Posts Tagged ‘Morocco’

I Need to Write My “Next Chapter”!

It’s clear that I’m alive!  However, being alive and living are not the same.

That’s where I’m at in life:  Alive, but not living!

While I enjoyed my life from 2009-2016, the world was changing around me.  But, I didn’t see it — until it was too late!

There were a couple of profound things underway that would shatter my world.  One happened in the fall of 2016 and the other just three months later in February 2017.

Honestly, like millions of others, my life changed forever on November 8, 2016.

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While many moved on, the cracks in my armor surfaced and my seemingly happy life quickly disintegrated into chaos!

Without a second thought following an argument, my eight-year relationship (and five-year marriage) was over.  But that wouldn’t be the biggest mistake — the worst decision of my life was taking a job and relocating to Panama City, Florida!

Spending a year there was deplorable!  I maintained my sanity by meeting a very dear couple, Cathy and Gerard, and my neighbor, Diane!

This song summed up my life in 2017 and ended up being my favorite song of the year!

For those of you that don’t click on videos, here are the lyrics from “Silence” that touched me the most.

♪♪♪”I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors
My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden
I think too much, and I hate it
I’m so used to being in the wrong, I’m tired of caring
Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silence”♪♪♪

That temporary savior came in March of 2018 when I landed a job in Duluth, Minnesota, and relocated there in June.

While much happier than in Florida, I’m still not where I need to be and I know something needs to change.  And, that something is me!

It’s time to start outlining and writing “The Next Chapter”!

Capture

I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left!

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.

I read this quote in a book the other day and it makes perfect sense, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

With that being said, I’m coming up on a milestone and I’ve been thinking way too much about mortality.

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My father lived 55 years, 3 months, and 23 days.  For me to match that, I only have to make it to February 5, 2020.

If I only live that long, then it’s too late to change much.

However, I could live as long as my idol, President Jimmy Carter.  He’s living it up and he’s 94.7 years old!

Autograph Carters

After he reached the highest level in an American political career, he left the White House on January 20, 1981, at the young age of 56 years, 111 days.

And, he’s accomplished so much in the almost four decades that followed when most people are just thinking of retirement.

Spontaneous

In life, I’ve only made two real spontaneous decisions.  As it turned out, both were the best decisions I’ve ever made!

The first was moving away from small town Kentucky where I grew up to Chicago in the summer of 1994.  This kick-started my television career two years later.

In 2002, I decided to leave television for two more years in Chicago.

That time around, I had fun bartending and living life.  After a break, I got back into television, went back to school for my meteorology certification and I earned the “Seal of Approval” from the National Weather Association.

I love traveling and I’ve been fortunate to be able to see the world (well, 16 countries)!  Most recently, I added Morocco…

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and Thailand to the list!

Temples

However, even when jetting off to some exotic location, “reality” is still waiting when those trips are over.

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”.

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I’ll take a gamble on life again!

Anthony

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2019: My Personal Expectations & What Excites Me

While not as bad as 2017, a year I’d rather forget, (wait, what was I talking about? :)) I’m want to improve on 2018.

Relocating back to the Midwest to Duluth, Minnesota, was a great move for me.

Duluth

I really like Northland, the beauty of Lake Superior and most of the people I work with are a great group to spend time alongside during work hours.

I still loving forecasting weather, but I haven’t gotten used to the afternoon and evening hours after almost six years on a morning show.  It’s an adjustment that I hope works better for me in the new year.

I also want to expand my friend base.

Until then, I’ll enjoy the solitude of watching movies, binge watching television series (I’m watching and loving “The Americans” right now) and walking and reading (at the same time) to stay in shape and to exercise my brain!

Here’s to 2019! May it be a great one for us all!

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CONCERTS

It’s hard to believe that I didn’t see one concert in 2018!  I can’t remember the last year that I didn’t see a concert!

However, in December 2017, on three consecutive nights, I saw Mariah Carey, Lionel Richie, and Tanya Tucker in concert in Las Vegas.  I guess those three shows held me over for 2018!

LAS VEGAS

Also, with the move, I didn’t get to visit Las Vegas last year either!

I first visited Vegas in the early-1990s and I didn’t see my favorite American city again until 2012.  Since then, I’ve visited it, at least, once a year (twice in 2017).

In the back of my mind, I think I’d still like to move there!

As of now, I’m planning a trip there in the fall with my sister, Tammy, and I hope to be lucky and win big on the slots!

If I’m super lucky, I’ll win big and get to see the only concert I really want to see in 2019 — Kylie Minogue’s “Golden Tour”.

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It’s already played in Europe and will play Australia this March.  Her fall schedule is still open, so Kylie if you see this — Las Vegas, Nevada in the fall of 2019!  And, bring Jake Leigh with you! 🙂

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And, wouldn’t it just rock my world to have a seat to the show like this one!  This person had an incredible view for Kylie’s show in Birmingham, England.

This is the show’s opening number, “Golden”!

MARCH TRIP

Over the years, people have wondered (and asked) how I get to travel so much.  Well, I promise you it’s not from family wealth or my salary!

It’s called interest-free credit cards!  And, since my current card’s 0% APR ends in February, I used it to pay for my next trip.  I just made the final payment on New Year’s Day!

Of course, I won’t divulge the location until I get there! 🙂

If you recall, I didn’t announce my trip to Morocco last fall until three days before I departed.  Even then, I didn’t say specifically where I was heading.

You have to keep a little mystery in life! 🙂

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If you’re curious, it’s a capital city with a population of 8.3 million (about the same as New York City).

It’s very warm and humid. The average high temperature is above 90° every month of the year (expect December’s 89°), so I’ll take two pair of underwear for each day!  I hate “moist” underwear! 🙂  TMI!

And, I’m intentionally going to eat insects — specifically deep-fried grasshoppers, crickets and silkworms!  They sell them on the street!

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Bon Appétit!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

I can’t believe it’s been almost five years since I saw Olivia Newton-John’s “Summer Nights” show at the Flamingo in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

In March 2019, Olivia will release her memoirs, “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

As you know, Olivia was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1992 and was in remission until 2017.

She’s still fighting it and after weeks of headlines proclaiming her imminent death, Olivia stepped in front of the camera.

She laughed off the rumors and wished everyone a Happy New Year looking very alive and stunning!

“Xanadu” is still my favorite Olivia song.

NEW MADONNA ALBUM

Madonna kicked off 2019 with a surprise appearance at the Stonewall Inn in New York City with her 13-year-old son David, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

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Talking to the surprised crowd, peace was on her mind, “If we truly took the time to get to know one another we would find that we all bleed the same color and we all need to love and be loved. Let’s remember who and what we are fighting for — ourselves, for each other, but truly and most importantly, what are we fighting for? Let’s take a minute to reflect on how we can bring more love and peace into 2019, let’s look at how we can bring random acts of kindness. Maybe we can find an opening to bring the light in. Are you ready to do that?”

Madonna is working on her 14th studio album.

I can’t believe it’s been almost four years since “Rebel Heart” came out!

Madonna Rebel Heart

Sadly, you probably missed this song in 2015.  It was one of the best and most underrated songs in Madonna’s long career!

If you’re not familiar with the “Stonewall Riots” and the police brutality that led to LGBTQ people forming a community and Pride, click on the link below the picture and read my 2012 blog!

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https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/27/push-comes-to-shove-43-years-ago-the-stonewall-riots/

NEW REBA ALBUM

In September 2018, Reba teased new music and it’s expected in 2019.

REBA Coming Soon

Weeks later, about the new music, Reba said, “It’s gonna be probably the most country album I’ve ever recorded.”

Reba’s last studio album, 2017’s “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope” was gospel.

This will be her first country album since 2015’s underappreciated, “Love Somebody”.

Reba Love Somebody

Thanks sexist, ageist country radio!

So, here’s a flashback to a real country sounding Reba from 1980 with her first Top 10 country hit, “(You Lift Me) Up to Heaven”, which reached #8!

And, you’ll catch little sister, Susie Luchsinger, on backing vocals!

“TRICK 2” 

It’s taken 20 years, but a sequel to 1999’s “Trick” is on the way in 2019!

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The original, a New York City-based gay romantic comedy, with Tori Spelling, Christian Campbell (Neve’s brother), John Paul Pitoc, and Miss Coco Peru, is still one of my favorites.

I’ve read that the sequel will take place in Los Angeles a dozen years later.  Gabriel and Mark’s meet up again on an app.

Here’s the original trailer and Miss Coco Peru’s amazing rendition of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman” sung in original “Trick” by Jessica Williams.

“TALES OF THE CITY” SEQUEL

I was introduced to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” book series when the television miniseries hit the U.S. on PBS in early 1994.

I also fell in love with the amazing and incredible Laura Linney as Mary Ann Singleton.

