Posts Tagged ‘Pretty Woman’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 24, 2015

It’s hard to believe that July is almost over and that means we’re getting closer to fall, my new favorite season.  Sorry winter!

Have yourself a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

BLAKE & MIRANDA GETTING DIVORCED

Marriages and relationships take a lot of work and when both people are celebrities, it’s much harder.  So, I’m a little surprised at people’s shock about the impending divorce of country singers Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert after four years of marriage.

FILE - In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

FILE – In this Feb. 13, 2011 file photo, Blake Shelton, left, and Miranda Lambert arrive at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Shelton and Lambert announced their divorce after four years of marriage.A statement from Sheltonís spokesman provided a statement from both of them on Monday, July 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)

Yes, I’m bummed about it.  But, I’m not shocked.

Country singer Chris Young, who has toured with Miranda and considers himself a friend of the couple, is speaking out that he had nothing to do with the couple’s marriage problems.

CY

That response was prompted after the gossip-mongers at TMZ reported what they learned from “multiple sources familiar with the situation”!  Have I ever mentioned that I can’t stand TMZ and its bitterness?

I always hope that love is real for everyone and I hope Blake and Miranda find it again.  I’m definitely a romantic that wants the fairy tale.

SPEAKING OF FAIRY TALES

Can you believe this year marks the 25th anniversary of “Pretty Woman”?

pretty-woman

The romantic comedy that skyrocketed Oscar winner Julia Roberts to fame made $463 million dollars at theaters after its spring 1990 release.

“THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN”

Okay, this one is far from the fairy tale or a romantic comedy!

I just finished reading Paula Hawkins’ “The Girl on the Train”.   I walked so much on the treadmill just to finish the book because I didn’t want to put it down!

The Girl on the Train

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

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

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

It’s been reported that Emily Blunt (“Into The Woods” and “The Devil Wears Prada”) is set to star as Rachel (and also reported that she’ll play Jess/Megan).

Emily Blunt

Since I’m a real-life television meteorologist and not a Hollywood casting agent, as a fan of the book, here’s my dream cast. And, in case you haven’t read the book, I’m only giving character names and not how they play into the story.

I know actors and projects have to line up, so I’ll offer several people for each role.

Tom — Michael Fassbender, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”), Hugh Dancy (“Hannibal”), James Marsden, and Andrew Lincoln (“The Walking Dead”)

Michael FassbenderDexterHugh DancyJames MarsdenAndrew Lincoln

Scott — Grey Damon (“Aquarius”) and Shawn Ashmore (“The Following”)

Grey DamonShawn Ashmore

Let’s go with it that Emily will take the role of either Rachel or Jess/Megan.

Jess/Megan and Anna —  Elisabeth Rohm (“Stalker), Jennifer Aniston, and Evan Rachel Wood (“True Blood”)

Elisabeth RohmJennifer AnistonEvanRachelWood

And, finally, Dr. Kamal Abdic — Manish Dayal (“The Hundred-Foot Journey) and Enrique Iglesias

Manish DayalEnrique Iglesias

Okay, I’ve enjoyed my fantasy casting enough.  One more “reported” claim about the movie is that the locale will move from London to the United States.

Tate Taylor (“The Help”) has signed on to direct.

Paula, your thoughts on the casting?

And, in honor of Rachel! 🙂

gordons_gin__tonic_in_can_250ml

“THE SNOWMAN”

Normally, the books I read are about real people and real events.  Just before I jumped on the train, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

“Time” magazine featured an article years ago about Scandinavian authors that may achieve the success of Stieg Larsson and his “Millennium series” (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”, “The Girl Who Played with Fire”, and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest”.)

I wrote Nesbo’s name and “The Snowman” down on a piece of paper and finally got the book and it was incredible.

Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

Another must-read if you like crime novels!

There is talk of a movie adaptation of the book.  Legendary director Martin Scorsese was once attached to it, but now director Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) is set to direct it.

THEY SAID WHAT???

Remember on Mondays back when I blogged all the time, I had the feature, “They Said What???”  Why not revisit it with these fun ones!

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL WANNABEE LINDSEY GRAHAM

(on “CBS This Morning” about Donald Trump’s racist comments about Mexicans): “Run for president but don’t be the world’s biggest jackass.”

Pitbull

POP SINGER PITBULL

“I want to tell Marco Rubio, step it up!  Jeb Bush, step it up!  Hillary Clinton, step it up!  Because Donald Trump can’t be president.”

(More Pitbull to Trump):  “I want him to know I’m not a politician. I’m a musician. I’m a Latino first. I support our people.”

DIRECTOR/ACTOR TYLER PERRY

(speaking of the media reporting on Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina Brown):  “It makes me sad to know that everybody wants to be the first to report something awful. So much so, that they find it OK to speak death onto those who are still alive. May I ask you all to please show some decency and respect?”

IRRELEVANT “ONE-HIT WONDER” SINGER SINEAD O’CONNOR

(on Facebook blasting “Rolling Stone” for its Kim Kardashian West cover):  “What is this c**t doing on the cover of Rolling Stone? Music has officially died.  Who knew it would be Rolling Stone that murdered it? Simon Cowell and Louis Walsh can no longer be expected to take all the blame. Bob Dylan must be f**king horrified. #BoycottRollingStone”

Kim KW Rolling Stone

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(responding to “North Dakota Today” news co-host Chris Berg.  When talking about Stern’s salary of a reported $95 million, Berg asked how Stern could be making that much money.)

Berg

“Douche, you can do the same thing. Leave Fargo, get a show and work on your comedy chops and work on being interesting.”

Howard Stern Rolling Stone

(MORE STERN):  “The reason I worked so hard is so I wouldn’t have to live in Fargo, North Dakota, honestly. No offense if you live there. I’m pretty sure if you’re living there, you’re trying to get out … Gee whiz … I didn’t know Fargo still existed … Good lord. Well, anyway.”

DJ/PRODUCER SKRILLEX

(on Justin Bieber):  “Justin is a f**king virtuoso.  He’ll school you at every-thing: Ping-Pong, basketball, freestyle rapping.  The kid is so competitive.  Whatever he does he’s super good at, so you don’t stand a chance.  It’s not even fair.”

And, here’s Justin’s latest with Skrillex and Diplo.  I love this song and the video is so cool.  It’s takes me back to the fun days of music videos on MTV.

DONUTGATE

I like donuts and I cannot lie!  (You can sing that along to “Baby Got Back” if you want.)

Donuts

And, while they’re so delicious, the unhealthy treat was thrust into the national spotlight recently when pop tart Ariana Grande was busted “allegedly” licking a donut in a California shop without paying for it.

I’m glad that charges will not be filed against her for the silliness.  Yes, it’s gross if she actually Frenched the pastry for someone else to buy, but there are more pressing matters for us to deal with here in America.

Here’s another perspective on the matter.  When you were young, could you see yourself doing that if you were dared by a friend?  I can’t say that my young self would have done it, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t have!

SUMMER 2016 PROJECT

While there’s still several weeks left in summer 2015, I’m already making plans for next summer and setting my goals high.

Back in the summer of 2012, I ventured into making jelly.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I made 44 jars of mint, jalapeno-mint, apple mint, lemon balm-basil, and rosemary-lavender-lemon-mint jellies in many festive colors. While rainbow-colored, I didn’t call it “gay jelly”.

I just came across a recipe for pickling vegetables and it looks simple and tasty.

So, next year, pickles and pickled veggies!

ACCEPTANCE OF THOSE IN LOVE

As I’ve talked about in the past, my relationship with my alcoholic father was strained at best.  When sober, he was more tolerable.  However, overall, he didn’t like people, including his own family.

I know if he was alive today he would likely not be a part of his gay son’s life.  But, who knows, he could have softened in his golden years and surprised me.

I usually don’t think of him (he died in 1987), but I did think of him again when Jennifer Hudson’s “I Still Love You” was nominated earlier this week for an MTV VMA “Moonmen” award for “Video With a Social Message”.

The album (and song) didn’t catch on with radio or music buyers, but the video and the song are incredible.

TILDA SWINTON AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN HER

Oscar winner Tilda Swinton is all for looking bad for a great role.

She’s hardly recognizable in “Snowpiercer” as Deputy-Minister Mason or as Madame D. in “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, a very old woman.

But, check out the 54-year-old actress in the new movie, “Trainwreck”!  (It’s the picture on the left.)

tilda-transformation

Incredible!  What a chameleon.

SKIP “IT FOLLOWS” AND RENT “THE BABADOOK”

“It Follows” was critically acclaimed and made enough money that a sequel is being discussed.

The premise is cool — a supernatural “it” stalks people after they’ve had sex.  The only way for it to leave you alone is if you pass it along to someone else.

After watching the very SLOOOOOOOW movie, I realized that if “It Follows”, it’d definitely catch them!

Watch the trailer, which is better than the movie and save a couple of dollars renting it.

GRADE: C

However, if you want something supernatural that’s scary, check out the Australian-Canadian psychological thriller, “The Babadook”.

“Mister Babadook” is a pop-up storybook that mysteriously appears and re-appears in the home of a mother and her 6-year-old troubled son.

The supernatural entity starts tormenting people when they are made aware of its existence.

Essie Davis are Noah Wiseman excellently portray the fear and horror of being tormented by the “Babadook”.

And, how cool is the word “Babadook”?

GRADE:  B

MID-YEAR CANADIAN MUSIC LEADERS

In my last “Random Friday Thoughts” back on July 3rd, I reported that at the halfway point of 2015 that Taylor Swift leads in album sales and Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars have the top-selling single in the U.S. with “1989” and “Uptown Funk”, respectively.

I guess our friends to the north in Canada have the same taste.  Here are the sales there through mid-year and T-Swizzle has now surpassed Ed Sheeran in album sales and Ronson and Mars lead there, too.

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

Top Selling Canadian Albums (through June 30, 2015)

1. Taylor Swift, 1989 — 172,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, X — 170,000
3. Fifty Shades Of Grey, soundtrack — 134,000
4. Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour — 132,000
5. Yoan, Yoan — 101,000
6. Hozier, Hozier — 101,000
7. Drake, If You’re Reading This… — 101,000
8. Maroon 5, V — 92,000
9. Meghan Trainor, Title — 86,000
10. Mumford & Sons, Wilder Mind — 84,000

Top Selling Singles (through June 30, 2015)

1. Mark Ronson Feat. Bruno Mars, Uptown Funk! — 526,000 sold
2. Ed Sheeran, Thinking Out Loud — 346,000
3. Wiz Khalifa Feat. Charlie Puth, See You Again — 315,000
4. Maroon 5, Sugar — 289,000
5. Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney, FourFiveSeconds — 289,000
6. Hozier, Take Me To Church — 279,000
7. Ellie Goulding, Love Me Like You Do — 245,000
8. Omi, Cheerleader — 242,000
9. Andy Grammar, Honey, I’m Good — 204,000
10. Walk The Moon, Shut Up & Dance — 200,000

“SHOW ME YOURS”

A couple of years ago, singer Hailey Rowe released “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.  It was a fun song and the video was incredible frisky and sexy.  It ended up being my favorite song of 2013.

Now, Canadian singer and internet sensation Scotty Dynamo has released the next big gay thing.

His “Show Me Yours” video reminds me of a modern-day version of “Physical” by Olivia Newton-John, which was very scandalous and controversial back in 1981.  Maybe that’s why the song ended up spending ten weeks at the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 and was the biggest-selling single of the 1980s in the U.S.

BETTE MIDLER & DIVINE INTERVENTION

Congratulations to Bette Midler on the 32 sellouts shows on the “Divine Intervention Tour”!  It made an incredible $36 million!

Bette

We saw the amazing Las Vegas show in May!

GUESS THAT’S ENOUGH FOR NOW

As I’ve said many times, I wish I was wealthy enough to just write all the time.  But, I must pay the bills and find time to get a few hours of sleep, pay the bills, and go on vacation.

Thank you very much for checking out my random thoughts.  Let me know what you think about them.  If you agree with something, let me know.  If not, tell me that, too.

I value your thoughts as much as I appreciate you checking out mine.

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — March 14, 2014

It’s no surprise that I love my weekends.  It’s going to be relatively mild this weekend and I hope to take a few walks in the neighborhood and get some fresh air. I hope you have a great weekend, too.

Here are my random thoughts for this week.

MICHELE BACHMANN, THE WORLD HAS CHANGED!

Minnesota Representative and failed Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann is still behind the times and she thinks that President Obama, liberal judges, and gay people are out to “take away” her religious rights.

Bachmann

I guess that’s better than her thinking we want to take her husband away from her!

Marcus Bachmann

Okay, let me get back on track.  She’s upset with not only the LGBT community, but also Arizona Governor Jan Brewer because she vetoed the very bad SB 1062 last month.

Bachmann says, “There’s nothing about gays in there. But the gay community decided to make this their measure.  I think the thing that is getting a little tiresome, the gay community, they have so bullied the American people, and they’ve so intimidated politicians. The politicians fear them, so that they think they get to dictate the agenda everywhere.”

ELECTION 2016

Since 2014 is just getting underway and the next presidential election is still about two years away, who are Iowa voters most excited about?

For Democrats, former Secretary of State, former First Lady, and 2008 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has incredible support with Democrats with 88% saying it’s a good idea for her to run for President and 11% saying it’s a bad idea.

president-hillary

Current Vice President Joe Biden only has 58% of the polled saying it’s a good idea for him to run in 2016.

Potential Iowa Voters

On the Republican side, of the candidates that were asked about, 2012 Vice President wannabe Paul Ryan has the support of 67% of Republicans with only 16% thinking it’s a bad idea.

Right behind him with 65% thinking it’s a good idea is former Arkansas Governor and failed presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.

“GAYEST PRESIDENT YET”

Kudos to Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton.

Last summer, she could have been arrested for holding up this rainbow flag in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow, Russia.

Tilda Swinton Moscow

Recently, at  SXSW  in Austin, Texas, she topped herself by saying this about Russian President Vladimir Putin, “Well, Russia has the gayest president ever. No, that’s an offensive thing to say—not to him, but to the gay community.”

Putin

Tilda, if I didn’t already love you for your amazing work and, especially, your performance in “We Need To Talk About Kevin”, I’d love you even more now.

WINTER, GO AWAY!

As much as I love snow, a few days of 50° or higher this week and I’m now in “spring” mode!

When it comes to farmers’ almanacs and long-term forecasts, it’s fun to looked at the books’ generalized forecasts for the upcoming winter season.  But, there’s definitely no scientific validity to the daily forecasts for each month.  It’s definitely guess-work.

But, check out this “Farmers’ Almanac” forecast from last fall that I blogged about on August 30, 2013.

Farmers' Almanac

With temperatures from December 2013 through March 2014 running more than nine degrees below average in the Quad Cities and 62.4″ of snow this winter, almost twice the average winter’s snowfall, I say “kudos” to the “Farmers’ Almanac” for nailing this winter’s outlook.

“BAGGAGE CLAIM”

The romantic comedy, “Baggage Claim”, was the funniest movie I’ve seen since “We’re The Millers” last year.

Baggage Claim

Paula Patton stars a Montana Moore, a flight attendant who finds out that her younger sister who’s still in college is engaged.  She begins to feel the pressure from her mother who’s been married five times.

When her boyfriend, Graham, invites her, by letter, to spend Thanksgiving with him in Chicago, Montana is convinced that he’s going to pop the question.  Wait, he sends a letter inviting her????  What year is this?

Well, things don’t go as planned.

That’s when her two flight attendant friends, Gail and Sam, devise a master plan to get her married or engaged before her sister’s wedding in thirty days!

Gail and Sam Baggage Claim

Jill Scott is hilarious as the promiscuous Gail and Adam Brody is adorably cute and funny as Montana gay best friend, Sam.

With the help from others that work within the airline industry, the trio tracks down Montana’s exes that are flying over the holidays to see if any of them have changed and if they could now be the “one”.

While predictable, it’s funny, sexy, and cute.  Dare I say this, but it’s a modern-day “Pretty Woman” without Julia Roberts and prostitutes.

“Baggage Claim” is a definite must-see and I’m even considering buying the DVD!

GRADE:  A-

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Spring Forward Yelling

CONGRATULATIONS BELINDA CARLISLE

Today marks a very special anniversary in former Go-Go’s lead singer, Belinda Carlisle’s life.

It was nine years ago today that she stopped using drugs after almost 30 years of abuse!

belinda_carlisle_lips_unsealed_cover

She made those revelations in her memoir, “Lips Unsealed”, which I blogged about earlier this week.

Here’s an excerpt from my blog:  “In March 2005, Belinda was in London rehearsing for some tour dates and having talks about a new venture for her, an album of French pop songs.   In heartbreaking detail in the book, she went on a cocaine frenzy in her hotel room and envisioned herself dead of an overdose.  It gave her the strength to do something she had never been able to do.  She was going to finish the last of the cocaine sitting on the table and quit cold turkey.”

Belinda

Belinda, congratulations on nine years.  I know that overcoming an addiction is a daily fight and I wish you and your family the very best.

Here’s Belinda from last year with “Sun”.

If you missed my blog about Belinda, here’s the link:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/belinda-carlisle-from-the-germs-the-go-gos-to-beating-demons/

AMERICANS BECOMING MORE OPEN-MINDED

There will always be prejudiced against <insert minority group here>.  Otherwise, what would close-minded people have to talk about?

I want to comment and focus on the LGBT community and marriage equality.

“USA Today” reported in late February that a study by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that the number of Americans supporting marriage equality has risen from 32% in 2003 to 53% last year!

LoveMarriageEquality

In that same time period, 17 states and the District of Columbia have allowed same-sex marriages.

The PRRI study also shows that in the past ten years, the number of people who say same-sex marriages are against their religious beliefs dropped from 62% to 51%.

The top three religions that were deemed most “unfriendly” to the LGBT community were the Catholic Church (58%), the Mormon Church (53%) and Evangelical Christian churches (51%).

gays_in_church

Robert P. Jones, the CEO of PRRI, says that 24% of those polled left their childhood religion and now have no religious identity.  One of the main reasons given was their church’s negative teachings or treatment of LGBT people.

In younger people, ages 18 to 33, that number jumps to 31%!

MILEY-KATY CAT FIGHT

There’s a pop music cat fight going on now and Madonna, Lady Gaga, and Elton John are not involved!

Recently, at Miley Cyrus’ “Bangerz Tour” stop in Los Angeles, Katy leaned in to give Miley an innocent kiss during the song, “Adore You”.

Miley Katy Kiss

So, here’s Katy’s side of the story.

Katy on Miley's Tongue

Well, Miley didn’t take kindly to Katy’s comment and Tweeted this.

Miley Response

Ladies, since we never really know where other people’s tongues have been, let’s just use Scope, kiss, and make up!

“ROMEO & JULIET”

We all know the story of the dreaded feud between the Montagues and the Capulets that doomed the love affair of their children, Romeo and Juliet.

In the latest box office bomb, Romeo is played by the stunningly drop-dead gorgeous English actor Douglas Booth and Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld (“True Grit”) portrays Juliet.

romeojuliet1

The movie is definitely getting a bad rap.  If it wasn’t bad enough that the $24 million dollar movie only made $1.2 million in theaters, it was mostly panned by critics, and has an approval rating of only 21% on the website, “Rotten Tomatoes”!

I didn’t think the movie lacked energy as many have stated.  If you want to see a new version of the classic story, you won’t be thoroughly disappointed.

And, look on the bright side, if you start watching it and you think I’m wrong about the movie being okay, just stare at the beautiful Douglas Booth and make the best of it.

romeo-douglas-booth

GRADE:  B

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Texan Clay Walker first appeared on the country music scene in 1993 when his debut single, “What’s It To You” and its follow-up, “Live Until I Die”, both topped the Billboard Country chart.

He was so dreamy and quickly became my favorite male country singer.

Clay Walker

I finally saw him in concert in Merrillville, Indiana, in early 1996.

Clay charted with 29 country hits with 17 of them reaching the Top Ten.

Of those, six topped the chart!  Including the two I previously mentioned, “Dreaming With My Eyes Open” (1994), “If I Could Make A Living” (1994), “This Woman And This Man” (1995), and “Rumor Has It” (1997) were also chart toppers.

I have many favorites of Clay’s, but I think this is my absolute favorite.

THAT’S IT

Happy St. Patrick’s Day weekend to you.  If you have a lot of green beer, make sure you have a designated driver!

Thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 6

Happy Friday everyone.  I hope you’re having a great week and that you’re looking forward to the weekend.  Here are my random Friday thoughts.

GREETINGS FROM “MUSIC CITY USA”!

When we left the Quad Cities Wednesday, it was 47° and we drove seven hours to Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to check out the Christmas lights and have dinner at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880’s and the temperature there was 72°.

Lights at Patti'sAnthony's Dinner

That’s my dinner.  It’s called “Ella Mae’s Chicken”:  freshly grilled asparagus over grilled chicken breast topped with black forest ham and sautéed mushrooms covered in homemade cheese sauce.  This was after appetizers of homemade cheese sticks and a blossoming onion and before we ate dessert!

On Thursday, we drove the final two hours to Nashville, Tennessee, dropping my sister off in Clarksville, about an hour northwest of Nashville, so she could spend the weekend with her kids and two granddaughters.

REBA EXHIBIT

Our first stop in Nashville before checking into the Opryland Hotel was a visit to the Reba McEntire exhibit, “All The Women I Am”, at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Anthony Reba

These are various “Fancy” performance dresses.

Reba Fancy Dresses

IT LOOKS LIKE CHRISTMAS AT OUR HOTEL

Opryland Hotel

THE ROCKETTES’

Last night, we saw the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring the Rockettes”.  The sets were incredible and the dancing was festive and fun.  Sadly, no pictures were allowed!

REST OF THE WEEKEND PLANS

Tonight, in a major ice storm, we’ll see “Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas & Dinner Show”.  Tomorrow, it’s a lunch cruise on the Cumberland River on the General Jackson and tomorrow night, Opry at the Ryman, with Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Chris Carmack (who plays Will Lexington on ABC’s “Nashville”) and many others.

Chris Carmack

SINGER BECOMES BIG TIME SONG WRITER

Shane McAnally

25-year-old Texan Shane McAnally was signed to Curb Records and released his first single, “Say Anything” in 1999, which peaked at #41.  The follow-up single, “Are Your Eyes Still Blue” was his only Top 40 country hit, peaking at #31.

I loved both of those songs and I was probably one of the few people who took a chance on the newcomer and bought his debut and only album. After that, Shane dropped off the radar and moved to West Hollywood, California, and started bartending and performing as “Shane Mack”.

Shane Mack

In California, Shane was able to be openly gay.  Since he started living his life openly, he married his partner of six years, Michael Baum, in September 2012, and the couple welcomed a daughter and a son in December of last year.

I was pleasantly surprised this fall to see “Entertainment Weekly” give Shane the much overdue recognition that he deserves.

Shane returned to Nashville in a big way in 2008 as a co-writer of LeAnn Womack’s Top 15 hit, “Last Call”.  Since then, he has written #1 songs for Kenny Chesney, Jake Owens, The Band Perry, Lady Antebellum, and Miranda Lambert.  He also penned three songs for Reba McEntire’s 2010 album, “All The Women I Am” album.

Music Review Kacey Musgraves

And, this year, he co-produced my favorite country album 0f 2013, the #1 “Same Trailer Different Park” by Kacey Musgraves.

Shane, I wish you, Michael, and your children much happiness in 2014 and here’s to continued success in country music.  I hope to hear more of your singing in the future, too.

MEANWHILE, NOT SO GOOD TENNESSEE NEWS

While we’re having a good time in Nashville, a recent report from “24/7 Wall Street” doesn’t paint a rosy picture of Tennessee, ranking it as “the most dangerous state” in the United States.

It’s followed by Nevada, Alaska, New Mexico, South Carolina, Delaware, Louisiana, Florida, Maryland, and Oklahoma!

Tennessee Violent Crimes

The site ranks Tennessee #1 for aggravated assaults and in the top ten for murders and robbery.  In 2012, there were 388 murders, which is up for the second straight year.

Across the nation, Memphis ranks fifth and Nashville is at #18 for violent crimes.

Take this ranking and the information from “24/7 Wall Street” with a grain of salt, since the “Crime in Chicago” website reported 537 murders in the “Windy City” in 2012.  (As of December 1st, the site reports there have been 422 murders in Chicago in 2013.)

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Ice Hole Deer  squirrelSnow's a comin'

ICE STORM SOUTH, SNOW IN THE QUAD CITIES

Two rounds of ice will be heavily glazing the Nashville, Tennessee, area tonight and, again, Saturday night.  It’s going to get scary down here.  Meanwhile, on Sunday, several inches of snow are expected in the Quad Cities.  It looks like, at least, two inches are likely.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow to keep you ahead of the snow in Illinois and Iowa.

FRESH VENDING MACHINE SALAD

I know it’s easy to grab fast food or something out a vending machine when you’re working and eat it at your desk.  However, if you had the option, would you choose a fresh salad from a vending machine for a healthy alternative?

That is the option for people living or working near the Loop in Chicago near Clark and Lake.

Farmers Fridge Chicago

Farmer’s Fridge has installed its first vending machine salad, fruits, and vegetables prepared fresh daily and packaged in recyclable plastic jar.

The $8 salads are available at 10 a.m. and come in seven varieties including North Napa, Mediterranean, Crunchy Thai, The Cheater, and three other flavors.  The dressings include lemon tahini, spicy soy peanut, red wine vinaigrette, and four other flavors.

ISRAELIS TAKE A STAND AGAINST RUSSIA

As you know from reading my blog, I’ve been very outspoken against Russia’s homophobic laws and the 2014 Sochi Olympics, which are two months away.  There’s now a new Israeli campaign speaking out about the bloodshed and violence against the LGBT community in Russia.

Red Flag

“Red Flag”, similar to the American NOH8 campaign, was started by David and Jonathan, the publisher of the international lifestyle magazine, “F.O.D.”, for the Tel-Aviv gay man community.

Actors, singers, activists, drag queens, and the LGBT community were encouraged to take part in the photo shoot wearing Russian army uniforms with blood coming out of their mouths to bring attention to the violence brought against Russian and Ukrainian LGBT people.

Red Flag2

Organizers say, “Russia 2013 is a death trap for the LGBT community. This discriminating law is backed up with aggressive enforcement by the army and the police. Arresting activists in the LGBT community or any person suspected of being involved in “propaganda” has become a normal routine. This law refers to tourists from out-of-state and even athletes participating in the winter Olympics.”

PICK HIT

Earlier in the blog, I profiled Shane McAnally and mentioned that he co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ debut album.

He also co-wrote nine of the album’s twelve songs, including the first three singles:  “Merry Go Round” (#14), “Blowin’ Smoke” (#31 peak), and her current single, “Follow Your Arrow”,which is at #28.

“Follow Your Arrow” is witty and poignant.  Here’s a sample of the lyrics:  “You’re damned if you do/and you’re damned if you don’t/so you might as well do whatever you want, so make lots of noise/kiss lots of boys/kiss lots of girls/if that’s something you’re into”

Cheers, Kacey & Shane!

DALLAS BUYER’S CLUB

“And, the Academy Award for Best Actor Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club”.

Dallas Buyers Club

The movie is based on a true story.  Ron Woodruff was a homophobic, hard-living, good ol’ Texas boy who loved his liquor, drugs, and women.  In 1986, he was diagnosed with AIDS and told that he had 30 days to live.

He tried to get on the AZT trials that were being rushed onto the market to fight the AIDS pandemic.  Since he was denied that opportunity, Woodruff started buying it on the black market.  When he almost died, he came up with a plan to smuggle medications out of Mexico to try to stay alive.  Since Ron couldn’t sell the drugs, he started a membership only “buyers club” to distribute the Food & Drug Administration-unapproved medication.

DALLAS-BUYERS-CLUB

McConaughey, who plays Woodruff, lost about 50 pounds for the role and his co-star, Jared Leto, who plays transgender AIDS patient, Rayon, who befriends Woodruff, lost about 40 pounds for the role.

Both actors were electrifying and sold the story.  After initially gasping at McConaughey’s first appearance in the movie, I was sold for the next two hours that both actors were HIV-positive people fighting for their lives, while the government dragged its feet.

If you lived through the 1980s and saw friends getting sick and dying, you saw those friends in Ron and Rayon.  If you know people who have become HIV-positive in the past decade, where with medication, healthier living, diet, and exercise, it’s become a manageable disease, there’s a sense of relief that AIDS is no longer a certain death sentence.

GRADE:  A

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

I just added “A Mary Christmas” by Mary J. Blige and “Christmas, With Love” by British singer Leona Lewis to my holiday collection this week.

Leona Lewis  Christmas With Love

Leona’s fourth album and her first Christmas colelction featured seven classics and three new songs, including the first single, “One More Sleep”.

Many of you probably remember Leona from her debut #1 single in 2008, “Bleeding Love” and its followup, “Better In Time”.

“SHELTER”

While I love “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead” and “American Horror Story”, love stories are at the top of my list, too.  “Pretty Woman” (1990), “Latter Days” (2003), “Shelter” (2007), “Weekend” (2011), and “Out in the Dark” (2012) are the ones that I can watch over and over and over.

Shane Mack (Shane McAnally) performed five songs on the “Shelter” soundtrack and since I’m in Nashville and I’m a strong advocate for being out and proud, here’s another one from Shane.

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND

Have a fantastic weekend and I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts this week.  Let me know what you think.

Bundle up if you live across the eastern part of the country.  It’s going to be cold.

Anthony

Hits & Misses — What Is The Key To Succeed?

I think I have good taste.  I also think I have a good ear for music and can pick out great movies.  But, that doesn’t always translate into mainstream success.  Maybe I’m just not mainstream???

In 1990, I loved “Pretty Women” and it was huge at the box office ($463.4 million) and it made that stunning Julia Roberts a star and showed how sexy Richard Gere was with gray hair.

Okay, women, gay friends, and jealous straight men, you have to admit that young Richard Gere was breathless.

On the other hand, in 1991, I absolutely loved “For The Boys” with Bette Midler.  I’m still enthralled with it today, but it bombed at the box office.  The $40 million movie only made back $23.2 million.

This weekend, I predicted that “Looper” would be huge and for the weekend of October 12, 2012, “Argo” will rule the box office and I’ll be checking that one out in Las Vegas.  I can’t wait.

However, before I get totally sidetracked about movies, this blog is really about picking music.  And, if you stay with me to the end, a very sexy, naughty new video that should be big.  If not, I don’t know what to say. 🙂

In 1983, I fell in love with a dancer and singer that specialized in club music before she was mainstream.

When Madonna charted with her first few radio hits, “Holiday”, “Lucky Star”, and “Borderline”, music industry skeptics said that her career would be over soon and that Cyndi Lauper was the real star.  I loved Cyndi’s music and I still do.  I appreciate all that she’s done for the LGBT community, but let’s face it, Madonna is the biggest star.

On the other hand, I thought that Kim Wilde would be big in the U.S.  She scored 21 Top 40 hits in her native England.  However, in America, she only hit #25 with “Kids In America” in 1982, and she topped the chart in 1987 with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”.

In 2005, I loved Cascada and they scored a few big radio hits in the U.S. (“Everytime We Touch” and “Evacuate The Dancefloor”).  And, in early 2008, I fell in love with another blonde dance artist named Lady Gaga before she went mainstream and she’s doing pretty good!

Last spring, I predicted that Carly Rae Jepsen would be huge this summer and I think you may have heard her song “Call Me Maybe” a few times.  Okay, a few thousand times.

Recently, my pick hits have been Chris Wallace, Calvin Harris, and Martina and the Diamonds.

So far, Chris had some modest airplay with Remember When (Push Rewind) and Calvin Harris sent Rihanna to the top of the chart with “We Found Love” and scored big hits with “Feel So Close” and “Let’s Go”.

The act that I really expected to do much better in America was Marina and the Diamonds.  The new album, “Electra Heart” is great.  It sounds like 1980s new wave combined with 2012 angst.  Marina even  sounds like Katy Perry.  That should be enough for U.S. radio success.  However, the first single, Primadonna” didn’t even chart of the Billboard Hot 100 despite modest radio airplay.

Her new song, “How To Be A Heartbreaker” may receive the same cool reception at radio, but the video is nothing short of HOT!!!!  Prepare yourself ladies and gay men!

Okay, before I post it, there is some drama associated with it.  After the video was finished, here’s what Marina tweeted, “So, someone at my record label wont let me release the video bc I look ugly in it apparently + we need more $ / time to paint out ugly parts'”.

There’s that whole freaking image thing again and how young woman in entertainment are supposed to look.  Let the woman sing and do her thing!!

“HOW TO BE A HEARTBREAKER”

As a bonus (if you’re still reading), here’s Marina’s video to “Primadonna” and Chris Wallace’s “Remember When (Push Rewind).  Both are amazing and under appreciated.

“PRIMADONNA”

“REMEMBER WHEN (PUSH REWIND)”

Have a great weekend.

Anthony