Posts Tagged ‘Reba’

Random Friday Thoughts — April 30, 2021

I find it hard to believe that the first four months of 2021 are now behind us. I’m hoping the next eight brings us happiness and joy.

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts this weekend!

PEOPLE, PLEASE GO BACK!!!

As with any situation in life, one death is one death too many!

With that being said, I’m dismayed to hear that about 8% of Americans are reportedly not going back to get their second COVID-19 shot! (That translates into millions of people!)

I know people are concerned about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine after a few deaths were reported from the millions of shots administered.

Also, I know people are a little freaked out when they hear how some are feeling after their second Moderna and Pfizer shot.

I had no side effects from either my first or second shot! And, I’m almost through with the two-week waiting period after my second shot.

With that being said, people please go back and get your second shot!!!

I want America vaccinated and safe, so we can turn the corner on this pandemic and start the “new normal” way of life!

(RELIGIOUS) CULTS

If you regularly read my blog, you’ve probably realized I’m truly intrigued by serial killers and cults (and many other less creepy things)!

Now, let’s talk cults. Oh, hello Scientology!

You’re not alone when it comes to religious institutions (for legal purposes, I’ll add a word) ALLEGEDLY brain-washing people under the guise of Godliness. While there are many, today I’m talking about Jim Jones and his Peoples Temple.

As a child in 1940s small town Indiana, Jones idolized Adolf Hitler! (If this wasn’t a red flag, I don’t know what is!)

While Jones would eventually convince (and force) 900-plus people to gruesomely commit suicide by poison, he, like his coward idol Hitler, died of a gunshot wound to the head — most likely, self-inflicted!

“THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE”

Jeff Guinn’s 2017 book was a concise and compelling read.

Here are some things Guinn shared that you might not remember or have known:

Jones moved Indiana to California (Redwood Valley in Mendocino County and was associated with churches in Los Angeles and San Francisco) before heading to the jungles of Guyana in South America to a community he named after himself, Jonestown.

Even as early as 1975, Jones preached “I love socialism, and I’d die to bring it about. But, if I did, I’d take a thousand with me.”

On several occasions, Jones told his followers about Masada, an Israeli fortress in the mountains “where almost one thousand Jewish revolutionaries, women, and children committed suicide rather than surrender to a Roman army about to breach the walls.”

On Memorial Day 1977, before abruptly leaving San Francisco for Guyana, Jones took part in an anti-suicide rally at the Golden Gate Bridge, where he stated to the audience that for the first time in his life, he was suicidal.

ON A MUCH LIGHTER & TASTIER NOTE

Lately, I’ve been craving a donut shop that isn’t a chain store.

I haven’t found one in Decatur, but check this out — exclusively at Sam’s Club, there’s Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut Smartfood Popcorn!

From now until the end of May, you can get an 18-ounce bag with the retail price of $4.96.

Well, I’d never pay $5 for almost a pound of popcorn, but it sounds delicious! (Okay, I would pay that for a large popcorn at the movie theater and get my free refill!)

Also, at Sam’s Club, there’s Popcornopolis’ Fried Pickle and Ranch (same price for just 12 ounces) and Herr’s Fire-Roasted Sweet Corn Popcorn (about $4 for an 11-ounce bag)!

“THE SOUNDTRACK OF MY LIFE”

I totally enjoyed reading Clive Davis’ 2013 autobiography, “The Soundtrack Of My Life” and I can’t believe it took me almost a decade to get around to it!

What a walk down memory lane!

I loved reading how he brought Columbia Records out of the easy listening days of Andy Williams and Barbra Streisand in the 1950s and 1960s into the world of rock & roll with Janis Joplin and Bruce Springsteen.

His next major chapter in music was founding Arista Records and launching the careers of Barry Manilow in the 1970s and Whitney Houston in the 1980s.

While at Arista, he also revived the careers of Santana, Luther Vandross, Dionne Warwick, and Aretha Franklin.

While there, he was instrumental in expanding pop music at Arista to launch Laface Records with L.A. Reid and Babyface and Bad Boy Records with Sean Combs/Puff Daddy/P.Diddy/Puffy/Piddy (or whatever the hell he wants to be call on a given day!)

I also loved hearing his story about how he clashed with certain artists — Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Dayne, Melissa Manchester, and Manilow to name a few.

And, after Arista, he started J Records and brought the world Alicia Keys.

What an incredible book to read about his almost 60-year career in the music business. This spring, the legendary Clive Davis turned 89!

I also learned that “How Will I Know”, which Whitney Houston took to #1 in 1986 was originally written for Janet Jackson.

And, my favorite Taylor Dayne song, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”, her #1 song from 1990, was pitched to and rejected by Tina Turner.

DOCUMENTARY — “THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES”

I highly recommend the 608 page book!

But, if that’s not your thing, there’s an amazing music-filled documentary about Clive Davis and the book on Netflix!

NEW REBA MUSIC

Just last week, I hinted at new Reba McEntire music.

Her video, “Somehow You Do”, a ballad written by 12-time Oscar nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Diane Warren, dropped last Friday. (She’s also won a Grammy Award!)

It’s from new Glenn Close and Mila Kunis movie, “Four Good Days”, out now.

Warren also wrote Reba’s “What If” Red Cross charity single, from 1997, that went on to reach #23 on the country chart and her #4 country hit “I’ll Be” in 2000 from the “So Good Together” album.

A LITTLE WEEKEND HUMOR

“MADAM SECRETARY”

Back in March, I shared some interesting tidbits from reading former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright’s autobiography, “Madam Secretary”.

I also shared the story of interviewing her in Youngstown, Ohio, back in 1999.

Here are a few parting notes from that great book:

Once Bill Clinton offered Albright “Secretary of State, upon Hillary’s recommendation, making her the first woman “Secretary of State”, she called every one of her predecessors in the position.

Henry Kissinger congratulated her and teased her that she took one of the interesting things about him away — his foreign birth. (He was born in Germany and Albright in Czechoslovakia.)

Albright wrote: “I chided him back by saying he would still be the only secretary who spoke with an accent.”

After Albright, two other women became Secretary of State — Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton.

Obviously we know Hillary’s connection to Albright (Bill Clinton). Rice has a connection to Albright, too. While a student of the University of Denver in the 1970s, Rice was mentored by Albright’s father, Josef Korbel!

And, in honor of one of my favorite shots (when I do them), Madeleine Albright’s nickname is “Fireball”!

Cheers!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 23, 2021

Two weeks ago in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, I jokingly posted about breaking up with winter because summer is hotter!

It snowed earlier this week here in Central Illinois!!! That’s what I get! 🙂

Oh, if winter looked like this in the real world, I’d be all for it twelve months a year!

Thanks Gus (Kenworthy) for making my day!

And, thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts this week! (Oh, apologies to the uninitiated to my blog about the pictures above, but my thoughts are really random!)

REMEMBERING WALTER MONDALE

Earlier this week, the world lost a great man when former Vice President Walter Mondale passed away at the age of 93.

Before become President Jimmy Carter’s vice president from 1977-1981 and running as the Democratic nominee for President in 1984, he served as the U.S. senator from Minnesota from 1964-1976.

Here are some interesting facts from Jonathan Alder’s 2020 book, “HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”:

President Carter changed the role of Vice President. Before Carter, it was basically a useless role — other than becoming the leader of the free world in the case of the president died or became incapacitated.

But, Carter made Vice President Walter Mondale’s role real. He invited him into meetings, gave him real responsibilities, and valued his opinions.

At a farewell dinner before President Carter left office in 1981, Mondale said, “Never once did you put me down. Never once did you fail to treat me with dignity.” He made a toast and added, “We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace.”

AND, ON A MORE INFAMOUS NOTE

While on a high school trip to Washington D.C., future serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer called the White House and talked his way into a tour and met Vice President Mondale!

AMERICA, GET ON WITH YOUR BAD SELF!

Even though thousands are still being diagnosed with COVID-19 daily in America and the death toll continues to rise, more and more of us are fully vaccinated!

In the U.S., 26.7% of us are fully vaccinated! That’s slightly more than one-in-four!

In Illinois, we’re at 26.9% and up to 43.3% for those with at least one shot.

While this is great news, I personally feel that some are getting a little too comfortable a little too soon. However, I’m happy to see things moving toward the “new normal”.

With that being said, more and more artists are announcing fall 2021 tour dates.

In the past few weeks, Eric Church, Kane Brown, Andrea Bocelli, and Sammy Hagar announced new tour dates and Elton John and James Taylor posted new dates for their previously postponed tours.

Meanwhile, last week, Reba postponed her 2021 road concerts to 2022 and Michael Buble did the same for his 2021 U.K. dates.

I’m still waiting for Kylie Minogue to announce dates for her late 2020 critically acclaimed album, “Disco”. As I said before, she’s at the top of my concert “bucket list” and I want to see her in some foreign city!

Call it wanderlust!

How comfortable are you attending concerts with 100% capacity later this year?

I’m ready for us to safely travel again. However, it may still be a while for international travel.

At this point, only 2.8% of the world is fully vaccinated!

REBA ANNOUNCEMENT

Oh, back to Reba! When she announced the postponement of her summer arena tour, she also dropped something that made me very happy!

Yes, new music!!!!!

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

My two most highly anticipated movies this year are “Halloween Kills” (October 15, 2021) and Netflix and Zack Snyder’s “Army of The Dead” (May 21, 2021).

I’m excited for two reasons: (1) it’s about zombies and (2) it’s set in Las Vegas!

Let’s just hope the excitement for me when I visit in June is winning big bucks (or breaking even) — no explosions or zombies, please!

The full trailer is now out and if you love Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”, take a look and listen!

RIP JIM STEINMAN

Earlier this week, the same day that Vice President Mondale died, the rock music world lost a legendary producer.

Jim Steinman produced some of the biggest hits in pop and rock music including Bonnie Tyler’s four week #1 smash “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in 1983 and Meat Loaf’s “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That) in 1993, that topped the charts in 28 countries, including five weeks in the U.S., and Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, which hit #2 in 1996.

He also wrote and produced my favorite Air Supply song from 1983, “Making Love Out of Nothing At All”. It peaked at #2 for three weeks behind Bonnie Tyler’s “Eclipse”!

“ANOTHER ROUND”

Earlier this week, I checked out the 2020 Danish movie “Druk” (which means “binge drinking”) on Hulu.

While most of you haven’t heard of it, it’s actually nominated for two Oscars this year, including Thomas Vinterberg for Best Director.

My interest in the movie is that it stars Mads Mikkelsen (“Hannibal”).

It’s the story of four high school teachers in Denmark going through mid-life crises.

They decide to do an experiment with alcohol, since a leading psychiatrist believes that an alcohol blood content level of 0.05 makes you more creative and relaxed.

They test the theory and push it to the limits.

While a very interesting movie, I probably wouldn’t watch it again. However, the final scene is amazing!

Spoiler Alert: The captured image above is part of that incredible last scene.

GRADE: B

MORE MADS

If you love Mads Mikkelsen and you’re going through “Hannibal” withdrawals like me, check out “Arctic”, my #9 movie of 2019.

Awesome movie!

THEY SAID WHAT???

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace to Texas Governor Greg Abbott: “There were thousands of complaints of sexual abuse at migrant shelters during the Trump years. Not to say what’s going on now is right, but we couldn’t find one instance of you complaining & calling that out when President Trump was president.”

“ME”

I’ve read several book about and from Elton John, but his 2019 autobiography, “Me”, is by far the best!

I absolutely loved this book and I’d highly recommend it.

I was very intrigued about what he had to say about Michael Jackson (“He was genuinely mentally ill, a disturbing person to be around.”) and Tina Turner.

In 1997, he and Tina had planned to tour together but found her very difficult to work with. His band called her a “f**king nightmare” and Elton agreed!

Elton says she called him at home and told him, “She didn’t like my hair, she didn’t like the color of my piano – which for some reason had to be white – and she didn’t like my clothes.” And, then Elton says, she added, “You wear too much Versace, and it makes you look fat – you need to wear Armani.” 

I loved that he and Rod Stewart have female nicknames for each other.

And, I was so touched when he told the story of how he and his husband, David Furnish, met in October 1993. (Elton was feeling down, so he called a friend and said bring others over for a dinner party before they went out to celebrate Halloween. David was one of the people his friend brought along to dinner!)

He and David are now the dads of 10-year-old Zachary and 8-year-old Elijah.

Since I haven’t had a date in more than two years, I should try that when the “new normal” post-pandemic world begins!

Also, I was curious about what he’d have to say about Madonna.

If I recall correctly, Elton mentioned her four times and three were positive. The other time he spoke of Madonna was about his anger toward her and he said he apologized to her!

THE NIGHT I SPENT WITH ELTON JOHN

Ha! That’s just tease writing! I never spent the night with Elton John — just the evening! 🙂

For my birthday weekend in 2012, I had tickets to see Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” in Las Vegas.

Earlier that year, Sir Elton John was forced to cancel nine shows due to health reasons and it was announced in the summer that he would make up those dates in October.  But, I didn’t have tickets.

As luck would have it, just hours after arriving in Las Vegas, I searched ebay one last time and found fantastic rear orchestra seats for a great price. And, just like that, two hours later I was sitting there waiting for the show to begin!

I’ve always been a fan of Elton’s from the days of my childhood and his poppy ’70s songs, the fun, yet sometimes, moody hits of the ’80s, the more mature themed music of the ’90s when radio began to move away from playing his new songs (except for “The Lion King” and his tribute to Princess Diana), to his recent adult contemporary fare.

Elton closed out his 19-song set with his award-winning “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King”.

It was two hours of pure gold entertainment!!! 

LAST CHANCE TO SEE ELTON

In January 2018, Elton announced his final “Farewell Yellow Brick Road” tour that would play more than 300 shows worldwide.

The North American leg kicked off that September and ran through March 2019 and then moved to Europe for the summer and then back to North America though November. The show moved “down under” to Australia and New Zealand from late 2019 to March 2020 when COVID-19 shut down the tour and the world!

Dates are now rescheduled and the tour is expected to resume in Europe on September 1, 2021, and return to the U.S. and Canada in January 2022 for 43 shows through April!

MY FAVORITE ELTON JOHN SONGS

On the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S., Elton has scored 58 Top 40 hits. Of those, 27 reached the Top 10 with 19 making it to the Top Five. Nine reached #1!

And, he’s had even more hits on the American Adult Contemporary charts. He’s scored 74 Top 40 hits with 40 of them making the Top 10 and 33 of those reaching the Top Five! Eighteen topped the charts!

So, it was so hard narrowing the list down….

“I’M STILL STANDING”

“THE LAST SONG”

“SAD SONGS (SAY SO MUCH)”

“EMPTY GARDEN (HEY HEY JOHNNY)”

“I GUESS THAT’S WHY THEY CALL IT THE BLUES”

What’s your favorite Elton song?

If you want to see the full blog and my other 15 favorite Elton John songs, here it is! (It should open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2021/04/20/finding-my-next-love-with-help-from-elton-john/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 26, 2021

Spring is here and it’s hard to believe we’re down to the last few days of March!

Make the most of your weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

As we head into the second year of the Coronavirus pandemic, I’m so excited that 14.1% of Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

In Illinois, that number is at 14.5%!

And, more than one in four (26.8%) Illinoisans have had at least one dose.

Earlier this week, I joined that group with the Moderna vaccine!!! (One shot down and one shot to go in April!)

Sadly, in the United States, there are more than 30 million reported cases of COVID-19 with 545-thousand-plus deaths!

REMEMBERING GARRY BOWIE

While that death toll rate is staggering and in any situation, one death is one death too many, I want to take a moment to remember Garry Bowie.

Like most of you, I didn’t know of the LGBTQ activist until he died in early April 2020 from COVID-19.

As the former executive director of Long Beach AIDS Foundation, Garry worked tirelessly helping people fight HIV and AIDS in the Greater Long Beach and Los Angeles areas.

What makes his death even more heartbreaking is that he was one of the longest living survivors of the AIDS epidemic. He was diagnosed with HIV in 1983, back when having HIV (and AIDS) was pretty much a death sentence!

Garry was 59.

“THE GREAT BELIEVERS”

I just read the most amazing book, 2018’s “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai and it fits in perfectly with the previous thought.

It tells the story of how the AIDS epidemic decimated Chicago’s gay community in the early-1980s. While fiction, it felt so real — especially if you or your friends lived through that era watching your friends die.

Makkai’s story is so well researched and touching. It had you rooting for characters that you knew were doomed by the “gay cancer” and President Ronald Reagan’s blind eye.

The book isn’t just about a group of friends dying and struggling to stay alive in 1985 Chicago. It also takes you to 2015 Paris and ties the two stories and timelines together!

As a former Chicago transplant (I lived there two years in the 1990s and two more years in the early-2000s), it was fun hearing the names of places I hadn’t thought about in years (Nookie’s and Ann Sather).

Amy Poehler is adapting the book into a television series. I can’t wait to see who is cast as Yale, my favorite character. As I was reading it, I could definitely see Yale in my younger self!

“The Great Believers” is the best fiction book I read in the past year!

SPRING & SUMMER BBQS

On a lighter note…

It’s time to start firing up those grills, so remember the rules for wine pairings.

While it’s recommended you serve white wine with chicken and fish and red with beef, here’s how it used to be! 🙂

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN”

What an incredible movie and it’s now at Redbox!

The dark comedy/drama is up for five Oscars: “Best Picture”, “Best Actress” (Carey Mulligan), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.

Mulligan is fantastic in this compelling and heartbreaking movie with a very strong #MeToo message.

It features an all-star cast, including Connie Britton (her one scene is powerful).

GRADE: A

“9-1-1: LONE STAR”

After finding this season’s 16 episodes of “9-1-1” and “9-1-1: Lone Star” on my DVR, I binge watched all eight episodes of the new season of each show, which were amazing.

And, WOW, the last 3 minutes of the winter finale of “9-1-1: Lone Star” brought tears to my eyes and it ended on a shocking out-of-nowhere cliffhanger!

While diversity is a staple of series from Ryan Murphy, I have to hand it to “Lone Star” for probably being one of the most diverse.

There’s a Muslim woman, a transgender man (trans women make up most of the few transgender characters on television), a Cuban woman, two Hispanic men, and then there’s Rob Lowe! 🙂

Also, in the main cast, you have two gay men (one white and one Hispanic) and they’re beautiful together.

MORE JIMMY CARTER

Last week, I sang high praises for Jonathan Alter’s 2020 biography, “His Very Best, Jimmy Carter, A Life”. I also shared a few things I didn’t already know.

Today, I’m sharing a few more tidbits:

Freshman Delaware Senator Joseph Biden, then 33, was the first Senator to endorse Jimmy Carter in his presidential run in early 1976.

John Hinckley Jr., who was obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, planned to assassinate President Carter in the fall of 1980 to impress her.

In September, he followed the president to Dallas and even shook his hand in Dayton, Ohio! But, he had decided that he’d kill President Carter in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 9th. (For the record, but not from this book, Hinckley was arrested at the airport in Nashville for possession of three firearms hours after President Carter arrived there!)

But, the book says that Hinckley had already decided that Carter would lose the 1980 presidential election, so he changed his mind to kill future President Ronald Reagan. He attempted that in March 1981!

Finally, famous celebrity chef and TV star Ina Garten (“Barefoot Contessa”) was an analyst in the Office of Management and Budget in the Carter administration to study nuclear weapons!!!

ONE MORE THING ABOUT INA GARTEN

“Southern Living” says Garten always keeps these three things in her freezer: vodka, vanilla ice cream, and bread!

Those are definitely three of my favorites! (Well, I love flavored ice cream and flavored vodka!)

ONLY NINE MONTHS AWAY!

The countdown is on to Christmas!

It’s only nine months away and this spring, Reba McEntire is getting into the holiday spirit by shooting a Lifetime Christmas movie!

The movie is tentatively titled, “Christmas In Tune”, and will feature a new Reba song.

Here’s the plotline from the press release: Christmas In Tune tells the story of Belle, a marketing executive who is worried she may lose her job.  She decides to reunite a singing duo for a charity Christmas concert in order, but the problem is — the singers are actually her parents and they have not spoken to each other in years! Soon the at-odds couple is helping Belle get her life in order and she begins her own romantic duet with the new man in her life.”

“THIS IS JUST MY FACE: TRY NOT TO STARE”

This is the 2017 autobiography from Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actress Gabourey Sidibe (“Precious”).

Things I learned from Gabourey:

False reports of her death started on Facebook and then spread to other outlets. About Facebook, she wrote, “You know, that social-media site you use to spy on your ex and find out at election time which of your family members are racist.”

She’s funny as hell and shares many hilarious stories!

At one point she talked about “a girl like me”. Whatever you do, don’t mistakenly think about her being fat or black. She won’t take fat-shaming sitting down or hesitate calling you a racist!

She responds, “Fat-shaming racists make me sick! Just kidding.” You know she’s kidding, right? (Well, personally, my ex used to tell me, “there’s a little bit of truth to your jokes!”)

Sidibe is very serious about calling it like it is, whether you can handle it or not!

At one point in the book, she told of the time she was having a “poor-off” with a really handsome guy that she didn’t know well and she made the comment, “Oh, yeah? Your family ever wait in line for government cheese?”

This really made me laugh!

My personal story: We were very poor growing up, but we didn’t have to wait in line for our government cheese. That’s because my aunt volunteered at the hand-outs and brought ours to us! 🙂

And, let me tell you, it was the best damn cheese I had until I tried international cheeses in my later adult life! 🙂

One other thing that Gabourey and I have in common: we’re both recovering bulimics.

SPEAKING OF…

March 31, 2021, marks my one-year anniversary of being back on the wagon after falling off in the 2019 holiday season through late March 2020!

One year later and one day at a time, it’s a struggle. But, I’m winning!

“PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN” SOUNDTRACK

The soundtrack is phenomenal!

The first song in the movie, “Boys (DROELOE remix) by Charli XCX is so much fun!

It also features a very different remake of “It’s Raining Men” from DeathbyRomy and a very haunting instrumental version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic”.

And, in a very cute romantic scene in a store, Paris Hilton’s “Stars Are Blind” is played. Am I one of the few that absolutely disliked Hilton, but loved that song???

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 19, 2021

As I post this Friday morning, it’s the last day of winter across the Northern Hemisphere!

If you read this after Saturday morning at 4:37 a.m. Central time, it’s spring!

So, to honor spring since I’m not in Las Vegas to enjoy it in person, here’s the view of a beautiful hummingbird in the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. This is always a must-see when I’m in Vegas!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my random thoughts and feel free to share yours, too. If we disagree, do it diplomatically!

THANK YOU, 45!

In an NPR/NewsHour/Marist survey earlier this month, 30% of those polled said they WOULD NOT get the COVID-19 vaccination! While that number may surprise you, it’s down from 44% last September.

Less surprising, of those surveyed that say NO to the vaccination, 49% were Republican men and 47% supported Donald Trump in 2020!

After growing calls for him to speak out in support of the COVID-19 vaccination, on Tuesday, Trump said, “I would recommend it, and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it.”

He went on to say, “But, you know, again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also… But it’s a great vaccine, it’s a safe vaccine, and it’s something that works.”

I’ll take what little he gives to get more Americans vaccinated!

SUMS UP LIFE & NEW STIMULUS CHECKS

I saw this on Twitter and Facebook and I laughed. I kept laughing, so I wouldn’t cry!

Don’t get me wrong! I’ve always been gay and I’m a proud gay man that’s accomplished everything I’ve wanted to in life. It’s not that. 🙂

However, the part about not crying is that I personally know people that are racking up a small fortune with each stimulus check and are not working. They’re basically choosing NOT to work!

Case in point — a married couple with four kids gets $8,400 with the latest stimulus check. So, for some, why work? The sad thing is, other than a roof over their head, the kids are not even benefiting from it!

While I know there are so many people that NEED this money AND I’m happy they’re getting it, I also know that aid packages throughout our government’s history have countless flaws and abusers, too!

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox!

FUNNY DVR STORY

I was just talking to my colleagues about cable being included in my rent, so all I pay the cable provider for is internet and DVR.

I said that I should drop DVR because I never use it. The last program I recorded was the CNN special about Jimmy Carter being a rock & roll president.

So, last week, I clicked on my recorded shows to see if it was still there. I was pleasantly surprised to find 41 episodes of “9-1-1”, “9-1-1: Lone Star”, “Prodigal Son”, “Snowpiercer”, and “The Good Doctor” waiting for me to watch!

Those are shows that I had programmed last spring to record, so it recorded the new episodes of this season!

I’ve watched the first seven episodes of the new season of “9-1-1” and the first five episodes of “9-1-1: Lone Star” season two and both series are excellent this season!

“HIS VERY BEST, JIMMY CARTER, A LIFE”

This 2020 biography by Jonathan Alter was amazing! Even if you’ve read Carter’s books or biographies about the 39th president, this one is a must read!

Three things I learned that I didn’t already know about my idol:

He and Berry Gordy, Jr., the founder of Motown, share the same great-great grandfather; he wore his wristwatch face down because when he was in the Navy that’s how he’d see the time holding onto a periscope; and he doesn’t like contractions! (That’s one thing I disagree with President Carter! I love contractions (and exclamation points!!!!) 🙂

During his four-year presidency, President Carter appointed 262 federal judges, more than any other president. Of those, 55 were people of color and 40 women (five times more than all of the presidents before him — COMBINED!)

One of those was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who became a Supreme Court Justice under President Bill Clinton in 1993. (In his four years, Carter didn’t get a chance to place anyone on the Supreme Court.)

When asked after joining the Supreme Court if she always wanted to be a judge, RBG replied, “My answer is that it just wasn’t in the realm of the possible until Jimmy Carter became president and was determined to draw on the talent of all the people, not just some of them.”

LILLIAN CARTER FUNNY

This is still one of my favorite stories about President Carter’s mother Lillian.

When running for president, Carter said he would not lie. When pressed on that statement, his mother, Lillian, said the family may tell “white lies”. The female reporter asked her to define a “white lie”.

Lillian responded, “Remember when you knocked on the door and I went to the door and said I was glad to see you?”

“ALL THE WOMEN I AM”

Last weekend, on YouTube, Reba released her 2011 “All The Women I Am” concert from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, from that November.

I saw the show when it passed through the Quad Cities, in Moline, Illinois, a month earlier.

Since the concert is no longer available on YouTube, here’s my video of her last solo #1 hit, “Turn On The Radio”, from that show.

“KILLING EVE” — LITERALLY!

The fourth season of the incredible, award-winning AMC spy series, “Killing Eve” will be its last!

Earlier this week, it was announced production on the eight episodes will begin this summer and will air in 2022.

However, AMC added that there a “number of spin-off ideas” being developed.

Let’s hope the one they choose is all about Villanelle/Oksana Astankova (Jodie Comer)!

ENTERTAINMENT SPATS

In its October 2020 Fall TV Preview issue, “Entertainment Weekly” featured some of the best spats in entertainment.

My favorite was the love-hate relationship (mostly hate) between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

It was no secret that these two icons hated each other. It started in 1935 when Crawford married Davis’ love!

When they were making 1962’s “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane”, there’s a scene when Davis had to carry Crawford up the stairs. It’s been reported that Crawford wore weights on her legs to make herself heavier for Davis to carry!!!

Davis once said that Crawford “slept with every male star at MGM — except Lassie.”

And, in 1977, when Crawford died, Davis supposedly said, “You should never say any bad things about the dead, you should only say good. Joan Crawford is dead. Good!”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 13, 2020

We’ve made it to the middle of November and Thanksgiving is not far off now. I can’t wait to feast!

Thank you for taking time to check out my random thoughts!

DECORATED FOR THE HOLIDAYS

Christmas for me runs from November 1st through January 30th!

My trees are up, my cards are ready, and my tunes are putting a jingle in my step!

This is my main tree in the living room.

And, in my bedroom, my tree without icicles! Ironically, every ornament was picked up at yard sales this year in Decatur!

I love the idea so much that next year I’ll place all of my personal ornaments on this tree just to highlight them for you.

And, I’ll put the yard sale ornaments on the main tree with all the icicles!

Happy Holidays!

MY ONLY POLITICAL POST THIS WEEK!

This was too funny not to share! 🙂 If it makes you mad, just be diplomatic in your response.

“DISCO” WEEK!

I’ve already been enjoying Christmas music while I write out my holiday cards. However, Mariah Carey, Michael Buble, Reba, and The Carpenters are temporarily on pause.

I’ve been jamming out and partying to Kylie Minogue’s highly-anticipated new deluxe album, “Disco”!

What a perfect distraction from the U.S. presidential election and the dismal and sad Covid-19 pandemic!

So far, my favorite songs on the album are “Real Groove”, “Supernova”, “Last Chance”, “Where Does The DJ Go?”, “Fine Wine”, and “Spotlight”.

This is, in addition, to the first three single releases, “Say Something”, “Magic”, and “I Love It”.

GRADE: A

“SPOILER ALERT: THE HERO DIES”

This 2017 book is subtitled, “A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Other Four-Letter Words”.

It’s by TVLine editor-in-chief and former “Entertainment Weekly” and “TV Guide” columnist Michael Ausiello.

IT’S ABSOLUTELY THE BEST BOOK I’VE READ IN YEARS!

I’ve been wanting to read it since it came out, but real life and my own drama (D-I-V-O-R-C-E) got in the way.

By page eight, I was ready to date and fall in love in again. By page 26, I had tears streaming down my cheeks and I was happy no one was close enough to me as I was reading and walking by Lake Decatur to see me crying!

The book is amazing. While it’s a heartbreaking story of finding love, fighting for love, and then losing that love in a painful, year-long death sentence, it’s a beautiful love story!

Many will never experience the love that Michael and Kit did.

Ausiello knew just when to drop a funny line, a pop culture reference, or a naughty memory to bring a smile to my face alongside the tears.

One of the “other four-letter words” could be my favorite word (think “F).

Another is one I absolutely love, but I can’t use it without offending someone! (I won’t even give you a hint on that one, but if you’re busy this weekend and on Monday, I’ll see you next Tuesday!)

Also, after reading this beautiful book, “olive oil” take on a whole new meaning and I hope to get to use it one day! ❤️

“RATCHED”

While Netflix’s “Ratched” feels like another season of “American Horror Story”, it was definitely much better than the last two seasons!

It’s very twisted and entertaining. The color scheme in the sets and wardrobe is gorgeous and is a lead character in itself!

I absolutely love Sarah Paulson as Nurse Mildred Racthed! Well, I love Paulson in everything she does and I’d watch her read a phone book!

And I love Finn Wittrock for many reasons!

But, the dreamiest character in an early episode was Daniel Di Tomasso.

And, if there’s only one Emmy nomination for acting in this series, it’s definitely Tony Award winner and Oscar nominee Sophie Okonedo.

She plays Charlotte Wells, a patient suffering from multiple personalities! Okonedo is amazing to watch!

Another season is coming.

GRADE: B+

“THE ANGEL OF DARKNESS”

I just finished Caleb Carr’s 1997 follow-up to “The Alienist”.

If you watched season two of the TNT series, read this book. It’s totally a different story although Libby Hatch is still featured.

Some that die in the series live in the book and others bite the bullet (spoiler alert)!

DRINK UP!

While I’m one of the few Americans that have never seen any movie in the “Star Wars” series or “The Mandalorian”, I’d partake in this in a heartbeat.

Yo Baby Yoda!

It’s Grey Goose Vodka with muddled kiwi fruit, fresh lime, demerara syrup and bitters 🥝.

The cocktail was created by Michael Young, co-owner of the restaurant Vault in Banbridge in the United Kingdom.

THE MILLENNIUM SERIES

I just finished reading the last three books in Stieg Larsson’s Swedish crime series, which were written by David Lagercrantz.

As you might know, Larrsson wrote the first three books, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2005), “The Girl Who Played with Fire” (2006), and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (2007).

He turned them in and died before reaping any money or success from them!

Writer Lagercrantz wrote the next three books in the series with the Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist characters.

His books are “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (2015), “The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye” (2017), and “The Girl Who Lived Twice” (2019).

I definitely enjoyed the three newer books. They definitely had more of an American influence, while mainly still based in Stockholm, Sweden.

You can definitely tell the last were (likely) influenced by the Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election with this line: “a string of troll factories that spewed out fake news… not only caused chaos and influenced political elections.”

And, in the “Things That Make You Go Hmmm” category…

In the last book, there’s a very evil, crooked rich tycoon with several hotels around the world (including one in Las Vegas) with ties to Russia and a wife he cheats on that’s from Hungary (which neighbors Slovenia)!

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 23, 2020

Can you believe that Halloween is right around the corner?

Much colder air is invading the Midwest, so maybe rain will force me inside some this weekend to watch a horror movie or two!

I usually make it an annual tradition to watch “Hellbent”!

Thank you for taking the time to check out my Random Friday Thoughts. If you disagree with me, no problem. Just do it diplomatically!

CHRISTMAS STUFF — WHO GIVES A F***?

As many of you know, I decorate for Christmas on November 1st and leave it up until the end of January.

I know which Scrooge I won’t be inviting to my decorating party — First Lady Melania Trump.

Guess what, I’m one of those that “gives a f*** about Christmas stuff and decoration”! 🙂

Who knows, this might be the last Christmas you’ll have to worry with it in your current capacity!

VOTING

This may not appeal to your side of the aisle or your way of thinking, but it did make me laugh. 🙂

Who comes up with these things?

Regardless of who you vote for…

THE WOMAN THAT INSPIRED ME TO GO INTO TV NEWS

I can’t believe it’s now been 37 years since the woman that inspired me to get into the television news “rat race” was tragically killed in a car accident and drowning.

Jessica Savitch got her start, in radio, as a teenager, in New Jersey in the late-1960s.

Her first two televisions jobs were in Houston, Texas, in 1971, (as a reporter and the South’s first anchorwoman), and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fourth largest television market in the country, in 1972. She started as weekend anchor, but was promoted to the main co-anchor.

From there, NBC News came calling in 1977 and offered her a position as the Washington correspondent.  She eventually worked her way up to weekend anchor.

On October 23, 1983, Jessica, her Siberian Husky, Chewy, and her boyfriend, Martin Fischbein, were in New Hope, Pennsylvania, for dinner at Odette’s Restaurant.

When they left in heavy rain, she got in the backseat with Chewy. 

In the bad weather and low visibility, Fischbein missed the posted warning signs and the car dropped fifteen feet and sank in the mud to the bottom of the old Pennsylvania Canal’s Delaware Division.

All three were instantly killed!

On a happier note, Jessica inspired me to want to be a television weatherman.

This is me at Murray State University in 1985!!!

Here is the complete blog I wrote about Jessica on the anniversary of her death in 2012. (If you click on the link, it’ll open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/23/remembering-the-woman-that-inspired-me-to-go-into-television/

MORE CHICAGO CURIOSITIES!

Here are few more interesting things I found reading the 1991 Chicago Sun-Times book by Don Hayner and Tom McNamee called “Metro Chicago Almanac”.

  • While Illinois had a public school enrollment of 66% white students and 34% minority students, in Chicago’s public schools, minority students made up 88% of the count!
  • O’Hare Airport’s code is ORD because it used to be farmland and the airport’s first name was Orchard Place.
  • The incredibly silly motto of Park City, Illinois, in Lake County, incorporated in 1958, is: “Thanks to God and Our American Constitution that Righteousness and Our American Law Made Park City Possible“! Um, okay!
  • Four-time Grammy Award winning gospel singer Mahalia Jackson moved to Chicago at the age of 20 and called it home.

While she played all over the world, she NEVER sang in a nightclub or establishment that sold liquor. And, she never would sing jazz or blues!

And, since Christmas is now two months away. 🙂

SINCE I OPENED THE CHRISTMAS PANDORA’S BOX…

Here are two latest holiday offerings from the USPS — well, one is holiday and one is winter.

These are much better than the past few year’s stamps!

I really like these winter ones.

But, I still may choose these that I used in 2018.

As I stated in previous blogs, “I’m very intrigued by Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights… It symbolizes the spiritual “victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance”.  We could really use that in the world these days!!!!!!!!”

Diwali (also known as Dipavali) is celebrated in the fall in the northern hemisphere.  This year, it’ll be on Saturday, November 14th in the U.S.

“FRIED GREEN TOMATOES”

NBC is bringing the 1991 Oscar-nominated movie to television as a series with Reba McEntire!

Reba will play Idgie Threadgoode, who was played by Mary-Louise Parker in the movie. 

In this version, she returns to Whistle Stop after being away for a decade.

“Entertainment Weekly” reports “Upon her return, she must deal with a changed town, her estranged daughter, a faltering cafe, and a life-changing secret.”

NEW “FANCY” REMIX VIDEO

While I shared Dave Aude’s new “Fancy” remix by Reba McEntire a few weeks ago, there’s a new video out now!

It’s an incredible look at Reba as “Fancy” over the years!

HAPPY HEAVENLY BIRTHDAY HELEN REDDY

Iconic Grammy Award winning and legendary feminist Helen Reddy passed away in late September at the age of 78.

In her career, she charted 14 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 (three made it all the way to #1) and she was referred to as the “Queen of ’70s Pop”.

In honor of her birthday on October 25th, I’m counting down my 10 favorite Helen Reddy songs!

#10  “YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD”

#9     “AIN’T NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY”

#8    “EMOTION”

#7   “PEACEFUL”

#6  “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM”

#5 “LEAVE ME ALONE (RUBY RED DRESS)”

Interestingly enough, Helen condemned the song “Leave Me Alone” as repetitive and points out that you hear the title of the song 43 times in the single.  I bet you’ll go back and listen to it now and count along! 🙂  

When I saw her in concert in 2013, she didn’t perform it.

She once told an audience that it is “one song I will never ever sing again” and “that sort of songwriting doesn’t do much for me, but it was a hit. However, I don’t have to sing it anymore if I don’t want to, and I don’t want to.”

#4 “ANGIE BABY”

#3 “DELTA DAWN”

#2 “KEEP ON SINGING”

#1 “I AM WOMAN”

RIP Helen! I already miss you!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 18, 2020

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

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

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY!

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

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

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

“I AM WOMAN”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the movie trailer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

As you start to watch, be patient!

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

GRADE: A-

YES, PLEASE!

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

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

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

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

ALL READY FOR FALL!

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

Why so quickly?

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

“RUMOR HAS IT” TURNS 30!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“THE ALIENIST: ANGEL OF DARKNESS”

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

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

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

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

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

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

TED LEVINE

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

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

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

“MY LIFE AMONG THE SERIAL KILLERS”

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

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

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

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My Life: The First 35 Years

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

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

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

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

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

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

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

#13 KENT STATE MASSACRE (MAY 4, 1970)

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

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

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

#12 MADONNA MARRYING SEAN PENN (AUGUST 1985)

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

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

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

#11 JEFFREY DAHMER & MY MILWAUKEE SUMMER (1990)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a bonus, my favorite Vanessa Williams song!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here goes… enjoy the countdown and the videos!

#35 “GLORIA” (LAURA BRANIGAN) (1982)

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

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

#32 “YOU ARE” (LIONEL RICHIE) (1983)

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

MORE EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

#8 KAREN CARPENTER’S DEATH (1983)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, back to the countdown!

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

#29 “SOS” (ABBA) (1975)

#28 “DREAMS” (GABRIELLE) (1993)

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

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

#25 “TARZAN BOY” (BALTIMORA) (1985)

#24 “EMOTIONS” (MARIAH CAREY) (1991)

#23 “BORDERLINE” (MADONNA) (1984)

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

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

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#4 JIMMY CARTER BECOMING PRESIDENT (1976)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let the countdown roll on….

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

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

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

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

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

#16 “I AM WOMAN” (HELEN REDDY) (1972)

#15 “TWO OF HEARTS” (STACEY Q) (1986)

#14 “FASCINATED” (COMPANY B) (1987)

#13 “I LOVE MY RADIO” (TAFFY) (1986)

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

#11 “MISSING YOU” (JOHN WAITE) (1984)

“TAINTED LOVE” (SOFT CELL) (1982)

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

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

“OH L’AMOUR” (ERASURE) (1986)

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

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

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

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

EVENTS THAT SHAPED MY FIRST 35 YEARS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“XANADU” (OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN) (1980)

“IMAGINE” (JOHN LENNON) (1971)

“LET IT BE” (THE BEATLES) (1970)

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

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

Anthony

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

Why 101? There were “101 Dalmatians”! 🙂

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#93 “CHAINS” (PATTY LOVELESS) (1989)

#92 “FAITH” (GEORGE MICHAEL) (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#75 “1999” (PRINCE) (1982)

#74 “MAMMA MIA” (ABBA) (1975)

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

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

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

#70 “NO MORE WORDS” (BERLIN) (1984)

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

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

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

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

#65 “TRUE” (SPANDAU BALLET) (1983)

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

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

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

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

#60 “COME GO WITH ME” (EXPOSE) (1987)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#42 “TOO SHY” (KAJAGOOGOO) (1983)

#41 “BELIEVE” (CHER) (1998)

#40 “THE REFLEX” (DURAN DURAN) (1984)

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

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

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

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

My Future in Other People’s Words

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

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

I hope you find this deviation interesting and enlightening!

CHRIS McCANDLESS

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

He then hit the road to live a vagabond life.

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

Chris McCandless.jpeg

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

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

McCandless died in August 1992 at the age of 24.

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

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

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

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

“RHINESTONE COWBOY” (GLEN CAMPBELL)

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

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

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

I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway

Where hustle the name of the name of the game

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

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

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

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

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

Belle

“XANADU”

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

Xanadu

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

REBA McENTIRE IS TALKING TO ME!

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

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

Reba Truth

Neither are happy, but one offers some hope.

“THE CLOWN”

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

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

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

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

“THE BAR’S GETTING LOWER”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kylie Golden Tour

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kylie

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

Maybe I should re-consider Las Vegas? 🙂

Anthony

 

Goodbye 2019 & Hello 2020

The December holidays are underway (Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Kwanzaa) and that means that 2020 is quickly approaching, too!

This isn’t exactly a “Random Friday Thoughts”, but we can pretend that it is since there hasn’t been one in almost two months!

Enjoy your weekend and thank you for checking out my thoughts!

CHRISTMAS MAY BE OVER, BUT…

By this time, I know some of you have already taken down your Christmas tree 🎅🎄 and decorations!

To each his and her own, but that truly baffles me — just like watching people buy a tree 🎄 to decorate on the weekend before Christmas!  🎅

There is just something for me about the beauty and serenity of enjoying a lighted tree for months!

Christmas Tree 2019

 

Mine went up the first weekend of November and will stay up until the last day of January!

ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS COMMERCIAL!

Mariah Carey’s commercial for Walkers Crisps is so awesome!

“HUSTLERS” & AN OSCAR NOMINATION FOR JENNIFER LOPEZ?

“Hustlers” was an incredible movie and is based on a true story.

While Constance Wu was amazing and earned top billing in the movie, Jennifer Lopez is definitely the star attraction.

I predict that she’ll definitely hear her name called in the “Best Supporting Actress” category when the Oscar nominations come out.

Cardi B was fun and sassy in her minor role and you definitely see more of Lizzo than I was expecting — both were very sexy!

And, I was surprised that male genitalia made an appearance or two! 🙂

GRADE: A

“GOOD BOYS”

This was the worst movie I saw in 2019!

I knew it was going to be raunchy and expected it to be juvenile.  But, seriously, sixth grade boys in today’s internet world are not that clueless when it comes to sex!

Watch the trailer and save 90 minutes of your life and the money for the rental!

GRADE:  D

NEW YEAR OPTIMISM

Never Give Up.jpg

MY FIRST REQUEST FOR (LATE) 2020

While I’m already asking for a lot in planning the #NextChapter and #Pug 2020, if the big man upstairs is listening and taking requests, I have one more — a boyfriend!

Other than a pulse, here are a few requirements:

Boyfriend List.jpg

TWO MUSICAL WISHES FOR 2020

Since the state of country radio is pathetically sad (sexist and ageist, for starters) and will not play new music from Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, and Patty Loveless…

Reba Dolly Patty.JPG

I’d love for Reba, Dolly, and Patty to release an album together just like Loretta Lynn, Dolly and Tammy Wynette did in 1993 with “Honky Tonk Angels”!

HonkyTonkAngels.jpg

By the way, Dolly ended 2019 dancing up the Billboard charts with Galantis and Mr. Probz.

“Faith” was #1 at Dance radio stations!

My other musical wish in 2020 is to see Kylie Minogue in concert!

I was really wanting to see the “Golden Tour”, but it didn’t come to America.  However, in early December, Kylie released it on DVD!

And, it’s amazing!

Kylie Golden Tour.JPG

I bought the “Golden” album when it came out in April 2018 and this new combo not only comes with concert DVD, but two CDs of live music from the show!

Since I’m making a wish list, I might as well add another one or two!

wish.gif

In addition to wanting to see Kylie in concert in 2020, I’d also love to see Toni Braxton…

Toni Braxton.gif

and Vanessa Williams doing a Christmas show — all as Las Vegas residencies!!!!!

Vanessa Williams.gif

Those are the last three of my musical divas I’ve always wanted to see in concert, but haven’t!

Other than the Kylie “Golden Tour” CD/DVD combo, I bought five other albums in 2019.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS DELUXE ANNIVERSARY EDITION”

25 years after the classic “Merry Christmas” was released on November 1, 1994, Mariah Carey re-released the original with one new song on that disc and added a full new disc of previously unreleased material!

The “Deluxe Anniversary Edition” of “Merry Christmas” came out November 1, 2019.

MC Deluxe

It’s divine!  Just look at the track list on the second disc!

Track List CD2

And, for the first time ever, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Only one other Christmas song has topped that chart.  Back in 1958, Dave Seville and the Chipmunks reached the top for four weeks with “The Chipmunk Song”!

This year, Mariah also released a gorgeous new video directed by Joseph Kahn!  It’s phenomenal!

So, “Mariah Christmas” everyone!

“LOVER”

Taylor Swift’s seventh studio album “Lover” came out in August.  It’s almost perfect and is my favorite album of new material in 2019.

Taylor Swift Lover

Along with the hit title track, it features the #2 smashes, “Me” with Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco and “You Need To Calm Down”, Taylor’s love letter to her LGBTQ fans.

My favorite songs from the album are “I Forgot That You Existed”, “The Man”, “I Think He Knows”, “Cornelia Street”, “False God”, “You Need To Calm Down”, and “Afterglow”.

I hope the next single will be “I Forgot That You Existed”!

GRADE:  A

“MADAME X”

In June, Madonna released her first new album in four years with “Madame X”.

Madonna Madame X

While Top 40 radio ignored the album, Madonna found continued success in the dance clubs.

“Medellín” (with Colombian hottie Maluma), “I Rise, and “Crave” (with Swae Lee) became her 47th, 48th, and her record-extending 49th number one songs on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

“Crave” also got some play on Adult Contemporary radio and reached #11.

My favorite songs are “Medellín”, “God Control”, “Crave”, “Crazy”, and “I Don’t Search I Find”!

“God Control” is a very powerful and brutal video.

While some were disgusted that the video was so graphic, I’m with Madonna in the “sorry, not sorry” camp!

GRADE:  B

“STRONGER THAN THE TRUTH”

Reba McEntire’s latest album, “Stronger Than The Truth, is up for the “Best Country Album” Grammy Award and is one of the most underrated country albums ever!

The spring 2019 release was her first country album in four years.

Reba Truth

It debuted at #4 on the Billboard Country Albums chart, which is a great accomplishment since country music radio programmers are pretty much sexist, ageist, and racist in what they play!

Ouch!  But, it’s the truth!  Look at how many women, women of a certain age, and people of color that are on country radio these days.  It wouldn’t take long to count!

Forgive me for deviating from Reba’s new album — her divorce album.

Unlike “MDNA”, Madonna’s 2012 very angry and violent divorce album to her ex, Reba’s album deals with loss and heartbreak, but it does offer some hope and optimism.

On the album, Reba goes back to her 1980s country roots and it kicks off with the fun, upbeat “Swing All Night With You” and then Reba does what she does best.

She rips your heart out on a modern day “Rumor Has It”, the first song that we heard from the new album, the title track.

Heartbreak is what Reba is known for and she does it so well on this album with my two favorite ballads, “Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain” and “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Upbeat songs are also a Reba specialty and my absolute favorite song on the album is one of the two tracks on the Target exclusive.  Sadly, people that bought the album from amazon or iTunes will miss out on “While You Were Sleeping”.

It starts out sounding like a gentle love song, but quickly turns into a fun kiss off!!!!

My other favorite upbeat songs are “No U In Oklahoma” and “Storm in a Shot Glass”.

I’ve been a die-hard Reba fan since 1990’s “Rumor Has It” album.  And, it seems that regardless of what’s going on in my life when a new Reba album comes out, good or bad, there’s a song (or two) on the album that I feel that Reba is singing just to me.

Sadly, it’s a reality check ballad called “The Bar’s Getting Lower”.

Disclaimer:  I fully stand behind everything I said about country radio, but, in all fairness, part of the blame for the album’s commercial failure falls back on Reba and the record company.

There was no official video for the single “Freedom” or the title track when it was advanced!

GRADE:  B+

“LOVE”

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Michael Buble in concert twice and he’s an amazing performer and vocalist.

If Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas”, I think that Buble should be the “King of Christmas”.

MichaelBubleChristmas

His 2011 album “Christmas”, has already sold 4.3 million copies in the U.S. and was ranked at #24 on the biggest albums of the past decade chart — the highest ranked holiday album!!!

But, his late 2018 release, “Love” (stylized as ❤️ , the red heart emoji), is beautiful.

I’m including it here because I got it in 2019!

Michael Buble Love

You might not recognize Loren Allred, but it was her beautiful voice in “Never Enough” from “The Greatest Showman” for the Jenny Lind character!

GRADE:  B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

If you’re a fan of Christmas movies, I recommend “Last Christmas”.

Last Christmas

It isn’t a perfect movie, by far, but Emilia Clarke is absolutely stunning (funny and heartbreaking) and Henry Golding is still so dreamy. (I’m still swooning after multiple views of “Crazy Rich Asians”!)

There are holes in some story lines and some could have been shortened.

But, you can’t go wrong with a movie that features a George Michael soundtrack, Christmas, love, and the gorgeous Michelle Yeoh!

In a trying, complicated, divisive world, you gotta have faith at Christmas!

GRADE: B

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

George Michael and Wham’s original version of “Last Christmas” is perfect, but here are two of my other favorite versions.

I love the Cascada’s dance version of the song and the gorgeous Christmas setting and the beautiful friends make the video!

And, I absolutely love Darren Hayes’ version!

NOW, ON TO 2020!

As we put the highs and lows of 2019 and the 2010s behind us and look forward to new adventures (and a new president-elect) in 2020,  I wish you and yours a very Happy News Year!

gif-happy-new-year-2019

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony