Posts Tagged ‘Michael C. Hall’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 30, 2020

It’s that time again — the weekend and a few of my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

Thank you for checking out what’s on my mind.

Trust me, it’s twisted, naughty, dangerous, and sweet!

So, Happy Halloween!

POPULAR CANDY BY STATE

I guess you won’t be finding these candies in your neighborhood stores at half price November 1st since they’re the most popular!

Of the states I’ve lived, I totally agree with Snickers in Minnesota and I could deal with Milk Duds in Maryland.

But, I’m definitely unsure about Mars bars in Ohio (not sure if I’ve ever had one), M&Ms in Florida and Texas, and Pretzel M&Ms in Wisconsin.

The one that baffles me most is Swedish Fish in Kentucky!!! Seriously? Give me chocolate anytime!

And, Jolly Ranchers in Illinois? Again, give me chocolate!

Final thought: If Swedish Fish makes the list only in Kentucky, where are Twizzlers?

Your thoughts on your state’s favorite candy?

MOST POPULAR HORROR VILLAINS

With more than 100,000 tweets and hashtags tracked since October 1st, here are the most popular horror villains by state this Halloween!

Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Voorhees (“Friday The 13th”) are tied with 12 states each, followed by Pennywise (“It”) with 10 states.

Freddy Krueger (“Nightmare On Elm Street”) won in 7 states.

Other winners include: Chucky (“Child’s Play”) and Hannibal Lecter (“The Silence Of The Lambs”) both with 3 states, and Leatherface (“Texas Chainsaw Massacre”), The Candyman (“Candyman”), and The Babadook (“The Babadook”) each won in one state!

Go on with your bad selves Michael Myers and Hannibal Lecter, two of favorite villains! 🙂

HALLOWEEN POLITICAL HUMOR

President Richard Nixon can rest easily in his grave this Halloween!

MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD TUESDAY!

“I AM WOMAN”

The Helen Reddy biopic that I’ve been talking a lot about lately, “I Am Woman” is now on Netflix. I’ll be watching it this weekend!

“DEXTER”

Showtime announced that one of my favorite characters (Dexter Morgan), series (“Dexter”), and actors (Michael C. Hall) are coming back next year for another season!

I can’t say how happy this makes me. While I loved the series, I hated how it ended!

When Dexter returns, I want my favorite serial killer doing what he does best — killing! (Well, that and looking damn fine!)

Here are my thoughts and my grades on the eight seasons:

Season 1: (A+)  — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B) —   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) —  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) —  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-) —  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+)  — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  (B) — (Despite that main character’s death and with “that” series finale, I’m surprised this season didn’t grade lower!) The only reason it scored higher was because I loved Sam Underwood, who played Zach Hamilton. Also, the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  Additionally, the “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

“THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF SERIAL KILLERS”

This summer I read this 1992 book by Brian Lane and Wilfred Gregg. Just imagine how many more are known now in the past 28 years!

While the more popular ones live on in infamy, it was interesting reading about other twisted killers that aren’t as well known.

Here are some interesting things I learned:

Aileen Wuornos (Charlize Theron won an Oscar playing her in “Monster”) was the most well-known female serial killer.

While women only make up about 8% of serial killers in the U.S., they make up 76% of the world’s total!

Albert De Salvo, “The Boston Strangler”, was likely responsible for the deaths of 13 women in a reign of terror from June 1962 to January 1964.

“Likely”? That’s because he confessed to the killings, but he NEVER stood trial for the murders since there wasn’t one piece of direct evidence to connect him to the crimes!

He was jailed on a 1965 rape charge and was murdered in prison in 1973.

I guess I’m a little twisted because I laughed at a couple of responses from serial killers!

German Christa Lehmann confessed to intentionally poisoning three people and accidently killing a fourth person (a friend that ate a poisoned truffle intended for someone else).

When she was led into prison, she reportedly said, “I don’t suppose I should have done it. But with the exception of Anni, they were all nasty people. Besides, I love to go to funerals.”

And, there’s Mary Elizabeth Wilson, who was also known as the “Merry Widow of Windy Nook” in England in the 1950s.

After her first husband of 43 years died painfully from phosphorous poisoning, she went on to murder three husbands in a span of just a few years. One died just 12 days after marrying her!

At her final wedding reception, a modest affair, she “jokingly” told the caterer, “Save the leftover cakes, they will come in handy for the funeral.” She added later, “Better not save them, I might give him a bit longer to live.”

He died within the year and she didn’t even attend the funeral!

“WHEN THE MOB RAN VEGAS”

Back in my former life, there was talk of “us” moving to Las Vegas and that Christmas Santa brought me three books on my favorite American city.

I finally got around to reading them! (More on the other two at a later date!)

This 2007 book by Steve Fischer is subtitled, “Stories of Money, Mayhem and Murder” spelled out how the Mob ruled Vegas in its gambling boon, in the 1950s and 1960s.

While I was too young to be a fan of Frank Sinatra during his heyday, he’s definitely portrayed as a scumbag!

Here are some of the fascinating stories Fisher shared:

Sinatra was at the “Havana Mafia Conference” (to perform?) at the Hotel Nacional over Christmas 1946. This was the “meeting” where it was decided that Bugsy Siegel would be killed. This happened six months later in Los Angeles!

While gruesome, this photo actually appeared in the morning Los Angeles Times!

Las Vegas was a very segregated town. While black performers, such as Sammy Davis Jr. and Lena Horne, could perform in the casino showrooms, they COULDN’T walk through the casino or stay in the Strip hotels.

The Moulin Rogue was the first integrated (multiracial) casino and hotel. It opened in mid-May 1955. It was so progressive and successful that it mysteriously closed just six months later!

More widespread integration began on the Strip hotels around 1960.

The Teamsters Union and Jimmy Hoffa loaned millions of dollars to Strip casinos during the 1950s and 1960s through its Pension Fund.

Now that I think about it, could Hoffa, who disappeared in the summer of 1975, be buried under one of the spectacular Strip Casino and Hotels?

And, finally, I find this story very interesting. Reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes spent millions to buy up several Strip casinos and hotels in the 1970s.

Hughes was a very paranoid man.

He believed the huge shoe 65 feet off the ground atop the Silver Slipper’s billboard had a photographer hidden inside taking his picture on the Penthouse floor of the Desert Inn.

Why? Because the shoe would stop in his direction!

Hughes wanted the hollowed out shoe “filled in”. When that was denied, he just bought the Silver Slipper Casino for $5.4 million and stopped the “Slipper” from rotating forever!

But, here’s the best story and it’s naughty. So, you may only want to read part of it. 🙂

In March 1951, the Senate Committee on Organized Crime hearings were broadcast live on the early days of television and everyone was glued to their sets.

Not only were many people learning about the Mob for the first time, they also witnessed a very funny, vulgar exchange.

While I’ll censor the word (it’s inappropriate, but the quote is totally hilarious), some may just want to stop here and have a great weekend! 🙂

Remember this was on live television with no way to edit it!

While being questioned about her income, Senator Estes Kefauver asked Virginia Hill, the girlfriend of the late Bugsy Siegel, why so many men gave her so much money.

