Posts Tagged ‘Shania Twain’

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)

A Little “Name Dropping” Just For Fun

In life, there are times when we luck out and run into a “celebrity”.  It might be on vacation, at a county or state fair, or just a random encounter.

As a television meteorologist, my job is a public and high profile position (if you’re lucky and people watch the news and your channel!).

That wasn’t the case for me in Salisbury, Maryland.  No one watched my channel and I was never recognized in public in the year-and-a-half there!  However, I was much more well-known in the Quad Cities after 11.5 years and people did recognize me in Panama City, Florida.

I don’t buy into that whole “you’re a celebrity” thing, yet my career has given me better access to some big names in the world of entertainment and politics.

Celebrity.jpg

It’s also presented some not so fun moments.

In Lubbock, Texas, I was thrown against a car by an irate man and another time, I was likely urinated on in a crowd of Marilyn Manson fans after his concert while doing my live report (I felt a warm wetness on my leg while talking)!

MM.gif

And, in the Youngstown, Ohio, market, I was first on the scene of a shooting inside a car outside a school and had to look at the body until police covered it.  (At that point, we didn’t know if it was a murder or suicide.)

But, back to the positives.  For today’s blog, I’m “name dropping”!  Some of these people I met through work and some through sheer luck!

I’m going to start off with the three that mean the most to me, so these are not in chronological order of when I met them.

On a cold January morning in 2016 in Davenport, Iowa, I made my way through the crowd and got to say hello to former Secretary of State and former First Lady Hillary Clinton.

Hillary AP

Some people even thought this was photo-shopped and then I point out that her hand is on my shoulder! 🙂

The highlight of my move to Panama City, Florida, was meeting my childhood idol, President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter.

In July 2017, I got up in the middle of the night and drove almost four hours through the backwoods of Florida, Alabama and Georgia to Plains, Georgia, to hear President Carter give a sermon at his church.

Autograph Carters

After getting back home, I sent the Carters a “70th Anniversary” card with our photo.  I was totally shocked when they sent it back to me — autographed!

I’ve told this story many times, but I’ll tell it again.  As an 12-year-old in Mayfield, Kentucky, in 1976, I got to go into the voting booth with my grandmother and pull the lever for Jimmy Carter.  I did it again in 1980!

In April 2005, I was living in Salisbury, Maryland and working for the ABC affiliate.  We also broadcast the CW network that aired the “Reba” comedy series.

Reba Anthony 2005

To kick off her tour that spring in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we took a bus with twenty viewers to see that cold, windy outdoor show.  Two of those lucky people (and me) got to go backstage and meet Reba.

She was just as you’d imagine her to be — sweet and delightful.  Here are the framed memories of that night.

Reba Art

And, in 2014, I took my first awkward selfie with Shania Twain in Las Vegas, when she walked out into the crowd!

AP Shania

As I name drop the people I’ve been fortunate to meet, I so wished that we had had smartphones earlier than we did.  I could have had photos of the others that I’ve met. 🙂

THE SOS BAND — 1984

In 1984, while a student at Murray State University in western Kentucky, I was doing the nightly weather on the campus television station and I started a music countdown show called “Music Visions”.

The first “celebrity” that I got to meet for the show and in my life was the group, The SOS Band, which was in concert at Murray State.

You might remember them from their #3 Billboard Hot 100 hit, “Take Your Time (Do It Right)”.

PAULA ABDUL —  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — DECEMBER 2019

When I was last in Las Vegas this past December, not only did I get to see Paula Abdul’s great “Forever Your Girl” residency, I got a hug from her as she passed through the crowd during that song! 🙂

LIONEL RICHIE — LAS VEGAS — DECEMBER 2017

I met Lionel before his concert and when I said “Hello” (get it?) and extended my hand, he grabs me and says, “I’m a hugger!”

Capture2

MADELEINE ALBRIGHT — First Female U. S. Secretary of State (in President Bill Clinton’s administration)

In 1999, while working as a reporter and weathercaster in Youngstown, Ohio, I interviewed Secretary of State Albright.   She was so gracious and kind and, at the time, she was the highest ranking political figure I’d ever met.

Madeleine Albright.jpg

I interviewed her about several things, but we focused on Serbian President Slobodan Milošević.

Once I got back to the station, I practiced saying his name over and over so that it’d roll off my tongue easily when I did my live report.

It did. But, then I flubbed an English word that followed next! 🙂

MARTHA LAYNE COLLINS —  MAYFIELD, KENTUCKY — 1983

I met Collins while she was campaigning for her successful bid to become the first (and only) female Kentucky Governor.

Martha Layne Collins.jpg

LEANN RIMES — SALISBURY, MARYLAND — NOVEMBER 2005

LeAnn is so sweet and adorable!

AnthonyLeAnn

RANDY TRAVIS — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

This was an interesting meeting during Rhinelander’s “Hodag Music Festival” at my first real television job.

It was a little awkward because Randy was so kind and talkative and the whole time, his ex-wife/manager watched us like a hawk!

Randy Travis.jpg

RHETT AKINS — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Rhett and I share the same birthday, even though I’m older.  I interviewed him a school where he was reading to students.

By the way, he’s the father of current country music superstar Thomas Rhett!

Akins scored his first Top 5 hit in 1995 with “That Ain’t My Truck”!

Rhett Akins.jpg

LEE ANN WOMACK — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

I met Lee Ann as her first two singles were moving up the country charts.  While I love her music and I saw her in concert years later opening for Reba, her demeanor was very short and curt that day.

I was hoping that she was just having a bad day.  However, throughout the years, while talking with others in the business, she must have had many bad days when it came to reporters and interviews!

Lee Ann Womack.jpg

GARY ALLAN — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Not only was Gary dreamy and so kind in the interview early in the day, I saw him at his show that night.

After the show, he told me that got a laugh out of the fact that people stopped him in K-Mart before the show after seeing our interview on the news! 🙂

LONESTAR — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

Luckily, I interviewed Richie McDonald and Dean Sams and I didn’t have to even see close-minded homophobe John Rich!

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BRAD PAISLEY — CANFIELD, OHIO — 2001

Interviewing Brad Paisley 2001

THE BAND PERRY — DAVENPORT, IOWA — AUGUST 2012

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FAITH HILL — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

Anthony & Faith Hill

TIM McGRAW — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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PAM TILLIS — BETTENDORF, IOWA — NOVEMBER 2012

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PAM TILLIS & LORRIE MORGAN — CLINTON, IOWA — JUNE 2014

Anthony, Pam, & Lorrie

TRACY LAWRENCE — LUBBOCK, TEXAS (1997) & DAVENPORT, IOWA (2011)

I first interviewed Tracy when I was working in Lubbock, Texas.  We crossed paths again when I got to introduce him at a concert at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport, Iowa.

Both times, he was warm and down-to-earth!

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NEAL McCOY  — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

EMILIO — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — JULY 1996

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TY ENGLAND — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Ty England

STEPHANIE BENTLEY — RHINELANDER, WISCONSIN — 1996

Stephanie Bentley

DAVID KERSH — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

David was such a sweet person (and no I didn’t say “Goodnight Sweetheart” to him) and was very grateful for the television exposure.

Sadly, after a string of hits from 1996-1998, he had to take time off in 1999 for vocal strain and left the music business in 2005.

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TARA DAWN HOLLAND — Miss America 1997 — LUBBOCK, TEXAS

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CAROL CHANNING — LUBBOCK, TEXAS — 1997

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DEE DEE MYERS  — Bill Clinton’s press secretary in 1993 & 1994 

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C. EVERETT KOOP, Surgeon General, 1992-1999

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KAY BAILEY HUTCHINSON, Republican Texas U.S. Senator & PHIL GRAMM, Republican Texas U.S. Senator

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ED RENDELL, former Pennsylvania Governor

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DENISE BROWN, sister of Nicole Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s murdered wife

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JIM TRESSEL, former Ohio State University and Youngstown State University football coach

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MOLLY SIMS — And, before any of these celebrities I’ve met through my career, I worked at a college textbook company in Murray, Kentucky, for the Sims family.  Their adolescent daughter was always around in the warehouse.

 
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Molly Sims would go on to become a model and staple on MTV.

WISHFUL THINKING!

Outside of music, I still want to meet Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)

Dexter-michael-c-hall

Gillian Anderson (“The X-Files” and “Hannibal”)

Gillian Anderson

and Laura Linney (“Ozark” and “Tales of the City” series)!

Mary Ann

Now, there are four other singers that I’ve seen in concert a total of ten times, but I’ve never gotten to meet them.

It’ll have to be luck if I ever do!

Madonna MDNA

I’ve seen Madonna four times…

Madonna

Lady Gaga three times…

Gaga Las Vegas

Britney Spears twice…

Britney

and Mariah Carey once!

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

So, tell me who you’ve met!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — April 27, 2018

It’s crazy to believe that we’re already heading into May!  Here’s to a great weekend and thank you for taking the time to check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

AMERICA THE BEAUTIFUL

While a sad occasion, Barbara Bush’s funeral last weekend brought out the best of both sides.

America the Beautiful

Sadly, President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn were unable to attend.

The Carter Center announced that the former president was “on a private trip overseas, and although she is recovering, Mrs. Carter is not yet able to travel following her recent intestinal surgery.”

THAT DON’T IMPRESS ME MUCH!

Canadian country and pop superstar Shania Twain was at the center of a social media storm last weekend.

I admit that I, too, was flabbergasted when she said she would have voted for Donald Trump in 2016!

Twain told “The Guardian”, “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest. Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?”

Okay, everyone has a right to their opinion.  But, just because you’re “honest” doesn’t mean your views are on the right side of history!  And, it doesn’t mean you’re qualified!

Well, needless to say, there was an internet uproar that ranged from “No”, “she’s a has been”, “who”, and this popular meme.

whatever

By Sunday afternoon, Twain was in damage control posting four messages on her Twitter page.

Twain 1Twain 2Twain 3Twain 4

My last thoughts on the matter is that new stars get media training to know how and what to say and what not to say.  She’s not a newcomer, so if that question was awkward, she could have danced around it.

Finally, I still love her music, I’m glad I saw her in concert, and that she was my first awkward attempt at a selfie.

AP Shania

It helped me be more experienced for the selfie that truly mattered. 🙂

Hillary AP

AVICII — DEAD AT 28

Last Friday, I was shocked to learn of the sudden death of Swedish electronic music DJ Avicii in Muscat, Oman.

Avicii and Madonna

At the time, the family said, “It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii… The family is devastated…”

While not publicly announced, sources close to family now says Avicii died from an apparent suicide.

“Entertainment Weekly” obtained this statement, “Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions… When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music. He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness. He could not go on any longer. He wanted to find peace.”

I know he had experienced health issues and anxiety in the past that prompted him to give up touring in 2016.  But, this is still a shock.

Avicii worked with artists as diverse as Madonna, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and Coldplay.

Avicii True

His debut album, “True”, was my #11 album of the 2013 and “Wake Me Up” was the biggest hit of his career.

BONUS — AVICII + MADONNA (“GIRL GONE WILD”)

So young and so sad!

SHOCKING PRESIDENTIAL BEHAVIOR (PART 2)

RL Stahl

In her “Reporting Live” autobiography, CBS News and “60 Minutes” reporter Lesley Stahl, talks about the time George H. W. Bush, after a contentious interview with Dan Rather, made a rather rude comment comparing her to Rather.

While the microphone was still open, Bush said, “The bastard didn’t lay a glove on me”adding that Rather made “Leslie Stahl look like a pussy.”  (Normally, I’d not spell that word out, but Stahl was brave enough to do it in her book.)

George-H-W-Bush-wife-Barbara-Bush

Bush’s camp told Stahl that he meant to say “pussycat”.

However, Bush’s public apology only made matters worse.  He said, “If I had known the microphone was on, I wouldn’t have done it at all.”

What?  He only apologized because the microphone was still on and not for his juvenile vulgarity?

“LOOKING”

Last week, Comcast gave its customers free access to HBO and other networks.  The last time they did this, I caught the first season of “The Leftovers”.  I still need to see seasons two and three.

This time, I binge-watched seasons one and two (18 30-minute episodes) of the LGBT series, “Looking”, and “Looking: The Movie”, which wrapped up the cancelled-too-soon series.

Looking

It’s the story of three friends, Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), and Dom (Murray Bartlett) as they navigate life in San Francisco’s Castro District.

The supporting cast was amazing, too.

Doris (Lauren Weedman), Dom’s roommate and best friend from childhood, was too funny, and Patrick’s boyfriends (over the two seasons), Richie (Raul Castillo) and Kevin (Russell Tovey) were too sexy.

While the eighteen regular episodes were entertaining and funny, “The Movie” was incredible.

Spoiler alert:  This “movie” trailer might give something away that happened in seasons one and two!

It brought back a lot of memories of me and my party days of my 20s and 30s.

It made me miss one of my friends that’s a space cadet and was never good at keeping in touch and my former “best friend” that chooses not to stay in touch.  Bummer!

“THE SHAPE OF WATER” WORDS OF WISDOM

“Never trust a man even if he looks flat down there!”

Shape of Water

FINAL “SCANDAL” THOUGHTS

Here’s another funny quote between President Mellie Grant (Bellamy Young) and her former Chief of Staff Elizabeth North (Portia de Rossi).

Mellie:  “You don’t like me!”

Liz:  “I don’t like people!”

Mellie

I never bought into mild-mannered Gladiator Quinn Perkins becoming a B-613 killing machine.

When Huck, Charlie, and Quinn would torture and/or kill “bad” people or people they needed information from, the whole wrapping them in saran wrap was either paying homage to or ripping off “Dexter”!

Which brings me around to sharing this one again — after all Christmas is about eight months away! 🙂

Dexter Elf

BOOKS #12, #13, & #14

After giving up on “The Walking Dead” following the season eight finale, I just finished reading my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth books of the year.

This is a technicality — I just finished “The Walking Dead” Compendium One, Two, and Three that I got for Christmas two years ago.

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The mammoth books, literally weighing in at around five pounds each, cover the graphics novels from issues 1 through 144.

It was interesting to read them since some characters on the TV series are still alive and they are dead in the books and vice versa.  Also, there are some characters in the TV show that are not in the books.

Toward the end of the third book, we’re introduced to “The Whisperers”, which was an interesting twist.

However, it’s not enough to bring me back for season nine of the AMC series!

“AUTOMATIC” “LOOKING” BONUS

The Pointer Sisters took “Automatic” to the Top 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1984 (#2 Dance).

The song, by Ultra Nate, appeared in a nightclub scene in the “Looking” movie (2016).  However, her version topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs Chart in 2007.

It’s just one of her 20 Top Ten Billboard Dance hits! (Seven have reached #1!)

And, check out this hot video.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

2017: My Favorite Songs

What’s your favorite song of 2017?  Was it pop, country, dance, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, or a new Christmas song?

I’m ready to share my 20 favorites of the year.  Some I know might be on your list and there are some many of you may not have even heard.

Best Songs

So, before I start, a quick look back over the years.  In 2013, my favorite song (and video) was Hailey Rowe’s “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.

In 2014, it was “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift and Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me” was tops for me in 2015.

My favorite song last year was “Faded” by Alan Walker (featuring Iselin Solheim).

Here’s an interesting fact for you — the video has been viewed an incredible 1.44 billion (that’s BILLION, with a “B”) times!

20

“THE STAR” — MARIAH CAREY

 

 

19

“WE WERE THAT SONG” — BRETT KISSEL

18

“THERE FOR YOU” — MARTIN GARRIX ft. TROYE SIVAN

Bonus

Troye Sivan had my #2 song of last year, “Youth”

#17

“ALONE” — ALAN WALKER

P.S. Alan Walker, please release an album of all of your songs.  I buy CDs, but not downloads. 🙂

16

“I CAME HERE FOR LOVE” — SIGALA ft. ELLA EYRE

15

“SAY YOU WON’T LET GO” — JAMES ARTHUR

#14 Movie

“BODY LIKE A BACK ROAD” — SAM HUNT

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD” — SHANIA TWAIN

12

“YOUR SONG” — RITA ORA

11

“I NEED YOU” — ARMIN VAN BUUREN & GARIBAY ft. OLAF BLACKWOOD

Bonus

I love Armin van Buuren’s music and “Sunny Days” with Josh Cumbee was also an incredible track this year!

10

“PRAYING” — KESHA

9

“LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE” — LEANN RIMES

8

“IT AIN’T ME” — KYGO ft. SELENA GOMEZ

#7 CD

“LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” — TAYLOR SWIFT

6

“MILLION REASONS” — LADY GAGA

5

“THERE’S NOTHING HOLDIN’ ME BACK” — SHAWN MENDES

4

“I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER” — ZAYN & TAYLOR SWIFT

Holiday Bonus

Watching season one of Netflix’s incredible series “Master of  None” with Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, I discovered this amazing song.

It’s “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” from Father John Misty’s 2015 album, “I Love You, Honeybear”.

And, when I fell in love with the song on the show, I didn’t know how gorgeous Father John Misty (real name: Josh Tillman) was!  I do now.

FJM

green 3

“BACK TO GOD” — REBA

2

“I FEEL IT COMING” — THE WEEKND ft. DAFT PUNK

#1 MOVIE

“SILENCE” — MARSHMELLO ft. KHALID

Anthony

2017: My Favorite Albums

The music business is changing.

People still buy albums, but not as many as in the past.  It’s easier to download songs you like and not buy the complete package.

I guess I fall into the first category since I only bought seven new releases in 2017!

albums

Before I get to my countdown, here’s a recap of my favorite albums of this decade:

“Night Works” – Scissor Sisters (2010); “Femme Fatale” – Britney Spears (2011); “MDNA” – Madonna (2012); “Push Rewind” – Chris Wallace (2013); (tie) “The Violet Flame (Erasure) and “Sex + Love” (Enrique Iglesias) (2014); “Deja Vu” – Giorgio Moroder (2015); and my favorite album last year was:

Glory BS

8

“MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS” — REBA

REBA

#7 CD

“LOSING SLEEP” — CHRIS YOUNG

Chris Young Losing Sleep

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“WE WERE THAT SONG” — BRETT KISSEL

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5

“RAINBOW” — KESHA

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“WOMAN” contains adult language!

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“NOW” — SHANIA TWAIN

Now

3

“reputation” — TAYLOR SWIFT

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2

“SING IT NOW:  SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE” — REBA

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1

“REMNANTS” — LEANN RIMES

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Anthony

 

Random Friday Thoughts — December 8, 2017

While I compile my “best of” lists of movies, songs, and albums of 2017 that people don’t look at other than me, I’m down to my last two “Random Friday Thoughts” of the year.

Thank you always for taking the time to check out what I’m thinking about weekly (or whenever I blog).

FORGIVENESS

What are your thoughts on forgiving people and moving on?

I just read the most amazing “Time” magazine article, “Murder, Race And Mercy: Stories from Charleston” by David Von Drehle with Jay Newton-Small and Maya Rhodan.

It introduced us to the nine people killed (ages 26 to 87) at the Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, on a June night in 2015.

Charleston

We also got to know the other five people at the church that night (three in the room with the shooter) and two others in a different part of the church.

It’s a tragedy that not only ripped apart the lives of the families and loved ones of those in the church that night, but also the basic fabric of “love thy neighbor” in that community and across America.  It proved, once again, that hatred and ignorance is alive in this country.

In just about a minute-and-a-half, investigators say 77 bullets were fired, some at point blank.  The self-proclaimed white supremacist shooter went to the church that night with one purpose — to kill black church goers — even sitting through a Bible study lesson before opening fire when the group started praying!

Less than two days later, at the shooter’s first court appearance (via a television monitor), family members got to tell him what they were thinking.

One daughter of 70-year-old victim Ethel Lance told him, “I forgive you.  You took something very precious away from me.  I will never get to talk to her ever again — but I forgive you, and have mercy on your soul… if God forgives you, I forgive you.”  

However, her sister, a reverend, says “I understand that forgiveness is a process.  Some people can automatically forgive, but I’m not there yet.  And I know that God is not going to look at me any differently because I haven’t forgiven *** yet.” (***She spoke the shooter’s name, which I refuse to use in the cases of mass shootings.  Many want fame and I’ll not give in to that by sharing their names!)

That disagreement drove the sisters apart.

So, what are you thoughts?  Could you forgive that person so easily?

I know it wasn’t my family that was killed, but it was my fellow man and it was done out of hatred.  It may not be Christian, but I hope he’s executed sooner rather than later.

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In January 2017, he was formally sentenced to death by lethal injection and in the spring of this year, he was transferred to a maximum-security prison in Indiana awaiting his execution.

Speaking of executions:  the most notable person to be executed at this prison (June 2011) was the man behind the Oklahoma City bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in 1995 that killed 168 people and hurt more than 600 others.

If you’d like to read the compelling, original “Time” article, here’s the link:

http://time.com/time-magazine-charleston-shooting-cover-story/

ORLANDO STRONG AND PULSE NIGHTCLUB

Ever since I first wrote about the Pulse Nightclub massacre in the summer of 2016, I vowed that as long as I blog, I’ll remember the victims.

I especially remember 32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero.

Christmas Was Perfect

In June 2016, here’s what I wrote: “Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.”

Christopher and Juan are still not forgotten this Christmas!

“HOUSE OF CARDS”

Netflix’s hit series will return in 2018 for the sixth and final season with eight episodes.

Kevin Spacey is out and Robin Wright will lead the cast.

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Madam President Claire Underwood, we’re ready for you to lead in 2018!

GLUTTONS

Disclaimer:  I love buffets and I sample a lot of food when I indulge — especially desserts.  However, I’ve really cut back on how many I eat.

Second Disclaimer:  At the holidays, I love to sample finger foods and baked treats every chances I get!

However, it blows my mind when I see the atrocious food offerings that restaurants and sports venues offer on their menus or free to customers that can finish in a certain amount of time.

4 LB

In 2014, at Tampa Bay Rays Tropicana Stadium, you could get this four-pound, $30 heart attack waiting to happen — eight patties plus one-half pound of bacon (32 slices).  It’s also served with a pound of fries!

If you finished it, you won two free tickets to a future Rays game and a commemorative t-shirt!

Then there’s the Denny’s Beer Barrel Pub in Clearfield, Pennsylvania, features a 6-pound “bruiser” burger.

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Or, what about the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas, which features a 72-ounce steak — that’s almost a 5-pound steak!!!!!!!!

72ozSteaklarger

Seriously, am I the only one that thinks this is sad and gross?  And, to think those animals were partly raised and slaughtered just to make gluttons out of Americans!

I gave up beef years ago and I’m seriously thinking of making a few other animal groups safe, too!

Happier thoughts!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

MORE TURMOIL FROM THE WHITE HOUSE

Oops!

Hillary Laughing.gif

Food for thought:  Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in all five of her campaigns! Sadly, more votes doesn’t always equal win!

It never occurred to me or I didn’t remember that she even had more votes than Barack Obama in 2008.

WALMART PULLS T-SHIRTS

Walmart is now longer offering a hateful t-shirt that was popular during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The back of the shirt read, “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED”!

The Radio Television Digital News Director Association (RTDNA) convinced the retailer to drop the shirt you could order online through a third party.

Shirts

As you can see from the photo, it was popular among some of one candidate’s followers!

BRITNEY SPEARS’ CHRISTMAS TREE

BS Tree

“A DOG’S PURPOSE”

DREADFUL & DEPRESSING!

I was given this movie back in May, but didn’t feel inclined to watch it until this past weekend.

The premise is that a dog comes into our lives for a reason and then they die and come back into someone’s else’s life.

spoiler-alert

After a puppy is euthanized, a golden retriever dies, and then a dog is adopted and abandoned in a white trash front yard on a chain, I had all I could take.  73 minutes into the movie, I ejected it and didn’t finish it.

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The only highlight in the movie was discovering the sexy KJ Apa, the 20-year-old New Zealand actor (Archie on the CW’s “Riverdale”).

Interesting enough, it was a box office smash bringing in about $196 million in the U.S. alone and a sequel is planned!

No thanks!

GRADE:  D

PERFECT TIME TO REMEMBER MY GOLDEN!

ABBA Santa Christmas 2001

And, how about Miss ABBA and Mr. Panda with Ms. Santa!

ABBA Panda Christmas 2008 001

“GOOD TIME”

I never saw any of the “Twilight” movies or any of Robert Pattinson’s movies.

I took a chance on the crime drama “Good Time” and I was very impressed with his acting.

He plays “Connie”, a man who takes care of his mentally challenged, younger adult brother.

Connie decides they’re going to rob a bank of $65,000, and it appears they get away with it.  However, a dye pack is slipped into the money bag, which explodes in the getaway car.

That’s when police start catch up with them.  One is taken to jail and the other tries to spring his brother for the rest of the movie.

It’s nominated for five Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Pattison), Best Supporting Male (Benny Safdie), Best Supporting Female (Taliah Lennice Webster), Best Director (Benny & Josh Safdie), Best Editing, and Best Cinematography.

 

GRADE:  B

‘THE WALKING DEAD”

I made it to the 90-minute winter finale, which airs Sunday, December 10th.

The eighth season of “The Walking Dead” is still on life support with me — I’m watching it episode by episode and I keep saying that the next one will be my last.

The series is now down to its lowest ratings since the end of season two, when ratings were still climbing!

Only 7.47 million people watched last week’s episode compared to the 17.03 million that watched the season seven premiere!

I’ll admit after a dismal season, I did like episode five that focused mostly on Negan and Father Gabriel trapped in a trailer surrounded by walkers!

Also, for years now, I’ve been hoping that a certain youngster would meet an untimely death.

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In episode six, it almost happened and I was freaking out.  I’ve changed my mind now since he’s become more human and mature!

And, I hope to see more of Siddiq (Avi Nash), the man that Rick shot at and Carl befriended with food and water.

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Also, Callan McAuliffe, who plays Dillon, a Savior, is a nice, cute addition.

SHANIA LOOKED AMAZING!

Shania Twain made a wintry entrance and looked and sounded amazing at her last performance of 2017 — the Grey Cup halftime show.

 

 

OXYMORON

def oxymoron

This was parked outside my apartment building.  So, is this an “oxymoron” or just a moron?

Strike that!  It’s the holidays.  It’s an oxymoron!

Oxymoron

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 1, 2017

Welcome to December!

I hope you’re getting into the holiday spirit.  I am, but I’m also ready for this dreadful year to end and start anew in 2018.

While I’m glad the upcoming royal wedding is giving us a slight breather from mass shootings and the shameful cesspool of sexual misconduct in Hollywood, television news, and politics, I’m already over the talk of Prince Harry and his actress fiancee. *

With this comment, you can tell that starting anew and positive is still a month away. 🙂

* Oops, I spoke too soon.  After I wrote that paragraph earlier in the week, Matt Lauer was fired from “The Today Show”!

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

“WORLD AIDS DAY”

December 1st is “World AIDS Day”.

It was started in 1988 to raise awareness about the spread of HIV and the AIDS pandemic.

World-AIDS-Day-2012_0

While we now have medications, when that taken properly, that allow those living with HIV to live a long, full life, that wasn’t always the case.

We still have a world of people that are still not being treated for HIV and AIDS because of the cost of medication and the fact that many in this country and the world don’t even know they’re infected with HIV.

People, if you’re sexually active (even in a relationship), get tested!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

HIV-POSITIVE & UNDETECTABLE

Great news coming in the fight against the spread of HIV.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now says that HIV-positive people that are being treated and with undetectable viral loads CANNOT spread the HIV virus to others.

This is fantastic news in the fight against HIV and for serodiscordant couples — where one is HIV-positive and one is HIV-negative.

While this is a huge step forward, people still need to be aware of the other sexually transmitted infections out there that are rampant in both the LGBT and straight communities!

THANKING PRESIDENT BUSH

While I agreed with a few things that President George W. Bush did as Texas Governor when I lived in Lubbock in 1997, we were usually at odds in our thinking process, especially when he was Commander-in-Chief.

STOP AIDS

One of the things I’m most proud of came in the early part of his presidency.

In his 2003 State of the Union message, President Bush committed $15 billion (that’s billions with a “B”) to fight AIDS in Africa in what would be knows as PEPFAR (the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief).

It’s still one of the biggest programs ever to fight a single disease by any country.

Thank you again, President Bush!

By the way, I still love former First Lady Laura Bush and I’d love to meet President and Mrs. Bush one day to chat!

Laura Bush

LOVE ANA’S HONESTY!

If you’re not familiar with Ana Navarro, she’s a Republican strategist and political commentator who’s not afraid to be honest — she doesn’t care what political party!

CONGRATS REBA!

Congratulations to Reba McEntire on the Grammys nomination for her first gospel album, “Sing It Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”!

reba-faith

It earned a nomination in the BEST ROOTS GOSPEL ALBUM category.

While “Pray To God” didn’t get nominated, Reba is getting country radio airplay for the latest single, “God and My Girlfriends”!

It debuted on the Billboard Country Airplay chart at #54 and is expected to move up some week!

“CALL ME BY YOUR NAME”

“Call Me By Your Name”, the critically-acclaimed LGBT love story, is the movie that I most want to see.  But, it won’t be until early 2018 that I’ll get that chance since it’s only in limited release now.

However, it opened in four theaters last weekend and grossed an eye-opening $103,233 per screen average.

That was the biggest per screen average of 2017 and it was good enough to debut at #14 for the weekend ($412,932) — again, in just 4 theaters!!!

call me

“BEACH RATS”

While I await the wide release of “Call Me By Your Name”, I checked out “Beach Rats”, a movie that’s getting a lot of buzz, too.

It’s nominated for two Film Independent Spirit Awards — for Best Male Lead (Harris Dickinson) and Best Cinematography.

21-year-old East London newcomer Dickinson plays Frankie, a young man wasting away his summer hanging out with his friends on the Brooklyn boardwalk drinking, doing drugs, and watching fireworks.

This isn’t just a “coming-of-age” summer for Frankie.  His dad is dying of cancer and he’s secretly meeting older men for sex in public wooded areas.  The struggle with his sexuality is something he keeps from his girlfriend, his family, and his friends for much of the movie.

Dickinson is a bright new talent and earns the rave reviews he’s getting for his acting.  And, that has nothing to do with how cute he is or his gorgeous body! 🙂

GRADE:  A-

“MUDBOUND”

This poignant Netflix drama takes place in poverty-stricken and backwards Mississippi in the 1940s.

It tells the story of a white family with a racist patriarch that ends up having to live on the land of an African American family.

Casey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Rob Morgan, and Jonathan Banks lead an excellent cast.

However, the standouts are Garrett Hedlund and Jason Mitchell, the two sons — one from each family — returning from war.  The friendship that forms between them is very touching.

I know it’s a period piece, but the frequency of use of the n-word, the blatant racism, and the graphic violence at the hands of the Ku Klux Klan are still painful to watch.  But, the movie is powerful.

I really wish I had seen more of Mary J. Blige.

If you check out “Mudbound”, stay for the amazing Blige song playing over the credits.

GRADE:  B

BINGE WATCH “THE BRAVE”

I’m really enjoying this freshman NBC action series.

The winter finale was very suspenseful and with the holidays, you have a chance to binge watch the nine episodes before it returns January 1, 2018!

For God & Country - Season Pilot

Here’s what I had to say about the series earlier in the fall:

I checked out one of the new fall series, “The Brave”, on NBC, mainly because I have a crush on Mike Vogel (“Cloverfield” and “Under The Dome”).  It was very entertaining and suspenseful and the pilot episode ended with a major cliffhanger, so I’ll be back next week to see what happens.

And, in November, I mentioned the series again and added, Still enjoying this thriller, yet it seems like every time they go up against terrorists, they always win without causalities.  That’s a good thing because this show has the most beautiful cast!

JAMES TAYLOR

Speaking of beautiful, I was just reading an old “Rolling Stone” magazine and came across this 1969 photo of James Taylor!  Holy moly!

JT 1969

You probably remember him from his hits “Fire and Rain” (#3, 1970) and “You’ve Got A Friend” (#1, 1971).

COUNTRY RADIO SHOWING A LITTLE LOVE FOR…

Shania Twain’s second single from “Now”, “We Got Something They Don’t” is getting some radio airplay at country stations.

The lead single, “Life’s About to Get Good” only reached #33 on Billboard Country, but it reached #12 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

MOST PLAYED CHRISTMAS SONGS

Christmas music is taking over the airwaves now, especially at adult contemporary stations, which have gone to 24-hour holiday music.

Earlier this week, I shared the 10 most played Christmas songs last year, according to Nielsen Music.

Let me just say that I was shocked at what was #1!

It wasn’t “All I Want For Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey or, sadly, my favorite Christmas song, “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters.

The most played Christmas song last year was by a Puerto Rican singer.  It was released in 1970 and didn’t even crack the Top 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it peaked at #44.

#1

Find out what that song is and if your guess was in the Top Ten!  Click on the link.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/27/oh-lord-christmas-music/

“LAST CHRISTMAS”

I don’t even want to think of my “Last Christmas” because it would sadden me.

However, this fun, upbeat, chic remake of the Wham! classic is okay to think about. 🙂

If you’ve never seen Cascada’s cool version, here it is.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My 20 Favorite Lionel Richie Songs

I just booked a solo trip to Vegas this December to see one of my favorite cities decked out in its Christmas best.

And, wouldn’t it just be too much fun if there’s snow since I won’t likely see any in Panama City, Florida!

las-vegas-snow

Lionel Richie will be there the same week at The Axis at Planet Hollywood!

Lionel Mariah

I had tickets to see Lionel and Mariah Carey this past May in Nashville, Tennessee, but the tour was postponed and then Nashville wasn’t on the updated tour itinerary when it kicked off.

So, while I search for tickets, enjoy this trip down memory lane as I share with you my 20 favorite Lionel Richie Songs (okay, there are a few Commodores songs on the list and a duet with Diana Ross)!

What are your favorites???

lionel

For the record, narrowing this list down wasn’t easy.   As a solo artist, Lionel has 16 Hot 100 hits with thirteen of them reaching the Top Ten and five reaching #1!

With the Commodores, he also had 16 Hot 100 hits.  Nine reached the Top Ten and two topped the charts.

So, do the math — that’s 32 Top 40 hits with 22 reaching the Top Ten and making it to the top!

20

“THREE TIMES A LADY” (with the Commodores) (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1978)

19

DEEP RIVER WOMAN” (#71 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1987)

 

#18

“LADY (YOU BRING ME UP)” (with the Commodores) (#8 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1981)

#17

“STUCK ON YOU”  (#3 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1984)

16

“TRULY” (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1982) 

15

“LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL” (#9 –Billboard Hot 100 — 1986) 

14

“STILL” (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1979) 

13

“PENNY LOVER” (#8 –Billboard Hot 100 — 1985) 

12

“HELLO” (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1984) 

11

“SAIL ON”  (with the Commodores) (#4 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1979)

#10 MOVIE

“MY LOVE” (#5 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1983) 

9 CD

“DO IT TO ME” (#21 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1992) 

8

“ANGEL” (#70 — Billboard Hot 100 — 2000) 

#7 CD

“OH NO”  (with the Commodores) (#4 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1981) 

#6 CD

“ALL NIGHT LONG (ALL NIGHT)” (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1983) 

5

“RUNNING WITH THE NIGHT” (#7 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1984) 

4

“ENDLESS LOVE” (with Diana Ross) (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1981)

Bonus

“ENDLESS LOVE” (with Shania Twain) (#12 — Billboard Adult Contemporary — 2012)

#3 CD

“DANCING ON THE CEILING” (#2 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1986)

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

“SAY YOU, SAY ME” (#1 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1986)

1

“YOU ARE” (#4 — Billboard Hot 100 — 1983)

By chance, since Vegas is a city of chance, I hope Lionel gets to see this!

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

Get Shania Twain’s “Now”, Like 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+

P.S.  I know it may not be of Shania’s favorites, but I was on the Shania Twain bandwagon even before the success of  1995’s “The Woman in Me” album.  I loved her self-titled 1993 debut and “What Made You Say That” is still one of my all-time favorite Shania songs!