Author Archive

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 back on Wednesday, November 4th.

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.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 163 other followers