Archive for December, 2013

Christmas Reflections on 2013

Season’s greetings, my friends!  I can’t believe that another year has flown by and I hope this finds you healthy and happy.

This is my favorite time of the year.  This Christmas, we’re staying home and making our own Christmas feast.  As you recall, last year, we were getting ready to go on a Caribbean cruise with Gretel, Tammy, and Betty (“Mom”).  It was a blast!

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If you read my blog or if we’re friends on Facebook, you probably already know much of what I’m going to tell you.  If not, here goes…

In January, Ray and I went back to Las Vegas to see Lady Gaga in concert for the third time.  While she’s a freak, she’s an incredible entertainer.  That show was one of her last concerts before she had to cancel the rest of the tour to have hip surgery.  Luckily, she’s healthy again.

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After spending the last two months of 2012 and the first two months of 2013 being a “stay-at-home dad” thanks to unemployment, things changed in February.

Ray had a conference in Kansas City, Missouri, and I went along for the ride.  What else did I have to do?  🙂  On the way, he had a quick meeting in Des Moines, Iowa, so I was on my own and I had lunch at a Chinese buffet (you know that I love my buffets).  That day, my fortune said, “success will be yours at home and in business in the next month”.

February 7 2013 Fortune Cookie

Sure enough, one week later, I was hired as the morning meteorologist at the CBS affiliate in the Quad Cities and I was back on the air at the beginning of March.  It’s already been ten months!  While it’s tough getting up at 1 a.m. five days a week with very little sleep, I’m surviving.

CBS4

In addition to Lady Gaga, there were other concerts this year:  ‘70s international superstar Helen Reddy (“I Am Woman”), ‘80s heartthrob Rick Springfield (“Jessie’s Girl”), Ke$ha & Pitbull, and the ‘80s band, Depeche Mode.

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In August, Ray and I went to Cancun to get away and soak in the sun on a sandy Caribbean beach.

Ray Green Drink Anthony Green Drink

But, the big trip of the year came in late October.  To celebrate his 50th birthday, Ray chose a cruise on the Danube River in southern Europe.

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We flew to Zurich, Switzerland, for 24 hours and the city was absolutely stunning with Lake Zurich and the Alps.

From there we flew to Hungary and were bussed to Bratislava, Slovakia (another amazing city) where we boarded the “MS Sound of Music” for a 6-day cruise.  We made several stops in Austria, including Vienna, and several stops in Germany.  It was such an incredible time.

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Next year, I turn 50 and I’m already planning out my “once in a lifetime trip” to celebrate.

Outside of work, traveling, and concerts, life at home is fantastic.

Ray and I are coming up on five years together.  He’s still the planning and economic development director for the City of Moline.

Gretel is growing up so fast.  She’s now in the 7th grade and she’s now a junior high cheerleader!

Gretel

My sister, Tammy, is still living in the Quad Cities and working as a server at a local restaurant.  While she misses her granddaughters, I think she’s happy being here with us.

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So, to wrap up the year, we planned a quick drive down to my old stomping grounds in western Kentucky to eat at my favorite restaurant, Patti’s 1880s, and to visit Nashville for the Reba McEntire exhibit at the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Anthony Reba

While in Nashville, the trip also consisted of a 3-day Christmas celebration including Lorrie Morgan’s Enchanted Christmas dinner and show, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, a General Jackson lunch cruise on the Cumberland River, a night at the Opry at the Ryman, and a stay at the historic Opryland Hotel amongst two million twinkling Christmas lights.

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You only live once and I plan on doing that!  I can’t wait to hear back from you about this past year and what you have planned next year.

Christmas Card

And, I’ll close this the way I’ve signed my Christmas cards for the past twenty years, “May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas”.

Anthony

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My Favorite Albums of 2013

Last week, I recapped my favorite albums of 2010 (“Night Work” by the Scissor Sisters), 2011 (“Femme Fatale” by Britney Spears) and 2012 (“MDNA” by Madonna).

Now it’s time to share my favorite albums of 2013.

20

LAURA PAUSINI

“20 GRANDES EXITOS”

20-Grandes-Éxitos-Laura-Pausini

19

DEPECHE MODE

“DELTA MACHINE”

Depeche-Mode-Delta-Machine-Album-Art-mala-1024x997

18

MARY J. BLIGE

“A MARY CHRISTMAS”

Mary-J.-Blige-A-Mary-Christmas-

17

ELI LIEB

“ELI LIEB”

eli_lieb

16

JOSH GROBAN

“ALL THAT ECHOES”

All_That_Echoes

15

MICHAEL BUBLE

“TO BE LOVED”

Michael Buble To Be Loved

14

ROBYN

“BODY TALK”

Since I was three year late to the bus on this one, here’s a bonus just in case you missed it, too.

13

EMELI SANDE

“OUR VERSION OF EVENTS”

Emeli Sande

12

ZEDD

“CLARITY”

zedd-clarity

11

AVICII

“TRUE”

Avicii True

On Thursday, I’ll have the Top Ten since I have a special Christmas letter for you tomorrow.

Anthony

Snow is Winding Down

UPDATE:  Sunday, December 22, 2013, 11:36 a.m.

The “Winter Storm Warning” is cancelled.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Sunday, December 22, 2013, 8:24 a.m.

The biggest snow of the 2013-2014 winter season, officially in the Quad Cities, is beginning to wind down and head off to the northeast.

WSW

Technically, a “Winter Storm Warning” remains in effect in the fuchsia colored counties until 6 p.m. Sunday, but I think that will expire before them.

Here is where the winter storm is still snowing (and raining to the east) as of 8 a.m. Sunday.

8am Radar

Our far northern hometowns may still pick up another inch or two of snow today, but the rest of the area will see less than one inch of additional snow.

As of 6 a.m. Sunday, 4.1″ of snow had accumulated at the Quad City International Airport in Moline, Illinois.  However, my colleague, Jim, the man with the official snow ruler, says that another 1.4″ fell after that for a total of 5.5″.

That’s awesome because I had 5.5″ at my house in Moline.

Some other totals across Illinois:  5.5″ Fulton, 5.4″ Freeport, 5.0″ Galva, 3.5″ Aledo, and 3.0″ New Windsor.

In Iowa:  6.7″ Iowa City, 6.7″ Brighton, 6.6″ DeWitt, 6.0″ Charlotte, 5.9″ Bettendorf, 5.0″ Blue Grass, 4.5″ Washington, 4.5″ Salem, 3.1″ Maquoketa. and 3.0″ Dubuque.

Bitter cold air will follow with single digit highs possible Monday and lows Monday night will be well below zero!

Here are some pictures from outside my house.   By the way, the carolers are singing “White Christmas”!

Snow 1 Snow 2 Snow 3 Snow 4 Snow 5

Be safe!

Anthony

Saturday’s Weekend Winter Storm Update

A significant winter storm with freezing rain, sleet, rain and snow is on the way today, tonight, and tomorrow.

A “Winter Storm Warning” covers all of eastern Iowa and west-central and northwestern Illinois from 6 p.m. Saturday through 6 p.m Sunday.  If you’re traveling toward Chicago today, there is a “Winter Weather Advisory” in effect later today.

Winter Storm Warning

Here is the radar from 7 a.m. today showing a large amount of moisture over Missouri. This will be moving northeast today toward us reaching our southern hometowns first as freezing rain and sleet.

7am Radar

It’s already slippery out there from the glaze of ice from Thursday night and Friday.  Please be careful.

As this moves northward and we get that wintry ice mix today, it will quickly change over to moderate to heavy snow this evening and tonight.  Here is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Sunday.

SUNDAY 6AM GFS

That large shading of green over us in and near the Quad Cities indicates the heavier snow.  As the low pulls off through Indiana and the eastern Great Lakes, the snow will diminish in intensity by early afternoon Sunday.

Here is how much moisture is available.

AVAILABLE MOISTURE

It’s still showing a nice swath of 0.75-1″ for us.  If this was translated to a 10:1 snow-rain ratio, that would easily be 7.5-10″ of snow.  However, any moisture that comes down as freezing rain, rain, or sleet will cut back on the snow totals.  And, that is what I’m expecting.

Here’s one more map to show the big story before I give my projected snow totals and they have dropped for some of our eastern and southeastern hometowns because of the freezing rain and sleet.

6inches or More

This shows that there is a 30-80% chance of seeing 6″ or more of snow, depending on where you live across the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys.  Basically, I’m showing this to point out that the best chance of the heaviest snow will be across eastern Iowa.

Here are the complete storm snow forecast totals for later today, tonight, and tomorrow.

sat snow forecast

One last note, these are ranges.  Some of you may be on the lower end and some may be on the higher end.

Be safe out there this weekend.

If anything needs to be updated today, I’ll be around to do that.  Otherwise, have a great weekend

Anthony

Eventually, All Dynasties Fall

I wasn’t going to blog about this, but I couldn’t just express myself in a few social media comments.

When the interview that “Duck Dynasty’ patriarch Phil Robertson made to “GQ” magazine surfaced, I thought two things, “he does have a right to his opinions” and “seriously”?

He said, “Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men. Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Robertson

I didn’t think too much more about it after posting it on Facebook.  And, then Thursday, when “HuffPost Gay Voices” posted some of the vile Tweets that were surfacing supporting Robertson, I was saddened by the responses.

Here’s a sample and it does contain some adult themes and words:

Robertson Supporters

I posted this link on my Facebook page Thursday and it opened up a dialogue in support and against Robertson and “Duck Dynasty”.  It’s always good when people talk, whether they agree or disagree on a topic.

Here are my thoughts.  Robertson definitely has a right to say what he thinks.  On the other hand, once a person says what they think, they have to deal with the consequences.  Look at what happened to the Dixie Chicks when Natalie Maines spoke out against President Bush and the Iraqi War in 2003.

I had people comment to me via Facebook Thursday that the LGBT community gets mad every time that someone doesn’t agree with them.  To them, I said that it might seem that way because, for once, the LGBT community doesn’t have to live in the closet and we finally have the visibility to voice our disapproval of the way we’re being treated.  And, that’s a good thing.

And, then people want to talk about religion and what the Bible and what God says.  I won’t even go there except to say that the Bible says a lot of things and it was written a long time ago.

I pray to God every night, but that doesn’t mean I believe everything that organized religion wants me to believe.

My God doesn’t hate. My God has blessed me with many wonderful things (my health, a career, and a loving family). If he was appalled with me being gay, he would not have blessed me with so much.

Robertson has a right to say whatever he wants and to believe in the Bible as he wants.  With all of the vile comments popping up on social media supporting him and condemning “Q*eers” “F*gs”, etc., that is hate and my God doesn’t want any part of that.

Then, people bring up his clarification of the comments and the Robertson family’s official statement to the backlash:  “Phil is a Godly man who follows what the Bible says are the greatest commandments: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Phil would never incite or encourage hate.”

I find that hard to believe when I see this video from a 2010 sermon in Pennsylvania.

If you can’t stomach to watch it, at about 1:27 in the sermon, Robertson says of gays, “Women with women, men with men, they committed indecent acts with one another, and they received in themselves the due penalty for their perversions.  They’re full of murder, envy, strife, hatred. They are insolent, arrogant, God-haters. They are heartless, they are faithless, they are senseless, they are ruthless. They invent ways of doing evil. That’s what you have 235 years, roughly, after your forefathers founded the country. So what are you gonna do Pennsylvania? Just run with them? You’re doing to die. Don’t forget that.”

Just for the record, I’ve never murdered anyone, I try not be too envious of others, I don’t live a life of strife and I’m not full of hate.

I respect people even when they don’t show me the same respect. I don’t feel that I’m arrogant and I definitely don’t hate God.  I love my God.

Furthermore, I have a heart and I try to make people’s lives around me better by doing charity work and making donations.  I have faith, a good sense, and I don’t feel that I am ruthless.  However, I’m not going to just sit and take this vile talk that this “Christian” man and some of his followers are spewing.  On second thought, he probably would assume that I’d just sit back and take it!

This isn’t about free speech.  It’s about tolerance.  It’s not so much about God, but more about how one person sees God.

I’m going to live my life the best way possible and provide a loving environment for my family and my daughter.  I will wait for the day when I meet my maker and I’ll let him judge me.

At that time, if he’s disappointed in me and if he condemns me to hell, I’ll ask him, “Why did you provide me with so much love and happiness in life if I was living against everything you stood for?”

However, I don’t think that’s how that scenario will go down.  I think he’s going to welcome me into his kingdom.

My friends, whatever category or label you have attached to you, I hope you’re there with me.

Peace!  ☮

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — December 20, 2013

It’s hard to believe that this is my last “Random Friday Thoughts” blog before Christmas and the next to last one of 2013.  Where has this year gone?

Before I share my thoughts this week, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Happy Kwanzaa.  And, if you’re Jewish, I hope you had a nice Hanukkah!  Regardless of what you celebrate, Happy New Year early!

“FRUITY” IS DEROGATORY!  

“Homeland” actor Damien Lewis is making nice after his derogatory comments about why he dropped out of theater early in his career.

Lewis didn’t want to become “one of these slightly over-the-top, fruity actors who would have an illustrious career on stage, but wouldn’t start getting any kind of film work until I was 50 and then start playing wizards.”

Damien Lewis

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who he might have been talking about.

Sir Ian

Out actor Sir Ian McKellen, who’s had a long career in theatre and has found movie success in Peter Jackson’s “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies shot back at Lewis.

McKellen says, “I wouldn’t like to have been one of those actors who hit stardom quite early on and expected it to continue and was stuck doing scripts that I didn’t particularly like just to keep the income up.”

He went on to say, “As for a fruity voice? Well, it may be a voice that is trained like an opera singer’s voice: to fill a large space. It is unnatural. Actors have to be heard and their voice may therefore develop a sonorous quality that they can’t quite get rid of, so you think actors are as pompous as their voice is large. I suppose Damian was thinking of that a little bit, too.”

Sir Ian McKellen

Lewis apologized to Sir Ian saying, “I am hugely embarrassed that comments of mine have been linked in a negative way to Sir Ian McKellen. I have always been, and continue to be, an enormous fan and admirer of Sir Ian’s.  He’s one of the greats and one of the reasons I became an actor.  My comment in the Guardian was a soundbite I’ve been giving since 1999 – it was a generic analogy that was never intended to demean or describe anyone else’s career. I have contacted Sir Ian McKellen and have given him my sincerest apologies.”

And, this is how gracefully Sir Ian responded to the apology.

McKellen 1 McKellen 2

My final thoughts to Damien and to anyone reading this.  I remember being a young gay man back in 1980s Kentucky and my cousin took my aunt to see The Judds in concert.  She commented to my cousin that one of the band members was “a little fruity”.

That word was offensive then and it is now.  I can excuse a woman who had not been around many gay people more than I can excuse an actor that is around fellow actors who are gay and use the word “fruity”.

Lewis claims that he’s used that soundbite since 1999!  He should have been called out on it then.  Now that it is public, just know that “fruity” is vulgar and offensive!

RUPAUL TACKLES RACISM & PAULA DEEN

RuPaul

In the December 2013/January 2014 issue of “Instinct”, glamour maven RuPaul says, “Everybody uses their mind to discern who is who, what is what.  In that respect, we look at a person’s race, sex, how short they are, whatever, and we decide in our minds who they are and whether we should get to now them and like them.  In that respect, everybody on the face of the earth is by definition a racist.  Everybody.”

Paula Deen Happy

“We all do it.  Nobody talks about it.  The thing is, you just can’t get caught.  And for everybody to point their finger and pooh-pooh her [Paula Deen], it’s f*cked up.  And that’s the kind of stuff I’ve hated my whole life — that we’re such hypocrites.  She’s a lovely person, and I think it was unfortunate that she got caught.”

Sashay! Shantay!

DID YOU KNOW THIS ABOUT SANTA?

With Christmas just days away and Santa on his way back to the North Pole to check his list twice, here are some interesting tidbits from “Boston” magazine:

93% of Santas have their beards yanked — almost half the time by skeptical moms; 44% of Santas are sneezed on up to 15 times a day; and that 28% of Santas are peed on at least once a season.

Santa

The maximum time a Santa wants to spend with a child is 60 seconds and the best answer to tough requests for presents is “Santa will see what he can do”.

CHRISTMAS DECORATING

This might fall under “fail”!  But, then again, depending on your sense of humor, maybe not. 🙂

Palm Tree Lights

FORGET VISIONS OF SUGAR PLUMS….

Santa Clauses   Christmas Women

CHRISTMAS PICK HIT

Back in 1998, Australian singer Sherrie Austin scored her first country hit with “Lucky in Love”.  It reached #37 on the Billboard Country chart.  Since then, she’s scored three more hits with the biggest, “Streets of Heaven reaching #18 in 2003.

Shane Stevens, one of her best friends, is a singer songwriter from South Carolina, that penned Lady Antebellum’s #1 hit, “American Honey”.

Sherrie and Shane

Sherrie and Shane are BFFs on the Sundance Channel’s “Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys”.

Stevens, who is a self-proclaimed “full-on Jesus freak”, doesn’t have a problem being a gay Christian, but being “out” in Nashville and on the show can be a little difficult, “What’s interesting about it being in Nashville…it’s such a rub to be gay in the Bible Belt. In New York City, there’s not really a rub. I can walk down the street and hold hands with my partner. There I’ve had a bottle thrown at me. It’s hard. But it’s a beautiful place and it’s one of the fastest growing cities in America and I love it.”

Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys

He goes on to add, “The most problem you find is just in church and the religious people and I’ve learned over the past few months doing this show that God doesn’t like to be put in a box. Even I’ve been guilty of trying to put him in a box. I was saying the other day that I wish I was raised an atheist so I didn’t have to un-learn everything that I’ve learned. But God loves his so much he’ll just get in your box with you and love you and hang out with you. ”

I’ll choose naughty!

SAD TO SAY GOODBYE TO DEXTER

If you watch your television shows as they air, you said goodbye to Showtime’s “Dexter” on September 22, 2013.  The 9 p.m. broadcast brought in the largest overall audience in Showtime’s history.

Dexter S8

I’m one of those that try to avoid the spoilers and watch “Dexter”, “American Horror Story” and “Bates Motel” on DVD.

So, now that I’ve watched the final season and I don’t give away spoilers, it was a satisfying season, but it wasn’t my favorite.

I loved the character of Evelyn Vogel, the doctor that came up with the “code” for Harry and Dexter to follow with Dexter’s need to kill.  The “Brain Surgeon” was an interesting villain for the season and the return of one of Dexter’s old girlfriends was fun.

My problem with the season was Dexter spending so little time doing what he does best — getting rid of bad people who slip through the cracks of the criminal justice system!  With my sexy man Dexter, I want more blood!

Dexter

If you’ve never seen “Dexter”, you have to start watching it.  It’s one of the best shows ever on television.  Yes, sadistic and gory at times, but intelligent, sexy, and fun.  My last comment before I grade this last season, the last scene should have been left out and left to our imagination!

I ranked my favorite “Dexter” seasons back in my June 7, 2013 blog, and here is what I said then and I’ll add season 8 to the list.

Season 1: (A+)   — Three words:  Ice Truck Killer!  Plus, I love Sergeant Doakes (“Surprise Motherf***a”)!

Season 2: (B)  –   I gave it a higher grade for Doakes and a lower grade because of Lila (you gotta love Paris)!

Season 3: (B-) –  This season had so much potential especially when Assistant District Attorney Miguel Prado (Jimmy Smits) saw Dexter kill someone early on, but the show lost its way for most of the season.

Season 4:  (A) –  The Trinity Killer & Rita taking a much deserved bath!

Season 5:  (B-) — Lumen got old fast, but having Jonny Lee Miller (Jordan Chase) on the show saved it from getting a “C”.  However, the story line was weak.

Season 6:  (A-)  –  The “Doomsday Killer” and the Book of Revelations killings were intriguing.   The “Nebraska” filler episode dropped the season back a partial grade.

Season 7:  (A+) — The dynamics of Dexter and Debra this season after she witnessed his kill at the end of season six were incredible.  Debra’s fragility of discovering what Dexter is and having to compromise her position with Miami Metro to save her brother was a powerful story to watch unfold.   And, it was fun seeing Dexter as the mouse in the “cat and mouse” game with his every move being watched by not only Debra, but also by Isaac Sirko and the Koshka Brotherhood (the Ukrainian based international crime syndicate).  If that wasn’t enough, he and Debra then had to come up with a strategic plan after Captain LaGuerta found evidence that Doakes wasn’t the “Bay Harbor Butcher” and she started investigating Dexter!

Season 8:  GRADE:  B

PICK HIT

It’s been just over a year since Chris Wallace, the former lead singer of the Chicago-based band, The White Tie Affair, released his debut solo album, “Push Rewind”.  It’s an incredible album that should not have been overlooked.

The first single, “Remember When (Push Rewind)” made it up to #24 on the Top 40 radio airplay charts and the follow-up, “Keep Me Crazy” just recently cracked the Top 40 radio airplay charts.  The video came out this past weekend.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Idiots

Snowflakes

Reindeer Rain Dear

WINTER STORM THIS WEEKEND

UPDATE:  Friday, December 20, 2013, 4:05 p.m.

It is looking more and more likely that we’ll be seeing a major winter storm Saturday afternoon into Sunday afternoon.

With the storm less than 24 hours away now, our “Winter Storm Watch” has been upgraded to a “Winter Storm Warning” (fuchsia-colored shading) from 6 p.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday.

 

Those snow totals look pretty good at this point based on this updated map of available moisture.

 

ORIGINAL WEATHER POST:  Friday, December 20, 2013, 6:24 a.m.

For days now, meteorologists have been working feverishly to pin down the winter storm for this weekend.  While there’s still room for error since temperatures will be right on the borderline for snow, freezing rain, sleet, and snow, here goes…

There will be some slippery driving conditions Friday and early Saturday from the light freezing rain that fell across parts of the area Thursday night and Friday.  Be careful!

 

A “Winter Storm Watch” goes into effect Saturday evening through Sunday evening.

A mix of rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain will develop south to north across the area Saturday with the heaviest snow expected Saturday night and Sunday morning.  There will be about nine hours of moderate snow.  The snow will start winding down by midday Sunday.

 

I gave you early snow projections Thursday night and as of Friday morning, I’m sticking to them.  The map above from NOAA shows that there’s about a 70% chance in the blue-shaded area seeing more than 4″ of snow.

I’m thinking 6-9″ of snow may fall from Freeport, Illinois, to the Quad Cities, to Burlington, Iowa, to the northwest to Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Southeast of the Quad Cities, 3-6″ of snow could accumulate.

Again, there will be some changes to the forecast as we get closer to Saturday, but this is a good place to start.  As with any snow, there could be isolated higher totals and some totals in that range may be on the lower end and some on the higher end.

SIMPLY INCREDIBLE

Some people actually sing!

After Katy Perry recent lip-synching debacle in France (she was “singing” along to a backing track of “Roar” and her lip sync was off so bad that the show was stopped and she started over sounding shaken and scared), it was incredible to see Lady Gaga perform her current Top Ten hit, “Do What U Want” with Christina Aguilera on “The Voice”.

What amazing vocals and incredibly sexy!

*Video deleted on YouTube.

‘THE HUNGER GAMES:  CATCHING FIRE”

I have not read “The Hunger Games” books and I plan on holding off until “Mockingjay” Part 1 and 2 arrive in theaters in November 2014 and November 2015, respectively.

While I really enjoyed “The Hunger Games”, I liked the sequel, “Catching Fire” more.  Without having read the book, I feel the story lines were fleshed out more, especially the love between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth).

The Hunger Games Catching Fire

Also, Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) was much more human and less robotic in the sequel and her feelings toward Katniss and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) were very touching.  And, her over-the-top costumes were amazing.  (With that being said, Katniss and Peeta’s clothing rocked in this movie, too!)

hunger-games-catching-fire-burning-outfitKatniss Effie Peeta

I liked the more violent approach to the competition once “The Hunger Games” started.  The tributes are fighting for their lives and it felt like kid’s play in the first movie.  Granted, the kids that saw the first movie are about one-and-a-half year older and that may be part of the ramped up realism.

Finnick (Sam Claflin) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are great additions to “Catching Fire”.

GRADE:  B

JOSH IS SO ADORABLE

21-year-old Josh Hutcherson, who plays Peeta Mellark, in the “The Hunger Games” franchise is such an adorable Kentucky boy.  When I say “adorable”, I’m not talking about being cute (which he is, but I’m old enough to be his father), I’m talking about his open-minded, intelligent logic.

Josh

In a very honest article in the November 2013 “Out” magazine, Josh melted my heart when he said, “I have this dream that one day, my kid’s gonna come home from school and be like, ‘Dad, there’s this girl I like, and there’s this guy that I live, and I don’t know which one I like more, and I don’t know what to do.’  And it’d just be a non-issue.”

Josh-Hutcherson-Out-Cover

When the magazine came out, much of the worldwide press that picked up on the interview focused on his thoughts of his sexuality (“mostly straight”) and when he jokingly said that the three lead characters in “The Hunger Games” series should have a threesome, a “triad” relationship.  I’m just mentioning it because it was in the article.  While awesome, dwelling on it would be reductive!

We need more people in this world that think (and look) like Josh.

PEEPS’ ’80s FRIDAY FLASHBACK

Daryl Hall & John Oates, Kiss, Nirvana, Peter Gabriel, Linda Ronstadt, and Cat Stevens will be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  The 29th annual induction ceremony will take place April 10, 2014 in Brooklyn.

hall-and-oates

Hall & Oates met in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania back in 1967 and released their first album in 1972, but it didn’t make the Billboard charts.

Their first single, “She’s Gone” peaked at #60 in 1974.  However, from their first Top 40 hit, “Sara Smile” (#4, 1976) to their last, “So Close (#11, 1990), they scored 29 Top 40 hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, 16 reached the Top Ten, 11 made the Top Five, and 6 topped the chart:  “Rich Girl” (1977), “Kiss On My List” (1981), “Private Eyes” (1981), “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” (1982), “Maneater” (1982), and “Out Of Touch” (1984).

FINAL NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CLASSIC

Director John Waters (“Hairspray”) set out to make “the trashiest motion pictures in cinema history” and I would say that he succeeded with such camp classics as “Pink Flamingos” and “Female Trouble”, both starring Divine.

Female Trouble

I absolutely love “Female Trouble”, a very twisted, dark, and hilarious movie.  Here’s a Christmas scene from the movie and it does contain “adult language”, enough to get an R-rating in this two-minute clip alone! 🙂

Merry Christmas, my friends, and don’t forget those cha cha heels.

Anthony

Winter Storm — Still Waiting on More Certainty

FINAL UPDATE:  Thursday, December 19, 2013, 4:12 p.m.

First off, the “Freezing Rain Advisory” has been push back to midnight tonight through 9 a.m. Friday.

There is now a “Winter Storm Watch” (blue on the map) in effect from Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon.  This means significant snow is becoming more likely across eastern Iowa and western and northwestern Illinois.

Winter Storm Watch

Let me get this out of the way now.  If you live in Knox or Stark counties in Illinois, you are under a different weather service office that hasn’t issued a “Winter Storm Watch” yet for their forecast area.  YOU WILL STILL GET ACCUMULATING SNOW!

Here is the available moisture being generated from this storm by the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

HPC

It shows a solid 0.5″-1″ of available moisture.  If this was a perfect 10:1 snow, that would translate to  5-10″ of snow.

The afternoon models are continuing the trend from earlier today that the storm will be tracking more to the east and not to the north.  This would keep eastern Iowa and northern Illinois in the colder air with less icing and more snow.

Here is the new 3 a.m. Sunday map from the GFS.

SUNDAY 3AM GFS

And, this is 9 a.m. Sunday.

Sunday 9 AM GFS

The bottom line, as it looks right now, is that we could have 6-12 hours of moderate snow in and around the Quad Cities.

Early indications for planning purposes 48 hours out, AND THIS IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS WE GET CLOSER TO SATURDAY, is that 6-9″ of snow may fall from Freeport, Illinois, to the Quad Cities, to Burlington, Iowa, to the northwest to Dubuque and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Southeast of the Quad Cities, 3-6″ of snow could accumulate.

Remember, this is still two days out and there will be deviations to this forecast as better data and a more concrete storm path is established.

I’ll have another update Friday morning!

Anthony

UPDATE:  Thursday, December 19, 2013, 11:03 a.m.

The new American models (NOAA’s GFS) is out now and it now has the storm on a more southerly track.  If this continues to verify, it would indicate more cold air to work with and more snow, possibly heavy.

NEW SUNDAY 6AM GFS

It would also cut back on the icing threat in the Quad Cities.

As I’ve stated all along, there is not much consistency, so let’s see what the late afternoon runs show.  I’ll update this again by evening.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Thursday, December 19, 2013, 7:37 a.m.

Happy Thursday!

I have to admit that I’m getting old or the rigors of getting little sleep and waking up at 1:30 a.m. five days a week for work are getting to me.  I dozed through the two episodes of “The X-Files” we watched last night and I saw part of the Michael Buble Christmas special between dozing!

michael-buble-mary-j-blige-3rd-annual-christmas-special

I loved Mary J. Blige and Mariah Carey was less robotic and seemed to have a good time.  But, we’re here to talk about weather on my day off.  Yes, I slept until 6:45 a.m.!

Freezing Rain Advisory

Before we even talk weekend snow, remember that it will be very slippery out there Thursday night and Friday with freezing rain and temperatures back below freezing.

The counties you see painted in fuchsia on this map are under a “Freezing Rain Advisory” from 6 p.m. tonight until 6 a.m. Friday.  It’s going to get slick with more snow melting today and 40° highs.  That will freeze later overnight.

Snow's a comin'

Now let’s talk about getting prepared for the weekend.  We’re now more than 48 hours away from the onset of a winter storm Saturday and there is still little certainty in the forecast.

What I do know is that we’ll see snow, we’ll likely see freezing rain and sleet, and some rain.  The problem is how much.

As I mentioned last night and I’ll re-post the link, it all depends on the path the storm takes.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/possible-ice-before-the-weekend-snow/

The latest American models are still hinting at a more northwesterly track.  For the Quad Cities, that would mean more warm air to work with and more ice threat and less heavy snow.  That heavy snow would be northwest of the Quad Cities.

This is midnight Saturday on the GFS.  It shows us in the cold air and moderate snow falling in the darker green.

SATURDAY MIDNIGHT  GFS

This is six hours later at 6 a.m. Sunday.

SUNDAY 6 AM GFS

The storm is pulling off to the northeast, but snow will still be moderately falling.

The big change that I noticed is that by noon Sunday, the snow may be over.

Now, here’s another big piece of the winter storm puzzle other than the storm track.  This storm will have plenty of Gulf of Mexico moisture to work with.  This map shows available moisture from Saturday evening through Monday evening.

Sat PM- Mon PM

It shows the Quad Cities with 0.50″-0.75″ of available moisture.  For simplicity sake, a 10:1 ratio of snow and rain would show 5-8″ of snow for the Quad Cities.  However, any rain or freezing rain falling Saturday and Saturday night would significantly cut back on those totals.

So, until a more definite path is known, we’re still waiting.

The bottom line is that if you have travel plans, expect messy weather.

I’ll update you again this afternoon.

Anthony