Archive for March, 2013

Random Friday Thoughts — March 29

It’s “Good Friday” and to me, that’s the same as any Friday.  I try to be good. 🙂

“HAPPY EASTER”

Kidding aside, it’s Easter weekend and I wish all of you a “Happy Easter”.  We’re having friends over for dinner Saturday night (not Easter-related) just for fun and then on Sunday, we’re making ham and having my sister over for Easter brunch.

I hope the Easter Bunny brings you plenty of chocolate and fun candy if that’s your thing!  But, after seeing this earlier in the week, I hope he doesn’t leave you a bunny as a pet.

Easter Bunny

I remember getting a “chick” (the animal, not a girl) one year for Easter when I was a kid and it died a couple of days later.  No thanks, candy is fine with me.

EQUALITY IN THE HEADLINES

There’s been a lot of talk in the news this week with what I call “marriage equality” and what many, even in the media, call “gay marriage”.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California’s gay marriage ban.  And, on Wednesday, they heard the case of Windsor vs. United States, which tackles the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which basically states that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Edie

If you don’t know about Edith Windsor, the 83-year-old woman at the center of this Supreme Court debate, check out this heartwarming story.  It’s only three minutes long, but it shows you what true love is and that love knows no boundaries!

It may be months before we get a decision from the SCOTUS, if they even decide.  Edie and California, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Marriage Equality

Cow SnowmanDiet   GI Joe    Oreo SpeedwagonSarcasm

SLEEP AND MY STRANGE WORK HOURS

Since I work 2-10 a.m. Monday through Friday and get roughly three to four hours of sleep each weeknight (I get more on the weekends), it always frightens me when I hear news stories about all of the health issues that people develop when they don’t get a good night’s sleep.

Putting that aside, I read in the September 2011 “Men’s Journal” there’s something better than becoming over-caffeinated to stay awake and alert when I start to drag.  Dr. Bob Arnot says “studies show that just 10 minutes of shut-eye can net you 155 minutes of mental clarity.”

“PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK”

In the early 1980s, when this country boy moved away from that musical genre, I moved quickly and it was all about “New Wave” music starting with Kim Wilde and Soft Cell.  The English band, A Flock of Seagulls, was at the top of my list, too.

I mean, seriously, Mike Score’s  (the lead singer) hair was incredible.  I know if I had the nerve then, I would have been a hit in Mayfield, Kentucky, but then again, I would have probablygotten beat up , too.

A Flock of Seagulls’ first hit in America was also their biggest.  “I Ran (So Far Away)” was released in October 1982 and it made it all the way up to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100.

While the two follow-up singles, “Space Age Love Song” and “Wishing (If I Had A Photograph of You)” both cracked the Top 40 in America, they only made it to #30 and #26, respectively.

“Wishing” was also featured in the aforementioned movie, “Edge of Seventeen”.

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

It was two years ago this week that Miss ABBA was diagnosed with a terminal cancer and given only two to three months to live.  She was a fighter and never got down and sick until the day before she went to puppy heaven ten months later on February 3, 2012.

These pictures were taken on April 1, 2011, just days after having a non-malignant “fatty tissue” removed during that terminal diagnosis (notice the cute shaved leg!), when she received a package in the mail from my friends Tracy and Steve Weinberger.  They were friends from my old neighborhood in Moline and they knew that Miss ABBA loved Peeps.  Whenever they’d walk by with their little girl, Miss ABBA would always share Peeps with her.

As you can tell, ABBA loved opening her own gifts and presents and was very excited when it turned out to be an edible treat — Peeps!

04012011 ABBA Opening Package04012011 ABBA Anthony  04012011 ABBA Peeps

MY GOLDEN, ABBA, HAS A NEW FRIEND IN “PUPPY HEAVEN”

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Maroon 5 lead singer Adam Levine’s golden, Frankie, crossing over the “Rainbow Bridge” to play with Miss ABBA and now Ginger has joined them, too.

Ginger, like ABBA, also died of cancer, as so many goldens sadly do.

Here is what Ginger’s “humans” posted on Ginger’s Facebook page March 19th:  “Ginger’s cancer was very aggressive and she was declining rapidly. We couldn’t let her suffer anymore, and with the help of a vetrinary [sic] oncologist made the decision to put her down this afternoon. Our family is heartbroken, but we know she ran up to heaven on the wings of your prayers and well wishes. Thank you all for your support. Many of you mentioned you have gone through it before or going though it now. Our hearts are with you. It has been a cold and snowy few days here in Michigan. We took Buddy for a walk a bit ago and the wind got really strong and we looked up and suddenly the sun peaked through the sky, just for a little bit. We like to think that was Ginger lighting up heaven with a grand entrance! Thank you again for your support and friendship.  With deepest gratitude, Scott and Barb ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥”

SEASON ONE OF “MALIBU COUNTRY” IS OVER

The first season of one of the shows that I watched this fall, “Malibu Country” with Reba and Lily Tomlin, came to a close last week.  ABC hasn’t announced whether it will be renewed for a second season.  However, I feel that it will since it is the highest rated new comedy on network television.

RebaLily

While the show is uneven and copies a lot of the jokes from Reba’s former “WB” and “CW” show “Reba” (2001-2007), I love seeing Reba and Lily Tomlin, as her marijuana loving mother.

If the show is renewed, I hope Reba sings more and that we see less of her daughter, June, and her puppy love crush on the boy next door, Sage.  And, if Sage is going to be front and center with his singing career next season, cut his hair!  Please!

And, Reba needs to start dating Mr. Bata, the head of the record company.

‘THE FOLLOWING”

With five more episodes to go (season one finale is April 29th), this show is testing my loyalty.

The Following

While I know I won’t stop watching since I’ve invested ten weeks into it, but I want some fun things to happen.  Yes, the deaths are brutal, shocking, and clever.  But, the FBI really needs to win one in the game of cat and mouse with the serial killer, Dr. Joe Carroll.

Or, at least let us know who in the FBI is working for Joe and not let it be revealed to his/her colleagues until the season finale.  And, it had better not be Mike Weston!  My money is on Agent Parker or the new guy brought in to head up the capture of Carroll.

Emma must die at the hands of Jacob!!!!  And, while I’m voicing what I’d like to see, how about a crossover with ABC’s “Nashville” so that one of Joe’s “followers” can take Scarlett out, too! 🙂

What a way to end a blog on Easter Sunday weekend.

Have a great one.

Anthony

Should You Trust Those Almanacs For The Forecast?

We’re almost three months into the new year and I’m sure some of you might be looking over your “2013 Old Farmer’s Almanac” and wondering if the temperature and precipitation forecasts are accurate.

The “Almanac”, which has been published since 1792, claims an accuracy rate of 80%.  But, is it really.  As I was spring cleaning at home, I came across the 2011 edition.  I looked through it to see if there was anything I wanted to save before recycling it and I decided to check the forecast and see how correct it was for eastern Iowa and northern Illinois.

Almanac

When I started checking the “Almanac” forecast to the actual weather for that year, I was very lenient in grading.  I didn’t even check the detailed forecast for actual dates for those months because there’s no way to forecast that far in advance!  I just checked the monthly temperature and precipitation forecast.

For temperatures, the “Almanac” was 42% accurate.  For instance, it predicted December 2010 temperatures to be three degrees above and the month ended up 5.3° below average in the Quad Cities.  Many other months were off the mark.  However, in September 2011, it predicted that temperatures would be four degrees below average and that’s how it turned out!

As for precipitation, the forecast trends were more accurate.  The “Almanac” was 75% accurate!

I always find it interesting to read the “Old Farmer’s Almanac” and the “Farmers Almanac” (published since 1818), but if you really want to trust the forecast, you have to watch the CBS4 weather team! 🙂

Have a great day!

Anthony

Love, Hate, & The Future of Prop. 8

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard arguments today and could decide on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, which is California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Dream Team

This is the legal team of David Boies and Ted Olson that is working to do away with Prop 8, along with the plaintiffs and their families, and Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin at a press conference after leaving the oral arguments at the Supreme Court.

Here is a blog from inside the court proceedings and what this might mean.

SCOTUS Blog

Here is what the Huffington Post is reporting:

Justice Anthony Kennedy “acknowledged that while the social science on gay marriage is relatively new, there is an “immediate” legal harm to those same-sex couples who cannot be married.  He said the voice of the thousands of children of same-sex couples was an important aspect of the case.  “They want their parents to have full recognition and legal status,” Kennedy told Charles Cooper, who was representing supporters of Proposition 8’s ban on gay marriage. “The voice of those children is considerable in this case, don’t you think?”

This is from the Associated Press:  “Justice Anthony Kennedy, the potentially decisive vote on a closely divided court, suggested that the court could dismiss the case with no ruling at all.  Such an outcome would almost certainly allow gay marriages to resume in California but would have no impact elsewhere.”

It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out.

Here are some of the faces of love today in Washington D.C.

Love 3Love 1 Love 4

And hate in Washington D.C. (thank you Westboro x Church):

Hate1 Hate 2

When referring to that extremist group out of Topeka, Kansas, I won’t use the former church affiliation in their name because that is offensive to the people of that denomination that don’t think like those haters.

To my friends, thank you for your unrelenting support!

Anthony

They Said What??? Lily Tomlin, Ann Coulter, & Michelle Shocked

“MALIBU COUNTRY” ACTRESS LILY TOMLIN

(clarifying that talk show icon Johnny Carson “didn’t out me or try to out me”):  “He was just being a host and saying conventional stuff. You know: ‘You’re not married. Don’t you want to have children?’ … (These were things) they would ask a female in the early ‘70s.”

DIRECTOR BRETT RATNER

(at the recent GLAAD awards):  “Homophobe. Bigot. Gay-basher. Ignorant frat boy. Fat, Jewish pig.  I was called all of these names when I foolishly used a gay slur in a misguided attempt to be funny during an interview. Do I believe what I was called to be true? Aside from the Jewish and fat part? No, absolutely not. But I learned a valuable lesson: A word can matter, whether it’s said with malice or a joke.”

CONSERVATIVE AUTHOR/COMMENTATOR ANN COULTER

(poking fun at Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie):  “Even CPAC had to cut back on its speakers this year about 300 pounds.”

ACTRESS SELENA GOMEZ

(about “Spring Breakers” co-star James Franco):   “He stayed in character the whole time and luckily for me, my character was creeped out by him, becuase I genuinely was at first.  That’s who I knew, until we started doing press and I realized he’s one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever met.”

MORE SELENA GOMEZ

(After talk show host David Letterman told her that he made her ex-boyfriend Justin Bieber cry):  “Well then, that makes two of us.”

FOLK SINGER MICHELLE SHOCKED

(to a stunned San Francisco audience last week right before two-thirds of them walked out and the show was shut down):  “God hates fags and you can tweet that I said so.  I live in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

Method(ology) to My March Madness

UPDATE:  Sunday, April 7, 2013

Two weeks of March Madness comes to a climatic finish Monday night as the Louisville Cardinals take on the Michigan Wolverines for the national championship.

And, check out this brackets!

NCAA Finals

For the first time since I’ve been filling out brackets, I picked the final two teams for the championship!!!   And, after seeing how Louisville played in most of the semi-final game against Wichita State and how Michigan struggled in the second half against Syracuse, I’m lucky both teams survived!

If my calculations are correct, I may have won the office pool.  If so, I’ll use the money I won to host a party this summer for my work Peeps.  (If any of them read my blog, they will know first hand!) 🙂

And, I entered this bracket for a local newspaper’s bracket contest and as of Sunday morning, I’m in first place out of more than 500 entries!!!!!!!!!  If Louisville wins Monday night, I might win a big screen television!

Although I’m a die-hard Kentucky Wildcats fan, I’m rooting for Louisville so I can win the contests!

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Sunday, March 24, 2013

Kids are too honest and funny.  Last night, our internet went out around 9 p.m. and was out until this morning (Mediacom, this is becoming too common!).

So, instead of just watching the NCAA Men’s basketball scores update online, I had to turn on the television to watch the end of the Marquette-Butler game.  (Hey Brad Stevens!)

brad-stevens

Sadly, for Butler fans, they lost.  That’s good news for me because I picked Marquette to go to the Final Four and they had to struggle in the first round to come back in the last two minutes to beat Davidson by one point and they were down 1o points to Butler and barely held on to win, 74-72!

Okay, so I’m getting all riled up watching the last few minutes of the game, and Gretel pulls herself away from her Kindle and says, “when did you start liking sports?”  I didn’t want to tell her that I’m a fair-weather basketball fan that turns into a die-hard NCAA basketball fan when March Madness comes around.  It would have taken too long to explain what “fair-weather” and “die-hard” means. 🙂

What I wanted to say is that “yes, I follow some sports.  It’s not all about Madonna, Lady Gaga, Reba,  Britney, and Helen Reddy.  I mean, seriously, have you seen some of those coaches and players!”

Iowa State Coach Fred Hoiberg

Kidding aside, I love basketball.  My only regret in life is not having the self-confidence, as a teenager, that I have now to try out for our small high school basketball team.  I was pretty good in the ‘hood with my jump shot!

NCAA Brackets 2013 001

I entered the basketball pool at work just for fun.  In the past, I’ve never won, but my goal was to beat the sports department.

Since I hadn’t followed basketball all season long (I didn’t know Murray State and Kentucky were doing so poorly), here’s how I made my picks.  The method to my March madness was to look at the last five games of the season for each team and I based my picks on that!!!!!!!!!!!

I have heard that two people at work picked Gonzaga to win it all.  That’s two people out-of-the-way.  However, I had Gonzaga in the Final Four, so I won’t be getting any points from them.  Oh yeah, they lost to Wichita State.  First, the “Shockers” beat Pitt in the first round and then “shocked” the #1 seed Gonzaga.

I was more concerned with Marquette, another Final Four pick for me, struggling in the first two games!  I never thought for a minute that Gonzaga would fall that quickly.

If I had to pick three upsets that I’d love to see happen today, it would be for Temple to stun and eliminate Indiana, North Carolina to knock off Kansas, and for Iowa State to send the Buckeyes packing in that order!

If those things happened and Louisville marches on, life would be sweet! 🙂

I love college basketball!

Anthony

Yes, More Snow! But, Leave The Groundhog Alone!

AFTERNOON UPDATE:  Saturday, March 23, 2013, 2:52 p.m.

A “Winter Weather Advisory” goes into effect at midnight tonight and runs through 7 p.m. for the following counties in Iowa:  Des Moines, Henry, and Lee, and for the Illinois counties of Hancock, Henderson, McDonough, and Warren.  For Knox and Stark counties, that “Winter Weather Advisory” runs from 1 a.m Sunday until 1 a.m. Monday.

As for snow amounts, I think based on the latest information that we should shave about an inch off  the totals from the Quad Cities northward and about 2″ off the totals in the far south.  That still means about an inch north to about 1-3″ in the Quad Cities and along Interstate 80, and about 2-4″ south.  Isolated higher totals are still possible.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Saturday, March 23, 2013, 9:23 a.m.

I’m a firm believer that people (even politicians) can change or, at least, educate themselves to see both sides of an argument.

Earlier in the week, I got on the bandwagon with many others of blaming our late season cold and upcoming snow on Punxsutawney Phil, the Pennsylvania groundhog, that made his forecast February 2nd that we’d see an early spring!

It’s gotten out of hand.  There have been calls for him to be brought up on criminal charges, he’s wanted dead or alive, and there are even pictures on Facebook that he’s been attacked and injured!

Groundhog

I apologize for blaming him for our weather misfortunes:  In the Quad Cities, this March, our temperatures have not even hit 50°once and are running 8.3° below average, and, as of this writing, this is the sixth coldest March on record in the metro area and those records go back to the late-1800s!

Now, the madness has to stop!

Rodent

Phil is right.  He was never trained to analyze weather charts, satellites, radars, and learn the physics of the atmosphere.  How dare humans take this cuddly little critter and put so much pressure on him!

As a meteorologist, I’ve blown a forecast before and I’ll do it again.  And, with that being said, there are other meteorologists that blow every storm out of proportion and every snow event becomes the “storm of the century” and every spring thunderstorm develops tornadic potential.  Do people hold those forecasters to the same ridicule as Phil?   No!

But, I’ll say that it’s pretty bad when you make only one forecast a year and you’re wrong.  That doesn’t do much for your forecasting accuracy!  It’s either 0% or 100%, so you can’t afford to be wrong.  You just have to hide out again for another year!

So, with that being said, let’s ease up a little on that Pennsylvania rodent and talk about the snow potential here in eastern Iowa and northern Illinois tonight and Sunday.

As of Saturday morning, a “Winter Storm Watch” goes into effect later this evening for counties just south of the Quad Cities.  I do expect this “Watch” to become a “Winter Weather Advisory” later today and for the aerial coverage to expand northward.

Here’s the bottom line:  Nice weather is expected today with mostly sunny skies giving way to increasing clouds from south to north.  Highs will make it to 35°-40° far north, 40°-45° in the Quad Cities, and 42°-47° in the far south.

A rain and snow mix will develop later this evening across the south and progress northward.  With the relatively mild day and warm ground in the south, snow accumulations will not begin until later tonight.

Snow will fall tonight and most of Sunday before winding down Sunday night from southwest to northeast across the area.

My snow forecast totals (or “snotals”) have not changed from when I first brought them to you Friday morning on “CBS4 News This Morning” (and for those watch us, thank you).

As with any winter storm event, there could be a few isolated higher totals.

Enjoy your weekend and make the best of this snow.  For those that are ready for spring, this could be the last snow of the season.  For those that want the snow, it might not be. 🙂

For Phil’s sake, I hope it’s the last snow.  I can’t keep blogging in his defense if real spring weather doesn’t arrive soon!

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 22

Happy Friday!  We’re one week away from Easter and it’s officially spring!

SPRING SNOW THIS WEEKEND

With the forecast of a storm that could bring some snow this weekend and March temperatures running more than 8° below average, I think we’re experiencing  “2013:  The Year Without A Spring”!

I’m thinking we’ll see 2-4″ of snow in the Quad Cities Saturday night and Sunday.  To our south, 4-6″ are possible and to our north, only 1-2″ of snow could fall.  It’s still early and these numbers could change.

Here are the chances of seeing 4″ of snow.  This forecast is from NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center.

Up to 4 Inches Saturday Through Monday

BE RESPONSIBLE, NOT SENSATIONAL!

I have a plea for all meteorologists!  Be responsible when you look at data and post it.  If it’s not your forecast, then avoid the panic it causes for many people.

I’m really appalled by a few “Chicken Little” forecasters that throw out a computer model projection with astronomical snow totals knowing full well that it would have to be a perfect scenario for that to happen.  And, to do this six days in advance!  Insane!  I really wish  people would think about re-posting this crap and hold those forecasters accountable.

It’s easier for people just to say that all weather forecasters are always wrong.  GRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Groundhog

Aliens Long Marriage Mom Texting

SING IN YOUR SHOWER, HATER.  NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR YOU NOW!

Folk singer Michelle Shocked has never had mainstream success and I hope she never sings another note publicly again!

Last Sunday night, the singer went on an anti-gay tirade at a San Francisco club owned by a gay man in front of many gay patrons and all of her upcoming tour dates, except one (the Harmony Bar in Madison, Wisconsin) have been cancelled.

Michelle Shocked

While performing at Yoshi’s, she stunned the audience by saying, “When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back,” and “You can go on Twitter and say, ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.’

The show was shut down when about two-thirds of the crown walked out.

In the aftermath of the tour cancellations, Michelle Shocked tweeted, “First: “I’m abiding, letting everyone’s true colors show before I undertake a personal response to each & every tweet.” and  “Am neither against a woman’s right to choose nor gay marriage. Am a fundamentalist tho”.

Really, it doesn’t sound like you’re against gay marriage!  Good riddance!

REALLY READY FOR APRIL 1ST

No fooling here!  I’m ready for April Fool’s Day to arrive and for the Easter feast to be over with because I want to start eating really healthy again and working out.

Last summer when Ray and I lost all that weight (30 pounds for him and 25 for me), we both felt really good.  Since we’ve been very bad at our food choices since August, we’ve gained much of the weight back (17 pounds for me).

While I don’t plan on being so extreme this year, my goal is only ten pounds this spring and summer.

HILLARY, THANK YOU!

ONLY ONE CONCERT PLANNED, SO FAR!

After seeing Madonna’s “MDNA Tour” last October and Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way Ball Tour” in January before her hip injury forced the cancellation of the rest of the tour, I don’t have any big mega shows planned this year.

I’ll be seeing Rick Springfield (a teenage crush) in May at the Waterfront Convention Center in Bettendorf, Iowa.

rick springfield

And, there’s a part of me that would love to see Depeche Mode in Chicago in August.

Depeche Mode Tour 2013

Maybe there’ll be some big announcement coming soon that will really get me excited!  A Culture Club/Human League reunion tour would be fun!

PEEPS’ ’80S FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Rick Springfield 5

Since I’ll be seeing Rick Springfield in concert in May, I’ll feature him in my ’80s flashback.

The Australian gained television fame on “General Hospital” and scored his first hit on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1971 with “Speak To The Sky”, which peaked at #14.  However, it would be a decade later when he shot to the top of the charts with “Jessie’s Girl”.

He would have four consecutive platinum albums (shipments of more than a million copies) from 1981-1984 and score a career total of 17 Top 40 hits with five of them reaching the Top Ten:  the aforementioned “Jessie’s Girl” (#1, 1981), “I’ve Done Everything For You” (#8, 1981), “Don’t Talk To Strangers (#2, 1982), “”Affair Of The Heart” (#9, 1983), and “Love Somebody” (#5, 1984).

FACEBOOK FLASHBACK PICTURES

With the dismal, cold weather we’re experiencing this March, I thought I’d share these pictures from my yard this time last year!

Hosta 032212 Peach 032212 Tulips 032212

EMAIL US!  TEXT US!  TWEET US!

Okay, the news business isn’t this bad?   Is it?   But, it’s funny.

AND, WHAT ABOUT HAIL DAMAGE?????

KABOOYOW!  I had to leave you with a smile!

Have a great weekend!

Anthony