Archive for June, 2012

Dreaming of Christmas, Not Necessarily a White Christmas

I’m sitting here this Sunday morning drinking coffee with three artificial sweeteners listening to the thunder as it rumbles and watching the lightning as it streaks across the sky.  We just came back from a walk with light rain falling over the Quad Cities.  Our yard desperately needs the rain because it’s already turning brown from the lack of rain this year (more than 3″ behind average).

However, my thoughts are not really on today.  I say skip the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving. (Notice I didn’t want to skip my birthday with Madonna in Las Vegas in October!)

Yes, I’m happy for my independence from Great Britain, I’m sure my employer is happy with the money and social contributions I make for them, I love candy, making jack-o-lanterns, and watching Michael Myers knock off babysitters with a really long knife, and I definitely love turkey, desserts, and the Thanksgiving feast.

But, for some reason, several times lately, I’ve been thinking of Christmas and since Christmas Eve is six months from today, I thought it would be fun to see if anyone has already had Christmas cross their mind.  I know I’ve seen posts on Facebook that some have already started shopping.

I love Christmas music and Christmas decorations.  I wish we could leave the decorations up year around.  I guess if we were a “redneck woman”, we could leave the Christmas lights on the front porch all year long!

And, when I’m really stressed, I listen to Christmas music and the stress just evaporates.

Christmas 2012 will be a much different one for us.  I don’t have a lot of people who I shop for, but this year, we’re not buying presents for each other.  My Christmas list consists of Ray, Gretel, Tammy (my sister), Betty (Mom), and Ray’s parents (Ray & Donna).  This year, I will only have to buy something for Ray’s parents, since the Christmas present for the rest of us is the Carnival Cruise that we’re going on December 20-24th!

As you may know, we’re going down to New Orleans a day early so we can see the “Crescent City” all aglow in Christmas beauty and stuff ourselves with beignets and frozen Au Cafe Lait from Cafe Du Monde.

I don’t think Gretel knows anything else exists in N’awlins except for beignets and alligators (I went on a “swamp tour” when I was there in April 2010).  Before we go, I have to watch “The Princess and the Frog” again because I was on the morning show when she showed it to me and I did sleep through most of it.

We will decorate this year, but it will be weird not being here to enjoy the tree leading up to Christmas and not having any presents under the tree.  Maybe we can wrap empty boxes for show?

It’ll also be strange not having Miss ABBA around this Christmas.  I always got a kick out of her opening her own presents.  She loved ripping the paper off and hoping to find a tasty treat inside the package.

So, while visions of sugar plums dance in my head, I’m really thinking of the Christmas cruise around the western Caribbean and four straight days of endless buffets!  Have I mentioned that I love buffets?  Don’t worry, I’ll fill eat plate half full of fruit and veggies!

With that being said, I should try to live every day to the fullest this summer and this fall.  As my grandmother Helen used to say when we were kids and we wished a certain day would arrive, she would yell, “you’re just wishing your life away.”  I always thought that since she was much older than me, the reality was that I was wishing her life away.  But, now that I’m old enough to be a father (and in today’s crazy world, a grandfather), maybe I should slow down and enjoy the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, and Thanksgiving.

But, why not have a comedic Christmas song for good measure since it’s too early in the year to really enjoy my favorite Christmas song, “O Holy Night”!  And, we can even pretend the rain is snow!

Anthony

I’m Proud To Be a Dad, a Husband, But Most of All, Me

When I was a young gay man, I had no “role model” to look up to.  Living in Kentucky, I was sheltered from the real word.  Now I know how hard activist Harvey Milk was working in San Fransisco to keep crazy, religious zealots like former singer and Miss Oklahoma beauty queen Anita Bryant from having teachers fired just because they were gay.  This was the late-1970s.

The sad thing is that here it is 2012 and people like South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint are still shouting that same crazy crap.  As recently as 2010, DeMint told a church rally group that openly gay people and unmarried women who are sleeping with a boyfriend shouldn’t be in the classroom!  As much as things change, some people and some things will always stay the same no matter how hard activists, like myself, work.  But, that fight must never end.

That is all that I’m saying political today.  Those comments were just to lead me into today’s blog.

I started sneaking into the local gay bar, Club Rumors and then Club DV8, in Paducah, Kentucky, in 1985, before I turned 21-years-old, the legal drinking age.  What an eye-opening experience for me.  I already knew that I was gay, but it was awesome to be around other people like me and the music was incredible!  In my hometown, I only knew three other gay people, two men and a woman.

At that time, I was only concerned with being out and proud.  Becoming a television meteorologist was always something I wanted to do, but I didn’t want to compromise who I was and what I was to achieve that.  The last thing on my mind, during those formative years, was becoming a dad.

When I was in my 30s and I landed my first weather job, I thought about becoming a father and adopting.  That never materialized as my 9-year relationship through my 30s ended when I moved to Salisbury, Maryland, in 1994, and turned 40!  The prospects of being a dad, other than to Miss ABBA, the golden retriever, diminished.

I’ve heard the joke that if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans.  I guess God had different plans for me because on February 22, 2009, Ray walked into my life and he’s still around today.  🙂 When we started talking, he told me that he had a daughter and an ex-wife.  I waited almost two months after we started seeing each other to meet Gretel, who was turning 8 that summer.  She didn’t know why her parents divorced and I didn’t want to be just another in a string of her Daddy’s friends (and there really wasn’t a string!).  I wanted to know if we were serious and compatible with each other before the big meeting.

Another reason that I waited is that I was scared of her!  The prospects of becoming a “dad” was real now, at age 44!  Gretel came over to my house and met Miss ABBA and Mr.Panda, the shar-pei that we doggie sit for from Chicago.  He was in town that week.  Gretel had never really been around dogs and Miss ABBA scared her, at first, because she was more than happy to show love and demand attention.  Mr. Panda was much more subdued and about one-third of ABBA’s size!

Shortly after I met Gretel, we went out to eat Chinese at the Hy-Vee on John Deere Road in Moline, Illinois.  On our three-year “friendiversary” (Gretel’s word), she and I went there again to celebrate with Chinese.   During that first dining experience, she and I walked to the other side of the store to get ice cream and while holding my hand, she said, you’re “like a dad”.  And, that’s been my title since then.  She still calls me “Anthony”, but lately, I’m graduated to “Dad #2”.  In time, I hope it’s just “Dad”.

I hope that I can instill into Gretel that she can be anything that she sets her heart to and we’ll be loving and supporting parents regardless of the good or bad decisions she makes in life.  And, most of all, that we’ll love her just the same regardless of who she falls in love with when she’s an adult.

I’m very proud of my life as a professional doing what I chose to do when I was child and for having a voice to speak out for matters that are near and dear to my heart.  I have an amazing husband, a beautiful daughter, a loving sister, and I have Betty, in Ohio, that I call “Mom”.  Yes, I wish that I still had my mother, my grandparents, and, of course, Miss ABBA, but I will see them again.  I love you all,  but I hope it’s not too soon! 🙂

In the last paragraph, I said I’m “proud” and I am.  If someone knows me and doesn’t like me, I wish they would say something to me and tell me why.  Maybe we could work it out and maybe we couldn’t?  If someone doesn’t like me because of the way I present or forecast weather, there’s always the internet to find a forecast and two other channels to watch.  If someone doesn’t like me because I’m gay because of what they think God thinks about it, read your Bible and let God tell me when that time comes.  The God I talk to every night has blessed me with health, love, and prosperity, and I’m very grateful.

Today is my Monday, at work, and I have to make a public appearance at Niabi Zoo for Kid’s Fest.  I know it’ll be fun saying hello to people, but I’m totally honest when I say I’d rather be in Chicago this weekend celebrating Gay Pride with the LGBT community.

I can guarantee today that I will not see of the amazing, fun things that I saw two years ago when we attended Pride.

I’m stalling to give you a warning because a few of you may gasp at this first picture.  If you didn’t see this first picture when I posted it two years ago in my “Pride” photo album and, again, in my Favorite Photos of 2010 album, it still makes me smile today when I see this couple.

It’s all about being yourself, being proud of yourself, and loving yourself.  If people did more of those three things, this world would be a much better place.  Enough of a spoiler!

I guess if there’s any consolation for me not getting to attend Pride in Chicago this year, it’s that there are really no acts that I want to see perform.  Frenchie Davis, from “American Idol” fame, is there and Martha Wash (“It’s Raining Men) of the Weather Girls will be performing.  I saw Martha back in the early 1990s at the Vortex.

It was much different two years ago when I was thrilled to see Taylor Dayne, Tiffany, and international dance music singer Amber perform.

Here’s Taylor Dayne from Chicago Pride 2010 with my favorite song of hers, “I’ll Be Your Shelter”.

Happy Gay Pride Chicago!

Anthony

Have Your Reception Here Unless You’re Gay

“I am a biblical Christian and I do not believe in homosexual marriage, that’s correct. And because marriage is a covenant that God created for man and woman, as a biblical Christian, I cannot help them into or celebrate that sin.”

Those are the words of Kristen Stewart, the bar manager for the University Club in Moline, Illinois, as told to my colleague, Chris Minor, a reporter at WQAD-TV, the ABC affiliate in Moline.

Stewart was defending her decision, based on her religious beliefs, not to rent the facilities to a gay couple that called earlier this week inquiring about a location to hold their wedding reception.

Taylor Shumaker, of Davenport, Iowa, was surprised by Stewart’s reaction.  Shumaker tells Chris Minor,  “And she asked if  “he” would be coming and I just said no, it’s not actually a “he.”  It’s a “she,” and she said, ‘excuse me?'”

Schumaker told the bar manager, “I said, it’s a woman, and she said oh, we don’t rent to homosexual couples.”

When confronted with fact that same-sex marriage is legal in Iowa and civil unions are in place in Illinois, Kristen Stewart said, “My husband’s family does not hold the same view. If there is a homosexual couple I will pass them onto them. I have told him if they want to do homosexual receptions I would not have any part of that. He and his family have decided they will.”

Stewart’s husband, Perry, is the President of the University Club and his family owns the business located in the downtown area.

This morning, I talked with Perry Stewart and he reiterated to me that those are definitely his wife’s views and they do not reflect his views or the views of the business.  He called the incident, “regretful”.

In our conversation, he told me, “Kristen will no longer be doing any new events.  She will handle the events already in the books.  Most likely, me, or someone else, will handle new events.”   He went on to say that “Kristen is sorry that she hurt someone else.  She now realizes that.  Her religious views have not changed, but she is sorry that she hurt someone.”

Perry Stewart also told me that he has contacted Taylor Shumaker and offered to show her the facility and he apologized.  He also says that she refused and he understands that.

However, Taylor tells me today that Perry Stewart never contacted her and apologized!!!!

Taylor says, “Well, we have a lot of other venue options to consider, so we will keep searching for that perfect location. We aren’t exactly sure of the month, but we are leaning towards April or May of 2013.”

Chris Minor’s story is at the bottom of this blog.

Those are the facts of the story.  Now, here’s my take.

Kristen Stewart has a right to her opinions, just as I have a right to mine.  However, when I go on the air each time to do weather, my personal beliefs are left at the door.  My personal views and my professional life remain separated.  I’m sure my employer would not be too happy with me if I interjected my political, religious, or my views on sexuality into my weather forecasts.

The same should be expected from Kristen Stewart.  If she answers the telephone, responds to emails, or meets with potential clients, she is representing the University Club.  It doesn’t matter what her personal views are since she is representing the business that obviously has a different view on gay couples having a reception there.

Everyone has a right to their opinion and Kristen Stewart has a right to her close-minded, blatantly un-Christianlike, and very unprofessional one.  She has a right to her views and I have a right to mine and I hope the University Club loses business for it.  Her job is public service and that means serving the public that includes gays, blacks, Asians, the challenged, or whatever. Otherwise, it’s called “discrimination”.

Meanwhile, when I talked with Perry Stewart, her husband, his voice was genuine.  I believed him and I didn’t think it was total “damage control” for his wife’s actions.  However, after Taylor told me that he did not contact her or apologize, I’m not so sure anymore!!!!!!!!!!!!!

However, I would not want to do business with them personally.  Last summer, when we were planning our reception, Ray emailed Kristen Stewart.  In his email, he just said “we” were planning our reception and that we were considering the University Club.  I wonder if he had said “my husband” if we would have gotten the same response. We ended up going a different route for our reception.

I feel for Taylor Shumaker and her partner.  She faced discrimination first hand and no one should have to deal with that.  I’m glad that Perry offered his services to Taylor and I’m happy she refused them.  She will find a beautiful place to share that incredible day with her partner and their friends and family.

I really think that Perry Stewart and the University Club of Moline should send the happy couple a very nice wedding present and many bottles of sparkling champagne as a measure of good faith and to make up for the pain that Taylor felt after talking with Kristin Stewart.

Chris Minor’s story from WQAD:

http://wqad.com/2012/06/21/38890/#ooid=w0d2c3NTpdoecaanflnzBo6F4ORQ3MDr

Anthony

“Peeps’ Friday ’80s Flashbacks”‏

Happy Friday to you.  I hope you have an incredible weekend.  I’ll do my part to ensure that happens with hopefully nice weather and three of my favorite songs from the ’80s.

“Only in My Dreams”  — Debbie Gibson

Debbie Gibson, in 1988, became and she remains the youngest female to write, record, and perform a #1 song with “Foolish Beat”.  She was 17-years-old.

Gibson had a total of 9 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.  Five of those went to the top ten and two reached the top of the charts, the previously mentioned “Foolish Beat” and “Lost in Your Eyes” in 1989.

However, it was her first hit that is my still one of favorites today.  “Only in My Dreams” reached #4 in 1987.

“Into The Groove”  —  Madonna

“And, you can dance,  for inspiration”.

That line begins one of the biggest hits of Madonna’s career that never hit the Billboard Hot 100.

Since the song was the “B-side”, or flip side, of the single, “Angel” in 1985, it didn’t qualify to chart of the Hot 100!  That means you heard it all over the radio, but since it wasn’t the song being shopped to radio, you wouldn’t find it on the list of the 100 biggest hits of the week.

However, it did reach #1 on the Billboard Dance charts and Billboard magazine named it the “Dance Single of the Decade” for the 1980s!

“Only when I’m dancing can I feel this free
At night I lock the doors, where no one else can see
I’m tired of dancing here all by myself
Tonight I wanna dance with someone else”

“True Colors” — Cyndi Lauper

The world was introduced to the quirkiness of New Yorker Cyndi Lauper in the summer of 1983 when the first release from “She’s So Unusual”, “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”, reached #3.

That was the beginning of a career that would give Lauper 11 Top 40 hits on the Hot 100 with two solo #1 songs, “Time After Time” in 1984 and “True Colors” in 1986.  Lauper is also credited with a #1 song, “We Are The World”, as part of USA For Africa.

Most people still know Cyndi Lauper today as the girl wanting to have fun, but my favorite is the endearing “True Colors”, the title track and first single from her second album in 1986.

Have a great weekend.

Peeps

You Know What I’m Thinking?

I worked a crazy schedule this past week including the three morning shows (2 a.m. until noon and one of those was after working Sunday 3-10:45 p.m. and then going back into work three hours later) and now I’m ready to enjoy my two days off.

CLASSIC ROCK

However, I’m not sure how much I’ll get to enjoy them since the house will be filled with classic rock-jammin’ men working on our kitchen.

Since they started the flooring Tuesday, I realized that radio, regardless of format, is pathetic with its playlists.  Since Tuesday, I’ve heard Van Halen several times and mostly its been “Panama”.  I know they had more hits than that and I’m sure there are more classic rock bands.  Where’s Foreigner, Journey, and .38 Special?  Okay, I was wracking my brain to think of some that I liked.

I also concluded that “Panama” is classic rock’s equivalent to WLLR’s “The Nights The Lights Went Out in Georgia” or “Fancy” by Reba.  I mean Valen Halen had 15 other top 40 hits.  If I have to hear Van Halen, play “Jump” or “Why Can’t This Be Love”, too.  By the way, does John Cougar Mellencamp and REO Speedwagon count as classic rock?  Okay, on to my next random thought.

THINGS THAT CAUGHT MY EYE

I’M READY FOR FALL AND WINTER

I know this will get many (or some) of you riled up, but the older I get, the more I realize I don’t like summer and I’m growing less fond of winter.  As a kid growing up in Kentucky, an inch of snow cancelled school.  If I’m not mistaken, there was one year that we didn’t go to school the entire month of January.  Talk about a long Christmas vacation!  However, the down side was that we were still in school in June!

Until I moved to the Midwest, more specifically, Moline, I loved winter.  However, I noticed the past few winters with temperatures dropping below zero and to -27° one morning and more than 50″ of snow in several of the past winters that fall was becoming my favorite season.  This past winter, while boring from a weather point of view, was great since it gave Miss ABBA some snow to play in and mild enough temperatures for us to spend most of it outdoors playing until she went to “puppy heaven” February 3, 2012.

Now, that summer officially started Wednesday evening, I can say that it’s going to cost me more money.  Temperatures are running above average and we can’t get rain.  We started off May with more than four inches of rain in the first seven days and things were so nice and green.  Almost six inches of rain fell that month.  Since June 1, 2012, only one inch of rain has fallen and most of that, 0.60″ fell on one day.  That means 16 of the other days have been dry and my yard reflects that.  It’s turning crispy and brown.

And, while not very pretty to look at, the alternative is less attractive.  Nevertheless, I’m working to keep the entire yard from dying out!

CONCERTS

I really wish that the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois, would book a good concert that I want to see.  I know that Big Time Rush and Carrie Underwood are coming, but I have no desire to see them.  The last concert there that I saw there was Reba last October.  Before that, I saw Reba another time, Michael Buble twice, Josh Groban, Keith Urban, and Taylor Swift.  However, I’ve hit a wall.

I still only have one concert on my calendar this year, Madonna in Las Vegas, in October.  While that’s still four months away, I’m so excited because the concert is getting rave reviews and Madonna is bearing more than just her soul!

Check out this amazing picture from Milan, Italy, last week.  Look at the people and could you just image the energy?  Awesome!

While that is the only concert that I’m going to right now, I’d love to go to Market Days in Chicago on August 12th to see Olivia Newton-John!

However, we’re in Fort Dodge, Iowa, that weekend for Ray’s 30th high school reunion.  If I was totally insane (the verdict is still out on that), I thought about driving four hours from western Iowa to the Quad Cities, drop Ray & Gretel off here, drive three hours or so to Chicago, watch Olivia, and then drive back to the Quad Cities in time to be at work Monday morning at 8 a.m.    Confession:  I’m tempted to take that Monday and be spontaneous and see ONJ!  (Is it still spontaneous if I’m pontificating about it in June?)

Confession #2:  I still have my unrequited childhood crush on Olivia!

FUTURE HIT PICK

Each time I do my random thoughts, I pick a new song that I’m excited about.  Some become hits, some don’t.  I’ve blogged about “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen (you may have heard that one), “Primadonna” by Marina and the Diamonds (now starting to get airplay), and “Timebomb” by Kylie, which is already #1 on the Australian Dance Chart (to be determined if American radio will play it.  I know the clubs will jam to it.)

My future hit today is by Chris Wallace, the former lead singer from the Chicago band, The White Tie Affair.  I saw the band at Market Days in August 2010 and I loved their energy.  I was standing right at the stage since most people were still drinking frozen alcoholic slushies at Roscoe’s.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.  I had my share of them, too, before the concert!)

You might remember their 2008 radio hit, “Candle (Sick and Tired).”  The White Tie Affair has broken up now and this is Chris Wallace’s first solo release and the lead single from his new album coming out this summer.  Red Hot Brian Scott, are you reading this?  If so, add this song now!  Please. 🙂

CALORIE COUNTING IS IN JEOPARDY NOW!

As you know, Ray & I have been really good with our healthy eating and exercise regime and have both lost more than 17 pounds (Ray is at 22 pounds!).

We’ve cut back on wine drinking and we’re even limiting ourself to one drink a night.  Calories!  Calories!  Calories!

However, I’m eagerly anticipating the new donut-flavored vodka that comes out July 1, 2012.

In our wine cooler, we have three different flavors of ChocoVine  (a combination of fine red wine and Dutch chocolate):  original, raspberry, and expresso.  But, it doesn’t compare to a new treasure I found yesterday while grocery shopping at Hy-Vee.  For just $9.99 a bottle, I discovered Chocolatier.  It’s a “premium wine specialty” that comes in two flavors:  Chocolate Turtle and Chocolate Covered Cherry.

After a dinner of healthy grilled chicken and salad and several walks in the neighborhood, we broke the seals on the bottles and sampled them.  To Die For!  Both were absolutely incredible and we decided that while it would be recommended to sip them, both would be amazing as a topping for ice cream.  Damn you, Hy-Vee! 🙂

On that note, have a great day.  I have to get on the treadmill to work off just thinking about those wines.

Peeps

Hot Shorts & Push-up Bras — It Must Be Summer

If you’ve spent any time online, you look at Facebook posts and pictures, or you check your emails, it’s very likely that you’ve seen the internet sensation picture series, “The People of Walmart”.  You’ve probably smiled, laughed, giggled, cackled, gasped, snorted, and hit forward to send them to your friends.  But, then again, you might be the ones taking the pictures and posting them.

I’m all for wearing whatever makes you feel comfortable.  It’s called fashion!  We don’t have to be in New York, Paris, or Milan to work the catwalk.  But, “The People of Walmart” proves that not everyone can pull it off and shouldn’t try.

New pictures coming out of Florence, Italy, from earlier this week prove that some people can work leather hot shorts, lacy bras, a cross necklace and big, retro hair.  And, before you know it, I’ve already roped you into another Madonna blog.  Don’t stop reading!  See what the fuss is all about. 🙂

Okay, I guess after flashing her boobie to the crowd in Istanbul, Turkey, and her butt in Rome, Italy, a few nights later, being sexy and revealing may seem tame.  It’s not.  It’s so sexy.

These images are from the video shoot to Madonna’s new music video, “Turn Up The Radio”, the third single from “MDNA”.

It’s so great that our favorite international music icon is still showing off her sexy body in clothing that women half her age would be insecure wearing.

She looks amazing in the push-up bra and did you even notice she’s wearing a cross necklace?  What?  You were just noticing how effective the push-up bra is working, right?   Yeah, me too.  However, I’ll be honest.  I know much more about push-ups, the orange sherbet frozen treats than bras!

In the past, we’ve seen Madonna in several heavy, thought-provoking and sex-fueled videos.  However, just looking at these pictures, I can’t wait to see the final cut.  It looks like she and her entourage of sexy dancers and friends are ready to give us a tasty, summery, pop confectionery treat.

Does this seem to have a “Jersey Shore” feel to it?  Go Snooki!  Go Snooki!

While the song may not find a home at top 40 radio, Madonna was recenly quoted saying, “I just want people to be able to dance to my music and connect easily with my music and also probably to take some risks at some point.”

There is no release date set for the video.  Until then (and if you haven’t heard the song), check out this fan-produced video to ‘Turn Up The Radio”.

Peeps

Hi, I’m Anthony. I Have an Obsessive Personality!

I confess and I’m guilty as charged.  I have an obsessive personality and I can’t help from being a planner, which some close to me (Ray and Tammy) might see as high maintenance.  With that being said, I will once again vow to try to chill out and to “stop and smell the roses”.  Actually, I’ve made it a point to do that.  Now, when I pass a rose-bush, I stop and smell the flowers.

I’ve always known this about myself.  However, last night, Ray and I moved the stove and refrigerator out of kitchen because we’re having the kitchen renovated this week, there were 18 boxes of cereal, new and partial boxes, of all varieties.   We both contributed to that collection.  It’s just funny because, in the past, Ray has prohibited me from buying salad dressings (we had about 20+, at one time) and Christmas cards (I have more than 80 boxes downstairs in storage).

The point of all of this is that I think too much and when I get something in my mind, I can’t let it go.  I guess that’s why I’m a recovering food addict and that I’m obsessed with the treadmill and walking to lose weight to get back to my desired goal of 140-145 pounds.

This brings me around to the changes that I am instituting, or attempting to, in my life.

B.R. (Before Ray), B.F. (Before Facebook), and B.B. (Before Blog), Miss ABBA and I use to lounge around on my days off after I ran errands.  We’d make lunch and dinner, go on walks, and watch movies with a bottle of champagne.  I love watching movies and, like Gretel, I can watch my favorites movies over and over, just not in the same sitting.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched “Latter Days”, “Shelter”, “Hellbent”, “Make The Yuletide Gay”, “Pretty Woman”, “Muriel’s Wedding”, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert”, “Prancer”, “Mamma Mia”, and “Longtime Companion”.

Now, I typically find myself on the treadmill or on the computer when I’m at home checking Facebook, weather conditions, what Madonna is doing and who’s talking about it, answering blog comments, etc.  While I still want to correspond with Facebook friends and my blog readers that comment, I need to find a balance in my life to flop down on the couch, pop in a movie, and “just veg out in front of the TV…. Be still like vegetables.  Lay like broccoli.”

Unfortunately, with workers in the house for the remainder of this week, I’ll have to wait until next week to attempt that.

With this being said, I admit that I love having my blog.  I love being able to pontificate about whatever I want and share it with you.  And, I appreciate you checking it out and commenting.  I love our interactions and our dialogue.

I started in the blog in early January 2012 and by March 21st, my blog was viewed 20,000 times.  It took just shy of two more months for the second 20,000 views.  And, then after a controversial post I made about the Erie School Board’s decision to ban some diversity training material, I had 1,651 views on May 23, 2012, alone and now the view count on my blog is up to 66, 415 since January 7th!  Thank you.

Since I started the blog, the most viewed entry (21,740 and rising) was posted on January 29, 2012.  I wrote about rapper 50 Cent and his Super Bowl bet of sharing the “full Monty” if his team lost.  That blog also focused on homophobic comments that he made in the past and that with those views, he had nothing that I’d want to see regardless of how sexy some see him.

With that being said, the view count on Fiddy is not because most of you keep checking it out.  It’s because that blog entry has been posted on some site(s) that get much more traffic than my Facebook page.  Other top viewed blog entries have been about Adele and body image and eating disorders, John Travolta and the accusations against him, the Erie School Board, and of course, my late and great Miss ABBA!

I hope you have a great day today and don’t overdo it in the heat.  Keep saying hello on Facebook and seeing what I have to say in my blog.  I’ll continue doing both even as I force myself away from the computer to watch more movies and TV series.  Hello “Dexter”, “True Blood”, “Six Feet Under”, “The X-Files”, and “Fringe”.

Now, being the obsessive person that I am, I have to buy something before I push away from the computer.  I’ve waited two weeks to buy our plane tickets for our December cruise and I can’t wait any longer!  Who cares if I could possibly save $5 or $10 by waiting to see if the rates fall, I’m not a patient person.  Maybe I need to work on that, too. 🙂

Anthony

They Said What??? Carrie Underwood, 50 Cent, Oprah & Howard Stern

COUNTRY/POP SUPERSTAR CARRIE UNDERWOOD

“As a married person myself, I don’t know what it’s like to be told I can’t marry somebody I love, and want to marry.  I can’t imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love.  Our church is gay friendly.  Above all, God wanted us to love others. It’s not about setting rules, or [saying] ‘everyone has to be like me.’ No. We’re all different. That’s what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It’s not up to me to judge anybody.”

50 CENT

(talking to Oprah):  “I would see moments when you would discuss your feelings on the culture and everything that was wrong with the culture was what was on my CD, and I was like, ‘Oh, she doesn’t like me’.  I was saying, ‘If I can’t be your friend, at least let me be your enemy, so I co-exist.'”

OPRAH WINFREY

(TO 50 Cent):  “That’s interesting. I don’t spend a lot of time looking at people who don’t like me, but I did hear that you said something like I had white women in my audience that were as old as your grandmother. I felt that that was a pointed criticism. Did you say things about me to be provocative, or did you just not like me?”

RYAN KWANTEN

(on his “True Blood” character):  “When you look at Jason in season 1 he had a very tunnel view of the world and some would say an ignorant view.  And now, that speech he gave to Newlin was ‘Look, I accept who you are, whether it’s a vampire, whether it’s a gay man, or both. But that’s not the way this dog barks.’ That’s a huge step for Jason to change his spots… Towards the end of the season, which we are shooting now, he puts the things he has learned into practice and starts to show his true colors.”

SHOCK JOCK HOWARD STERN

(on Madonna flashing the crowd in concert in Turkey):  ““There is nothing sexual about that t**ty and that shoulder. That’s an old t**ty…I guess she thinks it’s sexy…Looks like a beanbag with a nipple, that breast.”

CNN’S PIERS MORGAN

(on Madonna flashing the crowd in concert in Turkey):  “Most embarrassing, cringe-worthy, desperate moment in the history of music?”

ACTRESS CHRISTINA APPLEGATE

(on Madonna flashing the crowd in concert in Turkey):  “Reading twitter this am and there r all these tweets about Madonna and her nipple flash. And we are shocked because…?  What I’m saying is. Its not like Sarah Palin had a nip slip, its Madonna.”

COLORADO REPUBLICAN REP. MARSHA LOOPER

(who’s son is gay and she voted against the state’s civil union bill):  “I am disappointed that we had to have a special session in the first place. I think it’s a complete lack of leadership that the bill made it through three committees and then on the last day and I oppose civil unions, but if the leadership was intent on killing the bill in the first place, it should have gone to State Affairs weeks ago instead of dragging it out like this.  I agree with the decision to kill the bill, but I am disappointed in the process.”

LADY GAGA

(referring to Madonna?):  “It sometimes makes people feel better about themselves [to], you know, put other people down or make fun of them or maybe make mockery of their work.  And that doesn’t make me feel good at all, that just makes me feel like I’m not being a good human being…I feel like if you’re a really good human being, you can try to find something beautiful in every single person, no matter what.”

A LAWYER FOR FORMER FLORIDA GOVERNOR CHARLIE CRIST

(defending his client against a man who claims Crist made sexual advances to him):  “Crist would have to be a sick son of a bitch to try to kiss Porky the Pig.”

TONY PERKINS, FAMILY RESEARCH COUNCIL, (a hate group)

“The month of June is Gay Pride Month. Now, I have not yet seen where they have declared Adultery Pride Month, I have not seen where they have declared the Drunkenness Pride Month. Here’s the issue, J.R. it’s not a matter of whether or not someone can do what they want to do with their lives, God gave Adam and Eve a choice, but that’s not what we’re talking about here.”

COMEDIAN/ACTOR RUSSELL BRAND

(at the MTV Movie Awards poking fun at Katy Perry, his ex-wife):  “The last time I hosted I did marry someone who was there, so I’m keeping my eyes open for a new wife tonight.  Fassbender!”

Anthony

 

The Next Julia Child Lives With Us

Some people take their dads out to eat or treat them to power tools at some butch store.  For us, we didn’t go out to eat, but we did go to Lowe’s and Menard’s.  We didn’t come back with power saws or wrenches, just a light fixture and globes for our kitchen that is projected to be finished this week.

Our Father’s Day gift this year from our soon-to-be 11-year-old daughter, Gretel, was a homemade card of the family (and Miss ABBA made an appearance) and she made dinner with our assistance, mainly Ray’s since I was at work.

 

 

After buying what we needed at the Farmer’s Market Saturday and a dip in the pool Sunday afternoon, Gretel and Ray were ready to tackle making dinner in a kitchen being remodeled with no operating sink or running water!

With everything was out on the counter, Gretel made the dessert first, an orange supreme bundt cake.

Once that was placed in the oven, they moved on to prepping veggies (red, green, yellow, and orange bell peppers and green zucchini squash), sauteing chicken for the linguine, mixing up the topping for the cheesy bread, and making two pots of boiling water (one for the pasta and one for corn on the cob).

Everything came together beautifully and the chef was very pleased with her creations, especially the pasta!

And, Gretel’s two dads were very pleased and happy with her enthusiasm and accomplishment in the feast she made for us:  linguine with chicken & veggies seasoned with lemon pepper and garlic, fresh green beans sautéed with minced onions, corn on the cob, and cheesy bread.

And, for dessert, the orange bundt cake came out of the oven golden brown and since we’re dieting, we opted to skip the frosting and sprinkle it with powdered sugar and have whipped topping instead.

It was a spectacular Father’s Day and a celebration dinner complete with love.  I only had to mix the Caesar salad and do the dishes afterwards!

Please take a moment to watch this.  While cooking, Gretel wanted to make a video — a very young Julia Child in the making!   She was so funny, especially when she told us the reason she was doing all of this!

I hope you all had a great weekend and Father’s Day and enjoy this little culinary blog.

Anthony

 

Gretel Is Making Dinner For Her Two Dads

Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads. This “Father’s Day” is bittersweet for me.

Gretel likes to make us cards.  I love the detail of Miss ABBA in an urn and Jackie, the troubled cat that has now been attacked three times with all of her injuries, including yesterday’s!

Although Miss ABBA didn’t know this day from any other day, it was always fun for me because I’d buy myself a CD, a DVD, or some small gift and it’d be from Miss ABBA.  I didn’t do that this year.

Three years ago, after Ray and Gretel came into our lives, I was ABBA’s dad and Gretel’s “like a dad”.  Now, she considers me her other dad, but still calls me “Anthony”.

For Father’s Day in 2010, Gretel made us a smiley face fruit platter.

Last year, Panda was staying with us and we had a little feast on our patio to commemorate the day and you can tell that the four-legged creatures got their fair share of cheese and snacks!

This year is going to be special.  On Friday, Gretel told me she wanted to surprise us by making us dinner, but she needed my help.

I told her that since I have to work Sunday evening, her dad would have to help her make dinner, so it couldn’t a “surprise”, but it’d be a very nice gesture.

She decided on lemon basil chicken pasta (her favorite) and fresh veggies.  On Saturday, we went to the Farmer’s Market in Davenport and we picked up what she needed.

When we were at dinner Friday night at our friends Tim & Sandy’s house, Tim told her he’d give her $5 if she could name all of the veggies in his vegetable-pasta salad and she did. We saw them at the Farmer’s Market yesterday and he paid up.

Here’s the surprising and touching part.  Gretel doesn’t really understand money.  We often joke that being an only child, she doesn’t grasp the concept of how much things cost.  Well, I think Ray and I need to re-think that!

As we walked around the market, she decided that she wanted homemade pasta from one of the vendors.  We had already bought vegetables, popcorn, and some other things.  When she picked up the pasta, she took the $5 out of her pocket and paid for it herself!  Ray and I were floored.

Now, I can’t wait for my dinner break this evening to check out my little girl’s “Father’s Day” feast.

And, on this “Father’s Day”, it’s great to know that the APA has our back.

A paper by right-wing author Mark Regnerus called “New Family Structures Study” questioned how good gay parents are at raising children.

And, here was the loud and clear response from the medical profession, “On the basis of a remarkably consistent body of research on lesbian and gay parents and their children, the American Psychological Association and other health, professional, and scientific organizations have concluded that there is no scientific evidence that parenting effectiveness is related to parental sexual orientation. That is, lesbian and gay parents are as likely as heterosexual parents to provide supportive and healthy environments for their children. This body of research has shown that the adjustment, development, and psychological well-being of children are unrelated to parental sexual orientation and that the children of lesbian and gay parents are as likely as those of heterosexual parents to flourish.”

Of course, when the flawed study was released, the National Organization for Marriage and the Mormon church were two of the first groups to jump with joy and started touting this news that gays are bad parents.

I hope everyone has a great Father’s Day this year and that you take time to remember your dad or dads!

Anthony