Posts Tagged ‘The Carpenters’

Random Thoughts — Christmas 2016

BITTER COLD & SNOW

We all know that Santa lives at the North Pole and it’s pretty cold and snowy there.  Well, if you’re out doing Christmas shopping across the Midwest, the weather is rather Christmas-sy or very North Pole-ish.

We picked up 2.8″ of snow this weekend, officially, in the Quad Cities bringing us to 13.8″ for December.  But, more importantly, it’s bitterly and dangerously cold.

Sunday morning, I woke up to -9° at my house in Moline, Illinois, and Davenport, Iowa, was even colder at -13° .  We saw similar temperatures Monday morning.

cold

This is the coldest morning since late February 2015, almost two years ago, when we reached about -18° in the Quad Cities.

If those temperatures weren’t bad enough, the wind chill early Sunday morning was -35° in Davenport and Clinton.

Temperatures start to warm today and this warming will last through the rest of the week!

 

 

That’s my part of the blog to keep you safe.  Now let’s have fun since you’re already reading!

CHRISTMAS!

Christmas is only a week away now!  Where has this year gone?

White Red Christmas

I hope you and yours are having a festive holiday season.  I’ve only bought four Christmas presents so far.  What am I waiting for?

Thank you for taking the time to check out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

NOLA Christmas

THINGS TO MAKE YOU GO, HMMMM

Now that some stations are playing Christmas tunes twenty-four hours a day and others are sprinkling in a holiday song here and there, I have these questions for the writers of some of the classics.

  • “Do You Hear What I Hear?” — So “a child shivers in the cold, let us bring him silver and gold”.  Why not bring him a blanket or clothes?
  • “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” — “Do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?”  Um, if he’s the most famous of all, of course we remember his name.  But, can we name the other eight without singing the song?
  • “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” — Wanting one this Christmas?  SAID.NO.ONE.EVER

WHAT SONGS MAKE YOU CRINGE?

“Grandma Got Ran Over By A Reindeer” is without a doubt my least favorite Christmas song of all time!

Other songs that make me quickly change the radio station in the car are “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” and “Linus And Lucy” from “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.

For Ray, it’s “Santa Baby”.

“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is not there yet, but it’s definitely getting tired.

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS BOOK

It’s not secret that Jimmy Carter is my favorite president and after reading his book, “Christmas in Plains” a few years back, it’s one of my Christmas traditions to read it each holiday.

ChristmasInPlains

I’m finishing the political book I’m reading now and I’ll dive into the very touching, easy-to-read 155 page book.

President Carter shares stories of Christmases from his childhood, with Rosalynn and his children, in the White House, and more.

Merry Christmas President and Mrs. Carter!

MERRY X-MAS!

So, does seeing “Merry X-Mas” upset you at the holidays?

xmas

It doesn’t bother me.  However, “Christians” do!  Before you have a coronary thrombosis, click here to see what I’m talking about!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/merry-xmas-christmas-to-all/

So, every day, not just at Christmas, let’s put “Christ” back into “Christian”, too.

READY FOR AN “UNSILENT NIGHT”  *

VH1, the older people’s MTV, rang in the Christmas cheer earlier this month with “Unsilent Night”, the latest concert in its “Diva” concert series.

Mariah Carey was the headliner and opening act for this show.

And, before you watch it here, know that as a gay man, I can’t get enough of Mariah Carey’s divaness and her boobs!  (As you gasp,  you’ll know what I’m taking about from the video or just from the thumbnail image below.  There’s no doubt that she wanted those ornaments to be seen!)

I also love the back-up dancers.  Who knew Christmas could be so sexy?

The other divas this year included Vanessa Williams, Miss Patti LaBelle, and Chaka Khan.

A VERY MERRY ($$$) MARIAH CHRISTMAS  *

Mariah Carey’s holiday tradition of performing shows at the Beacon Theater x is something that I hope I can finally see.  Heck, this year, Beyonce and Shania Twain checked out the performance.

While she won’t be singing “All I Want For Christmas”, I’m planning on seeing Mariah and Lionel Richie on tour in the spring of 2017.

Along with her Christmas shows, her Las Vegas residency, her tour with Lionel Richie, and performing on this year’s “Dick Clark’s Rockin New Year Eve” to ring in 2017, Mariah kicked off the holiday season with a seven-minute performance in Toronto, Ontario (Canada).

Mariah Toronto.jpg

She performed “Here Comes Santa Claus” and her now iconic classic, “All I Want For Christmas” for a cool million bucks for Saks Fifth Avenue holiday window display unveiling!

SPEAKING OF DIVAS

This performance by Patti LaBelle (without her back-up singers and the words) is classic for all the wrong reasons.

But, Ms. LaBelle is a champion!

READY FOR A “CHRISTMAS PARTY”?

Derrick Barry is the most amazing Britney Spears!  Okay, other than the real Britney, bitch!

This Christmas version of “Slumber Party”, “Christmas Party” makes me want to deck the halls!

While this has nothing to do with Christmas, it gives me a chance to show the original “Slumber Party” by Britney Spears and Tinashe, which is now a Top 40 song at pop radio!

It’s already been viewed more than 38 million times in less than a month.

THIS CHRISTMAS IS SUCH A “DRAG”

And, that’s amazing!

One hundred or so Dutch drag queens got together to put together this Christmas medley and it’s amazing!