Mary Ann

Since then, there’s been “More Tales of the City” (1998) and “Further Tales of the City” (2001).

In 2019, the latest installment will debut on Netflix with returning original stars Linney, Olympia Dukakis (Anna Madrigal), Barbara Garrick (DeDe Halcyon Day) and Paul Gross (Brian Hawkins).

Michael “Mouse” Tolliver will be played by the beautiful and sexy Murray Bartlett (“Looking”).

It’ll be based on the eighth book in the series (out of nine), “Mary Ann in Autumn”.

Mary Ann

Molly Ringwald has also joined the cast.

’80s FLASHBACK

I’ve talked about 2019 and the future, so why not enjoy a flashback to the decade of the best music ever!

This song hit #1 in more than ten countries around the world and reached #3 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 in the mid-1980s.

THAT’S IT

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

Happy New Year! 🎉🥂🍾

Anthony

My Life This Year – Christmas 2018

Happy Holidays!

Christmas Tree

Here’s my tree and my presents this year.

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Most of them are from my sister and her boyfriend, Gerald.  There’s also three tins of homemade sweet treats from my dear friend Connie and “Crazy Rich Asians” which I bought for myself. 🙂

It’s that time of the year again and I hope life is treating you well.  

Bedford Falls

It’s been another year of changes for me.  Luckily, for the better! As you know, 2017 was a life-altering year that I’d rather forget!

However, there were two highlights in 2017, which is where I’ll start!

In July, I got to meet my idol, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn in Plains, Georgia.

Autograph Carters

And, in December, I saw three incredible concerts in Las Vegas.

With all of the sadness I felt last year, it was forgotten for 90 minutes at Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” show.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

To this day, the beauty and spectacle of that holiday treat still brings a smile to my face. 🙂  The sets were magical and Mariah looked and sounded flawless!

Also on that trip, I saw Tanya Tucker and Lionel Richie.

Tanya

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I met Lionel and he told me that he doesn’t shake hands, he’s a hugger!  Then, he hugged me! 🙂

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In March 2018, my sister, Tammy, and I escaped for several days to Cancun, Mexico.

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Weeks later, I accepted the Chief Meteorologist position at Fox 21 News in Duluth, Minnesota, and I moved there in June.

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I spent a year in Panama City, Florida, and it’s no secret that I was very unhappy there.  However, I didn’t realize how lucky I was to leave when I did.  In October, Hurricane Michael devastated Northwest Florida, including Panama City.

Much of my apartment complex was totally destroyed and my dear friends, Cathy and Gerard

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and Robbie (left) and Diane (right)

Robbie Diane AP

are still picking up the pieces of their lives! 😦

In memory of my apartment and the complex in Panama City, here’s my balcony from last Christmas!

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On a happier note, after 19 months, I saw snow again in October!

I can’t wait to have a real winter, but it scares me a bit.  It’s not the 86” of snow that Duluth picks up in an average winter (more in some years), it’s that the city is built on a hill that leads down to Lake Superior!  And, I’ll have to endure months of bitterly cold temperatures in the Northland!

This is my apartment’s backyard view toward Lake Superior down the “hill”!

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In October, I went to Morocco, in northwest Africa.

This was the first time I traveled internationally by myself.   I met some fun people that made the trip very enjoyable.

It was incredible learning about the African continent, the Muslim faith, and enjoying delicious Moroccan food!

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I’m very excited for the next chapter in my life.  I’m already trying to decide what I want to do next (when I grow up)!!! 🙂

For now, I’ll just have an Olivia Pope Christmas and enjoy my beautiful tree, free flowing wine and popcorn!

Olivia Christmas

If you had a great year, I hope 2019 is even more fantastic.  If 2018 was a tough one for you, I hope things turn around in the New Year!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — October 26, 2018

I’m back after a couple of weeks off for my trip to Morocco, so thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

I’m sure there are many Halloween parties this weekend, so have fun and be safe.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY HILLARY CLINTON

I hope you have an incredible day and year ahead.  Meeting you in 2016 is still one of the highlights in my life!

Hillary AP

“HALLOWEEN”

Since I arrived back from my Africa trip on opening day and worked the next seven days, I’ve avoided the spoilers to the new “Halloween” movie.

But, I’m going to see it this weekend!

Halloween.jpg

The movie scared up an incredible $76.2 last weekend!

After just the opening weekend, it’s now the highest grossing movie * in the 11-movie franchise that started 40 years ago.

