweet.

But, Kelly handled it like a sweetheart!

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Oh, Terri, if you’re going to be condescending and rude, I want to let you know that “dikes” are built to hold back water.

The offensive slang you were trying to use is spelled with a “y”!

“MARILYN MONROE:  THE BIOGRAPHY”

I finished reading my 21st book of the year.

This 1993 biography by Donald Spoto is just one of many books written about Marilyn Monroe after her death in 1962.

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There’s no denying that in movies and magazines, Monroe was magic.

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But, boy was she one tormented soul!

She was pawned off from person to person as a kid and then spent time in an orphanage before she was married at 16-years-old to avoid another children’s home!

As she was trying to launch her career, she was even a “boulevard hooker”!

While there were many flaws in Monroe’s work ethic (tardiness and absenteeism), it’s easy to see from the book that she was a very generous and loving woman (to a fault).

It was heartbreaking reading about how Hollywood manipulated her financially as just another dumb blonde, when she worked so hard to be a great actress in both comedy and drama.

Also, her drug dependency (from 1954 to her death in August 1962) was sad.

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The book convinced me that her affair with President Kennedy was a one-night stand and that she and Bobby Kennedy never had an affair and that the Kennedys did NOT have her killed.

While there are many conspiracy theories out there, including the one I just mentioned, I believe that her psychiatrist/”doctor” ordered a drugged enema that negatively reacted with sleeping pills that Monroe had taken and that’s what killed her.

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Her death was ruled a “probable suicide”.

I had two faults with the book.  It could have had a better editor and the 611 pages of Monroe’s story could have easily been cut down to 500 pages!

Also, the author was very protective of his subject and lacked objectivity at times.  There was, at least, one instance in the book that he justified Monroe’s drug dependency, just like all the “yes” people and “doctors” she surrounded herself with.

CATERING DRUGS TO CELEBRITIES 

With the loss of such a legend as Monroe more than fifty years ago, it’s nice to know that “doctors” are much more careful about prescribing medication to celebrities.

Oh wait, that’s not true.  There’s Michael Jackson (2009), Whitney Houston (2012), and Prince (2016), for starters!

Just to drive home how crazy things are getting in the U.S. — two million Americans are addicted to opioid painkillers and nearly 50,000 died from opioids over a recent 12-month period!

“GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES”

Contracts are usually nasty pieces of paper.  They benefit the company more than the people signing them.

That was definitely the case for Marilyn Monroe when she did 1953’s iconic “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”.

For the movie, Marilyn was only paid $15,000, while her co-star Jane Russell was paid $150,000!

By the way, Russell was born in Bemidji, Minnesota, which is about 150 miles northwest of Duluth! 🙂

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

“Crazy Rich Asians” was the box office champion last weekend bringing in $26.5 million ($48.2 million over its first eight days)!  It’s expected to be #1 again this weekend.

Jon M. Chu has directed a classic romantic comedy — a masterpiece of not only love, but culture.

“Crazy Rich Asians” is a must-see!

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As Nick Young (Henry Golding) and his girlfriend, Rachel Chu (Constance Wu), enjoy dessert in New York City, he asks her to join him on a trip back home in Singapore where he’s going to be the “best man” in his best friend’s wedding.  It’ll also give Rachel a chance to meet his family.

The movie is gorgeously shot and the cast is phenomenal.

It has romance, drama (not only with Nick’s mother), and humor, mostly supplied by actress/rapper Awkwafina.

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There’s one character not billed in the credits that’s vital to success of the movie — decadence!

It’s important to the movie’s charm and escapism — that mansion, the food, the parties, the wedding, and Singapore!

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“Crazy Rich Asians” shows that it’s time for executives to realize that movies don’t need white faces to make money.  But, then again, it’s hard for that to sink in when most of ones controlling the industry and making the decisions are older, white men!

GRADE:  A

MY COMPLETE REVIEW HERE

That was a condensed version of what I thought of the movie.  Here’s the complete and more exciting review (sexier and steamier)! 🙂

Click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/crazy-rich-asians-sparkles-fascinating-irresistible/

HELLO, SELENA TAN!

Selena Tan, who plays ‘Alix’, Nick’s aunt in “Crazy Rich Asians”, is hilarious at the beginning of the movie at the Bible study.  I wish she had had a bigger role in the movie.

I’m honored that she got to see my blog review of the movie and that she took the time to reply and follow me on Twitter!

Greetings across the miles!

Selena Tan

“ALEX STRANGELOVE” OR “LOVE, SIMON”

Decisions, decisions, decisions!  Which coming-of-age LGBTQ movie do you choose to watch if you haven’t already seen them?

Why do you have to choose? Watch them both!

“Alex Strangelove” is a touching Netflix comedy and it’s more realistic in tone and language than “Love, Simon” since it was made for a streaming service.

The sex talk about losing one’s virginity and about being gay is spot on.

And, the scene when Alex is practicing his come-on lines with his stuffed monkey is hilarious!

Daniel Doheny is very funny and adorkable as Alex.  At times, he looks like a young Andrew Garfield.

GRADE: B

“Love, Simon” was a box office success bringing in $66.2 million total ($40.8 million of that was in the U.S.).  Since it was a mainstream movie with a PG-13 rating, it wasn’t as wild and mature as “Alex Strangelove”.

Here’s what I wrote about “Love, Simon” after I saw it in March 2018:

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.

Once another student comes out as gay anonymously on an online message board, Simon, as “Jacques”, starts a private correspondence with the student, “Blue”.

The two form a connection in the private messages, but they still don’t know who the other is in real life.  Simon wants to meet, but “Blue” isn’t ready.

However, something happens and that’s where the drama comes in!

I think the most hilarious scene in the movie is when Simon’s sexy dad (Josh Duhamel) is bonding with his son and he suggests they both sign up for Grindr.

By the way, Dad, Grindr it’s not Facebook for gays! 🙂

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!

GRADE: B+

NEW CHRISTMAS ALBUMS THIS FALL

While Christmas is still four months away, holiday albums usually come out in the fall.

I’m very excited about John Legend’s first Christmas album.  As of now, no title, track list or release date is known.

Maybe this 2010 track, “When Christmas Comes”, with Mariah Carey, will hold us over until we know more about Legend’s album.

Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) is releasing “Season of Peace” on October 12th.  It’s a compilation from his first three Christmas albums, plus a new song.

Also, Eric Clapton’s first holiday disc, “Happy Xmas” also arrives on October 12th.

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It’ll feature classics like “White Christmas”, “Away in the Manger”, “Silent Night”, “Mary Christmas Baby”, and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, along with seven lesser known titles, and an original “For Love on Christmas Day”.

It’ll also feature “Jingle Bells”, in memory of EDM superstar DJ Avicii, who died from suicide last spring in Oman.

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Martina McBride’s new collection “It’s The Holiday Season” comes out October 19th and will feature nine songs.

Now, I say “new” because her first holiday collection, “White Christmas”, came out in 1998 and there were “re-releases” in 1999, 2007, and a re-packaging and renaming of the album as “The Classic Christmas Album” in 2013!

Also, Brett Eldredge is working on a re-vamped version of his 2016 Christmas collection, “Glow”.

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This one is likely going to be called “Glow 2.0”.

And, finally, The Mavericks’ “Hey, Merry Christmas!” arrives November 2nd.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 18 , 2017

We’re already past the middle of August and most kids are back in school or getting close.  Fall will be here before you know!  Yeah!

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It’s been another contentious couple of week, so if you feel you want to disagree with me, do it diplomatically or don’t say anything at all. 🙂

Random Thoughts

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

WHEN I FIND MYSELF IN TIMES OF TROUBLE…

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“LET IT BE”

PANAMA CITY LOVE

While I have no friends outside of work here in Panama City after three months, that doesn’t mean I’m unknown.  It’s really nice to finally work at a #1 station!

Last week, I had several people stop me and ask me, “are the weather guy at Channel 13?”

The nicest was at the grocery store last weekend when a man stopped me.  I was wearing a tank top and shorts and he asked me the question.  I always reply, “yes, I’m just dressed down”.

He, like “Barbara” a few weeks ago, told me that it looked good on me.  Some people are so nice.

He proceeded to tell me that I do a great job and they enjoy watching me.  Then, he said, your mannerisms remind me of Tyler Henry, the medium that with the hit E! show, “Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry”.

I said, “I’ve heard of it, but I’m not familiar with him”.  He then said, you could be his dad.

Okay, that translates into “You’re supergay”. 🙂  Tyler and I can handle it. 🙂

MY LOVE FOR NICOLE KIDMAN

I recently watched “Grace of Monaco” with Nicole Kidman.

The movie bombed and was panned by critics.  While entertaining and fulfilling, it won’t make my list of 20 favorites movies I’ve watched in 2017.

However, as is always the case with Nicole Kidman, I was mesmerized.

I believe that she, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, and Gillian Anderson are the most talented actresses of our time.  You also can’t forget Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Melissa Leo, and Jennifer Lawrence.

Near the end of the movie, Kidman’s Grace gave a speech at a Red Cross benefit in front of a packed house.

The speech was heavily directed to French President Charles de Gaulle (which in reality was not at the event).

It doesn’t matter whether it was Hollywood or not, what Kidman’s Grace said was superb and I wish it could be the basis of today’s world.

If only, just like “Let It Be” and “Give Peace A Chance”!

TELEVISION FUNNY OF THE WEEK

“Look, I think college is a scam anyways.  Bobby, you might as well just join the Church of Scientology.  At least they give you industry connections and a wife to cover up your homosexuality!” — Nekeisha (Tiffany Haddish) on “The Carmichael Show.

I’M READY FOR PIZZA!

It’s been four months since I’ve had pizza.  Yes, they have pizza in Panama City, but I’m ready to go to my favorite pizza place in the Quad Cities again, Wise Guys.  Of course, their dessert pizzas are my favorite and that’s what I mostly eat.

But, I’m wondering if they can make me some of these exotic pizzas that I’ve come across online?

PIZZA

Almond Citrus Seafood”  (Vietnam) The Almond Citrus Seafood pizza is a staple on Domino’s Vietnamese menu and includes shrimps, scallops, orange sauce, almonds, red pepper, mozzarella, cheddar and coriander.

Bavarian (Russia)  topped with marinated cucumbers, salami and mozzarella cheese.

Ayam Bakar (Indonesia) a creamy base of rendang sauce – a spicy coconut cream with lemongrass and garlic. It’s topped with ayam baker (charcoal-grilled chicken), onion, parsley and mozzarella.

Creamy Chicken Carbonara (New Zealand) — New Zealand’s super-creamy feast is topped with all the ingredients of a classic carbonara: chicken, bacon, red onion, mushroom and garlic crème fraiche along with spring onion and Parmesan.

Adalim (North Cyprus) — You may be used to finding dried basil sprinkled on your pizza but how about dried mint? The herb is added along with mozzarella, halloumi, black olive and tomato to this Cyprian veggie classic.

KESHA’S RAINBOW AFTER STORMY YEARS

Kesha’s last studio album, 2013’s “Warrior” was my favorite album of the year.

Last Friday, she released the follow-up, “Rainbow”, after several turbulent years of fighting an eating disorder and legal battles with her manager and producer, Dr. Luke, who was keeping her from releasing new music, and will be in court facing allegations of sexual abuse and other charges.

You can tell that Kesha has been through a lot recently and she’s putting that pain and the strength she’s found in the music.

The first line on the album is “I’ve got too many people/I got left to prove wrong/All those mother f**ckers/Been too mean for too long” on “Bastards” that kicks off the stellar album.

The first single, “Praying”, is already one of the most played songs at Top 40 radio.

The album is a fusion of pop, rock, punk, country, and some dance.

Her duet with country icon Dolly Parton,”Old Flames (Can’t Hold a Candle To You”)” is incredible.

Other standout tracks include are “Learn To Let Go”, “Hunt You Down”, “Hymn”, “Let Em Talk”, and the aforementioned “Bastards”, “Praying”, and “Old Flames”.

GRADE: A-

PRINCESS DIANA’S DEATH ANNIVERSARY

August 31st will make the 20-year anniversary of the death of Princess Diana.

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I was working as the weekend anchor at KLBK-13 in Lubbock, Texas.  We ran a CBS news story at the top of our show that Saturday night telling viewers that she had been in a car crash in a Paris tunnel.

After we signed off at 10:35 p.m. central time, it came across the wires that Princess Diana died.

CBS was asleep and had no one breaking in with the news.  Ny Lynn Nichols, my co-anchor, and I broke into programming with the news.

It’s pretty crazy that two local news anchors in market #147 (small market) were breaking the news to the Southern Plains watching CBS that night that Princess Diana was dead.

By the way, CBS finally got someone on the air well after the fact.

“EASTSIDERS” ON NETFLIX

I recently discovered the LGBT series “Eastsiders” on Netflix.  It’s witty, funny, and perfectly covers the ups-and-downs of relationships.

It’s created, written and directed by the star of the series Kit Williamson.

Most of the episodes are short (10-15 minutes) and season one covers Cal and Thom’s turbulent relationship and also that of Cal’s friend Kathy and her gorgeous boyfriend, Ian.

Season two is much stronger and very realistic and Cal and Thom (Van Hansis) are much sexier!

The series also stars the adorable Matthew McKelligon (from the off-kilter and funny movie “You’re Killing Me”).

In May, Williamson tweeted that season three has already been shot and there’s a Kickstarter campaign to fund getting it on the air.

Check it out!

FREDDIE MERCURY LIVES!

Emmy Award winner Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) will star as Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury in 2018’s motion picture, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

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In late 2010, it was announced that Sacha Baron Cohen (“Borat”) would play Mercury, but he dropped out three years later.

As 2013 drew to a close, my fantasy husband, Ben Whishaw was chosen to play the gay front man.

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But, he had to withdraw because of production on the next James Bond movie.

There has been some controversy that the movie may try to shift attention away from the fact that Mercury died from AIDS.

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While Mercury’s illness was rumored, he didn’t publicly admit that he had AIDS until the day before he died on November 24, 1991, at the age of 45.

Bryan Singer (“The X-Men” series) will direct with production getting underway this fall. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is set to hit theaters on Christmas Day 2018.

FAVORITE QUEEN SONG?

What is your favorite Queen song?  For me, it’s definitely not “”Bohemian Rhapsody”!!!!!!!

My three favorite Queen songs are:

3.  “Under Pressure” (with David Bowie) (#29, 1981-1982)

2.   “Another One Bites the Dust) (3 weeks at #1, 1980)

Another number 1

“Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (4 weeks at #1, 1980)

“HANNIBAL” RETURN?

The three-season series wrapped up on NBC in August 2015.

But, creator Bryan Fuller (now working on “American Gods”) says while it may take time, talks have started about bringing the artistic thriller back!

