Posts Tagged ‘Puerto Rico’

Random Friday Thoughts — October 20, 2017

I’m done celebrating my birthday and my sister is now back to real life in Midwest.  It was a nice visit.  Now, we just need to plan our next get together!

Random Thoughts

I hope this week’s “Random Friday Thoughts” comes across a little happier.  Last week, I had some things I needed to get off my chest.  If you didn’t get a chance to read it, here’s that link again.  It’ll open in a new window. 🙂

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/10/13/random-friday-thoughts-october-13-2017/

BACK TO REALITY

I had my first company in Panama City, Florida, over the past week with my sister, Tammy, and her boyfriend, Gerald, visiting.

It was great going out to eat (Granny Cantrell’s country cooking was amazing and Captain D’s fish was delicious and not as greasy as I remembered back in Kentucky), hanging out and talking, and hitting Panama City Beach for the first time!

ATG

Tammy got back to the Midwest just in time.  Her twin grandsons arrived a week early and were born Thursday morning!

GIRLFRIEND, THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM!

Tutti Frutti Little Richard…

LR 2

Oops, let me start over.

“Tutti Frutti” singer Little Richard in the 1980s told “Penthouse”, “I’ve been gay all my life and I know God is a God of love, not of hate.”

Well, I guess he “prayed the gay away” (note the quotation marks that screams of sarcasm).

LR 1

The 84-year-old now tells a Christian broadcasting show that homosexuality is “unnatural”.

Little Richard states, “When I first come in show business they wanted you to look like everybody but yourself.  He added, “And, anybody that comes in show business they going say you’re gay… God made men, men and women, women, you know.”

Yeah, we know!

Hmmmm

WINTER FORECAST

As a meteorologist in the Midwest, I always had people asking me, “what’s this winter going to be like?”  It was one of my least favorite questions.

I don’t believe in long-term forecasting and I think the forecasts from the “almanacs”, Accuweather, the Weather Channel, etc. are fun to look at it.  But, I don’t put any faith in them.

For example, look at the highlights here from Accuweather for this winter.

AccuWeather Winter

Unless this is a very bizarre winter, “Arctic Cold Blasts” in the Dakotas and the Midwest, “Snow, Ice” in the Great Lakes and the Northeast, “Warm, Dry” in the Southwest, “Rain” in the Southeast, and “Warm At Times” in Florida?

Seriously?  With those generalities, I can tell you now that Accuweather will be 100% accurate and you don’t need a meteorologist to forecast that for you.

Next!

HAMILTON TAKES ON #45 OVER PUERTO RICO

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the brains behind the successful “Hamilton” doesn’t like #45’s handling of the crisis in Puerto Rico.  Well, he’s not alone.

While Miranda was born in upper Manhattan, he is of Puerto Rican descent.

I’m sure by now, you’ve heard about this bold tweet.

Lin DT

He composed a new charity recording for Puerto Rico with some of the biggest stars in Latin music including Jennifer Lopez and Gloria Estefan.

“Almost Like Praying” sold 111,000 digital downloads in its first week and debuted at #20 on the Billboard Hot 100.

At this time, three million people (about 80%) still have no electricity and a million are without running water in Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria hit a month ago!

OH, ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY! 🙂

In the October 20/27 double issue’s “What to Watch” section, this is what it said of the new episode of “Scandal”:

“POTUS Mellie preps for the nuclear summit.  Any joke we make would hit too close to home, assuming there is a home by the time you’re reading this.”

T NK

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”/”THE WALKING DEAD”

I know I swore off “The Walking Dead” after the dismal seventh season, but I’ve decided to give it a few episodes in season 8 before I abandon it.

As for its spin off, “Fear The Walking Dead”, the third season just wrapped up a great installment.

If you gave it up on after the slow-burning first season or the hit and miss second season, give it another try.  The third season was strong and the second half of the season was incredible.

FTWD Christmas

And, I finally got a “Dead” Christmas and it was twisted and insane!

ANTICIPATION FOR “THE SNOWMAN” MELTED AWAY

Ever since I read Jo Nesbo’s “The Snowman” and it was announced that my future ex-boyfriend Michael Fassbender would star in the movie, I was very excited.

the-snowman

Last week, Norwegian reviews started coming in and they were not encouraging.  American movie critics are echoing those sentiments.

snowman

My blizzard of anticipation melted away faster than several feet on Rocky Mountain snow with a Chinook wind!

I’ll now wait for “The Snowman” on DVD! 😦

“REBEL HEART TOUR DVD”

This new concert DVD is from Madonna’s last international tour supporting her 13th studio album, “Rebel Heart”.

I saw the show in October 2015 in Saint Paul, Minnesota, my fourth Madonna concert.  (I saw the “Confessions Tour” (2006) and the “Sticky & Sweet Tour” (2008) in Chicago and “The MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas (2012).

After the angry, dark, and fantastic “The MDNA Tour”, this one was fun and personable.  However, Madonna still delivered a strong message, including this opening sequence before she opens the show with “Iconic”.

“FIVE FOOT TWO”

This new Netflix series chronicles Lady Gaga’s making of her latest album, “Joanne”.

It also shows us the behind the scenes pain (fibromyalgia) that Lady Gaga experienced leading to the postponement of the European leg of the “Joanne Tour”.

What I liked about the show was her honesty about the beef Madonna has with her and calling Gaga “reductive”.

And, then there was this zinger that “Entertainment Weekly” featured in its soundbite of the week segment. 🙂

Gaga Madonna EW

“Bad Romance” is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs and this stripped down live version is incredible.

Here’s the original and its amazing video.

In the documentary, Gaga is distraught over the “Joanne” album.  For her, it’s very personal and she’s afraid the change in musical style for the collection would not be something her fans would embrace.

Sadly, that turned out to be the case.  It was her least successful album in terms of album sales and radio airplay.

And, as much as I love Lady Gaga, I was part of that resistance.  “Joanne” was the first Lady Gaga album I didn’t buy and after seeing “Five Foot Two”, I still didn’t want the album.  But, I do love “A Million Reasons” and “The Cure”.

GRADE:  B

“STRANGER THINGS”

Now that the second season of the Netflix hit series is set to premiere next Friday (October 27), I need to binge watch the award winning and critically acclaimed smash.

I know many of you were blown away by the series last summer, so I don’t want to spoil things for newbies like me by showing the season 2 trailer.

I learned enough spoilers by reading the “Entertainment Weekly” article on the show’s return.

Psyche!

For those that have already seen the first season, here’s the second season trailer.  FYI, I didn’t watch it. 🙂

2017 CHRISTMAS STAMPS

Christmas is now just about two months away and it’s time to start addressing my cards. 🙂

Here are the new stamps this season.

Stamps 1

Stamps 2

Which ones would you choose?

PICK HIT

EDM (electronic dance music) producer and DJ Marshmello, who’s identity is unknown (but may be American DJ Christian Comstock), has scored seven hits in the U.S. on the Billboard Dance charts since 2015.

Two have reached the Top Ten.  “Alone” reached #9 in 2016 and his current hit featuring Khalid, “Silence” is currently climbing the Top Ten on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.  It’s also #45 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart.

“Silence” already topped the Australian Dance chart and hit the Top 5 in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and on the UK Dance chart.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 13, 2017

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

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

WHAT A CLOWN!

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

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

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

Kellyanne

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

AP Clown

MY SIGNATURE BLOG CLOSE

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

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

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

DT

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

This island was devastated by two major hurricanes in September.

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

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

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

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

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

Carmen

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE AFTERTHOUGHTS

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

LV

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

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

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

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

Blood

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

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

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

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

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

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

“HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER” — SEASON 4

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

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

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

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

Viola

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

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

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

Welcome back, Annalise and “Murder”!

JUST A THOUGHT

Wine

MY CONTRIBUTION TO ALL GOD’S ANIMALS

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

Ducks

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

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

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

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

Turtle 1

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

“THE SNOWMAN”

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

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

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

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

PREMATURE BABIES

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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

Here’s a quick look back in pictures!

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

ABBAAnthonyBD2011

My first birthday party with a white cake!

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

AP 1st Birthday

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

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

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

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

BOUGHT MYSELF A BIRTHDAY PRESENT

And, it arrives today.

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

REBA

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

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

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

“THE GOOD DOCTOR”

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

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

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

“THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS”

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

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

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

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

GRADE: B

PICK HIT

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

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

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

Walker’s latest is “The Spectre”.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 6, 2017

It’s been a heartbreaking week with the mass shooting in Las Vegas (more on that below).  While sad and tragic, there are some happy things going on in the world and I hope some of that is happening in your life.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts.

WHAT AN HONOR!

If you’ve followed me on Facebook since 2009 or read my blog since 2012, you know that I’m a strong believer in equality — LGBT, marriage, women’s rights, for people of color, and more.

While some of you may disagree with my views, that’s fine.  I do have to walk a fine line when I state my opinions and in my responses to people who don’t think like me (especially now, considering where I live and the climate we live in)!

With that being said, I got a big surprise when I started reading the October/November 2017 issue of “The Advocate”.

Advocate WG

The magazine had a feature on the “50 Most Influential LGBT People In Media” and I absolutely love lists and countdowns.  I had a thought on who might be number one, so I was curious.

Since I always read magazines from the front to back and I don’t skip ahead, I got to page seven and Editorial Director Diane Anderson-Minshall’s “Editor’s Letter”.

Below that was this segment.  As I was reading it and walking, I was shocked and surprised!!!!!!!!!!!

LGBT Media Arrow

A shout-out in the nation’s biggest and longest-running LGBT magazine in the country, which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year!

What an honor!  Diane, I’ll keep up the fight for equality and visibility in these very trying, dark post-November 8, 2016 days!!!

Stay woke!  Resist!

AND, IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH…

A dear friend from back in the Quad Cities, Clayton, posted a message on my blog a couple of weeks ago that touched my heart just as much as the name check in “The Advocate”.

Clayton said, “I hope that you realize the lasting effects you have had on the many people who feared going public”.

MY IDOL CELEBRATES 93rd BIRTHDAY

On October 1st, President Jimmy Carter turned 93 years old.

It’s no secret that I love President Carter and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, and I had the pleasure to meet them in July at their Plains, Georgia church.

While there, I had my picture taken with them.  I sent them a copy inside an anniversary card celebrating their 71 years of marriage on July 7th.

I just hoped that with all of the fan mail they still get that they would see the card.

Weeks passed and I opened the mail recently to find an envelope from the “Office of Jimmy Carter”!  I gingerly opened it.

Not only did the Carters see my anniversary card and the picture, but they took the time to autograph it and send it back to me!

Autograph Carters

What a thoughtful, loving couple!

I’ve now met three of my four living idols.  I wrote about them this summer and if you missed that blog, here it is.  It’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

Jimmy Carter

“I REALLY LIKE YOU” (PRESIDENT CARTER & MS. ROSALYNN)

What a perfect time to share one of my favorite Carly Rae Jepsen songs.

This is from her show at Terminal 5 in New York City in March 2016.  It was one of the best concerts I’ve seen in years.

It’s also from one of the most underrated pop albums ever, “Emotion”.

It was my third favorite album of 2015 and I still listen to it today and marvel at its excellence.

LAS VEGAS DEADLY SHOOTING

Sadly, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, in the summer of 2016, is no longer the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history!

That heartbreaking title is now bestowed on Las Vegas, Nevada, after a man opened fire on a country music festival near Mandalay Bay on the Strip Sunday night.

58 people were killed and around 500 were hurt.

The senseless violence in the United States and the world saddens me.  While we still don’t know the motive of the shooting, the man is purely evil or suffered from a mental illness.  I’m only speculating, but I think he was just evil and filled with hate!

Mental illness is something that we, as Americans, are still uncomfortable discussing.  It comes up after each mass shooting, but then we’re on to the next “breaking news” and nothing is accomplished.

Enough!

Las Vegas is one of my favorite places and I’m still considering moving there.

My thoughts and prayers are sincerely with you!

MEANWHILE IN PUERTO RICO

On the morning of this senseless tragedy, Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of Puerto Rico, tweeted this to the people of Las Vegas!

Her compassion is incredible!

To take the time to think of Las Vegas even as her people try to put their lives back together after the devastation of Hurricane Maria and Hurricane Irma!

SHANIA TWAIN “NOW”

Pop and country superstar Shania Twain released “Now”, her first album of new music in fifteen years, last week!

Now

It’s hard to believe that “Up” came out in 2002!

When you have three consecutive albums to sell more than 20 million copies each worldwide (“Come On Over” sold more than 40 million) and it’s been a decade-and-a-half since you last released an album, expectations are high!

The album starts out strong with the perfect “Swingin’ With My Eyes Closed” and “Home Now”, which begins with a very Asian/Americana sounding combo.

“Light of My Life” is one of the three strongest songs (perfect songs) on the album.  The other is the first single, “Life’s About to Get Good”.

“Who’s Gonna” is the song that sounds like pure Shania from her late 1990s-early 2000s years of chart domination.  “Poor Me” is another great song.

Some of the other six songs would have been fantastic Shania songs if there hadn’t been 15 years since the last album.  Here, they’re just really good songs.

This is also the first album (other than her debut) that wasn’t produced by her ex-husband Mutt Lange.  That difference is noted here.  But, then again, it could be the absence of a new Shania Twain album, too.

The song, “I’m Alright” addresses that relationship ending and her moving on with her life.

It’s great to have Shania back and “Now” is an very enjoyable album.

Early on, only Adult Contemporary radio is showing any interest in the new music.  “Life” is currently at #11 on the AC playlist.

GRADE:  B+

“THE BIG SICK”

This romantic comedy (dramedy) is loosely based on the lives of lead actor Kumail Nanjiani and his wife Emily V. Gordon.  Both Nanjiani and Gordon were co-writers of the script.

Without giving away the “big sick” part, it’s the story of a Pakistani comedian (Nanjiani) in Chicago.  One night at a show, he’s heckled by a cute, young woman (Zoe Kazan).

A romance ensues, but things get complicated by the fact that Emily is white.

Holly Hunter, who plays Emily’s mother, is incredible in the movie.  It’s so great to see the Oscar winner back in a powerful role.  I seriously think that she could get another Academy Award nomination for this movie.  If so, that’d be her fifth Oscar nomination!

“The Big Sick” is a must see!

GRADE:  A

“WONDER WOMAN”

Except for “Batman Returns” and the Christian Bale-Christopher Nolan “Batman” trilogy, superhero movies bore me.

They’re so unrealistic.  I know, I know, they’re “superheroes” with super strength and powers, blah blah blah!

I was huge fan of the “Wonder Woman” television series in the 1970s with Lynda Carter, so I wanted to see this movie.

Israeli actress Gal Gadot is stunning as Diana, the daughter of Queen Hippolyta on the hidden island of Themyscira, a land of Amazonian warriors.

She rescues an American pilot Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) and is intrigued by his worldliness and the fact that he’s a man! 🙂  Okay, as beautiful as Gadot is, it’s Chris Pine! I’m intrigued, too.

Diana heads off with him to stop World War II and Ares’.

The fight scenes were typical superhero-fakery, but when the movie dives into storytelling and drama, it does it well.

Plus, the always incredible Robin Wright (Claire Underwood on “House of Cards”) plays Diana’s aunt, General Antiope, who trains her to fight.

GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

Canadian country music hottie Brett Kissel, with just two hit albums under his cowboy belt buckle, has already scored nine Top Ten hits on the Canadian country charts.

Sadly, American radio hasn’t taken a chance on him yet.  As Julia Roberts’ Vivard Ward says to the snooty women on Rodeo Drive, “big mistake, big, huge!”

Brett is back with a brand new single that’s burning up the country charts in his native country.

“We Were That Song” is already at #22!

Back in February 2016, I wrote about Brett and his fantastic album, “Pick Me Up”, which was my #7 album of that year!

Here’s that blog again so you learn more about Brett.  And, by the way, he’s fantastic with being personable with his fans on social media!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/02/16/american-country-radio-needs-brett-kissel/

Brett, I can’t wait for the new album!  You have a lot of American fans, too!

R.I.P. TOM PETTY

For rock & rollers, this is a heartbreaker!

The Gainesville, Florida rocker died Monday night after being found unresponsive and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu, California home the night before.

Petty would have been 67 on October 20th.

On the Billboard Hot 100, Petty scored 16 Top 40 hits.

Three of them reached the Top Ten:  “Don’t Do Me Like That” (#10, 1980), “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” (#3, 1981, from Stevie Nicks’ “Bella Donna” album), and “Free Fallin'” (#7, 1990).

While it wasn’t one of his Top Ten Hot 100 hits, “The Waiting” (#19, 1981) was one of my favorite Petty songs. (It did spend six consecutive weeks at the top of Billboard’s Rock Tracks chart!)

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS HERE!

Now that October is here, so is the holiday SEASON! 🙂

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

“Me” Personifies Ricky Martin’s Compassionate Life

I grew up listening to country music in Kentucky in the 1970s and switched over to pop, new wave, and dance music in the 1980s.  While I recall hearing about Menudo, I didn’t know much about the Puerto Rican boy band.

Ricky Martin File Photos

I also grew up watching NBC soap operas, especially “Days of Our Lives” and I recall, in the 1980s, how obsessed people at Murray State University were with “General Hospital” on ABC.

Since I wasn’t a fan of Menudo and I didn’t watch “General Hospital” in the mid-1990s when the character Miguel Morez, a bartender and singer, was on there, I missed my first two chances to fall under the spell of Ricky Martin.

Miquel Ricky

That’s okay because when he hit the Grammy Awards stage in February 1999, I took notice, along with the other 187 million people around the world that might not have known Ricky Martin.

Ricky Martin Grammy Performance

Even though “Livin’ La Vida Loca” and the follow-up songs, the hot videos, and the non-stop touring would propel him to super stardom, I really didn’t get to know and really admire Ricky Martin until I recently read his autobiography, “Me”.

ricky-martin-me

The book came out in late 2010,  the same year that he admitted to the world on his website, in March, “I am proud to say that I am a fortunate homosexual man. I am very blessed to be who I am.”

I won’t give away all of the details of “Me” because I highly recommend you reading it.  But, for someone sitting on top of the world and that could have anything they wanted, I’ll say that I was most impressed with Ricky’s down-to-earth attitude and his commitment to making the world a better place for those that he loves and for the people he’ll never meet.

Enrique Martín Morales was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Christmas Eve in 1971.  While his parents divorced when he was young, he remained very close to both of them.

young_ricky_photo_8

As a child, he would sing into wooden spoons in kitchen along with popular rock groups Journey, REO Speedwagon, and Led Zepplin.  Even then, he knew he wanted to entertain.  Thanks to the encouragement of his parents, he got into television commercials and it became profitable.

He had multiple auditions to join Menudo, one of the most successful bands in the history of music.  Interesting enough, it wasn’t his lack of talent or his age that kept him from joining the band, it was because he was too short!

menudo

Ricky became a member of Menudo in 1984 and stayed with them until 1989.  Touring the world as a pre-teen and a teenager was grueling, but it taught him the importance of working hard and being committed to his craft.

As a 17-year-old, in the summer of 1989, he left Menudo and headed back to Puerto Rico.  On his 18th birthday, he finished school and then made one of the biggest decisions of his young life less than two weeks later.

He moved to New York City in January 1990 and enjoyed living life out of the spotlight and even considered giving up show business.  While in the “Big Apple”, Ricky visited friends in Mexico City and was drawn back into the entertainment business.

Ricky Mama Ama el Rock (Mom Loves Rock)

He did theater work that led to a soap opera role that was made into a movie that won him the Mexican equivalent of the Oscar.  That led to a successful tour of the music inspired by the movie, which was about six boys in a band.

This renewed his love for music.  He signed on to Sony Music and released his first two Spanish albums in 1991 and 1993.  Together, those albums sold 1.2 million copies and produced six hits on the Billboard Latin chart with three of them reaching the Top Ten.

As excited as Ricky was to be sing again, he realized he should have checked that music contract out better because he got “robbed” — earning only about a penny from each album sold!

He continued to sing and tour and then moved to Los Angeles to act.  Before landing at “General Hospital” in 1994, he was on a short-lived series called “Getting By”.

A medio vivir

Outside of the United States, Ricky hit it big with the release of his third album, “A Medio Vivir” in late 1995.  Ricky’s book states the album went on to sell more than seven million copies world-wide and it produced one of the biggest hits of his career around the world, “Maria”.

Ricky writes that when a record executive first heard the song, he said, “Are you crazy?  You have ruined your career!  I can’t believe you are showing me this.  You’re finished — this is going to be your last album.”  It goes to show what some record company people know!

Ricky-Martin

As Ricky’s star continued to rise, so did the scrutiny about his private life.  He was hot, young, Latin, and single.  But, Ricky would not talk about his private life to reporters and so they’d speculate and start rumors.

You didn’t have to get too far into “Me” , (page 5), to learn about the real Ricky Martin, the man he kept hidden from the world because of fear.  Ricky writes that he wanted to “end the secret” and “I accept my homosexuality and celebrate the gift that life has given me.”

One of the things that I admire most about Ricky is that he said the book was about his life and his coming to terms and honestly admitting to the world who he was.  In the book, he’s a perfect gentleman.    While he talked about his affairs and falling in love with both women and men, he didn’t name names!

While he admitted these things in 2010, throughout his career in the 1980s and the 1990s, he didn’t talk about his private life.

Vuelve

In 1998, he released his fourth album, “Vuelve” early in the year and it sold more than seven million copies around the world and would go on to win the Grammy Award for Best Latin Pop Album.  Also, he recorded and performed “Copa de La Vida (The Cup of Life)” for the 1998 World Cup.

He would add English lyrics to that song and perform it on the Grammy Awards in February 1999 and the superstar, who had already conquered the Latin world with his music, became a household name in America.

Ricky Martin 1999

That led to his first English album. “Ricky Martin” in 1999 that sold 22 million copies worldwide.  Even in the U.S., it sold an incredible 660,000 copies in its first week out.

The first single, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” topped the charts in America and all over the world.

At more than eight million copies sold, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is one of the best-selling singles of all time!

Ricky was on the cover of “Time” and “People” and was named “Artist of the Year” by “Entertainment Weekly”.  He continued to tour to promote “Ricky Martin” while recording the follow-up album, “Sound Loaded”, and was being pulled in a million directions.

At the 1999 performance at the Grammy Awards, Ricky met Madonna.

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When they were recording “Be Careful (Cuidado Con Mi Corazón)” for the “Ricky Martin” album, she gave him some good advice, “Ricky, stop doing interviews.  Everybody knows who you are.”  However, he continued saying “yes” to everything that his people and the record company asked.

The scrutiny about his private life continued to mount after a March 26, 2000, interview with Barbara Walters before the Oscars, in which she was relentless in her questioning him about whether he was gay.

Ricky Barbara Walters

In 2010, Barbara told the “The Toronto Star”, “In 2000, I pushed Ricky Martin very hard to admit if he was gay or not, and the way he refused to do it made everyone decide that he was,” Walters said. “A lot of people say that destroyed his career, and when I think back on it now I feel it was an inappropriate question.”

The gossip about his personal life and the pressure of a tour of more than 100 dates forced him to lose control.  He finally took Madonna’s advice and put himself and his emotional state first.

While in Australia in late October 2000, he cancelled his next concert in Buenos Aires, Argentina, which was only the second cancellation of his career — the other was because of illness.

Ricky-Martin-closeup

In “Me”, Ricky talks about how he met, by chance, a Puerto Rican, who was living in Bangkok, Thailand, in 1998, that would become a spiritual adviser to him.  That man prompted Ricky to go to India.  He went back to India, to Calcutta, in late 2000, and that trip opened his eyes to world of human child trafficking — selling children, as young as four-years-old, into the sex trade business.

Ricky Martin Foundation

Ricky has always been a  humanitarian and in 2002, he started the Ricky Martin Foundation, and two years later, added “People for Children”, to raise awareness about the trafficking and sexual exploitation of children around the world.

Child Trafficking

Ricky was instrumental in the relief efforts and the rebuilding of Thailand after the December 2004 Indonesian tsunami that killed about one-quarter of a million people.  And, he was in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after a January 2010 earthquake that killed around 159,000 people.

ricky martin haiti

In the book, Ricky never boasted about Haiti or Thailand, about raising awareness of child trafficking, or his organization just to say, “look at what I’ve done”.  You can definitely tell he is a great person and humanitarian.

If you’d like to know more about The Ricky Martin Foundation, here’s the link to the website:  http://www.rickymartinfoundation.org/en/

Exclusive - Ricky Martin Spends Time With His Partner And Children

Ricky spent the last part of “Me” talking about his beautiful twins boys, Matteo and Valentino, who were born in August 2008, to a surrogate mother.  It was heart-warming to hear how he kept the pregnancy a secret to keep the media away from the boy’s mother during the pregnancy.

And, he just gushes when he talks about how he wants the boys to be free to live their life without fear and with compassion to everyone they meet.

That song, “The Best Thing About Me Is You”, was released in late 2010 and reached #1 on the Billboard Latin chart.

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Ricky Martin is undeniably hot.  And, once you read “Me”, you’ll know he’s the kind of person any person would be lucky to call a “friend” and someone who any man would be lucky to call “husband”.

After reading “Me”, I know Ricky Martin much better and I wish him and the boys the very best in life.

Anthony