Posts Tagged ‘2016 Presidential Election’

I Need to Write My “Next Chapter”!

It’s clear that I’m alive!  However, being alive and living are not the same.

That’s where I’m at in life:  Alive, but not living!

While I enjoyed my life from 2009-2016, the world was changing around me.  But, I didn’t see it — until it was too late!

There were a couple of profound things underway that would shatter my world.  One happened in the fall of 2016 and the other just three months later in February 2017.

Honestly, like millions of others, my life changed forever on November 8, 2016.

Still.jpg

While many moved on, the cracks in my armor surfaced and my seemingly happy life quickly disintegrated into chaos!

Without a second thought following an argument, my eight-year relationship (and five-year marriage) was over.  But that wouldn’t be the biggest mistake — the worst decision of my life was taking a job and relocating to Panama City, Florida!

Spending a year there was deplorable!  I maintained my sanity by meeting a very dear couple, Cathy and Gerard, and my neighbor, Diane!

This song summed up my life in 2017 and ended up being my favorite song of the year!

For those of you that don’t click on videos, here are the lyrics from “Silence” that touched me the most.

♪♪♪”I’m in need of a savior, but I’m not asking for favors
My whole life, I’ve felt like a burden
I think too much, and I hate it
I’m so used to being in the wrong, I’m tired of caring
Loving never gave me a home, so I’ll sit here in the silence”♪♪♪

That temporary savior came in March of 2018 when I landed a job in Duluth, Minnesota, and relocated there in June.

While much happier than in Florida, I’m still not where I need to be and I know something needs to change.  And, that something is me!

It’s time to start outlining and writing “The Next Chapter”!

Capture

I feel that I need to do something while I’m still healthy and still young enough to start over again because we never really know how much time we have left!

I don’t want to be a really old man and be saddled with regrets that I could have done something about.

I read this quote in a book the other day and it makes perfect sense, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

With that being said, I’m coming up on a milestone and I’ve been thinking way too much about mortality.

mortality.jpg

My father lived 55 years, 3 months, and 23 days.  For me to match that, I only have to make it to February 5, 2020.

If I only live that long, then it’s too late to change much.

However, I could live as long as my idol, President Jimmy Carter.  He’s living it up and he’s 94.7 years old!

Autograph Carters

After he reached the highest level in an American political career, he left the White House on January 20, 1981, at the young age of 56 years, 111 days.

And, he’s accomplished so much in the almost four decades that followed when most people are just thinking of retirement.

Spontaneous

In life, I’ve only made two real spontaneous decisions.  As it turned out, both were the best decisions I’ve ever made!

The first was moving away from small town Kentucky where I grew up to Chicago in the summer of 1994.  This kick-started my television career two years later.

In 2002, I decided to leave television for two more years in Chicago.

That time around, I had fun bartending and living life.  After a break, I got back into television, went back to school for my meteorology certification and I earned the “Seal of Approval” from the National Weather Association.

I love traveling and I’ve been fortunate to be able to see the world (well, 16 countries)!  Most recently, I added Morocco…

1 Morocco

and Thailand to the list!

Temples

However, even when jetting off to some exotic location, “reality” is still waiting when those trips are over.

So, I’ll have to be spontaneous again and start living!

As this summer turns into a long Minnesota winter, I’ll enjoy every snowflake.  And, come spring 2020, I’ll proudly take to heart the words of my favorite Robert Frost poem, “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”.

Robert Frost.jpg

I’ll take a gamble on life again!

Anthony

Two Strikes and You’re Out?

Baseball season is here.  So is the 2020 election season!

2020

First, let’s talk about America’s favorite past time.

While we’re accustomed to three strikes and you’re out (and many times that’s two strikes, countless foul balls, and then a strike and you’re out).

Baseball.jpg

Would the game of baseball be more exciting if batters were given only two strikes instead of three?  And, that’s two strikes and no foul balls to keep the batter in the box?

I’m not proposing a change to the game that dates back to the 18th century.  I’m bringing it up as a metaphor for the 2020 presidential election — more specially, the Democratic primary and nomination.

Hillary Clinton has been up to bat twice — 2008 and 2016.  In 2008, she was a formidable opponent to eventual winner, President Barack Obama.

hillary-debate

Eight years later, Hillary became the first woman to become a major party’s nominee and won the popular vote in the November election with almost 66 million votes!

That was almost three million more votes than “that man” that won the electoral college vote to become “45” (45th president of the U.S.)!

In the current Democratic race, there are already 23 declared candidates including Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders.

Demos 1.JPG

Yet, just the prospect or thought of Hillary Clinton entering the race makes many people gasp and freak out!

Some may say “she ran twice and lost”.

But, you didn’t hear that when Ronald Reagan for President in 1968 and again in 1976 before finally winning the presidency in his third attempt, in 1980!

Hillary AP

As much as I’d love to see Hillary Clinton as the 46th President, I know she isn’t going to run.  Why the hell would she run again and be subjected to the hypocrisy?

Honestly, as diversified as the Democratic field is, I think there are very few (and that’s an understatement) people running that could actually beat “that man”!

As I close, the words of Geraldine Ferraro come to mind.

For those of you that don’t remember or choose to forget, Ferraro was the first woman vice presidential candidate on a major ticket in 1984.

Ferraro

In her book, “Ferraro:  My Story”, she shared this story:  it was early 1983 and she was talking about which eventual Democratic candidate she’d support.

She wanted someone who shared her values to be the candidate, but she would campaign for any Democrat to run against Ronald Reagan.

Ferraro

As we head into the race to get Trump out of office, remember what Ferraro wrote more than 30 years ago.

She perfectly summed it up with, “Even an imperfect candidate would be better than Reagan — that’s how strongly I felt.”

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 24, 2017

I hope you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving and had plenty to eat.

With many out shopping or visiting with family, I’m not sure how many will check out my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but here they are.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA

I’m still one of those people trying to keep the postal service in business by buying 49-cent stamps and mailing out Christmas cards!

While I personalize each card, I started sending out a Christmas letter to recap my year for those that don’t follow me on Facebook or read my blog! (The horror!)

Last year, at the end of my Christmas letter, I shared the photo with Hillary Clinton and I wrote that it was “the highlight of the year” for me.

Hillary AP

And, I added, “Sadly, we all know how that turned out in November!  Regardless of how you voted, I was very dismayed.  But, I hope for the best for the U.S. and the world over the next four years.”

I thought that was diplomatic and it expressed my sadness.

However, I was appalled by a response from, I guess, a former “friend” and co-worker.  On the outside of the envelope, she wrote:

Christmas Card Dilemma

Now, I spent my only Maryland Thanksgiving with her and her husband.  She was my drinking buddy and my confidant.  I still considered her a friend even though at some point in 2016, she unfriended me on Facebook!

So, I was torn.  Do I not send a card this year?  Do I send a card and ignore the comment?

Or, do I send a card and say, “I was already living in a stronger ISIS-free America prior to the election.  As for a “new found security”, I wasn’t insecure.  When I’m in a large crowd, I’m aware of my surroundings, but I’ve never felt threatened or insecure.  But, as one of your LGBT friends, I feel more insecure of my future now –with the current administration — than I did prior to the 2016 election!”

What would you do?  At the end of the blog, I’ll tell you what I did. 🙂

STAMPS

By the way, I chose these fun stamps this year.

Stamps 1

I’M NOT IN THE MIDWEST ANYMORE!

As the winter season moves closer, I know I’ll miss the Midwest snow.  However, I won’t miss the bitterly cold air!

I smiled the other day when I saw this on an area National Weather Service Twitter feed.

Here in northwestern Florida, it only takes 2″+ of snow and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) in a 12-hour period for a “Winter Storm Warning”!

Capture1

Back in the Quad Cities, it would take 6″ of snow in a 12-hour period or 8″ in 24 hours and/or more than 1/2″ of sleet (or a combination) for a “Winter Storm Warning” to be issued!

GOODBYE, “AHS: CULT”

This season of “American Horror Story: Cult” was incredible.

While the subject matter — the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election — brought back many painful memories, it was presented pretty realistically (although the violence was highly over exaggerated for dramatic effect!).  There were things as a Hillary or a Trump supporter that you may not have wanted to hear.

So, as I say “thank you” Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk for a great season, I want to share two crazy late season scenes.

TV reporter and eventual cult member Beverly Hope tells cult leader Kai Anderson what she thinks of him and his cult as she tries to break away.

