Posts Tagged ‘Michael Buble’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 9, 2020

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

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

“HAPPY HOLIDAYS” DOESN’T REALLY COVER IT!

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

And, this is still one of my favorites!

COVID-19 LATEST

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

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

What? WTH? WTF?

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

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

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

“VOTE NOT GLOAT”

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

As you can see, I approve this message!

PROOF THAT MASKS SAVE LIVES!

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

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

#1 SELLING NON-CHOCOLATE CANDY BAR

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

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

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

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

What are your favorite candy bars?

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

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

HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY MARY GRIFFITH

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

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

However, it took a tragedy for that to happen.

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

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

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

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

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

I’m honored to share a birthday with you!

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

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

“LOVE, VICTOR”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“LOVE, SIMON”

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

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

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

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

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

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

SELENA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“SELENA: THE SERIES”

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

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All I can say is “Mariah, I’m sorry!”

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

GRADE: B

HARVEST SEASON

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 25, 2020

Fall is here!

I hope as we head toward the holiday season, people are more caring and happier like Jack and his friends!

However, with the 2020 election ahead, that may have to wait until 2021. 😦

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. It’s okay if we disagree, just do it diplomatically!

“RBG”

Much of America is still reeling from the loss of 87-year-old Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last Friday.

She was appointed by President Bill Clinton and confirmed in 1993.

Documentaries are usually not known for being big money makers in theaters.  But, in 2018, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (about Mister Rogers) ($22.6 million) and “RBG” ($14.4 million) changed that!

This is a superb 97-minute feature directed by Betsy West and Julie Cohen.

It documents Ginsburg’s trailblazing career — from just being a woman and a mother who decides to become a lawyer in an unwelcoming field for females and to use her voice to make the world a better place for us all!

GRADE:  A

“The Notorious RBG” was an amazing woman and will be sorely missed!

ONE MORE THING…

My original scenario didn’t involve Ginsburg dying, but I hope the outcome is correct!

Back on October 18, 2019, I wrote, “In early 2021 when the Democratic 46th president takes office, I think Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will step down from the bench and Hillary [Clinton] will become the new Supreme Court Justice!”

ON A HAPPIER NOTE!

My idol, former President Jimmy Carter will celebrate his 96th birthday next Thursday, October 1st!

Meanwhile, back in August, former First Lady Rosalynn Carter turned 93, and this past summer, the couple celebrated their 74th wedding anniversary!

This makes them the longest married presidential couple!

For the record, President Carter is not only the oldest living president, he’s also the nation’s longest-lived president, and he’s had the longest post-presidency life — closing in on almost 40 years!

President Carter and Mrs. Carter, here’s to the holidays, more anniversaries, and more birthdays!

Four years ago this month, I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, and here’s the message I left for the Carters.

Happy Birthday and I love you both!

AND, SPEAKING OF THESE TWO AMAZING PEOPLE

BEFORE YOU KNOW IT….

Many people are devouring pumpkin spice this and pumpkin spice that. Some are in denial and trying to hang on to summer.

Well, it’s my duty to inform you that Christmas will be here before you know it! It’s only three months from today! 🙂

“A HOLLY DOLLY CHRISTMAS”

This year on November 1st when I put up my trees and decorations, I’ll have a new musical entry to help me decorate alongside last year’s stellar Deluxe Anniversary Edition of “Mariah Carey Merry Christmas”!

Dolly Parton is releasing her first new Christmas album in 30 years, “A Holly Dolly Christmas”, on October 2nd.

And, she’s doing a remake of “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, Mariah Carey’s iconic Christmas standard!

The album also features one of my crushes, Michael Buble — also known as “Mr. Christmas” — on the single, “Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas”!

Here’s the track listing:

Holly Jolly Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Is (featuring Miley Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Cuddle Up, Cozy Down Christmas – Dolly Parton, Michael Bublé
Christmas On The Square – Dolly Parton
Circle Of Love – Dolly Parton
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Dolly Parton, Jimmy Fallon
Comin’ Home For Christmas – Dolly Parton
Christmas Where We Are (feat. Billy Ray Cyrus) – Dolly Parton
Pretty Paper – Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Dolly Parton
You Are My Christmas (feat. Randy Parton) – Dolly Parton
Mary, Did You Know? – Dolly Parton

Final note, Willie Nelson’s “Pretty Paper” is still one of my all-time favorite holiday songs and now he’s doing it with Dolly!