He said there was a doctor in Chicago, New York mobsters, Ben Siegel, a concert violinist in New York, and a millionaire in Mexico, giving her money for no reason.

She toyed with the Senator and asked if he was “SURE” he really wanted to know. He said, “Of course, I want to know, Miss Hill.”

Hill replied, “Senator, they give me the money, because I’m the best damn ****sucker in the United States.”

Well, wasn’t than scandalous! 🙂

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

The “Next Chapter” Is Still Being Written

The holidays and winter are quickly approaching.

While I love the feast of Thanksgiving and I’m grateful for all that I have, Christmas is my favorite holiday.

Christmas Tree 2019

I celebrate it with decorations from early November through late January and I start listening to Christmas music on October 1st (earlier if I’m stressed)!

Back in early June, I shared “I Need to Write My ‘Next Chapter'” to let you know about my life — where I’m at and where I want to be!  That’s why you take the time to keep you with me, right? 🙂

I wrote that I’m “Alive, but not living!” and I said, “In life, I’ve only made two real spontaneous decisions.  As it turned out, both were the best decisions I’ve ever made!”

Both times involved moving to Chicago — in 1994 for two years and, again in 2002 for two more years.

I concluded with, “So, I’ll have to be spontaneous again and start living!  As this summer turns into a long Minnesota winter, I’ll enjoy every snowflake.  And, come spring 2020, I’ll proudly take to heart the words of my favorite Robert Frost poem, ‘Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening’. 

Those words “But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.”!

I concluded with “I’ll take a gamble on life again!”

That’s the Cliff Notes or the “soundbite” version of the June blog.  If you want to read the entire personal entry (my most viewed blog of 2019), click here and it’ll open in a separate window:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/i-need-to-write-my-next-chapter/

Well, almost six months later, it’s time for an update and a clarification.

I know the intent was well-meaning, but I had someone basically tell me to stop waiting for this “next chapter” to happen and start living now!

Each time that correspondence crossed my mind, I’d stop, breathe, and count to ten!

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Since I’m no longer in my 20s, 30s, or even my 40s, this is not a decision that I can make foolhardily.

For starters, I have two contracts to fulfill — work and my apartment.

But, this “spontaneous” decision that I’m working toward actually came to me in early 2019.  And, while visiting Bangkok, Thailand, in March, I decided with 99% certainty that I needed to write “the next chapter”!

Temples

Because I’ve gained ten pounds since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, in June 2018, my fall physical also showed that I had higher cholesterol.

Plugging my blood results into a formula, my doctor told me, “With this cholesterol, your 10-year heart disease risk is 4.2% — well below the level to start a medicine.”

Dr. C. also told me that I was in great shape!

With that being said, I’m moving forward with the “Next Chapter” and I can share this without alarming anyone! 🙂

Dying Regrets

I actually posted this before in an April 2013 blog!  Back then I said, “if I were to die tomorrow… the only regret that I have is #2 — working too hard in life.”

Let’s “time jump” more than six years, I now realize that I need to work on #2 (“I Wish I Hadn’t Worked So Hard”) and #5 (“I Wish That I Had Let Myself Be Happier”)!

No matter how independent we are or how strong we are, part of our happiness is tied to others.

That’s especially true in my life since 2017.  In the first year after my marriage ended, I didn’t go on one date and only two dates in the second year!  One of those led to a friendship.

It’s tough when you work strange hours and you don’t get to meet people.  It drastically diminishes opportunities of meeting friends or that “someone special”.

And, I’m way past the “hook up” stage in life of having meaningless sex just for the sake of feeling intimacy!

I’ve vented about this before, but it seems the world is so obsessed with apps designed for quick hook-ups — whether they’re single or in relationships!  No thanks!

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Okay, that’s totally the wrong seductive GIF to use because I’d so retract everything I just said for Michael C. Hall (or Dexter Morgan)! 🙂

With the new year drawing closer, I’m excited about going fishing in a bigger pond!

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I can’t wait to find something fun to pay bills that’ll allow me more time to live, meet people (friends or that “someone special”), and be a great dad to #Pug2020!

Cheers to the future — “the next chapter”!!!

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Spring 2020 is getting closer each day!

Anthony

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

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It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

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And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

When I was last in Las Vegas this past December, not only did I get to see Paula Abdul’s great “Forever Your Girl” residency, I got a hug from her as she passed through the crowd during that song! 🙂

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

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LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

 
Molly Sims.jpg
 

Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

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Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 11, 2019

I hope you had a great holiday season and that your New Year is off to a great start!

Here are a few thoughts I want to share — mainly some recommendations.

Have a great weekend!

MY BLOG JUST TURNED 7

On January 7, 2012, I decided that instead of just posting a thought on Facebook, I would expand on whatever I was thinking at the time.

That bright idea led me to starting this blog!

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My blog — by the numbers — in those seven years:

  • Number of blogs posted:  1244
  • Total views:  607,263

Kylie

  • Most Viewed Month:  January 2014 (33,800 views)

 

  • Most Views by Country:  United States (72% of all views)
  • Runner-up Countries: #2 Germany, #3 Canada, #4 U.K, #5 France* (2012 data is missing, so France could really be higher), #6 Brazil, #7 Australia, and #8 Italy.

 

  • Number of People I’ve Pissed Off: Unknown 🙂

HeatherMooney

THEY SAID WHAT (on Twitter)?

TENNIS LEGEND MARTINA NAVRATILOVA:  “I can tell you all this for sure- whatever ridiculous propaganda we were fed in then Czechoslovakia, which was mandated by Soviet Union- pales next to the lies being told and repeated by trump and his ilk. I am not kidding… trump truly trumps the communists. And that’s not easy”

ADULT STAR STORMY DANIELS (on the night of 45’s immigration prime time plea): “If you’re looking for anything even remotely worth watching tonight at 9pm EST, I will be folding laundry in my underwear for 8 minutes on Instagram live.”

And, one more…

not an immigrant

WINTER FUNNY

Snowman Life in Prison

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wine Cupcakes

WISH I WAS IN VEGAS NOW!

But, since I can’t be, I’ll share this fun video that features Olivia Newton-John reprising her hit “Magic” (1980) as the chorus.

This version hit #1 on the Billboard dance chart in 2015 for Olivia, her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi and DJ Dave Aude.

Olivia and Chloe are the only mother-daughter team to achieve that on the Billboard Dance Club Song chart!

It features a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists!

“BIRD BOX”

This Netflix original is a great, creepy movie with an all-star cast.  It’s also being watched in record numbers on the streaming service after a limited theatrical run.

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

I loved seeing Trevante Rhodes in a major role after his career making part in the Oscar winner “Moonlight”.

Some say the movie is tacky in the way it handles mental illness and suicide.

“Bird Box” would have gotten a higher grade if not for the unbelievable “rapids” scene outcome!

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

Critics are raving about this latest masterpiece and semi-autobiographical film from director Alfonso Cuarón ( “Gravity” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”).

It follows the life of a live-in housekeeper, Cleo, to a middle-class family in Mexico City in the early-1970s.

