Archive for February, 2012

Is the Warmer Winter Tricking Trees and Flowers?

As deadly tornadoes ripped through southern Illinois and Missouri Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning killing as many as 9 people (revised number), a blizzard with 12-18″ of snow and winds of 50-70 miles-per-hour raged across South Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Back home in the Quad Cities, we had some non-severe thunderstorms that brought temperatures in the 50s, wind gusts of about 40 miles-per-hour, and up to one-half inch of  rain.

Wednesday marks the end of “meteorological winter”, December, January, and February.

You’re correct if you think it has been warmer this winter with less snow.

Our temperatures were about 6° above average and snowfall  in those three months totaled 12.6″ in Moline, Illinois, which is only 49% of our average.

Last meteorological winter, December 2010 through February 2011, temperatures were 2.5° below average, snowfall was 46.3″, which was 20.8″ above average, and precipitation was below average at 4.88″.

The warm winter has some trees and flowers thinking it’s almost spring.  I talked with plant and garden expert Craig Hignight to see if that’s going to be a problem if winter returns for March.

For the Quad Cities, the Climate Prediction Center is predicting March temperatures and precipitation to be above average.  As for “meteorological spring”, (March, April, and May), temperatures are expected to be above average.


Most Iowans Believe In Equality

Despite haters like Republican Governor Terry Branstad and Bob Vander Plaats, most Iowans are want to leave marriage equality in place.  I’m very proud to live on the Illinois and Iowa border when you see how progressive Iowans can be and it helps you forget that about 25% of Republicans voted for Rick Santorum in the January Iowa caucuses.

A new Des Moines Register poll shows that 56% of Iowans oppose passage of a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, while 38% favor a legislative initiative to pass make marriage between a man and a woman.  6% aren’t sure.

One year ago, in February 2011, 54% were opposed to an amendment that would ban marriage equality and 40% supported passing an amendment.

34% of Iowans under 35 support a ban and that number jumps to 43% for Iowans 55 and older.

Here’s a shocker (laughing, joking, kidding):  64% of Republicans favor a ban, but just 35% of independents and 15% of Democrats support the ban.

The state Supreme Court unanimously made marriage equality law in Iowa in April 2009.  Then, in November 2010, more than 50% of the haters or the uneducated in Iowa voted three of the justices that made same-sex marriage legal out of office in the state’s judicial retention elections.It’s not likely that marriage equality will go away anytime soon in Iowa because acceptance is growing and the issue must be passed by two consecutive General Assemblies to be placed on the ballot.

As Sen. Matt McCoy, a Democrat from Des Moines, puts it, “I think most Iowans recognize that this issue has very little to do with them and their lives, and it certainly doesn’t impact their marriages or the way they live their lives. It is really more about allowing people to be able to commit to people they love”.

The fight for equality is a going to be a long one.

I will continue to work to make people see that I’m just like everyone else:  I go to work, I come home to my family, I pay taxes, and I do my best to treat everyone with respect.

I know that while Iowa allows marriage for everyone and marriage equality will become law in Maryland Thursday and Washington state in June, there will always be people who will try to overturn the advances that you and I have made and we must remain strong.

Terry Branstad, just know that in 2014, if you seek re-election, I will do everything in my power to see that you retire and leave office defeated.


Fox 45 Baltimore: Laziness or Lack of Objectivity?

Two days from now, on Thursday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley will sign legislation into law making Maryland the eighth state in the United States with marriage equality.

Congratulations Maryland!  I was happy to call “The Chesapeake Bay State” my home for almost 1.5 years before I moved back to the Midwest.

However, people opposed to marriage equality in Maryland got a little help from WBFF, the Fox television affiliate in Baltimore.

Whether intentional or not, the homepage of the station’s website provided a link that took you to a “same-sex marriage” section.

It didn’t explain the story, but, for days, it provided an external link where visitors could sign a petition declaring support for the effort to repeal marriage equality.

It states, “Opponents of the new law legalizing same-sex marriage are preparing to begin a petition drive to put the measure on the November ballot.  Click here for more information on the petition.”

After being called out for this laziness or lack of objectivity by the Washington Blade and Towleroad, that section now includes a link to Equality Maryland, a leading organization behind marriage equality’s success.

“Equality Maryland is heralding the passage of the same-sex marriage bill.  Click here to go to Equality Maryland’s website.”

Now, viewers of the third or fourth place news operation’s website can find both links for and against marriage equality.

WBFF, this might be the reason more people in Baltimore and Maryland watch WJZ and WBAL.


Can GOProud Really Be “Proud”?

“Super Tuesday” is one week away and I suspect that after the 437 delegates are awarded, one or two of the four major Republican candidates running for President will be dropping out of the race.  But, today, voters in Arizona and Michigan will be heading to the polls.  If you believe polls, Michigan will be a tight race with the slight edge given to Mitt Romney and in Arizona, Romney looks to be the easy winner.

Three of the four candidates are working very hard to court and date the “religious right”.  Oh wait, that might be politically incorrect.  Romney, Rick Santorum, and womanizer Newt Gingrich are working hard to court and date “conservatives”.  That is, until they get the GOP nomination and you’ll see a very quick moderation in their views in an attempt to defeat President Barack Obama in November.

GOProud is an organization that represents conservative gays, lesbians, transgendered people, and their allies.

While I am not, I have gay friends that are conservative.  Oh, I don’t want to confuse you, I’m not conservative (unless it comes to the environment)!

For the most part, I’m not a fan of GOProud.  It was formed by two former Log Cabin Republicans who were not happy with the organization’s centrist political views.

GOProud believes that same-sex marriage is a state issue, but they believe that everybody should be equal under the law.  I totally disagree with the “state issue” part.  The Defense of Marriage Act needs to be repealed now!

In the fall of 2010, GOProud released a commercial, “The Real Democrats of Washington, D.C.”, specifically criticizing openly gay Representative Barney Frank, as well as Senator Barbara Boxer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  It became the first gay rights organization to release a campaign commercial against Democrats.

I really don’t have a problem if someone is conservative and gay, straight, bisexual, transgendered, black, white, Asian, Indian, rich, poor, short, tall, overweight, ugly, or gorgeous, as long as they are not working to deny me equal civil rights.

GOProud has fallen in bed (not literally) with former Alaska governor and Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, U.S. Nevada Senate Republican nominee Sharron Angle, and crazy homophobe Ann Coulter (she doesn’t support marriage equality and says that marriage is not a civil right).

GOProud and I are on the same side with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) and blasting GOP candidate Rick Santorum because he says he would reinstate “DADT” if he’s elected President.

However, there’s a lot of turmoil going on inside the GOProud camp and rightly so.  For the most part, the group lives in a fantasy world when it thinks that the Republicans and the right-wing will embrace them with open loving arms.

This was very apparent earlier this month at the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) gathering in Washington D.C. when GOProud poster child presidential candidate Romney said that he prevented Massachusetts from becoming “the Las Vegas of gay marriage”.

GOProud Executive Director Jimmy LaSalvia was disappointed with that comment.  “We are deeply disappointed with Governor Romney’s speech at CPAC today.  Instead of simply saying that he opposed gay marriage, Romney instead chose to play to the ugliest and most divisive impulses in this country. If he thinks this is the way to appeal to Tea Party conservatives who have reservations about his candidacy, he is dead wrong.”

Cry me a river, GOProud.


“Girl Gone Wild” Is Hot — The Queen of Pop is Back!

The countdown is on.  Now that February is almost over, it’s only 27 days until the release if MDNA, the 12th studio album from Madonna!!

Let me tell you that even though the album’s first single, “Give Me All Your Luv”, with Nicki Minaj and M.I.A., was a top ten Billboard Hot 100 hit, it was basically a radio flop!  Don’t fret Madonna fans, I’m going to get your blood pumping this Wednesday!

Here’s the cover art for the second single, “Girl Gone Wild”.  Wow, she’s 53????

It’s been reported that the video was shot earlier in the month.

Madonna was allegedly threatened with legal action from “Girls Gone Wild” creator Joe Francis over the title, which originally had an “s” on the end of girl.  Francis claims to have sent a cease and desist letter to Madonna, but Madonna never saw it.

Her manager, Guy Oseary, says they’ve been tweaking titles on “MDNA” and decided to make the word “Girl” without the “s” because that’s the way Madonna sings it in the song.

Here’s the song and I can’t wait for the video, which will likely be out before the March 26th release of the CD.


All Returning Soldiers Deserve a Kiss

Military homecomings, whether from war or from a deployment, often bring tears of happiness as members of our military return home to their loved ones and their families.  I commend these men and women for all that they do for me.  I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes of having to go away to a foreign place, which many times, are most likely inhospitable.

We’ve all seem images like this of homecomings.

But, this is the 21st century and now that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was done away with last September and America realizes that gays, lesbians, and bisexuals also risk their lives to fight and protect this great country of ours, these homecomings will look a little different in the future.

That was the case this past weekend when this photo of U.S. Marine Brandon Morgan reuniting with his partner, Dalan, in Hawaii, went viral.

While most responses have been positive, there were the negatives.

Brandon took to his Facebook page with this response:  “To everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you… As for the haters, let em hate…We are the happiest we have ever been and as for the whole PDA and kissing slash hugging in uniform…it was a homecoming, if the Sergeants Major, Captains, Majors, and Colonels around us didn’t care…then why do you care what these random people have to say?…Goodnight all, and Semper Fi.”

People, realize this.  The Washington Post reports that there’s an estimated 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people serving in the U.S. military, approximately 13,000 active duty service members, and about 53,000 others serving in the National Guard and reserves.

Many of these brave men and women have partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, and wives back home eagerly awaiting their safe return.  For what they do for you in the military, they deserve a kiss and an embrace from the man or woman that they love, so be thankful.  If you’re a hater, think of opening your mind and shutting your mouth.

Peace.  ☮


My Best Part of The Oscars: Oprah After The Show

The 84th Annual Oscar Awards are over.  I did a little bit better with my Oscar picks than my Grammy picks.  I correctly picked 13 of 24 (54%).  However, in the major categories (Movie, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor & Actress, and Director), I was 5 of 6, (83%).

I was torn between Meryl Streep and Viola Davis and went with Davis when I should have picked “The Iron Lady”.  However, after Oscar screwing me (and Meryl) over two years ago with Sandra Bullock winning for “The Blind Side” over Meryl as Julia Child, I had no faith in the little gold man.

Before I get to the focus of this blog, here are my highlights of the show:  Billy Crystal making fun of the Kodak bankruptcy and what to call the theatre, his “The Help” joke about his thoughts after seeing the movie (see “They Said What” posted earlier today), Octavia Spencer’s “I’m freakin’ out” comment in her winning speech, Jennifer Lopez and her hot dress, and now wanting to see  “Midnight in Paris” and “Hugo”.  Gretel told us “Hugo” was an “awesome” movie, but she also loved “Alvin and the Chipmunks:  Chipwrecked”, so I doubt her choices! 🙂

My favorite “OMG” naughty, censors are sleeping moment came when “Bridesmaids” stars Kristin Wiig and Maya Rudolph were giving out the award for Short Film (Live Action).

Wiig:  “Six beautiful, some say handsome, women were invited by the Academy not only to present three awards, but also to shatter the common belief that size does not matter.  Ah, I hate to tell you guys this, but it kind of does,” she further teased, likening the length of a movie to that of a certain part of a male’s anatomy.

Randolph: “Yes, but not length.  As my grandma used to say, ‘It can be short and still make your toes curl.’ And I believe in my heart my grandma wasn’t referring to wieners but short films.”

Wiig:  “See, I’d rather have a short film with some heft that’s nice to me rather than a long film that lies there and makes you do all the work.”

Randolph:  “But sometimes a film can be too long.”

Wiig:  “Not for me, not for me.”

Anthony, focus, what is the point of this blog?  My favorite part of Oscar night came when I got home from work and Oprah Winfrey was on the Jimmy Kimmel special.

While I think Oprah is seen by many as a human entertainment God and probably not a nice person, she was incredible as a comedic actress with Kimmel.  I’ve never watched Kimmel and I’ve never really considered him funny in the soundbites that I’ve watched.  Maybe I’m wrong and I need to give him a chance!

However, this comedy skit was hilarious.  In it, Kimmel goes to OWN, Oprah’s real-life network, to pitch new shows.

Oprah, let someone else run your network and get back into acting.  You were absolutely amazing in “The Women of Brewster Place”, which is still one of my favorite movies.


They Said What??? Rick Santorum, Meryl Streep, & Cindy McCain


Following a taping of PBS’s Off The Record:

Reporter: In your mind, is a lesbian or a gay couple who adopt children … is that a family?

Santorum: Yes, of course it is.


Global warming is “not climate science but political science.”

CINDY McCAIN, wife of Arizona U.S. Senator John McCain

On the Republicans being against gay marriage and being against pro-choice:  “I disagree with that. I think the media portrays that. I think being a Republican, being part of the party for—as many years as I have and knowing the Republicans the way I do that is not the case and that’s not the bulk of Republicans that believe in that, at all. The vocal ones, maybe the ones that are on the far right side of the issue, but …. certainly in the state of Arizona, we are open-minded Republicans and believe in equality for all.”


“When they called my name, I had this feeling I could hear half of America going, ‘Oh no! Oh come on, why her? Again!’”  “Whatever!”


“I loved that movie. When I saw it, when I came out of ‘The Help,’ I wanted to hug the first black woman I saw, which from Beverly Hills is about a 45-minute drive.”


“The President is silent on this like he’s silent on every issue that’s difficult for him. Let’s have the President of the United States show some courage, come on this program, look into the camera like I’m looking into the camera, and state his position. He won’t because he wants to have it both ways. I’m not looking to have it both ways, I vetoed the bill. That’s my position.

“What I’ve offered to the supporters of same-sex marriage is if one of your reasons for why I should have voted signed it was because you’re telling me the majority of the people of New Jersey want it, then prove it. Put it on the ballot and prove it. At least I’m standing up for what I believe in. The President has hidden on this issue, Jonathan, he’s hidden on it.  This is the type of cowardice that we don’t want.”


“Some Like It Hot” — A Remake in the Making?

Today is the movie industry’s biggest day and Hollywood seems pretty much out of original ideas.  That’s not my opinion, that’s fact.

Of the top ten grossing movies in 2011, the top nine were sequels and “Thor” at number ten is part of “The Avengers” series.  You have to go down to #13, “The Help”, and #14, “Bridesmaids”, to find something original.

So, in light of those numbers, I have a proposition for Hollywood.  How about a remake of the 1959 classic, “Some Like It Hot”?

Here’s how’s IMDb describes the movie, “When two Chicago musicians, Joe and Jerry, witness the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, they want to get out of town and get away from the gangster responsible, Spats Colombo. They’re desperate to get a gig out of town but the only job they know of is in an all-girl band heading to Florida. They show up at the train station as Josephine and Daphne, the replacement saxophone and bass players.”

From this picture in a fun photo area at this year’s “Red Ribbon Dinner” benefit fundraiser, Ray & I are well on our way to leading the cast!

While we could debate on who’s Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis, the bigger question is who gets to be Marilyn Monroe?


My Favorites from 2011 and 2010

Earlier this morning on my blog, I posted my history with Oscar and my predictions for this year’s awards.  (We haven’t crossed paths too much!)  Once you check it out, let me know your picks.

So, if I haven’t watched too many Best Picture winners in my lifetime, what movies do I watch?  Usually, a bunch of movies that get no recognition.  Some, I hate and some I love!  Hello, “The Bodyguard”.

Here is a look at my favorite movies (and CDs) ripped from 2011 from my Facebook page.  (Warning:  Some of the trailers are rated “R” or unrated!  Enter at your own risk!)

And, my favorite movies, CDs, and pictures from 2010.

Have a great Sunday.