Random Friday Thoughts — May 26, 2017

Although I’ve written blogs lately about my mood change, what I loved about the Quad Cities, and about my new city, Panama City, Florida, it’s been a while since I’ve done a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

So, here’s a short one.

GETTING SETTLED IN

My apartment is almost set up.  I still need to get a few pieces to finish the decorating process.  My living room and dining room are so awkwardly set-up that nothing really fits and that’s giving me fits!

As of now, my favorite room is the balcony, which has a small dining table and three chairs with several plants and trees.

WORK

While I miss my Quad Cities work wife, Emily Scarlett, immensely, I know she’s doing well in Columbia, South Carolina.  I hope her new work family is welcoming her as nicely as my new work family in Panama City is me.

I’m still “officially” training on the more advanced weather system, but I have filled in four times since Friday on the evening shift.

I’ll start mornings on Monday, June 12th.  I can’t wait.  You know I like my routine and, so far, nothing has been routine.

PANAMA CITY 

This weekend marks my third weekend in Panama City and I still haven’t seen the Beaches, although I’ve seen “Beaches” with Bette Midler. 🙂  I have no desire to see the remake.

I want to be settled in at work and have my place all set up before I head out to Panama City Beach.

I hope to make great strides toward finishing the decorating of the apartment this weekend since I’m finishing up twelve straight work days.

I plan on going to the Farmer’s Market, maybe a couple of yard sales, and out to eat this weekend.  I promised myself I’d go out to eat once a week when I moved here and my first time was at Chow Time Buffet.

December 10

It was amazing and it may give Osaka Buffet back in Moline, Illinois, a run for its money! When my sister, Tammy, and Gerald visit in October, we’re definitely hitting it again.

This weekend, I’m trying to decide between Mexican or pizza?

“WHY HIM?”

I love James Franco.  I think he’s funny, sexy, and a great actor in dramatic roles, too (“Milk” and “127 Hours”).

james franco image

I wasn’t sure what to expect with “Why Him?”  Was it going to be hilarious like “This Is The End” or just okay with some funny parts like “The Interview”.

It’s definitely the former.  I was laughing several times.  Prepare yourself for a very hard-R movie.  That “R” could be for “raunchy” alone!

Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) and Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace) star as parents meeting their daughter’s older boyfriend for the first time.

He’s not exactly what they were expecting for their daughter, but then again just the way they found out about him should have been a big clue.

Keegan-Michael Key is very was funny, too, as Franco’s assistant.  And, the younger actors (Zoey Deutch and Griffin Gluck) were great, too.

Funny and raunchy — a great movie for escapism.

WARNING:  This is the “red band” trailer, which means it contains very strong language and sexual themes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GRADE:  A-

“THE BIRTH OF A NATION”

This was a very hard movie to watch, but a great one.

Any movie about this country’s ignorance over slavery and racism done without sugar-coating the issue is hard to watch.

This movie was the one that was expected to dominate this past Oscar race and wipe away “Oscars So White”.

However, when director, star, and co-writer Nate Parker’s past come up, the movie became too hot to handle and it bombed.

In case you don’t know the story, in 1999, Parker and the movie’s co-writer, Jean McGianni Celestin, were accused of raping a woman while in college in Pennsylvania. Both men claim the sex was consensual and no charges were brought again Parker and the ones against McGianni Celestin eventually were dropped.  The woman ended up committing suicide in 2012.

It also stars Aja Naomi King (“How to Get Away with Murder”) and Armie Hammer.

GRADE:  B+

CHRISTMAS IS GETTING CLOSER 🙂

Okay, it’s not even officially summer yet, but Christmas is now just seven months away!

This year will be interesting because I won’t be decorating my house like I usually do and I won’t likely have snow.  I can almost say with certainty that I won’t have snow. 🙂

December 10

I’ll just have a Christmas tree and decorations around the apartment and some fun festive lights on the balcony!

I think it’s too soon for me to be one of those people that decorate a palm tree — maybe next Christmas!

P.S.  “Why Him?” could count as a Christmas movie! 🙂

“WISH ME AWAY”

Country music star Chely Wright stopped hiding a few years ago when she made a big revelation.

Chely NOH8

It changed the way people saw her and this incredible, heartbreaking documentary shows us what led up to that.

I read Chely’s autobiography, “Like Me”, three years ago and this documentary was a great supplement to that.

GRADE:  A

Earlier this week, I  shared a blog I wrote about Chely’s book, “Like Me”.  I’ll share the link again here if you haven’t had a chance to read it.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/chely-wright-knows-that-god-loves-her/

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

What the Duck???

Today’s read may not be for the faint of heart.

Trust me, I’m talking about myself.  As I said many times, sharing my thoughts and writing is therapeutic for me.  I sure hope it works!

I’ve been away from my loved ones and my friends in the Quad Cities for over two weeks now. Except for people at work, I don’t know a soul here.

Luckily, getting unpacked, decorating my apartment, and working and training on a newer, more advanced weather system is keeping me busy and saving me from true loneliness.

PC Bay

The Panama City Marina is short walk from work and offers amazing sunset views over the Bay.  I still haven’t seen the Gulf of Mexico or the beaches yet.

My apartment complex is nice and gives me many amazing photo opportunities.

As I always say, be careful for what you wish for in life.

When I found my place, I was over the moon at having a “duck pond” off my balcony.

Resting Ducks

It’s been fun watching the ducks and the ducklings.  I’ve seen them mate or fight (not sure which), follow the ice cream truck, and just do duck things.

Since I’m a meteorologist and not an ornithologist, I could be wrong here, but I think these ducks are pretty simple-minded.

They have no sense of the dangers that await them here at the complex and the sister property next door.

I’m now seeing the seedy underside of the convergence of wildlife and human life and the beauty of having the nature at my disposal is becoming depressing as hell!

In just my first twelve days here, I’ve saw six dead ducks!

The other evening, I was on a walk during my break and I came upon a duck (not a baby, but not fully grown) that had been hit and killed by a car.  Having nothing to move it with, I picked it up with my bare fingers and moved it off the pavement!

And, then last Wednesday, I saw two grown ones dead.  Of the six ducks, one duckling likely drown, but four of them were definitely hit by a car.

It saddens me that people living here are so into their own little world, distracted by their phones or whatever, to have no regard for the ducks walking around the complex — including the parking lots.

When I was a kid, before I became a “tree hugger” and a softie, I watched “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and didn’t think anything about the circle of life — eat or be eaten.  We do it every day with meat on our plates!

As sad as it is seeing the dead ducks, this photo woke me up.

Dead

When I spotted the sixth dead duck, it was out in the duck pond.  As I looked closer, I noticed it was now a buffet for a group of turtles!  (Yes, that’s a turtle’s head at the left.)

As disheartening as it was witnessing that, at least that poor duck was serving a purpose in life.  It wasn’t just picked up by the maintenance men and thrown in the trash!

Deer 3

I’m ready to trade in the ducks for the deer back home that roamed through the ravine and munched on our hosta, plants, and trees!

Anthony

More Random Panama City Thoughts

I guess it’s time to update my adventures after almost two weeks in Panama City, Florida.

I’m still finding beauty here and I haven’t even ventured outside of the city!  This is a reflection in a pond (swamp) in the complex!

Reflections

I’m still getting settled in and I promise once every box is emptied, put away, and extra stuff is re-packed, I’ll decorate my walls and post pictures.

STILL STUNNED WITH “NO RECYCLING”

As I empty those boxes and take all the newspaper and cardboard boxes to the trash compactor (or empty the last of the 2-liter bottles of soda I bought), much to my chagrin, I’m reminded of the lack of recycling!

Actually, the complex has two trash compactors and one has been broken since I arrived. Here’s a novel idea — start a recycling program and that’ll cut back on waste and the trash compactors won’t have to work as hard!

TOO MANY, I THINK SO!

I’ve decided that no matter how fun a shirt looks, I’m not buying another one!

What I think I’m going to do is not wash t-shirts until I wear every one of them!  Do you get into a rut of wearing your favorites?  I do.  Some of these have not even been worn.

TShirts

Also, look at the top left.  Most of my daily wear — pajama bottoms — are flannel! Houston, we have a problem for Florida heat and humidity !

I love my new pantry, but doesn’t it look a little too much like “Sleeping With The Enemy”?  Maybe I need to pull a Julia Roberts and knock something over just because I can!

Pantry

The other day, I wore flip flops on a walk and a kid laughed at me.  He said, “Old man, you don’t wear socks with flip flops”!  There’s so much for me to learn about Florida living!

Okay, for the record, I didn’t really wear socks with flip flops and no kid laughed at me! 🙂 However, I did get a blister on the top of my foot from wearing them on a walk, so I’ll be wearing tennis shoes now!

WTH?

As I was working in the kitchen, I looked down at the doors under the sink and this is what I saw.

Fire Ex

This is seriously on the outside on the door!  Couldn’t the complex tell me there’s a fire extinguisher under my sink instead of posting a sign on the door?  It doesn’t exactly match my decor!

I know every time I walk into the kitchen, I’ll stare down at it and say “WTF”!

COMCAST AND MEDIACOM

If I ever have Mediacom again, I promise not to complain because for the first week here, my Comcast cable sucked!

My cable and internet was turned on last Sunday (May 7th) around noon.  It worked some that evening and then it was off for much of the week.    Four technicians have been out now and it’s finally working now.

Comcast

I’ve spent more time on the phone with agents troubleshooting their crappy services than I have watching cable.

Absolutely horrible!  What makes it worse is that I’ve already gotten a bill for almost $200!

So far, I’ve only watched two episodes of “Madam Secretary” on it.  I hope I find something else to watch soon!

The good news is that the internet works much better than Mediacom!

 

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

As you know, I love Redbox and I finally rented a movie this past weekend.  I saw the last of nine Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars.

“Hidden Figures” was incredible.  It’s about the NASA’s space program and the contributions of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

While Spencer was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actress, I think that Henson should have been nominated, too.  Her post-drenched rain scene alone was award worthy and tear jerking!

What’s heartbreaking 50 years later is the racism of the 1960s and the whole “colored this” mentality.  Mind boggling!

And, what’s even sadder is that that BS still exists today.  People, open your mind and your heart and if that’s hard, don’t speak.  Just think a little more!

Monae’s character says it best, “It’s equal rights. I have a right to see fine in every color!”

I agree!  If I ever find myself single again, I’ll be open for fine in every color!!!!!!!!!!!

FINAL NOTE

I make my Panama City television debut Friday evening at 5, 6, and 10.  The chief has the night off.  I’m also working the evening shows this weekend and, again, next Tuesday!  A 12-day work stretch!  What a way to break in the new guy!

I’ll likely start my regular morning and midday routine in early June!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My First Weekend in Panama City

Hello, my friends!  I hope your week is off to a good start.

I got a lot done Monday after my first weekend of not living in the Quad Cities in more than a decade and my first as an official Florida resident.

I left Friday morning at 6 a.m. and stopped at Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky,  for a leisurely two-hour lunch and visit with my friend since childhood, Steve.   I had garlic shrimp alfredo pasta and “Boo Boo Pie” for dessert (“a rich brownie type pie with a gooey, coconut macaroon filling topped with whipped cream and a cherry”).

Boo Boo

I witnessed a horrible 3-car accident in western Kentucky Friday afternoon and I had three idiots try to cut me off because they were in such a hurry.  I can see why Mario Andrettis do it, but in front of an inexperienced driver of a 15-foot U-Haul towing a car! Really?

On Friday, I drove 950 miles from Moline, Illinois, to Dothan, Alabama.  I definitely got what I paid for with the hotel.  But, after being up for 19.5 hours and driving all but three hours of that time, I didn’t care about the star rating or the loud party animals.  The free breakfast was good, but I quickly ate and hit the road.

The final 80 miles from Dothan, Alabama, to Panama City, Florida on U.S. Route 231 Saturday morning was very enjoyable.

I saw cow pastures, many peanut and produce stands, a bear crossing sign, and other fun stuff.

Pine

It was also fun to see the pine trees transition to palm trees closer to Panama City.

Two movers met me at my apartment to help move my stuff in and the only thing I lost was my computer desk.  One side of the “fake wood” broke.  Ironically, it sat in my bedroom at my old house for eight years and never had a computer on it!

My washer and dryer was delivered Saturday evening, my cable and internet was hooked up Sunday, and the gas was turned on Monday morning.

With no gas, I had to take two cold showers, but it was exhilarating.  Good thing it was in the 80s during the day and it was Florida and not Alaska.

My apartment is spacious, but very awkwardly designed.  I had a hard time trying to figure out the logistics of the furniture for the living room and dining room.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done.  I still have a long way to go.  After sleeping two nights on the couch, I got my bed set up and it felt nice to sleep in.

The apartment complex grounds are very cool.

Ducks

Right off my balcony is a “duck pond”.

There are ducks everywhere, along with turtles, and, at least, two large fish — one that looks like a brown carp and one is white, possibly a koi?

I witnessed two funny things Saturday.  These two ducks got into a loud disturbance in the water.  I don’t know if it was a mating ritual gone bad or the two were fighting over another duck?

Fighting

And, the ice cream truck drove through the complex and a parade of ducks was walking down the middle of the parking lot behind it!  Maybe they were following because of that annoying and creepy ice cream truck music?

Ducks Ice Cream Truck

I did a lot of running around this past weekend to buy things to stock the kitchen and to replace some things I simply forgot to pack.  I’m not a shopper, but I hit about a dozen stores.

I actually bought screwdrivers at Home Depot (how butch), but lost points by buying a plant and three planters. 🙂

Initial thoughts after my first weekend:

(1)  It was great having a Piggly Wiggly again.  It reminds me so much of my childhood in the South!  I found some good bargains there.

Publix was a fun store and I saw a Tres Leches cake that looked divine for when I have company (hint hint Tammy and Ray), and Winn Dixie was nice.  I’ll probably buy most of my groceries from Piggly Wiggly and Walmart.

(2) I was devastated to learn that my complex DOES NOT recycle.  But, from the chats I had around town, recycling is not big here.  Of Florida’s 67 counties, I learned that only twenty have a recycling rate of 50% or higher.  Bay County, where I now live, is not one of those 20!

(3) With that being said, I’ll only buy soda for work now since the 2-liter bottles go in the trash!  I’ll start drinking more water and tea (or fountain soda).

(4) I’ve now heard two different unflattering nicknames for this area, but I’m not going to let either of them cloud my judgment of the people or where I now live.  If people treat me with respect, I’ll do the same to them.  Well, I have a tendency to treat mean people nicer than I should.  🙂  Oh, the names were “Redneck Riviera” and “L.A.” (Lower Alabama)!

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(5) On Saturday, I saw this very pro-Trump car and I don’t know if they could have found another place for a sticker!

While Iowa went red in the last presidential election and Illinois stayed blue, I definitely live in a “red state” and county now.

I thought about taking my rainbow Hillary sticker off my car before I moved here, but I got busy and never did it.  Now, I’m glad I didn’t!

HC

(6) I loved listening to Sunny 98.5 FM on my way into town.  It’s the equivalent to Mix 96 in the Quad Cities!

(7) Since I didn’t get around to unpacking my kitchen, I bought a garlic-rosemary rotisserie chicken Saturday night and I’ve been eating that for three days now.  As I stated in my last blog, living alone, I don’t eat out a lot.  Since I love to cook, I can’t wait to make my first meal Tuesday.

Next weekend, my apartment should be unpacked and mostly decorated.  So, I plan on treating myself to Chinese buffet or Pizza Hut buffet next Saturday and hitting the beaches for the first time on Sunday!

(8) Finally, I start training at work this week.  I’m not sure when I’ll go on the air for the first time.  As soon as I have a new work Facebook page, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for checking out my thoughts after my first weekend in Panama City.  I’ll have another one soon with pictures of my apartment.

Now I just need to find a second job to pay for all the money I’ve been spending. 🙂

Yesterday, I checked into work for a couple of hours and saw the water for the first time at the Panama City Marina!

Marina

Anthony

 

What I’ll Miss About the Quad Cities

Quad Cities, it’s been fun!

After 11.5 years, I left bright and early this morning to start my 1,000-mile journey to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

PC

I’m stopping along the way in Grand Rivers, Kentucky, to have lunch with one of my best friends, Steve, at one of my favorite restaurants, Patti’s 1880’s Settlement!

If you’ve never heard of it and you’re traveling through Land Between The Lakes in western Kentucky, you have to stop there!

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On Thursday, I talked about my local television career.  Today, it’s all about how the Quad Cities enriched my life and, hopefully, made me a better person.

First off, social media made me more accessible to my friends.  It also made loyal viewers more connected to me and my life.

That’s definitely an advantage (and to some degree, with some, a disadvantage).  The friendships I’ve fostered over the years definitely outweighed the negative people that suck. 🙂

SETTLING INTO THE QUAD CITIES

It’s hard to believe that Miss ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted the weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at the ABC affiliate.  After seven years there, I moved to WHBF for a little over four years.

When ABBA and I moved here, I was still earning my meteorology certification while working full-time.

We’d go on long walks to Karstens Park and sit for hours.  I’d be reading and studying and she happily watched the world go by.  She was always hoping that every person that walked by would stop and love on her. She was a golden retriever, after all!

It was always fun on our walks.  We’d stop and make “photo ops” out of someone else’s yard decorations! 🙂

EATING OUT

I love to cook and when I moved here, I ate most of my meals at home.  But, when my sister Tammy or “Mom” (Betty) visited the Quad Cities, I enjoyed going out to eat.

Bishop’s Buffet in South Park Mall in Moline was one of my favorites.  As you know, I love buffets and even though it was served cafeteria style, it was still a buffet and it was incredible.  I was saddened when they closed the doors.

I loved their coconut chicken and it was there that I first had strawberry-rhubarb pie. Bishop’s desserts were out of this world.  I still eat more desserts at a buffet than real food. 🙂

Along with Bishops, I loved Panda Buffet in Moline, which is now Osaka Buffet.  I got to eat there once more yesterday!

Where else can you have tasty Chinese food and great sushi at such a reasonable price!

Osaka.jpg

I’ll truly miss Osaka Buffet, but I know Panama City will have something similar to make me happy.

FATE KEEPS ME IN THE QUAD CITIES

After a few years here, I was thinking about leaving the Quad Cities in early 2009.  But, fate intervened and Ray and Gretel came into our lives.  I joined Facebook in March of that year and you pretty much know most of what’s happened since then. 🙂

But, since I’m sharing my memories of the Quad Cities and some of you are newer friends, I have more to tell.

Ray and I met in February 2009 and our first lunch date was at Exotic Thai in Moline.  I had pumpkin curry and each anniversary of that date we went back there and I had the same thing each time!

2013 Anniver ET.jpg

Once we got past that date, I invited Ray over for dinner and made him Shrimp Scampi, which was healthier than my comfort food staple, Chicken a la King with mashed potatoes!

I still make Shrimp Scampi, but I’ve now mastered an incredible Shrimp Ceviche!

Shrimp C.jpg

The first dinner Ray made for me and Miss ABBA at his place was Chicken Piccata (thinly breaded, pan-fried chicken cooked with lemons and capers).  It’s now one of my favorite meals and Ray made it again for me last weekend.  (This is Ray’s Chicken Piccata from earlier this year.)

Chicken PI’ll never forget this funny story from that first dinner date.

While he was cooking, Miss ABBA was on the linoleum floor waiting for him to share with her or drop something.

Much to his chagrin, because he hated the ugly floor (and it was), I laid down beside her and just talked to him while he made dinner. 🙂

Since we both love to cook, the second big project after I moved in was to renovate the kitchen and we were very pleased with the final project in the summer of 2012.

I’m truly going to miss our kitchen!

FIRST CONCERT DATE

We’ve gone to many concerts over the past eight years:  Madonna (twice), Lady Gaga (three times), Reba (three times), Britney Spears, Elton John, Bette Midler, Olivia Newton-John, Shania Twain, Duran Duran, Janet Jackson, Scissor Sisters, Michael Buble, Josh Groban, the Dixie Chicks, Erasure, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull (twice), Kesha, Carly Rae Jepsen, The Band Perry, Ellie Goulding, and more.

But, our first concert together in the summer of 2009 was Keith Urban and pre-megastar Taylor Swift at the iWireless Center in Moline!

KU AP R

Yes, in all of his sweaty hotness, Keith was this close to us.  But, I was on a date and I adore Nicole Kidman too much to think about it (okay, maybe a little!). 🙂

KU.jpg

TRAVEL

Before the Quad Cities, my travel was confined to North America:  Nashville (TN), Louisville (KY), Houston (TX), Palm Springs (CA), Las Vegas (NV), Niagara Falls (NY), and Cancun (Mexico).

Once I met Ray, we started traveling more domestically.

Our first trip together was to Reno and Lake Tahoe, Nevada, when I accompanied him to a conference.  That was in the fall of 2009 and I was so excited when an October snow dropped several inches overnight to make Lake Tahoe even more breathtaking.

Since then, I’ve gone along with him to New Orleans (LA), Houston, Indianapolis (IN), Ottawa (Ontario, Canada), San Francisco (CA), Anchorage (AK), and Atlanta (GA).

And, for fun, we’ve gone to New York City and to Savannah (GA) and Charleston (SC) on the Atlanta Trip.

Bratislava

For his 50th birthday, we decided to go big and I got to get a passport for the first time. Ray chose a cruise on the Danube River in Europe and we got to see Bratislava (above), Austria, and Germany.

Although it was Ray’s celebration and he chose the location, I convinced him to fly into Zurich, Switzerland, since we were so close.  I’ve always wanted to visit there and it was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Zurich.jpg

For dinner that night, we went to a restaurant and the menu consisted of mostly deer and boar, so we politely got up and left while the waiter was getting water. Okay, we bolted for the door! 🙂

We ended up going to a grocery and getting cheeses, breads, dessert, and wines and it was a much more intimate and enjoyable dining experience.

Zurich (43)

For my 50th birthday celebration a year later, in 2014, I chose to go to Tel Aviv, Israel, a mystical and stunning place I’ve always wanted to go.

The connecting flight was in Paris, France, so we decided to spend three nights in Paris since we were already there and four night in Tel Aviv.

For my birthday celebration, Ray treated me to a dinner cruise on the Seine River, a trip to the top of the Eiffel Tower, and a show at the world-renowned and historic Moulin Rouge — sans Satine (Nicole Kidman — her again!)

Paris Birthday

I actually turned 50 years old while sipping champagne stage side at the Moulin Rouge show.

AP R Moulin

From there, it was on to the beautiful Tel Aviv on the Mediterranean Sea.

Ray Anthony Old Jaffa

The trip was so magical.  Even though tensions kept us from visiting the holy city of Jerusalem, we did walk to Jaffa — the oldest part of Tel Aviv (about 3,500 years old).

You know how much I love food and the morning Israeli breakfast at our hotel, Prima City Hotel, was very tasty.

Israeli Breakfast

However, my favorite meal ever was at בני-הדייג, which translates to Benny The Fisherman, right on the Mediterranean Port.

What you see here is the equivalent of their “starters” — fifteen of them, including the bread basket!  This was brought out before our entrees!

Benny The Fisherman

And, last spring, we went to China.  While I’d never have to go back again, if you ever get a chance to go, do it.

While we saw many fun things including the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army soldiers, and much more, my favorite part was at the end — Shanghai!

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Why did I deviate from the Quad Cities to food and travel elsewhere?  If it wasn’t for my time here, I may not have gotten to experience all of those other things.

One more thing and then I’ll close with a few more Quad Cities thoughts.  I shared my favorite restaurant (Patti’s 1880s Settlement) and my favorite meal (בני-הדייג — Benny the Fisherman).

Since you know I love lists and rankings, my favorite entree was in Atlanta last September at Tavernpoint — Sonoran Salmon (avocado soup, goat cheese-black bean cake, crema, pico).

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And, my favorite brunch or buffet is Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas!

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Now, back to the Quad Cities.

I’m going to miss Wise Guys Pizza in Davenport.  Their boneless chicken wings are superb and their dessert pizzas (cherry, apple, and cinnamon crumb) are not to be missed.  I always eat more dessert pizza than the others.

I’ll miss the mimosa brunches at the Bix Bistro and Thunder Bay and the weekend crab legs at Jumer’s.

Crab.jpg

However, while I’ll miss my Lotus Flower slot machine, I won’t miss leaving my $$$ with the casino!

Seriously, enough about food.  I’ve gained five pounds writing this.

PERSONAL THANK YOUS…

When I first moved here, I started working to promote the LGBT community in the Quad Cities.

I was very impressed with the work that Wendy Kelly and Thea Hansen Bettis were doing with “The Project of the Quad Cities”.  This is an amazing group that provides HIV testing and services to those with HIV/AIDS.

Anthony Thea

While I’m not an “organized religion” person, a great alternative and welcoming group is Reverend Rich Hendricks and the Metropolitan Community Church of the Quad Cities.

Rich

Rich, thank you for all that you do for the community.  It’s been a pleasure standing along side you in the fight for love and no hate!

Anthony NOH8

Also, to Rich, to those who fought for us, and the Iowa judges that brought “marriage equality” to Iowa and the Midwest before the Supreme Court ruling in 2015 that allowed me to get married in September 2011, thank you!

Ray, Anthony, & Gretel

Reception 2011

Finally, since all of you know how much Miss ABBA meant to me, I have to say a special thank you to Dr. Thomas Greiner and his wonderful wife, Pamela, and all of the great people at Oak Knoll Animal Hospital in Moline.

Miss ABBA always thought going to the vet was a fun time.  Even with shots, she still socialized and had a blast.

February 3 2012 Daddy A & ABBA

You were there for us for all of the fun times and even the dark day when Miss ABBA crossed the “rainbow bridge”.

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Thank you for everything and enjoy retirement and traveling!

AND, NOW YOU!

My friends, you’ve been amazing over the past 11.5 years and I hope you stay in touch across the miles.  I know you’re probably not interested in Florida weather, but once I get my work page set up, feel free to “like” it and follow me.

Otherwise, I know most of us will stay in touch personally.

To you, my friends…

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Anthony

Goodbye Quad Cities Television

Today marks my last full day in the Quad Cities.

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Early Friday morning, I’ll be taking off for the 1,000-mile drive to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

While I’ve spent time in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I’ve never seen the “Emerald Coast”, but I’m told it’s absolutely gorgeous.  And, from this photo, I see that!

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Last week, I signed off as a television meteorologist in the Quad Cities, my home for the past 11.5 years.  That’s the second longest I’ve ever lived anywhere — behind my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, where I spent much of the first 30 years of my life.

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ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at WQAD.

I sincerely thank news director C.J. Beutien for hiring me and bringing me back to the Midwest.  I had lived in Chicago twice, from 1994-1996 and from 2002-2004, before heading to the East Coast for almost 16 months to the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) Peninsula.

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Former Chief Meteorologist Neil Kastor was instrumental in bringing me to the Quad Cities and, for that, I’m grateful.  We still stay in touch today, many years after he left the news business and the Midwest for Florida.

Along with Neil, I’m still very close with my former “work wife”, Vanessa van Hyfte, who was the weekend anchor when I started.  She welcomed me with open arms and we had some of the most exciting and fun conversations between shows. 🙂

I also consider Julie Sisk, Matt Hammill, and Cassie Heiter dear friends.

I cherished my time with anchors Jason Fechner and Barbara Dawson, morning producer Brian Boesen, (who moved on to anchor at KWQC), and photojournalist Jenny Hipskind.  (This is like winning an award and thanking all the people you care for hoping you’re not forgetting someone!)

Even though we never worked together, I consider KWQC’s Theresa Bryant a dear friend.

I fondly remember much of my time at WQAD (November 2005-November 2012).  With that being said, I was definitely angry with the station for the way it handled my dismissal that fall when it lost the Fox newscast to KWQC.

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It was tacky and unprofessional and the lack of compassion I was shown for my seven years of dedication and commitment was appalling.   However, the station did the same thing to Neil before me and to others since.

Interestingly enough, all of that was brought up to me again about a month ago.  In a disagreement, a former friend said to me, “Maybe you still just have a bone to pick from the station? I don’t know and I really don’t care.”

My response to him was, “my issue over this whole pettiness isn’t with WQAD. It’s with you!”

That got to me to thinking again and, honestly, the whole WQAD ordeal has been water under the bridge for me for a long time.

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After a couple of months off to enjoy the holidays, I was honored when WHBF General Manager Marshall Porter and News Director Heather Voudrie brought me on board as the morning meteorologist in February 2013.

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While I wasn’t getting rich at WQAD, I was financially comfortable.   My new position came with a big pay cut, but I was once again doing what I loved and I didn’t have to leave my family.

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At WHBF, I’ve worked with so many great people over the years.  At the top of the list is my “work wife” and dear friend, Emily Scarlett, who just took a new position with the #1 station in Columbia, South Carolina.

I’ll also remember my close friendships with chief meteorologist Andy McCray and his wonderful wife, Michelle, Jay Kidwell, Jim Neidelman and his adorable wife, Denise, and Katrina, my trusted confidant on the morning show, and her lovely partner.  (Katrina, I’ll always smile at “Breathe” and “Calm down, Lucille!”)

Those are just some of the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the Quad Cities, but I’ve also worked with some real losers.

I’m too much of a gentleman to say more than that, but two of the ones that stand out the most are so emasculated that it would be unfair to point out their deficiencies publicly.

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With that being said, I’ve never worked in a television market as a meteorologist or a weathercaster that over dramatizes and sensationalizes weather as much as some do (or did) here.

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That isn’t the case with all local meteorologists.  I didn’t do it and neither did Neil Kastor. I highly recommend now that you put your trust in “Local 4 News” Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray and “Quad Cities Today” meteorologist Kevin Phelps.

They’ve earned my trust over the years as colleagues.

Enough about people, let’s talk weather. 🙂  As I head to the heat and humidity of Florida, I’ll truly miss the snow!

Snowy Moline

You’re probably laughing, but I’ll seriously miss it.

How many times in your life do you get a record-setting 18.3″ in a single storm? For me, ONCE!

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Happy weather, my friends!

May your springs flower with excitement, your summers toast with long sun-filled days, your autumns glow with bright colorful leaves, and your winters crackle with a beautiful fire and a blanket of serene snow covering everything to remind you of the beauty of living in the Midwest!

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Remember me when you pop a bottle of champagne or you open a bottle of Moscato with a nice cheese and fruit platter or enjoy a piece of cheesecake!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

Anthony

40 Things About Me, Me, Me :)

A friend posted this on Facebook (thanks Joan), so I thought I’d put it in a blog to show I can light-hearted and fun, too. 🙂

If you were afraid to ask, here are 40 things about me:

1. Do you like blue cheese? Yes  (Love cheese platters with wine!)
2. Coke or Pepsi? Coke Zero (first choice) followed by Diet Pepsi
3. Do you own a gun?  No
4. What flavor of Kool-aid?  Cherry
5. What do you think of hot dogs? Turkey or Pork — mustard, relish, and onions
6. What is your favorite tv show? “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Homeland”, “House of Cards”, “Madam Secretary”, “Fear The Walking Dead”, “American Crime”, “Dexter”, “Breaking Bad”, “Picket Fences”
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7. What is your favorite movie?  “Pretty Woman”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “Shelter”, “Latter Days”
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8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?  Iced Coffee with fun flavored creamer
9. Can you do a pushup? A pushup – yes
10. What’s your favorite jewelry? Wedding ring
11. What’s your favorite thing to do? Watch movies or television
12. Do you have ADD? Probably, along with OCD
13. Do you wear glasses? Yes
14. What’s your favorite cartoon? None
15. Name three things you’ll do today:  Work, packing to move, make dinner
16. Name 3 drinks you drink regularly:  Moscato, Diet soda, Iced coffee with fun flavored creamer
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17. Current worries: Moving, Living a thousand miles from loved ones, Starting my new job, Trump’s reign
18. Current hates: One part of #17
19. Favorite place to be: on vacation
20. How did you bring in the New Years? Working until 10:45 p.m., then enjoying shrimp cocktail and champagne at home at midnight
21. Where would you like to go? Greece, South Africa, Cuba, Vietnam & Cambodia, Thailand, Italy, Alaskan cruise, Hawaii, and Israel again.
22. Do you wear slippers? House shoes, yes.
23. What’s your favorite color? Orange or yellow
24. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?  No
25. Can you whistle? No
26. Where are you now? Work
27. Would you be a pirate? No
28. Favorite food? Buffets, dessert, crab legs, pizza, fried chicken, and anything with shrimp
Spice Market Buffet Desserts
May 16 2012 Destihl Shrimp Ceviche and Watermelon & Feta Champaign, IL
29. What’s something you’re really good at?  Probably a few things — making cheesecake!
30. Favorite Book?  “Christmas in Plains” by Jimmy Carter
Christmas In Plains
31. What’s in your pockets? Nothing
32. Last thing that made you laugh? Fortune Feimster in “Office Christmas Party”  (She’s at #1 in this video)
33. What’s your favorite animal? Dogs and Koi fish
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34. What’s your most recent injury? None that required medical attention.
35. How many tv’s in your house? 2
36. Worse pain? Heartbreak
37. Do you like to dance? Yes — haven’t done it in years.
38. Are your parent’s still together? Both are deceased.
39. Do you enjoying camping? Glamping – not camping. 😉
40.  Favorite city visited?  Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel Aviv Mediterranean Sea
Anthony