*  If you adjust the box office of all the movies to account for ticket price inflation, 1978’s $47 million box office for the original “Halloween” would be $183.6 million today, making it the biggest!

“WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?”

As a kid, I never got to watch “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”.  But, on the return flight, I watched the documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”.

I absolutely fell in love with Fred Rogers and I’m glad I had the whole row of seats to myself because of the tears streaming down my face!

It brought in $22.6 million in domestic box office receipts making it the biggest documentary of 2018!

GRADE:  A+

MORE “OZARK” TO COME 

A couple of weeks ago (10/10), Netflix renewed the Emmy Award nominated “Ozark” for a third season.

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I absolutely love this show and I’m predicting that Laura Linney and Julia Garner will (or should) get Emmy nominations next year when they come out.

Jason Bateman was nominated this year.

If you haven’t seen the first two seasons, you now have time to do so now.  It’s an incredible drama!

“KENNEDY”

I’m reading an 800-plus page biography of President John F. Kennedy by Ted Sorensen, his adviser and speechwriter.

Kennedy Sorensen

The book was first released in 1965 and is pretty much the autobiography that Kennedy never got to write.

I’m 400 pages into the book now and one of the most interesting non-political things I’ve learned about the nation’s 35th president is that he bathed three times a day!

His Attorney General, his brother Robert, didn’t like being called “Bobby”, even though that’s what JFK called him.  Robert Kennedy preferred “Bob”.

JFK ate many times a day — small portions at a time — and really liked soups!

And, I’m astounded that him being Catholic was a major issue for him in the 1960 election.  He broke that glass ceiling, just as Obama did in 2008 with race.

Now, if only the 2016 election hadn’t been stolen from Hillary Clinton, another glass ceiling would have been shattered!

Thanks Vladimir Putin and Russia!

“SEIZE THE MOMENT”

After reading Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s “All The President’s Men” and “The Final Days”, I realized I had one more Nixon book on my bookshelf, 1992’s “Seize The Moment: America’s Challenge in a One-Superpower World”.

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Reading most of it and skimming over some of the very outdated parts, here are a few takeaways.

Clearly, unlike Ronald Reagan who was in bed (metaphorically) with Mikhail Gorbachev, Nixon has nothing good to say about that Soviet leader.  He was on Team Boris Yeltsin.

While China, in 1979, implemented the “one-child policy” as a way to control population growth, Nixon talked about the aging population in Japan.  Because more than one-quarter of the population was expected to be over 65 in the year 2025, the government was giving women $6,700 grants to have a third child!

But, interestingly, while he praised Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush in the book, he never mentioned his vice president and successor Gerald Ford once!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty strange since Ford basically damned his 1976 re-election hopes by pardoning Nixon a month after he resigned the presidency in 1974!

NIXON BY NIXON:  IN HIS OWN WORDS

I was also talking about Nixon back in September and I wrote, “While I didn’t know him personally, I’ve concluded that he wasn’t a good man!  I’m not talking politically because he was a snake in the grass.”

I just came across the 2014 HBO documentary, “Nixon By Nixon: In His Own Words” and it’s incredible.   And, it verifies my September statement.  He was a vile man!

Just as the name implies, it’s not transcripts of all of Nixon’s private recordings, it’s the actual audio, which makes it even more damning.

Check out these two comments!

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Nixon also said, “The press is the enemy!”

Fast forward more than four decades and it sounds like “that man” in the White House (45) now!

Nixon trashed talked everyone — women, hippies, Jews, and, of course, gays (back then it was “homosexuals”, “homo”, and “fags”)!

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There’s another longer Nixon rant that really blew me away.  I’m sharing it at the bottom of the blog, so you can see more random thoughts first.

If you want to see it, you can find it in its entirety on YouTube.

MARIAH CAREY

We’re just weeks away from the release of Mariah Carey’s fifteenth studio album, “Caution”, on November 16, 2018.

I’ve already bought it!  So far, three songs are available to hear.

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“With You” is the first single from the album and it’s already racing up the Adult Contemporary and the Urban Adult Contemporary chart.

Of course, Top 40 radio isn’t playing it!

And, I absolutely love the first song from “Caution”, “GTFO”.

Yes, it does stand for what you think it does and Mimi makes it sound so sexy telling someone that their company is no longer needed!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Former President Richard Nixon to White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman:

“Homosexuality, dope, immorality in general, these are the enemies of strong societies.  Goddammit, we have got to stand up to these people.  I do not mind the homosexuality.  I understand it.  Nevertheless, the point that I want to make is that goddammit, I do not think you glorify homosexuality anymore than you glorify whores.  Now we all have weaknesses and so forth and so on.  But, goddammit, what do you think that does to kids?”

Nixon rants on, “You knew what happened to the Greeks?  Homosexuality destroyed them.  Sure, Aristotle was a homo;  we all know that, so was Socrates.  You what happened to the Romans? Romans?  The last six Roman emperors were fags.  You know what happened to the Popes?  Po-Po-popes were laying the nuns.  That’s been going on for years, centuries.  But when the Popes – When the Catholic Church went to the hell, it was homosexual. And finally had to be cleaned out.”

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More Nixon (in a 1983 interview):  “We talk about the men reporters, the women reporters are more bitchy than the men.”

“THE MAN THAT INVENTED CHRISTMAS”

Since Christmas is now less than two months away, here’s my customary mention of my favorite holiday. 🙂

On my flight to Paris, I finally got to see this late 2017 film and I’d highly recommend it.

It was overlooked at the box office making only $8.1 million.

It tells the story of Charles Dickens and how he came up with the holiday staple, “The Christmas Story”!

GRADE:  B

MORE DAN STEVENS

I only have one complaint about Dan Stevens.  I know it’s acting, but in two of the three movies I’ve seen him in, his beauty is hidden!

I mean, in “Beauty and the Beast”, he was totally hidden as the Beast and don’t get me started on the Dickens hair in the Christmas movie! 🙂

So, from 2014’s “The Guest”, here goes!

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GRADE:  B

“I FEEL PRETTY”

This Amy Schumer comedy earned $88.4 million at the box office on a $32 million budget.

While the movie addresses body image, I wasn’t impressed.

Save yourself an hour-and-a-half of your life and watch the three minute trailer!

I guess I’m not alone with those thoughts.  It has a 33% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

GRADE:  C

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Morocco & a Hidden Marrakesh Treasure

Most of the people that read my blog find it on Facebook.  With that being said, you probably already know that I spent my birthday in Morocco, in northern Africa, and you’ve seen some of the pictures from the trip.

Today, I want to share a few thoughts, some things I learned about the country and details of one magical evening.

In Morocco, we arrived at the airport in Casablanca.  From there, we were driven to Rabat for a night, spent two nights in Fez, and two more in Marrakesh before heading back to Casablanca for a night.

Marrakesh was my favorite city.

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Casablanca was my least favorite.  In all fairness, it could have been the short time there (about 12 hours), the congested traffic, and/or the neighborhood surrounding the hotel.

However, the exterior of the Hassan II Mosque, the largest in Morocco, and the stained glass of the Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral in Casablanca were stunning!  (I’ll be sharing many more pictures on my Facebook page in the coming days!)

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THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT MOROCCO

The country makes most of its money from two things that come from the sky:  the rain (agriculture) and planes (tourists).

Olives are everywhere and the trees are handed down in the family and some of the trees can produce for thousands of years!

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There are three pickings of olives.

The first is in late November with green olives.  Those are the highest quality and many are used for olive oil.  The second picking is later in December when the olives are turning red.  And, the last harvest, in January, is of black olives — the lowest quality of olives!

Every Moroccan home has a cat (mice control) and a turtle!  The turtle is to ward off evil spirits or black magic!

Although the country is 99% Muslim, only about 45% are practicing.

Many in Morocco, especially in rural areas, live in poverty, but it’s slowly improving.  Meanwhile, there are some well off and very rich people in the country.  But, it’s a culture where most don’t flaunt it.

The exteriors of many dwellings look very basic or run down, but the homes inside are lavish and filled with riches.

A MAGICAL EVENING

That leads me to the dinner I mentioned earlier.

Here I am with my “Crazy Asians” (Pom, Sheila, Po Po, and Izzy).  I met these fun ladies at the beginning of the trip and I shared a lot of time with them — an incredible group of friends!

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The evening started with a horse-drawn carriage ride through the streets of Marrakesh at sunset and a jaunt through the crowded souk (an Arab marketplace or bazaar) in the Medina (the old quarter of town) on the way to dinner.

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Once we were dropped off from the carriage ride, we made our way through a series of alleys that looked like a deserted, bombed out part of town!

But, at the end of the maze was the incredible and gorgeous Lotus Privilege Restaurant!

Lotus

Once we stepped inside, per custom, we washed our hands with warm water from a elegant silver tea pot.  We were then handed a tasty drink and took in the spectacular scenery.

I’m not being vain here.  I just couldn’t choose which beautiful backdrop to choose to share!

Pool

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And, this is Elizabeth and Stephen, a delightful Texas couple.  Stephen celebrated his birthday a day before me!

I felt like royalty at this lavish dinner with this gorgeous group!

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Our three course tasting menu stated with incredibly colorful and tasty Moroccan salads.

This was followed by entrees of either cockerel (chicken), veal, or fish Tagine (my pick), and three choices for dessert.  I chose the pastilla with light cream and crushed almonds with fresh mint!

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And, we were treated to live, energetic African music and an elegant, gorgeous belly dancer!

What a memorable evening!

CELEBRITY SIGHTING

By the way, Keanu Reeves was standing right in front of me as we boarded the flight from Paris, France, to Casablanca.

He was heading to Morocco to film scenes for “John Wick 3: Parabellum”, which is scheduled for a May 2019 release which also stars Halle Berry.

My posse got a picture with him! 🙂

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If you’ve ever considered going to Morocco, do so.  And, if you’ve never thought about it, I’d recommend it.

Anthony

 

 

Move Forward & Stop Looking Back

Birthdays are interesting annual events.  Some people count down to the big day and some would rather it pass unnoticed.

As life goes on, the way we celebrate the natal day changes.  As a kid, we’re excited for a cake, a party, and gifts.

That’s me celebrating my first birthday with a cake that ISN’T chocolate! 😦

October 13 1965

In retrospective, I’m grateful I got to celebrate that birthday.  When I arrived six weeks early, in the fall of 1964, I weighed about three pounds and I wasn’t expected to make it.  The survival rate for preemies back then was only 28%!

For many, becoming a teenager is exciting and to others, it’s a terrifying time. Then, there’s 16, 18, and 21.

After that the pressure settles in as 25 nears and you become frantic at 30 feeling as though your youth is gone.  It’s time to evaluate where you’re at in life and where you’re heading.

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I survived college, partying, and finding myself in my teens and 20s, starting my career in my 30s, finding love in my 40s, and losing it in my 50s.

There are days of bitterness and anger, but many more are now filled with uncertainty — not only of what lies ahead down this road of life we travel, but mortality!   Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

While the average life expectancy in the U.S. is now 78.7 years, my beautiful mother, Dessie, didn’t get anywhere near that.

She died at 47 (in 1990).  My father died three years earlier at 55.

Time

I’m optimistic that I have many years left since I’m physically and mentally healthy.  I just have to work on becoming emotionally and mentally happy!

My next birthday is right around the corner (October 13).

If you send birthday wishes to me via Facebook, I’ll get around to responding to them when I can since I’ll be out of the country!

I’m marking another continent off my travel list!

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This will be the fourth continent I’ve visited — following North America, Europe, and Asia!

To help you narrow it down, I don’t think I need to visit Antarctica and going to South America isn’t high on my travel “bucket list”.

Final clues before you see the pictures on Facebook when I have internet:  It’s north of the Equator (never been south of it), 99% Muslim, and it’s ruled by a King.

Birthday Trip 2

And, in August, Madonna spent her 60th birthday there.  I’m sure that her arrangements were on a grander scale! 🙂

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P.S. I share my birthday with Sacha Baron Cohen (47), Nancy Kerrigan (49), Fox Mulder (57), and Marie Osmond (59).  Oh, I can’t forget my dear friend, Crystal Craddock-Posey!

With that being said, I want to share some of my favorites birthdays of the past with you.

BIRTHDAY 2016

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BIRTHDAY 2014

For my 50th birthday, I wanted to visit Tel Aviv, Israel.

When booking the trip, the connecting flight was through Paris, so it was decided to spend three nights in Paris and four in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday, I was treated to a Seine River dinner cruise, a view of Paris from atop the Eiffel Tower, and sitting stage side at the historic Moulin Rogue sipping champagne at midnight as I turned 50!

Anthony 50

Days later, in Tel Aviv, I had the best meal ever at Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea!

Benny The Fisherman

BIRTHDAY 2012

The day started with an incredible brunch at the Stratosphere (back when it was good) in Las Vegas and ended with seeing Madonna and the incredible “MDNA Tour”.

Champagne

Madonna MDNA

BIRTHDAY 2011

This would be the last one with my best buddy in the world, my beautiful golden retriever, Miss ABBA.  It was a warm fall day in the Quad Cities and we spent it outside playing.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

BIRTHDAY 2009

2009 Gifts

As I head into my 55th year and beyond, I’ll live by the words of Kylie Minogue and her life affirming hit “Golden” (which chronicles her turning 50 earlier this year)!

Kylie Golden 1

Kylie

Kylie Golden 2

My one goal for 2019 — seeing Kylie’s “Golden Tour” here in the U.S.!

Here’s to future!

Claire

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 20, 2014

Happy Friday!  I hope you had a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts this week.

SUMMER STARTS SATURDAY MORNING

Today is the last day of spring!  Summer officially begins at 5:51 a.m. CDT Saturday.  If this means relaxing in the backyard swimming pool and anticipating my two fall trips (those details coming at a later date), I’m all for it.

Pool

Every summer, we plant a small garden of mostly tomatoes.  First, it was for Miss ABBA, who loved them.  Now we do it in her memory.

This year, I actually started most of the tomato plants inside when snow was still on the ground!  Most of our tomatoes are “ice white cherry” from seeds I bought on ebay.  We also have a common red ones and peppers in many varieties.

I’m looking forward to making homemade salsa in my new Hamilton Beach Food Processor that Santa brought me.  I wish that I lived in California, or some avocado-producing state, to make fresh guacamole from hand-picked avocados, too.

R.I.P CASEY KASEM

Last Sunday, on Father’s Day, radio legend Casey Kasem passed away at the age of 82.

People around the world grew up listening to that distinctive and distinguished voice count down the 40 biggest songs across the U.S. on “American Top 40”.

Casey_Kasem

The show debuted over Independence Day weekend in 1970 and Casey’s last countdown during his first run was on August 6, 1988.  (He would return to “American Top 40” from 1998-2003.)

When the show started, it was broadcast on seven stations.  At its peak, it was broadcast on more than a thousand stations in the U.S. and in 50 countries around the world.

For those listening to that first show in 1970, Casey opened with “Here we go with the Top 40 hits of the nation this week on “American Top 40”, the best-selling and most-played songs from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Canada to Mexico.  This is Casey Kasem in Hollywood, and in the next three hours, we’ll count down the 40 most popular hits in the United States this week, hot off the record charts of “Billboard” magazine…”

Sadly, he gained media attention recently in a very nasty, public dispute between his children and his second wife of almost 34 years, Jean, as he battled Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

Here is a blog that I wrote two years ago about how much I loved listening to Casey and how a long distance dedication could go terribly wrong!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/29/when-cusswords-outnumber-the-top-40-hits/

“Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

R.I.P. Casey!

POOR STATE OF POP RADIO

Since we’re talking radio, I have to say that I’m not a fan of Clear Channel Communications’ promotional synergy of pushing a new song by playing it at the top of every hour for a certain period of time.

Madonna-Give-Me-All-Your-Luvin

While that helped Madonna secure her record-extending  38th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2012 with “Give Me All Your Luvin”, along with Britney Spears debuting at #12 last year with “Work Bitch”, and Michael Jackson earning another Top Ten hit this year with “Love Never Felt So Good”, it also dooms the songs.

It’s debatable whether those three songs are worthy of hitting the top of the chart, but constant initial airplay pushes those song to a high debut and then they usually drop off quickly the next week and rarely rebound to a higher chart position on the airplay chart.

Why can’t it be like it used to be when Casey Kasem counted down the hottest songs in the land.  When you heard them, you knew you’d hear them during the week on your local radio station because back then a song had to build airplay week to week!

KUDOS TO RICKY MARTIN

To protest Morocco’s antigay laws, Ricky Martin changed the pronoun in his ballad, “She’s All I Ever Had” to “he” while performing at the 13th Mawazine World Rhythms Festival in Rabat, Morocco.

He sang, “It’s the way he makes me feel / It’s the only thing that’s real / It’s the way he understands / He’s my lover, he’s my friend / When I look into his eyes it’s the way I feel inside / Like the man I want to be / He’s all I ever need.”

Homosexuality is still a crime there and just last month, six Moroccan men were convicted and each face up to three years in prison.

This is the original that reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1999.

And, if you’re a Ricky Martin fan, his autobiography, “Me”, is amazing.

Here’s the blog that I wrote about it if you want to know more about it or Ricky.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/04/29/me-personifies-ricky-martins-compassionate-life/

WAS ANTHONY PERKINS “PSYCHO”?

