Archive for November, 2015

My Old Feathers Are Ruffled

Hey old people out there, what kind of music do you listen to?  Do you still listen to your music on the radio because you’re afraid to touch a computer?


Are you afraid of buying music online and burning it to a disc?

If you’re over the age of 29, have you moved beyond Lady Gaga’s cutting edge pop, rhythmic, and dance music and embraced “Cheek To Cheek”, her collaboration with 89-year-old Tony Bennett?


Actually, I’m just kidding with you to see if those comments ticked you off as much as radio music programmers in many genres, especially Top 40 and country, tick me off because of the way they treat people that are not teenagers or in their 20s.

They think only the young ones will carelessly throw away money and downloads songs freely.  That may be true.  However, we older people will buy music when good music comes our way.

It’s a proven fact that without radio airplay, only die hard fans will know about an artist’s new music.  And, the other edge of that sword is that crappy music, if played thousands of times a week on the radio with the same 20 redundant songs, will sell millions of copies and hit #1.  (Hello, Omi’s “Cheerleader”!)

This isn’t the first time I’ve talked about ageism.  I’ve talked about how country music has basically shunned new music from every queen that’s dominated that genre’s chart — Loretta, Tammy, Dolly, Patty Loveless, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan, Trisha Yearwood, and now Reba.

Reba Love Somebody

Last spring, Reba released her latest album, “Love Somebody” and it topped the country chart for two weeks.  However, the first single, “Going Out Like That” barely cracked the Top 25 and the second single was pretty much DOA.

Madonna Rebel Heart

The same for Madonna.  Her “Rebel Heart” album came out last spring, too, and only one single reached the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #84, although three singles topped the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

Who wants to hear women in their late-50s sing amazing music, 30-plus years into their career, when Top 40 radio force-feeds us substandard music from Ariana Grande (“Focus”, I’m talking about you, since I love Ariana’s previous hits!)

So, what has ruffled my 51-year-old feathers today?

I just bought Adele “25” and Justin Bieber’s “Purpose” and both albums are amazing.  And, both artists are in their 20s.

A couple of months ago, I bought Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable” album, her first new album in seven years.


I saw her in concert in Omaha, Nebraska, in late October and the show was incredible and she was flawless.

The first single from the album, “No Sleeep”, peaked at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and #18 on the “Hot R&B/Hip Hop” chart.

However, it’s currently at #1 on Billboard’s Adult R&B chart, where it’s been for nine weeks — her longest running #1 song on that chart.


But, wait, her chart dominance doesn’t end there.  The second single and the album track, “Unbreakable” is currently at #9 (after peaking at #8). So, that means that Janet has two songs currently in the Top Ten on the Urban R&B chart, but the 49-year-old has no place at mainstream Top 40 radio!

“Adult Contemporary” is a very bad term and no singer that has dominated the music world for decades should be relegated to that place on the radio.

It shouldn’t have to be a consolation prize for musicians and listeners of certain age.

Here’s a more complete definition, “AC radio may play mainstream music, but they will exclude hip hop, dance tracks, hard rock, and some forms of teen pop, as they are less popular amongst the target demographic of these radio stations, which is intended for an adult audience. The AC Radio stations will often target the 25–44 age group, the demographic that has received the most attention from advertisers since the 1960s.”

My philosophy is a song should get radio airplay if it’s good music, regardless of the artist’s age, gender, race, religion, or whatever label you want to add.

Case in point, listen to “Burnitup”, my favorite track from Janet’s new album featuring Missy Elliot, and tell me this couldn’t be popular on today’s radio if radio didn’t have closed ears, closed minds, and open wallets catering to a certain demo.

Also, Madonna’s “Ghosttown”, critically acclaimed as some of her best work ever, topped the Billboard Dance Club Song chart earlier this year and reached #18 on the Adult Contemporary chart, but it found no love at Top 40 radio.

And, at country radio, Reba’s music is as fresh today as it was back in the 1980s and 1990s when she dominated country music and those playing her songs cashed in on the millions.

I love all kinds of music — teen pop to dance to mainstream rap to jazz, whatever — if it’s good (or I think it’s good), I’ll give it a listen.

But, I think it’s sad that people of certain age don’t have a fair chance of having their latest songs heard by the masses because they aren’t youngsters.

Radio, open your heart and open your ears.

Remember, “Believe”, the song that hit #1 in 23 countries, including the United States.  It was biggest song of 1999 here in America and became the biggest hit of Cher’s career.

She was 52-years-old, at the time, and holds the record for being the oldest female to top the Hot 100 chart.

It’s almost 2016 radio programmers, leave age out of it and play great music regardless of the singer’s age.


Christmas Treasures “Mix 96.1” May Miss

If you live in the Quad Cities, Mix 96.1 is the “official Christmas station” and it started playing your holiday classics 24 hours a day through Christmas Day!

That’s too early for many (?) and perfect timing for some of us!

Christmas 2014

Yesterday, I shared my ten favorite Christmas songs and you’ll hear some of those on Mix 96.  Others, like Reba, you won’t!  What gives?  You don’t have to be a country station to play a “mix” of artists. 🙂

Here I’m going to share some of my more recent holidays songs (compared to the classic or more popular versions) that I’d love to see become standards. Some already get airplay and some don’t and may never.

So, today you’re listening to “A Peeps’ Christmas”.  This is what it’d sound like if I could program Mix 96 for a day this holiday season.  Once you venture through my list, you may find some that you’ll cherish and want to hear each Christmas.


This one totally rocks!



Incredible — even before Reba joins them!












KYLIE MINOGUE — “100 DEGREES” (This is new, but, so disco!)





So, did  you find any new ones here you like?


Adele “25” is Almost Perfect

It should come as a no shock that Adele is the hottest thing on the planet right now and that will not be changing through Christmas.

“25”, the much-anticipated follow-up to her January 2011 album “21” came out last Friday and in just the first three days, it’s already the biggest selling album of 2015, surpassing Taylor Swift’s “1989”, last year’s top-selling album.


Now we don’t even have to wait for the final numbers for the first week of sales to break records here in America.

As of Monday, “25” has sold 2.433 million copies in just four days — the most since Nielsen SoundScan started electronically monitoring sales data back in 1991!

This beats “No Strings Attached” by *NSYNC, which had held the record since March 2000.  That album sold 2.416 million in its first week.

Adele had already beat the previous leader in the female department, which was “Oops!… I Did It Again” by Britney Spears.  It sold 1.319 million copies in the first week in May 2000.

Also, Adele is likely to have the fastest selling album ever in the U.K., too.  In three days there, the album is already at 500,000 copies sold.  The leader, since 1997, is Oasis’ “Be Here Now”.  It sold  696,000 in the first week.

“Hello”, the lead single from “25”, has already been downloaded 2.55 million times here in the U.S., is the most played song in America, and has topped the Billboard Hot 100 for four weeks now and counting.

That song is so elegant and haunting.

I bought the standard edition with 11 songs.  After hearing it, I wish I had bought the “deluxe” version with three more songs!

My favorite song after the first few listens is “Remedy”.

And, my other favorites that are perfect, in addition to “Hello” and “Remedy”, are “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”, “When We Were Young”, “Water Under The Bridge” “I Miss You”, and “All I Ask”.

As you see, I titled my blog, “Adele ’25’ is Almost Perfect”.

The reason I say that is because growing up, I’d say “that’s my favorite song”.  My grandmother would reply, “They’re all your favorite songs”.

So, I have to admit that the first six songs on the album are pure bliss.  You’re transported to another world if you close your eyes and all of your troubles are gone while listening to “25”.

At that point, “River Lea”, comes on.  Don’t get me wrong.  It’s a great song, but if I had to choose my least favorite from the album after the first few listens, it’d be this one.

But, it may catch on with me.


“25” will shatter records through the holidays and beyond.

If you don’t buy this album for yourself, chances are someone will be getting it for you for Christmas!



By the way, Adele’s last effort, “21”, was the best-selling album of both 2011 (5.82 million copies) and 2012 (4.42 million more) here in the U.S.

I have no doubt that “25” will follow in its footprints and surpass it.


Winter Wonderland

UPDATED POST:  Saturday, November 21, 2015, 12:58 p.m.

Through noon Saturday, here are the official airport totals:

9.9″ Moline, 6.9″ Davenport, and 11.7″ Dubuque.  I don’t expect them to change much, if any, during the afternoon.

And, that 9.9″ in Moline is now a Quad Cities record for the biggest 2-day snowfall total in November.  (Thanks Andy McCray for the graphic and information.  That’s just another reason I actually like my current boss!)  🙂

Record Snow Nov

You can see more updated snow totals below in the original post.  I’ve been updating them there.

The “Winter Storm Warning” and the “Winter Weather Advisory” have expired.

Enjoy and be safe.  My weekend starts right now!


ORIGINAL POST:  Saturday, November 21, 2015, early morning

The first snowstorm of the 2015-2016 winter season arrived as advertised Friday night and Saturday morning.

Snow Saturday Morning.jpg

This is what it looks like in Moline, Illinois, where 5.6″ of snow has fallen through early Saturday morning.  (2.9″ fell before midnight Friday and 2.7″ accumulated after midnight).  And, it’s still snowing.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see another inch or two (or three).

Snowfall totals from the storm as of Saturday morning range from around 3″-10″, with heaviest across the far north.

Based on this early Saturday morning radar, it’s possible that when the snow pulls away by noon today that some of our northern hometowns will easily have more than a foot of snow on the ground.

Here are some of the snow totals (“snotals”):

Illinois:   16.0″ Freeport, 12.0″ Nora (Jo Daviess County); 12.0″ Winslow (Stephenson County); 11.2″ Shannon (Carroll County); 10.5″ Cedarville (Stephenson County); 10.0″ Galva (Henry County); 10.0″ Stockton (Jo Daviess County); 9.9″ Moline*; 9.5″ Geneseo (Henry County); 8.5″ Erie; 8.2″ Princeton; 8.0″ Mount Carroll; 8.0″ Altona (Knox County); 8.0″ Morrison; 7.1″ Kewanee; 7.0″ Cambridge (Henry County); 7.0″ Chadwick (Carroll County); 6.8″ Sherrard (Mercer); 6.0″ Sterling; 6.0″ Monmouth; and 5.8″ Galesburg.

Iowa:  11.7″ Dubuque; 10.0″ Clinton; 9.5″ DeWitt; 9.5″ Iowa City; 9.0″ Bettendorf; 8.5″ Solon (Johnson County); 8.0″ Charlotte (Clinton County); 8.0″ North Liberty (Johnson County); 8.0″ Atalissa (Muscatine County); 8.0″ Walcott; 8.0″ Lowden (Cedar County); 7.5″ Anamosa; 7.5″ Monticello (Jones County); 6.9″ Davenport*; 6.3″ Wapello; 6.0″ Maquoketa; 6.0″ Muscatine; 5.0″ Washington; and 3.0″ Mount Pleasant.

(* These are the official measurements from the airport and are current for the storm through noon Saturday.)

Does this fall in line with the first major snow forecast of the winter? This is what I was forecasting Friday.

Snow Forecast 1120

And, I added this in my blog Friday afternoon, “Looking at the snow forecast map from earlier today, I’m inclined to think that the final totals will be on the high end of the range.  In our far northern hometowns, a few spots could get a foot of snow!”

So, I feel good about the forecast for the first winter storm of the season. Kudos also go to my colleague, meteorologist Andy McCray at “Local 4 News”.  Don’t worry Ashe Simpson, you’ll get plenty of chances this winter to forecast storms on the weekend!

In wake of this first snow, it’s going to be bitterly cold tonight.  When you wake up Sunday morning, we could be near zero in a few locations.  I’m predicting 5° for the Quad Cities.  The record low Sunday morning is 3°.

The good news is that slow warming will take place early next week and by Thanksgiving, we could be in the 50s, but it’ll be a wet one.  I guess wet is better than white for holiday travel.

Our Turkey 2012

Be safe and have a great weekend.  If you head out to Lighting on the Commons Saturday afternoon, it’ll be a wintry one.


Snow Storm Friday Night & Saturday

UPDATED POST:  Friday, November 20,2015, 3:55 p.m.

Snow is already falling across much of central and western Iowa and there have been snowflakes Friday afternoon in eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois.

The “Winter Storm Warning” and the “Winter Weather Advisory” issued this morning are still in place until noon Saturday.

Looking at the latest data just coming in gives me confidence in my earlier forecast and blog update.

The snow will become widespread into the early evening across the north and spread into the Quad Cities and southern hometowns this evening and early tonight.

It will become heavy overnight with about a nine-hour window of moderate snow.

Looking at the snow forecast map from earlier today, I’m inclined to think that the final totals will be on the high end of the range.

Snow Forecast 1120

In our far northern hometowns, a few spots could get a foot of snow!

By the way, I went to the grocery this afternoon for two things.  Big mistake!  I think all of Moline was there.

Have a great weekend  and be safe.  Make the best of it if you’re not a snow lover.


ORIGINAL POST:  Friday, November 20,2015, 4:14 a.m.

Here’s the short and sweet (or not so sweet for those that don’t want snow) for the significant winter storm coming in Friday evening through Saturday morning.

It looks like a lot of snow will be falling in the overnight hours.

1120 warning advisory

All of the area is now under either a “Winter Storm Warning” (yellow — 6 p.m. Friday through noon Saturday) or a “Winter Weather Advisory” (blue — 9 p.m. Friday through noon Saturday).

A rain and snow mix will begin this afternoon across the area and it’ll be all rain from the Quad Cities southward.

The rain/snow mix will change to all snow north later this evening north and west, in the Quad Cities before midnight, and then to all snow overnight for the rest of the area.

After midnight, snow will be coming down at a moderate to heavy clip and that’s when we’ll get the most accumulation.

The snow should wind down for all of the area by noon Saturday.  After that, it’ll be bitterly cold Sunday morning with lows in the single digits to near 10°.

Now, before I post my updated (and higher) snowfall forecast map, I want to say that I’m still very concerned about how long we see rain or a rain/snow mix before the transition to all snow AND, most of all, the warm ground temperatures.

Snow Forecast 1120

While I do expect moderate to heavy snowfall amounts because it will be coming down hard in the overnight hours Friday into Saturday, I really wouldn’t be surprised that some of the snow compacts and melts and lowers the final snowfall totals.

Keep up on the latest updates through Friday.


Update on Friday’s Winter Storm

Things are still on track for our first accumulating snow Friday night and early Saturday.

The “Winter Storm Watch” that was issued Thursday morning to go into effect Friday evening has now been upgraded to a “Winter Storm Warning” from 6 p.m. Friday through noon Saturday in the yellow shading.

Additionally, a “Winter Weather Advisory” goes into effect at 9 p.m. Friday and runs through noon Saturday for the southern hometowns (light blue shading).

Update Warning 4

My thinking hasn’t changed much throughout today.

I still think that we’ll see a rain and snow mix develop Friday afternoon with temperatures in the 40s.

Late in the evening, the rain/snow mixture will change over to snow northwest of the Quad Cities and around midnight for the Quad Cities.

Southern hometowns will start as rain Friday afternoon and it’ll be very late Friday night before they change over to snow.

Even though the ground is still very warm and wet from the heavy rain earlier this week, the moderate to heavy snow rates after midnight Friday into Saturday morning will overcome this and the snow will start to accumulate.

I’m still look at about six to nine hours of decent snow rates and based on what I’m seeing Thursday afternoon, there’s no need to change the snow forecast map I had earlier.

However, it could very well be on the higher side of these totals.

Snow Forecast

Also, in our northern hometowns, there could be some isolated 10-12″ amounts.  However, “isolated” is the word — not everyone up that way will see those high totals.

Again, as I’ve stressed in this whole forecast event, the warm ground is a problem.

The other even bigger problem will be that transition from the rain or the rain/snow mix to all snow.  The faster this happens, the more snow we’ll get.  The longer it takes this transition, the less snow we’ll see.

As with any snow storm, keep up on the latest forecast, especially Friday’s forecast.  Local 4 meteorologist Andy McCray will update you tonight and I’ll be back Friday for “Local 4 News This Morning” from 5-7 a.m. with the very latest.

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.


Winter 2015-2016 Kicks Off Friday Night

UPDATES POST:  Thursday, November 19, 2015, 4:35 a.m.

Happy Snowstorm Eve!

More data is in and it’s looking very wintry Friday night and early Saturday and this will likely turn into a moderate snow event (a heavy snow event to the north of the Quad Cities).

Snow Forecast

Remember that the first flakes will not arrive until Friday afternoon or evening, so this forecast could change many times before then with the snow forecast totals shifting north or south and the numbers could go up or down.

Keep up on the latest forecast.  That’s why you have me!


ORIGINAL POST:  Wednesday, November 18, 2015, 4:40 p.m.

The first half of this week featured temperatures in the 60s and over two inches of rain.  After a sunny day Thursday and for part of Friday, our first measurable snow of the new winter season arrives Friday evening and Friday night.

The quick-moving snow maker will not only whiten the ground with possibly several inches of snow, but it’ll bring in the coldest air of the season.   By Sunday morning, low temperatures will be dropping into the lower-teens with a few single digits possible.

A rain/snow mix will develop Friday afternoon across eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois.  Temperatures will be around 40°-45°.

By evening, as the air cools into the 30s, the wintry mix will change over to all snow and continue into the early part of Saturday.

If you’ve been following my forecast and analysis of this system, I said the snow will have to come down hard enough Friday night to overcome the warm and wet ground.  I’m thinking that will happen and we could see the snow fall at a nice pace for about six to nine hours Friday night.  Lows in the 20s will help the snow to accumulate.

Snow Friday Night

This map shows that the highest chances of seeing snow accumulations of two inches Friday night into Saturday morning will be north of Interstate 80.  Where you see light blue and peach, chances are 70-90%.

In the Quad Cities, those chances are at 30-60%.

At this point in the game, remember that the storm that will race across the Rockies and Plains Friday and into Iowa and Illinois Friday night and early Saturday is still out in the Pacific Ocean near Alaska.

Once it comes ashore, we’ll have a very good data to help forecast this snow event.

The bottom line is that (1) we’ll pretty much see our first snow of the 2014-2015 winter season, (2) accumulations are likely in our area and heavy snow will likely fall in parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, (3) the coldest air of the season arrives this weekend in the wake of the snow, and, most importantly, (4) the forecast will change some Thursday as sampled data from the storm comes in and we’ll have a solid forecast for snow amounts.

Have those shovels ready in case you need them.  At the very least, be ready to sweep off your steps, sidewalks, and driveways with a broom.


Movies To Rent & Two To Avoid

As the days get shorter, the nights get longer, and we inch closer and closer to the winter season, more and more people will be renting movies becoming couch potatoes.

Here are the recent movies we rented that you may have thinking about checking out.  Some you’ll want to see and some are definitely not worth spending your money or wasting your time on.


This drama stars Viola Davis (“How To Get Away With Murder”) and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez (“The Boy Next Door”) as grieving mothers who join a support group after their children are murdered .

Great performances from both actresses with several shocking twists.

If you love Davis as Annalise Keating on “Murder”, treat yourself to this one.



Robin Williams stars in this drama, the late actor’s last on-screen movie role.  It’s new to DVD and it’s very touching.

You get heartbreaking performances from both Williams and Kathy Baker (“Picket Fences”).

Also, relative newcomer Roberto Aguire stands out as Leo, the man that helps Williams’ Nolan Mack to re-evaluate his life at 60.

Speaking of Aguire, I tweeted him recently about the movie and got this kind response.


A must see!



This psychological thriller stars Jason Bateman and Joel Edgerton, who also wrote, produced, and directed the movie.

Simon (Bateman) and his wife, Robyn, move from Chicago to California near when Simon grew up.  They run into a man, Gordo, who claims that he and Simon went to high school together.  Simon doesn’t seem to remember Gordo.

Gordo begins popping up at their house with gifts and you realize that Simon does know Gordo and it becomes very interesting.

The story line twist is original and downright creepy.



As I’ve blogged before, I’ve never been a big fan of Oscar-nominated comedian Melissa McCarthy.

I enjoyed her dramatic performance in “St. Vincent” and thought I’d give the comedy “Spy” a chance with low expectations.

I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with the movie and I laughed a lot — once you suspend some belief.

McCarthy and Rose Byrne were hilarious in the movie.

The biggest scene stealer was English actress Miranda Hart, who played a CIA agent and friend of McCarthy’s Susan Cooper.  I definitely want to see more of her.



Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) stars in this disaster flick about a massive earthquake, one of the largest ever recorded on Earth, that devastated California from Los Angeles to San Francisco along the San Andreas Fault.

If you suspend ALL belief in science and take the movie at face value for the popcorn thriller it is, you’ll enjoy it.

And, any movie that featuresKylie Minogue in a bit part is all right with me.

The $110 million dollar budgets movie grossed $470.5 million!




I loved the 2012 surprise hit, “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”.  The $10 million movie ended up making almost $137 million.

Thus, the expectations were high for the follow-up, which cost about the same to make, but only brought in $86 million.

And, it’s fitting.  While the main original cast returned, the movie was enjoyable, but didn’t really add too much to the story and it really didn’t need to be two hours long.

The Bollywood musical number toward the end of the movie bumped it up from a “C”.



The 2012 original about the a cappella group, the Barden Bellas was entertaining, it spawned a radio hit, “Cups”, by Anna Kendrick and jump-started the career of Rebel Wilson, who played Fat Amy.

The sequel fell flat!

The only bright spots in the movie were the clueless, politically incorrect commentators played by Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins and the German powerhouse group “Das Sound Machine” (DSM).

If hearing Kendrick and Snoop Dog (Lion) or just Snoop perform “Winter Wonderland/Here Comes Santa Claus” wasn’t bad enough, by the time Fat Amy performed, “We Belong”, I felt sorry for Pat Benatar for allowing the movie to use the song!

Sadly, another sequel is coming in August 2017.



Here’s what I wrote and graded the summer 2012 original, “Magic Mike”:

“‘Magic Mike’ is definitely a fun, hot movie that also has a heart.  It’s not all about sweaty dollar bills, cheap sex, and chiseled bodies — although there’s nothing wrong with that.  Who am I to judge?”


This sequel three years later was too talky and boring — flaccid!

“We didn’t want to show the best parts of the movie in this trailer, but it was very very hard to resist”.

That’s actually from the movie trailer.  Sure enough, my favorite scene in the whole movie is featured 23 seconds into the trailer — Joe Manganiello’s character doing a dance routine in a convenient store.

I think the “XXL” in the title means “extra extra lousy”.

Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, and Jada Pinkett Smith could not even save this movie!


If you saw any of these movies, let me know what you think.  You might have liked them more than me or hated them more.


Mom — 27 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You

If you’re married and you make it to your silver anniversary or if you work at your job for twenty-five years, you know that you’ll go through a lot of changes — some good and some bad.  But, you achieved that milestone.

Today, my sister, Tammy, and I are marking a more solemn, 25-year anniversary — the death of our wonderful mother, Dessie.  She died of a heart attack on the morning of November 7, 1990.

This picture was taken on Mother’s Day that year.

Dessie 1990

In the past 25 years, there have been so many changes in the world — we now have the internet, cell phones, and in the United States, marriage equality (actually, more general equality than ever before), our first African-American president, and next November, we could very well elect the first woman president.

I know there are people who lose their mother in childhood or during childbirth and grow up not knowing what it’s like to have a mother.  Because of that, I’ll always be grateful that I got to share 26 years in this world with Dessie.


She was there to see me make my theatrical stage debut in “The Curious Savage” and saw me present weather at Murray State University’s television station that was only broadcast on cable systems in just two cities.


My mother was there in the spring of 1989 when I became the first college graduate in our family.

Dessie Christmas 1989 Anthony Graduation Picture

I’ll never forget taking my mother to Sunday brunch at 101st Airborne in Nashville, Tennessee, in the spring of 1990.  She didn’t drink, but her champagne glass was empty every time the server came by and mine was always full since I kept switching glasses with her.  I’m sure the waitress thought Dessie was a lush and I was so innocent allowing my mother to drink so freely while I just sipped my champagne.

While there, I bought my mother the cassette single to Patty Loveless’ #1 hit, “Chains”.  At the time, I didn’t listen to country music.  But, when I started listening to the genre, Patty became one of my favorite singers and I can thank my mother for that.

As grateful as I am for the time we had together, I can’t help but think of the all of the things over the past 25 years that I never got to share with my mother.  There have been so many times in my life that I wanted to grab the phone and share something with her and then realize that I couldn’t do it.

My mother wasn’t here when I made the big decision, in the summer of 1994, to leave my small town Kentucky life and move to Chicago, the third largest city in America.


She wasn’t here to see me start my paid, network-affiliated television weather career in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and then move on to other jobs in Texas, Ohio, Maryland, and Illinois.  She didn’t witness me achieving my childhood dream of becoming a meteorologist and earning my “Seal of Approval” from the National Weather Association.


My mother didn’t get to meet my best friend and the pride and joy of my life, Miss ABBA.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

My mother was only 20-years-old when her mother, Reba, died of a heart attack.  Less than a year later, she was married and expecting her first child that came prematurely in October 1964.  (Yes, that would be me!)

Dessie-Hollie-Anthony -- Fall 1964

By 1966, she had two children and a stepdaughter and was in an unhappy (and seemingly loveless) marriage with an alcoholic womanizer.

She probably felt she had limited options because people stayed married.  Her paycheck from her minimum wage job provided me and my sister no frills, just the necessities — food and clothing.  But, she never complained about what she didn’t or would never have in life, including medication that may have kept her alive longer.


While we didn’t sit around and talk about it, my mother always knew I was gay.  After all, she did buy me the “Colour By Numbers” album by Culture Club for my 19th birthday! 🙂


Dessie was raised in a backwards, small town, Southern mentality and she was married to a sexist, racist, homophobic alcoholic.  When you add the conservatism of the Reagan era to her fire-and-brimstone-preaching church and the AIDS epidemic that exploded in the 1980s, you can fully understand why we never talked about my sexuality.

In the mid-1980s, when the story of actor Rock Hudson dying of AIDS broke and the disease continued to ravage the gay communtiy, she and most Americans probably thought that every gay person would contract HIV and AIDS and die.  Back then, it was pretty much a death sentence.


I became sexually active during that dark time and to this day, I’m still grateful to God that I remained HIV-negative when I knew many people that contracted HIV and AIDS — some are still living and some didn’t make it.

Dessie probably thought that the prospects of her openly gay, first-born son were bleak.  I wonder what she’d think today seeing me relatively successful and healthy at 51-years-old — something that wouldn’t have seemed very likely.

So much has changed on that front, too.  Today, with medication and a healthy lifestyle, people that are HIV-positive can live a normal life expectancy.

And, back then, a majority of people thought that gay people would have to live very secret and lonely lives without ever having the chance to find love and get married!

While it failed (in 2017), I got that chance and it was beautiful.  Thank you Iowa!

OurWeddingWedding Park Fountain

And, while this date is tough for me, it’s even rougher for my sister, Tammy.


When my mother died, Tammy’s first son was just a toddler and her second son had just been born a couple of weeks earlier.  They never got to know what a great woman their grandmother was and would have been to them.

Dessie Birthday 1989

As I reflect back on my life with my mother, I was so fortunate to be loved.  She wasn’t just my mother.  She was my biggest supporter, she was my rock, and she was my friend.

When I think of all of the things I talked about today and not having a chance to talk to Dessie about them, I can still smile and feel warm inside.

I know that my mother was really with me all the time — in my heart and in my memories.


Janet Jackson’s “Unbreakable World Tour” Dazzles

It’s great to have Janet Jackson back making new music and touring the world.

As soon as she announced her “Unbreakable World Tour” this summer, I bought tickets to her show in Omaha, Nebraska, the day before Halloween. It was a treat and definitely not a trick.


After four postponed shows due to strain on her voice, Janet returned to the stage for her first show back in Omaha and fans, including myself, were definitely dazzled.

For Janet fans since her first Top 40 hit, “What Have You Done For Me Lately” in 1986, she packed so many chart smashes into her 90-minute set. Yes, many were included in medleys and you only heard bits and pieces of the song.

However, that worked for me. When you have artists like Janet (and Madonna) with 30 years of countless hits, you would miss so many of them if they performed the entire song. So, the medleys worked for me even if I would have loved to have heard some of the complete songs.


The show was lively and fun. There was so much energy during the upbeat dance numbers and Janet and her dancers took advantage of the stage to keep the party going.

When she performed slower numbers, she was mesmerizing and captivating.


Janet only performed five songs from her latest album, “Unbreakable”, but the song selections were amazing, especially “After You Fall”, “Shoulda Known Better”, which was accompanied by a very powerful, moving video, and “Burnitup!” with the legendary Missy Elliott, who’s ready to drop her own new single, “WTF (Where They From)”, soon!

I think my favorite part of the show (if I had to choose just one) was when she performed “If”.

At the end of the show, Janet thanked the fans for the continued support not only for herself, but for her family.

A couple of times during the show, Janet pointed a finger to heaven and smiled to her brother Michael — proof that family means everything to her.


If you’re a Janet Jackson fan, this show is not to be missed. Janet will be playing in my city, Moline, Illinois, at the iWireless Center, next summer and I hope to see the show again.

And, Janet, from what I’ve seen, you wear black sometimes and white at other times.  If I get to see you in Moline, I hope you’re wearing white this time so I can get the best of both fashion worlds.

On the day I saw Janet in Omaha on Halloween Eve, I blogged my 20 favorite Janet Jackson songs and I’m sharing that link here, too.  Let me know which of your favorites didn’t make my list.

“Gimme a beat! — Hey Mr. DJ, drop that track and won’t you turn it up — Imma dance all night and I don’t care who’s out there watching us — Just give me that fire and Imma show you how to burnitup!”


P.S.  I just love “Burnitup!” so much I’m including the lyric video, too.