Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Random Friday Thoughts — July 21 , 2017

It’s the weekend and can you believe it’s already late July.  Where does the time go?

Have a great weekend and I appreciate you checking out my “Random Friday Thoughts”. Please feel free to share yours with me.

PRESIDENT CARTER WAS SPEAKING TO ME

As I shared with you earlier this week, I got to meet the man and woman I’ve idolized the longest in my life — President Jimmy Carter and his lovely wife, Rosalynn.

R JC AP

Here’s that blog about me meeting three of my four idols (it’ll open in a new window):

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2017/07/18/meeting-my-biggest-inspiration-in-life/

What I didn’t share with you was a part of his Sunday school sermon that spoke just to me (well, I’m sure others felt he was speaking to them, too).

Four days before meeting President Carter, in my blog “Sugar Coating Life”, I shared with you, “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.”

President Carter told us that his favorite chapter in the Bible is James.  In James, it talks about if you’re unhappy, it’s your fault.  You are the one that has to change it.

So, with my feelings last week about not loving the direction of my life, it seems like I really needed to be at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, last weekend, for inspiration.

IRONIC?

There was another thought racing through my mind during President Carter’s Sunday school lesson from Ezekiel.

He told us that Ezekiel and Jesus Christ were both “unpopular” in life, but God gave them a second chance.

I couldn’t help but think about President Carter, too.

CarterPres

While I idolize the man (and I’m not alone), he had a very difficult presidency.

He told us that he prayed more in those four years than in his entire life.  At times, he’d say a prayer with his eyes open!

So, like Ezekiel and Jesus, Jimmy Carter got a second chance in life after being president.

In those 36 years, he and Ms. Rosalynn have built houses for Habitat for Humanity, ensured fair elections across the world, brought medication to poor countries and worked to eradicate Guinea worm disease and river blindness, raised awareness to mental health, and the list goes on.

Second chances are great!

“THE SNOWMAN” TRAILER IS HERE!

“The Snowman” trailer is finally here!

It’s one of the most anticipated movies for me behind “Beauty and the Beast”, which I saw in March, and next year’s “Mamma Mia” sequel!

snowman

Two summers ago, I read “The Snowman”, a 2007 crime thriller by Norwegian author Jo Nesbo.  It’s the seventh book in the Detective Harry Hole series.

Nesbo+Snowman

The book was creepy and incredible and a must-read if you like crime novels!

In it, Detective Harry Hole is on the trail of Norway’s first serial killer.  And, is there a connection between the season’s first snow, the appearance of a snowman, and the victims?

My man crush (well, one of them), Michael Fassbender, plays Hole.  The movie is directed by Tomas Alfredson (“Let The Right One In” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”).

It opens on October 20th.

EMMY NOMINATIONS

I’m thrilled “House of Cards”, Robin Wright, Kevin Spacey, and Michael Kelly got some Emmy love with nominations.

Also, my girl crush, Nicole Kidman, was nominated (alongside Reese Witherspoon) for the fantastic “Big Little Lies”, which also got a nod.

However, I most excited that Jessica Lange is nominated for “Feud:  Bette and Joan” (Susan Sarandon was also nominated).

feud

In “Feud”, I was mesmerized by Lange’s transformation into Joan Crawford.  As much as I love Susan Sarandon as an actress, I saw her “Bette Davis” as Susan Sarandon.

What’s surprising is that Lange has never seen the 1981 Faye Dunaway movie, “Mommie Dearest” and she says that she’ll likely never see it.

Let’s hope that Lange picks up the Emmy award on September 17th.

READ MY MIND, IT’S YOUR CALL! OR, FOR MY BROKEN HEART, RUMOR HAS IT…

With her Las Vegas residency, Reba McEntire (with Brooks & Dunn) has a good thing going.  She performs her music a few months out of the year to sold out crowds that come to her.

Sadly, now that ABC passed on her new series from Marc Cherry, I have an idea for Reba.

Back in the  late-1990s, Reba did a non-traditional tour called “The Singer’s Diary”.  It was part theater and part concert.

Lately, many artists like U2 and Bruce Springsteen are touring and performing entire albums and not just the hits and popular songs.

Could you imagine Reba performing most of the tracks of her early 1990s albums, “Rumor Has It”, “For My Broken Heart”, “It’s Your Call”, and “Read My Mind” in a more intimate venue?

Reba

Of course, “Rumor Has It” and “Read My Mind” are my favorite Reba albums.

CHRISTMAS & GOD

Okay, if that’s too far-reaching, how about a Christmas and gospel-tinged show to feature tracks from her 1987 and 1999 Christmas albums and her latest “Sing it Now:  Songs of Faith & Hope”?

reba-faith

There’s little hope of hearing new Reba music on country radio, so I was just thinking outside the box for our favorite redhead.

ONE MORE CHRISTMAS NOTE

Christmas is now only five months away and you know I love me some Mariah Carey.

81st Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Pre-Tape

While Mariah is currently on tour with Lionel Richie (I had tickets to the postponed Nashville show, but it was eventually cancelled), I’ve been wanting to go to New York to see her annual Christmas concert.

