Posts Tagged ‘Moulin Rouge!’

The Way to a Man’s Heart…

It’s no secret that I love food — whether it’s eating out or entertaining at home.

When it comes to entertaining, I think cheesecakes are my specialty!

Why cheesecakes specifically and not just cakes? Because just the thought of decorating a cake with frosting is a nightmare for me — I wouldn’t even attempt it for guests!

Here are some of my favorite cheesecakes I’ve made over the years!

Anthony's Cheesecakes

Once it’s safe again to eat out and socialize, I can’t wait to embark on a new beginning in a familiar state. 

Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite dining experiences (so far) and I’ll conclude with the most magical meal ever!!!

Since I’m now living in central Illinois, I’ll start off with a beautiful and tasty appetizer I had in May 2012 at Destihl in Champaign, Illinois, as I was passing through on my way to Indianapolis, Indiana.

At the time, I wrote, “Not only was it very tasty and refreshing… I was so mesmerized by the presentation.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was “Watermelon & Feta” (cubed watermelon, house olives, feta, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic glaze, and micro greens) and “Shrimp Ceviche” (shrimp, cilantro, lime, red onion, jalapeño, and avocado mousse).

The meal was so delightful that I dedicated a whole blog entry to it!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/destihl-my-beating-heart/

But, back to the beginning! 

Growing up poor in western Kentucky, we really didn’t get to eat out much. Our Aunt Norma would occasionally treat us to burgers, chili pies, and cold mug root beer at K & N Drive-In in Mayfield.

On the rare occasions our father did take us out, there was a roadside joint just outside Mayfield called Jack’s Drive-In. Basically, it was a carry out place with some picnic tables.

While it had the best cheeseburgers, my favorite sandwich was the fried veal patty!  Who knows what it really was!!!  And, I wouldn’t eat either of them now since I don’t eat beef anymore! 

My first server job was at the Happy House Restaurant in Mayfield in the 1980s.  One of the specialties was the “House Tea”, which was very sweet tea with special touches — a combination of fruit juices!  Delicious!

They also had the best desserts (Kentucky Derby Pie was my favorite), prime rib at night on the weekends, and the Copenhagen.

It’s an open-face turkey sandwich with a spinach mayo dressing!

But, my favorite restaurant in western Kentucky is Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, located in the Land Between The Lakes area.

It’s the only reason I go back to Kentucky!

They’re well-known for the amazing thick pork chops and appetizers like the beer-battered cheese sticks and the blooming onion!

Their homemade desserts are incredible — the meringue on the pies is whipped a mile high and the Sawdust Pie is just out of this world! 

Luckily, they’ve shared that recipe and I make it on special occasions!

My favorite meal ever, from a fresh, flavorful experience, was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Sea, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

This was brought out as our “salad” before the entrees — and this was just for two people!

I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since I love lists, I’ll highlight a couple of other dining experiences and restaurants.

My favorite entree was in Atlanta, Georgia, in 2016, at Tavernpointe in Midtown.

It was a Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, and pico).

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

Can you say, “Bottomless Mimosas”?

That was my brunch on my last visit in December 2019.

It was a 4.5-hour meal. I outlasted the lunch server and the evening server kept the mimosas flowing!

And, yes, I savored every bite of all four courses! I don’t waste food. 🙂

In addition to the great restaurants and meals I’ve highlighted, there was also a dinner cruise on the Seine River in Paris, France, that ended with a visit to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a stage-side seat at the historic Moulin Rouge sipping champagne as I turned 50!

As I wrap this up, I now want to share details of the most magical dining experience in my life (so far)!!!

It was on my first solo international trip to Morocco for my birthday in 2018. Marrakesh was my favorite city I visited in this northwestern African country.

My own “Crazy” (rich?) “Asians” (Pom, Sheila, Po Po, and Izzy) made the evening and my time in Morocco so memorable and fun.  

I met these wonderful ladies at the beginning of the trip and I shared a lot of time with them — an incredible group of friends!

Our evening started off with 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.

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!

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 share!

Our three-course meal started with a tasting menu of 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!

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

What a memorable evening!

And, while there are still many places I still want to visit (Greece, Cambodia, and Vietnam), I’d love to go back to Morocco!

As we head into the summer and life returns to the “new normal”, I can’t wait to find delicious food and fun experiences in central Illinois!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 13, 2017

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

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

WHAT A CLOWN!

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

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

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

Kellyanne

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

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

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

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

DT

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

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

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

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

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

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

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

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

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

LV

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

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

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

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

Blood

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

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

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

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

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

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

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

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

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

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

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

Viola

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

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

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

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

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

Ducks

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

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

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

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

Turtle 1

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

“THE SNOWMAN”

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

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

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

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

PREMATURE BABIES

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

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

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

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

AP 1st Birthday

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

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

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

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

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

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

REBA

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

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

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

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

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

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

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

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

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

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

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

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Welcome to My House!

Okay, more correctly, it’s an apartment.  But, “My House” sounds better!

I’ve been in Panama City, Florida, for three months now and I still haven’t posted any pictures of my place.

So, I guess it’s time for the unveiling. 🙂

This is a cool shot I took of the reflection on the ceiling coming in from my balcony’s French doors.SecretMy spare bedroom is still “under construction” and is being used as storage.  I’ll have to have it ready for my sister’s visit in October!

One major thing I ran into decorating was limited space compared to what I had back in the Quad Cities!

So, here’s what it looked like when I moved in.  Much to my chagrin, the living room is so awkwardly shaped and my furniture was so big that I had to cover the fireplace!EmptySo, here it is.1 LIVING ROOMI had to put my wine rack in the living room just to center my table and chairs in the dining room under the light.  It would have imposed on guests sitting at the table.2 LIVING ROOMHowever, it gives me a chance to display some of my wine and olive pictures I took in California and the awesome treasure I found in a thrift store in San Francisco!  I found the fish light display at a yard sale in Moline!3 LIVING ROOMIn the three months I’ve been here, I haven’t eaten at the dining room table — maybe when I have guests!LR DR1 DINING ROOMKitchenMy bedroom…1 AP BEDROOM2 AP BEDROOMMy bathroom…1 AP BRThe three pictures you see below are a celebration of my 50th birthday.

The moment I turned 50, I was sitting at the stage of the Moulin Rouge in Paris sipping champagne and watching the exciting show.

Then, it was off to my dream destination, Tel Aviv, Israel.

The picture on the bottom left is still the best meal I’ve ever eaten at Benny The Fisherman on the Mediterranean Sea.  That’s just the “salad” portion of the meal!

