Archive for December, 2017

2017: My Favorite Movies

When I share my favorite movies of the year, the list may include an older movie or two.  My rankings are for movies that I saw for the first time in the calendar year regardless of the release date.

With that being said, my most anticipated movie that’s getting a lot of love on the awards circuit and I hope Oscar love when the announcements come out in January 23, 2018, is “Call Me By Your Name”.

Since it was only in limited release in late 2017, it won’t make my list until I count down my favorites of 2018.

Pop corn with soda and movie shows

So, before I share my 20 favorites of this year, here’s a quick recap.

My favorites over the past few years have been “The Kids Are All Right” (2010), “Children of God” (2011), “Weekend” (2012), “Out in the Dark” (2013), “Bridegroom” (2014), “Lilting” (2015), and “Goodnight Mommy” (2016).

#20

“MUDBOUND”

 (Netflix Release)

19

“RULES DON’T APPLY”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $3.9 MILLION

#18

“VIVA”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $178,000

17

“CHRISTINE”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $298,525

#16

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $13.8 MILLION

15

“GIRLS TRIP”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $139 MILLION

#14 Movie

“DUNKIRK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $525.6 MILLION

13

“ELLE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $12.5 MILLION

12

“FENCES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $64.4 MILLION

11

“MOONLIGHT”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $65 MILLION

#10 MOVIE

“PATTI CAKE$”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $1.5 MILLION

#9 MOVIE

“CHELY WRIGHT:  WISH ME AWAY”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $18,618

8

“THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $23.2 MILLION

#7 MOVIE

“THE BIG SICK”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $55.3 MILLION

6

“MISS SLOANE”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $9.1 MILLION

5

“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $1.26 BILLION (WITH A “B”)

4

 

 

 

 

 

“DETROIT”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $16.8 MILLION

#3 CD

“BEACH RATS”

DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: $473,771

WORST MOVIES I SAW IN 2017!

Gag Me

Worst:  “A Dog’s Purpose”

Runner-ups:  “Bad Santa 2” and “3 Generations”.

#2 MOVIE

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $235.6 MILLION

#1 CD

“LION” 

WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE: $140.3 MILLION

How many of these have you seen?  What were your favorites of the year?

Anthony

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2017: My Favorite Songs

What’s your favorite song of 2017?  Was it pop, country, dance, R&B, hip-hop, jazz, or a new Christmas song?

I’m ready to share my 20 favorites of the year.  Some I know might be on your list and there are some many of you may not have even heard.

Best Songs

So, before I start, a quick look back over the years.  In 2013, my favorite song (and video) was Hailey Rowe’s “My Boyfriend Is Gay”.

In 2014, it was “Blank Space” by Taylor Swift and Jason Derulo’s “Want To Want Me” was tops for me in 2015.

My favorite song last year was “Faded” by Alan Walker (featuring Iselin Solheim).

Here’s an interesting fact for you — the video has been viewed an incredible 1.44 billion (that’s BILLION, with a “B”) times!

20

“THE STAR” — MARIAH CAREY

 

 

19

“WE WERE THAT SONG” — BRETT KISSEL

18

“THERE FOR YOU” — MARTIN GARRIX ft. TROYE SIVAN

Bonus

Troye Sivan had my #2 song of last year, “Youth”

#17

“ALONE” — ALAN WALKER

P.S. Alan Walker, please release an album of all of your songs.  I buy CDs, but not downloads. 🙂

16

“I CAME HERE FOR LOVE” — SIGALA ft. ELLA EYRE

15

“SAY YOU WON’T LET GO” — JAMES ARTHUR

#14 Movie

“BODY LIKE A BACK ROAD” — SAM HUNT

13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“LIFE’S ABOUT TO GET GOOD” — SHANIA TWAIN

12

“YOUR SONG” — RITA ORA

11

“I NEED YOU” — ARMIN VAN BUUREN & GARIBAY ft. OLAF BLACKWOOD

Bonus

I love Armin van Buuren’s music and “Sunny Days” with Josh Cumbee was also an incredible track this year!

10

“PRAYING” — KESHA

9

“LOVE IS LOVE IS LOVE” — LEANN RIMES

8

“IT AIN’T ME” — KYGO ft. SELENA GOMEZ

#7 CD

“LOOK WHAT YOU MADE ME DO” — TAYLOR SWIFT

6

“MILLION REASONS” — LADY GAGA

5

“THERE’S NOTHING HOLDIN’ ME BACK” — SHAWN MENDES

4

“I DON’T WANNA LIVE FOREVER” — ZAYN & TAYLOR SWIFT

Holiday Bonus

Watching season one of Netflix’s incredible series “Master of  None” with Aziz Ansari and Lena Waithe, I discovered this amazing song.

It’s “Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for Two Virgins)” from Father John Misty’s 2015 album, “I Love You, Honeybear”.

And, when I fell in love with the song on the show, I didn’t know how gorgeous Father John Misty (real name: Josh Tillman) was!  I do now.

FJM

green 3

“BACK TO GOD” — REBA

2

“I FEEL IT COMING” — THE WEEKND ft. DAFT PUNK

#1 MOVIE

“SILENCE” — MARSHMELLO ft. KHALID

Anthony

2017: My Favorite Albums

The music business is changing.

People still buy albums, but not as many as in the past.  It’s easier to download songs you like and not buy the complete package.

I guess I fall into the first category since I only bought seven new releases in 2017!

albums

Before I get to my countdown, here’s a recap of my favorite albums of this decade:

“Night Works” – Scissor Sisters (2010); “Femme Fatale” – Britney Spears (2011); “MDNA” – Madonna (2012); “Push Rewind” – Chris Wallace (2013); (tie) “The Violet Flame (Erasure) and “Sex + Love” (Enrique Iglesias) (2014); “Deja Vu” – Giorgio Moroder (2015); and my favorite album last year was:

Glory BS

8

“MY KIND OF CHRISTMAS” — REBA

REBA

#7 CD

“LOSING SLEEP” — CHRIS YOUNG

Chris Young Losing Sleep

6'eren_RGB_FINAL

“WE WERE THAT SONG” — BRETT KISSEL

Brett-Kissel-We-Were-That-Song-Album-Cover

5

“RAINBOW” — KESHA

kesha-rainbow-album-hd

“WOMAN” contains adult language!

red-number-4

“NOW” — SHANIA TWAIN

Now

3

“reputation” — TAYLOR SWIFT

Taylor-Swift-reputation

2

“SING IT NOW:  SONGS OF FAITH & HOPE” — REBA

reba-faith

1

“REMNANTS” — LEANN RIMES

remnants

Anthony

 

Snow Possible Tonight & Early Sunday

UPDATE:  Sunday, December 24, 2017, 6:40 p.m.

Snow:  2.7″ Cambridge (IL); 2.3″ Kewanee (IL); 2.0″ Moline (IL); 1.8″ Davenport (IA); 1.1″ Iowa City (IA); 1.1″ Dewitt (IA); 0.8″ Dubuque (IA).

Anthony

UPDATE:  Saturday, December 23, 2017, 3:05 p.m.

Based on new data coming in, more of the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys may be seeing a “White Christmas”!

The Quad Cities is now included in the earlier “Winter Weather Advisory”!

Capture1

For simplicity sake, the “Advisory” runs from late tonight (midnight or 3 a.m.) through midday or early afternoon Sunday (noon or 3 p.m.).

The latest computer models are coming in with more moisture to work with, so that means more of the area will see snow.

Capture1

Amounts really haven’t changed all that much.

I still think the southern hometowns will see 1-3″ of snow with a few 4″ reports.

Around the Quad Cities and along and just north of Interstate 80, an inch or two are still possible with some 3″ totals.

North of that, around Dubuque, Iowa, Galena and Freeport, Illinois, an inch of snow may cover the ground.

Bitterly cold air will follow the snow.  Highs only in the teens and 20s and lows in the single digits are on the way for next week.

Some hometowns may even drop below zero Monday and Tuesday nights.

ORIGINAL POST:  Saturday, December 23, 2017, 6:50 a.m.

Some across the Midwest are lucking out and may see a “White Christmas”.

If you live south of the Quad Cities, you have a better chance.  Northern hometowns will only see a dusting of snow.

A disturbance moving out of the Plains late Saturday through midday Sunday will bring an accumulating band of snow to parts of Iowa and Illinois.

Snow

Interstate 80 is a good cutting off point.

Along and south of I-80, a “Winter Weather Advisory” goes into effect overnight Saturday for those counties.

1-3″ of snow could accumulate under that “Winter Weather Advisory”!  There could be an isolated 4″ report.

A “Winter Weather Advisory” goes into effect at midnight Saturday through noon Sunday for Des Moines, Henry, Jefferson, Lee, Louisa, and Washington counties in Iowa.

That “Winter Weather Advisory” runs from 3 a.m through 3 p.m. Sunday for Bureau, Henderson, Henry, Mercer, and Warren counties in Illinois.

If you live in the Quad Cities, you’re not under the “Advisory” as of Saturday morning.  Accumulations of an inch or two are still possible.

That’ll be enough for a “White Christmas”, but not for an advisory.

Hometowns around Dubuque, Iowa, Galena and Freeport, Illinois, may only see a dusting of snow.

Much Colder

While some may get more snow than others, all will have to deal with bitterly cold air.

Highs only in the teens and 20s and lows in the single digits are on the way for next week.

Some hometowns may even drop below zero Monday and Tuesday nights.

Anthony

Random (Christmas) Thoughts — December 22, 2017

Christmas is here in a few day!

Thank you for checking out my festive, holiday version of “Random Friday (Christmas) Thoughts” today.

“CHRISTMAS GHOSTS — LIVE FROM NEW YORK, IT’S SATURDAY NIGHT”

MARIAH CHRISTMAS TO YOU!

I just saw the “All I Want For Christmas Is You” Mariah Carey show in Las Vegas.  She was absolutely gorgeous and flawless and her voice was crisp and angelic.

MC ALL I WANT VEGAS

The sets were magical and stunning and for just over 90 minutes, all my unhappiness was a distant memory!

Here’s my Facebook album of the amazing show.

https://www.facebook.com/anthony.gene.13/media_set?set=a.10155163332614849.1073742044.500579848&type=3

By the way, the title track to the new holiday movie, “The Star”, by Mariah has already been nominated for a Golden Globe award and is in contention for an Oscar nomination!

POINSETTIAS

The poinsettia, traditionally an American Christmas flower, originally grew in Mexico; where it was known as the “Flower of the Holy Night”.

Poinsettia 1

It was first brought to America by Joel Poinsett in 1829.

CANDY CANES

During the Christmas/Hanukkah season, more than 1.76 billion candy canes will be made.

christmascocktails

I wonder how many of those billions end up as garnishes in festive holiday drinks?

CHRISTMAS TREES

The National Christmas Tree Association reports that Americans buy 37.1 million real Christmas trees each year.  And, of that number, one out of every four are from the country’s roughly 5,000 choose-and-cut farms.

ABBA's First Christmas 2000

I did that back in 2000 and 2001 for Miss ABBA’s (my late golden retriever) first two Christmases.

In retrospective, I felt guilty for cutting down that big, gorgeous tree!

TURKEYS

The Christmas turkey first appeared on English tables in the 16th century.

Our Turkey 2012

However, in rich households, it didn’t immediately replace the traditional goose, beef or boar’s head.

CHRISTMAS STAMPS

I chose these stamps this year to help out a very financially stressed United States Postal Service.  I sent out 136 cards and that’s really the only time I use the USPS except when I order things online.

Stamps 1

It’s ironic that the USPS is about to go under because as early as 1822, the postmaster in Washington, D.C. wanted to limit the number of cards people could send at the holidays.

People were sending out so many homemade cards, since commercial cards weren’t available then, that an extra sixteen postmen had to be hired in the nation’s capital to handle the extra mail.

The Postmaster General would be ecstatic if that was the case today!

I guess this is my chance to say once again, stop Saturday mail service and save yourself a lot of money!

“SILENT NIGHT”

“Silent Night” was written in 1818, by Austrian priest Joseph Mohr.

On Christmas Eve, he was told that the church organ was broken and it would not be repaired for service that evening.

Saddened, he wanted to write a carol that could be sung by choir to guitar music and he sat down and wrote three stanzas.  Later that night,  “Stille Nacht” was performed for the first time in that little Austrian church.

BABY JESUS & THE MANGER

Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, was born in a cave, not in a wooden stable.

Back then, animals were kept in caves because they were much warmer and the carpenters of Jesus’ day were really stone cutters.

Thus, wood was not widely used.  So, whenever you see a Christmas nativity scene with a wooden stable, that’s the “American” version, not the Biblical one.

And, this is Miss ABBA wanting to be a part of the “Americanized” Christmas nativity scene.

ABBA in the Manger Christmas 2006

“JINGLE BELLS”

And, finally, the Christmas classic, “Jingle Bells”, was composed in 1857 by James Pierpont.  It was originally called “One-Horse Open Sleigh.”

Check out this version of the popular holiday carol at Germany’s largest supermarket chain, Edeka.

It made me smile.

GLOWING TURTLE

Here’s a holiday bonus, “glowing turtles” were found a couple of years ago off the coast of the Solomon Islands (northeast of Australia).

Glowing Turtle

The biofluorescent species glow red and green!

“TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

And, while it isn’t one of my favorite holiday songs, crazy town’s Janice Dickinson’s version of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” is over-the-top fun.

However, the song was written to help Catholic children, in England, remember different articles of faith during the persecution by Protestant Monarchs.

Now, I found this online and didn’t take the time to verify it, but it’s still interesting.

In the song:

The “partridge in a pear tree” = Christ.
2 Turtle Doves = the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity– the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which relays the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of Creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

HOLIDAY BREAK

While I have a few year end “best of” or “favorites” blogs coming, I’m taking time off from “Random Friday Thoughts”.

If there’s something that I really want to talk about, I’ll write something just about that. 🙂

THAT’S IT

With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!

Anthony

Quad Cities White Christmas?

UPDATED POST:  Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 5:18 p.m.

While a wintry mix is possible Thursday night, the Friday night/Saturday system will likely stay well south of the Quad Cities.

However, if the long-term models hold, a snowy end of December is not out of the question — but, that’s still a ways off in terms of model consistency.

Anthony

ORIGINAL POST:  Wednesday, December 20, 2017, 5:18 a.m.

Greetings Quad Cities across the miles!  Are you “dreaming of a white Christmas”?

March Snow

While it’s still days away, there was a point yesterday when that wish looked possible.  However, those chances are diminishing.

The system that threatened to whiten the ground for you will be passing southeast of you Friday night into Saturday morning.

QC Snow Chances

In the earlier GFS model run Tuesday, the system would have missed the Quad Cities.  However, the next run six hours later made a big shift northwest.  It was enough of a jump to do two things: (1) excite meteorologist for an accumulating snow threat for the Quad Cities and (2) be very suspicious and wait for later runs.

Sure enough, the 18Z GFS run Tuesday evening decreased the heavier snow chances for the Quad Cities.  And, those chances look even less likely this morning!

However, it’s going to be turning very cold and there could be some light snow.  But, it probably won’t be enough for a “White Christmas”!

So, why am I writing about snow a thousand miles away from Panama City, Florida?

Lighted Palm Trees

The same reason that The Carpenters sang about a “White Christmas” from warm Beverly Hills L.A.:

“The sun is shining; the grass is green
The orange and palm trees sway
There’s never been such a day in Beverly Hills L. A.
But it’s December the 24th and I’m longing to be up north

I’m dreaming of a White Christmas
Just like the ones I used to know
Where the tree tops glisten and children listen
To hear sleigh bells in the snow.”

Anthony

‘Tis the Season, My Friends!

Christmas is my favorite time of the year.  This year, I put my tree and decorations up earlier than usual.  I really needed the beauty of the sparkling lights and the sounds of Christmas music to get me through my toughest year since my mother died 27 years ago!

Ap tree

After eight years together, Ray and I decided to go our separate ways earlier in the year.

It wasn’t just one thing that brought us to this conclusion.  The outcome of the 2016 election was very difficult for me and it took its toll on us. (I’m still not at peace with it!)  Also, it turns out I was a better dad to a golden retriever than his teenage daughter.  And, Ray realized he wasn’t happy some time ago, but he didn’t address it.

So, I took a morning meteorologist position in Panama City, Florida.  I still love what I do, but with the changes in my personal life and the move, it hasn’t been easy.  I’m miserable and it’s not just because of the split. I miss my sister, my friends, my koi/fish pond, and the snow in the Midwest!

With that being said, life is too short to feel this way and if things don’t change soon, I’ll make a change for myself and not just accept a “Band-Aid” to cover something that needs more attention – my happiness.

Enough with the “Hard Candy Christmas”, let’s make it a “Holly Jolly Christmas”!  There were fun things in 2017!

CC

Meeting my childhood idol was the highlight of my move.

In July, I drove hours through the Southern “backwoods” to Plains, Georgia, and enjoyed a church sermon from President Jimmy Carter.

Not only did I get my picture taken with him and his wonderful wife, Rosalynn, but they sent me an autographed picture of us!

Autograph Carters

Since paying bills isn’t the only reason I work, I traveled, too!

You know how much I love Las Vegas.  In March, I saw Britney Spears for the second time.

Brit

And, I caught the Australian Bee Gees, a cover band.

Of course, splurging on buffets is a huge draw for me. I’ve now made the scrumptious Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan and the incredibly delicious Spice Market Buffet at Planet Hollywood part of my Vegas tradition!

In August, Ray and I traveled to Scandinavia together since we had already booked and paid for the trip.  Copenhagen, Denmark was gorgeous and Norway was beautiful, too (I loved Bergen and Oslo and seeing snow on Sognefjord (“King of the Fjords”).  We also spent one night in Gothenburg, Sweden.

AP Scand

My sister, Tammy, is still in the Quad Cities. She and her boyfriend, Gerald, came down for a week to visit in October.

ATG

Just after she got home, her family expanded in October with the birth of twin grandsons.  Now, her two granddaughters are big sisters.

I hope life is treating you well and that you have so much to be thankful for — not just at the holidays, but every day.  With all the craziness in the world, make it the best in your little part of it!  Here’s wishing us great health and happiness in 2018 as we travel down this road of life!

“May hope and faith conquer fear and hate this Christmas!”

Love, Anthony