Ray was scared of some of them, but I loved it.  This is what drag is all about.

Warning:  This is a rather risque part about eight minutes in. 🙂

Thank you, Lady Galore!

THIS CHRISTMAS GIVE FRUITCAKE SOME LOVE

I’m one of those that absolutely loves fruitcake, but not everyone does.

funny_fruitcake

But, I know some celebrities that do!

Sir Paul McCartney orders a fruitcake from cake designer Fiona Cairns each Christmas and, in early 2011, Cairns was tapped to make the royal wedding cake for Prince William and his future bride, Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Royal Wedding Fruit Cake

CONFESSION AT CHRISTMASTIME *

You probably know how very popular James Corden’s “Carpool Karoke” is.  If not, he’s joined by celebrties in a car and they sing, talk, laugh, and confess.

Okay, I’ll confess two things — (1) I think James is adorable and I have a tiny crush on the teddy bear and (2) I’ve always loved Mariah Carey and I just can’t get enough of her now!  And, I finally get to see her in concert in May in Nashville, Tennessee!

But, first things first, check out this all-star version of Mariah’s incredible Christmas hit (again).

Love it!

CHRISTMAS TRIVIA TO DAZZLE FRIENDS

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

Poinsettia 1

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is the late, great, golden retriever, Miss ABBA, wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

Again,I hope that Bible story and information is correct since I didn’t verify it.  The big man upstairs didn’t get back with me on that one.

CHARITY & CHRISTMAS

While we feast at Christmas, one of my favorite songs of the holiday season is, sadly, about not having enough to eat and starvation.

Can you believe that “Do They Know It’s Christmas” was released more than 30 years ago?

Between the single’s release in December 1983 and 1989, it sold 11.7 million singles worldwide.

It was the best selling single in U.K. until “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John in 1997 following Priness Diana’s death.

FORGET THAT OLD “12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

The Christmas classic is tired and so outdated.  Do we really care about “Lords a Leaping”, “Maids a Milking”, and all that stuff.

Why not infuse the song (and video) with botox, prancing gays, naked men, former husband, and giant breasts.

I bet I have your attention now!

MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG

“O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional Christmas song, but my favorite of all-time is a song that was first released in 1970.

It was re-issued in 1974 and 1977.  It’s The Carpenters’ “Merry Christmas Darling” by my favorite vocalist of all-time, Karen Carpenter.

And, what song is now my second-favorite Christmas song?….

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS *

without Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas”.

What did we do before this now-classic, 1994 hit was released that’s had more than 226.7 million views?

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

P.S.  Did you figure out the what the * denoted in the blog?  Mariah “visions”, of course. 🙂  Leave the “visions of sugarplums” for ” ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas”!

P.S. 2  

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.  I hope it’s fun of love and joy.  Most of all, I hope you’re not screaming “You Ruined My Christmas” to anyone this year.

Here are the Supreme Fabulettes, thanks to the one and only Boy George, who directed the video and co-wrote the song.

Anthony

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Merry Xmas (Christmas) To All

I guess you can say the holiday season is here — trick-or-treating is behind us and the electoral college picked its next president of the United States since the candidate with a two million vote lead didn’t win!

Tomorrow, we’ll be sitting down and enjoying Thanksgiving feasts with our families and friends.

Our Turkey 2012

People are decorating their homes, writing out Christmas cards, and making holiday gift lists and checking them twice.

Meanwhile, radio stations are transitioning from their tired playlists to treat us with holiday standards while sprinkling in a few new offerings of Christmas musical cheer.

This year, I added “Glow” by Brett Eldredge and Kacey Musgraves’ “A Very Kacey Christmas”  — both country selections — to my Christmas musical library.

I’d recommend both of them, but avoid the new Straight No Chaser Christmas offering.  Pick up their first album, 2008’s “Holiday Spirits” or “Under The Influence:  Holiday Edition” instead.

Yet, I know I’ll resort to listening to The Carpenters’ “Christmas Portrait” (1978) , Michael Buble “Christmas” (2011), Mariah Carey “Merry Christmas” (1994), and Reba McEntire’s “Merry Christmas to You” (1987) and “The Secret of Giving:  A Christmas Collection” (1999) over and over again.

I love Christmas music so much that I could listen to it year around.

Christmas is just so magical.  I’m mesmerized by the twinkling of the lights and I love holidays parties. I can’t get enough of the appetizers and the baked goodies — the cookies, fudge and divinity, and even the fruitcake!

funny_fruitcake

Each year, my Christmas cards are mailed the day before Thanksgiving to begin the trek across the country.

Xmas.jpg

I’m smiling now because I’m sure someone has already commented on Facebook where the link to this blog was first posted because I put Xmas in the title line.

I know that many people get their tinsel all twisted (that’s a Christmas way of saying “get their panties in a wad”) when they see “Merry Xmas”!

christ-in-chrismas

They say that writing Xmas takes Christ out of “Christmas”.  After all, he’s the reason for the season!

The whole Christ, Christmas, and Xmas debate got me to thinking.

People get so up in arms about leaving “Christ” in “Christmas”, yet many of those same people claiming to be Christians and living for the Lord can be so hateful and judgmental.

All of a sudden it hit me.  Maybe these same people should take a moment to put Christ back into Christian”! At that point, I decided to write about it and I really thought I was on to something.

As Indiana’s governor, we had Vice President-elect Mike Pence doing all he could do to be discriminatory to LGBT people in his state until businesses started moving out (or threatening to) and it cost Indiana money.

Pence

He’s one of those people — “Christians”.  Note there that “Christians” is in quotation marks. They are the ones that use religion to hate or discriminate — “Christians”.

Then there are those that love and live for the Lord that also love their fellow man for who they are.  They are the true Christians!

As someone who doesn’t believe in “organized religion”, but prays to God and believes in a higher power, I’m all about loving the Lord and trying to live the best life I can.

However, when you “religious freedom” to hate, I don’t think my Lord would like that very much.

pence-gay-marriage

So, when I started putting this together, I did a quick Google image search to add a fun and colorful graphic to the story.

It was then that I found that my whole thought process of putting “Christ” back in “Christian” to off set “Christ” in “Christmas” wasn’t such an original idea!

Christ in Christian.jpg

Here’s the bottom line for me. I never write Xmas in a Christmas card, nor do I type it online (except in today’s blog to drive home a point!).

It has nothing to do with keeping “Christ” in Christmas.

In the same line of thinking, when you go to talk about “Christ” this Christmas, live up to what he was preaching.  Love your fellow man (or woman) whether they live the same way of life as you.

It’s something that I try to do every day and not just at Xmas.  (Ha, I was just seeing if you were still reading.)  I fail and then I just try harder the next time.

Christmas will always be Christmas to me and not Xmas.

Merry Christmas!  Happy Holidays!  Happy Christmas! Season’s Greetings! Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwanzaa! Happy Krampusnacht!  Happy Yule!  Happy Chalica!

Whatever you celebrate, have a great December and an even better 2017!

christmascocktails

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — September 9, 2016

Greetings from steamy Hotlanta, Georgia!

My whirlwind tour of South Carolina started with Tropical Storm Hermine blowing wind and rain across Charleston last Friday while we were there!  Other than bringing down some tree limbs, I’d say they missed the brunt of the storm.

We also visited Hilton Head, then it was off to Savannah, Georgia.

We loved its “Southern Charm”, the elegant mansions and colorful houses, and the tasty down home cooking at “The Lady and Sons”, Paula Deen’s restaurant.

20160905_151453.jpg

I loved having sweet tea again, but I’ll definitely give it up when I get home.  After Atlanta, we’re back home this weekend and I’ll be returning to work Monday.

I hope all is well in the Quad Cities or wherever in the world you’re checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”.

PARENTS OF TEENAGERS — PAY ATTENTION!

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies or books about real events.  Recently, I read books by or about Jimmy Carter, Rosalynn Carter, the Carpenters, and Paula Deen.

All were very enjoyable and reading books about real life events or people takes me more into a life I thought I already knew.

I just finished “A Mother’s Reckoning:  Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy” by Sue Klebold and I realized there was so much I didn’t remember about this story.

Klebold.jpg

If you’re thinking, “what is the tragedy?” or “where have I heard that name?”, maybe this will bring it all home.

Kids Columbine.jpg

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two students (along with Eric Harris) that stormed into their school, Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, on April 11, 1999, with guns and homemade bombs.

When their spree of violence ended, 14 students (including Klebold and Harris) and a teacher were dead, and 24 others were injured, some seriously.

It’s taken Klebold seventeen years to share her thoughts on the massacre:  how did the little boy that she raised do something this monstrous, how did she and her husband, Tom, miss the warning signs (how did they not see that the throes of depression wasn’t just teenager moodiness), and how could they continue living in Littleton when many people there saw them an accessories to murder in a school tragedy that started a nationwide copycat trend?

It’s a very compelling book by a woman that has suffered deeply living in the aftermath of such a horrendous crime.  She walks a fine line trying to reach out to the 39 families ripped apart by her son’s (and Eric’s) violent fantasies that became reality, while also trying to grieve the loss of Dylan, who became a monster, but was also her son, her baby.

She talks quite a bit about “brain illness” and “brain health” in this country (instead of using the terms “mental illness” and “mental health”).  It’s a strong message.

I know (and you likely know) that in the wake of every tragedy in this country, we ask how can this keep happening.  Mental illness is usually a contributing factor, but we keep sweeping it (mental health issues and reform) under the rug!

Klebold

Sue says we should not ask “Why?” when a tragedy occurs because it leaves us hopeless.  We should ask “How?” because that shows us a way forward to do what we must do.

When she speaks publicly, she now introduces herself by saying, “My son died by suicide.  He was one of the shooters in the Columbine tragedy.”

I feel for Sue, her family, Dylan, the 40 other families damaged by this tragedy, the town of Littleton, and the families and friends and communities of every shooting brought on by mental illness.

It’s a tough subject that needs to be addressed today or we’ll be talking about more tragedies tomorrow.

And, a final note about this tragedy, it could have been much worse.  The two teenagers had intended to blow up the school and kill everyone!  However, some of the bombs didn’t go off!

A must read for everyone, especially parents of teenagers.

LADY GAGA IS BACK!

“Perfect Illusion”, the first single from her new album dropped this morning at Top 40 radio.

MORE ON MY READING HABITS

After talking about my reading habits, I’ll say, on occasion, I’ll read some fiction.

The Girl on the Train

The last three fantastic ones were “The Girl on The Train” by Paula Hawkins (I can’t wait for the movie October 7th), “Day Four” by Sarah Lotz, and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker, which is being developed as a television series.

Dietland

If you’ve ever been the “fat” girl (or boy) and felt like the world was just for thin people or if you’re a woman just fed up with a degrading society, you need to read this book!

Here’s my blog about it from earlier this year:

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/losing-weight-degrading-women-is-torture-in-dietland/

“THE WALKING DEAD” — PRESIDENTIAL STYLE

We’re still six weeks away from the season seven premiere of “The Walking Dead” to see who dies at the hand of Negan and his trusty barbed wire-baseball bat Lucille.

Negan Lucille.jpg

And, we’re still about two months away from the 2016 presidential election.

Whether you’re on Team Hillary or Team Trump (sorry, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham) of “The Walking Dead” has these comparisons of Clinton and Trump to the hit drama’s hero and villain.

Abraham.jpg

“I think we’re probably looking at that right now, I think Trump would be more like Negan, and Clinton would be more like Rick — kind of go with the political when you can, but not afraid to kill everybody if they had to.”

HIllary Flag

Ahh, “Killary” Clinton in “The Walking Dead” circles!

Cudlitz continues, “But Negan’s a little bit of a loose cannon and Trump is a little bit of a loose cannon.”

Trump

He quickly adds, “And that’s not me being political.  That’s by his own description.  So yeah, I think we actually have our Negan and our Rick.  And, neither one is perfect.”

Rick EW

While I may not be objective (to some), I’d definitely feel safe living in country with  President Hillary Clinton and surviving in a zombie apocalypse with Rick Grimes in control!

TODAY’S YOUTH… SMH!

Full disclosure here, as a parent, I’m partially guilty in perpetuating a less than desirable future for our children.  Our daughter is 15 now.  She’s a great kid that makes good grades at school, isn’t boy crazy (yet), and doesn’t cause us any trouble.

Those are the good things.  She’s also 15, likes to just sit in her room and binge watch television shows and YouTube videos, have very little interaction with us, and is constantly having to be reminded to do the few chores she’s assigned.

I know there are many other things I could be complaining about, but I just have to shake my head because I can only say so much.

One thing I truly don’t believe in is that every kid deserves a ribbon or a trophy for participating and that’s the society we’re living in.

selena-gomez-performs-at-revival-tour-in-chicago-06-25-2016_20

Actress and pop singer Selena Gomez, after performing 56 shows on her “Revival Tour”, cancelled the fall and winter leg for the shows in Europe and South America, due to anxiety and panic attacks.  But, I understand Selena’s dilemma.  She confirmed last year that she has the auto-immune disease, lupus.

However, just recently, Camila Cabello of Fifth Harmony left the stage in St. Louis, Missouri, because of a panic attack.  She didn’t return to the show, but was at the next concert in Dallas.

And, Zayn Malik, formerly of One Direction has dropped out of concerts because of panic attacks.

Okay, I get it, we all get stressed.  I get anxious, but I’ve never dropped out of an event or called into sick at work because of it.  I guess it might have a lot to do with the fact that it’s the next generation and we weren’t raised that way.

So, if Whitney Houston was right in “The Greatest Love of All” and “I believe the children are our future” and they continue with this work ethic, God help us all. 🙂

“MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL”

I have the book and I’ve heard of Clint Eastwood’s movie, but while we were in Savannah, the carriage house we stayed at had the DVD in the player, so we watched it.

I’m glad I did.  It touched perfectly on southern living (wealth, closeted gay lifestyle, gossip, and intrigue) and when you throw in a little murder, you have a scandal.

And, the house used in the movie of the socialite that threw amazing Christmas parties was right in the neighborhood we were staying.

If you’ve never seen this 2007 movie, I highly recommend it this fall or winter.

GRADE:  A-

R.I.P. THE LADY CHABLIS

If you were already familiar with the “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” movie or book, you know that The Lady Chablis was the standout star.

Now, just days after discovering her and the movie, it saddens me to report that the 59-year-old transgender star died at a Savannah hospital Thursday.

Now, I have to read her 1997 autobiography, “Hiding My Candy”.

Here she is in a 1996 performance.

PICK HIT 

I have very versatile taste when it comes to music, movies, and television.

Some of my choices are rather risque, including today’s choice by Manila Luzon.

Warning:  Contains adult language and situations!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — October 23, 2015

Happy Friday!  It’s been a month since I posted some “Random Friday Thoughts”, so here are a few.

It’s time to put the final touches on your Halloween costumes and stock up on candy that you buy for yourself and the candy you hand out to trick-or-treaters.

Gretel Halloween

Yes, that’s Gretel from a few years ago!  Visions of “The Walking Dead” are dancing through my head.

“HALLOWEEN” IS STILL MY FAVORITE

John Carpenter’s “Halloween” is still my all-time favorite horror movie and Michael Myers still rules 37 years later (and he hasn’t aged one bit!).

Michael

I’ve always wanted to be in a “Halloween” sequel and a new one is coming to theaters next year — without me!  It’s being shot this fall.

CHECK OUT THIS HALLOWEEN MOVIE

While we all have our favorite scary movies (if you like them), the little seen “Hellbent” from 2005 is one that I make sure that I watch ever fall.

Hellbent1

While it didn’t become a blockbuster, it has some great pedigree.  It’s from the co-creator of “Halloween” and the executive producer of “A Nightmare on Elm Street”.

SOMETHING SCARIER THAN HALLOWEEN…

… Presidential politics!

DT Masks

A new Quinnipiac poll yesterday shows that Donald Trump no longer leads in the Iowa Republican Presidential Caucus.

An even scarier candidate, Dr. Ben Carson has jumped to 28 points with Trump at 20 and Marco Rubio in third with 13.

MarcoRubio1

Up until now, I thought that Jeb Bush would be the Republican nominee, but now I think it’ll be Rubio!

By the way, if a Rubio is going to be in the White House, I vote for Paulina Rubio (even though she wasn’t born in the United States)!

PaulinaRubio

BIGGEST THREAT TO POLITICIANS — INTERNS?

After the poll came out showing Trump had fallen behind Carson in Iowa, this tweet came across Trump’s Twitter feed.

Trump

Trump now claims it was an “intern” that posted it.

Maybe people should manage their own social media — it’s always the “intern”!

Again, another case of the lack of responsibility!  And, there are hearings today about Benghazi?

Oh, about that…

LAST POLITICAL COMMENT TODAY

Like the email server controversy, I’m ready for the Republican House-led Benghazi hearings with Hillary Clinton to be over and for people to get the answers they need.

president-hillary

Many think (not just me and not just Democrats) that these hearings are being held now to sidetrack Hillary’s bid to be president.

Look at this graph of attacks on U.S. diplomats.  More have happened under which side’s control of the country?

Attacks

Are you not convinced?  In January, just two weeks ahead of the Iowa Caucus, director Michael Bay (the “Transformers” series) will be releasing a Benghazi movie!

Coincidence in timing?  I think not!

FALL TELEVISION — HITS AND MISSES

How are your television favorites this season and what new shows are you watching?

I’m really enjoying the new hits, “Quantico” (ABC) and “Limitless” (CBS).

I love the quirkiness of “Limitless” and the character, Brian Finch.  If that wasn’t enough, actor Jake McDorman is so sexy!

I plan on getting around to checking out the new season of “Fargo” and the series, “Wicked City” and “The Man in the High Castle”.

“Scream Queens” is entertaining if you love camp — deliciously bad!

As for my returning favorites, I think “How To Get Away With Murder” is even better this season than it was in the over-the-top incredible first season.

How the heck are we going to get to this teased ahead shocker???? I can’t wait to find out!

annalise

I’m still loving “Madam Secretary” and the sixth season of “The Walking Dead” is off to a refreshing (and violent) start.

The Walking Dead

I’m reserving my judgement on the Lady Gaga-led “American Horror Story: Hotel” and after three episodes, I’m on the fence about liking the return of “Empire”.

Empire

The first season was fresh and exciting.  This season just seems tired even with the amazing Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett.  I even loved the music of the first season more than the new music this season.

Let’s hope it changes before I abandon the show.

READY FOR MOVIE POPCORN!

We’re approaching the end of October and I still haven’t been to the movie theater this year!  I’m missing my movie popcorn and free refill.

There are two movies I want to see out now and I think I may see one of them this weekend.

I want to see “The Martian” with Matt Damon, but I’m putting my money on “Sicario” with an Oscar-buzzed performance by Emily Blunt.

ROBIN WILLIAMS’ LAST ON-SCREEN MOVIE

We watched “Boulevard”, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role, just out on DVD, and it’s very touching.

It features heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).  Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

A must see!

GRADE:  A-

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

While you may be thinking of the candy rush of Halloween, I’m already salivating over turkey and cheesecake for Thanksgiving.

Our Turkey 2012

But, Christmas is also right around the corner.

I just bought LeAnn Rimes’ “Today is Christmas” album, but the one that I’m really excited for and counting down to (November 13th) is “Kylie Christmas” by Kylie Minogue.

Kylie Christmas

The deluxe edition not only comes with extra songs, but a DVD, too!

CHRISTMAS WOULDN’T BE CHRISTMAS

There are three albums that instantly come to mind when I think of Christmas and two of those artists are featured in this one video!

Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without these staples:  “Christmas” by Michael Buble, “Merry Christmas” from Mariah Carey featuring the incredible “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and “Christmas Portrait” by the Carpenters!

‘Tis the season early!

PICK HIT

24-year-old Alvaro Soler of Barcelona, Spain, is ready to move beyond Europe and take the United States and the world by storm.

Alvaro Soler

His debut album, “Eterno Agosto” came out this past summer to moderate success in Italy and Switzerland.

The first single, “El Mismo Sol” topped the charts in Italy and Poland and the song hit the Top Ten in Austria, Belgium, Finland, and Spain.

The song now has a bilingual version subtitled, “Under The Same Sun” featuring Jennifer Lopez and is currently at #22 on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart here in the U.S.

I’m still waiting for the full version, but here’s the amazing teaser.

The song is so uplifting (both versions) and to feature these two beautiful people makes it even better.

Here’s the original version.

I hope that Alvaro becomes a huge star in America.  There’s enough love for him and Enrique Iglesias!

FINAL THOUGHTS

As always, I appreciate you checking out my random thoughts.  If you agree with me on something, let me know.  If you don’t, tell me, too.  We can disagree — diplomatically.

And, since I mentioned Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas today, this sums it up.

MyFavoriteDecoratingCartoon

Have a great weekend.

Anthony

When I Get To Heaven

Heaven.

It’s something we think about and many of us almost instinctively think of hell.  Well, to hell with that, I want to talk about heaven today.

There’s Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” (which was re-made by DJ Sammy), “Heaven Is A Place On Earth”, “Heaven’s Just A Sin Away”, “Stairway To Heaven”, “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”, “One Night In Heaven”, “Tears In Heaven” and many more songs with “heaven” in the title.

Yes, I’m getting older, but I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about mortality.  My parents died early — my mother was 47 and my father was 55.  I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t cross my mind.  However, my latest physical showed that I was healthy and I feel good for my age.

Heaven

But, I know one day I’ll come to those pearly gates and I’ll be welcomed in with open arms.  Since we really don’t know what heaven is like, how we see it is subjective.

When the time comes, I’ll miss those that I leave behind here on Earth.  However, I already know what I’ll do when I get there.

Animals Heaven

It brings me such joy almost four years after my beloved golden retriever, ABBA, left us on Earth to know she’ll be there smiling and happily greeting me.

ABBAFashionShowJan2012

October 2011

October 2011

04012011 ABBA Anthony
If she’s napping when I make my entrance, I wonder what her thumping tail on the clouds will sound like when she knows I’ve entered heaven.  I hope it still sounds like her tail thumping on the hardwood floors in life.  That brought me such joy to come home and hear that welcoming sound.  Upon hearing that, any problems I had that day just melted away.

Since heaven is peaceful, I know that Miss ABBA and my chow chow, Keshia, (1986-1998), are friends.

Keshia 001 Keshia 002

Their demeanor was very different.  ABBA loved everyone (she was a golden) and Keshia was very much a one-person dog.  She showered me with love, but was slow to warm to others.

And, it would be great to see our family dog, Cricket, again.  We had her through much of my childhood in the 1970s.  She died in 1982, my senior year in high school.

After I shower Miss ABBA with love and reacquaint myself with Keshia and Cricket, I can’t wait to see my mother and let all the years, tears, and sadness since November 1990 just fade away.

Dessie Birthday 1989

I won’t have to give her all of the details of my successes and failures and the ups and downs in my life.  She already knows all of that because she’s been looking over me and my sister, Tammy, now for 25 years.

Dessie 1990

It’ll be so nice to see my grandparents, John Henry and Helen Peoples, again.

HelenJohn Henry

I was lucky to have my grandmother Helen around until I turned 29, but my grandfather, John Henry, was taken away from us in early 1978, when I was only 13.

While 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 will remain vividly clear in my mind.  He made me feel loved and appreciated.

I never really liked the taste of beer too much.  But, as a kid, it was so cool that he would let me lick 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 champagne, wine, and vodka as an adult. 🙂

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 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”!

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

Since heaven is a perfect place, it’ll be nice to be friends with my father, Hollie.  We weren’t friends in life.

I’d be able to forgive him for his hateful, homophobic, sexist, and racist attitudes, and his total disregard for anyone else’s feelings.  In heaven, we wouldn’t have to deal with his alcoholism and all of the times he aimed guns at me and my mother and sister forcing us to hide outside until he passed out.  All would be forgotten.

In life, I was not sad when he died.  I was only saddened because of my mother’s broken heart.  Whatever good she saw in him, maybe I’d be able to see in heaven.

The-Carpenters

Once I caught up with my cherished pets and my family, the first person I want to befriend in heaven is Karen Carpenter.

While chasing fame in life, Karen was obsessed with her weight and she starved herself to death.

In heaven, Karen would never have to hear the words anorexia nervosa and I wouldn’t know anything about bulimia, the eating disorder that I struggled with for nine years from 1986 through 1995.

In early 1995, I was down to 116 pounds and I thought I was fat.  While I’m not a practicing bulimic today, I’m still obsessed with weight gains and losses, eating too much, and fighting the urge to binge and purge.

On Earth, Karen had the voice of an angel.  In heaven, I would be blessed to have a front row seat to hear my new friend sing.

Until then, her music lives on.

And, since it’s Christmas time and that friendship and concert with Karen will have to wait, I can enjoy this classic.

John Lennon

I’d also like to meet John Lennon and just sit and listen to his wisdom of his words.  People on Earth would still be able to strive for the peace found in “Let It Be” and”Imagine”, my two favorite songs of all time.

I’d also want to hang out with Jessica Savitch and let her know that she inspired me go into television news.

Jessica

And, finally, in heaven, I’d be able to witness former President Ronald Reagan hanging out with the more than 650,000 Americans that have died of AIDS.  A majority of those have been gay men.

RonaldReagan

It took President Reagan almost six years after taking office to publicly mention AIDS for the first time.   In the spring of 1987, he called it “public enemy number one”.

From the summer of 1981 when “The New York Times” published an article about “gay cancer” to end of the year that Reagan first publicly mentioned AIDS, a reported 50-thousand-plus Americans were diagnosed with the disease and more than 40-thousand of them died!

I hated the man for decades for his ignorance in handling the AIDS crisis.

However, in heaven, all would be forgiven and I could see Ronald Reagan at a disco or a tea dance with all those that suffered during his presidency and all of those that succumbed to AIDS in the 25 years after he left office.

I can envision haters like Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, Anita Bryant (if she goes before me), and their close-minded friends on Earth partying with Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Teena Brandon, and every other LGBT person that died at the hands of anti-gay violence brought on by bigotry and ignorance.

In heaven, we’re all God’s children like we should be on Earth.

In heaven, there’s only love.

I’m not ready to go to heaven just yet, but I sure would have so much fun catching up and living the life.

Anthony

The Soundtrack Of My Life – 50 Years of Music

I like most genres of music, but I pass over hardcore rap and heavy metal.

In Kentucky, in the 1970s, I grew up on country music.  In the 1980s, British new wave, dance music, and Madonna became my music of choice.

In the 1990s, I found country music again when I moved to Chicago.  (Thanks, Charlie’s).

After much thought and deliberation, I put together a list of my favorite songs of all time — the soundtrack of my life.

These may not be the best songs ever, but they are the ones that will make me stop what I’m doing and listen when they come on.

20

 “LOUISIANA WOMAN, MISSISSIPPI MAN” — CONWAY TWITTY & LORETTA LYNN

19

“DIM ALL THE LIGHTS” — DONNA SUMMER

18

“NO FRILLS LOVE”JENNIFER HOLLIDAY

#17

“ON MY OWN” — PATTI LABELLE & MICHAEL McDONALD

16

“I LOVE MY RADIO” — TAFFY

15

“ONE PROMISE TOO LATE”  — REBA

#14 Movie

“DELTA DAWN”  — HELEN REDDY

13

“AIN’T EVEN DONE WITH THE NIGHT” — JOHN COUGAR

 

12

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q

11

 

“MISSING YOU” — JOHN WAITE

10

“FASCINATED” — COMPANY B

#9

“HARPER VALLEY P.T.A.” — JEANNIE C. RILEY

8

“WE DON’T HAVE TO TAKE OUR CLOTHES OFF” — JERMAINE STEWART

#7 CD

“TAINTED LOVE” — SOFT CELL

6

“DON’T YOU WANT ME” — THE HUMAN LEAGUE

#5 MOVIE

“OH L’AMOUR” — ERASURE

4

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

3

GREATEST HITS MEDLEY — THE CARPENTERS

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

“IMAGINE” —  JOHN LENNON

1

THE BEATLES — “LET IT BE”

So, there you have it.

Let me know what you think and what your favorite song is.

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — January 10, 2014

It’s Friday and we’re out of the deep freeze from earlier this week when wind chills hit -50°.  I hope you have a great weekend.  We’re taking down the Christmas tree, watching movies, and going to brunch Sunday.

If you’re thinking of a movie to rent this weekend and you want to see a love story, you have to see “Bridegroom”!

“BRIDEGROOM”

I’ve blogged about the love story of Shane Bitney Crone and Tom Bridegroom several times and, last weekend, we watched the documentary “Bridegroom” by Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, the powerhouse behind “Designing Women”.

NETFLIX POSTER

It doesn’t matter if you’re straight or LGBT, the story of Shane and Tom meeting, falling in love and traveling the world, Tom’s accidental death, and Shane not being able to attend the funeral in Indiana because of Tom’s family’s homophobia is touching and heartbreaking.

While watching this 80-minute documentary, you don’t feel that you’re watching a gay love story, you sense that you’re watching the love between two friends grow.  Simply, it’s a love story of two people.

If you’re opposed to marriage equality, this might open your eyes to see why it’s so important in this country and the world that everyone that falls in love should have the right to marry.  If you’re on the fence, I sense that you’ll want to find out how to make marriage legal for everyone.

“Bridegroom” is a must see!  As the credits rolled, I wished that I had known Tom and I hope that Shane can find that same love again.

GRADE:  A+

LILY TOMLIN GETS MARRIED

Legendary comedian Lily Tomlin, last seen on Reba McEntire’s ABC series, “Malibu Country”, is now a married woman.

Lily Tomlin

The 74-year-old actress married Jane Wagner, her partner of 42 years.

Friend and columnist Liz Smith writes, “It was an eventful New Year’s Eve … my longtime friends, Lily Tomlin and her love, the writer Jane Wagner, got married on the eve of 2014. … My wish is that their happiness will be as great as their combined talents.”

Best wishes Lily and Jane!

IS IT OKAY TO “OUT” PEOPLE?

I don’t know if Illinois Republican Congressman Aaron Schock, from Peoria, is gay or not.  I know he’s cute, has a nice body, and an interesting sense of style.

Aaron Schock aaron-schock-1

However, there’s been rumors swirling around Schock for years.  And, now his sexuality is front and center after a Facebook post from journalist Itay Hod last Friday.

Itay Hod

That’s just a portion of the lengthy post of Hod’s “hypothetical” question.  The story is now being picked up by gay and straight news outlets.

Itay Hod 2

So, there two are ways to go with this?  Is it a big deal if Schock is gay or not and should people “out” other people?

Here’s a tweet from Hod about his feelings?

Itay Tweet

Here’s my opinion and I welcome yours.  Dialogue is always good.

Having any public figure to “come out” as gay helps to demystify gay people.  It also gives kids that may be LGBT or questioning their sexuality a role model.

People have talked about Oscar-winning actress Jodie Foster’s sexuality for years, but she refused to address it.

Jodie Foster

I was happy when she finally came out as a lesbian at last year’s Golden Globe awards ceremony in an acceptance speech.  Or, did she?

There’s a big difference between someone who lives their life as their own and a person, like Schock, who has been an enemy to the LGBT community and marriage equality.  In that case, the answer is yes.

Aaron Schock 2

If there is proof, yes, PROOF, that Schock is gay, it needs to come out and so does he.  Maybe then he can live a happier life not hiding in the closet and maybe explain if his political career is that much more important than the lives of his LGBT brothers and sisters.

If he’s straight, let him be and let’s vote him out of office for his ignorant anti-gay voting record.

It’s people like Schock that stood in the way of Shane and Tom getting married in California and Shane not having “legal rights” to visit Tom as he lay dying in the hospital!

DEJA VU

This isn’t the first time I’ve brought up the subject of “outing” people.

It was the topic of my seventh blog back on January 15, 2012, called “Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are”.  That blog was about the sexuality of professional football player Tim Tebow and others.  Here’s the link if you want to read it.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/01/15/come-out-come-out-wherever-you-are/

TimTebow-635

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

PsychoTwo To TooChannel 4 Weather Guy

KE$HA CHECKS INTO REHAB

Pop singer Ke$ha is known for her wild videos and stage antics.  Her songs are fun and over the top, too.  In her first hit, the #1 “Tik Tok”, she sings “before I leave, brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack”.

Kesha

So, you might think her treatment has something to do with drugs and alcohol.  However, it’s something different.

The 26-year-old pop star released a statement last weekend saying, “I’m a crusader for being yourself and loving yourself but I’ve found it hard to practice.  I’ll be unavailable for the next 30 days, seeking treatment for my eating disorder…to learn to love myself again. exactly as I am.”

EATING DISORDERS AFFECT BOYS, TOO

Ke$ha, I wish you much success in what will be a daily struggle for the rest of your life.  I know it’s something that she and the millions like her will fight each day.

When people think of eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia, most incorrectly believe it only affects females and Karen Carpenter’s name likely comes to mind.

karen carpenterpeople

However, it’s estimated that 10-15% of those affected by eating disorders are male.

I, too, am a recovering food addict.  You’ll often hear me blog about eating healthy or walking on the treadmill.  It’s not because I’m vain.  It’s because 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.

After nine years of being a practicing bulimic from 1986-1995, I’ve been on the wagon now for going on 19 years.  Like an any other addict, recovery is a daily process.

It’s because of this that I blogged a couple of years ago about Adele’s weight.

adele out

It’s been my second most viewed blog since I posted it.  I’m sharing it again to raise awareness of weight and eating disorders.  I hope you check it out.  Feel free to share it because it might save someone who needs to know they are not fighting this battle alone.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/12/do-we-really-need-to-tell-adele-shes-too-fat/

In memory of Karen Carpenter, one of my favorite singers ever, here’s a medley of The Carpenters’ greatest hits.

“COUNTRY MUSIC:  FACTS, FIGURES & FUN”

After finally finishing enough magazines to read a book, I ended up reading four last year and vowed to read many more than that in 2014.

I just finished my first book, a short little 96-page history of country music that I picked up at a yard sale or a dollar store.  It’s called “Country Music: Facts, Figures & Fun” by Mike Evans.

Country Music

It was an interesting little read.  While most know that country music was originally known as the derogatory term “hillbilly music” and was changed to “country & western music” in 1949 and shortened to country music, its roots are traced by to the British Isles hundreds of years ago!

You probably already know that I love my women of country music.  While this book did profile Patsy Cline, Dolly Parton, and Shania Twain, there were only a few brief mentions of my favorites, Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless.

The book also educated me on the history of bluegrass, singing cowboys, honky-tonk, the crossover appeal of “The Nashville Sound”, and outlaw music.

“I’M A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY” FLASHBACK

When I think of “outlaw music”, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings come to mind.  The phrase was coined from a 1972 Jennings song called “Ladies Love Outlaws.”

Waylon Jennings

Jennings was born about a half-hour outside of Lubbock, Texas, in 1937.  While he became one of the biggest stars in country music, he never forgot his family back home.  In my year in Lubbock, in 1997, I interviewed his brother, who owned a gas station in west Texas, and he confirmed that about his famous brother.

Waylon scored his first hit in 1965 and his last Top 40 appearance on the Billboard Country charts was in 1991.

In all, he had 83 Top 40 hits on the country charts.  Of those, 53 reached the Top Ten, including 15 number one songs.

While I have many Waylon favorites (solo and with Willie and Jessi Colter, his wife), my all-time favorite, “Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” was released in April 1977 and it reached, #1.  It also reached #25 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #16 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart.

Did you know that Jennings was a bass player for Buddy Holly and he gave up his seat on a chartered plane in February 1959 leaving Mason City, Iowa, for the next show?  That plane crashed killing Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper.

Buddy Holly Plane Crash

Waylon Jennings died in 2002.  He was 64.

ONE TOO MANY CONCUSSIONS?

On a recent episode of “UK Celebrity Big Brother”, former boxer champion Evander Holyfield told fellow contestant Luisa Zissman that being gay is not normal.

Evander Holyfield

Holyfield mumbled “yes, it is a choice… that ain’t the way nobody is made” and said if a person was handicapped, you’d go to a doctor to get it fixed.

I would go into the whole debate of how being gay is not a “choice” like picking out food on a menu, but he probably couldn’t hear me!

Tyson Holyfield Ear Bite

Peace out, my friends, and have a great weekend!

Anthony