I just finished reading “Split Image” by Charles Winecoff about the life and death of movie and stage legend Anthony Perkins, who died of AIDS in 1992.  The book was published four years after the “Psycho” star’s death.

Split Image

As I was reading the very lengthy book (480 pages), I was so ready for it to end.

I never met Tony Perkins, so I don’t know if he was a shy, introverted, strange man or not.  However, I can’t believe that Winecoff spent so much time and effort interviewing people and pulling quotes from Perkins and many of his fellow actors to piece together such an unhappy, unflattering book.

It was as if Winecoff disliked Perkins so much that he took joy in making him look as bad as possible after the actor’s death.

I love reading biographies or books about real events.  But, it was hard for me to read about Perkins’ life from someone who didn’t interview the star for the book.

The book did not change how I feel about Perkins since I was named after him, after all!  I still think the lanky, 6’2″ actor was gorgeous in the 1950s and 1960s!  See for yourself.

The song featured in that video was “How About You” from Perkins’ 1957 album, “Tony Perkins”.   He reached #24 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1957 with “Moon-Light Swim”.

Beyond his career defining role as serial killer Norman Bates in 1960’s “Psycho” and its three sequels, Perkins was nominated for an Oscar in 1957 and he won the Cannes Film Festival Best Actor Award in 1961.

Anthony Perkins Psycho

I’m glad that Winecoff used this quote from Anthony Perkins as he lay dying that he dictated to his sons:

“There are many who believe this disease is God’s vengeance, but I believe it was sent to teach people how to love and understand and have compassion for each other.  I have learned more about love, selflessness, and human understanding from the people I have met in this great adventure in the world of AIDS than I ever did in the cutthroat, competitive world in which I spent my life.”

AN EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR MYSELF

While I have an amazing celebratory trip coming up in October to usher in my 50th birthday (details are coming soon), I bought myself concert tickets to see my favorite band of all time for the first time.

The band is Erasure and here’s one of their biggest hits in the United States from 1988.

If you’re not all that familiar with the band and would like a crash course in who they are and learn more about me and my younger days, check out the blog I wrote about them.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/my-fall-just-got-more-exciting-with-erasure/

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Tonight, we’re off to Clinton, Iowa, just outside the Quad Cities, to see the “Grits and Glamour Tour” with Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis.

Grits Glamour Tour

Since she scored her first country hit in 1988 with “Trainwreck of Emotion”, which reached #20, Lorrie Morgan has amassed 25 hits on the Billboard country charts.

Of those, 14 reached the Top Ten, and three topped the charts:  “Five Minutes” (1990), “What Part of No” (1993), and “I Didn’t Know My Own Strength” (1995).

“Watch Me” reached #2 on the Billboard Country charts in 1992.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Throughout the 1990s, Pam Tillis scored 22 Top 40 hits on the country chart.  Of that great accomplishment, 13 of those songs made the Top Ten and 10 of them making it all the way into the Top 5.  (She also had a Top 30 hit with Dolly Parton, “Romeo”).

Her only #1, “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)” topped the chart for two weeks in early 1995.

One of my favorite Pam Tillis songs is “Spilled Perfume”, from the “Sweetheart’s Dance” album.  It hit #5 on the Billboard Country chart in 1994.

HAPPY PRIDE WEEKEND, CHICAGO PEEPS

It’s pride weekend in Chicago and I want to wish all of my friends there a safe and fun weekend!

pride-martini-collection

It’s been a few years, 2010, I think, since I last celebrate Pride in the big city.  So, friends, have a drink or a shot for me!

I want to close out my blog with three “Pride-worthy” videos to kick off the weekend.

The first is a song that I saw performed on television in April 1993 for the “March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation” while I was living in small town Kentucky.

Seeing Rozalla sing “Everybody’s Free” while hundreds of thousands of people just like me making themselves visible was such an incredible feeling.   Unfortunately, I can’t find a video from the 1993 “March”, but the song’s message is still the same from the music video.

The second is by the late Sylvester, a legend in the LGBT community.

In 1978, “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” was #1 Billboard Dance hit and a Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

And, the last video is one of the sexiest and most life-affirming, “be proud” messages I’ve seen in a video by a straight, but not narrow friend of the LGBT community, Kylie Minogue.

I guess the Kylie video is powerful.  I had a high school classmate delete me on Facebook when I posted the video a couple of years ago.  He said it was part of the moral decay in this country!

THAT’S IT

My friends, whatever your persuasion, I hope you have a fantastic first weekend of summer.  Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony