Posts Tagged ‘Tony Bennett’

Random Friday Thoughts — June 17, 2016

I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”.  We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.

There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.

The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages.  He was killed by police.

Pulse

I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.

First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people.  But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!

Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.

If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man.  He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay.  Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change!  However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).

After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.

hate

Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:

Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”

Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”

Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered.  It was because of who they were!

Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies.  The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”

In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners.  The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.

Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.

Church Fire

In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country.  We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution.  This means all of us.

GUN CONTROL

There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control.  Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.

Gun Control

I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun.  I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.

I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting.  But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15!  None!!!

But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.

AR-15

Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.

They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47.  He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!

The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again.  (This will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones.  This one really breaks my heart.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.

Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other.  It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

Christmas Was Perfect

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.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.

The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.

LOVE IS LOVE

Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile.  I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.

Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.

Make sure the person you love knows it everyday!  Life is too short.

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub.  Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.

The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”

She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)

If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember.  I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.

We might have been born at night, but not last night!

Donald LGBT.jpg

Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.

Fish Pond

Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!

Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”

He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer.  You can read about that harrowing experience here.  (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!

Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.

Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.

FIRST LADIES

As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year.  I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.

I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.

Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.

First Ladies.jpg

Martha Washington:  A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.

Abigail Adams:  Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.

Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.

Dolley Madison:  Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.

Elizabeth Monroe:  Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.

Louisa Adams:  Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.

Rachel Jackson:  She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.

Hannah Van Buren:  She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.

Anna Harrison:  She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.  While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.

Letitia Tyler:  She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).

I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.

His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.

He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

THAT’S IT

Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.  More gets resolved that way.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

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My Old Feathers Are Ruffled

Hey old people out there, what kind of music do you listen to?  Do you still listen to your music on the radio because you’re afraid to touch a computer?

elderly-people-on-computer

Are you afraid of buying music online and burning it to a disc?

If you’re over the age of 29, have you moved beyond Lady Gaga’s cutting edge pop, rhythmic, and dance music and embraced “Cheek To Cheek”, her collaboration with 89-year-old Tony Bennett?

Tony_Bennett_and_Lady_Gaga_-_Cheek_to_Cheek

Actually, I’m just kidding with you to see if those comments ticked you off as much as radio music programmers in many genres, especially Top 40 and country, tick me off because of the way they treat people that are not teenagers or in their 20s.

They think only the young ones will carelessly throw away money and downloads songs freely.  That may be true.  However, we older people will buy music when good music comes our way.

It’s a proven fact that without radio airplay, only die hard fans will know about an artist’s new music.  And, the other edge of that sword is that crappy music, if played thousands of times a week on the radio with the same 20 redundant songs, will sell millions of copies and hit #1.  (Hello, Omi’s “Cheerleader”!)

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about ageism.  I’ve talked about how country music has basically shunned new music from every queen that’s dominated that genre’s chart — Loretta, Tammy, Dolly, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Trisha Yearwood, and now Reba.

Reba Love Somebody

Last spring, Reba released her latest album, “Love Somebody” and it topped the country chart for two weeks.  However, the first single, “Going Out Like That” barely cracked the Top 25 and the second single was pretty much DOA.

Madonna Rebel Heart

The same for Madonna.  Her “Rebel Heart” album came out last spring, too, and only one single reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #84, although three singles topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

Who wants to hear women in their late-50s sing amazing music, 30-plus years into their career, when Top 40 radio force-feeds us substandard music from Ariana Grande (“Focus”, I’m talking about you, since I love Ariana’s previous hits!)

So, what has ruffled my 51-year-old feathers today?

I just bought Adele “25” and Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” and both albums are amazing.  And, both artists are in their 20s.

A couple of months ago, I bought Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” album, her first new album in seven years.

JanetJackson_Standard-2

I saw her in concert in Omaha, Nebraska, in late October and the show was incredible and she was flawless.

The first single from the album, “No Sleeep”, peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #18 on the “Hot R&B/Hip Hop” chart.

However, it’s currently at #1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart, where it’s been for nine weeks — her longest running #1 song on that chart.

20151030_204005

But, wait, her chart dominance doesn’t end there.  The second single and the album track, “Unbreakable” is currently at #9 (after peaking at #8). So, that means that Janet has two songs currently in the Top Ten on the Urban R&B chart, but the 49-year-old has no place at mainstream Top 40 radio!

“Adult Contemporary” is a very bad term and no singer that has dominated the music world for decades should be relegated to that place on the radio.

It shouldn’t have to be a consolation prize for musicians and listeners of certain age.

Here’s a more complete definition, “AC radio may play mainstream music, but they will exclude hip hop, dance tracks, hard rock, and some forms of teen pop, as they are less popular amongst the target demographic of these radio stations, which is intended for an adult audience. The AC Radio stations will often target the 25–44 age group, the demographic that has received the most attention from advertisers since the 1960s.”

My philosophy is a song should get radio airplay if it’s good music, regardless of the artist’s age, gender, race, religion, or whatever label you want to add.

Case in point, listen to “Burnitup”, my favorite track from Janet’s new album featuring Missy Elliot, and tell me this couldn’t be popular on today’s radio if radio didn’t have closed ears, closed minds, and open wallets catering to a certain demo.

Also, Madonna’s “Ghosttown”, critically acclaimed as some of her best work ever, topped the Billboard Dance Club Song chart earlier this year and reached #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but it found no love at Top 40 radio.

And, at country radio, Reba’s music is as fresh today as it was back in the 1980s and 1990s when she dominated country music and those playing her songs cashed in on the millions.

I love all kinds of music — teen pop to dance to mainstream rap to jazz, whatever — if it’s good (or I think it’s good), I’ll give it a listen.

But, I think it’s sad that people of certain age don’t have a fair chance of having their latest songs heard by the masses because they aren’t youngsters.

Radio, open your heart and open your ears.

Remember, “Believe”, the song that hit #1 in 23 countries, including the United States.  It was biggest song of 1999 here in America and became the biggest hit of Cher’s career.

She was 52-years-old, at the time, and holds the record for being the oldest female to top the Hot 100 chart.

It’s almost 2016 radio programmers, leave age out of it and play great music regardless of the singer’s age.

Anthony

My 14 Favorite Albums of 2014

2015 is almost upon us and I’m so excited for the new Madonna album, “Rebel Heart”, which is expected March 10th, and Reba McEntire’s new album, her first since “All The Women I Am”, which came out in November 2010.

As this year winds down and I start counting my down my favorite albums I bought this year, here’s a track from my favorite album last year, “Push Rewind” by Chris Wallace.

Push Rewind

If you want to see the rest of last year’s Top Ten, here’s the link:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/my-top-ten-favorite-albums-of-2013/

2014

Now, my favorite fourteen albums of 2014.

#14 Movie

CALVIN HARRIS — “MOTION”

MOTION CALVIN HARRIS

13

LADY GAGA & TONY BENNETT — “CHEEK TO CHEEK”

Tony_Bennett_and_Lady_Gaga_-_Cheek_to_Cheek

12

DISCLOSURE — “SETTLE”

DISCLOSURE SETTLE

11

ARETHA FRANKLIN — “ARETHA FRANKLIN SINGS THE GREAT DIVA CLASSICS”

aretha franklin

#10 MOVIE

KYLIE MINOGUE — “KISS ME ONCE”

Kiss Me Once

#9

LEANN RIMES — “DANCE LIKE YOU DON’T GIVE A … GREATEST HITS REMIXES”

LEANN RIMES DANCE LIKE YOU DON'T

#8 MOVIE

SETH MacFARLANE — “HOLIDAY FOR SWING”

seth-macfarlane-holiday-for-swing

#7 CD

AMY GRANT — “IN MOTION:  THE REMIXES”

Amy Grant

#6 CD

IDINA MENZEL — “HOLIDAY WISHES”

Idina Holiday Wishes

#5 MOVIE

RENEE FLEMING — “CHRISTMAS IN NEW YORK”

renee-fleming

#4 MOVIE

TAYLOR SWIFT — “1989”

Taylor_Swift_-_1989

green 3

KIESZA — “SOUND OF A WOMAN”

Sound_of_a_Woman_cover

1-1-2

Folks, there is a statistical tie for my favorite album of the year.  These next two albums were flawless and pure pop perfection.

One of the acts has been charting across the world since the 1980s and the other since the 1990s.  And, what’s very interesting is that I saw them both in concert for the first time this past October in Chicago on the same weekend!

1

ERASURE — “THE VIOLET FLAME”

The Violet Flame

1

ENRIQUE IGLESIAS — “SEX AND LOVE”

Enrique SEX AND LOVE

X

I honestly could listen to both albums on repeat at any time.

So, those are my 14 favorites of this year.  What are your favorites?

Anthony