Archive for January, 2012

Miss ABBA’s Medical Update

Sadly, I jinxed Miss ABBA with the snow angel videos Saturday.

Sunday afternoon, ABBA came inside from lounging outdoors and her back right leg was swollen two to three times its normal size.  At first, I thought that she may have plopped down onto the ice too hard and had soft tissue damage.  A couple of days on Rimadyl didn’t make the swelling go down and I made her an appointment with her doctor for today.

She’s still walking around like nothing is wrong.  This made me confront my worse fear that maybe it wasn’t an injury, but the progression of the cancer.

Sadly, today Dr. Macon confirmed my fear.  He said that the lymph nodes being attacked by the cancer caused her leg to swell.

He prescribed furosemide, a ‘water pill’, to reduce the swelling and fluid retention.  While this may work for that reason, it doesn’t change the fact that he finds this very discouraging after her courageous ten-month fight where you’d really not know she was sick from just looking at her.

It’s not the end, but from a realistic standpoint, I’m having to relive that period from late March last year to early summer when she was given two to three months to live.

He said today to keep her happy, but be on the watch for any more major changes and that Miss ABBA has only a couple of months tops based on the latest development.

On the way home from the vet, she celebrated her birthday early with a Burger King Stacker.  She can celebrate every day if she wants. 🙂

Here’s a video from Saturday, the snow angel making day, as she “prances” home on the walk.  Gretel loves it when Miss ABBA “prances”.


“Court”ing Controversy at the Australian Open

69-year-old tennis legend Margaret Court, who won 62 major titles in her career, is known more today as a Pentecostal minister that opposes same-sex marriage.

Recently, just before this year’s Australian Open, Court told the “Melbourne Herald Sun”,  “Let me be clear. I believe that a person’s sexuality is a choice. In the Bible it said that homosexuality is among sins that are works of the flesh.  It is not something you are born with. My concern is that we are advocating to young people that it is OK to have these feelings.”

Groups organized on Facebook to protest at the Australian Open by wearing rainbow clothing and flying rainbow flags.

After Court’s comments, tennis pro and LGBT rights activist Martina Navratilova called Court’s view “outdated” adding, “It is not about any one person.  It’s about human rights. It is a secular view, not a religious view.  I have spoken to her years ago but she was all about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. She repeated that four or five times so I just felt I couldn’t get through to her.”

Another gay tennis legend, Billie Jean King responded, “I respectfully disagree with Margaret’s position on gay marriage.  We have to commit to eliminating homophobia because everyone is entitled to the same rights, opportunities and protection.”

While I fully disagree with Court, I’m glad she stands by her views and I hope one day she can open her mind for equality.  In 2001, she was quoted as saying, “Jesus Christ loves the homosexual, but he hates the sin, and we love the homosexual and we’re there to help them to overcome it.”

Court also says, “The fact that the homosexual cry is, `We can’t help it, as we were born this way,’ as the cause behind their own personal choice is cause for concern.”

While I know there are many that support Court’s belief, others are standing strong against her.

Kerryn Phelps, former president of the Australian Medical Association and one of Australia’s most influential gay spokeswomen, wants the Victoria state government and Tennis Australia to drop Court’s name from the 6,000-seat show court arena named in her honor.

And, while respecting Court’s tennis record as “second to none”,  Tennis Australia released this statement:   “her personal views are her own, and are definitely not shared by Tennis Australia.”

Other than fans that protested, 17-year-old British player, Laura Robson, wore a rainbow-colored scrunchie in her first round loss and stated:  “Obviously I’m going to be asked about it and I was expecting that and I’ve given my answer. I believe in equal rights for everyone, so that’s why I wore it.”

Court’s final words on the controversy:  “To target me and the tennis is a political stunt.  I love (gays), I even work with them… but what concerns me so much is the amount of hatred that has been directed at me.”

My final thoughts:  You old wind bag, feel free to speak your mind, but if you get on the “court” and make a lob, expect a return volley.

And, this picture has nothing to do with the story.  It’s just the men’s champion, Novak Djokovic’s reaction to winning!


My Movie Reviews: “30 Minutes or Less”, “Fright Night”, “Swimfan”, & “The Contender”

Although it’s been a busy few weeks for me working 20 of the past 22 days and wrapping up the successful fundraiser I was working on, I”ve managed to catch some movies at home.  We’ve actually watched eight recently.  Since I blogged about “The Ides of March” and “Beginners”, I’ll talk a little about the recent movies.

Four of the movies were mainstream and four were alternative and more obscure, so I’ll review them separately.

The four widespread theatrical releases that I’m reviewing here were “30 Minutes or Less”, “Fright Night”, “Swimfan”, and “The Contender”.

They were all very different movies and I enjoyed each of them.


This comedy was in theatres last year and is now out of DVD.  It was made for $28 million and earned $40.5 million.

The always incredibly deadpan Jesse Eisenberg plays a pizza delivery guy who gets forced into robbing a bank for a couple of idiots who knocks him out and straps a bomb to his chest.  The buffoons only want $100,000 from the robbery to pay a hitman to kill one of the losers’ dad so they can inherit millions the old man won in the lottery.

Needless to say, the movie is chaos as Eisenberg drags his childhood friend, played by “Parks and Recreation” star Aziz Ansari, into the insanity.

The movie definitely earns its “R” rating, but it was very funny.  Many groups of minorities are the brunt of jokes, but my favorite, OMG, did they really say that was directed to Indians from India, not American Indians.



I didn’t see the original “Fright Night” back in the 1980s.  I was more into the silent type serial killers like Michael Myers (“Halloween”) and Jason Voorhees (“Friday the 13th”) and not vampires.  I’m still not into vampires, although I do have seasons 1-3 of “True Blood” at home to get to one day and with Alexander Skarsgard in it, I know I’ll change my tune.

So, 2011’s remake of “Fright Night” was a 3D movie that cost about $30 million and ended up making $37 in its theatrical run.

Colin Farrell, played a mysterious new neighbor in the Las Vegas neighborhood.  His high school next door neighbor, Charley, and his best friend, Ed, suspect that Farrell’s character is a vampire.  The teenagers are excellently played by Russian actor Anton Yelchin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, of “Superbad” fame.

The special effects were good and if you know you’re watching a horror/comedy, it’s a fun time.

Farrell is totally creepy as a possible vampire and David Tennant is hilarious as a Vegas act who is an “expert” in vampires.



This “Fatal Attraction”-esque movie for the younger crowd was a hit back in 2002.  The movie made $34.3 million dollars in theatres and cost only $10 million to make.

It stars a very sexy early-20s Jesse Bradford as a high school swimmer that has it all — a cute girlfriend that adores him and college scouts coming in from Stanford to check him out.  The only problem is that he gets down and dirty with the new girl at the school that has secrets of her own.  Let’s see, blonde kinky hair, getting dumped and looking for revenge, it sounds like “Fatal Attraction” to me and Erika Christensen did a great job.  And, no bunnies were hurt!



This political thriller from 2000 wasn’t a box office smash, but it did earn Joan Allen an Oscar nomination.  Allen plays an Ohio senator that is asked by the president to be his vice-president.  During confirmation, some secrets from college come out from a shady politician wanting to ruin Allen’s character.  Cleverly written and well acted, it was definitely my favorite of the four movies that I’m reviewing today.


Off to watch “Real Steel” with Hugh Jackson, and “Donner Pass”.


Close Your Eye or Eyes

Holy crap! What a way to start my five days off.

Miss ABBA still has a swollen, puffed up back leg, but having no trouble walking. She’s on an anti-inflammatory steroid Rimadyl and will go to the vet tomorrow for him to take a look.

Then, while we’re on a walk, out of the blue, my left eye started watering. I didn’t think anything about it thinking that the wind blew something in my eye. By the time we got back home, my eye had sealed shut.

Thanks Terry Swails!!. All last week at weather computer training, Cassie had a cold and on Thursday, Terry went home with “pink eye”. Guess who has it now???

What a way to enjoy a 50°+ day with sunshine!


They Said What??? Dumb Tennessee Politicians, Sarah Palin, & Martina Navratilova


Tennessee’s resident dumbass politician, state Sen. Stacey Campfield of Knoxville:  “My understanding is that it is virtually—not completely, but virtually—impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex…very rarely [transmitted].”


One day after a gay Tennessee teen committed suicide,  a lesbian student at Middle Tennessee State University, wrote to Rep. John Ragan asking him to oppose a “license to bully” bill  that  would protect those who bully based on religious or moral grounds.  Here’s Rep. Ragan’s response:  “Logically, homosexuality is defined by behavior, i.e., unless one engages in sexual activity with a member of the same sex, he, or she, is not a homosexual. (The term sexual orientation is a description of feelings.)  Feelings do not control the behavior of a mentally healthy adult human being.”   Gays are not “mentally healthy adult human beings.”


Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council:  citing stories of ex-gays said that gays and lesbians will always have “an emptiness within them” and will never be content with having the right to marry.


Sarah Palin:  “So, if for no other reason to rage against the machine vote for Newt, annoy a liberal. Vote Newt.”

John McCain:  “I think we ought to send Newt Gingrich to the moon and Mitt Romney to the White House.”

Singer Josh Groban:  “Newt’s moon colony will cost us nothing.  It will be paid for with moon money printed at a moon mint by a to-be-appointed moon treasurer.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, about Newt Gingrich:  “I mean, he was run out of the speakership by his own party. He was fined $300,000 for ethics violations. This is a guy who’s had a very difficult political career at times and has been an embarrassment for the party.”

Sarah Palin, again:  “You know, sometimes, if your candidate loses in just one step along this path, as was the case when Romney lost to Newt the other night — and, of course, Romney is Chris Christie’s guy — well, you kind of get your panties in a wad, and you may say things that you regret later. And I think that that’s what Chris Christie did.”


Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, a co-sponsor of the bill, that moves marriage equality one step closer:  “We do not put civil rights questions on the ballot.”  She also brought up that New Jersey voters rejected a ballot question that would have allowed women to vote in 1915, five years before Congress granted the right.


“Project Runway” host and judge Tim Gunn:  “I haven’t had sex in 29 years, do I feel like less of a person because of it? No.”


Lesbian tennis champion Martina Navratilova about her former role model-turned-antigay spokesperson, tennis legend Margaret Court:  “You say it is a choice to be gay; do you mean to say you had feelings for women as well as men and chose men? That might explain your certainty on the issue”.  She also wrote, “People (the straight ones) often ask: Why are people gay? I say, well, why are people straight? There is no straight answer here, so to speak. Human sexuality is multi-faceted, complex and quite fluid; genes play a part as well. How much? Who knows? But that’s not really the point anyway.”



Super Bowl Bet: 50 Cent, I’ll Pay You A Dollar To Keep it To Yourself

UPDATE:  July 16, 2012

I do believe that people can evolve when they are exposed to others by educating themselves and they can change their views on certain subjects.

Here is what rapper 50 Cent recently said about musician Frank Ocean, who just released his new album and admitted to having loved a man in the past:  “Anyone that has an issue with Frank Ocean is an idiot.  I think Frank Ocean is a talented artist, I think he’s created material that made me know his name, that impressed me, with things he said on a song like ‘Novacane.’ I could care less about what his personal preference is in his bedroom.”

Fiddy goes on to say this about marriage equality:  “Obama is for same sex marriage.  When the President is saying that, who am I to go the other way? It’s cool.”

If this is really how 50 Cent feels today in his heart, I will evolve in my negative views of the musician about his past comments that you can read below.

Fiddy has a new album coming out in November 2012.


ORIGINAL BLOG:  January 29, 2012

The Super Bowl is only one week away.  The anticipation is building and I can barely contain myself.  Really!  I mean, what songs will Madonna perform, what will she wear,  and how racy will she and Nicki Minaj be?  Oh wait, this is about football and the Giants and the Patriots, right?  I don’t really care who wins, but I’ll root for the New England Patriots for two reasons.   Tom Brady and 50 Cent!

Joking aside, this post is about rapper 50 Cent.  Last week, he tweeted that he was willing to make a million dollar bet that the Giants would be victorious.  But, the “New York Daily News” reported that Fiddy made the bet even more sensational.  A female fan tweeted him that if the Giants win, she’d post her boobs and face and if the Giants lost, he’d have to post a picture of his “moneymaker”.  He replied, “OK”.

Now, I’m a very, very open-minded person and there isn’t much that I haven’t seen in either real life or online.  And, neither the fan’s boobs or Fiddy’s manhood would shock me.

What does shock me is that a well-respected alternative magazine that I subscribe to, “Out” posted this story on their Facebook page.  It’s not that it lacks entertainment news value, it does have some merit.  How often does a singer, actor, dancer, etc. make that kind of wager?

Here’s what bothers me about “Out” posting it on its Facebook page.  50 Cent is a homophobic, narcissistic jerk.

In 2010, after a rash of teen suicides, he tweeted:  “If you a man and your over 25 and you don’t eat pu**y just kill your self damn it. The world will be a better place. Lol.”

While I have a sense of humor, what is funny about killing yourself, whether you’re gay, bi, or straight?  Also, while there may be no correlation between the suicides and the tweets, the timing was bad and the tweet, even worse.

However, there’s no mistaking his thoughts in this quote from a 2004 interview with “Playboy” magazine, 50 Cent replied:  “I ain’t into f-ggots. I don’t like gay people around me, because I’m not comfortable with what their thoughts are. I’m not prejudiced. I just don’t go with gay people and kick it–we don’t have that much in common. I’d rather hang out with a straight dude. But women who like women, that’s cool.”

Seriously, “Out Magazine”, check your Facebook page and delete your post.  I could care less about seeing his roll of pennies.  And, from the fourteen people who actually took the time to comment, thirteen were negative and not interested.


Republican Presidential Race By The Numbers & No Judgment!

I love statistics and numbers and for once, I’m going to talk about the Republican race for the White House and not interject my personal opinions!  Shocker!

With the Florida primary this coming Tuesday, Mitt Romney is now leading womanizer Newt Gingrich by 9%.  Right after his big win in South Carolina last weekend, Gingrich was leading in Florida by 9%.  However, those numbers really took a hit after the last debate a few days ago.

Florida is a “winner takes all” state and there are 50 delegates up for grabs.

After the caucuses in Iowa and the primaries in New Hampshire and South Carolina, Newt Gingrich has 23 delegates (all from South Carolina, another winner takes all state).  Romney is in second place in the delegate count with 13 (6 from Iowa and 7 in New Hampshire), Rick Santorum is in third place with 6 delegates (from Iowa), and Ron Paul has 3 (from New Hampshire).

1,144 delegates are needed for the nomination.

In a matter of popular vote after Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, Romney leads in votes with 295,353 (33%), Gingrich is in second with 282,982 (31.6%), Paul is third with 161,001 (18%) and Santorum is in last place with 155,457 votes (17.4%).

Florida is the last voting state in January.

Here are the races in February with the voting date and number of delegates in parentheses:  Nevada (4th, 28), Maine (4th, 24); Minnesota (7th, 40), Colorado (7th, 36); Michigan (28th, 30), and Arizona (28th, 29).

In 2008, Romney easily won in Maine, Colorado, and Minnesota.

In the latest polls in Minnesota, Gingrich has a 2-to-1 lead over Romney and in Michigan, Romney leads by 5%.

Will Florida be the end for Santorum, who is running out of money?


Miss ABBA Makes Snow Angels; Defies Odds

Ten months and counting and it makes an inch of snow feel like you’ve won the lottery.  Rather cryptic, huh?

As you recall, in late March of last year I discovered a tumor on Miss ABBA that was unlike the “fatty tissue” tumors that are common in older, larger breed dogs.  I immediately made an appointment for ABBA to see her veterinarian, Dr. Scott Macon, the following Monday.

That examination confirmed it wasn’t a “fatty tissue” lump like the few others that ABBA had growing just under her skin for years.

The next morning, Dr. Macon was going to remove the cancerous tumor and we’d begin chemotherapy and radiation.  However, he called and told me the x-ray confirmed his suspicions that the cancer had already started metastasizing.  He could remove it, but since it had spread to the lymph nodes, it would be a painful process because it would require more surgery to remove the nodes, in addition to the chemo and radiation.

Those surgeries and the recovery would take place over several painful months and it might buy Miss ABBA another year.  Without surgery, chemo, and radiation, she would live about two to three months.

I made the painful decision to let it be and make sure she had the most enjoyable two to three months on top of the wonderful almost 11 years we had already shared together.

I watched her closely to see if I noticed the changes.  First, it would be heavy breathing as the cancer spread into the chest and lungs.  Other than the summer heat and humidity that caused us all to pant, I didn’t see any changes.

She made it to her 11th birthday in May and celebrated with us and Mr. Panda, the shar-pei from Chicago that we had for five months last year.  Summer turned into fall and in late October, ABBA went back to the vet to have another series of x-rays done to see how the cancer had progressed.

Great news!  The doctor said that the tumor from the typically aggressive form of cancer, anal sac adenocarcinoma, was not getting bigger and was not spreading.  The only down side was that the lumbar lymph nodes (near the back hips) were swelling and pushing onto the colon.  However, he said the colon had a lot of room to move around and as long as she continued to eat and poop, everything was good.

This past week, I called and asked if Miss ABBA should come back in for more x-rays since its been three months and he said if nothing has changed, wait until our typical early spring visit.

So, this long back story gets me around to the first line.

Miss ABBA loves to swim and she loves the snow.  After she was diagnosed, we had one more day in early April when a few big, wet snowflakes started falling.  While it didn’t stick, I was convinced that would be ABBA’s last snow.  I’m so glad I was wrong.

While this has been a very boring winter by Quad Cities’ standards with only 9″ of snow this season (typically, we should be close to 19″), Miss ABBA has enjoyed every snow.  Last night, only 0.9″ of snow covered the ground and you’d think we had a record snowfall.

Here’s a video of my little angel making her own snow angels.

And, check out this short video of her acrobatics and dismount in her own little snow dog Olympics.


Amazing “Hair” (Gaga) Video For The “It Gets Better” Campaign

Earlier this month, I submitted a video for the “It Gets Better” campaign and while it hasn’t been published nationally yet, I’m glad I did it.  Here’s an inspirational and touching video I just saw and I highly recommend it.  While I mentioned Lady Gaga in my video, these kids can really get down and I love it.  Enjoy!

And, here’s mine if you didn’t a chance to see it yet.

It Gets Better!


New Weather Technology To Lead Us Into The Future

It’s Friday afternoon and in about 90 minutes, I will be making my on-air debut with our weather graphics system from Weather Central.  It’s called “Fusion”.  It debuted Wednesday afternoon at  5 p.m., but this will be my first time working with it for you.

So far, so good.  That’s from the perspective of putting my forecast and show together.

In the past, I’ve worked with the WSI weather system in Youngstown, Ohio, and Salisbury, Maryland, and with Weather Central here in Moline, Illinois, from when I started in November 2005 until April 2009 when our news director, at the time, thought it would be best to switch to Accuweather.  Big mistake!

What a depressing time for us meteorologists to have to use that sub-standard weather system.  There’s a reason that it’s known as “Crap-uweather” in the industry.  Good riddance!

Once again, I feel competitive as we head into the spring and summer severe weather system with the tools that we now have available.

I’ve always said that I don’t care if I had to draw on a weather map or have fronts, highs and lows, rain and snow symbols, or clouds made out of poster board and taped on a map to present my weather.  Don’t laugh.  I did that at Murray State University in the 1980s when I was in college.  I have my college weather resume tape to prove it complete with a very southern accent.  I’ll have to get it transferred and post it for you. 🙂

So friends, join WQAD on a fantastic weather ride into the future with a fresh new way to look at the weather again!