Fuller says, “I have conversations with (“Hannibal” executive producer) Martha De Laurentiis.”. He adds, “I have conversations with Mads and Hugh. We’re are all excited about the prospect of returning to the story. There’s some hurdles to get through… [But] I just had a great idea for season 4. There’s an interesting next chapter in the relationship between Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter that would be fascinating to unpack. I’ve shared it with the gentlemen and they’re both keen on it.”

I’m all there as long as Gillian Anderson returns as Dr. Bedelia Du Maurier!

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REAL LIFE

(*For the record, the next two segments were already written before the Charlottesville, Virginia tragedy*)

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LIFE IN AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE

Trust me, it’s better!

As you can tell, nine months later I’m still not at peace from last November’s election!

“FROZEN” WASN’T ONE OF MY FAVORITES, BUT…

I know I’m in the minority, but “Frozen” was just okay.  It didn’t blow me away, but I didn’t dislike it either.

However, I’m excited about Walt Disney Pictures’ “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”.

It’s an 11-minute animated short that’ll be shown at the beginning of the new Pixar’s feature, “Coco”, which his theaters November 22, 2017.

CHRISTMAS IS GETTING CLOSER

I know with the hot and humid summer we’re enduring,  winter and Christmas are probably the last things on your mind.  But, the entertainment industry is gearing up.

It’s only four months away now and Reba McEntire, Sia, Hanson, Lindsey Stirling, Cheap Trick, and Martina McBride reportedly have new Christmas albums coming out this fall.

McBride says, “I hired Patrick Williams to arrange it, who is legendary and has arranged for so many people, and he has that classic big band approach. When I made 1998’s “White Christmas”, I wanted to make a classic sounding record. I can’t do that same record again, of course, but this one is going to have several up-tempo things on it. It won’t have as many hymns on it. It will be more things like ‘Santa Claus Is Comin’ To Town’ and ‘It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas.'”

Here’s a flashback to 1998’s “White Christmas”.

REBA’S “MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS”

On my birthday, October 13th, Reba will be releasing her third holiday album, “My Kind of Christmas”.

REBA

This album was released last year through a chain that has a history of homophobic and racist practices and it was the first Reba album that I didn’t buy!

But, I can finally buy it now!

Reba has recorded three new songs for the album that’ll feature Darius Rucker, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, and Lauren Daigle.

On this re-release, no portion of the money is going to (“previously”?) unnamed  homophobic and racist chain.

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TAKING A BREAK

I’m sure you know how much I love writing and sharing my thoughts, whether we agree or not.

At times, I’ve been accused of being intolerant.  But, in the world we live in, I guess I shouldn’t take it personally (AND I DON’T). 🙂

I’m taking a break from my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  When there’s something I want to talk about, I’ll blog about it.  Since most of my blog views come from my Facebook posts, you’ll see when I have something new to share.  I’m sure my Friday thoughts will return one day.

FOR NOW…

Before I close, I want to share an upbeat, fun song that I played all the time when I was club dee-jay at Club DV8 (deviate, get it) in Paducah, Kentucky, back in 1986-1987. (I was horrible at mixing beats, but my drunken queens didn’t care too much!)

This was one of my favorite songs.

Click on it and for those of you that remember it, I hope it made you smile and you thought of being 30 years younger.

For my friends that didn’t hit the clubs in the ’80s, enjoy it!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Michael Ray Could Bring Me Back To Country Music

Growing up in Kentucky, I was raised on country music — Tanya Tucker, Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton.

In the 1980s when I went away to college, it was all about pop and dance music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne), and the second “British Invasion” (Erasure, Duran Duran, Culture Club).

While I stuck with dance and pop music in the 1990s, I also started listening to Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless and they brought country music back into my life.

I’ve always been more of a fan of female singers.  However, I’ll admit that in the music video age, a good-looking singer in a cowboy hat could grab my attention long enough for me to listen to the music.

That turned me on to Clay Walker’s music.

Clay Walker

From his debut hit, “What’s It To You” in 1993 that topped the chart to his last Top 40 country hit, “Where Do I Go From You” in 2010, he’s scored 29 Top 40 hits.

Of those, 17 made the Top Ten and six topped the country charts.  As a matter of fact, five of his first six were #1 hits.

“This Woman and This Man” is still my all-time favorite Clay Walker song.

It topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

Once country radio started cutting back on airplay for Reba, Patty, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Martina McBride, and females no longer in the younger demographics, I lost interest in the format.

In the past fifteen years, the only male country singer I became a fan of was Keith Urban.

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However, with the recent crossover of Sam Hunt’s “Take Your Time” and the anticipation of Reba’s concert last week in the Quad Cities, I glanced at the country chart.

I watched a few videos and I liked “Make Me Wanna” by Thomas Rhett (I actually interviewed his father, Rhett Akins, back in 1997).

MICHAEL RAY — ALBUM PICK HIT 

I also came across Michael Ray’s “Kiss You in the Morning” video.

Being honest, his striking good looks and tattoos caught my eye.  So, I took a listen and the song was upbeat and fun.  It’s also the most played country song in the U.S.

“Kiss” was a strong enough song to make me take a listen to more of his music and I ended up buying his self-titled debut album that came out last week and I’m so glad I did.

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This is definitely one of the most solid debut albums I can recall.

Michael has been working on his craft professionally since appearing on The CW’s reality series/singing competition show, “The Next:  Fame Is at Your Doorstep” in 2012.

The Florida native won that completion performing songs by Luke Bryan, Eric Church, and Jake Owen and now he’s competing against those same men for radio airplay and I know he’ll do just fine.

Now that “Kiss You in the Morning” has topped the country airplay charts, Michael already has his second single, “Real Men Love Jesus”, ready to go out to radio in mid-September.

It’s a mid-tempo song that touches on some of the core elements of country music: fishing, fast cars, football, sexy women, Mama, and Jesus.

One thing that Michael excels at is slower and mid-tempo songs.

My choice for the third single is “Run Away With You”, one of my favorite songs on the album.

Other slower choice cuts are “Everything In Between”, “Wish I Was Here”, and “Think A Little Less”.

And, when he’s ready to rock, he brings life to the party.

If I worked for his label, I’ve already got the fourth single picked out.  “Livin’ It Up” is a fun upbeat song that will be on “repeat” once you get the album.

I mentioned a third and fourth single, but I’m being modest.

This album is solid enough that it could go five or six singles deep for country radio.

If you’re a country music fan, you’re going to love this album.  If, like me, you’ve been away from the genre for some time, this is a breath of fresh air.

michael-ray

“Michael Ray” is a fun album that isn’t too heavy on the current country rage, “bro-country”.

GRADE:

A

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 4, 2014

Happy Independence Day!  To those that got a divorce from that loser on this day, I’m happy you’ve declared your independence.  What?  Oh, the country’s independence from Great Britain.  Well, that’s certainly different!

I hope you have fun with your fireworks, your barbeques, or whatever you do to celebrate our country’s 238th birthday!

It’s going to be a nice one in the Quad Cities.

4th

“Fernando” by ABBA is the song that I remember most about the Fourth of July as a kid.

While “Fernando” only reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, it hit #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart and would become ABBA’s best-selling single of all time selling more six million copies in 1976 alone!

WORST FOURTH OF JULY

With more than five inches of rain this past Monday night in the Quad Cities, luckily I was inside the house helping Ray fight basement flooding before the electricity went out for about ten hours.

While that wasn’t on Independence Day, my worst Fourth of July was back in 2007.  I was caught in a flash flooding event around 2 a.m. after more than four inches of rain in a very short period of time flooded out my car on 19th Avenue in Moline.

FloodingBSticker3flat

Here are the scary details and I was one of the lucky ones to survive!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/my-favorite-least-favorite-fourth-of-julys/

MOST “INCOMPARABLE” GAY NEIGHBORHOOD

Forget San Francisco, Hollywood, Barcelona, and Madrid, Chicago’s “Boystown” has them beat!

I’ve lived in some shady places in life, but now I can say that I spent three of my four years in Chicago living in “Out Traveler” readers’ most “incomparable” neighborhoods.

While it’ll show up as Lakeview on maps, anyone that is anyone knows that the club area near Lake Michigan between Lincoln Park to the south and Uptown to the north is “Boystown”.

I lived there for a year in 1995-1996 (Addison and Lake Shore Drive) and from 2002-2004 (Belmont and Sheridan).   Miss ABBA and I spent a lot of time in her “puppy years”  playing around Belmont Harbor.

2014 Brackets 001

“Out Traveler” says that Boystown “was the nation’s first officially-designated gayborhood” and that it has “everything you could want: bars, clubs, restaurants, architecture, walkability, its own El stop”  and now, marriage equality.

PLEASE DON’T “WIGGLE” FOR ME!

I just heard Jason Derulo’s current hit, “Wiggle”, for the first time today and I hope that I never hear it again!

Sample lyrics:  “You know what to do with that big fat butt/Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” and “Hot damn it/Your booty like two planets/Go head, and go ham sammich”.  Ugggghhhh!

Jason+Derulo+JasonDeruloCoverTCC

I loved Jason Derulo’s self-titled 2010 album and it ended up being one of my favorite albums of that year.  It produced three Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100;  “Whatcha Say” (#1), “In My Head” (#5), and “Ridin’ Solo” (#9).

Jason, go back to real music and not trashy, gimmicky songs that you’ll regret having to sing the rest of your career!

MEETING PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN

A couple of Friday nights ago, Ray and I got a chance to see the “Grits & Glamour Tour” with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa.  And, we lucked out and got to meet both ladies before the show.

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

We’ve seen them both in concert before separately.  On this tour, they performed together and it’s an amazing show.

It’s just sad that country radio is so ageist and sexist that it won’t play new music by women over the age of 40.  You think I’m wrong?  Think of radio’s reception to the latest recordings by Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Martina McBride, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, and Faith Hill.  And, before them, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, and the list goes on and on!

While you may have missed that show, Lonestar and Sara Evans will be at the Wild Rose Casino in Clinton on Friday, July 11th.

“GLORIA”

This Chilean drama is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the past few years.

Paulina Garcia plays Gloria, a 58-year-old divorcee that has to face the single life now that her two children are grown and have moved out.  However, Gloria doesn’t spend her life at home feeling sorry for herself.

Watching the movie and seeing Gloria out drinking and meeting men that could possibly be “the one”, I was so impressed with her strength and determination.  I spent the first part of my 40s alone with just me and my golden retriever, ABBA, wondering if we’d ever meet “the one”.  Like Gloria, there were many empty dates and hook-ups, but I found love again.

I just couldn’t imagine doing it in my late-50s or 60s!!!

Garcia’s heartbreaking performance was amazing and she made me wish that Gloria was my friend.  The role won Garcia the Silver Bear Award for Best Actress at the 63rd Annual Berlin International Film Festival.

When it was in theaters earlier this year, it made $2.1 million in the United States.  You can rent it at Redbox.

GRADE:  A

REMEMBERING LAURA BRANIGAN

Hearing a much different version of “Gloria” in that movie got me thinking of Laura Branigan.

It’s been almost ten years now since the singer died of a brain aneurysm at her home on August 26, 2004.

From 1982-1987, she placed seven Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Of those, three reached the top ten:  her first hit, the Grammy Award-nominated, “Gloria” (#2, 1982), “Solitaire” (#7, 1983), and “Self Control” (#4, 1984).

While “Gloria” peaked at #2 on the Hot 100, it topped the Cash Box singles chart in the United States in November 1982.  It also hit #1 in Canada and spent seven weeks at the top of the chart in Australia in early 1983.

MADONNA’S GETTING CLOSE!

I’m only speculating based on recent Instagram posts, but I really think Madonna is getting close to dropping her follow-up to 2012’s “MDNA” album.

She has posted that she’s been working with EDM producer/disc jockey Avicii (who also remixed “Girl Gone Wild”), Natalia Kills, and Diplo.

Diplo tells “Rolling Stone” about Madonna, “I’ve done about three weeks with her, and we’re gonna do some more projects at the end of July. She’s just really cool. I think as far as artists reinventing themselves, she did it before anybody else. She kind of began that trend of actually coming back with a whole new look and style and sound and winning it and hitting the top of the charts. Those records are gonna be crazy-sounding. We really pushed the envelope with some of the stuff we were doing.”

And, just this week, she posted this teaser:

Madonna Messiah

There’s also been rumors that the English electronic duo, Disclosure, is also working on the album.  While they deny it, they say they’d love to work with her.

And, if that collaboration would sound anything like their current #11 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 with Sam Smith, I sure hope they do something with Madonna since I love the song and the video!

Something tells me she’s going to silently drop the new album this fall or by the end of the year like Beyonce did last December!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

I saw Martina McBride in concert 2001 as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” Tour in Darien Lake, New York.  What a big voice from such a small woman!

Since blasting onto the country scene in 1992, she’s scored 42 hits on the Billboard Country chart.  Of those, 20 reached the Top Ten and five topped the chart:  “Wild Angels” (1996, one week), “A Broken Wing” (1998, one week), “Wrong Again” (1998, one week), “I Love You” (1999, five weeks), and “Blessed” (2002, two weeks).

“I Love You” was also featured in the Richard Gere and Julia Roberts movie, “Runaway Bride” and it’s her biggest crossover hit, peaking at #24 on the Billboard Hot 100.

I couldn’t find it, but luckily, my friend, Christopher found the official video to “Independence Day” for me.  It’s one of the most powerful songs ever released in any genre.

Because domestic abuse is a heavy subject matter, the song only reached #12 on the Billboard country chart in 1994, but it did win Country Music Association Awards for “Song of the Year” and “Video of the Year” and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

THAT’S IT

Have a great Fourth of July weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 9, 2013

Another weekend is here and I hope you have a fantastic one.  The weather is going to be perfect.  It’s a short weekend for me since I’m working Saturday evening for our weekend meteorologist, Kyle, who’s on vacation.  While it’s a longer work week for me, it all works out because I go on vacation next weekend!

ONE WEEK TO CANCUN 

I was in Cancun twenty years ago and this is Ray’s first visit.  God willing, next Saturday afternoon we’ll be lying on the sandy beaches of Mexico with a margarita or some low-calorie cocktail in hand a million miles (figuratively) from home.

And, while the Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1st, there’s good news out in the tropics.  Here are the forecasts from the National Hurricane Center for the next five days.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK
NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL

FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC...CARIBBEAN SEA AND THE GULF OF MEXICO...

TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION IS NOT EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT FIVE DAYS.

Atlantic Hurricane Forecast

SAD FOLLOW-UP

The Spectrum Human Rights Alliance in eastern Europe is reporting that Dr. Valentin Degtyarev,  a medical doctor and a human right activist, claims that a Uzbek teenager is now dead of torture from the Russian anti-gay neo-Nazi group, Occupy Pedofilyaj.
Russian Extremists Attacks

In last week’s blog, I wrote about the injustices being brought upon the LGBT community in Russia and I posted this edited picture of the teenager that is reportedly dead from excessive torture.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, the hate you’re encouraging is disgusting!