BH: “Your promises are sh*t.  You’re a fake.  You don’t stand for a goddamn thing.”

KA:  “I’m standing up for millions of people who are finally being heard.”

BH:  “Nothing is bigger than your ego.  You don’t know what the f*ck you’re doing from one minute to the next.  You’re an incompetent guy — just another media whore.”

And, for this next one, I won’t set up the scene because I don’t believe in complete spoilers.  But, it was my favorite line of the season!

spoiler-alert

Nasty Woman

And, how can I move on without sharing this hilarious one again from earlier in the season!

lesbians-were-under-attack-billy-eichner-ahs-cul-scared

WINTER FINALE — “HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER”

With all of the craziness of the past 3.5 seasons, you know when you get a special warning beyond the typical “Viewer Discretion Advised” in the last 20 minutes that it’s going to be over-the-top!

Well, this winter finale had a W-T-F ending that you couldn’t tear yourself away from –even as you cringed!

Without giving it anything away, it was the most painful and heart-wrenching scene I’ve seen on television — maybe ever!

911

This scene made the accidental deadly gunshot to the head and the blood spatter earlier in the episode register only as a “wow”.

“How To Get Away With Murder” returns on January 18, 2018.

NOW THAT IT’S THANKSGIVING…

Maybe people will be a little less touchy about seeing Christmas decorations and hearing all Christmas, all the time on the radio, now that they’ve had some turkey.

However, if you’re decorating this weekend and you live in Florida or in a tropical area, be careful with palm trees and lights! 🙂

Palm Tree Lights

PRICIEST CHRISTMAS TREE

Last year, the Christmas tree at the Emirates Palace Hotel, a seven-star hotel in Abu Dhabi, was valued at $11.4 million!

The-Emirates-Palace-Hotel-Decorated-Christmas-tree

Emeralds, diamonds, and pearls enhanced the 43-feet high tree.

CHRISTMAS SHOPPING FOR KIDS

Since many of you will be heading out Christmas shopping, here’s an interesting tidbit:

“U.S. children make up just 3.1% of the global world population, but American families buy 40% of the world’s toys.”  (“Time” — March 23, 2015)

Cash Register

JON STEWART SAID WHAT???

Former “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart tells “Rolling Stone” in November 2014 about Fox News and Christmas:

“They truly feel the loss of absolute power is the same as persecution.  Like, watch them do their “War on Christmas” stuff.  It’s real, man.  There’s no bullsh*t.  They are in the middle of Rockefeller Center talking about “They won’t let us put up a Christmas tree!”  Meanwhile, they’re standing next to a 60-foot Christmas tree in a place with so much Christmas stuff up it looks like Santa’s balls just exploded.”

HOT JANUARY TELEVISION

Two highly anticipated television shows (at least for me) will be warming up my DVR in January.

Back in June, I wrote about the upcoming Ryan Murphy series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”.

EW verace

The 10-episode series will premiere on January 17, 2018.

It stars Edgar Ramirez as Versace, Oscar winner Penelope Cruz as Versace’s sister, Donatella, Darren Criss (“Glee”) as Andrew Cunanan, the man that killed Versace, and Ricky Martin, as Versace’s boyfriend, Antonio D’Amico.

Here’s the official trailer.

And, the 10-episode eleventh season of “The X-Files” returns even earlier on January 3, 2018, on Fox.

David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson return as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully!

“WIND RIVER”

Jeremy Renner plays a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent who stumbles upon the body of an a teenager in the cold, wintry Wyoming tundra on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

The woman’s death isn’t a simple case of hypothermia and frostbite.  The FBI is called in and rookie special agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen) has to determine if this is a murder case.

Olsen is incredible in this very intense and, at times, brutal movie.

“Wind River” cost $11 million, but it went on to gross $40 million at the box office.

GRADE:  A-

A DIFFERENT “THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS”

I feature this very different version of the “The Twelve Days of Christmas” every year because it’s so funny.

I hope you find it humorous, too.

CHRISTMAS CARD DILEMMA — MY SOLUTION

I took the high road and I didn’t send a card.  I decided to vent and share my disappointment here.

If she hadn’t unfriended me on Facebook, I would have addressed it to her privately.

