Posts Tagged ‘Chicago’

2018: Looking Ahead, Not Back

Happy New Year!!!


I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season.

The highlight of my Christmas season was the 90-minutes-plus I spent in Mariah Carey’s Christmas wonderland for her “All I Want For Christmas” show in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.


While I always enjoy the beautiful decorations and the sounds of holidays, I was very Luther Krank this year and was all for “Skipping Christmas”!

As Leann Rimes sings in “The Story” from “Remnants”, my #1 album of 2017:

“All of these lines across my face/Tell you the story of who I am/So many stories of where I’ve been/And how I got to where I am” 

“You see the smile that’s on my mouth/It’s hiding the words that don’t come out/ And all of my friends who think that I’m blessed/They don’t know my life is a mess”

Enough of that, it’s now 2018 and I’m so ready to turn the page in my life and forget most of 2017.  From this point on, this blog contains adult content, adult language, nudity, and strong sexual content!

TV contains

Okay, there’s really isn’t any nudity!  So, I’ll share this so the blog isn’t “fake news”!

Josh Wald

In case you’re wondering, that’s model and skateboarder Josh Wald!

Focus, Anthony!


I can’t believe how much my life has changed now that I’m a “professional”.

In the early-1990s after my mother died, I was miserable waiting tables in Kentucky just hoping my career would take off one day.  On top of that, I was a practicing bulimic weighing 116 pounds when I finally got on the wagon in 1995 and got healthy!

Yet, even back then, I was spontaneous.  I’d go on weekend getaways with friends to Louisville, Kentucky or fly away to Houston, Cancun, or Las Vegas.

For Memorial Day 1994, my two best friends and I took a weekend trip to Chicago.  While there, I decided I was moving from small town America Kentucky to the third largest city in the U.S.

AP 06 1994

A little more than a month later, I was living in Chicago! I miss that spontaneity!

And, those words and sentiments are clearly expressed in my favorite song of 2017:

“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, 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”

You can hear that haunting and incredible song here.  It’ll open in a new window.

When I was in Vegas in December, between shows (Tanya Tucker, Lionel Richie, and Mariah) and indulging in great food, I had plenty of time to pontificate — where I’m at in my life and what my next step should be.  What I call “living” now is not working for me!

This was cemented on the two legs of my return trip home.  From Las Vegas to Houston, I was very relaxed.  However, doom and gloom set in as soon as I boarded the short flight from Houston to Panama City!

As I hinted in my Christmas letter, it’s time to “shake it off” and “get the hell out of Dodge”!!!

I have four cities in mind for a fresh start.

Two of them, I’d move to with or without a television job, and the other two would only be for another television job.

We’ll see… Cheers!


Figuring out where to go next and what to do isn’t the only change in my life.

I’m convinced that unless Prince Charming falls from the sky, I’m going to be single the rest of my life!


The dating world has changed so much since I was last single in early 2009!

While no longer being in my 20s, 30s, or 40s is an obstacle, I’m convinced now that many gay people are not interested in monogamy or relationships.

I’m appalled at how many people on apps are “partnered”, in an “open relationship”, or “married”.  Yet, they’re on these apps with or without the knowledge of their other half!

I’m definitely not a prude!  I’m all for singles (or couples that experiment together) having fun and hooking up!

But, it’s gotten so crazy with online dating sites or hook-up apps with the demands that people expect — it’s like ordering a pizza online!

Pizza 1

That’s why I think I’ll remain single!

Ben Whishaw

Another reason, Ben Whishaw already has a husband and he’s probably never heard of Panama City, Florida!

Also, in the new year, I’m going to be less obsessed with weight.

Usually, I get in between 25,000-40,000 steps a day.  However, my new objective is to only walk around 20,000-25,000 steps each day.

Also, I plan on napping an hour each afternoon, drinking more water and only a couple glasses of wine!

If I gain five pounds, who cares!

Diet Plan

That’s where I’m at now that 2017 is over.


In 2018, here’s to the best year ever for all of us.




Sugar Coating Life

I use my blog as therapy.

I express my thoughts and feelings through written words.  Sometimes, it’s fun stuff (food, movies, songs, and books I like, love, or didn’t care for) and, at other times, I speak out on injustices that need to be part of our dialogue.

I’ve ticked people off and I’ve been degraded for it.

But, since I started my television career decades ago, I’ve developed a tough skin.  Things that might have upset me all those years ago just tick me off now.  The use of the f-word helps, too. 🙂


By the way, T-Swizzle, please drop the follow-up to “1989” this fall!

I feel a sense of pride when my written words and thoughts enlighten others on a topic they normally wouldn’t have pursued to learn more.

With that being said, I want you to know that there’ll always be a certain amount of sugar coating served with my thoughts and blogs.


Being a “public figure”, I can’t truly say what I’m really thinking.  I can hint at it, but it has be to watered down.

Two words:  Dixie Chicks!


I’m not #45 with free reign (of terror) to offend without any retribution!  I’m no longer in the progressive “blue state” of Illinois.  I now live in the “red state” of Florida and in a county where about two-thirds of the people don’t think like me, so pass the sugar!

I’ll always cherish my 15.5 years in the Midwest (four in Chicago and more than a decade in the Quad Cities).  It was far more progressive than I could ever have imagined.

Former Iowa Justices

Think about it, three Iowa judges lost their seats in the 2010 November elections, but they brought “marriage equality” to the “Hawkeye State” in 2009, six years before the Supreme Court of the United States made it the law of the land in the summer of 2015!

But, what’s the point of today’s blog about sugar coating things?

Mary Ann

I’m going through another “Mary Ann Singleton” phase again in my life.

For the uninitiated, she’s a naive character in Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” book series, who visited San Francisco from Cleveland, Ohio, in 1976 and decided to stay.

My best friend, Steve, introduced me to the PBS mini-series based on the book in the spring of 1994 before I made my big move from small town Mayfield, Kentucky, in July of that year.

I felt like Mary Ann experiencing a whole new world.  San Francisco wasn’t Cleveland for her and Chicago wasn’t Mayfield for me.  I turned 30 a few months after moving there and it was fantastic.  But, I’m now two decades older as I begin my new life in Panama City, Florida.

While I might be older, the climate (and I’m not talking weather) of the country and my living here alone, a thousand miles from those I love, makes me feel like the “fish out of water” — like Mary Ann all over again.

I’ve been in Panama City for two months now and while still adorable, I’ve tired of my only friendships being with the two web-footed fowl!

I’m not depressed or despondent, but I’m sad and lonely.  I miss human correspondence and friendship.

However, in life, we never know what’s right around the corner.  Tomorrow, I could meet my new best friend — someone to make me change the way I feel about life, love, and the future.

“Everybody Knows” by the Dixie Chicks perfectly sums up the way I’m feeling now.

I’m not writing this for sympathy.  I’m just processing my life at this time.

As Belle exclaims in “Beauty and the Beast”:

“Little town/It’s a quiet village/Every day/Like the one before/Little town/Full of little people”… “Every morning just the same/Since the morning that we came/To this poor provincial town”… “There must be more than this provincial life!”

One more note about the Maupin series.

I smiled the other day when I saw “Mary Ann in Autumn”, the eighth book in the nine-book “Tales” series on a shelf here in heavily Republican Panama City!

If only they knew it’s part of a series about 1970s and 1980s San Francisco complete with casual sex (L,G,B, and T), bathhouses, drugs, AIDS, transgender characters, and so much more. 🙂

In that book, (spoiler alert), Mary Ann did become a famous newscaster, but decided that New York City wasn’t for her anymore and she moved back to San Francisco.

No, this doesn’t mean that I’ll be moving back to the Quad Cities, but Las Vegas and a new start might be on the table!


Thank You “The Advocate” For My Advocacy

Every week, I share my “Random Friday Thoughts”.  I’m always thinking about something and writing gives me an avenue to express myself.  It’s rewarding when those thoughts prompt others to think about topics they normally wouldn’t consider and a dialogue is started.

