Posts Tagged ‘Whitney Houston’

Thank God For Women (and a Few Good Men)

With the exception of my grandfather, John Henry Peoples, and President Jimmy Carter,

Autograph Carters

women have always seemed to inspire me more.

inspiration

This started with my dear mother, Dessie and Jessica Savitch of NBC News in the 1970s and 1980s, to Hillary Clinton!  I’m still with her!

Hillary AP

In the 1980s, I was obsessed and inspired by Madonna, Janet Jackson, Taylor Dayne, and Whitney Houston.

Reba Anthony 2005

In the 1990s, for me, it was Reba McEntire, Patty Loveless, Mariah Carey, LeAnn Rimes, Toni Braxton, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, and Gillian Anderson.

The 21st century highlighted a 1980s favorite, Kylie Minogue, and Britney Spears (who debuted on the pop scene in late 1998).  Both overcame what could have been career-ending obstacles (cancer and a breakdown) to show their strength, thus inspiring millions!

But today,  my blog is really dedicated to the first four female singers who made a big impact on my formative years — the 1970s.

While they all dominated the music world that decade, one charted her biggest hit in the 1980s and one of the others had massive hits in her genre into the mid-1990s!

Ironically, it wasn’t until the past five years or so that I finally got to see three of them in concert.  While radio only plays their classics now, they sounded amazing live well past their radio dominance!

In honor, I’ll start with the one that’s no longer with us.

Karen

Karen Carpenter’s voice was so angelic and the music of the Carpenters was inescapable starting with “(They Long To Be) Close to You” in 1970, which was their first Top 40 hit and it went on to top the chart.

“Merry Christmas Darling” is my second favorite Carpenters song and this one is my favorite.

OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN

In September, Olivia Newton-John celebrated her 70th birthday.

As a kid, I absolutely fell in love with her when “Let Me Be There” hit the Billboard Country Top Ten in 1973.

Olivia has charted 27 Top 40 hits (pop and country).  Of those, 15 reached the Top Ten.

Five of those smashes reached #1:  “I Honestly Love You” (1974), “Have You Never Been Mellow” (1975), “You’re The One That I Want” (1978, with John Travolta), “Magic” (1980), and “Physical” (1981), which spent ten weeks at the top of the chart becoming her biggest hit.

I saw her in concert in Las Vegas in May 2014.

Olivia 2014

“Xanadu” is my favorite Olivia Newton-John song!  It reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1980.

If you’d like to read a full blog I dedicated to Olivia, here’s the link and it’ll open in a new window when you click on it.

I’m Still Hopelessly Devoted To Olivia

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/im-still-hopelessly-devoted-to-olivia/

TANYA TUCKER

I’ve been a huge Tanya Tucker fan since she exploded onto the country music scene in 1972 with “Delta Dawn”.

While Tanya is just six years older than me (she just celebrated her 60th birthday), it was fun seeing a teenager dominating country music.

delta_dawn-1973-tanya_tucker

I finally got to see Tanya in concert in December 2017 in Las Vegas.  She looked and sounded amazing.

Tanya.jpg

I’ve written two blog about her.

One was about her book “Nickel Dreams”, which covered her music career and her crazy personal life.

I’m Glad Tanya Tucker Shared Her Nickel Dreams

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/im-glad-tanya-tucker-shared-her-nickel-dreams/

The other was a countdown of my 20 favorite Tanya hits before I saw her in concert!

My 20 Favorite Tanya Tucker Songs

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/11/01/my-20-favorite-tanya-tucker-songs/

Spoiler alert!

spoiler-alert

If you don’t click on that to see what my 20 favorite Tanya songs are, here’s my favorite!

“Lizzie and the Rainman” hit #1 on the Billboard Country chart in 1975.

But the star of today’s blog is Helen Reddy, who’s celebrating her 77th birthday (October 25, 2018)!

HelenReddy2

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

I was fortunate enough to catch her in concert outside of Chicago in March 2013.

Helen Reddy Sign.jpg

Helen Reddy 1

I almost got to meet her, but there was a mix-up at the theater.  😦  However, my friend Jim, who works for Helen, arranged for this gorgeous consolation gift!Helen Reddy Autograph

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

#10  “YOU AND ME AGAINST THE WORLD”

#9     “AIN’T NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY”

#8    “EMOTION

#7   “PEACEFUL”

#6  “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO LOVE HIM”

5

“LEAVE ME ALONE (RUBY RED DRESS)”

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

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

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

4

“ANGIE BABY”

#3 CD

“DELTA DAWN”

#2 CD

“KEEP ON SINGING”

This was featured in the medley for #5, but I’m posting the full version here.

Another number 1

“I AM WOMAN”

I’ve dedicated three blogs to Helen over the years and here are the links if you’d like to read them.  Again, each will open in a new window when you click on it!

Helen Reddy, Thank You For Making Me The Advocate I Am Now! (February 2012)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/02/19/helen-reddy-thank-you-for-making-me-the-advocate-i-am-now/

Helen, Here’s To Many More Happy Birthdays (October 2012)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2012/10/25/helen-heres-to-many-more-happy-birthdays/

Why Helen Reddy Will Always Remember Moline (September 2014)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/why-helen-reddy-will-always-remember-moline/

To each of these beautiful and wonderful ladies, thank you for music and the memories.  And, to all of the women (and Jimmy Carter and my grandfather), thank you for the inspiration!

Happy Birthday Helen and Happy Belated Birthday Olivia and Tanya!

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — July 13, 2018

The weekend is almost here and it’s Friday the 13th again!

Jason V

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

BREAKING NEWS — I’M HAPPY! 🙂

“Pose” on FX was renewed for a second season!

pose

HOLLYWOOD MATINEE IDOL DIES

1950s and 1960s matinee idol and LGBT pioneer Tab Hunter died earlier this week, three days shy of his 87th birthday.

tab

Just four weeks ago, I wrote about him and his book “Confidential”.  It was about his life as a gay man being marketed as a lady’s man in Hollywood.

While publicly dating beautiful ingenues like Natalie Wood, one of his most intense love affairs was with the man I was named for — “Pyscho” star Anthony Perkins.

tab_hunter_anthony_perkins

“NEVER AGAIN”

This should never be the only choice!

NEVER AGAIN

FEELING GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF, EVEN UNIQUE!

I get daily numbers on how many times my blog is viewed, what entries are being looked at, and from what country.

A few weeks ago, I noticed a June 3, 2016 blog getting a lot of views, so I clicked on it to see what my “Random Friday Thoughts” were that week.

And, this was in there and I loved it that day as much as the first time I saw it.

Fish Be You

At the time, I posted it on Facebook and it got a lot of love.  On Twitter, while loved, it also got this response.

Unique

As I blogged that day, “I’m the kind of person that tries to respond to all comments (good or bad), but I’ll not carry on a lengthy debate and waste my time with someone who’s main objective is just to argue just for the sake of it.

Trust me, most of the posts on this person’s Twitter page proves he/she just trolls the internet and social media to make negative comments.

Move on and troll elsewhere!”

Well, here’s an update on that account.

Account Suspended

I may not be unique, but my blog is still going after six years and my Twitter account is still active!

“CLAWS”

On TNT’s “Claws”, Desna (the amazing and incredibly sexy Niecy Nash) and her girls at the Nail Artisans in Palmetto, Florida, are still making nails that look flawless.

Claws 1.gif

But, after laundering money for the Dixie Mafia in season one with the pain clinic acting as a front for drug trade, they now have a bigger, international problem to deal with.

Zlata Ostrousky and her Russian goons have Desna under a beautifully manicured thumb.

Ironically, as the ladies at the salon were making the business more Russian-ized for their new boss, they placed a photo of 45 and his boss daddy, Vladimir Putin, on the wall. 🙂

Wait!

Don’t the Russians have enough to do with interfering in American presidential elections (allegedly), buying the right to host the World Cup soccer tournament, condemning and making the lives of the LGBTQ community miserable, and poisoning people with substandard street alcohol to be running a drug cartel in Florida?

I love the additon of Zlata (Franka Potente), the head of the Russian mob family.

Vlata.jpg

In the last episode, there was a classic exchange when Desna wanted to let Zlata in on an assassination attempt on her life from Clay and the Dixie Mafia.

Desna says that she heard a rumor and Zlata replies, “Is true.  I feed raw hamburger to President at sex party at Mar-a-Lago!”

Just last week, TNT renewed “Claws” for a third season for 2019! 🙂

COMPARING APPLES TO ORANGES

There may never be another Madonna, Michael Jackson, or the Beatles — the chart dominance they accomplished will be legendary.

However, if you just look at the headlines and Billboard chart numbers, they’ve already been replaced!

Here’s a headline this week:

DRAKE

Okay, so technically, Drake breaks the Beatles records.

And, with five new songs in the Top Ten on the Hot 100, he surpasses Michael Jackson with the most solo male Top Ten hits.

But, this is like comparing apples to oranges.

apple oranges

The Billboard Hot 100 chart rules have changed many times since its inception in 1958.

When you see how many hits Madonna, the Beatles, and Michael Jackson scored on the Hot 100, it was because those were bonafide hits that radio was playing and you could buy as a single.

Album tracks could not chart on the Hot 100 if there’s wasn’t a physical single.

That’s changed now, so it’s MUCH MUCH easier for “songs” from albums to chart on the Hot 100 instead of “singles”.

So, if this was a commonplace rule from the 1950s-1990s, then Drake’s accomplishment would likely pale in comparison.

Beatles.jpg

When the Beatles had the top five songs on the Billboard Hot 100 on April 4, 1964, it was because they were popular on radio and in stores!

Here’s a couple more interesting tidbits for you.  The old rules kept some of the biggest songs in music from charting on the Billboard Hot 100 like No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” from 1996 (16 weeks at #1 on the “Hot 100 Airplay” chart) and Madonna’s 1985 megahit, “Into The Groove”.

While that song hit #1 on the Billboard Dance Chart and Billboard honored it as the “Dance Single of the Decade”, it never hit the Hot 100 because it was the B-side to the 12″ dance single “Angel”.

Overall, Madonna still leads all artists with the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100 with 38.

Elvis would be second with 36 (if you count his Hot 100 hits and Pre-Hot 100 hits), The Beatles are third with 34 and Drake and Rihanna are tied for fourth with 31.

I STILL “LOVE, SIMON”

Have you seen this stellar coming-of-age movie yet?  I saw it back in March when it first came out.  You can now rent it at Redbox.

I think it’s a must see for every one with a child or teenager dealing with today’s fast changing world!

And, Nick Robinson is absolutely adorable as Simon (Josh Duhamel, as his dad, ain’t too bad either!) 🙂

And, since I talked about Whitney Houston last week and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” is my favorite Whitney song, I’ll feature this short video from the movie.

And, how could you forget Damon’s dance audition on “Pose”?

Oh wait, if people were actually watching this beautiful, touching FX show, you wouldn’t forget it!

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth, Minnesota, this month, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

Let’s take a country route this week with a voice that still melts me today to hear. 🙂

Canadian Paul Brandt broke out in 1996 just as I was heading to Rhinelander, Wisconsin, for my first real television job.

“My Heart Has A History” reached #5 on the Billboard Country chart here in the U.S., and the follow-up, “I Do”, became his biggest U.S. hit peaking at #2.  It also became a “wedding song of the year”.

Sadly, Paul only scored three more moderate hits here in America — peaking at #39, #38, and #38.

However, in Canada, his first five singles, including the two I previously mentioned, all topped the chart.

He’s still popular in Canada.  Overall, he’s had 26 hits on the Canadian Country chart with 20 of them making the Top Ten, and 6 hitting #1.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — July 6, 2018

I hope you had a great Fourth of July and you’re ready for the weekend.

In retrospective, my “Random Friday Thoughts” last week were a little bleak.  This week, it’s happier.  Well, once you get past the second one!

Thank you for checking out my thoughts and feel free to share yours.

HAPPY 72ND ANNIVERSARY

My favorite president and his wonderful wife are celebrating their 72nd wedding anniversary this weekend.

Autograph Carters

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter were married on July 7, 1946, at the Plains Methodist Church.

He was 21 and just out of the Navy and she was 18.

Interesting tidbit:  Just months earlier, she said “no” when he first asked her to marry him. 🙂

THE “TRANSGENDER” STATE

In America, it’s pretty much a given that straight, white men run the country and most businesses.  That’s slowly changing.

Even in the LGBTQ community, it’s usually white, gay men at the forefront when it comes to being more privileged and in positions of power.  That’s slowly changing, too.

Sadly, it’s the “T” part of LGBTQ, our transgender brothers and sisters, that feel the brunt of hysteria and discrimination from not only straight America, but even from within our own community!  It’s shameful!

It’s bad enough that the government is trying to keep the trans community out of the military, but they also have to fight just for the right to use bathrooms without people thinking there are ulterior motives like child molestation.

That’s only the tip of the iceberg.  As of 2009 worldwide, at least one transgender person is murdered every three days on average!

Here in America, there’s been an increase in the number of transgender men and women killed and a large number of those are transgender women of color!

Brandy

In 2017, there were at least 28 trans people murdered!

So far this year in the U.S., there have been thirteen trans people killed, including three in Jacksonville, Florida, prompting some there to think a serial killer is targeting the trans community!

I have several transgender friends and one is a very dear friend.  She’s bright and she’s very vocal in pointing out all of the atrocities that she and the community go through in daily life.

I hope she remains safe and always WOKE!

“POSE”

Our trans friends are just like everyone else and they want the same things everyone else wants!  Some lead quiet lives and some want the glamour and fame!

That’s the focus of uber-producer and Hollywood heavyweight Ryan Murphy’s latest FX series, “Pose”.

pose.gif

It’s set in New York City in the late-1980s and focuses on the underground world of “ball culture”.  (Oh, there’s also corporate greed and “white privilege” — compliments of those in Trump Tower!)

Most people are unfamiliar with “ball culture”.  It’s basically drag contests in the underground world where contestants compete for trophies to see which “house”, usually a group of outcasts seeking security from a family and a “mother”, the queen of that house.

“Ball culture” is the topic of Jenny Livingston’s landmark documentary, “Paris is Burning” and the inspiration for Madonna’s 1990 career-defining worldwide hit, “Vogue”, that made “posing” and “voguing” mainstream!

In “Pose”, we have the prominent “House of Abundance” led by Elektra (the amazing Dominique Jackson), which takes most of the trophies at the balls.  Elektra is like the Alexis Carrington Colby Dexter Rowan of “Dynasty”.

Dominique Jackson as Elektra Abundance.jpg

Yes, “Dynasty” is brought up — it’s the late-1980s.

The drama escalates when one of her “children”, Blanca (Mj Rodriguez), leaves and starts the “House of Evangelista”.  She becomes the Krystal Carrington,  if you will.

While I love Dominique Jackson’s evil (and she truly is) portrayal of Elektra, Mj Rodriguez’s Blanca is my favorite.  She’s loving, caring, hard-headed, and heartbreaking.

Blanca 1

Billy Porter (“Kinky Boots”) is fabulous as the emcee of the balls and Blanca’s friend.

Billy-Porter-pose-bb15-2018-pride-fea-cr-Sarah-Shatz-FX-billboard-1500

“Pose” features the largest transgender cast ever assembled on television.

What I love about “Pose” is the real story lines.  You’d think you were living right there with them — from the transphobia directed at them not only from straight America, but also the yuppie, white gay boys.

One of the characters is diagnosed with HIV early on and “Pose” does not hold back on showing how many in the medical field dealt with those dying of AIDS.

Ronald Reagan doesn’t get a “free pass” for his ignorance, denial, and handling of the AIDS plague either.

And, the music is fantabulous!

I hope “Pose” is renewed for a second season.  However, ratings for the series are really low. 😦

“DON’T JUST STAND THERE — STRIKE A POSE!”

In 1990, Madonna’s “Vogue” topped the charts in more than 30 counties and became the biggest selling single in the world that year with more than six million copies sold!

MINNESOTA STATE FAIR FOOD

Once I landed the job in Duluth, Minnesota, in early April, I stayed in Panama City, Florida, to fulfill my apartment lease and to get my old station through the May ratings period.

Now I wish I had moved here earlier to take time off to go to the Minnesota State Fair for the “Life Tour” —  Boy George and Culture Club, The B-52s, and Thompson Twins’ Tom Bailey — all on the same bill on Labor Day!

And, I’d love to sample some of the new food this year — Za-Waffle Sticks (waffles blended with pepperoni and mozzarella, topped with a parmesan herb blend and served with pepperoni-infused maple syrup or marinara sauce) and Sweet Greek Cheese Puffs (flaky phyllo dough filled with feta and ricotta cheese, deep-fried, drizzled with honey and topped with powdered sugar.).

But, my favorite new offering there is one I think I can make at home with a little experimenting — Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado!

Capture.JPG

It’s Gulf white shrimp tossed with lime, onion, black beans, tomato and fire-roasted corn in a garlic aioli (mayonnaise seasoned with garlic), drizzled with cilantro-infused olive oil, stuffed in avocado halves and served open-face with flatbread!

That’s similar to one of my favorite appetizers to make — Shrimp Ceviche , which is pictured here!  (Yes, I made these!)Shrimp C

WHITNEY: CAN I BE ME

This Showtime documentary was incredible!

It didn’t shy away from Whitney’s drug use as a teenager, her fear of disappointing God, the rumors about whether she was a lesbian or bisexual, and her spiral out of control that ultimately cost her her life in early 2012.

It was mind-boggling hearing that people were more comfortable ignoring her abuses of drugs and alcohol than it was to accept that she might be a lesbian black woman!

A new “Whitney” documentary hits theaters this weekend.

If you’re a Whitney Houston fan, what are your favorite songs?

Here are my ten favorites.  Of course, it was hard making this list because she had so many amazing songs.

By clicking on this link, it’ll open in a new window!

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/remembering-whitney-houston/

90s NOSTALGIA

Since moving to Duluth a month ago, I’ve been a little nostalgic about my previous times living in the Midwest and Great Lakes back in the 1990s.

When I visited Chicago over Memorial Day weekend 1994, I made my decision to move there and six weeks later I was living in the “Windy City”.

While there for Memorial Day, we partied at the Gentry on Rush and I heard “Dreams” by English singer Gabrielle and I fell in love with the song and, ultimately, the album.

While the song hit the Top Ten in more than a dozen countries in 1993 and 1994, it only reached #26 on the Billboard Hot 100.

However, it did top the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart here in the U.S.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

champagne

Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

Anthony1982

Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

anger

This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

ABBADecember2007

I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

Hillary AP

I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

Reba Anthony 2005

If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

Dessie 1990

After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

reba-faith

I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

lake_of_fire

But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — February 24, 2017

Today’s random thoughts is short and sweet.  I don’t think I have anything too controversial in here, but with human nature, I can’t be sure. 🙂

Have a great last weekend of February!

OSCARS WEEKEND

Millions will be tuned in Sunday night to see the best of Hollywood (at least those nominated and chosen) accept their awards and make political speeches.

Oscar-Nominations-2014

I’m basing my picks on my “entertainment” knowledge.

The only nominated movies and performances I’ve seen, so far, in the top categories are “Arrival”, “Captain Fantastic”, “Florence Foster Jenkins”, and “Hell Or High Water”.

My picks for the big prizes are:

Best Picture:  “La La Land”.  I saw “Arrival” and it’s definitely not going to be that one.

Best Actor: Denzel Washington.  If not, it’ll be Casey Affleck.  However, I’d love for it to be Viggo Mortensen.

Best Actress:  Emma Stone

Best Supporting Actor:  Mahershala Ali

Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis

LIBYAN TRAGEDY

Earlier this week, at least 74 bodies of migrants washed ashore from the Mediterranean Sea in Libya.

libya

Libya is a North Africa country on the other side of the world that I’d never want to visit, even if it borders the beautiful Mediterranean Sea.

It’s a country strife in human rights violations and political  regimes.

While it’s so far away (and tragedies like this one are a frequent occurrence), it’s gotten minor news coverage.  Sadly, many across the rest of the world probably had little concern about it as it crossed their online news feeds.

But, for some reason (maybe since I’m pontificating about life and my future), it really hit me.

I didn’t know those people and I know things like this happen.  Yet, those people yearned for something better.  They were willing to sacrifice the most prized gift we’re given — life — for it.

What it all comes down to is that those people were someone’s loved ones!

CAITLYN JENNER SAYS “CALL ME”

It’s no secret that I’ve never been a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While she’s educating herself more and making progress, I still feel she’s out of touch with what life is really like for the average transgender American.

However, “from, well, one Republican to another”, she’s finally stepping up and speaking out against U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and her “friend” in the White House.

While I say “kudos” to Jenner on this, I’m still shaking my head to think that she didn’t have the foresight to see this coming!

This leads me into part two of this thought process!

JACKIE EVANCHO & TRANSGENDER RIGHTS

16-year-old classical singer Jackie Evancho sang the National Anthem at the Inauguration of #45 last month.

To those familiar with her, this was a little (or a lot) confusing since her sister, Juliet, is transgender.  It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to think of how the new administration would feel about LGBT rights, specifically transgender rights.

Earlier this week, the president rolled back federal government protections allowing transgender students to use the bathroom associated with their gender identity.

Evancho reached out to #45 via Twitter: “I am obviously disappointed in the decision to send the bathroom issue to the states to decide. “.

j-j

She also tweeted:  “ u gave me the honor 2 sing at your inauguration. Pls give me & my sis the honor 2 meet with u 2 talk rghts ❤

So far, she hasn’t heard back from him.

What are your thoughts?  I’m torn.

Maybe she performed to make a connection to discuss her sister and transgender rights?  Or, did she do it for the publicity and a possible bump in record and concert ticket sales?

Before the performance, she and her family were questioned about the new administration’s views and her transgender sister and they basically said that it’s a performance and not political.

Well, I do have issues with that one.  It is political!

REMEMBERING AL JARREAU

As I mentioned last week with the passing of French actress Emmanuelle Riva, real life gets in the way and I miss some things (even with real news and fake news on Facebook).

I was saddened to learn that jazz, R&B, and pop legend Al Jarreau died the weekend before Valentine’s Day at the age of 76.

He was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and didn’t release his first album until he was 35 years old!

If you’re not a jazz or R&B music fan, you’ll likely remember him singing the theme to the late-1980s ABC hit show “Moonlighting” with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd.

Jarreau charted 11 Top 40 hits on the R&B chart with four reaching the Top Ten.

On the Billboard Hot 100, he had three hits.  The “Moonlighting” theme reached #23 in 1987, but “We’re In This Love Together” from 1981, my favorite, was his biggest.  It reached #15.

Throughout his career, Jarreau won seven Grammy Awards and was nominated for 17 more.

CHRISTMAS MUSIC RELEASES STRESS

When I find myself stressed or really bummed out, Christmas music always snaps me back into reality.

The past few weeks have been rather stressful and Wednesday morning, I found myself letting Mariah Carey soothe me.

If you’ve never heard her version of “Oh Santa” or seen the retro video, check it out.

Hey, don’t feel bad for clicking on the video, Christmas is only ten months away!

CLOSING IN ON HISTORY

Don’t think too hard and don’t Google it.  What artist has had the most Top Ten hits on the Billboard Hot 100?

Could it be Elvis?  The Beatles?  Madonna?  Whitney Houston?  Michael Jackson?  Mariah Carey?  Janet Jackson?

It’s actually Rihanna!

Rihanna Rolling Stone

With “Love On The Brain” moving into the Top Ten this week on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna is now in third place in music history!

It becomes her 30th Top Ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and she didn’t scored her first until 2005!

So, who’s ahead of her?

In second place with 34 Top Ten Hot 100 hits, it’s The Beatles.

Their first was “Love Me Do” in 1962 (it hit #1) and their last was “Free As A Bird” (peaked at #6) in 1995.

And, in first place, it’s Madonna, with 38 Top Ten hits!

Madonna1985

Her first Top Ten hit was “Lucky Star” (#4 in 1984) and her most recent was “Give Me All Your Luvin'” (with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A.) in 2012.  It peaked at #10.

Behind Rihanna for the most Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten hits are Michael Jackson in 4th place with 29 and Stevie Wonder is in 5th place with 28.

Elton John, Mariah Carey, and Janet Jackson are tied in sixth place with 27 Top Ten Hot 100 hits and the Rolling Stones, Whitney Houston, and Paul McCartney are in ninth place with 23.

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By the way, Rihanna was just named Harvard’s “Humanitarian of the Year” and will be appearing in the final season of “Bates Motel”, now airing on A&E, as Marion Crane, Janet Leigh’s iconic character from the original “Psycho” movie!

CAITLYN, UNTIL THE PHONE RINGS, “CALL ME”

OR, “CALL ME MAYBE”

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Remembering Whitney Houston

In the past year, we’ve lost 1980s musical icons David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years ago this weekend that the music world was crushed to learn of the passing of Whitney Houston.

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Sadly, a little over three years later, her daughter, Bobbi Kristina Brown, died, too, in an eerily similar fashion.

This Grammy Awards weekend, I’m remembering Whitney by sharing my ten favorite Whitney songs.  (By the way, she won six Grammy Awards and was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Awards, thus seven!)

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Bonus

Since Whitney had so many classics, here are some of my favorites that couldn’t fit it in the Top Ten:

“Saving All My Love For You”, “I’m Every Woman”, “My Name Is Not Susan”, “Love Will Save The Day”, “Didn’t We Almost Have It All”, “Heartbreak Hotel”, “Fine”, “Step By Step”, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, and “If I Told You That” with  featuring the late great George Michael!

As I begin my countdown, you’ll notice her upbeat songs rank higher since that’s when I was a youngster out clubbing and enjoying the dance floor!  🙂

10

#9

#8 MOVIE

7

6

#5 MOVIE

4

green 3

BIRTHDAY-CAKE-2-year-old

1

What are you favorites?

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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