If you didn’t get a chance to read about it last week, here’s the link:   https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/random-friday-thoughts-august-2/

MY HEART IS BREAKING

Animal abuse stories usually get to me more than stories about human tragedies.  Even when watching movies or television shows that I know are not real, it’s harder for me to watch something that involves an animal in pain or dying than a human.

However, earlier this week, I saw a story on “CBS This Morning” that broke my heart.  It was about little 2-year-old Logan Stevenson, who was dying of a rare genetic disease, serving as the best man at his parent’s wedding last weekend.

Best Man Logan

Sadly, the toddler died Monday evening.  Here is what his mother, Christine Swidorsky, posted on Facebook that evening, “At 8:18 my son took his last breath in my arms.  I’m so sad, upset and I’m in disbelief. He is with angels, and he’s in no more pain. No more sickness, no more hospitals. We love all of [you] for all your prayers.”

Christine and Sean Stevenson, Logan’s dad, were planning on getting married in the summer of 2014.  However, after learning that the baby only had weeks to live from lukemia and cancerous tumors on his kidneys, the couple moved up the wedding date for Logan to take part in the event.

Little Logan

I know that God has a plan for all of his creatures, young and old, but I guess it’s not for me to fully understand.  After seeing Logan’s story, I’m going to work harder and remember that whatever dramas we face in our lives, most are usually small.  There is always someone facing something worse.

In memory of little Logan, I want to share “God’s Will” by Martina McBride.  It’s one of the most heartfelt music videos I’ve seen in years.

THOUGHT-PROVOKING ITEMS WHILE SHOPPING

Last weekend, Ray and I did something we rarely do –  we went shopping at the mall and a few other stores.  Typically, we go where we need to go, grab what we need, and then head home.  I despise shopping!  However, here are a few things I saw that piqued my interest or made me smile.

Top Bottom WitchesPumpkin Pie Vodka

That “Pinnacle Pumpkin Pie” vodka brings our vodka flavors and brands total up to 42!  It’s definitely getting me in the mood for fall and if the bottle looks a little interesting, it has frost on it since I put it in the freezer when we got home in case I make a pumpkin pie martini one of these days soon.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!

Birthday wishes go out this week to two of my favorite, sexy people.

Gillian David The X-Files

Today, “The X-Files” star Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully) turns 45 and two days ago, David Duchovny (Fox Mulder) turned 53.

FINALLY WALKED OUT WITH A LITTLE MONEY!

Ray and I have gone to the casinos in the past and never invested much money.   However, lately, we’ve been going and we usually come home empty-handed.  While I don’t like losing at all, it’s a good thing we’re not hard-core gamblers that bet the house!

Last Sunday night, down to my last few dollars I took to gamble on, I finally hit a good one!

Slot Machine Win

While I’m very happy with the pay-off, I still have to think, “how much would it have been if I had bet the max of $1.50 and what if that “7” and “blue star” had been a “WILD, too?”  Oh well, once I played on that money a while longer and took out what I started with, I still left with $50 more than I started with.

It’s a good thing because dinner there (and the last time we visited this casino) was not good, which is surprising because this place is usually pretty tasty!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

MosquitosUgly Bald Puppy

Jesus

SEXIST, RACIST, OR NEITHER?

“The Sapphires”, a musical dramedy, is new to DVD this week.  Since its release last year (March 2013 in the United States), the movie made slightly over $20 million.  It stars “Bridesmaids” cutie Chris O’Dowd.

The movie is inspired by a true story of four young, talented Australian Aboriginal singers learning “about love, friendship and war” (Redbox) when their all-girl group, “The Sapphires”, are discovered by Dave (O’Dowd), a kind-hearted talent scout who knows soul music.  He works as their manager and gives the ladies a chance for stardom entertaining American troops in Vietnam in 1968.

Sounds innocent so far, huh?  It was until the packaging for the DVD in the United States was revealed.  In the American release, O’Dowd is front and center and the singers are in the background (below left), compared to the Australian release (below right) which has the girl group more prominently featured.

The Sapphires

The original band members of the 1960s group wrote a letter to the National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People saying,  “As I’m sure you can appreciate, the treatment of people of colour in Australia mirrored much of the trauma to which people in the United States were subjected. That trauma – and much of that treatment – remains alive and well in Australia today, as I know it does in the United States.”

Anchor Bay Entertainment released a statement Monday apologizing and “regrets any unintentional upset” and is considering new cover art for future orders of the DVD.

I firmly believe that women should never settle for anything less than what men get in life.  It was always unfair to me that David Duchovny made more money than Gillian Anderson on “The X-Files”.  And, I don’t think that race, sexual orientation, religion, etc. should be a deciding factor in job placement.  The best and most qualified person should get the job or promotion!

In this matter, I don’t know if race or gender came up in the discussions at Anchor Bay when the artwork was being created for the U.S. release.  But, I can fully understand why the biggest star in the movie would be prominently featured in the promotions.  After all, American audiences know him from “Bridesmaids”, which made $288 million dollars two years ago.

“The Sapphires” was the biggest movie of 2012 in Australia and is one of the top 20 of grossing films of all time there.

What are your thoughts?

THE TURNING TIDE

A recent Gallup poll found that if Election Day was held now, 52% of Americas would make marriage equality legal in all 50 states, while 43% of those surveyed said “no”.

Legal in all 50 states

Breaking down that survey, the sub-groups that ranked highest for approving marriage equality were liberals (77%), those with no chosen religion (76%), Democrats (70%), and those ages 18-34 years (69%).

Those that were most opposed to legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states were:  weekly church attendees (73% against), conservatives (67%), Republicans (66%), and Protestants and those 55 years or older (58% opposed).

Women more than men were for making marriage equality a reality in all fifty states.

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER

Ben-Whishaw

British actor Ben Whishaw who played “Q” in last year’s James Bond flick, “Skyfall” recently came out as a gay man and he also announced that he’s been in a civil partnership with his boyfriend, Australian composer Mark Bradshaw, since August 2012.

Ben told “Out” magazine in March 2011, “[A]s an actor you have total rights to privacy and mystery, whatever your sexuality, whatever you do.  I don’t see why that has to be something you discuss openly because you do something in the public eye. I have no understanding of why we turn actors into celebrities. It’s difficult talking about it. That’s why I didn’t want to go there, but at the same time I know this is a gay magazine and that means there’s a conflict there.”

The couple met in 2009 while working on the movie, “Bright Star”.

Ben and Mark

DON’T PUT AWAY THE CHAMPAGNE YET!

Well wishes also go out to “Modern Family” star Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Justin Mikita-Jesse Tyler Ferguson

He tied the knot with lawyer Justin Mikita on July 20, 2013, in New York City.  The couple have been together almost two years.

WAS “THE $64,000 QUESTION” ANSWERED?

Raven-Symone

Actress Raven-Symone has always avoided questions about her sexuality, but this tweet last Friday may have answered the question.

Raven-Symone Tweet

The 27-year-old actress who got her start on “The Cosby Show” in 1989 and had her own show, “That’s So Raven” on the Disney Channel from 2003-2007, tells E! News, “I am very happy that gay marriage is opening up around the country and is being accepted. I was excited to hear today that more states legalized gay marriage. I, however am not currently getting married, but it is great to know I can now, should I wish to.”

Congratulations to Ben, Mark, Jesse Tyler, Justin, and Raven-Symone for being yourself, finding love, and being out and proud!

LADY GAGA TAKES ON RUSSIA’S IGNORANCE

We’re now just a little over a week away from the premiere of Lady Gaga’s new single and video, “Applause”, and that isn’t the only thing that Mother Monster is working on right now.  She’s fighting back to homophobes in the Russian government!

In addition to arresting and exiling people from the LGBT community, authorities are investigating Gaga and Madonna’s visas they used last year to perform concerts in Saint Petersburg.

GagaMadonna

Here’s how Gaga is responding.  In just the first half-hour, the comments were re-tweeted more than 20,000 times!

Gaga Russia Tweets

How about a little Gaga this Friday with the late, great saxophonist Clarence Clemons before we flashback to the 1980s?

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

This past Tuesday we experienced a new moon that was one day too late to fit into music history.   Just think, if it had fallen a day earlier, it would have been a “New Moon on Monday”.  If you’re a ’80s music fan, that’s already ringing a bell for you.  If not, how about “Seven and the Ragged Tiger” as a second clue?

duran-duran-seven-and-the-ragged-tiger

In 1978, Nick Rhodes and John Taylor formed a band that would go on to be named after a character from the movie, “Barbarella”.   Lead singer Simon Le Bon, Roger Taylor, and Andy Taylor would round out the English group Duran Duran.

While the band had some success back home and on the American dance charts in 1981, their first song to reach the Billboard Hot 100 debuted at #77 on Christmas Day 1982.  “Hungry Like The Wolf” would go on to peak at #3 in the summer of 1983.

Fourteen more songs would reach the Top 40 in America from that first hit in 1983 to their last pop radio hit in 1993.  Eleven of those songs would reach the Top Ten and two would top the Hot 100, “The Reflex” in 1984 and “A View To A Kill” from the James Bond movie of the same name in 1985.

“New Moon on Monday”, the second release from “Seven and the Ragged Tiger”, peaked at #10 in March 1984.  The “Ragged” album went double platinum in the United States with shipments of more than two million copies.

Sing along even if you have no clue what the lyrics mean, “Shake up the picture the lizard mixture/ With your dance on the eventide/ You got me coming up with answers/ All of which I deny”.

Duran Duran has sold more than 100 million records worldwide!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Here’s to a great weekend.  While I’m working Saturday, Ray and Gretel are going to see “Percy Jackson:  Sea of Monsters” and then on Sunday, Ray and I are going to see my woman, Jodie Foster, in “Elysium” (with Matt Damon).  And, we’ll spend a couple of hours in the pool working on a nice base tan for Cancun.

Whatever you do this weekend, make the most of it.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what your thoughts are about these topics or anything on your mind.

Anthony