I love to be provoked to think, too.  We should all be challenged to pontificate about life and what we can do to make ours better and the lives better for those around us.  Today, my thoughts focus on a special milestone.


The largest and oldest LGBT magazine in the United States, “The Advocate”, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Happy Birthday and thank you for leading the fight!

birthday cake for gay man 21253

We’ve made so many advancements in the past five decades, but our work is just beginning.

I want to thank “The Advocate” for pushing two key phrases now as we navigate through the next 1,295 days (Inauguration Day 2021):  “Stay Woke” and “Resistance”!

We need this encouragement now more than ever.

“The Advocate” started as a local Los Angeles newsletter in 1967 and while many LGBT magazines copied its model, most have come and gone.

My first recollection of “The Advocate” was in the early-1990s when I was living in small town Kentucky reading about the anti-gay and racist business practices of the Cracker Barrel restaurant chain. While still a southern staple, it’s expanded across the country, but I’ve never eaten at one and I never will.


“The Advocate” has covered all of the issues we’ve face in the LGBT community starting with police harassment at the Black Cat Tavern in Los Angeles and the Stonewall Inn riots in New York City in the 1960s.


That harassment was a tipping point.  We’d had enough and it was time to fight back.  That fight was the catalyst for the modern gay rights movement and the Gay Pride parades that started in 1970.


“The Advocate” was there for out politicians like Harvey Milk in the late-1970s and to out anti-gay politicians.


Just as we were beginning to gain national exposure and make progress in showing the country and the world that we were someone’s brother, sister, son, daughter, neighbor, and friend, “The Advocate” was there to inform us in the summer of 1981 when “gay cancer” began killing off our friends in the community.

That cancer became GRID and then AIDS in the 1980s.


“The Advocate” was there to hold President Ronald Reagan responsible for not saying AIDS publicly until 1987 after more than 16,000 people had already died.

And, “The Advocate” was there as we fought for our rights and for equality — marriage equality, transgender equality, and women’s rights.


“The Advocate” was there through it all and its insight prompted me to move to Chicago in 1994 and become the person I am today.

A person that’s proud to be an out gay man that’ll continue to work to educate people about acceptance and equality.

I wish the new editorial director, Diane Anderson-Minshal, the very best as she takes the magazine forward in the fight for the next 50 years.  (Also, a thank you to the former editorial director, Matthew Breen, who now works in the same capacity at LogoTV.)


I mentioned that I like to be pushed to think, too.

Sexual racism is a term that’s gaining traction across the country, but many people are not familiar with it.

It’s basically when a person of one race idolizes or fantasizes about a person of another race to the point of objectification.  It’s seen as power — one race being superior to another.  The article that got me to thinking more about it was from a black writer exposing the obsession he saw toward his community by white men.

I’ve never been in a situation where a person of color pursued me for a relationship, but I’d be open to it.

It’s like the line in “Hidden Figures” when Janelle Monae’s Mary Jackson says, “It’s equal rights.  I have the right to see fine in every color”.  That’s how I feel.

When I see attractive people of color, I take notice.  But, I don’t set out to look for this or that.  I’m not ordering from a takeout menu and this particular flavor sounds especially good today.  I see people as people.

Bill T Jones

Bill T. Jones is a man that I truly admire for all that he’s done for the gay community over his long life.  And, from what I’ve read, it doesn’t appear that he has a hang up with “sexual racism”.

Jones, who’s black and who modeled naked for the late renowned (white) artist, Keith Haring, in the early-1980s, doesn’t mince words about how he feels.


Jones told “The Advocate” about his former lover and partner Arnie Zane (the couple were together for almost twenty years until Zane died in Jones’ arms in 1988),  “I wanted to find, and I did find, a person like Arnie Zane — Jewish, aesthetic, neurotic, poetic, and fierce — and already dealing with being an androgynous man who was a white man who would be public about actually loving a black man, and it wasn’t some sort of a kink.  He was able to love me.” 

Jones went on to say about the 1970s gay clubs days, “… we can see race is very much with us.  Race has not left.”  And, he adds, “So the gay identity was white, middle class.  God knows, I love them  – or I loved – those white boys.

So, with that, I’m still learning from “The Advocate” and like President Barack Obama evolved with his views on marriage equality, I’m still evolving, too.


Bisexuality comes to mind when I think of myself evolving.

With the acronym LGBT, I never bought into the “B” for bisexual.  I always thought bisexuals were gay people afraid to admit it because of family, religion, or the fear of homophobia.

You often hear certain celebrities come out as “bisexual”, but I’ve never had a friend tell me they’re “bi”.

However, looking back to my early years in the gay community, I recall a friend that was lesbian that went on to marry a man and have children and another woman that was married to a man, but also took on a lesbian lover with her husband’s knowledge.

So, I’ve evolved to believe that there are true “bisexuals”.

I’m looking forward to learning more from “The Advocate” as the LGBT community advances proudly through the next 50 years.

Again, congratulations and happy anniversary to “The Advocate”.



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!

Snowy Daffies

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.

Snow Potential

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.



Random Friday Thoughts — January 20, 2017

It seems like forever since I’ve written a “Random Friday Thoughts”.

While I shared my favorite movies, songs, and albums in blogs in December, I’ve mostly written about the weather lately.

As always, I appreciate you checking out my thoughts.  Feel free to share yours and if we disagree, do it diplomatically and concisely.  I won’t put up with tired rants! 🙂


I did share one more blog about you know who yesterday and that means I’ll be trying very hard not to bash him either.  You guessed it —  I’m not referring to him by name.

If you missed that, click here and it’ll open in another window.


Playing for the president of the United States, regardless of party, would be an honor for any performer.

But, after the decisive 2016 election, singers are catching hell for signing on or skipping this year’s inauguration and parties.

Garth Brooks is facing backlash from some of his conservative fans, but he says his decision not to play the inauguration was because of his world tour.

Brooks says, “We left it up to karma. If Cincinnati goes two weekends instead of one, then of course we are out.”

Strong sales prompted him to add three more shows over that weekend.


Brooks adds, “I’ll tell you with this whole presidential thing: We got one going out. Pray for him and his family. And for the president going in, pray for him and his family to guide this nation. Let’s stay together.  Love, unity — that’s what it’s all about.”

As Garth sings in his amazing anthem, “We Shall Be Free”.

However, it was the other way around for Jennifer Holliday.  When it was announced that the “Dreamgirls” star was planning on performing, the backlash from her fans — people of color and LGBT — was immediate.

Holliday dropped out and apologized.


While I’m happy for that decision, I’m appalled about a reporte that Holliday and her family received death threats once it was initially announced that she would be performing.


If true, those people are as disgusting as the ones spewing their hate and ignorance before and after the 2016 presidential election!



While I said “it’s an honor” to play for the president, I’ve actually heard some performers say they do it for the country.

I think that’s stretching it quite a bit.


Our uniformed men and women in the armed forces do what they do for the country!


It’s now January 20th and it’s been over a month since we’ve had measurable snow in the Quad Cities of Illinois and Iowa.

Officially, in the Quad Cities,  in Moline, we’re at the same point we were at last winter at this time on snowfall — 13.8″ (as of Thursday).


Typically, we should be at around 16″ at this point in the winter.

Since Davenport had more snow with the first storm of the season in early December, the total there is up to 16.5″ this winter compared to 11.8″ at this point last winter.

No snow is expected until later next week.


While we’re only a few weeks into the new year, I’ve already finished two books while walking on the treadmill.

I mostly read autobiographies, biographies, or books about real life events.  Occasionally, I’ll read fiction.

Over the past year, my favorites were “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins and “Dietland” by Sarai Walker.


If you’re looking for a thriller with the “Gone Girl”-like twist of who’s telling the truth and what is real and what isn’t, “The Widow” by Fiona Barton is a great book to check out.


Jeanie is now a widow and is being pursued by journalists to tell her story after her husband Glen is hit by a bus.

But, this isn’t the first time that she felt badgered by the television and print reporters.  The last time, it was mostly about Glen and a crime for which he was charged.

There’s also twists and turns centering around a missing child and internet porn.


This psychological thriller is now out on DVD and it’s definitely worth catching.

Three down on their luck young adults are breaking into houses in Detroit and selling what they steal for money.   Yet, they feel they’re not getting the money they deserve for the stolen merchandise.

So, they decide to target one more person, an Army veteran, who won a settlement from a wealthy family after their daughter killed his only daughter in a car accident.

He appears to be an easy target because he’s blind.  Big mistake!

Let’s just say you’ll never look at a turkey baster the same way again! If your mind is already reeling, it’s not exactly what you’re thinking! 🙂

This thriller was very successful.  It made $155.1 million on a $10 million budget!



While “Don’t Breathe” is a psychological thriller and I love those types of crime capers, “Lights Out” is more of a suspenseful, supernatural movie.

It’s like an extended movie version of an episode of “The X-Files”.

A family is left to pick up the pieces after the dad is murdered at his business by something that can only be seen when it’s dark — “lights out”.

His wife, played by Maria Bello, suffers from a mental illness.

She sinks further into depression after her husband’s death and their adolescent son, Martin, is becoming more and more distressed after seeing his mother talk to a third unseen “person” in the room.

Unable to sleep, he falls asleep in school and goes to stay with his grown sister.  We learn that she left home because of her mother’s behavior.

It’s all because of Diana and Diana’s identity drives this movie.

The $5 million movie made close to $149 million and a sequel is in the works,



Teresa Palmer is the star of “Lights Out” and she’s phenomenal.

Although movie goers will recognize her from “Warm Bodies”, “I Am Number Four”, “The Grudge 2”, and “Hacksaw Ridge”, I first saw the Australian actress in her incredible second movie, “2:37” from 2006.

If you come across it, it’s definitely worth checking out.


I saw Jennifer Holliday in concert at Market Days in Chicago in 2007.  She was amazing, as usual.


Most people remember her as Effie White in her Tony Award-winning role on Broadway in “Dreamgirls”.

That show also gave Holliday her only Top 40 hit on the “Billboard Hot 100” chart, “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going”.  It reached #22 in 1982.  (That song also reached #1 on the R&B charts and won her a Grammy Award.)

Holliday has also scored six Top Ten hits on the Billboard Dance charts.

“And I Am Telling You…” hit the Top Ten twice, in 2001 and 2007, but it didn’t chart when the song came out originally in 1982!

She’s also topped the dance chart twice with “No Frills Love” — in 1985 in its original release and again in 1996!

This is my favorite Holliday song!


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



Random Friday Thoughts — November 11, 2016

On Wednesday, my “Random Friday Thoughts” went through a major re-write.

The script changed.

I had to delete the part of thanking God that more Americans and enough blue states “elected a proven leader as the 45th president of the United States and sent an egocentric, racist, and overall, scum bag packing.”

So, here’s the updated version.  Thank you for checking out my thoughts.  If you disagree, do it diplomatically!


Senator Hillary Clinton, I want to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me hope that all I’ve worked for in life would continue on through your presidency.

Thank you for being a forward-thinking First Lady.  My one vote made a difference in 1992 and, again, in 1996.

Thank you for all of the years fighting for those that needed a voice, a strong person and not just a strong woman.  You were there for children, mothers, the LGBTQ community, people of color, minorities, the environment, but most of all, the world.

We failed you!

Hillary AP

I’ll never forget that cold, January day in Davenport, Iowa, when I had a chance to tell you “good luck” and you placed your hand on my shoulder.

I hope that we meet again.  You’ve been an inspiration to me for 20-plus years and for that, I’m grateful and honored to have fought the fight with you.

We may have lost this battle, but I’m still with you.

(Editor’s note — that’s me, by the way:  As I’m sitting here Friday morning, proof reading and putting the finishing touches on today’s blog, I’m tearing up again reading back what I wrote a couple of days ago.  I was more invested in this election, more than any before it, and I’m devastated.  Laugh if you want because I fear that I won’t be the only one shedding tears over the next four years.)


I think about my mother for one reason or another every day.

Dessie Birthday 1989

My mother, Dessie, died 26 years ago this week.  At times, it seems just like yesterday and at other times, it seems so long ago, which it was.

Dessie 1990

Mom, Tammy and I miss you greatly.  But, we both know that you are with us every step of the way in life.

Many of you checked out the blog I wrote about my mother last year on the 25th anniversary of her death.  If you didn’t, here it is again.

Mom — 25 Years & Half of My Lifetime Without You


As I’ve stated before, I get much of my real reading done on the treadmill after work. Since I knew the anniversary of my mother’s death was coming up, I wanted to read about another incredible woman —  Lillian Carter, the mother of my favorite President Jimmy Carter.

“A Remarkable Mother” is from 2008 and was published twenty-five years after Miss Lillian’s death at the age of 85.


I’ve read many funny stories about Miss Lillian.  She definitely said what she wanted and she didn’t care what her son’s presidential handlers thought.

She was a strong advocate for racial equality back in southwestern Georgia during the turbulent period all the way through the 1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election.

If you didn’t know, she even joined the Peace Corps and traveled to India when she was almost 70-years-old.

There are many fun quotes and stories I remember reading over the years and President Carter shares many of them in the book.

This is my favorite.  When Jimmy Carter was running in the 1976 presidential race, a female reporter from “The Washington Post” met Miss Lillian in Plains, Georgia, and said, “Miss Lillian, your son claims that he will never tell a lie.  Do you believe him when he says that?”

Miss Lillian said Jimmy had always been truthful and she didn’t think that would change, but the reporter didn’t drop it.  Finally, Lillian said, “Well maybe a little white lie every now and then.

When the reporter said, “Aha!  Aha!  And what do you mean by a little white lie?

The always quick thinking Miss Lillian responded, “Well do you remember a few minutes ago when I met you at the door and said that you look very nice and that I was glad to see you?

I sure hope that my mother and Miss Lillian are friends in heaven.  They are just two of the remarkable mothers we’ve lost!


Singer Michael Buble and his wife, Luisana Lopilato, are putting their careers on hold following the devastating news that their 3-year-old son, Noah, has been diagnosed with cancer.


He’s being treated here in the United States.

A couple of weeks ago, I previewed Michael’s new album, “Nobody But Me”, which is incredible.


In my random thoughts on October 21, 2016, here’s what I wrote: “My early favorites are “I Believe in You”, “On an Evening in Roma (Sott’er Celo de Roma)”, “Today is Yesterday’s Tomorrow”, “God Only Knows”, “Someday” (a duet with Meghan Trainor), and the title track.”

For Michael and his family, I’m featuring “God Only Knows” this week.

I’ll be saying an extra prayer for Noah, Michael, and his family !

Also, it’s that time of the year that his 2011 album,”Christmas”, goes into heavy rotation and it’s sensational.



I’m moving on from this week’s presidential election after these three parting thoughts.

I expected the race to be close and it was.  As of this writing, Hillary Clinton (60.3 million) got more votes than Donald Trump (60 million).  It’s incredible that with more than 126 million votes cast, there was only a difference of about 338-thousand votes.


There are two camps I blame for Clinton’s loss.  One is the 38% of Americans that didn’t vote.

However, the people who I mostly blame for Trump winning the presidency are not just the people that voted for him.  While that’s vital, it’s the people that didn’t like either Clinton or Trump, the “protest voters”.

4.1 million people voted for Gary Johnson and 1.2 million for Jill Stein.  In toss-up states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida, the margin of win was small enough that the “protest votes” for Johnson and Stein were enough to turn blue-leaning states red.

I’m all for having three or more viable parties that have a chance to win a presidency. However, I tried and tried to tell people who didn’t like either front-runner that a vote for Johnson or Stein was a vote for Donald Trump.


Well, since we live in an “electoral college” voting world, thank you very much.  Your protests were successful in electing Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.  I hope you can live with it.  I’ll have to.

Thank you again!


I’m going to highlight this, so there’s no confusion — I don’t believe that every person that voted for Trump is a racist, but there are those that are and you know who you are.


With that being said, if you deny that Trump didn’t do enough to distance himself from the love and flattery he was getting from David Duke AND if you don’t think that Trump also repeatedly made very racist remarks in his campaign, then you’re clearly (God, how do I say this with people being so sensitive) ignorant, misinformed, in denial, oblivious, or you just don’t care?

That kind of hate used to live in the darkness of night and hide under sheets.  That isn’t just a part of our sad history in the United States, it’s still very alive today.  The only difference now is that it doesn’t have to hide.


davidduke kkk

If you believe in a higher spirit, say with me, “may God be with us”!

Tammy Faye 2


Okay, that’s not shocking at all.


But, for once, I’m not talking entirely about her no-holds-barred Twitter feed.  It’s about that and her own mortality.

She recently spoke to “Entertainment Weekly” and Twitter came up:  “I look at it as entertainment, but I don’t need that much entertainment in my life.  Then you feel like you’re missing out on your life.  I don’t have that much time left, so I’m going to spend it looking around and observing and thinking and memorizing poetry.” 

In the spring of 2017, Midler returns to Broadway as the widowed and brassy Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello Dolly”

In honor of her upcoming 71st birthday (December 1st) and the holiday season, here’s Bette with “Cool Yule”, the title track of her 2006 Christmas album.

Bette, thank you for being the voice of reason in such a crazy world!


The most popular movie with the title, “Christine”, is based on Stephen King’s novel about a possessed vintage car.  But, now there’s another movie with that title that I can’t wait to check out.

It’s a true life story about a Florida news anchor in the 1970s that changed television news forever and shocked and scarred viewers.

It stars one of my favorite actors, Michael C. Hall (“Dexter” and “Six Feet Under”) and Rebecca Hall (no relation).


Last weekend, I finally got to see the Pet Shop Boys in concert on their “The Super Tour” in Chicago.

Here they are performing their Top Ten hit, “Always on My Mind”.

If that whetted your appetite to go back in time, here are my 20 favorite Pet Shop Boys songs.  And, since they only had six Top 40 hits in America, I bet you’ll find some fun ones you haven’t heard.  Just click below.



With that being said, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for a couple of weeks now and here in the Quad Cities, Mix 96 has switched over to continuous holiday music!


It’s early fall, but there are already several new Christmas albums on the market to fill your holidays.

The a cappella group Pentatonix just released their third Christmas set in less than four years (!).

Country acts Chris Young, Jennifer Nettles, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, and Rascal Flatts are offering holiday cheer this year.


“Glow” is the first Christmas album from Illinois native and relative country newcomer Brett Eldredge.

He’s already released two hit country albums and, since 2012, has scored five Top Ten hits on the Billboard Country chart.  His latest, “Wanna Be That Song” is at #12 and will likely be his sixth Top Ten.

But, we’re talking Christmas and “Glow” here.

The standard edition features eleven songs and the Target exclusive gives you three more.

The only original song on the album is the title track.  I’ll be forthright in saying that I love the classics and I have to warm to new originals and I did with “Glow”.


Brett is not only an attractive young man, he also has a very strong voice.

If you only buy the standard edition, you’ll likely listen to the eleven songs (“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”, “White Christmas”, “Winter Wonderland”, and many more) and think, “it doesn’t sound very country”.  It doesn’t.  The music is very much jazzed up.

It’s like he’s channeling Michael Buble and that’s a good thing.  But, comparing Eldredge’s voice to Buble’s is like comparing Mick Jagger’s voice to Paul McCartney’s.  Both strong, but very different in delivery.

Now, if you buy the Target exclusive, the three additional songs are the only ones on the album that lets you know that Eldredge in a country music star.

It’s like you changed discs in the player from a jazz artist to a country one.

“Glow” is an exceptional Christmas album and it solidifies the fact that pop star Meghan Trainor should be on every duet!

On this album, she sings “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Eldredge and just last month, she appeared with Michael Buble on “Someday” from his “Nobody But Me” album.



Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards winner Kacey Musgraves also just delivered her first Christmas collection, “A Very Kacey Christmas”.

Although she’s a country music singer, like Brett Eldredge, you only have to start this album to know she’s true to the genre. It’s real country with real Texas twang and I mean that in the very best way.


This album features many popular Christmas classics such as “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Let It Snow”, and “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”. But, Musgraves expands the cultural horizons with “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka”.

She’s not afraid to show what an amazing songwriter she is on the album with four original songs (out of the twelve featured).

My favorite original on the album is “Ribbons and Bows”, followed closely by “Present Without A Bow” with Leon Bridges, and “A Willie Nice Christmas”, which features country music outlaw and legend, Willie Nelson.

While you do hear songs about having too much to drink at Christmas (that spiked egg nog will get you every time), it’s very rare for an artist to sing about staying “higher than the angel on top of the tree”!

If you know anything about Musgraves, you know she boldly sings songs that she wants to and she doesn’t stick to the tired and safe guidelines of country music.

Her first country radio hit, the Top Ten smash “Merry Go ‘Round” featured her brother “hooked on Mary Jane”.

And, Musgraves other Top Ten hit, “Follow Your Arrow”, not only was about rolling joints, but she told you to “Kiss lots of boys/Or kiss lots of girls/If that’s something you’re into”, which is definitely not your parents or grandparents country music.  (Okay, there was Garth Brooks’ “We Shall Be Free”, which told us we would be free “when we’re free to love anyone we choose.”)

The point I’m getting at here is she takes chances.  The biggest on this Christmas album is with the remake of The Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late”.  Yes, that one!  However, with Musgraves in control and without Alvin, Simon, and Theodore terrorizing Dave, it’s a bona fide true country Christmas song.

The only misfire on the album and this is strictly a personal thing for me is including “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas”.  It’s one of my least favorite holiday songs.  However, I’ll add that Musgraves’ performance is incredible, as it always is.  I just don’t like the song.

“A Very Kacey Christmas” is definitely a great addition to your growing list of Christmas albums.

GRADE:  B+ (Thanks Hippopotamus!)


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



My 20 Favorites From the Brilliant Pet Shop Boys


I’m just days away from seeing my first Pet Shop Boys concert and I’m so excited.  I’ve only waited thirty years for this.

Pet Shop Boys, Electric

Saturday night, I’ll be seeing Neil and Chris from the second row in Chicago, Illinois.  I’ve never had concert tickets this close!


The “Super Tour” kicked off on my birthday (October 13) in Chile and the North American leg started in Las Vegas about a week later.  It’ll continue through the end of November before moving to Europe.

Sadly, American radio audiences only got a sample of the brilliance of the Pet Shop Boys.  The duo only charted six Top 40 songs on the Billboard Hot 100, but five hit the Top Ten.

Their chart run started with the #1 hit “West End Girls” in May 1986 and ended with the #18 smash “Domino Dancing” in December 1988.

That’s really sad because the Pet Shop Boys have consistently released incredible music in the past twenty-five years.


“Electric, which came out in 2013 was one of my favorite albums of the year.

Here’s what I wrote at the time:  “Unless you’re a die-hard fan, many people think that when an act releases their twelfth studio album of original songs that the music may be stale.  It’s also true that many artists play things safe and produce the same music they did when they released their first album.  That is definitely not the case with “Electric”, the latest Pet Shop Boys album.”

And, this year’s “Super” is that and more.

In honor of Neil and Chris, here are my twenty favorites Pet Shop Boys songs (not just hits) so far.  I say “so far” because I know there’s more incredible music to come.











#15 Movie


#14 Movie










9 CD


#8 CD


#7 CD


#6 CD






green 3






I’m ready to party with the Pet Shop Boys this weekend and “burn this disco down before the morning comes”!