Posts Tagged ‘Coronavirus’

My (Interesting) First Month in Decatur

Boy, time sure does fly by as you get older!

With the Coronavirus and COVID-19, I know many of you, are under “stay at home” protocols with state governments, working from home, or unemployed because of restaurants being closed to diners, like my sister and her family!

As for me, I’ve been working since the media is considered “essential” in this crazy time across the United States and the world.

Snowy Duluth UHaul

It seems just like yesterday that I left snow-covered Duluth, Minnesota, and moved into my new apartment in Decatur, in central Illinois.

What a whirlwind month it’s been!  I moved into my apartment on Wednesday, April 1st, and started work the next day.    I’ve already been on the air at WAND-17, the NBC-affiliate, four weeks!

Except for hanging two pieces of wall art that’s rather heavy and needs to be done by someone that know what’s they’re doing, my apartment is set up and livable.

It’ll “do” for a year and I’ll find another place here that I’ll make my forever home.  I’m tired of moving, but this apartment is not that place!

Bedroom View

However, I do love the view out my bedroom window, which gave me a front row seat of deer frolicking and playing in the shallow end of this part of Lake Decatur one afternoon.

I’ll share more pictures when I’m totally done decorating.  But, with “social distancing”, I’m not sure when that’ll be!

Interesting

PASSING THE TIME

It’s bizarre and interesting to have lived here a month and not be able to experience life in Decatur, to invite my morning co-anchors over for dinner, or to meet new people for drinks.

I know that one day I’ll get to eat out and see what central Illinois has to offer.

Until then, to pass the time, I take regular four-mile walks from my complex and through the marina around one part of Lake Decatur.

Lake Decatur

Since I walk and read at the same time, I’ve already finished four books, all by my idol, former President Jimmy Carter.

I’m currently reading “Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History” by Maureen Orth.

The book is the basis for the Emmy-winning FX series, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” with ALL of Emmy winner Darren Criss!

Criss

Criss 1

Oops, sorry for not warning you! 🙂

My connection to Cunanan and this story goes back to 1997 when it was happening and I was the weekend anchor in Lubbock, Texas.

Yes, this made it “on air” and we did get calls because of the eerie similarities! 🙂

Cunanan

Since I didn’t watch a lot of television in Duluth, I dropped cable this past January.

My new apartment complex offers “free” cable (I still pay for DVR service and internet), so I’ve been catching up on the shows I used to watch.

In April, I binge-watched 60-plus hours of television!

I watched the last season of “Homeland” (except for the series finale because Showtime and xfinity suck and aren’t making it “free” like it did for the first eleven episodes of the last season.

I’ve also watched the 2020 episodes of “How To Get Away With Murder” and “9-1-1” (the final two episodes of both series air in May — for “Murder”, it’s the series finale), along with “Prodigal Son”, “9-1-1 Lone Star”, “The Good Doctor”, and the third season of “The Sinner”!

Bad Netflix

In Duluth, for some reason, I got this message on my television while trying to watch Netflix.

What’s bizarre is that Netflix works on my television in Decatur!

Since discovering this, I’ve already binged the third season of “Ozark” and I’m almost done with the third season of “The Crown”.

Up next, seasons two of “Sex Education”, “Mindhunter”, and “You”, the first season of “The Politician”, and the fourth season of “Eastsiders”.

And, to make my bestie, Katie, happy, I can now binge-watch all 154 episodes of “The West Wing”!

Speaking of “Ozark”, season three is the best, so far!

Ozark Emmys

While nominations don’t come out until this summer, just go ahead and give Laura Linney, Janet McTeer, and Tom Pelphrey their Emmy awards now!

BACK ON THE WAGON

The last four months in Duluth were very stressful for me.

While I’ve talked about the crazy stretches of work (days and nights for several days with just a couple of hours of sleep in between),  I never mentioned and I won’t elaborate here on a police-involved harassment ordeal that forced me to “fall off the wagon”.

Over the years I’ve been very open about being a recovering food addict.

Since 1995, I’ve pretty much successfully fought the daily battle by eating healthier with a great dose of exercise.

There were a few stumbles (most recently in early 2017 when I was going through a divorce).  But, with the stress of work, being stalked and harassed, job hunting, and relocating, I took a big step backwards and my weight dropped has dropped from 163 to 138 pounds.

My new schedule not only allows me more free time each afternoon, but it gives me the opportunity to cook more and eat at a reasonable hour!

April 7 Dinner

I’m back on track, “on the wagon”, and I have one month under my belt now!!!

I don’t know what I weigh now and I don’t need to know.  All I know is that I should gain a few more pounds to be healthier again.

I owe much of that success to Kroger!  Yes, the grocery chain.  There’s one located right by work and another one a couple of miles from my apartment.

On my first visit to each, I noticed they marked down all kinds of fun produce as it approaches the “sell by” or “best by” dates.

So, now instead of binging and purging on high caloric junk to satisfy an addiction, I’m now a little O-C-D about making very regular trips to the Kroger stores in Decatur and stocking up on greens and veggies!

April 17 Dinner

(For the record, I went to three Kroger stores a total of 17 times in April!) 🙂

I’ve also treated myself to fried chicken three times and three rotisserie chickens, along with the chicken that I cook at home.

Did I mention several bottles of wine, too?

FOND MEMORIES AND MAKING NEW ONES

I’ll fondly remember my two years in Duluth.

Lake Superior was beautiful and the almost 107″ of snow my first winter there was mind-blowing.

When I left Duluth at the end of March, we had already picked up almost 90″ this past winter!

I had the pleasure to work with some fun and entertaining people at Fox 21 in Duluth (and one that I hope I never, oh, never mind)!

Fun People

And, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for my dear friends, Katie (who was my evening director at work), her mother Mary Kaye, and my neighbor, Kass.

Over the past two years, I shared many delicious meals (including Thanksgivings and Christmases) with these special ladies.

And, Kass and I regularly had “cocktail hour” at her place.  (Kass, I don’t have a drinking buddy here yet, but I did see your spiced rum at a liquor store and I smiled!) 🙂

Love Duluth Friends

While I miss my Northland Peeps, I know that when America is healthier again and it’s safe to socialize, I’ll find some dear friends and colleagues in central Illinois.

To all my friends reading this, stay safe and healthy!

And, while it’s not a “Random Friday Thoughts”, I’ll end it with my signature sign-off.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

 

 

Random Friday Thoughts — March 20, 2020

After a few weeks of making time to share some of my “Random Friday Thoughts”, this will be the last one for some time.

I have another blog coming soon to announce my “next chapter”.

Shhhhh

CORONAVIRUS & LAS VEGAS

When we rang in 2020, my plans were to move to Las Vegas on June 1st.  I was giving up television weather to wait tables and pursue a “life”!

2020

After much thought and deliberation (with myself), I decided that the timing wasn’t right.   And, much to my chagrin, I also don’t think a move to Vegas in this lifetime is now in the cards! 😦

Now, with the widespread impact of Coronavirus just beginning to be felt nationwide (and across the world), I know I made the right decision!

The service industry in Vegas (and many other cities) is going to decimated by this and who knows how long it’ll take to recover once Coronavirus is under control!

DOG REVENGE

This cartoon is too funny not to share — K9 revenge!!!

Dogs

By the way, the World Health Organization says, as of now, dogs can get Coronavirus, but there’s no evidence they can spread it!!!

PARENTS, TRUE OR NOT???? 🙂

Parenting

“ARMY OF THE DEAD”

Recently, I watched Zack Snyder’s “Dawn of the Dead” (2004) again.  It’s still a great addition to the zombie genre.

I was excited to learn that Netflix acquired the rights to the sequel with a $90 million budget.

“Army of the Dead” will center around a heist on a Las Vegas casino during a zombie outbreak!

Principle photography and filming is reportedly done, but a release day is not set.

Now I’m wondering if/how our real life Coronavirus outbreak will affect the release of a movie about a viral outbreak that causes the dead to become undead and walk the Earth!

If you haven’t seen Snyder’s movie, here’s the trailer.

By the way, I also watched George A. Romero’s 1968 “Night of the Living Dead” again recently and it was SO BAD!

LAST CORONAVIRUS THOUGHT

While I’m taking precautions to stay safe and healthy (and I hope you are, too), the fear of the unknown is overwhelming!

When I feature songs or music videos in my blog, you may just scroll right past them.

But, here are five that ALWAYS make me feel so happy and carefree. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with them, give them a listen!  It might help you to relax and forget about real life for a few minutes at a time! 🙂

“XANADU” — OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN  (#8, 1980)

“TARZAN BOY” — BALTIMORA (#13, 1985)

“TWO OF HEARTS” — STACEY Q (#3, 1986)

“ONLY IN MY DREAMS” — DEBBIE GIBSON (#4, 1987)

“I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY (WHO LOVES ME) — WHITNEY HOUSTON (#1, 1987)

AVOCADOS

I love avocados anyway you serve them!

I especially love making guacamole and when I add them to shrimp for a ceviche, I’m in heaven.  (Yes, I made this!)

Shrimp C

In a perfect world, I’d love to be rich and live on land where I had avocado, lemon, lime, and orange trees!  Wishful thinking!

Avocado

I was going through an old “Eating Well” magazine (March 2019) and came across these interesting tidbits.  I thought I’d share them.

  • 90% of U.S. avocados are grown in California.  There are over 5 million avocado trees in the state and and one tree can produce up to 200 avocados in one year!
  • It takes 12 to 18 months to grow a California avocado and the heaviest avocado on record weighed 5 pounds, 8 ounces!
  • Hass avocado trees bloom in the spring and a mature fruit can stay on the tree for up to a year!  They don’t ripen until they’re picked, but most are harvested from March through September.
  • Finally, the average American eats about 7.75 pounds of avocados a year.  In 1990, that number was only ONE POUND!

Happy Avocados

Way to go America!

“TRUE COMPASS”

I just read Edward Kennedy’s 2009 memoir that came out after he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in May 2008.

True Compass Ted Kennedy

Kennedy did a lot of great things in his almost 47 years as a U.S. Senator and I applaud him for that.

I enjoyed hearing his stories about his brothers, President John F. Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy.

In the book, I felt he was upfront and honest about the tragic accident at Chappaquiddick that resulted in Mary Jo Kopechne’s death in the summer of 1969.

I admired his honesty about indulging too much in liquor, women, and food in his single years between marriages.

He also talked extensively about the fact that he made it a point never to address tabloid gossip, no matter how far-fetched.

Kennedy said once you do, you’ll spend more time trying to correct the misinformation.  If you start setting the record straight, then you’d look guilty in the future if you didn’t address a story, rumor, or gossip!

With that being said, I turned against Ted Kennedy in 1980 and I held a grudge against him for mounting his only presidential bid against my idol, sitting President Jimmy Carter.

CarterPres

It was bad enough that Iranian militants in Tehran were holding American hostages for over a year, but the economy was in the pits and we were dealing with an energy crisis.

Kennedy’s presidential run weakened Carter’s presidency even more since it forced the president to spend more time and effort to be the Democratic nominee for re-election.

It was time Carter could have used to fight Ronald Reagan and try to solve America’s problems and free the hostages.

Kennedy admits that he felt Carter held that against him from that point on and, personally, I don’t blame him!

“True Compass” was a fantastic read.  I’m glad I took time to learn more about the man.

Edward Kennedy died at his home in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, on August 25, 2009.

ONE MORE EDWARD KENNEDY NOTE

I’m currently reading “The Senator: My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy” by Richard E. Burke, who became Kennedy’s Chief of Staff in the late-1970s, at the ripe age of 25!

The Senator Burke

As a freshman in college in 1971, Burke started working as a volunteer in Kennedy’s mail room.

While Burke idolized Kennedy, “The Senator” is a much more scandalous book talking about Ted Kennedy’s very active sex life (extramarital affairs), orgies, and drug use (cocaine and poppers).

I’m only halfway through the book, but I can’t imagine Senator Kennedy being too thrilled when the book came out in 1992!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — March 13, 2020

Two weeks in a row with a new “Random Friday Thoughts”!  I hope this finds you healthy and happy!

Feel free to comment on any of my thoughts, but, as always, do it diplomatically!

MY THOUGHTS ON CORONAVIRUS

Don’t zone out from fatigue over the Coronavirus.  I’ll keep this part short!

You’re hearing a lot on the news about the virus, which is now a pandemic.

Basically the difference between a pandemic and an epidemic is that an epidemic is an illness affecting a specific region and a pandemic has global impacts!

Here is the U.S., sports seasons and playoffs are basically done, concerts are being cancelled or postponed, schools are extending spring break and going to online classes when they return, restaurants are closing, and the list goes on.

And, on Wednesday, actor Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, in Australia, announced they they tested positive for Coronavirus.

Tom Hanks Rita Wilson

Yet, there are those that are blaming the media (of course) for hyping up something that’s no worse than the flu, which kills people each year.

However, Dr. Anthony Fucci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says the Coronavirus is ten times (that’s 10 times) deadlier than the seasonal flu!

Coronavirus

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I don’t trust the government!  (I’m not just talking about the Trump administration — yet that speaks for itself!)  I’m talking about trust on a daily basis and not specifically with Coronavirus.

This mistrust of the U.S. government is a product of past administrations (Republican and Democrats) of telling us just what we “need” to know, when it deems the time is right.

Well, here’s the thing.  I think Coronavirus is a real public threat and I think we’re going to see the number of cases (and deaths) in the U.S. and Canada shoot up drastically over the next month or so.

As for me, I pray that I don’t get sick.  However, I’m doing nothing more to prevent it than I normally do in a typical day. 

I always wash my hands.  I love using hand sanitizer (even before it was chic).  I cover my mouth when I cough and I move away from people hacking like they’re coughing up a lung.

And, no I didn’t raid the store for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and bottled water!

Watermelon Mint Vodka

However, I did buy a bottle of Smirnoff Watermelon Mint Zero Sugar Infusions vodka.  It sounded fun!  And, I do have a decent supply of wine and liquor!

I CAN’T GO ON…

You know I love buffets, especially in Las Vegas.

Hello, Wicked Spoon!  These were my four plates and truly UNLIMITED champagne and mimosas this past December from there!

Wicked Spoon

Because of Coronavirus, my life as I know it is (temporarily?) disrupted — if I was in Vegas now.

MGM Resorts (which doesn’t own Wicked Spoon) issued this statement earlier in the week:

“MGM Resorts will temporarily close buffets at ARIA, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, The Mirage, Luxor and Excalibur, effective Sunday March 15. These changes are temporary and will be evaluated on a weekly basis.”

11 YEARS ON FACEBOOK!

It what could be called “joy” and “madness”, I found out this week that I joined Facebook more than a decade ago.

So, if you don’t follow me there, here were my thoughts on my eleventh anniversary!

Facebook Anniversary

Facebook 11

VOTING

Primaries and caucuses are taking places across the nation ahead of the 2020 presidential election in November, which I think will be Joe Biden and 45.

I love looking at polls and I trust them — for the most part.

Vote

However, I also know that polls mean nothing if people don’t get out and vote!

And, come November 3, 2020, if you want to make “that man” a one-term president (or if you support him), you have to VOTE!

“OZARK” 

Season three of one of the best shows on television is coming back later this month.

“Ozark” returns March 27th on Netflix and from the new trailer, it looks like this could be Laura Linney’s year for an Emmy win!

She was incredible in season two and I was hoping that she and Julia Garner would take home trophies.  Garner won in the Emmy’s supporting actress category.

THANKS NETFLIX!

But, before I can check out the new season of “Ozark” with the incredible Linney, season three of “The Crown”, season two of “Sex Education”, season two of “Mindhunter”, and the first season of “The Politician”, I now have to buy a new television!

Thanks a lot Netflix!

Last month, I was going to start binge-watching “The West Wing” and this is what greeted me!

Bad Netflix

On December 1, 2019, Netflix deemed my Samsung television, which I got in 2014, obsolete for its streaming service!

What a rip off!

“GASLIGHTER”

Last week, I talked about the new Lady Gaga single, “Stupid Love” (it debuted at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100), from her upcoming April 10th album, “Chromatica”.

Now, I’m excited to know what my second album that I’ll buy in 2020 will be and when.

“Gaslighter” is the new single and the title track from the Dixie Chicks’ new album that’ll drop May 1, 2020!

“Gaslighter” is actually getting country music airplay!  It debuted on the Billboard Country chart at #31 and moved to #20 in its second week!

That’s their biggest hit at country radio since “Travelin’ Soldier” hit #1 in early 2003, about the time that Natalie Maines’ comments about President George W. Bush and the Iraqi War got the Chicks banned from country radio!

Their last album, “Taking The Long Way”, came out in May 2006, and it won the Grammy Award for “Album of the Year” and “Best Country Album”.

The Dixie Chicks’ last hit song was 2006’s “Not Ready To Make Nice”, which reached #4 on the Hot 100.

It went on to win three Grammy Awards — “Record of the Year”, “Song of the Year”, and “Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”, in 2007!

“KNIVES OUT”

If you like whodunit movies, you’ll like this mystery comedy.

The all-star cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Christopher Plummer, and Don Johnson.

The first half of the movie features some very humorous scenes as the story was set up.  Collette was especially funny.

I figured out early on who was likely the killer.  From that point on, the movie started to drag.  (Oh, I was correct!).

GRADE: B

PURGING MY CD & MOVIE COLLECTION

For months now, I’ve been purging my CD and movie collection.

I started listening to CDs that I liked at one time in my life, but I’d never say, “I want to listen to <insert album title here>.  I had about one thousand CDs and now it’s down to about 425 essentials that I don’t want to part with.

With my movies, I’m watching older ones, some of which didn’t become one of “my favorites”, and I’m getting rid of them.

Until recently, only three of them made the cut and I put them back on the shelf.

I kept the 2012 Spanish movie “Angels of Sex” (“El Sexo de los Ángeles”), the 2008 Israeli film “Antarctica”, and the 2010 American romantic comedy, “Is It Just Me?”.

“LEMON TREE”

This past week, I added three more “keepers”.

The first is the 2008 Israeli drama, “Lemon Tree”.

Hiam Abbass is heartbreaking and stunning!  She plays Salma, a widowed Palestinian woman fighting to keep the Israeli government from cutting down her lemon grove, which was planted by her late father decades ago.

It becomes a security risk when the Israeli Defense Minister and his wife, Mira, (a moving performance by Rona Lipaz-Michael) move next door.

“PATRIK 1.5”

Another was the very touching 2008 Swedish film, “Patrik 1.5”.

It stars one of the sexy Skarsgard brothers (no, not Alexander from “True Blood” and “Big Little Lies” and not creepy Bill (Pennywise in the new “It” movie series).

Gustaf Skarsgard is the lead in this comedy-drama.

His Göran Skoogh in “Patrik 1.5” would make the perfect husband! 🙂

“SOLO”

And, the final keeper, is “Solo”.

Even though this Argentinean movie came out in 2013, it speaks volumes about today’s dating and app hook-up scene!

You never really know who you’re meeting or hooking up with and what could happen!

Manuel (Patrico Ramos) and Julio (Mario Veron) finally decide to meet after chatting online for a while.

Once they meet, Julio tells Manuel, “There are really bad people round there. They say one thing and they mean another. You never know who you’re dealing with. You don’t even know who you’re bringing into your home.”

“TRANSAMERICA”

I also watched the incredible “Transamerica” with Oscar nominee Felicity Huffman and the adorably sexy Kevin Zegers.

While still a very fulfilling movie, so much has changed since it came out in 2005.

After the groundbreaking television series “Pose” and “Transparent”, I couldn’t imagine a movie made today about a trans woman that WOULD NOT be played by a real trans actress!

“GIRLS NIGHT OUT”

Debbie Gibson, one of my favorite artists of the 1980s, is back with a huge club hit!

“Girls Night Out” (Tracy Young Radio Remix) is currently at #4 on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart.

In 2019, Tracy Young scored back-to-back chart toppers on the the Dance Club Songs chart with Madonna’s “I Rise” and “Crave”.  (Young won a Grammy Award for the “I Rise” remix!)

From 1986 to early 1991, Gibson scored nine hits on the Billboard Hot 100.

Of those, five reached the Top Ten, including the #1 hits, “Foolish Beat” (1988) and “Lost in Your Eyes” (1989, three weeks at #1).

When “Foolish Beat” topped the chart in the summer of 1988, Debbie became youngest person to write, produce, and perform a number-one single entirely on her own, at age 17!!!

“Only In My Dreams”, Debbie’s first hit in 1987 that reached #4, is still one of my all-time favorites!

“ICE BOUND:  A DOCTOR’S INCREDIBLE BATTLE FOR SURVIVAL AT THE SOUTH POLE”

Ice Bound

This 2001 book is about Dr. Jerri Nielsen, an Ohio doctor that took a year off from medicine to find herself by “wintering” in Antarctica with 40 others.

Just a few months into her one-year stay, she found a lump in her breast.

This book is the story of how she and her new friends, “winterovers”, worked via satellite and computers in the harsh -100° weather and months of complete darkness to keep her alive.

This lasted for eight months before the weather finally broke and she could be rescued and brought back to the U.S. for surgery in the fall of 1998.

In 2000, while I was an anchor and reporter in Mansfield, Ohio, I interviewed Dr. Nielsen.  Twenty years later, I have no clue what about!  Maybe it was about her recovery?

Dr. Nielsen was a cancer survivor for over a decade before she died in the summer of 2009.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony