Posts Tagged ‘Paul McCartney’

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

rihanna-perfume

By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Brett Eldredge Puts a “Glow” in Christmas

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

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

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

glow

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

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

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

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

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

be

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GRADE:  A

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 31, 2014

Another weekend is here.  Do you have big plans?  I’m emceeing a fashion show tonight and tomorrow is my company’s Christmas party.  ‘Tis the season.

As always, on Friday, I share some of my random thoughts and I welcome your feedback.

SNOW AND MORE SNOW

This January, the Quad Cities is already the record book as one of the ten snowiest Januarys on record at #7.  So far, 17.7″ of snow has accumulated this month and more could be added before midnight.  However, the heavier snow will come late Friday night and Saturday.

A “Winter Weather Advisory” and a “Winter Storm Warning” covers the area and goes into effect Friday evening into Saturday evening.

Warnings Advisories

(Editor’s note:  Only the “Advisories” map was updated.  The snow projections are still looking good.)

Here is how much snow I’m forecasting today, tonight, and Saturday.

Snow Today & Tomorrow

KEEP UP ON THE LATEST FORECAST BECAUSE THIS COULD CHANGE!

The bottom line is that I don’t mind the snow.  I just wish we could keep the bitter cold away!

GRAMMY LOVE & HATE

This is not about Taylor Swift going home empty-handed after she thought she won “Album of the Year”.

Taylor Didn't Win

At the 56th annual Grammy Awards last Sunday night, the big winners were the French electronic duo Daft Punk taking home five trophies and Paul McCartney and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis each winning four awards.

Grammy’s Best New Artist, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis performed their same-sex marriage anthem “Same Love” with Mary Lambert and Madonna.   Toward the end of the song, rapper and talk show host, Queen Latifah married 33 straight and gay couples.  Latifah was sworn in as a commissioner by the state of California to perform the ceremony and her powers ended that night at midnight.

Macklemore, Mary Lambert, Madonna, Ryan Lewis, Queen Latifah

It was a happy time for those on stage and for many celebrities.

Happy about Same Love

Meanwhile, others were not happy and definitely didn’t share any love on Twitter.

Anti Same Love 1 Anti Same Love 2

What do you think?

GRIMM NEEDS TO RESIGN!

New York Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, who’s been under a two-year investigation about his 2010 campaign fundraising, needs to resign after threatening  a reporter Tuesday night.

Grimm

After the interview that Grimm walked away on, Capitol Hill reporter Michael Scotto closed by saying, “Congressman Michael Grimm does not want to talk about some of the allegations concerning his campaign finances … but as you saw he refused to talk about that”.  At that point, Grimm comes back and allegedly tells the reporter, “Let me be clear to you, you ever do that to me again I’ll throw you off this f—–g balcony.”

Grimm issued this statement after the altercation, “I doubt that I am the first member of Congress to tell off a reporter, and I am sure I won’t be the last.”

I’m sorry Congressman Grimm, but telling a reporter off and threatening to break him in half and throwing him off a balcony is not just telling someone off!

As a reporter that was thrown against a car in Lubbock, Texas, by someone who didn’t want a story done about them, I find your comments belligerent and unprofessional.  Go away!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Spring Already

Snowman HostageHuman Interaction

SOCHI IS A HARD SALE

One week from today, the 2014 Winter Olympics kick off in Sochi, Russia.

Whether it’s the economy, the terrorist threats, or the fact that the games are being held in Russia, which has displayed so much encompassing love to all people in the past year (sarcasm), tickets are not selling like in past games.

SOC_Olympic logoRGB

Around the middle of January, Sochi organizers say that 70% of tickets have been sold for the games.  These tickets went on sale in February 2013 and ranged in price from 500 rubles ($15) to 40,000 rubles ($1,200).

Four years ago, 97% of the 1.54 million tickets available for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada were sold.  And, 97% of the 8.5 million tickets for the 2012 Summer Games in London were snatched up.

SOCHI HAS NONE OF THEM!

Anatoly Pakhomov, the mayor of Sochi, Russia, is certain that his city has no gay people!  He told the BBC, “We do not have them in our city.”

Anatoly Pakhomov

When the journalist told him that he was in the city’s gay bar the night before, the mayor added, “I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them.”

So, if you’re keeping count, there are no gays in Sochi or Iran!

AND, RUSSIA IS CONCERNED WITH GAYS?

In the February/March 2014 issue of “The Advocate”, it’s reported that the HIV infection rate in Russia is twice as high as the United States.  In the numbers that were released last month, 58% of cases result from intravenous drug use, 40% from heterosexual sex, and 2% from “other”, which includes gay sex.

HIV AIDS

Russia should not be focused on gay people as the root of all evil.  If the HIV/AIDS rates were not bad enough, the country has the world’s highest abortion rate.  One reason, the magazine reports, is there is such a stigma when it comes to buying condoms that abortion is most prevalent form of contraception.  Insane!

I really do feel for the people of Russia, even though as I blogged last fall, a Pew Research Center survey shows that 74% of Russians think that gay people should not be accepted by society!

Anti-Gay Russia

ON A LIGHTER NOTE…

“I’ve got chills and they’re multiplying” and it has nothing to do with a young John Travolta or Olivia Newton-John.

If you love “Grease”, check out these Swedish Marines in Afghanistan and their rendition of “Greased Lightning.”

UNDERSTANDING SHAKESPEARE

Does William Shakespeare’s style of writing confuse you when you read it?

If you’re never read Shakespeare or it’s been a long time, have no fear.  I have a short “Hamlet” monologue by Tom Sandoval from the Bravo show, “Vanderpump Rules” for you to enjoy.

Don’t worry because there won’t be a quiz afterwards.  You’ll likely be distracted and not comprehend a thing!

“BLUE JASMINE”

The latest Woody Allen movie, “Blue Jasmine” is up for two Oscar acting awards:  Cate Blanchett for Best Actress and Sally Hawkins for Best Supporting Actress.

blue_jasmine

Blanchett is Jasmine, a New York City socialite who loses everything because of her husband’s shady business dealing.  Broke, she heads to San Fransisco to live with her sister, Ginger, and her two children in a poorer part of town in a small, confining apartment.

This is Blanchett’s sixth Oscar nomination.  She won for Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for “The Aviator”.  In “Blue Jasmine”, she’s incredible as the pill-popping and boozing woman who has to start over and even learn how to hold down a job.

It’s heartbreaking when you learn that pills, alcohol, and having no money may not be the worst of Jasmine’s problems.

It’s going to be a close Oscar race between Blanchett and Meryl Streep in “August: Osage County”.

GRADE:  B+

PICK HIT

International superstar and one of my favorite entertainers, Kylie Minogue is back with a new song, “Into The Blue”, the first single from her latest album, “Kiss Me Once” that comes out March 18, 2014.

Kiss Me Once

Kylie has sold about 70 million records worldwide.  In the U.S., she’s had 5 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with two reaching the Top Ten.  However, in the U.K, Kylie has scored 49 Top 40 hits with 35 of them reaching the Top Ten, and 8 topped the charts!

I really hope that she tours in 2014 and that I get to see her!

“MORE TALES OF THE CITY”

I’m on a roll with my reading.  It really helps that I’ve been spending a lot of time on the treadmill.  Since January 2nd, I’ve lost 6.6 pounds.  I’ve hit brick wall now and the weight loss from here on out is going to more difficult and slower.

I just finished my fourth book this year, which matches what I read in all of last year!

More Tales of The City

“More Tales of the City” is the 1980 follow-up to Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City”.  “More Tales” is the second in the nine-book series.  I reviewed the first book last week and talked about it and the PBS television miniseries based on it that debuted in the U.S. twenty years ago this month.

In this book, we still follow all of the comings and goings of Anna Madrigal and her “children” at 28 Barbary Lane on Russian Hill in San Francisco.  It’s still the 1970s.

Mary Ann and Michael go on a cruise and both meet the men of their dreams, but Mary Ann’s is a man of mystery.  He just can’t remember it.  Mona escapes to a Nevada brothel (even though the book uses the w-house word) and learns a big secret.  Also, a major character dies, one has a health issue, and another is almost attacked!

After reading the first book, I started watching the first miniseries again.  Now that I’m two books in, I’ll continue on to the second installment miniseries that aired on Showtime in 1998.  Here’s that trailer and it does contain adult language and images.  (The first miniseries’ trailer is in last week’s random blog.)

Now, it’s on to book three in the series.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Missouri-born country singer Sara Evans will release her seventh studio album, “Slow Me Down” in March.  The title track is her new single and it became her 19th Top 40 hit on the Billboard Country chart.

Sara Evans

Her first four singles generated buzz for Sara, but they failed to reach the Top 40.  The second single from her second album was the one to do it.  “No Place That Far” not only became her first Top 40 hit, it was also her first #1 song in 1999.

Of her 19 Top 40 country hits, nine have hit the Top Ten, and five, including, “No Place That Far” have topped the chart:  “Born To Fly” (2001), “Suds In The Bucket” (2004), “A Real Fine Place To Start” (2005), and “A Little Bit Stronger” (2011).

I saw Sara in concert in August 2001 in Buffalo, New York, as part of Reba McEntire’s “Girls Night Out” tour that also featured Martina McBride, Jamie O’Neal, and Carolyn Dawn Johnson.

THAT’S IT FOR NOW

Be safe out there and enjoy your weekend.  I know some of you read my random thoughts each Friday and some may have seen them for the first time today because of the snow forecast included in today’s blog.  I appreciate it.  Feel free to check back and see what I have to say.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 10

The weekend is almost here and on any given Friday, I’d be excited to have the next two days off .  However, I’ll be working Saturday night, so it’s a six-day work week for me and only one day off this weekend.  However, that extra work day will come in handy as a “comp day” this fall when I want to take a vacation.

Otherwise, it’s Mother’s Day weekend, so Happy Mother’s Day!  This picture is of my mother’s last spring celebration with us in 1990.

Dessie 1990

Ray and I were going to take my sister out to brunch Sunday, but Tammy has to work a double that day.  So, if you go see her at work, tip her well! 🙂  We’ll just take her out next weekend and since our schedule opened up Sunday, we’re going to see ‘The Great Gatsby”.  I sure hope it’s as dazzling as “Moulin Rouge!”

MY FRIEND WINS A NATIONAL AWARD

I’m very proud of a friend of mine who works as a counselor at Erie Elementary School in Erie, Illinois.  GLSEN (the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network) awarded Matt Beck as the 2013 Educator of the Year!

Matt Beck

And, here’s what his very proud husband, Scott, tells me:  “Matt, a professional school counselor for the past 6 years, relentlessly is on the mission of teaching elementary school kids that it’s ok to be different, that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that respect for others is the common goal we can all share and strive for.  Matt epitomizes the strength that you do not give up and retreat when opposition rises, especially when it goes against your ethics and is harmful to kids.”

Matt will accept his award May 20th in New York City.

For those of you that may not remember the story, here are two blog links about it from last May and June.  That first story was my most viewed blog ever in one day.  And, needless to say, not all of the comments to me were positive.  But, it was a story that needed to be told!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/the-erie-school-district-illinois-needs-to-address-bullying/

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/06/04/erie-school-board-diversity-controversy-goes-national/

Congratulations Matt!  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your huge accomplishment last year when you shared the story with me to get the word out.  Keep up the good work!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

You Look CrazyAcceptingNew Jersey, What Are You Waiting For

SLIMMING DOWN FOR 2016?

Speaking of the Garden State, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie secretly underwent a weight-loss surgical procedure in February and he revealed the details to the “New York Post” earlier this week.   The surgery will limit the amount of food he can take in, but it doesn’t affect his digestive process.  The lap band surgery involves the placement of a silicone band around his stomach to reduce its size.

chris-christie-weight-loss-surgery

Christie says, “I’ve struggled with this issue for 20 years.  For me, this is about turning 50 and looking at my children and wanting to be there for them.”

I sincerely believe he did it for his family, but I don’t think that is the only reason.  I would venture to say it’s because he’s eying a run for the presidency in 2016 and weight has come up many times in the past when his future political ambitions are discussed.  He downplays this by stating,  “It’s so much more important than that.”

While Christie has never stated his weight, it’s been reported at between 300 and 350 pounds.

On this weighty topic, the last president to weigh over 250 pounds was William Taft, the 27th U.S. president from 1909-1913.  Taft weighed in at a reported 316 pounds and had  a BMI (body mass index) of 42.3, which is considered “very severely obese”.  He died of a heart attack.

That was 100 years ago and my personal opinion is that in today’s 24-hour media circus and the internet, weight does matter.

As much as I disagree with your politics, Governor Christie, I wish you good health.

GOODBYE “BIG”

A few weeks after Miss ABBA died in early February 2012, Panda, the blind shar-pei that we doggie sit for from Chicago came to stay with us in the Quad Cities with his live-in golden retriever companion, Big.  They stayed with us for about a week.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I just found out that “Big” died recently of cancer at the very young age of seven.  Poor baby!  Now, heaven is graced with another beautiful golden that I know Miss ABBA welcomed with a tail wag and a smile.

MICHAEL BUBLE — “TO BE LOVED” OR NOT?

I’m a huge fan of sexy, Canadian crooner Michael Bublé.  I own eleven of his CDs, including all of his studio albums beginning with the 2003 release “Michael Bublé”, along with “live” recordings and extended plays.  My favorites are “Christmas” (2011) and “Call Me Irresponsible” (2007).

Bublé recently released his latest album, “To Be Loved”, which sold 195,000 copies in its first week and debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart.  It also debuted at #1 in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Hungary, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom!  But, is it any good?

Michael Buble To Be Loved

I bought the “deluxe” version from Target with three additional songs.  If you’re a die-hard Bublé fan, get the deluxe version.  If you’re not all that familiar with his music or sound, the standard version that’s $3 cheaper (14 songs) would suffice.

The first four songs on the disc, including his new radio hit, “It’s a Beautiful Day”, are fantastic and perfect.  He gets your blood pumping with the disc opener, “You Make Me Feel So Young” and keeps you happy with “Who’s Lovin’ You” and  “To Love Somebody”.

But, then the album hits a brief road block to bliss.  As much I love actress Reese Witherspoon, her appearance on “Something Stupid” is boring and off-kilter.  It sounds like she just phoned in her vocals and I wish that Bublé had done the song solo.

The magic returns on the next three songs.  Fellow Canadian and 1980s pop superstar Bryan Adams even shows up on “After All” and shows us that he’s still the master of mid-tempo love songs.  The two singing together is a perfect combination.

Other than the title track, “To Be Loved”, which is song #10 on the disc, which is perfect, the album loses steam once we get to the tired classic “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You” to the end of the standard disc.

Of the three “exclusive” songs on the “deluxe” version, only the “swing mix” of the current radio hit, “It’s A Beautiful Day”, excels.

GRADE:  B

Buble2

I’ve seen Bublé in concert twice.  Both times were in Moline, Illinois.  However, Quad Citians, if you want to see him, he’s moved up in the world.  The closest he’ll be playing to the Quad Cities will be at the United Center in Chicago on September 7, 2013.

WAY TO GO, DELAWARE!

Following Rhode Island last week, Delaware, earlier this week, became the 11th state in the United States (along with the District of Columbia) to make marriage equality legal.  Minnesota may become #12 as early as next week after the House passed the measure yesterday with a vote of 75-59.  The bill is expected to move to the Democrat-controlled Senate Monday.

So, what about Illinois?  Movement in the House has been slow since the bill for full marriage equality passed out of a House committee in late February 2013.  The legislation needs at least 60 votes for passage in the House to land on the desk of Gov. Pat Quinn, who hopes to quickly sign it into law.

A group of country musicians, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, and “Big” Kenny Alphin, issued an open letter to Illinois lawmakers saying, “When two people are lucky enough to find each other and want to commit their lives to one another, it is nothing less than a blessing to us all.”

Open Letter

Even before I heard about this open letter last week, I had been listening to some of my old Mary Chapin Carpenter albums.

Since she scored her first country radio hit in 1989 until her last Top 40 appearance on the country chart, she’s charted with 22 hits.  Of those Top 40 hits, nine reached the Top Ten and one, 1994’s “Shut Up and Kiss Me”, topped the chart.  Her 1992 album Come On Come On” produced seven Top 40 country hits between 1992-1994 and sold more than four million copies.

My favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter song, “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her”, reached #2 (Billboard) and #1 (Radio & Records) in 1994 and it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Record of the Year.  The song also featured some of the biggest names in country music:  Patty Loveless (one of my favorites), Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, and Aledo, Illinois’ own Suzy Bogguss.

Mary Chapin, Emmylou, Rodney, and “Big” Kenny, on behalf of all of us in Illinois wanting marriage equality, thank you!

BEATLES’ ARE NOT THE PROBLEM, GRASSHOPPERS ARE

70-year-old Sir Paul McCartney may want to think about playing outdoor concerts in the future.  Earlier this week, during his three-hour set, in Brazil, the former Beatles was invaded by grasshoppers!

Paul McCartney GrasshoppersBrazil Grasshoppers

At one point, the sky was filled with the creatures.  Nevertheless, Paul just kept right on performing and even introduced one of the insects as “Harold” during “Hey Jude.”

I guess sometimes you should just “Let It Be”!

WHY DO I LOVE FREAKS?

“Entertainment Weekly” is slowly winning me back with humor.  As you may recall, a few weeks ago, I was pretty miffed at the magazine for a major spoiler alert they blabbed with insufficient warning.  While I’m still working on totally forgiving my favorite magazine, it made some progress with this entry in its May 3, 2013, “Dan Snierson’s Hit List”, a look at ten things that really happened in the entertainment world, complete with a witty comeback:

After sleeping in glass case for MoMA exhibit, Tilda Swinton poses with centipedes on her face for fashion-mag shoot  As of press time, Swinton was being classified as 49 percent James Franco, 47 percent Lady Gaga, and 4 percent other/no clue”.  Too funny (and true)!

tilda-swinton-posing-for-w-magazine-with-centipede-eyebrows-and-mustaches

By the way, I love Tilda.  If you’ve never seen any of her movies, check out “We Need To Talk About Kevin” (my third favorite movie that I saw in 2012) and “The Deep End” (2001).

FUTURE HIT PICK — SONG OF THE SUMMER?

ErikaJayne1

Atlanta, Georgia, singer Erika Jayne is a beautiful singer that you likely haven’t heard of — yet.

That is unless you’ve been hanging out in dance clubs.  Since her first release, “Rollercoaster” soared to the top of the Billboard Dance charts in 2007, Erika has followed that up with five consecutive number one hits:  “Stars”, “Give You Everything”, “Pretty Mess”, “One Hot Pleasure”, and “Party People (Ignite The World)”.

ErikaJayne2

Her new song, “Get It Tonight”, is going to take her to the top of the dance charts again and out of the clubs for a crossover to Top 40 radio!

She teams up with rapper/musician Flo Rida, who’s no stranger to pop radio.  He’s already scored 14 hits since he topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart with his first hit, “Low” in 2007.  He’s also topped that chart with “Right Round” with Ke$ha in 2009, and with “Whistle” last year.

I have her first CD, 2009’s “Pretty Mess” and it’s fantastic.  Her new disc featuring “Get It Tonight” is titled “Glitz, Glamour, & Fun”, but there is no release date yet.

Remember the name, Erika Jayne.  She will have the summer song of 2013!

THE CLUBS WON’T BE THE SAME!

While not a household name, Peter Rauhofer is one of the most amazing DJ/remixers/producers.  Sadly, he died Tuesday at the age of 48 after discovering he had brain cancer just weeks ago!

Peter Rauhofer Madonna

Rauhofer worked with Madonna, Britney, Whitney, Lady Gaga, Cher, Janet, Kylie, Christina, Pink, Mariah, Depeche Mode, and countless others.

In 1999, he remixed “Nothing Really Matters” for Madonna.  That song would go on to hit #1 on the Billboard Dance chart and win an ASCAP Rhythm and Soul Award in 2000 for “Award-Winning Dance Song”.  The video would be nominated for “Best Special Effects” for the MTV Video Music Awards.

R.I.P. Peter!

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

This week, last May, I made mint and jalapeno-mint jelly and they both turned out fantastic and as you can see by this photo, the mint took over the herb garden!  This year, I transplanted it and much of it is struggling to survive.

May 11 2012 Jalapeno-Mint Jelly

And, last May, Ray had a conference in Indianapolis, Indiana, and I went with him.  I’d love to move to Indy!

On the way there, we stopped at what is now one of my favorite restaurants in Illinois, Destihl in Champaign.  The food, from the appetizers (shrimp ceviche and watermelon feta) to the homemade desserts were fantastic.  I think we need to make a road trip downstate for dinner soon!

May 16 2012 Destihl Shrimp Ceviche and Watermelon & Feta Champaign, IL

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

As new wave swept across the Atlantic in the 1980s, Kim Wilde scored the first of her two Top 40 hits in the U.S.  “Kids In American” hit #25 in 1982 and five years later, she hit #1 with a remake of The Supremes’ “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

My friends, that’s enough random thoughts for one week.  Have a great weekend and Happy Mother’s Day!

Anthony

I’m Your Christmas Juke Box Today

I hear people say that it seems like Christmas starts earlier each year.  In the quest to get more of your money, that’s true.  By the time “Black Friday” arrives, many stores have already had big sales.

I love it each holiday season when “Mix 96” in the Quad Cities changes their music format to all Christmas!  I could listen to holiday music all year around and I confess that when I’m overly stressed, I turn it on to chill out, even if it’s September.

holiday boom box

Today, I’m going to share my favorite Christmas songs with you.  Now, while I love Reba, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, every song from their Christmas albums cannot make the list, otherwise you’d still be reading it next Christmas, so I’ll select just one of my favorites from each of them.

Whether you’re at work, at play, or at home reading my blog today, click on each of my selections and let me your Christmas Juke Box today!

While Christmas would not be complete if we didn’t hear Bing Crosby, Johnny Mathis, or Elvis belting out classics, they are not in my Top Ten.

My other favorites that just missed out, too, are “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” (Bruce Springsteen), both versions of “Please Come Home For Christmas” (The Eagles and Bon Jovi), “Jingle Bell Rock” (Bobby Helms), “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” (Darlene Love), “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” (Brenda Lee), “Sleigh Ride” (Debbie Gibson), and “If We Make It Through December” (Merle Haggard).

Now, my ten favorite holidays songs.  To make this list, it has to be a song that regardless of what I’m doing or if I’m in the car and it comes on, I’ll stop and listen until it’s over.

10

WILLIE NELSON — “PRETTY PAPER” 

My love for this song goes back to watching my mother cry every time she heard it.  And, now I know why.  We really need to slow down at the holidays and show more love and compassion, especially to strangers.

#9

MICHAEL BUBLE — “IT’S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS”

8 red

REBA — “THE SECRET OF GIVING”

I absolutely love the message behind this song.  I wish radio (pop and country) would play it at Christmas time.

I  remember when I was in Maryland, in 2005, and one of the radio groups had an all-day telethon to raise money for Hurricane Katrina victims and the American Red Cross.  You could call any of the radio stations that you listened to and make a donation and they’d play your request on whichever station you chose, regardless of the genre.  I donated $10 to play this Reba song on the hard rock station. 🙂

green 7

JOSH GROBAN — “O HOLY NIGHT”

“O Holy Night” is my favorite Christmas song.

I could very well have had Reba, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Faith Hill or countless others listed here.  But, there are many classics on Josh Groban’s “Noel” album and his version is perfect and that voice makes me melt!

6 red

PAUL McCARTNEY — “WONDERFUL CHRISTMASTIME”

 

GREEN 5

ELTON JOHN — “STEP INTO CHRISTMAS”

 

red-number-4

JOHN LENNON & YOKO ONO — “HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER)”

If you’ve only heard this song on the radio and have never seen the video, it’s graphic.  War is never pretty, even during the holidays.

green 3

MARIAH CAREY — “ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS YOU”

 

number_2_red

BAND AID — “DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?”

Christmas has definitely taken a turn a bit darker in my countdown after many upbeat and fun holidays songs.

And, what would Christmas be without a Christmas Bonus?

Christmas-Bonus- Woman

What?  You want the other present?

Christmas-Bonus- Man

Wait, I’m not talking that kind of bonus.  Casey Kasem always had an “American Top 40 Extra”!  So, here’s mine.

Before I started the countdown of my favorite Christmas songs, I said, “while I love Reba, Michael Buble, and Josh Groban, every song on their Christmas albums cannot make the list”.  The same can be said for the Carpenters, so here’s an extra medley before we get to #1.

We’ve counted down the hits, all the way from number ten to number two and now we’re up to my favorite Christmas recording of all time!

#1

THE CARPENTERS — “MERRY CHRISTMAS, DARLING”

Which of these do you like or dislike?  What is your favorite?

Merry Christmas!

Anthony

They Said What??? Chris Christie, Michael Brown, Sir Paul McCartney, & Madonna

NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE

“I appreciate that call from the president. It was very proactive. I appreciate that kind of leadership.”

MORE FROM GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE

(on seaside residents that didn’t leave their homes before Hurricane Sandy):  “It’s just stupid.  They are now in harm’s way.  These decisions were both stupid and selfish.”

AND ONE MORE FROM GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE

“If conditions are not safe on Wednesday for Trick or Treating, I will sign an Executive Order rescheduling Halloween.”

FORMER FEMA DIRECTOR MICHAEL BROWN

(who botched the government’s reaction to Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005):  “One thing he’s gonna be asked is, why did he jump on [the hurricane] so quickly and go back to D.C. so quickly when in…Benghazi, he went to Las Vegas?  Why was this so quick?… At some point, somebody’s going to ask that question…. This is like the inverse of Benghazi.”

FORMER BEATLES’ LEAD SINGER SIR PAUL McCARTNEY

(about Yoko Ono, wife of Beatle John Lennon):  “She certainly didn’t break the group up, the group was breaking up.”

POP SINGER & “THE VOICE” CO-HOST CHRISTINA AGUILERA

“It’s hard being such a powerful woman in the business. I’m known for not always being warm and fuzzy, because you’ll just get bulldozed over. You learn to put up this little protective shield, but it’s because of something. In my music, I come off as being very open about being insecure, vulnerable and sensitive sometimes. Then I’ll go onstage and be this powerhouse force to be reckoned with.”

MADONNA

(in New Orleans, Louisiana):  “I don’t care who you vote for as long as you vote for Obama.  Seriously, I don’t care who you vote for …do not take this privilege for granted. Go vote.”

LEGENDARY POP SINGER LESLEY GORE

“I recorded ‘You Don’t Own Me’ in 1964 and it’s hard for me to believe, but we’re still fighting for the same things we were then. Yes, ladies, we’ve got to come together, get out there and vote, and protect our bodies. They’re ours. Please vote.”

Anthony