Lead actress Yalitza Aparicio, who’s not a trained actress, was spectacular and the main reason to see this film.

While the movie is beautifully shot and Cuarón lets the movie breathe, some scenes go on way too long!

Maybe it’s just me because I wasn’t blown away by his critically acclaimed movie “Gravity” either, but I loved Cuarón’s 2001 film, “Y Tu Mama Tambien”.

GRADE:  B-

“PEPPERMINT”

This revenge drama stars Jennifer Garner as a mother hellbent on finding the scum bags that murdered her husband and little girl.

While you had to suspend disbelief in some scenes, it was an entertaining movie.

If you saw and loved Jodie Foster’s much better movie “The Brave One”, you’ll like this one.

It makes me want to binge watch ABC’s “Alias” now!

“Peppermint” was my 16th favorite movie I saw in 2018.

GRADE:  B+

“GAME NIGHT”

I usually prefer dramas over comedy, but this one starring Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams was funny (at times).

My favorite scene was when a character is shot and another one has to clean the wound and stop the bleeding.  Hilarious!!!!!!!

Any movie that features my main crush Michael C. Hall (Ben Whishaw is the other) gets my attention.

GRADE:  B-

“LIZZIE”

We’ve all heard the real life story about Lizzie Borden!

Yes, the one that “gave her mother 40 whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father 41”!

This very compelling drama features incredible performances by actresses Chloe Sevigny as Lizzie and Kristin Stewart as her family’s maid.

GRADE:  B

“BLACK CHRISTMAS” (1974)

I’ve seen the 2006 remake of “Black Christmas” and I finally caught the 1974 original this holiday season.

It stars the late Margot Kidder.

Considering this movie was pre-“Halloween” (1978), it tried to build up the suspense, but failed.

I was more surprised by the language that was allowed 40+years ago!

GRADE:  C+

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 17, 2018

It’s hard to believe that we’re already into the middle of August.

After one of the hottest weekends of the summer last weekend in the Northland, I’m ready for a long, comfortable Duluth, Minnesota autumn!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

“FAKE NEWS” — FOR SURE

It’s bad enough to have to look at 45 and listen to his ramblings with the traditional trite catch phrases, “witch hunt”, “crooked Hillary”, or “fake news”.

Well, last week, CNN ran a story comparing the approval rating of  “that man” vs. President Barack Obama.

Real.JPG

But, Junior, that’s Donald Jr. posted a fake image on his Instagram page with 45’s job approval rating at 50% instead of the actual 40%!

Don Jr..JPG

After being called out numerous times, he finally deleted it last Friday.

FAKE NEWS in the 45 White House circle of hell is alive and well!

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

I’ve only been to the movies twice this year.

In January, I saw “Call Me By Your Name” and in March, I went to see “Love, Simon”.  I highly recommend both of them!

But, today, I’m indulging with a large popcorn, a Coke Zero, and “Crazy Rich Asians”!

Crazy-Rich-Asians-Movie.jpg

I first mentioned the movie in my blog last November when I was crushing on 31-year-old British-Malaysian actor Henry Golding, the lead in the movie.

Henry Golding

A couple of months ago, I wrote, “I think ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ could be the new ‘Pretty Woman’!  Well, without Julia Roberts and turning tricks in Los Angeles!

I’m so excited to see MUCH MORE of Henry Golding and the chemistry between his character, Nick Young and Rachel (Constance Wu).

Also, I hear that Goh Peik Lin (played by Awkwafina), Rachel’s Singaporean college best friend, is hilarious.”

ARETHA FRANKLIN (1942-2018)

The world lost music legend Aretha Franklin Thursday after a lengthy battle with cancer.  She was 76.  Her family and friends were with her when she passed on.

aretha640

Franklin got her start singing in her father’s Detroit church.

She scored her first hit in 1960 on the Billboard R&B chart when “When I Sing The Blues” reached #10.

That was the first of 81 hits she charted on R&B charts.  Of those, 52 reached the Top Ten, with 37 making the Top 5!

On the R&B chart, she had 20 number one hits.

Meanwhile, on the Billboard Hot 100 (which combines all music), she scored 43 hits with 17 making it to the Top 5.

She had two #1 hits on the Hot 100:  1967’s “Respect” and 1987’s “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)”, with George Michael.

My three favorite Aretha songs were “Chain of Fools” at #3, “Freeway of Love” at #2, and this one is my favorite.

Aretha’s duet with George Michael, “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me)” was also my favorite of all of Michael’s hits, too!

Franklin also picked up 17 Grammy Awards for her recordings and thee more Special Grammy Awards!

AUGUST 16TH

On this date, August 16, we lost the “King” Elvis Presley in 1977 and the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin in 2018.

On a happier note, the “Queen of Pop” Madonna was born in 1958!

Elvis Aretha Madonna

Happy 60th Madonna!

In her honor, here are my all-time favorite Madonna songs.  I’ll be your jukebox today!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/my-favorite-iconic-madonna-hits/

“FILM STARS DON’T DIE IN LIVERPOOL”

While I still haven’t seen two of the Best Actress performances from the 90th Academy Awards, I have to say that Annette Benning was robbed of an Oscar nomination in “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool”.

Jamie Bell was equally deserving.

This romantic dramedy is about the love affair of an older woman and a younger man and is based on the true story of actress Gloria Grahame.

While Grahame won an Oscar in 1952 for “The Bad and the Beautiful”, many people probably know her best as Violet Bick from 1946’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”.  (Yes, the staple of Christmas television!)

Bick.jpg

Bening was fantastic as Grahame and it’s great to see Jamie Bell all grown up and sexy!

I loved him, when barely a teenager, in his movie debut, 2000’s incredible “Billy Elliot”.

And, it was fun seeing him reunited with Julie Walters (“Mamma Mia”), who played his dance teacher in “Billy Elliot” and his mother in “Film Stars”.

GRADE: A

“SAFE”

If you’re looking for a new series to binge watch on Netflix, check out the latest from Michael C. Hall, who played adorable serial killer, “Dexter” on Showtime for eight seasons.

Dexter-michael-c-hall

I still have the biggest crush on Hall!  I was very fortunate to see him “off Broadway” in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” in New York City in January 2015.

Hedwig

In “Safe”, an eight episode series, Hall plays an English doctor who goes on the search for his teenage daughter when she and her hot boyfriend go missing.

It’s filled with many twists and turns and the conclusion is a shocker!

GRADE: A

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Kahlusion

MY 15 MINUTES OF FAME WITH JEFFREY DAHMER

Back in 1990, I spent the summer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and unbeknownst then, a menacing serial killer was praying on young men in the city.

When the timeline of Jeffrey Dahmer’s killing spree, complete with cannibalism and lobotomies, came to light, I had been in Club 219 two nights before Dahmer picked up one of his victims!

Jeffrey Dahmer.jpg

Who knows, he might have been creeping around in the corner of that seedy bar that night!

MY FRIEND DAHMER”

There have been several movies released about Dahmer.

“Dahmer” (2002) with Jeremy Renner playing the serial killer is a little bit better than this one, but it’s not great either.