My thought is that if that’s how she approached the subject — on the outside of an envelope last year — her friendship isn’t worth 49 cents!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — November 10, 2017

Happy Friday (or whatever day you read this)!

The first story in today’s blog may not set well with some.  That’s fine.  Read it or scroll past it and check out the rest of my thoughts.

If you’d like to comment (and I’m asking for your opinion), do it diplomatically!

Have a great weekend and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

Random Thoughts

REFLECTIONS — ONE YEAR LATER!

It’s been one year now since that fateful night in 2016 when the truly impossible happened.

The bottom line is that former FBI Director James Comey’s October 27th bombshell of reopening the email controversy was (and still is) the main reason for the unthinkable.  If that proclamation hadn’t been made, Hillary Clinton would be the 45th President of the United States!

Now that I’ve had a year to reflect on it (and you have, too), I’m still no more at ease than I was in the early morning hours of November 9, 2016.

In retrospective, I’m not mad at the minority of people that voted for “that man”. While I don’t know, I try to understand why they did.

I’m still angrier with the people that voted for Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  Did they really think that either of them had a chance to win the election?  No!

Did they vote for them to make a statement against Hillary?  Yes!

But, was it worth the outcomes in the battleground states of Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin?  If a fraction of the votes for Johnson and Stein in those all important states had been cast for Hillary, she would have had the electoral votes to win the election.

Now, my question for those who voted for Trump, are you happy with what he’s done for America? Also, do you think he’s well representing the U.S. and what we stand for on the world stage?

And, I didn’t even get started on the Bernie Sanders supporters that didn’t vote or didn’t vote for Hillary.  Again, was the outcome of that anger worth it?

Those are some of the questions I’ve asked myself every day for the past year!  I can’t answer them.

Hillary AP

I just know how I feel waking up daily and not having Hillary Clinton as my president. 😦

I hope things change.

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The seventh season of “American Horror Story” wraps up Tuesday night, November 14th!

ahs dt

Wait, wrong graphic! 🙂

I can’t wait to see how “Cult” ends.  After the dismal fourth and fifth seasons (“Freak Show” and Hotel”, respectively), and the so-so sixth season, “Roanoke”, this season was entertaining and thought-provoking.

FAILED AGGRESSORS! 

“History is filled with aggressors who triumphed for a moment.  Then failed.”

Who do you think Madeleine Albright, the 64th U.S. Seceretary of State, was talking about in “Time” magazine in 2014?

Since you know me so well, I know who you’re thinking!

Surprisingly, it’s not “that man”.  It’s this slime bag– Vladimir Putin!

Putin

But, as time will likely tell, it’ll fit well into our current situation, too!

LAS VEGAS AND NOW TEXAS…

It sounds like a broken record.

Here’s what I wrote on July 14, 2017, before the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history in Las Vegas and before the Texas church shooting last weekend.

“When something like the Pulse Nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook school massacre, or the bombing outside the Manchester Ariana Grande concert happens, we’re shocked for a few days before the news cycle moves on to the next story.

People go crazy on Facebook sharing “Remember <insert city>” or “Pray for <insert city>. And, then we move on, too!”

Why is this a regular part of our lives now?

DONNA BRAZILE & HER NEW BOOK

EMMA STONE & SEXISM

In her new movie, “Battle of the Sexes”, Oscar winner Emma Stone plays tennis legend Billie Jean King.

It’s about the historic tennis match with sexist, misogynist Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell).billie

In “Out” magazine in August 2017, Stone talked about where King and women were in the 1970s and where we are today “with a narcissistic, self-focused, constantly-stirring-the-pot kind of guy — again this incredible, qualified woman, and at the same time be playing Billie Jean King…”

Stone adds, “Obviously the way this has all panned out has been fascinating and horrifying, and it still feels like we’re in a bad dream, but those parallels make sense to me — the equal-pay issue makes a lot of sense to me.  At our best right now we’re making 80 cents to the dollar.”

“LOSING SLEEP” — CHRIS YOUNG

I’ll admit upfront that I grew up on country music in the 1970s and abandoned the genre for Top 40/English Invasion/Dance music in the 1980s, and then re-discovered country in the 1990s with Reba McEntire and Patty Loveless.

Once radio cooled on Reba and Patty, I pretty music gave up on the format and especially with its love of bro-country.

When I do buy a country album, it’s usually by female singers.  The last male country album I bought was Canadian Brett Kissel’s phenomenal “Pick Me Up”, my #7 CD of 2016.

Brett Kissel

Before that, it was Michael Ray’s self titled full length in 2015.

I went out a limb and bought the latest from country crooner Chris Young.

I really like the texture of his voice on past hits, “Getting You Home (The Black Dress Song)”, “Voices”, “Think of You” (with Cassadee Pope), and “Sober Saturday Night” (with Vince Gill).

On this album, there are some standout perfect songs.

My favorites and I’m putting them in the order of how I’d love for him to release songs as singles:  “Losing Sleep” (his current hit, just outside the Top Ten), the ballad “Where I Go When I Drink”, “Holiday” (the perfect summer song), and “She’s Got A Way”.

“Blacked Out”, “Trouble Looking”, and “Hangin’ On” are also great.

GRADE:  B+

I KID YOU NOT! 🙂

This is the “The River 100.5” WTRV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, playlist from yesterday morning!

24-hour Christmas music was being played just after Halloween at some stations!  Who needs to wait until Thanksgiving anymore?

Carving Turkey

As you can see, several Christmas songs are already charting on the Adult Contemporary charts.

CHRISTMAS ALBUMS SALES

In 2016, overall album sales dropped almost 17% (falling from 241.4 million in 2015 to 200.8 million in 2016).

However, Christmas albums sales jumped 10.6% (climbing from 7.2 million units to 7.97 million).

HOT NEW CRUSH

You may not know the name “Henry Golding” now.

Henry Golding

But, you will when “Crazy Rich Asians” hits theaters August 17, 2018!

Golding is a 30-year-old British-Malaysian actor and he got married a year ago in August! 🙂 😦

MORE MID-FALL TELEVISION THOUGHTS

“How To Get Away With Murder” — Absolutely loving the fourth season.  Analise is incredible and I can’t wait to see what this whole blood bath is all about.  Plus, Connor and Frank are so hot this season!

“Mr. Robot” —  I’m glad that Tyrell (Martin Wallstrom) was given a full episode to expand his back story.  And, Wallstrom is so sexy!

Tyrell

Also, I love Darlene (Carly Chaikin) and I’m always surprised at what comes out of her mouth.  In a recent episode, it was “muff divers” and “diddle your skittle”!  *The horror!* 🙂

As much as I’ve enjoyed the three seasons so far, I hope it ends with this season.

“Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Brothers” — I’m DVR-ing it, but have not watched the first episode yet.  Should I just delete it and free up the space?

“The Walking Dead” (again) — Episodes 2 and 3 of Season 8 sucked!  I’m giving it one more episode and I’m done.

This whole Ezekiel, his pet tiger Shiva, and the Kingdom plot line is such a laughable joke.

PICK HIT  

EDM (electronic dance music) producer and DJ Marshmello, who’s identity is unknown (but may be American DJ Christian Comstock), has scored seven hits in the U.S. on the Billboard Dance charts since 2015.

Two have reached the Top Ten.  “Alone” reached #9 in 2016.

His current hit featuring Khalid, “Silence” is currently at #2 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.  It’s also #36 on the Mediabase Top 40 airplay chart.

“Silence” already topped the Australian Dance chart and hit the Top 5 in Belgium, Norway, Sweden, and on the UK Dance chart.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — August 4 , 2017

Are you ready for the weekend?  Although I have nothing planned, I’m still ready!

Thank you for checking out my Random Friday Thoughts!

THREE MONTHS ALREADY

This weekend marks my third month in Panama City, Florida!

While everyone’s life carries on, the things I miss the most about the Quad Cities are my family and friends, my fish pond, my beautiful and spacious sun porch, and Sunday champagne brunch!

Missing QC

I’M READY FOR A GETAWAY

Clearly from the way I kicked off this week’s blog, I’m ready for a vacation.

Shania Twain has the right idea in her latest video, “Life’s About To Get Good”, that dropped last week.

And, when I take that getaway, I’m coming back with a new attitude and moving on with my life.

“NOW” IS GETTING CLOSER!

It’s been 15 years since Shania Twain released her last studio album.  Her new one, “Now”, comes out September 29th.

Now

“Life’s About To Get Good” is the first single and while country radio decided not to embrace it, the song is getting some airplay at adult contemporary stations.

CAITLYN, YOU CONTINUE TO DISAPPOINT ME

It’s no secret that I’m not a Caitlyn Jenner fan.

While I applauded her decision to come out to the world as a trans woman, her misinformation and ignorance proves she’s not a good spokeswoman for the transgender movement.

I find her latest escapade of expressing her love of Aerosmith’s “Dude Looks Like a Lady” highly offensive.

caitlyn steven

We all know that she transitioned from the gorgeous Olympic star Bruce Jenner to Caitlyn because she was born male, but that wasn’t her gender identity.  But, now to finally be seen as a woman and then to make a mockery of it is just tacky.

You could say that it’s no different from a gay man calling himself a “sissy” or a “girl”.  It is different because that gay man may have always identified and lived that way.

We may disagree on this, but Caitlyn has spent a fortune trying to look like the woman she felt inside.  So, why cheapen yourself by thinking it’s still cool to publicly admit that you love an offensively, crude song with the title, “Dude Looks Like a Lady”.

Sadly, in the world we live in, many people still see you that way!

“AMERICAN HORROR STORY”

The new season of “American Horror Story” debuts on FX September 5, 2017.

The first episode deals with the 2016 presidential election and takes place in the battleground state of Michigan.

The creator, Ryan Murphy, says it’s about “the fallout of that night, which to many people, from all sides of the camps is a horror story.”

Trump

Oh, by the way, the season is called “Cult”.

Trump

I guess that’s because “Freak Show” and “Asylum” have already been used in the series!

“THE SINNER” & “MANHUNT: UNABOMBER”

Both of these limited series made their debut this week.  I’m definitely find one more intriguing.

After watching the first two episodes of “Manhunt: Unabomber”, it was informative and entertaining enough even with very little of the Unabomber.  It was more about his crimes and the FBI manhunt to capture him.

Maybe we’ll find out more about Ted Kaczynski and get to see Paul Bettany (“Wimbledon”) do his thing as the hunted serial bomber.

I was much more impressed with USA’s “The Sinner”, which “seemed” like a cut and dry story.

A woman (Jessica Biel) is at the beach with her attractive husband and child and while cutting a pear, she savagely attacks and kills a man sitting with his friends in front of her.

She confesses to the crime to police, but why did she do it?  A twist at the end of the first episode has me awaiting next week’s second of eight episodes.

“MANHUNT: UNABOMBER” GRADE (after two episodes):  B

“THE SINNER” GRADE (after one episode): A- 

“THE LEFTOVERS”

While Comcast pimped me over recently by not recordings movies on my DVR during my free HBO and Cinemax week, I did get a chance to catch the first season of “The Leftovers”.

The Bible-like “rapture” story is chilling enough, but when you add in a “cult” (wait, they say they’re not a cult) and mental illness, it gets unsettling.

But, on the other hand, Justin Theroux is gorgeous!

JT

Now, I can’t wait to see seasons two and three.

By the way, happy second anniversary to Justin and his beautiful wife, Jennifer Aniston.

“MASTER OF NONE”

I loved the first season of Netflix’s “Master of None”.  While I enjoyed all but one episode, I wasn’t blown away as much by season two.

But, the show is nominated for an Emmy for “Comedy Series”, Aziz Ansari got a nod for “Comedy Actor”, and Ansari and Lena Waithe (“Denise”) are up for the “Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode, which was my favorite of the season.

Angela Bassett is almost nominated for “Guest Actress in a Comedy Series” for the Thanksgiving episode.

“Master of None” is nominated for four more Emmy Awards for a total of eight.  I really wish Bobby Cannavale was nominated, too.

“FRIENDS FROM COLLEGE”

Two episodes into this Netflix original comedy series, I realized why I don’t have any friends.  These people are annoying!

I’ll pass.

MY NEW FAVORITE VEGETABLE

Turnips

As a kid, I hated turnips.  I don’t even remember how my mother and grandmother cooked them to make them look like puree.

I dice them and saute them in seasoning and olive oil and I can’t get enough.  I need to experiment with recipes and try them others ways, too.

PICK HIT

24-year-old English DJ Sigala is racking up the Top Ten hits in his native United Kingdom. He’s already has five, including a #1 hit.

“Came Here For Love” with 23-year-old U.K. vocalist Ella Eyre is his latest.  It went all the way to #6 and has made the Top Three in Belgium and Scotland.

“NEW ATTITUDE”

I can’t mention “New Attitude” earlier in the blog without sharing Miss Patti LaBelle!

This #1 dance hit in 1985 was featured on the “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack and earned LaBelle a “Best Female R&B Vocal Performance” Grammy nomination!!!

THAT’S IT

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

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.

champagne

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.

Anthony1982

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.

anger

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.

Hillary AP

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.

Reba Anthony 2005

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”.

Dessie 1990

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”.

reba-faith

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

2017, Don’t Let Me Down

Happy New Year!

2017

I hope you had a great time saying goodbye to 2016.  While I worked Saturday night, I was home in time to ring in the new year with my husband, Ray, enjoying some champagne and shrimp cocktail.

champagne

Our 15-year-old daughter, Gretel, is growing up and growing out of her parents — she welcomed in 2017 with her friends.

I’m always pontificating about life (the past, the current, and the future).  It’s like being visited by the three ghosts (spirits) at Christmas, but I do it year around.

A Christmas Carol

While reflecting on where I’ve been, the mistakes I’ve made, and what I’d change if given the chance to do it all over again, I still look forward.  I’m always counting down to something.

I remember so many times, as a kid, saying that I wished a certain event or date would arrive and my grandmother, Helen, telling me, “you are wishin’ your life away.”

As I became more prospective as a teenager and being 51 years younger than my grandmother, I foolishly thought that she meant I was wishing her life away.  After all, I was young and I was looking forward to the rest of my life.

Now that I’m 52 and approaching those golden years like my grandmother, I realize two things:  I’m still always planning and counting down to something, but I’m also very aware that I’m no longer a youngster.

Anthony April 1969

It doesn’t help knowing that my mother died at the age of 47 and my father died at 55.  With each passing year and each celebration of the new year, it makes me think even more.

The bottom line is that I’m blessed in life.

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I have a wonderful family, my health, and a job that I love for the most part.  While I’d love to make more money (who doesn’t?), I’m in a position to travel and see places that many may never visit.

AP Ray Night View Vegas

Last year, I got to visit China, see New York City, Las Vegas and Cleveland, Ohio, again, and I checked out Atlanta and Savannah, Georgia, and Charleston, South Carolina, for the first time.

I already have a few things planned for 2017.  As I often joke, I work just so I can travel.  Honestly, I do it to pay the bills, too!

Speaking of work, I can’t believe I’ve now worked in the Quad Cities television market as a meteorologist for more than 11 years.  I love what I do, but I also love to write.  There are times when I think about changing careers.  Will that be in 2017?

We all know that life is full of changes and uncertainty and I’m not shy about my feelings of dread for the next four years.

Almost two months after the shocking presidential election, I’m still devastated with the results.

Hillary AP

While three million more Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to be the 45th president of the United States, the electoral college was obligated to vote otherwise.

Since I live in the real world, I know some of you voted for someone other than Hillary and you got your wish!  I hope I never hear you express regret over that decision.  You won’t find a bit of sympathy coming from me.

With that being said, I sincerely hope for the best for America (and the world).

As someone put it after the stunning election — wishing for the new president to fail is like boarding a plane and hoping it crashes.

Flight 1549

If we look at the next four years as a flight, I sure wish that Sully was in the cockpit.  Hell, I’d be happy if it was Tom Hanks playing Sully in the cockpit!

“Oh, but I need some time off/From that emotion/Time to pick my heart up off the floor.”

As the late George Michael expressed to us, we got to have “faith”!

With all this in mind, I wish you and yours the very best in the year ahead.

If you had a great 2016, I hope 2017 is even better.  If 2016 was less than stellar, I hope the new year treats you better.

As Mariah Carey laughs off in my favorite version of “Auld Lang Syne”, “does anybody really know the words?”.  That sounds like life to me!

By the way, I get to see Mariah and Lionel Richie in Nashville, Tennessee, this spring!  See, that’s something I’m counting down to. 🙂

If life gets you down or gives you lemons, make lemonade.  If there’s no sugar to sweeten the lemonade, just smile, say “f*ck” it, and add a shot of vodka!

Happy New Year!

Anthony