Archive for July, 2012

“Born This Way” or a Choice?

Maybe Lady Gaga was on to something when she wrote “Born This Way”, even if Madonna “helped” write it.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life is reporting in a new study that of those polled over the last month, more and more people think that gay people are “born that way” and that they “cannot be changed”.

In the new study, 41% believe that gay people were born that way compared to 20% that thought the same thing in 1985 when the Los Angeles Time conducted a similar survey.  35% of those polled in 2012 believe that being gay is “just the way some people choose to live”.  In 1985, that number was at 42%.

51% of those polled today believe that gay people “cannot be changed” compared to 42% in 2003.  Even today, 36% believe that gays can change.

In the same survey, more and more people are embracing same-sex marriage, but it should come as no surprise that the gap between Democrats and Republicans for marriage equality is growing.

From 2004 to 2012, that gap widened from 23% to 41%.

In the total public, 48% approve of marriage equality and 44% are opposed.  Just eight years ago, 60% of the total public were opposed.

For Democrats, 65% approve now compared to 40% in 2004.  Support is growing at a smaller pace for Republicans.  Today, 24% approve compared to 17% in 2004.  As for Independents, 51% are for marriage equality today compared to 37% in 2004.

It doesn’t appear that President Obama’s May 9th announcement that he now supports marriage equality is making that much of a difference.

In the new poll, 48% approve of marriage equality compared to 47% back in early April 2012.

To my friends that support my right to marry, thank you.

I was “Born This Way”.

Anthony

Mission Impossible (Almost) Accomplished

After going to the movie last Friday night to see “Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter”, I can assure you that today’s blog title in not about a mash-up with references to George W. Bush and Tom Cruise.

This blog has nothing to do with the infamous May 2003 “Mission Accomplished” speech aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln when former President George W. Bush announced the end of the major combat operation in Iraq.  We know how that turned out.  It also has nothing to with the “Mission Impossible” movie series with Tom Cruise that started in 1996 with the latest installment being released last December.  “Mission Impossible” also has nothing to do with Cruise’s three marriages.

Well, then, what does it have to do with?  “Mission Impossible” has to do with what Ray and I started early this spring with our dieting, exercise, and weight loss.  “(Almost) Accomplished” is where we’re at as July 2012 draws to a close.

As you know from my previous blogs and our Facebook posts, we really enjoy our buffets and all of the incredible food that comes with the holidays (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve).

When 2012 started, I was at 168 pounds and Ray was at 201.8 pounds.  Since we met almost 3.5 years ago, I was up about 15 pounds and Ray almost 30.  We decided something had to be done.  (This picture is from August 2011 in Andover, Ohio, while visiting Mom, Betty.)

Nothing really happened between January and March.  While we exercised some, we didn’t change our eating habits.  With the discovery of http://www.myfitnesspal.com, things started happening!

We started our mornings with a walk on the treadmill, we go on several neighborhood walks that then expanded to hour-long walks in Moline, and spent more time on the treadmill.  Along with that, buffets and visits to restaurants became rewards and treats and not standard practice.

At home, we started cutting out the junk, weighing our food to eat proper portions, and counting calories.

From April 2012 to today, “Mission Impossible” is “(Almost Accomplished)!

Ray’s 3o-year class reunion is next weekend and he’ll be going back more than 32 pounds lighter than where he was at on the first day of 2012.  He’d still like to lose a few more pounds and maintain his weight at 165.  Those last few pounds are going to be the hardest.

And, here is me earlier in July in the whirlpool for Gretel’s birthday celebration.

I’ve dropped from 168 to 144.  My goal was to get to 140 pounds and maintain that weight.  However, I’m re-evaluating that.

I’m going to drop to 143 to say that I’ve lost 25 pounds and I’ll continue to eat right, maintain portion control, exercise, and treat myself to buffets every once in a while.  And, I’ll be ready to go on my vacations this fall and winter with my new, improved body instead of the one that was complacent with the extra weight.

I’ll be the first to admit that cutting back on portion sizes and skipping seconds on things you really want to eat is not fun.

Maybe now that I won’t be exercising all the time, I’ll be able to veg out on the couch this fall with the new seasons on DVD of “Dexter”, “The Walking Dead”, “Fringe”, “Glee”, “True Blood”, “Justified”, and old staples like “Six Feet Under” (the complete series), which is Ray’s choice, and “The X-Files” (all nine seasons), my choice.

However, with treats like this last night (sugar cookie vodka vanilla ice cream shakes) and my favorite, Osaka Buffet, I’ll still visit the treadmill daily.  It gives me peace of mind and it gives me a chance to catch up on reading.

Have a great week!

Anthony

A Bloody Policy Change Is Needed In America

Blood shortages in the summer months are nothing new.  With many people taking vacations and spending more time outdoors, heading to your local blood drive is usually not high on people’s priority list.  But, this summer, the American Red Cross is reporting the shortage of blood is “critical” and at the lowest level in 15 years.

Sadly, when I hear this, it goes in one ear and out the other.  There is nothing I can do about.  That is someone else’s problem.  It only becomes my problem if I’m in an accident or I need emergency surgery!

You’re probably thinking right now that comments like that are not characteristically the way Anthony thinks or talks.  It’s not.  I wanted to get your attention and raise awareness to a problem with the system since  I’m always willing to help out my fellow-man, woman, and child.

As a college student back in the early-1980s at Murray State University, I donated blood every time they had a blood drive at the Curris Center.  In my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, during the summer months when I wasn’t in school, I’d donate blood at a local church.  Those peanut butter and crackers and orange juice tasted so much better knowing I was doing something good.

That all changed in 1985.

While I had been giving blood for years, it was then that the American Red Cross started asking questions like “From 1977 to the present, have you had sexual contact with another male, even once?”.  Effectively, that banned men who had sex with other men (MSM) from donating.  It didn’t matter if you were gay, bisexual, or a closet case, your blood wasn’t welcomed or wanted.  I could have lied and kept giving blood, but I stopped donating.

 

At the time, I fully understood the ban.  There were too many unanswered questions and so much that we didn’t know about AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Infection).  The country and the world was rightfully scared of this new disease that was sickening and killing gay men at an alarming rate.

The unknown led to fear and the American Red Cross and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration were under more pressure than ever to make the blood supply safer since tainted blood led to more infections of people outside of the gay community.  That led to more fear and uncertainty.

That was almost 30 years ago and we now know how people contract  HIV.  We have medications that can give those living with HIV and AIDS a “normal” long life and contracting the disease is no longer considered “a death sentence”.  We now even have tests that you can do at home to find out if you’re HIV-positive.

We’re no longer in the dark ages of blood testing for HIV, AIDS, or hepatitis.

That is the reason that many in the medical field are calling for the ban on MSM to be lifted.  Advocates call the ban “homophobic” while others want a lifelong ban for MSM.

While it’s true that the HIV infection rate is higher in the MSM community, the numbers of heterosexual men and women and minorities contracting HIV is on the rise.

This ban is no longer a gay issue and with the advancements made in blood testing, all Americans should be able to give blood if they are HIV-negative, regardless of their sexual orientation.  Finish listening to my logic before you hit reply and argue with me!

Why is okay for a prostitute to give blood if she didn’t admit to her profession or know the sexual backgrounds of the men that she slept with?  Why is okay for a co-ed who might have sex with many fraternity guys to donate blood as long as she doesn’t know that they’re gay, bisexual, or that they may have experimented with men.

 

Yet, it’s not okay for a man to admit that he’s had sex with another man and donate blood?

That is why many countries like Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Hungary, Japan, Sweden, and parts of the United Kingdom, have now implemented new rules that allow MSM to donate blood if they haven’t had MSM relationships in the past year.

The American Red Cross and several other blood groups have asked the FDA to change its policies, but it denied making changes as recently as two years ago.

Proper testing of the blood can keep our blood supply in America safe and with the shortages in place, we never know when a major catastrophe will deplete the blood supply even more.

With the knowledge and the scientific advancements in the medical field, let’s stop this “don’t ask, don’t tell”-like policy in blood donations.

Anthony

They Said What??? — George W. Bush, Mitt Romney, Rahm Emanuel, & Madonna

FORMER PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH

“It would be a sad and terrible thing if the world chose this moment to lose its focus and will. Other countries and local governments in Africa can do more in providing resources and increasing funding — as the new government of Zambia is doing. But to continue the momentum in the fight against AIDS, America must continue to lead.  It is heart-wrenching to save a woman from AIDS, only to watch her die from cervical cancer, which is more prevalent in women with HIV.” (He says those are two of the leading causes of death in Africa.)

CHICAGO MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL

“Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.  They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

 GOP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE MITT ROMNEY

(about London being prepared for the Olympics):  “The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials — that obviously is not something which is encouraging.  “Do they come together and celebrate the Olympic moment? And that’s something which we only find out once the games actually begin.”

BRITISH PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON

“We are holding an Olympic Games in one of the busiest, most active, bustling cities anywhere in the world. Of course, it’s easier if you hold an Olympic Games in the middle of nowhere.  I think we will show the whole world not just that we come together as a United Kingdom, but also we’re extremely good at welcoming people from across the world.  I will obviously make those points to Mitt Romney. I look forward to meeting him.”

MADONNA!  MADONNA!  MADONNA!

(continuing the feud with Lady Gaga over the similarities of “Express Yourself” and “Born This Way”):  “I’m a really big fan of “Born This Way”.   I’m glad that I helped Gaga write it.”

MADONNA!  MADONNA!  MADONNA!

(about recent uproar with a French politician):  “I know that I made a certain Marine Le Pen very angry with me.  And it’s not my intention to make enemies … It’s my intention to promote tolerance. And when we start saying that we have to get rid of this person or we have to get rid of that person, because then we’ll have a better place, it starts to sound like something else, it starts to sound like something scary. So the next time you want to point the finger at somebody and blame them for a problem in your life, take that finger and point it back at you.”

MADONNA!  MADONNA!  MADONNA!

“Playing the Olympia was a magical moment for me and it was a real treat to do this special show for my fans and be so close to them.  Unfortunately at the end of the show — after I left the stage– a few thugs who were not my fans rushed the stage and started throwing plastic bottles pretending to be angry fans.  The press reports have focused on this and not the joyous aspect of the evening.  But nothing can take away or ruin this very special evening for me and my fans.  When I looked out in the audience, everyone I saw had a smile on their face.  I look forward to having this wonderful experience again.”

Anthony

“Let’s Have a Kiki” This Sunday

The Mississippi Valley Fair kicks off Tuesday here in the Quad Cities and we’re heading out Wednesday night to see The Band Perry.  We saw them when they opened for Reba here last fall.  It’ll be a great show and Gretel is looking forward to it.  Maybe she’s really more excited about the rides and the yummy, unhealthy food that the fair has to offer.  So, other than working today through Wednesday while waiting for our concert, what should we do?

I know, let’s have a kiki!!!

Sure, that sound fun, but what is a kiki?  We’ll there Kiki Dee that sang “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” with Elton John back in the 1970s.  In the 1950s and 1960s, “kiki” was a cultural term in the bars for a lesbian who was neither butch nor femme, and there are other definitions.

However, my reference is to the new song, “Let’s Have a Kiki”, from the American glam dance band, the Scissor Sisters from their new album, “Magic Hour”.

In case you’re not familiar The Scissor Sisters, the band formed in 2001.  Actually, they were spawned.  That’s their word, not mine.  The band claims to be “spawned by the scuzzy, gay life of New York”.

I’ve been a fan of the band since 2004 when a reporter at my old station in Salisbury, Maryland, loaned me a copy of their debut album, “Scissor Sisters” from earlier that year.  I listened and I was hooked.  That album is still their biggest selling album of the four that they’ve released and it features their first #1 dance hit in America, “Filthy Gorgeous”, in 2005.

Their second album, “Ta-Dah”, came out in late 2006 and featured their biggest hit ever across the world, “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin'”.  It hit #1 and #2 in many countries across the world, but (shock!), American radio would not touch the song, although they performed it on ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars”.

In 2010, they released their album, “Night Work”, which is my favorite album of that year (sorry, Kylie, you were #2).  It featured their #1 dance hit, “Fire With Fire” and I was lucky enough to see the band in Chicago that September, front row, baby!

While the band members were born all across the U.S., it has a Kentucky connection since Babydaddy (Scott Hoffmann) grew up in Lexington, Kentucky, and lead singer Jake Shears met him in Kentucky before they moved to New York and were joined by Ana Matronic and Del Marquis to form the Scissor Sisters.  There was also drummer Paddy Boom, too.  But, he’s been replaced by Randy Real.

Now, you’ve been introduced to the Scissor Sisters and they are glam, baby.  But, I still haven’t told you more about this “kiki”.  Well, according to the band:  “A kiki is a party, for calming all your nerves / We’re spilling tea, and dishing just desserts when they deserve / And though the sun is rising, few may choose to leave / So shade that lid and we’ll all bid adieu to your ennui.”

While there are many contenders, “Let’s Have a Kiki” is probably on the first, second, and third listen, my favorite song from the new “Magic Hour” album.  It makes you want to dance and have fun.  It’s also the best follow-up to “Supermodel of the World” that RuPaul never released.

Here is the exciting and campy video to the song and then I’ll let you know if the album is any good and where it compares with their other three albums.  (WARNING:  The word “MF” appears in the song and the word pops up onscreen!)

The deluxe version of the album features 13 songs and 2 additional remixes.

At first listen, I thought, it has some good songs, but it definitely isn’t my favorite Scissor Sisters album.  On the second and third listens, it improved greatly.

Jake Shears and Ana Matronic are excellent vocalists.  Jake can take you places that only the Bee Gees have been successful in the past.  That falsetto is amazing and it stands out on the track, “Inevitable”.

If you love dance music, which I do, you’ll love “Only The Horses”, the first single from the album remixed by supersexy and hot, popular disc jockey Calvin Harris, who scored big with Rihanna’s “We Found Love”.  Since then, he’s had two big hits of his own on the radio in America, ‘Feels So Close” and the current hit, “Let’s Go” with Ne-Yo.

“Only the Horses” is currently in the top 5 on Billboard’s Dance Chart.  Here’s the video, but it’s probably one of the most head-scratching videos the band has done with them being almost absent from it.  However, you can still enjoy the song.

Other standouts on the album are “Keep Your Shoes On”, “Inevitable”, “Only The Horses”, “Let’s Have a Kiki”, “Shady Love”, “Self Control”, “Best In Me”, “Somewhere”, and “F*** Yeah”.

If you partied back in the 1990s, I’m sure many of you remember Robin S’ “Show Me Love”.  Well, while it doesn’t sample the song, “Self Control” definitely takes me back to that time and I just want to dance around the living room.  As a matter of fact, I need to go to YouTube to watch Robin S right now.

While the album is solid, it’s not the best of the four they’ve released and I really think that sequencing is the problem.  There are a few slow songs that just seem out-of-place where they’re place on the album between dance hits.  “Year of Living Dangerously” is just okay and “The Secret Life of Letters” will take many more listens for me not just to skip past it, which is what I’ve done after the first minute or so.

Jake has a beautiful voice and I love his ballads like “Mary”, “It Can’t Come Quickly Enough”, “Return To Oz”, and “Land of A Thousand Words” from their previous albums, but I just can’t get into the ballads on the new album.  And, I’m not really fond of the peppy, strange “San Luis Obispo”, but it’s growing on me.

Again, I have many songs on the album that I love, but I can’t stop listening to “Let’s Have a Kiki”.

Since it has a obsecene phallic symbol in two shots of the video, I don’t want to place it in my blog, however, if you’re  open-minded, go to YouTube and search “Kiki Scissor Sisters” and choose the fan made “Custom Videodrome Discothèque Video Edit”.  It’s an incredible flash back to some of the most amazing and campy images in the history of television and cinema.  “Sashay!  Shante!”

Here’s a bonus video to “Shady Love” from the album which features the awesome line, “she’s going to vote for Obama and she likes to dance to Madonna”.  A band out for my own heart!

So, here’s the bottom line.  “Magic Hour” is only my third favorite Scissor Sisters album (out of the four they’ve released ), but it’s still a great album.  It’s just that the band’s previous albums are perfect and the bar is set high.

On a scale of five disco balls:

Snow Disco Ball Clip Art Snow Disco Ball Clip Art Snow Disco Ball Clip Art Snow Disco Ball Clip Art

Anthony

My Frightful & Delightful Friday Date Night

The weekend is here and I hope you have fun plans.  I slept in today after a very, very long and enjoyable Friday.

It a was a 22-hour day that started with me working from 2 a.m until noon, then an afternoon of  working out, followed by fright and delight!

We decided to make it a date night, so went to our cheap theater in town to catch the evening showing of “Abraham Lincoln:  Vampire Hunter”, an action fantasy horror film based on a mash-up book of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith.  He also wrote the screenplay and the movie was produced by the incredible Tim Burton.

We bought the movie coupons on one of the local internet deal sites that offer bargains like buy one, get one  free.  So, we got our tickets for a large popcorn and soda (with free refills on each) and the movie ticket for $4.75 each.  (Regular price is $9.50 for that movie deal).

And, while I love the idea of “cheap theaters”, some are definitely better than others that I’ve been to across the country.  This one ranks down toward the bottom, but it’s still a bargain.  I will say that the young lady working the counter was very good at her job of moving the crowd along with tickets, drinks, and popcorn.

So, we all know the story about the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.

What you will never read in any biography or history book is that the Kentucky-born Lincoln (he was born about three hours from my hometown, yet the movie begins with him as a boy in Indiana) lost his mother at a young age after she was attacked by the plantation owner Jack Barts, who turns out to be  — are you ready?– a vampire!!   Spoiler alert:  He’s not the pasty, sparkly Edward kind of vampire from the “Twilight” series.  This is Tim Burton, remember.

This begins his crusade as a young man to hunt down Barts to make him pay for his crime.  What Lincoln didn’t know as a child was that Barts was a vampire and that by shooting him in the eye wasn’t going to do the trick with a typical bullet.

So, Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) is befriended by Henry Sturgess (played by sexy and charming Dominic Cooper from “Mamma Mia” and “The Devil’s Double), who teaches the awkward, lanky young man how to hunt down and kill vampires.  Silver is the key!  And, in this movie, guns are the main defense in the quest to kill vampires (I guess stakes are out these days), but Lincoln chooses to use an ax with the blade lined in silver!

That means that when he wields and swings his ax and it slices into vampires, there’s plenty of heads rolling and blood splashing across the screen.

This movie was released in 2D and 3D and while I saw the movie in standard form, you could definitely tell which scenes were made for 3D effect.  There is a climatic train track burning scene that would have been absolutely incredible to see on the big screen in 3D.

The movie goes on to tell the story of how Lincoln met Mary Todd and he was definitely “Honest Abe” with her.  He even confessed to her that he was a “vampire hunter”!  She smiles and plays his games and asks him how many he had killed and he honestly answers (at the time), “five, no six”.  Again, she smiles and humors him.

Historical facts were included in the movie including slavery, his move to Springfield and becoming a politician, the Civil War, his presidency, and the Ford Theater.  The accuracy stops there.

When we decided to the movie, we were debating between this one and “Rock of Ages”.  While I still want to see Tom Cruise as Stacee Jaxx, I decided that one would play better at home on DVD.  I wanted to see Abe hunt vampires on the bigger screen.

While the movie has pretty much earned back its budget in American and international box offices, by no means was it a blockbuster.  It was an entertaining movie and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets some awards season recognition for make-up.

There is somewhat of a shocker in the movie about one of the central characters.  It was a nice twist and added a new dimension. Since this is a vampire movie, does Lincoln cross over to the dark side for immortality?  It should be released on DVD in September!

GRADE:  B-  (If I had seen it in 3D, that grade could have been bumped up to a “B”)

FRIGHT, THEN DELIGHT

So, the movie and the vampire hunt was the fright of the night and the delight came when we got home.  (The movie only offered a delight in the form of a shirtless scene of lanky, young Lincoln and one shirtless scene of the always studly Cooper.)  Ha!

After the movie, we came home and went on a walk to work off  some of the popcorn and we came back for dessert.  More than a month ago, I blogged about the new donut-flavored 360Vodka and I was anticipating its release.

I finally got it and made us a “Boston Creme Pie” — donut-flavored vodka, vanilla ice cream, and a little skim milk, topped with cool whip and sprinkles.

Both drinks were so tasty and at 200 calories each, it didn’t blow our healthy eating regiment.

While the drinks were excellent, I admit that it did not smell or taste like donuts!  So, maybe tonight or tomorrow night, I’ll make a small martini with the chilled vodka (so I don’t think I’m having a grown-up shake) to see if I can taste the donuts without having the flavor hidden.

So, I’ll give the much-anticipated donut-flavored another shot since I waited so long and had to search it out.

However, when we bought the donut-flavored vodka, we bought a “Sugar Cookie” vodka and it smells exactly like sugar cookies.

Liquid cookies, the new “it” thing?

Have a great weekend!

Anthony

What People Don’t Understand About The Chick-fil-A Uproar

Chick-fil-A is likely getting more publicity these days than the restaurant chain has gotten since it first opened back in 1967.  That’s not necessarily a good thing.  But, then again, some say there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

I’ve blogged about the chain and its anti-gay and anti-marriage equality history (February 9, 2012 and March 26, 2012) and I’ve posted on Facebook recently about some comments made by COO Dan Cathy.  When asked by the “Baptist Press” about standing up for the traditional family and being opposed to marriage equality, he replied, “Well, guilty as charged.”

I want to try to clarify a few things today since I’ve been reading a lot of Facebook rants (many inaccurate) and you can’t turn the television on without hearing about the controversy.

First off, I’ve eaten at Chick-fil-A.  Back in the early-1990s, while working in Paducah, Kentucky, I dined there a couple of times and I admit, their sandwiches and waffle fries were excellent!  However, now that I eat healthier (and metaphorically speaking), I’m sure the hate and anti-discriminatory spices the company uses would make it taste different now!  🙂

Cathy stands strong with his “traditional family” views:  “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. … We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.  We intend to stay the course.  We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles.”

Sit down because I’m going to say something that may shock you!  I agree with this part of Cathy’s comment, “we live in a country where we can share our values.”

Amen!  I’m glad that he can speak his mind just as I can.  I disagree with his views of “traditional” families.  What exactly is that today?  There are so many single or divorced parents raising children, there are more interracial families with kids, and more and more LGBT couples are parents doing a fantastic job with their biological and adopted children.  Regardless of Cathy’s religious views, he needs to move out of the 1950s.  Families are families.

Here’s what ticks me off about the recent media fascination with the Chick-fil-A controversy and what’s confusing the public.  People think that Cathy is getting bullied for voicing his opposition to marriage equality.  Note that I don’t use the words “gay marriage”.  I don’t have a “gay marriage”, I’m married!

Cathy being bullied isn’t the case.  He has a right to his views.  I have some “friends” that have issue with marriage equality.  Fine.  If you don’t like it because you don’t understand it, educate yourself.  If you don’t like it because of religion, love your fellow-man and woman and let God deal with it when the time comes.

Cathy doesn’t have to support marriage equality.  That is not what ticks me off about him or Chick-fil-A and that is why some mayors and politicians are rethinking having the chain in their cities.

What some people don’t understand is that the chain donated $8 million to the WinShape Foundation in 2010 alone.  And, between 2003 and 2009, the WinShape Foundation gave millions of dollars to groups such as “Focus on the Family” and “Eagle Forum”.  Those groups not only oppose same-sex marriages, but gay rights issues!

There, folks, lies the problem.  Rights are rights and should not be dictated by groups getting millions of dollars from corporations that are working to hold back minorities.

Recently, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino stated that he would not allow the company to open franchises in the city telling Cathy, “We are indeed full of pride for our support of same sex marriage and our work to expand freedom for all people.”

This was followed from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emaneul saying, “Chick-fil-A values are not Chicago values.  They disrespect our fellow neighbors and residents. This would be a bad investment, since it would be empty.”

And, San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee tweeted, “Very disappointed #ChickFilA doesn’t share San Francisco’s values & strong commitment to equality for everyone.” and “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”

While I definitely appreciate the support from those mayors and other politicians, keeping Chick-fil-A out of their cities will not likely happen.  Believe it or not, I don’t think we should deny them the right to open a franchise wherever they want to open one.  That would be similar to the people and municipalities that deny or make it difficult for gay bars the right to open, which happens all the time.

I think that people who want to eat at Chick-fil-A should have stores available to do it.  However, I think that people should protest those stores and make the chicken chain accountable for the groups it funds — the money you spend for sandwiches and waffle fries.  Cathy can oppose marriage equality and support the “traditional family”, but funding discrimination is not good business.

I’ve lost so-called “friends” over my disgust with Chick-fil-A and stating the facts about other discriminatory groups and organizations (Boy Scouts of America).  I’ll continue to do that.  You have the right to delete me as a Facebook friend if those views are too real for you and you don’t want to hear it.

The reality of the situation is we all have a right to say what we want, right or wrong.  Cathy can speak his mind.  We don’t have to buy his opinions or his food.  I can speak my mind in my blog and you have the choice of reading it or not.

I don’t take my views to work with me when I present the weather forecast to you.  When I’m at work, I only talk weather.

I just wanted to clear the air about Cathy.  He has a right to his views, but I want people to know the real reason there’s an uproar about Chick-fil-A.  I know there are good franchises with great employees and managers out there that don’t agree with Cathy’s views on marriage or families.

The bottom line is that it’s a proven fact that we know where Cathy, thus Chick-fil-A, spends some of its profits and it’s not good for equality.

Anthony

“Peeps’ Friday ’80s Flashbacks”‏

Rise and shine this great Friday morning.  I hope you have a fantastic weekend planned and here’s my contribution.  Three of my favorite songs from the 1980s to get you inspired.

“MISSING YOU” — JOHN WAITE

English rock singer John Waite had three hits with the band, The Babys with the two that you’d probably remember from the late-1970s being “Every Time I Think of You” and “Isn’t It Time”.

As a solo artist, he also had three Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits in 1984 and 1985.  The biggest, his signature song, “Missing You”, reached #1 in 1984.  Tina Turner also recorded this and it’s fantastic.  Waite also hit the country chart in 2006 with the song with Alison Krauss.

Waite was also the lead singer for the band, Bad English, who scored three hits in 1989 and 1990.  The biggest was the #1 smash, “When I See You Smile”.  “Price of Love” also hit #5.

“TRUE” — SPANDAU BALLET

Spandau Ballet formed in England during the “New Romantic Movement”.  The band was very successful in the U.K. scoring 17 hits.  Success was harder to find in the United States.

Lead singer Tony Hadley lead the band into the top 40 on the Hot 100 charts three times in America.

Their biggest hit was their first, the #4 song, “True”.  That was followed by two other songs that peaked at #29 (“Gold”) and #34 (Only When You Leave”).

“CURIOSITY” — THE JETS

The Wolfgramm family of brothers and sisters, mainly in their teens, from Minneapolis, Minnesota hit the charts big in the 1980s.  Their first release, “Curiosity”, didn’t chart on the Billboard Hot 100, but it did reach #8 on the R&B charts and #21 on the Dance Chart.

However, their second chance at stardom, paid off.  “Crush on You” reached #3 in 1986.

The Jets would go on to score six top 40 hits on Billboard’s Hot 100, including “You Got It All” (#3, 1986), “Cross My Broken Heart” (#7, 1987), “I Do You” (#20, 1987),  “Rocket 2 U” (#6, 1988), and “Make It Real” (#4, 1988).

Anthony

 

My New Love Affair — With Paris

I wonder if God has a sense of humor.  As I go through life and look around, I have a strong feeling that he does, since he doesn’t make mistakes.  I’ve also heard that if you want to make him laugh, tell him your plans.

So, God, I’m penciling in Paris, France in my 2015 planner.

It was never on my list of must see (before I die) places until earlier this year when I watched Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”.  Once I watched the opening credits, which was basically a travelogue for Paris, I was sold.  If you haven’t seen the movie, here is the three-minute opening that will have you booking seats with me and then I’ll get back to my blog.

“Midnight in Paris” is one of my favorite movies that I’ve watched this year.  When we saw it, I told Ray that I now want to go to the “City of Light”.

Paris2

I didn’t want to go in hopes of traveling back in time to meet Hemingway and his group of friends — although that would be fun.

However, croissants, sinful desserts, French cuisine, and sweet French champagne would definitely be high on my list and my diet would be damned that week.  There would no calorie counting when I finally make it to Paris.

While I would indulge in eating and drinking, the main reasons I want to go to Paris is because I’m a romantic who is in love and I want to walk in the Parisian rain without an umbrella.

RainyParis

Oh, love!  No, it’s not my wedding anniversary and it’s not the anniversary of the date that we met, I’m just feeling overly romantic (ooh, gross) after watching “Moulin Rouge” again yesterday — “the greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return”!

Okay, so while it’s a very weird and entertaining movie, the romance between Christian (Ewan McGregor) and Satine (Nicole Kidman) is short and doomed, it’s still incredibly sweet and romantic.  After all, love is a many splendored thing, all you need is love, and love lift us up where we belong.  Love!  Love! Love!

If you haven’t seen the 2001 movie that made $179.3 million dollars and earned a total of 13 BAFTA nominations (the British equivalent to the American Oscar), 8 Oscar and 6 Golden Globe nominations (and wins at the Golden Globes for Nicole Kidman and the movie), I’d highly recommend it.  Yes, it’s bizarre and Bohemian, but that makes it cute.  And, it’s a musical that also features Kylie Minogue as “The Green Fairy”!  Sold!

When you watch it for the first time or you watch it again, make it a double feature with “Midnight in Paris”.

There’s enough great food and wine for all of us to take a journey across the Atlantic.

ParisFood

Amour!

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This blog is brought to you by the Paris Tourism Board.  I’m kidding.  However, I’m going to check flight prices and hotels now just for fun.

Anthony

Another Heat Story, But One With A Sad Note About Outdoor Pets

My friends, be careful out there today.  With temperatures expected to soar to 105° or higher, this may very well be the hottest day in your lifetime, so far.  I know that it’s been hotter in the Quad Cities on several occasions, but you have to be, at least, 76-years-old to have experienced that heat.

As for me, I know that it’s gotten hotter in some of the places I’ve lived, it just wasn’t while I was living there.  For me, that 104° back on July 7, 2012, in Moline, Illinois, was the hottest actual temperature I’ve ever encountered and today will likely surpass that reading.

It goes without saying, but since I’m writing about the hot weather, there is a “Heat Advisory” out for today across all of eastern Iowa and northern Illinois.   As a matter of fact, there are warnings and advisories for the heat issued today from Wisconsin south to Kentucky, Tennessee, and down to Georgia, eastward to Ohio, and westward to Kansas and Nebraska.

Here’s a little weather trivia for you to dazzle your friends with today.   If we reach 106° today in the Quad Cities for the official high, that will only be 9th time that the high temperature reached 106° or higher since record-keeping started back in the early 1870s.

The warmest temperature on record in the Quad Cities is 111° (July 14, 1936).  That is followed by 108° (July 12, 1936), 107° (July 11, 1936 and July 13, 1936), and then 106° (July 24, 1901, July 15, 1936, July 26, 1936, and August 18, 1936).

So far, July 2012 ranks as the fourth warmest on record in the Quad Cities and the third driest on record.  We’ve only had 0.31″ of rain this month, but that will likely change tonight.  We finally have a decent chance of some showers and storms tonight and Thursday.  We’ve been cheated out of scattered storms the past couple of days as most of them stayed north in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Here is the radar image of the upper Midwest and Great Lakes from earlier this morning posted by my first major network-affiliated news director, Mike Michalak, in Rhinelander, Wisconsin.  The rain is finally coming Quad Cities.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that it won’t break the drought!

On a serious note, you always hear me tell you on the news and in my blogs to take air conditioning breaks if you have to work or be outdoors for any length of time, to check on the elderly, and to make sure the pets outside have clean, cool water and shade.  Well, today, I’m going to be even more blunt, regarding pets.

The following message was sent to me last week by a Facebook friend that works as a veterinary technician at a clinic.  It opened my eyes and I want to share it with you:

“Within the last few weeks we’ve had two clients rush in their already clinically dead dogs from being out in the heat. The first dog was a pug.  It lived next to one of the girls from work and she said they always left it outside without any water or shade. I told her to take the dogs temp, and she replied, “it’s dead (name deleted)!” I said, “Right, meaning it should have a very low body temperature. Take it’s temp and see just how hot this poor dog got to prove this is how it died.”  So we took its rectal temp. Our thermometers only read up to 110 degrees and anything higher than that registers as “high”. That dogs temp said, “High”.  Then the other day an American bulldog came in that was still kind of breathing. We took its temp and it shot up past 110 right away. These owners claim the dog couldn’t have been out more than a half hour and it had shade and water. It obviously died a few minutes after getting to our clinic.”

Please look out for our furry friends today.  Please bring them in today if you can.

While I know we’re not done with the heat, even after today, we can always hold out for cooler, fall weather, right?  Sadly, we may be wrong.

Technically, the days will not be as hot!  However, here is the Climate Prediction Center’s forecast for August, September, and October temperatures and precipitation.

Three more months of above average temperatures and below average rainfall!  Boo!

Again, be careful out there today.  I’m going to spend my day off inside, except to water the garden and front yard late this evening.  I head back to work tomorrow for the next seven days beginning with the morning show bright and early at 4:30 a.m.  Hey, I should, at least, have some rain on radar to show you if you wake up with me bright and early.

Finally, if you’re really, really over the intense heat and humidity (I failed to mention that the heat index today –the combination of the temperature and the humidity and what your body actually feels like — is going to reach 115-125°!), five months from today is Christmas!  That means colder weather and maybe, just maybe, snow?

Anthony