On Wednesday, Mariah announced that she’s taking the show to Caesars Palace in Las Vegas for six nights in December!  I think I need to plan a trip now!

Here’s a couple of version of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” for my “Christmas in July” friends. 🙂

It should come as no shock why I posted more than just the original video. 🙂

Two words: Hot Elves!

CHEAPER TO DRINK LIQUOR!

Now that I’m getting settled into Panama City, Florida, I’ve noticed a few peculiar things.

I expected produce to be really cheap here and it isn’t.  Well, limes are inexpensive.

Milk

However, I’m always jealous when my sister tells me that milk is sometimes less than a dollar a gallon back in the Quad Cities, when it’s almost $4 a gallon here.

Heck, it’s cheaper to drink liquor, especially when I find a big clearance sale at Walmart like I did here.  This’ll make the Christmas party fun!

Christmas Cheer

MORE “TALES” COMING!

I’ve been missing 28 Barbary Lane for far too long and it’s time for more Tales.

Netflix is bringing Armistead Maupin’s “Tales of the City” series back!

Laura Linney (“Mary Ann Singleton”) and Olympia Dukakis (“Anna Madrigal”) are returning.

If you recall, the series made its American debut on PBS in 1994.  It was followed by “More Tales of the City” in 1998 (Showtime), and “Further Tales of the City” in 2001 (also on Showtime).

If you missed it, you’ve got to search it out.

Here’s what I wrote about it before.  (Just click on the link and it’ll open in a new window!)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/armistead-maupin-thank-you-for-motivating-me/

“A UNITED KINGDOM”

This is another of “based on a true story” movies that I’ve been checking out lately.

It stars David Oyelowo (“Selma”, “The Butler”, “The Help”, and “Lincoln”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) as a interracial couple that meets in London during World War II.

He’s in line to become President of a South African tribe when he meets a woman he falls madly in love with and neither of their families approve of the union.

Many of the movies that I’ve loved on DVD this summer failed miserably at the box office, including this one.

Maybe they just play better at home!

GRADE:  A

HUGE BOX OFFICE BOMB THIS WEEKEND

I expect “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” to be a massive box office bomb this weekend — maybe the biggest of 2017.

The sci-fi movie, which opens wide (3,400+ theaters), has a reported $209 million budget!

“Newsweek” reports that it’ll have to make $400 worldwide to break even with all the promotion!

PANAMA CITY DRIVING

Getting around here is interesting.

Drivers in Panama City are crazy.  They’ll be driving along at 40 mph and just slam on the brakes to make a turn.  No slowing down or signal, just stop and turn!

Also, the signal lights here are a nightmare.  I drive to work from north to south on Harrison Avenue and I’m sitting at lights forever.  It seems the lights are set up to keep east-west traffic moving.

In Chicago, you sit in traffic because there’s thousands of cars.  Here, you just sit and wait. 🙂

“BLOOD DRIVE”

This SyFy series has an interesting plot line.  It’s set in the future and cars run on blood!  So, I gave it a try.

After watching a vixen standing outside her car sensually licking on a sucker to entice drivers to stop, she teases a couple of guys that stop and then jumps in her car to have them chase her.

She stops and the one creep attempts to rape her and she stabs him in the privates and feeds him to her car engine.

Blood Drive

This was how the series started and I stopped it at the 4 minute, 57 second mark.  No thanks!

FLASHBACK

James Blunt scored a massive #1 worldwide hit in 2005 with “You’re Beautiful”.  The follow-up single, “Goodbye My Lover” was even better, but it didn’t connect with American Top 40 radio.

Both were from the fantastic album, “Back to Bedlam”.

The first single from the follow-up album, “All the Lost Souls”, was released ten years ago this week.

Sadly, “1973” didn’t bring continued success to Blunt in America.

However, the song is still one of my favorites.

It topped the charts in Austria, Belgium, Slovakia, Switzerland, Turkey, and Venezuela and reached #2 in Germany and Italy.

Blunt’s new album, “The Afterlove”, came out in March.

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

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Random Friday Thoughts — June 9, 2017

I hope you have a great late spring or summer weekend.  That all depends on whether you call seasons by the calendar or like us meteorologists, where “meteorological summer” starts June 1st.

Have a fun one and thank you for checking out my random thoughts.

PULSE SHOOTING ANNIVERSARY

Sadly, it’s been almost a year since the worst mass shooting in American history.

It took place in the early morning hours of Sunday, June 12, 2016, in the Orlando, Florida, gay nightclub, “Pulse”.

Pulse

49 people were murdered (plus the shooter) and another 58 were hurt.

Here’s what I wrote about this tragedy afterwards, “We’re human just like you — we love and we want to find love, we work and pay taxes, we’re someone’s son, daughter, brother, sister, niece, nephew, friend, or co-worker.

And, when some coward charges into a nightclub armed with “an assault-type weapon, a handgun” and “some type of (other) device”, we bleed and die just like the rest of America and the world.

All we want is peace, love, and understanding.

peace_love_understanding

If you want to read the rest of my original blog, this link will open in a new window:  https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

REMEMBERING A COUPLE AT CHRISTMAS

It’s easy to remember tragedies as the anniversaries approach.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims of the Pulse shooting.  They planned on getting married, but the couple were buried together.

As you can see here, they loved Christmas.

Christmas Was Perfect

This is what I wrote in my June 24th blog last year:

“Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.”

I did think of them and their love during the holidays last year and I’ll remember them again this Christmas!

LGBT PRIDE MONTH

Happy Pride month to my LGBT brothers and sisters and to all my “straight but not narrow” friends!

PrideFlag

Most recently, I’ve celebrated Pride in Chicago and the Quad Cities.  Actually, my golden retriever, ABBA, and I had a great time in Davenport, Iowa, meeting some wonderful new friends in 2010.

ABBAPride2010

BE PROUD, BE LOUD!

Chicago Pride is so much fun and very festive.

It’d be easy to say this is what pride means to me.

Pride4

Hot boys and drag queens are amazing and I’d be the first to look — okay, gawk!

But, this is what Pride means to me — it’s one of my favorite Pride memory and photos.

This is loud, this is proud, and this is being who you are!!!!!!!!!

Pride3

Cheers!

pride-martini-collection

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD”

What a compelling two-hour season three premiere of “Fear The Walking Dead”!

spoiler-alert

When you see the stop sign “spoiler alert” below, scroll past it if you don’t want to know the spoiler!!!!!

 

CLIMATE CHANGE

 

If you follow the news, then you know that “45” last week made a huge public statement regarding the environment by withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.

In late July, the sequel to 2006’s Oscar winning Best Documentary Feature, “An Inconvenient Truth”, hits theaters.

It’s called “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power”.

Promoting the documentary, here’s what former Vice President Al Gore told “Entertainment Weekly”: “Every night on the television news now is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.  And some of these carbon polluters say, “Oh, there’s no problem.” Ridiculous!”

pb

Melissa Etheridge’s “I Need To Wake Up” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 2006.

FLORIDA WINE RIP-OFF!

I’m really getting ripped off with my favorite boxed wines here in the Sunshine State.

I’ve heard that it’s some law in Florida that they can only sell 3-liter boxed wines.

Wine Ripe off

I really miss the 5-liter boxes I enjoyed in the Quad Cities.

I guess since there’s only one drinking it here now, it’s not such a bad thing.  However, I’m paying the same price for 3-liters here that I paid for 5-liters there!

I can’t say “cheers” to that!

“FEAR THE WALKING DEAD” SPOILER!

Just minutes into second hour, a major character — one of the original stars — died!!!

Fear

It was very shocking, dramatic, and well acted.  Sadly, I liked the character.

It’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here.

But, it also makes me wonder if season three will be the last season of the AMC series?

PICTURES ARE WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS….

It’s no secret that I’m now living deep in the “Bible Belt” in a conservative part of Florida.

I know there are open-minded people here, just as there people with closed minds.

However, it did give me great joy when I came upon this street sign in Panama City.

Fairy

Then, moments later, at the Piggly Wiggly, I smiled when I saw this advertisement! 🙂

Fruity Day

You just can’t make this stuff up!

Have a great weekend everyone!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

What the Duck???

Today’s read may not be for the faint of heart.

Trust me, I’m talking about myself.  As I said many times, sharing my thoughts and writing is therapeutic for me.  I sure hope it works!

I’ve been away from my loved ones and my friends in the Quad Cities for over two weeks now. Except for people at work, I don’t know a soul here.

Luckily, getting unpacked, decorating my apartment, and working and training on a newer, more advanced weather system is keeping me busy and saving me from true loneliness.

PC Bay

The Panama City Marina is short walk from work and offers amazing sunset views over the Bay.  I still haven’t seen the Gulf of Mexico or the beaches yet.

My apartment complex is nice and gives me many amazing photo opportunities.

As I always say, be careful for what you wish for in life.

When I found my place, I was over the moon at having a “duck pond” off my balcony.

Resting Ducks

It’s been fun watching the ducks and the ducklings.  I’ve seen them mate or fight (not sure which), follow the ice cream truck, and just do duck things.

Since I’m a meteorologist and not an ornithologist, I could be wrong here, but I think these ducks are pretty simple-minded.

They have no sense of the dangers that await them here at the complex and the sister property next door.

I’m now seeing the seedy underside of the convergence of wildlife and human life and the beauty of having the nature at my disposal is becoming depressing as hell!

In just my first twelve days here, I’ve saw six dead ducks!

The other evening, I was on a walk during my break and I came upon a duck (not a baby, but not fully grown) that had been hit and killed by a car.  Having nothing to move it with, I picked it up with my bare fingers and moved it off the pavement!

And, then last Wednesday, I saw two grown ones dead.  Of the six ducks, one duckling likely drown, but four of them were definitely hit by a car.

It saddens me that people living here are so into their own little world, distracted by their phones or whatever, to have no regard for the ducks walking around the complex — including the parking lots.

When I was a kid, before I became a “tree hugger” and a softie, I watched “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom” and didn’t think anything about the circle of life — eat or be eaten.  We do it every day with meat on our plates!

As sad as it is seeing the dead ducks, this photo woke me up.

Dead

When I spotted the sixth dead duck, it was out in the duck pond.  As I looked closer, I noticed it was now a buffet for a group of turtles!  (Yes, that’s a turtle’s head at the left.)

As disheartening as it was witnessing that, at least that poor duck was serving a purpose in life.  It wasn’t just picked up by the maintenance men and thrown in the trash!

Deer 3

I’m ready to trade in the ducks for the deer back home that roamed through the ravine and munched on our hosta, plants, and trees!

Anthony

More Random Panama City Thoughts

I guess it’s time to update my adventures after almost two weeks in Panama City, Florida.

I’m still finding beauty here and I haven’t even ventured outside of the city!  This is a reflection in a pond (swamp) in the complex!

Reflections

I’m still getting settled in and I promise once every box is emptied, put away, and extra stuff is re-packed, I’ll decorate my walls and post pictures.

STILL STUNNED WITH “NO RECYCLING”

As I empty those boxes and take all the newspaper and cardboard boxes to the trash compactor (or empty the last of the 2-liter bottles of soda I bought), much to my chagrin, I’m reminded of the lack of recycling!

Actually, the complex has two trash compactors and one has been broken since I arrived. Here’s a novel idea — start a recycling program and that’ll cut back on waste and the trash compactors won’t have to work as hard!

TOO MANY, I THINK SO!

I’ve decided that no matter how fun a shirt looks, I’m not buying another one!

What I think I’m going to do is not wash t-shirts until I wear every one of them!  Do you get into a rut of wearing your favorites?  I do.  Some of these have not even been worn.

TShirts

Also, look at the top left.  Most of my daily wear — pajama bottoms — are flannel! Houston, we have a problem for Florida heat and humidity !

I love my new pantry, but doesn’t it look a little too much like “Sleeping With The Enemy”?  Maybe I need to pull a Julia Roberts and knock something over just because I can!

Pantry

The other day, I wore flip flops on a walk and a kid laughed at me.  He said, “Old man, you don’t wear socks with flip flops”!  There’s so much for me to learn about Florida living!

Okay, for the record, I didn’t really wear socks with flip flops and no kid laughed at me! 🙂 However, I did get a blister on the top of my foot from wearing them on a walk, so I’ll be wearing tennis shoes now!

WTH?

As I was working in the kitchen, I looked down at the doors under the sink and this is what I saw.

Fire Ex

This is seriously on the outside on the door!  Couldn’t the complex tell me there’s a fire extinguisher under my sink instead of posting a sign on the door?  It doesn’t exactly match my decor!

I know every time I walk into the kitchen, I’ll stare down at it and say “WTF”!

COMCAST AND MEDIACOM

If I ever have Mediacom again, I promise not to complain because for the first week here, my Comcast cable sucked!

My cable and internet was turned on last Sunday (May 7th) around noon.  It worked some that evening and then it was off for much of the week.    Four technicians have been out now and it’s finally working now.

Comcast

I’ve spent more time on the phone with agents troubleshooting their crappy services than I have watching cable.

Absolutely horrible!  What makes it worse is that I’ve already gotten a bill for almost $200!

So far, I’ve only watched two episodes of “Madam Secretary” on it.  I hope I find something else to watch soon!

The good news is that the internet works much better than Mediacom!

 

“HIDDEN FIGURES”

As you know, I love Redbox and I finally rented a movie this past weekend.  I saw the last of nine Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars.

“Hidden Figures” was incredible.  It’s about the NASA’s space program and the contributions of Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae).

While Spencer was rightfully nominated for Best Supporting Actress, I think that Henson should have been nominated, too.  Her post-drenched rain scene alone was award worthy and tear jerking!

What’s heartbreaking 50 years later is the racism of the 1960s and the whole “colored this” mentality.  Mind boggling!

And, what’s even sadder is that that BS still exists today.  People, open your mind and your heart and if that’s hard, don’t speak.  Just think a little more!

Monae’s character says it best, “It’s equal rights. I have the right to see fine in every color!”

I agree!  If I ever find myself single again, I’ll be open for fine in every color!!!!!!!!!!!

FINAL NOTE

I make my Panama City television debut Friday evening at 5, 6, and 10.  The chief has the night off.  I’m also working the evening shows this weekend and, again, next Tuesday!  A 12-day work stretch!  What a way to break in the new guy!

I’ll likely start my regular morning and midday routine in early June!

THAT’S IT

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

Anthony

My First Weekend in Panama City

Hello, my friends!  I hope your week is off to a good start.

I got a lot done Monday after my first weekend of not living in the Quad Cities in more than a decade and my first as an official Florida resident.

I left Friday morning at 6 a.m. and stopped at Patti’s 1880s in Grand Rivers, Kentucky,  for a leisurely two-hour lunch and visit with my friend since childhood, Steve.   I had garlic shrimp alfredo pasta and “Boo Boo Pie” for dessert (“a rich brownie type pie with a gooey, coconut macaroon filling topped with whipped cream and a cherry”).

