Archive for April, 2017

Change

I consider myself a forthright, honest person — sometimes to a fault.

If you’re reading this, it’s likely we’ve crossed paths in life.  It might have been in person, through television, or over discussions of winter storms, severe thunderstorms, heat waves, cold snaps, floods, droughts, or sunny skies.

Or, most likely, it’s through the wonderful world of social media!

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Since joining Facebook in 2009 and starting a personal blog in 2012, I’ve never shied away from sharing my life with you or telling it like it is — or, at least, how I see things.

Let’s pretend for a moment that this is a press briefing.  I’m here to deliver some news. It’s not a press conference, so I won’t be taking any questions!!!

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Change is stressful.  Change is exciting.  Change is different.  Change is simply change!

In life, we go through it many times.  Whether it’s losing loved ones through death, break-ups or divorce, or just by spreading our wings to fly, change proves we’re alive.

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Expose harmonized that “Seasons Change”, Kathy Troccoli crossed over from gospel to pop with “Everything Changes”, David Bowie sang about Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-“Changes”, and Cyndi Lauper knew all about changes — with “Money Changes Everything” and “Change of Heart”.

My favorite lyrics from that late-1980s hit are:  “Days go by/Leaving me with a hunger/I could fly/Back to when we were younger/When adventures like cars we would ride/And the years lied ahead still untried”.

In life, I’d had many adventures.

I kicked off my television career as a teenager at MSU TV-11 on the campus of Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky in the 1980s!

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Before my official broadcast television career took me to Indiana (Merrillville), Wisconsin (Rhinelander), Texas (Lubbock), Ohio (Youngstown, Mansfield, and Columbus), Maryland (Salisbury), and Illinois (Moline and Rock Island), I lived a summer in Milwaukee and four years in Chicago.

I’ve been blessed to call the Quad Cities home for more than eleven years.  I’ve met some wonderful people here and I’ve worked with some of the most incredible people, too. (On the other hand, there’s also been some pompous asses!)

In late February, I shared a Facebook post that it was my four-year anniversary at “Local 4 News” and I included this comment at the end of the post.

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That raised a couple of eyebrows with my friends.  Since then, I’ve posted a few more cryptic comments.  Isn’t social media fun? 🙂

With that being said, I’m sharing something with you.  I decided not to renew my contract at “Local 4 News” and I’ll be leaving the Quad Cities very soon.  

My last day at work is Friday, April 28th, and I head out the next day!

It seems like the perfect time to prepare for retirement that’s much closer now than it was two decades ago at the beginning of my career.

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So, as much as I love Midwestern snows, I’m trading it all in for the occasional hurricane and tropical storm!

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In all reality, I definitely don’t want to come face to face with an Allen, Andrew, Camille, Dennis, Earl, Frances, Gilbert, Hugo, Ivan, Katrina, Opal, or Wilma!

However, I’ll finally get to use a city name in my weather broadcasts that I’ve always loved saying — Apalachicola!

I’m heading to Panama City, Florida and taking a morning and midday meteorologist position at the ABC affiliate!

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Within the past few years, Ray and I talked extensively about retiring to Las Vegas and that could still happen.  We’re still relatively “young” when it relates to how many work years we have left and now we can see if the Gulf Coast fits into that long-term plan.

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Ray has been with the City of Moline for almost twelve years and he feels he want to end his career here.  That means he’ll be staying in the Quad Cities for several more years.

Gretel turns 16 this summer and has her driver’s permit.  While she’s finishing her sophomore year of high school, she’s already planning her future as a movie director.  Hopefully, she’ll be the next Kathryn Bigelow, Ava DuVernay, or Sofia Coppola!

She’s a typical teenager that likes to sit in her room with her eyes glued to her phone or her laptop.  She’s a well-grounded young lady who would ask for help or advice in a heartbeat if she needed it.

So, she’ll be fine navigating life with Ray and her mother.  Besides, one helicopter parent is enough.  While I enjoyed being a “like a dad” for eight years, I truly believe I was a better parent to a golden retriever than to a teenager!

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Who knows, maybe it’s time to get a pug now that Miss ABBA’s been gone over five years? 🙂

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As for my sister, Tammy, she’ll be perfectly fine here until she decides where she wants to go next.  Her two sons, her daughter-in-law, and two granddaughters are here.  And, she just learned that she’ll be a grandmother again — twins are on the way!

She’ll definitely need to escape to Panama City on vacation once or twice a year!

So, my friends, that is the news I’ve been keeping under wraps for the past couple of months.

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s a little scary to be making this move at this point in my life.

But, as the late, great, and incredibly amazing Karen Carpenter sang, “We’ve only just begun to live/ white lace and promises/a kiss for luck and we’re on our way”!

Anthony

It All Starts With Me

“I’m going to exercise more and I’m going to watch what I eat”.

“I’m going to blah blah blah”.

It sounds like late December and we’re all optimistic as we don our gay apparel.  The old year is winding down and we’re bubbly with anticipation for what lies ahead for the new year.

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Well, it’s April and either I’m late with my new found determination or I’m early for 2018.  Regardless, I’m ready for change and it all starts with me.  I have to make it happen!

As a teenager, and even into my early-and-mid-20s, I was never really comfortable enough to speak out and express my views.   After all, it was the conservative Reagan years and I lived in small town Kentucky.

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Luckily, for me, I found my voice after moving to Chicago in 1994 and I feel that I’ve used that voice to raise awareness for issues that are near and dear to me (the LGBT movement, marriage equality, women’s rights, and more.)

On the downside of that, I realize that the same voice that can prompt a healthy dialogue and change can also be short and abrasive.

That’s something I’m finding myself guilty of more and more lately.  I’ve always considered myself a “realist”.  While I always look for the “silver lining” in life, I find that I don’t sugarcoat things like I used to do.

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This comes across as harsh and I’ve been told that my “tone” is hurtful.  It’s gotten me to think, “that’s not me and is this what I’ve become?”

It takes a good friend to stand beside you during these times, but if that person is a true friend, they’ll hold up a mirror so you can see the reflection of yourself.  And, that reflection isn’t always pretty — unlike this beautiful photo of Miss ABBA in 2007.

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I’ll be the first to admit my temperament changed for the worst after November 8, 2016, when the unthinkable happened.

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I lost faith in myself and in my fellow man and now, it’s up to me to find it again.

That search may be near or it may be far.  It’s not going to happen today or tomorrow, because it really didn’t start overnight.

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If you know anything about me, you know that I idolize Reba McEntire and like millions of others, her music touches hearts.

While I knew who Reba was in the mid-1980s, I was in college and listened to Top 40 music (Madonna, Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston, Culture Club, Duran Duran) and dance club music (Erasure, Dead or Alive, Depeche Mode).

While visiting a gay Chicago nightclub on “country night” in the summer of 1990, I heard a song and I was captivated by the voice.  It was Reba and I was hooked.

But, it’s more than the voice.  It’s the heartfelt emotions and the messages she expresses that touches me.

I was optimistic with life in 1990 as “Climb That Mountain High” kicked off the first Reba CD I bought, “Rumor Has It”.

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After my mother’s sudden death in November 1990, I felt Reba was talking directly to me with her fall 1991 release, the heartbreaking album “For My Broken Heart”.  It featured two tearjerkers — the title track and “If I Had Only Known”.

Earlier this year, Reba treated fans with her first gospel album, “Sing It Now: Songs of Faith & Hope”.

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I’ve expressed this before and I’ll say it again.  I pray every night and I’ve done so since I was kid.  However, I don’t believe in “organized religion” (if you do, that’s your prerogative and your right and I’m good with it).

I’ll speak in broad strokes here.  For me and for America, we’re at a very trying, unsure time in our lives.  I don’t care if you live in a blue state or a red state or if your candidate won or lost in the last presidential election, you really have to sense that the world is dealing with a lot of issues with few plausible answers.

I know that sounds preachy and it is.  With that being said, it’s only fitting for me that the first song from Reba’s new album really hits home — now more than ever after what I’ve told you today.

Don’t worry, I’m not a “Jesus freak” (Okay, breathe!  I love that term and I only use it for those right wing, conservative people that use God to justify “hate”).

I didn’t like my mother’s church because it focused so heavily on the fire and brimstone message of Revelations.  Yes, that helped taint my view of “organized religion”.

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But, there are so many songs on Reba’s new album that I loved as a kid in church: “Amazing Grace”, “How Great Thou Art”, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot”, plus other new religious-themed-country tunes that only Reba can deliver.

These songs won’t take me back to church, but could give me a feeling of peace and tranquility.

If you’re still reading, I hope this touched you as much as it helped me to open up and express myself.  Admitting you need to make a change is the first step in bringing on that change.

Here’s to the rest of my life and a new me and I’m ending this with a happy, upbeat message.

Make sure you watch the video and I hope it brightens your day, too.

Happy New Year (in April)!

Anthony

April Snow Possible — No Foolin’ Around!

ORIGINAL POST:  Tuesday, April 4, 2017, 8:37 a.m.

A soaking rain is on the way to the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys late Tuesday night through Wednesday night.  Many hometowns could easily pick up over an inch of rain.

That’s a given, but here’s where it gets interesting.

The storm will track to south of the Quad Cities and that’ll set up a cold, brisk east-northeast wind of 20-40 miles-per-hour.

This will keep temperatures in the low-to-mid-40s Wednesday.  However, this also sets up the potential for even colder air to spill down closer to the surface.

If that happens, the rain could change over to snow in some hometowns.  If it comes down heavy enough, it could overcome the warmer, wet ground and begin to accumulate!

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This situation will have to be closely watched.  The bottom line is that parts of northern Illinois, including areas in and around the Quad Cities, could see accumulating snow.

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But, I think the heaviest of the snow will be downwind of Lake Michigan toward Chicagoland and northwestern Indiana.

This winter, we’ve picked up 22.4″ of snow officially in the Quad Cities.  That’s 8.5″ below average for this point in winter.  At this time last winter, we were at 24.1″.

I’ll continue to monitor the snow threat and keep you updated.

If you don’t like snow, we’ll be in the 60s and 70s for the weekend.

Anthony