And, the bottom right picture is looking toward Tel Aviv from Old Jaffa, a city that’s more than 3,500 years old and one of the oldest port cities in the world.2 AP BRThe guest bathroom with photos that I’ve taken since being here.TAMMY BATHROOMMy balcony…1 BALCONY2 BALCONYWell, that’s it.  This is where I hang my head.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 2, 2017

I can’t believe that it’s June already.

With Memorial Day behind us, it’s “unofficially” summer and it’s definitely feeling like it across the Florida Panhandle and it’s only going to get warmer and more humid!

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts and have a great weekend.

SAD DAY WITH MANY MORE TO COME…

Climate Change

CLOSER TO STABILITY…

My apartment is still not all set up, but all of the boxes are unpacked now.  I’m really thinking I’ll have the walls decorated soon and I can share where I’m living with you.

Well, you’ve already seen my surroundings outside from my walks. 🙂

Lizard

Speaking of that, I had to move another killed duck — the dead duck count is now up to seven in my four weeks here! 😦

As for work, I train on the morning and midday show next week and my official on-air start date is Monday, June 12th.  This has been a long process with too many meteorologists on board, so I’m ready!

MISSING THE SEASONS….

I mentioned the heat and humidity earlier and I already miss the Midwest seasons. When it gets warm there during the day, you know there’s usually a nice 20° temperature drop off at night.

We don’t get that here!

With the warm Gulf of Mexico so close to Panama City, it’s stays muggy and warm all night.

After being here three weeks, I finally broke down the other night and turned on the AC! While I know it’ll likely stay on until October, when it only dropped off to 83° in my apartment the other night, I knew it was time. 🙂

Lightning

In almost a month that I’ve been here, it’s only rained three times in Panama City — two were stronger thunderstorms and one was a pop-up shower event.

This cool lightning show produced storms to the east, but no rain here.

PRAYERS FOR OLIVIA

It saddened me earlier this week when I learned that Olivia Newton-John is fighting cancer again after being in remission for 25 years. 😦

I know that she’s a fighter and that she’ll win again!

This photo is from May 30, 2014, when I saw her at The Flamingo in Las Vegas, Nevada!

Olivia

Best of luck, Olivia,  You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

“MAMMA MIA: HERE WE GO AGAIN”

I can’t believe that “Mamma Mia!” hit movie theaters nine years ago this summer.

The $52 million musical based on the music of ABBA is now of the biggest movies of all time.  It grossed $610 million worldwide.

I was over the moon recently when I learned that the sequel is scheduled to be released on July 20, 2018!  I know where I’ll be on that hot and muggy Florida afternoon.

In the original, the beautiful Greek setting of the wedding sold me on visiting the country.  Ironically, even before “Mamma Mia:  Here We Go Again” was announced, I was already considering a spring 2018 visit there.  It must be fate!

To the writers, producers, and the director, if Pierce Brosnan is back, please, please, please, don’t let him have too many musical numbers.  His songs in the original were painful!!!!!!!!

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

The fifth season of the critically acclaimed Netflix series dropped this week.

After being down and out over the real 2016 presidential election, I can’t wait to see how the Underwood campaign progresses with Frank and Claire fighting for his reelection with Claire as the VP candidate!

Ironically, it sounds like Frank is lip-syncing my words and sentiments! 🙂

P.S.  Seven months later, I don’t really feel any better than I did on the night of November 8, 2016.  It doesn’t help much to hear about all of the travesties of the real life world we’re enduring with #45 and with me living in a true “red state”.

SPEAKING OF “RED STATE”

I’m planning on watching the Kevin Smith-directed movie again this weekend.  It was my 8th favorite movie of 2012.

It stars one of my favorite actresses, Academy Award winner Melissa Leo. Golden Globe winner John Goodman is also in the movie.

Warning:  This trailer contains violent scenes and very, very, adult language.

Here’s my original movie review.  By the way, I gave it an “A” in early 2012.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/this-red-state-is-violent-deadly/

DREAMING OF….

Nicole Kidman!

thepaperboy_nicolekidman_web

I remember some of my dreams and some I don’t.  The other night I dreamt that Nicole and I were hanging out as friends.

It’s been weeks now since I watched “Lion”, her amazing Oscar-nominated movie, and “Big Little Lies”, her HBO miniseries, so I don’t know what prompted the dream.

Maybe it’s time to have a Kidman movie weekend this summer:  “Moulin Rouge!”, “The Golden Compass”, “The Hours”, and “Australia” (I have the last two, but have never watched them.)

“SPLIT”

The psychological thriller is creepy and there’s more coming.

The movie deals with “Dissociative Identity Disorder” or multiple personality and stars the incredible James McAvoy, whose character suffers from 23 “split” personalities.

The $9 million film has already grossed an astounding $278 million (I hope McAvoy is getting a nice chunk of change on the backside).

It was great seeing Daytime Emmy and Grammy Award nominee and Tony Award winner (“Cats”, 1983) Betty Buckley (“Carrie”) again in a movie.

There’s a surprise appearance at the end of “Split” that lets you know that this is a sequel to another movie and that both movies’ stars are back for the January 18, 2019 sequel called “Glass”.

GRADE:  A-

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

While I’m still on the fence about whether I’ll be back for the eighth season of “The Walking Dead” in October, the series’ sequel, “Fear The Walking Dead” returns this weekend for its third season.

I can’t wait!

P.S.  I know I’ll probably cave in and watch Rick and company’s return this fall.  I just didn’t care for season 7 of “The Walking Dead”, which saddens me because it used to be one of my favorite series.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 14, 2016

The weekend is almost here.  You know I love my weekends and I start counting down to them when I walk into work Monday mornings.

I greatly appreciate you taking the time to check out my random thoughts.  I think about a lot of things and writing not only gives me an avenue to express myself, but it gives me a chance to process all of the things that are happening in the world.

So, bear with me this week even if you’re over this year’s circus of a presidential election.

I also have random thoughts that are not about politics.  But, I feel it’s worth mentioning.

As always, if you disagree with me, just do it diplomatically.

SECOND DEBATE HIGHS AND LOWS

Here’s a shocker — I’ll say a nice thing about Donald Trump.

He did better in last Sunday’s debate. However, he also did a better job of showing he knows nothing about the job of president!

When asked repeatedly about what he’d do in Syria, he ranted and raved for minutes without ever answering the question.  I swear he thought they said, “cereal”.  It confused him and he didn’t know what to say — like most of what he said all night!

He did have one nice thing to say about Hillary before saying he didn’t agree with much of what she said.

dt-hillary-fighter

TELL HIM THE WAY IT IS!

My favorite celebrity tweet of the night came from Shonda Rhimes, the creator of “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Grey’s Anatomy”, and so many more ABC hits.

shonda

Look on the bright side, it’s all over in just a little over three week!  Get out and vote!

SHE SAID WHAT(!) IN THE BEST QUOTE OF THE WEEK 

Republican strategist and political commentator Ana Navarro made headlines last week in the wake of Donald Trump’s “Access Hollywood” secret recording degrading women.

In 2005, he was recorded boasting that because he was a celebrity, he could kiss anyone he wanted and could even grab their p***y.

In this video, Navarro shocked television censors when she stood up to Trump bobble head Scottie Nell Hughes.

Warning:  This is not censored like my statement three lines up!

Kudos to you Ana.  Speak the truth.  Sometimes that’s harder to swallow for some!

EARLIER THIS WEEK, I HAD MUCH MORE TO SAY…

Since my thoughts here are random and I don’t want to write chapters, I posted a blog about the Donald Trump and Billy Bush scandal and what it meant to me earlier this week.

bush-trump

If you missed it Wednesday, here it is (if you click on this link, it’ll open in a new window and you won’t lose your place here.)

Donald & Billy’s “Locker Room Talk”

Since I posted that blog on Wednesday, I’ve gotten great feedback.  Not everyone agrees with me, but we have that right.  As I said above, you can disagree, just do it diplomatically.

ANOTHER  BIRTHDAY 

On Thursday, I celebrated another birthday.

It was a low-key affair.  We’ll be celebrating with dinner and cake next week when my sister, Tammy, and Gretel are with us.

As I celebrate another year of life, I think back to my favorite birthdays.

Let’s see, there was my 50th, two years ago, sipping champagne at the Moulin Rogue after a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower after a dinner cruise on the Seine River.  Thanks Ray!

AP R Moulin

After that, it was on to Tel Aviv, Israel, one of my favorite places I’ve ever visited.

In 2012, we were in Vegas and I saw Madonna on the “MDNA Tour”.

AnthonyMadonna

And, of course, I’ll always cherish my birthday in 2011.  It was the last one with my golden retriever, ABBA, my best friend.

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

Finally, while I don’t remember it, here’s a photo of my first birthday celebration in 1965.

October 13 1965

Not bad for a premature baby born six weeks early weighing only four pounds before dropping down to three pounds and spending the first six weeks of his life in the hospital!

LOBSTERS 

No, I’m not talking about the movie, “The Lobster”, even though it was a great movie with Colin Farrell and Ben Whishaw.

This is about the lobsters that sadly find themselves one day swimming in the ocean and then on plates served with drawn butter.

lobster

I was reading an article in “Coastal Living” and I learned that regardless of their original color, lobsters turn red when cooked!  The exception is the albino (white) lobster that remains white.

By the way, some other lobsters colors include red, yellow, blue, and blue-green.  As you’ll see in this video, some of those are VERY RARE.

See, my thoughts are random!

“EMPIRE”

The cast of Fox’s “Empire” have something to say about the upcoming election.

But, where’s Terrence Howard????

COULD THE ELECTION BE RIGGED?

Donald Trump supporters definitely think so.

Full Frontal’s Samantha Bee sent two correspondents out to get to the bottom of the latest conspiracy!

As you see, this only applies if Hillary Clinton wins the election!

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL

Back in my “Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015” blog, here’s what I wrote about Paula Hawkins’ amazing debut novel, “The Girl on the Train”.

The Girl on the Train

“This is a definite hands down, take the train, bus, car, bicycle, or whatever means necessary to pick up this book!  Actually, you probably already have since “Variety” reports “The Girl on the Train” is the fastest-selling adult novel in history, having sold more than two million copies in the U.S. alone since it was published in January.”

In the book, Rachel is an alcoholic, divorced woman who becomes obsessed with a couple she sees on a regular basis from the train she takes into London.

One day, Rachel sees something strange that will trigger a series of events that will have you feverishly turning the pages to see what’s real, what’s not, and what really happened.  It’s a page turner until the end!”

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE

Last Friday, the movie adaptation of the book came out in theaters.  It debuted at #1 in the United States with $24.5 million.  It’s global opening weekend box office draw was $41.2 million.

From book to movie, the location was changed from London to New York City.  This also meant that Rachel’s drink of choice had to be changed.

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

Sadly, there were no gin and tonics in a can on the train.  I won’t tell you what her movie drink is — spoilers. 🙂

I sure hope when the Oscar nominations are announced in early 2017 that Emily Blunt’s name is on the list.

Blunt, as Rachel, was so compelling, sad, and heartbreaking.  I teared up when she took her first sip on the train.

Haley Bennett (Megan) was also a strong force in the movie.

If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie.  For me, it started out a little slow.  That’s because I read the book.  However, the pace quickly picked up.

If you haven’t read the book, this is one psychological thriller/drama that you’ll definitely want to see.

GRADE – “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE MOVIE:  A-

GRADE- “THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN” — THE NOVEL:   A

“TIMELESS”

Time travel as a premise for a television series is not a new idea.  The new NBC series, “Timeless” is the latest to take this on.

In the premiere episode, a time machine that the government was unaware of (shock!) was stolen by an evil man (Goran Visnjic).

A ragtag trio consisting of a college history professor, a soldier, and a scientist working for the company that created the time machine are brought together to track him down.

I admit that the promos and print ads featuring the very sexy Matt Lanter caught my attention first.  I took notice of the show and its premise.

After the premiere, which took us back to 1937 and the Hindenburg explosion, and the second episode (Lincoln’s assassination in 1865), I’m hooked on the show.

It’s still early in the run, so you have a chance to catch up.

“HOLDING THE MAN”

This Australian romantic drama film was released late last year and is based on a 1995 memoir by Timothy Conigrave, an Australian actor, writer, and activist.

It tells the story of his life with his partner, John, from the time they met in high school in the 1970s to John’s death in the early 1990s.

It’s not too often these days to see a gay movie with a central plot line centered around AIDS.  Today, it’s more about coming-of-age or marriage equality.

But, other than vital to their lives and the decades it covered, it’s important in 2016 to see this story line.  People are still getting infected daily from HIV and people die daily from AIDS.

Younger men and women, whether LGBTQ or not, are becoming less familiar with the AIDS epidemic that took so many of our loved ones and friends in the 1980s and 1990s.

“Holding The Man” is not just a AIDS movie.  It’s a love story and a touching one and the lead actors, Ryan Corr and Craig Stott, are adorable as a couple.

GRADE:  A-

PICK HIT

Kelsey Waldon is from Monkey’s Eyebrow, Kentucky, just down the road from where I grew up in Mayfield.

She was one of six artists that “Entertainment Weekly” featured as up-and-comers, ” The New Queens of Country” in a recent magazine article.  Last week, I featured Margo Price.

If you like real, traditional country music, then you’re going to love “I’ve Got A Way”.

Listening to Waldon, I couldn’t help but imagine this collection of songs sung by another of Kentucky’s icons, Loretta Lynn.

So, until my favorite Kentuckian Patty Loveless releases another album, I’ll enjoy Waldon’s debut and maybe check out the newly recorded Christmas collection from Loretta Lynn, “White Christmas Blue”.

FINAL BIRTHDAY THOUGHTS

To all of you that took the time out of your day to send me birthday wishes, thank you very much.  I appreciate each and every one and I hope I responded to all of you.

Here are a couple more that I got — one by mail and one by email.  If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve already seen them! 🙂

jc bd

Hillary BD.jpg

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 26, 2016

It’s now the last weekend of August.  Where did summer go?

While we still have about four weeks of summer left, Labor Day is fast approaching and, for some, that’s the unofficial end of the summer season.

If you’re ready for fall (and winter), then the first story in my “Random Friday Thoughts” is just for you.

Even if it’s not for you, if you live in the Quad Cities or nearby, please read it and take it to heart.

THE BOY THAT CRIED WOLF

It’s still summer, but we all know that fall is getting closer since our low dropped to 53° this past Monday in the Quad Cities.

While there’s plenty of warm weather left and time for several tropical systems to develop in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, colder weather is spilling in well to our northwest and some long-term computer models even paint a little snow over western Canada by September 1st. 🙂

Sept 1.jpg

This is a perfect time to clarify a couple of things and I’m sure you’ll hear me reiterate this again during the winter months!

We know there are some local forecasters across Iowa and Illinois that cry wolf and dramatize every potential snowflake to get Facebook likes, shares, and blog hits!

Snowflake

That’s not me!  While I love for people to read what I write and comment on it, I’m not going to sensationalize a forecast to get you to watch me or brag about the number of people that click on my page.

With that being said, when you see astronomical snow forecasts a week or so ahead of a potential snow event (which is stupid from a forecasting standpoint), just ignore them!

However, if you insist on looking, don’t make the mistake of asking me about it!  If I think there’s a chance of seeing a decent snow, I’ll definitely be telling you.  But, I will not justify another forecaster’s sensationalism!

Again, I know I’ll have to mention this again this winter.

2016 SUMMER OLYMPICS

I’m so proud of all of the athletes on Team USA that won gold, silver, and bronze medals at the 2016 Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

rio.jpg

I’m just as happy for those that made the team that didn’t win medals, too.

I didn’t watch the games, but I did follow the medal count as Team USA won more gold and more medals overall than any other team in the world.

All of those performances shined brighter than the adolescent ignorance and shame brought on by gold medalist swimmer Ryan Lochte and his three friends who claimed they were robbed at gunpoint.  Lochte now says his story was “over-exaggerated”.

Speedo Ryan.jpg

SPEEDO FALLOUT

No, there’s no photo of a “wardrobe malfunction” with Lochte and his Speedo.  However, there is fallout from his lies.

Speedo USA ended its sponsorship of him earlier this week.  The company will still donate a portion of his fee ($50,000) to the global charity “Save The Children” in Brazil.

Sppedo Short.jpg

RALPH LAUREN FOLLOWS SPEEDO

The hits against Lochte didn’t stop with Speedo.  Ralph Lauren and two other companies cut ties, too.

The fashion company says, “Ralph  Lauren continues to proudly sponsor the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Team and the values that its athletes embody.”

It added, “Ralph Lauren’s endorsement agreement with Ryan Lochte was specifically in support of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and the company will not be renewing his contract.”

Lochte, stuff that in your Speedos!

STILL NOT READY!

The Dixie Chicks debuted on the Billboard County charts in 1997 with “I Can Love You Better”.  From 1997-2003, the Texas trio charted 16 Top 40 hits with 14 of them reaching the Top Ten, and six topping the charts.

Then, in 2003, lead singer Natalie Maines told a foreign crowd that she was ashamed that then President George W. Bush was from Texas.  The fallout at country radio was swift, but not like Taylor!

“Travelin’ Soldier” was at the top of the country charts when Natalie’s words made is back to America.  Cumulus radio stations banned the Chicks and the song dropped off the charts in two weeks — from #1!

The Dixie Chicks returned with a new album, “Taking The Long Way”, in 2006.  It topped Billboard’s Top 200 and Country album charts, sold over two million copies, and won a total of five Grammy Awards.

They’re back on tour now, their first since 2006, and Natalie still has more to say!

Natalie

I’ll be seeing Natalie, Martie, and Emily for the second time in less than three weeks when they play the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois, on September 15th, on the “DCX MMXVI World Tour”.

I’m currently listening to all my Dixie Chicks CDs again to rank my 20 favorite songs before the concert!

If you want to see the April 2012 blog I wrote about them and the war with country radio, here it is.  (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/a-nation-at-war-abroad-on-country-radio-as-a-statue-topples/

DO YOU LOVE COTTON CANDY?

I love cotton candy and I eat it every time I go to Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas.  cotton candy

However, I thought of it in a different way recently reading an interview with Jennifer Lawrence talking about her upcoming movie, “Passengers”, with Chris Pratt.

Lawrence says (referring to Pratt), “He’s a bag of Gummi Bears.  He’s human cotton candy.”

Three things crossed my mind:  (1) “human cotton candy” sounds like something Hannibal Lecter would make if he was slumming for a dinner party dessert, (2) I do like cotton candy, and (3), I’d like it even more if it comes in the shape of the new and improved Chris Pratt body!

Chris Pratt.jpg

“BREAKING BAD”

I have another thought about winter today.

I know the most critically acclaimed show of all time (Guinness World Records, 2013), “Breaking Bad” concluded its five year run in the fall of 2013.

Ray and I were finally going to binge watch it when we got snowed in this winter, but we started it this week and after just three episodes, all I can say is “it’s incredible” — even if we saw Walter White (Bryan Cranston) too many times in his tighty whities. 🙂

Now, if we start seeing Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) in his, that’ll be different!

While we’ll still be watching “Breaking Bad” this winter, we also have “House of Cards”, “Justified”, and “Tyrant” to binge watch on when the days get short, the air gets colder, and the snow piles up.

Snow Saturday Morning

A BIRTHDAY PRESENT FOR ME???

At my age, I don’t really make a big deal out of my birthdays since I’ve already passed many of the milestones (13, 16, 18, 21, 30, 40, and 50).  Okay, I still have many years to go before retirement and social security.

For my 50th birthday, Ray treated me to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, a trip to top of the Eiffel Tower, and a show at the world famous Moulin Rouge, where I was sipping champagne and watching very risque and sexy performers at the stroke of midnight!

AP R Moulin

But, this year there’ll be a fun birthday present that I might just have to buy for myself.

One of my favorite bands of all-time, Erasure, is releasing a mammoth boxed set called “From Moscow to Mars”.  If you’re a die-hard Erasure fan or a fan of 1980s music, you’ll know where that title came from.  I know, you’re racking your brain now!

Check out this incredible video teaser!

Who knows how much that 13 disc set with over 200 tracks will cost, but I think I’m worth it!

AND THERE’S MORE….

If that wasn’t enough, Michael Buble is back, too, with a new album, “Nobody But Me” on October 21st.

Michael Buble To Be Loved

His last album, “To Be Loved” came out more than three years ago and his last tour ended in March 2015.

Michael has been spending more time with his wife, Luisana, and their two sons, three-year-old Noah and seven-month-old Elias.

The first single and the title track came out last week.

ANOTHER CHRISTMAS OFFERING

Christmas is still four months away, but it’s that time of the year when details of upcoming holiday albums emerge.

Already, I’ve talked about a duets Christmas album from Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and a new holiday album from Kacey Musgraves.

Illinois native and country hit maker Brett Eldredge will also be releasing his first Christmas collection this fall.

The album will feature classics and a new song called “Glow”.  It’ll also have a “big band and swing sound”.

Until we get the track listing and that first video, here’s Brett from the 2014 CMA Country Christmas special.

And, if it’s too early for you to listen to a Christmas song, here’s Brett with one of my favorite songs of last year, his #1 country smash, “Lose My Mind”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 27, 2016

Happy Memorial Day weekend!  It’s the unofficial kick-off to the summer season.  I hope you have a great one.  It’ll be especially nice for those with a three-day weekend (Ray!).

I wasn’t planning on an installment of Random Friday Thoughts, but here it is.  Surprise!

Pool

We’re running behind schedule this year, but we’re putting up our pool this weekend.

We closed it down in late September, but I’m ready to float the weekends and afternoons away — especially now that we’re enjoying summer-like, above average temperatures in the Quad Cities.

R.I.P. BETH HOWLAND

Beth Howland, who played ditzy waitress Vera, on the long running 1970s-1980s CBS sitcom, “Alice”, has died of lung cancer. She was 74.

Vera

Howland actually died December 31, 2015, but her actor husband, Charles Kimbrough, told The Associated Press that it “her choice” not to have a memorial service or funeral.  That’s why the news is just now coming out.

As a kid, I loved her character and comedic timing.

“GOODNIGHT MOMMY”

For whatever reason, the 2014 Austrian psychological thriller/horror movie, “Goodnight Mommy”, just hit Redbox and I highly recommend it!

Susanne Wuest is incredible in the role as “The Mother” and twins, Elias and Lukas Schwarz, are mesmerizing.

The movie was Austria’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film for the 88th Annual Academy Awards, but it wasn’t picked as a nominee.  Oscar fail!

Before I saw the movie, I wrote, “the trailer definitely creeps me out”.  Wait until you see the movie!

I don’t give too many movies this grade, but “Goodnight Mommy” gets….

GRADE:  A+

LET’S CHARGE FOR PLASTIC BAGS!!!

I know Earth Day is in April.  But, there’s something that we can do to cut back on pollution and some communities are working hard to make it happen.

As I travel across the country (and the world), I see more and more businesses charging for those paper-thin, flimsy plastic bags that Walmart and other stores use.

They’re cheap to produce and many aren’t used again because they rip open before you even get home!  Many end up blowing in the wind or floating in area lakes and rivers.

Ban Bags

More businesses are selling cloth reusable bags and I think that’s fantastic.

Aldi stores sell the reusable bags, but they also have plastic bags.  However, if you want one (whether you throw it away or reuse it), you pay for it.

I know it’d get expensive if you’re paying for the plastic bags at big stores like Walmart, but it’d probably prompt you to buy quality, reusable bags.  And, the environment would love you for it.

Many communities are even banning or proposing bans on the plastic bags.

THOUGHT FOR TODAY (AND EVERYDAY)

Fish Be You

POLITICS TIDBITS

I was wrong!

In my “Random Friday Thoughts — December 19, 2014”, I predicted that Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush would be the two candidates on November’s ballot for U.S. president.

Hillary AP

Well, it looks like I’ll be right with the Democratic nominee come June 7th once New Jersey and California vote, but who would have thought the presumptive nominee out of seventeen candidates on the Republican side would be Donald Trump!

DT Masks

Scary, right?  Yes!  I don’t need to wait for an answer!

NEXT VEGAS PLAN CHANGES 

Going to Las Vegas is an annual pilgrimage for me and Ray.

We love to eat, gamble, catch a couple of shows, walk, walk, walk, and see the sights.

Las Vegas

We love checking out the beautiful hotels and casinos — especially the displays made of flowers at the Bellagio.  I really want to visit one December when the glitzy city is decorated for Christmas.

However, our next trip in late July will not include a visit to the gorgeous The Venetian and The Palazzo.

The CEO is donating $100 million (yes, million) to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign! I’m sorry, but I will not help fund in any way that sorry excuse of a man that wants to be president!

There are plenty of other places there to try my luck at the slots — and eat desserts!

We’ll be visiting the Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood.  It’s a tradition for us to eat there and have the weekend champagne brunch at the Stratosphere.

Spice Market Buffet Las Vegas

Have I mentioned how much I love buffets, slot machines, and Las Vegas?

FOR THE LOVE OF NANCY REAGAN

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan died earlier this year of congestive heart failure at the age of 94.  Her husband, Ronald, our country’s 40th president, died back in June 2004 at the age of 93.

JustSayNoNancyReagan

Since it’s an election year, I’ve mostly been reading biographies and autobiographies of political figures.  I’ve read books from Hillary Rodham Clinton and Jimmy Carter, plus books on presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee.

I just finished Nancy Reagan’s “My Turn” and Kitty Kelley’s “Nancy:  The Unauthorized Biography”.

What I concluded from Nancy’s book is that she definitely heavily influenced Ronald Reagan in his two terms as California’s governor (1967-1975) and his two terms as president (1981-1989).

Even in her own words, I don’t think she was probably a very nice person (outwardly).  However, I don’t think she was the evil pariah that Kelley made her out to be.

But, reading some of the accusations made by Kelley — including an affair with Frank Sinatra, date rape, and unplanned pregnancies — it definitely makes one wonder what was really going on in the lives of one of the most conservative political families.

nancy.jpg

To restore some of my faith in Ms. Reagan, I read Michael Deaver’s “Nancy: A Portrait of My Years with Nancy Reagan”.

Although it’s a short book, don’t waste your time.  It’s basically the “CliffsNotes” version of Nancy’s “My Turn”.

He told the same stories she did with very little new insight.  The book only one earned its worth when in the last thirty or so pages, he addressed Ronald Reagan’s Alzheimer’s Disease.

RonaldReagan

There’s one thing that I would never dispute about the Reagans — their love for each other in their 50+ years of marriage.  It’s very admirable.

I still have a few more books to read about them — about their love and President Reagan’s autobiography.

PRESIDENT REAGAN, I NO LONGER HATE YOU

I didn’t personally know or like the Reagans (especially the President).

There’s one big reason that I used to despise Reagan and it was much deeper than him defeating my favorite President Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.  Here’s a blog from the summer of 2012 to explain.  (Clicking on this blog link will open a new window, so you won’t lose your place in today’s reading.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

TWO WEEKS IN CHINA

Since my last “Random Friday Thoughts”, Ray and I spent two weeks in China.  We met some really nice people in our tour group from all over the world, including New Zealand.

We climbed the Great Wall of China, cruised on the Yangtze River (when we weren’t fogged in and unable to move), saw the stunning Gorges, endured the worst smog I’ve ever seen in Beijing where our trip started and ended, and witnessed the lights and glamour of Shanghai, the reason we went to China!

AP Ray Shanghai.jpg

Maybe because it was for a tour group, the food was pretty bland and too Westernized.  I’m ready to enjoy my favorite Asian food in the Quad Cities, Osaka Buffet, in Moline, for some “real” tasty cuisine.

Would I ever go back to China?  Probably not.  Would I recommend seeing it once in your lifetime?  Definitely!

PICK HIT OF THE WEEK

The first time I heard “Faded” by 18-year-old British-born Norwegian record producer Alan Walker (with vocals by Iselin Solheim), I fell in love with the song.

Instantly, I searched out more songs from Walker and much to my chagrin, I found there isn’t an album — yet.

The ethereal, very moody, and captivating song is already a chart-topping smash in Austria, Belgium,  France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Vietnam, and eight other counties!

Here is the United States, the song is racing up the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart jumping from #26 to #17 this week and it’s already in the Top Ten on the Hot Dance/Electronic Songs chart.

It’s getting some airplay at Top 40 radio here, but I hope it really catches on soon.  If you haven’t heard it, here it is.

Call B100 and 101.3 KISSFM here in the Quad Cities and request it.  Just tell them that Anthony from Local 4 requests that you play it. 🙂

“LONDON SPY”

If you’re looking for an intelligent television series to add to your summer viewing, you have to check out this five-part BBC America series. (You can catch it on Netflix.)

“London Spy” stars one of the best English actors working today, Ben Whishaw, who’s also appearing on Broadway in “The Crucible”.

Ben_Whishaw

It doesn’t hurt that Whishaw is charming and adorable, too!  But, I’m recommending this thriller because he’s incredible and the story is very suspenseful.

It also stars Jim Broadbent (“Moulin Rouge!”) and Oscar nominee Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”).

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT 

Since I don’t write as much as I used to or as much as I’d like, I appreciate you checking out this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts”.  As always, feel free to let me know if you agree or disagree — just do it diplomatically.

Have a great holiday weekend and remember the great men and women that made this Memorial Day weekend a holiday.

Anthony

When The Hell Did I Get So Old?

Age is just a number!

I tell myself that all the time because I feel great and I think I look decent for 5o!  I see other people younger than me and they look years beyond their age.

However, with Ray out-of-town for a conference, I turned the radio on shortly after midnight (Mix 96 in the Quad Cities) as I was getting ready for work yesterday morning and Whitney Houston was belting out “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)”.

whitney

I didn’t think of her death, her drug abuse, her marriage to Bobby Brown, or that Lifetime movie.  All I thought about was how happy that song and much of her music made me feel.

But, it really got me to thinking about my 22-year-old self back in Kentucky getting ready to go out for a night of clubbing at the gay bar in Paducah and playing that song when I was spinning records.  Yes, records!

I thought of how young I was then and how much life I’ve lived since 1987.  And, then I thought, “When the hell did I get so old?”

Yes, that sounds contradictory because one moment I’m talking about looking and feeling great and the next I’m talking about how I got to be so old.

I love to travel.  Just last year alone, I was fortunate enough to go to Las Vegas, Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), Paris (France), Tel Aviv (Israel), and New York City for New Year’s Eve and that holiday weekend.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

I saw the glitz and glamour, historic buildings, the Eiffel Tower, the Mediterranean Sea, Old Jaffa, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, Rockefeller Center in all of its Christmas glory, and much more that those cities offered.

I saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in Las Vegas and a show at the Moulin Rouge in Paris and I turned fifty during the performance.  I saw Michael C. Hall as Hedwig in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” on Broadway and the incredible Renee Fleming in my first operetta, “The Merry Widow”, at the Metropolitan Opera.

However, one thing that I never saw in any of those worldly cities was the inside of a nightclub.

As a youngster, in my 20s, I loved going out and partying with my friends back home, taking short road trips to Louisville (Kentucky) and Nashville (Tennessee) and much longer road trips to Milwaukee (Wisconsin) and Chicago (Illinois).  I loved making new friends, cruising hot guys, and hanging out with drag queens.

Anthony2

Even in my 30s, I had a blast in the nightclubs during the four years that I lived in Chicago.

Fast forward to 2015 — I’m older now and I’m married to a wonderful man and we have a teenage daughter.

I love sitting at home and veggie out on the couch watching movies and our favorite television shows.  I love working in the yard and the garden and floating in the pool on summer nights and weekends.

Pool

But, I still love throbbing and pulsating club music.  I still love Madonna and Britney Spears.

Whitney may no longer be with us in life, but she lives on and she still inspires.

On my next trip to a metropolitan city, I’m going out, I’m going to dance and have a good time.

But, I won’t slam shots and cocktails because it takes longer to recover than it did twenty years ago.  I’ll refuse cocaine standing at a urinal in a bar, just as I did on my first visit to Las Vegas in 1993.

Age is just a number and just another candle on the cake of life.

Rainbow Cake

And, to prove that, how many of you remember Giorgio Moroder?

The 74-year-old Italian musician released his first record 50 years ago!  He gained international fame by making disco king in American by producing many of Donna Summer’s 1970s club and radio classics.

This spring he’s releasing his new album, “74 is the New 24”, with guest appearances by Britney Spears, Sia, Charlie XCX, and Kylie Minogue, who’s featured on the album’s first single, “Right Here, Right Now”.

Giorgio says, “Dance music doesn’t care where you live.  It doesn’t care who your friends are. It doesn’t care how much money you make. It doesn’t care if your 74 or if you are 24 because… 74 is the new 24!”

Amen, Giorgio!  So, dim all the lights, turn on the strobes and the fog machines.

I’m ready to dance with somebody who loves me or someone who just wants to share the dance floor with me.

Anthony

P.S.

I’m not stuck in the past with my love of Madonna and the sounds of the 1980s.  I love new dance artists like Kiesza and Clean Bandit.  If you’re not familiar with them, check these out!

Fortunate In 2014 & Looking Forward To 2015

Happy Holidays, my friends, it’s my favorite time of the year.  I love the sights and sounds, the music, and the fact that I get to catch up with my dear friends.

Christmas 2014

I hope 2014 was a great year for you, but more importantly, I hope 2015 is even better.  May you be blessed with good health, good fortunes, love, and happiness!

It was a fun year for us.  I’ll get to that, but first let me update you on our lives.

I’m nearing the end of my two-year contract as the morning meteorologist for the CBS affiliate here in the Quad Cities.  While I love what I do, I’m not sure how much longer I want to get up at 1 a.m. for work five days a week.

Ray is still the Planning and Economic Development Director for the city of Moline.  He’s been there nine years and loves what he does.  But, were both eyeing his semi-retirement and Gretel’s high school graduation in five years to move to a warmer climate.

Yes, Gretel is now an eighth grader and a teenager!  She wants to be a movie director when she grows up.

Anthony Gretel Ray

My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities.  She’s been here for three years and while she’s happy, I can definitely see her return to Tennessee to be closer to her two granddaughters one day.

Tammy

It’s been almost three years since we lost Miss ABBA and we still don’t have a dog.  However, I hope that changes in the next year or two — if we travel less.  We did quite a bit of traveling this year.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

We got away to Las Vegas for a few days this summer and saw Olivia Newton-John and Shania Twain in concert.

OliviaShania

While there, we also saw two Cirque du Soleil shows, “The Beatles LOVE” and “Michael Jackson ONE”.  Both were simply amazing with the theatrics, the acrobatics, and, of course, the fantastic music.  I’d highly recommend seeing one of these shows when you’re in Vegas.

Other concerts we enjoyed this year were Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan in Clinton, Iowa

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

Cher and Cyndi Lauper in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cher 2014 311

Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull in Chicago, Illinois

Enrique

We also saw my favorite ’80s band, Erasure, in Chicago, the next night!

Erasure

We spent a few days in Branson, Missouri, on a summer vacation trip for Gretel and her friends, Zoe, in June, and I accompanied Ray on a conference to beautiful Ottawa, Ontario, the capital of Canada, in September.  I got to sight see while he worked.

Ottawa

And, then in October, we went on the big vacation to celebrate my 50th birthday!

Yes, the big 5-0!  I’ve always wanted to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, and when we were booking the trip, it took us through Paris to sit at the airport for a few hours.  We thought, “why not stay a few days since we’re already going to be there?”  So, we cut Tel Aviv to four nights and stayed in Paris three nights.

Paris Birthday

For my birthday, Ray bought a package deal that included a Seine River dinner cruise, a visit to the Eiffel Tower (the view from the top at night was incredible), and a cabaret show at the world-renowned “Moulin Rouge”.  Since we were on Paris time, I actally turned 50 sipping champagne as the show girls (and boys) performed at the “Moulin Rouge”!

Paris was incredible, but Tel Aviv, on the Mediterranean Sea, was so beautiful and the religious history surrounding the city was mind-blowing.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

Old Jaffa, just miles away, is more than 4,000 years old.

And, we had a yard sale this summer and started saving change and a few dollars to go on a holiday cruise to the eastern Caribbean in early December with Tammy and Gretel.

Eastern Caribbean

Needless to say, we didn’t buy many presents for each other this Christmas.  The trip was the present.

It been an enjoyable year and we’re definitely looking forward to see what 2015 brings!

As you start to take down the holiday decorations and winter sets in, I hope that you’re looking to the new year for bright new adventures, good health, and much happiness.

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate” in 2015.

Anthony

 

 

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — October 24, 2014

The weekend is almost here and I hope you have fun plans.

The nice thing is that temperatures will be near 70° for Iowa and Illinois.  If you recall by this time last year, the Quad Cities had already had its first measurable snow of the season! (0.4″ fell on October 22, 2013, in Moline, Illinois.)

Snow

Yes, I have a few random thoughts to share and I hope you enjoy reading them.

EBOLA FEARS & BLAME

As of now, one person has died here in the United States from Ebola, a disease that has killed close to 5,000 people in Africa.  However, the World Health Organization says that the true number may be three times that official number.

Twice recently, while traveling, I had the unfortunate experience of watching Fox News in the hotel room and I was disgusted that the talking heads were blaming President Obama for not doing enough.

Maybe they need to step back for a moment and look at this fact!

EBOLA - AIDS

If you think that’s just some Democratic, liberal slant of the facts, read a full article that I blogged about that in July 2012.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/president-reagan-i-no-longer-hate-you/

REBA IS READY FOR A COMEBACK

It’s sad to say that when you have more Top Ten hits on the country chart than any other woman in history and you’re tied with Dolly Parton with the most #1 country songs by a woman that you’re staging a comeback, but that’s what Reba McEntire, my idol, is doing.

REBA_ATWIA_COVER_500

Reba’s last album, “All The Women I Am” was released almost four years ago and it featured her last #1 song, Turn On The Radio”, which topped the chart on New Year’s Day in 2011.

Here’s Reba performing that song in Moline in October 2011.

Since then, the next three singles faltered at country radio peaking at #22 (the remake of Beyonce’s “If I Were A Boy”), #40, and #44.  Thanks country radio!

Nevertheless, she’s back with a new label and she’s making new music.

Earlier this week, Reba announced that she signed with Nash ICON Music, a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group (Taylor Swift’s label) and Cumulus Media, the broadcasting giant that owns 460 AM and FM stations in the United States.

Reba

Reba is working with her longtime friend and producer Tony Brown, who’s behind her biggest hits albums from the early-to-mid-1990s including my favorites, “Rumor Has It” (1990) and “Read My Mind” (1994).  James Stroud is also co-producing the album.   Stroud has produced some of  Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence’s biggest hits.

Reba has already cut 11 songs for the new album and six are finished.  She adds, “I’ve got three more to record that I have found.  I’m always trying to beat out what I have already, so we just keep looking.”

While there’s no date set for the new single and new album, Reba promises it will be “soon”!

“GONE GIRL”

The latest David Fincher masterpiece, “Gone Girl”, is amazing.

The movie is based on the New York Times best seller and critically acclaimed novel of the same name by former “Entertainment Weekly” writer Gillian Flynn.

In just three weeks, the movie starring Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, and Neil Patrick Harris has grossed more than $216 million worldwide with more than one-half of that domestically.

While I plan on reading the book in early December, the movie was incredible.  It really helped that Flynn also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

Here’s the trailer, which tells you what you really need to know about the movie.

Affleck was very solid just as he was in “Argo” and Pike definitely has a future in Hollywood.

Harris is so versatile as an actor and this is one of his most revealing and vulnerable, naked performances he’s given.

Let’s just say that he was definitely acting on Broadway in his critically acclaimed role in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch”, because there is much more there!!!!!!!!!!!!!   Okay, that’s my way of saying you see more of Harris in this movie than you’ve ever seen before! 🙂

GRADE:  A

WE’RE HEADING TO THE CHAPEL AND WE’RE GOING TO GET MARRIED…

Marriage equality is sweeping the nation as court challenges and the Supreme Court of the United States are giving more Americans the freedom to get married.

Marraige Equality

Yet, that idiot and Fox News mouthpiece Mike Huckabee, the failed Presidential candidate, will not let it drop.

Check out this tweet and a Twitter response to his assessment of what Jesus probably thought.

Huckabee

While that might have offended some, that wasn’t my intent.  However, it made me smile and I couldn’t have said it any better.

PARIS AND TEL AVIV HIGHLIGHTS

Last week, I turned the big 5-0 and we saved our pennies and dollars and celebrated the milestone birthday with a trip to Europe (Paris, France) and the Middle East (Tel Aviv, Israel).

Here are some of the interesting things we experienced on the trip.

My birthday present from Ray was dinner cruise on the Seine River, followed by a trip to the Eiffel Tower at night.  We paid the extra 12 Euros to go to top and it was amazing to see the sprawled out city of Paris twinkling in the distance.

And, the night didn’t end there.  It was then off to the historic Moulin Rouge for a show and champagne.  I actually turned 50 during the show.

AP R Moulin

Thanks Ray!!!!!!!  You’re incredible.

We also had duck and goose a couple of times and while I’ll not make it a regular part of my eating habits, it was rather tasty.

The oddest thing I saw in Paris was a Chinese buffet near our hotel that we kept eyeing on our walks.  We finally gave it a try and you actually had to microwave your food that was sitting out on the buffet!  I wasn’t a fan of that.  Osaka Buffet in Moline, you have nothing to worry about!

But, then again, who goes to Paris and has a Chinese buffet?

It’s a small world after all.  As we were waiting in the line to go through customs at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, all of a sudden I heard “Hey Moline” and it was a sweet little, older couple that was coming back from a European River Cruise.  You never know who or where you’ll see your peeps! 🙂

TLV Sunset

Then it was off to Tel Aviv for three days.

It’s absolutely gorgeous there and from our hotel room, we could see the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean Sea!

We were amazed at how beautiful, healthy, and in shape most Israeli men are.  Note to self:  eat better and work out more!

The morning Israeli breakfast our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.  However, our favorite meal was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Sea.

Starter

That was just the salads and “starters” that they brought out.  Yes, fifteen of them, including the bread basket!

Incredible!  I wanted to go back again, but we didn’t.

TEL AVIV SCARE

Sadly, we didn’t get our a stamp on our passport from Israel.

The customs agent was so flustered from ranting a woman in front of us for sticking her passport in her mouth that he forgot.  He refused to let her go through his line because he wasn’t going to touch her passport.  And, I really don’t blame him.  However, his approach was a little abrasive.

As for us, our only scare was when we happened upon the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv on the way to dinner.  It was dusk and we decided to take a picture of it for our photo album.

However, three guards came out (one with a large weapon) and told us not to take pictures and took my driver’s license and called it in since we weren’t carrying our passports.  After a very long five minutes or so, they let us go and told us not to take pictures.

It’s very interesting because last month in Ottawa, Canada’s capital, the guards there had no issue with photo-taking tourists.

And, on our return flight home, the snow-covered Alps were beautiful!

Alps

PICK HIT

While in Tel Aviv, Israel, I was delighted that VH-1 showed music videos all the time.  There was no filler programming or reality crap, just real videos like in the old days of MTV and VH-1.

I fell in love with the song, “Stolen Dance”  by the German pop/rock/folk duo, Milky Chance, made up of singer Clemens Rehbein and DJ Philipp Dausch.

What I was surprised to learn is that the song is #1 on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart (six weeks) and #1 on the Rock Airplay chart (four weeks) in the United States.

And, it’s already topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Ireland, and Switzerland, and it peaked at #2 or #3 in Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovakia, and Sweden.

So far, it isn’t a Top 40 hit on mainstream radio in the U.S., but it’s catching on.

THE CALENDAR SAYS HALLOWEEN, BUT…

I’m already in the Christmas spirit.

However, I plan on watching “Hellbent”, a gay horror movie, from the people who brought us “Halloween” and “The Nightmare on Elm Street”.  It’s a movie that I watch every October.

Now, back to Christmas.  There are many upcoming holiday releases coming out including LeAnn Rimes, Darius Rucker, and Earth, Wind, & Fire.

But, I’ve already bought two new CDs.

Idina Holiday Wishes

I just got Idina Menzel’s “Holiday Wishes” this week.

While I believe that “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a tired Christmas song and it’s becoming one of my least favorites, Idina’s version with sexy crooner Michael Buble, is fun and enjoyable.

Other standouts on the disc are “Silent Night”, “Holly Jolly Christmas”, her remake of the Joni Mitchell classic, “River”, and the aforementioned duet with Buble.

I admit that it did take several listens to her version of the Mariah Carey classic, “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, before I could like and appreciate it.   Carey’s version is perfect!

It wasn’t Menzel’s voice that threw me for a loop.  The arrangement is all over the place and the song is over five minutes long.  Once I “got it”, the song was more enjoyable.

GRADE:  B+

And, another one you definitely need to add to your Christmas music collection is actor, singer, producer, writer, and Oscar host Seth MacFarlane, “Holiday For Swing”.

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

He has an amazing voice and brings an old-time Rat Pack feel to Christmas on “Holiday For Swing”.  If you love jazz and Christmas music, you’ll love it.

Sadly, there are no snippets that I can find online to share with you.  What’s up with that, Seth?

I’ve listened to the album countless times and it could definitely become a standard!

GRADE:  A

THAT’S IT FOR NOW!

It was nice to share my random thoughts with you again.

As I promised when I stopped doing it weekly, I’d do one every once in a while.

I really miss writing, but I just can’t find the time to do with my crazy work schedule.  Work just seems to get in the way, but I do need that small paycheck.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony