IS IT SUMMER YET?
Depending on who you listen to, it might already be summer. Some say Memorial Day is the “unofficial” start to the summer season and meteorologists call the three hottest months of the year (June, July, and August) “meteorological summer”.
However, if you go by the calendar, the summer solstice begins Monday, June 20th at 5:34 p.m. CDT.
Whatever you call it, I hope your spring or summer is off to a great start. Since I had so much fun bringing back “Random Friday Thoughts” last week, here’s another one!
IT ALREADY FEELS LIKE SUMMER
After a pretty chilly start to the month of May in the Quad Cities, it sure got hot over the last week or so. Check out these recent unseasonably warm temperatures in Moline, Illinois, right on the Mississippi River.
After a cooler weekend, warmer weather is forecast to return through, at least, the middle of June.
HOW DID PRINCE DIE?
A medical examiner and the toxicology report confirm that musical icon Prince died of an accidental opioid fentanyl overdose. Even before that news broke, there was widespread speculation that an overdose was the cause of death.
Opioid fentanyl is a very potent pain reliever — 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
Even before the news broke Thursday, I was already writing about Prince in today’s “Random Friday Thoughts”. Here’s what I had already written:
“It’s now been six weeks (!) since music icon Prince died at Paisley Park, his Minneapolis-area home, but we still don’t know how he died.
I know medical examiners want to be thorough when determining the cause of death, but six weeks? Typically, toxicology results are released a couple or a few weeks after someone dies.”
While Prince is gone, his music will live on. Following his death, in the first full week of sales, he had 19 albums on the Billboard Top 200 chart. That broke the Beatles’ record of 14.
To honor the musical legend, here’s my favorite Prince song — it’s so hard to narrow it down to one!
ARE SOME PEOPLE “FOR REAL”?
Social media is great to reconnect to people you’ve lost contact with over the years and to communicate and share ideas with others.
However, the anonymity it provides allows people to say things they normally wouldn’t say to someone in person.
Some people can handle it and blow it off, but some can’t. For me, I have a tougher skin from working in a public forum all these years. While crazy or mean comments on social media still tick me off, it has to be really bad to even remotely hurt my feelings.
For example, look at this inspirational picture I posted again earlier this week.
It got a lot of love on Facebook. However, I have to share this Twitter correspondence with some anonymous person.
I’m the kind of person that tries to respond to all comments (good or bad), but I’ll not carry on a lengthy debate and waste my time with someone who’s main objective is just to argue just for the sake of it.
Trust me, most of the posts on this person’s Twitter page proves he/she just trolls the internet and social media to make negative comments.
Move on and troll elsewhere!
BERNIE SANDERS SUPPORTERS, PLEASE READ (AND COMMENT)
Voters in California and New Jersey, two very delegate-rich states, head to the polls Tuesday, June 7th.
From a mathematical standpoint, Hillary Clinton will almost certainly become the presumptive nominee for the Democratic party.
In full disclosure, if you’re reading my blog for the first time, I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter. However, I’m not writing today to boast or gloat.
I’m trying to understand things from the perspective of a Bernie Sanders supporter and I want your diplomatic feedback. But, first, here’s a little set-up to my questions.
Much to my chagrin back in 2008, after a long fight, Hillary dropped out of the race and fully supported Senator Barack Obama in his successful bid for president that November.
In a perfect world, we’d have more than two parties choosing candidates with a real chance of being elected president. If we had three or four strong, viable parties fighting for the job, the House and Senate would work for the people and with the president to get things done. Now, it’s just say the opposite of what the other side is saying!
If this was the case, Sanders could run as an independent and he’d likely be on the ballot in November in a race on equal footing with the other candidates.
This election season (especially lately), there’s been a lot of talk about the “superdelegates” having the power to choose the nominee. That’s a realistic part of the process now, as it was in 2008 and many elections before that. Should that part of the election process change? Probably.
Also, I wish that every state and territory had primaries and we’d totally do away with caucuses. We should be able to go into the booth and choose the candidate we want. We shouldn’t have to argue and debate it in a room full of people. Let the candidates debate and just let us vote.
Thus far in the race for the Democratic nomination, I’ve been mature and I’ve taken the high road not to personally bash Senator Sanders. However, since we’re being honest, it’s getting harder and harder and I’m very frustrated with his mean-spirited rhetoric lately. I know he wants to win and I know you want him to win and aren’t happy with the way it’s turning out.
Now, Bernie supporters, here’s what I want to know — at what point do you think that he should move toward backing Hillary since he’s running on the Democratic ticket? After California and New Jersey? Before the Democratic National Convention? At the convention?
I’ve also heard, “I’d rather not vote than to vote for her”. How many of you would actually want Donald Trump to be president if it isn’t Sanders? Doesn’t that fly in the face of everything that Bernie stands for?
I want to hear what you have to say — as long as you’re diplomatic!
MURDERED ZOO GORILLA
Unless you’ve been on vacation or living under a rock, I know you’ve heard of the incident at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden last weekend.
A 3-year-old child crawled through the barrier and then fell twelve feet into the gorilla enclosure.
Zoo officials, fearing for the life of the child, shot and killed Harambe, the 17-year-old silverback gorilla.
The way the incident was handled has sparked outrage online. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition wanting the boy’s parents to be held criminally responsible.
A witness, Kimberley Ann Perkins O’Connor, told CNN that she overheard the boy joking to his mother about going into the water and the next thing you know, he was inside the exhibit with the gorilla.
But, Cincinnati Zoo director Thane Maynard stands by the decision to kill the gorilla, “That child’s life was in danger. People who question that don’t understand you can’t take a risk with a silverback gorilla — this is a dangerous animal. He adds, “Looking back, we’d make the same decision. The child is safe.”
Famed zookeeper Jack Hanna agrees “1,000 percent” with the zoo’s decision.
Watching the (frightening, at times) video, I fully believe the gorilla felt it was protecting the child. However, I don’t know the nature of gorillas and it could have ended up hurting or killing the child with all of the commotion going on.
I know that “kids are kids” and that they can be elusive, but you can’t tell me that the mother was fully in control of that child. Should she go to jail? No. Should there be some penalty? Yes! How about community service at the zoo?
What do you think? Was the right decision made to shoot and kill the gorilla with a rifle instead of tranquilizing him? Should the parents face any criminal charges — neglect or child endangerment?
AIN’T YOUR MAMA
I’m ready for my next trip to Las Vegas in late July. I can’t believe it’s been over a year since we were there. During that trip, we ate plenty of great food and enjoyed many mimosas.
Since 2012, we’ve seen Elton John, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, and, last year, Bette Midler in Vegas.
This time, I’m working to get my hands on tickets to see one of the sexiest women ever (okay, maybe not “one of the sexiest”, but “the sexiest”), Jennifer Lopez.
J. Lo danced her way onto the entertainment scene as a “Fly Girl” on Fox’s “In Living Color” in the early-1990s, endeared herself to movie and Tejano music fans playing slain international singer Selena in the 1997 hit movie, “Selena”, and then blasted to the top of the music charts in 1999 with her first international hit, “If You Had My Love”.
She’s back with a fun dance song with a strong feminist point of view.
“Ain’t Your Mama” even features a very powerful message from former Secretary of State (and possibly the next president of the United States) Hillary Clinton, “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s right are human rights once and for all.”
“Ain’t Your Mama” is already a Top Ten hit in Finland, Hungary, Lebanon, and Spain. Here is the U.S., it’s finally cracking the airplay charts at Top 40 radio.
I can’t wait to go back and listen to all of J. Lo’s music (and not just the songs she performs in the “All I Have” Las Vegas show at The Axis Planet Hollywood) and rank my favorites. I’ll post that in July before I see the incredible show!
As we near the halfway point of 2016, “Matter”, the latest album from the New York City-based synth-pop band St. Lucia, is one of my favorites of the year.
The band makes dance music that sounds new and refreshingly 1980s at the same time.
I reviewed the album back in February giving it an “A”.
Here’s what I said then, “Most of the eleven songs on his second album are very upbeat and very synth-heavily.
My favorites are “Dancing on Glass” (which I’m sharing with you),”Home”, “Rescue Me”, and “Physical”, which is very energetic, but ends very chill. “The Winds of Change” is very similar in composition — higher beats-per-minute, but ends chill.
“Help Me Run Away” is so retro in feeling that it makes me giddy every time I hear it.”
And, I’m even more giddy now because St. Lucia just released “Help Me Run Away”, which was co-written by Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers, as the next single and video.
If you haven’t heard of them and you need a fantastic album to get you through summer, grab “Matter” now.
The band is getting ready to embark on a nationwide tour that kicks off next week and runs through late October.
In October, they’ll be playing in Des Moines, Iowa, which is just three hours from the Quad Cities. I just might have to drive in, see the show, and drive back home just in time to go into work for the graveyard shift! 🙂
PICK HIT BONUS — COUNTRY STYLE
Canadian country music star Brett Kissel now lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and has opened for some of the biggest names in the business like Garth Brooks. However, here in the U.S., he’s probably unknown outside of the Nashville music circles. I hope that changes soon.
Since his 2013 debut album, “Started with a Song”, generated five Top Ten Canadian Country songs, he’s moved into superstar status there with his second album, “Pick Me Up”, which arrived last fall.
It produced his first #1 song, “Airwaves” and the Top Ten follow-up, the title track.
His new single, “Cool With That”, is out now and it’s racing toward the Top Ten in Canada. I’m featuring it as my pick hit today and I hope this is the one that introduces him to American country radio.
If you’d like to know more about Brett and his music, here’s a blog from February.
MORE ST. LUCIA
How about a bonus track from “Matter” and St. Lucia?
As always, I appreciate you taking time out of your day to check out my random thoughts and I value your opinions, too. We can disagree, as long as it’s diplomatic.
Have a great weekend!