Posts Tagged ‘Olivia Newton-John’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 2, 2020

The holiday seasons are fast approaching with Halloween up next!

I’m sure you’ll agree that it’ll be nice to put 2020 behind us and hope for a better 2021!

Just a clarification before you read it. I’m calling someone “scum of the earth” and I’m following my own advice of being “diplomatic”. The words I’d like to use would show far less diplomacy! 🙂

But, first…

HELEN REDDY, YOU’RE ALREADY MISSED!

International superstar, Grammy Award winner, Golden Globe Award nominee, and feminist Helen Reddy passed away earlier this week at the age of 78!

A movie honoring Helen and her iconic song, “I Am Woman” is out now and will be released on DVD on November 3, 2020.

I submitted an entry this summer on what Helen’s music and that song meant to me for an advertising campaign promoting the movie. I was chosen! 🙂

Here’s my original and unedited 1 minute, 10 second submission!

Here’s a little bit about my favorite Helen Reddy song!

While the song was included on her 1971 album, she re-recorded it and it was shipped to radio in May 1972. 

It stalled out at #97 and dropped off the chart! Months later, it was released again.

This time, it took off and by the end of 1972, “I Am Woman” topped the chart becoming the first #1 song on the Billboard Hot 100 from an Australian-born artist and the first song written by an Australian to win a Grammy Award!

Helen, thank you for the music and you’ll be missed even though you’ll be in our hearts and souls! ❤️🧡💛💚💙💜

SCUM OF THE EARTH

Read this clearly: Most of us already know which candidate we’re going to vote for on November 3, 2020, so this isn’t about Joe Biden or Donald Trump!

But, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is scum of the earth!

In no time following the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell was on the fast track to have her replacement named and confirmed before the 2020 Election — just a little over a month away!

Again, I don’t care if you’re supporting Biden or Trump (well, I really do, but that’s not the point of this post!), it’s the principle.

SCALIA’S DEATH

Because it was a presidential election year, when Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell was such an obstructionist!

He and the Republican-controlled Senate declined to take any action on President Barack Obama’s nomination, Merrick Garland, one month later.

That nomination expired with the end of the 114th Congress in January 2017 and #45’s nomination later that month was confirmed in the spring.

The bottom line is that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”!

While a nominee has already been announced, we SHOULD WAIT for the outcome of the 2020 presidential election to move this process forward. The winner should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice!!!

THE “MILLENNIUM” SERIES

Although this Swedish crime series came out more than a decade ago, the three books have been sitting on my bookshelf.

I finally read the Stieg Larsson’s series — “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest” — and loved them!

The first book was my favorite and I felt the quality dropped off a little with the next two books.

I also watched the first two Swedish movies based on the books and Noomi Rapace was amazing as Lisbeth Salander.

I remember seeing David Fincher 2011’s English version of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and it not making an impression on me. I’ll have to watch it again now that I’ve read the books!

“BETWEEN SUMMER’S LONGING AND WINTER’S END”

Leif G.W. Persson’s 2002 book was translated to English in 2010.

On the back cover, here how it’s described: “acclaimed as one of the greatest Swedish crime novels of all time” .

Well, based on the four that I’ve read, after the three “Millennium” books, I disagree! Halfway through the 638 page book, I was ready to discard it!

So, skip it!

There are definitely better Scandinavian crime novels out, like Norwegian Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” (2007, translated to English in 2010)!

And, totally irrelevant, 60-year-old Nesbo is so hot! 🙂

That’s just a bonus! 🙂

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN

I normally read autobiographies, biographies, and books on real events, so my familiarity with fiction isn’t that great.

However, in the four Scandinavian crime novels that I read this year from Stieg Larsson and Leif G.W. Persson, one thing I appallingly noticed was the degradation and the violence directed toward women.

But, just the description of women in these books was gross and unjust.

Is it a crime novel thing? Heaven forbid, I can’t imagine that Scandinavian women would put up with this from men! Now, granted, these four books were written before the “Me Too” movement.

However, earlier this year, this was addressed by Nesbo in an interview with “The Guardian”.

He says, “Violence against women is a problem in society – it is something we should talk about. I would be more worried if there was an absence of violence against women in fiction, because it’s a problem in real life. Of course, it’s a question of how you do it, but in general I would be more worried if fiction pretended it wasn’t a problem.”

“MAGIC”

On a lighter note and one that excites me so much, Kylie Minogue treated us fans to the second single from her upcoming “Disco” album coming out November 6th!

“Magic” is the new single!

“MAGIC” BONUS TRACK!

I hope you took a few minutes and watched the amazing Kylie video.

So, now you know it’s not a remake of Olivia Newton-John’s four-week #1 smash from the “Xanadu” soundtrack from 1980!

MEGYN KELLY “SETTLE FOR MORE”

I enjoyed reading Megyn Kelly’s 2016 autobiography.

Along with stories about her childhood, her career as a successful lawyer, and how she gave it up to become a television reporter and anchor with no experience (really, I mean no real experience!), she spent a lot of time talking about her abuse from Donald Trump and his supporters in the 2016 presidential election!

She also talked about how great of a guy that toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert Roger Ailes was! He’s the one that sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives!!!

By the way, “toxic, creepy, nasty, dead pervert” are my words, not Kelly’s!

It wasn’t until the end of the book that she addressed the sexual allegations that brought Ailes down. It felt more like, “Oh, I should mention that!”.

In fairness, Kelly shared a 2006 meeting with Ailes in his office when he once again came on to her. She said he tried “to grab me repeatedly and kiss me on the lips”.

Kelly got away from him and as she moved toward the door, Ailes allegedly (I’ll say that word for legalities even though the scumbag likely said it with venom) said, “When in your contract up?”

She also states that Ailes earlier said, “I don’t like to fight, but when I do, I fight to kill.”

MORE THINGS SHE SHARED IN “SETTLE FOR MORE”

When she moved to Chicago in 1995 to take a law firm job, she looked out her Navy Pier apartment window drinking white Franzia boxed wine and listened to Tina Turner’s “I Don’t Wanna Fight” CD. She said that her “real life” was starting! (I only shared this one because I loved Franzia boxed wine!)

She told Roger Ailes that while she was raised in a Democratic household, she was “apolitical”. She went on to share a passage from her 1988 journal, “Am I a Republican or a Democrat? I seriously don’t know.”

There were rumor of her having an affair with married Fox News anchor Brit Hume. He thought it was funny and said people wouldn’t believe it. She disagreed by saying, “people love to dismiss potentially threatening women as ‘nuts or sluts’. Evidently, I didn’t pass as a nut, so I was to branded a slut…”

“BOMBSHELL”

If you haven’t seen the 2019 movie, “Bombshell”, check it out.

Here’s what I said about it in January.

“Even after seeing ‘The Loudest Voice’ on Showtime last year, watching ‘Bombshell’ was a different viewing experience about the toxic environment at Fox News.  (Oh, and about the toxic, creepy, nasty Roger Ailes!)

While John Lithgow was incredible as Ailes, it was definitely the women who made the movie — Charlize Theron (as Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (as Gretchen Carlson), Margot Robbie (as a composite character created from many of the women that Ailes victimized), and Kate McKinnon (a co-worker, Jess Carr).

I expected Oscar nominations for Theron the Best Actress category and for Robbie in Best Supporting Actress category and they got them!”

GRADE:  B

“Bombshell” was my #13 movie of 2019!

“CHOW DOWN”

Although this parody of Wilson Phillips’ #1 1990 debut hit, “Hold On”, came out in 2012, I can’t watch it enough — even today! 🙂

The drag queen trio of Willam Belli, Detox, and Vicky Vox take on the anti-gay agenda of the Georgia chicken restaurant chain, Chick-fil-A.

Disclaimer: Yes, it’s hilariously funny and R-rated.

***It includes adult language and adult situations***!

The bottom line and I couldn’t have said it better myself:  “we just want a little meat without your Bible!”.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN!

While I wished my idol, President Jimmy Carter a Happy 96th Birthday last week, I’ll do it again since his birthday was October 1st!

In 2016, I left this message for the Carters when I visited the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta, Georgia.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 18, 2020

This is my last post of the summer! Fall officially begins next week!

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

Next week, my baby sister will be celebrating her birthday and her first in Central Illinois.

I’m so happy we’re in the same city again and that we get to spend more time together. Here’s to the holiday celebrations!

Happy Birthday Tammy! I wish great things for you in the upcoming years!

“I AM WOMAN”

Iconic singer and women’s rights advocate Helen Reddy is finally being honored with a motion picture, “I Am Woman” — the title of her 1970s #1 anthem!

It’s now showing in select theaters and is available through video on demand.

Also, the movie arrives on DVD on November 3, 2020 and you can pre-order it on amazon.com!

The movie stars Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle MacDonald (“Patti Cake$”), and Evan Peters (“American Horror Story”).

Helen’s fans were asked to submit a short video telling what the song and Helen Reddy meant to them. Those selected would be used in a promotional campaign for the movie.

I’m honored to say that a portion of my video was chosen!!! 🙂

Here it is! (Just click on the arrow.)

Here’s the movie trailer.

And, finally a month ahead of my birthday, I shared the 13 biggest events and my 101 favorite songs of my first 35 years (1964-1999).

Of course, Helen Reddy was high on the list — at #16 with “I Am Woman”!

If you want to see the rest of my countdown, here’s the blog with stories of my ups, my downs, my secrets, and my successes! So far, it’s been well received. (Click on this link and it’ll open in a different window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/09/11/my-life-the-first-35-years/

By the way, back to Danielle MacDonald, if you haven’t seen “Patti Cake$”, add it to your list of movies to see!

“Patti Cake$” was one of the best and most overlooked movies of 2017. It was my #10 favorite movie that year!

As you start to watch, be patient!

When I reviewed the movie late that year, I said, “As I started watching the first 10-15 minutes of the movie, I was unsure what I was going to think about it.  However, it clicked and I loved it.”

GRADE: A-

YES, PLEASE!

Here’s another reason for this dreadful year to end — look what’s coming in January 2021!

Nabisco is treating us to Chocolate Hazelnut-flavored Oreo cookies!

That same month, the company is releasing Java Chip Oreos — coffee-flavored crème with chocolate chips sandwiched between two classic Oreo cookies!

I still want to try the Caramel Coconut Oreos! Please share so I don’t have to buy a whole bag! 🙂

ALL READY FOR FALL!

Yes, I rushed summer out and decorated for fall on Labor Day weekend!

Why so quickly?

My Christmas decorations go up November 1st until the end of January! 🙂

“RUMOR HAS IT” TURNS 30!

While Reba McEntire became a powerhouse superstar in the mid-1980s, I was all about dance and pop music in my 20s during her rise to super stardom.

However, I discovered her at Sidetrack in Chicago on country night in 1990. That voice singing “Rumor Has It” blew me away and I’ve been a huge fan ever since.

It’s hard to believe that the album turned 30 years old this month! And, it was re-issued and released on limited orange vinyl!

“Rumor Has It” was my first Reba album (I own them all now) and it’s still my favorite.

While “Fancy” was not the biggest hit from the album, it’s become one of Reba’s signature songs.

I love “Fancy”, but it’s not one of my 20 favorite Reba hits!

But, a new dance remix from hit master Dave Aude may change that. Check out this incredible version that I hope clubs across America start playing!

By the way, if this becomes a dance club hit, it won’t be Reba’s first.

In 1996, the dance remix of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” reached #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Play chart.

And, this isn’t the first time that Dave Aude has taken one of the biggest stars of country music on the ride up the dance charts.

He hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart in 2015 with “You Have To Believe” with Olivia Newton-John and her daughter, Chloe Lattanzi.

It ended up being my #16 song of the year with my favorite U.S. city, Las Vegas, as the backdrop!

“THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS”

In the first season of this TNT series, the “Alienists” were on the hunt for a “boy-whore” serial killer in late-1890s New York City.

Years later, in the second season, “Angel of Darkness”, we’re chasing down a a psychotic, sexual deviant baby kidnapper/killer!

The stellar cast of Daniel Bruhl, Luke Evans, and Dakota Fanning return.

However, the standout in the second season is Rosy McEwen, who plays Libby Hatch.

In a very dramatic, Emmy nomination-worthy scene, McEwen’s character exclaims, “Stop looking at me, you stupid thing! <Nervous laugh> “Stupid, stupid, you stupid thing!”

Just reading that line, it may sound “stupid”, but seeing the chilling scene of a deranged character saying it to a nemesis bully that was just murdered was powerful!

TED LEVINE

When I watched the first season of “On Becoming a God in Central Florida”, I thought, “it’s nice seeing Ted Levine” again.

He’s now in seasons one and two of “The Alienist”.

However, I was shocked to learn that’s he’s worked constantly (before and) since his breakout role in the Oscar winning movie, “The Silence of the Lambs” as Jame “Buffalo Bill” Gumb!

“MY LIFE AMONG THE SERIAL KILLERS”

While reading serial killer profiler Helen Morrison’s 2004 book, “My Life Among The Serial Killers”, all I could think about was Sigourney Weaver in the 1995 movie, “Copycat”!

Although the real life Morrison profiled many serial killers, I didn’t buy a lot of her conclusions. And, neither did others in that profession. The book was panned!

And, Weaver, Holly Hunter, and Harry Connick Jr. were incredible in “Copycat”. Watch that instead of reading the book!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Life: The First 35 Years

While it’s not a milestone birthday, like my first, another one is approaching.

My life’s longevity has surpassed both of my parents (my mother died at 47 and my father at 55) and I’m grateful for that.

Maybe it’s just me, but I feel that as we get older, we pontificate about life more.

We think about the past — good and bad — and wonder what the future holds. And, Good Lord, with 2020 and Covid-19, I hope it’s an improvement!

With that in mind, I started thinking about the events and the songs that have influenced me most in life.

So, today, I’m sharing the 13 most memorable events of my first 35 years (1964-1999). Why 13? It’s my favorite number and I was born on the 13th!

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

While I was only five years old when this happened and I didn’t understand the Vietnam War or the protests, I vividly remember the news that evening and this iconic photograph.

As you may recall, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students killing four and wounding nine others.

On the 30th anniversary of the deadly shootings, I covered the story for a television station in Mansfield, Ohio.

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

It’s no secret that I love Madonna. I’ve seen her in concert four times and I remember buying her first album at Terrapin Station in Murray, Kentucky, in 1983, before she was a household name.

But, I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I shed tears the day she married Sean Penn in 1985!

Not because I was happy. I just knew it wouldn’t last and it was my “Madonna”! 🙂

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

Back in 1990, I moved from Kentucky to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. While I was only there for the summer into the early fall, I enjoyed my job as a bartender at “Partners”, one of the oldest LGBTQ bars in the city.

OMG, I was so young — in stone-washed jeans and a New Kids on the Block t-shirt! 🙂

On a slow Sunday night, a couple came in and ordered drinks.  Jerry was a good-looking man and his lady friend, who was older than him, was D’nell. 

While Jerry flirted with me, it was my bond with D’nell that would stand the test of time. She became my “Mom” and I called her that until her death in early 2009.

One night I went out drinking with my friends and co-workers in the seedier part of the gay district at C’est La Vie and Club 219.

Needless to say, I had way too much to drink and the scary alley, while unsavory, was a great place to puke before we moved on elsewhere!!!

I didn’t think too much about it at the time, but when serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was arrested, I got chills. Club 219 was one of his favorite haunts and he picked up many of his victims there!

I used to keep journals and my night at Club 219 coincided with the stalking and murdering timeline. He very well could have been lurking in the corner that night I was totally wasted!

#10 VANESSA WILLIAMS TURNING OVER HER MISS AMERICA CROWN (JULY 1984)

It was a beautiful night in 1983 when Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.

It was a very sad day in the summer of 1984, when the 21-year-old turned over her crown after artistic (and unauthorized) nude pictures surfaced in Penthouse. (Even as a gay boy, I bought the magazine to see what the fuss was all about!)

Another admission: I was saddened and cried watching this press conference! I was hoping that she’d fight to keep her crown and tell the Miss America pageant to “f*ck off”, but that didn’t happen!

But, Vanessa has gone on to a very successful singing and acting career with numerous Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award nominations!

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

Here’s my blog from earlier in 2020 dedicated just to Vanessa! (It’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2020/03/18/vanessa-williams-still-reigns/

Along with the events that impacted my first 35 years, I’m sharing my 35 favorites songs from those 35 years!*

Casey Kasem is my inspiration. I still recall all the weekends I spent listening to Casey count down the 40 biggest songs in America!

As I compiled my comprehensive list, it started out with 236 of my favorites!!!

As a teenager, I remember telling my grandmother Helen that a certain song was my “favorite” and she replied, “they’re all your favorites”!

But, when I was a youngster, there could only be one winner!

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

#34 “SUGAR SUGAR” (THE ARCHIES) (1969)

#33 “LIZZIE AND THE RAINMAN” (TANYA TUCKER) (1975)

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

#31 “NEVER SURRENDER” (COREY HART) (1985)

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#9 “JOHN WAYNE GACY’S CHICAGO MURDER SPREE (1970s)

Just before Christmas 1978, John Wayne Gacy was arrested in Des Plaines, Illinois (near Chicago), for the murder of 15-year-old Robert Piest.

During his confession, police would learn there were many other bodies.

Gacy is known to have killed, at least 33 young men and boys. Of those, 26 were buried in the crawl space of his home!

When the news of this serial killer broke, I was a 14-year-old gay boy living in western Kentucky, just six hours away.

This had a very chilling effect on me since I was the same age as some of his victims. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that people could kill others just for the thrill of it!

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

Karen and Richard Carpenter were on “top of the world” in the 1970s topping the chart with their amazing melodies and her incredible voice.

After years of battling anorexia nervosa, the music world was shocked on February 4, 1983, when Karen died of a heart attack. The years of starvation had destroyed her body.

Karen’s battle with an eating disorder brought that subject to the forefront for America. I know the awareness has saved many lives.

#7 AIDS EPIDEMIC (FROM THE SUMMER OF 1981 TO NOW)

For almost 30 years from the 1980s through the early-2010s, I strongly despised, even hated, President Ronald Reagan.

In the summer of 1981, a new “gay cancer” (it would be called AIDS later) was attacking and quickly killing homosexuals in alarming numbers.

However, President Reagan didn’t mention the deadly disease publicly until a press conference in 1985. And, it’d be six years into the AIDS pandemic (1987) before he gave his first speech on AIDS — after more than 20,000 Americans had already died!

What a terrifying time for a 16-year-old boy that wasn’t even sexually active yet.

Four decades later, by the grace of God, I’m still HIV-negative, but I have friends that are positive and I’ve know people that have died of AIDS.

Thankfully, we now have drugs, when taken properly, make it impossible to spread the virus!

National Institute of Health: “U=U means that people living with HIV who achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load—the amount of HIV in the blood—by taking and adhering to antiretroviral therapy (ART) as prescribed cannot sexually transmit the virus to others.”

#6 “HALLOWEEN IN HOUSTON” & ELECTING BILL & HILLARY CLINTON (1992)

My first time on a plane was in October 1992 when I flew to Houston to celebrate Halloween with my friends Steve and Dennis.

There were so many amazing costumes in the big city including 1992 presidential candidate Ross Perot!!!

That pretty much summarizes the PG version of our nights on Montrose in the gay district.

There are many more scandalous pictures of that trip elsewhere in my blog’s history, including ones of yours truly!

Remember I was in my carefree 20s and it was before Facebook!!! 🙂

Clearly, there was boob admiration going on here between the two of us — he won!

Since my outfit was rather risque, I didn’t drink much that night and maybe that was a good thing! 🙂

However, after an intoxicating Sunday night with vodka cranberries, we flew back to Kentucky Monday and on Tuesday, I cast my first vote for the Clintons, which sent them to the White House for what would turn out to be eight years! 🙂

Now, back to the countdown!

#30 “MERRY CHRISTMAS DARLING” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

#27 “YOU MAKE MY DREAMS” (DARYL HALL & JOHN OATES) (1981)

#26 “SO EMOTIONAL” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

#22 “ONLY IN MY DREAMS” (DEBBIE GIBSON) (1987)

#21 “I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME)” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1987)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#5 THE DEATH OF MY FIRST IDOL — MY GRANDFATHER (1978)

My first two idols in life were my my mother, Dessie, and my grandfather, John Henry Peoples.

Sadly, my life with my grandfather was cut short since I had just become a teenager when he died in early 1978.

I’ll never forget his last Christmas as he was dying from colon cancer, it was remarkable how he stayed in good spirits.

I’ll always cherish the weekends we spent together at Kentucky Lake camping out and fishing.  Also, all of the memories of just piddling around in the back yard and in his work garage remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me suck the suds off his beer cans when he’d open them. 

Maybe it’s because of the suds that I’ve now moved on to bubbly champagne as an adult (along with vodka and wine)!

When I finally get to heaven, I can’t wait to say “thank you” and let him know how much I idolized him.  I know, as a kid, I never told him.

There was also talk that I was almost named after my father.  I’m grateful that I wasn’t.  However, it would have been an honor to have been a “John Henry” Junior!

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

In November 1976, as a 12-year-old boy in Kentucky, I cast my first presidential vote for the Democratic candidate Jimmy Carter, and four years later, at 16, I voted for him again. 

So, you might be thinking, that’s impossible.  Many things go on in Kentucky that aren’t talked about in other states, but kids still can’t vote. 

Well, since my Grandmother Helen was not very literate, I accompanied her into the voting booth and I got to vote for the candidates of my choice.  Even then, I knew what I was doing.  🙂

Now, you might be thinking, why Carter?  Maybe it was because he was a Southerner and he talked like me!  I’m kidding.  I just liked him.

At age 12, I didn’t know anything about “gay rights”, but then again, there was no such thing as “rights” for those kind of people in the mid-1970s!

While Carter was a deeply committed Christian that taught Sunday school and prayed several times a day, he was the first president to address gay rights and his administration was the first to meet with gay rights activists.  He was opposed to the Briggs Initiative in California that would have banned gays from teaching in public schools.

In the summer of 2017, while living in Panama City, Florida, I drove through the darkness of night and across the backwoods of the Southeast to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church in Plains, Georgia, and I got to meet my idols, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter!

#3 MY DECADE LONG STRUGGLE WITH BULIMIA (1986-1995)

Over the years, I’ve written many times about eating disorders from Karen Carpenter’s anorexia nervosa to my own battle with bulimia.

Just know that eating disorders affect men and women, girls and boys, the young and the elderly!

I wrote, “In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat… I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.”

Another time I shared, “… I fight the food demon of overeating every day.  A few pounds to the average person is a huge burden, a catalyst for insecurity, and a path for destruction to a food addict.”

While I was a practicing bulimic for nine years from 1986-1995, I got my act together for more than two decades.

Beyond the scope of this blog, I’ve fallen off the wagon a few times and then I just get up and start over again!

Like other addictions, it’s a daily struggle and not something that’ll just go away.

Let the countdown roll on….

#20 “AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” (JOHN COUGAR MELLENCAMP) (1981)

#19 “DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” (DONNA SUMMER) (1979)

#18 “ON MY OWN” (PATTI LaBELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD) (1986)

“ON MY OWN” (REBA McENTIRE, MARTINA McBRIDE, TRISHA YEARWOOD, & LINDA DAVIS) (1995)

#17 “NO FRILLS LOVE” (JENNIFER HOLLIDAY) (1985)

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

#12 “TOP OF THE WORLD” (THE CARPENTERS) (1973)

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” (JERMAINE STEWART) (1986)

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE” (REBA McENTIRE) (1987)

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” (THE HUMAN LEAGUE) (1981)

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” (JEANNIE C. RILEY) (1968)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MARIAH CAREY) (1994 ORIGINAL)

“ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU” (MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE EDITION) (MARIAH CAREY) (2019)

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#2 MOVING TO CHICAGO (1994) & KICKING OFF MY TV CAREER (1996)

In November 1993, my grandmother Helen (the last of my living parents and grandparents) died.

I was still in my hometown helping to take care of her and since Tammy was young and had her own family, I had no reason to stay in Kentucky any longer.

I often wondered “Is There Life Out There?” (the title of a huge Reba McEntire song in 1992), and I struggled through the 1993 holidays and the early winter months of 1994.

In the spring of 1994, my friend Steve shared with me the PBS series, “Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the Cities” and Mary Ann Singleton (Laura Linney) became my inspiration to make a change in my life!

Over Memorial Day 1994, Steve, Dennis, and I went to Chicago to party for the weekend and we had a blast.

At Gentry’s on Rush, the owner started sending over free cocktails and the boys (and the music) were so hot!

It was there that I fell in love with “Dreams” by Gabrielle (back at #28) and Sarah Brightman’s “Once in a Lifetime” from the “Dive” album!

It was also that weekend that I decided I was moving to Chicago!

Six weeks later, over the Fourth of July weekend, I moved to the big city and it was the best decision I ever made!

It was an interesting two years — bartending in a country gay bar, meeting a psycho on my 30th birthday that ended up trying to kill me several times, and then meeting someone that would become my longest relationship (9 years).

It was also during my first residency in Chicago that my television news career took off in the spring of 1996. My first network-affiliated television weather job was in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, that summer. And, from there, jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, Illinois, Florida, and Minnesota followed!

#1 MY MOTHER’S DEATH (NOVEMBER 7, 1990)

My beautiful, wonderful mother, Dessie, died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

While I’ve lived more than half of my lifetime without her, I’m grateful for the 26 years we had together.

She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in two cities.

My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

One of the funniest stories I have of my mother happened in the spring of 1990. I took her to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee.  

She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her. I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was such a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne! 🙂

There have been so many times over the past 30 years that I’ve wanted to grab the phone to share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it!

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved. She wasn’t just my mother — she was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend!

When I think of all of the things I wrote about today and not having a chance to talk to her about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother is with me — in my heart and in my memories!

P.S. The #38 song at the bottom of the blog was played at my mother’s funeral!

To quote Casey again, back to the countdown because “we don’t stop until we get to the top!”

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

Casey, take us home, “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars!”

I appreciate you taking time to check out my fun little walk down memory lane.

Anthony

*Okay, since I ❤️❤️❤️ LISTS & COUNTDOWNS, I’m really sharing my 101 favorites!

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

#101 “SO MANY MEN, SO LITTLE TIME” (MIQUEL BROWN) (1983)

#100 “LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER” (THE CAPTAIN & TENNILLE) (1975)

#99 “DREAM WEAVER” (GARY WRIGHT) (1975)

#98 “KISS AN ANGEL GOOD MORNIN'” (CHARLEY PRIDE) (1971)

#97 “OBJECT OF MY DESIRE” (STARPOINT) (1985)

#96 “EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE” (THE POLICE) (1983)

#95 “ANOTHER SAD LOVE SONG” (TONI BRAXTON) (1993)

#94 “I’LL TUMBLE 4 YA” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#91 “HIGHER LOVE” (STEVE WINWOOD & CHAKA KHAN) (1986)

#90 “CAN’T FIGHT FATE” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#89 “SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#88 “EDGE OF SEVENTEEN” (STEVIE NICKS) (1982)

#87SAY YOU, SAY ME” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1985)

#86 “IT MATTERS TO ME” (FAITH HILL) (1995)

#85 “DO YOU REALLY WANT TO HURT ME?” (CULTURE CLUB) (1982)

#84 “I KNEW YOU WERE WAITING (FOR ME)” (ARETHA FRANKLIN & GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

#83 “JESSIE’S GIRL” (RICK SPRINGFIELD) (1981)

#82 “EXCEPT FOR MONDAY” (LORRIE MORGAN) (1991)

#81 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” (CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN) (1973)

#80 “I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (JOAN JETT & THE BLACKHEARTS) (1982)

“I LOVE ROCK & ROLL” (BRITNEY SPEARS) (2002)

#79 “HEAVEN’S JUST A SIN AWAY” (THE KENDALLS) (1977)

#78 “OPEN YOUR HEART” (MADONNA) (1986)

#77 “WITH EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1989)

#76 “TAKE ME AS I AM” (FAITH HILL) (1994)

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

#73 “I CAN DREAM ABOUT YOU” (DAN HARTMAN) (1984)

#72 “EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)” (ELTON JOHN) (1982)

#71 “ONLY IN MY MIND” (REBA McENTIRE) (1985)

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

#69 “WEST END GIRLS” (THE PET SHOP BOYS) (1984)

#68 “MAGIC” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

#67 “I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES” (ELTON JOHN) (1984)

#66 “I RAN (SO FAR AWAY) (A FLOCK OF SEAGULLS) (1982)

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

#64 “IS THERE SOMETHING I SHOULD KNOW?” (DURAN DURAN) (1983)

#63 “DREAMLOVER” (MARIAH CAREY) (1993)

#62 “THIS WOMAN AND THIS MAN” (CLAY WALKER) (1995)

#61 “COLD HEARTED” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

#59 “IT’S NOT RIGHT BUT IT’S OKAY” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1999)

#58 “YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF) (NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK) (1988)

#57 “FLASHDANCE (WHAT A FEELING)” (IRENE CARA) (1983)

#56 “FRIENDS & LOVERS” (GLORIA LORING & CARL ANDERSON) (1986)

#55 “SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT” (COREY HART) (1984)

#54 “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY” (JANET JACKSON) (1986)

#53 “LOOKING FOR A NEW LOVE” (JODY WATLEY) (1987)

#52 “DANCING ON THE CEILING” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1986)

#51 “LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE BOY” (DENIECE WILLIAMS) (1984)

#50 “IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1974)

#49 “MAKING LOVE OUT OF NOTHING AT ALL” (AIR SUPPLY) (1983)

#48 “(THEY LONG TO BE) CLOSE TO YOU” (THE CARPENTERS) (1970)

#47 “LET ME BE THERE” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1973)

#46 “HOW WILL I KNOW” (WHITNEY HOUSTON) (1985)

#45 “WHAT MADE YOU SAY THAT” (SHANIA TWAIN) (1993)

#44 “KARMA CHAMELEON” (CULTURE CLUB) (1983)

#43 “BLAME IT ON YOUR HEART” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1993)

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

#39 “FOREVER YOUR GIRL” (PAULA ABDUL) (1989)

#38 “WIND BENEATH MY WINGS” (BETTE MIDLER) (1989)

#37 “I’LL BE YOUR SHELTER” (TAYLOR DAYNE) (1990)

#36 “KIDS IN AMERICA” (KIM WILDE) (1981)

ABBA: The Iconic Band, The Dog, & The Six Degrees of Separation

ABBA — those four letters are iconic!

Yet, for me, they have an added, special meaning.

If you follow me on social media or if you’ve regularly read my blog over the years, “ABBA” instantly makes you think of my beautiful late golden retriever.

If you’re seeing this from anywhere else across the world, the four letters, “ABBA”, instantly identifies one of biggest and the best musical acts ever!

My love of Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Benny, and Bjorn inspired me to name my dog ABBA and it’s the inspiration for today’s blog — a love letter to the foursome and a big “Thank You For The Music” and for the memories!

As I get into the meat and potatoes of today’s blog, I’ll be sharing a few personal stories that connect me to ABBA — the super group and the dog!

This was my dinner in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017, which is where Bjorn was born and a city that played a big part in ABBA’s musical history. (Okay, that’s a slight deviation there, but I said this was going to be personal!) 🙂

ALMOST 50 YEARS ALREADY!

We’re not quite there yet, but it’s mind-boggling to think that we’re approaching the 50th anniversary of ABBA’s world domination!

They scored their first Swedish hit, “People Need Love”, in the summer of 1972 as “Björn & Benny, Agnetha & Anni-Frid”, then recorded “Ring Ring” for the 1973 Eurovision Song Contest.

But, it was winning Eurovision the next year, in 1974, with “Waterloo” that propelled ABBA to international fame!

I still listen to ABBA’s music regularly and it brings me just as much joy today as it has over my lifetime!

However, I was inspired to share my stories and my love of Agnetha, Bjorn, Benny, and Frida (Anni-Frid) after reading Carl Magnus Palm’s 2001 biography called, “Bright Lights, Dark Shadows: The Real Story of ABBA”, which sat on my bookshelf for almost two decades!

Crazy, right?

What a great read! Check it out!

Growing up in the southern United States (Kentucky) in the early-1970s, I was country when country wasn’t cool!

I was still infatuated with Tanya Tucker, while my teenage cousins (our summer baby sitters) were dancing around to the Carpenters, Olivia Newton-John, and ABBA. But, I was slowly coming around to pop music!

Somehow I acquired the 45 rpm single “SOS” and I was hooked on ABBA!

It was just two years earlier that I bought my first pop single, “Delta Dawn” by Helen Reddy, at the age of eight!

And, just as I was getting on the ABBA bandwagon as a fan, the international super group was coming undone and were calling it quits.

In the summer of 1980, they released the single, “The Winner Takes It All”.

It was the lead single from the upcoming November album, “Super Trouper”, with Agnetha singing lead.

While Bjorn says the song is about divorce and it’s fiction, he and Agnetha divorced early that year.

Yet, that wasn’t the end. The group would release what would become their last studio album, “The Visitors”, in November 1981.

The lead single in America was “When All Is Said And Done” with Frida singing lead.

Like “The history book on the shelf/Is always repeating itself”, Frida and Benny ended their relationship and divorced earlier in the year!

With both couples in ABBA divorced, new relationships pursued, and outside musical ventures already underway, there was no reason for the band to make new music together.

1990s ABBA-RENAISSANCE

While they hadn’t charted on the American singles charts since early 1983, the world would experience an ABBA-renaissance a decade later!

It started in the summer of 1992, when my favorite English pop group of the 1980s, Erasure, released “Abba-esque”.

That four-song EP featured remakes of the ABBA hits, “Lay All Your Love on Me”, “SOS”, “Take a Chance on Me”, and “Voulez-Vous”.

The duo scored an American Top 10 Dance Club Songs hit with “Take a Chance on Me”.

An ABBA revival was just getting underway and was ready to sweep the world!

After eight studio albums and countless compilation and greatest hits albums in the 1970s and 1980s, the real ABBA was ready to claim their rightful place again in music history.

“ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits”, featuring 19 of the group’s biggest hits, was released in September 1992.

It has gone on to sell more than 30 million copies worldwide making it the best-selling ABBA album ever!

In the spring of 1994, I was getting ready to make the biggest (and best) decision of my life.

I was moving from my small hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky (population around 10,000) to Chicago, the third largest city in the U.S. This move would lead to my career as a television meteorologist and it opened the world of international travel to me.

That spring, while packing to move, “ABBA Gold” was on repeat and the song I remember most vividly was “Knowing Me, Knowing You”.

THE BIG SCREEN LOVE AFFAIR WITH ABBA

After the international success of the Erasure album and “ABBA Gold”, the band’s profile would be raised even more in 1994 and 1995 with the release of two Australian dramedies — “The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” and “Muriel’s Wedding”.

In “Priscilla”, the movie centers around three drag queens on a cross country trip across the Australian Outback. One of the queens is obsessed with ABBA and two of them perform “Mamma Mia”.

In “Muriel’s Wedding”, socially awkward Muriel spends much of her time fantasizing about a glamorous wedding to get out of Porpoise Spit, Australia, by listening to ABBA (and 1970s music)!

Like in “Priscilla”, Muriel and her friend, Rhonda, perform an ABBA number. They choose “Waterloo”!

After seeing “Muriel’s Wedding” in 1995, I decided that my next dog would be named “ABBA”.

That became a reality in the summer of 2000, when I got my golden retriever. And, yes she was named ABBA!

October 2011

With their chart domination and stardom in the 1970s and with “ABBA Gold” and those two Australian movies in the 1990s, the world already had two chances to fall in love with iconic group.

However, the music of ABBA was getting ready to conquer another entertainment staple and a whole new audience!

ABBA 2.0 — “MAMMA MIA!”

The musical “MAMMA MIA!”, featuring a story line based around the music of ABBA, opened in London in April 1999. Almost a year later, it made its North American debut in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

My personal connection with the musical: Before it opened on Broadway in the fall of 2001, it played at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago that summer, where I first saw it.

Since we got to the venue early, we stopped in at Dunkin’ Donuts, right around the corner. And, you’ll never guess who was standing right in front of me?

It was Louise Pitre, who was playing Donna in Chicago and would originate the role on Broadway! I so wish I had said “hello”, but I let her be!

Pitre earned a Tony nomination in 2002 in the Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role category!

Worldwide, since 1999, based on limited available data, ‘MAMMA MIA!”, the musical, has grossed almost $2.1 billion (yes, that’s BILLIONS)!!!

BUT, WAIT!!!!

In the summer of 2008, the movie version of “Mamma Mia!” with Meryl Streep in the lead role became an international blockbuster bringing in $615.7 million at the box office.

It spawned a successful sequel in 2018, “Mamma Mia!: Here We Go Again” ($395 million).

There’s even talk of a third movie that may feature new ABBA music!

And, before I share my ten favorite ABBA songs, I have the ultimate connection to the group as if naming your dog after them, isn’t enough. 🙂

It’s like “life imitates art” or “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”!

In late 2016, being the planner that I am, a trip to Scandinavia was booked for August 2017 to see much of Norway, some of Sweden, and Copenhagen, Denmark (loved it)!

However, in early 2017, my ex and I decided to end our eight-year relationship, but the big down payment on the Scandinavian trip was already paid!

So, in true ABBA fashion — the band with their last two albums and us with our trip — we honored our commitment to travel together even as divorced or separated couples!

That was us in Gothenburg, Sweden.

We parted amicably with fond and beautiful memories of Norway, Sweden, and Denmark!

A LITTLE CHART HISTORY FIRST

Okay, let’s kick off the countdown with a little ABBA chart trivia.

Ironically, Australia was one of the ABBA’s biggest success stories, while the U.S. was one of their biggest disappointments! It’s no secret that the band didn’t enjoy touring and that’s vital to success in America!

On the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States, ABBA scored 14 Top 40 hits.

Of those, four reached the Top Ten (“Waterloo” #6, 1974; “Dancing Queen” #1, 1977; “Take a Chance on Me” #3, 1978; and “The Winner Takes It All” #8, 1980).

Shockingly, in the U.S., “Dancing Queen” was the band’s only #1 song on the Hot 100. Yet, when you add in sales and other variables, “Take a Chance on Me” was their biggest hit in America!

MY TEN FAVORITE ABBA SONGS

I narrowed this list down to 23 songs and it was so hard cutting it down to just my ten favorites!

“DANCING QUEEN”

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Original working title was “Boogaloo”!

“GIMME! GIMME! GIMME! (A MAN AFTER MIDNIGHT)”

INTERESTING TIDBIT: ABBA rarely allows artists to sample their music, but Madonna was permitted to use the instrumental introduction of this ABBA hit in her #1 2005 smash “Hung Up”!

“SUPER TROUPER”

“TAKE A CHANCE ON ME”

“WHEN ALL IS SAID AND DONE”

“FERNANDO”

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Originally recorded for a Frida solo album!

INTERESTING TIDBIT #2: Spent a record setting 14 weeks at #1 in Australia!

“KNOWING ME, KNOWING YOU”

“WATERLOO”

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Original working title was “Tango”!

FROM “MURIEL’S WEDDING”

“MAMMA MIA”

FROM “THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT”

“SOS”

INTERESTING TIDBIT: Considered as Agnetha’s first “heartbreak classic”!

INTERESTING TIDBIT #2: I still think Pierce Bronson should be sued for slaughtering (not slaying) the song in the “Mamma Mia!” movie! 😦 🙂

Now that you know my favorite ABBA songs and my history with the band, I have one more confession to make… as a teenager, I had the biggest crush on Benny!

Thank you for taking the time to ready my love letter to ABBA. What are you favorite ABBA songs or memories?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 20, 2020

After a few weeks of making time to share some of my “Random Friday Thoughts”, this will be the last one for some time.

I have another blog coming soon to announce my “next chapter”.

Shhhhh

CORONAVIRUS & LAS VEGAS

When we rang in 2020, my plans were to move to Las Vegas on June 1st.  I was giving up television weather to wait tables and pursue a “life”!

2020

After much thought and deliberation (with myself), I decided that the timing wasn’t right.   And, much to my chagrin, I also don’t think a move to Vegas in this lifetime is now in the cards! 😦

Now, with the widespread impact of Coronavirus just beginning to be felt nationwide (and across the world), I know I made the right decision!

The service industry in Vegas (and many other cities) is going to decimated by this and who knows how long it’ll take to recover once Coronavirus is under control!

DOG REVENGE

This cartoon is too funny not to share — K9 revenge!!!

Dogs

By the way, the World Health Organization says, as of now, dogs can get Coronavirus, but there’s no evidence they can spread it!!!

PARENTS, TRUE OR NOT???? 🙂

Parenting

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

Recently, I watched Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) again.  It’s still a great addition to the zombie genre.

I was excited to learn that Netflix acquired the rights to the sequel with a $90 million budget.

“Army of the Dead” will center around a heist on a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak!

Principle photography and filming is reportedly done, but a release day is not set.

Now I’m wondering if/how our real life Coronavirus outbreak will affect the release of a movie about a viral outbreak that causes the dead to become undead and walk the Earth!

If you haven’t seen Snyder’s movie, here’s the trailer.

By the way, I also watched George A. Romero’s 1968 “Night of the Living Dead” again recently and it was SO BAD!

LAST CORONAVIRUS THOUGHT

While I’m taking precautions to stay safe and healthy (and I hope you are, too), the fear of the unknown is overwhelming!

When I feature songs or music videos in my blog, you may just scroll right past them.

But, here are five that ALWAYS make me feel so happy and carefree. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with them, give them a listen!  It might help you to relax and forget about real life for a few minutes at a time! 🙂

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN  (#8, 1980)

“TARZAN BOY” — BALTIMORA (#13, 1985)

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q (#3, 1986)

“ONLY IN MY DREAMS” — DEBBIE GIBSON (#4, 1987)

“I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME) — WHITNEY HOUSTON (#1, 1987)

AVOCADOS

I love avocados anyway you serve them!

I especially love making guacamole and when I add them to shrimp for a ceviche, I’m in heaven.  (Yes, I made this!)

Shrimp C

In a perfect world, I’d love to be rich and live on land where I had avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Wishful thinking!

Avocado

I was going through an old “Eating Well” magazine (March 2019) and came across these interesting tidbits.  I thought I’d share them.

  • 90% of U.S. avocados are grown in California.  There are over 5 million avocado trees in the state and and one tree can produce up to 200 avocados in one year!
  • It takes 12 to 18 months to grow a California avocado and the heaviest avocado on record weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces!
  • Hass avocado trees bloom in the spring and a mature fruit can stay on the tree for up to a year!  They don’t ripen until they’re picked, but most are harvested from March through September.
  • Finally, the average American eats about 7.75 pounds of avocados a year.  In 1990, that number was only ONE POUND!

Happy Avocados

Way to go America!

“TRUE COMPASS”

I just read Edward Kennedy’s 2009 memoir that came out after he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008.

True Compass Ted Kennedy

Kennedy did a lot of great things in his almost 47 years as a U.S. Senator and I applaud him for that.

I enjoyed hearing his stories about his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy.

In the book, I felt he was upfront and honest about the tragic accident at Chappaquiddick that resulted in Mary Jo Kopechne’s death in the summer of 1969.

I admired his honesty about indulging too much in liquor, women, and food in his single years between marriages.

He also talked extensively about the fact that he made it a point never to address tabloid gossip, no matter how far-fetched.

Kennedy said once you do, you’ll spend more time trying to correct the misinformation.  If you start setting the record straight, then you’d look guilty in the future if you didn’t address a story, rumor, or gossip!

With that being said, I turned against Ted Kennedy in 1980 and I held a grudge against him for mounting his only presidential bid against my idol, sitting President Jimmy Carter.

CarterPres

It was bad enough that Iranian militants in Tehran were holding American hostages for over a year, but the economy was in the pits and we were dealing with an energy crisis.

Kennedy’s presidential run weakened Carter’s presidency even more since it forced the president to spend more time and effort to be the Democratic nominee for re-election.

It was time Carter could have used to fight Ronald Reagan and try to solve America’s problems and free the hostages.

Kennedy admits that he felt Carter held that against him from that point on and, personally, I don’t blame him!

“True Compass” was a fantastic read.  I’m glad I took time to learn more about the man.

Edward Kennedy died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, on August 25, 2009.

ONE MORE EDWARD KENNEDY NOTE

I’m currently reading “The Senator: My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy” by Richard E. Burke, who became Kennedy’s Chief of Staff in the late-1970s, at the ripe age of 25!

The Senator Burke

As a freshman in college in 1971, Burke started working as a volunteer in Kennedy’s mail room.

While Burke idolized Kennedy, “The Senator” is a much more scandalous book talking about Ted Kennedy’s very active sex life (extramarital affairs), orgies, and drug use (cocaine and poppers).

I’m only halfway through the book, but I can’t imagine Senator Kennedy being too thrilled when the book came out in 1992!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Future in Other People’s Words

You know I love writing and sharing my thoughts with you.   I’ve been doing with my blog for eight years now.

Today, I’m sharing some thoughts about my future — more specifically, the spring of 2020 — and I’m doing this in other people’s words!

I hope you find this deviation interesting and enlightening!

CHRIS McCANDLESS

In 1990, after graduating from Emory College with degrees in history and anthropology, 22-year-old Chris McCandless gave away his $24,000 in savings to a charitable organization that fought against global poverty.

He then hit the road to live a vagabond life.

In late April 1992, he was last seen alive on the Stampede Trail around the northern boundary of Denali National Park in Alaska.

Chris McCandless.jpeg

After spending months in the frontier, with little food and equipment and inexperienced with the layout of the area, McCandless headed back to civilization.  But, he was trapped by melting snow and flooding!

His journal entries indicated 113 days in the wilderness, but his last real thoughts were noted on day 107.

McCandless died in August 1992 at the age of 24.

While Chris met an untimely and sad ending, I’m inspired by his young thinking mind!

McCANDLESS:  “So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.”

McCandless goes on to say, “The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”

Jon Krakauer’s 1996 book, “Into the Wild” about McCandless’ life and death was made into a movie the next year starring Emile Hirsch.

“RHINESTONE COWBOY” (GLEN CAMPBELL)

In my career life, the cities have always chosen me:  Rhinelander (WI), Lubbock (TX), Youngstown (OH), Mansfield (OH), Salisbury (MD), Moline (IL), Rock Island (IL), Panama City (FL), and Duluth (MN).

The only times I’ve chosen the city to call home that wasn’t career-related, it was Chicago.  And, both times, it was the best decision I’ve ever made!

I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long/Singin’ the same old song

I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway

Where hustle the name of the name of the game

And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain

There’s been a load of compromising/On the road road to my horizon

But I’m gonna be where the lights are shining on me”

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

Belle: “There must be more than this provincial life.”

Belle

“XANADU”

“A million lights are dancing and there you are, a shooting star/
An everlasting world and you’re here with me, eternally/
Xanadu, Xanadu”

Xanadu

“Xanadu, your neon lights will shine/for you, Xanadu”

REBA McENTIRE IS TALKING TO ME!

No matter what’s going on in my life, good or bad, happy or sad, when Reba McEntire releases a new album there’s a song that I feel is just for me.

On her spring 2019 release, “Stronger Than The Truth”, there were two songs!

Reba Truth

Neither are happy, but one offers some hope.

“THE CLOWN”

My life in 2017 was played out tragically in song with “The Clown”.

“After a couple of bottle of red wine, the truth finally came out/
The words ‘I don’t love you anymore’ spilled from his mouth”

But, in the restaurant, the piano kept playing, cell phones kept ringin’, glasses were clinkin’, and everyone was laughin’, dancin’, and singin’

“So I painted a smile on my face to cover the frown/
In that room full of jokers and jesters, I was the clown”

“THE BAR’S GETTING LOWER”

If you don’t have Reba’s “Stronger Than The Truth” album, it’s fantastic.

“The Bar’s Getting Lower” is the song that really sings to me.  It punches you in the gut, but it also offers hope!

Reba sings of a woman whose mother told her to hold out for a good man, which, many years ago, sounded like a good plan.  However, as we know, life doesn’t always go as planned!

“She was hoping for pink champagne/
But she’ll settle for well whiskey

She saw herself in a long white gown/
Not downtown gettin’ tipsy

And that one-night stand walking through the door/
Ain’t the marrying kind, yeah that’s for sure

But she’s gettin’ older/And the bar’s gettin’ lower”

So, does she go home with the one night stand or not?

“She could thank him for the drink and walk away/
Live to love another day

But she’s gettin’ older
And the night’s gettin’ colder
And the bar’s gettin’ lower”

Take a listen to the song here if you haven’t heard it.

And, I’ll end this look at my future in the words of others on a very happy and sexy note with Kylie Minogue.

In 2018, she turned 50 years old.  And, after beating cancer in 2005, she’s still as popular and busy as ever.

“Golden” was the title of her 2018 album and subsequent tour.

Kylie Golden Tour

The lyrics of the title track are so inspiring!!!

Tomorrow has all the answers/ Today says we’ve just begun”

“We’re not young, and we’re not old/
We’re the stories not yet told/
Won’t be bought and can’t be sold/
We are golden”

“Don’t you feel the sun on your face?/
Hopeful hearts of the human race/
Wrapped in the arms of love”

We’re golden/Burn like the stars
Stay golden/Straight from the heart
We’re the voice that’ll never give in/
Getting knocked down, back up again
We’re golden, golden
That’s who we are”

Here’s the very stunning Kylie Minogue with an array of beautiful men helping her out, including Jake Leigh and Anders Deeno Nielsen.

In my future, when the rain comes falling down, may it rain glitter!

Kylie

And, here’s a bonus just because it’s so damn hot and summer is coming!

Maybe I should re-consider Las Vegas? 🙂

Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — September 27, 2019

It’s been over a month since I shared some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so I thought it was about time to share a few more!

I appreciate you checking them out!

WILL NOT TALK POLITICS THIS WEEK, BUT…

peach 1

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PRESIDENT CARTER

In just a few days, my idol, President Jimmy Carter celebrates his 95th birthday (October 1).

As you know, he’s the oldest living president in history and what’s amazing is that he and Rosalynn, his wonderful wife, are still very active building houses for Habitat for Humanity.

Recently, people were asked to send President Carter birthday messages and here’s the one that I sent him!

Happy 95 President Carter Final

HAPPY BIRTHDAY OLIVIA!

Before today’s entry, I only posted one new blog in September — a tribute and “thank you” letter to Olivia Newton-John, who turned 71 yesterday!

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling

In that tribute, I talked about her courageous fight with Stage IV cancer, shared some stories on how her music has touched my life and I counted down my 13 favorite ONJ songs, with three bonus songs.

Many people checked it out.  If you didn’t, click here and it’ll open in a new window, so you don’t lose your place in today’s blog!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2019/09/13/thank-you-for-the-beautiful-music-and-a-lifetime-of-wonderful-memories/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

Christmas is now less than three months away and I’d be remiss if I didn’t have a random thought or two about my favorite time of the year.

I love Christmas movies, but I can’t recall ever going to the theaters to see one.  That’ll change this year.

“Last Christmas” stars Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Henry Golding (“Crazy Rich Asians”), and Emma Thompson (“Love Actually”), who is also a co-writer.

Michelle Yeoh (“Crazy Rich Asians”) and Patti LuPone (“Pose”) also co-star!

It takes its name from George Michael and Wham’s 1984 holiday classic.

Thompson was in touch with Michael before his death, ironically on Christmas Day 2016, about using several of his songs in the movie!

The romantic comedy is directed by Paul Feig (“Bridesmaids”).

“Last Christmas” opens November 8, 2019, and my dear friend, Katie, and I are already planning on seeing it after work on November 12th! 🙂

“MARIAH CHRISTMAS” COMES EARLY THIS YEAR

While I bought Mariah Carey’s holiday classic, “Merry Christmas”, in 1994, and have been gleefully enjoying it every year since then, I just ordered the 25th “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” that arrives November 1, 2019!

MC Deluxe

In addition to the ten songs on the original, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will be added to disc one.

And, check out all of the amazing goodies on the second new CD!

Track List CD2.JPG

While I ordered mine from Amazon, if you order from Mariah’s website for $13.98 (plus about $10 for shipping), you’ll get “as a special bonus for fans, this special edition package includes rare photos, a personal note from Mariah, and some Mariah-themed Christmas decorations!”

https://mariahcareyshop.com/products/merry-christmas-25th-anniversary-2cd

NEW COFFEE MATE CREAMER

I already have my Pumpkin Spice coffee creamer in the refrigerator.  And, while I absolutely love Peppermint Mocha and Egg Nog, it now has some competition this holiday season!

Just announced: Red Velvet!

Red Velvet.gif

“RAIN”

This is my new favorite song!

Take a listen because it probably won’t make Top 40 radio!

In “another place and time” (If I was much younger and in Ben Platt’s orbit), we could so be together! 🙂

He’s so dreamy and talented and this song is incredible and the video is so sensual!

My plans this weekend include binge watching “The Politician” with Platt, of course, on Netflix.

It co-star the incredible Jessica Lange and her line in the restaurant in this trailer is so hilarious that it almost makes me pee my pants every time I watch it!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

This 2007 novel by Andre Aciman came to big screen in late 2017 with Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet in the lead roles.

It ended up being my favorite movie of 2018.

call me

Aciman is finally releasing the sequel, “Find Me” next month (October 29, 2019).

Since I don’t think Hammer and Chalamet will ever get together for a movie sequel, I hope to read it as soon as it hits the library.

“CRAZY RICH ASIANS”

The movie was my 5th favorite of 2018 and I recently read Kevin Kwan’s novel that it’s based on.

CRA Kwan

If you loved the movie, read the book!  It fills in so much about just how crazy and rich the Asians are that have passed through Kwan’s life for him to write these “fictional” stories!

There are two more books in the series, “China Rich Girlfriend” and “Rich People Problems”, but I don’t want to read them yet.  Why?

Because, in 2020, they’re shooting two movies back-to-back based on the books to cut down on how long it takes for them to hit movie theaters!

“MA”

This psychological thriller starring Oscar winner Octavia Spencer was much better than I expected!  But, then again, just having Spencer in the movie adds credibility.

Plus, it was directed and co-produced by Tate Taylor, who also directed 2011’s “The Help” (co-starring Spencer) and “The Girl on the Train” (which co-starred Luke Evans).

Speaking of Evans, he’s so freaking hot in his few scenes in this movie, including the “full monty” one!   Evans is best known as Gaston in the live-action Disney hit “Beauty and the Beast”.

The two young leads in the movie, Diana Silvers and Corey Fogelmanis, are very convincing as young lovers, who are terrorized when “Ma” becomes unhinged!

By the way, Fogelmanis is adorable (he just turned 20) — just like his on-screen dad, played by Evans!

GRADE: B

“THE PURGE” SEASON 2

I loved the first three movies in “The Purge” franchise, but I hated 2018’s fourth installment.  I gave it a “D” grade.

Last year, I watched the 10-episode USA Network television version with the same premise as the movies.

Purge TV

The second season with a new cast premieres on USA on October 15, 2019.  I’ll be back for season two, but I’m definitely going to miss Gabriel Chavarria this season.

Gabriel Chavarria

SPOOKY STAMPS

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky stamps this fall, the postal service is putting these out October 11, 2019!

It would definitely surprise people if I used them on my Christmas cards this year! 🙂

Spooky Stamps.jpg

HAPPY AUTUMN

Thank you for checking out my thoughts!  Have a great weekend  — the first weekend of autumn 2019!

Fall

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Thank You For The Beautiful Music and a Lifetime of Wonderful Memories!

Life is a funny thing.

Most of us try to do what’s right.  We strive to treat those we love and care for with affection.  But, with real life constantly getting in the way, do we really stop long enough to tell them how much we care for them and appreciate them?

That’s my purpose today.

When I’m done, I’ll call my sister and tell her I love her.  But, this is about Olivia Newton-John.  I want her to know how much she has touched my life!

Olivia 1

As you likely know, especially since I regularly write about her, Olivia is battling cancer again.

She was first diagnosed back in 1992 and beat it.  It returned in 2013, then again in May 2017 and just last month, I learned that she now has Stage IV cancer.

One thing I know from being a fan is that Olivia is a fighter and I know she’ll continue living life to its fullest.  That’s more than some, including myself, are doing even without cancer!

Olivia Don't Stop Believin

I just finished reading Olivia’s autobiography, “Don’t Stop Believin'”, and it was beautiful!

I enjoyed hearing about her childhood, her singing and acting career, and her dear friendships with two ladies I truly admire and love, Karen Carpenter and Helen Reddy.

Olivia Karen

helen olivia.JPG

It was Helen Reddy and her ex-husband that were instrumental in Olivia taking on the iconic role of Sandy in “Grease”!

I’ve been a huge Olivia fan since I heard her first Top Ten hit, “Let Me Be There”, in 1973, as an 9-year-old listening to country music on WNGO-AM 1320, back in Mayfield, Kentucky.

Olivia Newton-John - Let Me Be There

All these years later, I have a confession to make.  As an little kid, I thought the beautiful voice belonged to Olivia Newton and the booming, manly back-up singer was named John! 🙂

From her first hit, “If Not For You”, in 1971, to her last Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 smash, “Soul Kiss” (#20, 1985), the English-born, Australian-raised singer charted with 27 Top 40 hits. Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten!

Olivia had five of those Top Ten hits reach #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart!

Olivia 2

In early 2014, Olivia announced “Summer Nights”, a 45-show residency at the Donny and Marie Showroom at the Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the Strip between April and August.

I saw her amazing show on May 30th of that year.

Olivia

Since it’s my favorite number, I’m counting down my thirteen favorite Olivia Netwon-John songs that charted in America!  It was so hard narrowing down the list! 

(Chart positions are from the Billboard Hot 100 unless otherwise noted and the year listed is when the song peaked.)

Along the way, I’ll add three bonus songs and share some personal stories about a few of the hits!

Again, Olivia, thank you for the music!

13

“TWIST OF FATE” (#5, 1984)

12

“MAKE A MOVE ON ME” (#5, 1982)

#11 Movie

“I HONESTLY LOVE YOU” (2 WEEKS AT #1, 1974)

#10 MOVIE

“YOU HAVE TO BELIEVE” (with Chloe Lattanzi & Dave Aude)

(#1 Billboard Dance Club Songs, 2015)

In this re-imagining of Olivia’s #1 hit “Magic”, which you’ll see later in my countdown, DJ extraordinaire Dave Aude takes Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi to the top of the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart!

The fun video features an incredible looking Olivia and a graveyard of Las Vegas signage of the city’s casino history, show girls, Chippendales, and Britney, Tina Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler.  Oh wait, those are illusionists! 🙂

“You Have To Believe” was my #16 song of 2015!

Bonus

Being a gay teenager in small town Kentucky in the early-1980s without knowing anyone else like myself was very isolating.

Back then, you didn’t think about falling in love since you didn’t hear about those things, but the release of “Physical” and its homoerotic video was definitely eye-opening and it gave this kid hope!

“PHYSICAL” (10 WEEKS AT #1, 1981-1982)

9 CD

“A LITTLE MORE LOVE” (#3, 1979)

#8 MOVIE

“HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN MELLOW” (1 WEEK AT #1, 1975)

In 1978, Olivia had the starring role as Sandy in “Grease”, a movie that racked up $396 million at the box office.

When I saw the movie, I was a shy, introverted 13-year-old boy still listening to country music.  Occasionally, I’d sneak a listen to ABBA, the Bay City Rollers, and the Bee Gees!

I connected with the innocent Sandy and was petrified when she came out dressed to the nines in leather and holding a cigarette!

I’m no longer naive! 😉

olivia-newton-john-grease-sandy

That was a turning point for me.  Somewhere after “Grease”, I started listening to more pop or Top 40 music and I came across an 8-track recording of Olivia’s sultry album “Totally Hot”.

Totally Hot

It was one of three 8-tracks that I owned.  The other two were “Helen Reddy’s Greatest Hits” and “Glass Houses” by Billy Joel.

#7 CD

“DEEPER THAN THE NIGHT” (#11, 1979)

#6 CD

“MAGIC” (4 WEEKS AT #1, 1980)

#5 MOVIE

“IF YOU LOVE ME (LET ME KNOW)” (#5, 1974)

Bonus

“I NEED LOVE” (1992)

In the summer of 1992, Olivia was ready for another comeback with the release of her third greatest hits album, “Back to Basics:  The Essential Collection 1971-1992”.  It included four new songs.

A world tour was also planned, but it was scrapped when Olivia was diagnosed with breast cancer.

The first single from the collection, “I Need Love” really touched me more than a quarter-century ago.  It’s even more powerful for me now as I approach the age of 55 and still single a couple of years after my divorce.

The song talks about wanting more than just a one-night stand or cheap sex.  These lyrics sum up exactly how I felt then in my 20s and how I feel now in my 50s!

“Another place, another time/I would take my chances/Oh I know I could take you home tonight/But I don’t want to wake up with you wishing I was alone”

“I’m not lookin’ for a Band-Aid on loneliness/I’m not lookin’ for a temporary get me through the night/I’m holding out for something more than physical/I need love to make the sex right”

Give the song a listen because unless you’re a die-hard Olivia fan, I know you probably never heard it on the radio!

4

“PLEASE MR. PLEASE” (#3, 1975)

green 3

“SUDDENLY” (with Cliff Richard) (#20, 1981)

#2 MOVIE

“LET ME BE THERE” (#6, 1974)

#1

We’re now up to my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!

I’ve watched the movie “Xanadu” several times and I can’t hear this song without smiling and feeling good.

The soundtrack was more popular than the movie and the title song reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

Back in 2014, when I turned 50, I compiled the soundtrack of my life — my all-time favorites songs — and “Xanadu” came in at #4!

Olivia, as your birthday nears, I wish you a “Happy Birthday”!

olivia-newton-john john-easterling.png

Stay strong and keep fighting!

Bonus

“YOUR GOOD GIRL’S GONNA GO BAD” (FROM “SORDID LIVES”)

Years after mainstream fame was behind her and Olivia was living life to the fullest, her friend Del Shores gave her an incredible role.

In 2000, when he made a movie of his play, “Sordid Lives”, he cast Olivia as Bitsy Mae Harling, a lesbian bar singer with a “reputation”!

She reprised the role in the 2008 Logo miniseries.

sl onj.JPG

If you’ve never seen this Texas “black comedy about white trash”, you have to find it and spend two hours laughing!

Here’s Olivia singing the theme song (contains adult language) and her and the cast in the end credits performing Tammy Wynette’s “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 16, 2019

I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts over the past few weeks.  This is it for a while again.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts diplomatically if we disagree.

Have a great weekend!

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN LATEST

I’ll start off with some sad news, but I know she’s a fighter!

Pop music icon Olivia Newton-John tells “60 Minutes Australia” she’s not giving up the fight as she battles stage four cancer.

Olivia was first diagnosed with cancer back in 1992.

She overcame the disease, but it returned in 2013.  Olivia won that battle, too, and it was never made public.

However, the cancer returned in May 2017 and metastasized into her lower back.

This month, we learned that the cancer has advanced to Stage IV, which means it has spread to other organs and the mortality rate is higher.

If you click on this, you can hear just how courageous she is!

I’ve loved Olivia since the early-1970s as a little kid when she dominated country radio before crossing over to pop music.

I was so lucky to catch her during her “Summer Nights” residency at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas in 2014.

Olivia 2014

Olivia, you beautiful woman, stay strong and keep fighting!

Here’s Olivia and her daughter Chloe Lattanzi on their #1 Billboard Dance Club Songs hit, “You Have To Believe”, from 2015, with Dave Aude!

MY TWO CONNECTIONS TO PRINCESS DIANA

We’re coming up on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales.

Lady Diana

Of course, I remember the fairy tale wedding back in 1981 and the tragic news of her death in Paris, France, in 1997.

I was working at the CBS affiliate in Lubbock, Texas, as the weekend news anchor.  We led our 10 p.m Saturday newscast with the news of the car crash.  At that point, she was still alive or it hadn’t cross the wires that she had died.

However, just minutes after we said goodnight, the Associated Press reported that the Princess was dead!  We waited for CBS to break into programming.  They didn’t!

Finally, my co-anchor, Ny Lynn Nichols, and I went back on the air with the sad news.  We reported all that we knew at the time, which wasn’t much.  We re-ran the story from the newscast about the crash and gave updates for a few minutes as information came into our newsroom.

That was my first connection to Princess Diana.  So, if anyone was watching CBS in Lubbock, Texas, after the 10 p.m. newscast on Saturday, August 30, 1997, they saw Ny Lynn and I relaying the tragic news.

SARAH, THE DUCHESS OF YORK

My second connection to Princess Diana came many years later.

sarah ferguson.jpg

In March 2010, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York (and Princess Diana’s former sister-in-law), came to the Quad Cities for a benefit for Gilda’s Club, a community organization for people fighting cancer.

The Duchess spoke to a crowd of more than 600 at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

They had a drawing to win an autographed copy of her book, “Little Red to the Rescue”, and I won.

Sarah Duchess of York

Needless to say, it was so pretty cool to get not only an autographed book from the Duchess, but also a package addressed from Windsor Castle!

“A ROYAL DUTY”

As the anniversary of Princess Diana’s death approached, I decided to read the two books on my bookshelf about her life (and death).

The first was “A Royal Duty” by Paul Burrell.

Paul Burrell Diana.JPG

This 2003 best seller chronicles Burrell’s life of working his way up through the ranks in British Royal Household to become Queen Elizabeth II’s footman.

Burrell then worked for Charles and Diana, the Prince and Princess of Wales, before working for Diana exclusively after the Royal separation and divorce up until her untimely death.

While I believe Burrell’s stories about his commitment to Princess Diana, I do think he was overly dramatic at times!

GRADE:  B 

“THE DIANA CHRONICLES”

Tina Brown, who worked for Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, released “The Diana Chronicles” in the summer of 2007, a few months shy of the 10th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death.

Diana Tina Brown.JPG

While I believe Burrell’s stories in his book, I think that he hid away the naughty and nasty side of Princess Diana.  We all have one!

Brown’s book is very comprehensive and easy to read.  It’s much more journalistic, thorough and fair (i.e. honest).  However, she could be catty!  Meow!

Although the front and back cover featured the same collage of photos of Princess Diana’s life, I really wish the book featured photos inside!

One thing that Brown talked about that intrigued me was Diana and Charles’s divorce settlement: a lump sum of £17 million (roughly $20.5 million) and £400,000 annually for Diana’s office (nearly one-half million dollars).

Also, Diana would lose the HRH (Her Royal Highness) title, but retain the Diana, Princess of Wales title.

GRADE:  A

“THE CROWN” SEASON 3

If you follow the Royal Family and checked out the first two seasons of “The Crown” on Netflix with the amazing Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth II, the next season is getting closer.

Season 3 with Oscar winner Olivia Colman as a more mature Queen Elizabeth II premieres on November 17, 2019!

“IS IT JUST ME?”

As I mentioned back in February, I’m going through my movie collection and I’m watching older ones to either get rid of or save.

So far, I’ve only kept two:  the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”) and the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”.

Now, a third one is saved — the 2010 romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?” with the sexy Nicholas Downs (Blaine) and David Loren (Xander).

Blaine is looking for a nice guy, but doesn’t think that they exist until he meets Xander online.

After chatting, they talk for hours on the phone.

The problem is that Blaine realizes his roommate, Cameron, an actor and go-go dancer, was logged into his computer and it was his profile they were chatting under.

So, while Xander is talking to Blaine, he thinks Blaine looks like Cameron!

This scene between Blaine and his friend Michelle is one that made me laugh (and I watched it over and over!) The other is the last scene in the movie trailer below. 🙂

Michelle Blaine Sarcasm.JPG

GRADE:  B

LET’S GO TO VEGAS

I’m finally heading back to Vegas this weekend.  I’m taking my sister and her boyfriend since they’ve never been.

As you may know, Vegas experienced a grasshopper invasion earlier this summer.

Grasshopper Las Vegas.JPG

There were so many grasshoppers in the air that it was detected on Doppler radar!

Vegas Radar Grasshopper.jpg

This was the most creative response to the creepy infestation! 😉

Grasshopper

It’d be pretty neat to experience them if they’re still around when we get there! 🙂

VEGAS, IT’S BEEN SO LONG

Since 2012, I’ve tried to get to Vegas every year, but I failed last year since I was moving to Duluth, Minnesota.

However, I had a great time there on my last visit in December 2017 when I saw Mariah Carey’s magical “All I Want For Christmas” show…

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

met Lionel Richie…

Capture2

and saw one of my childhood favorites, Tanya Tucker!

Tanya

“NEW” WHITNEY HOUSTON ON THE RADIO

It’s been more than seven-and-a-half years since Whitney Houston was found dead in a Beverly Hills, California hotel.

whitney-houston

Now, Whitney and Norwegian record producer Kygo are poised to have a big hit at Top 40 radio with a rework of Steve Winwood and Chaka Khan’s 1986 #1 hit, “Higher Love”, one of my all-time favorites.

Whitney originally recorded the song for the Japanese version of her third album, 1990’s “I’m Your Baby Tonight”.

The new version is incredible!

“Higher Love” is already at #3 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart and at #43 on the Mediabase Top 40 radio airplay chart!

Whitney’s last Top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 was in the fall of 2001, right after the 9/11 attacks when “The Star Spangled Banner”, her 1991 recording, was re-released.  This time around, it reached #6.

Before that, her last original song to hit the Top 40 was in 2000 when “I Learned from the Best”, the fifth and final release from the “My Love is Your Love” album, hit #27.

Kygo’s 2016 album, “Cloud Nine”, is fantastic.  Check it out!

“THE LOUDEST VOICE”

This Showtime series about the rise and fall of Roger Ailes, who sadly brought Fox News and Donald Trump into our lives, was great.

Okay, the acting was great.  Watching Ailes’ creepiness of preying on women and forcing sex on them was disgusting.

In the series, Ailes blamed the left for all of America’s problems and gloated, “I’ve given the Silent Majority a voice” and that “we worship a Christian God”.

Yes, womanizer and rapist, worship that Christian God!

But, I have to hand it to Ailes for seeing a wide opening in television “news” that wasn’t catering to Republicans and the “religious right” and seizing the opportunity.

Give Russell Crowe his 2020 Emmy now and Roger Ailes, may you rot in hell!

GRADE:  B+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 11, 2019

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

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

Have a great weekend!

MY BLOG JUST TURNED 7

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

That bright idea led me to starting this blog!

belle 7

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

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

Kylie

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

 

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

 

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

HeatherMooney

THEY SAID WHAT (on Twitter)?

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

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

And, one more…

not an immigrant

WINTER FUNNY

Snowman Life in Prison

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Wine Cupcakes

WISH I WAS IN VEGAS NOW!

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

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

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

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

“BIRD BOX”

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

Sandra Bullock is fantastic as usual.

Trevante Rhodes

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“ROMA”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

“PEPPERMINT”

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  B+

“GAME NIGHT”

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

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

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

GRADE:  B-

“LIZZIE”

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

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

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

GRADE:  B

“BLACK CHRISTMAS” (1974)

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

It stars the late Margot Kidder.

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

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

GRADE:  C+

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony