Posts Tagged ‘Suicide’

Random Friday Thoughts — March 10, 2017

It’s the weekend and the countdown is on for next weekend.  I must be crazy!

Well, maybe.  But, the reason I’m excited about March 17th — the live action “Beauty and the Beast” arrives in theaters.  I can’t wait!

After very warm temperatures and Midwestern tornadoes last week and, again, this week, we’re looking at a snowstorm later this weekend!

IOWA & ILLINOIS WEEKEND SNOW

Updated Snow Details:  Saturday, March 11, 2017, 5:30 a.m.

I got up at 3:30 a.m. to analyze the data on our late weekend winter storm and here it is.

The snow will be heaviest Sunday night and early Monday.  This is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Monday.

Monday 6am

For snow forecast amounts and a complete update on the winter storm, click here and it’ll open in a new window.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/03/11/spring-forward-into-snow/

Updated Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 4:10 p.m.

The snowstorm for Sunday evening into Monday night looks much more potent.  I’m now thinking that we could easily see 3-6″of snow with that storm!

We’ll know much more this weekend and I’ll have another update Saturday morning.

Original Snow Details:  Friday, March 10, 2017, 6:15 a.m.

The last two winters in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa were lame.

Snowfall amounts for the season were well below average and a far cry from the 65.1″ of snow we saw in the winter of 2013-2014.  That was the second snowiest winter on record.

It snowed all the time that winter!

The first system late Friday night and early Saturday morning could drop up to an inch mainly to the southwest of the Quad Cities.

We’ll see a more widespread snow Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday.  This one could blanket the area with three inches or more.

I’ll continue to update you this weekend when the data is better once the storm comes ashore from the Pacific.

There could finally be some winter weather and cold — in MARCH!

SILENT OSCAR PROTEST AGAINST AFFLECK

Last week, I reviewed “Manchester By The Sea” (I gave it an “B”).  The movie earned Casey Affleck the Oscar for Best Actor.

Before he walked away with the gold statuette, there was speculation that two sexual harassment allegations against him in 2010 would cause Academy voters not to vote for him.  (Both cases were settled out of court.)

Larson Affleck.jpg

As you probably know, the previous year’s Best Actress announces the new Best Actor category.

When Brie Larson (“Room”) announced Affleck as the winner, she handed him the trophy and envelope without clapping or hugging him.

Larson, who is an advocate for victims of sexual abuse and played one in her Oscar winning role, told Vanity Fair, “I think that whatever it was that I did onstage kind of spoke for itself.”

She added, “I’ve said all that I need to say about that topic.”

REMEMBERING TOMMY PAGE

If you were a New Kids on the Block fan in the late 1980s, the name Tommy Page may ring a bell with you.

Before he was a music industry executive, he was a teen pop star.  While he gained exposure with “A Zillion Kisses”, it was 1990’s “I’ll Be Your Everything” that topped the Billboard Hot 100 with back-up assistance with several members of NKOTB.

Last Friday, Tommy was found dead of an apparent suicide.  He was 46 and is survived by his partner, Charlie, and their three kids.

I saw him open for the New Kids in 1988 in Du Quion, Illinois and I saw him again at the Wisconsin State Fair in 1990.

R.I.P. Tommy

“MARIAH’S WORLD”

I’m not a fan of reality television, but I finally broke down and watched my first full reality show for two reasons — it was only eight episodes and it was Mariah Carey.

“Mariah’s World” took us backstage during Mariah’s European “Sweet Sweet Fantasy Tour”.  It was also during this time that Mariah was engaged to billionaire James Packer.

If you followed that story, you know how it ended.  But, in “Mariah’s World”, you see how it unfolds.

Yes, the series was over-the-top and many times you get the impression that the drama was played up for the cameras!  Shocking!

It’s great to see more of Mariah — her humor, her thoughts, and her insecurities.  It did sadden me to think that she’s such an icon that she seems out of touch with the world, at times, because she can’t experience things that the average person can because of her celebrity.

It also cracked me up that Mariah would be interviewed lying on a chaise lounge in very sexy negligee and it was funny to see her wheeled down the corridor back stage on a chair to go on stage.

One final note that I came away with is that Mariah loves her champagne and wine.  We’d get along fab-lamb-ulously!

LIONEL RICHIE-MARIAH CAREY BUMMER

When Lionel Richie announced his “All The Hits Tour” with special guest Mariah Carey, I immediately snapped up tickets for Nashville, Tennessee, in May.

Lionel Mariah

This would give me a chance to take a road trip and eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s Settlement in Grand Rivers, Kentucky.

A few weeks ago, the tour was postponed because Lionel’s knee surgery recovery was taking longer than expected.

Those plans are cancelled now!  Nashville was one of a dozen cities that was dropped when the new summer dates were announced.  Others include Saint Paul, St. Louis, Cleveland, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh.

While I know that Lionel had surgery and the recovery may have taken longer to heal, it’s also very clear that ticket sales were very “soft” in many cities and Lionel and Mariah would have been playing to half-empty venues!

It won’t be this time, but I still want to be one of those “Dancing on the Ceiling” with Lionel.

And, I still long to share “Emotions” and a “sweet sweet fantasy baby” with Mariah!  Maybe in December in New York at her annual Christmas show?

“HACKSAW RIDGE”

This Mel Gibson-directed motion picture was nominated for six Academy Awards this year including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for Andrew Garfield.

While it didn’t win any of those, it did win two Oscars — Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing.

Whether you’re a fan of war movies or not, this one is phenomenal.

The first half of the movie focuses on character development and is even a cute love story.

Oscar nominee Garfield is adorable and awkward as Desmond Doss, especially when he meets a nurse at the hospital after his quick thinking saves a man’s life.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Doss enlists to fight for his country, but because of his religion and the commandment “thou shalt not kill”, Doss refuses to carry a gun.  He went to war to save lives and take them.

Needless to say, this doesn’t go over well with his superiors.

The second half of the movie is a full-on war movie.  It’s gory and heartbreaking, but realistic and amazing.

Garfield and Teresa Palmer are incredible.

GRADE:  A

“MOONLIGHT”

After this year’s Oscar debacle when presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway were handed the wrong envelope and “La La Land” was announced as Best Picture, when it was actually “Moonlight”, the little seen, but well received movie got more press than it could have without the mix-up.

The little movie that could, which was nominated for eight Academy Awards, ended up not only winning the biggest prize of the night, but it also earned Mahershala Ali (“House of Cards”) the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, making him the first Muslim to win the gold statute.

It also won for Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Moonlight” also became the first LGBT movie to win Oscars’ biggest prize  (that honor should have gone to 2005’s “Brokeback Mountain”) and the first movie with an all-black cast to win Best Picture.

“Moonlight” tells the story of a poor, lonely Miami kid, Chiron, with a drug addicted and abusive mother.  One day, while hiding out from bullies, the kid befriends a drug dealer (Ali), who nicknamed him “Little”.

The movie is played out in the three chapters of Chiron’s life:  childhood, teenager, and adult.  It’s a beautiful and sad “coming of age” story.

All three actors playing Chiron were great.  However, I think Trevante Rhodes, as adult Chiron (nicknamed “Black”) stole the show with his vulnerability, loneliness, and withdrawn look at life.

You just wanted to wrap your arms around him and tell him it’ll be okay.  That has nothing to do with the fact that he was gorgeous and had the physique of a Greek God.

Ali was good in his short time on screen, but it’s a shame that Rhodes wasn’t nominated for Best Supporting Actor!

“Moonlight” was so brutally honest in its portrayal of life on the streets and life as an outsider.

A must see!

GRADE:  A

TREVANTE RHODES EXTRA!

Trevante Rhodes.jpg

“EDGE OF WINTER”

Don’t bother!

I’ve been a fan of Joel Kinnaman since “The Killing” and I like him on “House of Cards”.

Tom Holland was great in the tsunami-survival movie, “The Impossible” and he’ll be the next Spiderman in this summer’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

However, this movie doesn’t do anything for either actor or me.

Kinnaman plays a down on his luck father being visited by his two sons, while their mother and new husband are away on a cruise.

Well, a simple trip into the wilderness to practice shooting goes astray and not everyone comes back.

The premise and the trailer makes more sense than the movie.

GRADE: C-

ONE MORE TOMMY PAGE 

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — May 9, 2014

If you read my blog on a regular basis or if you’re new to it, I love my weekends and I always start counting down to them when I head into work on Monday morning at 2 a.m.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the ladies out there, whether it’s a child, a pet, a fish, or a plant to which you show your love.

TammyDessie

This is my sister, Tammy, and our late mother, Dessie, from the 1980s.

Here are my random thoughts for this Friday.  As always, let me know if you agree of disagree with any of them.

MORE SEX ALLEGATIONS & “THE X-MEN” SERIES

Just as the seventh movie in the successful “X-Men” series hits theaters in two weeks, another sexual assault lawsuit is filed against director Bryan Singer.

Bryan Singer

The director is distancing himself from the promotion of the $225 million “X-Men:  Days of Future Past” starring Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and many more.

x-men-days-of-future-past-poster

Singer says, “I do not want these fictitious claims to divert ANY attention” from the film.  He goes on to say, “I promise when this situation is over, the facts will show this to be the sick twisted shakedown it is.”

This all started back in mid-April when failed actor Michael P. Egan III, now 31, filed a sexual assault lawsuit against Singer and two other entertainment heavyweights claiming they involved him in a Hollywood sex ring back in the 1990s when he was a teenager and an aspiring actor.

Bryan Singer - Mike Egan III

Now, Egan’s lawyer, Jeff Herman, is representing a British man, now in his 20s, known as “John Doe No. 117”, who claims that Singer sexually assaulted him back in 2006 when the director was in the U.K. promoting “Superman Returns”.

I’m really torn about this.  I wasn’t there, so I don’t know if anything inappropriate happened.

However, I find it really hard to believe that Egan is just now coming forward with these allegations for something that happened back in the 1990s.  And, this wasn’t a one-time thing.  It allegedly happened multiple times in California and Hawaii!

If these allegations are true, I hope Singer and the other two men named in the lawsuit pay dearly.  If they’re innocent and this is character assassination, I hope it doesn’t affect their careers in the long-term and the accusers get help with their problems!

CAMPAIGN ROAD BUMP FOR GOP CANDIDATE

Steve Wiles

34-year-old Republican Steve Wiles supports North Carolina’s constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage and he’s running for a state Senate seat there. 

And, he’s also running from his past.

Steve Wiles - Mona Sinclair

It appears that in his early-20s, he was gay and worked at the Winston-Salem gay bar, Club Odyssey, as “Mona Sinclair”!

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that Wiles first stated, “That’s not me” and “no” when asked if was gay.

In another interview, Wiles says, “I have already apologized to the people who matter most to me for the things I did when I was young.”

Before his campaign website, Twitter account, and Facebook page were taken offline, Wiles posted this on Facebook:

Facebook Steve Wiles

Sorry, Steve, but you say that “equality doesn’t mean infringing on someone else’s right”.  Plain and simple, marriage equality is a “right” that every human should have in their lifetime.  It’s your problem that you’re using religion as a litmus test to define “marriage”.

And, another thing that’s more appalling than your self-righteous views and denial of your past is that picture of Mona Sinclair!  If this story was going public, at least get a more flattering picture out there.  Didn’t you learn anything from RuPaul?

TOMMY LASORDA DOESN’T MINCE WORDS

Tommy Lasorda, who managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1976-1996, is a long time friend of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

As you know, Sterling was fined $2.5 million, banned for life from the NBA, and may be forced to sell the team for making racially insensitive comments to his girlfriend, Vivian  Stiviano.

tommy-lasorda-donald-sterling-and-v-stiviano

Lasorda was in West Palm Beach, Florida, to pick up an honorary doctorate from Northwood University. 

He told the local ABC affiliate, WPBF, that he’s known Sterling for more than thirty years and Sterling said things he shouldn’t have said.

However,  it’s what he said about Stiviano that surprised me!

He just said it so nonchalantly.  I just hope Stiviano doesn’t cross any streets any time soon!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Brunei Crazy Bitter Tiger

I KNOW THAT CAT!

That last cartoon is definitely Gretel’s mean orange cat, Tiger.

Tiger from Hell

She’ll love on me and just when she earns my trust and I consider her my “friend”, she attacks me with teeth and back claws drawing blood!

That’s why I want to trade her in for two dogs.

I just need to convince Gretel to take the cats to her mother’s house and to make Ray see that we need two loving dogs!

“PRAYERS FOR BOBBY”

We’ve heard so much over the past few years of teenagers being bullied and taking their own lives.

Suicide is hard for survivors to handle regardless of the age of the person who dies.

For me, it’s especially hard to think of young people killing themselves because someone is using God and “The Bible” to bully someone over something they don’t understand.

Bobby Griffith

This happened to Bobby Griffith in 1983.  I just read the book about his life and death and how his mother learned to unconditionally love her gay son after it was too late.

Here’s the blog I posted earlier this week if you missed it.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/06/dont-just-pray-for-the-bobbys-of-the-world-love-them/

ZACHARY QUINTO

“Star Trek” actor Zachary Quinto is looking better than ever.  He’s currently shooting “Agent 47”, the sequel to “Hitman” that was released in 2007.

He posted this selfie recently on Instagram.

Zachary Quinto

While I’ve seen both “Star Trek” movies he’s been in, along his creepy performance as Dr. Oliver Thredson in “American Horror Story:  Asylum” and as Chad Warwick in the first season of “American Horror Story”, he captured my attention back in 2006 as Sasan in Tori Spelling’s “So NoTORIous”.

Zachary Tori

Sadly, that 10-episode series on VH1 only lasted one season.

But, a few years ago, the station I was working at was doing a satellite interview with Tori and I got to chime in and ask her a question.  I complimented her on her performances in “Trick” and “So NoTORIous” and she was flattered that I had seen them.  She told me that she would have loved to have done another season of  “So NoTORIous”.

If “The Comeback” can come back, let’s bring “So NoTORIous” back for season two on VH1 or any network!

PICK HIT

Legendary music icon Michael Jackson has been dead for almost five years now, but he makes his debut on this week’s Billboard Hot 100 at #20 with his highest charting single since “Butterflies” went to #14 in 2002.

Michael Jackson Xscape

“Love Never Felt So Good”, a duet with Justin Timberlake, is the first single from the new Michael Jackson album, “Xscape”, that comes out Tuesday, May 13th.   It was downloaded 80,000 times in just the first three days of release last Friday!

With his solo hits, feature hits with other artists, and adding in the Jackson 5 and the Jacksons hits, “Love” becomes Michael’s 66th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40.

Of those, 42 have reached the Top Ten with 18 topping the Hot 100.

Meanwhile, for Justin, with his solo hits, feature hits with other artists, and ‘N Sync hits, “Love” marks his 35th hit on the Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 chart.

21 of those hits have reached the Top Ten and give have topped that chart.

HYDRANGEAS FOR MOTHER’S DAY?

Sorry, Madonna, I’m talking about hydrangeas this Mother’s Day.

We have several in our front yard, including some called “Limelight Green”.

Here’s something that I didn’t know.  You can actually influence the color of your hydrangeas, whether they are pink or blue, by changing the acidity of the soil!

Hydrangea pH Levels

In its May 2014 email newsletter, Wallace’s Garden Center states, “in general, more acidity makes hydrangeas turn blue, less acidity (or more alkaline soil) promotes pink-that is, unless we’re talking about white hydrangeas, which, alas, are limited to white.”

It does says that this doesn’t happen overnight!

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY”

Texas-born singer Johnny Lee enjoyed several years of hit-making on country radio from 1976-1985.

In that time period, he scored 19 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Country chart with 12 of those reaching the Top Ten.

LFL Johnny Lee

In 1980, his song, “Looking For Love” was featured in the movie, “Urban Cowboy”.

It topped the country chart for three weeks and even reached #5 on the Billboard Hot 100.  The song went on to sell more than a million copies.

Lee would pick up four more #1 country hits.

From 1982-1984, Lee was married to Charlene Tilton, who played Lucy Ewing on the hit CBS series, “Dallas”.

THAT’S IT

I think this is a good stopping point.  As always, thank you for reading my blog.  I appreciate it.

Have a great weekend whatever you do.  I think we’ll hit a few yard sales and work out in the yard some to enjoy the warmer weather.

Anthony

Don’t Just Pray For The “Bobbys” of The World, Love Them

Life is too short, especially for teenagers and young adults that think life is not worth living.

It’s especially vile when those kids kill themselves because of people’s distorted view that God is a hater.

Bobby Griffith

When he was 16-years-old, Bobby Griffith was so tormented that he confided to his brother and best friend, Ed, that he was gay.  When the pressure of that secret became too much to keep,  Ed told his mother, Mary, that his little brother was gay.

Mary And Bobby Griffith

Being a devout Christian, who feared God, Mary felt that Bobby would lead a miserable life and that God would condemn her son to hell and she would not see him in the afterlife.  Her repeated efforts for Bobby to “pray away” the gay, her constant spouting of Bible verses, and talks about damnation were too much.

On a summer night in 1983, at the age of 20, Bobby jumped off an overpass in Portland, Oregon, and was struck and killed by a semi-trailer.

Bobby 2

Sadly, there are too many Bobbys in this world who are told or that believe that their life is not worth living if they’re gay.

Society is slowly moving forward and letting the Bobbys know that their life has meaning.  We have a long way to go, but we’re making progress.

I just finished reading “Prayers for Bobby: A Mother’s Coming to Terms with the Suicide of Her Gay Son” by journalist Leroy F. Aarons, who worked closely with Mary Griffith and her family to form the story of Bobby’s life and his being gay.

He also used Bobby’s diary entries and there’s no denying that Bobby’s self-worth was low because he thought God hated him.

Prayer For Bobby book cover

In the months following Bobby’s death, Mary looked hard for answers as to whether her son was in heaven or hell.  Her church, the Walnut Creek Presbyterian Church, in Walnut Creek, California, made her think it was hell and that she’d never see her son again.

However, after meeting with Reverend Larry Whitsell at the Metropolitan Community Church in Concord, California, Mary started thinking differently about Bobby, his homosexuality, heaven and hell.

Mary Griffith

Years after Bobby’s suicide, Mary became a leading activist to show schools, churches, and society that every gay person should be given the chance to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

Mary wanted others, especially parents, to learn from her mistake — her fatal mistake of allowing her son to feel unloved and unworthy of her love and God’s love.

sigourney-weaver-prayers-for-bobby

In 2009, the book became an Emmy and Golden Globes-nominated movie on Lifetime.  “Prayers For Bobby” starred Sigourney Weaver and Ryan Kelley.

It was my second favorite movie of 2010, the year I saw it.

pflag_header

If you suspect that your child is gay or that a loved one is gay and you don’t know how to deal with it, check out P-FLAG National, the group formerly known as Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays, just like Mary did.

It changed her life and in return, her determination has saved countless other gay kids from becoming another Bobby, a victim of suicide.

Here’s the link to PFLAG:

http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=194&srcid=-2

Mary Griffith 2

Show love and compassion and don’t let your son, daughter, or loved one become the next Bobby!  And, don’t find this acceptance when it’s too late like Mary Griffith.

In memory of  Bobby Griffith, here is one of his favorite songs (“Shake It Up” from 1982) from his favorite band, The Cars, in the year leading up to his death.

Anthony

A “Bully” That Everyone Needs To See

A nice day is expected today across the Mississippi Valley with temperatures approaching 40°.  A part of me wants to go outside and work in the yard.  Another part of me wants to go the casino and play a few slots to try to win tickets to the Maroon 5 concert on March 1st.  But, what will probably happen is that Ray and I will go buy some new white shirts for my new job and then continue to watch the second seasons of  “Six Feet Under” and “The X-Files”, or a movie.

We saw one on Valentine’s Day (far from a date movie) and it’s one that I wish EVERYONE would see.  Check it out if you’re looking for a rental.

“BULLY”

Bully

This 2011 documentary that was just released on DVD is compelling and heartbreaking.  It focuses on bullying in American schools and on school buses that led two students, Tyler Long and Ty Smalley, to take their lives.

Tyler Long

Long, a 17-year-old from Murray County, Georgia, took his own life in October 2009 after strapping a belt around his neck and hanging himself from the top shelf in his bedroom closet.

Ty Smalley

And, 11-year-old Smalley, from Oklahoma, committed suicide in May 2010 after being suspended from his middle school for standing up to the kids that were bullying him.

The movie also covers bullying in schools in Texas, Mississippi, and Iowa.

While each story was touching, I felt so deeply for Alex, a student in Sioux City, Iowa, that was constantly being called “fish face” and other names, beaten on, and threatened every day at school on the bus and on the playground to the point where he was left unresponsive at home to even talk about the verbal and physical abuse.

Alex Bully

And, then to see how the school principal handled the situation was even more saddening.

When this movie was ready to hit theaters, it was given an “R”-rating, which would have kept many younger school kids, the group that needed to see the movie the most, from seeing it.  However, after Katy Butler, a young woman who had been bullied, started a change.org petition, the rating was changed to PG-13 for the movie.

“Bully” is not a happy 90-minute movie, but a compelling one that every person needs to see.  It’s not just kids that bully.  Many adults do it, too.

GRADE:  A

Remember, you’re not alone, whether you’re a kid or an adult feeling that you have nothing else to live for.

Trevor

Random Thoughts 2012 Recap, Part Two

Here’s another round of the random blogs that I posted this summer that covered multiple topics.  To read each random blog, I’ve made it easy so you only have to click on the highlighted title inside the blog.  Have a great Saturday.

June 21, 2012

You Know What I’m Thinking?

In this blog, I talked about classic rock and kitchen renovation, causes of death in the United States, the summer drought and being ready for fall and winter, Olivia Newton-John, my future pick hit from Chris Wallace, and chocolate wine.

July 10, 2012

I’m Thinking About These Things Today (And You May Agree or Disagree)

In this blog,  just ten days before the Aurora, Colorado, movie theater shooting spree, I said “guns don’t kill, people do”.  I know that guns caused the actual deaths, but there was a person behind them.  Sadly, when I wrote this segment of the blog, I referenced the Tucson, Arizona shooting and I had no idea of what would happen later in the month.  And, now we have the fresh, sad memories of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting.  You might find the reading interesting and I welcome your feedback.

I also referenced work and seniority, which is another ill-fated topic since I’m no longer there.

There were also random thoughts about Hank Williams Jr. calling President Obama “Hitler”, food, the remake of “Steel Magnolias”, Carrie Underwood, and the music of Laura Pausini.

August 7, 2012

My Wandering Mind — Here’s What I’m Thinking About

The heavy topic on my mind here was about returning soldiers and the demons they face, which leads to more suicides.  I also touched on human rights.  On a lighter note, I had random thoughts about “Dexter”, fall, food, “Zero Dark Thirty”, “Artpop”, Lady Gaga, “The Paperboy”, “Lebanon”, and the music of Demi Lovato.

August 26, 2012

Oh No, He’s Thinking About Random Things

Topics here:  nuclear power plants, healthy eating and cheesecake, bigotry, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, fall, Thomas Roberts’ upcoming marriage, hot new music from Zedd and Madonna, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and “Argo”.

One more coming tomorrow.

Anthony

It’s Not a Holly Jolly Christmas For Everyone

The shimmering snow, the sparkle of Christmas lights, the joy of family and friends gathering and laughing, and holiday classics blasting on the radio may bring delight to those that love the Christmas season.

But, this time of the year is not necessarily “The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” and some people don’t see it as a “Holly Jolly Christmas”.

Holiday_blues

No, I’m not depressed over the loss of my job or despondent over our first Christmas without Miss ABBA.  I have so many cherished memories of  her that she is still with us.  And, I’m fortunate enough to have loved ones that I’m getting to go on a fantastic Christmas cruise with next week.

However, I know that all is not “merry and bright” for many people who feel they have very little to live for or to be thankful for.  And, this is why I’m talking about it today and I hope that you’ll continue reading.

A Christmas Carol

In Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, “A Christmas Carol”, Scrooge is visited by the “Ghost of Christmas Past”.  He’s not alone.  A lot of us are also visited by the ghosts of loved ones that have gone before us.

Many people think that suicide rates skyrocket during Christmas.  There are many studies that prove that is not the case.  However, in 2010, more than 38,000 Americans committed suicide (that’s 105 a day) and another estimated one million people in the U.S. attempted to take their own life.  Men are much more likely to end their life (79%).  And, suicide is the third leading cause of death of people ages 15-24, but in the 25-34 age range, it moves up to second.

The reality, and the point I want to make, is that one suicide or one attempt is one too many!

SuicideHotline

Holiday or not, if you, or someone you suspect, might be thinking of doing something irrational, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Trevor Project

There’s also the Trevor Project, a national organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. That number is:

1-866-488-7386.

HOLLYWOOD CHRISTMAS DEPRESSION

George Bailey

In this scene from one of the most iconic,  holiday standards, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, George Bailey, a man who put his dreams on the back burner to keep the family business alive and to raise his own family, reached the point on Christmas Eve that he thought that everyone would be better off if he were dead.  He was ready to jump off a bridge and end his life.

Clarence, an angel working on getting his wings, was sent down from heaven to try to prevent that tragedy.

its-a-wonderful-life-3

The movie is a true tear-jerker.  I cry each time I watch it.  It’s not George’s attempted suicide that gets to me, it’s this note from Clarence that turns on the water works for me.

its_a_wonderful_life_friends

There are other holiday movies that I absolutely love that are mostly sad.  “Prancer” is one of them.

Prancer

This 1989 movie tells the story of a young girl, Jessica, trying to be happy at Christmas following the death of her mother.  Her father has fallen on hard times and he wants Jessica to go live with her aunt because he feels she could offer the youngster a better life.

One day, she discovers an injured deer and is convinced that it’s one of Santa’s and that she must get it well in time for Christmas.

At one point, Jessica threatens to run away from home and even wishes she were dead.  Pretty heavy stuff for an 8-year-old!

It’s a must-see movie.

The Houseboy Cover

And, since 2008, there’s also another bleak movie that I watch several times each season.  Some people may be put off just by the provocative cover of “The Houseboy”.

The movie focuses on Ricky, a young man living in New York City.  In the opening scene, we learn that he’s in a relationship as the third person in a couple’s long-term relationship and the couple wants a “new toy”.  Ricky is no longer wanted.

He’s also estranged from his family back in North Carolina after he came out to them at Thanksgiving.  In a phone conversation, his religious sister gives him the “love the sinner, just not the sin” speech and that she doesn’t know if his mother would ever accept Ricky being gay.

When the couple goes away to Los Angeles for the week, Ricky is left to house sit and take care of the cats, the hamsters, the rabbits, the fish, and water the Christmas tree.

To Ricky, who is despondent over the rejection from his family and, now, his gay “surrogate” family, the only solution is to kill himself on Christmas Eve by overdosing on a bowl of pills.

The Houseboy

As we watch Ricky’s depression build that week up to that fateful decision to end it all on Christmas Eve, we see him engage in unprotected casual sex and being used by others just for them to have a place for a drug-fueled orgy.  In one haunting scene, Ricky talks to a tweaked out kid writing his mother’s phone number on his foot with a marker in case he overdoses, they’d know who to call.

Phone Number

“The Houseboy” is very thought-provoking and I know many people will never see it because it’s a gay movie with drugs and promiscuous sex.  And, that’s a shame, because it does have a subplot like “It’s A Wonderful Life” that features hot chocolate and mistletoe that will leave you with a smile and a sigh of relief after almost 80 minutes of sadness.

SADNESS IN CHRISTMAS SONGS, TOO

We even find sadness permeating in many holiday songs.  There’s Elvis’ classic, “Blue Christmas”, Willie Nelson sings about homelessness in “Pretty Paper”, and Reba sings about divorce in “Santa Claus Is Coming Back To Town”.

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Why did I include, “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” here?  That’s cheery, right?

When the song was written for the 1944 musical, “Meet Me In St. Louis”, Judy Garland and others on the movie said the song’s original lyrics were depressing.  They asked writer Hugh Martin to change some of the lyrics to make it happier.

One of the changes was “It may be your last/Next year we may all be living in the past”  became “Let your heart be light/Next year all our troubles will be out of sight”.

Band Aid Cover

In November 1984, a group of mostly English musicians got together to record a song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia, a country located in eastern Africa.  From 1983-1985, it’s estimated that 8 million people were affected by famine brought on by drought conditions and war and that about one million of them died from starvation.

band_aid_1984

The superstar recording organized by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure included Boy George, Culture Club, Duran Duran, George Michael, Spandau Ballet, Sting, Bono, U2, Paul Young, Phil Collins, Bananarama, Jody Watley, Kool & The Gang, Kiss, Marilyn, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, and many others.

The song topped the charts in many countries and the following summer, a concert, Live Aid, continued to raise money for famine relief.  Sadly, it’s estimated that more than 56,000 tons of food sent to Africa rotted because it couldn’t get to people desperately needing it.

Five years later, another recording of the song by Band Aid II was released and it hit #1 and raised more money.  And, Band Aid 20, in 2004, did the same.  But, neither of the last two re-recordings reached the success of the original.

“Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is still one of my all-time favorites.  The lines “And it’s a world of dreaded fear/Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears/And the Christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom/Well tonight thank God it’s them instead of you /And there won’t be snow in Africa this Christmas time/The greatest gift they’ll get this year is life” still give me chills today.

If you’re still reading this, I appreciate it.  It isn’t one of my most bubbly, fun blogs.  However, it’s a reality faced by many.

christmas lights

So, when you’re out and about and you pass someone on the streets or in the stores (it should be everyday and not just at the holidays), smile and say, “hello”.  That simple act of kindness may be that person’s lifeline.

Anthony