“OBAMA’S WARS”

Bob Woodward, along with Carl Bernstein, are household names for basically single-handedly bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency.

Woodward is back in the news with his latest new book, “Rage”, about #45 and his presidency. This is a follow-up to his 2018 book, “Fear: Trump in the White House”.

However, I’m writing about his 2010 book, “Obama’s Wars” today.

It’s a great book that covers how President Barack Obama planned to exit from the two wars he acquired from President George W. Bush — Iraq and Afghanistan.

The downside to the book is that it came out in 2010 and while thorough, it would have been better to show how the exit from those wars and countries progressed.

There’s a quote from President Obama that I hope comes true in 2021 about his 2008 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Obama told his senior political aide and closest advisor David Axelrod, “Hillary and I were friends before this started. We had this very vituperative campaign, but, you know, she is smart and we ought to be able to do something with her.”

Before he offered her the position of “Secretary of State”, he stated she did her homework, fought hard, was relentless, and “she’d make a great Supreme Court justice”, according to Woodward.

By the way, I had not read the Woodward book when I made the comment last year about Hillary becoming a Supreme Court justice in 2021!

Personally, I’m ready for the next Hillary chapter!

“SPELL MY NAME”

I’ve been a huge fan of Toni Braxton since her 1993 self-titled debut. Her tenth studio album, “Spell My Name”, is perfect Toni Braxton!

The lead off single, “Do It”, is featured twice on the album and both version have charted this summer.

Both versions are amazing — the slower, original version topped the Adult R&B chart and the remix version with Missy Elliot made it to #11 on the R&B/Hip Hop chart.

However, the first song I heard from the album got my feet moving. “Dance” is racing up the Adult R&B chart now and is in the Top 25.

While I absolutely love the upbeat “Dance”, my favorite song on the album is “Happy Without Me”!

Other standout tracks are “Saturday Night” and “Nothin'”.

GRADE: B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

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

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

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

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

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

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

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

Christmas Tree 2019

 

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

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

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

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

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

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

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

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

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

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

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

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

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

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

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

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

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

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

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

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

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

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

Vanessa Williams.gif

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

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

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

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

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

MC Deluxe

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

Track List CD2

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

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

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

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

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

Taylor Swift Lover

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

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

Madonna Madame X

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

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

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

Reba Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

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

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

MichaelBubleChristmas

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

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

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

Michael Buble Love

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

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

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

Last Christmas

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

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

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

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

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

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THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 12 Favorite Mariah Carey Holiday Songs

Santa (and his jovial face) is synonymous with Christmas for kids from one to ninety-two.  But, he’s gotten some beautiful competition that builds each passing year.

When I think of Christmas, two modern singers come to mind:  Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

While Buble gave us the 2011 perennial favorite “Christmas” (and the 2003 EP, “Let It Snow”), it’s Mariah that dominates Christmas!

It all started with her now classic hit, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” from the 1994 “Merry Christmas” album.

That album has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide and the song alone has sold another 14 million around the world.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-TapeMariah released a second Christmas set in 2010, “Merry Christmas II You”.

There are other singers that have released more Christmas albums (Reba McEntire, Celine Dion, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Mathis to name a few), but Mariah has made herself as much a part of Christmas as egg nog, sleigh rides, and rockin’ around the Christmas tree.

In 2014, she began an annual Christmas concert at the Beacon Theater in New York City.

This year, while she’ll still do six shows at the Beacon, there are seven other North American dates, plus a five-night residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

I was lucky enough to see the Christmas show in Las Vegas in December 2017 and Mariah looked and sounded flawless and the sets were incredible!!!!!!!

It was the most magical 90 minutes I’ve enjoyed in the past couple of years!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

And, if that wasn’t enough, the Christmas show is going international with three dates in England and France!

MC ChristmasIn addition to the Christmas concerts, she has a direct-to-video animated feature called “Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You”, (November 14th), for which she recorded a new song called “Lil Snowman” for the soundtrack.

Mariah also has the title song from the upcoming holiday release “The Star” (November 17th), which also features new holiday music from Fifth Harmony and Kelsea Ballerini, which is available now!

MC Christmas Factory

And, if that’s not enough, there’s also the “Mariah Carey Christmas Factory”, a deal with the “Sugar Factory”, that’ll feature more than 100 Christmas-themed retail and candy items created by Mariah!

A Christmas Melody

Plus, you can also look for 2015’s holiday feature, “A Christmas Melody”, on The Hallmark Channel, in which Mariah starred and made her directorial debut.

CONCLUSION:  MARIAH CAREY = CHRISTMAS!

MC SantaI just booked a trip to Vegas to see Mariah’s December 14th show!  That means, I now have to quickly buy a ticket.

So, while I do that, let me be your jukebox as I share my “12 Days of Mariah Carey”, oops, I mean my Lucky 13 favorite Mariah Carey Christmas songs!!

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“CHRISTMAS TIME IS IN THE AIR AGAIN”

12

“WHEN CHRISTMAS COMES”

11

“SILENT NIGHT”

10

“CHRISTMAS (BABY PLEASE COME HOME)”

9

“JESUS WHAT A WONDERFUL CHILD”

8

“THE STAR”

7

“MISS YOU MOST (AT CHRISTMAS TIME)”

6

“JOY TO THE WORLD”

5

“O HOLY NIGHT”

4

“HERE COMES SANTA CLAUS (RIGHT DOWN SANTA CLAUS LANE)”

3

“AULD LANG SYNE (THE NEW YEAR’S ANTHEM)”

2

“OH SANTA!”

1

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” 

 

Holiday Bonus 2

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

Holiday Bonus

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

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!

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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!

Wicked Spoon.jpg

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

Random Friday Thoughts — February 17, 2017

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

Roses

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

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts.

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

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

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

Season five debuts on Netflix May 30, 2017.

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

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

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

A NEGRO TRAVEL GUIDE?

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

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

TNMGB.gif

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

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

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

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

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

PICK HIT FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

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

buble-family

Two weeks ago, Buble released this encouraging update:

MB.jpg

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

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

REMEMBERING EMMANUELLE RIVA

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

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

“Amour” was my #6 movie of 2013.

“REMNANTS”

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

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

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

remnants

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

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

AnthonyLeAnn

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

“SING IT NOW: SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE”

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

Reba faith.jpg

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

It sold 52,000 copies in its first week!

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

The deluxe version of the new album features 22 songs.

“Back To God” is the first single.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE: A-

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Best Songs of 2016

This week I’ve counted down my 20 favorites moves I saw this year and my 16 favorite albums of 2016.

You can find those here and both will open in a new window.

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

Albums:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/best-albums-of-2016/

Before we begin this year’s countdown, I want to share my #1 songs from the past three years.  Last year, it was “Want To Want Me” by Jason Derulo.  In 2014, it was “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift and in 2013, Hailey Rowe’s “My Boyfriend Is Gay” was my favorite.

Now, it’s time for me to count down my 20 favorite songs of 2016.

2016-songs

My list started out with 43 and it was difficult narrowing them down.  Sorry, The Weeknd! “Starboy” came in at #21, so we’ll have a drink for you and feature it anyway!

#21  “STARBOY” — THE WEEKND FT. DAFT PUNK

20

“BLUE AIN’T YOUR COLOR” — KEITH URBAN

19

“FOUR YEARS OF CHANCES” — MARGO PRICE

#18

“ON MY WAY” — CARDIKNOX

#17

“ROSES” — THE CHAINSMOKERS FT. ROZES

#16

“THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR” — CALVIN HARRIS FT. RIHANNA

FLASHBACK BONUS!

Bonus

That was my #16 favorite song this year and this was my 16th favorite song from last year!

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE”  — DAVE AUDE FT. OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN & CHLOE LATTANZI

Now, back to my favorites of 2016!

#15 Movie

“IN THE NIGHT” — THE WEEKND

#14 Movie

“THINK OF ME” — CHRIS YOUNG & CASSADEE POPE

BONUS! BONUS! BONUS!

Bonus

If you’re not an established country artist, it takes forever for songs to move up the chart.  This amazing song was released in March 2015, but it’s still the 36th most played country song of 2016!!!  We’re talking 21 months.  Crazy!

It’s still one of my favorites and the video is very inclusive!

“STAY A LITTLE LONGER” — THE BROTHERS OSBORNE

#13

“LET ME LOVE YOU — DJ SNAKE FT. JUSTIN BIEBER

12

“WORK FROM HOME” — FIFTH HARMONY & TY DOLLA $IGN

This is one video where you could mute the sound and just watch, but then you’d miss out on an incredible song!

Bye Camila!  I know that Ally, Normani, Dinah, and Lauren will be just fine and I can’t wait for the new music!

#11 Movie

“SLUMBER PARTY” — BRITNEY SPEARS FT. TINASHE

10

“CRASH” — USHER

#9 MOVIE

“SOMEDAY” — MICHAEL BUBLE FT. MEGHAN TRAINOR

8

“DON’T LET ME DOWN” — THE CHAINSMOKERS FT. DAYA

#7 CD

“LOVE YOURSELF” — JUSTIN BIEBER

6

“SOMETHING IN THE WAY YOU MOVE” — ELLIE GOULDING

#5 CD

“PILLOWTALK” — ZAYN

FLASHBACK BONUS!

Before we get to this year’s #4, here was my #4 song from 2014.

“ANACONDA” — NICKI MINAJ

red-number-4

“ME TOO” — MEGHAN TRAINOR

green 3

“SIT STILL LOOK PRETTY” — DAYA

#2 MOVIE

 

“YOUTH” — TROYE SIVAN

This was a tough call because I love this song and it was a virtual tie for my favorite song of the year.

Another number 1

“FADED” — ALAN WALKER FT. ISELIN SOLHEIM

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

The 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.)

So, here it is — my favorite song of 2016.  “Faded” has been viewed almost 828 million times on YouTube!

Now, it’s time to share my least favorite songs of 2016.

Gag Me

#4 “Broccoli” (Big Baby D.R.A.M)

#3 “Black Beatles” (Rae Sremmurd)

#2  “For Free” (DJ Khaled & Drake)

Normally, I wouldn’t show the video for my least favorite song of the year.  But, it’s so bad and hideous and the video is just so… indescribable.  Here it is!

#1  “M.I.L.F. $” (Fergie)

I seriously can’t leave you on that note.  That would be cruel. 🙂

Bonus

I jumped on “Cake By The Ocean” by DNCE late last year.  It was my #6 song of 2015. Meanwhile, it really took off on Top 40 radio this year in the U.S.  It’s the 12th most played song of the year.

So, I’m featuring my #6 song of 2015 again.  To get us through these cold winter months, let’s just think of “Cake By The Ocean”.

By the way, the DNCE album is my 6th favorite album of 2016.

dnce

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.

giorgio-moroder-deja-vu

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

#16

“MATTER” — ST. LUCIA

st-lucia-matter-new-album

15

“THANKS” — MEGHAN TRAINOR

meghan-trainor-thank-you

#14 Movie

“PAPER GODS” — DURAN DURAN

PAPER GODS DURAN DURAN.jpg

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

 

50

9

“SUPER” — PET SHOP BOYS

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#8 MOVIE

“CLOUD NINE” — KYGO

KYGO.jpg

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!

Margo Price.jpeg

4

“7/27” — FIFTH HARMONY

 

Fifth Harmony 727.jpg

3

“SIT STILL, LOOK PRETTY” — DAYA

daya

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

Merry Xmas (Christmas) To All

ORIGINAL POST:  November 23, 2016

UPDATED:  November 28, 2017

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and we’ve already enjoyed our Thanksgiving feasts.

Our Turkey 2012

People are decorating their homes, writing out Christmas cards, and making holiday gift lists and checking them twice.

Meanwhile, radio stations are transitioning from their tired playlists to treat us with holiday standards while sprinkling in a few new offerings of Christmas musical cheer.

I added one Christmas CD to my collection, “My Kind of Christmas” by Reba McEntire.

REBA

Yet, I know I’ll resort to listening to The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” (1978) , Michael Buble “Christmas” (2011), Mariah Carey “Merry Christmas” (1994), and Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas to You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) over and over again.

I love Christmas music so much that I could listen to it year around.

Christmas is just so magical.  I’m mesmerized by the twinkling of the lights and I love holidays parties. I can’t get enough of the appetizers and the baked goodies — the cookies, fudge and divinity, and even the fruitcake!

funny_fruitcake

Each year, my Christmas cards are mailed the day before Thanksgiving to begin the trek across the country.

Xmas.jpg

I’m smiling now because I’m sure someone has already commented on Facebook where the link to this blog was first posted because I put Xmas in the title line.

I know that many people get their tinsel all twisted (that’s a Christmas way of saying “get their panties in a wad”) when they see “Merry Xmas”!

christ-in-chrismas

They say that writing Xmas takes Christ out of “Christmas”.  After all, he’s the reason for the season!

The whole Christ, Christmas, and Xmas debate got me to thinking.

People get so up in arms about leaving “Christ” in “Christmas”, yet many of those same people claiming to be Christians and living for the Lord can be so hateful and judgmental.

All of a sudden it hit me.  Maybe these same people should take a moment to put Christ back into Christian”! At that point, I decided to write about it and I really thought I was on to something.

As Indiana’s governor, we had Vice President Mike Pence doing all he could do to be discriminatory to LGBT people in his state until businesses started moving out (or threatening to) and it cost Indiana money.

Pence

He’s one of those people — “Christians”.  Note there that “Christians” is in quotation marks. They are the ones that use religion to hate or discriminate — “Christians”.

Then there are those that love and live for the Lord that also love their fellow man for who they are.  They are the true Christians!

As someone who doesn’t believe in “organized religion”, but prays to God and believes in a higher power, I’m all about loving the Lord and trying to live the best life I can.

However, when you “religious freedom” to hate, I don’t think my Lord would like that very much.

pence-gay-marriage

So, when I started putting this together, I did a quick Google image search to add a fun and colorful graphic to the story.

It was then that I found that my whole thought process of putting “Christ” back in “Christian” to off set “Christ” in “Christmas” wasn’t such an original idea!

Christ in Christian.jpg

Here’s the bottom line for me. I never write Xmas in a Christmas card, nor do I type it online (except in today’s blog to drive home a point!).

It has nothing to do with keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

In the same line of thinking, when you go to talk about “Christ” this Christmas, live up to what he was preaching.  Love your fellow man (or woman) whether they live the same way of life as you.

It’s something that I try to do every day and not just at Xmas.  (Ha, I was just seeing if you were still reading.)  I fail and then I just try harder the next time.

Christmas will always be Christmas to me and not Xmas.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Krampusnacht!  Happy Yule!  Happy Chalica!

Whatever you celebrate, have a great December and an even better 2017!

christmascocktails

Anthony

Brett Eldredge Puts a “Glow” in Christmas

It’s early fall, but there are already several new Christmas albums on the market to fill your holidays.

The a cappella group Pentatonix just released their third Christmas set in less than four years (!).

Country acts Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year and just today, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood released “Christmas Together”, which I just bought.

glow

“Glow” is the first Christmas album from Illinois native and relative country newcomer Brett Eldredge.

He’s already released two hit country albums and, since 2012, has scored five Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  His latest, “Wanna Be That Song” is at #12 and will likely be his sixth Top Ten.

But, we’re talking Christmas and “Glow” here.

The standard edition features eleven songs and the Target exclusive gives you three more.

The only original song on the album is the title track.  I’ll be forthright in saying that I love the classics and I have to warm to new originals and I did with “Glow”.

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Brett is not only an attractive young man, he also has a very strong voice.

If you only buy the standard edition, you’ll likely listen to the eleven songs (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, and many more) and think, “it doesn’t sound very country”.  It doesn’t.  The music is very much jazzed up.

It’s like he’s channeling Michael Buble and that’s a good thing.  But, comparing Eldredge’s voice to Buble’s is like comparing Mick Jagger’s voice to Paul McCartney’s.  Both strong, but very different in delivery.

Now, if you buy the Target exclusive, the three additional songs are the only ones on the album that lets you know that Eldredge in a country music star.

It’s like you changed discs in the player from a jazz artist to a country one.

“Glow” is an exceptional Christmas album and it solidifies the fact that pop star Meghan Trainor should be on every duet!

On this album, she sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eldredge and just last month, she appeared with Michael Buble on “Someday” from his “Nobody But Me” album.

GRADE:  A

Anthony