Boo Boo

I witnessed a horrible 3-car accident in western Kentucky Friday afternoon and I had three idiots try to cut me off because they were in such a hurry.  I can see why Mario Andrettis do it, but in front of an inexperienced driver of a 15-foot U-Haul towing a car! Really?

On Friday, I drove 950 miles from Moline, Illinois, to Dothan, Alabama.  I definitely got what I paid for with the hotel.  But, after being up for 19.5 hours and driving all but three hours of that time, I didn’t care about the star rating or the loud party animals.  The free breakfast was good, but I quickly ate and hit the road.

The final 80 miles from Dothan, Alabama, to Panama City, Florida on U.S. Route 231 Saturday morning was very enjoyable.

I saw cow pastures, many peanut and produce stands, a bear crossing sign, and other fun stuff.

Pine

It was also fun to see the pine trees transition to palm trees closer to Panama City.

Two movers met me at my apartment to help move my stuff in and the only thing I lost was my computer desk.  One side of the “fake wood” broke.  Ironically, it sat in my bedroom at my old house for eight years and never had a computer on it!

My washer and dryer was delivered Saturday evening, my cable and internet was hooked up Sunday, and the gas was turned on Monday morning.

With no gas, I had to take two cold showers, but it was exhilarating.  Good thing it was in the 80s during the day and it was Florida and not Alaska.

My apartment is spacious, but very awkwardly designed.  I had a hard time trying to figure out the logistics of the furniture for the living room and dining room.

I’ll post pictures when I’m done.  I still have a long way to go.  After sleeping two nights on the couch, I got my bed set up and it felt nice to sleep in.

The apartment complex grounds are very cool.

Ducks

Right off my balcony is a “duck pond”.

There are ducks everywhere, along with turtles, and, at least, two large fish — one that looks like a brown carp and one is white, possibly a koi?

I witnessed two funny things Saturday.  These two ducks got into a loud disturbance in the water.  I don’t know if it was a mating ritual gone bad or the two were fighting over another duck?

Fighting

And, the ice cream truck drove through the complex and a parade of ducks was walking down the middle of the parking lot behind it!  Maybe they were following because of that annoying and creepy ice cream truck music?

Ducks Ice Cream Truck

I did a lot of running around this past weekend to buy things to stock the kitchen and to replace some things I simply forgot to pack.  I’m not a shopper, but I hit about a dozen stores.

I actually bought screwdrivers at Home Depot (how butch), but lost points by buying a plant and three planters. 🙂

Initial thoughts after my first weekend:

(1)  It was great having a Piggly Wiggly again.  It reminds me so much of my childhood in the South!  I found some good bargains there.

Publix was a fun store and I saw a Tres Leches cake that looked divine for when I have company (hint hint Tammy and Ray), and Winn Dixie was nice.  I’ll probably buy most of my groceries from Piggly Wiggly and Walmart.

(2) I was devastated to learn that my complex DOES NOT recycle.  But, from the chats I had around town, recycling is not big here.  Of Florida’s 67 counties, I learned that only twenty have a recycling rate of 50% or higher.  Bay County, where I now live, is not one of those 20!

(3) With that being said, I’ll only buy soda for work now since the 2-liter bottles go in the trash!  I’ll start drinking more water and tea (or fountain soda).

(4) I’ve now heard two different unflattering nicknames for this area, but I’m not going to let either of them cloud my judgment of the people or where I now live.  If people treat me with respect, I’ll do the same to them.  Well, I have a tendency to treat mean people nicer than I should.  🙂  Oh, the names were “Redneck Riviera” and “L.A.” (Lower Alabama)!

45

(5) On Saturday, I saw this very pro-Trump car and I don’t know if they could have found another place for a sticker!

While Iowa went red in the last presidential election and Illinois stayed blue, I definitely live in a “red state” and county now.

I thought about taking my rainbow Hillary sticker off my car before I moved here, but I got busy and never did it.  Now, I’m glad I didn’t!

HC

(6) I loved listening to Sunny 98.5 FM on my way into town.  It’s the equivalent to Mix 96 in the Quad Cities!

(7) Since I didn’t get around to unpacking my kitchen, I bought a garlic-rosemary rotisserie chicken Saturday night and I’ve been eating that for three days now.  As I stated in my last blog, living alone, I don’t eat out a lot.  Since I love to cook, I can’t wait to make my first meal Tuesday.

Next weekend, my apartment should be unpacked and mostly decorated.  So, I plan on treating myself to Chinese buffet or Pizza Hut buffet next Saturday and hitting the beaches for the first time on Sunday!

(8) Finally, I start training at work this week.  I’m not sure when I’ll go on the air for the first time.  As soon as I have a new work Facebook page, I’ll let you know.

Thanks for checking out my thoughts after my first weekend in Panama City.  I’ll have another one soon with pictures of my apartment.

Now I just need to find a second job to pay for all the money I’ve been spending. 🙂

Yesterday, I checked into work for a couple of hours and saw the water for the first time at the Panama City Marina!

Marina

Anthony

 

Goodbye Quad Cities Television

Today marks my last full day in the Quad Cities.

IowaMississippiRiver

Early Friday morning, I’ll be taking off for the 1,000-mile drive to Panama City, Florida, to start the next chapter of my life.

While I’ve spent time in Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I’ve never seen the “Emerald Coast”, but I’m told it’s absolutely gorgeous.  And, from this photo, I see that!

EC PC.jpg

Last week, I signed off as a television meteorologist in the Quad Cities, my home for the past 11.5 years.  That’s the second longest I’ve ever lived anywhere — behind my hometown of Mayfield, Kentucky, where I spent much of the first 30 years of my life.

ABBATG2007

ABBA, my golden retriever, and I arrived in Moline, Illinois, from Salisbury, Maryland, the week of Thanksgiving 2005 when I accepted a weekend meteorologist and weekday reporter position at WQAD.

I sincerely thank news director C.J. Beutien for hiring me and bringing me back to the Midwest.  I had lived in Chicago twice, from 1994-1996 and from 2002-2004, before heading to the East Coast for almost 16 months to the Delmarva (Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia) Peninsula.

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Former Chief Meteorologist Neil Kastor was instrumental in bringing me to the Quad Cities and, for that, I’m grateful.  We still stay in touch today, many years after he left the news business and the Midwest for Florida.

Along with Neil, I’m still very close with my former “work wife”, Vanessa van Hyfte, who was the weekend anchor when I started.  She welcomed me with open arms and we had some of the most exciting and fun conversations between shows. 🙂

I also consider Julie Sisk, Matt Hammill, and Cassie Heiter dear friends.

I cherished my time with anchors Jason Fechner and Barbara Dawson, morning producer Brian Boesen, (who moved on to anchor at KWQC), and photojournalist Jenny Hipskind.  (This is like winning an award and thanking all the people you care for hoping you’re not forgetting someone!)

Even though we never worked together, I consider KWQC’s Theresa Bryant a dear friend.

I fondly remember much of my time at WQAD (November 2005-November 2012).  With that being said, I was definitely angry with the station for the way it handled my dismissal that fall when it lost the Fox newscast to KWQC.

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It was tacky and unprofessional and the lack of compassion I was shown for my seven years of dedication and commitment was appalling.   However, the station did the same thing to Neil before me and to others since.

Interestingly enough, all of that was brought up to me again about a month ago.  In a disagreement, a former friend said to me, “Maybe you still just have a bone to pick from the station? I don’t know and I really don’t care.”

My response to him was, “my issue over this whole pettiness isn’t with WQAD. It’s with you!”

That got to me to thinking again and, honestly, the whole WQAD ordeal has been water under the bridge for me for a long time.

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After a couple of months off to enjoy the holidays, I was honored when WHBF General Manager Marshall Porter and News Director Heather Voudrie brought me on board as the morning meteorologist in February 2013.

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While I wasn’t getting rich at WQAD, I was financially comfortable.   My new position came with a big pay cut, but I was once again doing what I loved and I didn’t have to leave my family.

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At WHBF, I’ve worked with so many great people over the years.  At the top of the list is my “work wife” and dear friend, Emily Scarlett, who just took a new position with the #1 station in Columbia, South Carolina.

I’ll also remember my close friendships with chief meteorologist Andy McCray and his wonderful wife, Michelle, Jay Kidwell, Jim Neidelman and his adorable wife, Denise, and Katrina, my trusted confidant on the morning show, and her lovely partner.  (Katrina, I’ll always smile at “Breathe” and “Calm down, Lucille!”)

Those are just some of the fantastic people I’ve had the pleasure to work with in the Quad Cities, but I’ve also worked with some real losers.

I’m too much of a gentleman to say more than that, but two of the ones that stand out the most are so emasculated that it would be unfair to point out their deficiencies publicly.

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With that being said, I’ve never worked in a television market as a meteorologist or a weathercaster that over dramatizes and sensationalizes weather as much as some do (or did) here.

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That isn’t the case with all local meteorologists.  I didn’t do it and neither did Neil Kastor. I highly recommend now that you put your trust in “Local 4 News” Chief Meteorologist Andy McCray and “Quad Cities Today” meteorologist Kevin Phelps.

They’ve earned my trust over the years as colleagues.

Enough about people, let’s talk weather. 🙂  As I head to the heat and humidity of Florida, I’ll truly miss the snow!

Snowy Moline

You’re probably laughing, but I’ll seriously miss it.

How many times in your life do you get a record-setting 18.3″ in a single storm? For me, ONCE!

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Happy weather, my friends!

May your springs flower with excitement, your summers toast with long sun-filled days, your autumns glow with bright colorful leaves, and your winters crackle with a beautiful fire and a blanket of serene snow covering everything to remind you of the beauty of living in the Midwest!

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Remember me when you pop a bottle of champagne or you open a bottle of Moscato with a nice cheese and fruit platter or enjoy a piece of cheesecake!

Betty Crocker C-O Cheesecake

Anthony

Random Friday Thoughts — June 17, 2016

I want to wish all the dads out there a “Happy Father’s Day”.  We’re spending it with Ray’s dad, Papa Ray, who’s also turning 80 years old.

There are so many thoughts going through my head almost a week after last Sunday’s horrific massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.  I’ll get the heartbreaking ones and the ones that anger me out of the way first.

ORLANDO NIGHTCLUB MASSACRE

It’s been a sad week for the LGBT community.

The nightmare is still settling in for the families of the 49 victims, the 53 people who were hurt, and the rest of the people inside the popular gay nightclub last Sunday morning when a 29-year-old terrorist opened fire with a semi-automatic assault weapon and a gun (a third gun was found in his car) after taking hostages.  He was killed by police.

Pulse

I’ve gone back and changed this part of the blog several times as more details are released.

First, I wrote that the killer’s father said it happened because his son didn’t like gay people.  But, it seems the more his father talks, the more he sounds like a lunatic himself!

Now there are reports that the shooter may actually have been gay, or at least, a regular at Pulse and on gay hook-up sites and apps.

If that’s true, it’s very sad that he was such a self-loathing, closeted gay man.  He wouldn’t be the first person forced into a sad life of hiding the fact that he was gay.  Most of the time, that fear is perpetuated by the views of family, religion, or society in general. This has to change!  However, people in those situations normally don’t resort to such a heinous crime of murder!

CALL IT WHAT IT IS — A HATE CRIME

The shooting in Orlando is now the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.  This surpasses the Virginia Tech (April 2007) and Sandy Hook shootings (December 2012).

After I started processing the shock and sadness I felt, I was angered by Republican politicians addressing the shooting while ignoring the fact that nightclub and the victims were targeted for being (or suspected of being) LGBT.

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Failed Republican presidential wannabees Marco Rubio and Mike Huckabee shared these tweets:

Rubio: “Our prayers are with those injured and killed early this morning in horrifying act of terror in Orlando.”

Huckabee: “Please join Janet and me in praying for the victims of the Orlando attack and their families.”

Notice that there’s no mention of where this senseless tragedy took place or why they were slaughtered.  It was because of who they were!

Rubio and Huckabee are just two of the politicians who demonize the LGBT community on a regular basis — except when it gives them face time in front of cameras with empty sympathetic apologies.  The LGBT community needs love and support every day, not when it’s convenient.

Disgusting!

“THESE PEOPLE”

When I shared my blog about the shootings and who the LGBT community is on Facebook last weekend, someone commented, “these people are in our country to harm us and are just sitting back waiting for that call.”

In this case, I know “these people” was referring to Muslims or Middle Easterners.  The shooter’s parents are from Afghanistan.

Still, I was taken aback by the comment and replied, “There are “these people” in every walk of life — they may have different color skin, religions, upbringings, ideologies, etc. The white kid who (allegedly) murdered the innocent black church goers in South Carolina last year is one of “these people”.

Church Fire

In the weeks following the Charleston, South Carolina shootings one year ago today, there were suspicious fires at seven black, or predominantly black, churches in South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida.

Trust me people, hate is very much alive in this country.  We have a major problem and we’ve got to work together to find a solution.  This means all of us.

GUN CONTROL

There’s a lot of debate about guns and gun control.  Some think that when you ask for tougher regulations, you want to take their guns away.

Gun Control

I want people to be checked thoroughly before they legally own a gun.  I want to know if these people have criminal records, if they’re on the “no fly list”, have mental issues, etc.

I don’t care if people own guns for protection or hunting.  But, there is NO reason for the general public to own an assault-style weapon like the AR-15!  None!!!

But, legally, it’s considered the same as other rifles and there are anywhere between 2.5 million and 3.7 million guns in the AR-15 family in civilian use today in the United States.

AR-15

Now, for the first time ever, the family of the gun’s inventor is speaking out.

They told NBC News, “Our father, Eugene Stoner, designed the AR-15 and subsequent M-16 as a military weapon to give our soldiers an advantage over the AK-47.  He died long before any mass shootings occurred. But, we do think he would have been horrified and sickened as anyone, if not more by these events.”

My final thought on the matter is that when the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted in 1791 allowing us to “keep and bear arms”, I know that our founding fathers never imagined a weapon of that caliber — a weapon that would be responsible for cutting so many lives short here in America!

The Second Amendment would be worded much differently today and bearing arms would mean something else.

LET ME TELL ABOUT THE LGBT COMMUNITY

In case you didn’t get to read my blog last Sunday that expressed how devastating this massacre is to the LGBT community and who were are, here it is again.  (This will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2016/06/12/deadly-gay-nightclub-attack-were-all-one/

A SAD ENDING TO THIS LOVE STORY 

There have been many stories coming out from family members grieving over the loss of their loved ones.  This one really breaks my heart.

32-year-old Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and his 22-year-old boyfriend Juan Guerrero were two of the victims inside the Pulse nightclub.

Juan’s sister, Aryam, says, “They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other.  It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

Christmas Was Perfect

Look at the caption taken from this Instagram photo of the men with their families, “Christmas was perfect”.  This Christmas won’t be perfect for the grieving families.

As much as I love the holidays, I’m going to make sure that Christopher and Juan are not forgotten this Christmas.