“My Friend Dahmer” focuses on the high school years of Dahmer in Ohio, with Ross Lynch of Disney Channel fame, playing a teenage Dahmer.

While Lynch is convincing, Anne Heche’s performance as his unstable mother is a bit much to take — too comical.

GRADE:  C

CRAZY OCCURRENCES IN JIMMY CARTER’S TERM

Watching “My Friend Dahmer”, I did learn something that I didn’t know.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president.

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and even got to meet Vice President Walter Mondale.

MONDALE

That isn’t the only strange occurrence during the Carter White House years with a serial killer.

In a turn of events that’s much more widely known, First Lady Rosalynn Carter was photographed with John Wayne Gacy in May 1978 for his part in the annual Polish Constitution Day Parade in Chicago.

Rosalynn Gacy.jpg

Around Christmas 1978, Gacy was arrested and eventually convicted of killing 33 young men and boys outside Chicago.  He buried many in his house in the crawl space.

john-wayne-gacy-killer-clown

He was also known for dressing up as a clown, thus earning the nickname “Killer Clown”.

“CHAPPAQUIDDICK”

We know the story of the Kennedy curse:  Joe was killed fighting in World War II and John and Bobby were assassinated, so it was up to Ted to get to the White House.

But, on a fateful summer night near Martha’s Vineyard, those dreams almost disappeared in an alcohol-induced accident that left Mary Jo Kopechne , who worked on Bobby’s 1968 campaign, dead.

If you liked Kennedy, this movie definitely won’t make you like him any more.  If you already disliked him, you’ll like him even less.

GRADE:  B-

TED KENNEDY

I’ll admit for all his faults, Ted Kennedy did a lot for us in his almost 47 years as Senator.

TKENNEDY.jpg

However, I’ll never forgive him for making a run in 1980 for the Democratic nomination for president.

While dealing with the Iranian hostage situation and the faltering economy, this definitely hurt sitting President Jimmy Carter that spring and gave Ronald Reagan the advantage he needed.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 16, 2018

We’re midway through February now and for my snow-weary Midwest friends, spring is getting closer.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

“REAL LIFE” TIME JUMP

When I was a kid, I was always looking forward to something and counting down to it (some things never change)!  My grandmother would wisely tell me that I was “wishing my life away”.

In the middle of the season of a television show I’m binge-watching now, it jumped ahead ten months from one episode to the next — usually that happens from one season to the next.

While I’d be wishing my life away, I so wish I could have a “real life” time jump and not be “wishing my life away”.  Except for the trips I’ve taken since moving to Florida, I haven’t been “living”, just surviving.

may 2019

But, by the summer of 2019, I’ll be living again — somewhere other than Florida!

I just need to find distractions until then.  For now, it’s reading and walking and binge watching television and movies.

BLOWING OFF THE VICE PRESIDENT

There’s been plenty of talk lately about 2018 Winter Olympics bronze medalist gay figure skater Adam Rippon and Vice President Mike Pence.

It all stems from Pence’s horrid LGBT track record.

Pence

Okay, just because Pence is the vice president doesn’t mean you must meet with him!  We’re still “free” to choose, right?

If it was me and Pence just wanted a photo op and I was appalled by his anti-LGBT policies (and I am), no way.

However, if it was going to be a conversation or a dialogue, I’d meet with him in a heartbeat to express to him man-to-man my displeasure with his ignorant and hateful policies of the past and the current administration that he’s a part of.

BEST SERIES FINALE

While it’s on its seventh and final season on ABC, I just started binge-watching “Scandal” and I’m almost done with season four.

I want to be Olivia Pope!  Kerry Washington is amazing!

She loves wine and popcorn (like me), but I’ve never had them together.

Olivia

Unlike me, she has two hot men fighting for her.

There’s Jake Ballard (the very sensual Scott Foley)…

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and President Fitzgerald Grant III (the very sexy Tony Goldwyn).

tony goldwyn

So, how do I know that “Scandal” isn’t real and it’s just part of Shondaland?  The picture below is why! 🙂

ap exam

RANKING THE SERIES I’VE WATCHED

When I started “Scandal”, I was thinking back to the five series I’ve watched from beginning to end and only two finales were truly fulfilling.

spoiler-alert

Since “House of Cards” is returning for the final season this year, it’s not included, yet I’m including “The X-Files” because it was done after nine seasons.

However, in television, I guess nothing is dead.

A six-episode tenth season aired in 2016.  We’re currently in a ten-episode run for the eleventh and final season since Gillian Anderson says she won’t return and creator Chris Carter says there’s no more “The X-Files” without Dana Scully!

5th place: “The X-Files”  — that whole bomb blast that killed (?)/disfigured the “Cigarette-Smoking Man”!  Really?

4th place: “Dexter” — Amazing series and I absolutely love (and crush on) Michael C. Hall and the twisted Dexter Morgan.

Dexter

But, a dead sister, a boat explosion, and becoming a logger?  As Debra would say, “Jesus F**k Dexter!”

3rd place: “Fringe”

2nd place:  “Six Feet Under” — the flash forward to the character’s deaths was awesome.

Six Feet Under starring Rachel Griffiths, Peter Krause, Michael C.Hall, Frances Conroy, Lauren Ambrose, Freddy Rodriguez, Mathew St. Patrick, Justina Machado, Jeremy Sisto and James Cromwell

Best series finale: “Breaking Bad”

TELEVISION PRE-EMPTIONS

Since many of your favorite shows are being pre-empted because of the Winter Olympics, this is your chance to binge watch and catch up on something new.

If you’re not watching “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” on FX, do so.

The last three episodes dealt with Andrew Cunanan’s first three victims and those were even more powerful than the earlier ones dealing with Versace.

Miglin

Judith Light was incredible as the grieving Marilyn Miglin.

Also, the two episodes dealing with Cunanan’s first murders — his old friend Jeffrey Trail and his boyfriend David Madson were sexy and disturbing!

Darren Criss is amazing as Cunanan.

Criss.png

And, there’s “The Alienist”, also on TNT — creepy and powerful!

THEY SAID WHAT?

George Barbara

Former First Lady Barbara Bush — 1990 — Wellesley College commencement speech:

“Somewhere out in this audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my footsteps, and preside over the White House as the president’s spouse.  I wish him well!”

President Obama

Comedian Chris Rock (on President Barack Obama five years into his presidency – after the eight years of George W. Bush): “I think he’s done well – but it’s like, I don’t know who Tina Turner’s second husband was, but he was better than Ike.  Right?  Maybe he had faults, maybe he lost his job or whatever, but he was better than Ike.”

RuPaul

RuPaul (on Donald Trump): “it’s not that the openness and forward thinking has diminished – actually, the forward thinking is bigger than ever.  It’s that the other side feels more threatened than ever before, so they’ve rallied around this fool and this concept of trying to turn the clock back, which has never worked.  It feels like the stakes are higher for both sides.”

“VICTORIA & ABDUL”

If you love Netflix’s “The Crown” and are going through withdrawals waiting for the third season, check out this gem.

