Friday Open Thread | Elton John Week

Good Morning, from all of us at 3CHICS!

Don’t go crazy for those Black Friday sales!!

For those of you in those lines, bless you. Been there…done that…just refuse to do it again.

More of Sir Elton John:

The rock-oriented Rock of the Westies entered the US albums chart at number 1 like Captain Fantastic, a previously unattained feat. Elton John’s stage wardrobe now included ostrich feathers, $5,000 spectacles that spelled his name in lights, and dressing up like the Statue of Liberty, Donald Duck, or Mozart, among others, at his concerts.[44][45]

To celebrate five years since he first appeared at the venue, in 1975 John played a two-night, four-show stand at The Troubadour. With seating limited to under 500 per show, the chance to purchase tickets was determined by a postcard lottery, with each winner allowed two tickets. Everyone who attended the performances received a hardbound “yearbook” of the band’s history. That year he also played piano on Kevin Ayers’ Sweet Deceiver, and was among the first and few white artists to appear on the black music series Soul Train on American television.[39] On 9 August 1975, John was named the outstanding rock personality of the year at the first annual Rock Music Awards at ceremonies held in Santa Monica, California.[46]

In 1976, the live album Here and There was released in May, followed by the Blue Moves album in October, which contained the single “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word”. His biggest success in 1976 was “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”, a duet with Kiki Dee that topped both the American and British charts. Finally, in an interview with Rolling Stone that year entitled “Elton’s Frank Talk”, John stated that he was bisexual.[47]

Besides being the most commercially successful period, 1970–1976 is also held in the most regard critically. Within only a three year span, between 1972 and 1975 John saw seven consecutive albums reach number one in the US, which had not been accomplished before.[39] Of the six Elton John albums to make Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” in 2003, all are from this period, with Goodbye Yellow Brick Road ranked highest at number 91; similarly, the three Elton John albums given five stars by Allmusic (Tumbleweed Connection, Honky Château, and Captain Fantastic) are all from this period.

1980s: The Fox to Sleeping with the Past (1981–1989)

His 1981 album, The Fox, was recorded in part during the same sessions as 21 at 33, and also included collaborations with Tom Robinson and Judie Tzuke. On 13 September 1980, John, with Olsson and Murray back in the Elton John Band, performed a free concert to an estimated 400,000 fans on The Great Lawn in Central Park in New York City. His 1982 hit “Empty Garden (Hey Hey Johnny)”, came from his Jump Up! album, his second under a new US recording contract with Geffen Records.

He married his close friend and sound engineer, Renate Blauel, on Valentine’s Day 1984 – the marriage lasted three years.[50] The Biography Channel Special detailed the loss of Elton’s voice in 1986 while on tour in Australia. Shortly thereafter he underwent throat surgery, which permanently altered his voice. Several non-cancerous polyps were removed from his vocal cords, resulting in a change in his singing voice.[51] In 1987 he won a libel case against The Sun which published allegations of sex with rent boys.[52]

With original band members Johnstone, Murray and Olsson together again, John was able to return to the charts with the 1983 hit album Too Low for Zero, which included “I’m Still Standing” and “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues”, the latter of which featured Stevie Wonder on harmonica and reached number 4 in the US, giving John his biggest hit there since “Little Jeannie”. He placed hits in the US Top Ten throughout the 1980s – “Little Jeannie” (number 3, 1980), “Sad Songs (Say So Much)” (number 5, 1984), “Nikita” boosted by a mini-movie pop video directed by Ken Russell (number 7, 1986), a live orchestral version of “Candle in the Wind” (number 6, 1987), and “I Don’t Wanna Go On With You Like That” (number 2, 1988). His highest-charting single was a collaboration with Dionne Warwick, Gladys Knight, and Stevie Wonder on “That’s What Friends Are For” (number 1, 1985); credited as Dionne and Friends, the song raised funds for AIDS research. His albums continued to sell, but of the six released in the latter half of the 1980s, only Reg Strikes Back (number 16, 1988) placed in the Top 20 in the United States.

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38 Responses to Friday Open Thread | Elton John Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Larry Hagman, the North Texas native who played the conniving and mischievous J.R. Ewing on the TV show Dallas, died Friday at a Dallas hospital. He was 81.

    Mr. Hagman died at 4:20 p.m. Friday at Medical City Dallas Hospital from complications of his recent battle with cancer, members of his family said.

    “Larry was back in his beloved Dallas, re-enacting the iconic role he loved most,” the family said in a statement. “Larry’s family and close friends had joined him in Dallas for the Thanksgiving holiday. When he passed, he was surrounded by loved ones. It was a peaceful passing, just as he had wished for. The family requests privacy at this time.”

    The iconic role of J.R. Ewing metamorphosed Mr. Hagman’s life. He rocketed from being a merely well-known TV actor on I Dream of Jeannie and the son of Broadway legend Mary Martin, to the kind of transnational fame known only by the likes of the Beatles and Muhammad Ali.

    Mr. Hagman made his home in California with his wife of nearly 60 years, the former Maj Axelsson. Despite obvious physical frailty, he gamely returned to Dallas to film season one of TNT’s Dallas reboot and part of season two.

    Linda Gray’s agent, Jeffrey Lane, said the actress was at Mr. Hagman’s bedside when he died, according to The Sun in London. He said another co-star, Patrick Duffy, was also present. “They had been friends for 35 years and they had worked together for many years, so obviously it is devastating,” Mr. Lane told The Sun.

  2. Ametia says:

    Norquist: ‘I Care More About My Country’ Than His Tax Pledge
    video-by Andrew Kirell | 12:34 pm, November 23rd, 2012

    Appearing on a local Georgia television station Wednesday evening, Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said that fixing America’s debt woes may require him breaking with anti-tax activist Grover Norquist‘s long-standing pledge, saying that “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

    Chambliss is one of the many signees of Norquist’s “Taxpayer Protection Pledge,” which originated in 1986 through his organization Americans for Tax Reform.

    The senior Georgia senator said that Norquist’s pledge may not help end the debt problem. “If we do it his way then we’ll continue in debt, and I just have a disagreement with him about that,” he told the local network 13-WMAZ. Chambliss added that Norquist’s hardline opposition to increased government revenue through taxes adds to the debt problem and is a “fundamental disagreement.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    ObamaCare Will Reshape the Electorate

    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 22nd, 2012 at 09:51:04 AM EST

    President Obama will never have to face the voters again, so we will never get to see how the implementation of the Affordable Care Act will change people’s opinion of him. For example, the president never fared particularly well with white working class voters. Yet, they are going to be some of the prime beneficiaries of ObamaCare. Recent polling shows the potential for tremendous gains for the Democrats among segments of the electorate who seem generally unaware of the “gifts” the president prepared for them:

    Seventy-eight percent of the uninsured Americans who are likely to qualify for subsidies were unfamiliar with the new coverage options in a survey by Democratic polling firm Lake Research Partners. That survey, sponsored by the nonprofit Enroll America, also found that 83 percent of those likely to qualify for the expansion of Medicaid, which is expected to cover 12 million Americans, were unaware of the option.

    What people have heard about is the mandate which requires people to acquire health insurance. They have basically no clue, however, about how ObamaCare makes health care insurance affordable.

    Enroll America held focus groups in Philadelphia in mid-November, working exclusively with those who probably would qualify for benefits. Looking to understand how much public education will be needed, the researchers came back with a simple answer: a lot.
    Participants’ hands shot up when researchers asked whether they had heard about a requirement to buy health insurance. But when asked about whether they had heard about any provisions that might make insurance more affordable, none of the 31 participants in the four groups answered yes.

    Barack Obama just won about 85% of the vote in Philadelphia despite the nearly universal ignorance about how ObamaCare is going to help the working class. People are no better informed in mountainous West Virginia or rural Arkansas. Once they find out the details, they are going to be extremely grateful.

    Think about Boone County, West Virginia. It is 98.5% white and 22% of its residents are living in poverty. The median income for a household is $25,669. In 2012, the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is set at $11,170 for a one-person household and rises by $3,960 for each additional family member. Thus, the FPL for a four-person family in 2012 is $23,050. I think we can surmise from these numbers that a very high percentage of the families in Boone County are going to be eligible for health care subsidies in the highest range.

    People and families earning 133 percent of FPL, for example, will have to pay only 2 percent of their income toward the health insurance premium.

    In Boone County, a family of four making the median income of $25,669 will only have to pay two percent of their income ($513/annually) toward a $10,000 health insurance plan. The government will also cover 94% of their out-of-pocket expenses. President Obama only received 32.9% of the vote in Boone County. I think candidate Biden or Cuomo or Clinton or Warner or whomever else will have a good shot at improving that number.

    When Mitt Romney talked about the president winning the election by giving out gifts, he was wrong. Almost no one understand that they would be receiving gifts of this magnitude. If they had understood it, they would have told Romney to take his promise to repeal ObamaCare and shove it up his ass. I believe this is true in small, white, rural counties all over America.

    I think John Boehner agrees with me, which is why he is still talking about destroying ObamaCare. When you take a poor, white family of four living in the Appalachian mountains of West Virginia and you give them $9,500 a year to make sure they all have health insurance and you cover 94% of their out of pocket health care expenses, you have effectively counter-programmed the crap they’ve been seeing on Fox News. You want a new New Deal coalition? Here it comes

  4. rikyrah says:

    The Feeling is Mutual

    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 22nd, 2012 at 10:44:15 PM EST

    I don’t know what would possess someone to go out and spend 16 hours knocking on doors in Connecticut for senate candidate Linda McMahon. Anyone who could read a poll knew that she was going to lose. But, since she was offering to pay people for their time, I guess work is work, right? The problem is that all those workers had their last checks bounce. Then some of them went to a local television station and complained, which led to a story that was broadcast in the Nutmeg State. This irritated the McMahon campaign. Check out what happened next:

    Twaine Don Gomes was one of the people who first complained to News 8. He was handed a check, but he says the campaign told him they were mad that he came to News 8, so he got a little something extra in his envelope.
    “Basically he handed me a check with a condom in it, told me I was screwed,” Gomes said. “That’s the rudest gesture you can ever do to a person, it’s like spitting in a person’s face.”

    His check bounced as well. The workers say, this was the last thing they were expecting after spending hours in the cold, working hard for their candidate on election day.

    “I’m not blaming Mrs. McMahon for this, I’m not bashing anyone,” Brown said, “but I just want my pay for 16 hours.”

    Now, hopefully you remember that Mitt Romney made sure to cancel all his campaign’s credit cards as soon as the polls closed on Election Day. The result was that his top staffers had their cards declined by restaurants and cabs. They worked their butts off for months and all day long on Election Day, and they couldn’t even get dinner or a ride home.

    Think about the contempt and lack of gratitude involved in a gesture like that. Romney did that to some of his most loyal and dedicated lieutenants. Linda McMahon was even worse. She refused to pay people for work they had done and then had her staff issue more bogus checks, including the one with a condom inside.

    Compare this to the organizing team that Obama built. His volunteers didn’t ask for pay. His paid staff didn’t get stiffed. And he told his team just how much he thought of them, including the sentiment that his volunteer army might be his biggest gift to the nation.

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Odd Case Against Susan Rice
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Nov 23 2012, 9:00 AM ET

    Erika Johnsen over at Hot Air is not buying Susan Rice’s explanation:

    She relied “solely and squarely” on info from the intelligence community? That seems a bit odd, considering that the intelligence community suspected terrorism from the very beginning, which means that something doesn’t fit here — and the most obvious possibility for that missing link is that somebody high up in the food chain tweaked the talking points on a very inconvenient situation with only weeks to go before a close presidential election, although the White House has denied having done so

    The post goes on to allege that Rice was part of a “cover-up.” Johnsen’s factual rebuttal to Rice is linked in an NBC news story headlined, “Intelligence Officials: We knew attack in Benghazi was terrorist attack from the beginning.” The piece is presented as thought it contradicts Susan Rice’s claim that she was following her talking points. But that isn’t what the story actually says:

    Officials said that although there was no question that the attack was terrorism, they did not know whether they were spontaneous or planned long in advance. They also did not have the suspects’ identities. That’s why, they said, they kept their unclassified talking points for Rice vague to avoid compromising future legal proceedings.

    So why were those unclassified talking points created in the first place?

    Officials say they were produced in response to requests from the House Select Committee on Intelligence for language that could be used in media interviews. The main purpose was to provide talking points sensitive to the fact that there could be legal proceedings in the future, the senior official said. Initial intelligence was tenuous, and affiliations were unclear. Investigators also worried the investigation could be compromised if they provided too much information


    Republicans are certainly not attacking Rice simply because she is a black woman. But it is certainly likely that they are attacking her because she is a black woman, allied with a black man, who represents the party which black America believes is the best vehicle for its particular interests, and the broader interests of the country. In other words the question isn’t “Is Senator Lindsey Graham racist?” so much as it’s “Who does Senator Lindsey Graham represent?”

    The answer is Graham represents a party whose candidate for the presidency believes black Obama voters are guilty of the sin of electoral bribery, while white Romney voters are simply guilty of loving their country too hard. Graham represents the party of birther claims and birther jokes; the party which thinks attempting to restrict the votes of black and brown people is good use of their resources. The notion that you can separate who Republicans target, from how their base tends to evaluate those targets is willfully naive.

    It does not matter what dwells in Lindsay Graham’s heart. No one knows. The hard interests are what matter.

  6. rikyrah says:

    That’s Racist!

    by BooMan
    Fri Nov 23rd, 2012 at 10:29:04 AM EST

    David Broder most be rolling over in his grave considering the vituperation involved in this Washington Post editorial board opinion piece about 97 House Republicans who sent a letter objecting to the possible nomination of Susan Rice to be the next Secretary of State:

    SINCE THE Senate is solely responsible for the confirmation of Cabinet officers, it’s not often that members of the House of Representatives jump into a debate about the nomination of a secretary of state — particularly before there has been a nomination. That’s one of the reasons a letter sent to President Obama this week by 97 House Republicans, challenging his potential choice of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for the State Department job, is remarkable…

    …Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy. You’d think that before launching their broadside, members of Congress would have taken care not to propagate any falsehoods of their own.

    When the Washington Post editorial board calls you racist, you know you’ve crossed some kind of invisible line.

  7. Ametia says:

    How Super-PACs Could Fuel the War Over the GOP’s Future
    Rebuilding a party takes money. The super-PACs have it.

    —By Andy Kroll

    | Wed Nov. 21, 2012 3:13 AM PST

    It’s reckoning time for the Republican Party. The 2012 elections were not just a shellacking for the GOP; they were a reality check. Evolve or perish. To some Republicans, that means growing the party ranks by tamping down the demagoguery and embracing more moderate policies. To others, 2012’s losses mean the party must double down on its conservative ideals to stand a chance of surviving.

    The party has done this kind of soul-searching before. But what’s different—and potentially more explosive—this time around is the new breed of big-money super-PACs poised to spend millions to push their party toward the political center. These super-PACs, which can independently raise and spend unlimited amounts of cash influencing policy and politics, were created to give political cover and courage to GOP candidates who might face a backlash for taking moderate positions on immigration reform, gay marriage, gun control, and other divisive issues. Before, a gun-control-backing Republican had to worry about the National Rifle Association spending big to defeat him; now big money is watching the backs of Republicans who don’t march in lockstep with the rest of the GOP.

  8. I had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Good food, family and good football. I so missed my parents being with me. I miss their hugs. I miss loving on them. For those of you who have parents—hug and squeeze them tight. Love them with all of your might.

  9. Pat Robertson Admits His Election Prediction Revealed From God Was Wrong


    God was never in your mess Pat Robertson. God is the author of peace.

  10. Bo is there to receive the White House Christmas Tree too…

  11. The First Lady Presents the White House Christmas Tree

    Now Streaming…

  12. More than 80 of anti-Susan Rice #GOP signatories are white males, half from states of the former Confederacy’

  13. Be Thankful Barack Obama Is President During Latest Gaza Crisis

    Elections have consequences, but rarely do they become as evident, as quickly, as they have with regard to the recent violence in and around Gaza. President Obama worked with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to work out a fragile ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, which was sealed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That ceasefire depends on both sides’ confidence that a “durable outcome,” as Sec. Clinton put it, is somewhere in the offing, that a peace process which has been characterized by fits, starts, and setbacks, has some chance of success, or at least of an honest try.

    At the very least, the ceasefire has resulted in a cessation of missile attacks from Gaza into Israel, and has averted a ground invasion of Gaza by the Israeli Defense Forces. Whatever its long-term prospects, this truce has saved lives, and it would not have happened without the United States’ involvement.

  14. rikyrah says:

    – -Obama fashion line brings in $40 million- –

    – — -Anna Wintour is officially a political-fundraising groundbreaker.

    The Vogue editor’s “Runway to win” initiative — which had famous designers like Tory Burch and Marc Jacobs creating bags, shirts and other gear for the Obama campaign — brought in a lot more dough than some predicted.

    Campaign manager Jim Messina tells Bloomberg Businessweek that the venture, which had been mocked by some pundits, raised “just north of $40 million.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    Why Conservatives Should Be Thankful That the Rest of Us Elected President Obama

    By: RmuseNovember 22nd, 2012

    There are myriad ways to express a feeling of acknowledgment of a benefit one has received or will receive that varies from person to person. During the past four years, a certain segment of the population has found nothing to be thankful for as Americans, and have, in fact, gone to great lengths to make the rest of the country suffer the effects of their ingratitude. It is sad that the Republican Party and their adherents made it their life’s purpose to create an atmosphere of hate out of their abhorrence of an African American man the people elected President. It is understandable that hate and anger make it nearly impossible to be thankful, but conservatives should be thankful the rest of the population elected a President not inclined to deliberately cause suffering for 98% of the American people, including them.

    The recent election drew a sharp contrast between conservative hate and the rest of the nation because not all Americans who are thankful they have a decent job, safe home, an education, healthcare, and a secure retirement voted for the man who believes every American should have those basic human rights. All Americans should have a great deal of gratitude for living in this country, but unfortunately, millions of Americans have substantially less, and for the past four years Republicans have sought to increase their numbers. However, Republicans’ corporate masters are the masterminds, and beneficiaries, of the plot to transform America into a land of peasants serving a few-hundred wealthy families and Romney represented their threat to America and the idea that every citizen deserved the right to succeed. His loss gives 98% of Americans reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving.

    It was mildly disturbing that nearly half the population bought the notion that 98% of the population exists to enrich the wealthy and their corporations, but it became stunning over the past few years. Most Americans are thankful their government provides consumer protections and the mechanism for upward mobility by helping elevate the entire country, but Republicans have deliberately obstructed every effort to help all Americans prosper and sought to strip protections from their corporate masters. Americans can be thankful Romney lost the election because his plan for America was severe austerity, massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, and repealing consumer protection and financial reform laws.

    One has to wonder why 47% of voters would have been thankful if Romney and Ryan won the election and imposed harsh austerity on the people and ended Medicare, and drastically cut Medicaid, food stamps, education, police and fire fighters, and restrict 30 million Americans from access to affordable health care insurance. It is painful, frankly, and a sad commentary that nearly half this nation is so steeped in hate that they supported candidates they knew would increase their fellow citizens suffering and yet, the rest of the nation supported politicians who would help all the people. What made America the exceptional land of opportunity it once was, was when government taxed the rich, invested in jobs, and people were grateful the entire country was prospering. It was a time to be thankful.

    One of Americans’ problems is they forget about Republicans’ push for wider economic inequality and increased poverty after an election while their good fortune endures. Today when families gather and enjoy a feast and express their undying gratitude for their bounty, it is doubtful many are thinking about the poor, elderly, or homeless veterans who, for want of a decent job and secure retirement, have very little to be thankful for, or that Republicans want to increase their despair. It is a hideous abomination and an outrage on humanity that in the richest country in the history of the world, even one citizen is hungry, without a good job, an education, a home, healthcare, and a secure retirement. There are millions of American who have everything to be thankful for, and that is as it should be, but hopefully they look forward to, and work for, the day when every American has everything to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Five Obamacare Provisions To Be Thankful For

    By Tara Culp-Ressler on Nov 22, 2012 at 9:00 am

    After clearing significant hurdles over the past year — including repeated repeal votes in Congress, a Supreme Court challenge, and a presidential election — the future of President Obama’s landmark health reform law is finally secure. Now that it’s here to stay, Americans can expect to reap significant benefits as the Affordable Care Act continues to be gradually implemented over the next few years. But some important provisions of the health law have already gone into effect, helping improve coverage for millions of Amercians and significantly reduce the national uninsurance rate. Americans can be grateful for these five existing Obamacare provisions that are currently working to provide the following benefits for millions of people across the country:

    1) Eliminating the “donut hole” coverage gap. After this Obamacare provision began working to make prescription drug coverage more affordable for seniors, the Centers for Medicare And Medicaid Services (CMS) confirmed that over 5 million seniors and people with disability saved an estimated $4 billion on their prescription costs. And the health law ensures that those savings will only increase in the future, as the Medicare program eventually covers more and more of the cost of both brand-name and generic drugs. The average senior on a traditional Medicare plan is expected to rack up about $5,000 in savings between 2010 and 2022.

    2) Preventing insurance companies from denying coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. Eliminating discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions is one of the most popular provisions of the health reform law, since the insurance market has typically forced people with genetic or chronic illnesses to either pay expensive premiums in high-risk pools or forgo coverage altogether. Americans under 19 years old are currently eligible for these protections, and the provision will be expanded to all Americans in 2014.

    3) Allowing young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance until age 26. Obamacare has helped extend coverage to millions of young adults by allowing them to remain covered under their parents’ plans until they turn 26, resulting in a record drop in the number of uninsured young adults across the nation. More than six million young adults are now insured through their parents’ insurance plans because of this provision.

    4) Increasing affordable access to women’s health services. Thanks to Obamacare, a wide range of women’s preventative health services are now covered in employer-based insurance plans at no additional charge. The health reform law works to eliminate gender-based disparity in health costs by eliminating co-pays for birth control, HPV screening, breastfeeding support, and domestic violence resources. And studies have confirmed that Obamacare’s contraception mandate will help lower the national abortion rate by increasing access to affordable and reliable forms of birth control.

    5) Ensuring that premiums go toward Americans’ health care rather than insurance companies’ profits. Obamacare’s 80/20 rule mandates that insurance companies can only spend 20 percent of the premiums they charge on their own profits and overhead costs, while the remaining 80 percent needs to go toward the cost of providing quality health care. Thanks to this provision, Americans have already saved an estimated $2.1 billion on their premium costs. And if you got a refund check in the mail this past year from your insurance company, you can thank this part of the Affordable Care Act for that. About 13 million Americans have received over $1 billion in rebates since the health law enacted the 80/20 rule.

  17. Cop Says He’d Volunteer To Assassinate Obama

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Jacksonville police officer has quit after admitting he told colleagues that he would volunteer to assassinate President Barack Obama.

    The 57-year-old retired earlier this month while facing an internal investigation into his comments to other officers after the election. He told them that if an order came to kill Obama, he “wouldn’t mind being the guy.”

    When questioned by the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office integrity unit, he said he also didn’t care if a nuclear explosion killed everyone in the Northeastern U.S because they supported Obama. He told the investigators his comments were hyperbole and not actual threats.

  18. Good morning, everyone!

    I’m still tired & sleepy this morning. I need coffee to help wake me up.

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