The two men had planned on getting married and their families have decided that they’ll be buried together.

LOVE IS LOVE

Before I married almost five years ago, I found this video and it still makes me smile.  I even borrowed the “sparkler toast” for our reception.

Today, I dedicate it to the memory of Christopher and Juan, the love they shared, and the wedding they never experienced.

Make sure the person you love knows it everyday!  Life is too short.

Ray, I love you!

GAGA HONORS THOSE MURDERED

Lady Gaga addressed thousands earlier this week at Los Angeles’s City Hall at a vigil to remember those killed at the Pulse nightclub.  Gaga read off the names of the 49 people murdered.

The pop star told the tearful crowd, “I can’t help but feel that this level of hatred, like all prejudicial crimes, this is an attack on humanity itself.”

She added, “This is an attack on everyone.”

ON A LIGHTER NOTE….

Offending People

JUST ONE DONALD TRUMP COMMENT (BUT, I HAVE SEVERAL)

If anyone ever says he doesn’t have a sense of humor, I’ll always have this tweet of his to remember.  I’m still laughing out loud over his ignorance.

We might have been born at night, but not last night!

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Please let him become a footnote in American history November 8, 2016.

DON’T UNDERESTIMATE FISH

As you know from reading my blog and following me on social media that we love our expanded koi and goldfish pond.

Fish Pond

Now, I have scientific proof that the fish know me, they really know me!

Culum Brown, an Australian biologist studies fish intelligence and he says, “Most fish species are social and have the capacity for individual recognition.”

He adds, “We have known that for more than 20 years. We also know that fish can use facial features to categorize predator and non predators. Fish are much smarter than people think.”

Snowflake Pumpkie Pie

Now I know that Pumpkin Pie, the orange koi with the black spots featured above and at the beginning and end of this feeding frenzy video, recognizes me for more than just being the “food man”!

So, she’s not just a Pavlov fish! 🙂

By the way, she’s the one that I rescued from the mouth of a mink late last summer.  You can read about that harrowing experience here.  (Again, the link below will open in a new window.)

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/my-first-hand-encounter-with-a-predator/

NEW LADY GAGA MUSIC

People waiting for Gaga’s first new album of pop material since 2013’s “Artpop” (not counting 2014’s “Cheek to Cheek” with Tony Bennett) may have to wait until later this year or early 2017!

Sir Elton John reveals that he’s heard two or three of the new songs and they are “absolutely brilliant”.

Until the new music arrives, this is still one of my favorite Lady Gaga songs.

FIRST LADIES

As you know and you can’t escape, it’s an election year.  I’ve been reading mostly autobiographies, biographies, and books about political figures.

I just finished “First Ladies” by Betty Boyd Caroli.  It was an easy read because it spent just a few pages or so on each of our president’s wives.

Here are a few tidbits I learned that you may already know. If not, they may come in handy while watching “Jeopardy” one day.

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Martha Washington:  A multi-millionaire (adjusted to today’s dollar) left to her after her first husband’s death.

Abigail Adams:  Very hands-on in helping to shape her husband’s, John Adams, policies.

Martha Jefferson: Died almost two decades before Thomas Jefferson became president, so she was never First Lady, but future First Lady Dolley Madison stood in to entertain at the White House for President Jefferson.

Dolley Madison:  Before being forced to evacuate the White House in August 1814 before British soldiers burned it down, she saved the painting of General Washington.

Elizabeth Monroe:  Ordered her dresses from France at reportedly $1,500 each and wasn’t regarded as too social in her role as First Lady.

Louisa Adams:  Only First Lady born outside of the United States (London, England) and she was the daughter-in-law to second president, John Adams.

Rachel Jackson:  She died days after her husband, Andrew, was elected president, so she was never officially First Lady.

Hannah Van Buren:  She also died before her husband, Martin, became president.

Anna Harrison:  She was the wife of the ninth U.S. President and grandmother of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison.  While she was First Lady, she never actually lived in the White House because her husband, William Henry Harrison, died on his 32nd day as president, and she hadn’t moved in yet.

Letitia Tyler:  She was the first First Lady to die while living in the White House (stroke).

I hope you learned something there and I’ll share more First Lady tidbits in the next “Random Friday Thoughts”.

ONE MORE “PULSE” TRIBUTE

Back in 2013, I shared an interview and blog about Eli Lieb, an Iowa singer and songwriter working to make it to the big time.

Eli Lieb Facebook

Since he grew up not far from the Quad Cities, I’ll post the blog again after the video.

His self-titled album was one of my twenty favorites of 2013.

He and Brandon Skeie, both out and proud singers and songwriters released “Pulse” earlier this week to honor the gay nightclub victims.

Here’s that blog about Eli from 2013.

https://anthonypeoples.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/finding-young-love-a-world-away-from-iowa/

THAT’S IT

Typically, I have less serious material in my “Random Friday Thoughts”, but there is so much to process this week.

Take care of yourself and those around you.

Thank you for checking out my thoughts this week and, as always, feel free to share your thoughts with me.  If we disagree, do it diplomatically.  More gets resolved that way.

Have a great weekend!

Anthony