It’s the story of Queen Victoria (Judi Dench), ruler of England and Ireland from 1837 until her death in 1876, and her Indian Muslim servant, Abdul (Ali Fazal).

The movie is a dramedy and it’ll make you laugh and cry.  The bond between the aging queen and the charming, attractive young Indian man is touching.

GRADE: A-

“EASTSIDERS”

I’ve written about this LGBT series before.  It was nominated for two Daytime Emmy Awards in 2016.

The third season is now on Netflix and it was the best season yet.  It spends a lot of time on relationships and how much work goes into them.

One interesting plot line featured real life porn star Colby Keller, who was a Donald Trump supporter in the last presidential election.

I was curious how this would go over in a gay series.

Eastsiders

In this particular scene, Cal (show creator, writer, director, and star Kit Williamson) and Thom (the beautiful Van Hansis) pick up Keller’s drifter character for a threesome and are discussing “Thelma & Louise”.

It’s basically, “I’m the Thelma… Geena Davis.  I loved ‘A League of Their Own’.  So that means you’re the Louise, Susan Sarandon, right?”

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“I did love ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ as a kid, but I voted for Hillary Clinton.”

Hillary Laughing

So, that’s how it was handled in the series. 🙂

Warning:  Trailer contains adult subject matter and language!

GRADE (season three): A-

“THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER”

This is a very bizarre movie starring my “girl crush” Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell.  Both are incredible.

However, the supernatural-psychological drama makes you feel very awkward and uneasy from the beginning all the way to the end.

The standout, other than Kidman and Farrell, is Irish actor Barry Keoghan (“Dunkirk”), who plays psycho well!

While I’m glad I watched it, I’ll never have to see it again.

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

For singles this weekend after Valentine’s Day, we should just buy some half-price boxes of chocolate, have some champagne or wine, and go out with the girls.

As Kesha says in her latest Top 40 hit, “Woman”, the follow-up to the Grammy-nominated, “Praying”,“I buy my own things/ I pay my own bills” and “I don’t need a man to be holding me too tight.”

Warning:  Language!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 23, 2017

It’s officially summer now and the “spring of discontent” is over!  Yes, I changed the season from the popular “summer” or “winter”.  But, this was probably the worst (or very close to it) spring of my lifetime!

I’m glad summer is here and I’m ready to get through those hot and insufferably humid Florida months because I’m told it’s gorgeous here from October through March. 🙂

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.

CAITLYN, PLEASE GO AWAY — ANYWHERE!

It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Caitlyn Jenner.

There are several reasons for that.  I have transgender friends and they would make much better spokespeople for the LGBT community.

For the record, I have said a few nice things about her.

Caitlyn

Typically when I don’t like someone, I’ll choose one of the worst pictures I can find to post.  But, I’ll be a true southern gentleman here and post a nice one.

baseball shooting alexandria virginia bullet hole

Last week, in the wake of the baseball field shooting spree outside of Washington D.C., in which Republican Louisiana Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, Jenner did what she and her family (the Kardashians and the Jenners) do best, she opened her mouth!

Jenner joked to a group, “Liberals can’t even shoot straight.”

Seriously???  I’ll leave it at that, but I’ll repeat myself, Caitlyn, please go away!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM!

Bachmann

No, not her this time!

Shawn Ashmore in Cosmo

Not, him either.  But, as zany as it was, I do miss “The Following” and I’ll likely watch all three seasons again on Netflix one day.

I had a cherry popsicle the other night and laid the plastic wrapping on the counter and forgot to throw it away.  The next day, I noticed a big red stain on the Formica counter and Windex didn’t take it off.

But, Uncle Google told me, “Mix baking soda with just enough water to form a thick paste. Apply the paste to the stain and lay a wet paper towel over the paste to keep it moist.”

Presto!  It worked!

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMMM! (PART TWO)

Aren’t you glad that I reminded you of that #4 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 from 1991?  It also hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart.

This also got me to thinking about another weighty C+C Music Factory controversy that I’ll share next week.  That’s a great tease! 🙂

I’LL CALL HER “BRENDA”

I was at Walmart last Sunday picking up a couple of movies from Redbox and another rotisserie chicken.

The chicken has become a weekly tradition for me since moving here. The first weekend, it was out of necessity since I hadn’t unpacked the kitchen.  Now, it’s just tasty and convenient!

While checking out the wine selection, a nicely dressed, older woman (I’ll call her “Brenda”) asked if I was the new morning meteorologist.  We got to talking about the Panhandle and “climate change” came up.  She was appalled that people don’t think it’s happening.  I agreed with her.

Then she says, “I don’t know if you’re religious or not” and I replied, “I don’t believe in organized religion, but I pray each night”.

lake_of_fire

“Brenda” proceeds to tell me that in Revelation it says those that destroy the Earth will be destroyed by God and that she feels it’ll be sooner than we think.

I stood and politely listened.

She ended the conversation by telling me I look much younger in person and that maybe I should wear my shorts and tank top on air. 🙂

MY HISTORY WITH THE “BOOK OF REVELATION”

“Brenda” got me to thinking about the “Book of Revelation” again how it tormented me as a child.  It may have scared me away from church, but it didn’t scare me away from God.

Now that I live deep in the “Bible Belt”, I’ll share it again for my new friends or for those that may have missed it the first time.  Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s blog. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/the-book-of-revelation-scared-me-away-from-church/

“CHRISTINE”

No, I’m talking the movie based on the Stephen King novel.

I just watched the little seen 2016 movie, “Christine”, with Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) — no relation — about a Sarasota, Florida, community affairs talk show host, Christine Chubbuck, that attempted suicide live on the air in the summer of 1974.

In a just world, Rebecca Hall would have been a strong contender for an Oscars’ Best Actress nomination.  The English actress was captivating!

She was nominated for eleven acting awards from film festivals across the country and won two!

The movie definitely drove home a long-standing television news mantra, “if it bleeds, it leads”.

Sadly, the movie saw only limited release and only earned less than a third of a million dollars at the box office.

GRADE: A

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD”

Shania Twain is back and she’s ready to take over from she left off fifteen years ago.

Her new album, “Now”, the first since “Up!” in 2002, will be released September 29th!

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good”, the first single, is being played some at country radio!

I saw Shania in concert in 2014 in Las Vegas and she looked and sounded amazing.

Shania 2014

Too bad I had just gotten my camera at that time and wasn’t a master at selfies when she walked right up to me! 🙂

AP Shania

IT’S JUST SIX MONTHS AWAY

Christmas is now just six months away.

I’ve thought about it a few times and I already know I’ll miss my beautifully decorated house back in the Quad Cities.  This was last year.

Last Christmas

I’ve been wanting to see the Will Smith movie “Collateral Beauty” and it takes place at Christmas.

“COLLATERAL BEAUTY”

In the opening scene, Smith’s character, Howard Inlet, a successful advertising executive, tells an audience that “We long for LOVE, we wish we had more TIME, and we fear DEATH.”

He then suffers a major loss and becomes reclusive to the point that he’s bringing down the company almost to the point of it going under.  His business partners devise a plan to prove that he’s losing it since he’s the majority shareholder.

That plan consists of a having a private investigator follow Inlet and three actors are hired to portray love, time, and death.

Along with Smith, an Oscar nominee, the movie also stars three other Academy Award nominees, Edward Norton, Keira Knightley, and Naomie Harris (“Moonlight”), and two Oscar winners, Helen Mirren and Kate Winslet.

However, all that star power and the gold pedigree couldn’t save the movie from being panned by movie critics and some fans.

On the “Rotten Tomatoes” movie website, it only has a 12% approval rating! However, movie goers on CinemaScore gave it an “A-“.

The $36 million movie grossed $88.2 million.

GRADE:  B

DAVID LYNCH SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I never saw “Twin Peaks”, but the sequel is back on Showtime.

Director David Lynch is known to be a little out there.  If you’ve seen any of his movies, you know that.

But, what he told “Entertainment Weekly” recently shows that the man know what he’s talking about.

“People are people, and we are the way we are.  We’re all supposed to get along, and diversity should be appreciated fully in the light of unity.  That’s peace on Earth and there should be room for everyone.”

David, thank you for being an ally!

PRIDE — THE MUSIC LIVES ON

June is national LGBT Pride month.

LGBT

Two weeks ago, I highlighted the one year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre and last week, I talked about meeting the founder of the Panama City PFLAG chapter at a meet and greet.

I also meet some great people there and had some tasty appetizers.

P FOOD

PRIDE IN MY EARLY CLUB DAYS

Last week, I also shared two songs that’ll always stay with me and remind me of my early club days in the 1980s.

Today, I’m featuring two more.  Both were huge hits in the early-to-mid-1980s as AIDS was ravaging the gay community and President Reagan and the federal government kept its eyes, ears, mouth, and minds closed.

Ironically, both of these songs are from HIV-positive artists and the songs couldn’t be as different — one was about quick sex without any commitment and the other was about taking it slow — talking, dancing, and having cherry wine.

PrideFlag

Greek-American model and dancer Paul Lekakis was discovered in an Italian nightclub.

He never scored a Top 40 American hit on the Billboard 100, but his first release that only peaked at #43 is one of my favorite songs from back in my club days.

“Boom Boom (Let’s Go Back To My Room”) hit #6 on the Billboard Dance charts and it topped the charts in Austria for five weeks and it hit #1 in South Africa and Japan.

In 1990, he released his debut album, “Tattoo It”, which generated several big dance hits, but he was too hot (read: gay) to market commercially.

Singer Jermaine Stewart was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1957 and his family moved to Chicago in 1972.

He became a regular dancer on “Soul Train”, which was filmed in Chicago.  He moved to Los Angeles with fellow Chicagoans Jody Watley and Jeffrey Daniel and just missed out on becoming the lead singer of Shalamar, a dance and R&B band.

Stewart met Mikey Craig of Culture Club and sang back-up on the demo for “Miss Me Blind” and he was signed to Arista Records.  His first single, “The Word Is Out” just missed the Billboard Top 40 in 1983, peaking at #41.

However, Stewart hit it big in 1986 when “We Don’t Have To Take Our Clothes Off” reached #5 on the Hot 100.

The follow-up single about his friend, Jody Watley of Shalamar and “Looking For A New Love” fame, “Jody”, went as high as #42 on the Hot 100, but it reached the top twenty on the R & B chart.

He died at the age of 39 in 1997 of AIDS-related liver cancer.

BOOM BOOM BONUS

Lekakis is living healthy now and working as an actor (he had a leading role in a club movie called “Circuit” and he starred in one of my favorite horror movies, “Hellbent”). Meanwhile, he still tours with his music.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — November 11, 2016

On Wednesday, my “Random Friday Thoughts” went through a major re-write.

The script changed.

I had to delete the part of thanking God that more Americans and enough blue states “elected a proven leader as the 45th president of the United States and sent an egocentric, racist, and overall, scum bag packing.”

So, here’s the updated version.  Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!

A HEARTFELT THANK YOU

Senator Hillary Clinton, I want to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope that all I’ve worked for in life would continue on through your presidency.

Thank you for being a forward-thinking First Lady.  My one vote made a difference in 1992 and, again, in 1996.

Thank you for all of the years fighting for those that needed a voice, a strong person and not just a strong woman.  You were there for children, mothers, the LGBTQ community, people of color, minorities, the environment, but most of all, the world.

We failed you!

Hillary AP

I’ll never forget that cold, January day in Davenport, Iowa, when I had a chance to tell you “good luck” and you placed your hand on my shoulder.

I hope that we meet again.  You’ve been an inspiration to me for 20-plus years and for that, I’m grateful and honored to have fought the fight with you.

We may have lost this battle, but I’m still with you.

(Editor’s note — that’s me, by the way:  As I’m sitting here Friday morning, proof reading and putting the finishing touches on today’s blog, I’m tearing up again reading back what I wrote a couple of days ago.  I was more invested in this election, more than any before it, and I’m devastated.  Laugh if you want because I fear that I won’t be the only one shedding tears over the next four years.)

REMEMBERING MY SWEET MOTHER

I think about my mother for one reason or another every day.

Dessie Birthday 1989

My mother, Dessie, died 26 years ago this week.  At times, it seems just like yesterday and at other times, it seems so long ago, which it was.

Dessie 1990

Mom, Tammy and I miss you greatly.  But, we both know that you are with us every step of the way in life.

Many of you checked out the blog I wrote about my mother last year on the 25th anniversary of her death.  If you didn’t, here it is again.

Mom — 25 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You

“A REMARKABLE MOTHER”

As I’ve stated before, I get much of my real reading done on the treadmill after work. Since I knew the anniversary of my mother’s death was coming up, I wanted to read about another incredible woman —  Lillian Carter, the mother of my favorite President Jimmy Carter.

“A Remarkable Mother” is from 2008 and was published twenty-five years after Miss Lillian’s death at the age of 85.

a-remarkable-mother

I’ve read many funny stories about Miss Lillian.  She definitely said what she wanted and she didn’t care what her son’s presidential handlers thought.

She was a strong advocate for racial equality back in southwestern Georgia during the turbulent period all the way through the 1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election.

If you didn’t know, she even joined the Peace Corps and traveled to India when she was almost 70-years-old.

There are many fun quotes and stories I remember reading over the years and President Carter shares many of them in the book.

This is my favorite.  When Jimmy Carter was running in the 1976 presidential race, a female reporter from “The Washington Post” met Miss Lillian in Plains, Georgia, and said, “Miss Lillian, your son claims that he will never tell a lie.  Do you believe him when he says that?”

Miss Lillian said Jimmy had always been truthful and she didn’t think that would change, but the reporter didn’t drop it.  Finally, Lillian said, “Well maybe a little white lie every now and then.

When the reporter said, “Aha!  Aha!  And what do you mean by a little white lie?

The always quick thinking Miss Lillian responded, “Well do you remember a few minutes ago when I met you at the door and said that you look very nice and that I was glad to see you?

I sure hope that my mother and Miss Lillian are friends in heaven.  They are just two of the remarkable mothers we’ve lost!

SAD MICHAEL BUBLE NEWS

Singer Michael Buble and his wife, Luisana Lopilato, are putting their careers on hold following the devastating news that their 3-year-old son, Noah, has been diagnosed with cancer.

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He’s being treated here in the United States.

A couple of weeks ago, I previewed Michael’s new album, “Nobody But Me”, which is incredible.

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In my random thoughts on October 21, 2016, here’s what I wrote: “My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.”

For Michael and his family, I’m featuring “God Only Knows” this week.

I’ll be saying an extra prayer for Noah, Michael, and his family !

Also, it’s that time of the year that his 2011 album,”Christmas”, goes into heavy rotation and it’s sensational.

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ANOTHER THANK YOU, BUT THIS ONE ISN’T SO NICE

I’m moving on from this week’s presidential election after these three parting thoughts.

I expected the race to be close and it was.  As of this writing, Hillary Clinton (60.3 million) got more votes than Donald Trump (60 million).  It’s incredible that with more than 126 million votes cast, there was only a difference of about 338-thousand votes.

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There are two camps I blame for Clinton’s loss.  One is the 38% of Americans that didn’t vote.

However, the people who I mostly blame for Trump winning the presidency are not just the people that voted for him.  While that’s vital, it’s the people that didn’t like either Clinton or Trump, the “protest voters”.

4.1 million people voted for Gary Johnson and 1.2 million for Jill Stein.  In toss-up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the margin of win was small enough that the “protest votes” for Johnson and Stein were enough to turn blue-leaning states red.

I’m all for having three or more viable parties that have a chance to win a presidency. However, I tried and tried to tell people who didn’t like either front-runner that a vote for Johnson or Stein was a vote for Donald Trump.

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Well, since we live in an “electoral college” voting world, thank you very much.  Your protests were successful in electing Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.  I hope you can live with it.  I’ll have to.

Thank you again!

MY ABSOLUTE FINAL THOUGHT

I’m going to highlight this, so there’s no confusion — I don’t believe that every person that voted for Trump is a racist, but there are those that are and you know who you are.

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With that being said, if you deny that Trump didn’t do enough to distance himself from the love and flattery he was getting from David Duke AND if you don’t think that Trump also repeatedly made very racist remarks in his campaign, then you’re clearly (God, how do I say this with people being so sensitive) ignorant, misinformed, in denial, oblivious, or you just don’t care?

That kind of hate used to live in the darkness of night and hide under sheets.  That isn’t just a part of our sad history in the United States, it’s still very alive today.  The only difference now is that it doesn’t have to hide.

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If you believe in a higher spirit, say with me, “may God be with us”!

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BETTE MIDLER GETS CANDID 

Okay, that’s not shocking at all.

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But, for once, I’m not talking entirely about her no-holds-barred Twitter feed.  It’s about that and her own mortality.

She recently spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” and Twitter came up:  “I look at it as entertainment, but I don’t need that much entertainment in my life.  Then you feel like you’re missing out on your life.  I don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to spend it looking around and observing and thinking and memorizing poetry.” 

In the spring of 2017, Midler returns to Broadway as the widowed and brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly”

In honor of her upcoming 71st birthday (December 1st) and the holiday season, here’s Bette with “Cool Yule”, the title track of her 2006 Christmas album.

Bette, thank you for being the voice of reason in such a crazy world!

“CHRISTINE”

The most popular movie with the title, “Christine”, is based on Stephen King’s novel about a possessed vintage car.  But, now there’s another movie with that title that I can’t wait to check out.

It’s a true life story about a Florida news anchor in the 1970s that changed television news forever and shocked and scarred viewers.

It stars one of my favorite actors, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) and Rebecca Hall (no relation).

PET SHOP BOYS CONCERT

Last weekend, I finally got to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert on their “The Super Tour” in Chicago.

Here they are performing their Top Ten hit, “Always on My Mind”.

If that whetted your appetite to go back in time, here are my 20 favorite Pet Shop Boys songs.  And, since they only had six Top 40 hits in America, I bet you’ll find some fun ones you haven’t heard.  Just click below.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/my-20-favorites-from-the-brilliant-pet-shop-boys/

I GUESS I HAVE O.C.D.

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With that being said, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now and here in the Quad Cities, Mix 96 has switched over to continuous holiday music!

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, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year.

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“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

“A VERY KACEY CHRISTMAS”

Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards winner Kacey Musgraves also just delivered her first Christmas collection, “A Very Kacey Christmas”.

Although she’s a country music singer, like Brett Eldredge, you only have to start this album to know she’s true to the genre. It’s real country with real Texas twang and I mean that in the very best way.

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This album features many popular Christmas classics such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”. But, Musgraves expands the cultural horizons with “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka”.

She’s not afraid to show what an amazing songwriter she is on the album with four original songs (out of the twelve featured).

My favorite original on the album is “Ribbons and Bows”, followed closely by “Present Without A Bow” with Leon Bridges, and “A Willie Nice Christmas”, which features country music outlaw and legend, Willie Nelson.

While you do hear songs about having too much to drink at Christmas (that spiked egg nog will get you every time), it’s very rare for an artist to sing about staying “higher than the angel on top of the tree”!

If you know anything about Musgraves, you know she boldly sings songs that she wants to and she doesn’t stick to the tired and safe guidelines of country music.

Her first country radio hit, the Top Ten smash “Merry Go ‘Round” featured her brother “hooked on Mary Jane”.

And, Musgraves other Top Ten hit, “Follow Your Arrow”, not only was about rolling joints, but she told you to “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into”, which is definitely not your parents or grandparents country music.  (Okay, there was Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free”, which told us we would be free “when we’re free to love anyone we choose.”)

The point I’m getting at here is she takes chances.  The biggest on this Christmas album is with the remake of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late”.  Yes, that one!  However, with Musgraves in control and without Alvin, Simon, and Theodore terrorizing Dave, it’s a bona fide true country Christmas song.

The only misfire on the album and this is strictly a personal thing for me is including “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.  It’s one of my least favorite holiday songs.  However, I’ll add that Musgraves’ performance is incredible, as it always is.  I just don’t like the song.

“A Very Kacey Christmas” is definitely a great addition to your growing list of Christmas albums.

GRADE:  B+ (Thanks Hippopotamus!)

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

2016: My (Not So) Lofty Expectations

It’s hard to believe not just that another year has passed, but that it seems to have gone by so quickly!  I think that comes with getting older.  There’s just not enough hours in a day.

Now that 2016 is here, I’ll share the same wish to you that I shared a few days ago when I looked back on my 2015 in a blog, “I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.”

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So, what do I want to accomplish and do with my time in the new year?

I want to nap more.  My work schedule is a strange one and I always feel sleep-deprived.  Part of that is my fault because I always find things I could or should be doing in the afternoons when I should be snoozing for a couple of hours.

I’ll strive to be a better person.  In 2016,  I hope not to let other people’s actions or incompetence agitate me.  Yes, I’m human and so many people disappoint me with their inaction.

I plan on sticking close to my budget.  This will allow me the opportunity to travel as much as I can in the new year.

In 2015, I was fortunate to go to New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anchorage, and to Mexico twice, Riviera Maya in the summer and to Puerto Vallarta in December.

Here are some of my favorite pictures I took in 2015 from home and afar from some of these amazing places I visited.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.peoples.3/media_set?set=a.10153326556919849.1073741954.500579848&type=3

I saw some great concerts and shows last year (Madonna, Janet  Jackson, Bette Midler, Michael C. Hall in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, and Renee Fleming in “The Merry Widow”).

This year, I’d love to see Britney Spears in Las Vegas.  I saw her a few years back on the “Femme Fatale Tour” and she was incredible.  And, I hear she has new music dropping this year.

Britney Las Vegas

We already have two trips planned for the new year.  One, we booked in the spring of last year and paid for it in monthly payments for the remainder of 2015.  There’s there budget thing again!  I’m sure we’ll announce when and where before we go. 🙂

Also, for Christmas, we gave Gretel a trip to New York City for her spring break.  She’s always wanted to go and she loved the pictures of our trip there last New Year’s Eve, my first time.

AP Ray NYC

She wants to see Madame Tussauds and probably visit a museum.  Ray hasn’t said what he wants to do and I’ve already bought tickets to see Carly Rae Jepsen at Terminal 5!

If you haven’t checked out her 2015 album, “Emotion”, you’re missing out on a pop masterpiece!  It was my #3 favorite album of last year and if you only know her from “Call Me Maybe”, this set of songs is more mature and just as catchy!

And, in May, Ray and I are going to see Ellie Goulding and Years & Years in concert in Rosemont, outside Chicago.

I love Ellie Goulding’s music, but I chose this concert to see the opening act.  Years & Years released “Communion” last summer and it’s incredible.

Lead singer Olly Alexander’s voice is so soulful and powerful.  If you love Adele, you have to check out “Communion”.  And, it was my #2 album of last year.

Click here and another window will open and you can see my favorite albums of 2015 and hear more selections from Years & Years to see what I’m talking about.  You’ll also see what album was my favorite since I mentioned #3 (Carly Rae) and #2 (Years & Years)!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/my-favorite-albums-of-2015/

While I already mentioned Britney, 2016 also promises new music from Lady Gaga and Kylie Minogue and if I’m really lucky, new albums from Erasure, Patty Loveless, Lionel Richie, and Enrique Iglesias!

However, my most anticipated album of 2016 is by Matthew Koma.  I loved his song “Tempted” with Giorgio Moroder and his work with Zedd.  But, it’s his solo album that I want.

Here’s a fun song from Matthew, but you may want to check the title before you click on it — if there are kids in the room. 🙂

So, that’s it for me and a few of the things I look forward to in 2016:  sleep more, smile more, not let people tick me off as much, travel more, and see some fantastic shows.

Those expectations aren’t all that lofty, right?

Happy New Year!

Anthony

 

My Enjoyable 2015 — The Year in Review

It’s my favorite time of the year.  I look forward to the new year and take time to reflect back on the past year and share the highlights with my friends.  I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for –not just at the holidays, but every day.

For me, there is so much to love about the holidays — the twinkling lights, the sounds of Christmas music, the amazing feasts, and the beautiful snow (it’s still early in the season).

Snow Saturday Morning

My family is doing well.  I’m still the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities.  I’ve been there almost three years.

Ray is the Economic Development and Planning Director for the city of Moline, a job that he excels at and still loves after ten years.  Miss Gretel, a high school freshman, aspires to be a movie director.  (Hopefully, a very successful one, so we can have a mansion somewhere near Hollywood where there’s warmth all year around and we can have avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Okay, that’s really long-term planning!)

My sister, Tammy, is still in Moline and her two sons and two granddaughters now live in the Quad Cities.  It makes her very happy to have them here and not several states away.

As you know, we love to travel and try to get in a few concerts throughout the year. Paying bills isn’t the only reason we work! J

In early December of last year, we took Gretel and Tammy on an eastern Caribbean cruise.  It was a nice way to put off winter longer.

Anthony Gretel Ray

Tammy

Ray and I started 2015 in New York City.  We flew there on New Year’s Eve, but got into town too late to get anywhere near the televised festivities and Taylor Swift rocking in 2015.

It was my first visit to the “Big Apple” and we did a lot of walking and sightseeing.  I loved the beautiful window displays decked out for Christmas, Rockefeller Center, and the gigantic Christmas tree.  We also saw the new World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, the Empire State Building, and we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Along with the great food, we saw Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) off Broadway in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” and we attended “The Merry Widow” at the Metropolitan Opera.

Hedwig

We made our annual pilgrimage to Las Vegas in May, where we ate some amazing food (buffets, of course!)  We discovered a new brunch this year that you have to check out when you’re there next – Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.  On a future visit, I’m determined to visit the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace.

In June, we took Gretel to Riviera Maya (Cancun) and she got to use her passport for the first time.

In late September and early October, I accompanied Ray to his two back-to-back work conferences – the first was in San Francisco, California.

Wine Country

On his one free day, we took a bus trip for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma Valleys.  While he worked, I went sightseeing and saw Chinatown, Golden Gate Park and the National AIDS Memorial Grove.  I also walked to the Castro District and was so touched to see the house where Harvey Milk diligently worked to plant the seeds for the LGBT movement.  While I was only a teenager when he was murdered, I was overwhelmed just being there where it all happened four decades ago.

While I would never want to live in downtown San Francisco (very dirty and expensive), I was blown away by the funkiness of Haight-Ashbury.  I’d move there in a heartbeat.  The “Summer of Love” was still very much alive!

To celebrate our four year wedding anniversary, we took a scenic boat tour on San Francisco Bay, which took us around Alcatraz, Sausalito, and under and around the majestic Golden Gate Bridge.

From there, it was off to the second leg of the two-week getaway and his next conference in Anchorage, Alaska.  If you’re ever going to visit, do it before October.  Most of the tours are over by this time as the Frontier State settles in for a long northern winter.

AP Ray AK

We did get to visit an animal sanctuary where we saw bear, moose, deer, bison, eagles, and other animals.  On the drive there, we saw snow-covered mountains and glaciers, tasted natural Alaskan spring water, and saw a few salmon swimming.  Also, we got to visit Prince William Sound, now fully recovered from 1989’s Valdez Exxon oil spill.

This year, we saw five concerts.  On our trip to Vegas in May, we saw the divine Miss M, Bette Midler.

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She’s still incredible.  In August, I saw Reba McEntire in the Quad Cities.  I’ve now seen Reba 13 times.

In October, we saw three shows in three different cities:  In Anchorage, we saw Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox.  If you’ve never heard of them, Google them because they are amazing.  Days later, we saw Madonna in Saint Paul, Minnesota (my fourth Madonna concert), and then in late October, we took an overnight road trip to Omaha, Nebraska, and saw Janet, Miss Jackson, if you’re nasty!  She is so beautiful and talented.

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That’s what we did in 2015. I’m already looking forward to what adventures lie ahead in 2016. I guess I should wrap this up so I can start planning trips and concerts for next year so I’ll have things to share with you next Christmas.

I wish you and yours the very best as you travel down the road of life.

Anthony